"La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid."
---Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1782) by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
"Revenge is a dish which is eaten cold."
I always prefer mine served "with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
Someone recently advised a friend of mine to "let sleeping dogs lie." It was issued as a veiled threat, to the effect that if he brought up some past unpleasantness, the other parties to that unpleasantness (and the parties issuing the veiled threat) would make life more unpleasant for him in the present than he ever would for them.
I agree that one should let vicious dogs -- particularly ones stupid enough to sleep in the presence of danger -- lie sleeping until one has the Streetsweeper loaded and pointed at the dogs' heads. Doesn't make sense to pull the trigger until you're ready and your affairs have all been put in proper order. Otherwise, you're letting dogs set your timetable, and that simply would be letting things "go to the dogs," wouldn't it?
No, I agree that one should let dogs sleep, "perchance to dream." Until, that is, you decide the time has come to put an end to all dreams but nightmares. Perhaps at a point where one decides that he or she has nothing left to lose but what he or she is willing to sacrifice in order to "put paid" all outstanding debts of the soul owed by dogs to a man.
Of course, one could always follow the lead of Tony Soprano, who told his psychiatrist in Episode 10 of the show's fifth season: "Revenge is like serving cold cuts." That mangled malapropism may, actually, make more sense. As long as there's plenty of whole wheat bread and spicy brown mustard, all concerned may in fact enjoy the feast and forget its purpose altogether.
At this point, my friend, a Christian, ran smack dab into the wall of his faith.
Here you have the true reason why revenge or vengeance is not allowed to man: it is because vengeance can only work in the evil or disordered properties of fallen nature. But man, being himself a part of fallen nature and subject to its disordered properties, is not allowed to work with them, because it would be stirring up evil in himself, and that is his sin of wrath or revenge. God therefore reserves all vengeance to Himself, not because wrathful revenge is a temper or quality that can have any place in the holy Deity, but because the holy supernatural Deity, being free from all the properties of nature, whence partial love and hatred spring, and being in Himself nothing but an infinity of love, wisdom, and goodness, He alone knows how to overrule the disorders of nature, and so to repay evil with evil, that the highest good may be promoted by it.
---William Law, Anglican Priest and Author, 1686-1761.
Blast! You mean you have to let a perfect Being "repay evil with evil"?
Come to think of it, who better? No means of exacting revenge devised by man could hope to match God's.
Here's what I told my friend: your revenge is that you get to live your life as you are, and they have to live their lives as they are, and all the while they'll think they're getting the better of the deal. And in the end, all of it, whether built by you, them, or some other Bozo on the Bus: it all goes up in flames.
The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat.