Two great men died on this day, the 26th of March.
Ludwig Beethooven in 1827 and Walt Whitman in 1892.
Compare their wisdom:
Both could be elitist rebels.
Beethoven wrote: “Prince, what you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself.There are and always will be thousands of princes, but there is only one Beethoven!”
Compare this with the supremely democratic and self-transcendent self-confidence of the author of Song Of Myself:
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
Beethooven: “I will take fate by the throat; it will never bend me completely to its will.”
What the musician felt within himself, the poet articulated for all: “There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.”
So after Beethoven could say: “A great poet is the most precious jewel of a nation.”, democratic Whitman could explain: “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.”
Generous Perceptive Spirits.
The great men of our culture teach us who we are.