15 November 2015

Would I have seen a white bear?

                                                      by Lawrence Sterne

A WHITE BEAR! Very well. Have I ever seen one? Might I ever have seen one? Am I ever to see one. Ought I ever to have seen one? Or can I ever see one?

Would I have seen a white bear (for how can I imagine it?)

If I should see a white bear, what should I say? If I should never see a white bear, what then?

If I never have, can, must or shall see a white bear alive; have I ever seen the skin of one? Did I ever see one painted? – described? Have I never dreamed of one?

Did my father, mother, uncle, aunt, brothers or sisters, ever see a white bear? What would they give? How would they behave? How would the white bear have behaved?

Is he wild? Tame? Rough? Smooth?

Is the white bear worth seeing?

Is there no sin in it?

Is it better than a 

from Tristram Shandy, 1759-66.

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