Outward Bound Ideas

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

41. Confessions Of An Un-Common Attorney

From Confessions Of An Un-Common Attorney by Reginald L. Hine
A Conversation with Gabriele d'Annunzio

We agreed for more ascetic writers the ideal, surely,
was the monastic cell, from the narrow window of which,
every ninth year or so, the scribe would lean out
to discover if ordinary sinful, slothful mortals were
yet alive. Solitude, a room to oneself, a place for
rumination, a haunt in which to find that final peace,
the quiet of the heart; those were the essentials.
But, as d'Annunzio remarked, though solitude is a
fine thing, there is a pleasure in having someone
who can respond; to whom one can say from time
to time that solitude is a fine thing.
Like everything else, we concluded, it was a question
of degree. The words of friends were precious, but let
those friends and let those words be few -- 'five or six
ingeniose companions which is enough.' It was important
insisted the poet, to change them frequently and he
found nothing cynical in my comment: 'You must not
become attached to animals: they do not last long
enough. You must not become attached to men: they last
too long.'

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