Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Jacob Reece-Mogg: Let's have the view from 1785

Speaking on Channel 4 News, Jon Snow described the election as a “shambles” for the UK.  He said: “Do you think this shambles in which we find ourselves is in anyway a respectable condition. What do you think other countries are thinking what’s going on here?”

Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed the presenter was “classically overstating” the result of the election in which the Tories fell short of an overall majority.

Snow snapped back criticising the Prime Minister for going into an election “looking for a major mandate” without being able to deliver it. But the Conservative MP rejected the term “a shambles” as the pair began rowing.

He said: “Hold on, you call it a shambles, you call it a butcher's slaughterhouse. That’s what a shambles means, I’m surprised you don’t know, most uncharacteristic. It clearly isn’t a shambles, what it is, is a less successful result than we wanted, it’s not the large majority that we wanted.”

“Shambles” of course, means “a state of total disorder.” An example would be "my career was in a shambles".

But words change their meaning, and “shambles” once had a meaning of “butcher's slaughterhouse”

In English, the word appears in the early 15th century, and the meaning changes from a "place where meat is sold" to "slaughterhouse" (1540s), then figuratively "place of butchery" (1590s), and later to generally "confusion, mess" (1901).

Reece-Mogg, having done only half his homework, settles on the meaning from the 1540s, and not the earlier “place where meat is sold”, and should be marked as 5 out of 10 for fixating on one meaning, and not the earliest at that, and 9 out of 10 for behaving like Lord Snooty.

The etymological fallacy is a genetic fallacy that holds that the present-day meaning of a word or phrase should necessarily be similar to its historical meaning. An argument constitutes an etymological fallacy if it makes a claim about the present meaning of a word based exclusively on its etymology.

Jacob Reece-Mogg likes to convey a spurious air of knowledge, hence his exchange with Mr Snow. It suggests that here is someone who knows what words really mean. Actually shows up someone who does not know what words mean, because they rarely mean one thing, and meanings change over time

Someone summed up his approach as follows rather neatly on the Wordcraft site where they do not suffer linguistic mistakes lightly:

“There is an extremely pompous, rather nauseating Tory politician in the UK named Jacob Rees-Mogg. Like many Tory politicians he always tries to put down the people interviewing him with his shows of erudition.”

When the exchange was shown as a clip on “Have I Got News For You”, Paul Merton's comment was beautifully apposite: "Let's have the view from 1785".

Actually, it is a view someone who knew what a word once met – it did not always mean “slaughterhouse” – and who has the strange notion that must somehow be the real meaning of the word today.

Words change meanings all the time, but public school educations are not particularly good at teaching what is a commonplace fact to any linguist.

That is partly because they are only taught Classic Latin, and never learn about the change in meanings that took place as it developed into the late Latin of the 3rd century, and they learn a prescriptive grammar built on Classical Latin which promotes such nonsense as “you must not split infinitives”, something which is impossible to do in Latin, where an infinitive is just one word, but which is demonstrably possible in English. There is nothing wrong with “to boldly go” unless you suffer from the peculiar notion that English must behave like Latin: any linguist will tell you that it does not.

Virtually everything in a public school education of the old sort provides a toolbox for making an individual into a linguistic ignoramus, including the conceit that they must be right. Jacob Reece-Mogg is a perfect example.

The word “nice” is a particular good example of how a meaning can shift markedly over time. I remember being told by equally ignorant people that “nice” “really meant precise”. This kind of semantic essentialism is wholly false.

If we look at the development of the word – we see that in the late 13th century “nice” meant "foolish, stupid, senseless," from Old French “nice” of the 12th century. The Old French meaning of "careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish," derived from the Latin nescius "ignorant, unaware," literally "not-knowing,"

It developed in an extraordinary way, from “timid” (pre-1300) to "fussy, fastidious" (late 14th century); to "dainty, delicate" (c. 1400); to "precise, careful" (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to "agreeable, delightful" (1769); to "kind, thoughtful" (1830)

By 1926, it was pronounced by Fowler to be "too great a favourite with the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality and converted it into a mere diffuser of vague and mild agreeableness."

"I am sure," cried Catherine, "I did not mean to say anything wrong; but it is a nice book, and why should I not call it so?"

