Monday, September 07, 2020
Starting at 3.6.115:
MONTJOY: You know me by my habit.
KING HARRY: Well then, I know thee. What shall I know of thee?
MONTJOY: My master's mind.
KING HARRY: Unfold it.
MONTJOY: Thus says my King: 'Say thou to Harry of England, though we seemed dead, we did but sleep. Advantage is a better soldier than rashness. [...]'
I'm thinking this might hit Henry rather hard, since he mistook his own sleeping father for dead in 2 Henry IV 4.3. When his father awakens to find himself alone, sans crown, he demands to know why Harry walked off with it. Harry's initial response, "I never thought to hear you speak again," is not well-received; Henry IV replies "Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought. / I stay too long by thee, I weary thee." and continues in this vein for another 40+ lines. Harry kneels and moves his father to reassess the situation with a humble and apparently heart-felt speech.
Friday, August 14, 2020
For present purposes, let's say I left The Firm at a phase when associates are expected to start working harder and longer to take a shot at becoming a partner. But what I knew for sure was that I wanted to be working shorter hours – and that I had no interest in owning a law firm.
I've never regretted this decision.
In today's Carolyn Hax column, I get a glimpse of what my life could have been like had I forged ahead on the traditional path:
I recently resigned from my position as a partner at a law firm where I have worked for many years. I killed myself to make partner but once I made it, I began to realize that it just wasn’t worth it. I’m so burnt out that I’m not even looking for another position at this point in time; I want to take the next six months or so to recover. My husband is ecstatic about my decision since he’s seen what this job has been doing to me but everyone else in my life is questioning my decision[.]
The main difference is that I would have burned out completely alone.
Sunday, August 09, 2020
Just learned about this cool new tool, and a nifty idea for using it, from Idiosophy:
"A research team at the Oxford English Dictionary has released a visualization engine for text analysis. This is fun: give it a text (up to 500 words, for the moment) and it will make a graph showing how common the word is in English (vertical axis), the year the word entered the English language (horizontal axis), the frequency of each word in the sample (size of the circle), and the language group from which we got the word (color).
This can be used for lots of things. We can test (for example) J.R.R. Tolkien’s success at excluding any word from later than 1600 from his prose."
Here's what I got from running some descriptions of Orthanc (taken from http://www.henneth-annun.net/places_view.cfm?plid=87 with citations omitted):
The purple dots are "tower" (circa 1000) and "ent" (circa 1900) - I think we can discount the visualizer's categorization of the latter.
The yellow dots are "pier", "cut" (verb), "wrap" (verb), and "tall."
Thursday, August 06, 2020
Be bloody, bold and resolute; laugh to scornThe power of man, for none of woman bornShall harm Macbeth.(4.1.79-81)
The spirits that knowAll mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:"Fear not, Macbeth; no man that's born of womanShall e'er have power upon thee."(5.3.4-7)
Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no careWho chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are:Macbeth shall never vanquished be untilGreat Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hillShall come against him.(4.1.90-94)
"Fear not, till Birnam wood
Do come to Dunsinane"
MALCOLM: What's the newest grief?
ROSS: That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker:
Each minute teems a new one.
MACDUFF: How does my wife?ROSS: Why, well.MACDUFF: And all my children?ROSS: Well too.MACDUFF: The tyrant has not battered at their peace?ROSS: No, they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.
MACDUFF: Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes 't?
MACBETH: ... Duncan is in his grave;After life's fitful fever he sleeps well;Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor poison,Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,Can touch him further.(3.2.22-26)
MALCOLM: What's the newest grief? [5 syllables, following on immediately for a complete line]
ROSS: That of an hour's age doth hiss the speaker: [10 syllables, with "hour" as monosyllable]
Each minute teems a new one. [6 syllables]
MACDUFF: How does my wife? [4 syllables, following on immediately for a complete line]ROSS: Why, well. [2 syllables]MACDUFF: And all my children? [5 syllables]ROSS: Well too. [2 syllables]MACDUFF: The tyrant has not battered at their peace? [10 syllables]ROSS: No, they were well at peace when I did leave 'em. [10 syllables, if we ]
MACDUFF: Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes 't? [10 syllables]
Each minute teems a new one. / How does my wife?[beat] [beat] [beat] Why, well. / And all my children?[beat] [beat] [beat] [beat] [beat] [beat] [beat] [beat] Well too.The tyrant has not battered at their peace?No, they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes 't?
Each minute teems a new one. / How does my wife?[beat] [beat] [beat] Why, well. / And all my children?[beat] [beat] [beat] [beat] [beat] Well too. [beat] [beat] [beat]The tyrant has not battered at their peace?No, they were well at peace when I did leave 'em.Be not a niggard of your speech: how goes 't?
Saturday, July 04, 2020
In 1.1, Gloucester says to Kent (re Edmund, who is present):
Though this knave came something
saucily to the world before he was sent for, yet was
his mother fair, there was good sport at his making,
and the whoreson must be acknowledged.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.
The dark and vicious place where thee he got
Cost him his eyes.
So in King Lear 5.1, I noticed this speech of Edmund:
To both these sisters have I sworn my love,
Each jealous of the other as the stung
Are of the adder.
1. b. figurative. A treacherous, deceitful, malicious, or pernicious person or thing (also as a term of abuse); the type of envy or treachery. (OE—2006)
2. a. The common or northern viper, Vipera berus, a small, venomous Eurasian snake found widely in northern and central Europe, having a characteristic dark zigzag line down the back. More fully European adder. Adder is the historical and popular name, originally carrying connotations (as the ideas of darting and stinging) not associated with the name viper. (OE—1995)
- Within the simile: Each sister is mistrustful of the other, just as those who have been stung/bitten (by an adder) are mistrustful of the adder (literal sense 2a). For purposes of the simile, the adder does not map onto any of the characters; it has to be a generic, literal adder for the simile to function.
- Each sister sees the other as an adder (figurative sense 1b; poisonous/malicious and potentially fatal to the hoped-for union with Edmund);
- Edmund is the adder (figurative sense 1b) who has "stung" (cold-bloodedly poisoned/betrayed) each sister with false promises of love.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Let's start with Gower's description of Marina's upbringing in Tharsus. Turns out she's really, really good at weaving and sewing, and music:
to th'lute(Pericles 4.25-27). So the night-birds were singing away until the beauty of her own voice silenced them. My Arden Shakespeare glosses "still records with moan" as "always sings dolefully" – but surely there are other possible reasons for moaning at night-time, aren't there?
She sung, and made the night-bird mute
That still records with moan
Why, yes, there are. So let's turn now to the Canterbury Tales. The General Prologue opens with a description of the gentle, fecund period of spring. Chaucer passes from the quickening of flowers and crops to close observation of the animal kingdom, noting spring is a time when
smale foweles maken melodye,(9-11). That is, the effect of spring on little birds is they're singing and mating like mad all night. Of course in Chaucer this is all a build-up to the punchline, that spring is when humans likewise experience an irresistible urge: the urge to go on pilgrimages!
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages)
So where Marina's grace allows her to silence the night-birds and their moan, we can see that working on two levels, the literal (she's musically gifted) and the bawdy (foreshadowing her effect on her would-be customers at the brothel). And her purity is such that all the stirrings of spring would doubtless only spur her to greater holiness.
Monday, May 25, 2020
- Beards and bedsteads! (332) - trochaic
- Horns and halibuts! (345) - mixed (troche + dactyl)
- Bulbs and bolsters! (346) - trochaic
- Whistles and whirligigs! (347) - dactylic
- Soup and celery! (357) - mixed
- Thimbles and thunderstorms! (360) - dactylic
- Lobsters and lollipops! (361) - dactylic
- Giants and junipers! (365) - dactylic
- Tubs and tortoiseshells! (372) - mixed
- Bottles and battledores... (377) - dactylic
- ...bilge and beanstalks... (383) - trochaic
- Cobbles and kettledrums! (384) (in thought) - dactylic
- Wraiths and wreckage! (385) - trochaic
- Weights and water-bottles! (395) - trochaic
- Crows and crockery! (403) - mixed
I didn't notice much connection between the exclamation and the surrounding passage, with one rather significant exception. When Aslan confronts Trumpkin, we get: 'Wraiths and wreckage!' gasped Trumpkkin in the ghost of a voice. So here we have alliteration both on the R sound and also on the hard G, and then the two alliterative pairs are connected semantically, if you will, with wraith and ghost. I think this emphasizes the devastation Trumpkin experiences in encountering the very Lion in which he disbelieved. One might say this is the last gasp of his former Aslan-free life; his disbelief has been wrecked on the body of Aslan, and if the smug skepticism at the center of his being has been killed, there may be nothing left of it but a ghost or wraith.
C.S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia. 1st American ed, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2001.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Here's one from Prince Caspian (p. 355), where the approach is essentially point, counterpoint, and deeper truth:
'Pah!' said Nikabrik. 'A renegade Dwarf. A half-and-halfer! Shall I pass my sword through its throat?'
'Be quiet, Nikabrik,' said Trumpkin. 'The creature can't help its ancestry.'
'This is my greatest friend and the saviour of my life,' said Caspian. 'And anyone who doesn't like his company may leave my army at once.'And another from The Silver Chair (p. 608), when Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum realize they've been eating a Talking Stag and we're led further up and further in (so to speak) to a fully Narnian perspective:
This discovery didn't have exactly the same effect on all of them. Jill, who was new to that world, was sorry for the poor stag and thought it rotten of the giants to have killed him. Scrubb, who had been in that world before and had at least one Talking Beast as his dear friend, felt horrified; as you might feel about a murder. But Puddleglum, who was Narnian born, was sick and faint, and felt as you would feel if you found you had eaten a baby.Only Puddleglum's comment is provided verbatim. It's followed by: "And gradually even Jill came to see it from his point of view."
C.S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia. 1st American ed, HarperCollinsPublishers, 2001.