|The Young Cicero Reading by Vincenzo Foppa|
My ancestor Africanus, I thought, appeared to me in a shape, with which I was better acquainted from his picture, than from any personal knowledge of him. When I perceived it was he, I confess I trembled with consternation—but he addressed me, saying, take courage, my Scipio, be not afraid, and carefully remember what I shall say to you.
|The Reluctance of Scipio by Sebastiano Ricci|
From the final surviving fragments of Cicero's Republic, translated by Francis Barham in where Cicero concludes the great struggle encountered by Scipio Africanus or Scipio the African to defend Rome from Hannibal's Carthage, when through his dreaming, he contemplates in himself the rivalries of human glory, outmatched by the revelries of spiritual splendour at witnessing the great battles raging in the firmament above, whose harmonies and glories far surpass the slight human presence on Earth in relative light.
I could not help casting my eyes every now and then on the earth. On which, says Africanus, I perceive you are still employed in contemplating the seat and residence of mankind. Now if it appears to you so small, as in fact it really is, despise its vanities, and fix your attention for ever on these heavenly objects. Is it possible that you should attain any human applause or glory that are worth the contending for?Through a spiritual humility and an intellectual prowess, Cicero aligns with the famous wisdom of Blake, where he echoes, "all deities reside in the human breast" from Cicero's prose, "Know, then, that you are a god—for a god it must be that vivifies, and gives sensation, memory, and foresight to the body to which it is attached, and which it governs and regulates..."
|A Dream by William Blake|
|Nebuchadnezzar by William Blake|
__________What shared outpouring wore down the iris and pupil
of the already blind
And cut out of the legs from the paralyzed
street of ghost walkers
Who hang onto passerby cars
with historical envy and thick desire
In the burning legs
that carry our men and women home
From the taxes of war
In terrorist fires
across the Fourth of July
Crying for Chinese tears
to put out the flame
With workhorse hands
over the Maoist grave
A permanent red
To divulge in a communal sense of suffering
With the Islamic world
Now enmeshed in divided hatred
with their Asian brothers
- excerpt from "Improvisational Brevity in the Public Eye"