It is a curious thing, but as one travels the world getting older and older, it appears that happiness is easier to get used to than despair. The second time you have a root beer float, for instance, your happiness at sipping the delicious concoction may not be quite as enormous as when you first had a root beer float, and the twelfth time your happiness may be still less enormous, until root beer floats begin to offer you very little happiness at all, because you have become used to the taste of vanilla ice cream and root beer mixed together. However, the second time you find a thumbtack in your root beer float, your despair is much greater than the first time, when you dismissed the thumbtack as a freak accident rather than part of the scheme of a soda jerk, a phrase which here means "ice cream shop employee who is trying to injure your tongue, " and by the twelfth time you find a thumbtack, your despair is even greater still, until you can hardly utter the phrase "root beer float" without bursting into tears. It is almost as if happiness is an acquired taste, like coconut cordial or ceviche, to which you can eventually become accustomed, but despair is something surprising each time you encounter it.
It's important to know that at the end of the day it's not the medals you remember. What you remember is the process -- what you learn about yourself by challenging yourself, the experiences you share with other people, the honesty the training demands -- those are things nobody can take away from you whether you finish twelfth or you're an Olympic Champion.
Now the twelfth canto of Book II is an almost literal translation from Tasso description in the Jerusalem Delivered of the island of Armida. That poem was not printed till 1582. It is likely enough that Spenser may have seen part of it in manuscript, which would account for the general resemblance of the Adonis passages, though the likeness is not close enough to make any debt certain.
But what I really long to know you do not tell either: what you feel, although I've given you hints by the score of my regard. You like me. You wouldn't waste time or paper on a being you didn't like. But I think I've loved you since we met at your mother's funeral. I want to be with you forever and beyond, but you write that you are too young to marry or too old or too short or too hungry---until I crumple your letters up in despair, only to smooth them out again for a twelfth reading, hunting for hidden meanings.
Gail Carson Levine
On my twelfth birthday, I got a new bicycle as a present from my folks, and I rode it to a fair that was being held at the Columbia Gymnasium, and when I come out, my bike was gone. I was so mad I was crying, and a policeman, Joe Martin, come up and I told him I was going to whip whoever took my bike. He said I ought to take some boxing lessons to learn how to whip the thief better, and I did. That's when I started fighting.
Well, sir to say that when the impossible has been eliminated, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth, is to make the assumption, usually justified, that everything that is to be considered has indeed been considered. Let us suppose we have considered ten factors. Nine are clearly impossible. Is the tenth, however improbable, therefore true? What if there were an eleventh factor, and a twelfth, & a thirteenth...
Writers in what we now call the Middle English period (late twelfth century to 1485) did not necessarily always write in English. The language was in a state of flux: attempts were made to assert the French language, to keep down the local language, English, and to make the language of the church (Latin) the language of writing.
Heaped on the floor were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, bartrels of oysters, re-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.
A strong, vague persuasion that it was better to go forward than backward, and that I could go forward- that a way, however narrow and difficult, would in time open- predominated over other feelings: its influence hushed them so far, that at last I became sufficiently tranquil to be able to say my prayers and seek my couch. I had just extinguished my candle and lain down, when a deep, low, mighty tone swung through the night. At first I knew it not; but it was uttered twelve times, and at the twelfth colossal hum and trembling knell, I said: 'I lie in the shadow of St. Paul's.
In the twelfth century the Basque fishermen of Biarritz used to hunt whales with deadly efficiency. When the whales sensibly moved away, the Basques chased them further and further, with the consequence that the fishermen of Biarritz discovered America before Columbus did. This is a matter for local pride but on a larger view it is not quite so stunning, since with the possible exception of the Swiss everybody discovered America before Columbus did.
Even though peak experiences might show us the truth and inform us about why we are training, they are essentially no big deal. If we can't integrate them into the ups and downs of our lives, if we cling to them, they will hinder us. We can trust our experiences as valid, but then we have to move on and learn how to get along with our neighbors. Then even the most remarkable insights can begin to permeate our lives. As the twelfth-century Tibetian yogi Milarepa said when he heard of his student Gampopa's peak experiences, 'They are neither good not bad. Keep meditation.'
Inwardness is the characteristic feature of the vegetable rather than the animal approach to existence. The animals move, migrate and swarm, while plants hold fast. Plants live in a dimension characterised by solid state, the fixed and the enduring. If there is movement in the consciousness of plants then it must be the movement of spirit and attention in the domain of vegetal imagination. (...) This is the truth that the shamans have always known and practiced. Awareness of the green side of mind was called Veriditas by the twelfth century visionary Hildegard Von Bingen.
An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century, but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays. You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable to half-past three, but not suitable to half-past four. What a man can believe depends upon his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
His epitaph: This tomb hold Diophantus, Ah, what a marvel! And the tomb tells scientifically the measure of his life. God vouchsafed that he should be a boy for the sixth part of his life; when a twelfth was added, his cheeks acquired a beard; He kindled for him the light of marriage after a seventh, and in the fifth year after his marriage He granted him a son. Alas! late-begotten and miserable child, when he had reached the measure of half his father's life, the chill grave took him. After consoling his grief by this science of numbers for four years, he reached the end of his life.
