Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mankind

David Park Barnitz (1878-1901)


Mankind


They do not know that they are wholly dead,
Nor that their bodies are to the worm given o'er;
They pass beneath the sky forevermore;
With their dead flesh the earth is cumbered.
Each day they drink of wine and eat of bread,
And do the things that they have done before;
And yet their hearts are rotten to the core,
And from their eyes the light of life is fled.
Surely the sun is weary of their breath;
They have no ears, and they are dumb and blind;
Long time their bodies hunger for the grave.
How long, O God, shall these dead corpses rave?
When shall the earth be clean of humankind?
When shall the sky cease to behold this death?


- David Park Barnitz


Sources:



Monday, August 7, 2017

Le Fauconnier, Germain Détanger, 1882

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Defilers

David Park Barnitz (1878-1901)


The Defilers


O endless idiocy of humankind!
O blatant dead that howl and scream and roar!
O strange dead things the worms have gambled for!...
O dull and senseless, foolish, mad and blind!
How long now shall your scent defile the wind?
How long shall you make vile the earth's wide floor?
How long, how long, O waiting ages hoar,
Shall the white dawn their gaping faces find?
O vile and simple, blind of heart and mind,
When shall your last wave roll forevermore
Back from the sick and long-defiled shore?
When shall the grave the last dead carcass bind?
O shameless humankind! O dead! O dead!
When shall your rottenness be buried?



- David Park Barnitz 



Sources:




Tuesday, October 4, 2016



Is there anything so delicious as the first exploration of a great library—alone—unwatched? You shut the heavy door behind you slowly, reverently, lest a noise should jar on the sleepers of the shelves. For as the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus were dead and yet alive, so are the souls of the authors in the care of their ancient leathern binding. You walk gently round the walls, pausing here to read a title, there to draw out a tome and support it for a passing glance — half in your arms, half against the shelf. The passing glance lengthens till the weight becomes too great, and with a sigh you replace it, and move again, peering up at those titles which are foreshortened from the elevation of the shelf, and so roam from folio to octavo, from octavo to quarto, till at last, finding a little work whose value, were it in the mart, would be more than its weight in gold, you bear it to the low leather-covered armchair and enjoy it at your ease. But to sip the full pleasure of a library you must be alone, and you must take the books yourself from the shelves. A man to read must read alone. He may make extracts, he may work at books in company; but to read, to absorb, he must be solitary.

- Richard Jefferies


Source:



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sacred and Profane Love

Giovanni Baglione, Sacred Love and Profane Love, 1602


The vicious lover is the follower of earthly Love who desires the body rather than the soul; his heart is set on what is mutable and must therefore be inconstant. And as soon as the body he loves begins to pass the first flower of its beauty, he "spreads his wings and flies away," giving the lie to all his pretty speeches and dishonoring his vows, whereas the lover whose heart is touched by moral beauties is constant all his life, for he has become one with what will never fade.



Source:

"Symposium" by Plato, translated by M. Joyce, "Collected Dialogues of Plato ",1961.





Tuesday, January 12, 2016

An excerpt from "Lazarus" by Leonid Andreyev

Portrait of the writer Leonid Andreev by Valentin Serov, 1907


All objects seen by the eye and palpable to the hand became empty, light and transparent, as though they were light shadows in the darkness; and this darkness enveloped the whole universe. It was dispelled neither by the sun, nor by the moon, nor by the stars, but embraced the earth like a mother, and clothed it in a boundless black veil.
Into all bodies it penetrated, even into iron and stone; and the particles of the body lost their unity and became lonely. Even to the heart of the particles it penetrated, and the particles of the particles became lonely.
The vast emptiness which surrounds the universe, was not filled with things seen, with sun or moon or stars; it stretched boundless, penetrating everywhere, disuniting everything, body from body, particle from particle.
In emptiness the trees spread their roots, themselves empty; in emptiness rose phantom temples, palaces and houses--all empty; and in the emptiness moved restless Man, himself empty and light, like a shadow.
There was no more a sense of time; the beginning of all things and their end merged into one. In the very moment when a building was being erected and one could hear the builders striking with their hammers, one seemed already to see its ruins, and then emptiness where the ruins were.
A man was just born, and funeral candles were already lighted at his head, and then were extinguished; and soon there was emptiness where before had been the man and the candles.
And surrounded by Darkness and Empty Waste, Man trembled hopelessly before the dread of the Infinite.


Source:

Lazarus By Leonid N. Andreyev

Related reading:

Judas Iscariot by L.N. Andreyev, tr. W.H. Lowe, p. F. Griffiths, 1910

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Mi Amore


Castor and Pollux


I pray that it may for ever be my lot in life to sit opposite my dear one and hear close to me his sweet voice, to go out when he goes out and share every activity with him. And so a lover might well pray that his cherished one should journey to old age without any sorrow through a life free from stumbling or swerving, without having experienced at all any malicious spite of Fortune. But, if in accordance with the law governing the human body, illness should lay its hand on him, I shall ail with him when he is weak, and, when he puts out to sea through stormy waves, I shall sail with him. And, should a violent tyrant bind him in chains, I shall put the same fetters around myself. All who hate him will be my enemies and those well disposed to him shall I hold dear. Should I see bandits or foemen rushing upon him, I would arm myself even beyond my strength, and if he dies, I shall not bear to live. I shall give final instructions to those I love next best after him to pile up a common tomb for both of us, to unite my bones with his and not to keep even our dumb ashes apart from each other.


Source:

Affairs of the Heart, Pseudo-Lucian, tr. A.M. Harmon