Thursday, January 20, 2011

Something Lost, Something Gained

Joni Mitchell, "Both Sides Now":

Something's lost but something's gained in living every day.

Rowland Prothero, The Psalms in Human Life, p. 187:

On August 20th, 1608, the great scholar, [Isaac] Casaubon, was going with his wife [Florence Estienne, daughter of Henri Estienne, granddaughter of Robert Estienne] to the Huguenot worship at Charenton in an open boat on the Seine, singing psalms as they went. They had finished Psalm xci., and had reached verse 7 of Psalm xcii., when a heavy barge struck the stern of his boat and threw his wife into the river. Casaubon saved her, after almost losing his own life in the effort. But, in doing so, he dropped into the river his Book of Psalms, given to him by his wife as a wedding-present, and for twenty-two years the constant companion of his travels. They reached the Temple, and were present at the services. When the chant of the Psalms began, Casaubon put his hand into his pocket for his book, and for the first time discovered his loss. He did not recover himself till the congregation had finished more than half the 86th Psalm. The verse at which he was able to join in the singing was the end of the 13th: "and thou hast delivered my soul from the nethermost hell." "I could not but remember," says Casaubon in his journal, "that place of Ambrose where he says, 'This is the peculiarity of the Psalter, that every one can use its words as if they were completely and individually his own.'"

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