Thursday, November 26, 2015

Nun danket alle Gott

Some "thanksgiving" music played mit knapp 7000 Bläserinnen und Bläsern. And that is a lot of brass.  Massed bands, indeed.

A Bleeding Host?

Perhaps.  The only news story I've seen about it is here.  It's happened before; no reason it couldn't happen again.  Especially  with profanation of the Blessed Sacrament so much in the news, both from Spanish "artists" and German cardinals.

(I thought I got this cite from Rorate Cæli but I'm not finding it there.  So I'm not sure whom to thank.)

The Day That's In It

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

24 January

Today is not only the birthday in 1713 in Clonmel, County Tipperary of the Rev Laurence Sterne, the author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, upon which The Inn is not based, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, but also the old feast in the traditional Roman calendar of St John of the Cross.   The compilers of the Pauline rite for reasons best known to themselves moved St John up to December.

The soul that in aridity and trial submits to the dictates of reason is more pleasing to God than one that does everything with consolation, yet fails in this submission.  -- "Maxims" from S John of the Cross

A Useful New Blog-name

It's "rawgabbit".  It means "Someone who speaks authoritatively about something they know nothing about."  I give it freely; use it as you wish.  I, ahem, have no use for it of course.

I ran across that handy bit of linguistic treasure here along with a few other old English words whose numbers have been retired.  There is some lovely stuff here.  Although, I do think someone has accidentally switched the illustrations for snollygoster and anon.  (And by the way, what's so antique about anon?  I use anon all the time.  Hmm? Oh.  Yes.  I see your point.)


A Cognomial Theorem

My pursuit of the genealogical wheeze over the internet for the past few years has thrown light on a lot of family stories ("so that's what she meant by . . .") and thrown no light whatsoever elsewhere: i.e., was my great-grandfather deliberately trying to hide from his descendants or is his absence from vital records just a co-incidence?

One of the more  delightful sources has been John Grenham's column in The Irish Times.  This week's on the re-Gaelicization of Irish surnames includes this:

For example, the American pronunciation of the surnames Cahill (“KAY-hil”) and Mahony (Ma-OWN-ey) often has Irish people sniggering up their sleeves. But these pronunciations are much closer to the original Irish-language versions of the names. The fork in culture between Irish-America and Ireland preserved something over there that we over here have anglicised more thoroughly.
Aha!  So our American pronunciations are not automatically a barbaric degradation but perhaps a conservative preservation of tradition.  I have a new weapon in the pronunciation wars.  A chink has been found in the armor of She Who Must (almost always) Be Obeyed.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

First Steps in Security

The news is full of the Paris massacre and what ought to be done now to protect against Islamic terrorism (which the bien pensant decline to call Islamic terrorism for some reason).

And I keep running across the 126th psalm.  Really.  Every day since Monday. In particular:  Nisi Dominus custodieret civitatem, frustra vigilat qui custodit eam. "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Archbishop Sheen's Prophecy on Islam and the Modern World

At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem writers say, When the locust swarms darken countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: We are Gods host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world, with all that is in it. 
The problem is, how shall we prevent the hatching of the hundredth egg? It is our firm belief that the fears some entertain concerning the Moslems are not to be realized, but that Moslemism, instead, will eventually be converted to Christianity – and in a way that even some of our missionaries never suspect. It is our belief that this will happen not through the direct teachings of Christianity, but through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God.

Written in 1952 and reprinted in the October 2001 Mindszenty Report and republished here, where you can read the rest.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Found While Looking for Something Else

You've read the blurb at the top of the picture?  Good.  Now you know as much about it as I do.  If you listen to it, you'll find it's a beautiful piece of music also. I was actually looking for a melodeon recording of something else entirely so both the tune and the instrument are serendipitous.


Friday, November 06, 2015

Votin' Day

In the event you were not sufficiently depressed by the recent Kangaroo Synod, this handy reminder of what our national elections (which are not imminent, no matter what it seems like from the news reports) are really like may just put the tin lid on it.

From Mark Landsbaum's column in last Saturday's OC Register:

We . . .  will be on the verge of perhaps another massive vote fraud thwarting the will of the people. Just like many that preceded it. 
The scariest words in the English language are “large voter turnout,” because of the disconnect between most voters and the issues. Add to that the fact that almost every election is decided by what charitably can be regarded as the “muddled middle,” those least convicted, least informed and most easily swayed by eleventh-hour emotional pleas. 
If that weren’t discouraging enough, we also have a long-standing tradition of rigging elections. As always, shortly after Election Day 2016, headlines will proclaim the election was stolen.

And particularly relevant to Californians after recent enactments by the Sacramento Home for the Criminally Insane:

 On that point, we may have a preview of 2016. A recent George Mason University study concluded “that 6.4 percent of noncitizens voted in 2008, and 2.2 percent of noncitizens voted in 2010,” enough to provide Democrats the pivotal 60th Senate vote to overcome filibusters, and perhaps Obama’s victory in North Carolina. 
Those are illegal votes, by the way. 
Some fear that California is doing away with even the pretense, automatically registering people, perhaps including illegal immigrants, to vote when they get driver’s licenses.
More here.


Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum

It's a little late, but not too late:  a plenary indulgence is still available each day until November 8 applicable to the souls in Purgatory.

Fr Phillips tells you how here.

Water, water . . . .

Well, perhaps not everywhere.  But certainly in places we hadn't known about before.  How about 400 miles beneath our feet?  Enough of it to fill the oceans three times over it says here.

And California can't get at any of it.


"There is very little in the popular culture of teens and tweens that is gentle and slow, gracious and warm."

From Peggy Noonan:

Here is my concern. There are not fewer children living stressed, chaotic lives in America now, there are more. There will be more still, because among the things America no longer manufactures is stability. And the culture around them will not protect them, as the culture protected me. The culture around them will make their lives harder, more frightening, more dangerous. They are going to come up with nothing to believe in, their nerves are essentially shot. And they’re going to be—they are already—very angry.

The above is from  her new book.  But I found it here.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Pope Francis vs The Vatican?

Pope Francis is now effectively at war with the Vatican. If he wins, the Catholic Church could fall apart

Could it?  I suppose.  Assuming it hasn't already.  The quote is the headline to Damian Thompson's article here.  Have a look.  It's an interesting point of view.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Final Battle

From One Peter Five:

At the start of this work entrusted to me by the Servant of God John Paul II, I wrote to Sister Lucia of Fatima through her Bishop as I couldn’t do so directly. Unexplainably however, since I didn’t expect an answer, seeing that I had only asked for prayers, I received a very long letter with her signature – now in the Institute’s archives. In it we find written: the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. And then she concluded: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.
                  -Carlo Cardinal Caffara of Bologna

Friday, October 09, 2015

" . . .an aggressive insolent faction . . ."

Following the infamous synod are you?  Another source of excellent commentary is Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment.  The latest essay is here.  But there's also this and this and this.  Not to be missed.  Clicke, lege.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Our Lady of Victories

All of my calendars give October 7 as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  And so it is.  But, as Fr Hunwicke explains

That great Pontiff, S Pius V, established the Feast of our Lady of Victories to celebrate the triumph of Christian arms at the battle of Lepanto, October 7, 1571, a victory won by the countless rosaries which clanked through the hands of the Rosary Confraternities of Western Europe. They begged God for the safety of Christendom against the invading Turk. Gregory XIII pusillanimously renamed the feast as 'of the Rosary', and popped it onto the first Sunday of October (a stone's throw from the Feast of the Protecting Robe of the Mother of God in some Byzantine calendars) where it stayed until the reforms of S Pius X. But, to this day, those who follow the Extraordinary Form are allowed, on the first Sunday of October, an External Solemnity of this feast. And, after all, no homilist could be forbidden to refer to this celebration as our Lady of Victories.

Dom Mark Kirby has a series of meditations on the Holy Rosary and the feast day here and here and a reprint of  Pope Leo XIII's Rosary encyclical Supreme Apostolatus Officio here.

Fr Hunwicke has a series of posts on Our Lady of Victories here, here, and here.  In the first of these you will find the above quotation.


Friday, October 02, 2015

Good-bye to Catholic Ireland

The blog Cor Iesu Sacratissimum has a fine review of Mary Kenny's book "Good-bye to Catholic Ireland" here.   I read the book when it first came out and commend to you both the book and the review, or as the reviewer calls it "the tribute".  Even if you don't get your hands on the book, (although you should)  do read the review.


