Iόπλοκ᾽ ἄγνα μελλιχόμειδε Σάπφοι

Bust inscribed, Sappho of Eressos, Roman copy of a Greek original of the 5th century BC.
Bust inscribed, Sappho of Eressos, Roman copy of a Greek original of the V century BC.

One Ever-during Night

Catullus at Lesbia's by Sir Laurence Alma Tadema OM RA, 1836-1912. 1865. Oil on panel 15 5/8 x 21 1/2 inches. Formerly Allen Funt Collection.
Catullus at Lesbia’s by Sir Laurence Alma Tadema OM RA, 1836-1912. 1865. Oil on panel; 15 5/8″ x 21 1/2″; formerly Allen Funt Collection.

Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis!
soles occidere et redire possunt;
nobis, cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum;
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

— Catullus V.

Beauty and Booty

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard; May 28, 1818 – February 20, 1893).
General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard; (May 28, 1818 – February 20, 1893).


Camp Pickens, June 5, 1861.

To the good People of the Counties of Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William:

A reckless and unprincipled tyrant has invaded your soil. Abraham Lincoln, regardless of all moral, legal, and constitutional restraints, has thrown his abolition hosts among you, who are murdering and imprisoning your citizens, confiscating and destroying your property, and committing other acts of violence and outrage too shocking and revolting to humanity to be enumerated. All rules of civilized warfare are abandoned, and they proclaim by their acts, if not on their banners, that their war-cry is “Beauty and booty.” All that is dear to man, your honor, and that of your wives and daughters, your fortunes, and your lives, are involved in this momentous contest.

In the name, therefore, of the constituted authorities of the Confederate States, in the sacred cause of constitutional liberty and self-government, for which we are contending, in behalf of civilization and humanity itself, I, G. T. Beauregard, brigadier-general of the Confederate States, commanding at Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, do make this my proclamation, and invite and enjoin you by every consideration dear to the hearts of freemen and patriots, by the name and memory of your revolutionary fathers, and by the purity and sanctity of your domestic firesides, to rally to the standard of your State and country, and by every means in your power compatible with honorable warfare to drive back and expel the invaders from your land. I conjure you to be true and loyal to your country and her legal and constitutional authorities, and especially to be vigilant of the movements and acts of the enemy, so as to enable you to give the earliest authentic information to these headquarters or to the officers under my command. I desire to assure you that the utmost protection in my power will be extended to you all.

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

O.R. — SERIES I — VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, p. 907.

Bride Ban-Chobhair

St. Bride by John McKirdy Duncan; 1913; National Galleries of Scotland (Scotland); tempera on canvas.
St. Bride by John McKirdy Duncan; 1913; National Galleries of Scotland (Scotland); tempera on canvas.

Thainig thugam cobhair
Moire gheal is Bride;
Mar a rug Anna Moire,
Mar a rug Moire Criosda,
Mar a rug Eile Eoin Baistidh
Gun mhar-bhith dha dhi,
Cuidich thusa mise ‘m asaid,
Cuidich mi a Bhride!

Mar a gheineadh Criosd am Moire
Comhliont air gach laimh,
Cobhair thusa mise, mhoime,
An gein a thoir bho ‘n chnaimh;
‘S mar a chomhn thu Oigh an t-solais,
Gun or, gun odh, gun ni,
Comhn orm-sa, ‘s mor m’ othrais,
Comhn orm a Bhride!

– Carmina Gadelica, Aimsire, 71.

Continue reading “Bride Ban-Chobhair”

Ian Campbell, 12th Duke of Argyll

Ian Campbell, 12th Duke of Argyll and Chief of the Clan Campbell (28 August 1937 – 21 April 2001); in front of Inveraray Castle.
Ian Campbell, 12th Duke of Argyll and Chief of the Clan Campbell (28 August 1937 – 21 April 2001); in front of Inveraray Castle.

The Black Watch, August 1918

The Black Watch, August 1918; distribution of packs after action at Rheims, France.
The Black Watch, August 1918; distribution of packs after action at Rheims, France.

Thursday of Columba Benign

Thursday of Columba benign
Day to send sheep on prosperity,
Day to send cow on calf,
Day to put the web in the warp.

Day to put coracle on the brine,
Day to place the staff to the flag,
Day to bear, day to die,
Day to hunt the heights.

Day to put horses in harness,
Day to send herds to pasture,
Day to make prayer efficacious,
Day of my beloved, the Thursday,
Day of my beloved, the Thursday.

Carmina Gadelica, Aimsire, 69.

* * *

Daorn Chalum-chille chaoimh
La chur chaorach air seilbh,
La chur ba air a laogh,
La chur aodach an deilbh.

La chur churach air sal,
La chur gais chon a meirgh,
La chon breith, la chon bais,
La chon ardu a sheilg.

La chur ghearran an eill,
La chur feudail air raon,
La chur urnuigh chon feum,
La m’ eudail an Daorn.
La m’ eudail an Daorn.

Carmina Gadelica, Aimsire, 69.

The Child of Honesty and Courage

You must be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage. Say just what you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right […] Never do anything wrong to make a friend or keep one; the man who requires you to do so, is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. Deal kindly, but firmly with all your classmates; you will find it the policy which wears best. Above all do not appear to others what you are not. Robert Edward Lee, as quoted in Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography (1986) by Robert A. Caro and William Knowlton Zinsser.

On Sunday Will Arise My King

Di-luain thig an doireann trom,
A shileas am bith eutrom,
Bithidh sinn umhail gach greis,
Gach uile na dh’ eisdeas.

Di-mairt thig an t-sian eile,
Cradh chridheach, cruaidh pheinneach,
A shileas na gruaidheana glana,
Frasa fala fiona.

