in vasto loco

Alii faciunt ex viminibus rotundas, alii e ligno ac corticibus, alii ex arbore cava, alii fictiles, alii etiam ex ferulis quadratus longas pedes circiter ternos, latas pedem, sed ita, ubi parum sunt quæ compleant, ut eas conangustent, in vasto loco inani ne despondeant animum.

Some make round hives out of withies, some make them of wood and bark, some from a hollow tree, some of earthenware, and others again from the fennel plant, making them rectangular, about three feet long and one foot across, except that, when the bees are too few to fill them, they reduce the size, so that the bees do not lose heart in a wide empty space.

[Marcus Terentius Varro, De re rustica 3.16.15 (trans. A.J. Graham)]

in vasto loco

yeomanry

You shall see rude and sturdy, experienced and wise men, keeping their castles, or teaming up their summer’s wood, or chopping alone in the woods, men fuller of talk and rare adventure in the sun and wind and rain, than a chestnut is of meat; who were out not only in ’75 and 1812, but have been out every day of their lives; greater men than Homer, or Chaucer, or Shakespeare, only they never got time to say so; they never took to the way of writing. Look at their fields, and imagine what they might write, if ever they should put pen to paper. Or what have they not written on the face of the earth already, clearing, and burning, and scratching, and harrowing, and ploughing, and subsoiling, in and in, and out and out, and over and over, again and again, erasing what they had already written for want of parchment.
[H.D. Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers]

yeomanry

written

Writing is planting.
Writing is born in the lands of wet-farming.
The field prefigures the table and page.
The garden prefigures the table and page.
Writing derives
from the domestication of water.
Rain and the sea
are the mothers of letters.
The mind of the scribe
moves like a long-legged waterbird,
stoops like a rice-farmer, steps like a crane.
When you next see the hunters,
say to the hunters:
O say can you see
how the earth is rewritten
under our hands
until it says nothing?
Say to the hunters: the herders
have taught us the metres, but we
have forgotten. Say to the hunters:
Teach us a song
as subtle as speaking, teach us
a song as lean and as changeable
as the world.

[Robert Bringhurst, The Blue Roofs of Japan:
a Score for Interpenetrating Voices (1986)]

written

basilica

Goethe characterized architecture as frozen music, which well describes this extraordinary building. I don’t know what kind of music Goethe heard when he looked at the Basilica, but I hear percussion–the great jazz drummer Philly Joe Jones…
The tall half-columns are the steady rhythm beat of the bass drum, which Palladio accentuates by breaking the extremely deep cornice and projecting it forward over each capital. At the attic level, a statue above each column provides a high-pitched cymbal clash. The two levels of the arcade keep slightly different times: the lower Roman Doric, with its staccato-like frieze, is more articulated, while the upper Ionic is more delicate and smooth. At the end of the building, which is nine bays long, a cluster of three columns (topped by three statues) marks a pause–a drum roll–and the beat continues around the corner. The arches of the serliana weave a sinuous backbeat, which is punctuated by the double tom-tom pulse of the oculi, and the rim-shots of the keystones, which are in the form of mascheroni, or grotesque masks.

[Witold Rybczynski, The Perfect House]

basilica