Charles Cowling

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)


0 0 vote
Article Rating
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

7 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
marko
marko
9 years ago

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.”

X.Piry
9 years ago

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

Charles Cowling
9 years ago

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.

gloria mundi
9 years ago

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.

Comfort Blanket
Comfort Blanket
9 years ago

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.