IN CHAPTERS TITLE
IN CHAPTERS CLASSNAME
IN CHAPTERS TEXT
Jordan Peterson - Great Books
TERMS STARTING WITH
1 Thomas Ehrlich
1 R A Fisher
1 Mortimer J Adler
1 Michael Murphy
1 John Cowper Powys
NEW FULL DB (2.4M)
4 Norton Juster
4 Jo Walton
4 John Green
4 Charles Bukowski
4 A G Riddle
3 Tony Reinke
2 Vladimir Nabokov
2 Thomas Ehrlich
2 Susan Wise Bauer
2 Stephen R Covey
2 Pat Conroy
2 Mortimer J Adler
2 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
2 Michael Chabon
2 Joseph Joubert
2 Jon Acuff
2 John Cowper Powys
2 Jane Austen
2 Edward Abbey
1:The truly great books are the few books that are over everybody's head all of the time. ~ Mortimer J Adler,
2:Students learn best not by reading the Great Books in a closed room but by opening the doors and windows of experience. ~ Thomas Ehrlich,
3:... maintains that, along with Aurobindo's Life Divine, Heidegger's Being and Time, and Whitehead's Process and Reality, Wilber's Sex Ecology Spirituality [SES] is 'one of the four great books of this [twentieth] century'
~ Michael Murphy, Integral, 2004.,
4:The tendency of modern scientific teaching is to neglect the great books, to lay far too much stress upon relatively unimportant modern work, and to present masses of detail of doubtful truth and questionable weight in such a way as to obscure principles.
~ R A Fisher,
5:To read great books does not mean one becomes 'bookish'; it means that something of the terrible insight of Dostoevsky, of the richly-charged imagination of Shakespeare, of the luminous wisdom of Goethe, actually passes into the personality of the reader; so that in contact with the chaos of ordinary life certain free and flowing outlines emerge, like the forms of some classic picture, endowing both people and things with a grandeur beyond what is visible to the superficial glance.
~ John Cowper Powys,
*** WISDOM TROVE ***
1:great books are the ones we need ~ charles-bukowski, @wisdomtrove 2:Great books write themselves, only bad books have to be written. ~ f-scott-fitzgerald, @wisdomtrove 3:I could read the great books but the great books don't interest me. ~ charles-bukowski, @wisdomtrove 4:The best leaders are the most dedicated learners. Read great books daily. ~ robin-sharma, @wisdomtrove 5:I read books and talked to people. I mean that's kind of how one learns anything. There's lots of great books out there & lots of smart people. ~ elon-musk, @wisdomtrove 6:I am eternally grateful for my knack of finding in great books, some of them very funny books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on. ~ kurt-vonnegut, @wisdomtrove 7:Books never make religions, but religions make books. We must not forget that. No book ever created God, but God inspired all the great books. And no book ever created a soul. ~ swami-vivekananda, @wisdomtrove 8:What will you do when the Law of God comes in terror; when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave; when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul; when the great books shall be opened and all your sin and shame shall be punished... can you stand against an angry Law in that Day? ~ charles-spurgeon, @wisdomtrove 9:One of the purest souls ever to live on this fallen planet was Nicholas Herman, known as Brother Lawrence. He wrote very little, but what he wrote has seemed to several generations of Christians to be so rare and so beautiful as to deserve a place near the top among the world's great books of devotion. The writings of Brother Lawrence are the ultimate in simplicity; ideas woven like costly threads to make a pattern of great beauty. ~ aiden-wilson-tozer, @wisdomtrove 10:Wisdom is not to be found in the art of oratory, or in great books, but in a withdrawal from these sensible things and in a turning to the most simple and infinite forms. You will learn how to receive it into a temple purged from all vice, and by fervent love to cling to it until you may taste it and see how sweet That is which is all sweetness. Once this has been tasted, all things which you now consider as important will appear as vile, and you will be so humbled that no arrogance or other vice will remain in you. Once having tasted this wisdom, you will inseparably adhere to it with a chaste and pure heart. You will choose rather to forsake this world and all else that is not of this wisdom, and living with unspeakable happiness you will die. ~ nicholas-of-cusa, @wisdomtrove
*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***
1:Great books conserve time. ~ Holbrook Jackson,
2:Great Books of the Western World. ~ Kevin Kelly,
3:great books are the ones we need ~ Charles Bukowski,
4:The peace of great books be for you, ~ Carl Sandburg,
5:Awesome writes great books even if no one is going to read them. ~ Jon Acuff,
6:There are great books in this world and great worlds in books. ~ Anne Bronte,
7:By small and simple sentences, great books come to pass. ~ Richelle E Goodrich,
8:Great books help you understand and they help you feel understood. ~ John Green,
9:Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood. ~ John Green,
10:We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. ~ B F Skinner,
11:Great books help you understand, and they help you to feel understood. ~ John Green,
12:Quality literature, such as the Great Books, the Harvard Classics, ~ Stephen R Covey,
13:Great books write themselves, only bad books have to be written. ~ F Scott Fitzgerald,
14:Great books are written from a sense that there is nothing to lose. ~ Matthew Specktor,
15:Great books live longer than people.
