Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863)

The Pig and the Rooster

On a warm sunny day, in the midst of July,
A lazy young pig lay stretched out in his sty,
Like some of his betters, most solemnly thinking
That the best things on earth are good eating and drinking.
At length, to get rid of the gnats and the flies,
He resolv'd, from his sweet meditations to rise;
And, to keep is skin pleasant, and pliant, and cool,
He plung'd him, forthwith, in the next muddy pool.

When, at last, he thought fit to arouse from his bath,
A conceited young rooster came just in his path:
A precious smart prig, full in vanity drest,
Who thought, of all creatures, himself far the best.
'Hey day! little grunter, why where in the world
Are you going so perfum'd, pomatum'd, and curl'd?
Such delicate odors my senses assail,
And I see such a sly looking twist in your tail,
That you, sure are intent on some elegant sporting;
Hurrah! I believe, on my life, you are courting;
And that figure which moves with such exquisite grace,
Combin'd with the charms of that soft-smiling face,
In one who's so neat and adorn'd with such art,
Cannot fail to secure the most obdurate heart.
And much joy do I wish you, both you and your wife,
For the prospect you have of a nice pleasant life.'

'Well, said, master Dunghill,' cried Pig in a rage,
'You're doubtless, the prettiest beau of the age,
'With those sweet modest eyes staring out of your head,
'And those lumps of raw flesh, all so bloody and red.
'Mighty graceful you look with those beautiful legs,
'Like a squash or a pumpkin on two wooden pegs.
'And you've special good reason your own life to vaunt,
'And the pleasures of others with insult to taunt;
'Among crackling fools, always clucking or crowing,
'And looking up this way and that way, so knowing,
'And strutting and swelling, or stretching a wing,
'To make you admired by each silly thing;
'And so full of your own precious self, all the time,
'That you think common courtesy almost a crime;
'As if all the world was on the look out
'To see a young rooster go scratching about.'

Hereupon, a debate, like a whirlwind arose,
Which seem'd fast approaching to bitings and blows;
'Mid squeaking and grunting, Pig's arguments flowing;
And Chick venting fury 'twixt screaming and crowing.
At length, to decide the affair, 'twas agreed
That to counsellor Owl they should straightway proceed;
While each, in his conscience, no motive could show,
But the laudable wish to exult o'er his foe. 



Other birds, of all feather, their vigils were keeping,
While Owl, in his nook, was most learnedly sleeping:
For, like a true sage, he preferred the dark night,
When engaged in his work, to the sun's blessed light.
Each stated his plea, and the owl was required
To say whose condition should most be desired.
It seem'd to the judge a strange cause to be put on,
To tell which was better, a fop or a glutton;
Yet, like a good lawyer, he kept a calm face,
And proceeded, by rule, to examine the case;
With both his round eyes gave a deep-meaning wink,
And, extending one talon, he set him to think.

In fine, with a face much inclin'd for a joke,
And a mock solemn accent, the counsellor spoke --
''Twixt Rooster and Roaster, this cause to decide,
Would afford me, my friends, much professional pride.
Were each on the table serv'd up, and well dress'd,
I could easily tell which I fancied the best;
But while both here before me, so lively I see,
This cause is, in truth, too important for me;
Without trouble, however, among human kind,
Many dealers in questions like this you may find.
Yet, one sober truth, ere we part, I would teach ––
That the life you each lead is best fitted for each.
'Tis the joy of a cockerel to strut and look big,
And, to wallow in mire, is the bliss of a pig.
But, whose life is more pleasant, when viewed in itself,
Is a question had better be laid on the shelf,
Like many which puzzle deep reasoners' brains,
And reward them with nothing but words for their pains.
So now, my good clients, I have been long awake,
And I pray you, in peace, your departure to take.
Let each one enjoy, with content, his own pleasure,
Nor attempt, by himself, other people to measure.'

Thus ended the strife, as does many a fight;
Each thought his foe wrong, and his own notions right.
Pig turn'd, with a grunt, to his mire anew,
And He-biddy, laughing, cried –– Cock-a-Doodle-Doo! 


~ Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863)

6 comments:

  1. Wow. I haven't read that in years. Thanks!

    JMJ

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    Replies
    1. 'Twas a new discovery for me, Jersey. I found it interesting, because it was written by the guy who gave us A Visit from Saint Nicholas.

      How did you know about it?

      Did you notice both pieces of verse are written in the some meter?

      Delete
  2. Manfried GotterdammitallDecember 2, 2015 at 8:44 AM

    Now, if the pigs and roosters, leftwing wackadoos and scolding conservative prigs would simply leave everyone alone to enjoy his or her life as he or she sees fit...

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    Replies
    1. Of all the words from tongue or pen
      The saddest are these, "It might have been."
      The runner-up is almost as sad
      Saying, "Things would be good, if they ween't so bad. " ;-)

      Delete
  3. The Lacanian proof of the Other's existence lies in the jouissance of the Other (in contrast to Christianity, for example, where Love provides this proof). In order to render this notion palpable, suffice it to imagine an intersubjective encounter: when do I effectively encounter the Other "beyond the wall of language," in the real of his or her being? Not when I am able to describe her, not even when I learn her values, dreams, etc., but, only when I encounter the Other in her moment of jouissance: when I discern in her a tiny detail - a compulsive gesture, an excessive facial expression, a tic - which signals the intensity of the real of jouissance. This encounter of the real is always traumatic, there is something at least minimally obscene about it. I cannot simply integrate it into my universe; there is always a gap separating me from it. This, then, is what "intersubjectivity" is actually about, not the Habermasian "ideal speech situation" of a multitude of academics smoking pipes at a round table and arguing about some point by means of undistorted communication: without the element of the real of jouissance, for here the Other ultimately remains a fiction, a purely symbolic subject of strategic reasoning, as exemplified in the "rational choice theory." For that reason, one is even tempted to replace the term "multiculturalism" with "multiracism:" multiculturalism suspends the traumatic kernel of the Other, reducing it to an asepticized, folklorist entity. What we are dealing with here is - in Lacanese - the distance between S and a, between the symbolic features and the unfathomable surplus, the "indivisible remainder" of the real; at a somewhat different level, Walter Benn Michaels made the same point in claiming that:

    "The accounts of cultural identity that do any cultural work require a racial component. For insofar as our culture remains nothing more than what we do and believe, it is impotently descriptive.... It is only if we think that our culture is not whatever beliefs and practices we actually happen to have but is instead the beliefs and practices that should properly go with the sort of people we happen to be, that the fact of something belonging to our culture can count as a reason for doing it. But to think this is to appeal to something that must be beyond culture and that cannot be derived from culture precisely because our sense of which culture is properly ours must be derived from it. This has been the function of race.... Our sense of culture is characteristically meant to displace race, but ... culture has turned out to be a way of continuing rather than repudiating racial thought. It is only the appeal to race that makes culture an object of affect and that gives notions like losing our culture, preserving it, stealing someone else's culture, restoring people's culture to them, and so on, their pathos.... Race transforms people who learn to do what we do into the thieves of our culture and people who teach us to do what they do into the destroyers of our culture; it makes assimilation into a kind of betrayal and the refusal to assimilate into a form of heroism".
    Slavoj Zizek, "From Desire to Drive: Why Lacan is not Lacaniano"

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hadn't seen this one, very nice. Thanks for posting.,

    ReplyDelete

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