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1. Stating the Problem

Among the other well-formedness judgments they can make, English speakers can assess the goodness of verse quatrains. Consider the nursery-rhyme quatrains below. In each, the line is felt to have four major beats, of which the fourth is sometimes “silent” (Burling 1966:1420, Attridge 1982:87- 88); that is, observed in the isochronous timing of the recitation but not aligned with a syllable.

Hickory, dickory, dock, ∅

(1) a. 3

3 The mouse ran up the clock, ∅

4 The clock struck one, the mouse ran down,

3 Hickory, dickory, dock. ∅

b. 4

4 Four little, five little, six little Indians,

4 Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians, 3 Ten little Indian boys. ∅

The reader should have no difficulty reciting these quatrains while tapping sixteen times on a table, one tap to each underlined syllable or silent beat (denoted with ∅). It is also not hard to find other songs that show the same patterns of overt versus silent beats, described with the formulae “3343” and “4443”.

Now consider modified versions of these songs, with different arrangements of 4 and 3:

One little, two little, three little Indians,

(2)a. 3 4 3 4

b. 3 4 4 4

*Hickory, dickory, dunn, ∅

The frightened mouse ran up the clock Justaftertheclockstruckone, ∅ Hickory, dickory, plickory, dock.

*Nine little Indian boys: ∅

One little, two little, three little boys, Four little, five little, six little boys, Seven little, eight little, nine little boys.

We have observed that listeners find examples of *3434 and *3444 crashingly bad, and indeed often laugh at them. Further, our inspection of extensive data has not revealed any quatrains of the *3434 or *3444 variety. Surely, this indicates that there are ill-formed quatrain types.

Supposing for the moment that the basis of quatrain well-formedness is not simply membership in a list, there is a well-defined analytical problem: to establish which quatrain types are well-formed, which are not, and what kind of rule system could determine which is which. Ideally, this system should be grounded in general principles of rhythmic and linguistic structure.

Hayes and MacEachern Folk Verse Form p. 44

The quatrain well-formedness problem turns out to be more difficult than we had imagined when we undertook it. There are more categories of line than just “3” and “4”, and the combination of these additional varieties is likewise not free; thus hundreds of varieties must be considered. Developing a grammar that generates all and only the well-formed quatrains turns out to be a rather delicate task.

This article describes the progress we have made on the problem. Our work may be of interest beyond the field of metrics, for two reasons. First, our solution makes use of the notion of factorial typology in Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993), not just as a means of checking the typological plausibility of our constraints, but as the core analytical device. Second, we have found that our data and theoretical model make possible an Optimality-theoretic attack on the long-standing problem of gradient well-formedness judgments.

The rest of the article is divided into five major sections, covering background (section 2), data (section 3), analysis (section 4), empirical testing (section 5), and extension of the analysis to cases of gradient well-formedness (section 6). 1



3.1. Couplet-Marking Types Consider a quatrain in 4343:

(7) 4 3 4 3

There’s two little brothers going to school.

The oldest to the youngest called: ∅

Come go with me to the green shady grove

And I’ll wrestle you a fall. ∅ 6 Karpeles 1932, #12I

4343, traditionally called “common meter” (Malof 1970), is the most frequent instance of what we will call a “couplet-marking” quatrain type. We anticipate that readers who recite it in rhythm will hear “first one couplet, then another”; that is, the couplet constituency is perceptually salient. We discuss the basis of this intuition below.

4 The stanza may be defined operationally as the minimal unit sung to the same music. For stanzas that are not coextensive with single quatrains, see Online Appendix B.

5 For background on English folksong (as distinguished from its popularized modern descendents) the reader is referred to Sharp 1907, Karpeles 1973, Abrahams and Foss 1968, and the prefaces to Karpeles 1932.

6 We will list in footnotes some examples of songs and chants familiar to many American children that also embody the patterns in the text. For 4343 these are numerous and include: “Hey Diddle Diddle, The Cat and the Fiddle”, “Jack Sprat”, “Little Jack Horner”, “Old King Cole”, “Old Mother Hubbard”, “Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Three Men in a Tub”, “The Queen of Hearts”, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (first quatrain), and “Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”.



There are several other quatrain types that our analysis classifies as couplet-marking. In the examples below, Green O cadences are marked with long hyphens for clarity.

(8)a. 4 G 4 G

b. 4 3f

4 3f

c. G 3

G 3

d. 3f 3

3f 3

The squire come home late in the night, Enquiring for his la———dy.

She answered him with a quick reply: She’s gone with the gipsy Da———vy. 7

Send for the fiddle and send for the bow, And send for the blue-eyed daisy; ∅ Send for the boy that broke my heart And almost sent me crazy. ∅ 8

The war———fare is rag———ing AndJohnnyyoumustfight. ∅

I want———to be with———you From morn———ing to night. ∅ 9

Last night as I lay on my pillow, ∅ LastnightasIlayonmybed, ∅ Last night as I lay on my pillow ∅

I dreamed little Bessy was dead. ∅ 10

Karpeles 1932, #33J

Karpeles 1932, #127C

Karpeles 1932, #113A

Karpeles 1932, #152B

3.2. Quatrain-Marking Types

Here is an example of 4443, which we will call a “quatrain-marking” type:

(9) 4

4 And she went by the name of the Merry Golden Tree, 4 As she sailed upon the low and the lonesome low,

3 As she sailed upon the lonesome sea. ∅ 11

There was a little ship and she sailed upon the sea,

Ritchie 1965, p. 80

7 More 4G4G: “Jack and Jill”, “Little Bo-Peep”, “See-Saw, Marjorie Daw”, “Pop! Goes the Weasel”, “Yankee Doodle.”

8 More 43f43f: “Billy Boy”, “Six Lumberjacks”.

9 More G3G3: “Goosey, Goosey, Gander” (second quatrain), “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” (first quatrain), “The Eensy-Weensy Spider” (first quatrain), “Sing a Song of Sixpence” (first quatrain).

10 More 3f33f3: “I Have a Little Dreydl”, “The Yellow Rose of Texas” (first quatrain).

11 More 4443: “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, “Polly Put the Kettle On”, “Jimmy Crack Corn” (chorus), “The Muffin Man”, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” (second quatrain), “Three Blind Mice” (second quatrain), “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (first quatrain).



Readers who share our intuitions will find that in such a stanza, the whole quatrain sounds like a single, uninterrupted unit. Here are some other cases that our treatment classifies as quatrain-marking:

Karpeles 1932, #136

Ritchie 1965, p. 14

Karpeles 1932, #269B

Karpeles 1932, #244B

(10)a. 4

4 Beneath the eastern cloudless sky, 4 And General Beauregard replied:

Next morning a burning sun did rise G Prepare to march to Shi———loh. 12

b. 4

4 Falling down, falling down,

4 London Bridge is falling down, 3f My true lover. ∅13

London Bridge is falling down,

c. G

When boys go a-court———ing,

G A-court———ing, a-court———ing,

G When boys go a-court———ing,

3 And then they stay all night.

∅ 14

Up Eliza, poor girl; ∅

d. 3f

3f Hoot Eliza, poor girl; ∅

3f Up Eliza, poor girl; ∅

3 She died on the train. ∅ 15

3.3. Line-Marking Types

3333, of which an example appears below, is what we will call a “line-marking” construction:

In it, we expect the reader to hear all the lines perceptually separated from one another. GGGG is another quatrain that our analysis treats as line-marking:

12 More 444G: “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush”, “Skip to my Lou”, “My Little Red Wagon.”

13 More 4443f: “Michael Finnegan.”

14 More GGG3: “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”, “Ring Around the Rosie”, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (second quatrain), “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow/The Bear Went Over the Mountain” (first and last quatrains).

