Today’s quotations brought to you by the letter b

Blake was the first long-dead poet whose writing appealed to me. Songs of Innocence and Experience were taught in Intro English, and it opened the door to The Marriage of Heaven and blake_william_english_1757e280931827_satan_watching_the_caresses_of_adam_and_eve_illustration_to_paradise_lost_1808_pen_watercolor_on_paper_50-5_x_38_cm_museum_of_fine_artsHell, littered with proverbs and aphorisms. Two of my favourites are “Expect poison from standing water,” and the shortest “exuberance is beauty.”  The latter much more appealing than that of Keats’s Beauty is truth. Here is Patti Smith’s Blakean Year.

Samuel Butler tended to be a little less enthusiastic, but funnier, with quotes like “A wound in the solicitor is a very serious thing.” and “Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises,” still often quoted. At my present age I relate to “Life is one long process of getting tired,”as would my historian friend in Edmonton. I can’t resist Butler’s poke at historians. ” It has been said that although God can not alter the past, historians can; it is perhaps because they can be useful to Him in this respect he tolerates their existence.” I recommend reading Butler’s novel The Way of All Flesh published posthumously in 1903.


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