Pro silentio

for Nicholas Manning

I was thinking we were united in silence!

I was thinking we were on strike!

I was thinking we had agreed, the blog's age is over!

I was thinking we had said our piece (our peace) and were out living and thinking until we had more to say, rather than reshooting the same bullet points in hopes that the horse should become even more dead!

I was thinking we were making pie in the other room, and then waiting for it to cool a bit, and then eating it!

I was thinking this was a sustainable possibility!

I was thinking all that, but mostly I was thinking about other things entirely!

Donatus, writer of a fourth century Latin grammar that was wildly popular throughout the middle ages, took most of his example sentence from poetry, especially Vergil -- including for things like "barbarisms" and "solecisms", things which one, in theory, shouldn't do -- he found it all in Vergil and other poets.

Of all the things poets are supposed to do, to classical and medieval thinkers, this seems to be the one they talk about least: Poets discover and work out the ways language works. And yet, in the grammatical texts, that is all poets do, all they have done. And even a crazy poet like Ennius, who broke all the rules, will be remembered, if for no other reason than he did things which no other poet had thought to do.


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