15 More 3f3f3f3: “Go Round and Round The Village.”

16 More 3333: “Three Blind Mice” (first quatrain), “Here We Go Looby-Loo” (chorus), “Jingle Bells” (first quatrain of verses), “This Little Piggy Went To Market” (on which see Burling 1966, 1421-1412).



(12) GFathergetreadywhenHecalls———you,

G Father get ready when He calls———you,

G Father get ready when He calls———you

G To sit on the throne with Je———sus. 17 Ritchie 1965, p. 50

We have been unable to locate an authentic folk song instance of 3f3f3f3f, analogous to 3333 and GGGG. A children’s song from the collection of Raffi (1980), whose songs in general have the quatrain forms seen here, does contain verses of this type (13a); and a concocted folksong verse (13b) strikes us as well-formed:

Raffi 1980, p. 92

(construct, after Karpeles 1932, #152B)

Willoughby, wallaby, wustin, ∅

(13)a. 3f

3f An elephant sat on Justin, ∅

3f And Willoughby, wallaby, wanya, ∅ 3f An elephant sat on Tanya. ∅

We will assume below that 3f3f3f3f is in fact well-formed.

3.4. The Metrically Replete Quatrain

The first time I saw darling Corie ∅

b. 3f

3f She had whisky in a tumbler, ∅

3f She was drinking away her trouble, ∅ 3f And a-going with a gambler. ∅

The typology of quatrain types implied so far provides no place for 4444 (called “long meter”), which is attested in many examples such as the following:

(14) 4 4 4 4

She fold her arms around him without any fear.

How can you bear to kill the girl that loves you so dear?

Polly, O Polly, we’ve no time to stand,

And instantly drew a short knife in his hand.18 Karpeles 1932, #49A

For reasons to be made clear below, we will not classify this quatrain as belonging to the “line-marking” variety. Instead, we will refer to it as “metrically replete”, since (by our definition of “4”) it can fill its grid with more syllables than any other quatrain type.

17 More GGGG: “Goosey, Goosey, Gander” (first quatrain).

18 More 4444: “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”, “Humpty Dumpty”, “Rock-a-Bye Baby”, “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker’s Man”, “Oats, Peas, Beans And Barley Grow”, “Starlight, Star Bright”, “Georgy Porgy”, “To Market, To Market To Buy A Fat Pig”, etc.



3.5. “Long-Last” Constructions

3343, often called “short meter”, is exemplified by (1a) above, “Hickory, Dickory Dock.” It is also sporadically found in our folk song corpus (e.g. Karpeles 1932, #42A). 3343 belongs to a class of cases we will call “Long-Last” constructions. We anticipate that the reader in reciting (1a) will perceive a line, relatively separate from its surroundings, followed by a similarly separated line, followed by a relatively integral couplet; thus the longest unit comes last.

Our folksong database includes no instances of the parallel Long-Last construction GG4G, but we know of three of them from our childhoods; of which we give one below:19

(15) G What are little boys made———of? G What are little boys made———of?

4 Snakes and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails,

G And that’s what little boys are made———of.

In principle, one might expect also to find 33G3 and 333f3, to fill out the paradigm below:

(16) 4343 4G4G G3G3 3f33f3 3343 GG4G ? ?

But the data “peter out”, as it were. The only examples of 33G3 we have found occur in stanzas that are ambiguous between two quatrains and one (see Hayes and MacEachern 1996 for discussion and references concerning this phenomenon). They are plausibly treated as 44 couplets within a larger 4444 quatrain:

(17) 3 ?Young Johnny’s been on sea, ∅

3 Young Johnny’s been on shore, ∅

G Young Johnny’s been on is———lands 3 That he never was before. ∅


4 Young Johnny’s been on sea, young Johnny’s been on shore,

4 Young Johnny’s been on islands that he never was before. 20

We will refer to such cases as “semiquatrains”, and discuss them further below. 21

Karpeles 1932, #58B

19 The others are “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” and “A-Tisket, A-Tasket, A Green and Yellow Basket”.

20 The rest of the quatrain is: “What’s happened to you Johnny, since you have been on sea? / Nothing in this wide world, only what you see on me.”



333f3 is of more marginal status than 33G3: we have found no clear examples of it even as a semiquatrain. The more awkward status of 333f3 compared to 33G3 can be checked by reciting the 33G3 form (17) above as a 333f3 instead.

For now, we will somewhat artificially treat 33G3 as fully well-formed and 333f3 as fully ill-formed. Later, when we develop an account of gradient well-formedness, we will be able to integrate these quatrains into the system more accurately.

3.6. Quatrain Types with Three Different Cadences

In our data corpus there are a few cases of quatrains in which three different cadences appear:

Karpeles 1932, #38B

Karpeles 1932, #272A

Karpeles 1932, #157A

It’s miles I have travelled, ∅

(18) a. 3f

3 Some forty miles or more, ∅

4 A milk-cow with a saddle on

3 I never saw before. ∅ 22

b. G

3 He smuts his nose and chin; ∅

4 I’d rather marry a soldier boy

3 That marches through the wind. ∅

I would not marry a black———smith,

One mor———ning, one morning, ∅ G I heard———a fair dam———sel

c. 3f

3 One mor———ning in May, ∅

3 Lamen———ting and say, ∅

Although these are not common, and we cannot find children’s song analogues for (18b,c), we will include them in the target set for our analysis: we judge (18a,b) to be perfect, and (18c) seems roughly as good as the similar 33G3 (17). As would be expected, our only example of 3f3G3 is in a semiquatrain.23

21 More 33G3, both semi-quatrains: “There Was a Crooked Man”, “The Eensy-Weeny Spider” (second quatrain).

22 More 3f343: “Frosty the Snowman.”

23 The example, (18c) continues: “I heard a fair damsel lamenting and mourn: / I am a poor strange girl and far from my home.”



3.7. Quatrain Types with Free Variation

In the normal case, all the stanzas in a song employ the same quatrain type. But there is a significant minority of songs in which some positions in the quatrain are allowed to display different cadences in different stanzas, in free variation. The most common of these free variation types is variation between 4 and G. Other types also occur, but to keep the problem of manageable size we will ignore them here. In what follows, the symbol “F” is to be interpreted: “position that may be filled with either 4 or G”. The choice between the two is actually not random, as we will show below.

Our data corpus attests only one quatrain type with F, namely F3F3. The following song manages to show all four logical possibilities in the first quatrain of the first four stanzas (each stanza has two quatrains, of which only the first is given here).

