Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dark Clouds

Okay, okay.  I swear after this I'm really done with The Pilgrim's Progress.  I was too charmed by Bunyan's "Author's Apology for his Book" to not include just a tiny little excerpt here.  The next few posts will probably center around movies and maybe an opera, and then onward to Swift or Plato (not sure which yet).  For fun, note the definitions of oldish words at the bottom.

Dark Clouds bring Waters, when the bright bring none.
Yea, dark or bright, if they their Silver drops
Cause to descend; the Earth, by yielding Crops,
Gives praise to both, and carpeth not at either,
But treasures up the Fruit they yield together;
Yea, so commixes both, that in her Fruit
None can distinguish this from that; they suit
Her well, when hungry:  but if she be full,
She spues out both, and makes their blessings null.
    You see the ways the Fisher-man doth take
To catch the Fish; when Engines doth he make?
Behold how he engageth all his Wits;
Also his Snares, Lines, Angles, Hooks, and Nets:
Yet Fish there be, that neither Hook, nor Line,
Nor Snare, nor Net, nor Engine can make thine;
They must be grop't for, and be tickled too,
Or they will not be catch't, what e're you do.
    How doth the Fowler seek to catch his Game
By divers means, all which one cannot name?
His Gun, his Nets, his Lime-twigs, light and bell:
He creeps, he goes, he stands; yea, who can tell
Of all his postures, Yet there's none of these
Will make him master of what Fowls he please.
Yea, he must Pipe and Whistle, to catch this,
Yet if he does so, that Bird he will miss.
If that a Pearl may in a Toad's head dwell,
And may be found too in an Oyster-shell;
If things that promise nothing, do contain
What better is than Gold; who will disdain,
(That have an Inkling of it,) there to look,
That they may find it?  Now my little Book,
(Though void of all those paintings that may make
It with this or the other Man to take)
Is not without those things that do excel
What do in brave, but empty, notions dwell.

                     from "The Author's Apology for his Book"The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan

carpeth:  to "carp" is to find fault and complain constantly, to harp on petty grievances; or nag or fuss.
Yea:  Yay!  Actually, you probably already knew it meant "yes."
spues:  old spelling of "spew"; to vomit or cast out through the mouth.
divers:  old spelling of "diverse"; often used where we might say "various" or, if you want to sound really glamourous, "sundry."
a Pearl may in a Toad's head dwell:  a toadstone was a stone believed to be formed in the body of a toad and worn as a charm; believed to be an antidote to poisons.

            All definitions from my good old American Heritage Dictionary, with a detail about toadstones from Wikipedia.

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