Wednesday 30 November 2022


'It takes a long time to become young.'
Pablo Picasso

‘Sixty years! Not so very long ago I thought this a very advanced age. When I was a child I was told that Methusalah and others lived even longer, but I never imagined for a moment that I should compete in such a class. Lately, I have not felt the same impression. Sixty now seems to me to be a very reasonable age, when man may still have vigour of mind and body with knowledge and experience besides.’ Churchill on his 60th birthday, 30 November 1934, a birthday he shares with Mark Twain, Palladio, Swift and me.

'Ancient person, for whom I
All the flattering youth defy,
Long be it ere thou grow old,
Aching, shaking, crazy, cold;
But still continue as thou art,
Ancient person of my heart.

'On thy withered lips and dry,
Which like barren furrows lie,
Brooding kisses I will pour
Shall thy youthful heat restore
(Such kind showers in autumn fall,
And a second spring recall);
Nor from thee will ever part,
Ancient person of my heart.

Lord Rochester, A Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover (Nell Gwynne to King Charles II). The rest is obscene and could not be published in England until the Chatterley trial, but nevertheless charming and can easily be googled. I didn't find the date of the poem, but King Charles II was fifty when Rochester died.

'And after sixty, the inclination to be alone grows into a kind of real, natural instinct; for at that age everything combines in favour of it. The strongest impulse—­the love of woman’s society—­has little or no effect; it is the sexless condition of old age which lays the foundation of a certain self-sufficiency, and that gradually absorbs all desire for others’ company. A thousand illusions and follies are overcome; the active years of life are in most cases gone; a man has no more expectations or plans or intentions. The generation to which he belonged has passed away, and a new race has sprung up which looks upon him as essentially outside its sphere of activity.'
Arthur Schopenhauer

'It is a sad reflection, but a true one, that I knew almost as much at eighteen as I do now. My judgment, to be sure, was not so good; but I knew the facts. I remember very well, when I was at Oxford, an old gentleman said to me, "Young man, ply your book diligently now, and acquire a stock of knowledge; for when years come upon you, you will find that poring upon books will be but an irksome task.' Dr Johnson at 63 to Boswell

'You have to grow older but you can be immature at any age.' Richard Baron

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