Kiss me, I'm Catholic.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Happy Birthday, Father Hopkins!

Gerard Manley Hopkins will become the patron saint of this blog if he is ever canonized. Here's to a great poet, a great Jesuit, and a great Englishman! (These three things are rare enough by themselves; Hopkin was sui generis.)

His poems may be found here. This is one of my favorites:

That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection

CLOUD-PUFFBALL, torn tufts, tossed pillows ' flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-
built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs ' they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, ' wherever an elm arches,
Shivelights and shadowtackle in long ' lashes lace, lance, and pair.
Delightfully the bright wind boisterous ' ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare
Of yestertempest’s creases; in pool and rut peel parches
Squandering ooze to squeezed ' dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches
Squadroned masks and manmarks ' treadmire toil there
Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, ' nature’s bonfire burns on.
But quench her bonniest, dearest ' to her, her clearest-selvèd spark
Man, how fast his firedint, ' his mark on mind, is gone!
Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark
Drowned. O pity and indig ' nation! Manshape, that shone
Sheer off, disseveral, a star, ' death blots black out; nor mark
Is any of him at all so stark
But vastness blurs and time ' beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,
A heart’s-clarion! Away grief’s gasping, ' joyless days, dejection.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. ' Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; ' world’s wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, ' since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, ' patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Prayer Request

I just got home from visiting my grandparents in New Mexico, and I should be asleep, but I wanted to ask all of you to please pray for my grandmother who will be having surgery tomorrow. Just an Ave or two as you read this would make me very grateful.

Thank you.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

At last... the elusive Latin blog

Don Jim of Dappled Things links to a blog written in Latin (well, with some Greek and French thrown in). Unfortunately, I am very bad at Latin, and can hardly read any of it. If I don't resume my studies soon, I will have to stop claiming Catholic Nerd Status, and that would be insufferable.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Green, Green, Green

I did it. I finished my translation of Frederico Garcia Lorca's Romance Sonambulo. What I mainly learned from the experience was that it is really hard to write line after line with feminine endings in English. I also learned that most people who translate Lorca (and they are legion) must not be trying very hard to even aproximate the sound of the original. It can be done, to some extent. Here is the original beautiful Spanish. The thing about Lorca is that he is not as surreal as he seems. He uses very bizarre but illuminating metaphores, and he is very rooted in his homeland of Andalucia. I just wish I knew Spanish better... I must buy Roy Campbell's study of Lorca. It was so good.

Romance Sonambulo
by Frederico Garcia Lorca

Green oh how I love you green.
Green the wind. Green the branches.
The ship on the flowing sea
and the horse on the side of the mountain.
Submerged to the waist in shadow
she dreams on her veranda,
green her flesh and green her hair,
with eyes of frozen silver.
Green oh how I love you green.
Under the gypsy moonlight,
Each thing turns its gaze to her
and she cannot return them.

Green oh how I love you green.
Stars of frost unfolding
come out with the fish of shadow
that opens the road of the morning.
The fig tree chafes at the wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the mountain, a cat creeping,
bristles its bitter hackles.
But who will come? And from where...?
She lingers on her veranda,
green her flesh and green her hair,
the bitter sea all her dreaming.

- Compadre, I want to exchange
my packhorse for your house,
my saddle for your mirror,
my knife for your warm blanket.
Compadre, I come bleeding
from the mountain gates of Cabra.
- If only I could, young man,
I would do it; have no doubt.
But now I am no more I,
nor is my house my house.
- Compadre, I want to die
in my own bed, decently.
My bed with its frame of iron,
covered with linen sheets.
Do you not see the wound I have
from my throat to where my heart beats?
- Three hundred darkening roses
are on your white shirt.
Your blood and the scent of it thicken
rounding your sash about.
But now I am no more I
nor is my house my house.
- Then let me go up, at least,
up to the high verandas.
Let me climb there! let me rise
up to the green verandas.
Balconies of the moon
whence the water rumbles and dances.

Now the two friends are climbing
up to the high verandas.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of tears.
Trembling on the rooftops
were little tinleaf lanterns.
And wounding the new day dawning,
a thousand crystal tambours.

Green oh how I love you green,
green the wind and green the branches.
The two friends finished climbing.
The long wind went by, leaving
in one's mouth the strangest savor
of gall, mint, and sweet basil.
Compadre! Where is she, tell me,
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she awaited you!
How many times did she wait for you here,
cool her face and black her hair,
on this green veranda!

Over the face of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swaying.
Green her flesh and green her hair,
with eyes of frozen silver.
An icicle of moonlight
sustained her upon the water.
The night became as intimate
as a little village plaza.
Drunks from the Guardia Civil
were at the door, knocking, knocking.

Green oh how I love you green.
Green the wind. Green the branches.
The ship on the flowing sea.
And the horse on the side of the mountain.

I have always loved this poem for its cadences and its strange images that seem to come straight from the uncertain hours before dawn. Reading it, I feel as though I am keeping a vigil and falling in and out of sleep.

In regard to this poem, Lorca said "If you ask me why I wrote 'A thousand tambourines of crystal wounded the dawn,' I will tell you that I saw them in the hands of trees and angels, but I cannot say more: I cannot explain their meaning. And that is how it should be. Through poetry a man more quickly reaches the cutting edge that the philosopher and the mathematician silently turn away from."

I have read several explanations of it - some of them far-fetched - but it describes what could be a real situation. Basically it's about a gypsy smuggler of the sort that haunted a certain region of Andalucia. His girlfriend waits for him every night on her balcony, and one night he is late. He has gotten into an altercation with the Guardia Civil, and he is mortally wounded. He comes back to the house of a friend. The girl, meanwhile, has heard the commotion in the hills. She thinks he's dead, and throws herself into the cistern in despair. A bunch of drunken Civil Guards show up at her house, thinking they will find the smuggler there... It's a kind of gypsy "Romeo and Juliet." Lorca's poem is a twist on an established tradition of ballads about these bandits. He knew the traditional themes, images and meters of his country well, which is one source of his poetic greatness.

This is an insightful post about the Romance Sonambulo and Lorca in general.

I am still not happy about the word veranda, because it means "porch" more than it means "balcony;" but it had the right sound. Very similar to baranda. Tambour is also a little too unnatural - it should be tambourine, but I couldn't let go of it because it fulfilled the meter and the assonance nicely. I really tore my hair out over "Leaving behind a trail of blood. / Leaving a trail of tears." In Spanish it is the beautiful and rhythmic

Dejando un rastro de sangre.
Dejando un rastro de lágrimas.

But I couldn't find anything that worked better. Leaving manta, "blanket," to chime with "Cabra" was also pretty desperate. Oh well. At any rate, I think my version worked out. I especially like the second section, and the lines

An icicle of moonlight
sustained her upon the water.
The night became as intimate
as a little village plaza.

Does anyone else like Lorca?

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Speech of the True West... Quenya, of course; "Elf-Latin." Tolkien's invented language contains words of numinous beauty, and I discovered a few more of them today. I thought it would be fun to give my violin a name, and because I am a big nerd, I wanted it to be elvish. But not a Legolas-fangirl sort of elvish - you know, "My name is Alqualondë Calatarilírinen!" Like Sam, I wanted a name that you wouldn't have to cut short before you could use it. Also like Sam, I chose a name that could pass as an English one. He chose "Elanor," I chose "Elen." One of my violin's previous owners carved a small star into it, and Elen means star. Besides the little star, there is the violin's voice: sweet and girlish, with stellar high notes (pun intended). If I'm feeling fancy, I can call her Elerrína - "star-crowned."

As I was searching on an Elvish wordlist, I found the Quenya word for "grace": Erulissë. Literally: God-sweetness. I also found Ainasúle, which means "the Holy Spirit." Tolkien translated the Ave Maria into Sindarin - I think that someone should translate the Salve Regina into either Sindarin or Quenya. It would probably begin "Aiya Airetári," but that's as far as I can take it. And I'm sure there's a vocative in there...

I need to get back to studying Latin.


I told you so.

Catholic Church Stands Up for Harry Potter

Vatican Radio Transcript

The Best Articles on Harry Potter

I know that most of you are sick of hearing about Harry, but I feel obligated to defend Mrs. Rowling from truly unfair attacks. I think that all of these articles are much fairer to Harry Potter than, say, Michael O'Brien's articles.

