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Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2002 17:37:49 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) Watts, presentiments, eponyms

I have a saved copy of Watts' Psalm 90, so I decided I would reprint it in its 
entirety here (the 1st part, anyway). Has anyone commented on how the theme of 
a saving flood in the stanza after the one that opens Shadow of the Torturer 
is pretty prophetic for the text?  Here is the psalm:

					Isaac Watts Psalm 90
Part 1. 
Man frail, and God eternal.

   1  Our God, our help in ages past,
         Our hope for years to come,
      Our shelter from the stormy blast,
         And our eternal home.

   2  Under the shadow of thy throne
         Thy saints have dwelt secure;
      Sufficient is thine arm alone,
         And our defense is sure.

   3  Before the hills in order stood,
         Or earth received her frame,
      From everlasting thou art God,
         To endless years the same.

   4  Thy word commands our flesh to dust,
         "Return, ye sons of men:"
      All nations rose from earth at first,
         And turn to earth again.

   5  A thousand ages in thy sight
         Are like an ev'ning gone;
      Short as the watch that ends the night
         Before the rising sun.

   6  [The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
         With all their lives and cares,
      Are carried downwards by the flood,
         And lost in following years.

   7  Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
         Bears all its sons away;
      They fly, forgotten, as a dream
         Dies at the op'ning day.

   8  Like flowery fields the nations stand
         Pleased with the morning light;
      The flowers beneath the mower's hand
         Lie with'ring ere 'tis night.]

   9  Our God, our help in ages past,
         Our hope for years to come,
      Be thou our guard while troubles last,
         And our eternal home.

Note how similar stanza 8 is to the conclusion of Return to the Whorl where 
the chrasmologic writings invoke the Hyacinth and the Shepherd.  Stanza 6 
explicitly invokes a flood that wipes out the "tribes of flesh and blood" just 
like in Urth of the New Sun.  I am especially interested in 8 because of its 
"like flowery fields the nations stand pleased with the morning light" which 
compares the nations to, you guessed it, vegetable matter in the form of 
foliage that withers when the sun isn't there. In any case, the poem 
definitely presages the flooding of Urth, and earlier stanzas also reflect the 
ability of the vivimancer to recall dust to living matter.  I was fascinated 
by the flower imagery, and even if you don't buy my ideas about the Short Sun, 
you can read the Green Man into stanza eight.  It also occurs to me that The 
Green Man recieves his nourishment directly from Severian's stellar body - 
that white hole actually feeds him.  As such, a part of Severian comes to rest 
in the Green Man (just as a part of Thecla comes to rest in Severian, or a 
part of Horn comes to rest in Silk, or ... through the same sun dependent 
association that I am willing to ascribe to Horn/Silk, a part of Severian 
comes to rest in Silkhorn the heliophagist)  KEEP IN MIND THAT THE GREEN MAN 
CAN USE THE CORRIDORS OF TIME.  I propose that Silkhorn is a type of green 
man, and has no problem going back in time - in part because Severian has been 
assimilated through their feasting on his symbolic sun body and incorporated 
into their being.  Convenient, eh?  Horn can be every man of his kind because 
he feasts on the sun that comes from Severian, who really is every man of his 
kind, and becomes more closely associated with him. Note the parallels between 
Severian and Horn in the story of the man with the black blade in In Green's 
Jungles.  He loses his light and sword in a deluge, just as Severian loses his 
sword and his special light at Lake Diuturna fighting Baldanders. Horn brings 
a flood and clears out the sewer, Severian brings a flood and clears out the 
crap of the earth.

William stated my reading didn't add anything to the text for him.  For me, it 
allows us to know what happened to the people on the moon who were eaten by 
the terraformed trees that got out of control, it allows us to know how the 
green men came to inhabit the urth, it details the future fate of urth, it 
reveals what happens to Horns spirit in Babbie, it makes sense of the secret 
of the inhumu, (whose feastings produce heritable genetic features in their 
children),it explains how the vegetable inhumu can survive jumping from Blue 
to Green, it makes sense of the last Hyacinth quote, it makes sense of the 
mysterious eucharists by applying their symbolic value to the text, it makes 
sense of who is watching the narrator in those eucharist scenes, it explains 
all the similarities and differences between Urth and Blue, it explains the 
pit scene and the subsequent powers of Horn, it explains exactly why the 
nieghbors respect Horn (since the batch he talks with were made from his DNA), 
it explains the nature of his affinity for jungle life, and it reveals that it 
really is just Silk at the end of Short Sun, and makes sense of the narrative 
changes from one book to the next.  It makes sense of why the narrator needs 
to find Seawrack, the spy of the mother who jeopardizes the fate of mankind.  
It explains why his staff might be alive and people are afraid of it.  It 
explains how his image might actually visit Inclito's mother across time so 
that he shows up in her story (time instead of astral travel). I think that it 
adds quite a bit to a reading of short sun.  It also explains the double 
limbed animals that are exactly like the animals of Urth.  Is a hus a 
rhinocerus or a polyploid Alzebo?

Now, are the eponyms those white statues that move around the House Absolute 
in Claw of the Conciliator? In In Green's Jungles, Regalio seems to place some 
importance on eponyms when he first goes back to Urth, and I'm trying to 
figure out that scene now in a way that will justify its temporal removal from 
the present of the text. An eponym is also a word that comes from someone's 
name, like sandwiches or johns/crappers (according to urban legend, anyway). I 
was trying to figure out what eponym might help solve that scene.  Regalio 
says his real name is Roger, but that means very little to me.  Roger?  Any 
famous eponyms associated with that?

Marc Aramini


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