Impromptu / Extempore speeches
8. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!
My friends, dare, and dare again, but then, always remember that the better part of valour is discretion. Well, should I talk about this line from this perspective of daring and bravery? May be there are other angles from where I can discuss this line. For example, what about a literary discussion?
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. What do you understand from this statement?
It was Alexander Pope who first wrote this line in his: An Essay on Criticism. It was really a poem, which he wrote in 1709. It was published in 1711. Well, this was a poem which had other famous lines like
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring
And also the equally famous line:
To err is human, to forgive divine.
The fools that Alexander Pope had in mind were not the fools of today, but more or less, the literary critics of his days.
Many persons have since used this line in their writings. The general meaning is something like:
Fools rush in where the brave hesitate to enter.
Or we may even say:
Fools rush in where the wise dare not.
There was also a novel by E M Forster with the title : Where Angels fear to tread.
That much is from the literary perspective.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Does this statement really have any substance?
Well, one has to have courage, but then, as I mentioned, a bit of discretion to mellow or even blunt the spirited sharpness of bravery is a healthy thing. It can also blunt the explosive burst of the spur of the moment actions. For, sheer bravery devoid of all hints of forethoughts cannot be a wise thing.
I think, you will agree that it might always be good to give your intelligence some credence, when your passions are being prodded on by the unintelligence of fanatic frenzy.
Do you feel that I am belittling courage? No, I am not. For courage is a great thing. It has the capacity to achieve great things. But then, it needs tempering. And that tempering is given by discretion and wisdom. Be brave, but then, go along with the angels. The angles are also brave, but then, they go where they never get despoiled.
My friends, be brave and courageous, but then, let your brave actions bespeak of noble attributes, and not of atrophied stories.
16. About English!