Monday, April 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

From Chesterton Day by Day:

For those who study the great art of lying in bed there is one emphatic caution to be added. Even for those who cannot do their work in bed (as, for example, the professional harpooners of whales), it is obvious that the indulgence must be very occasional. But that is not the caution I mean. The caution is this: if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it without any reason or justification at all. I do not speak, of course, of the seriously sick. But if a healthy man lies in bed, let him do it without a rag of excuse; then he will get up a healthy man. If he does it for some secondary hygienic reason, if he has some scientific explanation, he may get up a hypochondriac.

From Tremendous Trifles

And for any interested (who don't already know) EWTN is playing The Apostle of Common Sense on Sundays at 9PM ET and again, Wednesdays at 11AM ET. If you don't have cable you can watch EWTN (Go to the drop-down menu "Television" and Live TV) at any time on the internet, and the audio archives of previous Apostle of Common Sense shows can be found here. Enjoy!

P.S. Don't forget, there's still a discussion going on down here. (:

Friday, April 18, 2008

From Dr. Thursday

Regarding this post... thank you so much

For the ChesterTeens....

The picture entitled "Conversation Piece" of Chesterton, Belloc and Baring is well known. Was it Chesterton himself who christened it "Baring, Overbearing and Past Bearing?" Many elements united the three in a close friendship: love of literature, love of Europe, a common view of the philosophy of history and of life. Frances Chesterton often said that of all her husband's friends she thought there was none he loved better than Maurice Baring.

-- Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton 439

Hilaire Belloc and Maurice Baring shared with Gilbert the deepest things of life, faith and philosophy; they also shared his fun. All three loved convivial good fellowship, all three had an immense and perceptive sense of humour. If Gilbert could not keep still as he posed to Hugh Rivière for his portrait, what must it have been when these three met for the painting of Conversation Piece? From one of these sittings Belloc was absent, and the other two wrote together a "Ballade of Devastation"which appeared in The Times on February 17th, 1932, and has never been reprinted.

They're breaking down the bridge at Waterloo;
They've daubed the house of Henry James at Rye;
They've caught a man and put him in the zoo;
They've let the Japanese into Shanghai;
They may destroy St. Peter's (on the sly);
They all agree that dogma has to go
From pole to pole the shattered temples lie;
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.

Who are these Vandals, these accursed Hoo?
Powers that destroy and spirits that deny?
(You'll find their recreations in Who's Who)
Those who would splash their liquors in the sky,
And drench the stars in artificial dye
They wallow in the wide worlds overthrow;
They would uplift the ultimate blasphemy;
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.

Carlyle complained of Chelsea cows that moo,
Where old world lavender is still the cry
Where Whistler's wizard dreams in green and blue
Rest on the unresting river drifting by;
"The King and Bells" is closing early . . . why?
Where you and I . . . but that was long ago . .
They say that the whole world is going dry . . .
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.


Prince, they've abolished God in Muscovy;
You think that you are safe. That is not so.
Much greater things than you are doomed to die:
They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.

G.K.C. M.B.-- Maisie Ward, Return To Chesterton 154-5

P.S. They're cutting down the trees in Cheyne Row.
I wonder if Tolkien read this. It makes me think of the end of "Lord ofthe Rings"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Literary Converts

I’ve just finished a book called Literary Converts, by Joseph Pearce, that talks about the life of dozens and dozens of writers, actors, poets…, some of them well-known in English-speaking countries and others worldwide, that converted to the Catholic Church: Chesterton, Baring, Evelyn Waugh, Ronald Knox, Muggeridge, Alec Guiness, Edith Sitwell, Tolkien… just to mention some of them.
It made me think and wonder what special circumstances motivated these conversions. Were they sudden or fruit of a long process? Could a similar phenomenon take place nowadays, or must we suffer the lack of literary level and depth in today’s authors? What other circumstances did contribute to the stagnation of that religious revival? Is it so absurd to think of such a renewal movement in this 21st century?
So, what do you think? I know the questions are a bit abstract, but, do you have any idea?
By the way, I saw this picture of Chesterton, Baring and Belloc. Isn’t it funny?

