The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Go, Bede!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The present life of man, O king, seems to me like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the hall wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant.

The Venerable Bede (673-735)

7 comments on “Go, Bede!

  1. Sunday 22nd May 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Ah, thank you for that, Marco. (I hadn’t omitted it, I didn’t know about it.)

  2. marko

    Sunday 22nd May 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The most important line is Bede’s next one, which says:-
    “If, therefore, this new doctrine [ie, Christianity] contains something more certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed.”

  3. Thursday 19th May 2011 at 10:27 am

    It’s a fab piece. Only used it once, but must re-visit.
    Thanks, Charles.

  4. Wednesday 18th May 2011 at 7:52 am

    I’d forgotten that hilariously inappropriate epithet. What a thing to call him! Yes, isn’t TVB’s view of before and after interesting for a man of exemplary devoutness? He was C of E well before his time.

  5. Wednesday 18th May 2011 at 7:36 am

    The Venemous Bede (remember “1066 And All That”?)is still properly venerated for that vivid and poignant insight, and how interesting that it should be a devout Christian who said that we are utterly ignorant of before and after.

    I find it helpful when I hear Christian ministers saying something like that, whilst I’m waiting to go on, rather than the more customary phrases; after all, it doesn’t negate anyone’s faith to say so – in fact, it surely illuminates and stengthens it? It certainly makes it more impressive and comprehensible to this old non-believer.

  6. Tuesday 17th May 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Cheeky plotsters. Well, it was Bede V what said it, venerated at the GFG and not forgotten.

  7. Comfort Blanket

    Tuesday 17th May 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Lovely… Thanks Charles.
    I haven’t seen this before but now I’ve read it I realise the script writers from The Tudors used a shorter version of this (or something very similar) as the introduction to the final episode, as Old King Hal faces his final days.

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