Monday, November 30, 2009


Pogi story-teller

In between books, I read quotations -- because I always encounter them in books written by great authors. The threads that connect great works I already noticed long ago. Here's what I stumbled upon recently:

As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but
the live timber burgeons with leaves again
in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while
Another dies.
-- Homer, The Iliad

This is familiar. Ecclesiastes (1:4) rephrased it briefly but beautifully:

Generations come and generations go, but the Earth remains forever.

This got me thinking, which quotation came first? So, Googling Wikipedia, I got the following information:

"...the Iliad is among the oldest extant works of Western literature, and its written version is usually dated to around the 8th Century BC. The Iliad contains approximately 15,700 lines, and is written in a literary amalgam of several Greek dialects. The authorship of the poem is disputed."

And this:

"Some scholars believe much of the Old Testament was written in Mesopotamia [Now called Iraq -- Pogi]. It is believed the Old Testament was composed and compiled between the 12th and the 2nd Century BC..."

So either one could have been first, unless conclusive evidence is found to favor one or the other. Whatever. To continue: this line of thinking naturally leads to:

What has been will be again,
What has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
-- Ecclesiastes 1:9

And whenever I get to Ecclesiastes, I always think of 9:11 --

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

Which simply means "Life is not fair," with the corollary, "May araw ka rin." Anyone with a fair amount of sensibility gets to realize this early or late in life. So I take to heart a quote from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: "We never had to take any of it seriously, did we?"

It seems Damon Runyon did not. This quote is attributed to him:

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong—but that's the way to bet.


1 comment:

Mariel said...

Thank you for cherry-picking these quotes from their respective sources for us lazy ones to 'easily' read!