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So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And...
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Daemon
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 12:00:00 AM
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So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
KSPavan
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 1:54:02 AM

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Quotation of the Day

So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
raghd muhi al-deen
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 8:57:47 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/19/2017
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Location: Baghdad, Mayorality of Baghdad, Iraq

Jonathan Swift
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Swift, Jonathan, 1667–1745, English author, b. Dublin. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest satirists in the English language.
Early Life and Works

Since his father, an Englishman who had settled in Ireland, died before his birth and his mother deserted him for some time, Swift was dependent upon an uncle for his education. He was sent first to Kilkenny School and then to Trinity College, Dublin, where he managed, in spite of his rebellious behavior, to obtain a degree. In 1689 he became secretary to Sir William Temple

at Moor Park, Surrey, where he formed his lifelong attachment to Esther Johnson, the "Stella" of his famous journal. Disappointed of church preferment in England, Swift returned to Ireland, where he was ordained an Anglican priest and in 1695 was given the small prebend of Kilroot.

Unable to make a success in Ireland, Swift returned to Moor Park the following year, remaining until Temple's death in 1699. During this period he wrote The Battle of the Books, in which he defended Temple's contention that the ancients were superior to the moderns in literature and learning, and A Tale of a Tub, a satire on religious excesses. These works were not published, however, until 1704. Again disappointment with his advancement sent him back to Ireland, where he was given the living of Laracor.

In the course of numerous visits to London he became friendly with Addison

and Steele

and active in Whig politics. His Whig sympathies were severed, however, when that party demonstrated its unfriendliness to the Anglican Church. In 1708 he began a series of pamphlets on ecclesiastical issues with his ironic Argument against Abolishing Christianity. He joined the Tories in 1710, edited the Tory Examiner for a year, and wrote various political pamphlets, notably The Conduct of the Allies (1711), Remarks on the Barrier Treaty (1712), and The Public Spirit of the Whigs (1714), in reply to Steele's Crisis.
Later Life and Works

In 1713 Swift became dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, a position he held until his death. That same year he joined Pope

, Arbuthnot

, Gay

, and others in forming the celebrated Scriblerus Club

. About this time Swift became involved with another woman, Esther Vanhomrigh, the "Vanessa" of his poem Cadenus and Vanessa. The intensity of his relationship with her, as with Stella, is questionable, but Vanessa died a few weeks after his final rupture with her in 1723. Swift became a national hero of the Irish with his Drapier Letters (1724) and his bitterly ironical pamphlet A Modest Proposal (1729), which propounds that the children of the poor be sold as food for the tables of the rich.

Swift's satirical masterpiece Gulliver's Travels appeared in 1726. Written in four parts, it describes the travels of Lemuel Gulliver to Lilliput, a land inhabited by tiny people whose diminutive size renders all their pompous activities absurd; to Brobdingnag, a land populated by giants who are amused when Gulliver tells them about the glories of England; to Laputa and its neighbor Lagado, peopled by quack philosophers and scientists; and to the land of the Houhynhnms, where horses behave with reason and men, called Yahoos, behave as beasts. Ironically, this ruthless satire of human follies subsequently was turned into an expurgated story for children. In his last years Swift was paralyzed and afflicted with a brain disorder, and by 1742 he was declared unsound of mind. He was buried in St. Patrick's, Dublin, beside Stella.

with my pleasure
thar
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 9:32:26 AM

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or
another version
Quote:
Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.


For learners expecting a serious quotation here, say it out loud. Whistle

and so, ad infinitum
monamagda
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 10:48:30 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/4/2014
Posts: 5,714
Neurons: 3,714,406
Location: Bogotá, Bogota D.C., Colombia

"The Siphonaptera" is a nursery rhyme, sometimes referred to as Fleas.

Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.

Sometimes a second verse appears, with lines such as

And the great fleas, themselves, in turn
Have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still,
And greater still, and so on.

The rhyme is seemingly related to lines by Jonathan Swift from his long satirical poem "On Poetry: a Rhapsody" (1733):[1]

The vermin only teaze and pinch
Their foes superior by an inch.
So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.


Lewis F. Richardson adapted the poem to meteorology, specifically discussing fractal wind patterns:[2]

Big whorls have little whorls
That feed on their velocity;
And little whorls have lesser whorls
And so on to viscosity.

Gene V. Glass quoted an anonymous adaptation of the poem to educational measurement:[3]

Big criteria have little criteria,
Upon their backs to bite ‘em;
And little criteria, have littler still,
And so on ad infinitum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Siphonaptera
Bully_rus
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 11:26:57 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/26/2013
Posts: 2,235
Neurons: 131,701
Location: Minsk, Minskaya Voblasts', Belarus
Daemon wrote:
So, naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)


Yeah. You can spend all your life discovering how deep can go fleas... But does it worth it?
mirilli
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 3:47:22 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/28/2013
Posts: 185
Neurons: 902,375
Location: Gubbio, Umbria, Italy
thar wrote:
or
another version
Quote:
Big fleas have little fleas,
Upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so, ad infinitum.


For learners expecting a serious quotation here, say it out loud. Whistle

and so, ad infinitum


Silenced loudly...
Verbatim
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 5:05:30 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/3/2012
Posts: 1,995
Neurons: 230,694
Daemon wrote:
Has smaller fleas that on him prey;And these have smaller still to bite 'em;And so proceed ad infinitum.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)


A flea, smaller fleas biting him,
with smaller still to bite them,
so proceed in this larger scheme,
feeding in the chain ad nauseam.
But at the top of it, ad unguem,
is Man feeding fleas ad absurdum,
with his very blood, ad infinitum.


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