The great ones, the Titans, earned their ageless laurels by transcending and mastering the tribulations of their times. They were among us, but, somehow, not of us, and their words were like magic spells.
I offer below--briefly and chronologically--a few of the glittering jewels from the West's treasury of magisterial oratory:
Pericles: "If your country has the greatest name in all the world, it is because she never bent before disaster; because she has expended more life and effort in war than any other city...the memory of which will descend to the latest posterity".
Elizabeth I: "And, though God hath raised me high, yet this I count the glory of my Crown, that I have reigned with your loves. This makes me that I do not so much rejoice that God hath made me to be a Queen, as to be a Queen over so thankful a people".
Danton: "The tocsin you hear today is not an alarm but an alert: it sounds the charge against our enemies".
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself".
Churchill: "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour'".
Pierre Trudeau: "Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die".
Stephen Harper: "[My mother] is the person closest to me who is most worried about the stock market these days... But, what is the government to do about that? What does a prime minister do about that?".
So now that the yawning abyss of the sheer marrow mashing mediocrity that is the 2008 Canadian election has gaped so wide as to devour my will to remain silent until its conclusion, my readership may rejoice and take this latest post as firm evidence that I am alive and well and that I've not yet been arrested by Stephen Harper's private police force.