The Book of Lies





Spring beans and strawberries are in: goodbye to the oyster!


If I really knew what I wanted, I could give up Laylah, or give up everything for Laylah.


But "what I want" varies from hour to hour.


This wavering is the root of all compromise, and so of all good sense.


With this gift a man can spend his seventy years in peace.


Now is this well or ill?


Emphasise gift, then man, then spend, then seventy years, and lastly peace, and change the intonations — each time reverse the meaning!


I would show you how; but — for the moment! — I prefer to think of Laylah.


The title is explained in the note, but also alludes to paragraph 1, the plover's egg being often contemporary with the early strawberry.

Paragraph 1 means that change of diet is pleasant; vanity pleases the mind; the idée fixe is a sign of insanity. See paragraphs 4 and 5.

Paragraph 6 puts the question, "Then is sanity or insanity desirable?" The oak is weakened by the ivy which clings around it, but perhaps the ivy keeps it from going mad.

The next paragraph expresses the difficulty of expressing thought in writing; it seems, on the face of it, absurd that the text of this book, composed as it is of English, simple, austere, and terse, should need a commentary. But it does so, or my most gifted Chela and myself would hardly have been at the pains to write one. It was in response to the impassioned appeals of many most worthy brethren that we have yielded up that time and thought which gold could not have bought, or torture wrested.

Laylah is again the mere woman.


[1] These eggs being speckled, resemble the wandering mind referred to.

    Forgot user name/password