February 26, 2007: Blackie on Expectations when Reading - 0 Comments

"We must be acclimatized in the new country before we can feel comfortable. We must not merely deliver our criticism thus (however common such a style may be)-- I expected to find that; I find this; and I am disappointed; but we must ask the deeper and only valuable question-- What ought I to have expected to find, what shall I surely find of good, and beautiful, and true, if my eyes are open, and my free glance pointed in the right direction?"
- John Stuart Blackie, intro to his translations of The Lyrical Dramas of Aeschylus, 1850.

February 25, 2007: Hamilton on Poets, and Wine's Virtues - 0 Comments

"Poets of love there have been many in England, but poets of passion almost none. The truth is that it is nature, not a mistress, who really holds the hearts of English poets, and the lady in the case is apt to be lost sight of amid trees and clouds and birds and, above all, the flowers that grow in English gardens . . ."

"On this point Horace would have admitted no opposition. He had the most positive convictions on wine's virtue as well as its delights. 'No songs can please nor yet live long which are written by those that drink water' . . ."

- Hamilton, The Roman Way, 1932.

February 22, 2007: Hamilton on Passive Audiences - 0 Comments

"A good-humored crowd, those people who filled the Roman theatre in its first days of popularity, easily appealed to by any sentimental interest, eager to have the wicked punished--but not too severely--and the good live happily ever after. No occasions wanted for intellectual exertion, no wit or deft malice; fun such as could be passively enjoyed, broad with a flavor of obscenity. Most marked characteristic of all, a love of mediocrity, a complete satisfaction with the average. The people who applauded thse plays wanted nothing bigger than their own small selves. They were democratic."
- Hamilton, The Roman Way, 1932

February 20, 2007: Waugh on Religious Particulars - 0 Comments

"There was a further pause; then in clear, schoolroom tone, Helena said: 'What I should like to know is: When and where did all this happen? And how do you know?'
Minervina frowned. Marcias replied: 'These things are beyond time and space. Their truth is integral to their proposition and by nature transcends material proof.'
'Then, please, how do you know?'
'By a lifetime of patient and humble study, your Majesty.'
'But study of what?'
'That, I fear, would take a lifetime to particularize.'"
- Waugh, Helena, 1950.

Febrary 16, 2007: Gibbon on the Afterlife - 0 Comments

"Since therefore the most sublime efforts of philosophy can extend no further than feebly to point out the desire, the hope, or, at most, the probability, of a future state, there is nothing, except a divine revelation, that can ascertain the existence, and describe the condition, of the invisible country which is destined to receive the souls of men after their separation from the body."
- Gibbon, Decline & Fall Vol. I, 1776.

February 11, 2007: O'Connor on Modern Philosophers (in the South) - 0 Comments

"The girl had taken the Ph.D. in philosophy and this left Mrs. Hopewell at a complete loss. You could say, "My daughter is a nurse," or "My daughter is a school teacher," or even "My daughter is a chemical engineer." You could not say, "My daughter is a philosopher." That was something that had ended with the Greeks and Romans. All day Joy sat on her neck in a deep chair, reading. Sometimes she went for walks but she didn't like dogs or cats or birds or flowers or nature or nice young men. She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity."
- Flannery O'Connor, Good Country People, 1955.

February 9, 2007: Gibbon on Gallienus, and 'Obscure and Uncouth Names' - 0 Comments

"It is difficult to paint the light, the various, the inconstant character of Gallienus, which he displayed without constraint, as soon as he became sole possessor of the empire. In every art that he attempted, his lively genius enabled him to succeed; and as his genius was destitute of judgment, he attempted every art, except the important ones of war and government. He was a master of several curious, but useless sciences, a ready orator, an elegant poet, a skilful gardener, an excellent cook, and most contemptible prince."

"Under these general appellations, we may comprehend the adventures of less considerable tribes, whose obscure and uncouth names would only serve to oppress the memory and perplex the attention of the reader."

- Gibbon, Decline & Fall Vol. I, 1776.

February 3, 2007: Gibbon on Warriors - 0 Comments

"The lazy warrior, destitute of every art that might employ his leisure hours, consumed his days and nights in the animal gratifications of sleep and food. And yet, by a wonderful diversity of nature, (according to the remark of a writer who had pierced into its darkest recesses,) the same barbarians are by turns the most indolent and the most restless of mankind. They delight in sloth, they detest tranquility. The languid soul, oppressed with its own weight, anxiously required some new and powerful sensation; and war and danger were the only amusements adequate to its fierce temper."
- Gibbon, Decline & Fall, 1776.