Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Extremes

These two passages are stuck inside my head today.
Come my songs, let us express our baser passions.
Let us express our envy for the man with a steady job and no worry about the future.

You are very idle, my songs.
I fear you will come to a bad end.

You stand about the streets. You loiter at the corners and bus-stops,
You do next to nothing at all.
You do not even express your inner nobility,
You will come to a very bad end.

And I? I have gone half cracked.
I have talked to you so much that I almost see you about me.
Insolent little beasts! Shameless! Devoid of clothing!

But you, newest song of the lot,
You are not old enough to have done much mischief.
I will get you a green coat out of China
With dragons worked on it.
I will get you the scarlet silk trousers
From the statue of the infant Christ at Santa Maria Novella;

Lest they say we are lacking in taste,
Or that there is no caste in this family.


Ezra Pound, from LUSTRA

And
The first thing we have to remember is this. Whether our argument concerns public affairs or some other subject, we must know some, if not all, the facts about the subject on which we are to speak and argue. Otherwise we can have no materials out of which to construct arguments. I mean, for instance, how could we advise the Athenians whether they should go to war or not, if we did not know their strength, whether it was naval or military or both, and how great it is; what their revenues amount to; who their friends and enemies are; what wars, too, they have waged, and with what success; and so on?

Aristotle, Rhetoric II, 22

I wonder why passion and reason often seem as if they are at war against each other. I doubt if they truly are.

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