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You Are Old, Father William, the Young Man Said*

 
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:11 am    Post subject: You Are Old, Father William, the Young Man Said* Reply with quote

I am noticing that, at almost 60, I am constantly correcting my writing for synonyms and misused apostrophes. I know better. Anyone else ever noticed something like that? Is it just age?


*

You Are Old, Father William by Lewis Carroll


"You are old, father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And you have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray what is the reason for that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling a box--
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs.
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to admit, that at the grand old age of very almost 43, I pay more attention to written language than I used to. I have never much cared for grammar tho'. It always seemed to me to get in the way of what I was trying to say... all those pesky rules, bah, humbug! Wink

But when writing museum text, as I have done with a curator almost ten years older than me, I rely on her good grammar and my desire to cut line lengths au Raymond Chandler. I also find that the shorter the sentence, the less grammar is required!!

But I did used to recite 'You are old farver Willyum' to my mum who used to grin at me and tell me to 'know your place in the pecking order', which I then translated to 'Know my place in the Peking order?! I am Peking duck or if you prefer, I am a peeking duck... and you are mere chicken!' She and I always liked to take language and mess around with it!

Something my actual farver does not quite understand, in spite of his love for the Goon Show, a radio show from the 1950s that can be heard on BBC7 using the Listen Again feature. It was very popular then and inspired Monty Python... but I am rambling... it's my age you know!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin- You started my day with a good laugh. Why you are a mere spring Peking duckling at 43! But I will take your Raymond Chandler advice to heart — doesn't mean I can do it.... But I will give de-convoluting a good try!
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey, me duck (as they say in Nottingham)

Much luck with your de-convoluting or even unvoluting! The trick with the Chandler method is to decide what you mean and say that as clearly as possible using simple words. As an art historian/curatorial person I always use split instead of dichotomy for example, 'cos that's what dichotomy means.

Museum text has to tread a balance between explaining ideas and methods simply for those who don't know them and yet not patronise. I imagine I'm explaining it to someone who hasn't a clue about what I'm talking about. ...which seems to happen a lot these days!! Confused

You are but young Rainey my dear,
Bold, courageous and without fear
Grammar shall not wither you,
Nor shall defeat by the flu.

You are but young Rainey me duck,
Counting on kindness and good luck,
Ready to try anything and full of hope
To tease an actress or even the Pope (rhymes with hope!)

Young and sweet and bright-eyed are you
Ready to cook or take a drink or a stew,
Young you are dear Rainey, and ageless
Tho' Mondays make you feel ancient nonetheless!!
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Griffin you are a total gem---can't tell you how glad I am you joined the site.

As I age increasingly I detest badly edited books! There is NO excuse for spelling errors or incorrect usage in a published text---drives me nuts---have been known to put away a book forever if it contains too many errors.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David wrote:
Griffin you are a total gem---can't tell you how glad I am you joined the site.


Yes, David, YES! I was intimidated because I couldn't make it rhyme of sparkle like Griffin. But I'm so glad you got to the nut of it!

PS Which part of curatorial writing do you suppose the witty rhymes come from? ...not quite so much Chandler as Carroll, I think.
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David,

I love to see your posts for the Billy Shakespeare quote. Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds... sigh! I do love that one.

I have often thought it would be fab to write museum text in verse. Somehow, nobody else seemed to... sigh!

I admit that bad spelling gets to me too. I love good writing that sparkles and inspires or moves me. So when I see badly spelled writing it ruins the writing for me.
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