Wednesday, September 19, 2018 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Andrew Fletcher

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I said I knew a very wise man so much of Sir Christopher's sentiment, that he believed if a man were permitted to make all the ballads he need not care who should make the laws of a nation, and we find that most of the ancient legislators thought that they could not well reform the manners of any city without the help of a lyric, and sometimes of a dramatic poet.
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Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.
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Give me the making of a people's songs, and I care not who makes its laws.

 
Andrew Fletcher

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If you want to be thought anything of amongst Englishmen, you must make yourself see their point of view. They don't care for melancholy people, and have a contempt for sentiment. This applies to love as well as to patriotism and religion.

 
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Laws are always unstable unless they are founded on the manners of a nation; and manners are the only durable and resisting power in a people.

 
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Those who have a lively imagination are a great deal more pleased with themselves than the wise can reasonably be. They look down upon men with haughtiness; they argue with boldness and confidence, others with fear and diffidence; and this gaiety of countenance often gives them the advantage in the opinion of the hearers, such favor have the imaginary wise in the eyes of judges of like nature. Imagination cannot make fools wise; but she can make them happy, to the envy of reason which can only make its friends miserable; the one covers them with glory, the other with shame. What but this faculty of imagination dispenses reputation, awards respect and veneration to persons, works, laws, and the great? How insufficient are all the riches of the earth without her consent! 82

 
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Just to be on the first step
should make you happy and proud.
To have come this far is no small achievement:
what you have done is a glorious thing.
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Constantine P. Cavafy
 

I thought of all those wise men, poets, artists before me who had suffered, wept, and smiled on the road to truth. I thought of the Latin poet who wished to reassure and console men by showing them truth as unveiled as a statue. A fragment of his prelude came to my mind, learned long ago, then dismissed and lost like almost everything that I had taken the pains to learn up till then. He said he kept watch in the serene nights to find the words, the poem in which to convey to men the ideas that would deliver them. For two thousand years men have always had to be reassured and consoled. For two thousand years I have had to be delivered. Nothing has changed the surface of things. The teachings of Christ have not changed the surface of things, and would not even if men had not ruined His teachings so that they can no longer follow them honestly. Will the great poet come who shall settle the boundaries of belief and render it eternal, the poet who will be, not a fool, not an ignorant orator, but a wise man, the great inexorable poet? I do not know, although the lofty words of the man who died in the boarding-house have given me a vague hope of his coming and the right to adore him already.

 
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