Word of the Day


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 28 2021

Quotations and Authors:

THE FRAILTY AND HURTFULNESS OF BEAUTY Poems Howard, Henry 1557 (Boston 1854 & The original edition)

Jewel, of jeopardy, that peril doth assail; 
False and untrue, enticed oft to treason; 
Iewel of ieopardie that perill doth assaile,
False and vntrue, enticed oft to treason,

King John Shakespeare, William 1595

KING PHILIP. Thy rage shall burn thee up, and thou shalt turn
    To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire.
    Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy.
  KING JOHN. No more than he that threats. To arms let's hie!

The Death of Wallenstein, a Translation from Schiller Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 1800

I am but the ship in which his hopes were stowed,
  And with the which well-pleased and confident                       35
  He traversed the open sea; now he beholds it
  In imminent jeopardy among the coast-rocks,
  And hurries to preserve his wares. As light
  As the free bird from the hospitable twig
  Where it had nested, he flies off from me:                          40
  No human tie is snapped betwixt us two.

Aurora Leigh Browning, Elizabeth 1856

And we all have known
    Good critics, who have stamped out poet’s hopes;
    Good statesmen, who pulled ruin on the state;
    Good patriots, who, for a theory, risked a cause;
    Good kings, who disembowelled for a tax;
    Good popes, who brought all good to jeopardy;
    Good Christians, who sate still in easy chairs,
    And damned the general world for standing up.—
    Now, may the good God pardon all good men!

Complete Prose Works Whitman, Walt 1897

Not for nothing does evil play its part among us. Judging from the main portions of the history of the world, so far, justice is always in jeopardy, peace walks amid hourly pitfalls, and of slavery, misery, meanness, the craft of tyrants and the credulity of the populace, in some of their protean forms, no voice can at any time say, They are not. The clouds break a little, and the sun shines out–but soon and certain the lowering darkness falls again, as if to last forever. Yet is there an immortal courage and prophecy in every sane soul that cannot, must not, under any circumstances,capitulate.

Sir Nigel Doyle, Arthur Conan 1906

“Indeed I think that you can do no better,” said Percy heartily, “and I swear to you on jeopardy of my soul that I will stand by you in the matter! I doubt not that when we come deep into their land they will draw together and do what they may to make head against us; but up to now I swear by all the saints of Lindisfarne that I should have seen more war in a summer’s day in Liddesdale or at the Forest of Jedburgh than any that Brittany has shown us. But see, yonder horsemen are riding in. They are our own hobblers, are they not? And who are these who are lashed to their stirrups?”


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 27 2021

Quotations and Authors:

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding Hume, David 1748

Eloquence, when at its highest pitch, leaves little room for reason or reflection; but addressing itself entirely to the fancy or the affections, captivates the willing hearers, and subdues their understanding. Happily, this pitch it seldom attains. But what a Tully or a Demosthenes could scarcely effect over a Roman or Athenian audience, every Capuchin, every itinerant or stationary teacher can perform over the generality of mankind, and in a higher degree, by touching such gross and vulgar passions.


OED Word of the Day, January 26 2021

(and other instances of Tickling)

Quotations and Authors:

The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia Sidney, Philip 1593

But my hart is already set (and staying a while on that word, she brought foorth afterwards) to leade a virgins life to my death: for such a vow I haue in my selfe deuoutly made. The heauens preuent such a mischiefe (said Cecropia.) A vowe, quoth you? no, no, my deere neece, Nature, whē you were first borne, vowed you a woman, and as she made you child of a mother, so to do your best to be mother of a child: she gaue you beautie to moue loue; she gaue you wit to know loue; she gaue you an excellent body to reward loue: which kind of liberall rewarding is crowned with an vnspeakable felicitie. For this, as it bindeth the receiuer, so it makes happy the bestower: this doth not impouerish, but enrich the giuer. O the sweet name of a mother: O the comfort of comforts, to see your children grow vp, in whom you are (as it were) eternized: if you could conceiue what a hart-tickling ioy it is to see your owne litle ones, with awfull loue come running to your lap, & like litle models of your selfe, still cary you about them, you would think vnkindnes in your owne thoughts, that euer they did rebel against the mean vnto it. But perchāce I set this blessednes before your eies, as Captains do victorie before their souldiers, to which they must come through many paines, grieues & dangers.

Paradoxes and Problemes Donne, John 1600

And hence I thinke proceeds that which in these later formall times I have much noted; that now when our superstitious civility of manners is become a mutuall tickling flattery of one another, almost every man affecteth an humour of jesting, and is content to be deject, and to deforme himselfe, yea become foole to no other end that I can spie, but to give his wise Companion occasion to laugh: and to shew themselves in promptnesse of laughing is so great in wisemen, that I thinke all wisemen, if any wiseman do reade this Paradox, will laugh both at it and me.

The Twelfth Night Shakespeare, William 1602

MARIA. Get ye all three into the box-tree. Malvolio’s coming down this walk; he has been yonder i’ the sun practising behaviour to his own shadow this half hour: observe him, for the love of mockery; for I know this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him. Close, in the name of jesting! [The men hide themselves.] Lie thou there; [Throws down a letter] for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.

 c. spec. The taking of trout and other fish by the method described in quot. 1884. 1616   F. Beaumont & J. Fletcher Scornful Ladie iii. sig. F3   Leaue off your tickling of young heires like trouts. 1826   W. Scott Woodstock I. vii. 175   Every fisher loves best the trouts that are of his own tickling. 1884   R. Jefferies Red Deer ix. 174   Groping for trout (or tickling)—is tracing it to the stone it lies under, then rubbing it gently beneath, which causes the fish to gradually move backwards into the hand, till the fingers suddenly close in the gills.

OED Online. December 2020. Oxford University Press. https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/201770 (accessed January 26, 2021)

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621

They will in all places be doing thus, young folks especially, reading love stories, talking of this or that young man, such a fair maid, singing, telling or hearing lascivious tales, scurrilous tunes, such objects are their sole delight, their continual meditation, and as Guastavinius adds, Com. in 4. Sect. 27.Prov. Arist. ob seminis abundantiam crebrae cogitationes, veneris frequens recordatio et pruriens voluptas, &c. an earnest longing comes hence, pruriens corpus, pruriens anima, amorous conceits, tickling thoughts, sweet and pleasant hopes; hence it is, they can think, discourse willingly, or speak almost of no other subject. ‘Tis their only desire, if it may be done by art, to see their husband’s picture in a glass, they’ll give anything to know when they shall be married, how many husbands they shall have, by cromnyomantia, a kind of divination with 5533onions laidon the altar on Christmas eve, or by fasting on St. Anne’s eve or night, to know who shall be their first husband, or by amphitormantia, by beans in a cake, &c., to burn the same. This love is the cause of all good conceits,5534 neatness, exornations, plays, elegancies, delights, pleasant expressions, sweet motions, and gestures, joys, comforts, exultancies, and all the sweetness of our life, 5535qualis jam vita foret, aut quid jucundi sine aurea Venere?

Otia Sacra Westmorland, Mildmay Fane 1648

Yet uncontroul'd by These, I safely may
Survive; sithence not stung by th' Tarantula,
(That tickling beast, Ambition, that makes sport
In our hot Climate, call'd the verge of Court)
And so resolve, dressing my mindes content,
Henceforward to be calm, and represent
Nothing but what my Birth and Calling draw
My life out for, my God, my King, my Law.
And when for these my wearied breath is spent,
Let with my last bloods drop one sigh be sent.

The Ring and the Book Browning, Robert 1869

'T was he who first bade leave those souls in peace,
    Those Jansenists, re-nicknamed Molinists,
    ('Gainst whom the cry went, like a frowsy tune,
    Tickling men's ears--the sect for a quarter of an hour
    I' the teeth of the world which, clown-like, loves to chew
    Be it but a straw 'twixt work and whistling-while,
    Taste some vituperation, bite away,
    Whether at marjoram-sprig or garlic-clove,
    Aught it may sport with, spoil, and then spit forth,)
    "Leave them alone," bade he, "those Molinists!

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Dickens, Charles 1870

Mr. Sapsea has improved the acquaintance of Mr. Jasper, since their first meeting to partake of port, epitaph, backgammon, beef, and salad. Mr. Sapsea has been received at the gatehouse with kindred hospitality; and on that occasion Mr. Jasper seated himself at the piano, and sang to him, tickling his ears—figuratively—long enough to present a considerable area for tickling. What Mr. Sapsea likes in that young man is, that he is always ready to profit by the wisdom of his elders, and that he is sound, sir, at the core. In proof of which, he sang to Mr. Sapsea that evening, no kickshaw ditties, favourites with national enemies, but gave him the genuine George the Third home-brewed; exhorting him (as ‘my brave boys’) to reduce to a smashed condition all other islands but this island, and all continents, peninsulas, isthmuses, promontories, and other geographical forms of land soever, besides sweeping the seas in all directions. In short, he rendered it pretty clear that Providence made a distinct mistake in originating so small a nation of hearts of oak, and so many other verminous peoples.

Psmith in the City Wodehouse, P. G. 1910

Mike almost laughed. The situation was tickling him.

THE FRAILTY AND HURTFULNESS OF BEAUTY Poems Howard, Henry 1557 (Boston 1854 & The original edition)

BRITTLE beauty, that Nature made so frail, 
Whereof the gift is small, and short the season; 4 
Flowering to-day, to-morrow apt to fail; 
Tickle 6 treasure, abhorred of reason : 

6 Unsteady, uncertain, tottering ; equivalent to the provincialism 
ticklish, as, • it is a ticklish point.' 
BRittle beautie, that nature made so fraile,
Wherof the gift is small, and short the season,
Flowring to day, to morowe apt to faile,
Tickell treasure abhorred of reason,


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 26 2021

Quotations and Authors:

The Canterbury Tales (Middle English) Chaucer, Geoffrey 1400

I seye, ye mighte nat putten it to execucioun per-aventure, / and thanne were it lykly to retourne to the werre as it was biforn. / And therfore, if ye wole that men do yow obeisance, ye moste demen more curteisly; /3045 this is to seyn, ye moste yeven more esy sentences and Iugements. / For it is writen, that “he that most curteisly comandeth, to him men most obeyen.” / And therfore, I prey yow that in this necessitee and in this nede, ye caste yow to overcome your herte. / For Senek seith: that “he that overcometh his herte, overcometh twyes.”

