Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Chestertonian Epithalamium

Since Saturday is John and Sheila's wedding and Sunday is GKC's and FBC's wedding anniversary, and also the date of Jules Verne's beginning of the Journey to the Center of the Earth, perhaps I ought to ...
Ah well. I was trying to write a fuller commentary on the topic, to be entitled "Just say NO"... but decided to do it in rhyme instead.
--Dr. Thursday.

Just Say NW
(for John and Sheila, with all my love.)

Let us take the relation between man and woman, in that immortal duel which we call a marriage.
[GKC Appetite of Tyranny CW5:257]

...there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. That is why, in spite of a hundred disadvantages, the world will always return to monogamy.
[GKC The Man Who Was Thursday CW6:548]

...the sexes are two stubborn pieces of iron; if they are to be welded together, it must be while they are red-hot. Every woman has to find out that her husband is a selfish beast, because every man is a selfish beast by the standard of a woman. But let her find out the beast while they are both still in the story of "Beauty and the Beast". Every man has to find out that his wife is cross - that is to say, sensitive to the point of madness: for every woman is mad by the masculine standard. But let him find out that she is mad while her madness is more worth considering than anyone else's sanity.
[GKC The Common Man 142-3]

O Lamb Eternal, aid this wedding song!
Bring forth the star's and atom's arcane lore:
A stable nucleus of metal strong,
Mystic iron, our blood's and our earth's core.
Fused in the stellar furnace from two parts,
Which left to themselves would be repelling,
But as the Heart Aflame unites their hearts,
The strongest force of all defeats rebelling.
In ancient tongues an ending odd and rare -
Not one, not many, but precisely two -
The dual: like the duel, warring pair
Which by losing both, reveals something new.
As now you-two in matrimony go,
May God grant both the wit to just say NW.

--Dr. Thursday.
Made June 25, 2009, the antipodes of Christmas.

1. Cf. Rev 19:9: "Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb."
3,5 Stable: iron has a very stable nucleus. Though it is formed in stars by fusion, it does not undergo fusion itself.
4. blood's core: the working component of the erythrocytes (red blood cells) is hemoglobin, which contains an iron atom in its center, which actually performs the transport of oxygen to the rest of the body. The earth has a huge iron core which by rotating generates a magnetic field, protecting us from harmful radiation.
6. repelling: bare nuclei (atoms which lack electrons) have positive charges and repel each other.
7. see Acts 4:32 "the multitude of believers had but one heart and
one soul"; cf. Litany of the Sacred Heart: "Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us"; (cf. Mal 3:2-3, 4:1-2) Also see the "Canticle of the Sun" of St. Francis:
All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
8. The "strong nuclear" force is the strongest of the four universal forces and can unite protons which otherwise repel each other into the nucleus of an atom.
9. In grammar, "number" usually refers to "singular" or "plural", but the "dual" number exists in ancient languages such as ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, and Old English. The "dual" provides endings for things that come in twos. (Latin contains traces of it in the "-o" of duo and ambo.) Also note the pun on dual as an odd ending. Hee hee.
13. See the last line of GKC's Return of Don Quixote:
"I say ... iit in matrimonium."
("He has gone into matrimony" - that is, he got married.)
14. In Old English, "wit" is the dual of the first person, and means "we two"; in Greek, NW (pronounced "NO") means the same. Also see GKC's essay called "Heroic Wit":
...we shall never understand the French until we understand that this wit of theirs is not mere wit, as we mean the word. In fact, this can be very simply seen by noticing the connotation of the word for wit in the two languages. What we call wit they call esprit - spirit. When they want to call a man witty, they call him spirituel. They actually use the same word for wit which they use for the Holy Ghost.
[GKC Lunacy and Letters 84]

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations John and Sheila, all our Chestertonian Love and Good will on this happy Holy weekend.


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