Saturday, December 27, 2014

olive trees bearing splendid fruit

In particular, it is recorded of Sir William James, that he regarded this emperor with feelings of abhorrence so personal and deadly, as to refuse him his customary titular honours whenever he had occasion to mention him by name. Yet it was the whole Roman people that conferred upon him his title of Augustus. But Sir William, ascribing no force to the acts of a people who had sunk so low as to exult in their chains, and to decorate with honours the very instruments of their own vassalage, would not recognise this popular creation, and spoke of him always by his family name of Octavius.

(Thomas de Quincey, The Caesars (1851))

None of the immortals or of mortal men heard
her voice, not even the olive trees bearing splendid fruit.
Only the gentle-tempered daughter of Persaios,
Hekate of the shining headband, heard from her cave,
and lord Helios, the splendid son of Hyperion heard
the maiden calling father Kronides; he sat
apart from the gods away in the temple of prayers,
accepting beautiful sacrifices from mortal men.

(Anonymous, To Demeter, from The Homeric Hymns, tr. Apostolos N. Athanassakis (1976))

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