Quotation from one of the strangest books I’ve read, German Winter Nights (1681) by Johann Beer. When the characters aren’t pulling off frat-level and sometimes sadistic, cruel pranks, they’re moralizing. Ludwig is one of the cruelest of the “brothers.” Here he moralizes.
What does it help us humans that we invade countries in war, lay waste to them, even bring them under our dominion? Many a person fights and defeats his outer enemy and nonetheless permits himself to be so cravenly conquered by his inner and invisible foe, who often can be driven back and away by a single pious thought. What did the miserable Veronia gain through her wantonness? Her desire was brief, her pleasure imperfect, her delight sinful, her marriage stained, her life shortened, and, what I don’t want to believe, her soul perhaps lost forever! Carnal depravity bears such fruits, and she did enjoy it because she never acknowledged the sin in which she was so frightfully lost.
Mrs. Hale, the woman displaced by her husband’s conscientious concerns from the bucolic south of England to the industrial northern city of Milton (Manchester), has opinions about Milton and its residents. From the 2004 BBC series based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South:
The people here don’t want learning. They don’t want books and culture. It’s all money and smoke. That’s what they eat and breathe.
I just realized (or remembered, now I think about it) Kindle has a visual quotation feature. This one refers to Tahiti, “paradise” to the early sailors who landed there and found a different and less restrictive society, not so much after a few visits.
During the annual Black Friday shopping event, Americans spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need and that don’t make them happy or happier, just poorer and unsatisfied. Then, like Charlie Brown, they wonder what happened to the spirit of Christmas.
I passed some time in Poets Corner, which occupies an end of one of the transepts or cross aisles of the abbey. The monuments are generally simple; for the lives of literary men afford no striking themes for the sculptor. Shakespeare and Addison have statues erected to their memories; but the greater part have busts, medallions, and sometimes mere inscriptions. Notwithstanding the simplicity of these memorials, I have always observed that the visitors to the abbey remained longest about them. A kinder and fonder feeling takes place of that cold curiosity or vague admiration with which they gaze on the splendid monuments of the great and the heroic. They linger about these as about the tombs of friends and companions; for indeed there is something of companionship between the author and the reader. Other men are known to posterity only through the medium of history, which is continually growing faint and obscure: but the intercourse between the author and his fellow-men is ever new, active, and immediate. He has lived for them more than for himself; he has sacrificed surrounding enjoyments, and shut himself up from the delights of social life, that he might the more intimately commune with distant minds and distant ages. Well may the world cherish his renown; for it has been purchased, not by deeds of violence and blood, but by the diligent dispensation of pleasure. Well may posterity be grateful to his memory; for he has left it an inheritance, not of empty names and sounding actions, but whole treasures of wisdom, bright gems of thought, and golden veins of language.
A young man passing by said to me, “Enjoy it while you can. Only two days left!” At first I thought he meant the pool, which may remain open as long as the weather holds out. Then I thought he meant summer, which, according to some calendars, ends with Labor Day. If he had excellent eyesight (better than mine, corrected), he may have been referring to Bristol Renaissance Faire, which is mentioned on my t shirt and which concludes tomorrow. I’m leaning toward the latter because of the oddness of the comment, shot at a stranger on the other side of a fence, and the way he was looking back at me when I glanced up, as though he were checking to see if I’d gotten the joke.
It does remind me that not everyone shares my view that summer is over only with the autumnal equinox.