Nothing new under the sun

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again, and there is nothing new under the sun.

A while ago I wrote a piece of spoken word, relating (in a contorted way) the multitude of cheeses found in the modern fromagerie to the multitude of gods found in the not-so-modern pantheon. Originally in Hebrew, here is a quick unofficial translation of the section describing the market:

The cheese section is overflowing. The selection demands an ovation, it is a paradise of cheeses, all packed, wrapped, bare, enticing, molding, ripe for the picking, seductively tempting, kept modest by only a blanket of fungus, waiting for a consumer among us to pluck them away from their ungrateful grocer, they seek a new owner, me, I buy them. Yes, the whole lot, why should I settle for only one cheese? Why should I to the Camembert pledge aliegence when the Roquefort cheese teases through the pane? I can understand “thou shalt not covet”, but “though shalt not make unto thee any other cheese”? That’s just plain nonsense.

Plain nonsense indeed. And you’d think that hymns and odes to cheese would be far and inbetween, perhaps even non-existant among the vast variety of verse, most of which is devoted to grander things, like love, or nature, or Death. But today I learned of James McIntyre (1828 – 1906) from Canada, who already more than a hundred years ago was a trailblazer in his field. Sure, he dabbled in the popular classical poetics, writing about “the natural beauty and industry of the region”, but his true passion was, you guessed it, cheese. Here is one of his more famous works, dedicated to a three-ton lactose behemoth:

We have seen the Queen of cheese,
Laying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze —
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you’ll go
To the great Provincial Show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees —
Or as the leaves upon the trees —
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled Queen of Cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great World’s show at Paris.

Of the youth — beware of these —
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek; then songs or glees
We could not sing o’ Queen of Cheese.

We’rt thou suspended from baloon,
You’d caste a shade, even at noon;
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.

Truly inspiring. Perhaps one day, I will finally compose my polyphonic mass, Credo in Multos Caseos.

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