The Wind in the Lucretian Willows

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (Chp. 1):

“It all seemed too good to be true. Hither and thither through the meadows he rambled busily, along the hedgerows, across the copses, finding everywhere birds building, flowers budding, leaves thrusting—everything happy, and progressive, and occupied. And instead of having an uneasy conscience pricking him and whispering ‘whitewash!’ he somehow could only feel how jolly it was to be the only idle dog among all these busy citizens. After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”

Lucretius, de Rerum Natura (2.1-13):

“It is sweet, when the winds on the wide sea are churning the waters, to watch the great suffering of someone else from your perch on land: not because it is a gratifying pleasure to see someone harassed, but because it is sweet to see what sufferings you yourself are free from. It is also sweet to look upon the great struggles of war, drawn up on the fields without any danger on your side. But there is nothing sweeter, than to hold the serene and fortified temples of the wise, fabricated by learning, from which you can look down upon others and see them wandering astray in their search for the path through this walking shadow of life as they strive with their minds, contend with each other for nobility, and exert themselves with the utmost effort every night and day to rise forth to the greatest riches and get control of worldly affairs.”

Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis
e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem;
non quia vexari quemquamst iucunda voluptas,
sed quibus ipse malis careas quia cernere suavest.
suave etiam belli certamina magna tueri               6
per campos instructa tua sine parte pericli;               5
sed nihil dulcius est, bene quam munita tenere               7
edita doctrina sapientum templa serena,
despicere unde queas alios passimque videre
errare atque viam palantis quaerere vitae,               10
certare ingenio, contendere nobilitate,
noctes atque dies niti praestante labore
ad summas emergere opes rerumque potiri.

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One thought on “The Wind in the Lucretian Willows

  1. If there is one thing that will make a man peculiarly and insufferable self-conceited, it is to have his stomach behave itself, the first day at sea, when nearly all his comrades are seasick.
    – Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

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