Kangaroo Lawrence, D. H. 1923

There is all the time a powerful, unconscious interplay going on between the vertebral centres of consciousness in all men, a deep, mindless current flashing and quivering through the family, the community, the nation, the continent, and even the world. No man can really isolate himself. And this vertebral interplay is the root of our living: must always be so.

And this vertebral interplay is subject to the laws of polarity, since it is an intercommunion of active, polarised conscience-force. There is a dual polarity, and a dual direction. There is the outward, or downward pulse, in the great motion of sympathy or love, the love that goes out to the weaker, to the poor, to the humble. The vast, prostrate mass now becomes the positive pole of attraction: woman, the working-classes.

The whole of the great current of vertebral consciousness in mankind is supposed, now, to run in this direction. But the whole movement is but a polarised circuit. Insist on one direction over much, derange the circuit, and you have a terrible débâcle. Which brings us to another aspect of relativity: relativity in dynamic living.

When the flow is sympathetic, or love, then the weak, the woman, the masses, assume the positivity. But the balance even is only kept by stern authority, the unflinching obstinacy of the return-force, of power.

When the flow is power, might, majesty, glory, then it is a culminating flow towards one individual, through circles of aristocracy towards one grand centre. Emperor, Pope, Tyrant, King: whatever may be. It is the grand obeisance before a master. In the balance of these two flows lies the secret of human stability. In the absolute triumph of either flow lies the immediate surety of collapse.

The Faerie Queene Spenser, Edmund 1596

As you in woods and wanton wildernesse
Your glory set, to chace the saluage beasts,
So my delight is all in ioyfulnesse,
In beds, in bowres, in banckets, and in feasts:
And ill becomes you with your loftie creasts,
To scorne the ioy, that Ioue is glad to seeke;
We both are bound to follow heauens beheasts,
And tend our charges with obeisance meeke:
Spare, gentle sister, with reproch my paine to eeke.

Ulysses Joyce, James 1920

On Ormond quay Mr Simon Dedalus, steering his way from the greenhouse for the subsheriff’s office, stood still in midstreet and brought his hat low. His Excellency graciously returned Mr Dedalus’ greeting. From Cahill’s corner the reverend Hugh C. Love, M. A., made obeisance unperceived, mindful of lords deputies whose hands benignant had held of yore rich advowsons.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 24 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime Wilde, Oscar 1891

Looking at him, one would have said that Nemesis had stolen the shield of Pallas, and shown him the Gorgon’s head. He seemed turned to stone, and his face was like marble in its melancholy. He had lived the delicate and luxurious life of a young man of birth and fortune, a life exquisite in its freedom from sordid care, its beautiful boyish insouciance; and now for the first time he became conscious of the terrible mystery of Destiny, of the awful meaning of Doom.

Complete Prose Works Whitman, Walt 1897

The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity. Nothing is better than simplicity–nothing can make up for excess, or for the lack of definiteness. To carry on the heave of impulse and pierce intellectual depths and give all subjects their articulations, are powers neither common nor very uncommon. But to speak in literature with the perfect rectitude and insouciance of the movements of animals, and the unimpeachableness of the sentiment of trees in the woods and grass by the roadside, is the flawless triumph of art. If you have look’d on him who has achiev’d it you have look’d on one of the masters of the artists of all nations and times. You shall not contemplate the flight of the gray gull over the bay, or the mettlesome action of the blood horse, or the tall leaning of sunflowers on their stalk, or the appearance of the sun journeying through heaven, or the appearance of the moon afterward, with any more satisfaction than you shall contemplate him. The great poet has less a mark’d style, and is more the channel of thoughts and things without increase or diminution, and is the free channel of himself. He swears to his art, I will not be meddlesome, I will not have in my writing any elegance, or effect, or originality, to hang in the way between me and the rest like curtains. I will have nothing hang in the way, not the richest curtains. What I tell I tell for precisely what it is. Let who may exalt or startle or fascinate or soothe, I will have purposes as health or heat or snow has, and be as regardless of observation. What I experience or portray shall go from my composition without a shred of my composition. You shall stand by my side and look in the mirror with me.

The old red blood and stainless gentility of great poets will be proved by their unconstraint. …

The Custom of the Country Wharton, Edith 1913

… and he now knew that a disregard for money may imply not the willingness to get on without it but merely a blind confidence that it will somehow be provided. If Undine, like the lilies of the field, took no care, it was not because her wants were as few but because she assumed that care would be taken for her by those whose privilege it was to enable her to unite floral insouciance with Sheban elegance.

Fantasia of the Unconscious Lawrence, D. H. 1921

I would like him to give me back books and newspapers and theories. And I would like to give him back, in return, his old insouciance, and rich, original spontaneity and fullness of life.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 22 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Byron, George Gordon 1818

There is a tomb in Arqua;--reared in air,
   Pillared in their sarcophagus, repose
   The bones of Laura's lover:  here repair
   Many familiar with his well-sung woes,
   The pilgrims of his genius.  He arose
   To raise a language, and his land reclaim
   From the dull yoke of her barbaric foes:
   Watering the tree which bears his lady's name
With his melodious tears, he gave himself to fame.

The Pickwick Papers Dickens, Charles 1836

‘Ah! fine place,’ said the stranger, ‘glorious pile–frowning walls–tottering arches–dark nooks–crumbling staircases–old cathedral too–earthy smell–pilgrims’ feet wore away the old steps–little Saxon doors–confessionals like money-takers’ boxes at theatres–queer customers those monks–popes, and lord treasurers, and all sorts of old fellows, with great red faces, and broken noses, turning up every day–buff jerkins too–match-locks–sarcophagus–fine place–old legends too–strange stories: capital;’ and the stranger continued to soliloquise until they reached the Bull Inn, in the High Street, where the coach stopped.

Dombey and Son Dickens, Charles 1847

So thought Mr Dombey, when he was left alone at the dining-table, and mused upon his past and future fortunes: finding no uncongeniality in an air of scant and gloomy state that pervaded the room, in colour a dark brown, with black hatchments of pictures blotching the walls, and twenty-four black chairs, with almost as many nails in them as so many coffins, waiting like mutes, upon the threshold of the Turkey carpet; and two exhausted negroes holding up two withered branches of candelabra on the sideboard, and a musty smell prevailing as if the ashes of ten thousand dinners were entombed in the sarcophagus below it. The owner of the house lived much abroad; the air of England seldom agreed long with a member of the Feenix family; and the room had gradually put itself into deeper and still deeper mourning for him, until it was become so funereal as to want nothing but a body in it to be quite complete.

Pierre; or The Ambiguities Melville, Herman 1852

Ten million things were as yet uncovered to Pierre. The old mummy lies buried in cloth on cloth; it takes time to unwrap this Egyptian king. Yet now, forsooth, because Pierre began to see through the first superficiality of the world, he fondly weens he has come to the unlayered substance. But, far as any geologist has yet gone down into the world, it is found to consist of nothing but surface stratified on surface. To its axis, the world being nothing but superinduced superficies. By vast pains we mine into the pyramid; by horrible gropings we come to the central room; with joy we espy the sarcophagus; but we lift the lid–and no body is there!–appallingly vacant as vast is the soul of a man!

Little Dorrit Dickens, Charles 1856

There was a bath in that corner, from which the water had been hastily drained off. Lying in it, as in a grave or sarcophagus, with a hurried drapery of sheet and blanket thrown across it, was the body of a heavily-made man, with an obtuse head, and coarse, mean, common features. A sky-light had been opened to release the steam with which the room had been filled; but it hung, condensed into water-drops, heavily upon the walls, and heavily upon the face and figure in the bath. The room was still hot, and the marble of the bath still warm; but the face and figure were clammy to the touch. The white marble at the bottom of the bath was veined with a dreadful red. On the ledge at the side, were an empty laudanum-bottle and a tortoise-shell handled penknife–soiled, but not with ink.

Poems & Ballads (First Series) Swinburne, Algernon Charles 1866

 I know what queen at first you were,
    As though I had seen
  Red gold and black imperious hair
    Twice crown Faustine.

  As if your fed sarcophagus
    Spared flesh and skin,
  You come back face to face with us,
    The same Faustine.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood Dickens, Charles 1870

‘Not on any account,’ replies Durdles, adjusting it. ‘Durdles was making his reflections here when you come up, sir, surrounded by his works, like a poplar Author.—Your own brother-in-law;’ introducing a sarcophagus within the railing, white and cold in the moonlight. ‘Mrs. Sapsea;’ introducing the monument of that devoted wife. ‘Late Incumbent;’ introducing the Reverend Gentleman’s broken column. ‘Departed Assessed Taxes;’ introducing a vase and towel, standing on what might represent the cake of soap. ‘Former pastry cook and Muffin-maker, much respected;’ introducing gravestone. ‘All safe and sound here, sir, and all Durdles’s work. Of the common folk, that is merely bundled up in turf and brambles, the less said the better. A poor lot, soon forgot.’

Sphinx Wilde, Oscar 1894

Steal to the border of the bar and swim across the silent lake
   And slink into the vault and make the Pyramid your lúpanar

   Till from each black sarcophagus rose up the painted swathèd dead?
   Or did you lure unto your bed the ivory-horned Tragelaphos?

   Or did you love the god of flies who plagued the Hebrews and was
   With wine unto the waist? or Pasht, who had green beryls for her eyes?

