Thursday 19 April 2012

Q is for Quotations

Sadly, it seems that children are no longer required to learn poems by heart, but in my schooldays, we had to do it frequently, and I have always been glad to have favourite poems ( or bits of them - some seem to have become framented ) stored in the recesses of my brain. Here are some favourite lines ( may not be entirely correct, but I decided not to cheat by looking them up!):

"Now sleeps,the crimson petal, now the white,
Now droops the cyprus on the palace walk." ( Tennyson)

"Wilows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver..." ( ditto)

"Oh, what can ail thee, knight at arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge is withered from the lake
And no birds sing." (Keats)

"Lay your sleeping head, my love, Human on my faithless arm...) (Auden)

Actually, there are far too many, and I won't bore you with more.

Then there are humorous quotations picked up along the way. I especially like this, because it happens all the time:

"One of the things that I've tried very hard
But still haven't managed to cope with,
Is the piece of soap that's too thick to discard
But a little too thin to soap with." ( Dorothy Parker)

And this, which is a good one to try to live by: "A man's reach must be beyond his grasp, or what's a heaven for?" (Browning)

I'll leave the last word to Churchill:

Woman: " Sir! You're drunk!"
Churchill: "Madam, you're ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning."

What are your favourite quotations?


  1. "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in. Where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."
    John Muir

    I wish Dorothy Parker and Winston Churchill could have met and I could have been there to listen!

  2. Thanks for that, Kay. Beautiful!

    BTW I apologise for the odd look of this post. New Blogger seems to have taken over and refuses to do paragraphs. I'm trying to get rid of it!

  3. 'Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.' Anonymous

    And - me too, Kay - there are so many historical figures whose conversations I wouldn't have minded earwigging!

    And I agree, Frances, New Blogger (if that's what I've got and am not too sure at the moment!) won't do as it's told sometimes. I'm currently trying to reduce the size of my personal photo, but it's proving impossible at the moment. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be grateful!

  4. I was just talking about this the other day - and how much we remember because of the way we were taught! Love the Churchill quote.

  5. Oh! Funny and that last one is priceless.

    I've always liked this one by Thomas Edison: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

  6. If I quoted here the poem I learnt at school which left the most lasting impression on me, I doubt anyone would know what I am talking about, since of course it is in German.
    But is spooky enough to still have me in shivers running up and down my spine every time I think of it.

  7. 'Behind every great man there is a surprised woman.' Maryon Pearson. I always thought it was a 'better' woman. Perhaps that was someone else.

  8. One of my favourite quotations is on an old porrige bowl:
    If you your lips would keep from slips,
    five things observe with care
    Of whom you speak, to whom you speak,
    and how, and when and where.

    God bless, Christine in Los Angeles

  9. Churchill's come-back is wonderful. What a great mind the man must have had. Blog on!

  10. Liked the humorous quotations :-)

  11. I LOVE that Churchill quote and the Dorothy Parker one!

    This is one of my favourites: "When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal. When he destroys one of the works of god we call him a sportsman." Joseph Wood Krutch.

  12. Biddy, that's lovely! As for New Blogger, it just doesn't work on my PC or iPad. I have to get someone in to sort it out each time it switches itself on, and soon we're all going to have it. Groan....

    Rosemary, I can still remember every word of the poem I had to learn in French in my first year at grammar school, and that was a very long time ago!

    Yvonne, that one is absolutely brilliant!

    Librarian, try me! Although to my shame I misspelt sehr on your blog, I do know a little German, and it would be good for me!

    Maggie, I thought it was just " woman", but yours is much better!

    Very wise, Christine!

    Thanks, Francene and Diane!

    Teresa, that one's wonderful, and rather sad, too.

  13. Alright, Frances, since you were asking, here goes:

    Belsazar, by Heinrich Heine

    Die Mitternacht zog näher schon,
    in stiller Ruh lag Babylon.

    Nur oben, in des Königs Schloß,
    da lärmte noch des Königs Troß.

    A lengthy part follows, describing how Belsazar, drunk from both alcohol and his victory over Israel, had his servants bring out the cup and other things from the Jerusalem temple, and drank wine from the cup that was considered sacred by the Jews he had taken it from.
    This was, of course, a sacrilege, and Belsazar's punishment follows immediately:

    Und sieh! und sieh! an weißer Wand
    Da kam's hervor wie Menschenhand;

    Und schrieb, und schrieb an weißer Wand
    Buchstaben von Feuer, und schrieb und schwand.

    The writing on the wall was, of course, "Mene Tekel", the meaning of which only the true prophet was able to reveal.

    It is the final lines of the ballad that send shivers down my spine to this day:

    Belsazar ward aber in selbiger Nacht
    von seinen Knechten umgebracht.

  14. And this is why I sojourn here
    Alone and palely loitering,
    Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
    And no birds sing.

    It is said (and I've never checked it because I worked in Bessie Braddock's empire and just assumed it to be true) that it was she with whom Winston Churchill had the exchange of pleasantries.