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April 27, 2009

Mercuriality

A while ago I mentioned the (apparently less well-known) trope of Mercury as the patron of Language; I offer this as explanation.

This was written by a modern poet, but seems to draw on such ancient and rich ideas of the cosmos that I imagined these truths to already have been uttered by some older poet, famous or forgotten-- I still think this is the case, though I wouldn't know how to begin looking for him.

THE BIRTH OF LANGUAGE
C.S. Lewis

How near his sire's careering fires
Must Mercury the planet run;
What wave of heat must lave and beat
That shining suburb of the Sun

Whose burning flings supernal things
Like spindrift from his stormy crown;
He throws and shakes in rosy flakes
Intelligible virtues down,

And landing there, the candent air
A transformation on them brings,
Makes each a god of speech with rod
Enwreathed and sandals fledged with wings.

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