Monday, August 29, 2011

Excavation (literary edition)

I've been doing some cleaning and sorting, and have turned up all manner of interesting and forgotten things.  Here is a tiny sampling of them, for your perusal...

First, a postcard - doubtless acquired at a thrift store, given the book it was tucked into - of this beautiful and devastating 17th-century effigy:
It's apparently in the collection of the V&A.  The notes on the back add the inscription:

Lydia Dwight dyed March 3 1673

It reminds me of Ben Jonson's epitaph "On my first daughter" though that was written some 80 years before.

Now (so as not to be thoroughly bleak), let me add this poem by Borges, which i'd printed out and filed away a few years back, and unearthed today (okay, it's in translation, because i have only Sesame Street Spanish...):

The Just
Jorge Luis Borges

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a cafe in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well, though it may not please him
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

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