I’ve been thinking in recent days of Virgil’s classic personification of Fama—Rumor—in Book 4 of the Aeneid:
Swift through the Libyan cities Rumor sped.
Rumor! What evil can surpass her speed?
In movement she grows mighty, and achieves
strength and dominion as she swifter flies.
small first, because afraid, she soon exalts
her stature skyward, stalking through the lands
and mantling in the clouds her baleful brow.
The womb of Earth, in anger at high Heaven,
bore her, they say, last of the Titan spawn,
sister to Coeus and Enceladus.
Feet swift to run and pinions like the wind
the dreadful monster wears; her carcass huge
is feathered, and at root of every plume
a peering eye abides; and, strange to tell,
an equal number of vociferous tongues,
foul, whispering lips, and ears, that catch at all.
At night she spreads midway ‘twixt earth and heaven
her pinions in the darkness, hissing loud,
nor e’er to happy slumber gives her eyes:
but with the morn she takes her watchful throne
high on the housetops or on lofty towers,
to terrify the nations. She can cling
to vile invention and malignant wrong,
or mingle with her word some tidings true.
She now with changeful story filled men’s ears,
exultant, whether false or true she sung:
(courtesy of Perseus) [ll 174-188 for those who keep track of such things]
If ever the foul titan was swift before, the Internet has lent her new wings—especially in the realm of things Anglican. If news of all of these controversies weren’t so readily, quickly, and easily available–and easy to comment upon–I wonder if we wouldn’t be able to focus on the Gospel a bit more clearly…