Those that do remember and that do continue the process are called poets and I do read them with appreciation. So it was that I opened Modern American and British Poetry, Louis Untermeyer, ed. © 1955 this morning and only by chance picked page 478. William Butler Yeats. (1865-1939)
The Leaders of the Crowd
They must to keep their certainty accuse
All that are different of a base intent;
Pull down established honor; hawk for news
Whatever their loose phantasy invent
And murmur it with bated breath, as though
The abounding gutter had been a Helicon
Or calumny a song. How can they know
Truth flourished where the student''s lamp has shone,
And there alone, that have no solitude?
So the crowd come they care not what my come.
They have loud music, hope every day renewed
And heartier loves; that lamp is from the tomb.
It seems as if things are as they always were. That what we have done matters less than the height of Hilton's skirt or whether Tatiana has red knickers.
The number of people who died on the 4th of July is not statistically unusual, but it give some pause to think that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams succumbed on that day in 1826 and James Monroe on July 4th, 1831. I have always paid a lot of attention to the Jeffersonian ideal of an informed electorate.
"Though [the people] may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they do not understand."
-Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on Apportionment Bill, 1792. ME 3:211
Again, from reading Yeats...
To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing
Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat;
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbor's eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is the most difficult.