Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Patrick Henry (173699)
It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truthand listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
PATRICK HENRY, speech to the Virginia Convention, Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775.William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, 9th ed., p. 138 (1836, reprinted 1970). Language altered to first person.
For information on the authenticity of the text of this speech, see the notes at No. 1061.