Tag Archives: Poetry

1559: Not Man, Not Woman, Not Androgyne

This mysterious Latin inscription appears to be an epitaph composed in the 16th century by someone named or calling himself Lucio Agatho Priscius; the deceased was named Aelia Laelia Crispis. DM Aelia Laelia Crispis Nec vir nec mulier nec androgyna … Continue reading

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1956: The Hound of Heaven

In 1893, English poet Francis Thompson published a poem called “The Hound of Heaven.” The work is an extended metaphor: as a hound pursues a hare in a hunt, so does God pursue the human soul to restore it to … Continue reading

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1784: Whimsical Associations

From Paul Fussell’s Poetic Meter and Poetic Form (1965): “In ‘The Poplar Field’ …William Cowper…unwittingly allows the whimsical associations of triple meter to work against him.” The poplars are felled, farewell to the shade And the whispering sound of the … Continue reading

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1899: O ye whales and all that move on the waters bless ye the Lord

Edward Arthur Fellowes Prynne: O ye whales and all that move on the waters bless ye the Lord (1899); from the Prayer of Azariah, a passage that appears in the book of Daniel in some versions of the Christian Bible: … Continue reading

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1828: Sala Dante

Joseph Anton Koch’s frescos of Dante’s Inferno (1825-28) decorate the Sala Dante in the Casino Massimo, a Roman Villa. Several scenes from the poem are illustrated here, including Dante and Virgil’s ride on the monster Geryon (upper right) and Count … Continue reading

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1750 BC: Let Man Bear the Load of the Gods!

In one of the oldest surviving creation myths, humankind originates from a labor action. The story, told in the Babylonian Atrahasis Epic, goes like this: long before humankind, only gods exist, with some more powerful than others. These greater gods—the … Continue reading

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1964: Oh, My Mangled Head!

In his book Alice in Many Tongues (1964), Warren Weaver spends the last chapter using a curious method to evaluate various translations of Alice in Wonderland. He takes the same passage from each translation—a portion of the Mad Tea-Party—and asks … Continue reading

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