I love paradoxes, koans, parables, proverbs, Secrets of Adulthood, and aphorisms. So how have I never come across poet William Blake's Proverbs of Hell before? When I found it the other day, I couldn't believe I'd never read it before. Several of the proverbs were familiar to me, from other reading, but I didn't know their origin in his book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
Blake's "Hell," by the way, is not the traditional Hell, but a place of "unrepressed, somewhat Dionysian energy" (at least that's what Wikipedia says).
These proverbs are thought-provoking; I don't agree with all of them, or understand all of them, but I love reading them. I've put some of my favorites in bold:
In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.
Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Prudence is a rich ugly old maid courted by Incapacity.
He who desires but acts not,Read More »from 72 Proverbs from Hell. (Not the Usual Hell.)