“The fieriness of fire”

I do not think there is anyone who takes quite such a fierce pleasure in things being themselves as I do. The startling wetness of water excites and intoxicates me: the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, the unutterable muddiness of mud. It is just the same with people. . . When we call a man “manly” or a woman “womanly” we touch the deepest philosophy.

— Letter to Frances [later his wife] (1899).

Published in: on April 9, 2008 at 9:05 am  Comments (3)  

“All good things are one thing”

All good things are one thing. Sunsets, schools of philosophy, babies, constellations, cathedrals, operas, mountains, horses, poems — all these are merely disguises. One thing is always walking among us in fancy-dress, in the grey cloak of a church or the green cloak of a meadow. He is always behind, His form makes the folds fall so superbly. And that is what the savage old Hebrews, alone among the nations, guessed, and why their rude tribal god has been erected on the ruins of all polytheistic civilizations. For the Greeks and Norsemen and Romans saw the superficial wars of nature and made the sun one god, the sea another, the wind a third. They were not thrilled, as some rude Israelite was, one night in the wastes, alone, by the sudden blazing idea of all being the same God: an idea worthy of a detective story.

– Letter to Frances Blogg (later his wife) (1899).
Quoted in Maisie Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1943).

Published in: on October 10, 2007 at 5:06 am  Leave a Comment