rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,


No snow yet. In fact, no clouds remain. There's nothing but thin haze and cold, cold air. It the plants that began budding or blooming a few days ago had LiveJournals, they'd all be posting WTF!!!? this morning. Then they'd die.

Speaking of dying:
"In one short week, what hath not death wrought? What desolation! What crushing of fond hopes! What agonizing grief! Thrice the blow has fallen on bleeding hearts, and thrice the Reaper has bidden a fire-side flower to the garden of God, and the harvest-home of Heaven. First, the prattling boy, then the nestling babe, then the eldest born. 'Lovely and pleasant their lives, in death they were not divided.'"
That is from a death notice published in 1853 by a mother, three of whose children had just died of scarlet fever. It was quoted in Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals : The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, about this aspect of which (the book's references to the high rates of childhood mortality so much part of 19th century life) a lengthy post has been made by callimachus at the weblog Done With Mirrors.

(Edit: A comment from callimachus reveals that the quote above was not taken from Goodwin's book, but from one he himself wrote six years ago.)

Though indicating that he's not particularly impressed by the book itself, callimachus has been sufficiently impressed by this aspect of the book to have written this long piece about what he says "... keeps punching through her thesis... to almost wrest control of the narrative." I found the post well worth reading, if grim. A horrified fascination with the appalling frequency of childhood mortality in earlier times is, I think, something that lurks in most of us who have any awareness of history at all. The conditions continue today in many parts of the world, of course, but modern circumstances make it possible to imagine an end to the tragedy. In the 19th century, it was simply the way things were. Thus, callimachus speculates on the effect this reality must have had on the values and beliefs of people of Lincoln's day. It's a reminder of how much the world has changed in so short a time, and how uncomfortably near our own that time is.

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