söndag 11 januari 2009

A lunatic post

From Klappa, klappa händer by Maria Moberg
I happened on this picture today and since I've been reading — well, not really reading, looking at comes closer to the truth — "Moon Lore" by Timothy Harley lately I thought I share both the picture and a few excerpt from the book.
In English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek, the moon is feminine; but in all the Teutonic tongues the moon is masculine. Which of the twain is its true gender? We go back to the Sanskrit for an answer. Professor Max Müller rightly says, "It is no longer denied that for throwing light on some of the darkest problems that have to be solved by the student of language, nothing is so useful as a critical study of Sanskrit." Here the word for the moon is mâs, which is masculine. Mark how even what Hamlet calls "words, words, words" lend their weight and value to the adjustment of this great argument. The very moon is masculine, and, like Wordsworth's child, is "father of the man."

We cross the Atlantic, and among the Greenlanders discover a myth, which is sui generis. "The sun and moon are nothing else than two mortals, brother and sister. They were playing with others at children's games in the dark, when Malina, being teased in a shameful manner by her brother Anninga, smeared her hands with the soot of the lamp, and rubbed them over the face and hands of her persecutor, that she might recognise him by daylight. Hence arise the spots in the moon. Malina wished to save herself by flight, but her brother followed at her heels. At length she flew upwards, and became the sun. Anninga followed her, and became the moon; but being unable to mount so high, he runs continually round the sun, in hopes of some time surprising her. When he is tired and hungry in his last quarter, he leaves his house on a sledge harnessed to four huge dogs, to hunt seals, and continues abroad for several days. He now fattens so prodigiously on the spoils of the chase, that he soon grows into the full moon. He rejoices on the death of women, and the sun has her revenge on the death of men; all males therefore keep within doors during an eclipse of the sun, and females during that of the moon."


"From my palace of light I look down upon earth,
When the tiny stars are twinkling round me;
Though centuries old, I am now as bright
As when at my birth Old Adam found me.
Oh! the strange sights that I have seen,
Since earth first wore her garment of green!
King after king has been toppled down,
And red-handed anarchy's worn the crown!
From the world that's beneath me I crave not a boon,
For a shrewd old fellow's the Man in the Moon.
And I looked on 'mid the watery strife,
When the world was deluged and all was lost
Save one blessed vessel, preserver of life,
Which rode on through safety, though tempest tost.
I have seen crime clothed in ermine and gold,
And virtue shuddering in winter's cold.
I have seen the hypocrite blandly smile,
While straightforward honesty starved the while.
Oh! the strange sights that I have seen,
Since earth first wore her garment of green!
I have gazed on the coronet decking the brow
Of the villain who, breathing affection's vow,
Hath poisoned the ear of the credulous maiden,
Then left her to pine with heart grief laden.
Oh! oh! if this, then, be the world, say I,
I'll keep to my home in the clear blue sky;
Still to dwell in my planet I crave as a boon,
For the earth ne'er will do for the Man in the Moon."
0000000 The Man in the Moon, by C. Sloman.

00000000London, 1848, Music by E. J. Loder.

A candle, a candle
To light me to bed;
A pillow, a pillow
To tuck up my head.
The moon is as sleepy as sleepy can be,
The stars are all pointing their fingers at me,
And Missus Hop-Robin, way up in her nest,
Is rocking her tired little babies to rest.
So give me a blanket
To tuck up my toes,
And a little soft pillow
To snuggle my nose.

From The Peter Patter Book of Nursery Rhymes by Leroy F. Jackson with illustrations by Blanche Fisher Wright

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