Friday, October 30, 2009

Unnatural Death

Goya 1808

They shot the six ministers at half-past six in the morning against the wall of a hospital. There were pools of water in the courtyard. There were wet dead leaves on the paving of the courtyard. It rained hard. All the shutters of the hospital were nailed shut. One of the ministers was sick with typhoid. Two soldiers carried him downstairs and out into the rain. They tried to hold him up against the wall but he sat down in a puddle of water. The other five stood very quietly against the wall. Finally the officer told the soldier it was no good trying to make him stand up. When they fired the first volley he was sitting in the water with his head on his knees.

from In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway


Great-hearted Tydeides, why enquirest thou of my generation? Even as are the generations of leaves such are those likewise of men; the leaves that by the wind scattereth on the earth, and the forest buddeth and putteth forth more again, when the season of spring is at hand; so of the generations of men one putteth forth and another ceaseth.


from Book VI of The Iliad, Before attacking Tydeides asks his opponent to identify himself and this is Glaukos's reply (Lang, Leaf, and Myers trans)

Matthias Grunewald about 1500

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