Magazine article The Spectator

Theseven Ages

Magazine article The Spectator

Theseven Ages

Article excerpt

A selection from Keeping My Words:

An Anthology from Cradle to Grave by Magnus Magnusson (Hodder & Stoughton, £6.99, pp. 280, ISBN 0340862645) What though his head be empty, provided his commonplace book be full?

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), A Tale of a Tub Lord knows what incommunicable small terrors infants go through, unknown to all.

We disregard them, we say they forget, because they have not the words to make us remember ... By the time they learn to speak they have forgotten the details of their complaints, and so we never know. They forget so quickly, we say, because we cannot contemplate the fact that they never forget.

Margaret Drabble (b. 1939), The Millstone, 1965 I am fond of children (except boys).

Lewis Carroll in a letter to Kathleen Eschwege, 1879 It is only rarely that one can see in a little boy the promise of a man, but one can almost always see in a little girl the threat of a woman.

Alexandre Dumas fils (1824-95) The 11-plus split me from the girl I carried a torch for. She passed, I failed. She went to grammar school, I sent her a love letter telling her I missed her -- she sent it back with the spelling mistakes corrected.

John Prescott (b. 1938) Children nowadays love luxury, have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect for elders.

Socrates (469-399 BC) At school I never minded the lessons. I just resented having to work terribly hard at playing.

John Mortimer (b. 1923), A Voyage Round My Father I hear and I forget. I see and I remember.

I do and I understand.

Chinese proverb Youth is the time to go flashing from one end of the world to the other both in mind and body; to try the manners of different nations; to hear the chimes at midnight; to see sunrise in town and country; to be converted at a revival; to circumnavigate the metaphysics, write halting verses, run a mile to see a fire, and wait all day long in the theatre to applaud Hernani.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94), Virginibus Puerisque Everyone who remembers his own educational experience remembers teachers, not methods and techniques.

American educationist and philosopher Sidney Hook (1902-89) I expect you'll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That's what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.

Evelyn Waugh (1903-66), Decline and Fall Don't laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find a face of his own.

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946), Afterthoughts Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), Conquest of Happiness, 1930 The heart may think it knows better: the senses know that absence blots people out.

We have really no absent friends.

Elizabeth Bowen (1891-1973), Death of the Heart He said it was artificial respiration, but now I find I am to have his child. …

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