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We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.
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There was an overall smell but you could separate them out the way a prism separated light. There was a smell of bark, of green branches, of nettles, of dung, of fresh earth, and stinking earth, of fungi and the Elder flower that grew profusely and was one of the chief components for the home-made wine…
The flutter of the leaves brought on your trance. Hundreds of thousands of sycamore leaves all obeying the same wind, their wide green palms opening then tightening, letting in and keeping out the light changing the prospect from indoor to outdoor to indoor, forever altering. It was the most lonesome hour just before dusk with all the colours going, all the streamers, the pinks and reds, and violets and indigoes and blues, the lovely laneways of vanquishing light.
Edna O’Brien, A Pagan Place (1970). One of the best novels about childhood (and memory, and Ireland) that I’ve ever read.
Two beavers, one large, one small, break down a tree trunk so they can tow it upstream under the ice of the North Branch of the Winooski River. The youngster was not very efficient; the adult, extremely so. You could hear its teeth on the wood clearly from the bridge above, not unlike a shovel scraping rock. They spent last week doing this at this site under a bridge in the middle of #Montoelier #Vermont. In plain sight by a bridge over which many walk each day. Most people walked past oblivious. #montp #vt #wildlife (at Spring Street Bridge)
When grief is raw the presence of the deceased is overwhelming. In households that lost children in the tsunami it became routine, after half an hour of tea and chat, to be asked if I would like to ‘meet’ the dead sons and daughters.
Richard Lloyd Parry, ‘Ghosts of the Tsunami’, London Review of Books
She tried to have him poisoned at a feast because Hell has no music like a woman playing second fiddle.
An English Playwright’s Grammar (1640)
Title page from The English Grammar. Made by Ben. Ihonson. For the benefit of all Strangers, out of his observation of the English Language now spoken, and in use. Extracted from the The Workes of Benjamin Jonson (London: Richard Bishop [or Richard Meighan], 1640.
The preface reads “The profit of Grammar is great to strangers who are to live in communion, and commerce with us; and, it is honorable to ourselves. For by it we communicate all our labours, studies, profits, without an interpreter. We free our Language from the opinion of Rudenesse and Barbarisme, wherewith it is mistaken to be diseas’d; We schew the Copie of it, and Matchablenesse, with other tongues; we ripen with of our owne Children, and Youth sooner by it, and advance their knowledge.” Likely the first grammar written by a major English playwright. Ben Jonson (1573-1637) was renowned poet, playwright and a contemporary of William Shakespeare.
This book was issued in a facsimile edition by R. C. Alston (English linguistics, 1500-1800; a collection of facsimile reprints; No. 349, 1972). Alston describes Jonson’s book the “first attempt in English to produce a vernacular grammar according to the principles of Pierre de la Ramée … As such it seeks to make English grammatical structure conform to Latin usage and is a significant example of the sort of approach which later grammarians were at pains to overcome.”
What do we want?
VARIATIONS ON THIS JOKE.
When do we want it?
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Gustav Moreau, L’Apparition (1876), watercolour on paper, 102 × 76 cm.
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It is important to bear in mind that there were no computers in the late 1950s, only primitive photocopying machines (not accessible to us), and very little at all to take the pain out of the collecting of the evidence. A retired schoolteacher from Faversham in Kent, Mr R. A. Auty, undertook the task of reading the entire works of James Joyce, except for Finnegans Wake. Like a medieval scribe he copied in his own handwriting many thousands of 6 × 4 inch slips on which he entered illustrative examples for any word or meaning that occurred in Joyce and was not already entered in the [Oxford English] Dictionary.
Robert Burchfield on compiling the Supplement to the OED, in ‘Linguistic Milestones’, part 1 of the T. S. Eliot Memorial Lectures, 1988, published in Unlocking the English Language (1989).
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An old folk belief in Ireland held that there were 12 different winds and each had a different colour. (Also, pigs can see the wind, and it’s red.)
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