Monday, May 02, 2022


 Indeed, [Edmund] Burke presented a formidable challenge to friend and foe: a great intellect, a stunning orator, propelled by an intense inner energy that was hard to take. Burke seemed to concentrate all his capabilities in the immediate moment. If you found yourself conversing with Burke, it was said, you felt as if you were being "grazed by a powerful machine." Samuel Johnson, who yielded to no one in considering himself a great man, repeatedly praised Burke as a great man. If Burke should drop in at a blacksmith's shop to have his horse shod, Johnson said, the blacksmith would say, "We have had an extraordinary man here." Even to the domineering Johnson, Burke was an intimidating presence: "His stream of mind is perpetual." Once, when Johnson was feeling poorly, he said, "That fellow [Burke] calls forth all my powers. Were I to see Burke now, it would kill me."

- From "A Burke for Our Time" by Charles Hill [The New Criterion, May 2013]

No comments: