Idiots Of The Marshes

“Six thousand years have passed since we were set to till the ground, from which we were taken. How much of it is tilled? How much of that which is, wisely or well? In the very centre and chief garden of Europe – where the two forms of parent Christianity have had their fortresses – where the noble Catholics of the Forest Cantons, and the noble Protestants of the Vaudois valleys, have maintained, for dateless ages, their faiths and liberties – there the unchecked Alpine rivers yet run wild in devastation ; and the marshes, which a few hundred men could redeem with a year’s labour, still blast their helpless inhabitants into fevered idiotism.”

John Ruskin, The Mystery Of Life And Its Arts (1868)

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