Heart of Darkness Conrad, Joseph 1899

“The dusk was falling. I had to wait in a lofty drawing-room with three long windows from floor to ceiling that were like three luminous and bedraped columns. The bent gilt legs and backs of the furniture shone in indistinct curves. The tall marble fireplace had a cold and monumental whiteness. A grand piano stood massively in a corner; with dark gleams on the flat surfaces like a sombre and polished sarcophagus. A high door opened–closed. I rose.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 20 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Life Of Johnson, Vol. 1 (of 6) Boswell, James 1791

At supper this night he talked of good eating with uncommon satisfaction. ‘Some people (said he,) have a foolish way of not minding,or pretending not to mind, what they eat. For my part, I mind my belly very studiously, and very carefully; for I look upon it, that he who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else1372.’ He now appeared to me Jean Bull philosophe, and he was, for the moment, not only serious but vehement. Yet I have heard him, upon other occasions, talk with great contempt of people who were anxious to gratify their palates; and the 206th number of his Rambler is a masterly essay against gulosity1373. His practice, indeed, I must acknowledge, may be considered as casting the balance of his different opinions upon this subject; for I never knew any man who relished good eating more than he did. When at table, he was totally absorbed in the business of the moment; his looks seemed rivetted to his plate; nor would he, unless when in very high company, say one word, or even pay the least attention to what was said by others, till he had satisfied his appetite1374, which was so fierce, and indulged with such intenseness, that while in the act of eating, the veins of his forehead swelled, and generally a strong perspiration was visible1375. To those whose sensations were delicate, this could not but be disgusting; and it was doubtless not very suitable to the character of a philosopher, who should be distinguished by self-command. But it must be owned, that Johnson, though he could be rigidly abstemious, was not a temperate man either in eating or drinking. He could refrain, but he could not use moderately1376. He told me, that he had fasted two days without inconvenience, and that he had never been hungry but once1377. They who beheld with wonder how much he eat upon all occasions when his dinner was to his taste, could not easily conceive what he must have meant by hunger; and not only was he remarkable for the extraordinary quantity which he eat, but he was, or affected to be, a man of very nice discernment in the science of cookery. He used to descant critically on the dishes which had been at table where he had dined or supped, and to recollect very minutely what he had liked1378. I remember, when he was in Scotland, his praising ‘Gordon’s palates‘, (a dish of palates at the Honourable AlexanderGordon’s) with a warmth of expression which might have done honour to more important subjects. ‘As for Maclaurin’s imitation of a made dish, it was a wretched attempt1379.’ He about the same time was so much displeased with the performances of a nobleman’s French cook, that he exclaimed with vehemence, ‘I’d throw such a rascal into the river;’ and he then proceeded to alarm a lady at whose house he was to sup1380, by the following manifesto of his skill: ‘I, Madam, who live at a variety of good tables, am a much better judge of cookery, than any person who has a very tolerable cook, but lives much at home; for his palate is gradually adapted to the taste of his cook; whereas, Madam, in trying by a wider range, I can more exquisitely judge1381.’ When invited to dine, even with an intimate friend, he was not pleased if something better than a plain dinner was not prepared for him. I have heard him say on such an occasion, ‘This was a good dinner enough, to be sure; but it was not a dinner to ask a man to.’ On the other hand, he was wont to express, with great glee, his satisfaction when he had been entertained quite to his mind. One day when we had dined with his neighbour and landlord in Bolt-court, Mr. Allen, the printer, whose old housekeeper had studied his taste in every thing, he pronounced this eulogy: ‘Sir, we could not have had a better dinner had there been a Synod of Cooks1382.’


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 19 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Tales of St. Austin’s Wodehouse, P. G. 1903

It is impossible to glean any sense from them, as the Editor mixes up Nipperwick’s view with Sidgeley’s reasoning and Spreckendzedeutscheim’s surmise with Donnerundblitzendorf’s conjecture in a way that seems to argue a thorough unsoundness of mind and morals, a cynical insanity combined with a blatant indecency.

Idylls of the King Tennyson, Alfred 1885

And while he waited in the castle court,
  The voice of Enid, Yniol's daughter, rang
  Clear through the open casement of the hall,
  Singing; and as the sweet voice of a bird,
  Heard by the lander in a lonely isle,
  Moves him to think what kind of bird it is
  That sings so delicately clear, and make
  Conjecture of the plumage and the form;
  So the sweet voice of Enid moved Geraint;
  And made him like a man abroad at morn
  When first the liquid note beloved of men
Comes flying over many a windy wave
  To Britain, and in April suddenly
  Breaks from a coppice gemmed with green and red,
  And he suspends his converse with a friend,
  Or it may be the labour of his hands,
  To think or say, 'There is the nightingale;'
  So fared it with Geraint, who thought and said,
  'Here, by God's grace, is the one voice for me.'

Poems Cowper, William 1782

The cause, tho' worth the search, may yet elude
Conjecture and remark, however shrewd.
They take, perhaps, a well-directed aim,
Who seek it in his climate and his frame.
Lib'ral in all things else, yet nature here
With stern severity deals out the year.

The Four Seasons and Other Poems Thomson, James 1735

While still, from day to day, his pining wife,
And plaintive children his return await,
In wild conjecture lost. At other times,
Sent by the better Genius of the night,
Innoxious, gleaming on the horse's mane,
The meteor sits; and shews the narrow path,
That winding leads thro' pits of death, or else
Instructs him how to take the dangerous ford.

Last Poems Housman, Alfred Edward 1910

Onward led the road again
     Through the sad uncoloured plain
     Under twilight brooding dim,
     And along the utmost rim
     Wall and rampart risen to sight
     Cast a shadow not of night,
     And beyond them seemed to glow
     Bonfires lighted long ago.
     And my dark conductor broke
     Silence at my side and spoke,
     Saying, "You conjecture well:
     Yonder is the gate of hell."

The Complete Poetical Works Lowell, James Russell ~1840 – 1891

The glass unfilled all tastes can fit,
  As round its brim Conjecture dances;
For not Mephisto's self hath wit
  To draw such vintages as Fancy's.

When our pulse beats its minor key,
  When play-time halves and school-time doubles,
Age fills the cup with serious tea,
  Which once Dame Clicquot starred with bubbles.

Metamorphosis, Ovid, translated by A. Golding Golding, Arthur 1567

I markt his countnance, weede and pace, no inckling could I see,

By which I might conjecture him a mortall wight to bee.

I thought, and to my fellowes sayd: What God I can not tell

But in this bodie that we see some Godhead sure doth dwell.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 18 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Paradise Lost Milton, John 1667

For wee to him indeed all praises owe,
  And daily thanks, I chiefly who enjoy
  So farr the happier Lot, enjoying thee
  Preeminent by so much odds, while thou
  Like consort to thy self canst no where find.
  That day I oft remember, when from sleep
  I first awak't, and found my self repos'd                           450
  Under a shade on flours, much wondring where
  And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.

FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY, 1876 Lowell, James Russell ~1840 – 1891

Entranced I saw a vision in the cloud
That loitered dreaming in yon sunset sky,
Full of fair shapes, half creatures of the eye,
Half chance-evoked by the wind's fantasy
In golden mist, an ever-shifting crowd:
There, 'mid unreal forms that came and went
In air-spun robes, of evanescent dye,
A woman's semblance shone preeminent;
Not armed like Pallas, not like Hera proud,
But, as on household diligence intent,                  10
Beside her visionary wheel she bent
Like Aretë or Bertha, nor than they
Less queenly in her port; about her knee
Glad children clustered confident in play:
Placid her pose, the calm of energy;
And over her broad brow in many a round
(That loosened would have gilt her garment's hem),
Succinct, as toil prescribes, the hair was wound
In lustrous coils, a natural diadem.

The Portrait of a Lady, Volume 1 James, Henry 1881

There was no doubt she had great merits–she was charming, sympathetic, intelligent, cultivated. More than this (for it had not been Isabel’s ill-fortune to go through life without meeting in her own sex several persons of whom no less could fairly be said), she was rare, superior and preeminent. There are many amiable people in the world, and Madame Merle was far from being vulgarly good-natured and restlessly witty. She knew how to think


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 17 2021

Quotations and Authors:

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621

As alchemists spend that small modicum they have to get gold, and never find it, we lose and neglect eternity, for a little momentary pleasure which we cannot enjoy, nor shall ever attain to in this life. We abhor death, pain, and grief, all, yet we will do nothing of that which should vindicate us from, but rather voluntarily thrust ourselves upon it. 3875“The lascivious prefers his whore before his life, or good estate; an angry man his revenge: a parasite his gut; ambitious, honours; covetous, wealth; a thief his booty; a soldier his spoil; we abhor diseases, and yet we pull them upon us.” We are never better or freer from cares than when we sleep, and yet, which we so much avoid and lament, death is but a perpetual sleep;

The Ring and the Book Browning, Robert 1869

Bidden qualify for Rome, I, having a field,
    Went, sold it, laid the sum at Peter's foot:
    Which means--I settled home-accounts with speed,
    Set apart just a modicum should suffice
    To hold the villa's head above the waves
    Of weed inundating its oil and wine,
    And prop roof, stanchion wall o' the palace so
    As to keep breath i' the body, out of heart
    Amid the advance of neighboring loftiness--
    (People like building where they used to beg)--
Till succored one day,--shared the residue
    Between my mother and brothers and sisters there,
    Black-eyed babe Donna This and Donna That,
    As near to starving as might decently be,
    --Left myself journey-charges, change of suit,
    A purse to put i' the pocket of the Groom
    O' the Chamber of the patron, and a glove
    With a ring to it for the digits of the niece
    Sure to be helpful in his household,--then
    Started for Rome, and led the life prescribed.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 16 2021

Quotations and Authors:

IVƲENALS Tenth Satyre Poems, with the Tenth Satyre of Iuvenal Vaughan, Henry 1646

Smiles are an easie purchase, but to weep
Is a hard act, for teares are fetch'd more deep;
Democritus his nimble Lungs would tyre
With constant laughter, and yet keep entire
His stocke of mirth, for ev'ry object was
Addition to his store; though then (Alas!)
Sedans, and Litters, and our Senat Gownes,
With Robes of honour, fasces, and the frownes
Of unbrib'd Tribunes were not seene; but had
He lived to see our Roman Praetor clad
In Ioves owne mantle, seated on his high
Embroyder'd Chariot 'midst the dust and Crie
Of the large Theatre, loaden with a Crowne
Which scarse he could support, for it would downe,
But that his servant props it) and close by
His page a witnes to his vanitie:
To these his Scepter, and his Eagle adde
His Trumpets, Officers, and servants clad
In white, and purple; with the rest that day,
He hir'd to triumph for his bread, and pay;
Had he these studied, sumptuous follies seene,
'Tis thought his wanton, and effusive spleene
Had kill'd the Abderite, though in that age
(When pride & greatnes had not swell'd the stage
So high as ours) his harmles, and just mirth
From ev'ry object had a suddaine birth;
Nor wast alone their avarice, or pride,
Their triumphs, or their cares he did deride;
Their vaine contentions, or ridiculous feares;
But even their very poverty, and teares.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 14 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Complaints Spenser, Edmund 1591

Thus therefore I advize upon the case:
That not to anie certaine trade or place,                            130
Nor anie man, we should our selves applie.
For why should he that is at libertie
Make himselfe bond? Sith then we are free borne.
Let us all servile base subiection scorne;

To Delia Daniel, Samuel 1592 

For God forbid I should my papers blot
      With mercenary lines with servile pen,
      Praising virtues in them that have them not,
      Basely attending on the hopes of men.

