Commonplace book #22

Oh! nobility! Oh! true and simple beauty! Goddess, the worship of whom signifies reason and wisdom, thou whose temple is an eternal lesson of conscience and truth, I come late to the threshold of thy mysteries; I bring to the foot of thy altar much remorse. Ere finding thee, I have had to make infinite search. The initiation which thou didst confer by a smile upon the Athenian at his birth I have acquired by force of reflection and long labour. – Ernest Renan, from “A Prayer on the Acropolis”

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