Sunday, 30 September 2007

Sayings of Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.

Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.

A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire.

See also Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his Son on Becoming a Gentleman

Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman - Philip Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield

Philip Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield

“Choose your pleasures for yourself, and do not let them be imposed upon you. Follow nature and not fashion: weigh the present enjoyment of your pleasures against the necessary consequences of them, and then let your own common sense determine your choice.” 

“Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” 

“There is time enough for everything, in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once; but there is not time enough in they year, if you will do two things at a time.” 

“Listen to everything that is said, and see everything that is done. Observe the looks and countenances of those who speak, which is often a surer way of discovering the truth than from what they say. But then keep all those observations to yourself, for your own private use, and rarely communicate them to others. Observe, without being thought an observer, for otherwise people will be upon their guard before you.” 

“The world is a country which nobody ever yet knew by description; one must travel through it one’s self to be acquainted with it.” 

Philip, Stanhope, Lord Chesterfield 
Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman'

Thursday, 27 September 2007

The Prius - An Amazing Car

Not everyone likes the Prius's looks, but it's actually an amazing car. It's well very built, comfortable and full of interesting touches - like the tiny gear lever on the dash and a single button to stop and park. It glides silently through the traffic and when it stops at the lights, you have to look at the dashboard to know that it's on at all. It's quick and responsive, with a tiny turning circle and a high driving position making it perfect for city driving. Altogether a most satisfying and relaxing car. And if you add its economic advantages - very low fuel consumption, no congestion charge, reduced cost parking permits, very low road tax and a high resale value, it's unbeatable. One of my friends bought one over a month ago - and he is still running it on its first tank of petrol!

Monday, 17 September 2007

La Rondine

One of my favourite operatic arias - Kiri Te Kanawa in the famous aria from Puccini's La Rondine - Chi il bel sogno di Doretta. Click the heading to hear a rough recording made after lunch from Philip Wetton's DVD.

For comparison - and for a more professional video of the singer, see Angela Gheorghiu's version here


Love, that is the first and last of all things made
The light that has the living world for shade
Love, that sounds loud or light in all men's ears,
Whence all men's eyes take fire from sparks of tears,
That binds on all men's feet or chains or wings;
Love, that is root and fruit of terrene things;
Love, that the whole world's waters shall not drown,
The whole world's fiery forces not burn down;
Love, that what time his own hands guard his head
The whole world's wrath and strength shall not strike dead;
Love, that if once his own hands make his grave
The whole world's pity and sorrow shall not save;
Love, that for very life shall not be sold,
Nor bought nor bound with iron nor with gold;
So strong that heaven, could love bid heaven farewell,
Would turn to fruitless and unflowering hell;
So sweet that hell, to hell could love be given,
Would turn to splendid and sonorous heaven;
Love that is fire within thee and light above,
And lives by grace of nothing but of love;
Through many and lovely thoughts and much desire
Led these twain to the life of tears and fire;
Through many and lovely days and much delight
Led these twain to the lifeless life of night.

Swinburne - Tristram and Iseult