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621

To see the [Greek: kakozaelian] of our times, a man bend all his forces, means, time, fortunes, to be a favorite’s favorite’s favorite, &c., a parasite’s parasite’s parasite, that may scorn the servile world as having enough already. To see an hirsute beggar’s brat, that lately fed on scraps, crept and whined, crying to all, and for an old jerkin ran of errands, now ruffle in silk and satin, bravely mounted, jovial and polite, now scorn his old friends and familiars, neglect his kindred, insult over his betters, domineer over all.

What each of them did, by what means, at what times, quibus auxiliis, superstition climbed to this height, tradition increased, and Antichrist himself came to his estate, let Magdeburgenses, Kemnisius, Osiander, Bale, Mornay, Fox, Usher, and many others relate. In the meantime, he that shall but see their profane rites and foolish customs, how superstitiously kept, how strictly observed, their multitude of saints, images, that rabble of Romish deities, for trades, professions, diseases, persons, offices, countries, places; St. George for England; St. Denis for France, Patrick, Ireland; Andrew, Scotland; Jago, Spain; &c. Gregory for students; Luke for painters; Cosmus and Damian for philosophers; Crispin, shoemakers; Katherine, spinners; &c. Anthony for pigs; Gallus, geese; Wenceslaus, sheep; Pelagius, oxen; Sebastian, the plague; Valentine, falling sickness; Apollonia, tooth ache; Petronella for agues; and the Virgin Mary for sea and land, for all parties, offices: he that shall observe these things, their shrines, images, oblations, pendants, adorations, pilgrimages they make to them, what creeping to crosses, our Lady of Loretto’s rich 6577gowns, her donaries, the cost bestowed on images, and number of suitors; St. Nicholas Burge in France; our St. Thomas’s shrine of old at Canterbury; those relics at Rome, Jerusalem, Genoa, Lyons, Pratum, St. Denis; and how many thousands come yearly to offer to them, with what cost, trouble, anxiety, superstition (for fort yseveral masses are daily said in some of their 6578churches, and they rise at all hours of the night to mass, come barefoot, &c.), how they spend themselves, times, goods, lives, fortunes, in such ridiculous observations; their tales and figments, false miracles, buying and selling of pardons, indulgences for 40,000 years to come, their processions on set days, their strict fastings, monks, anchorites, friar mendicants, Franciscans, Carthusians, &c. Their vigils and fasts, their ceremonies at Christmas, Shrovetide, Candlemas, Palm Sunday, Blaise, St. Martin, St. Nicholas’ day; their adorations, exorcisms, &c., will think all those Grecian, Pagan, Mahometan superstitions, gods, idols, and ceremonies, the name, time and place, habit only altered, to have degenerated into Christians. Whilst they prefer traditions before Scriptures; those Evangelical Councils, poverty, obedience, vows, alms, fasting, supererogations, before God’s Commandments; their own ordinances instead of his precepts, and keep them in ignorance, blindness, they have brought the common people into such a case by their cunning conveyances, strict discipline, and servile education, that upon pain of damnation they dare not break the least ceremony, tradition, edict; hold it a greater sin to eat a bit of meat in Lent, than kill a man: their consciences are so terrified, that they are ready to despair if a small ceremony be omitted; and will accuse their own father, mother, brother, sister, nearest and dearest friends of heresy, if they do not as they do, will be their chief executioners, and help first to bring a faggot to burnthem. What mulct, what penance soever is enjoined, they dare not but do it, tumble with St. Francis in the mire amongst hogs, if they be appointed, go woolward, whip themselves, build hospitals, abbeys, &c., go to the East or West Indies, kill a king, or run upon a sword point: they perform all, without any muttering or hesitation, believe all.

The Sacrifice Herbert, George 1633

A king my title is, prefixt on high;

Yet by my subjects am condemn'd to die

A servile death in servile company;

 Was ever grief like mine?

The Temple Sacred Poems Herbert, George 1633

Light without winde is glasse: warm without weight
Is wooll and furres: cool without closenesse, shade:
Speed without pains, a horse: tall without height,
A servile hawk: low without losse, a spade.

A Rapture Poems, with a Maske Carew, Thomas 1640

I Will enjoy thee nosy my Celia, come
And fly with me to Love's Elizium:
The Gyant, Honour, that keeps cowards out,
Is but a Masquer, and the servile rout
Of baser subjects only bend in vain
To the vast Idoll, whilst the nobler train
Of valiant Lovers daily sayl between
The huge Colosses legs, and pass unseen
Vnto the blissfull shore; be bold, and wise,
And we shall enter, the grim Swisse denies
Only to tame sools a passage, that not know
He is but form, and only frights in show
The duller eyes that lookt from far; draw neere,
And thou shalt scorn, what we were wont to fear;
We shall see how the stalking Pageant goes
With borrowed legs, a heavy load to those
That made, and bear him; not as we once thought
The seed of Gods, but a weak modell wrought
By greedy men, that seek t' enclose the common,
And within private arms empale free woman.

The Resurrection Cowley, Abraham 1647

Now praunces stately, and anon flies o're the place,

Disdains the servile Law of any settled pace,

Conscious and proud of his own natural force.

'Twill no unskilful Touch endure,

But flings Writer and Reader too that sits not sure.

Poems Cowley, Abraham 1656

With all thy servile pains what canst thou win,
But an ill-favor'd, and uncleanly Sin?
A thing so vile, and so short-liv'd,
That Venus Ioys as well as she
With reason may be said to be
From the neglected Foam deriv'ed.

A Song Wilmot, John 1680

Kindness has resistless Charms,
    All besides but weakly move;
    Fiercest Anger it disarms,
    And clips the Wings of flying Love.
    Beauty does the Heart invade,
    Kindness only can persuade;
    It gilds the Lover's servile Chain,
    And makes the Slaves grow pleas'd again.

The Dunciad Pope, Alexander 1743

He ceas'd, and spread the robe; the crowd confess

The rev'rend flamen in his lengthen'd dress.

Around him wide a sable army stand,

A low-born, cell-bred, selfish, servile band,

Prompt or to guard or stab, or saint or damn,

The Poetical Works of Mary Robinson Robinson, Mary 1800

Teach me the sordid servile art 
To dress in low disguise the heart, 
Then every face shall gentle be, 
And smile on me ! 

The Last Man Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft 1826

Shall I bow my head before them, and with servile gesture sell my nobility for life? Had I a child, or any tie to bind me to existence, I might descend to this–but, as it is–the world has been to me a harsh step-mother; fain would I leave the abode she seems to grudge, and in the grave forget my pride, my struggles, my despair.

The Secret Rose Yeats, William Butler 1897

Duallach would often pause to tell how some clan of the wild Irish ha ddescended from an incomparable King of the Blue Belt, or Warrior of the Ozier Wattle, or to tell with many curses how all the strangers and most of the Queen’s Irish were the seed of the misshapen and horned People from Under the Sea or of the servile and creeping Ferbolg; but Costello cared only for the love sorrows, and no matter whither the stories wandered, whether to the Isle of the Red Lough, where the blessed are, or to the malign country of the Hag of the East, Oona alone endured their shadowy hardships; for it was she and no king’s daughter of old who was hidden in the steel tower under the water with the folds of the Worm of Nine Eyes round and about her prison;

Ulysses Joyce, James 1920

The presence of guttural sounds, diacritic aspirations, epenthetic and servile letters in both languages: their antiquity, both having been taught on the plain of Shinar 242 years after the deluge in the seminary instituted by Fenius Farsaigh, descendant of Noah, progenitor of Israel, and ascendant of Heber and Heremon, progenitors of Ireland: their archaeological, genealogical, hagiographical, exegetical, homiletic, toponomastic, historical and religious literatures comprising the works of rabbis and culdees, Torah, Talmud (Mischna and Ghemara), Massor, Pentateuch, Book of the Dun Cow, Book of Ballymote, Garland of Howth, Book of Kells: their dispersal, persecution, survival and revival: the isolation of their synagogical and ecclesiastical rites in ghetto (S. Mary’s Abbey) and masshouse (Adam and Eve’s tavern): the proscription of their national costumes in penal laws and jewish dress acts: the restoration in Chanah David of Zion and the possibility of Irish political autonomy or devolution.


OED Word of the Day, January 13 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Great Expectations Dickens, Charles 1861

“Well,” said Joe, meditatively, not, of course, that it could be in anywise necessary to consider about it, but because it was the way at the Jolly Bargemen to seem to consider deeply about everything that was discussed over pipes,—“well—no. No, he ain’t. ”“Nevvy?” said the strange man. “Well,” said Joe, with the same appearance of profound cogitation, “he is not—no, not to deceive you, he is not—my nevvy.”

“What the Blue Blazes is he?” asked the stranger. Which appeared to me to be an inquiry of unnecessary strength.

Little Dorrit Dickens, Charles 1856

‘She has no brother or sister.’‘Niece, nevy, cousin, serwant, young ‘ooman, greengrocer. –Dash it! One or another on ‘em,’ said the turnkey, repudiating beforehand the refusal of all his suggestions.‘ I fear –I hope it is not against the rules–that she will bring the children.’

