25 12 / 2011
Shall soldiers tread the murderous path of war,
Without a notion what they do it for?
Shall pallid mercers drive a roaring trade,
And sell the stuffs their hands have never made?
And shall not we, in this our mimic scene,
Be all that better actors e’er have been?
Awake again a Kemble’s tragic tone,
And make a Liston’s humour all our own?
Or vie with Mrs Siddons in the art,
To rouse the feelings and to charm the heart?
While Shakespeare’s self, with all his ancient fires,
Lights up the forms that tremble on our wires?
Why can’t we have, in theatres ideal,
The good, without the evil of the real?
Why may not Marionettes be just as good,
As larger actors made of flesh and blood?
Presumptuous thought! to you and your applause,
In humbler confidence we trust our cause.
24 12 / 2011
Forgive me, Rufio; and (anxiously) hurry them as much as—
He is interrupted by an outcry as of an old man in the extremity of misfortune. It draws near rapidly; and Theodotus rushes in, tearing his hair, and squeaking the most lamentable exclamations. Rufio steps back to stare at him, amazed at his frantic condition. Pothinus turns to listen.
THEODOTUS (on the steps, with uplifted arms).
Horror unspeakable! Woe, alas! Help!
Who is slain?
Slain! Oh, worse than the death of ten thousand men! Loss irreparable to mankind!
What has happened, man?
THEODOTUS (rushing down the hall between them).
The fire has spread from your ships. The first of the seven wonders of the world perishes. The library of Alexandria is in flames.
Psha! (Quite relieved, he goes up to the loggia and watches the preparations of the troops on the beach.)
Is that all?
THEODOTUS (unable to believe his senses).
All! Caesar: will you go down to posterity as a barbarous soldier too ignorant to know the value of books?
Theodotus: I am an author myself; and I tell you it is better that the Egyptians should live their lives than dream them away with the help of books.
THEODOTUS (kneeling, with genuine literary emotion: the passion of the pedant). Caesar: once in ten generations of men, the world gains an immortal book.
If it did not flatter mankind, the common executioner would burn it.
Without history, death would lay you beside your meanest soldier.
Death will do that in any case. I ask no better grave.
What is burning there is the memory of mankind.
A shameful memory. Let it burn.
Will you destroy the past?
Ay, and build the future with its ruins. (Theodotus, in despair, strikes himself on the temples with his fists.) But harken, Theodotus, teacher of kings: you who valued Pompey’s head no more than a shepherd values an onion, and who now kneel to me, with tears in your old eyes, to plead for a few sheepskins scrawled with errors. I cannot spare you a man or a bucket of water just now; but you shall pass freely out of the palace. Now, away with you to Achillas; and borrow his legions to put out the fire. (He hurries him to the steps.)
You understand, Theodotus: I remain a prisoner.
Will you stay to talk whilst the memory of mankind is burning? (Calling through the loggia) Ho there! Pass Theodotus out. (To Theodotus) Away with you.
THEODOTUS (to Pothinus).
I must go to save the library. (He hurries out.)
21 12 / 2011
"A Nodder is something like a Yes-man, only lower in the social scale. A Yes-Man’s duty is to attend conferences and say “Yes.” A Nodder’s, as the name implies, is to nod. The chief executive throws out some statement of opinion and looks about him expectantly. This is the cue for the senior Yes-Man to say yes. He is followed, in order of precedence, by the second Yes-Man - or Vice-Yesser -, as he sometimes is called- and the junior Yes-Man. Only when all the Yes-Men have yessed, do the Nodders begin to function. They nod."
14 12 / 2011
"When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion."
12 12 / 2011
"Pride,where wit fails,steps in to our defence,
And fills up all the mighty void of sense:
If once right reason drives that cloud away,
Truth breaks upon us with resistless day."
From An Essay on Criticism - Alexander Pope