Saturday, May 10, 2008

Alec Guinness

A Commonplace Book, by Alec Guinness, which I discovered by accident the other day at the library, is a wonderful collection of quotes, odd dreams, poems, comments, wit, and a delight in life. There are plenty of wise sayings amongst them but in spite of that a few of the slight less wise ones took my fancy:

The three most important things a man has are, briefly, his private parts, his money, and his religious opinions. Samuel Butler.
Guinness comments: I am tempted to add: the first two diminish with age and only the last is rigid.

Guinness tells a little story:
On our return from church:
Lapsed Catholic: 'Have a nice mass?'
Self wanted to reply: 'Oh, you know, the same old thing. The Real Presence at the altar, body, blood, soul, divinity of Christ, as usual.'

A quote from Sydney Smith, writing in the Edinburgh Review, in an article called, Catholics.
Little or nothing is to be expected from the shame of deferring what is is so wicked and perilous to defer. Profligacy in taking office is so extreme, that we have no doubt public men may be found, who, in half a century, would postpone all remedies for a pestilence, if the preservation of their places depended upon the propagation of the virus.

A quote from Matthew Arnold: It is a sad thing to see a man who has been frittered away piecemeal by petty distractions, and who has never done his best. But it is still sadder to see a man who has done his best, who has reached his utmost limits - and finds his work a failure, and himself far less than he had imagined himself.

There are several other bits I'd like to quote - I'll just have to find them again!

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