Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What I love about reading is finding my indescribable feelings, described. Whether some poet has captured longings, or some intellectual has unpacked emotions and laid them out clearly on paper. This is the case with the following quote by Addison. He describes many of the difficult emotions I experience when I see human drama. In this quote he is walking in a cemetery and jots down his thoughts.

"When I am in a serious humor; I very often walk by myself in Westminster Abbey; where the gloominess of the place, and the use to which it is applied, with the solemnity of the building, and the condition of the people who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable....
I could not but be very much delighted with several modern epitaphs, which are written with great elegance of expressions and justness of thought, and therefore do honor to the living as well as the dead.

I know that entertainments of this nature are apt to raise dark and dismal thoughts in timorous minds, and gloomy imaginations; but for my own part, though I am always serious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can therefore take a view of nature, in her deep and solemn scenes, with the same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones. By this means I can improve myself with those objects which others consider with terror.
When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow. When I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read of several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries and make our appearance together."

Photo taken from the Internet

1 comment:

HAINAngel2000 said...

what a post Fred. Yes seeing the graves of so many babies and children is heartbreaking. You know what frustrates me sometimes is when people have no compassion towards those who have lost an infant.
Anyway I understand also the thoughts on people who do always stay in the state of melancholy. It can be depressing. But I also relate with the feelings too. This was a great post!!