The most interesting inconsistency in thought is connected with the Bower of Bliss. This passage-the twelfth canto of the second Book-is probably the best known in the whole poem and the most frequently cited as an example of Spenser's sensuous beauty. Professor de Selincourt writes: 'Those who blame Spenser for lavishing the resources of his art upon this canto, and filling it with magic beauty, have never been at the heart of the experience it shadows. It is from the ravishing loveliness of all that surrounds and leads to the Bower of Acrasia that she herself draws her almost irresistible power. When Guyon has bound Acrasia and destroyed the Bower of Bliss he has achieved his last and hardest victory.
Things weren't always as good as they are now. In school we learned that in the old days, the dark days, people didn't realize how deadly a disease love was. For a long time they even viewed it as a good thing, something to be celebrated and pursued. Of course that's one of the reasons it's so dangerous: It affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being. (That's symptom number twelve, listed in the amor deliria nervosa section of the twelfth edition of The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook, or The Book of Shhh, as we call it.) Instead people back then named other diseases-stress, heart disease, anxiety, depression, hypertension, insomnia, bipolar disorder-never realizing that these were, in fact, only symptoms that in the majority of cases could be traced back to the effects of amor deliria nervosa.
In the early twelfth century century the Virgin had been the supreme protectress of civilisation. She had taught a race of tough and ruthless barbarians the virtues of tenderness and compassion. The great cathedrals of the Middle Ages were her dwelling places upon earth. In the Renaissance, while remaining the Queen of Heaven, she became also the human mother in whom everyone could recognise qualities of warmth and love and approachability... The stabilising, comprehensive religions of the world, the religions which penetrate to every part of a man's being-in Egypt, India or China-gave the female principle of creation at least as much importance as the male, and wouldn't have taken seriously a philosophy that failed to include them both... It's a curious fact that the all-male religions have produced no religious imagery-in most cases have positively forbidden it. The great religious art of the world is deeply involved with the female principle.
I've been mistaken to assume that in this little village in the spring, so like a dream or a poem, life is a matter only of the singing birds, the falling blossoms, and the bubbling springs. The real world has crossed mountains and seas and is bearing down even on this isolated village, whose inhabitants have doubtless lived here in peace down the long stretch of years ever since they fled as defeated warriors from the great clan wars of the twelfth century. Perhaps a millionth part of the blood that will dye the wide Manchurian plains will gush from this young man's arteries, or seethe forth at the point of the long sword that hangs at his waist. Yet here this young man sits, beside an artist for whom the sole value of human life lies in dreaming. If I listen carefully, I can even hear the beating of his heart, so close are we. And perhaps even now, within that beat reverberates the beating of the great tide that is sweeping across the hundreds of miles of that far battlefield. Fate has for a brief and unexpected moment brought us together in this room, but beyond that it speaks no more.
Do not allow your children to celebrate the days on which unbelief and superstition are being catered to. They are admittedly inclined to want this because they see that the children of Roman Catholic parents observe those days. Do not let them attend carnivals, observe Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras), see Santa Claus, or observe Twelfth Night, because they are all remnants of an idolatrous papacy. You must not keep your children out of school or from work on those days nor let them play outside or join in the amusement. The Lord has said, 'After the doings of the land of Egypt, where you lived, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, where I bring you, you shall not do: neither shall you walk in their ordinances' (Lev. 18:3). The Lord will punish the Reformed on account of the days of Baal (Hosea 2:12-13), and he also observes what the children do on the occasion of such idolatry (Jer. 17:18). Therefore, do not let your children receive presents on Santa Claus day, nor let them draw tickets in a raffle and such things. Pick other days on which to give them the things that amuse them, and because the days of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost have the same character, Reformed people must keep their children away from these so-called holy days and feast days.
There is a degree of emotional impact in the nature poetry of the eighteenth century which marks a shift in sensibility towards what came to be called 'the sublime'. The concept, from classical Greek, came to England through the French of Boileau, and reached its definitive explication in Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757-59). This is a key text of the times, displaying an emphasis on feelings and on imagination, which is almost the antithesis of the neoclassical insistence on form and reason. Burke's idea of the sublime goes beyond natural beauty (although the beauty of nature is very much a part of it) and goes into the realms of awe, or 'terror'. The sublime is, for Burke, 'productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling'. Terror, emotion, feeling: all these represent a break from the intellectual rigours of the Augustan age, and are in one sense a reaction against the new pressures of society and bourgeois concerns... The link between the sublime and terror is most clearly seen in the imaginative exaggeration of the Gothic novel - a form which concentrated on the fantastic, the macabre and the supernatural, with haunted castles, spectres from the grave and wild landscapes. It is significant that the term 'Gothic' originally had mediaeval connotations: this is the first of several ways of returning to pre-Renaissance themes and values which is to be found over the next hundred years or so. The novels of the 1760s to the 1790s, however, gave the term 'Gothic' the generic meaning of horror fantasy. The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole (son of the prime minister Sir Robert Walpole) was the first of this kind, and the sub-genre has flourished ever since... .. Like many texts of its times, Walpole's novel purported to be a translation of an ancient manuscript dating from the eleventh or twelfth century. There was a strange fashion for these mediaeval rediscoveries, Thomas Chatterton and James Macpherson (Ossian) being notable contributors to the trend. Whether this was a deliberate avoidance of boastful originality or an attempt to give the works involved some spurious historical validity is not clear. Peter Ackroyd's novel Chatterton (1987) examines the phenomenon.