An English In Kentucky


















Tuesday August 14th 2012    Tim Candler

     The word placebo has origins in Medieval Europe.   "Vespers for the Dead,"  included verse nine, from psalm one hundred and sixteen: "I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living."  In Medieval times the verse went this way: "I will please the Lord in the land of the living."  Or as it is in Latin "Placebo Domino in region vivorum....." or something like it.  Even today a good funeral includes buffet and general largesse, and I'd say even today many turn up for the food, the drinkies, their appearance and the after party.  In Medieval times these less than sincere participants would more likely feign grief than risk being called "Placeboes." 

      My own preferred translation of verse nine in Psalm one hundred and sixteen, would be   "I will please the Dead in the land of the Living."  And I say this because I remember those who have died, and how they died and it doesn't seem to matter how long ago they died.  I remember their courage or otherwise.  I remember how they managed fear and loneliness. Sometimes too I wonder why they died.  More often though, I wonder what it is they think of me, as we debate their opinion in what I suppose is a somewhat one sided manner.  "Be not afraid, " I guess.  Not so much because god holds your worried soul through the "valley of the shadow of death," rather because it's the living who'll remember you, and they might even wish you were still around. And isn't it fun to use bold italics.

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