February 25th, 2009

blue legacy

poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted

poetry is not like reasoning, a power to be exerted according to the determination of the will. a man cannot say, "i will compose poetry." the greatest poet even cannot say it: for the mind in creation is as a fading coal, which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness.

tuesday lxxxi

i always run out of time.
so, last week on lost ben was very blatantly shown to be reading ulysses.
in which joyce alludes to hamnet not long before he quotes villiers de l'isle adam's line from axel, 'as for living, our servants will do that for us.' which line the bishop quotes today while conveying a story about bloy and villiers (of whom a nice picture) the latter noted to have often written on scraps of paper ("the man who has no memory makes one out of paper"). joyce's use of the line is directly tied to his use, as a character, of the very real personage of george william russell, the writer published by a pseudonym consisting solely of a ligature, æ. said line was used by yeats as an epigraph to his work of fiction, the secret rose, which was dedicated to æ. (yeats had written a generally favorable review of axel which appeared in the bookman in april 1894.)

i am heir to an intertextual tradition so immense in its underpinnings...


we had better begin by considering those whom we first accosted, 'the river-gods,' and, if we find any truth in them, we will help them to pull us over, and try to get away from the others. but if the partisans of 'the whole' appear to speak more truly, we will fly off from the party which would move the immovable, to them. and if i find that neither of them have anything reasonable to say, we shall be in a ridiculous position, having so great a conceit of our own poor opinion and rejecting that of ancient and famous men. o theodorus, do you think that there is any use in proceeding when the danger is so great?

"why, he is a finished scoundrel."

peter replied, "the scarecrow in mr. mcgregor's garden," and described how he had been chased about the garden, and had dropped his shoes and coat.

yet if thy thoughts, bianca, be so humble
to cast thy wand'ring eyes on every stale,
seize thee that list: if once i find thee ranging,
hortensio will be quit with thee by changing.

he did not, as he might have done, beg that his present evils might be averted, but called down new ones.

and was not his prayer accomplished, and did not many and terrible evils thence arise, upon which i need not dilate?

yes, but you are speaking of a madman: surely you do not think that any one in his senses would venture to make such a prayer?

madness, then, you consider to be the opposite of discretion?

sheldon nodded his head but did not look.
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