"Very true," said Henry, "and this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk; and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything."

The current meaning of “nice” is usually “pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory” – “we had a nice time"

Andrew L. Sihler, writing in Language History: An Introduction, comments that:

"In our own day the etymological fallacy is widely honoured, as revealed in countless statements by columnists, in letters to editors, and other public fora, which declare for example that the real meaning of doctor is 'teacher'; or that the verb orient properly means 'to arrange something to face east'; or that gyp 'cheat' is derived from Gypsy (probably), and therefore its use in any context is de facto an ethnic slur; or that decimate correctly means only “to punish a mutiny or other serious breach of military discipline by killing one soldier in ten.”

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, 1995 is even more caustic:

"One thing to remember when you read or hear someone insisting that an English word must have a certain meaning because of its Latin or Greek roots is that these insisters apply their etymologies very selectively. You will find few of them who object to December being used for the twelfth month, when its Latin root means 'ten,' or to manure being used as a noun meaning 'to work (land) by hand.' So when you read, for example, that caption must refer to matter above a picture because it comes from Latin caput 'head,' keep manure in mind."

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Do you want the good tea or the bad tea

Razor: Do you want the good tea or the bad tea
Bill: What’s the difference?
Razor: I call one “good” and the other “bad.”
Bill: ...I’ll take the good one.
Razor: Excellent. A positive attitude will help with the horror to come!
Bill: What horror?!
Razor: Mainly the tea.

A wonderful line from “World Enough and Time”, last week’s Doctor Who. There is something about tea which lends itself to humour far more than coffee. Here are a few snippets, quotations about tea which are amusing:

“Arthur blinked at the screens and felt he was missing something important. Suddenly he realized what it was. "Is there any tea on this spaceship?" he asked.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

“My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody.”

― Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White

“Dad was at his desk when I opened the door, doing what all British people do when they're freaked out: drinking tea.”

― Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass

“As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There's a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother's pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, 'In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes'.”

― Aprilynne Pike, Illusions

“What kind of tea do you want?"
"There´s more than one kind of tea?...What do you have?"
"Let´s see... Blueberry, Raspberry, Ginseng, Sleepytime, Green Tea, Green Tea with Lemon, Green Tea with Lemon and Honey, Liver Disaster, Ginger with Honey, Ginger Without Honey, Vanilla Almond, White Truffle Coconut, Chamomile, Blueberry Chamomile, Decaf Vanilla Walnut, Constant Comment and Earl Grey."
-"I.. Uh...What are you having?... Did you make some of those up?”

― Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

"At Christmas, tea is compulsory. Relatives are optional.”

― Robert Godden

“Goblin tea resembles a nice cup of Earl Grey in much the same way that a catfish resembles the common tabby. They share a name, but one is a nice thing to curl up with on a rainy afternoon, and the other is found in the muck at the bottom of polluted rivers and has bits of debris sticking to it.”

― T. Kingfisher

“If there are no spots on a sugar cube then I’ve just put a dice in my tea.”

― Robert Rankin, The Antipope

“I looked at Judith. "This sounds strange, but I don't suppose you saw three mad women with a cauldron of boiling tea pass by this way?"

― Kate Griffin, The Midnight Mayor

“Want some tea?" she said.
"I thought some tea might be nice. A nice cup of oolong. Want some?"
"But you just took my clothes off."
"Oh. All right, then, sex it is.”

― D.L. King, Stubborn as a Bull

“I think just a cup of tea...' There was something to be said for tea and a comfortable chat about crematoria.”

― Barbara Pym, Quartet in Autumn

Monday, 26 June 2017

Bergerac’s Island - Jersey in the 1980s - Part 1

The exhibition in the Museum - "Bergerac’s Island - Jersey in the 1980s" - shows how shocking legislation was for gay people in Jersey and how the attitude for gays was entrenched in predudice which erupted as Aids sufferers - initially mostly homosexuals - were demonised by the press.

Elliot Tiber in his memoir “After Woodstock”, describes how Aids hit the world:

“By 1983, it seemed like gay men in New York were dying in unprecedented numbers. My friend and lover, André Ernotte, and I were shocked as we started to hear that more and more friends of ours—men we knew from the clubs and colleagues in the arts community—were suddenly being hospitalized. The pain and suffering they endured was horrible; it seemed that death was their only reprieve.”