Young Edward came to Em-i- ly His gold all for to show, ∅

That he has made all on the lands, All on the lowlands low. ∅

Young Emily in her cham———ber

She dreamed an awful dream; ∅

She dreamed she saw young Edward’s blood Go flowing like the stream. ∅

O father, where’s that stran———ger Came here last night to dwell? ∅

His body’s in the o———cean

And you no tales must tell. ∅

Away then to some councillor

To let the deeds be known.

The jury found him guil———ty

His trial to come on. ∅ Karpeles 1932, #56A

(19) F 3

(4) F (4)


F (G) 3

F (4) 3

F (G) 3

F (G) 3

F (4) 3

F (G) 3

3.8. Data Summary and Description

To sum up to this point: we assume that the inventory of well-formed quatrains with cadences drawn from the set {4, F, G, 3f, 3} must include at least the following:



Originally slated with the very Jungian-sounding title “House Of Mystery” , Scooby-Doo Where Are you!, as it was re-titled, features a cast of five: four teenagers — Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy — and Shaggy’s dog Scooby-Doo. In each episode the gang, usually in Fred’s van “The Mystery Machine,” ventures from the safety of their Malt Shop world into the great unknown where they encounter a spooky ghost or monster. After splitting up to solve the mystery — Fred, Velma, and Daphne on one team; Shaggy and Scooby on the other — the gang reunites and the monster is unmasked (usually in spite of a best laid plan run amuck) and revealed to be an all too human “local” who was trying to scare people away from some secret treasure. And, of course, he would have gotten away from it if it weren’t for those meddling kids…and their dog.


Although on the animated surface the show stars a cast of five, when the depths are sounded we find only one psyche. When Shaggy and Scooby are considered as one inseparable entity (as their similar names and dispositions seem to suggest), the “meddling kids and their dog” become a quaternity that, according to Jung, is the symbol of “psychic wholeness”. But even more specifically, the gang is a quaternity composed of a trinity plus one: the three super-sleuths Fred, Velma, and Daphne plus the super-sloth Shaggy/Scooby.


“Trinitarian symbols […],” according to Edinger, “imply growth, development and movement in time. They surround themselves with dynamic rather than static associations” . This would clearly be the obsessive mystery-solving trio of Fred, Daphne, and Velma. On the other hand, “[q]uaternity, mandala images emerge in time of psychic turmoil and convey a sense of stability and rest”. This accurately describes the often petrified behavior of the fourth entity, Shaggy/Scooby. Jung himself “tended in most cases to interpret trinitarian images as incomplete or amputated quaternities”.


Furthermore, Edinger notes that Jung continually “returns to the alchemical question: ‘Three are here but where is the fourth?’. And now we can grasp the deeper psychic truth in the show’s title. Scooby-Doo, where are you, indeed? The three sleuths are incomplete without their Shaggy/Scooby fourth.



The Dainas (Lat­vian Folksongs) are lit­tle qua­trains of an­cient Lat­vian wis­dom cap­tured in song. Cre­ated well over a thou­sand years ago, Dainas were part of cel­e­bra­tions, daily work, re­flec­tions on life pre­served in oral form. There are more than 1.2 mil­lion Dainas, with ref­er­ences to them in all forms and lay­ers of cul­ture, from the­atre plays to every­day con­ver­sa­tions. The col­lec­tion of Dainas un­der the name “The Cab­i­net of Folksongs” is in­scribed in the UN­ESCO Mem­ory of the World Program.



Definition of Quatrain

A quatrain is a stanza in a poem that has exactly four lines. Some quatrains comprise entire poems, while others are part of a larger structure. Quatrains usually use some form of rhyme scheme, especially the following forms: AAAA, AABB, ABAB, and ABBA. Lines in quatrain can be any length and with any meter, but there is usually a regular rhythm to the lines as well. There are examples of quatrains in many eras and cultures, from Ancient Greece and China to Renaissance England and Iran to contemporary literature.



Though there are quatrain examples from around the world, the word quatrain that we use in English comes from French word for four, quatre. This, in turn, comes from Latin quattuor. Thus, the definition of quatrain most certainly existed before the word that we now use.


Forms of Quatrain

Heroic Stanza or Elegiac Stanza: This type of quatrain is written in iambic pentameter and has the rhyme scheme of either ABAB or AABB.

Ruba’i: The ruba’i, or rubaiyat in plural form, is a Persian quatrain. The rhyme scheme and meter that are used in the four lines of a ruba’i quatrain are very specific. In English, the rhyme scheme usually used to qualify as a ruba’i is AABA. This comes from the English language poet Edward Fitzgerald, who translated the book The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. See Example #3 below.

Ballad Meter: Ballad stanzas are quatrains that alternate between iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter. The rhyme scheme of the ballad meter is generally ABCB.

Shairi or Rustavelian Quatrain: This quatrain has a rhyme scheme of AAAA, also known as monorhymed. It comes from the country of Georgia, and has four lines of sixteen syllables each. The name Rustavelian comes from the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli. See Example #1.

Shichigon-zekku (Japanese) or Qiyan jueju (Chinese): This example of quatrain comes from Classical Chinese and Japanese poetry. There are seven characters in each of four lines, and rhyme and meter are important aspects of this poetic form. In addition, each line provides a specific role in the development of the poem, as we will see below in Example #2.

Decasyllabic quatrain: This type of quatrain has four lines, each of which has ten syllables with a rhyme scheme of either AABB or ABAB. If written in iambic pentameter, a decasyllabic quatrain would also qualify as the heroic or elegiac stanza.



Common Examples of Quatrain

Many famous songs have verses with four lines in them. These are examples of quatrains, though in song form. Here are some lyrics that fall into a quatrain form:


Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling

From glen to glen, and down the mountain side

The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying

‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.

(“Danny Boy,” traditional Irish folk song)


Who knows how long I’ve loved you

You know I love you still

Will I wait a lonely lifetime

If you want me to, I will

(“I Will” by The Beatles)


Well, it’s one for the money

Two for the show

Three to get ready

Now go, cat, go

(“Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley)


The heart is a bloom

Shoots up through the stony ground

There’s no room

No space to rent in this town

(“Beautiful Day” by U2)

16 syllables each 16 squares QMR
Shairi or Rustavelian Quatrain: This quatrain has a rhyme scheme of AAAA, also known as monorhymed. It comes from the country of Georgia, and has four lines of sixteen syllables each. The name Rustavelian comes from the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli. See Example #1.



Examples of Quatrain in Literature

Example #1

I sing of the lion whom the use of lance, shield and sword adorns,

Of Tamar, the Queen of Queens, the ruby-cheeked and jet-haired.

How shall I dare pay tribute to her in praiseworthy verses,

Whom to look upon is to feast upon the choicest of honey?

