Alphabooks: Q is for Quote

Q: Quote From a Book That Inspires You / Gives You Feels

I think it would be fair to say that feels have been dealt with at least once or twice before, leaving me pondering what book quotation or quotations inspire me.  What words quicken me?

Paradoxically, perhaps, this triad of Anglo-Saxon lines (which I read in Bradley and Fulk, though both are just the presentation of an anonymous poet’s work):

Sare ic wæs mid sorgum gedrefed,   hnag ic hwæðre þam secgum to handa,   eaðmod elne mycle.
Sorely I was with sorrows afflicted,   but I bowed to the hands of the men,   submissive with great zeal.
– “The Dream of the Rood

Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg.
That was overcome; so might this be.
– “Deor

Wel bið þam þe him are seceð,   frofre to Fæder on heofonum,   þær us eal seo fæstnung stondeð.
Well it is for him who seeks mercy, comfort from the Father in heaven, where all our fastness (security) stands.
– “The Wanderer

These might not look like the stuff of great inspiration; it’s no St. Crispin’s Day speech, no Shakespearian exhortation unto the breach once more, much less a modern approach to exhortation a la Carnegie, Peale, Carlson, or Covey.

But together, these words exhort me to go and meet the daily slings and arrows. The Rood-Tree is an example of zealously submitting oneself to suffering and sorrow: an approach almost as paradoxical as the crucifixion itself, a victory that so resembled defeat. Deor indicates that whether life is full of delight or dejection, it will pass. And then the Wanderer takes that a step further: he recites all that he’s suffered (anxiety, loneliness, loss of his kin, loss of his lord and his lord’s protection) and ponders how everything – wealth, friends, kin, merriment – is lent to us, is passing, is transitory. The whole foundation of the earth shall stand empty but the one who seeks mercy (or grace, or peace, or honor) should find comfort in our heavenly Father. That is the one place of rest that endures.  And so I keep going, persevering until I reach it.


4 thoughts on “Alphabooks: Q is for Quote

  1. Pingback: Alphabetical Promptings | Egotist's Club

  2. Agreed. It seems that only those who have actually submitted, in some degree, to these defeats, understand that this is something far more than the consolation of a doormat. There’s power in this that defies understanding.

    • It’s a sort of metaphysical muscle, isn’t it? The thing breaks you down, you are stronger once you’re built back up. Not that the building-back-up process is anywhere as straightforward as protein assembly, and it’s never painless…but certainly worth enduring.

      • Exactly. The worst one I face yet was like… maybe like having deformed bones broken and re-set to be straight. Only the bones were in my soul, which made it easier to bear in some regards, but perhaps harder in others.

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