I have been reading A Commonplace Book – a compendium of quotations and commentaries collected by Alec Guinness (my favourite actor) in the last few years of his life. Here are some favourite bits:
Man: Lord Duke, what in your years has been the most inane remark?
Wellington: Once, before a battle in the Peninsular War, I heard a Portuguese general address his troops, saying, "Remember men, you are Portuguese."
Commenting on over-zealous conductors, one orchestral musician said, "All we need to be told is fast, slow, loud or quiet."
There should be in the soul halls of space, avenues of leisure and high porticos of silence, where God walks. JEREMY TAYLOR
A fleshy old man, moving from room to room, apparently pausing to admire pictures and objects, but in fact quietly easing out a little gas at each stop so as not to startle the hushes tapestried world around him with a resounding fart.
Newspaper Headline: 'HEADLESS MAN FOUND IN TOPLESS BAR.'
I'd put our moral decline down to the disappearance of horse-drawn traffic on the London roads. There was a nobility in the old dray horse, gazing with large moist eyes at pedestrians.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning. Psalm 143:8
Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvellous, intoxicating. SIMONE WEIL
Dom Sebastian Moore of Downside Abbey maintains that his life of contemplative prayer began when he had the honesty to tell the Lord: "You bore me." DAME PHILIPPA EDWARDS
Revelation is all written in fantastic picture language that could mean lots of things. It's designed to freak you out a bit. An example:
'Then the third angel sounded: And a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.
The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter.'
I found out yesterday that 'Wormwood' (a relative of mugwort and tarragon) translated into Ukrainian is 'Chernobyl'. Now read that passage again.
c.1300, "belonging to all, general," from O.Fr. comun "common, general, free, open, public" (9c., Mod.Fr. commun), from L. communis "in common, public, general, not pretentious, shared by all or many," from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common," compound adjective formed from *ko- "together" + *moi-n-, suffixed form of base *mei- "change, exchange", hence literally "shared by all."
late 14c., from O.Fr. comunion "community, communion" (12c.), from L. communionem (nom. communio) "fellowship, mutual participation, a sharing," used in L.L. ecclesiastical language for "participation in the sacrament," from communis. Used by Augustine, in belief that the word was derived from com- "with, together" + unus "oneness, union."