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A Poet's Journal: June 30th, 2014

June 30th, 2014

A 4-day hike in the Basque Mountains

Lying low upon the ground, breathing in the night air, and awakening to a slight chill, though it is the middle of summer, is enough for the body to regain its vitality.  It would be easy here for the mind to leave its thoughts to the scattered mist, but even if we tell ourselves that an unfettered freedom lies before us upon the trail, there is always something of our nagging and mundane lives following.  The contrast is too simple for us not to notice, and instead of feeling enlivened by it, there is the realization that we have not yet broken free from it all, but neither have we decided what we want to break free from.
A constellation arose on the door of our tent at night, and following it, the first rays of sun spread through our damp affairs with the enduring scent of heat--all of it though matters not unless one can see the place and the meaning it gives to his onward movements.
Douglas Thornton

A First Attempt in Latin Translation

Cicero's Pro Achia ch. 7.

On the utility of literature in his defence of the poet Archias:

I will admit that many men have existed who were excellent in mind and in virtue, but had no learning, and by the habit of their natures, on account of some divinity, moderated themselves by their own gravity. Though of course, I will add that, when we speak of honour and virtue he has always been more valued who was strong in mind but without learning than he who had the required education but not the character to go along with it. Yet I will contend to this that when a certain method and conformity of learning approaches to a select and distinguished character, how illustrious and of such singular nature these men appear before us. From this, we should count him who our fathers saw, that divine man Africanus, then C. Laelius, L. Furius, both moderate and virtuous men; then that most firm and most learned man of the times, M. Cato the elder; all of whom, were it not adjudged that any virtue…