Thrilling Stories, But No True Peace

The face of the Dying Gaul speaks for them all: each one of us will die, naked and alone, on some battlefield not of our own choosing. My promise of undying faithfulness to you and yours to me, though made with all solemnity, is unlikely to survive the tricks that fate has in store – all the hidden land mines that beset human life. What we can rely on are the comeliness and iron virtue of the short-lived hero: his loyalty to cause and comrades, his bravery in the face of overwhelming odds, the gargantuan generosity with which he scatters his possessions and his person and with which he spills his blood. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was heard to say that to be Irish is to know that in the end the world will break your heart… Such an outlook and such a temperament make for wonderful songs and thrilling stories, but not for personal peace or social harmony.

Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization, p. 97

Photo by Echo Grid on Unsplash

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