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Farnborough Grammar School

Prospect Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire

Telephone : Farnborough 539

Poems by Thomas Grosch (Nuncs)
The Death of God - Explanatory Notes

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Decalogue :-The Ten Commandments.

I. Hymn to Mammon :- Based on the 23rd psalm.

2. Prayer to Morpheus
Morpheus was the Greek god of sleep and dreams.(hence “morphia”).
Lethe :- The river of forgetfulness in the underworld. (hence “lethal”)

3. Hail to the Lord of Hosts
Mars was the Roman god of War (Gk.Ares)
Hieratic :- Connected with priests. Priestly.
Pruning-hook:- A famous biologist once said that war was nature's pruning-hook.
Ordnance :- War equipment. Here the nuclear bomb.
The point of the final lines is that only fear, not morality will put a stop to war.

4. Great is Diana
Title from Acts :- “Great is Diana of the Ephesians”
Artemis is the Gk. name.
Renard :- The fox.
Actaeon :- A hunter; once came on Diana bathing. She in her fury turned him into a stag and he was torn to pieces by his own hounds.

5. Hymn to Aphrodite Porné
There were several Aphrodite personalities. Porné is the most crude of them. The two final “e’s” are both pronounced.

6. O Come, let us worship Moloch
God of the Ammonites in the O.T. Human sacrifices were often made to him. Chief centre of his worship was Gehenna.
“So” means “provided that”.
“Heaven's kingdom” :- from the famous incident in the N.T. “Of such is the kingdom of heaven”.
Icarus was the son of Daedalus who made wings from feathers and wax. The boy flew too near the sun and the wax melted with fatal results.
Cain in the O.T. murdered his brother.

7. Hymn to Bacchus
God of wine. Frenzied orgies were held on the slope of Mount Cithaeron chiefly by women known as Bacchantes or Maenads. Drunken driving is compared to these orgies.
Pentheus, king of Thebes, tried to stop the Bacchanalia but the Maenads, led by his mother, Agave, tore him limb from limb.

8. O Mystic Science
Janus, a Roman god was depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions.
Coryza :- The common cold.
Helios, god of the sun. His boy, Phaethon, begged to be allowed to drive the horses of the sun for one day. He nearly scorched up the earth and Jupiter (Zeus) had to intervene, blasted the boy to death and restored the sun to its place. The fate of those who dally with the powers of the sun is hinted at in “Phaethon, we're told . . . .”
Mechanical monster :-The motorcar.
Cithaeron with its Bacchanalian orgies suggests the lunacies of some motorists on the M1.
Labour denied suggests redundancy resulting from mechanisation of industry.
“Oscillograph” is a verb here.

9. Ode to Man
Evolution's crown because man is regarded as the highest product of evolution.
Whirlwind refers to the turbine and its uses.
Toys are the ironmongery sent to the moon.
Sapiens :- Homo Sapiens.
“More sinned against . . . . .” was said of both Oedipus and Lear. Undeserved tragedy.
“There are who’d . . . . .” suggests the modern cult of Man-worship.

10. Epilogue
Jahveh. Jehovah. Zeus and Jupiter are the same in derivation.
Olympus :- The mountain home of the gods in ancient Greece.
Academia :-A school of philosophy.
Helicon :- The home of the Muses, goddesses of all the arts.
Calvary :- Christianity owes so much to Gk. philosophy that the Greeks could well be said to have taught what led to the crucifixion.