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Wayside Weeds   By:

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WAYSIDE WEEDS

NOTE

The verses in this volume have been collected by a few of Dr. Ellis's friends, and in this form are presented to him by them as a New Year's gift

1 January, 1914

INTRODUCTION

BY MAURICE HUTTON, LL.D., Principal of University College, Toronto

W. H. E.

There is a Heav'n: at least on earth below: It is where scholars read and thinkers brood: For crowns and halos volumes in a row For angels' wings it has its gown and hood.

In that seraphic choir see Ellis sit! With that Elys ian light his numbers glow: The scholar's seriousness, the scholar's wit, Twin spirits in alternate ebb and flow.[1]

Studious and silent he has read life's page, Scholar and chemist he sees part and whole; Teaching and thought let loose his noble rage And stir the genial current of his soul.

His golden rod absorbs our meaner staves As Aaron's rod the rods of Phara oh, Or as New Brunswick's river name outbraves[2] The pious Jordan of Ontario.

His May blossoms relieve our strenuous May, Our evening smoke curls bluer as we read, The earliest pipe of half awakened day Draws a new fragrance from his choicer weed.

His artless puff balls have a tale to tell, His Flora opens treasures new and old, His way side weeds have been our asphodel[3] His "dandy lines" become our "harmless gold."[4]

[1]Plato (sixth letter 323 c.) speaks of Elysian or Ellis i an scholars "Swearing with scholarly seriousness and with that playfulness which is seriousness' twin sister." Thompson's Gorgias , 41.

[2]See "Weed," p. 37.

[3]See "Weed," p. 43.

[4]See Lowell on "Dandelions":

"Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold."

SOME ELUCIDATIONS OF THE INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITORS

Lines

1. So also,

". . . amidst the fairest flowers Of the blest isles, Elysium's blooming bowers."

Greek inscription on a marble at Rome. Neaves, Greek Anthology , Edin. , 1874, p. 62 ("blooming," vulgarism, meaning weedy.)

2. Cf. Ezekiel , xxxvii. 1, 2.

3. Academic "crowns and halos" (cf. Seneca, Naturales Questiones , 1, 2, 1 and 3) must needs, for obvious reasons, be made of paper. Notice also the subtle suggestion that Dr. Ellis is laurea donandus Apollinari , worthy of the laurel (crown) of Apollo. (Horace, Carminum , iv. 2, 9.)

4. Why should "the gown and hood" be required "for angels' wings"? To clothe them withal, of course. The draping of angels with wings and the attachment of wings to the structure of the back of the human figure have presented problems to artists in all ages. The best solution is undoubtedly to cover up the wings, and the gown with its hood is the only appropriate garment. (Cf. Carpenter, Edward, "Angels' Wings," . . . London, 1898, pp. 25 40, in which the anatomical and sartorial difficulties are fully discussed.)

8. Principal Hutton and Dr. Ellis present the phenomenon of homoblastês sprouting (or swearing) together. Cf. Theophrastus, "On the Causes of Plants," v, 5, 4.

10. In other words, Dr. Ellis is at once polupaipalos exceeding crafty ( i.e. master of many crafts, including angling). Cf. Homer, Odyssey , 15, 419, 11. and polupathês subject to many passions. Cf. Plutarch, Moralia , 171.

11 12. A subtle hint of elasi bronta thunder hurling (cf. Pindar, Fragments , 108), or hellissô bômon to dance round about it (whatever it may be)... Continue reading book >>




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