Friday, December 18, 2009


I just finished listening to Hesketh Pearson's The Life of Oscar Wilde. It was fascinating, and I learned a lot that I had not known about Wilde himself, his trial and his "deathbed conversion" to Catholicism. He was famous or notorious for his witticisms, of course, and the biography was sprinkled with them. It's hard to know which one I liked best, and some are so well known that they have become cliches or figures of speech, their origins completely forgotten.

One of the best, undoubtedly, was a remark that some thought should have been on his tombstone (but was not). In a conversation with Robert Ross, he once said, "Robby, when the last trump sounds and we are couched in our porphyry tombs, let's pretend not to hear it."

This reflects on his general indifference to matters of faith -- I myself put little confidence in that deathbed baptism -- but even more on his personal indolence. Apparently he intended to carry on in the next life pretty much as he had in this one.

The epitaph on his tomb in Paris, pictured above, actually reads,
And alien tears will fill for him
Pity's long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.
And on a totally different note about a diferent kind of wildlife...

When I went to check on the mail this morning, an eagle swooped down over the field across the road. It was closer to me than the house is to the mailbox, and it flew down and then up and over the trees across the field. I could see it flying off through the branches for a while. Tom had seen one recently, and I assume it was the same eagle. Although I saw one flying overhead near the house last year, and they are a somewhat common sight along the Wisconsin River, they don't frequent our neighborhood that much.

Too cool!

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