They are gonna bury us all. ~ Patricia Nedelea,
16:I could read the great books but the great books don't interest me. ~ Charles Bukowski,
17:The best leaders are the most dedicated learners. Read great books daily. ~ Robin Sharma,
18:Nothing cultivates a love of reading more than a steady diet of great books. ~ Tony Reinke,
19:Great books don't make great movies. There's too much information in there. ~ Casey Affleck,
help you understand,
And they help you
to feel understood ~ John Green,
21:It takes great courage to write great books. Find your courage and find your voice. ~ Kristen Lamb,
22:There are some awful things in the world, it's true, but there are also some great books. ~ Jo Walton,
23:There are some awful things in the world, it’s true, but there are also some great books. ~ Jo Walton,
24:The truly great books are the few books that are over everybody's head all of the time. ~ Mortimer Adler,
25:The truly great books are the few books that are over everybody's head all of the time. ~ Mortimer J Adler,
26:The truly great books are the few books that are over everybody's head all of the time. ~ Mortimer J Adler,
27:All great books contain boring portions, and all great lives have contained uninteresting stretches. ~ Bertrand Russell,
28:Cheap editions of great books may be delightful, but cheap editions of great men are absolutely detestable ~ Oscar Wilde,
29:I have read some great books recently: "Heaven is For Real," "Bud Not Buddy," and my favorite, "Tiger Eyes." ~ Coco Jones,
30:We find little in a book but what we put there. But in great books, the mind finds room to put many things. ~ Joseph Joubert,
31:Great books are the ones that are urgent, life-changing, the ones that crack open the reader’s skull and heart. ~ Siri Hustvedt,
32:The first job of an author is, of course, to write great books, but these days, their second job is to market them. ~ Sean Platt,
33:Great books are weighted and measured by their style and matter, and not the trimmings and shadings of their grammar. ~ Mark Twain,
34:...maybe great books were coiled within him like springs, books that could have separated inside from outside. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer,
35:Great books give you a feeling that you miss all day, until you finally get to crawl back inside those pages again. ~ Kathryn Stockett,
36:Read the great books, gentlemen,” Mr. Monte said one day. “Just the great ones. Ignore the others. There’s not enough time. ~ Pat Conroy,
37:Students learn best not by reading the Great Books in a closed room but by opening the doors and windows of experience. ~ Thomas Ehrlich,
38:Students learn best not by reading the Great Books in a closed room but by opening the doors and windows of experience. ~ Thomas Ehrlich,
39:Why aren't more gems from our great authors scattered over the country? Great books aren't within everybody's reach. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
40:Every 10 years you're a different person, and the really great books evolve with you as you get older. They're full of new rewards. ~ Martin Amis,
41:We find little in a book but what we put there,’ Joseph Joubert said. ‘But in great books, the mind finds room to put many things. ~ A C Grayling,
42:I read books and talked to people. I mean that's kind of how one learns anything. There's lots of great books out there & lots of smart people. ~ Elon Musk,
43:Read. Read. Read. Read. Read great books. Read poetry, history, biography. Read the novels that have stood the test of time. And read closely. ~ David McCullough,
44:Most great books have been about striving in some sense. In a sense, money is the great topic of the novel. You couldn't necessarily say that about poetry. ~ Chad Harbach,
45:The Bible remained for me a book of books, still divine - but divine in the sense that all great books are divine which teach men how to live righteously. ~ Joseph Joubert,
46:Wisdom is not what comes from reading great books. When it comes to understanding life, experiential learning is the only worthwhile kind, everything else is hearsay. ~ Joan Erikson,
47:It holds my essential stuff, including a book—for true contentment, one must carry a book at all times, and great books so rarely fit, my friends, into one's pocket[…] ~ Michael Chabon,
48:I am eternally grateful for my knack of finding in great books, some of them very funny books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on. ~ Kurt Vonnegut,
49:Great books, if long enough and full of topical description and contemporary comment, were now coming into even wider public favor. The lengthier and fuller of comment, the better. ~ James Purdy,
50:Books never make religions, but religions make books. We must not forget that. No book ever created God, but God inspired all the great books. And no book ever created a soul. ~ Swami Vivekananda,
51:Great books are written for Christianity much oftener than great deeds are done for it. City libraries tell us of the reign of Jesus Christ but city streets tell us of the reign of Satan. ~ Horace Mann,
52:I would not sacrifice a single living mesquite tree for any book ever written. One square mile of living desert is worth a hundred 'great books' - and one brave deed is worth a thousand. ~ Edward Abbey,
53:That's one of the amazing things great books like this do - they don't just get you to see the world differently, they get you to look at people, the people all around you, differently. ~ Will Schwalbe,
54:I love great journalism. I appreciate it. I love good news stories. I love great books. I love great articles. I appreciate them so much, and they've been part of my education as a woman. ~ Angelina Jolie,
On Evidence, on Deeds, on Bills,
On Copyhold, on Loans, on Wills,
Lawyers great books indite;
The creaking of their busy quills
I've never heard on Right.
~ Ambrose Bierce,
56:We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement. ~ B F Skinner,
57:Meditation has been really helpful for me and music and great books. Deep down, it's just that I feel a connection to music and books when I can find that other people have gone through similar things. ~ Mason Jennings,
58:I was filled with angst in college, that I struggled with the question of my future, the meaning of my life - spoiled sheltered rich girl collides with great books and is devastated by her own banality. ~ Elizabeth Kostova,
59:The shortest distance between where we are today as a nation and an effective return to increasing our freedoms and widespread prosperity is for regular American citizens to read and study the great books. ~ Oliver DeMille,
60:The aim of great books is ethical: to teach what it means to be a man. Every major form of literary art has taken for its deeper themes what T.S. Eliot called "the permanent things"-the norms of human action. ~ Russell Kirk,
61:I ignored the teasing tone of the man who stood beside me, the four-hundred-year-old Master vampire who ruled Chicago's Cadogan House and the parts of my heart that weren't devoted to great books and good pizza. ~ Chloe Neill,
62:Illuminated by the gospel, we now perceive and enjoy God’s truth, goodness, and beauty—whether it’s in the blazing sun of the inspired Word of God, in the moonlight of creation, or in the starlight of great books. ~ Tony Reinke,
63:He said that the principal function of music was to organize the details into harmonies that were intended to make us forget that there was randomness all around us. The same, he said, could be said for great books. ~ Selden Edwards,
64:There are good and great books on the Esquire list, though even Moby-Dick, which I love, reminds me that a book without women is often said to be about humanity, but a book with women in the foreground is a woman’s book. ~ Rebecca Solnit,
65:They say nobody has the attention span to read great books early in life. If I start to read something good, I'll look and it's 86 pages already. Attention span. What are they talking about? If it's good, it'll drag you in. ~ Nick Tosches,
66:Literature, like anything else, can become a wearisome business if you make a lifetime specialty of it. A healthy, wholesome man would no more spend his entire life reading great books than he would packing cookies for Nabisco. ~ Edward Abbey,
67:can think of three other books which are comparable avalanches: Tolstoy’s Resurrection, Victor Serge’s Years Without Pity and Andrei Platanov’s Chevengur. Such great books wait a long while before being finally admitted for what they are. ~ Anonymous,
68:I spent my first two years at a small all-male college in Virginia called Hampden-Sydney. That was like going to college 120 years ago. The languages, a year of rhetoric, all of the great books, Western Man courses, stuff like that. ~ Stephen Colbert,
69:...still, I’m lucky: I feast on solitude, I will never miss the crowd. I could read the great books but the great books don’t interest me. I sit in bed and wait for the whole thing to go one way or the other. just like everybody else. ~ Charles Bukowski,
70:Every artist wants his work to be permanent. But what is? The Aswan Dam covered some of the greatest art in the world. Venice is sinking. Great books and pictures were lost in the Florence floods. In the meantime we still enjoy butterflies. ~ Romare Bearden,
71:... maintains that, along with Aurobindo's Life Divine, Heidegger's Being and Time, and Whitehead's Process and Reality, Wilber's Sex Ecology Spirituality [SES] is 'one of the four great books of this [twentieth] century'
~ Michael Murphy, Integral, 2004.,
72:It's the process of writing and life that matters.Too many writers have written great books and gone insane or alcoholic or killed themselves. This process teaches about sanity. We are trying to become sane along with our poems and stories. ~ Natalie Goldberg,
73:In the great books of India, an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
74:Michel Houellebecq is the most interesting, provocative and important European novelist of my generation. Period. No one else comes close. He has written two or maybe three great books, and his latest, The Map and the Territory, is one of them. ~ Bret Easton Ellis,
75:Making really great music, making really great films, writing great books is an antidote to all of that. And, as people, as artists, some of the massive disruption that technology is causing is so exciting, the way that people can share creativity now. ~ Edward Norton,
76:We are all one question, and the best answer seems to be love--a connection between things. This arcane bit of knowledge is respoken everyday into the ears of readers of great books, and also appears to perpetually slip under a carpet, utterly forgotten. ~ Mary Ruefle,
77:For the first time i began to think, consciously and deliberately of religion and other worlds. The Hindu religion especially went up in my estimation; not the ritual or ceremonial part, but it's great books, the "Upnishads," and the "Bhagavad Gita." ~ Jawaharlal Nehru,
78:The tendency of modern scientific teaching is to neglect the great books, to lay far too much stress upon relatively unimportant modern work, and to present masses of detail of doubtful truth and questionable weight in such a way as to obscure principles.
~ R A Fisher,
79:The tendency of modern scientific teaching is to neglect the great books, to lay far too much stress upon relatively unimportant modern work, and to present masses of detail of doubtful truth and questionable weight in such a way as to obscure principles. ~ Ronald Fisher,
80:The reading of great books has been a life-altering activity to me and, for better or worse, brought me singing and language-obsessed to that country where I make my living. Except for teaching, I’ve had no other ambition in life than to write books that mattered. ~ Pat Conroy,
81:I read when I get up in the morning, when I can during the day and every single evening. Most of my weekends are spent reading great books. Books are my constant companions. If you eat three times a day you'll be fed. But if you read three times a day you'll be wise. ~ Shimon Peres,
82:What say you, Mary? for you are a young lady of deep reflection I know, and read great books, and make extracts."
Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.
"While Mary is adjusting her ideas," he continued, "let us return to Mr. Bingley. ~ Jane Austen,
83:Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them. They need us to be brave enough to give them great books so they can learn how to grow up into the men and women we want them to be. ~ Laurie Halse Anderson,
84:Great books are readable anyway. Dickens is readable. Jane Austen is readable. John Updike's readable. Hawthorne's readable. It's a meaningless term. You have to go the very extremes of literature, like Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake," before you get a literary work that literally unreadable. ~ Julian Barnes,
85:Still, with all its faults, and with all its misinterpretations, the Christian Bible is the greatest book in English literature. But like most other great books, it must be approached with understanding, gentleness, impersonality, and a sincere desire to find truth. ~ Manly P Hall, How to Understand Your Bible,
86:Bicycling beyond the Divide did what all great books do: it told me about me. In its tale of a journey made by two different men-both of them Daryl Farmer-this book offers us not only moving vistas and meaningful people, but also hope, that rarest of literary commodities these days. I didn't want this to end. ~ Bret Lott,
87:What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?" cried he. "Do you consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you there. What say you, Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books and make extracts. ~ Jane Austen,
88:A. Huxley died at 69, much too early for such a fierce talent, and I read all his works but actually Point Counter Point did help a bit in carrying me through the factories and the drunk tanks and the unsavory ladies. that book along with Hamsun’s Hunger they helped a bit. great books are the ones we need. ~ Charles Bukowski,
89:What will you do when the Law of God comes in terror; when the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave; when the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul; when the great books shall be opened and all your sin and shame shall be punished... can you stand against an angry Law in that Day? ~ Charles Spurgeon,
90:True, she never got a real M.B.A., but she had taken courses online and worked her way through list after list of so-called Great Books. She read the newspaper carefully. She was better informed on current events than almost anyone she knew. To have Sophie laugh at her, to throw her lack of formal education in her face— That ~ Laura Lippman,
91:Sometimes books feel like the only thing that keep her sane. Actually, she knows that they're the only reason she's still even vaguely okay right now. That's what she clings to: reading great books and seeing great films and, for as long as she's immersed in them, being able to forget, if only for a short time, about the reality of her life. ~ Steph Bowe,
92:john stuart mill knew several languages, advanced math and read many great books' before he was ten years old. his father taught him. in his early twenties he had a nervous breakdown and didn't leave his bed for three years. he read poetry and at started to feel better. he was a feminist and cared about human rights. five people went to his funeral ~ Megan Boyle,
93:The truly great books are flawed: The Brothers Karamazov is unwieldy in structure; a present-day editor would probably want to cut the Grand Inquisitor scene because it isn't necessary to the plot. For me The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest novels ever written, and this is perhaps because of, rather than in spite of, its human faults. ~ Madeleine L Engle,
94:Everybody is different. Some writers can write reams of great books and then J. D. Salinger wrote just a few. Beethoven wrote nine symphonies. They were all phenomenal. Mozart wrote some 40 symphonies, and they were all phenomenal. That doesn't mean Beethoven was a lesser writer, it's just some guys are capable of more productivity, some guys take more time. ~ Billy Joel,
95:I like to read great books not because I’m hoping to imitate them but because I want to remind myself how good you have to be to be any good at all. We won’t be read in the light of other writers in our zip code or decade but as we compare to Proust, Joyce, and Nabokov. History has set the bar very high, and one must jump over it, not do the limbo under it. ~ Edmund White,
96:In a world so easily satisfied with images, it’s too easy to waste our lives watching mindless television and squandering our free time away with entertainment. We have a higher calling. God has called us to live our lives by faith and not by sight—and this can mean nothing less than committing our lives to the pursuit of language, revelation, and great books. ~ Tony Reinke,
97:That's what great books are about, revealing our life in a way stories only can. We see ourselves in the characters, our own struggles and short comings in a way that's non threatening and non judgmental. We learn from the characters we take those lessons and inspirations back to the real world I believe that a good book leaves its readers better then they were before. ~ A G Riddle,
98:Al forms of consensus about ''great'' books and ''perennial'' problems, once stabilized, tend to deteriorate eventually into something philistine. The real life of the mind is always at the frontiers of ''what is already known.'' Those great books don't only need custodians and transmitters. To stay alive, they also need adversaries. The most interesting ideas are heresies. ~ Susan Sontag,
99:With the Holocaust - I wonder if a lot of Jewish writers of my generation have felt this way - it feels really intimidating to approach it. I feel like so many writers who have either lived through it firsthand or were part of that generation where they were closer to the people who were in it have written so beautifully about it, so there's no lack of great books about it ~ Molly Antopol,
