In October, 1781, American and French forces routed the British and their mercenaries at Yorktown, a decisive turning point of the Revolutionary War. Joyous Americans gathered to celebrate amid bonfires, speeches, and general revelry amounting to the ceremonial sticking of a fork into King George the Third. Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Father of Our Country, George Washington, to congratulate him and to beg off on attending the festivities. His reason survives: he would have come, he wrote, except for “the state of perpetual decrepitude to which I am unfortunately reduced.” The Author of Liberty at that point was 38 years old and temporarily retired from politics.*
In a state of perpetual decrepitude myself, the line spoke to me. Looking for a thread to unite the hundreds of pages I have posted here, it may be that state of perpetual decrepitude. The phrase has some poetry in it, I think, and the urge to type “perpetual decrepitude” is hard to resist. Resist I must, though. Onward!
|Noun||1.||decrepitude – a state of deterioration due to old age or long use|
* Fawn M. Brodie, Thomas Jefferson, An Intimate Biography, Norton paperback p. 149