Category: Echoes through time

Echoes through time: a reputation for generosity

If your generosity is good and sincere it may pass unnoticed and it will not save you from being reproached for its opposite. If you want to sustain a reputation for generosity, therefore, you have to be ostentatiously lavish; and a prince acting in that fashion will soon squander all his resources…

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), The Prince, chapter 16

Echoes through time: When books have all seized up

To Posterity

When books have all seized up like the book in graveyards
And reading and even speaking have been replaced
By other, less difficult media, we wonder if you
Will find flowers and fruit the same colour and taste
They held for us for whom they were framed in words,
And will your grass be green, your sky be blue,
Or will your birds be always wingless birds?

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963), Poems Selected by Michael Longley

Echoes through time: the entire range of human fortunes

Exile, torture, war, shipwreck … We should set before our eyes the entire range of human fortunes, and calibrate our thoughts about the future not by the usual scale of events but by the magnitude of what could happen. If we wish not to be overwhelmed, stunned by rare occurrences as if they were unparalleled, we must take a comprehensive view of fortune.

… whatever we mortals construct is condemned to be mortal We live amid things that will die. … Let us, therefore, shape our minds to be such as will understand and endure our lot, knowing that fortune shrinks from nothing.

Seneca (4 BC – AD 65),  Moral Letters to Lucilius (91.8, 91.12, 91.15)

Image: Andrew Munro