Regina Doman on Harry Potter

Character, Choice, and Harry Potter

Fantasy and the Occult in Children's Literature

History According to Harry (This one is certainly... creative.)

The Candy Man (This is about Roald Dahl, not HP - but I think it proves that HP is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to children's lit. When are we going to see all the Catholic critiques of James and the Giant Peach? Or Matilda? I think those books permanently warped my mind... ^_^ Not to mention The BFG and The Twits, which are two of the grossest books I've ever read. They make the humor in HP seem the apogee of taste.)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Pratings

Okay... so when is the dire poisoning of my Christian imagination going to kick in? I have been reading the Harry Potter series since I was 13 years old, yet I remain a perfectly orthodox Catholic, lover of the Latin Mass, and defender of POD'ity everywhere. I am pretty sharp when it comes to smelling rotteness in Denmark, but Harry Potter has never set off my Darkside Detector, despite the model calibration of my imagination's compass.

Michael O'Brien himself could not quibble with my literary upbringing. My mother starting reading to me as soon as my googly infant eyes could focus on a page, and I seldom watched TV. (I still don't and always won't, in saecula saeculorum.) I read Andrew Lang's Red Fairy Book when I was seven (Tolkien also read it as a child), and my mother read me The Hobbit when I was eight. It instantly became my favorite book of all time, and was only supplanted by The Lord of the Rings, which I read at age 12. In between those two Tolkien classics I read the Narnia books, Dickens, Poe, and whatever else I could get my hands on. Some of it was dreck - I am thinking of the endless Baby Sitter Club books I consumed in fifth grade - but most of it was truly good literature.

So how did I become obsessed with Harry Potter when I was in middle school? You can't blame it on the television I never watched and the vacuous pop culture I never immersed myself in. What made me read each successive book in a single gulp, haunt HP messageboards, talk about nothing else with my friends; write esoteric trivia questions, fanfiction, poetry? I lost my obsessive interest in the series after the fourth book, but I remembered it fondly. And two days ago I finally picked up the fifth book - and ended up reading it through the night and finishing as the sun rose the following day. (To be honest, I do that with every book that piques my interest.)

I think I can explain how the Catholic fracas over Harry Potter erupted. It was not in response to the book itself...

Sequence of Events

1. The Harry Potter books became hugely popular among young readers such as myself. This baffled adults who could not comprehend the spectacle of American kids reading long, heavy books of their own volition. There had to be some hidden gimmick!

2. Inevitably, Harry Potter set off the hair-trigger sensibilities of those poor people who think that Halloween was created by devious, Isis-worshipping papists.

3. The media gleefully gave the fundy book-burnings way more coverage than they deserved. There's nothing the media likes better than making Christians look stupid, so this was another obvious development.

4. Here's where it gets hairy (ha ha). The Onion, satirizing the nascent hysteria, put up an article featuring fake "quotes" from children who had supposedly started worshipping Satan after reading HP. The fundies thought it was real, and attacked the books even more fiercely. The media responded with more ridicule. And so the flames rose higher as the fundies and the media bounced off each other. Did I say flames? I should have said smoke: as the brawl intensified, more and more sensible religious people began to think that where there was smoke, there had to be hellfire.

5. Catholics began to take notice of the fracas. They learned of it through the media, and assumed they had seen it all before: some sort of neo-pagan fad being defended by an anti-Christian media. They joined in the condemnations. Being rather more analytical than the mainstream media, they began paging through the books, trying to find the source of the evil craze. Although Harry Potter would not have attracted their suspicions without the media frenzy, they dug up all sorts of sinister things from its pages. Why? Because there was a cloud of smoke and there just had to be fire underneath. The smoke blew across the Atlantic and even Rome smelled something burning. A few statements from important and revered churchmen - who were hearing of the controversy from several removes - confirmed the concerned Catholics in their distrust of Harry Potter. Now they will not be parted from it by a crowbar.

That is what has happened, as far as I can tell. Under all the sound and fury, however, are the books themselves. And the Catholics who are concerned about them have never given them a truly unbiased look.

Why are they so popular? I must confess that until now I have never sat down and asked myself that. Here are a few reasons I like them, and I think that they are pretty widespread reasons.

