Friday, September 23, 2016

The Index of His Patriotism

The other evening, in Part 1, Chapter 1, Section 2 of An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, I noticed the sentence
Again, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," is a mere commonplace, a terse expression of abstractions in the mind of the poet himself, if Philippi is to be the index of his patriotism, whereas it would be the record of experiences, a sovereign dogma, a grand aspiration, inflaming the imagination, piercing the heart, of a Wallace or a Tell.
It is no surprise to find that Newman was one of those who found that Horace's Ode iii.2 reads oddly in the light of ii.7. Nor, really, to find that he states this more pithily than most of us could.

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