Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Singing Razor

Offered in the Axminster Tool catalogue of a few years ago were open razors from Thiers that are so thin that a moist finger rubbed across them causes them to sound like a wine glass. The sharpness of the tongue of Thomas Carlyle bids me call him the 'singing razor'. One would imagine that the flensing of the poltroon Diderot must be a warning to the enlightenment's darling Hume but no the man mellows most disagreeably. He's a homey don't you know.

The veneration of Samuel Johnson is a curiously British cult. T.C. finds a plinth of equal elevation for Hume, almost.

"Both realised the highest task of Manhood, that of living like men; each died not unfitly, in his way; Hume as one with the factitious, half-false gaiety, taking leave of what was itself wholly but a Lie; Johnson as one, with awe-struck, yet resolute and piously expectant heart, taking leave of a Reality, to enter a Reality still higher. Johnson had the harder problem of it, from first to last; whether, with some hesitation, we can admit that he was intrinsically the better gifted, may remain undecided."

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