Saturday, August 12, 2023

Quote of the Week: The Way of the World

"Lords, ladies, priests, and scholars are the biggest liars. Men daren't tell lords the truth now. Where there's a failing, I must flatter and lie, or else have the door shut on me. I've often heard men say the truth, who with a lie make their argument conform better to their intention. They have to mix the lie in to add a flourish to their case. Often the lie comes spontaneously, and falls in with the matter without premeditation. So when the lie is well dressed, it falls into step with the truth.

"Dear nephew, men must now lie here, and tell the truth there. They have to flatter, threaten, beg, and curse. They must attack their opponent's weakest point. Whoever intends to prosper in the world without composing a beautiful lie, without wrapping it and hiding it so that men take it for truth, won't escape servitude. If a man is so subtle as not to stammer when he's being heard, nephew, he can work wonders .He'll wear scarlet and fur, he'll win in both canon and civil law and wherever he has business to do."

 - the title character in Reynard the Fox, p.145, translated by James Simpson from William Caxton's 1485 original

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