Tales of St. Austin’s Wodehouse, P. G. 1903

At the mention of his nevvy the O. I. became discursive. He told his audience everything that had happened in connection with the said nevvy for years back. After which he started to describe what he would probably do in the future. Amongst other things, there were going to be some sports at Rutton today week, and his nevvy was going to try and win the cup for what the Oldest Inhabitant vaguely described as ‘a race’. He had won it last year. Yes, prarper good runner, his nevvy. Where was Rutton? the Babe wanted to know. About eight miles out of Stapleton, said Charteris, who was well up in local geography. You got there by train. It was the next station.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 13 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Fantasia of the Unconscious Lawrence, D. H. 1921

Let us go back then to the solar plexus. There sparkle the included mother-germ and father-germ, giving us direct, immediate blood-bonds, family connection. The connection is as direct and as subtle as between the Marconi stations, two great wireless stations. A family, if you like, is a group of wireless stations, all adjusted to the same, or very much the same vibration. All the time they quiver withthe interchange, there is one long endless flow of vitalistic communication between members of one family, a long, strange rapport, a sort of life-unison. It is a ripple of life through many bodies as through one body. But all the time there is the jolt, the rupture of individualism, the individual asserting himself beyond all ties or claims. The highest goal for every man is the goal of pure individual being. But it is a goal you cannot reach by the mere rupture of all ties. A child isn’t born by being torn from the womb. When it is born by natural process that is rupture enough. But even then the ties are not broken. They are only subtilized.

And to force the boy to see a correct one-eyed horse-profile is just like pasting a placard in front of his vision. It simply kills his inward seeing. We don’t want him to see a proper horse. The child is not a little camera. He is a small vital organism which has direct dynamic rapport with the objects of the outer universe. He perceives from his breast and his abdomen, with deep-sunken realism, the elemental nature of the creature. So that to this day a Noah’s Ark tree is more real than a Corot tree or a Constable tree: and a flat Noah’s Ark cow has a deeper vital reality than even a Cuyp cow.

So, there is a definite vibratory rapport between a man and his surroundings, once he definitely gets into contact with these surroundings. Any particular locality, any house which has been lived in has a vibration, a transferred vitality of its own. This is either sympathetic or antipathetic to the succeeding individual in varying degree. But certain it is that the inhabitants who live at the foot of Etna will always have a certain pitch of life-vibration, antagonistic to the pitch of vibration even of a Palermitan, in some measure. And old houses are saturated with human presence, at last to a degree of indecency, unbearable. And tradition, in its most elemental sense, means the continuing of the same peculiar pitch of vital vibration.

But for our second reason for the image. In becoming the object of great emotional stress for her son, the mother also becomes an object of poignancy, of anguish, of arrest, to her son. She arrests him from finding his proper fulfillment on the sensual plane. Now it is almost always the object of arrest which becomes impressed, as it were, upon the psyche. A man very rarely has an image of a person with whom he is livingly, vitally connected. He only has dream-images of the persons who, in some way, oppose his life-flow and his soul’s freedom, and so become impressed upon his plasm as objects of resistance. Once a man is dynamically caught on the upper plane by mother or sister, then the dream-image of mother or sister will persist until the dynamic rapport between himself and his mother or sister is finally broken. And the dream-image from the upper plane will be automatically applied to the disturbance of the lower plane.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 12 2021

Quotations and Authors:

The Way of the World Congreve, William 1700

It may be in things of common application, but never, sure, in love. Oh, I hate a lover that can dare to think he draws a moment’s air independent on the bounty of his mistress. There is not so impudent a thing in nature as the saucy look of an assured man confident of success: the pedantic arrogance of a very husband has not so pragmatical an air. Ah, I’ll never marry, unless I am first made sure of my will and pleasure.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations Smith, Adam 1776

A private teacher could never find his account in teaching either an exploded and antiquated system of a science acknowledged to be useful, or a science universally believed to be a mere useless and pedantic heap of sophistry and nonsense. Such systems, such sciences, can subsist nowhere but in those incorporated societies for education, whose prosperity and revenue are in a great measure independent of their industry.

To pretend to have any scruple about buying smuggled goods, though a manifest encouragement to the violation of the revenue laws, and to the perjury which almost always attends it, would, in most countries, be regarded as one of those pedantic pieces of hypocrisy which, instead of gaining credit with anybody, serve only to expose the person who affects to practise them to the suspicion of being a greater knave than most of his neighbours. By this indulgence of the public, the smuggler is often encouraged to continue a trade, which he is thus taught to consider as in some measure innocent; and when the severity of the revenue laws is ready to fall upon him, he is frequently disposed to defend with violence, what he has been accustomed to regard as his just property.

Miscelanies in Prose and Verse Chatterton, Thomas 1778

“Gadso, you’re right, my lord: but as I always thought writing pedantic and beneath a noble∣man, my valet always writes my amorous epistles: and a fine fellow he is too! Trims a sentiment like a bag-wig, and twists a meaning like a curl.” I admired his lordships prudence, in making his valet a secretary, as it was more than probable he was better qualified for the office than his honour∣able master.

The Rainbow Lawrence, D. H. 1915

He was like a faun pleased when she would go with him over his hothouses, to look at the green and pretty plants, at the pink primulas nodding among their leaves, and cinarrias flaunting purple and crimsonand white. She asked about everything, and he told her very exactly and minutely, in a queer pedantic way that made her want to laugh. Yet she was really interested in what he did. And he had the curious light in his face, like the light in the eyes of the goat that was tethered by the farmyard gate.

The Wild Swans at Coole Yeats, William Butler 1919

I would be ignorant as the dawn
    That has looked down
    On that old queen measuring a town
    With the pin of a brooch,
    Or on the withered men that saw
    From their pedantic Babylon
    The careless planets in their courses,
    The stars fade out where the moon comes,
    And took their tablets and did sums;
    I would be ignorant as the dawn
    That merely stood, rocking the glittering coach
    Above the cloudy shoulders of the horses;

A Passage to India Forster, E. M. 1924

After forty years’ experience, he had learnt to manage his life and make the best of it on advanced European lines, had developed his personality, explored his limitations, controlled his passions—and he had done it all without becoming either pedantic or worldly. A creditable achievement, but as the moment passed, he felt he ought to have been working at something else the whole time,—he didn’t know at what, never would know, never could know, and that was why he felt sad.


Merriam-Webster on Treason What Is ‘Treason,’ Anyway? | Merriam-Webster (merriam-webster.com)

Richard Rolle’s The Form of Perfect Living Literature of the Sacred 1348

The sins of the mouth are these: to swear oftentimes: forswearing: slander of Christ orof any of His Saints; to name His name without reverence; gainsaying and strife against truthfulness; murmuring against GOD for any anguish or trouble or tribulation that may befall on earth: to say GOD’S Service undevoutly and without reverence: backbiting; flattering: lying: abusing: cursing: defaming: quarrelling: threatening: sowing of discord: treason: false-witness: ill counsel: scorn: unbuxomness in speech: to turn good deeds to ill: to make them be holden ill who do them: (we ought to wrap up our neighbours’ deeds in the best not the worst); exciting any man to ire: reprehending in another what one does one’s self: vain speech: much speech: foul speech: to speak idle words: or to speak words not needful: praising: polishing of words: defending sin: shouting with laughter: making grimaces at any man: to sing secular songs and to love them: to praise ill-deeds: to sing more for the glor yof men than of GOD. The sins of deed are these: gluttony: lechery: drunkenness: simony: witch-craft: breaking of the holy-days: sacrilege: to receive GOD’S Body in deadly sin: breaking of vows: apostacy: dissipation in GOD’S service: to set example of ill deeds: to hurt anyman in his body, or in his goods, or in his fame: theft: rapine: usury: deceit: selling of righteousness: to hearken ill: to give to harlots: to withhold necessaries from the body, or to give it to excess: to begin a thing that is above our might: custom to sin: falling often into sin: feigning of more good than we have: for to seem holier, more learned and wiser than we are: to hold office that we do not suffice to: or to hold one that cannot be held without sin: to lead dances: to bring fashions: to be rebellious against one’s Sovereign: to insult those who are less: to sin in sight, in hearing, in smelling, in touching, in handling, in swallowing: in means: in signs: in beggings: writings. To receive the circumstances, that is to say time, place, manner, number, person, dwelling, knowledge, age, that makes thee sin more or less. To desire a sin or to be tempted: to constrain one to sin. Other many sins there are of omission, that is, of leaving good undone: when men leave the good they should do. Not thinking about GOD, nor dreading, nor praising Him, nor thanking Him for His gifts: to do not all that one does for love of GOD: to sorrow not for one’s sins as one should do: not to dispose one’s self to receive grace. And if one have taken grace, not to use it as one ought; not to keep it: to turn not to the inspiration of GOD: to conform not one’s will to GOD’S will: to give not attention to one’s prayers, but mutter on and never reck save that said; to do negligently what one was bound by vow to do, or by command, or else enjoined in penance: to draw out at length what should desire a sin or to be tempted: to constrain one to sin.

Metamorphosis, Ovid, translated by A. Golding Golding, Arthur 1567

For when that of this wicked Age once opened was the veyne

Therein all mischief rushed forth: then Fayth and Truth were faine

And honest shame to hide their heades: for whom crept stoutly in,

Craft, Treason, Violence, Envie, Pride and wicked Lust to win.

The Third and the Fourth Book of Airs Campion, Thomas 1617

Skilfull Anglers hide their hookes, fit baytes for euery season; But with crooked pins fish thou, as babes doe that want reason, Gogions onely can be caught with such poore trickes of treason.

