As a conqueror enters a surprised city

As a conqueror enters a surprised city

For Valentine’s Day, a heart-warming account by the first biographer of the poet George Herbert on how he met his wife.Jane Danvers was one of nine daughters of Charles Danvers, who liked George Herbert so much he said repeatedly that he’d be delighted to...
Ill guidance, bad leadership

Ill guidance, bad leadership

A strikingly modern sounding comment by Dante, resonating painfully when the evening news seems to be forever picking apart the latest vagaries of bad leadership.  ‘Ill guidance is the cause of the ill fameThe world has earned, this wicked world of pain -Bad...
Too much information

Too much information

Dante anticipated the age in which we are drowned in facts, fake and otherwise.  Note his observation of our being overwhelmed by it, written in the 14th century.  Wonder what he would make of the endless bombardments of information now.    ‘Overwhelmed with...
Doubt in an age of faith

Doubt in an age of faith

Dante lived in an age where faith was the norm, at least in public, and doubt could land you in trouble. How modern his assertion therefore sounds, allowing doubt to be not only natural, but rooted in the truth and sprouting from it as a healthy...
The carnivore’s dilemma

The carnivore’s dilemma

I liked the honesty of Hall’s admission of hypocrisy and am sorry to report that I know the feeling.  Morally, rationally, I would, should, probably, be a vegetarian, and can happily go without meat for relatively long periods.  But give it up all together? Yes,...
The thoughts of a pig

The thoughts of a pig

A wonderfully involved tail of a pig’s escape and eventual recapture.Firstly, a protracted endeavour to find him, eventually discovered resting in a barn, engaged in ‘thinking unutterable things’. Secondly, the vain boast of an Irishman who was sure...
A plea for pity – II

A plea for pity – II

Keats’ plea for tolerance, given we each have flaws that can be painfully exposed.  See Theodore Dreiser’s similar suggestion that pity and compassion be given more room in a stony-hard universe. And George Eliot importunes us to lean towards tenderness...
A plea for pity – I

A plea for pity – I

A pithy plea for pity in a rocky, raging universe.  See Keats’ equally eloquent expression of the need for tolerance.  And George Eliot importunes us to err on the side of compassion rather than severity.We all have a weak side easily exposed. Let’s go...
Do what a hero must

Do what a hero must

Naturally, any would-be hero or heroine needs to set sail, or how are they to prove their worth? Clive James, from whose splendid translation this and other nearby quotations come, remarks on Dante’s economy of phrasing, and this is one example.  Lapidary others...

Pin It on Pinterest