“The mood against the mind”

A fad or heresy is the exaltation of something which, even if true, is secondary or temporary in its nature against those things which are essential and eternal, those things which always prove themselves true in the long run. In short, it is the setting up of the mood against the mind.

— William Blake (1910).

Published in: on October 30, 2013 at 6:39 am  Comments (1)  

Liberty and tyranny

Liberty is traditional and conservative; it remembers its legends and its heroes. But tyranny is always young and seemingly innocent, and asks us to forget the past.

— The Illustrated London News, 30 December 1911.

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

“A rich human nightfall”

There is a current prejudice against fogs, and Dickens, perhaps, is their only poet. Considered hygienically, no doubt this may be more or less excusable. But, considered poetically, fog is not undeserving, it has a real significance. We have in our great cities abolished the clean and sane darkness of the country. We have outlawed night and sent her wandering in wild meadows; we have lit eternal watch-fires against her return. We have made a new cosmos, and as a consequence our own sun and stars. And as a consequence also, and most justly, we have made our own darkness. Just as every lamp is a warm human moon, so every fog is a rich human nightfall. If it were not for this mystic accident we should never see darkness, and he who has never seen darkness has never seen the sun. Fog for us is the chief form of that outward pressure which compresses mere luxury into real comfort. It makes the world small, in the same spirit as in that common and happy cry that the world is small, meaning that it is full of friends. The first man that emerges out of the mist with a light, is for us Prometheus, a saviour bringing fire to men. He is that greatest and best of all men, greater than the heroes, better than the saints, Man Friday. Every rumble of a cart, every cry in the distance, marks the heart of humanity beating undaunted in the darkness. It is wholly human; man toiling in his own cloud.

— Charles Dickens (1906).

Published in: on October 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm  Comments (1)  


Loyalty is probably best to be defined somewhat thus: it is the sentiment due to those things to which our obligation is in a sense infinite — that is, cannot be calculated as for barter, and can only be expressed by a general and final dedication of the affections. Thus a man owes a loyalty to his mother, even if she takes to drink or to party politics, because nothing short of seeing her through any of her troubles could be commensurate with a gift which is mystical and absolute: the gift of life itself and of life given at the risk of death.

The Illustrated London News, 11 November 1911.

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 12:46 pm  Comments (3)