25 June 2014

Commonplace Wednesday 5

From Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Vinicius did not think now that there was nothing new in the words of the old man, but with amazement he asked himself: "What kind of God is this, what kind of religion is this, and what kind of people are these?" All that he had just heard could not find place in his head simply. For him all was an unheard-of medley of ideas. He felt that if he wished, for example, to follow that teaching, he would have to place on a burning pile all his thoughts, habits, and character, his whole nature up to that moment, burn them into ashes, and then fill himself with a life altogether different, and an entirely new soul. To him the science or the religion which commanded a Roman to love Parthians, Syrians, Greeks, Egyptians, Gauls, and Britons, to forgive enemies, to return them good for evil, and to love them, seemed madness. At the same time he had a feeling that in that madness itself there was something mightier than all philosophies so far. He thought that because of its madness it was impracticable, but because of its impracticability it was divine.
From Symposium by Xenophon
Without friendship, as we full well know, there is no society of any worth.
From On the Art of Reading by Arthur Quiller-Couch
You will never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.
All that Shakespeare says of the king, yonder slip of a boy that reads in the corner feels to be true of himself.
The man we are proud to send forth from our Schools will be remarkable less for something he can take out of his wallet and exhibit for knowledge, than for being something, and that something reconisable for a man of unmistakable intellectual breeding, whose trained judgment we can trust to choose the better and reject the worse
From I, Claudius by Robert Graves
"So, I'm Emperor am I? What nonsense! But at least I'll be able to make people read my books now."

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