This is typified in a Daily Mail’s headline. Always the beating pulse of British prejudice, it came out with “Britain threatened by gay virus plague” (6th January 1985)

As there was no known cause or cure, the media spread the idea that Aids could be passed on in the air—or by kissing, or touching, or just being near a gay person.  It took Princess Diana to shift perceptions in a 1987 visit to a hospital ward of HIV / Aids sufferers..

In front of the world's media, Princess Diana shook the hand of a man suffering with the illness. She did so without gloves, publicly challenging the notion that HIV/Aids was passed from person to person by touch. She showed in a single gesture that this was a condition needing compassion and understanding, not fear and ignorance. 

But to seek treatment or testing in Jersey was problematic if you were gay, because it was illegal. Always legal for women, homosexuality was decriminalised for men in 1967 (England and Wales), 1980 (Scotland) and 1982 (Northern Ireland). But in Jersey, prior to 1990, same-sex sexual activity was a criminal offence if practiced in public, such as in holding hands, or displays of affection. 

As the States Minutes record, in 1989, Deputy Edgar John Becquet told members:

Because of the incidence of AIDS during the last few years and because of the relationship which sodomy has to this dreaded affliction and because of the necessity of protecting the population of this Island my Committee is of the opinion, after consultation with the Public Health Committee, that it should not bring in legislation to repeal the 1938 Law on sodomy and bestiality as it considers that in the matter of the rights of individuals to indulge in unnatural practices the question of the health of the population of this Island must take precedence. 

However, following recent discussions with H.M. Attorney General on the interpretation of paragraph (ii) of Article 8 of the Convention and in the light of the possible constitutional implications my Committee considers that it would be desirable to hold discussions on these matters with the Home Office and the Policy and Resources Committee respectively

He also suggested that repealing the laws would actually make dealing with Aids harder:

It would be detrimental to the AIDS Advisory Committee's campaign, and in fact, I believe would put it back several years, if we were to give the impression that the Laws should be changed on the back of our AIDS problem. This would infer that AIDS is only a gay problem and therefore further stigmatise the condition.

Deputy Mike Wavell, however, argued that the two should not be linked in this way:

`Sir, on a point of order, I must challenge that. I think, if you read on, I said that I didn't think it should be changed solely on the back of the AIDS issue, but did state that on moral grounds and other grounds, there was every indication that it should be changed.''

And the Attorney General, in the course of his discussion on the European Convention on Human Rights, and homosexuality, noted that:

I am asked whether Jersey has a legal obligation to rescind legislation affecting the rights of homosexuals. The answer to that is clearly in the affirmative unless it can be shown that there are `serious reasons' founded on public health for the interference with the human rights of homosexuals. Put another way, it would be necessary to show that the decriminalisation of the act of sodomy between consenting adults in private would seriously affect the health of the community. I am aware of no evidence that such is the case.''

Jersey is not a sovereign state but is a dependency of the United Kingdom. While the Island has a substantial measure of autonomy in domestic affairs and it is a well established constitutional convention that the United Kingdom Parliament does not legislate for Jersey on a domestic issue without the consent of the States, Her Majesty's Government, as the Deputy correctly states, is responsible for our international relations. If the Island maintained a refusal to alter its domestic law so that, as a result, the United Kingdom was itself in breach of its international obligations, I have little doubt that Her Majesty's Government would, in the last resort, with or without the consent of the States legislate to alter that domestic law. This would, in my opinion, be a matter of grave constitutional significance.

Deputy Roche mention that "I must tell the House of the great concern of the Public Health Committee, in as much as to date in the United Kingdom, there have been 1,259 male deaths from AIDS, and out of that number, 1,051 have been homosexuals.''

