Ezra Pound's 'Language of Eternity'

What (to ask one bizarrely unfashionable question) is civilization? Set aside geography, climate, genetics, and luck. The high classical civilizations are marked by certain indispensible accomplishments: a serious respect for facts; related to this, a steady application of work toward stable wealth; a conception of justice moving in two directions, toward society as a whole and toward individuals, implying also respect for family, the process of ancestry and descent, the commonnesses—but also the differences —among persons; a sense of the divine mystery of being and the cosmos; and finally, all of the above taking place within and by grace of the handing down from generation to generation of a rational polity—in other words, respect for the rule of law.

There are exactly three loci of sustained high classical civilization: the Mediterranean world, which ultimately blew north-northwest on the winds of renaissance and reformation; the Far Eastern world of China (and later Japan); the so-called New World—meaning north-northwest of a certain navigator's landfall on the shores of a tropic isle later called Santo Domingo.

Let it not pass unnoted that some centuries earlier a certain Venetian made a diplomatic journey overland to a certain Great Khan who ruled what a certain gifted drug addict would one day call a "stately pleasure dome," Cathay, whence he brought into fashion preservative...

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