Someone has struggled here before;
After the artist trudge the muddy biographers
Whose moldering logs and saturated lore
Fuel the lamps of iconographers.
They in turn track other words, groping for clarity;
Call damp—dry wit, fog—an aura,
And wield their nimbuses for a
Masking by diffusion of disparity.
Out of confusion something grows—
Enlightenment or ignis fatuus—a quorum
That gathers from a failure to compose,
Rising in the wilderness of variorum.
NOTES for Students of English
Ignis fatuus – 1) a light that appears at night in swamps possibly caused by the combustion of marsh gas (methane); popularly called will-o’-the-wisp; from Latin ignis “fire” and fatuus “foolish,” so called from its tendency to mislead travelers; 2) something that deludes; a deception.
Variorum – 1) An edition particularly of the complete works of a classical author, with notes by various scholars or editors; 2) an edition containing various versions of a text; short for Latin editiō cum notīs variōrum, “edition with the notes of various [commentators],” from variorum, genitive plural of varius “various.”