Monday, February 14, 2011

Claustrophilic keyboards

Blogging's been light, partly because I've been traveling -- I'm in Atlanta now -- but more because the spacebar on my keyboard has turned unresponsive, which makes typing pretty unpleasant. (Keyboard woes are a bit of a leitmotif; some still remember the time, almost a decade ago, that my O key got stuck and I had to invent a fake Scots dialect in which O always had to be ai/ae/a/ui, as appropriate -- except every nu and then I'd break into relentless bouts of O's.) I'm in Atlanta; the adviser's putting me up in his spare bedroom, which is just outside the GA tech campus but quite far from other visible signs of civilization. Back in Urbana Wed.

One can quote without typing so, "topically," here's Chekhov:
Something strange was happening to him. His neck, round which soft, fragrant arms had so lately been clasped, seemed to him to be anointed with oil; on his left cheek near his moustache where the unknown had kissed him there was a faint chilly tingling sensation as from peppermint drops, and the more he rubbed the place the more distinct was the chilly sensation…. He wanted to dance, to talk, to run into the garden, to laugh aloud. He quite forgot that he was round-shouldered and uninteresting, that he had lynx-like whiskers and an “undistinguished appearance.”

And here's Shakespeare (one assumes), from his late play Two Noble Kinsmen (written with John Fletcher):
Hail, sovereign queen of secrets, who hast power
To call the fiercest tyrant from his rage,
And weep unto a girl; that hast the might,
Even with an eye-glance, to choke Mars’s drum
And turn th’ alarm to whispers; that canst make
A cripple flourish with his crutch, and cure him
Before Apollo; that mayst force the king
To be his subject’s vassal, and induce
Stale gravity to dance; the poll’d bachelor,
Whose youth, like wanton boys through bonfires,
Have skipp’d thy flame, at seventy thou canst catch,
And make him, to the scorn of his hoarse throat,
Abuse young lays of love. What godlike power
Hast thou not power upon?
I knew a man
Of eighty winters—this I told them—who
A lass of fourteen brided. ’twas thy power
To put life into dust: the aged cramp
Had screw’d his square foot round,
The gout had knit his fingers into knots,
Torturing convulsions from his globy eyes
Had almost drawn their spheres, that what was life
In him seem’d torture. This anatomy
Had by his young fair fere a boy, and I
Believ’d it was his, for she swore it was,
And who would not believe her? Brief, I am
To those that prate and have done, no companion;
To those that boast and have not, a defier;
To those that would and cannot, a rejoicer.

No comments: