The Path to Rome By Hilaire Belloc


































































 -  And
certainly men who know that the mere truth would be distasteful or
tedious commonly have recourse to metaphor, and - Page 9
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And Certainly Men Who Know That The Mere Truth Would Be Distasteful Or Tedious Commonly Have Recourse To Metaphor, And So Do Those False Men Who Desire To Acquire A Subtle And Unjust Influence Over Their Fellows, And Chief Among Them, The Proverb-Maker.

For though his name is lost in the great space of time that has passed since he flourished, yet

His character can be very clearly deduced from the many literary fragments he has left, and that is found to be the character of a pusillanimous and ill-bred usurer, wholly lacking in foresight, in generous enterprise, and chivalrous enthusiasm - in matters of the Faith a prig or a doubter, in matters of adventure a poltroon, in matters of Science an ignorant Parrot, and in Letters a wretchedly bad rhymester, with a vice for alliteration; a wilful liar (as, for instance, '_The longest way round is the shortest way home_'), a startling miser (as, _'A penny saved is a penny earned'_), one ignorant of largesse and human charity (as, '_Waste not, want not_'), and a shocking boor in the point of honour (as, _'Hard words break no bones'_ - he never fought, I see, but with a cudgel).

But he had just that touch of slinking humour which the peasants have, and there is in all he said that exasperating quality for which we have no name, which certainly is not accuracy, and which is quite the opposite of judgement, yet which catches the mind as brambles do our clothes, causing us continually to pause and swear.

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