Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pope, with me in mind

"Some men's Wit is like a dark lanthorn, which serves their own turn and guides their own way: but is never known (according to the Scripture Phrase) either to shine forth before Men, or to glorify their Father in heaven."

     Alexander Pope, "Thoughts on various subjects," LXXXI (Works of Mr. Alexander Pope, in prose (1741), II: 337), as quoted by Melvyn New, Richard Davies, and W. G. Day, in their Notes to The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, vol. 3 of the edition of Tristram Shandy in the Florida edition of the works of Laurence Sterne (Gainsville, FL: University Presses of Florida, 1984), 233. Still, I would settle for the company of Tristram's uncle Toby: "What a conjucture was here lost!My father in one of his best explanatory moodsin eager pursuit of a metaphysical point into the very regions, where clouds and thick darkness would soon have encompassed it about;my uncle Toby in one of the finest dispositions for it in the world; his head like a smoke-jack;the funnel unswept, and the ideas whirling round and round about in it, all obfuscated and darkened over with fuliginous matter!" (Laurence Sterne, The life and opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent., III.18-19 (GBWW, 1st ed., 1952, vol. 36, p. 293)).

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