The Synod Approaches

But you and all the kind of Christ
Are ignorant and brave,
And you shall have wars you hardly win
And souls you hardly save. 
I tell you naught for your comfort
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher. 
Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope? 
from The Ballad of the White Horse
   -G. K. Chesterton 

As the Synod of Doom, as Pat Archbold succinctly puts it, approaches some of the best of traditional Catholic blogdom has set up a war room, "a place where traditionally-minded Catholic bloggers, writers and commentators can write and comment about the Synod as it is happening."  You'll find it here.  It's brand new, and from the first few posts, not to be missed.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Getting Up-to-Date, which I sometimes am in some respects, although not many

It occured to me this morning that, although I visit 1Peter5 pretty much daily it still didn't feature on the blog list.  Or the news list or the Catholic list for that matter.  And it really ought to as it's an invaluable source for Catholic news and commentary.  So now it is linked over there on the left.

Which brings up the uncomfortable fact that the left-hand column is now so crowded and oddly organized that you'll be hard-pressed to find it.  The Inn really does need to be tidied up.  So fair warning here:  if you arrive at this spot and find The Inn has vanished, there's a pretty good chance it is only trying on a new template for size and will return once things get sorted.  Probably not going to tinker with it today.  But shortly, I hope.  Even I don't know what's over there any more.


Friday, September 25, 2015

25 September -- St Albert the Lawgiver

In the old Discalced Carmelite calendar this is the feast of St Albert the Lawgiver.  (The Ancient Observance kept it on the 16th of September.) The good old Catholic Encyclopædia discusses him here.  It includes this curiousity:

 The Bollandists call attention to this curious anomaly, that not at Vercelli, where he was Patriarch, not among the Canons Regular, to whom he properly belonged, but in the Order of the Carmelites, of which he was not a member, does he receive the honour of a saint. "That holy Order could not and ought not to lose the memory of him by whom it was ranked among the Orders approved by the Roman Church; in saying which", adds the writer, "I in no way wish to impugn the Carmelite claim of descent from Elias." At Vercelli Albert does not even figure as Blessed, and the Canons Regular honour him as a saint, but pay him no public cult.

The Ancient Observance Carmelites have a short life here, with a commentary and some collects.

From the old O.C.D. propers:

Tuæ benedictionis plenitudo super nos, quæsumus, Domine, copiosa descendat :  et jugiter sancti Alberti Confessoris tui atque Pontificis placare suffragiis. Per Dominum.  Amen.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

24 September -- Our Lady of Walsingham

September 24 is the new(-ish) feast day of Our Lady of Walsingham, patroness of England and of the Ordinariates.

Fr Phillips on the apparition of Our Lady.

The website for the two shrines (and the village).

A collect for Our Lady of Walsingham:

O God, Who by the mystery of the Word, therein become Incarnate, didst in Thy mercy consecrate the House of the Blessed Virgin Mary; grant that, forsaking the tents of sinners, we may be found worthy to have our home in Thy holy dwelling-place.  Through the same Christ our Lord Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, forever and ever.  Amen.
The Walsingham hymn:

A sermon for the day:

(And you can, as is so often the case with The Inn, click on the picture at the very top of this post and make it, not just larger, but positively brobdingnagian.)


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

23 September -- St Adamnan of Raphoe and Iona

Today is the feast of the 7th century Irish/Scottish saint and 9th Abbot of Iona, St Adamnan.  Grattan Flood in the good old Catholic Encyclopædia gives a brief life here.  It seems he was not only abbot of Iona but a sort of Abbot General of all the Columban houses in Ireland.  As a canonist he is said to be responsible for 
"the Cain Adamnain, or Canon of Adamnan . . . which freed women and children from the evils inseparable from war, forbidding them to be killed or made captive in times of strife."
It doesn't say what he thought about making them Army Rangers.

Marcella in her comprehensive Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniæ gives a little vignette from his life as a poor student here.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Come One, Come All

This wouldn't be much of an issue if we had a government that gave a toss about our borders.  And if the prisoners of ideology in Washington weren't inviting in our very own supply of potential mujahedeen.  But as it stands it appears we'll soon have a better chance at seeing jihad up close and personal.


Vespers of the Dead for the House of Stuart

It's on tomorrow at the Ordinariate's principal London church.  (Sudden thought: why isn't it a cathedral?  Or at perhaps a pro-cathedral, at least until they get an episcopus?)

In any event, the details are here.  Wish I could attend, but it's the commute, doncha know, what with me being 8 1/2 miles from the Pacific Ocean and all.


Thursday, September 03, 2015

Impelled by the news on the radio this a.m.

When something comes up and you need to pray, the old Roman Missal always comes through:
O God, Who didst break the chains of blessed Peter the Apostle, and didst restore him unscathed to liberty:  loose the chains of Thy handmaid now in captivity, and through the merits of the same Apostle, grant also to her to escape unscathed.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Votive collect #35, "For  Prisoners"
The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual
(The Roman Missal, 1962)


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Dead Voters' Society

If you are registered to vote in Franklin County, Illinois, there is an almost 50-50 chance you are dead. Or live somewhere else. 
The small county in the southern part of the state has nearly twice as many registered voters as voting-age adults, according to a report released last week by the Washington-based Public Interest Legal Foundation.

Lots more fun here.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21 -- Our Lady of Knock

Today is the 136th anniversary of Our Lady's apparition in the little town of Knock in the County Mayo . . . and of St  Joseph and St John the Apostle,  too, for that matter.  The day merits the status of feast in Ireland but doesn't seem to get a look-in in this country.

There are a few pages on the net that tell the story, like this one and this one. The shrine itself has its own page here.  

As is often the case, you can click on the picture above to enlarge it and get a better view of the new shrine church.  (I would've preferred Gothic, but I wasn't asked.  What you see above is almost always the sort of thing that gets built in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  Still, if you visit Knock the old parish church from 1879 is still there and Masses are still celebrated there.  It's a consolation.)

Our Lady of Knock, pray for Ireland and for us.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

100º fahrenheit

Or thereabouts.  The weather thingamabob on my phone says it's actually only a balmy 94º.  But since it's warmer in here than it is outside (because as you learned long since in this space, the computer room is not air conditioned), I'm going to go with the 100º headline.

And that's why just a few notes for today.

98 years ago this day Fr Willie Doyle, S.J. was killed in France by an exploding shell.  The details of his death are related here.  There are more than a few posts about Fr Doyle in The Inn but this one probably has more about him than  most.

It's also St Joachim's day in the old calendar.  It used to be specially noted in the old Carmelite Rite also.  Here's a bit about Ss Joachim and Anne from St John Damascene:

O blessed couple Joachim and Anne, all creation is indebted to you, for through you we have been enabled to offer to the Creator a gift surpassing every other gift, namely that chaste Mother who alone was worthy of the Creator.  Rejoice Joachim, for of thy daughter a Son has been born to us and he is called the Angel of the great counsel, that is of the salvation of the whole world.  O blessed couple Joachim and Anne!  On a certain occasion Christ said:  " It is by their fruit that you will know them", and indeed it is by the fruit of our bodies that we recognize your own purity.  You ordered your lives in a manner such as was pleasing to God and worthy of her who was to be born of you.  By the chaste and holy fulfillment of your married state you produced the treasure of virginity.

And finally, although I mentioned it a couple of times on FB, I failed to let you know in time that the World Pipe Band Championship was being held last Friday and Saturday.  But all is not lost.  Even if you missed getting up in the middle of the night to hear the competition live-streamed in its entirety, the BBC has had mercy on us and recorded it all and put it on line in whole band segments.  You can find it here.  And -- IMHO, of course -- the production is really well done: outstanding colour, sound, and camera work.  And the piping isn't too shabby either.

And I am now off to the only room in the house with air conditioning, the one the pc is not in.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

And speaking of August 13 . . . .

Friday the 13th comes on a Thursday this month.

All the usual precautions apply, i.e., no walking under black cats, etc.  It's bad luck to be superstitious.

And speaking of music . . . .

After something of a dry spell, I'm looking at two gigs in a row.  I had to do a bit of re-hemping maintenance yesterday that I've been putting off.  The blow stem joint, as is its wont, was getting a bit grotty.  And that reminded me that the drones hadn't been oiled in a while.  And that reminded me . . . and there went the afternoon.

The folks this afternoon only seem to want the inevitable Amazing G.   Pretty straightforward on paper. But we shall see what else is requested.  One hopes not too much.  A lot of Scottish wool is being worn for 90º heat.


August 13 -- St Lelia

In the old calendar, St Lelia's day was kept only in the diocese of Kerry.  The new calendar she shares yesterday with Ss Muredach and Attracta.

There is more on St Lelia here, but alas, largely speculation.


"A Regular and General Musical Education"

It would be a direct contribution to the children of the land, of a large mass of solid enjoyment, of an innocent character, and worth more to them than an ingot to each, massy as they could bear home, of Californian gold.

