Columbus is having a moody April. Showers, thunderstorms, tempests, shinning emerald grass, trees hoary with moss putting forth diligently the primaveral bud, sunshine and gloom alternating, birds in multitude everywhere. Spring is full upon us.
I’m at the moment enjoying a high tide of good books, reading to the sound of rain. Pelikan, Huizinga, a Waugh revival, Kirk, and a backlog to keep me. To counter the springtime, some autumn from Huizinga:
Symbolism was a poor means of expressing those connections that we know to be essential at time when they rise to consciousness as we listen to music–“Videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmate.” There was an awareness of looking at an enigma yet here were attempts to distinguish the images in the mirror, to explain images through images, and to hold up mirrors to mirrors. The whole world was capsulated in independent figures; it was a tme of overripeness and the falling of blossoms. Thought had become too dependent on figures; the visual tendency, so very characteristic of the waning Middle Ages, was now overpowering. Everything that could be thought had become plastic and pictorial. The conception of the world had reached the quietude of a cathedral in the moonlight in which thought was allowed to rest.
The way he uses the term “reality” in the book is not reassuring, but still Huizinga is tremendous. And speaking of sententiae sprinkled throughout, some advice for preachers and public speakers from antiquity:
Cura oratoris dicturi eos audituros delectat. -Quintillian
Verbum semel emissum volat irrevocabile. – Horace