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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Time to Talk

(This Joyous World, woodblock print by Frances
Gearhart, 1869-1958, American artist)

“For friendship, in one way or another, penetrates into the lives of us all . . . We should see this most clearly, if it were possible that some god should carry us away from these haunts of men, and place us somewhere in perfect solitude, and then should supply us in abundance with everything necessary to our nature, and yet take from us entirely the opportunity of looking upon a human being. Who could steel himself to endure such a life? Who would not lose in his loneliness the zest for all pleasures?

“And indeed this is the point of the observation of, I think, Archytas of Tarentum. I have it third hand; men who were my seniors told me that their seniors had told them. It was this: ‘If a man could ascend to heaven and get a clear view of the natural order of the universe, and the beauty of the heavenly bodies, that wonderful spectacle would give him small pleasure, though nothing could be conceived more delightful if he had but had some one to whom to tell what he had seen.’

“So true it is that Nature abhors isolation, and ever leans upon something as a stay and support; and this is found in its most pleasing form in our closest friend.”

~ Cicero (106-43 B. C.), Roman philosopher, lawyer, and statesman; from
On Friendship, or Laelius


When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

~ Robert Frost (1874-1963), American poet

1 comment:

The old gentleman... said...

Not so very long ago (not), we read Cicero's De Amicitia. It was in high school, not so very long ago (not). It was in Latin. And now I must read it once more. In English? Not.