In 1990, the Minutes record this:

The President of the Legislation Committee made a statement in the following terms - ``A delegation, comprising the Bailiff, myself, Senator Jeune, the Attorney General and the Greffier, met at our request the Rt. Hon. John Patten, Minister of State at the Home Office on Thursday 19th April, to discuss the implications for Jersey of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that a law which makes homosexual practices in private between two consenting adults illegal, was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

Very full and frank discussions took place from which it has become clear that the Convention contains no provisions which permit of any departure from that judgment. The Minister explained that that judgment was binding on Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom as a signatory to the Convention and that Her Majesty's Government had already taken steps to bring the law in Northern Ireland into line with that in the rest of the United Kingdom which was in conformity with the judgment."

"The Minister reminded the delegation that the Convention had been extended to Jersey at the request of the insular authorities and it was the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government to fulfill its international obligations by ensuring that Jersey law was not in breach of the Convention. He said that the customary law in Jersey regarding sodomy was in breach of the Convention and that it was therefore imperative that the law was changed and he hoped that the Island would legislate accordingly. He made it clear that, if the Island did not, then in order to fulfill its international obligations, the United Kingdom reluctantly would have no option but to legislate itself in this matter."

This did not please Senator Dick Shenton who led a private contingent of States Members to attempt to block Jersey legalising homosexuality. This attempt was crushed by the UK Home Affairs Minister; it is recounted amusingly in Peter Crills A Little Brief Authority - the Jersey delegation troops in, Dick Shenton at head, ready to be belligerent. Minister - "Well, gentlemen, are you going to pass the legislation, or are we going to have to do it for you". Crill's acerbic comment: "collapse of stout party!".

However, the age of consent was 21. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) (Jersey) Law (1995_ - five years later - reduced the age of consent for sexual intercourse between males from 21 to 18.

The age of consent was equalised, regardless of sexual orientation, in 2001 at 16 in England, Scotland, and Wales. In Jersey, the age of consent has been equal since 2006. Again it lagged behind the UK.The debate saw some vile language from States members - words such as "buggery" were used by some members.

It is a measure of how the States have caught up that the discussion on gay marriage resolutely steered away from any such language, but it has been a long road!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

On Wine and T.F. Powys

A village is like a stage that retains the same scenery throughout all the acts of the play. The actors come and go, and walk to and fro, with gestures that their passions fair or foul use them to.

Sometimes the human beings who occupy the stage, that is, the farms and village cottages, remain the same—or almost the same—for many years; sometimes they change more quickly.

Theodore Francis Powys (1875-1953) was a British writer from a family of writers, best know for his idiosyncratic Christian fantasy, Mr. Weston's Good Wine. In this book, Mr Weston, a wine seller, appears in the small rural town of Folly Down, and it is clear that there is more a work than just the surface narrative.

Mr. Weston, for a common tradesman - and the most princely of merchants is only that - possessed a fine and creative imagination. And, although entirely self-taught - for he had risen, as so many important people do, from nothing - he had read much, and had written too. He possessed in a very large degree a poet's fancy, that will at any moment create out of the imagination a new world.

Mr. Weston had once written a prose poem that he had divided into many books, and was naturally surprised when he discovered that the very persons and places that he had but seen in fancy had a real existence in fact. The power of art is magnificent. It can change the dullest sense into the most glorious; it can people a new world in a moment of time; it can cause a sparkling fountain to flow in the driest desert to solace a thirsty traveller

Here is an extract from the book in which the sensuality and the history of wine are explored. And yet underlying it is also a kind of rural spirituality or folk-religion; it is an extraordinary book, and well worth reading.

An Extract from Mr Weston's Good Wine
by T.F. Powys

Mr Grobe lifted the flagon. It was already uncorked. He forgot to wonder where his Bible had gone to, but suddenly he thought of it. ‘Perhaps,’ he said, speaking aloud, ‘Mr Weston has taken my Bible and left his wine — a very good exchange!’

Mr Grobe took a wine-glass out of his cupboard. This glass he dusted carefully, for he had no wish to let any dust mingle with Mr Weston’s Good Wine.

Although London gin was Mr Grobe’s favourite drink, he was certainly no despiser of wine. He had indeed often mentioned wine in his sermons, long after he had ceased to mention God.

The juice of the grape was a favourite subject of his to take in the pulpit, and it did the hearts of his hearers good to hear him upon it. The very word ‘wine’ pleased the people and awoke the churchwardens, Mr Bunce and Squire Mumby, from their slumbers, as often as they heard it spoken. Mr Grobe would extol in moving terms the delights of the grape, and bless the vine for yielding so good a gift to man.

