Saturday, August 22, 2015

What was Beowulf's Sword?

... would he perhaps wield an Vlfberht?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Applied Poetics

There has been a trend, recently, in public singing of the Canadian National Anthem, to alternate between the Two Official Languages so as not to be jumping into the middle of a sentence: for a long time, the break was "From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee./[...] Et ta valeur..."; not to mention the logical interruption and the dull flavour of the middle English/final French couplets, this older switch also had the curious effect of completely secularizing the Anthem as sung. More recently however, one has usually heard
O Canada, our home and native land
True patriot love in all thy sons command
Car ton bras portait l'épée, il sait porter la Croix
Ton histoire est un époppée des plus brilliants exploits
God, keep our land glorious and free
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee
Altogether, it's got more "Canada" than the older form, appeal to the Divine and commemoration of the Cross as the Cross borne by the faithful (which weren't together in either language separately). Altogether, I might heartily approve of the change, especially if those who sing it also mean it.

I pray it does us some good, too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"I will harden the heart of Pharaoh..."

I have contended elsewhere that the title text need not imply any extraordinary action on God's part, and it is sufficient for the narrative that God allow Pharaoh's heart to harden itself.

At the same time, being an individual of some stubbornness and occasional truculence, I know so closely how it's quite possible that what hardened Pharaoh's heart was the knowledge of goodness (and, again, there is Malachi). Can you imagine a voice speaking truth in Pharaoh's heart: "You have let them start out, and that will be to the good; but are you still reluctant? See how futile your beast gods have proved! and how weak and sickly their service has made your children, your firstborn! Will you not turn to me and join your worship with my people's?" et.c. For: Pharaoh has a choice to make: to forsake the gods that proved false, or to try still to serve them. The choice was foretold, but that does not mean it was made for him or without him.