(“The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” by Shota Rustaveli, trans. Venera Urushadze)


Shota Rustaveli’s medieval epic poem “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin,” is perhaps the most famous contribution to Georgian literature ever written. Rustavelia wrote his poem in one hundred and ten stanzas, each one an example of quatrain. In traditional shairi, or Rustavelian quatrain, each line has sixteen syllables and there is a caesura between the eighth and ninth syllable of each line.The end of each of the four lines rhyme in the original Georgian verse. While it is difficult in translation to keep all of these components intact, the above excerpt does a good job of echoing the epic nature of the imagery and length of line.



Example #2

This great peak above the clouds, where hermit-wizards came for sport

The deep pools of whose caverns holy dragons have inhabited from old

The snow is like white silk, the rising smoke like a handle

A great white fan inverted, in the heavens above the eastern sea

(“Mount Fuji” by Ishikawa Jozan)


This is an example of Shichigon-zekku poetry from seventeenth century Japanese poet Ishikawa Jozan. Each line plays an important role. The first lines serves as exposition and description of the scene, while the second line further illustrates the setting. The third line provides a change and a hint at the sublime essence of the poem, much like the turn or volta in the sonnet form. The final and fourth line completes the thought. This is an example of a quatrain that is itself an entire poem.





Example #3

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night

Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:

And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught

The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

(The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, trans. Edward Fitzgerald)


Edward Fitzgerald popularized the rubaiyat form of quatrain in his translation of Persian poet Omar Khayyam’s quatrains. Just as with the Shichigon-zekku form of quatrain highlighted in the previous example, a ruba’i quatrain is an entire poem in four lines. While the original Persian quatrains could have a number of different rhyme schemes, Fitzgerald made the AABA rhyme scheme most associated with rubaiyat in English.



Example #4

The Bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,

And I am next of kin;

The guests are met, the feast is set:

May’st hear the merry din.’

(“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)


Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is an example of the ballad quatrain. He uses the rhyme scheme of ABCB throughout most of the poem. The key feature of the ballad meter, as shown above, is the alternation between iambic tetrameter (eight syllables split into four iamb feet) and iambic trimeter (six syllables, with alternating stressed syllables).



Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


POEM: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening


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(color) or (B&W)


by Robert Frost


Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village, though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.


My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.


He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.



"The Road Not Taken" is a narrative poem consisting of four stanzas of 5 lines each in iambic tetrameter (though it is hypermetric by one beat – there are nine syllables per line instead of the strict eight required for tetrameter) and is one of Frost's most popular works. Besides being among the best known poems, some claim that it is one of the most misunderstood.[2][3]


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.



The position given to literature in the Platonic ladder of Frost's famous "four beliefs" is significant: self-belief, the belief of love, literary belief, and belief in God. (32) Not only is literature seen quite specifically here as a matter of "belief," but the nature of that belief is defined by what circumscribes it; it takes off from the human and points to the infinite; it is indeed "the will braving alien entanglements." The Biblical cadences into which Frost's prose often falls are not altogether fortuitous; there was a little of the prophet in Frost's own "style." If "form" liberated one to "freedom," freedom was "nothing but departure," and the creative possibilities were staggering. What mattered, as he came more and more to extract himself from his material, was "performance," the self-definition achieved by means of technical mastery.



Chiasmus - Poem by Cunctus Cope

How is the insulation that comes with certainty?

Certainty that you’ll never be devoid of necessity

Necessity of resource and other triviality

Triviality to you is bad when grounded in reality

I’ve delusions of grandeur, you’ve illusions even grander

I’m a hyperbole never stated, you’re a facsimile self-created

Our closest thing to a link is the parallel that pushes us to this brink

No room to mourn if a canyon’s edge is torn

We’ve been closer together, but always worlds apart

We may have made progress, but did we ever start?

As long as you and I pull further and further apart

This chiasmus is the only bond between our hearts


Suum Cuique…suum cuique… pleno jure…

Plus ca change…Plus ca change, , ,

Plus c’est la meme chose…

…pleno jure…pleno jure…pleno jure…pleno jure…


Colloquial catachresis leaves the mouths without pause

You join with aplomb and bravado to exactly my proposed applause

All in the nobility of equalizing yourself to the underprivileged ones

All against my vanity, my tries to express my proportions


See, both of us know you’re nothing at all like me

To quote you, we have “negative compatibility”

One wonders if that alludes to scorn

At least nothing positive will be born

While one of us succumbs to lack of morale

No compassion can be voiced in the opposing chorale

As long as we stand tense in ivory towers

Chiasmus and irony will be all shared in our hours


How can I leave this be?

Cowardice amounts to shame

I see my filth and fairness

Yet their faces are the same


Rules may be made to be broken

The opposite can apply, but it's often unspoken

But who am I to be philosophical?

My love for you was probably never platonic

Oh Lord, how it seems malicious to mention love

To state cliche, you are so high above

Who gave me the right to taint cliche?


“Action on my part can only mean one thing

For I am a pervert and a creep

Pedophilia is remorse over the school-girl beaten and raped

Necrophilia is eyeing Grandma before the shroud is draped

Stalking is noticing acquaintances flirt with you

Sickness is using something like that to state my view

For you may not mutter what you mean

‘Til clarity, I am still a perverted creep'


I will NEVER accept TEMPTATION or non-platonic LOVE

Malicious is all lust

For your sake I must

Fade into the dust

Sob during the final job

I can return all I’ve robbed

But not that I robbed

Caryl Chessman also robbed


And I'm going south with the rest of them

I declare in dreamy monotone

To reap a fruitless harvest

The seeds were never sown

And I'm straining now to recall your beauty

When my ideals really mattered

Once upon a time, I felt capable of good

Now, my morals lie limp and battered


If I ran to your doorstep with a blade in my gut

You'd twist like I was Judas of old

If you condemn me, you won't feel my sword

Alas, Saul thought he'd go looking bold

As much as you don't want to believe it

Your reaction will determine what I swallow

Barrel of pride, bar of soap, shot of cyanide

Besides peach blossom and bitter almond, I'll be pretty hollow


Colloquial catachresis leaves the mouths without pause

You join with aplomb and bravado to exactly my proposed applause

They just have shortcomings – I have unworkable flaws

This vow of sensual poverty shall save you from my claws



Old English manuscripts have been highly prized by collectors since the 16th century, both for their historic value and for their aesthetic beauty with their uniformly spaced letters and decorative elements.[2]


There are four major poetic manuscripts:


The Junius manuscript, also known as the Cædmon manuscript, is an illustrated collection of poems on biblical narratives.

The Exeter Book is an anthology, located in the Exeter Cathedral since it was donated there in the 11th century.

The Vercelli Book contains both poetry and prose; it is not known how it came to be in Vercelli.

The Beowulf Manuscript (British Library Cotton Vitellius A. xv), sometimes called the Nowell Codex, contains prose and poetry, typically dealing with monstrous themes, including Beowulf.[9]



The Four Branches of the Mabinogi or Pedair Cainc Y Mabinogi are the earliest prose stories in the literature of Britain. Originally written in Wales in Middle Welsh, but widely available in translations, the Mabinogi is generally agreed to be a single work in four parts, or "Branches." The interrelated tales can be read as mythology, political themes, romances, or magical fantasies. They appeal to a wide range of readers, from young children to the most sophisticated adult. The tales are popular today in book format, as storytelling or theatre performances; they appear in recordings and on film, and continue to inspire many reinterpretations in artwork and modern fiction.



