Tuesday, April 28, 2009

George Santayana - O World, Thou Choosest Not

Whether you know it or not, you've probably heard of George Santayana - or at least, one of his often-misquoted aphorisms: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

He was a Spanish citizen and American man of letters, as well as a poet and essayist.

O World, thou choosest not

O world, thou choosest not the better part!

It is not wisdom to be only wise,

And on the inward vision close the eyes,

But it is wisdom to believe the heart.

Columbus found a world, and had no chart,

Save one that faith deciphered in the skies;

To trust the soul’s invincible surmise

Was all his science and his only art.

Our knowledge is a torch of smoky pine

That lights the pathway but one step ahead

Across a void of mystery and dread.

Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine

By which alone the mortal heart is led

Unto the thinking of the thought divine.

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