He had often taken the trouble to explain how, from the very earliest days, the vine, the richest and the most valued of all the plants of the field, had been cultivated by man. From the first page to the last of the Bible, the juice of the grape was drunk most heartily, and, ‘indeed,’ Mr Grobe would say, with a sigh, ‘sometimes, as was the case with Noah and Lot, a little too well.’

Mr Grobe would tell his hearers how the Son of Man, from the beginning to the end of His short stay upon the earth, had praised this good liquor, and was called a drunkard for delighting in it. He told them how Jesus could distinguish between a good and a bad vintage, and that the wine He gave so freely to the company at Cana must have been Tokay.

‘Our blessed Saviour,’ he said, ‘was no niggard, no crafty one in His giving. He gave lavishly, and it is perhaps well that the gospel does not inform us how the guests of that evening reached their homes.’

Mr Grobe held out the flagon and poured out a glass. A rich odour, pleasant and vinous, filled his room. He raised the glass and held it level with the globe of the lamp. The deep colour of the wine was wonderful and rare: he leant over the wine, and the scent of it was ravishing.

‘How beautiful,’ he thought, ‘must have been the fair hill-side where the grape from which the wine had been pressed was grown. Was it Spanish wine or Burgundy? Or wine from Gascony that so pleased Michael de Montaigne in his tower? Was it Italian wine, so fine and so heady, that makes all men polite?’

Mr Grobe went to the window; he opened it widely. All was silent, but as he looked into the darkness the wind rose suddenly, whirling the leaves in the Folly Down lanes, and then again there was silence.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Midsummer Magic

As it it Midsummer and a recent summer solstice, I thought I'd write a rondeau to celebrate this time. Midsummer is traditionally 24th June because it was that date in the old Julian calendar, but when the calendar was reformed under Pope Gregory the Great, the new Midsummer (and solstice) moved to around the 21 June. That is why Shakespeare has a Midsummer Night's Dream on 23rd June (Midsummer's Eve) while the real Midsummer's day is now several days adrift from that.

Midsummer Magic

In moonlit night, the magic shines
The dolmen marks the sacred signs
Jupiter is rising, sharp point of light
The bringer of joy, and much delight
Until in dawn sky, then declines

We mark the quarters out in lines
Our magic drawn in strange designs
Beneath the stars, the sky so bright
In moonlit night

Dance in the grove, in round outlines
Sign softly songs, and make the signs
The spiral: opening the quarter’s rite
In druid robes, all garbed in white
We take the chalice, drink the wines
In moonlit night

Friday, 23 June 2017

Beautiful Britain - Jersey - Part 1

Beautiful Britain - Jersey - Part 1

My history for the next few weeks will come from “The Channel Islands” by Joseph E Morris, B.A., published by London, Adam and Charles Black, 1911. It is fascinating because, firstly, it is a guidebook from 1911, depicting a Jersey before the Great War erupted across Europe, and secondly because it is very much an outsider looking in, and making very personal observations mingled with the history.

Introduction: Jersey

If on a fine day we take our stand on one of the terraces, or battlements, of Mont Orgueil Castle -and there is hardly a pleasanter spot in Jersey in which to idle away a sunny summer afternoon -we shall realize more completely than geography books can tell us that the Channel Islands really constitute the last remnants of the ancient Norman dukedom that still belong to the English Crown.

For there, across the water, not more than twenty miles away, and stretching from north of Carteret far southwards towards Granville and Mont St. Michel, is the long white line of the Norman coast itself-on a clear day it is even possible to make out the tall, twin spires of Coutances, half a dozen miles inland, crowning, like Lincoln or Ely, their far-seen hill.

No part of France, it is true, approaches so closely to Jersey as Cap de la Hague (the extreme north-west point of the Cotentin) approaches to the north-east corner of Alderney. Still, under certain atmospheric conditions-such, for example, as Wordsworth experienced when he wrote his fine sonnet headed Near Dover, September, 1802 - the " span of waters " - hardly greater than the Straits of Dover themselves--really seems almost to shrink to the dimensions of " a lake or river bright and fair."

