It seems I’m coming down with something. Yes, there’s the scratchy throat, the sinus pain, the headache – we can be quite certain that I’m coming down with, well, something.
To my right, I see books in two stacks at the end of my aircraft carrier sized desk. Books by whom, you ask? Glad to oblige as always, I’ll tell you: Theocritus, Pindar, Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, D S Carne-Ross, Vaclav Havel, Plato, and Odysseus Elytis. To my left, you’ll find Shakespeare, Dante, Tennyson, Stendhal, and a little-known poet named Frederick Goddard Tuckerman. [Tuckerman composed one of the finest sonnet sequences in English. You should all read him. Go, now, read Tuckerman. Really, go.]
As I type this, my condition grows gradually worse and worse. I can feel it. If I can feel it, is the change really gradual?
From Tuckerman, Sonnets I.xix:
Yet vain, perhaps, the fruits our care applaud:
If the Fore-fate decree the harvest fat,
Why should we mind this thing, or matter that,
To sift the seed, and blow the chaff abroad?
But doubt not so the Giver to defraud,
Who will accuse thy labour: spend, nor slack
Of thy best strength and sweetness too, till God,
With a full hand and flowing, pay thee back.
Behold! on rolling zone and zodiac
The spray and scatter of his bounty flung!
And what canst thou, to whom no hands belong
To hasten by one hour the morning’s birth?
Or stay one planet at his circle hung,
In the great flight of stars across the earth?
Is that not beautiful? It’s an admonition worthy of obedience, Scorn not the sonnet. Call down the Muses, bid them begin again the herdsman’s song. It was a Hellenistic cosmopolitan, a man about Alexandria under a Ptolemy, who wrote the refrain.
Can one say that Alexander the Great of Macedon made possible the great pastoral tradition?
Theocritus my friends wrote a species of epic, it seems. Bereaved beloved Tuckerman was an heir of Theocritus. I leave proof as an exercise for the reader.
It’s getting late. My head hurts. I feel weak, a little dizzy. Is it not strange, that a strand of defective DNA should have the power to infect and even kill that peculiar animal made in the image of God? There is indeed something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out. We are not long out of Egypt. Indeed,
I’ve never seen an oaten flute
nor heard before a warbling lay
at noon, melodious guile with skill
conning the demon of midday.
Does that imply that I cannot compose a Bucolic? Heaven forbid!
Yes, feeling ill. My nose runneth over.
All I desire is tea, tea and a place to sit and read. Alas and alack the day, for I have much business to finish before Friday’s end.
All creation is a pendant cloud of particles.
With that, I leave you for now.