12 December 2017

Letters to the Editor

Alfred Tennyson, "Literary Squabbles," The Complete Poetical Works of Tennyson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1898), p. 272:
Ah God! the petty fools of rhyme
   That shriek and sweat in pigmy wars
Before the stony face of Time,
   And look'd at by the silent stars;

Who hate each other for a song,
   And do their little best to bite
And pinch their brethren in the throng,
   And scratch the very dead for spite;

And strain to make an inch of room
   For their sweet selves, and cannot hear
The sullen Lethe rolling doom
   On them and theirs and all things here;

When one small touch of Charity
   Could lift them nearer Godlike state
Than if the crowded Orb should cry
   Like those who cried Diana great.

And I too talk, and lose the touch
   I talk of. Surely, after all,
The noblest answer unto such
   Is perfect stillness when they brawl.

11 December 2017

Live Like a Hermit, Work Like a Horse

William Boyd Carpenter, The Son of Man Among the Sons of Men (London: Isbister & Co. Ltd., 1893), pp. 268-270:
The companion virtue of self-reliance ought to be single-mindedness. Single-mindedness seeks, by concentration of all the attention and all the powers upon one thing, to secure the end in view. It is the spirit which will not be turned aside or seduced. It knows that some sacrifice is needed, and it is ready to pay the price. It compels the attention of the whole mind to the thing in hand. It draws all interest to this one thing. It is content to fling out of the way everything that stands in its path. It will cast overboard the most precious freightage in order to reach its harbour successfully....

To be without the single-minded spirit is to court failure. To possess it is to bring success within reach. It is indispensable in life.

Greatness possesses the courage which can sacrifice what may be useful, when it may also prove a temptation or an encumbrance to its advancing march. Caesar knows when to burn his boats. Industry knows that many a social pleasure and many an hour of relaxation must ruthlessly be sacrificed if ultimate victory is to be achieved. Like Lord Eldon, it knows that the way to success is to live like a hermit and work like a horse! The message of successful lives is the lesson of a single-minded devotion to the object in view.

7 December 2017

Social Media Are a Waste of Time

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.4, tr. Gerald H. Rendall (London: Macmillan, 1914), p. 21:
Do not waste what is left of life in regarding other men, except when bent upon some unselfish gain. Why miss opportunities for action by thus persistently regarding what so-and-so is doing and why, what he is saying or thinking or planning, or anything else that dazes and distracts you from allegiance to your Inner Self?
A related post: Facebook Is a Kind of Self-Prostitution

5 December 2017

An Unedifying Phenomenon

Carl Hilty, "On the Knowledge of Men," The Steps of Life, tr. Melvin Brandow (London: Macmillan & Co., 1907), p. 79:
Every man should perfect his own national type. When a man no longer knows to which nation he belongs, he becomes an unedifying phenomenon. Therefore dwellers on the border are often vacillating in their nature, and polyglot speech is, as a rule, a mark neither of genius nor of character. The most questionable people are those who mingle different languages in a single sentence and who lack education besides.