The early-4th century Verona List, the late-4th century work of Sextus Rufus, and the early-5th century List of Offices and work of Polemius Silvius all list four provinces by some variation of the names Britannia I, Britannia II, Maxima Caesariensis, and Flavia Caesariensis; all of these seem to have initially been directed by a governor (praeses) of equestrian rank



Pharaoh (Polish: Faraon) is the fourth and last major novel by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus (1847–1912). Composed over a year's time in 1894–95, serialized in 1895–96, and published in book form in 1897, it was the sole historical novel by an author who had earlier disapproved of historical novels on the ground that they inevitably distort history.



In cryptography, the Polybius square, also known as the Polybius checkerboard, is a device invented by the Ancient Greek historian and scholar Polybius,[1] for fractionating plaintext characters so that they can be represented by a smaller set of symbols.

crux means cross horcrux harry potter


When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were carrying Salazar Slytherin's locket around their necks in 1997, they each became moodier and more prone to fighting, especially Ron. 


Alternatively, Horcrux can be seen as a combination of a contraction of "horrible" and "crux" (meaning "the Cross" in Latin). In this sense, a Horcrux would be something that a follower of the Cross would regard as horrible.


On the other hand, 'hor' could be derived from the French 'hors', which means 'outside'. Thus, 'Horcrux' would mean something that is 'outside' of what is permitted under the 'Cross'.

yeats four four phases four wisdoms four perfections
Life is an endeavour, made vain by the four sails of its mill, to come to a double contemplation, that of the chosen Image, that of the fated Image’ (AV B 94).

The four quarters of the Wheel are always related to each other in the same way, and each person draws one of the Faculties from each quarter (apart from the four crucial phases of balance and crisis, which fall upon the boundaries between the quarters).

These Phases form a rectangle, except for the Cardinal Phases (1, 8, 15 and 22), and the four Phases are mutually linked, with reciprocal relationships between the Faculties of each of the group.

Certain groups have particular aspects in common. Two are particularly notable: the Phases of the four Wisdoms-4, 12, 18 and 26 and those of the four Perfections-3, 13, 17 and 27 (see AV B 100). The latter group is augmented by a penumbra around Phases 3 and 17, so that the two Phases on either side are also included.

These eight configurations or groups, six of four and the two pairs of Cardinal Phases, are set out in the table below.

Since, in effect, each Faculty’s position is predetermined by the position of any single one, some have found Yeats’s insistence upon the attribution of the Faculties to the Phase from which they derive, rather than to that which they affect, superfluous and adding unnecessarily to the complexity of an already confusing system. There are several reasons why Yeats kept the distinction, including a desire for accuracy and an awareness that in other areas the distinction is necessary (see the True and False Faculties). Most importantly, however, the constructs of A Vision must show the importance of balance and the inescapability of the conflict, by presenting it as inherent in every form of human incarnation. Primary and antithetical are always balanced within each psyche: the two basically primary Faculties are balanced by the two antithetical Faculties these four Faculties are always equally distributed in primary and antithetical Phases on the wheel, and the predominance of either Tincture in one Faculty is offset by a complementary dominance in its opposite. This inherent conflict forms a cross and crucifies the individual upon the Wheel: ‘Life is an endeavour, made vain by the four sails of its mill, to come to a double contemplation, that of the chosen Image, that of the fated Image’ (AV B 94). Though there is always therefore balance between the Tinctures, there is never rest, for the equilibrium never reaches stasis.

AV B 199, adapted (Faculties) The points where the Principles’ gyres contact the Wheel of the Faculties are the positions of the Four Faculties for that incarnation: ‘These cones are drawn across the centre of the wheel from Faculty to Faculty, two with bases joined between Creative Mind and Body of Fate, and two with apexes joined between Will and Mask’ (AV B 198).

yeats four types of wisdom four perfections

For a limited number of people, a greater perfection is attainable. This is made possible when the Faculties are well separated from each other and therefore relatively balanced, so that Yeats refers to Phase 12 as “a phase of immense energy because the Four Faculties are equidistant” (AV B 127). A form of integration into selfhood is possible and “the self so sought is that Unity of Being compared by Dante in the Convito to that of ‘a perfectly proportioned human body’” (AV B 82). It is implied that this is the ideal for all people, but this form of perfection is only truly attainable in Phases 16, 17 and 18, while the perfection of Self-Sacrifice is attainable at Phases 2, 3 and 4, that of Self-knowledge at Phase 13 and that of Sanctity at Phase 27 (AV B 100). The “Four Perfections” are centred on a single grouping of the Phases, 3-13-17-27 (for the groupings, see the Wheel), as are the “Four Types of Wisdom”, which all occur within the disposition 4-12-18-26, the Wisdoms of Desire, Intellect, Heart and Knowledge respectively. (It is clear from looking at the diagram that the Perfections and Wisdoms are also associated with the Opening and Closing of the Tinctures.) 


four principals for faculties

The Human Being

‘By being is understood that which divides into Four Faculties’

The division is then taken one stage further into pairs so that we have the Four Principles and Faculties, with the more static half of the pair the Solar and the moving half of the pair the Lunar.

yeats the four faculties come from the four memories of the daimon


four principals for faculties
The Human Being
‘By being is understood that which divides into Four Faculties’
The division is then taken one stage further into pairs so that we have the Four Principles and Faculties, with the more static half of the pair the Solar and the moving half of the pair the Lunar.


Freud’s theory of the psychosexual stages posits four stages—oral, anal, phallic, genital—which each characterised by a particular erotogenic zone that is the primary voice of pleasure. The theory postulates that problems moving from one stage to the next lie at the heart of adult personality.





In the story a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster (or hen), all past their prime years in life and usefulness on their respective farms, were soon to be discarded or mistreated by their masters. One by one they leave their homes and set out together. They decide to go to Bremen, known for its freedom, to live without owners and become musicians there ("Something better than death we can find anywhere").


On the way to Bremen, they see a lighted cottage; they look inside and see four robbers enjoying their ill-gotten gains. Standing on each other's backs, they decide to scare the robbers away by making a din; the men run for their lives, not knowing what the strange sound is. The animals take possession of the house, eat a good meal, and settle in for the evening.

In 1976, in Italy, Sergio Bardotti and Luis Enríquez Bacalov adapted the story into a musical play called I Musicanti, which two years later was translated into Portuguese by the Brazilian composer Chico Buarque. The musical play was called Os Saltimbancos, was later released as an album, and became one of the greatest classics for children in Brazil. This version was also made into a movie.[3] In Spain, the story was made into an animated feature film, Los Trotamúsicos in 1989, directed by Cruz Delgado (es).[4] This in itself inspired the Spanish animated series Los Trotamúsicos. The series follows the story of four animal friends: Koki the rooster, Lupo the dog, Burlón the cat and Tonto the donkey; who form a band in the playing respectively guitar, drums, trumpet and saxophone. Unlike in the original story, they arrive to Bremen, before going back to live in the robbers' house. edit me. It's easy.



