Monthly Special * March 2007
 William Hazlitt



From Sketches and Essays

Horas non numero nisi serenas--is the motto of a sun-dial near Venice. There is a softness and a harmony in the words and in the thought unparalleled. Of all conceits it is surely the most classical. "I count only the hours that are serene." What a bland and care-dispelling feeling! How the shadows seem to fade on the dial-plate as the sky lours, and time presents only a blank unless as its progress is marked by what is joyous, and all that is not happy sinks into oblivion! What a fine lesson is conveyed to the mind--to take no note of time but by its benefits, to watch only for the smiles and neglect the frowns of fate, to compose our lives of bright and gentle moments, turning always to the sunny side of things, and letting the rest slip from our imaginations, unheeded or forgotten! How different from the common art of self-tormenting! For myself, as I rode along the Brenta, while the sun shone hot upon its sluggish, slimy waves, my sensations were far from comfortable; but the reading this inscription on the side of a glaring wall in an instant restored me to myself; and still, whenever I think of or repeat it, it has the power of wafting me into the region of pure and blissful abstraction. I cannot help fancying it to be a legend of Popish superstition. Some monk of the dark ages must have invented and bequeathed it to us, who, loitering in trim gardens and watching the silent march of time, as his fruits ripened in the sun or his flowers scented the balmy air, felt a mild langour pervade his senses, and having little to do or to care for, determined (in imitation of his sun-dial) to efface that little from his thoughts or draw a veil over it, making of his life one long dream of quiet! Horas non numero nisi serenas--he might repeat, when the heavens were overcast and the gathering storm scattered the falling leaves, and turn to his books and wrap himself in his golden studies! Out of some such mood of mind, indolent, elegant, thoughtful, this exquisite device (speaking volumes) must have originated.




「晴れた時間だけを数える。」 なんとも穏やかで心が晴々とします。空模様があやしくなると影は日時計の文字盤にとけて消え、時は喜ばしいものでその経過を刻むのでなければただ無となり、楽しからぬものはすべて忘却の淵に沈む、とは。







William Hazlitt (1778-1830)

リベラルな思想の持ち主であったユニテリアン派司祭の息子として生まれる。画家を目指したが、文学に転向。若い頃に Wordsworth や Coleridge と親交を持つ。ロンドンには Lamb などの友人がいた。

The Edinburgh Review をはじめ様々な定期刊行物に執筆、味のあるエッセイと優れた文学批評を残した。

the Brenta: イタリア、PaduaとVeniceの間を流れる川