12 September 2005

Caveat Lector!

      Obedient (to a point) to the wisdom of the ancients, the Not-So-Good Doc -- recently consigned, kicking and screaming, to being 25-- was left scratching his beard, somewhere between stupefication and diabolical temptation, when rereading through Apostolos Athanassakis' translation of Hesiod's Works and Days yesternoon.   Pray, dear readers, what-- oh what!-- should the Doctor do, faced as he is with an injunction from a man much, much wiser than he?   Question classical teaching?   'Twould be hubris, wouldn't it?   What impudence!   What certain folly!   But, but, but....

The right time to bring a wife to your home
is when you are only a few years younger than thirty,
or just a few years older.   This is the time for marriage.
Five years past puberty makes a woman a suitable bride.
Marry a virgin so you can teach her right from wrong.
Choose from among the girls who live near you and check
every detail, so that your bride will not be the neighborhood joke.
Nothing is better for man than a good wife,
and no horror matches a bad one, a glutton
who reclines to eat and needs no fire to roast
even a stalwart man and age him before his time.
(Too late.)   Ah, what the hell, why am I even thinking about this?   Obedience is not an option, after all.   Finding a virgin in this day and age is a task from which even Sisyphus would shrink.  

      As the Romans would say, "Caveat lector." And caveat lecher, too.   Now be vewwy, vewwy quiet: it's virgin hunting season.  

      UPDATE:   Curiousity made me look up the etymology of the word "lecher." Suffice it to say, the origins are interesting:

c.1175, from O.Fr. lecheor "one living a life of debauchery," esp. "one given to sexual indulgence," lit. "licker," agent noun from lechier "to lick, to live in debauchery or gluttony," from Frank. *likkon, from P.Gmc. *likkojan "to lick" (see lick). Noun lech "strong desire" is a 1796 back-formation.

"The priests had excellent cause to forbid us lechery: this injunction, by reserving to them acquaintance with and absolution for these private sins, gave them an incredible ascendancy over women, and opened up to them a career of lubricity whose scope knew no limits." [Marquis de Sade]
Oh, the marvellous world of tongues....

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