I DEDICATE this gardening/yardwork post to my late cousin Sue who kept an immaculate home and patio with flower garden in the Dallas, Texas area. The loving gardening and yardwork effort was rewarded with the community honor of Yard of the Month. Needless to say, her hospitality was sublime. Sue was so pretty, with an alluring humble nature, and a voice that engaged your interest. She will be greatly missed by her husband, caregivers, and three daughters. She was adored by her granddaughters, and a help to those coming her way.
In a later post, you may see a couple of attractive young women’s faces from the forties, as were Sue, her sister Lavona, my mother Louise, her sisters Inez and Eunice. Others of that era were named Dorothy, Tressie, and Blanche. I enjoy the sound of those names.
In the family portrait below, one I have enjoyed viewing through the decades, Sue is the little girl on the right. Her parents Euell and Blanche stand behind her. Louise and Glenn anchor the other side.
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Gardening Equipment: Waterproof Gloves and Ice Water, Covered
Pleasant colors that attract you and good quality in tools, such as pruning shears, help create enjoyment in gardening and yardwork. Care of property is a good thing.
Consider these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“When I go into the garden with a spade, and I dig a bed,
I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover
That I have been defrauding myself all this time
In letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.”
“Garden” by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American, Harvard graduate, authored a book NATURE and other books, sermons and addresses, poems, and more. An essay “Self-Reliance” is reputed to have once been the most often quoted essay in American literature. Hmmm . . . does that put him up there at the level of Abraham Lincoln?
Many things the garden shows,
And pleased I stray
From tree to tree
Watching the white pear-bloom,
Bee-infested quince or plum.
I could walk days, years, away
Till the slow ripening, secular tree
Had reached its fruiting-time,
Nor think it long.
Solar insect on the wing
In the garden murmuring,
Soothing with thy summer horn
Swains by winter pinched and worn.
O N T H E S U B J E C T O F G O O D N E S S . . .
I have in my blog a desire to express interest in the goodness of the individuals in my family. Being older and in the memoir stage of life, I see the gentleness of the matrix in which I was fortunate to be reared, so long ago, when the times were slower, more deliberate.
PRESENTATION OF AN EARLY 17TH-CENTURY ESSAY
Researching Francis Bacon (1561-1626), scholar in philosophy and scientific method, I found a statement that said he considered his essay writing a kind of gentleman’s hobby. This English major was reminded (assuming that I learned it in college originally) that Bacon wrote during the Tudor period (1484-1603) and beyond to the changeful Stuart England (1603-1700). I have enjoyed, through the years, studying the Stuart monarchs, because of our ancestor coming through Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, involved in Charles I’s court. My reason for including this old essay by Bacon is that it talks of a character trait not much mentioned in this day and time—goodness. Over the recent years, emphasis on goodness seems to have become supplanted by emphasis on lies, crassness and insults, and violence. Perhaps there is a strange wake-up call, or skin-thickening hidden benefit, difficult to find. My first memoir, Beulah, Zelma, Patricia, Ann, came out of a desire to counter this seeming cultural trend and present goodness in family life. The strain of goodness through one-hundred-sixteen years in four women got a grip on my writerly, reflective self. Retired from public school teaching, I wanted to be with this material, and the desire has held over several years.
OWNING UP TO COPYEDITING BACON’S SENTENCES
Before posting Bacon’s essay on goodness, which I located online, I got rid of a couple of dozen meaningless commas. I do not know why so many commas were stuck in. They hampered the clarity of the sentences. Also, to help patnotes.com blog readers who may tend to jump up for the dictionary, I suggested a couple of substitute words, and they are in parentheses. All the italics are mine. This essay goes on longer than many readers would care about, and thus I have broken it in about two halves, posting the first.
Francis Bacon’s essay: Of Goodness And Goodness Of Nature
I TAKE GOODNESS in this sense, the affecting of the weal (public good) of men, which is that the Grecians call philanthropia; and the word humanity as it is used is a little too light to express it. Goodness I call the habit, and goodness of nature, the inclination. This of all virtues, and dignities of the mind, is the greatest; being the character of the Deity: and without it, man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing; no better than a kind of vermin.
Goodness answers to the theological virtue charity (substitute “love”), and admits no excess, but (does admit) error.* The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall: but in charity (aka love) there is no excess; neither can angel, nor man, come in danger by it. The inclination to goodness is imprinted deeply in the nature of man; insomuch, that if it issue not towards men, it will take (go out) unto other living creatures; as it is seen in the Turks, (by past reputation) a cruel people, who nevertheless are kind to beasts, and give alms to dogs and birds; insomuch, as Busbechius reporteth, a Christian boy, in Constantinople, had like to have been stoned for gagging in a waggishness a long-billed fowl. *Errors indeed in this virtue of goodness, or charity, may be committed. The Italians have an ungracious proverb, Tanto buon che val niente: so good, that he is good for nothing. And one of the doctors of Italy, Nicholas Machiavel, had the confidence to put in writing, almost in plain terms, that the Christian faith had given up good men in prey to those that are tyrannical and unjust. Which he spake (this) because indeed there was never law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth. Therefore, to avoid the scandal and the danger both, it is good to take knowledge of the errors of an habit so excellent.
Seek the good of other men, but be not in bondage to their faces or fancies; for that is but facility, or softness; which taketh an honest mind prisoner. Neither give thou AEsop’s cock (rooster) a gem, who would be better pleased, and happier, if he had had a barley-corn.
[First Half Installment of Francis Bacon’s perspective on concept of goodness]