"A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories:” and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation." - Jonathan Swift, "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet"

Friday, February 17, 2012

Old-fashioned idylls

"A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself; and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded by shrubs in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any man's heart." - Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Compare to this Keats quote:

"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know."

Either I am secretly a 18th - 19th century romantic man, or I know exactly how to snare one's heart, because I like a fine window, good victuals, and books, and enjoy playing a harp (although I'm not as vain about it as Mary Crawford, who almost disrupts the harvest season by trying to hire a cart to carry her harp from town - shocking!).

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