Without fear

Last night I opened an old favourite book to free my mind before sleep.  It was The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman, by Louis de Bernieres, a book I’ve read 4 or 5 times over the last ten years and it was not until last night that the opening quote spoke to me:

Hoy, sin miedo que libre escandalice,

puede hablar el ingenio, asegurado

de que mayor poder le atemorice.

En otros siglos pudo ser pecado

severo estudio, y la verdad desnuda,

y romper el silencio el bien hablado.

Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas (1580-1645)

These days, without fear that his freedom

will offend, an intelligent man may speak,

safe from the intimidation of the more powerful.

In other centuries rigorous criticism,

the naked truth, and the eloquent man’s breaking

of silence, could have been crimes.

Satirical and censorious Epistle against these customs of the Castilians written to Count-Duke of Olivares



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