100:To me, this is what great books are about, revealing our own lives in a way only stories can; we see ourselves in the characters, our own struggles and shortcomings, in a way that’s nonthreatening and nonjudgmental. We learn from the characters; we take those lessons and inspiration back to the real world. I believe that a good book leaves its readers better than they were before. ~ A G Riddle,
101:me, this is what great books are about, revealing our own lives in a way only stories can; we see ourselves in the characters, our own struggles and shortcomings, in a way that’s nonthreatening and nonjudgmental. We learn from the characters; we take those lessons and inspiration back to the real world. I believe that a good book leaves its readers better than they were before. And ~ A G Riddle,
102:There are some things fundamentally off about the stance of the book. And maybe that's okay; maybe every book is flawed, and great books, as flawed as they might be, articulate a moral argument that the reader then carries forward. The critique to this model is, of course, to ask: Should a book be ever so perfect that you come out of it with complete moral agreement that can be sustained? ~ George Saunders,
103:When an editor works with an author, she cannot help seeing into the medicine cabinet of his soul. All the terrible emotions, the desire for vindications, the paranoia, and the projection are bottled in there, along with all the excesses of envy, desire for revenge, all the hypochondriacal responses, rituals, defenses, and the twin obsessions with sex and money. It other words, the stuff of great books. ~ Betsy Lerner,
104:A leading philosopher in our study maintains that if a young person wants to learn philosophy these days, he or she would be better advised to become immersed in the domain directly and avoid the field altogether: “I’d tell him to read the great books of philosophy. And I would tell him not to do graduate study at any university. I think all philosophy departments are no good. They are all terrible. ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,
105:There are some awful things in the world, it’s true, but there are also some great books. When I grow up I would like to write something that someone could read sitting on a bench on a day that isn’t all that warm and they could sit reading it and totally forget where they were or what time it was so that they were more inside the book than inside their own head. I’d like to write like Delany or Heinlein or Le Guin. ~ Jo Walton,
106:One of the purest souls ever to live on this fallen planet was Nicholas Herman, known as Brother Lawrence. He wrote very little, but what he wrote has seemed to several generations of Christians to be so rare and so beautiful as to deserve a place near the top among the world's great books of devotion. The writings of Brother Lawrence are the ultimate in simplicity; ideas woven like costly threads to make a pattern of great beauty. ~ A W Tozer,
107:When I reached the age of seventeen, I had one great companion. That companion was nothing but great books. Throughout my life, books enriched me. I would suggest and recommend all of you to read the following books: • Light from Many Lamps by Lillian Eichler • Empires of the Mind by Denis Waitley • Thirukkural by Thiruvalluvar • Everyday Greatness by Steven R. Covey • The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi ~ A P J Abdul Kalam,
108:In this box are all the words I know… Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is use them well and in the right places. ~ Norton Juster,
109:To me, this is what great books are about, revealing our own lives in a way only stories can; we see ourselves in the characters, our own struggles and shortcomings, in a way that’s nonthreatening and nonjudgmental. We learn from the characters; we take those lessons and inspiration back to the real world. I believe that a good book leaves its readers better than they were before. And I think these stories will. That’s why they’re important. ~ A G Riddle,
110:In this box are all the words I know…Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is to use them well and in the right places. ~ Norton Juster,
111:I can teach them little things that may not be in any of the great books on writing. For instance, I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned that December is traditionally a bad month for writing. It is a month of Mondays. Mondays are not good writing days. One has had all that freedom over the weekend, all that authenticity, all those dreamy dreams, and then your angry mute Slavic Uncle Monday arrives, and it is time to sit down at your desk. ~ Anne Lamott,
112:In this box are all the words I know,' he said. 'Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made from these words. With them, there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is use them well and in the right places. ~ Norton Juster,
113:I sat on the bench by the willows and at my honey bun and read Triton. There are some awful things in the world, it’s true, but there are also some great books. When I grow up I would like to write something that someone could read sitting on a bench on a day that isn’t all that warm and they could sit reading it and totally forget where they were or what time it was so that they were more inside the book than inside their own head. I’d like to write like Delany or Heinlein or Le Guin. ~ Jo Walton,
114:To read great books does not mean one becomes ‘bookish’; it means that something of the terrible insight of Dostoyevsky, of the richly-charged imagination of Shakespeare, of the luminous wisdom of Goethe, actually passes into the personality of the reader; so that in contact with the chaos of ordinary life certain free and flowing outlines emerge, like the forms of some classic picture, endowing both people and things with a grandeur beyond what is visible to the superficial glance. ~ John Cowper Powys,
115:You will face many dangers on your journey, but fear not, for I have brought you this for your protection. In this box are all the words I know,' he said. 'Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. ~ Norton Juster,
116:To read great books does not mean one becomes 'bookish'; it means that something of the terrible insight of Dostoevsky, of the richly-charged imagination of Shakespeare, of the luminous wisdom of Goethe, actually passes into the personality of the reader; so that in contact with the chaos of ordinary life certain free and flowing outlines emerge, like the forms of some classic picture, endowing both people and things with a grandeur beyond what is visible to the superficial glance.
