Posts tagged ‘wisdom’

December 29, 2016

wisdom is found on the desolate hillside

From “The Story of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé” (chapter 31) in Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams:

El-ahrairah went along the hedgerow to the wood and sat alone under a nut bush, looking out across the fields. As the light began to fail, he suddenly realized that Lord Frith was close beside him, among the leaves.

“Are you angry, El-ahrairah?” asked Lord Frith.

“No, my lord,” replied El-ahrairah, “I am not angry. But I have learned that with creatures one loves, suffering is not the only thing for which one may pity them. A rabbit who does not know where a gift has made him safe is poorer than a slug, even though he may think otherwise himself.”

“Wisdom is found on the desolate hillside, El-ahrairah, where none comes to feed, and the stony bank where the rabbit scratches a hole in vain.”

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July 18, 2015

good at pretending to understand more than I did

I got pretty good at pretending to understand more than I did, a skill which has served me through life. …But I’ve developed a great reputation for wisdom by ordering more books than I ever had time to read, and reading more books, by far, than I learned anything useful from.

From Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

July 21, 2014

thoughtless follies laid him low

Bard’s Epitaph by Robert Burns (1786):

Is there a whim-inspired fool,
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,
Let him draw near;
And owre this grassy heap sing dool,
And drap a tear.

Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this area throng,
O, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,
Here, heave a sigh.

Is there a man, whose judgment clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs, himself, life’s mad career,
Wild as the wave,
Here pause-and, thro’ the starting tear,
Survey this grave.

The poor inhabitant below
Was quick to learn the wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,
And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stain’d his name!

Reader, attend! whether thy soul
Soars fancy’s flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,
In low pursuit:
Know, prudent, cautious, self-control
Is wisdom’s root.

July 8, 2013

to believe in nothing but his dinner

From The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald (chapter 2):

He was a right good king and knew that the love of a boy who would not leave his father and mother to be made a great man was worth ten thousand offers to die for his sake, and would prove so when the right time came.

…There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. One of the latter sort comes at length to know at once whether a thing is true the moment it comes before him; one of the former class grows more and more afraid of being taken in, so afraid of it that he takes himself in altogether, and comes at length to believe in nothing but his dinner: to be sure of a thing with him is to have it between his teeth.

…The boy should enclose and keep, as his life, the old child at the heart of him, and never let it go. He must still, to be a right man, be his mother’s darling, and more, his father’s pride, and more. The child is not meant to die, but to be forever fresh born.

October 11, 2011

it will always trouble the waters

But before one of them spoke Morano flung to them from far off a little piece of his wisdom: for cast a truth into an occasion and it will always trouble the waters, usually stirring up contraditions, but always bringing something to the surface.

From “The Fifth Chronicle: How He Rode in the Twilight and Saw Serafina” in Don Rodriguez by Lord Dunsany.

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