And thus began the self-deception that all sorrow is knowledge and the tacit acknowledgement of grief as the sign of wisdom.
The phrase occurs in Manfred, a drama in poetry by aord Byron, in the first soliloquy of Manfred, the protagonist who debates the intent of life having known all that is to be known, has an unknown and mysterious grief gnawing him.
The start in itself is one of my most favorite passages in English poetry.
The lamp must be replenish'd, but even then It will not burn so long as I must watch. My slumbers-- if I slumber-- are not sleep, But a continuance of enduring thought, Which then I can resist not: in my heart There is a vigil, and these eyes but close To look within; and yet I live, and bear The aspect and the form of breathing men. But grief should be the instructor of the wise; Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most 10 Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth, The Tree of Knowledge is not that of Life.
I read this when I was but an impressionable personality, and vastly more ignorant than I am now, around 19 years of age. How misleading is time, to imply and assume number of years as the measure of a thing’s worth!
To be continued…