Los Trotamúsicos (also known as "The Four Musicians of Bremen" and Die Abenteuer der Bremer Stadtmusikanten in Germany) was a Spanish animated series produced by Estudios Cruz Delgado for Televisión Española and first broadcast on 1989.


Based on the Brothers Grimm story, Town Musicians of Bremen, the series follows the story of four animal friends who form a band in the playing respectively guitar, drums, trumpet and saxophone.



Raleigh wrote a poetic response to Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to His Love of 1592, entitled The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd. Both were written in the style of traditional pastoral poetry and follow the structure of six four-line stanzas employing a rhyme scheme of AABB, with Raleigh's an almost line-for-line refutation of Marlowe's sentiments.[48] Years later, the 20th century poet William Carlos Williams would join the poetic "argument" with his Raleigh was Right.



The Passionate Shepherd to His Love, known for its first line "Come live with me and be my love", is a poem written by the English poet Christopher Marlowe and published in 1599 (six years after the poet's death). In addition to being one of the most well-known love poems in the English language, it is considered one of the earliest examples of the pastoral style of British poetry in the late Renaissance period. It is composed in iambic tetrameter (four feet of unstressed/stressed syllables), with seven (sometimes six, depending on the version) stanzas each composed of two rhyming couplets. It is often used for scholastic purposes for its regular meter and rhythm.

quaternity four square walls



32 In one of the early (1946) notebook poems, “Claustrophobia,” omitted from the 1968 Collected Poems, the room transforms into an analogy of the poet’s skull, body, psyche, and world. It seems to be a migraine poem, like “Summer Storm” (163) quoted above, and the later “Dissection”: “We crawl though craniums, stare / Beneath the bone at spasms … / And while we squint to focus microscopes, / Dissect each bleeding head, / Sun bursts in splendour from the attic skull” (71).17 The room takes on the topography of a disturbed, entrapped inner being and an ailing body, with the four walls manifesting a quaternity she expresses through the four elements of wind, air, water, and earth, four corners, and four houses.18 The blind window, like the “barred windows” described earlier, once again presents the poet’s-eye view, positioned here in a liminal domestic space between inside and out and between mind and world, as limited, inward gazing, self-deceiving, and blind but also as visionary. Imprisoned in this enclosed space, which is also that of the body and mind, the subject’s position is one of immobility:

I do not know if I can move

Inside this little room.

It has four walls,

Four seem enough

But they enclose a square

And any way I walk

Is equi-distant there.

It has a blind square window

With an endless view

Of four square walls —

I beat my head

To see if pain’s the clue. (169)

The name of lucifer is four letters 12:20






[d] Marie-Louise von Franz comes close to this concept when she explains a fairy tale concerning a king with his three sons. The youngest son - the fourth person in the story - is the weak odd-man-out who, psychologically, will be assimilated into the ego and then act as a mediator between the collective unconscious and the ego. However, this approach is constructed from typological considerations and falls short of a universal explanation for the imbalanced quaternity.

WHERE IS THE FOURTH http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/brabazon-jung.shtml For his own reason (and I shall guess at it later) Jung had decided early on that Christian theology was deficient in one central respect that blighted the rest of its judgements, i.e. the Trinity. The incompleteness of the doctrine lay in the attempted exclusion of the female and the chthonic elements of the human psyche. His apparent line of reasoning was that as the Christian Trinity was exclusively masculine (although he would later question the sexuality of the Holy Spirit, noting that it was "represented by the bird of Astarte, the dove, and who in early Christian times was called Sophia and thought of as feminine"[4]) then this meant that the trinity archetype, and trinities per se, were also masculine or somehow deficient ("Where is the fourth?"). But how to explain, for example, the ancient Mother Goddess displayed in three aspects, perhaps the oldest known example of which is from ancient Anatolia, 7,000 BC in the aspects of maiden, mother-giving-birth, and old crone? Jung himself refers to "the threefold aspect [of Demeter-Kore] as maiden, mother and Hecate"[5]. Justin Martyr's pre-Nicene Trinity appears to link the Holy Spirit with Kore[6], theocrasy if not actually homologisation, which not only recognises the Third Person as a feminine entity but also makes the link to the chthonic and Mother Nature (see more below). Indeed there is a minority history within the Church of perceiving the Holy Spirit as a mother figure and even the new Eve: a tradition stretching from early times through to Jurgen Moltmann in the twentieth century[7]. (There are also Paleolithic paintings of groups of three female figures from the late Magdalenian period, ca. 10,000 to ca. 12,000 years ago, at the Cambrelles caves in the Dordogne and Pech-Merle, about 50 miles away.) It appears to me much more the case that the trinity archetype is bi-sexual and can manifest itself in one form or another or in its fullness as both. After all, if the Christian Trinity is unbalanced due to mono sexuality why not complement it wholly with its trinitarian counterpart? If a different fourth is added there is in fact still an imbalance. The Hindu trimurti of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva was complemented by a female equivalent, namely their consorts. Originally, there was only this male triad but in order to fight against the evil god Andhaka they sat down together to summon, with their joint power, the female trinity. This feminine form illuminated the heavens, the light being composed of three colours, red (Lakshmi), white (Sarasvati) and black (Parvati); the same colour trinity as that of the heads of the tricephalus Satan in Dante's Inferno XXXIV. The black Parvati, consort of Siva, represents the chthonic, which elsewhere is also described by the colour green (hence capable of "illuminating the heavens"), as were the great Egyptian Mother Goddess Isis and her ancient Libyan counterpart. Parvati speaks thus:



In figure 27 the ancient symbol of the trinity, a cross with a triangle at each point, is given slightly altered form. Here circles dominate the centre of the mandala with the arms of the cross shown as four trees, each having a triangle at the heart of its branches. The tree is a Jungian symbol of the Self, and at the centre of it we find the trinity. Taking the cross as the union of horizontal and vertical, female and male, the mandala symbolises the trinity, further expanded by the complementary division of yin and yang. This is also the case in figure 38 where the trinity is symbolised by three dogs forming a triangle, overriding a swirling cross. Figure 39, a window at Paderborn cathedral, employs three hares (a symbol of the soul) instead of dogs, but like the dogs, which appear to be greyhounds, give the impression of speed. One assumes this must be an allusion to the dynamic centre of the unconscious. This triad of animals, in both cases in circular mode, is reminiscent of the theriomorphic centre of the Tibetan Wheel mentioned above.


Finally, in figure 40, drawn by a young woman patient, a triangle stands at the centre of a circle radiating four- and eight-pointed stars, all contained in an outer circle. Jung again sees an incomplete three becoming a quaternity in the shape of the stars. In fact, they are crosses composed of trinities, further emphasising the central triadic theme.


