LETTUCE, n. An herb of the genus Lactuca, Wherewith, says that pious gastronome, Hengist Pelly, God has been pleased to reward the good and punish the wicked. For by his inner light the righteous man has discerned a manner of compounding for it a dressing to the appetency whereof a multitude of gustible condiments conspire, being reconciled and ameliorated with profusion of oil, the entire comestible making glad the heart of the godly and causing his face to shine. But the person of spiritual unworth is successfully tempted to the Adversary to eat of lettuce with destitution of oil, mustard, egg, salt and garlic, and with a rascal bath of vinegar polluted with sugar. Wherefore the person of spiritual unworth suffers an intestinal pang of strange complexity and raises the song.
ASS, n. A public singer with a good voice but no ear. In Virginia City, Nevada, he is called the Washoe Canary, in Dakota, the Senator, and everywhere the Donkey. The animal is widely and variously celebrated in the literature, art and religion of every age and country no other so engages and fires the human imagination as this noble vertebrate. Indeed, it is doubted by some (Ramasilus, lib. II., De Clem., and C. Stantatus, De Temperamente) if it is not a god and as such we know it was worshiped by the Etruscans, and, if we may believe Macrobious, by the Cupasians also. Of the only two animals admitted into the Mahometan Paradise along with the souls of men, the ass that carried Balaam is one, the dog of the Seven Sleepers the other. This is no small distinction. From what has been written about this beast might be compiled a library of great splendor and magnitude, rivalling that of the Shakespearean cult, and that which clusters about the Bible. It may be said, generally, that all literature is more or less Asinine. Hail, holy Ass the quiring angels sing; Priest of Unreason, and of Discords King Great co-Creator, let Thy glory shine God made all else, the Mule, the Mule is thine --G. J.
GRACES, n. Three beautiful goddesses, Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne, who attended upon Venus, serving without salary. They were at no expense for board and clothing, for they ate nothing to speak of and dressed according to the weather, wearing whatever breeze happened to be blowing.
BAAL, n. An old deity formerly much worshiped under various names. As Baal he was popular with the Phoenicians as Belus or Bel he had the honor to be served by the priest Berosus, who wrote the famous account of the Deluge as Babel he had a tower partly erected to his glory on the Plain of Shinar. From Babel comes our English word babble. Under whatever name worshiped, Baal is the Sun-god. As Beelzebub he is the god of flies, which are begotten of the sun's rays on the stagnant water. In Physicia Baal is still worshiped as Bolus, and as Belly he is adored and served with abundant sacrifice by the priests of Guttledom.
DAMN, v. A word formerly much used by the Paphlagonians, the meaning of which is lost. By the learned Dr. Dolabelly Gak it is believed to have been a term of satisfaction, implying the highest possible degree of mental tranquillity. Professor Groke, on the contrary, thinks it expressed an emotion of tumultuous delight, because it so frequently occurs in combination with the word jod or god, meaning joy. It would be with great diffidence that I should advance an opinion conflicting with that of either of these formidable authorities.
FRANKALMOIGNE, n. The tenure by which a religious corporation holds lands on condition of praying for the soul of the donor. In mediaeval times many of the wealthiest fraternities obtained their estates in this simple and cheap manner, and once when Henry VIII of England sent an officer to confiscate certain vast possessions which a fraternity of monks held by frankalmoigne, What said the Prior, would you master stay our benefactor's soul in Purgatory Ay, said the officer, coldly, an ye will not pray him thence for naught he must e'en roast. But look you, my son, persisted the good man, this act hath rank as robbery of God Nay, nay, good father, my master the king doth but deliver him from the manifold temptations of too great wealth.
DATARY, n. A high ecclesiastic official of the Roman Catholic Church, whose important function is to brand the Pope's bulls with the words Datum Romae. He enjoys a princely revenue and the friendship of God.
KNIGHT, n.Once a warrior gentle of birth, Then a person of civic worth, Now a fellow to move our mirth. Warrior, person, and fellow --no more We must knight our dogs to get any lower. Brave Knights Kennelers then shall be, Noble Knights of the Golden Flea, Knights of the Order of St. Steboy, Knights of St. Gorge and Sir Knights Jawy. God speed the day when this knighting fad Shall go to the dogs and the dogs go mad.
ALTAR, n. The place whereupon the priest formerly raveled out the small intestine of the sacrificial victim for purposes of divination and cooked its flesh for the gods. The word is now seldom used, except with reference to the sacrifice of their liberty and peace by a male and a female tool.They stood before the altar and supplied The fire themselves in which their fat was fried. In vain the sacrifice --no god will claim An offering burnt with an unholy flame. --M.P. Nopput
INFERIAE, n. Latin Among the Greeks and Romans, sacrifices for propitation of the Dii Manes, or souls of the dead heroes for the pious ancients could not invent enough gods to satisfy their spiritual needs, and had to have a number of makeshift deities, or, as a sailor might say, jury-gods, which they made out of the most unpromising materials. It was while sacrificing a bullock to the spirit of Agamemnon that Laiaides, a priest of Aulis, was favored with an audience of that illustrious warrior's shade, who prophetically recounted to him the birth of Christ and the triumph of Christianity, giving him also a rapid but tolerably complete review of events down to the reign of Saint Louis. The narrative ended abruptly at the point, owing to the inconsiderate crowing of a cock, which compelled the ghosted King of Men to scamper back to Hades. There is a fine mediaeval flavor to this story, and as it has not been traced back further than Pere Brateille, a pious but obscure writer at the court of Saint Louis, we shall probably not err on the side of presumption in considering it apocryphal, though Monsignor Capel's judgment of the matter might be different and to that I bow --wow.
ICHOR, n. A fluid that serves the gods and goddesses in place of blood.Fair Venus, speared by Diomed, Restrained the raging chief and saidBehold, rash mortal, whom you've bled -- Your soul's stained white with ichorshed --Mary Doke
HALF, n. One of two equal parts into which a thing may be divided, or considered as divided. In the fourteenth century a heated discussion arose among theologists and philosophers as to whether Omniscience could part an object into three halves and the pious Father Aldrovinus publicly prayed in the cathedral at Rouen that God would demonstrate the affirmative of the proposition in some signal and unmistakable way, and particularly (if it should please Him) upon the body of that hardy blasphemer, Manutius Procinus, who maintained the negative. Procinus, however, was spared to die of the bite of a viper.
MUMMY, n. An ancient Egyptian, formerly in universal use among modern civilized nations as medicine, and now engaged in supplying art with an excellent pigment. He is handy, too, in museums in gratifying the vulgar curiosity that serves to distinguish man from the lower animals. By means of the Mummy, mankind, it is said, Attests to the gods its respect for the dead. We plunder his tomb, be he sinner or saint, Distil him for physic and grind him for paint, Exhibit for money his poor, shrunken frame, And with levity flock to the scene of the shame. O, tell me, ye gods, for the use of my rhyme For respecting the dead what's the limit of time --Scopas Brune.
More Ambrose Gwinett Bierce Quotations (Based on Topics)
Man - Christianity - God - Nature - Law & Regulation - Time - World - Mind - Death & Dying - Books - Life - Sons - Name - Kings & Queens - Night - Woman - Literature - Heaven - Sadness - View All Ambrose Gwinett Bierce Quotations
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -