Friday 19 February 2010

The Thief Of Time

Today's Times has a three word front-page headline:


It's to do with the economy or something. If you are, perhaps, suspicious of the notion that time can be borrowed you should consider tempo rubato. This is what happens when a musician slows down or speeds up for the sake of expression: literally tempo rubato is stolen time.

This sets up a difficult case for the High Court of Cliché. According to the Italians musicians are the thieves of time. But according to the utterly forgotten poet Edward Young Procrastination is the thief of time.  We've already seen that The Times, which ought to know, thinks that time has only been borrowed while TS Eliot insists that it hasn't gone missing at all and that "Time present and time past/Are both perhaps present in time future", which I suppose solves something.

Edward Young's poem Night Thought's from which the procastination quotation is taken is actually rather good. Here's from a few lines later:

At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;
In all the magnanimity of thought
Resolves, and re-resolves; then dies the same.

He also said: "By night an atheist half believes a God" and:

Some for renown, on scraps of learning dote,
And think they grow immortal as they quote.

So I'll stop. Here's some rubato:

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