Dancing With Books

An excerpt from Morris Bishop’s biography on Petrarch:

His reading was a communion with ancient spirits, alive in books. He wrote them personal letters; he called Cicero his father. Virgil his brother. A great volume of Cicero, disturbed on his shelves, fell and wounded his ankle, making him wonder what he had done to make Cicero angry. He called books “welcome assiduous companions, always ready to appear in public or go back in thier box at your order, always disposed to speak or be silent, to stay at home or make a visit to the woods, to travel or abide in the country, to gossip, joke, encourage you, comfort you, advise you, reprove you, and take care of you, to teach you the world’s secerts, the records of great deeds, the rules of life and the scorn of death, the moderation in good fortune, fortitude in ill, calmness and constancy in behaviour. These are learned, gay, useful companions, who will never bring you tedium, expense, lamentation, jealous murmurs, or deception.” ~Petrarch

Another below, on his passion for writing:

He wrote, as he read, with passion. He said: “I write to please myself; and while I write I converse eagerly with our elders, in the one way I can. And I gladly forget those among whom I was forced by evil fate to live; I employ all my power of mind to escape them and seek out the ancients. As the very sight of my contemporaries offends me, the remembrance, the splended deeds, even the bright names of men of old allure me and fill me with inestimable joy; so that many would be shocked to learn how much more I find my delight among the dead than with the living.”

6/18/13

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