2010年1月5日 星期二

Sydney Smith and others

The Selected Writings of Sydney Smith: Edited by W. H. Auden


'He is a very clever fellow, but he will never be a bishop.' George III

'A more profligate parson I never met.' George IV

'I sat next to Sydney Smith, who was delightful ... I don't remember a more agreeable party.' Benjamin Disraeli

'I wish you would tell Mr Sydney Smith that of all the men I ever heard of and never saw, I have the greatest curiosity to see ... and to know him.' Charles Dickens

How one agrees with Dickens. Without doubt, Sydney Smith was the most famous wit of his generation. But there was more to him than that, he was an outstanding representative of the English liberal tradition.

Starting as an impoverished village curate he went to Edinburgh as a tutor, and co-founded the Edinburgh Review, the first major nineteenth-century periodical. Happily married, he moved in 1803 to London, where he was introduced into the Holland House circle - of which he quickly became an admired and popular member - but at the age of thirty-eight a Tory government banished him to a village parsonage. There he became 'one of the best country vicars of whom there is a record', and after his two chief causes - the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 and the Reform Bill of 1832 - triumphed, he was rewarded by a canonry of St. Paul's.

This generous selection of his writings gives the full flavour of his mind and intellectual personality. In a characteristically stimulating introduction in which he discusses Sydney Smith both as an individual and as a shining exemplar of the liberal mind, W. H. Auden places him with Jonathan Swift and Bernard Shaw among the few polemic authors 'who must be ranked very high by any literary standard.'

As Macaulay said he was 'The Smith of Smiths'.

"Pease Porridge Hot" , gruel, profligacy

How Mr Hatoyama both motivates bureaucrats and punishes them when they step out of line will make or break the DPJ. The crucial battle comes between now and December, in drawing up the budget for the 2010 fiscal year. Ministries have already submitted their spending plans, including pork for favoured groups, hoping for the usual lack of political oversight. The DPJ promises to rebuild the budget-making process from scratch, going through programmes line by line. That, too, is a chance for the new government to show that it is not as profligate as its opponents have claimed.

Military-Industrial Redux

If there is any hope of reining in Pentagon profligacy, President Obama and his secretary of defense, Robert Gates, will have to show real steel and eternal vigilance.

And if canonical genes are too thin a gruel to explain yourself to yourself, you can always reach for the stalwart of scapegoats. Blame it all on your mother, who surely loved you too much or too little or in all the wrong ways.


"Pease Porridge Hot"

Pease porridge hot,
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot,
Nine days old.

Some like it hot,
Some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot,
Nine days old.

Pease porridge hot
Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.
Some like it hot,
Some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.


(pēz) pronunciation

n. Archaic., pl. pease or peas·en ('zən).

A pea.

[Middle English. See pea.]



KK: []
DJ: []
n. (名詞 noun)
  1. 粥,糊,麥片粥[U]
  2. 一盤燕麥粥


[POR-ihj] A thick, puddinglike dish made of cereal or grain (usually oatmeal) cooked in water or milk. Porridge is usually eaten hot for breakfast with sugar and milk or cream.

A gruel is much like a thin porridge made with water, but is more often drunk.
Emma I:3
Such another small basin of thin gruel as his own, was all that he could, with thorough self-approbation, recommend, though he might constrain himself, while the ladies were comfortably clearing the nicer things, to say:


Mr. Woodhouse's Thin Gruel

The gruel came and supplied a great deal to be said -- much praise and many comments -- undoubting decision of its wholesomeness for every constitution, and pretty severe Philippics upon the many houses where it was never met with tolerable; -- but, unfortunately, among the failures which the daughter had to instance, the most recent, and therefore most prominent, was in her own cook at South End, a young woman hired for the time, who never had been able to understand what she meant by a basin of nice smooth gruel, thin, but not too thin.