Contrast with this proximity the long stretches of open sea that separate these islands from Weymouth or Southampton, and we begin to realize how, physically at any rate, Jersey is more properly France than England:

Elle est pour nous la France, et, dans son lit des fleurs,
Elle en a le sourire et quelquefois les pleurs.

The impression thus gained is hardly diminished when we quit our lofty watch-tower and descend to the plain. The Channel Islands are doubtless destined in the end to be wholly anglicized, but the process is one of imperceptible transition.

The “Clameur de Haro”

A curious French patois, that is really the last relics of the ancient Norman speech, is still the common language of the people. " It is probably," says Mr. Bicknell, in his charming Little Guide, " the nearest approach now extant to the French spoken at the time of the Norman Conquest by the Normans in England."

French is also the language used commonly in the country churches ; and it is strange to follow the familiar English liturgy rendered thus in a foreign tongue. The Channel Islands, though jealously retaining their ancient independence, and as separate in many respects from England as are Canada and Australia, are yet integrally part of the established English Church. The Reformation freed them from the yoke of Coutances only to subject them to the yoke of Winchester.

French, too, or rather Norman, is the curious " Clameur de Haro " that plays so strange a part in the ancient island law. This is the regular machinery, in actions connected with real estate, to maintain the existing status in quo till the action can be fought out at length ; and in Jersey is set in motion by the plaintiff himself, whereas in England it is necessary to invoke the Courts of Law.

"At the disputed place the aggrieved person, in the presence of two witnesses, orders the aggressor or his agent to desist by exclaiming: I Haro ! Haro ! Haro ! A 1'aide, mon Prince, on me fait tort.' After this he denounces the aggressor by exclaiming: ' Je vous ordonne de quitter cet ouvrage '; upon which, unless he desist instantly, he is liable to be punished for breach of the King's authority, the property being supposed to be under the King's special protection from the moment the ` cry ' is made."

Afterwards the action is tried ; and, of course, if it prove that the complainant has invoked the “haro" wrongly (the word is said by some to be derived from the Frankish haran," to cry out, or shout ; but by others to be a corrupted form of Ah Rollo "- the first Norman Duke-or Ah Rou "-Oh my King), he is liable to be fined by the court.

It is sometimes said that this strange process was in constant use in Normandy long before the arrival of Rollo and his fierce followers from the North.

French, again, is the architecture of the churches, that in some ways has no parallel in England. French, in many particulars, is the aspect of the towns, whose long rows of white- washed houses, with their never-ending sun-blinds, testify to a warmth and sunlight too conspicuously rare in England.

Actually French are many of the faces that one encounters in the streets or on the quays. The Channel Islands of late years have become a favourite touring-ground for summer visitors from France, who so seldom venture to cross the Channel to explore the beauties of England itself. The admirable little “Guides Joanne” now include a volume on the “Iles Anglaises de la Manche”. It is amusing, however, to read in this work that in one respect at least Jersey is still definitely English.

“L'observation stricte du dimanche regne a Saint-Helier comme en Angleterre. La ville deserte, avec ses boutiques fermees, offre un silence sepulchral."

But the closed shops, if not the sepulchral silence, are now becoming common in France itself.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

And so to bed...

I usually finish my day by putting up a quotation on Facebook, prefixed by the phrase used by Samuel Pepys in his diaries, "and so to bed...". Here is a selection of recent ones.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Mary Baker Eddy:

When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts.

Off to bed now... quote for tonight is from Suzy Kassem:

Laugh, I tell you
And you will turn back
The hands of time.
Smile, I tell you
And you will reflect
The face of the divine.
Sing, I tell you
And all the angels will sing with you!
Cry, I tell you
And the reflections found in your pool of tears -
Will remind you of the lessons of today and yesterday
To guide you through the fears of tomorrow.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Aristophanes:

Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.

And so to bed... and my quote for tonight is from Douglas Adams.

He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Francis Gerald Downing:

Rage, Wisdom, and our lives inflame
so living never rests the same:
you are creative power and art
to blow our mind and wrack our heart.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Robert Browning:

The rain set early in tonight,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its best to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up and all the cottage warm.

And so to bed... quote for tonight is from Robert Louis Stevenson:

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?