Words of the day: March 18 – March 26, 2021 Fiscal, Prevaricate, Equinox, Inimitable, Quash, Sesquipedalian


Why, Excellency, we and his Highness here
Would settle the matter as sufficiently
As ever will Advocate This and Fiscal That
And Judge the Other, with even–a word and a wink–
We well know who for ultimate arbiter.

Let us beware o’ the basset-table–lest
We jog the elbow of Her Eminence,
Jostle his cards,–he ‘ll rap you out a … st!

Author and Text

As it is impossible to examine any fiscal or industrial problem without discovering that the chief obstacle to improvement lies in the Church’s countless privileges and exemptions, so in every department of human activity we find some inveterate wrong taking shelter under the claim of a divinely-revealed authority. This claim demolished, the stagnant current of human progress will soon burst its barriers and set with a mighty rush toward the wide ocean of truth and freedom…”

Author and Text

The dishonest and reckless elements were indeed so evident in this movement as to add very greatly to the general atmosphere of distrust and insecurity, and in the recoil from the prospect of fiscal power in the hands of the class of men known as the “New Financiers,” one heard frightened old-fashioned statesmen asserting with passion that “dumping” didn’t occur, or that it was a very charming sort of thing to happen. Nobody would face and handle the rather intricate truth of the business. The whole effect upon the mind of a cool observer was of a covey of unsubstantial jabbering minds drifting over a series of irrational economic cataclysms, prices and employment tumbled about like towers in an earthquake, and amidst the shifting masses were the common work-people going on with their lives as well as they could, suffering, perplexed, unorganized, and for anything but violent, fruitless protests, impotent. You cannot hope now to understand the infinite want of adjustment in the old order of things. At one time there were people dying of actual starvation in India, while men were burning unsalable wheat in America. It sounds like the account of a particularly mad dream, does it not? It was a dream, a dream from which no one on earth expected an awakening.

Author and Text

“Why don’t you pay the man?” I suggested. “Corky, old horse,” said Ukridge, with evident disapproval of these reckless fiscal methods, “talk sense. How can I pay the man? Apart from the fact that at this stage of my career it would be madness to start flinging money right and left, there’s the principle of the thing!”

Author and Text


Which (heaven I call to witness, with your self,
To whom I have pour’d my thoughts) in all my ends,
Have look’d no way, but unto public good,
To pious uses, and dear charity
Now grown a prodigy with men. Wherein
If you, my son, should now prevaricate,
And, to your own particular lusts employ
So great and catholic a bliss, be sure
A curse will follow, yea, and overtake
Your subtle and most secret ways.

The Alchemist Jonson, Ben 1610


You see this fellow that is gone before,
He is a soldier fit to stand by Cæsar
And give direction: and do but see his vice,
’Tis to his virtue a just equinox,
The one as long as th’ other.
’Tis pity of him.
I fear the trust Othello puts him in,
On some odd time of his infirmity,
Will shake this island.

Othello Shakespeare, William 1603

Whether they be thicker parts of the orbs, as Aristotle delivers: or so many habitable worlds, as Democritus? Whether they have light of their own, or from the sun, or give light round, as Patritius discourseth? An aeque
distent a centra mundi? Whether light be of their essence; and that light be a substance or an accident? Whether they be hot by themselves, or by accident cause heat? Whether there be such a precession of the equinoxes as Copernicus holds, or that the eighth sphere move? An bene philosophentur, R. Bacon and J. Dee, Aphorism. de multiplicatione specierum? Whether there be any such images ascending with each degree of the zodiac in the east, as Aliacensis feigns?

Author and Text

Meditations of evolution increasingly vaster: of the moon invisible in incipient lunation, approaching perigee: of the infinite lattiginous scintillating uncondensed milky way, discernible by daylight by an observer placed at the lower end of a cylindrical vertical shaft 5000 ft deep sunk from the surface towards the centre of the earth: of Sirius (alpha in Canis Maior) 10 lightyears (57,000,000,000,000 miles) distant and in volume 900 times the dimension of our planet: of Arcturus: of the precession of equinoxes: of Orion with belt and sextuple sun theta and nebula in which 100 of our solar systems could be contained: of moribund and of nascent new stars such as Nova in 1901: of our system plunging towards the constellation of Hercules: of the parallax or parallactic drift of so called fixed stars, in reality evermoving wanderers from immeasurably remote eons to infinitely remote futures in comparison with which the years, threescore and ten, of allotted human life formed a parenthesis of infinitesimal brevity.

Author and Text


Yea, but you will infer, your mistress is complete, of a most absolute form in all men’s opinions, no exceptions can be taken at her, nothing may be added to her person, nothing detracted, she is the mirror of women for her beauty, comeliness and pleasant grace, inimitable, merae deliciae, meri lepores, she is Myrothetium Veneris, Gratiarum pixis, a mere magazine of natural perfections, she hath all the Veneres and Graces,–mille faces et mille figuras, in each part absolute and complete, Laeta genas laeta os roseum, vaga lumina laeta: to be admired for her person, a most incomparable, unmatchable piece, aurea proles, ad simulachrum alicujus numinis composita, a Phoenix, vernantis aetatulae Venerilla, a nymph, a fairy, like Venus herself when she was a maid, nulli secunda, a mere quintessence, flores spirans et amaracum, foeminae prodigium: put case she be, how long will she continue?

Author and Text


Eight hundred years exact before the year
I was made Pope, men made Formosus Pope,
Say Sigebert and other chroniclers.
Ere I confirm or quash the Trial here
Of Guido Franceschini and his friends,
Read,–How there was a ghastly Trial once
Of a dead man by a live man
, and both, Popes:
Thus–in the antique penman’s very phrase.

Since he may plead a priest’s immunity,–
The minor orders help enough for that,
With Farinacci’s license,–who decides
That the mere implication of such man,
So privileged, in any cause, before
Whatever Court except the Spiritual,
Straight quashes law-procedure,–quash it, then!

Author and Text


What were Stephen’s and Bloom’s quasisimultaneous volitional quasisensations of concealed identities?
Visually, Stephen’s: The traditional figure of hypostasis, depicted by Johannes Damascenus, Lentulus Romanus and Epiphanius Monachus as leucodermic, sesquipedalian with winedark hair.
Auditively, Bloom’s: The traditional accent of the ecstasy of catastrophe.

Author and Text