Friday Florilegium


It is surprising how practical duty enriches the fancy and the heart, and action clears and deepens the affections. Indeed, no one can have a true idea of right, until he does it; any genuine reverence for it, till he has done it often and with cost; any peace ineffable in it, till he does it always and with alacrity. Does any one complain, that the best affections are transient visitors with him, and the heavenly spirit a stranger to his heart? Oh, let him not go forth, on any strained wing of thought, in distant quest of them; but rather stay at home, and set his house in the true order of conscience; and of their own accord the divinest guests will enter.–James Martineau (1805 –1900), English Christian philosopher

…there come times–perhaps this is one of them–
when we have to take ourselves more seriously or die;
when we have to pull back from the incantations,
rhythms we’ve moved to thoughtlessly,
and disenthrall ourselves, bestow
ourselves to silence, or a severer listening…
–Adrienne Rich (1929 – 2012), American poet, from Transcendental Étude

All cowardice comes from not loving, or not loving well–which is the same thing. — Midnight in Paris

It’s…possible to read religiously, as a lover reads, with a tensile attentiveness that wishes to linger, to prolong, to savor, and has no interest at all in the quick orgasm of consumption. — Paul Griffiths, Christian philosopher, from Religious Reading

Oh, there are moments in man’s mortal years
When for an instant that which long has lain
Beyond our reach is on a sudden found
In things of smallest compass, and we hold
The unbounded shut in one small minute’s space,
And worlds within the hollow of our hand,–
A world of music in one word of love,
A world of love in one quick wordless look,
A world of thought in one translucent phrase,
A world of memory in one mournful chord,
A world of sorrow in one little song.
Such moments are…holiest,–the divine
And first-sown seeds of Love’s eternity.
–Henry Bernard Carpenter (1840—1887), from Liber Amoris


And for another Friday literary bouquet, join Kimberlee Conway Ireton.