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Archive for October, 2012

The road signs bore names —
“King George,” “Richmond,” “Fort AP Hill”;
The blue thrush, the gold-leaved maple,
Were signs with no names.
They needed none: Even Solomon
At the height of his splendor
Was not attired like one of these.

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Lord Jesus Christ, Wisdom of God, teach me
To value every little thing aright:
The word to the weary, the widow’s mite;
Bridle my tongue, Lord, that I may not stain
And slander sparrows with the word “mundane” —
Precious are those on whom your eyes alight.
Lord Jesus Christ, Wisdom of God, teach me.

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. . . Shakespeare is simply a superior comedic genius to any Hellenic artist. . . . The Christian doctrines of the forgiveness of sins, the redemption, and above all the curious teaching that love is the nature of God’s relationship to his creatures, creates a spiritual atmosphere that enables comedy in a very special way. Comedy may well be the preeminent Christian art form; and Christianity may be the preeminent spirituality necessary for comedy, especially comedic truth. . . . What enables us to reflect upon our weakness and our folly without dread? . . . It is the trust that comes from thinking on the supreme reality as a personal, and indeed loving, hence forgiving father . . . [O]nly as fools graced by favor can we delight joyously in our truth being exposed.

Michael Gelvin, Truth and the Comedic Art 121 (2000) (quoted in Peter J. Leithart, Deep Comedy: Trinity, Tragedy and Hope in Western Literature41 (2006)).

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The Original Heresy

The original, most grave, most ubiquitous heresy is that the creator God is a peevish miser who gives only grudgingly to His creatures. We sometimes hear “He is no genie” — and that is true. But the difference owes nothing to His being less generous, or less happy to give, than the genie. It is precisely because our wishes are so often ungenerous and provincial that God does not grant them. For in granting them He would only be fixing in us a character totally unlike His own.

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The waste-paper basket was nearly full now, and still his poet’s sense told him that he had not achieved perfection. It had been his intention to pace the room, but the moonlight pouring in through the open window called to him. He went out on to the balcony. It was but a short distance to the dim, mysterious lawn. Impulsively he dropped from the stone balustrade.

The effect was magical. Stimulated by the improved conditions, his Muse gave quick service, and this time he saw at once that she had rung the bell and delivered the goods. One turn up and down the lawn, and he was reciting as follows:

To Annabelle

Oh, lips that smile! Oh, eyes that shine
Like summer skies, or stars above!
Your beauty maddens me like wine,
Oh, umpty-pumpty-tumty love!

And he was just wondering, for he was a severe critic of his own work, whether that last line couldn’t be polished up a bit . . .

P. G. Wodehouse, The Fiery Wooing of Mordred, in Young Men in Spats (1936).

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