The Pearl-Poet’s Patience

Forgive me, my dear readers, for running a day late on this post.  Hopefully, the delay will make this post all the better!  With the poem Patience, the first thing one notes, especially having just read Pearl, is that it lacks the same precise construction.  The first and last lines repeat each other exactly, and themes are repeated throughout the poem; but, the craftsmanship falls short of the level of Pearl.  One gets the impression that this poem is more a meditation of the poet on the virtue of patience, which he claims to need because of the sufferings brought on by poverty.

Medieval Town

In order to aid his meditation, he uses the story of Jonah to illustrate the advantages of patience, especially how the sufferings we experience call for patience.  It is impossible to avoid suffering, because suffering purifies the soul and is often mandated by God for this purpose.  The avoidance of suffering, like how Jonah tried to avoid God’s mission, only brings more suffering.  Worse, one ends up having to do what one wished to avoid anyway.

Both Pearl and Patience highlight something I enjoy about his depiction of religious men: they can be terribly flawed and wayward, even though possessing great faith.  The father in Pearl wishes to enter heaven before its proper time and shows a Pelagian streak.  (Not that he is a Pelagian.  He just sees grace in too worldly a fashion.)  Jonah, as shown by sleeping on the boat during a terrible storm and permitting himself to be thrown overboard, has great faith in God.  While in the whale, Jonah makes a heartfelt confession of his waywardness in refusing the mission to Nineveh, and it seems as though he’s done complaining once the whale coughs him up.  Yet, as soon as he sees the Ninevites repent upon his preaching and the tree which offered him good shade wilting, he starts whining about his misfortunes and wanting to die.  God has to constantly correct Jonah and drag him into doing the right thing.

Jonah and the whale

In this way, God manifests Himself as exemplar of patience, because of His patience with us sinful and stubborn people.  The Pearl-Poet expands God’s speech to Jonah at the end in order to highlight all the types of people in the city of Nineveh with whom He has patience.  The poem ends with the same line as it begins: “Patience, though displeasing, is proof of goodwill.”  Surely, God has the greatest goodwill towards us, and we are called to imitate it.

The next poem I discuss will be Cleanliness on Friday.  The poem essentially praises the virtue of chastity.  I wonder whether it can touch the heart of modern man, who tends not to care a fig for this virtue?


Versatile Blogger Award

ThompsdJames and I extend our thanks to Michelle Joelle of Soliloquies for nominating us for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Be sure to check out her site as it always contains insightful posts on writing and human nature.  As of now, it includes some beautiful pictures of winter.

Versatile Blogger Award

Here is a short list of the rules:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

We have decided to split the seven questions among ourselves with Thomps taking the first four and me the last three.  Here goes:

1: Thomps has a son named Leonidas who is just learning to walk. (I will absolutely be teaching him to say “MOΛΩN ΛABE!” when he starts talking.)

Battle of Thermopylae

2 Is really getting a PhD in Chemistry.

3: Judges a novel contest (see Athanatos Christian Ministries’ Novel Contest).

4: Was variously called The Moose and The Saxon and The Enforcer for similar reasons in college–that of being big, loud and a bit clumsy…

Dr. Minaev at Kostroma Agricultural Academy

Now for M. Otaku’s turn:

5: Was known in college for telling anecdotes–most of which concerned General Nathan Bedford Forrest of Civil War fame.


6: Owns four swords–all replicas: a Viking sword, Norman sword, Spanish broadsword of the late middle ages, and a Great Katana (aka O-Katana).  I really want to own this sword next:

7: Ovid is my favorite Latin writer.

Well, that suffices for the information part!  Now I need to nominate fifteen people.  (Yes, I’m hogging the nominations all to myself:

1.  Terpsicore and Melpomene of the Egotist’s Club

2.  Lady Blade Blog

3.  Book Lion

4.  Kathryn Hemmann of Contemporary Japanese Literature

5.  Suburban Banshee of Aliens in this World

6.  Appropriant of Perpetual Morning

7.  Raging Biblio-holism

8.  Sword Cross Rocket

9.  Tobby of The Overlord Bear’s Den

10. Phineas Fahrquar of Public Secrets

11.  Illogicalzen

12.  Chibiotaku010

13.  Genkinahito’s Blog

14.  Gentlemanotoku’s Anime Circle

Collection of Old Articles

I mentioned that I originally started blogging on Medieval Otaku.  Here are links to the articles I wrote on literature and history.  I hope that you enjoy them.


C. S. Forester Has a New Fan

Conan the Barbarian, Light Reading, and the Wholesomeness of Myth

Anton Chekhov and Suicide

Still Alive and a Little on the Inferno

The Forgotten Socrates

Encore Une Autre Raison D’Etre Pour Fiction

Finally!  The Adventures of Captain Hatteras Reviewed

The Timeliness of Books and the Insidiousness of Vanity

The Best of Basho

World’s Most Popular Vet

Ever Read a Jules Verne Novel?

Fiction’s Raison D’Etre(I’m very proud of this one)

Review of Okakura’s The Book of Tea

Natsume Soseki’s Ten Nights of Dreams

Now for the two history posts.  I really did not cover much of that did I?

Review of Steel Boat, Iron Hearts

The Awesome Charlemagne and a Short Hiatus


I hope that everyone finds a few articles that appeal to them!