Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Am Not Making This Stuff Up

SETTING: An idyllic workshop, the early days of Spring.

Wisps of fine birch sawdust twitter ephemerally in the late afternoon breeze. In the background plays Number Five of Brahms' Eleven Chorale Preludes for Organ (Opus 122, Schm├╝cke dich, o Liebe Seele). A coterie of dilettantes has assembled to partake in the erudite fortnightly dispensations of our signsmith.

"Dear friends," he begins. "Thank you for accompanying me as I unveil my latest placard.

"As you may recall, during our gathering last month I waxed philosophical on Sortes Virgilanae, a sort of divinatory bibliomancy by which one endeavors to predict future events through careful study of passages of Virgil's Aeneid.

"Ah yes, Mademoiselle DuChamps. You will no doubt be pleased when I tell you that my new French translation is proceeding quite well, in spite of the intrinsic difficulties of transposing the cadence of dactylic hexameter in First Century BC Latin epic poetry onto modern Gallo-Rhaetian-derived languages.

But, as, to borrow an apellation applied to our bard by many post-Renaissance scholars, the "Swan of Mantua" himself once wrote in Book III of the Ecologues: Latet anguis in herba. A snake lurks in the grass.

"So who among you needs his or her lawn mowned?"



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