In the Beauty of the Lilies

Updike, John

Knopf, 1996

p. 114

”’Everything passes,’ his father said huskily. ‘This too shall pass away’ are words more comforting than any I ever found in the Bible. Abraham Lincoln said them, in a speech before the war between the states. He was referring to a story about an Eastern potentate who asked wise men for a sentence that would be good for all occasions, and that’s what they came up with. ‘This, too, shall pass away.’ It’s good when you’re high and good when you’re low.”