In an email to my friend Maggie this morning, I wrote that “real remorse takes humility.” Afterwards, thinking myself very clever, I decided to reassemble my pithy comment into something more poignant, more quotable.
Something for the Annals. Something along the lines of: “True repentance is borne of humility”.
And then, you know, humbly attach my name to it.
But, abhorring plagiarism (even unintentional plagiarism) as I do, I decided I’d better do a quick search to see if anyone had said it before me. Which was not unlikely, based on my dearly held philosophy that there’s really nothing new under the sun.
This is how I discovered that someone did indeed write something nearly identical to what I wanted to believe was my unique and brilliant insight. It appears in this 1850 review of The Scarlet Letter. It’s quite a good piece, actually, and surprisingly contemporary despite its 19th century provenance.
I am duly chastened. And that, I think, is borne of humility.