~ John Cowper Powys,
117:There are some really great books that have been written about slavery, but I don't think that the discourse about it in society has been very accurate or healthy. I don't think we've come up with ways to tell it that don't insult people or hit them in the wrong way. Part of the problem is that most people don't really understand what slavery was anyway. Most white people didn't own slaves. Slavery was a way of life, just like driving cars is a way of life now. It doesn't mean that it was right. ~ James McBride,
118:I learned a simple lesson about being awesome: always play to the size of your heart, not to the size of your audience. Awesome doesn’t let the crowd determine the size of the performance. Awesome gets up for two people or 200. Awesome writes great books even if no one is going to read them. Awesome sweeps the parts of store floors that no foot will ever touch. Awesome can’t help itself. Awesome has a huge heart. And that’s what it always plays to. The size of the crowd doesn’t matter. The applause of the audience doesn’t matter. ~ Jon Acuff,
119:Great literature, obviously, could not rescue anyone from so grievous a fore-shortening of perspective. It was naïve and false on my part to think that the stu-dents would be rescued by Western classics. I knew perfectly well that great books work on our souls only over time, as they are mixed with experience and transformed by memory and desire and many other books, great and small. At some time later, the perception of a ‘choice between freedom and sex’ would dis-solve into absurdity. But for a while, the idea worked its mischief. ~ David Denby,
120:we often make fun of intellectuals for their doubts, their split personalities, their Hamlet-like indecisiveness. When I was young I despised that side of myself. Now, though, I’ve changed my mind: humanity owes many great books and great discoveries to people who were indecisive and full of doubts; they have achieved at least as much as the simpletons who never hesitate. And when it comes to the crunch, they too are prepared to go to the stake; they stand just as firm under fire as the people who are always strong-willed and resolute. ~ Vasily Grossman,
121:The initial small step is simple: Rather than making a sweeping determination to tackle the Great Books (all of them), decide to begin on one of the reading lists in Part II. As you read each book, you’ll follow the pattern of the trivium. First you’ll try to understand the book’s basic structure and argument; next, you’ll evaluate the book’s assertions; finally, you’ll form an opinion about the book’s ideas. You’ll have to exercise these three skills of reading—understanding, analysis, and evaluation—differently for each kind of book. ~ Susan Wise Bauer,
122:Anything, even the conceptually most complex material, can be written for general audiences without any dumbing down. Of course you have to explain things carefully. This goes back to Galileo, who wrote his great books as dialogues in Italian, not as treatises in Latin. And to Darwin, who wrote The Origin of Species for general readers. I think a lot of people pick up Darwin's book and assume it must be a popular version of some technical monograph, but there is no technical monograph. That's what he wrote. So what I'm doing is part of a great humanistic tradition. ~ Stephen Jay Gould,
123:In the three decades after World War II, we saw a movement to elevate culture for the masses. The middlebrow consensus, we could say, tracked with the upheaval of the modern movement in art, architecture, literature, and music. It meant publication of paperbacks of classic novels, the Great Books push, Leonard Bernstein on television, Thelonious Monk on the cover of Time, an expanding English major in colleges and universities, and so on. These days, it all seems like ancient history. Do we have a new, fruitful way to think about culture that goes beyond midcentury middlebrow? 2. If, as children, people don’t learn to love fiction, music of a ~ Anonymous,
124:Dad adored our mother, Sandra, and had a remarkable relationship with her for fifty-six years. A few times a week, they had a ritual of connecting with each other—they would take a ride on a Honda motorbike, driving slowly enough to “talk it over” while they enjoyed the scenery and just being together. They called each other on the phone two or three times a day, even when he was out of town. They discussed everything under the sun from politics to great books to raising kids, and Dad valued her opinion more than anyone else’s. He was a deep thinker and had a tendency to be too theoretical. Mom was an excellent sounding board and would help him simplify and make his material practical, ~ Stephen R Covey,
125:the publication of Go Set a Watchman (already floating on a general expectation that it will be horrible compared to the much-beloved To Kill a Mockingbird )—please, decide to read before you judge. Or be brave when other people are critiquing these books, and say, “I don’t know—I haven’t read it. [Pause.] Have you?” Some readers will love Go Set a Watchman or Grey , or both. Some readers will hate one or the other, or both. Unfortunately, most “readers” will not have read either one but will have an opinion they are happy to inflict on others. Please: Don’t be one of those “readers.” Will Grey or Go Set a Watchman be good books, or even great books? I don’t know. I haven’t read them. But I will. ~ Anonymous,
126:You can write great books," the great man continued. "Or you can have kids. It's up to you."
Writing was a practice. The more you wrote, the better a writer you became, and the more books you produced. Excellence plus productivity, that was the formula for sustained success, and time was the coefficient of both. Children, the great man said, were notorious thieves of time.
Writers need to be irresponsible, ultimately, to everything but the writing, free of commitments to everything but the daily word count. Children, by contrast, needed stability, consistency, routine, and above all, commitment. In short, he was saying, children are the opposite of writing. ~ Michael Chabon,
127:This was the Mecca of the American Dream, the world that everyone wanted. A world of sleek young women (allied with Slenderella to be so) in shorts and halters, driving 400-horsepower station wagons to air-conditioned, music-serenaded supermarkets of baby-sitter corporations and culture condensed into Great Books discussion groups. A life of barbecues by the swimming pool and drive in movies open all year. It did't appeal to me. Fuck health insurance plans and life insurance. They wanted to live without leaving the womb. It made me more alive to play a game without rules against society, and I was prepared to play it to the end. A tremor almost sexual passed through me as I anticipated the comming robbery. ~ Edward Bunker,
128:Ever since the days when such formidable mediocrities as Galsworthy, Dreiser, Tagore, Maxim Gorky, Romain Rolland and Thomas Mann were being accepted as geniuses, I have been perplexed and amused by fabricated notions about so-called "great books." That, for instance, Mann's asinine "Death in Venice," or Pasternak's melodramatic, vilely written "Dr. Zhivago," or Faulkner's corn-cobby chronicles can be considered "masterpieces" or at least what journalists term "great books," is to me the sort of absurd delusion as when a hypnotized person makes love to a chair. My greatest masterpieces of twentieth century prose are, in this order: Joyce's "Ulysses"; Kafka's "Transformation"; Bely's "St. Petersburg," and the first half of Proust's fairy tale, "In Search of Lost Time. ~ Vladimir Nabokov,
129:I had another reason for seeking Him, for trying to espy His face, a professional one. God and literature are conflated in my mind. Why this is, I’m not sure. Perhaps because great books seem heavensent. Perhaps because I know that each nove is a puny but very valiant attempt at godlike behavior. Perhaps because there is no difference between the finest poetry and most transcendent mysticism. Perhaps because writers like Thomas Merton, who are able to enter the realm of the spirit and come away with fine, lucid prose. Perhaps because of more secular writers, like John Steinbeck, whose every passage, it seems to me, peals with religiousity and faith. It once occured to me that literature — all art really — is either talking to people about God, or talking to God about people. ~ Paul Quarrington,
130:a young person wants to learn philosophy these days, he or she would be better advised to become immersed in the domain directly and avoid the field altogether: “I’d tell him to read the great books of philosophy. And I would tell him not to do graduate study at any university. I think all philosophy departments are no good. They are all terrible.” By and large, however, jurisdiction over a given domain is officially left in the hands of a field of experts. These may range from grade school teachers to university professors and include anyone who has a right to decide whether a new idea or product is “good” or “bad.” It is impossible to understand creativity without understanding how fields operate, how they decide whether something new should or should not be added to the domain. ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,
131:The value of experience, real or imagined, is that is shows us how to - or how NOT to - live. In reading about different characters and the consequences of their choices, I was finding myself changed. I was discovering new and distinct ways of undergoing life's sorrows and joys ...