1. They are just so British. This may seem like an odd thing to go crazy over, but it is true. Think of all the children's literature that comes from England: The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... and on and on, right up to CS Lewis and Tolkien himself. America may export its movies and television, but the UK sends us their literature. JK Rowling is just the latest shipment. (Well, actually Lemony Snicket is. I have never read A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I expect that a lot of its popularity comes from its Britishness. Philip Pullman - a man I have an immense aversion to - probably trades on it as well.) The Britishisms, the boarding-school scenario... it all seems exotic and yet familiar. The language, too, is a draw: the evocative names and Latin spells appeal to the same part of the mind that is delighted by Hobbiton, Lothlorien, Dwarrowdelf, and O Elbereth Gilthoniel. In short, American kids have always liked English fantasy. It's a tradition of sorts.

2. Harry Potter is this normal boy who finds out that he has special powers and gets whisked away to have adventures. Children like these kind of stories. Period. Of course there is the danger of gnosticism and elitism, but the HP books guide children away from these temptations by downplaying the importance of Harry's natural abilities and heightening the importance of his moral choices. In the fifth book, Harry becomes filled with pride at his accomplishments and anger at the suffering he has experienced. He hurts his friends and makes himself miserable. Slowly and painfully he begins to realize the truth about himself. At the end of the book his pride is definitely humbled, but the anger remains, and he is not yet out of danger. So we worry not only about the dangers to his life, but about the state of his soul. Harry Potter is not a perfect hero; he is not someone who has been a saint from the beginning of the story. He is like us: he is struggling towards perfection. And Rowling is not afraid to show us his struggles.

3. The sheer richness and invention of Rowling's subcreation. It doesn't have the grandeur of Tolkien's subcreation, but it is charming and complex in its own right. Rowling truly creates a seperate world: it must be reached through countless wardrobe-like doorways: a train station, a telephone booth, a hidden alleyway. Inside, one finds a jewel box of creatures, customs and gadgets. Quidditch, invisibility cloaks, portkeys and penseives. Unicorns, dragons, house-elves and centaurs. Butterbeer, the Weasley twins' joke shop, anamagi, Remembralls, phoenixes, talking portraits... It is a world in which a thousand fairytales can rub shoulders in humorous situations.

4. The characters. Hermione of the Eternally Raised Hand and Ready Answer, with her outbursts of righteous anger and a vulnerable side that we rarely see. Dumbledore, obviously inspired by Gandalf, with his wisdom and goodness and slightly alarming whimsy. (Like Gandalf, he has a habbit of disapearing at inconvenient times.) Neville Longbottom, a "small person" who seems lumpish and timid, but who is enduring terrible inner suffering. The walking enigma that is Snape - he seems so villainous, but Dumbledore trusts him. And Harry himself, the Boy Who Lived. You care about him. You worry about him. You get angry at him when he does the wrong thing, and feel proud of him when he does the right thing. In other words, you love him.

That's all there is to it, really. There's no subliminal message, no sinister hypnotic gimmick that makes kids read it and warps their souls. It's just so much better than the horrid, horrid YA novels they made us read in school - those little Newberry Award-stamped paperbacks that wallow in despair and banality. I don't know anyone who liked reading those things.

If you really want to worry about the paganization of children's literature, you can worry about stuff like, oh, this. Or my own personal least favorite, the Anti-Narnia. Why isn't Michael O'Brien attacking the "Atheist CS Lewis?" Harry Potter may not be a full-blown Catholic allegory, but its snakes are where they should be.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I thought it odd that the little Roy Campbell poem which I posted below had eleven lines. I mean, that's kind of random, isn't it? You think it's going to be some sort of sonnet, but it isn't.

Looking through my own poems, though, I found several eleven-liners. Weird...
Here's one of them:

Evening Finds Me by the Library Window

The sun falls into the surge of trees
and pulses in the flickering
airy currents of the leaves.
Falls the cool light of underseas.
The sun-warmed cherry desk exhales
a ghost of color, precipitously darkens,
and a faint coolness palls the room.
The soul flutters a little in its nest,
then settles, foreknowing like the rest,
but comprehending not the test that comes,
the thing that flight entails.

I wrote this in Christendom's library last year, when I was supposed to be studying. How could anyone not stare out this window?


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I owe one to Da Blogfather...

...aka my brother the computer genius. Thank you for fixing my blog!

