‘Say to the seers, See not’

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:
10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon:
13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.
14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potter’s vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.

—Isaiah 30:8–14 (AV)

This passage, just as it stands, could serve rather neatly as a Leitmotiv or ‘argument’ for The Eye of the Maker as a whole. I shall not use it for that purpose, since Isaiah and Israel belong to this world and not to that one. Still, mutatis nominibus de his fabula narratur.


  1. mutato nomine … in the singular! If you want to speak Latin, do it right.
    I’d write: mutato nomine de his fabula narratur. You mean: “change the name, and you’re telling their story.” “De eis” is not good Latin. “De illis” would work, but in this context “de his” may be better. Argue it out with a classicist.

    • My dear Mr. Gress:

      If I were talking about a singular subject, I would use the singular of nomen. More than one name needs to be changed: therefore not nomine but nominibus. The names, plural, being changed, etc.

      The point is taken about his; there are so many demonstratives in Latin that I have difficulty remembering the exact range of usages for each. However, I take the point without thanks, on account of your generally rude and sneering tone.

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