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)


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marko
marko
10 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
10 years ago

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

Charles Cowling
10 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
10 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
10 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.