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621

Yea, but I am ashamed, disgraced, dishonoured, degraded, exploded: my notorious crimes and villainies are come to light (deprendi miserum est),my filthy lust, abominable oppression and avarice lies open, my good name’s lost, my fortune’s gone, I have been stigmatised, whipped at post, arraigned and condemned, I am a common obloquy, I have lost my ears, odious, execrable, abhorred of God and men. Be content, ’tis but a nine days’ wonder, and as one sorrow drives out another, one passion another, one cloud another, one rumour is expelled by another; every day almost, come new news unto our ears, as how the sun was eclipsed, meteors seen in the air, monsters born, prodigies, how the Turks were overthrown in Persia, an earthquake in Helvetia, Calabria, Japan, or China, an inundation in Holland, a great plague in Constantinople, a fire at Prague, a dearth in Germany, such a man is made a lord, a bishop, another hanged, deposed, pressed to death, for some murder, treason, rape, theft, oppression, all which we do hear at first with a kind of admiration, detestation, consternation, but by and by they are buried in silence: thy father’s dead, thy brother robbed, wife runs mad, neighbour hath killed himself; ’tis heavy, ghastly, fearful news at first, in every man’s mouth, table talk; but after a while who speaks or thinks of it? It will be so with thee and thine offence, it will be forgotten in an instant, be it theft, rape, sodomy, murder, incest, treason, &c., thou art not the first offender, nor shalt not be the last, ’tis no wonder, every hour such malefactors are called in question, nothing so common, Quocunque in populo, quocunque subaxe? 4021Comfort thyself, thou art not the sole man. If he that were guiltless himself should fling the first stone at thee, and he alone should accuse thee that were faultless, how many executioners, how many accusers wouldst thou have? If every man’s sins were written in his forehead, and secret faults known, how many thousands would parallel, if not exceed thine offence? It may be the judge that gave sentence, the jury that condemned thee, the spectators that gazed on thee, deserved much more, and were far more guilty than thou thyself. But it is thine infelicity to be taken, to be made a public example of justice, to be a terror to the rest; yet should every man have his desert, thou wouldst peradventure be a saint in comparison; vexat censura columbas, poor souls are punished; the great ones do twenty thousand times worse, and are not so much as spoken of.


OED Word of the Day, January 7 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Kidnapped Stevenson, Robert Louis 1886

“Powder and your auld hands are but as the snail to the swallow against the bright steel in the hands of Alan,” said the other. “Before your jottering finger could find the trigger, the hilt would dirl on yourbreast-bane.”“Eh, man, whae’s denying it?” said my uncle. “Pit it as ye please, hae’t your ain way; I’ll do naething to cross ye. Just tell me what like ye’ll be wanting, and ye’ll see that we’ll can agree fine.”

Underwoods Part 2, Scots Stevenson, Robert Louis 1887

What you would like’s a palace ha’,
   Or Sinday parlour dink an’ braw
   Wi’ a’ things ordered in a raw
         By denty leddies.
   Weel, than, ye cannae hae’t: that’s a’
         That to be said is.

Catriona, or David Balfour Stevenson, Robert Louis 1893

“My name is called Balfour,” said I, “David Balfour of Shaws. As for him that sent me, I will let his token speak.” And I showed the silver button.”Put it in your pocket, sir!” cries he, “Ye need name no names. The deevil’s buckie, I ken the button of him! And de’il hae’t! Where is he now?”I told him I knew not where Alan was, but he had some sure place (orthought he had) about the north side, where he was to lie until a ship was found for him; and how and where he had appointed to be spoken with.

“Straight by,” said I, “and looked neither to the right nor left.””And that’s queerer yet,” said Alan. “It sticks in my mind, Davie, that we should be stirring. But where to?–deil hae’t! This is like old days fairly,” cries he.”There is one big differ, though,” said I, “that now we have money in our pockets.”


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 7 2021

Quotations and Authors:

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621

If chid by censor, friendly though severe,
          To such explain and turn thee not away.
        Thy vein, says he perchance, is all too free;
          Thy smutty language suits not learned pen:
        Reply, Good Sir, throughout, the context see;
          Thought chastens thought; so prithee judge again.
        Besides, although my master's pen may wander
          Through devious paths, by which it ought not stray,
        His life is pure, beyond the breath of slander:
          So pardon grant; 'tis merely but his way.

The Portrait of a Lady, Volume 2 James, Henry 1881

Isabel had an undefined conviction that to serve for another person than their proprietor traditions must be of a thoroughly superior kind; but she nevertheless assented to this intimation that she too must march to the stately music that floated down from unknown periods in her husband’s past; she who of old had been so free of step, so desultory, so devious, so much the reverse of processional. There were certain things they must do, a certain posture they must take, certain people they must know and not know. When she saw this rigid system close about her, draped though it was in pictured tapestries, that sense of darkness and suffocation of which I have spoken took possession of her; she seemed shut up with an odour of mould and decay. She had resisted of course; at first very humorously, ironically, tenderly; then, as the situation grew more serious, eagerly, passionately, pleadingly. She had pleaded the cause of freedom, of doing as they chose, of not caring for the aspect and denomination of their life–the cause of other instincts and longings, of quite another ideal.

SANTA DECCA Poems Wilde, Oscar ~1881 – 1893

THE Gods are dead: no longer do we bring
      To grey-eyed Pallas crowns of olive-leaves!
      Demeter’s child no more hath tithe of sheaves,
   And in the noon the careless shepherds sing,
   For Pan is dead, and all the wantoning
      By secret glade and devious haunt is o’er:
      Young Hylas seeks the water-springs no more;
   Great Pan is dead, and Mary’s son is King.

St. Ives Stevenson, Robert Louis 1894

I am well aware there is a Providence for drunken men, that holds the reins for them and presides over their troubles; doubtless he had his work cut out for him with this particular gigful! Fenn rescued his toes with an ejaculation from under the departing wheels, and turned at once with uncertain steps and devious lantern to the far end of the court. There, through the open doors of a coach-house, the shock-headed lad was already to be seen drawing forth the covered cart. If I wished any private talk with ourhost, it must be now or never.

The Passionate Friends Wells, Herbert George 1913

She had a motor-car, a steam-launch, several rowing boats and canoes, a tennis-lawn, a rambling garden, a devious house and a rapid mind, and in fact everything that was necessary for throwing young people together.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 6 2021

Quotations and Authors:

The Wrong Box, co-written with Lloyd Osbourne Stevenson, Robert Louis 1889

Mr. Bloomfield was indeed a figure quite peculiar to the days of Mr. Gladstone; what we may call (for the lack of an accepted expression) a Squirradical. Having acquired years without experience, he carried into the Radical side of politics those noisy, after-dinner-table passions, which we are more accustomed to connect with Toryism in its severe and senile aspects. To the opinions of Mr. Bradlaugh, in fact, he added the temper and the sympathies ofthat extinct animal, the Squire; he admired pugilism, he carried aformidable oaken staff, he was a reverent churchman, and it was hard to know which would have more volcanically stirred his choler–a person who should have defended the established church, or one who should have neglected to attend its celebrations. He had besides some levelling catchwords, justly dreaded in the family circle; and when he could not go so far as to declare a step un-English, he might still (and with hardly less effect) denounce it as unpractical.

Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa Stevenson, Robert Louis 1892

Some are sharp practitioners, some are famous (justly or not) for foul play in business. Tales fly. One merchant warns you against his neighbour; the neighbour on the first occasion is found to return the compliment: each with a good circumstantial story to the proof. There is so much copra in the islands, and no more; a man’s share of it is his share of bread; and commerce, like politics, is here narrowed to a focus, shows its ugly side, and becomes as personal as fisticuffs.

Tono Bungay  Wells, Herbert George 1908

I do not remember that my school-days were unhappy–indeed I recall a good lot of fine mixed fun in them–but I cannot without grave risk of misinterpretation declare that we were at all nice and refined. We fought much, not sound formal fighting, but “scrapping” of a sincere and murderous kind, into which one might bring one’s boots–it made us tough at any rate–and several of us were the sons of London publicans, who distinguished “scraps” where one meant to hurt from ordered pugilism, practising both arts, and having, moreover, precocious linguistic gifts. Our cricket-field was bald about the wickets, and we played without style and disputed with the umpire; and the teaching was chiefly in the hands of a lout of nineteen, who wore ready-made clothes and taught despicably. The head-master and proprietor taught us arithmetic, algebra, and Euclid, and to the older boys even trigonometry, himself; he had a strong mathematical bias, and I think now that by the standardof a British public school he did rather well by us.

The Adventures of Sally Wodehouse, P. G. 1921

Of all the learned professions, pugilism is the one in which the trained expert is most sharply divided from the mere dabbler. In other fields the amateur may occasionally hope to compete successfully with the man who has made a business of what is to him but a sport, but at boxing never: and the whole demeanour of Bugs Butler showed that he had laid this truth to heart. It would be too little to say that his bearing was confident: he comported himself with the care-free jauntiness of an infant about to demolish a Noah’s Ark with a tack-hammer.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 5 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Moby Dick Melville, Herman 1851

“You gettee in,” he added, motioning to me with his tomahawk, and throwing the clothes to one side. He really did this in not only a civil but a really kind and charitable way. I stood looking at him amoment. For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely looking cannibal. What’s all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself—the man’s a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.

“Landlord,” said I, “tell him to stash his tomahawk there, or pipe, or whatever you call it; tell him to stop smoking, in short, and I will turn in with him. But I don’t fancy having a man smoking in bed with me. It’s dangerous. Besides, I ain’t insured.

”This being told to Queequeg, he at once complied, and again politely motioned me to get into bed—rolling over to one side as much as to say—“I won’t touch a leg of ye.”

“Good night, landlord,” said I, “you may go.”

I turned in, and never slept better in my life.

The Soul of Man Wilde, Oscar 1891

Christ had no message for the Renaissance, which was wonderful because it brought an ideal at variance with his, and to find the presentation of the real Christ we must go to mediæval art. There he is one maimed and marred; one who is not comely to look on, because Beauty is a joy; one who is not in fair raiment, because that may be a joy also: he is a beggar who has a marvellous soul; he is a leper whose soul is divine; he needs neither property nor health; he is a God realising his perfection through pain.

Biathanatos Donne, John 1608

But since the Scripture it self teaches, [That no Proph •… cie in the Scripture, is of private interpretation,] the whole Church may not be bound and concluded by the fancie of one, or of a few, who being content to enslumber themselves in an opinion, and lazy prejudice, dreame arguments to establish, and authorize that.

A professed interpreter of Dreames, tells us, [That no Dreame of a privat •… man may be interpreted to signifie a publike businesse,] This I say, because of those places of 〈◊〉 , which are aledged for the Doctrin which we now examine, scarce any one, (except the Precept, Thou shalt not kill) is offered by any two Authors. But to one, one place, to another, another seemes directly to governe in the point, and to me, (to allow Truth her naturall and comely boldnesse) no place, but that seemes to looke towards it.

