About writing

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Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
– Abigail Van Buren

The great fair of common human life

   The child who is decked with prince’s robes
and who has jewelled chains round his neck
loses all pleasure in his play;
his dress hampers him at every step.

In fear that it may be frayed,
or stained with dust
he keeps himself from the world,
and is afraid even to move.

Mother, it is no gain, thy bondage of finery,
if it keep one shut off from the healthful dust of the earth,
if it rob one of the right of entrance
to the great fair of common human life

– Rabindranath Tagore in Gitanjali 

Classical Literature

It is worth the expense of youthful days and costly hours, if you learn only some words of an ancient language, which are raised out of the trivialness of the street, to be perpetual suggestions and provocations. It is not in vain that the farmer remembers and repeats the few latin words which he has heard. 

 

The adventurous student will always study classics, in whatever language they may be written and however ancient they may be. For what are classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man?  To read well, that is to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble excercise, and one that will task the reader more than any excercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object.  

 

Those who have not learned to read the ancient classics in the language in which they were written must have a very imperfect knowledge of the history of the human race. The works of the great poets have never yet been read by mankind, for only great poets can read them. 

 

– An extract from ‘Walden’ written by Henry David Thoreau