Saturday, January 16, 2010

Albert Einstein

On Classic Literature
February 29, 1952

Somebody who reads only newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else. And what a person thinks on his own without being stimulated by the thoughts and experiences of other people is even in the best case rather paltry and monotonous.

There are only a few enlightened people with a lucid mind and style and with good taste within a century. What has been preserved of their work belongs among the most precious possessions 0f mankind. We owe it to a few writers of antiquity that the people in the Middle Ages could slowly extricate themselves from the superstitions and ignorance that had darkened life for more than half a millennium.

Nothing is more needed to overcome the modernist's snobbishness.

Robert Service poetry

Old David Smail

He dreamed away his hours in school; He sat with such an absent air, The master reckoned him a fool, And gave him up in dull despair.

When other lads were making hay you'd find him loafing by the stream; He's take a book and slip away, And just pretend to fish...and dream.

His brothers passed him in the race; They climbed the hill and clutched the prize. He did not seem to heed, his face was tranquil as the evening skies.

He lived apart, he spoke with few; Abstractedly through life he went; Oh, what he dreamed of no one knew, And yet he seemed to be content.

I see him now, so old and grey, His eyes with inward vision dim; And though he faltered on the way, Somehow I almost envied him.

At last beside his bed I stood: "And is Life done so soon?" he sighed; "It's been so rich, so full, so good, I've loved it all..." ---and so he died.