Di-ciadain a sheideas gaoth,
Sguaba lom air shrath is raon,
Dortadh oiteag barra theann,
Beithir bheur ’s reubadh bheann.

Di-ardaoin a shileas an cith,
Chuireas daoine ’n an dalla ruith,
Na ’s luaithe na ’n duil air an fhiodh,
Mar bharr mhic-Muir air bhalla-chrith.

Di-haoine thig an coinneal dubh,
Is eitiche thainig fo’n t-saoghal;
Fagar an sluagh braon am beachd,
Fiar agus iasg fo’n aon leac.

Di-sathuirne thig am muir mor,
Ag iomairt air alt aibhne;
Bithidh gach uile mar a shnodh
Ag altachadh gu sliabh slighinn.

Di-domhnaich a dh’ eireas mo Righ,
Lan feirge agus iminidh,
Ag eisdeachd ri searbh ghloir gach fir,
Crois dhearg air gach guala dheis.

Carmina Gadelica, Aimsire, 81, Duan na Dilinn, Poem of the Flood.

* * *

On Monday will come the great storm
Which the airy firmament will pour,
We shall be obedient the while,
All who will hearken.

On Tuesday will come the other element,
Heart paining, hard piercing,
Wringing from pure pale cheeks
Blood, like showers of wine.

On Wednesday will blow the wind,
Sweeping bare strath and plain,
Showering gusts of galling grief,
Thunder bursts and rending hills.

On Thursday will pour the shower,
Driving people into blind flight,
Faster than the foliage on the trees,
Like the leaves of Mary’s plant in terror trembling.

On Friday will come the dool cloud of darkness,
The direst dread that ever came over the world,
Leaving multitudes bereft of reason,
Grass and fish beneath the same flagstone.

On Saturday will come the great sea,
Rushing like a mighty river;
All will be at their best
Hastening to a hill of safety.

On Sunday will arise my King,
Full of ire and tribulation,
Listening to the bitter talk of each man,
A red cross on each right shoulder.

— Carmina Gadelica, Aimsire, 81, Duan na Dilinn, Poem of the Flood.

Last Words of Edmund Ruffin

Edmund Ruffin (5 January 1794 – 17 June 1865).
Edmund Ruffin (5 January 1794 – 17 June 1865).

“I here declare my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule — to all political, social and business connection with the Yankees and to the Yankee race. Would that I could impress these sentiments, in their full force, on every living Southerner and bequeath them to every one yet to be born! May such sentiments be held universally in the outraged and down-trodden South, though in silence and stillness, until the now far-distant day shall arrive for just retribution for Yankee usurpation, oppression and atrocious outrages, and for deliverance and vengeance for the now ruined, subjugated and enslaved Southern States!

And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will be near my latest breath, I here repeat and would willingly proclaim my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule — to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, and the perfidious, malignant and vile Yankee race.”

— Edmund Ruffin (5 January 1794 – 17 June 1865).

Warring Sighs and Groans I’ll Wage Thee

Robert Burns.
Robert Burns.

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee!
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu’ twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy;
Naething could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee!

Ae Fond Kiss, Robert Burns, 1791.

Tu Es Petrus (At Least for Another Week)

Today’s news of the pending “resignation”of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is most distressing — not simply the notion that a pope would abdicate the throne, (though I seem to remember that St. Peter persevered to the bitter end on a Roman cross), but because of the practical ramifications of the Holy Father’s vision of the papacy as expressed in his surprise announcement in today’s consistory.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.

I take great issue with the pope’s idea that a “modern” pontiff need any special strengths more aptly suited to the circumstances of today’s Church than were perhaps necessary for his predecessors. I feel certain that the Holy Ghost need not impart any extraordinary modernist graces to today’s uniquely challenged popes. It has been reported, for example, that one of the factors in the Holy Father’s decision may have been his doctor’s advice to refrain from any further overseas trips.

It seems certain that the Holy Father’s health is deteriorating — perhaps very quickly. I of course pray for the health and long life of the Successor of St. Peter. I can not pretend to know why the Holy Father does not wish to occupy the papal throne until his death — which despite his many and deep personal flaws, his immediate predecessor Pope John Paul II did humbly with admirable grace, despite his very public illness and decline.

The duty of the Bishop of Rome is to govern the Universal Church as the vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, the God-Man Who emptied Himself — in extreme humiliation, openly before the whole world — to willingly suffer, become weak and ultimately, from a human perspective, powerless for the Redemption of His Church. Despite the egotistical and flamboyant escapades of his (rashly) blessed predecessor, Pope John Paul II, the Holy Father does not need to jet around the world headlining outdoor mega-masses that derive more inspiration from Woodstock and Lalapalooza than the Cenacle. Nor does a pope need to receive mariachi bands, trapeze artists, and children’s choirs in front of a cheering crowd in the Paul VI Audience Hall each Wednesday. In fact, he need not be seen at all. For well on nineteen hundred years, the vast majority of Catholics hadn’t the vaguest idea of what their pope looked like in person — and it neither impeded them in their faith nor the supreme pontiff in the exercise of his most dread office.

The reigns of Paul VI and John Paul II have deeply perverted the mission of the papacy, and Pope Benedict XVI has finally and fully acquiesced to this modernist vision of the Petrine Office. Will his successor have the courage to break from this mould or will the papacy descend further into the cesspool of collegiality, Curial bureaucracy, pastoral doublespeak, pathetic impotence, and ultimate irrelevance?

Let us all pray that the College of Cardinals will be open to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and that the new pope will represent a return to the traditional role of the Successor of St. Peter in the Catholic Church.