Hoarding: Muriel Spark


I am a hoarder of two things: documents and trusted friends.

Muriel Spark 1918- 2006

Curriculum Vitae (1992)

I knew I hoarded trusted friends but one of the things you discover when you move house is how many scraps of paper have things scribbled on them which you presumably felt were of life and death importance at the time and which are almost meaningless now ;>)

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Professionals and Amateurs: James Agate


A professional is a man who can do his job when he doesn’t feel like it. An amateur is a man who can’t do his job when he does feel like it.

James Agate 1877-1947

Diary 16 July 1945
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Vesti La Giubba: Luciano Pavarotti

Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio, To recite! While taken with delirium,
non so più quel che dico, I no longer know what it is that I say,
e quel che faccio! or what it is that I am doing!
Eppur è d’uopo, sforzati! And yet it is necessary, force yourself!
Bah! sei tu forse un uom? Bah! Can’t you be a man?
Tu se’ Pagliaccio! You are “Pagliaccio”

Vesti la giubba, Put on the costume,
e la faccia in farina. and the face in white powder.
La gente paga, e rider vuole qua. The people pay, and laugh when they please.
E se Arlecchin t’invola Colombina, and if Harlequin invites away Colombina
ridi, Pagliaccio, e ognun applaudirà! laugh, Pagliaccio, and everyone will applaud!
Tramuta in lazzi lo spasmo ed il pianto;Change into laughs the spasms of pain;
in una smorfia il singhiozzo into a grimace the tears of pain, Ah!
il dolor, Ah!
Ridi, Pagliaccio, Laugh, Pagliaccio,
sul tuo amore infranto! for your love is broken!
Ridi del duol, che t’avvelena il cor! Laugh from the pain, that poisons your heart!


Vesti la giubba – Arioso
from Act I of the Italian opera I Pagliacci by Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Libretto: Ruggiero Leoncavallo
Role: Canio, the head of a performing troupe, married to Nedda (Pagliaccio in the play)
Voice Part: tenor       Fach: spinto tenor
Setting: The entrance to a village, Calabria, Italy, 1860s
Synopsis: Canio sings that, although his love has betrayed him and his heart is broken, he must go on and show a cheerful face to the world.
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In The Fields: Charlotte Mary Mew


Lord when I look at lovely things which pass,
Under old trees the shadow of young leaves
Dancing to please the wind along the grass,
Or the gold stillness of the August sun on the August sheaves;
Can I believe there is a heavenlier world than this?
And if there is
Will the heart of any everlasting thing
Bring me these dreams that take my breath away?
They come at evening with the home-flying rooks and the scent of hay,
Over the fields. They come in spring.

Charlotte Mary Mew

In The Fields

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Imagination And Reality: Czech Proverb


He who looks only at heaven may easily break his nose on earth.

Czech Proverb

Hence the famous pairing of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza – every absent-minded scientist needs a grounded partner, like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, yin and yang….

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The Dangers Of Political Gossip: William Hazlitt


Those who cannot miss an opportunity of saying a good thing…are not to be trusted with the management of any great question.

William Hazlitt 1778-1830

Characteristics (1823)

I think most political leaders instinctively know this. Gore Vidal could not be trusted with political office for long for just this reason. Similarly Alan Clark.

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Bishops And Sex: The Revd Sydney Smith


How can a bishop marry? How can he flirt? The most he can say is, ‘I will see you in the vestry after the service’.

The Revd Sydney Smith 1771-1845

Memoir (1855) by Lady Holland
The image is a portrait of Lady Holland by Louis Gauffier (1762–1801) via Wikimedia
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Sun Arise: Rolf Harris

Sun arise, she bring in the morning.
Sun arise, bring in the morning, fluttering her skirts all around.
Sun arise, she come with the dawning.
Sun arise, come with the dawning, spreading all the light all around.

Sun arise, on the kangaroo paw.
Sun arise, on the kangaroo paw, glistening the dew all around.

Sun arise, filling all the hollows,
Sun arise, filling all the hollows, lighting up the hills all around.

Sun arise, come with the dawning,
Sun arise, she come every day.
Sun arise, bring in the morning,
Sun arise, every, every, every, every, day.
She drive away the darkness, every day,
Drive away the darkness,
Bringing back the warmth to the ground.

Sun arise, oh, oh,
Sun arise, oh, oh,
Spreading all the light all around…
Sun arise, bring in the morning.
Sun arise, bring in the morning, spreading all the light all around.

Rolf Harris


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The Grandiose: Osbert Lancaster



A taste for the grandiose, like a taste for morphia, is, once it has been fully acquired, difficult to keep within bounds.

Osbert Lancaster 1908-80

Home, Sweet Home (1939)
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Che Fece … Il Gran Refiuto


For some people the day comes
when they have to declare the great Yes
or the great No. It’s clear at once who has the Yes
ready within him; and saying it,

he goes from honor to honor, strong in his conviction.
He who refuses does not repent. Asked again,
he’d still say no. Yet that no—the right no—
drags him down all his life.

C. P. Cavafy

Che Fece … Il Gran Refiuto

C. P. Cavafy: Selected Poems, Translated By Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
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