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The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first.
-- Blaise Pascal
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The last time I saw him he was walking down Lover's Lane holding his own
-- Fred Allen
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The last time somebody said, "I find I can write much better with a word
processor.", I replied, "They used to say the same thing about drugs."
-- Roy Blount, Jr.
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The last vestiges of the old Republic have been swept away.
-- Governor Tarkin
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The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor,
to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
-- Anatole France
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The Law of Probable Dispersal:
That which hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
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The Law of the Letter:
The best way to inspire fresh thoughts is to seal the envelope.
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The Law of the Perversity of Nature:
You cannot determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.
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The lawgiver, of all beings, most owes the law allegiance. He of all men
should behave as though the law compelled him. But it is the universal
weakness of mankind that what we are given to administer we presently imagine
-- H.G. Wells
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The Least Perceptive Literary Critic
The most important critic in our field of study is Lord Halifax. A
most individual judge of poetry, he once invited Alexander Pope round to
give a public reading of his latest poem.
Pope, the leading poet of his day, was greatly surprised when Lord
Halifax stopped him four or five times and said, "I beg your pardon, Mr.
Pope, but there is something in that passage that does not quite please me."
Pope was rendered speechless, as this fine critic suggested sizeable
and unwise emendations to his latest masterpiece. "Be so good as to mark
the place and consider at your leisure. I'm sure you can give it a better
After the reading, a good friend of Lord Halifax, a certain Dr.
Garth, took the stunned Pope to one side. "There is no need to touch the
lines," he said. "All you need do is leave them just as they are, call on
Lord Halifax two or three months hence, thank him for his kind observation
on those passages, and then read them to him as altered. I have known him
much longer than you have, and will be answerable for the event."
Pope took his advice, called on Lord Hallifax and read the poem
exactly as it was before. His unique critical faculties had lost none of
their edge. "Ay", he commented, "now they are perfectly right. Nothing can
-- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"