Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Laboring Under a Delusion

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (Boston: Phillips, Samson and Company, 1858), p. 271:
It won't do to be exclusive in our taste about trees. There is hardly one of them which has not peculiar beauties in some fitting place for it. I remember a tall poplar of monumental proportions and aspect, a vast pillar of glossy green, placed on the summit of a lofty hill, and a beacon to all the country round. A native of that region saw fit to build his house very near it, and, having a fancy that it might blow down some time or other, and exterminate himself and any incidental relatives who might be "stopping" or "tarrying" with him,—also laboring under the delusion that human life is under all circumstances to be preferred to vegetable existence,—had the great poplar cut down. It is so easy to say, "It is only a poplar!" and so much harder to replace its living cone than to build a granite obelisk!


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