13 March 2011


A few days ago I run into an interesting article about Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881). When I was thumbing through the article, I noticed there were no political comments or anything related to his relationship with Queen Victoria, aspect that I was primarily interested in reading about. To my surprise, the article dealt with Disraeli´s contribution to literature. I had no idea that apart from being the British Prime Minister in a couple of occasions, he had also written poems and two novels. The article said that he penned several romances and two novels: Sybil and Vivian Grey, from which I had not heard much either. However, in the middle of this interesting reading, there was a quote that caught my attention and now serves as the excuse for this entry. Disraeli is supposed to have said once: "Traveling teaches toleration", or the mnemotechnic rule that I have applied to give a name to his entry and that, hopefully, will help me remember Disraeli´s words, 3T.

To me, traveling has always being an important part of a person´s education. It enriches people´s personalities, it helps us understand other cultures and respect everyone. Traveling teaches us that the world should not have borders because we are all the same, no matter how far we go. Traveling increases the appreciation for the traveler´s origins and roots, it also helps a person to be more self-assured and self-confident. Besides, it broadens the traveler´s perspectives and ideas about life and the world. It certainly increases the sense of independance and responsability...well, there are countless advantages of traveling, which brings me to mind Tennyson´s Ulysses (1842) and the following unforgettable lines:

by Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

[...] I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments...

6 March 2011

Nothing compares to you

It is interesting the way Milton describes Eve´s falling for Adam. "Nothing compares to you", Eve  seems to be saying to Adam in Paradise Lost, book IV. The sun is pleasant, the morning birds are charming, the grass, the trees, the fruits, the rivers, the stars...all is delightful and beautiful. However, spending time with Adam seems to be the most precious moment of the day for Eve. It seems to me that Milton´s Eve is in love, at least in Book IV. The comparisons and images Milton use are very powerful and  only related to nature and the Paradise they lived in, obviously, because it was Adam and Eve´s world.   

Paradise Lost (Book IV: 641- 656)
by John Milton (1608-1678)

Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet, [ 641 ]
With charm of earliest Birds; pleasant the Sun
When first on this delightful Land he spreads
His orient Beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flour,
Glistring with dew; fragrant the fertil earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful Eevning milde, then silent Night
With this her solemn Bird and this fair Moon,
And these the Gemms of Heav'n, her starrie train:
But neither breath of Morn when she ascends [ 650 ]
With charm of earliest Birds, nor rising Sun
On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, floure,
Glistring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful Eevning mild, nor silent Night
With this her solemn Bird, nor walk by Moon,
Or glittering Starr-light without thee is sweet [ 656 ]
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