a rule of life


        Житейское правило
    “— Если вы желаете хорошенько насолить и даже повредить противнику, — говорил мне один старый пройдоха, — то упрекайте его в том самом недостатке или пороке, который вы за собою чувствуете. Негодуйте… и упрекайте!
    Во-первых, это заставит других думать, что у вас этого порока нет.
    Во-вторых, негодование ваше может даже быть искренним… Вы можете воспользоваться укорами собственной совести.
    Если вы, например, ренегат, упрекайте противника в том, что у него нет убеждений!
    Если вы сами лакей в душе, говорите ему с укоризной, что он лакей… лакей цивилизации, Европы, социализма!
    — Можно даже сказать: лакей безлакейства! — заметил я.
    — И это можно, — подхватил пройдоха”.
    — Иван Сергеевич Тургенев, Стихотворения, Ленинград: “Советский писатель”, 1955, с. 349.
        A Rule Of Life
    “If you want to vex an adversary utterly, and even to harm him,” said a cunning old rascal to me, “reproach him for the very defect or vice that you discern in yourself. Take offense… and reproach him!”
    “First of all, it will make others think that you are free from that vice.”
    “In the second place, your indignation may well be sincere… You can put to a good use the pangs of your own conscience.”
    “If you, for instance, are a renegade, reproach your adversary for having no convictions!”
    “If you are yourself servile at heart, tell him sternly that he is servile… a lackey of civilization, of Europe, of socialism!”
    “One might even say, a lackey of insubordination!” — I pointed out.
    “One might even do that,” echoed the cunning rascal.
    — Ivan Turgenev, translated by MZ

footnotes to larkin

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin

Footnote to Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
—Philip Larkin

To blame it on your mum and dad
and claim it’s their fault what you do
takes quite a nerve — as though you had
no part to play in what makes you.

This fucked-up childhood myth’s a line
that everyone’s at some time used;
it may explain why you’re a swine,
but not why you should be excused.

Harry Ricketts

“I imagine he wrote ‘They tuck you up, your mum and dad’ and then rode the wave of a typo.”
Tom Raworth