"I'm buyin' you a pizza."

Or... how about I bake you a pie? Yes, I think I'll do that.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Jones and his Companion Animal

Ohhhhhhhhh Chesterton. How did you become so prescient?

The Horrible History of Jones

by G.K.Chesterton

Jones had a dog; it had a chain;
Not often worn, not causing pain;
But, as the I.K.L. had passed
Their 'Unleashed Cousins Act' at last,
Inspectors took the chain away;
Whereat the canine barked 'Hooray!'
At which, of course, the S.P.U.
(Whose Nervous Motorists' Bill was through)
Were forced to give the dog a charge
For being Audibly at Large.
None, you will say, were now annoyed,
Save, haply, Jones - the yard was void.
But something being in the lease
About 'alarms to aid the police,'
The U.S.U. annexed the yard
For having no sufficient guard.
Now if there's one condition
The C.C.P. are strong upon
It is that every house one buys
Must have a yard for exercise;
So Jones, as tenant, was unfit,
His state of health was proof of it.
Two doctors of the T.T.U.'s
Told him his legs, from long disuse,
Were atrophied; and saying 'So
From step to higher step we go
Till everything is New and True.'
They cut his legs off and withdrew.
You know the E.T.S.T.'s views
Are stronger than the T.T.U.'s:
And soon (as one may say) took wing
The Arms, though not the Man, I sing.
To see him sitting limbless there
Was more than the K.K. could bear.
'In mercy silence with all speed
That mouth there are no hands to feed;
What cruel sentimentalist,
O Jones, would doom thee to exist -
Clinging to selfish Selfhood yet?
Weak one! Such reasoning might upset
The Pump Act, and the accumulation
Of all constructive legislation;
Let us construct you up a bit ­­- '
The head fell off when it was hit:
Then words did rise and honest doubt,
And four Commissioners sat about
Whether the slash that left him dead
Cut off his body or his head.

An author in the Isle of Wight
Observed with unconcealed delight
A land of just and old renown
Where Freedom slowly broadened down
From Precedent to Precedent.
And this, I think, was what he meant.

Another Good Poem I'd Forgotten About

Here is a beautiful little poem by Roy 'Strider' Campbell (You Tolkien fanatics out there know the reason for the cognomen).

Mass at Dawn

I dropped my sail and dried my dripping seines
Where the white quay is chequered by cool planes
In whose great branches, always out of sight,
The nightingales are singing day and night.
Though all was grey beneath the moon's grey beam,
My boat in her new paint shone like a bride,
And silver in my baskets shone the bream:
My arms were tired and I was heavy-eyed,
But when with food and drink, at morning-light,
The children met me at the water-side,
Never was wine so red or bread so white.

I just like the last line so much. The little chiasmus of rhymes is a great ending flourish. (Something similar happens in Hopkins' Spelt from Sybil's Leaves: "black, white; right, wrong...")

The poem has a dreamlike atmosphere, a tinge of Lorca to it. Roy Campbell championed and translated Lorca's poetry, and it seems to have rubbed off on him. The nightingales in the quay remind me strongly of Lorca anyway.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Catholic Poet Discovered

I own an eclectic little book of Christian verse titled Garlands of Grace. Most of the poets are familiar to me, but there are some modern poets in it that I know absolutely nothing about. One of them, Johann Moser, is represented by a single, beautiful poem that I have remembered ever since I read it. I finally decided to search the net for some information on this poet, and was startled to realize that he was the editor of O Holy Night, a collection of Christmas poems that I love. I found a book of his poetry on Amazon, which I intend to buy. This is the poem below. The last two replies are my favorite.

Bordeaux, 408 A.D.
(in two voices)

"At anchor in the harbor, now,
Galleys of the western fleet prepare to sail.
The sun rides low beyond the ocean;
On our table, a cruet of Burdigalan wine
Glows firey-red in evening light,
And we watch the somber nightfall
Lean its brow upon the sea."

"Should we not prepare to leave as well?"

"Where would we go?
The Augustan legions are withdrawn;
The Rhine frontier has fallen.
Like bats in a gutted tower,
The foederati flutter through the empire
Seeking a blackened perch amid the ruins.
And Alaric turns his raven eye
Down the Flaminian viaducts,
Down to the Alban Hills, and - dare I say it? -
'The walls of lofty Rome.'
The stays of the imperium cannot hold."

