John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

  • Mood:

Today's Forgotten English

A witty or humorous man.
--Rev. Alfred Easther's Glossary of Almondbury and Huddersfield, 1883

Death of Isaac Barrow (1630-1677), English mathematician and divine, who included in one of his sermons these reflections on the subject of wit: "It is indeed a thing so versatile and multiform ... that it seemeth no less hard to settle a clear and certain notion thereof than to ... define the figure of the fleeting air. Sometimes it lieth in pat allusion to a known story, or in seasonal application of a trivial saying. Sometimes it playeth in words and phrases, taking advantage of the ambiguity of their sense, or the affinity of their sound. Sometimes it is wrapped in a dress of humorous expression; sometimes it lurketh under an odd similitude; sometimes it is lodged in a sly question, in a smart answer, in a quirkish reason, in a shrewd imitation, in cunningly diverting or cleverly retorting an objection. Sometimes it is couched in a bold scheme of speech, in a tart irony, in a lusty hyperbole, in a startling metaphor, in a plausible reconciling of contradictions, or in acute nonsense. ... Its ways are unaccountable and inexplicable."

Speaking of lusty hyperbole (or is it acute nonsense?), smrgol_t_kirin relates a very interesting story about someone overlooked as a papal candidate.

-The Gneech
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

  • 1 comment