More here.

Of course, this was written in 1853 so he was writing of actual music and not electronic noise.  And so, as originally intended, a splendid idea.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12 -- St Ségéne

August 12 is the commemoration of the fifth abbot of Iona, Saint Ségéne. . . .  Saint Ségéne had a long and interesting reign as a successor to Saint Colum Cille of Iona. He was one of those related by blood to the founder and he featured prominently in the Paschal Dating Controversy. Abbot Ségéne was one of those implacably opposed to accepting the Roman computation for the date of Easter.

Always delighted to find another liturgical traditionalist.

Much more here.


An Inquiry into the 'State of Popery'

‘These Masshouses are generally mean thatched cabins; many, or most of them, open at one end, and very few of them built since the first of King George the First.‘ 

These words are from the official return made to the Irish government in December 1731 by Henry Maule, Bishop of Cloyne in the Established Church (Church of Ireland). The Irish House of Lords had ordered an inquiry into the ‘State of Popery’ in Ireland and each bishop was required to submit detailed returns. The House of Lords wished to know how effective the Penal Laws enacted since 1693 had been in curtailing the practice of Catholicism.There were a number of restrictions imposed by these laws. Catholics couldn’t build a place of worship that looked like a church, it couldn’t be located in sight of a church or beside a main road, and it couldn’t have a bell or belfry.

More here.


Thursday, August 06, 2015

Lions and Real Life

Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? That all the talk about Cecil being “beloved” or a “local favorite” was media hype? Did Jimmy Kimmel choke up because Cecil was murdered or because he confused him with Simba from “The Lion King”? 
In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved, or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror.

More from the Disney-Has-A-Lot-To-Answer-For Dept.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why Does the Republican Party Exist?

 Is it just an arbitrary entity seeking a universal negative, designed to push back against Democratic policies and demand they be more something (efficient) or less something else (expensive)? Or does it have actual principles and priorities it seeks to make a reality? 
The Republican Party’s voters and supporters certainly seem to have such beliefs. But they rarely seem to make it through the process of synthesis that turns such beliefs into actual policy priorities. Being a negative force is not nothing, and blocking bad policy is worthwhile. But when given the opportunity to put good policy into place, or to take steps to make such policy more feasible in the future, where is the Republican Party to be found?

So why does the Republican Party exist?  This article does give an answer or two.  They're not good answers.  But they look pretty accurate to me.


It's just an ad for a book. . . .

. . . . but, under the circumstances, it's rather . . . consoling.  It's pleasing to see it in print again.   The text from Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val can be found here.


Monday, July 20, 2015


But if I be asked what sign we may look for to show that the advance of the Faith is at hand, I would answer by a word the modern world has forgotten: Persecution.  When that shall once more be at work it will be morning.
-- Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953) Survivals and New Arrivals

Friday, July 17, 2015

17 July -- The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

On this day in 1794 all the nuns of the Carmelite monastery of Compiegne were guillotined by the revolutionary French republicans. They offered their lives for France and her liberation from the terror. They were the last executed under that regime and the terror soon ended. 

More here.

And even more here.

William Bush's  "To Quell the Terror" is probably the most complete treatment available.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

14 July

For those who enjoy terror, murder, rape, and general slaughter of the innocent, this is your holiday:  Bastille Day.

Jerry Pournelle reprints this little memorial every July 14 and when I remember in time, I have followed his lead.  I remembered today.  Just.

On July 14, 1789, the Paris mob aided by units of the National Guard stormed the Bastille Fortress which stood in what had been the Royal area of France before the Louvre and Tuilleries took over that function. The Bastille was a bit like the Tower of London, a fortress prison under direct control of the Monarchy. It was used to house unusual prisoners, all aristocrats, in rather comfortable durance. The garrison consisted of soldiers invalided out of service and some older soldiers who didn't want to retire; it was considered an honor to be posted there, and the garrison took turns acting as valets to the aristocratic prisoners kept there by Royal order (not convicted by any court). 
On July 14, 1789, the prisoner population consisted of four forgers, three madmen, and another. The forgers were aristocrats and were locked away in the Bastille rather than be sentenced by the regular courts. The madmen were kept in the Bastille in preference to the asylums: they were unmanageable at home, and needed to be locked away. The servants/warders were bribed to treat them well. The Bastille was stormed; the garrison was slaughtered to a man, some being stamped to death; their heads were displayed on pikes; and the prisoners were freed. The forgers vanished into the general population. The madmen were sent to the general madhouse. The last person freed was a young man who had challenged the best swordsman in Paris to a duel, and who had been locked up at his father's insistence lest he be killed. This worthy joined the mob and took on the name of Citizen Egalite. He was active in revolutionary politics until Robespierre had him beheaded in The Terror.

