Essays in Idleness by Yoshida Kenkou

My favorite Essays by Yoshida Kenkou

 

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There is a charm about a neat and proper dwelling house, although this world, ‘tis true, is but a temporary abode. Even the moonshine, when it strikes into the house where a good man lives in peaceful ease, seems to gain in friendly brilliancy.

The man is to be envied who lives in a house, not of the modern, garish kind, but set among venerable trees, with a garden where plants grow wild and yet seem to have been disposed with care, verandas and fences tastefully arranged, and all its furnishings simple but antique.

A house which multitudes of workmen have devoted all their ingenuity to decorate, where rare and strange things from home and abroad are set out in array, and where even the trees and shrubs are trained unnaturally-such is an unpleasant sight, depressing to look at, to say nothing of spending one’s day therein. Nor gazing on it, can one but reflect how easily it might vanish in a moment of time,

The appearance of a house is in some sort an index to the character of its occupant.

Though the breeze blow not, the flower of the heart of man will change its hue. Now looking back on months and years of intimacy, to feel that your friend, while you still remember the moving words you exchanged, is yet growing distant and living in a world apart -all this is far sadder than partings brought by death.

One should never make a show of having a deep knowledge of any subject. Well-bred people do not talk in a superior way even about things they have a good knowledge of. It is people who come from the country who offer opinions unasked, as though versed in all manner of accomplishments. Of course some among them do have a really enviable knowledge, and it is their of self-conceit which is so stupid.

It is a fine thing when a man who thoroughly understands a subject is unwilling to open his mouth, and only speaks when he is questioned.

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