Friday, 9 May 2008

Things I now realise

It has taken me 67 years to realise (I insist on spelling the word in the English way) the full truth of certain sayings.

The first is when Keats describes how the Nightingale...´ Singest of Summer with full-throated ease.´ We have no Nightingale here, but we do have Bob, the Canary, who warbles in exactly that effortless way. I am indebted to him for reminding me to read the poem again, which is magnificent.
How about these for lines.. ´charm´d magic casements opening on the foam of perilous seas in faery lands forlorn.´

And after eight years of Bush, I now fully realise what Doctor Johnson had in mind when he said...´Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.´

And I am more than persuaded these days that Shaw´s assertion... ´An asylum for the sane would be empty in America,´ is no more than sober reality.

And, although I think I may have published the Mencken quote below before, I can´t resist another airing. Mind you, he did say it over eighty years ago, and no fair-minded person could agree nowadays, could they?

´The American people, taken one with another,constitute the most timorous, snivelling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages.´


Elizabeth said...

I would counter with this quotation from Julian Critchley, former MP for Aldershot: " also drunken yobs following a football team. It's patriotism which verges upon nationalism if encouraged."
Or this one from George Bernard Shaw: "The whole strength of England lies in the fact that the enormous majority of the English people are snobs."
So there.

Patrick O'Gara said...

Dear Elizabeth,
No doubt you are the eponymous Queen of England, in which case it ill behooves you to bandy conjectures with yahoos of my ilk.
In any case, I totally agree with both your quotes, especially the second, being a massive intellectual snob myself and erstwhile nurturing a soft spot for queens.
I will point out, however, that Critchley is a dolt, and Shaw was an Irishman. said...

Frankly, my dear, much depends on your definition of "poltroon." And you might double-check your use of the word "erstwhile" while you´re at it.