and all the great books I was reading - were about the complexity and entirety of the human experience. About the things we wish to forget and those we want more and more of. About how we react and how we wish we could react. Books ARE experience, the words of authors proving the solace of love, the fulfillment of family, the torment of war, and the wisdom of memory. Joy and tears, pleasure and pain: everything came to me while I read in my purple chair. i had never sat so still, and yet experienced so much. ~ Nina Sankovitch,
132:All great books contain boring portions, and all great lives have contained uninteresting stretches. Imagine a modern American publisher confronted with the Old Testament as a new manuscript submitted to him for the first time. It is not difficult to think what his comments would be, for example, on the genealogies. 'My dear sir,' he would say, 'this chapter lacks pep; you can't expect your reader to be interested in a mere string of proper names of persons about whom you tell so little. You have begun your story, I admit, in fine style, and at first I was very favourably impressed, but you have altogether too much wish to tell it all. Pick out the highlights, take out the superfluous matter, and bring me back your manuscript when you have reduced it to a reasonable length.' So the modern publisher would speak, knowing the modern reader's fear of boredom. ~ Bertrand Russell,
133:When they’d crested the final hill, the huge gathering of clans spread out below, she’d turned to him. “This is what we call a ‘booley’—summer grazing for our cattle.” “But there’s a house,” he said, perplexed. “Well, of course there is—a booley house. Where else would the people sleep—amongst the herd?” Essex smiled, chastised. “You’ll just have to leave off your silly conception of the ‘wild Irish.’ Believe it or not, we are civilized, even at the booley. Did you know that back in the last millennium all the European monarchs for eight hundred years insisted on Irish councilors and clergy to advise them on matters of church and state, for of all men they were the best educated and most wise? Did you know that without the Irish monks slavin’ over their illuminated texts, all the great books of Roman civilization would have been lost to the barbarian hoards? No, I can see that you didn’t.” A ~ Robin Maxwell,
134:Well, Betsy," he said, "your mother tells me that you are going to use Uncle Keith's trunk for a desk. That's fine. You need a desk. I've often noticed how much you like to write. The way you eat up those advertising tablets from the store! I never saw anything like it. I can't understand it though. I never write anything but checks myself. "
"Bob!" said Mrs. Ray. "You wrote the most wonderful letters to me before we were married. I still have them, a big bundle of them. Every time I clean house I read them over and cry."
"Cry, eh?" said Mr. Ray, grinning. "In spite of what your mother says, Betsy, if you have any talent for writing, it comes from family. Her brother Keith was mighty talented, and maybe you are too. Maybe you're going to be a writer."
Betsy was silent, agreeably abashed.
"But if you're going to be a writer," he went on, "you've got to read. Good books. Great books. The classics. ~ Maud Hart Lovelace,
135:In fact, reading is a discipline: like running regularly, or meditating, or taking voice lessons. Any able adult can run across the backyard, but this ability to put one foot in front of another shouldn’t make him think that he can tackle a marathon without serious, time-consuming training. Most of us can manage to sing “Happy Birthday” or the Doxology when called for, but this doesn’t incline us to march down to the local performing arts center and try out for the lead in Aida. Yet because we can read the newspaper or Time or Stephen King without difficulty, we tend to think that we should be able to go directly into Homer or Henry James without any further preparation. And when we stumble, grow confused or weary, we take this as proof of our mental inadequacy: We’ll never be able to read the Great Books. The truth is that the study of literature requires different skills than reading for pleasure. The inability to tackle, unaided, a list of Great Books and stick to the project doesn’t demonstrate mental inadequacy—just a lack of preparation. ~ Susan Wise Bauer,
136:There exist few things more tedious than a discussion of general ideas inflicted by author or reader upon a work of fiction. The purpose of this foreword is not to show that "Bend Sinister" belongs or does not belong to "serious literature" (which is a euphemism for the hollow profundity and the ever-welcome commonplace). I have never been interested in what is called the literature of social comment (in journalistic and commercial parlance: "great books"). I am not "sincere," I am not "provocative," I am not "satirical." I am neither a didacticist nor an allegorizer. Politics and economics, atomic bombs, primitive and abstract art forms, the entire Orient, symptoms of "thaw" in Soviet Russia, the Future of Mankind, and so on, leave me supremely indifferent. As in the case of my "Invitation to a Beheading" - with which this book has obvious affinities - automatic comparisons between "Bend Sinister" and Kafka's creations or Orwell's cliches would go merely to prove that the automaton could not have read either the great German writer or the mediocre English one. ~ Vladimir Nabokov,
137:Many say that Western Civ and this kind of Great Books education is an elitist enterprise dominated by dead white males. But Western Civ was and remains radicalism—a subversive, revolutionary counterculture that makes it impossible to remain fat and happy within the status quo. Western Civ is Socrates, a man so dangerous, his city couldn’t tolerate him living within it. Western Civ offers ways to step out of the cave and see reality in its true colors, not just as the shadows that ideologues are content to see. Western Civ took me outside the assumption of my time, outside the values of the modern meritocracy and America’s worship of success. Western Civ inspired me to spend my life pursuing a philosophy—to spend decades trying to find a worldview that could handle the complexity of reality, but also offer a coherent vision that could frame my responses to events and guide me through the vicissitudes of life. Western Civ is the rebel base I return to when I want to recharge my dissatisfactions with the current world. Once you’ve had a glimpse of the highest peaks of the human experience, it’s hard to live permanently in the flatlands down below. It’s a little hard to be shallow later in life, no matter how inclined in that direction you might be. ~ David Brooks,
138:Now, I can tell you about some women writers who truly are fantastic. One is Anna Kavan. She writes stories like I approach "Land of a Thousand Dances": she's caught in a haze and then a light, a little teeny light, come through. It could be a leopard, that light, or it could be a spot of blood. It could be anything. But she hooks onto that and spirals out. And she does it within the accessible rhythms of plot, and that's really exciting. She's not hung up with being a woman, she just keeps extending herself, keeps telescoping language and plot.
Another great woman writer is Iris Sarazan, who wrote The Runaway. She considered herself a mare, a wild runaway. She was a really intelligent girl stuck in all these convents with a hungry mind. I identify with her 'cause of her hunger to go beyond herself. She wound up in prison, but she escaped and wrote some great books before kicking off. Her books aren't page after page of her beating her breast about how shitty she's been treated, they're books about her exciting telescoping plans of escape. Rhythm, great wild rhythm....
The French poet, Rimbaud, predicted that the next great crop of writers would be women. He was the first guy who ever made a big women's liberation statement, saying that when women release themselves from the long servitude of men they're really gonna gush. New rhythms, new poetries, new horrors, new beauties. And I believe in that completely. (1976 Penthouse interview) ~ Patti Smith,
THE PEACE of great doors be for you.
Wait at the knobs, at the panel oblongs.
Wait for the great hinges.
The peace of great churches be for you,
Where the players of loft pipe organs
Practice old lovely fragments, alone.
The peace of great books be for you,
Stains of pressed clover leaves on pages,
Bleach of the light of years held in leather.
The peace of great prairies be for you.
Listen among windplayers in cornfields,
The wind learning over its oldest music
The peace of great seas be for you.
Wait on a hook of land, a rock footing
For you, wait in the salt wash.
The peace of great mountains be for you,
The sleep and the eyesight of eagles,
Sheet mist shadows and the long look across.
The peace of great hearts be for you,
Valves of the blood of the sun,
Pumps of the strongest wants we cry.
The peace of great silhouettes be for you,
Shadow dancers alive in your blood now,
Alive and crying, 'Let us out, let us out.'
The peace of great changes be for you.
Whisper, Oh beginners in the hills.