And therefore in going over all those sentences, which I have gathered from many Authors, and presenting convenient answers and interpretations thereof, I will forbeare the names of those Authors, who produced them so impertinently, least I should seeme to discover their nakednesse, or insimulat them even of prevarication.

The Faerie Queene Spenser, Edmund 1596

After all these there marcht a most faire Dame,
Led of two grysie villeins, th'one Despight,
The other cleped Cruelty by name:
She dolefull Lady, like a dreary Spright,
Cald by strong charmes out of eternall night,
Had deathes owne image figurd in her face,
Full of sad signes, fearefull to liuing sight;
Yet in that horror shewd a seemely grace,
And with her feeble feet did moue a comely pace.

The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia Sidney, Philip 1593

His name was Agenor, of all that armie the most beautifull: who hauing ridden in sportfull conuersation among the foremost, all armed sauing that his beauer was vp, to haue his breath in more freedome, seing Amphialus come a pretty way before his cōpany, neither staying the commaundement of the captaine, nor recking whether his face were armed, or no, set spurs to his horse, and with youthfull brauerie casting his staffe about his head, put it then in his rest, as carefull of comely carying it, as if the marke had beene but a ring, and the lookers on Ladies, But Amphialus launce was already come to the last of his descending line, and began to make the ful point of death against the head of this young Gentleman, when Amphialus perceyuing his youth and beautie, Compassion so rebated the edge of Choller, that hee spared that faire nakednesse, and let his staffe fal to Agenors vampalt: so as both with braue breaking should hurtleslie haue perfourmed that match, but that the pittilesse launce of Amphialus (angry with being broken) with an vnlucky counterbuffe ful of vnsparing splinters, lighted vpon that face farre fitter for the combats of Venus; geuing not onely a suddaine, but a fowle death, leauing scarsely any tokens of his former beautie: but his hands abandoning the reynes, and his thighes the saddle, hee fell sidewarde from the horse.

The Tunning of Elinour Rumming Skelton, John 1520

And this comely dame,
  I vnderstande, her name
  Is Elynour Rummynge,
  At home in her wonnynge;
  And as men say
  She dwelt490 in Sothray,
  In a certayne stede
  Bysyde Lederhede.


OED Word of the Day, January 5 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Poly-Olbion Drayton, Michael 1612

Heere finds he on an Oake Rheume-purging Polipode;
And in some open place that to the Sunne doth lye,
He Fumitorie gets, and Eye-bright for the eye:
The Yarrow, where-with-all he stops the wound-made gore:
The healing Tutsan then, and Plantan for a sore.
And hard by them againe he holy Vervaine finds,
Which he about his head that hath the Megrim binds.
The wonder-working Dill hee gets not farre from these,
Which curious women vse in many a nice disease.

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621

He that begets a child on a full stomach, will either have a sick child, or a crazed son (as 1328Cardan thinks), contradict. med. lib. 1. contradict. 18, or if the parents be sick, or have any great pain of the head, or megrim, headache, (Hieronymus Wolfius1329doth instance in a child of Sebastian Castalio’s); if a drunken man get a child, it will never likely have a good brain, as Gellius argues, lib. 12. cap. 1.Ebrii gignunt Ebrios, one drunkard begets another, saith 1330Plutarch, symp. lib. 1. quest. 5, whose sentence1331Lemnius approves, l. 1. c. 4. Alsarius Crutius, Gen. de qui sitmed. cent. 3. fol. 182. Macrobius, lib. 1. Avicenna, lib. 3. Fen. 21.Tract 1. cap. 8, and Aristotle himself, sect. 2. prob. 4,

The Confidence-Man Melville, Herman 1857

“And what race may you belong to? now don’t you see, my dear fellow, in what inconsistencies one involves himself by affecting disesteem for men. To a charm, my little stratagem succeeded. Come, come, think better of it, and, as a first step to a new mind, give up solitude. I fear, by the way, you have at some time been reading Zimmermann, that old Mr. Megrims of a Zimmermann, whose book on Solitude is as vain as Hume’s on Suicide, as Bacon’s on Knowledge; and, like these, will betray him who seeks to steer soul and body by it, like a false religion. All they, be they what boasted ones you please, who, to the yearning of our kind after a founded rule of content, offer aught not in the spirit of fellowly gladness based on due confidence in what is above, away with them for poor dupes, or still poorer impostors.”

Ulysses Joyce, James 1920

Hereupon Punch Costello dinged with his fist upon the board and would sing a bawdy catch Staboo Stabella about a wench that was put in pod of a jolly swashbuckler in Almany which he did straightways now attack: The first three months she was not well, Staboo, when here nurse Quigley from the door angerly bid them hist ye should shame you nor was it not meet as she remembered them being her mind was to have all orderly against lord Andrew came for because she was jealous that no gasteful turmoil might shorten the honour of her guard. It was an ancient and a sad matron of a sedate look and christian walking, in habit dun beseeming her megrims and wrinkled visage, nor did her hortative want of it effect for incontinently Punch Costello was of them all embraided and they reclaimed the churl with civil rudeness some and shaked him with menace of blandishments others whiles they all chode with him, a murrain seize the dolt, what a devil he would be at, thou chuff, thou puny, thou got in peasestraw, thou losel, thou chitterling, thou spawn of a rebel, thou dykedropt, thou abortion thou to shut up his drunken drool out of that like a curse of God ape, the good sir Leopold that had for his cognisance the flower of quiet, margerain gentle, advising also the time’s occasion as most sacred and most worthy to be most sacred. In Horne’s house rest should reign.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 4 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Leviathan Hobbes, Thomas 1651

Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.

It may seem strange to some man, that has not well weighed these things; that Nature should thus dissociate, and render men apt to invade,and destroy one another: and he may therefore, not trusting to this Inference, made from the Passions, desire perhaps to have the same confirmed by Experience. Let him therefore consider with himselfe, when taking a journey, he armes himselfe, and seeks to go well accompanied; when going to sleep, he locks his dores; when even in his house he locks his chests; and this when he knows there bee Lawes, and publike Officers, armed, to revenge all injuries shall bee done him; what opinion he has of his fellow subjects, when he rides armed; of his fellow Citizens, when he locks his dores; and of his children, and servants, when he locks his chests. Does he not there as much accuse mankind by his actions, as I do by my words? But neither of us accuse mans nature in it. The Desires, and other Passions of man, are in themselves no Sin. No more are the Actions, that proceed from those Passions, till they know a Law that forbids them; which till Lawes be made they cannot know: nor can any Law be made, till they have agreed upon the Person that shall make it.

Indian Currency and Finance Keynes, John Maynard 1913

The objections to the existing arrangements largely arise,therefore, out of the absence of a State Bank. This question is furtherdiscussed in Chapters VI. and VII. I feel little doubt that Indiaought to have a State Bank, associated in a greater or less degreewith the Government. The Government is drifting year by year intodoing more business of an essentially banking character; and as timegoes on it will become increasingly objectionable to dissociate some of the functions of modern State Banking from others. But there is aconsiderable weight of opinion in favour of the view that the time forthe establishment of a Central Indian Bank is not yet ripe. In themeantime is any partial remedy possible for the evils dealt with above?

The Convergence of the Twain Hardy, Thomas 1914

                 (Lines on the loss of theTitanic”)


      IN a solitude of the sea
      Deep from human vanity,
   And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.


      Steel chambers, late the pyres
      Of her salamandrine fires,
   Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.


      Over the mirrors meant
      To glass the opulent
   The sea-worm crawls—grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.


      Jewels in joy designed
      To ravish the sensuous mind
   Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.


      Dim moon-eyed fishes near
      Gaze at the gilded gear
   And query: “What does this vaingloriousness down here?” . . .


      Well: while was fashioning
      This creature of cleaving wing,
   The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything


      Prepared a sinister mate
      For her—so gaily great—
   A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.


      And as the smart ship grew
      In stature, grace, and hue,
   In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.


      Alien they seemed to be:
      No mortal eye could see
   The intimate welding of their later history,


      Or sign that they were bent
      By paths coincident
   On being anon twin halves of one august event,


      Till the Spinner of the Years
      Said “Now!”  And each one hears,
   And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

The Fruit of the Tree Wharton, Edith 1907

The brevity and simplicity of the note were characteristic; in moments of high tension Justine was always calm and direct. And it was like her, too, not to make any covert appeal to his sympathy, not to seek to entrap his judgment by caressing words and plaintive allusions. The quiet tone in which she stated her purpose matched the firmness and courage of the act, and for a moment Amherst was shaken by a revulsion of feeling. Her heart was level with his, after all–if she had done wrong she would bear the brunt of it alone. It was so exactly what he himself would have felt and done in such a situation that faith in her flowed back through all the dried channels of his heart. But an instant later the current set the other way. The wretched years of his first marriage had left in him a residue of distrust, a tendency to dissociate every act from its ostensible motive. He had been too profoundly the dupe of his own enthusiasm not to retain this streak of scepticism, and it now moved him to ask if Justine’s sudden departure had not been prompted by some other cause than the one she avowed. Had that alone actuated her, why not have told it to him, and asked his consent to her plan? Why let him leave the house without a hint of her purpose, and slip off by the first train as soon as he was safe at Westmore? Might it not be that she had special reasons for wishing Mr. Langhope to hear her own version first–that there were questions she wished to parry herself, explanations she could trust no one to make for her? The thought plunged Amherst into deeper misery. He knew not how to defend himself against these disintegrating suspicions–he felt only that, once the accord between two minds is broken, it is less easy to restore than the passion between two hearts. He dragged heavily through his solitary evening, and awaited with dread and yet impatience a message announcinghis wife’s return.


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 3 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Tono Bungay Wells, Herbert George 1908

Well, you begin to understand my breakdown now, I have been copious enough with these apologia. My work got more and more spiritless, my behaviour degenerated, my punctuality declined; I was more and more outclassed in the steady grind by my fellow-students. Such supplies of moral energy as I still had at command shaped now in the direction of serving Marion rather than science.

