Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Then and Now: How some mirror images never change

"We have found the enemy and they are ours."

Oliver Hazard Perry, commander of the American fleet, 10 September 1813 after defeating the British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie.
Things have changed a bit.
"We have found the enemy and they are us."

Cartoonist Walt Kelly.
One of us, and too bad it ain't me, came up with a thought that keeps me awake at night. Till he reveals it, I can post this and some comments below on other Classics.

Some entirely smart and humorous writing, the point of this post:

I have notes piled high on my desk. Sometimes I recall what I have in them.
"A gentleman need not know Latin, but he should at least have forgotten it."

Brander Matthews.
Here's a medical man writing on Classical Languages:
"It is unfortunate that Greek is no longer taught in Queensland schools, and Latin only in a few. I believe that we are the poorer for this, and it shows in all sorts of ways, including a general decline in literacy even at the tertiary level. A classical grounding demands scholarship and precision. I have found that knowledge of both Greek and Latin has enriched my knowledge of English literature and Western philosophy, as well as French. Such a grounding also trains the mind in analytical and ordered thought and provides greater insight into the workings of syntax and grammar and a greater facility with words — the building blocks of our language, many of which are derived from Greek and Latin."
"The Greek playwright Sophocles wrote in Electra (c 409 B.C.), 'The end excuses any evil,' a thought later rendered by the Roman poet Ovid as 'The result justifies the deed' in 'Heroides' (c. 10 B.C.)."
From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).

I'm a Conrad fan myself , but here Ovid rules.

No comments: