Saturday, May 13, 2006
Adages, Aphorisms, and Platitudes
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
ADAGE, n. Boned wisdom for weak teeth.
APHORISM, n. Predigested wisdom.
The flabby wine-skin of his brain"The Mad Philosopher," 1697
Yields to some pathologic strain,
And voids from its unstored abysm
The driblet of an aphorism.
PLATITUDE, n. The fundamental element and special glory of popular literature. A thought that snores in words that smoke. The wisdom of a million fools in the diction of a dullard. A fossil sentiment in artificial rock. A moral without the fable. All that is mortal of a departed truth. A demi-tasse of milk-and-mortality. The Pope's-nose of a featherless peacock. A jelly-fish withering on the shore of the sea of thought. The cackle surviving the egg. A desiccated epigram.