Sponge, Sand-Glass, Strain-Bag and Diamond

Girl Reading   ~ Renoir

Readers may be divided into four classes:

1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read
and return it in nearly the same state,
only a little dirtied.

2.  Sand-glasses, who retain nothing
and are content to get through a book
for the sake of getting through time.

3.  Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs
of what they read.

4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable,
who profit by what they read,
and enable others to profit by it also.

~  Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thank you to all you diamonds who have enriched me.


5 thoughts on “Sponge, Sand-Glass, Strain-Bag and Diamond

  1. You know what I love about Renoir? (totally ignoring your comments, sorry) He knew the fine art of never drawing/painting any defining edges! I think this is just amazing, seeing as how you can tell exactly what the painting is of, and there’s a definite feeling conveyed by it. Beautiful!Sadly, I have been a sand-glass and sometimes strain-bag for several of the books I’ve been required to read at school this quarter. BUT that was all they were worthy of, so I don’t really feel bad about them. I would really like to read more mogul-diamond-worthy books, to be truthful!

  2. @LimboLady – it’s such a good point, worthy of a blog post itself: some books are not worth investing much effort in.  I have quite a few books on my shelf that are tweeners: while I don’t want to get rid of them before reading them, I’m pretty certain that I won’t keep the book after I’ve read it. So there are times when I pass up a book that is no doubt worthy, and read a tweener in order to clear up bookshelf space.  There is ALWAYS the possibility that the tweener might turn out to be a keeper!  That’s the optimist in me. (= 

  3. Oooh!  I enjoyed reading up on the “Mogul” diamond, since we just finished the Middle Ages.  Not to contradict the great STC, but the Mogul diamond didn’t seem to have profited others as much as it might have, had it been better cut…  TY for the spontaneous history lesson!

  4. I’m actually preparing for 2 speaking engagements in which the Coleridge thoughts will fit very nicely.  It is a challenge to be a mogul diamond because our culture so strongly encourages superficial reading.  Flitting from thought to thought never allows the incubation period necessary for a great idea to develop.  And if that idea never hatches, the ability to pass it on to the next person is negated.  These are some great things to chew on this snowy February morning. Thanks, Carol!

  5. Mr Wonderful happens to know Wendell Berry’s pastor, who told him in a recent email (after Mr W asked said pastor to pass along TYs to WB) that WB has a new book coming out soon.  Sorry, no word on title or subject -yet.  Thought you’d like a little Anticipation with your February…

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