Quotable #83: Life and Death

“The first breath is the beginning of death.” — Anon. “There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.” — George Santayana “It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.” — Samuel Johnson, quoted […]

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Inscription on the Entrance of a Villa in Siena of Yore

  Siena, Italy Image: Equity Residences  Joseph Massarette’s book La Vie Martiale et Fastueuse de Pierre-Ernest de Mansfeld (1517-1604), which was published in 1930, told of a whimsical inscription on the entrance of a villa in Siena, Italy during the sixteenth century: Quisquis huc accedis, Quod tibi horrendum videtur, Mihi amœnum est, Si delectat manaes, […]

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War and Politics

Beilby Porteus In one of the many heated debates in the House of Peers regarding England’s participation in the French Revolution in 1794, a noble lord on the opposition quoted a portion of a poem about war written by Bishop Beilby Porteus (1731 – 1809): One murder makes a villain; Millions, a hero! Princes are […]

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“Loss in Delays”

The following poem titled “Loss in Delays” was written by Robert Southwell (1561 – 1595), an English poet and priest during the Elizabethan era: Shun delays, they breed remorse, Take thy time, while time is lent thee; Creeping snails have weakest force, Fly their fault, lest thou repent thee; Good is best when soonest wrought, […]

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Learn Fun Facts’ Monthly Miscellany, February 2019

Random Ramblings The past Lunar New year was quite hot here in Hong Kong. While it’s not that “hot”, it’s hotter than the normally cool temperature people enjoyed during this period. Unsurprisingly, the temperatures on the second and third day of this year’s Lunar New Year were the highest on record, reaching up to 24.9ºC […]

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Distribution of Talent

William Shenstone (1714 – 1763), an eighteenth-century poet, once remarked that if the public is divided into a hundred parts, the corresponding distribution of talent may be estimated in this way: Fools: 15 Persons of Common Sense: 40 Wits: 15 Pedants: 15 Persons of Wild Taste: 10 Persons of Improved Taste: 5 Just for fun, […]

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The Reason Dostoevsky Preferred to Work at Night

Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1888) usually liked to work through the night. With tea, cigarettes, and sweets as fuel, he could pull several all-nighters to write his novels. He told a friend through a letter why he preferred to do his business at night: It is night now; the hands of the clock […]

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Gleanings from the Past #80

Cynicism and Horror Only a cynic can create horror — for behind every masterpiece of the sort must reside a driving demonic force that despises the human race and its illusions, and longs to pull them to pieces and mock them. — H. P. Lovecraft, letter to Edward Baird dated c. October 1923, quoted in […]

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“The Wind and the Moon”

Image: DeviantArt Said the Wind to the Moon: “I will blow you out; You stare In the air Like a ghost in a chair, Always looking what I am about I hate to be watched; I’ll blow you out.” The Wind blew hard, and out went the Moon. So, deep On a heap Of clouds […]

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Quotable #80: Time

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end; Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend. Nativity, once in the main of light, Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d, Crooked elipses ’gainst his glory fight, And Time that gave […]

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