‘With Fire and Sword’, H. Sienkiewicz

Henryk Sienkiewicz’s books are a wonder to read. Having recently concluded (once again) his ‘With Fire and Sword’, I can reaffirm that there are books that are better but few that equal the scope, sense and emotion that he wrote into his works.

But better than me in the description of the book, are quotes from it (that I much enjoyed).

The year 1647 was that wonderful year in which manifold signs in the heavens and on the earth announced misfortunes of some kind and unusual events.

And that terrible lion laid himself down on the threshold of a rebellious land and rested. He was gathering his strength.

It is better for a knightly nation to perish than to become low-lived and rouse the contempt of the whole world for themselves.

Kindness may be shown to the conquered alone.

Since death is predestined to a man, it is better on the field of glory than in bed.

It was not without reason then that a cloud covered the royal face, for there is no greater pain for a king than a feeling of weakness.

But the Commonwealth had risen from its lethargy, had broken with the past policy of the chancellor, with treaties and negotiations. It was seen at last that the sword alone could win enduring peace.

In a sense, this was a very quick summary but it displays near-perfectly what it speaks of, and why I can enjoy it so very much.

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