Thursday, 25 February 2016

A journey through Lent 2016
with Samuel Johnson (16)

‘We soon must lie down in the grave with the forgotten multitudes of former ages’ … the Martyrs’ Plaque in Lichfield, dating from the 1740s and now in Beacon Park (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent this year, I am taking time each morning to reflect on words from Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the Lichfield lexicographer and writer who compiled the first authoritative English-language dictionary.

On this day, 264 years ago, Johnson wrote in the Rambler (No 203) on 25 February 1752:

Every period of life is obliged to borrow its happiness from the time to come. In youth we have nothing to entertain us, and in age we derive little from retrospect but hopeless sorrow. Yet the future likewise has its limits, which the imagination dreads to approach, but which we see to be not far distant. The loss of our friends and companions impresses hourly upon the necessity of our own departure; we know that the schemes of man are quickly at an end, that we soon must lie down in the grave with the forgotten multitudes of former ages, and yield our place to others, who, like us, shall be driven awhile by hope and fear about the surface of the earth, and then like us be lost in the shades of death. Beyond this termination of our material existence, we are therefore obliged to extend our hopes ...

Continued tomorrow.

Yesterday’s reflection.

No comments: