Sunday, November 03, 2013

Bibles and Owls and Spelling and Footnotes and Madness

I should have mentioned that the quotation with all the pelicans and owls and sparrows was from the Bible, making the Bible another book with an owl in it. So I decided to get out my Bibles and check out this psalm! First I got out the old Geneva Bible, which said, "I am like a pelicane of the wildernes: I am like an owle of the deferts. I watche and am as a fparowe alone vpo the houfe toppe." I wonder why the "s"s in "wildernes" and "as" look like "s" and the rest look like fs. Is it because of their placement at the ends of words? Seemingly. But if so, why? It's a good thing I don't wonder enough to do anything about it. I will say that I read an earlier verse in the same psalm - "Mine heart is fmitten and withereth like graffe, becaufe I forgate to eat my bread" - as having something to do with a giraffe! I was puzzled and pleased, and sort of disappointed when I realized it had nothing to do with a giraffe. (There are all kinds of animals in the Bible!) A giraffe with a smitten heart! Aw! A footnote in the Geneva Bible says, "My forowes were fo great, that I paffed not for mine ordinarie fode." I don't know, I think the original is clearer than the footnote! Good times. Good times with the Geneva Bible. So then I got out my facsimile of the first King James Bible: "I am like a Pelican of the wildernes: I am like an owle of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparowe alone vpon the house top." Also, for comparison, "My heart is smitten, and withered like grasse: so that I forget to eate my bread." And I'll be honest with you: it wasn't until then that I said, "Oh! Grass." So then I was like, hey, wait a minute! Where is author John Stubbs getting all HIS weird spellings, like "oule"? Not from any of MY Bibles! So I checked HIS footnote, and found that the Bible verses were quoted from the diary of somebody named Wariston. So those were Wariston's crazy spellings! People used to just spell any way they wanted, and I dig it. And I was like, who is this Wariston anyway? I'm reading about the personal problems of somebody named Archibald Johnston! (Not to be confused with Archibald Scaldee. I guess there were a lot of guys named Archibald back then!) Why is poor afflicted Archibald Johnston ("A big crow frightened him... He dreamed of death") in Wariston's diary so much? So I checked the index and it said, "Wariston, Lord SEE Johnston, Archibald." So I saw "Johnston, (Sir) Archibald (later Lord Wariston)," and that explained everything, but I accidentally glanced down and gave myself a spoiler because on page 444 I am going to read about "his madness"! So I peeked at page 444 and there's somebody "raving and rolling in filth," but not him, curiously. Anyway, fun times.