Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Brevity of Bede

Historians refer to the gloomy dark ages, and cite the scholar and monk, we now call the Venerable Bede, as an example.  Bede died in 735 AD, and among his memorable word pictures is that of a bird flying through a feast hall, the bird enters and exits the light, from the night, back into the night,  and so, is the point, man's life is comparably short. And Peter Quennell cites this as an example of the pessimism of that era. 
And with Quennell we see the extent that reality can be sidelined. To contemplate reality is joyous.  Infinities are infinities-the gulf of dark surrounding man is not diminished because we have electric lights and walls of books; the glut of knowledge we have at our disposal does not alter the proportions of light and the surrounding  unknown. Our basic situation is a feather's weight different from that Bede drew. The brevity that was the soul of Bede, is not historical, that span is the human.

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