Tumble, Oh cubs-to-morrow belongs to you.
The peace of great loves be for you.
Rain, soak these roots; wind, shatter the dry rot.
Bars of sunlight, grips of the earth, hug these.
The peace of great ghosts be for you,
Phantoms of night-gray eyes, ready to go
To the fog-star dumps, to the fire-white doors.
Yes, the peace of great phantoms be for you,
Phantom iron men, mothers of bronze,
Keepers of the lean clean breeds.
~ Carl Sandburg,
140:In the same mathematically reciprocal way, profit implies loss. If you and I exchange equal goods, that is trade: neither of us profits and neither of us loses. But if we exchange unequal goods, one of us profits and the other loses. Mathematically. Certainly. Now, such mathematically unequal exchanges will always occur because some traders will be shrewder than others. But in total freedom—in anarchy—such unequal exchanges will be sporadic and irregular. A phenomenon of unpredictable periodicity, mathematically speaking. Now look about you, professor—raise your nose from your great books and survey the actual world as it is—and you will not observe such unpredictable functions. You will observe, instead, a mathematically smooth function, a steady profit accruing to one group and an equally steady loss accumulating for all others. Why is this, professor? Because the system is not free or random, any mathematician would tell you a priori. Well, then, where is the determining function, the factor that controls the other variables? You have named it yourself, or Mr. Adler has: the Great Tradition. Privilege, I prefer to call it. When A meets B in the marketplace, they do not bargain as equals. A bargains from a position of privilege; hence, he always profits and B always loses. There is no more Free Market here than there is on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The privileges, or Private Laws—the rules of the game, as promulgated by the Politburo and the General Congress of the Communist Party on that side and by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve Board on this side—are slightly different; that’s all. And it is this that is threatened by anarchists, and by the repressed anarchist in each of us, ~ Robert Shea,
141:Privilege implies exclusion from privilege, just as advantage implies disadvantage," Celine went on. "In the same mathematically reciprocal way, profit implies loss. If you and I exchange equal goods, that is trade: neither of us profits and neither of us loses. But if we exchange unequal goods, one of us profits and the other loses. Mathematically. Certainly. Now, such mathematically unequal exchanges will always occur because some traders will be shrewder than others. But in total freedom—in anarchy—such unequal exchanges will be sporadic and irregular. A phenomenon of unpredictable periodicity, mathematically speaking. Now look about you, professor—raise your nose from your great books and survey the actual world as it is—and you will not observe such unpredictable functions. You will observe, instead, a mathematically smooth function, a steady profit accruing to one group and an equally steady loss accumulating for all others. Why is this, professor? Because the system is not free or random, any mathematician would tell you a priori. Well, then, where is the determining function, the factor that controls the other variables? You have named it yourself, or Mr. Adler has: the Great Tradition. Privilege, I prefer to call it. When A meets B in the marketplace, they do not bargain as equals. A bargains from a position of privilege; hence, he always profits and B always loses. There is no more Free Market here than there is on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The privileges, or Private Laws—the rules of the game, as promulgated by the Politburo and the General Congress of the Communist Party on that side and by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve Board on this side—are slightly different; that's all. And it is this that is threatened by anarchists, and by the repressed anarchist in each of us," he concluded, strongly emphasizing the last clause, staring at Drake, not at the professor. ~ Robert Anton Wilson,
142:In their eagerness to eliminate from history any reference to individuais and individual events, collectivist authors resorted to a chimerical construction, the group mind or social mind.
At the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries German philologists began to study German medieval poetry, which had long since fallen into oblivion. Most of the epics they edited from old manuscripts were imitations of French works. The names of their authors—most of them knightly warriors in the service of dukes or counts—were known. These epics were not much to boast of. But there were two epics of a quite different character, genuinely original works of high literary value, far surpassing the conventional products of the courtiers: the Nibelungenlied and the Gudrun. The former is one of the great books of world literature and undoubtedly the outstanding poem Germany produced before the days of Goethe and Schiller. The names of the authors of these masterpieces were not handed down to posterity. Perhaps the poets belonged to the class of professional entertainers (Spielleute), who not only were snubbed by the nobility but had to endure mortifying legal disabilities. Perhaps they were heretical or Jewish, and the clergy was eager to make people forget them. At any rate the philologists called these two works "people's epics" (Volksepen). This term suggested to naive minds the idea that they were written not by individual authors but by the "people." The same mythical authorship was attributed to popular songs (Volkslieder) whose authors were unknown.
Again in Germany, in the years following the Napoleonic wars, the problem of comprehensive legislative codification was brought up for discussion. In this controversy the historical school of jurisprudence, led by Savigny, denied the competence of any age and any persons to write legislation. Like the Volksepen and the Volkslieder, a nation s laws, they declared, are a spontaneous emanation of the Volksgeist, the nations spirit and peculiar character. Genuine laws are not arbitrarily written by legislators; they spring up and thrive organically from the Volksgeist.
This Volksgeist doctrine was devised in Germany as a conscious reaction against the ideas of natural law and the "unGerman" spirit of the French Revolution. But it was further developed and elevated to the dignity of a comprehensive social doctrine by the French positivists, many of whom not only were committed to the principies of the most radical among the revolutionary leaders but aimed at completing the "unfinished revolution" by a violent overthrow of the capitalistic mode of production. Émile Durkheim and his school deal with the group mind as if it were a real phenomenon, a distinct agency, thinking and acting. As they see it, not individuais but the group is the subject of history.
As a corrective of these fancies the truism must be stressed that only individuais think and act. In dealing with the thoughts and actions of individuais the historian establishes the fact that some individuais influence one another in their thinking and acting more strongly than they influence and are influenced by other individuais. He observes that cooperation and division of labor exist among some, while existing to a lesser extent or not at ali among others. He employs the term "group" to signify an aggregation of individuais who cooperate together more closely. ~ Ludwig von Mises,
A city clerk, but gently born and bred;
His wife, an unknown artist's orphan childOne babe was theirs, a Margaret, three years old:
They, thinking that her clear germander eye
Droopt in the giant-factoried city-gloom,
Came, with a month's leave given them, to the sea:
For which his gains were dock'd, however small:
Small were his gains, and hard his work; besides,
Their slender household fortunes (for the man
Had risk'd his little) like the little thrift,
Trembled in perilous places o'er a deep:
And oft, when sitting all alone, his face
Would darken, as he cursed his credulousness,
And that one unctuous mount which lured him, rogue,
To buy strange shares in some Peruvian mine.
