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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

St. Bernard

  • [An eminent ecclesiastic; born near Dijon, 1091; became abbot of Clairvaux, near Langres, 1115; promoted the crusade of 1146; died 1153.]
  • Sermons in stones.

  • St. Bernard said in a letter: “Trust to one who has had experience. You will find something far greater in the woods than you will find in books. Stones and trees will teach you that which you will never learn from masters. Think you not you can suck honey from the rock, and oil from the flinty rock? Do not the mountains run sweetness, the hills run with milk and honey, and the valleys stand thick with corn?” Had Shakespeare read St. Bernard when he wrote,—
  • “And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
  • Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
  • Sermons in stones, and good in every thing”?
  • As You Like It, II. 1.
  • Or Wordsworth,—
  • “One impulse from a vernal wood
  • May teach you more of man,
  • Of moral evil, and of good,
  • Than all the sages can”?
  • But Socrates said, “Knowledge is what I love; and the men who dwell in towns are my teachers, not trees and landscape.”