If the trinity archetype is the archetype of the Self then, from this point of view, the ego is a fourth addition, not a third (as in the third term). This quaternity, as opposed to the cruciform development of the dyad, expresses ego development and supports Jung's understanding of the quaternity being participation in the physical realm. The trinity does in fact find fulfilment in a quaternity. The separation of two quaternistic patterns, one pertaining to the unity of the collective unconscious and ego and the other to the balance of dyadic qualities, allows for the completeness of the trinity without denying the classic Jungian perspective. This separation is of fundamental importance as it allows for two differing views of the structure of the psyche: one hierarchical, Nature, Man, God, the other egalitarian, primarily concerned with equilibrium and homeostasis. Father Victor White worshipped a God above and spurned (probably metaphorically) a Devil below, whereas Jung circumscribed his theory with the circle of the T'ai chi and the alchemical uroboros, the individual in harmony with his inner Self, and could reduce his whole system to one word: balance. Philosophical Taoism has no place, indeed no room, for the Satan, Mara or Ahriman of soteriological theologies, just as Jung's schema can only treat that mythological personification as a part of the all-inclusive psychic stasis. A confusion of quaternities, then, also blurs the two approaches to the nature of evil - one, out of order and the other, out of balance.



Many of the dream examples used by Jung to demonstrate the centrality of the quaternity to the psyche are actually based on the formula of the-dreamer-plus-three-others. Here are some of the examples from Psychology and Alchemy [Collected Works, vol 12] which Jung employed to show ongoing alchemical symbolism in modern man's unconscious. The dreamer in each case, I believe, is representative of the ego and the three others, the triune Self.


The dreamer finds himself with his father, mother and sister in a very dangerous situation on the platform of a tram-car. [One similar to this is recorded by P W Martin in Experiment in Depth: A Study of the Work of Jung, Eliot and Toynbee, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1976, page 52, which commences "We were in a car going from Geneva to Lausanne. There were four of us, my father, mother, younger brother and myself...". Indeed, many of the ancient triadic formulations were based on familial relationships, especially in Egypt.][29]



Four people are going down a river; the dreamer, his father, a certain friend and the unknown woman.[30]



The dreamer, the doctor, a pilot, and the unknown woman are travelling by aeroplane.[31]



The dreamer is in the Peter hofstatt in Zurich with the doctor, the man with the pointed beard, and the 'doll woman'.[32]



In a primeval forest. An elephant looms menacingly. Then a large ape-man, bear, or cave-man threatens to attack the dreamer with a club. Suddenly the man with the pointed beard appears and stares at the aggressor, so that he is spell-bound. But the dreamer is terrified. The voice says, "Everything must be ruled by light."[33]



In this final example Jung points out that the man with the beard is the archetypal symbol for God. The symbolism of the other two figures the dreamer encounters can be interpreted as (the elephant for) nature and man, making a thematic nature, man and God. The success on the third - "third time lucky" - is a well-known formulation in fairy tales (and mythology) world-wide, the list almost endless: The Three Bears, Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, Rumpel-Stilts-Skin, Aladin and the Lamp, The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs, etc. etc. (How von Franz manages to interpret The Three Feathers as success on the fourth is totally beyond me.) The same theme underlies the universal hero being tested three times to gain spiritual power and immortality. Emma Jung was deeply interested in Arthurian lore, writing with Marie-Louise von Franz a seminal volume on the Holy Grail, and was familiar with the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: it was certainly a great favourite with the Jungian-flavoured mythologist Joseph Campbell. The tale is one of death and resurrection, symbolised in the opening scene by the axe and the holly branch which the Green Knight carries with him into the court of King Arthur, and follows the standard formulation of the hero achieving the victorious goal after a series of trials based on the triple test (see below).


There is one final triadic example from this volume where Jung interprets an ace of clubs as a trinity becoming a cross. This again fits the formulation of an original likeness of the parts of the triality finding expression through the 'odd' fourth.


Perhaps the most important dream Jung had - for himself and his psychological system - was the one of Liverpool which marked the end of his midlife or creative trauma, and with it the finish of his mandala drawing and painting. Originally Jung published the dream in 1929, attributing it to "a patient", as indeed it still is in The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious[34]. However, the dream is related in his autobiography as his own. Moreover, the dream is slightly altered from the original account, the most telling being the opening scene. In the original version it commences thus:


The dreamer found himself with three younger travelling companions in Liverpool.


In the autobiographical version:


I found myself in a dirty, sooty city. It was night, and winter, and dark, and raining. I was in Liverpool. With a number of Swiss - say half a dozen - I walked through the dark streets.[35]


Both versions end with the discovery of a red-flowering magnolia, which is for Jung the centre of the psyche, the Self, beyond which it is impossible to go. This then is the end of his internal quest. The importance of this discovery cannot be underrated; Jung himself writes in the most pressing way to convey this sense of importance:


The dream depicted the climax of the whole process of development of the conscious....Without such a vision I might perhaps have lost my orientation and been compelled to abandon my undertaking. But here the meaning had been made clear. When I parted from Freud, I knew nothing; but I had taken the step into darkness. When that happens, and then such a dream comes, one feels it is an act of grace.[36]


This whole breakthrough is enacted by Jung and three others, but this is, for some reason, omitted from the later version in the '50s. This, I feel, is an unconscious attempt to devalue the importance of the trinity, which is nevertheless replaced by "say, half a dozen", the double trinity.


His fantasies at the very beginning of the midlife trauma, which ended with the Liverpool dream, are also full of trinitarian symbolism, which again is overlooked by Jung as well as commentators on his life. On 12 December 1913 he withdrew his internal barriers and plunged into his transforming, creative illness, which was to last for four years. Jung wrote, "I let myself drop." After "descending a thousand feet or more" he eventually meets three individuals, Elijah, Salome and a black serpent. He understands these characters as: "Elijah is the figure of the wise old prophet"; "Salome, the erotic element"; and "the snake was an indication of a hero myth". Not only is this an obvious triad but the three modalities of the Self are expressed in the formulation of Elijah=God, Salome=Nature and the snake=Man. These characters eventually give way to three others, namely Philemon who develops out of Elijah, Ka[e] who was "a spirit of nature" and a woman, the anima, who "must be the 'soul', in the primitive sense".



As the alchemists discovered, the spirit Mercurius can be a good friend (as in the Liverpool dream) or the "dark tricephalus"[f], the tempter, deceiver and adversary of the universal hero. By overcoming the chthonic trinity the saviour not only becomes a demi-god but, in bringing the fruits of his victory to the tribe, ensures the spiritual and physical well-being of mankind. One of the stories from Hindu mythology seems to prefigure the struggles of Buddha and Christ with the Evil One. In the case of Hinduism the Christ-like person is the son of a Brahman, Tvashiri, who is eventually killed by the god Indra. Tvashiri, in a bid to outdo Indra, created a three-headed son who possessed wondrous spiritual power which grew at such a rate it promised to absorb the universe. The three heads had the separate functions of reading the Vedas, feeding himself, and observing all that existed: a combination of intellectual, physical and divine sustenance - the totality of life. As in the accounts of the temptations of Christ and the trials of Gautama, the tricephalus Brahman is attacked three times: firstly through seduction by Heavenly maidens; secondly by a thunderbolt thrown by Indra which kills the hero; and lastly by a triple decapitation. The final onslaught, ordered by Indra because the body continued to glow with the light of spirituality, released a great flight of doves and other birds, symbolising the resurrection of the perfected spirit and is analogous to the enlightenment of Buddha and the defeat of Satan in the wilderness. The attacks on Gautama by Mara are variations on the same ideas of seduction, attack by the actual god and attack by the god's henchman. The Buddha now becomes an enlightened being, losing his old material desires, and brings salvation to mankind.


