In Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John, the Earl of Salisbury and the Earl of Pembroke and other 'lords' are kicking back in the palace with King John who is feeling pretty full of himself because he got a second coronation. Salisbury gets a line which eventually becomes -- as does much of Shakespeare -- a stock phrase.
Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
Old Salisbury is thinking and daring to say that perhaps one coronation was sufficient. The first stock phrase was taken directly from this scene -- Paint The Lilly. By the beginning of the Twentieth Century the term had slipped ever so slightly to 'Gild The Lilly'. Whichever phrase you like, they can be used interchangeably when speaking about or thinking about the solar panels soon to be on the roof of the Prius. Aren't these solar panels a little over the edge since they will do nothing toward powering the engine? Aren't they gilding the lily just a tiny bit?
Initial indications are that the panels won't be able to do much more than power the car's radio or possibly the air conditioner and maybe even some of the fans. That's not a bad thing, I suppose, but come on. Shouldn't the finest minds of automotive engineering focus on something to replace not enhance the internal combustion engine? I mean, shouldn't that be our goal instead of finding more places to put oil wells and especially places in this country and figuring out ways to build more fuel efficient automobiles and, now, figuring out ways to solar power the radios?
Oh, but wait. Maybe this is how the world is changed. Not by revolutions, necessarily, but by one solar panel at a time even if at first whether or not I listen to the radio while I'm driving will depend on the weather.
I could go for that -- for awhile.