The link is here.  It's at the top of the page if you're clicking on July 14.  Any later and you'll have to scroll down.

Sort of an appropriate day for this story to come to light again, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


In the event you were wondering, we did survive the Glorious 4th intact and the ancestral manse remained unscathed by the bombs bursting in air.  The rockets and their red glare seem to have landed elsewhere also.  We spent the evening at the house of a friend who lives in a city which thankfully forbids even safe-and-sane explosive and incendiary devices.  We could see a professional show, or most of it, from his garden area.  A nearby golf course put it on,  so I'm told.

The ancestral manse itself did not go anywhere and survived by pure luck.

And holy water.

In the event you were also curious as to why in the post below I put  my own words in the quote feature and the quoted text outside the quote feature, the answer is I didn't.  Blogspot did that all by itself.  I have no explanation. Mysterious are the ways of Blogspot, its wonders to perform.

On Not Living in Fantasyland . . . unless you're a Disney character

I was reading The Remnant on-line this morning, and in particular, this article explaining what ought to be obvious but obviously isn't:  acknowledging reality is a good thing; ignoring it is not.  And someone else reminded me of Kipling, who also thought that one ignored reality at one's peril.  Although, here a somewhat different aspect of reality, to be sure.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!


I wonder if anyone still knows what copybook headings are?  Or were.  Or copybooks, if it comes to that.  iPads probably don't have headings.

And where did I see that reference to Kipling?   Was it your blog?  If it was let me know,  and I'll link to it.  The memory isn't what it used to be.  (In fact, it may never have been.)  The text of the poem came from the Kipling Society page, which is here.  But I looked that one up (and found it here).


Friday, July 03, 2015

It's Only the 3d of July . . .

. . . and already the local cretinhood is making its presence felt detonating illegal explosive devices, rattling windows, setting off car alarms, and terrifying the Alpo out of assorted neighborhood dogs.  And a few cats, too.  There's at least one right now hiding out in the foliage in the back garden, all wide-eyed and apparently convinced that all the demons of hell are after him.

Conquered Again

The Conquered Banner

By Fr Abram Joseph Ryan
      (1838 - 1886)
   Poet-Priest of the South

FURL that Banner, for ’t is weary;
Round its staff ’t is drooping dreary:
    Furl it, fold it,—it is best;
For there ’s not a man to wave it,
And there ’s not a sword to save it,        5
And there ’s not one left to lave it
In the blood which heroes gave it,
And its foes now scorn and brave it:
    Furl it, hide it,—let it rest!

Take that Banner down! ’t is tattered;        10
Broken is its staff and shattered;
And the valiant hosts are scattered,
    Over whom it floated high.
Oh, ’t is hard for us to fold it,
Hard to think there ’s none to hold it,        15
Hard that those who once unrolled it
    Now must furl it with a sigh!

Furl that Banner—furl it sadly!
Once ten thousands hailed it gladly,
And ten thousands wildly, madly,        20
    Swore it should forever wave;
Swore that foeman’s sword should never
Hearts like theirs entwined dissever,
Till that flag should float forever
    O’er their freedom or their grave!        25

Furl it! for the hands that grasped it,
And the hearts that fondly clasped it,
    Cold and dead are lying low;
And that Banner—it is trailing,
While around it sounds the wailing        30
    Of its people in their woe.

For, though conquered, they adore it,—
Love the cold, dead hands that bore it,
Weep for those who fell before it,
Pardon those who trailed and tore it;        35
And oh, wildly they deplore it,
    Now to furl and fold it so!

Furl that Banner! True, ’t is gory,
Yet ’t is wreathed around with glory,
And ’t will live in song and story        40
    Though its folds are in the dust!
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages—
    Furl its folds though now we must.        45

Furl that Banner, softly, slowly!
Treat it gently—it is holy,
    For it droops above the dead.
Touch it not—unfold it never;
Let it droop there, furled forever,—        50
    For its people’s hopes are fled!