- Chimera by James Bousema
Good morning, folks!
Let’s face it, we all live in hope. We all hope to be rich or famous, we all we all dream of a successful life – or at least we all wish to find a good job and settle. We all have our secret dreams, we all cherish our personal idea of happiness …
- Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
- Man never is, but always to be blessed:
- The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
- Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man
Art is serving my purpose today: a music title (Just an Illusion by Imagination) and a literary quote. Funny, I unintentionally used a flashforward (or should I say a prolepsis?). The title discloses the (un)happy ending of the story …
1. A fanciful fabrication; illusion.
2. An organism having genetically different tissues.
After Chimera, a fire-breathing female monster in Greek mythology who had a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. From Greek khimaira (she-goat), ultimately from the Indo-European root ghei- (winter), which is the ancestor of words such as chimera (literally a female animal that is one winter, or one year old), hibernate, and the Himalayas, from Sanskrit him (snow) + alaya (abode). Earliest documented use: 1382.
“The moonlight silvering the delicate trunks made this a vision of beauty, more chimera than reality.”
P.D. James; Death Comes to Pemberley; Vintage; 2011.
ITALIAN TRANSLATION: untranslated
Do you perceive the oddity of the relation between the term and its origin? In the greek mythology, Chimera was a monster, a frightening monster, something that could haunt anyone’s dreams. A nightmare, surely not a dream. While being incorporated into the common language, the word gradually lost its negative meaning and was used to identify an impossible dream, a utopia. If you just think about it, the innate optimistic nature of mankind prevailed and subverted the truth. A nightmare becomes a dream, though impossible. Optimism, hope, expectation. Our ‘daily bread’, nourishment for our souls. But there’s a common saying here in Italy, ‘Chi di speranza vive, disperato muore’, literally ‘He who lives only by hope will die in despair’ (or ‘He that lives upon hope will die fasting’ quoting Benjamin Franklin). We Italians are a strange kind: though apparently optimistic, we are basically practical, down-to-earth. For us, a dream’s often a utopia, a chimera, is it really worth chasing a chimera? After all, it’s … just an illusion!
See you soon, folks …
Your passionate (Italian) Translator
P.S. In my usual haste, I forgot to specify that this was yesterday’s word by A.Word.A.Day. on the theme ‘Words derived from goats’.