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Tremendous Trifle

As I was slogging through science (nutrition, if you must know), a topic I rarely find enjoyable, I came across an unexpected oasis.

Under an article on roe and its properties, squashed at the bottom of the page:
There is more simplicity in the man who eats caviar on impulse than in the man who eats grapenuts on principle.
~G. K. Chesterton
The laudable book from which I was reading - Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

By the bye Chesterpests, when I gleefully announced this discovery to my science class, I got two raised eyebrows (belonging to different persons).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Post #200!

200 posts!!!! Hurray!!!! And our second anniversary is coming up soon too! Anyways, it's thursday....

Poetry Thursday- For a War Memorial

The hucksters haggle in the mart
The cars and carts go by;
Senates and schools go droning on;
For dead things cannot die.
A storm stooped on the place of tombs
With bolts to blast and rive;
But these be names of many men
The lightning found alive.

If usurers rule and rights decay
And visions view once more
Great Carthage like a golden shell
Gape hollow on the shore,
Still to the last of crumbling time
Upon this stone be read
How many men of England died
To prove they were not dead.


At our catechism discussion earlier this evening GilbertGirl and I decided that the following quote from Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI was worthy of posting here:

And the Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us (John 1:14)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Poetry Thursday- The Strange Music

Other loves may sink and settle, other loves may loose and slack,
But I wander like a minstrel with a harp upon my back,
Though the harp be on my bosom, though I finger and I fret,
Still, my hope is all before me; for I cannot play it yet.

In your strings is hid a music that no hand hath e'er let fall,
In your soul is sealed a pleasure that you have not known at all;
Pleasure subtle as your spirit, strange and slender as your frame,
Fiercer than the pain that folds you, softer than your sorrow's name.

Not as mine, my soul's annointed, not as mine the rude and light
Easy mirth of many faces, swaggering pride of song and fight;
Something stranger, something sweeter, something waiting you afar,
Secret as your stricken senses, magic as your sorrows are.

But on this, God's harp supernal, stretched but to be stricken once,
Hoary time is a beginner, Life a bungler, Death a dunce.
But I will not fear to match them - no by God, I will not fear,
I will learn you, I will play you and the stars stand still to hear.

From Dr. Thursday

Concerning The Queer Feet, Thank you sooooo much!:


Dear ChesterTeens:Alas I have no time to spend, but shall just make some quick comments between chores:

1. How to appear at once a gentleman and a servant: That's easy. If one stands at attention then leans back against a wall - from the side one may appear as a gentleman relaxing, but from the front, an alert servant. (I have not tried it, but it seems possible. This is one of those acting things we need to consult the experts on. I shall ask.)

2. What is the thread: That's a delightful homeage to George MacDonald'sThe Princess and the Goblin - but of course is nothing more than an extended metaphor deriving from our Lord: "And he saith to them:
Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men." [Mt 4:19] This is bolstered by the quote much later in the story where Father Brown says, "You are The Twelve True Fishers, and there are all your silver fish. But He has made me a fisher of men."

I assume you meant those other two paragraphs as questions; at least I have something to say about them:

3. Odd that a thief should repent: Of course, that ought to be obvious having just gone through Holy Week. Someone else, bothered by this idea,elicits this reaction: "Yes," said Father Brown, "and only a convicted thief has ever in this world heard that assurance: 'This night shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.' " ["The Man With Two Beards" in The Secret of FatherBrown, cf. Lk 23:43]

4. work of art: Yes, though of course only God creates (and Man subcreates); the devil can do no more than damage. There is an allusion to this in Tolkien which I cannot look up just now; something about how the Dark Power cannot create, but only deface, or deform. (This relates to the forming of orcs.) But for now I think it important to contemplate another line from another Father Brown story:"I am never surprised," said Father Brown, "at any work of hell." ["The God of the Gongs" in The Wisdom of Father Brown] Real Art DOES surprise - and God gives us such things, and Man (to the extent that He remains true to Art) can cooperate in such surprises. The Dark Powers might shock but can by no means surprise. But Art MUST be"simple" - that is what makes it Art. It is a principle of Scholastic Philosophy that "Any work is more perfect as it is more perfectly one.".... but here I find I am out of time... and I leave you to continue the discussion.

-Dr. Thursday