Gleanings From The Past #59


Empire of Silence

The great silent men! Looking round on the noisy inanity of the world, words with little meaning, actions with little worth, one loves to reflect on the great Empire of Silence. The noble silent men, scattered here and there, each in his own department; silently thinking; silently working; whom no Morning Newspaper makes mention of! They are the salt of the Earth. A country that has none or few of these is in a bad way. Like a forest which had no roots; which had all turned into leaves and boughs;—which must soon wither and be no forest. Woe for us if we had nothing but what we can show, or speak. Silence, the great Empire of Silence: higher than the stars; deeper than the Kingdoms of Death! It alone is great; all else is small.

— Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-worship, and the Heroic in History, 1942

“Mark of a Genius”

To carry on the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood, to combine the child’s
sense of wonder and novelty with the appearances which every day for perhaps forty years has rendered familiar,—this is the character and privilege of genius, and one of the marks which distinguish genius from talent.

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, 1834


McGuire: How did he make all his money?

Rafferty: Smoking: he was the greatest smoker in America.

McGuire: Dry up, Rafferty, you can’t make money by smoking

Rafferty: He did: he smoked ham.

The Boston Globe, December 16, 1910


Those who strain their words in order to make antitheses are like those who make false windows for the sake of symmetry. Their rule is not to speak justly, but to make fair figures.

— Blaise Pascal, quoted in Henry Rogers and Victor Cousin, The Thoughts, Letters and Opuscules of Blaise Pascal, 1861

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

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