In the Middle East there existed other notorious examples of the triple heroic test, and cannot be unconnected with the temptations of Christ. In ancient Egypt one of the stories of Se-Osiris (reputedly the greatest Egyptian magician) from the 13th century BC show him in psychic battle with the Ethiopian the Son of Tnahsit who is the agent of Apophis, the Egyptian Devil. As in the other stories, Se-Osiris has to overcome his satanic adversary three times in order to prove himself and gain total victory. Firstly, the Ethiopian manifests a huge serpent in front of the Pharoah, but Se-Osiris picks up this giant cobra, turns it into a small white worm and throws it out of the window. Next the evil protagonist summons a large black cloud which resembles the darkness of the tomb or the dark cloud of smoke from burning bodies. Again, the hero easily decreases the threat to an infinitesimal size and throws it out of the window. The final threat is in the shape of a sheet of flame moving towards Pharaoh, but the good magician reverses its movement back in the direction of his adversary, who is subsequently engulfed and totally defeated.

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.



The seasons of the year operate symbolically in the novel. The four structural sections each correspond to a season of the year. Autumn beings the book: for Claudia, Pecola, and Frieda (like most children), autumn is a time of "beginnings," especially the beginning of the school year. Indeed, this section does contain "beginnings," for Claudia and Frieda first meet Pecola here.


Winter is traditionally associated with barrenness, empitness, and death. In winter, the girls become acquainted with Maureen Peal. She serves as a reminder to them that without beauty that will bring acceptance, their lives will remain empty and barren in white society. This is also the section in the book in which Pecola is abused by Geraldine and her son, Junior. Thus we see how sterile and unforgiving Pecola's life is.


Spring typically suggests rebirth, new life, change, and fruitfulness. However, the title is ironic is The Bluest Eye. In this section, more abuse and terror occur. Frieda is fondled by Mr. Henry, while Pecola is betaen by her mother for spilling the cobbler at the Fisher home and raped by her father. In this section, the audience also learns of the steady destruction of the lives of Pauline and Cholly Breedlove since their childhoods.


The section entitled "Summer" is the shortest section of the book. Again, one may expect happy children playing together, family vacations, and childhood revelations. However, this book does not present gleeful children reveling in the pleasures of summer but an isolated, insane Pecola. Her revelation is a false one, as she imagine herself to have blue eyes, the bluest of all.



Critic Allen Alexander argues that religion is an important symbol and theme in The Bluest Eye, especially in how the God of Morrison's works possesses a "fourth face" outside of the Christian Trinity, and this explains and represents "the existence of evil, the suffering of the innocent and just--that seem so inexplicable in the face of a religious tradition that preaches the omnipotence of a benevolent God".[41] Alexander claims that much of the tragedy of Pecola's character stems from her attempts to rationalize her misfortune with the notion of an all-loving, all-powerful God. He further argues that, for Pecola, much of the story is about "discovering the inadequacy of Western theological models for those who have been marginalized by the dominant white culture".[41] While this ideology has negative effects on Pecola's sense of self worth, it also negatively impacts her mother Pauline, who fully accepts Christianity and in doing so spends most of her time away from her own family and caring for a white household. Alexander suggests that the image of a more human God, rather than a purely morally upstanding one, is a more traditional African view of deities and that this model is better suited to the lives of the African American characters in The Bluest Eye.[41]



In the Grail myths we find a merging and overlapping of symbolism as the central archetype of the Self surfaces in its many forms. Christ, King Arthur, the Fisher King, Launcelot and Perceval all typify the masculine Self as the archetype of the Wounded Healer. Their feminine counterpart is Perceval's sister, Blanchefleur, who accompanies the three knights, Bors, Galahad and Perceval on the only successful Grail quest. These four together form the archetype of the quaternity in its characteristic '3 + 1' structure, where the fourth - in this case the feminine - represents the principle that needs to be consciously integrated with the male trinity to complete a four-fold picture of wholeness. (6)


Blanchefleur, meaning "white flower", takes from a casket a belt woven of gold, silk and strands of her own hair, all natural and personal things which symbolise the feminine principle as the relatedness which binds together in harmony with Nature. It is she who makes a knight of Galahad, who, like Perceval and Christ is symbolised by the union of white and red as the lily and the rose. (7) Later, when the four are held captive in a castle, Blanchefleur is required to bleed a dish full of blood to heal a sick lady in order to obtain their release, and she dies as a result of her self-sacrifice. Again, one does not need to look too hard to see the mythic parallel with Diana. Charles, William, Harry and Diana form a quaternity whose feminine fourth has undoubtedly helped awaken the feminine principle along with its attunement to feeling in the three males. It is surely significant, for instance, that among the Royals at Diana's funeral, these three were the only ones to openly cry. (A corresponding negative quaternity was evident in the '3+1' configuration that featured in the car crash that killed Diana and two of her male companions).



This ended, in prolonged solemn tones, like the continual tolling of a bell in a ship that is foundering at sea in a fog—in such tones he commenced reading the following hymn; but changing his manner towards the concluding stanzas, burst forth with a pealing exultation and joy—

“The ribs and terrors in the whale,

Arched over me a dismal gloom,

While all God’s sun-lit waves rolled by,

And lift me deepening down to doom.


“I saw the opening maw of hell,

With endless pains and sorrows there;

Which none but they that feel can tell—

Oh, I was plunging to despair.


“In black distress, I called my God,

When I could scarce believe him mine,

He bowed his ear to my complaints—

No more the whale did me confine.


“With speed he flew to my relief,

As on a radiant dolphin borne;

Awful, yet bright, as lightning shone

The face of my Deliverer God.


“My song for ever shall record

That terrible, that joyful hour;

I give the glory to my God,

His all the mercy and the power.”

Nearly all joined in singing this hymn, which swelled high above the howling of the storm. A brief pause ensued; the preacher slowly turned over the leaves of the Bible, and at last, folding his hand down upon the proper page, said: “Beloved shipmates, clinch the last verse of the first chapter of Jonah—‘And God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.’”

“Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters—four yarns—is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul does Jonah’s deep sealine sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish’s belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us; we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is about us! But what is this lesson that the book of Jonah teaches? Shipmates, it is a two-stranded lesson; a lesson to us all as sinful men, and a lesson to me as a pilot of the living God. As sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin, hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment, repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah. As with all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was in his wilful disobedience of the command of God—never mind now what that command was, or how conveyed—which he found a hard command. But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to do—remember that—and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade. And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.

two couples like mozart magic flute quaternity


The opera is conceived as a fairy-tale on the theme of love blessed through the birth of children. Hofmannsthal, in his letters, compared it with Mozart's Magic Flute, which has a similar arrangement of two couples.

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