Monday, January 10, 2011

A monk on books

"I sit here with no company but books, dipping into dainty honeycombs of literature. All minds in the world's literature are concentrated in a library. This is the pinnacle of the temple from which we may see all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. I keep Egypt and the Holy Land in the closet next to the window. On the side of them are Athens and the empire of Rome. Never was such an army mustered as I have here. No general ever had such soldiers as I have. No kingdom ever had half such illustrious subjects as mine or subjects half as well disciplined. I can put my haughtiest subjects up or down as it pleases me... I call Plato and he answers "here"- a noble and sturdy soldier; "Aristotle," "here" -a host in himself. Demosthenes, Pliny, Cicero, Tacitus, Caesar. "Here", they answer, and they smile at me in their immortality of youth. Modest all, they never speak unless spoken to. Bountiful all, they never refuse to answer. And they are all at peace together... All the world is around me, all that ever stirred human hearts or fired the imagination is harmlessly here. My library cases are the avenues of time. Ages have wrought, generations grown, and all their blossoms are cast down here. It is the garden of immortal fruits without dog or dragon."
-Found in Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol 5, pg 550-551.

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