Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parallel - Forgiving Friends

Again from Shake-Speare:

"What vilder thing upon the earth than friends
Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends!
How rarely [splendidly] does it meet with this time's guise
When man was wished to love his enemies!
Grant I may ever love, and rather woo
Those that would mischief me than those that do"!  
 Timon of Athens 4.3.466-71

Now Bacon: "Cosmus, Duke of Florence had a desperate saying against perfidious or neglecting friends, as if those wrongs were unpardonable: "You shall read (saith he) that we are commanded to forgive our enemies, but you never read that we are commanded to forgive our friends".
  Essay on Revenge

"Cosmus, Duke of Florence, was wont to say of perfidious friends "That we read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends".
  from Bacon's "Apothegms"

Comment:  That friends are worse than enemies was probably a commonplace, but our authors both couple it with the ironic point that the injunction to love (or forgive) our enemies does not require us to love (or forgive) our friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment