It Started With a Quote


“One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name”.

You may recall that I highlighted this quote in an earlier post, suggesting that this was a fit remark for today’s celebrity culture.  Of course, I couldn’t leave it at that – I had to find the origin of the quote.

Using that wonderful research tool – the Web – I simply pumped in the quote, like you do.   Initially, it seemed that the quote should be attributed Sir Walter Scot, pulled from a chapter heading in ‘Old Mortality’.  However, I came across a small piece by ‘getting there’ (sorry couldn’t suss real id), who has carried out a piece of research, finding that the quote is better attributed to a military man Thomas Osbert Mordaunt (1729-1809) who wrote a poem during the Seven Year War between Austria and Prussia (1756-1763) – the two lines come from verse 11 of that poem.

Sound, sound the clarion, fill the fife,
Throughout the sensual world proclaim,
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.

The original meaning set against a world when death and glory were the making of a man.

Some tails are worth chasing.


13 thoughts on “It Started With a Quote

  1. Thank you! This got me to wondering why Galahad’s angel was carrying this banner …… so I did some research 🙂
    Maybe I’m showing my ignorance here (!) but apparently Galahad was one of three to see the Holy Grail. So was that his hour of “glorious life”?
    The other two were Bors and Percival – all three were Knights of King Arthur.
    I find ‘snippets’ like your window this fascinating. It’s amazing where they lead if you’re interested enough to follow ….. so thanks for a great post!

    • Thank you.
      Wiki says of him “he is perhaps the knightly embodiment of Jesus in the Arthurian legends”.

      Looks as if the other quote
      “Ah Galahad, Galahad for such as thou art is the Vision”
      comes from Tennyson’s “Idyll of the King”
      “Ah, Galahad, Galahad,” said the King, “for such
      As thou art is the vision”

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