Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From the Commonplace Book: Petrarch on the Value of Studying Eloquence

"...for although ten thousand years may pass and centuries pile upon centuries, never will virtue be praised enough; never will there be enough lessons about how to love God and to hate sinful pleasures; never will the road to discovery of new ideas be closed to eager minds...Finally, even if love of other men should not compel us to it, still, I should think that the study of eloquence is the best and most beneficial thing for us ourselves, not something to be held in lowest esteem. Others may decide for themselves, but I cannot possibly tell you what value certain familiar and famous words have had for me in my solitude, words which I not only conceived in my mind, but spoke aloud, and which I have been accustomed to use to rouse my sleeping spirit."
(from Renaissance Debates on Rhetoric, Wayne A. Rebhorn, editor)