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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Friday, February 17, 2006

“… our solemnities.”

Posted by Ray Davis on 02/17/06 at 12:31 PM

I confess that, aside from watching Jesus try to decide if he looked better with a beard, my last clear memory from last night is reading these two pieces by the Reverend Doctor Jonathan Swift:

December 27, 1733

I waked at two this morning with the two above lines in my head, which I had made in my sleep, and I wrote them down in the dark, lest I should forget them. But as the original words being writ in the dark, may possibly be mistaken by a careless or unskilful transcriber, I shall give them a fairer copy, that two such precious lines may not be lost to posterity.

I walk before no man, a hawk in his fist;
Nor, am I a brilliant, whenever I list.


      On the Day of Judgement

With a whirl of thought oppressed,
I sink from reverie to rest.
An horrid vision seized my head,
I saw the graves give up their dead.
Jove, armed with terrors, burst the skies,
And thunder roars, and lightning flies!
Amazed, confused, its fate unknown,
The world stands trembling at his throne.
While each pale sinner hangs his head,
Jove, nodding, shook the heavens, and said,
‘Offending race of humankind,
By nature, reason, learning, blind;
You who through frailty stepped aside,
And you who never fell—through pride;
You who in different sects have shammed,
And come to see each other damned;
(So some folks told you, but they knew
No more of Jove’s designs than you)
The world’s mad business now is o’er,
And I resent these pranks no more.
I to such blockheads set my wit?
I damn such fools?—Go, go, you’re bit.’

In other literary news, Brooke McEldowney is putting on a show.


This post looked so lonesome without any comments! Here’s a naive question --what’s “pride” doing there?  Is it the sole support that prevents “you” from ever falling?  Or have “you” fallen through every other conceivable medium and membrane, leaving pride the only thing “you“‘ve never fallen “through”?  In other words, is “through” synomymous with “thanks to” or not?

By on 02/18/06 at 07:01 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I should always make a point of just putting a ‘thank you’ in the comment box to Ray’s posts, because I always enjoy them, but I often don’t have anything to say. I like this bit because it’s so plainspoke:

“So some folks told you, but they knew
No more of Jove’s designs than you”

By John Holbo on 02/19/06 at 11:20 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Josh: I read “pride” as, yeah, “the sole support” that kept non-sinners from the sins they otherwise would’ve been pleased to commit. For them, vanity was a keener urge than, for example, lust. That’s what the parallel constructions “through frailty” and “through pride” seem meant to signal, although the meter pinches Swift’s syntax something fierce.

By Ray Davis on 02/19/06 at 02:00 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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