Wednesday, March 28, 2018



Cicero, Letters to His Brother Quintus 3.7.2 (tr. D.R. Shackleton Bailey):
For the men and the times could not be worse than they are.

nihil est enim perditius his hominibus, his temporibus.

Dear Mike,

Carlyle expresses similar sentiments to Cicero's (and less tersely) in the first of his Latter-Day Pamphlets, The Present Time [February 1, 1850].

"Days of endless calamity, disruption, dislocation, confusion worse confounded: […]"

"Bankruptcy everywhere; foul ignominy, and the abomination of desolation, in all high places: odious to look upon, as the carnage of a battle-field on the morrow morning; […]"

"A Government tumbling and drifting on the whirlpools and mud-deluges, floating atop in a conspicuous manner, no-whither, — like the carcass of a drowned ass."

In an essay published anonymously a few weeks before, Carlyle finds contemporary social affairs "in a state of the frightfulest embroilment, and as it were of inextricable final bankruptcy", an "unutterable welter of tumbling ruins".

Best wishes,

Eric [Thomson]

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