"But the matter of perpetuity!"

"Ah, we can but cherish what has been bestowed;
We can but praise what lived before us,
And will yield its gracious foison to the ages.
Perpetuity renders us,
But is not ours to render; all human excellence
Alone is quarried in the hands of God.
But look, upon the darkening waves,
The galleys trim their starboard lamps."

"When will they depart?"

"They sail with the tide, those ships;
They will not come again.
Lucinius has joined them.
He stuffed his earthen jars with scraps:
Souvenirs of the old campaigns -
A battered eagle or two, medallions from Trier.
What does it matter? He sails for Spain.
The barbaroi will be there to meet him.
Shall he embark for Africa?
Numidian grain-fields shall be red with blood
Before he unpacks his wares."

"And us?"

"...compose the hymns
Which they at morning will intone
To laud the new-born sun, the ancient land,
The same ripened apples
Loaded into carts at harvest-time.
Someday they too shall walk these hills
And take the poplars for their song
And sing a lady's beauty.
Someday they too shall aptly raise
Basilicas of thought into the heavens."

"Until then...?"

"Until then...?
The wine, my friend, a final cup;
The night is growing heavy,
And I must homeward bend my way
To stave my lids, my weary soul,
Against that long-encroaching,
That dark and ageless sea.
May Roman peace betide us
Among the solemn groves,
The sepulchres of our fathers in their sleep."

There's so much I feel like saying about this poem, but it wouldn't add up to the impact of the poem itself. I'm so happy, though, to be discovering another Catholic poet. I haven't been this excited since I found Pavel Chichikov. Readable modern poetry is incredibley scarce today, but most of it seems to be written by Catholics. And that, as Gandalf said, may be an encouraging thought.

For another look at "the dark and ageless sea," go to my friend Sheila's blog and check out her three part series on that dark and Tolkienesque poem, "The Seafarer."

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Tale of Two Portraits

One of the coolest things I saw in New York was the Frick Collection. It's a small and intimate museum, and it displayed works by almost all of my favorite artists: Vermeer, El Greco, Velasquez... My favorite work was Holbein's portrait of St. Thomas More. It was displayed in an interesting way: it was hanging to the left of a large fireplace, and on the other side was Holbein's portrait of Thomas Cromwell - the man who destroyed the monasteries and took over Thomas More's position when he resigned.

It was almost like the two of them were looking at each other. The colors and details were so much clearer than in these images - there is nothing like seeing the original of an artwork! The brown-looking cord behind Thomas More is actually a deep scarlet. His velvet sleeves look almost like real velvet. And his face...

Holbein wasn't intending to produce an icon when he made this potrait. But I felt as though I were looking at one. As I stood in front of it, I thought: Holbein was looking into Thomas More's face, into his eyes, nearly five hundred years ago. He was painting just what he saw. It's like I'm seeing Thomas More's reflection. So I just looked and looked for the longest time. His eyes were incredibly steadfast. His mouth was serious, but it was impossible to resist the vision of a smile flashing over his face. You could imagine him relaxing from that carefully aranged pose, laughing and coming over to see what Holbein had created. Holbein really caught something of his character, as described by Erasmus in a wonderful letter:

His countenance is in harmony with his character, being always expressive of an amiable joyousness, and even an incipient laughter and, to speak candidly, it is better framed for gladness than for gravity or dignity, though without any approach to folly or buffoonery.... In human affairs there is nothing from which he does not extract enjoyment, even from things that are most serious. If he converses with the learned and judicious, he delights in their talent, if with the ignorant and foolish, he enjoys their stupidity. He is not even offended by professional jesters. With a wonderful dexterity he accommodates himself to every disposition. As a rule, in talking with women, even with his own wife, he is full of jokes and banter. No one is less led by the opinions of the crowd, yet no one departs less from common sense.

I just love St. Thomas More.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Just Scroll Down...

Does anyone know why my sidebar has shoved my posts down? (Evil opressive chauvinist sidebar! Hmph!) And why has the Shrine of the Holy Whapping been blown to kingdom come? How will I survive without my daily fix, huh? Has Blogger recently messed with the template that we both use?

Stupid computers.

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