Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Love Is the Fart of Every Heart

Sir John Suckling (1609-1642):
If when Don Cupids dart
Doth wound a heart,
    we hide our grief
    and shun relief;
The smart increaseth on that score;
For wounds unsearcht but ranckle more.

Then if we whine, look pale,
And tell our tale,
    men are in pain
    for us again;
So, neither speaking doth become
The Lovers state, nor being dumb.

When this I do descry,
Then thus think I,
    love is the fart
    of every heart:
It pains a man when 't is kept close,
And others doth offend, when 't is let loose.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Pleasant Odour

M.A. Screech, Laughter at the Foot of the Cross (1997; rpt. Boulder: Westview Press, 1999), p. 237:
In the West Country when I was a child, a boy who had hoped to have broken wind so discreetly that no one noticed it might be twitted (if his fellows were olfactorily alerted) for 'spreading abroad a pleasant odour'. Our religion was Bible-centred. We would not have laughed if we had not known that we were misapplying a mystical text from the Book which we venerated above all others.6
6. Ecclesiasticus, 24:15 (Wisdom is speaking): 'And as choice myrrh I spread abroad a pleasant odour.'

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Large Brown Ones

Gary Snyder: "It's hard not to have a certain amount of devotional feeling for the Large Brown Ones..."

He's talking about bears, not turds, alas. The quotation comes from Regarding "Smokey the Bear Sutra".

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Effects of the Tibetan Wild Onion

Richard Burton, ed. and tr., Arabian Nights (Night 408):
The Wazir cried, "Verily this fellow is a-fizzling and he boweth his head toward his breast in order that he may savour his own farts."1

1 Alluding to the curious phenomenon pithily expressed in the Latin proverb, "Suus cuique crepitus benè olet," I know of no exception to the rule, except amongst travellers in Tibet, where the wild onion, the only procurable green-stuff, produces an odour so rank and fetid that men run away from their own crepitations. The subject is not savoury, yet it has been copiously illustrated: I once dined at a London house whose nameless owner, a noted bibliophile, especially of “facetiae,” had placed upon the drawing-room table a dozen books treating of the “Crepitus ventris.” When the guests came up and drew near the table, and opened the volumes, their faces were a study. For the Arab. "Faswah" = a silent break wind, see vol. ix. 11 and 291. It is opposed to "Zirt" = a loud fart and the vulgar term, see vol. ii. 88.
The Latin proverb means, "To each man his own fart smells good."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anal Affront

Beryl Rowland, Blind Beasts: Chaucer's Animal World (Kent State University Press, 1971), p. 72 (commenting on The Summoner's Tale):
The Devil is said to flee in dismay from human flatulence.22 A renowned remedy against him, claimed to be effective when all else failed, is to expose one's buttocks and expel flatus at him. Luther thought that the Devil feared anal affront most and when he could not get rid of him by jeering at him he would say: 'Teufel ich hab auch in die Hosen geschissen. Hastu es auch gerochen?' This homeopathic cure was one which Luther advocated all his life, and he relates the story of a young lady acquaintance who followed his advice with success — 'Sathanum crepitu ventris fugavit.' But if it could repulse the Devil, the same desperate method could also expel the imps of Satan. It is a curious fact that although Satan's abode was reputed to be a sulphurous dwelling, for centuries noxious fumes were believed to be efficacious in smoking the Devil out of the unhappy demoniac. The Holkham Bible Picture Book (fol. 30) shows Judas evacuating a devil ex ano and a friar in the baberies of the north side choir stalls in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, stoops down with bare buttocks to make a similar ejection.23
Notes on p. 173:
22 Luther, Tischreden, II, no. 1557; E. Jones, Nightmare, p. 176; Bourke, Scat. Rites, pp. 163, 444. Braddy, SFQ, XXX, notes examples of scatological word-play, e.g. ferthyng/fert; odious meschief/arsmetrike.
23 Druce, Notebooks, F101.
Hat tip: A friend.

Monday, January 23, 2012

An Essay Upon Wind

From [Charles James Fox], An Essay Upon Wind; with curious anecdotes of eminent peteurs. Humbly dedicated to the Lord Chancellor. Printed on superfine pot-paper, at the office of Peter Puffendorf, Potsdam:
I have heard, from several of your brother peers, that your Lordship farts, without reserve, when seated on the woolsack, in a full assembly of nobles ... Fame, my Lord, with her shrill loud trumpet, reports that your Lordship's farts, are as STRONG, and as SOUND, as your arguments - as VIGOROUS as your intellects - as FORCIBLE as your language - as BRILLIANT as your wit - and as SONOROUS and MUSICAL as your Lordship's voice.
Excerpt above from Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, Catalogue CXCVI (Winter 2011-12), no. 122.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A French Expression

Thanks to a friend for drawing my attention to a French expression, "péter dans la soie," literally "to fart into silk." Le Trésor de la langue française informatisé, s.v. péter, defines it as "porter des vêtements luxueux, vivre dans le luxe," i.e. "to wear luxurious clothes, to live in luxury," and the earliest citation is Lucien Rigaud, Dictionnaire du jargon parisien: l'argot ancien et l'argot moderne (Paris: Paul Ollendorff, 1878), p. 257.

This colorful expression reminded my friend, as it reminds me, of a certain candidate now running for the office of President of the United States, despite that candidate's claims of youthful poverty.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vignette of the Poet Thomas Gray

[Richard Gooch], Facetiae Cantabrigienses (London: William Cole, 1825), p. 45:
Those who remember Mr. Gray when at the University of Cambridge, where he resided the greater part of his life, will recollect that he was a little prim fastidious man, distinguished by a short shuffling step. He commonly held up his gown behind with one of his hands, at the same time cocking up his chin, and perkng up his nose. Christopher Smart, who was contemporary with him at Pembroke Hall, used to say that "Gray walked as if he had fouled his small-clothes, and looked as if he smelt it."