Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Boreham on Being Fully Alive

Living Dog or a Dead Lion
Always eager to present abstract truth in arresting and colourful images, F W Boreham introduced a Mercury editorial in 1948 with the maxim, “A living dog is better than a dead lion”.[1] Without revealing its biblical source, Boreham explained, “In its original setting the aphorism probably was intended to express our insatiable love of life. It is humanity’s master passion”.[2]

Lusting for Life
Dr. Boreham frequently made a distinction between being alive and entering into all the blessings of life. He conveyed this difference when describing J J Doke, who epitomized for him a person who was fully alive. Of his mentor, Boreham remarked that his “mind [that] was so saturated with history and biography”, his diplomacy in meetings, his practical piety and his passion for justice had developed through his personal contact with Mahatma Gandhi. These attributes led Boreham to state adoringly, “He loved life—life in every form and phase ... his lust for life was insatiable ... he represented in his own person the most engaging and most lovable type of masculine saintliness of which I have ever had personal experience”.[3]

Geoff Pound

Image: Is this a dead lion or is it alive but just asleep?

[1] F W Boreham, Mercury, 21 August 1948.
[2] This saying comes from the Hebrew Scriptures. The full text from Eccles. 9:4 reads, “But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion”.
[3] F W Boreham, I forgot to say (London: The Epworth Press, 1939), 135-139.