“Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.”
– Italian Proverb
Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
(Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg)
A loveless life is a living death.
~ Old English Proverb
What good is honor when you’re starving?
~ Yiddish Proverb
The heaviest weight in the world is an empty pocket.
~ Jewish Proverb
Pleasures are transient, honors are immortal.
~ Greek Proverb
“A crust in comfort is better than a feast in fear.” …
“All of us, the great and the little have need of each other.” …
“One who steals has no right to complain if he is robbed.” …
“Fine feathers don’t make fine birds.” …
Aesop (or the legend of such a man) has survived for centuries without a shred of real evidence regarding his actual life. Nobody knows anything about Aesop to be fact; mainly what we continue to carry of this legacy is nothing more than word of mouth, handed down for generations. (In itself, this is amazing!)
I feel strange quoting someone who may not have even existed, but the words are there despite any argument surrounding Aesop, himself.
He was supposedly a hideously ugly slave who could not even speak upon the beginning of his becoming a fabulist. He was given the gift of storytelling from a priestess of Isis, after doing a nice deed for her out of kindness. Apparently, there was no stopping him after that, and the rest is history. Either way, the wisdom attributed to him are profound and worth passing on, in my opinion.
“In this poor body, composed of one hundred bones and nine openings, is something called spirit; a flimsy curtain swept this way and that by the slightest breeze. It is spirit, such as it is, which led me to poetry, at first little more than a pastime, then the full business of my life. There have been times when my spirit, so dejected, almost gave up the quest, other times when it was proud, triumphant. So it has been from the very start, never finding peace with itself, always doubting the worth of what it makes.”
This is a post with a certain someone in mind and at heart; but Basho pretty much sums up the lifelong inner-boxing match endured by all poets and writers…as a matter of fact, it describes anybody’s struggle with SELF.
“These are the four abuses: desire to succeed in order to make oneself famous; taking credit for the labors of others; refusal to correct one’s errors despite advice; refusal to change one’s ideas despite warnings.”
“Abuse a man unjustly, and you will make friends for him.”
~ Edgar Howe
“Every abuse ought to be reformed, unless the reform is more dangerous than the abuse itself.”
“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your tongue.”
I have written in the past about my strange affinity to Jews…I am still somewhat unclear where it came from or how it got inside of my heart and soul so deeply when I was still so young: this painful understanding and relativity I feel for them all throughout time. The Jews have been the “kicking post” for our entire species since there was such a concept; they have endured struggles and strife that few other cultures can appreciate, and in ways – still do, sadly. Several of the best friends that the Gods have blessed my existence with are Jewish, and as a result, I have had the ongoing opportunity to learn the essence of Judaism fairly up close and personally. The world would be lost without this particular ancient string of goodness.
“You’ve got to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”
You wanna talk about “ancient wisdom”?…this proverb is enough to stop a clock with its truth. 😉
The Celts have been faring the elements of nature and humankind since the dawn of time, it seems. The Irish, especially, are a very wise and old bloodline in our species of human beings. The history of pre-Celtic Europe remains very controversial to date; but according to some scholars, the common root of the Celtic languages, a language known as Proto-Celtic, appeared sometime amidst the Bronze Age around 1200 BC. They mastered engineering feats that were leaps and bounds ahead of their’ times. The folklore belonging to the Irish is unmatched, in my opinion – I even gave my only child a Celtic name (that has deep meaning and symbolism).
Friendship is something that each and every one of us takes for granted; it is a fickle element in Life that we each find ourselves loathing and loving at some point and another…
Friendship is, in actuality, one of the most precious commodities in the world, when it’s real and true.
Today, I awoke feeling full of gratitude for my real and true friend in the world, so today’s proverbs are with Sam in mind.
“Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.”
~ Swedish Proverb
“You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept.”
~ Saudi Proverb
“We are friends; we must assist each other to bear our burdens.”
~ Osage Proverb (Native American)
“A friend’s eye is a good mirror.”
~ English Proverb
“With true friends . . . even water drunk together is sweet enough.”
~ Chinese Proverb
“Honest Abe” was a very insightful and intelligent human being, and I believe him to be one of the few “good ones” in a long line of US Presidents. I am cheating in the spirit of the 4th of July and using a more modern-era proverb for this one
This one is technically NOT an “ancient” proverb, but a very wise quote from a very wise soul (who happened to be one of our country’s most enigmatic and beloved men, if you’re American, that is);
this particular statement of Lincoln’s has always struck a deep chord within me to read because of the profound implications attached to it, given the context and culture it was born of: a civil war that killed Americans on an unprecedented and unforeseen level…it resonates with me.
The Turks are another ancient culture that have managed to persevere throughout a long, long timeline of various disasters – both natural and otherwise. They have sprinkled ancient wisdom throughout the the cultures across the globe as well. And, they are one of the most eloquently spoken and written civilizations throughout history…something to be said about that much, for sure.
“Danger and delight grow on one stalk.”
