life as a sterile container
Up roos tho oon of thise olde wise, and with his hand made contenaunce that men sholde holden hem stille and yeven hym audience. "Lordynges," quod he, "ther is ful many a man that crieth 'Werre! Werre! that woot ful litel what werre amounteth. Werre at his bigynnyng hath so greet an entryng and so large, that every wight may entre whan hym liketh, and lightly fynde werre; but certes what ende that shal therof bifalle, it is nat light to knowe. For soothly, whan that werre is ones bigonne, ther is ful many a child unborn of his mooder that shal sterve yong by cause of thilke werre, or elles lyve in sorwe and dye in wrecchednesse. And therfore, er that any werre bigynne, men moste have greet conseil and greet deliberacion." And whan this olde man wende to enforcen his tale by resons, wel ny alle atones bigonne they to rise for to breken his tale, and beden hym ful ofte his wordes for to abregge. For soothly, he that precheth to hem that listen nat heeren his wordes, his sermon hem anoieth. For Jhesus Syrak seith that "musik in wepynge is a noyous thyng"; this is to seyn: as muche availleth to speken bifore folk to which his speche anoyeth, as it is to synge biforn hym that wepeth. And whan this wise man saugh that hym wanted audience, al shamefast he sette hym doun agayn.
Chaucer, The Tale of Melibee
We had no sooner caught sight of a man whose behavior was harmless and peaceable and childlike and who was still in a state of innocence than all our praise-worthy and most necessary activities became stupid and repulsive. Pahall that blood! We were ashamed of ourselves. But in the war there must have been generals even who felt the same.