The Victorian Age in Literature Chesterton, Gilbert Keith 1913

This is no place for estimating his theology: but one point about it does clearly emerge. Whatever else is right, the theory that Newman went over to Rome to find peace and an end of argument, is quite unquestionably wrong. He had far more quarrels after he had gone over to Rome. But, though he had far more quarrels, he had far fewer compromises: and he was of that temper which is tortured more by compromise than by quarrel. He was a man at once of abnormal energy and abnormal sensibility: nobody without that combination could have writtenthe Apologia. If he sometimes seemed to skin his enemies alive, it was because he himself lacked a skin. In this sense his Apologia is a triumph far beyond the ephemeral charge on which it was founded; in this sense he does indeed (to use his own expression) vanquish not his accuser but his judges.

Of Human Bondage Maugham, Somerset 1915

His friends told one another that he was a man of excellent gifts, and he listened to them willingly when they prophesied his future eminence. In course of time he became an authority on art and literature. He came under the influence of Newman’s Apologia; the picturesqueness of the Roman Catholic faith appealed to his esthetic sensibility; and it was only the fear of his father’s wrath (a plain, blunt man of narrow ideas, who read Macaulay) which prevented him from ‘going over.’ When he only got a pass degree his friends were astonished; but he shrugged his shoulders and delicately insinuated that he was not the dupe of examiners. He made one feel that a first class was ever so slightly vulgar.

Apologia, Poems Wilde, Oscar ~1881 – 1893

IS it thy will that I should wax and wane,
      Barter my cloth of gold for hodden grey,
   And at thy pleasure weave that web of pain
      Whose brightest threads are each a wasted day?

   Is it thy will—Love that I love so well—
      That my Soul’s House should be a tortured spot
   Wherein, like evil paramours, must dwell
      The quenchless flame, the worm that dieth not?

   Nay, if it be thy will I shall endure,
      And sell ambition at the common mart,
   And let dull failure be my vestiture,
      And sorrow dig its grave within my heart.

   Perchance it may be better so—at least
      I have not made my heart a heart of stone,
   Nor starved my boyhood of its goodly feast,
      Nor walked where Beauty is a thing unknown.

Many a man hath done so; sought to fence
      In straitened bonds the soul that should be free,
   Trodden the dusty road of common sense,
      While all the forest sang of liberty,

   Not marking how the spotted hawk in flight
      Passed on wide pinion through the lofty air,
   To where some steep untrodden mountain height
      Caught the last tresses of the Sun God’s hair.

Or how the little flower he trod upon,
      The daisy, that white-feathered shield of gold,
   Followed with wistful eyes the wandering sun
      Content if once its leaves were aureoled.

   But surely it is something to have been
      The best belovèd for a little while,
   To have walked hand in hand with Love, and seen
      His purple wings flit once across thy smile.

Ay! though the gorgèd asp of passion feed
      On my boy’s heart, yet have I burst the bars,
   Stood face to face with Beauty, known indeed
      The Love which moves the Sun and all the stars!


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, January 2 2021

Quotations and Authors:

Catriona, or David Balfour Stevenson, Robert Louis 1893

And there would be a fiddler diddling his elbock in the chimney-side; and this thing had nae music but the skirling of the solans. And the lassies were bits o’ young things wi’the reid life dinnling and stending in their members; and this was amuckle, fat, crieshy man, and him fa’n in the vale o’ years. Say what yelike, I maun say what I believe. It was joy was in the creature’s heart; the joy o’ hell, I daursay: joy whatever. Mony a time I have askit mysel’, why witches and warlocks should sell their sauls (whilk are their maist dear possessions) and be auld, duddy, wrunkl’t wives orauld, feckless, doddered men; and then I mind upon Tod Lapraik dancinga’ they hours by his lane in the black glory of his heart. Nae doubt they burn for it in muckle hell, but they have a grand time here of it, whatever!–and the Lord forgie us!


OED Word of the Day, January 2 2021

Quotations and Authors:

The Wound Dresser Whitman, Walt ~1862 – 1864

Alas! there is, perhaps, not one ward or tent, out of the seven or eight hundred now hereabout filled with sick, in which I am sure I might not profitably devote every hour of my life to the abstract work of consolation and sustenance for its suffering inmates. And indeed, beyond that, a person feels that in some one of these crowded wards he would like to pick out two or three cases and devote himself wholly to them. Meanwhile, however, to do the best that is permitted, I go around, distributing myself and the contents of my pockets and haversack in infinitesimal quantities, with faith that nearly all of it will, somehow or other, fall on good ground. In many cases, where I find a soldier “deadbroke” and pretty sick, I give half a tumbler of good jelly.

Sir Nigel Doyle, Arthur Conan 1906

Four archers lay behind a clump of bushes ten yards in front of the thick hedge which shielded their companions. Amid the long line of bowmen those behind them were their own company, and in the main the same who were with Knolles in Brittany. The four in front were their leaders: old Wat of Carlisle, Ned Widdington the red-headed Dalesman,the bald bowyer Bartholomew, and Samkin Alyward, newly rejoined after aweek’s absence. All four were munching bread and apples, for Aylward hadbrought in a full haversack and divided them freely amongst his starving comrades. The old Borderer and the Yorkshireman were gaunt and hollow-eyed with privation, while the bowyer’s round face had fallen in so that the skin hung in loose pouches under his eyes and beneath his jaws.


Merriam-Webster on Charm from Language is Magic

Quotations and Authors:

Song Lucasta and Posthume Poems Lovelace, Richard 1659

IN mine one Monument I lye, 
And in my Self am buried;
Sure the quick Lightning of her Eye
Melted my Soul ith' Scabberd, dead;
And now like some pale ghost I walk,
• nd with anothers Spirit talk.

Nor can her beams a heat convey
That may my frozen bosome warm,
Unless her Smiles have pow'r, as they
That a cross charm can countercharm;
But this is such a pleasing pain,
I'm loth to be alive again.

Goblin Market Rossetti, Christina 1862

Evening by evening
Among the brookside rushes,
Laura bowed her head to hear,
Lizzie veiled her blushes:
Crouching close together
In the cooling weather,
With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
With tingling cheeks and finger tips.
'Lie close,' Laura said, 
Pricking up her golden head:
'We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?'
'Come buy,' call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.
'Oh,' cried Lizzie, 'Laura, Laura,
You should not peep at goblin men.'
Lizzie covered up her eyes,                                        
Covered close lest they should look;
Laura reared her glossy head,
And whispered like the restless brook:
'Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
Down the glen tramp little men.
One hauls a basket,
One bears a plate,
One lugs a golden dish
Of many pounds weight.
How fair the vine must grow                                        
Whose grapes are so luscious;
How warm the wind must blow
Through those fruit bushes.'
'No,' said Lizzie, 'No, no, no;
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us.'
She thrust a dimpled finger
In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
Curious Laura chose to linger
Wondering at each merchant man.                                    
One had a cat's face,
One whisked a tail,
One tramped at a rat's pace,
One crawled like a snail,
One like a wombat prowled obtuse and furry,
One like a ratel tumbled hurry skurry.
She heard a voice like voice of doves
Cooing all together:
They sounded kind and full of loves
In the pleasant weather. 


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 30 2020

Quotations and Authors:

The Enormous Room Cummings, E. E. 1922

The Temple Sacred Poems Herbert, George 1633

An Historical, Physiological and Theological Treatise of Spirits, Apparitions, Witchcrafts, and other Magical Practices Beaumont, John 1705

The Anatomy of Melancholy Burton, Robert 1621


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 29 2020

Quotations and Authors:

The Faerie Queene Spenser, Edmund 1596

The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World Cavendish, Margaret 1666

Miscelanies in Prose and Verse Chatterton, Thomas 1778

Sons and Lovers Lawrence, D. H. 1913


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 26 2020

Quotations and Authors:

Pierre; or The Ambiguities Melville, Herman 1852

Moby Dick Melville, Herman 1851

The Time Machine Wells, Herbert George 1895

Israel Potter Melville, Herman 1854

Jacob’s Room Woolf, Viginia 1922


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 24 2020

Quotations and Authors:

Samson Agonistes Milton, John 1671

An Historical, Physiological and Theological Treatise of Spirits, Apparitions, Witchcrafts, and other Magical Practices Beaumont, John 1705

Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) W Richardson, Samuel 1748

White Jacket Melville, Herman 1850

The Prelude Wordsworth, William 1850

The Confidence-Man Melville, Herman 1857

The Ring and the Book Browning, Robert 1869

The Rainbow Lawrence, D. H. 1915

Sea and Sardinia Lawrence, D. H. 1921


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 23 2020

Quotations and Authors:

The Last Man Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft 1826

Roderick Hudson James, Henry 1875

Weir of Hermiston Stevenson, Robert Louis 1894

Sons and Lovers Lawrence, D. H. 1913


OED Word of the Day, December 23 2020

Quotations and Authors:

Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas Melville, Herman 1847


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 22 2020

Quotations and Authors:

The Ring and the Book Browning, Robert 1869

Ulysses Joyce, James 1920

The Enormous Room Cummings, E. E. 1922


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 21 2020

Quotations and Authors:

Miscellaneous Poems Marvell, Andrew 1680

Aurora Leigh Browning, Elizabeth 1856

Ulysses Joyce, James 1920

The Castle of Indolence Thomson, James 1748


OED Word of the Day, December 21 2020

Quotations and Authors:

Underwoods Part 2, Scots Stevenson, Robert Louis 1887


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 20 2020

Quotations and Authors:

Chamber Music Joyce, James 1907

Utopia More, Thomas 1516

Miscellany Poems, on Several Occasions Winchilsea, Anna Finch 1713

Metrical Experiments Coleridge, Samuel Taylor 1833

The Conduct of Life Emerson, Ralph Waldo 1860

Idylls of the King Tennyson, Alfred 1885

Pictures and Poems Rossetti, Dante Gabriel 1882


Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, December 19 2020

Quotations and Authors:

Leaves of Grass Whitman, Walt ~1855 – 1892

Nostromo Conrad, Joseph 1904

The Secret Places of the Heart Wells, Herbert George 1922