Of all Jane Austen's hypochrondriacs, perhaps her most endearing is Mr. Woodhouse. Afraid of germs, draughts, too rich food and all manner of nervous complaints brought on by change, he forces himself, and often those around him, to live on a diet of plain foods:

"My poor dear Isabella," said he, fondly taking her hand, and interrupting, for a few moments, her busy labours for some one of her five children -- "How long it is, how terribly long since you were here! And how tired you must be after your journey! You must go to bed early, my dear -- and I recommend a little gruel to you before you go. -- You and I will have a nice basin of gruel together. My dear Emma, suppose we all have a little gruel."

Emma could not suppose any such thing, knowing as she did, that both the Mr Knightleys were as unpersuadable on that article as herself; -- and two basins only were ordered.
Gruel was, by nature, a dish reserved for the very poor, who could afford nothing else, and invalids, who could tolerate nothing else. A type of thin porridge, it is made of oats stewed with either milk or water, and is served with salt or sugar and milk.

The first evidence for dishes resembling porridge is prehistoric. Neolithic farmers cultivated oats along with other crops. Various types of grains and grain meals could be stewed in water to form a thick porridge-like dish. Anglo Saxon sources describe "briw" or "brewit" made from rye meal, barley meal or oats served plain or with vegetables in. There are also references to some types of porridges being fermented.

Porridges and gruels were an easy way to cook grains. The grain only had to be cracked, not completely ground into flour. It could be cooked very simply in a pot at the edge of a fire. Bread required an oven to cook in. It formed a basis for many dishes, both sweet and savoury. It was served with meat, stock or fat, as well as with vegetables, fruits, honey or spices. It could be allowed to cool and set in a "porridge drawer", and could then be sliced to be eaten cold or even fried.

Eighteenth Century cookbooks such as Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy, 1747, give recipes for "Water Gruel" made of oatmeal and water, and flavoured with butter and pepper. It might be served with wine sauce, sherry and dried fruits by rich people, whereas the poor ate the dish on its own. It could be served with any meal at any time of the day. Sugar only became widely available in Britain in the Eighteenth Century, so it was probably not used on porridge before then.

Oliver Twist As a inexpensive dish, Gruel or Porridge became the meal of choice served at workhouses around the nation in the early to mid 1800's. In 1837, Charles Dickens sarcastically wrote "...that all poor people should have the alternative of being starved by a gradual process in the [work] house, or by a quick one out of it. With this view, they contracted with the water-works to lay on an unlimited supply of water, and with a corn-factory (grain processor) to supply periodically small quantities of oatmeal, and issued three meals of thin gruel a day...."* Who can forget the image of young Oliver Twist asking, "Please sir, may I have some more?"

This is not to say that all porridges were reserved for the indigent. Oats were a kitchen staple at the time for every household and many richer versions found their way on the tables of the wealthy as well as the working class.These dishes included plumb porridge or barley gruel, made from barley and water, with dried fruit added. Burstin was made by roasting hulled barley grains and then grinding them, it could then be served with milk Frumenty was hulled wheat cooked with milk, cream and eggs and flavoured with spices. SUrely Mr. Woodhouse would have been shocked at such profligacy!

'A more profligate parson I never met.' George IV

prof·li·gate (prŏf'lĭ-gĭt, -gāt') pronunciation
  1. Given over to dissipation; dissolute.
  2. Recklessly wasteful; wildly extravagant.
A profligate person; a wastrel.

[Latin prōflīgātus, past participle of prōflīgāre, to ruin, cast down : prō-, forward; see pro-1 + -flīgāre, intensive of flīgere, to strike down.]

profligacy prof'li·ga·cy (-gə-sē) n.
profligately prof'li·gate·ly adv.

n.[See Profligate, a.]
The quality of state of being profligate; a profligate or very vicious course of life; a state of being abandoned in moral principle and in vice; dissoluteness.

Meaning #1: the trait of spending extravagantly
Synonyms: extravagance, prodigality

Meaning #2: dissolute indulgence in sensual pleasure
Synonyms: dissipation, dissolution, licentiousness