Saturday, August 16, 2014


VO´LUBLE.  adj. [volubilis, Lat.]

1.  Formed so as to roll easily ; formed so as to be easily put in motion. 

             Neither the weight of the matter of which a cylinder is made, nor its round voluble form, which, meeting with a precipice, do necessarily continue the motion of it, are more imputable to that dead, choiceless creature in its first motion.        Hammond

             The adventitious corpuscles may produce stability in the matter they pervade, by expelling thence those voluble particles, which, whilst they continued, did by their shape unfit for cohesion, or by their motion, oppose coalition.      Boyle

      2.  Rolling ; having quick motion.

          This less voluble earth, 
          By shorter flight to th’ east; had left him there.   Milton

          Then voluble, and bold; now hid, now seen 
          Among thick-woven arborets.                              Milton’s Par. Lost, b, iv.

      3.  Nimble ; active.  Applied to the tongue.

          A friend promised to dissect a woman's tongue, and examine whether there may be in it certain juices, which render it so wonderfully voluble and flippant.   Addison
        These with voluble and flippant tongue, become mere echo’s.                                                                Watt’s Improvement of the Mind.    
      4. Fluent of words.  It is applied to the speech, or the speaker.

         Cassio, a knave very voluble ; no further conscionable, than in putting on meer form of civil and humane seeming, for the better compassing of his loose affection.  Shakesp.
         If voluble and sharp discourse be marr’d, Unkindneis blunts it more than marble hard.       Shakespeare.

Note:  Do you wonder, as I do, looking at portraits, whether the painted subject was open and talkative or withdrawn and chary of speech?   

It’s something that always crosses my mind and it doesn’t matter whether the subject is a celebrity or a bystander “extra” on the painted stage. 

First-personally, I alternate between the two extremes, but I think I’m overly voluble.  Now voluble is over.  The best job interview advice I ever received was “say as little as possible.”


“Voluble”:  Samuel Johnson, The Dictionary of the English Language, 1755


  1. Lovely:) wishing you and your family a good Sunday! I'm exhibiting next Sunday. I wish I could invite you.

    1. I was actually thinking of you and your pictures when I put this together, which happened kind of unexpectedly when some randoms-seeming thoughts conjoined. I'm very glad you like it. The photography you're making is remarkable. It seems both fresh and classic. It often reminds me of some early 20th century pictorialist work I see in old anthologies online (and remember first looking at when I took old forgotten volumes off the shelf in my high school library), but captured in an utterly contemporary (I mean at that very moment) ways. I wish we could attend your show. I bet it will be great. It's almost time for school to start here (it's still a couple of weeks away) and things are pretty intense. Jane applies to college this fall and we're hyper-busy with that -- much more so than my parents had to be when I was Jane's age. It's a lovely Sunday morning in the Hudson Valley and we're hoping to spend the day by the local pool reading and, as usual, going over lists. I have a lot of emails to send also. Curtis