~ Scottish Proverb
I won’t go there with William Wallace (FREEDOM!!!!!), as we all know his (brilliantly suppressed for centuries) story. The Scots are an ancient culture infused with the elements of several different Celtic tribes; and, a small but very solid force to be reckoned with. As a tiny place on the fringes of a long-battered area, the Scottish have managed to not only survive history’s many pages of war and unrest – but to thrive as well.
“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
• Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
• Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
• Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
• Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
• Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
• Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
“With all things and in all things, we are relatives.”
I chose today’s proverb simply because it chose to grab me when I came across it in a book about Colonial times in the US. I know I am not the only one who has noted the trends amongst native leaders during those times to urge unity and humanity in the face of life-altering impositions and strife; and the above quote is just another example of the tribal tendency to relate with a stranger who is fundamentally different.
“Where the cattle stand together, the lion lies down hungry.” ~ African Proverb
Again, when it comes to the rich and extremely diverse history attached to Africa, it’s almost impossible to narrow this down to any particular focal point. Nelson Mandela was a true inspiration, but we all know about him already. I am going to go with the rich and extremely intriguing story of the Queen of Sheba, instead.
I choose this woman not just because she was the Queen who had a weekender with King Solomon in Ancient Jerusalem before going home; although her status in ancient times suggests that she was a force to be reckoned with. However, the most amazing part about the legacy left behind so long ago is the Kebra Nagast, or The Glory of the Kings: a fourteenth century saga detailing the origins of the Solomonic line of the Emperors of Ethiopia.
This saga illustrates the legendary relocation of the Ark of the Covenant to Ethiopia, where it is said to remain to date in a tiny building under sacred guard, and is very, very historically accurate and quite possibly: a very TRUE account.
“Even the hand of compassion is stung when it strokes a scorpion.”
~ Persian Proverb
One of my very favorite dudes from ancient history would most definitely be Cyrus II, the first Achaemenian King of the Persian Empire AKA “Cyrus the Great”. The story of one the most advanced and lucrative civilizations from ancient history began with him in 559 BC; and his dynasty stayed in control for over 200 years after his death.
“Who takes the child by the hand takes her mother by the heart.”
~ German Proverb
Alexander “the Great” was born in Macedonia; after his death on the road far from Egypt, one of his top generals (and someone he considered a good friend), Ptolemy I Soter (yes, the originator of Cleopatra IIV’s bloodline), stole his mummified remains and took them to Egypt in order to seal his destiny with the Egyptian people. Hence, creating his own place among the beginning of a dynasty of future Pharaohs. I thought this little side note would be rather fitting to today’s ancient proverb regarding “friends” – a proverb passed down from the very same people that would steal the dead body of the other in order to ensure himself a very good Life. What a friend!
Anyway, this post is with my own bestie in mind, a reminder that she and I are indeed: pirate’s…but quite wealthy pirate’s when it comes to the treasure of ‘friendship’.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of most famous Romans from the the history books, Julius Caesar and his so-called “civilized” goons, in particular…but every once in a while, I come across a little morsel of goodness in written form from that era. Today’s proverb is one of those old sayings that gives the reader pause to think about its meaning, which is why I have always loved it.
“It’s no shame to look into the warm sun and regret a lost limb.”
~ Norwegian Proverb
This particular proverb has become a favorite of mine since my own traumatic injury and recovery began; it’s a fine way of reminding someone that we gotta take Life how it comes to us, and run with it – no matter what we’ve lost along the way. We are going to lose, and we are going to be without things we would rather have…but that makes Life no less of a gift.
It’s not enough to know how to ride — you must also know how to fall.
~ Mexican Proverb
My stepfather is from Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico. This is a historic Mexican site for several reasons but most notably would be
His hometown is a beautiful place, but, unfortunately it is one of the only places in Mexico that I have traveled to so far.
“A man can never be caught in places that he does not visit.”
– Danish Proverb
My Papa was born and partially raised on the Danish Archipelago, fishing the coast of Bornholm in Denmark before his parents sent him to the united states due to the rising sense of general unrest that began with the occupation of Nazi Germany in the years leading up to WWII. After being emigrated here, my Papa became a military pilot and flew for the US during the war. I have written before about how wise and wonderful of a man and human being he was; and I have a feeling that might have had a lot to do with his early upbringing and environment.
“All who have died were created equal.”
The Shawnee are another one of the oldest and most well established Native tribes in the US; it is also my own tribe. The Shawnee have rooted themselves deeply, along with other tribes (such as the Iroquois) all along the ranges of our continent, all the way up to Inuit territory near Alaska. They were widely forced to assimilate with the Cherokee Nation during the colonial days of settlement and widespread disease out of a sheer desperation to survive as a tribe. Tecumseh was a historically recognized Shawnee Native leader of the tribes during times of severe unrest and civil war.
“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” –Navajo Proverb
The Navajo, or Naabeehó
This tribal population likely makes up the most diverse tribe in modern day US; they originally hail from the Southwestern United States, and are the largest federally recognized tribe of the United States of America (with over 300,000 enrolled members).