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“Then might our wrath lengthen with the days; and men in Greenland, where the day lasts above a quarter of a year, have plentiful scope for revenge.”

October 2, 2009

Charles Lamb

Text of St. Paul.—”St. Paul saith, let not the sun go down on your wrath, to carry news to the antipodes in another world of thy revengeful nature. Yet let us take the Apostle’s meaning rather than his words, with all possible speed to depose our passion; not understanding him so literally that we may take leave to be angry till sunset: then might our wrath lengthen with the days; and men in Greenland, where the day lasts above a quarter of a year, have plentiful scope for revenge.”*

*This whimsical prevention of a consequence which no one would have thought of deducing—setting up an absurdam on purpose to hunt it down, placing guards as it were at the very outposts of possibility, gravely giving out laws to insanity, and prescribing moral fences to distempered intellects—could never have entered into a head less entertainingly constructed than that of Fuller or Sir Thomas Browne, the very air of whose style the conclusion of this passage most aptly imitates.

Charles Lamb, “Specimens from the Writings of Fuller, the Church Historian

N.B.: The remarks about St. Paul are Fuller’s; the commentary on them is Lamb’s. Thomas Fuller (1608–1661) was an English clergyman and historian.

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