Now seaward-bound for health they gain'd a coast,
All sand and cliff and deep-inrunning cave,
At close of day; slept, woke, and went the next,
The Sabbath, pious variers from the church,
To chapel; where a heated pulpiteer,
Not preaching simple Christ to simple men,
Announced the coming doom, and fulminated
Against the scarlet woman and her creed:
For sideways up he swung his arms, and shriek'd
`Thus, thus with violence,' ev'n as if he held
The Apocalyptic millstone, and himself
Were that great Angel; `Thus with violence
Shall Babylon be cast into the sea;
Then comes the close.' The gentle-hearted wife
Sat shuddering at the ruin of a world;
He at his own: but when the wordy storm
Had ended, forth they came and paced the shore,
Ran in and out the long sea-framing caves,
Drank the large air, and saw, but scarce believed
(The sootflake of so many a summer still
Clung to their fancies) that they saw, the sea.
So now on sand they walk'd, and now on cliff,
Lingering about the thymy promontories,
Till all the sails were darken'd in the west,
And rosed in the east: then homeward and to bed:
Where she, who kept a tender Christian hope
Haunting a holy text, and still to that
Returning, as the bird returns, at night,
`Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,'
Said, `Love, forgive him:' but he did not speak;
And silenced by that silence lay the wife,
Remembering her dear Lord who died for all,
And musing on the little lives of men,
And how they mar this little by their feuds.
But while the two were sleeping, a full tide
Rose with ground-swell, which, on the foremost rocks
Touching, upjetted in spirts of wild sea-smoke,
And scaled in sheets of wasteful foam, and fell
In vast sea-cataracts- ever and anon
Dead claps of thunder from within the cliffs
Heard thro' the living roar. At this the babe,
Their Margaret cradled near them, wail'd and woke
The mother, and the father suddenly cried,
`A wreck, a wreck! ' then turn'd, and groaning said,
`Forgive! How many will say, 'forgive,' and find
A sort of absolution in the sound
To hate a little longer! No; the sin
That neither God nor man can well forgive,
Hypocrisy, I saw it in him at once.
Is it so true that second thoughts are best?
Not first, and third, which are a riper first?
Too ripe, too late! they come too late for use.
Ah love, there surely lives in man and beast
Something divine to warn them of their foes:
And such a sense, when first I fronted him,
Said, 'trust him not; ' but after, when I came
To know him more, I lost it, knew him less;
Fought with what seem'd my own uncharity;
Sat at his table; drank his costly wines;
Made more and more allowance for his talk;
Went further, fool! and trusted him with all,
All my poor scrapings from a dozen years
Of dust and deskwork: there is no such mine,
None; but a gulf of ruin, swallowing gold,
Not making. Ruin'd! ruin'd! the sea roars
Ruin: a fearful night! '
`Not fearful; fair,'
Said the good wife, `if every star in heaven
Can make it fair: you do but bear the tide.
Had you ill dreams? '
`O yes,' he said, `I dream'd
Of such a tide swelling toward the land,
And I from out the boundless outer deep
Swept with it to the shore, and enter'd one
Of those dark caves that run beneath the cliffs.
I thought the motion of the boundless deep
Bore through the cave, and I was heaved upon it
In darkness: then I saw one lovely star
Larger and larger. 'What a world,' I thought,
'To live in! ' but in moving I found
Only the landward exit of the cave,
Bright with the sun upon the stream beyond:
And near the light a giant woman sat,
All over earthy, like a piece of earth,
A pickaxe in her hand: then out I slipt
Into a land all of sun and blossom, trees
As high as heaven, and every bird that sings:
And here the night-light flickering in my eyes
`That was then your dream,' she said,
`Not sad, but sweet.'
`So sweet, I lay,' said he,
`And mused upon it, drifting up the stream
In fancy, till I slept again, and pieced
The broken vision; for I dream'd that still
The motion of the great deep bore me on,
And that the woman walk'd upon the brink:
I wonder'd at her strength, and ask'd her of it:
'It came,' she said, 'by working in the mines:'
O then to ask her of my shares, I thought;
And ask'd; but not a word; she shook her head.
And then the motion of the current ceased,
And there was rolling thunder; and we reach'd
A mountain, like a wall of burs and thorns;
But she with her strong feet up the steep hill
Trod out a path: I follow'd; and at top
She pointed seaward: there a fleet of glass,
That seem'd a fleet of jewels under me,
Sailing along before a gloomy cloud
That not one moment ceased to thunder, past
In sunshine: right across its track there lay,
Down in the water, a long reef of gold,
Or what seem'd gold: and I was glad at first
To think that in our often-ransack'd world
Still so much gold was left; and then I fear'd
Lest the gay navy there should splinter on it,
And fearing waved my arm to warn them off;
An idle signal, for the brittle fleet
(I thought I could have died to save it) near'd,
Touch'd, clink'd, and clash'd, and vanish'd, and I woke,
I heard the clash so clearly. Now I see
My dream was Life; the woman honest Work;
And my poor venture but a fleet of glass
Wreck'd on a reef of visionary gold.'
`Nay,' said the kindly wife to comfort him,
`You raised your arm, you tumbled down and broke
The glass with little Margaret's medicine it it;
And, breaking that, you made and broke your dream:
A trifle makes a dream, a trifle breaks.'
`No trifle,' groan'd the husband; `yesterday
I met him suddenly in the street, and ask'd
That which I ask'd the woman in my dream.
Like her, he shook his head. 'Show me the books! '
He dodged me with a long and loose account.
'The books, the books! ' but he, he could not wait,
Bound on a matter he of life and death:
When the great Books (see Daniel seven and ten)
Were open'd, I should find he meant me well;
And then began to bloat himself, and ooze
All over with the fat affectionate smile
That makes the widow lean. 'My dearest friend,
Have faith, have faith! We live by faith,' said he;
'And all things work together for the good
Of those'- it makes me sick to quote him- last
Gript my hand hard, and with God-bless-you went.
I stood like one that had received a blow:
I found a hard friend in his loose accounts,
A loose one in the hard grip of his hand,
A curse in his God-bless-you: then my eyes
Pursued him down the street, and far away,
Among the honest shoulders of the crowd,
Read rascal in the motions of his back,
And scoundrel in the supple-sliding knee.'
`Was he so bound, poor soul? ' said the good wife;
`So are we all: but do not call him, love,
Before you prove him, rogue, and proved, forgive.
His gain is loss; for he that wrongs his friend
Wrongs himself more, and ever bears about
A silent court of justice in his breast,
Himself the judge and jury, and himself
The prisoner at the bar, ever condemn'd:
And that drags down his life: then comes what comes
Hereafter: and he meant, he said he meant,
Perhaps he meant, or partly meant, you well.'
` 'With all his conscience and one eye askew'Love, let me quote these lines, that you may learn
A man is likewise counsel for himself,
Too often, in that silent court of yours'With all his conscience and one eye askew,
So false, he partly took himself for true;
Whose pious talk, when most his heart was dry,
Made wet the crafty crowsfoot round his eye;
Who, never naming God except for gain,
So never took that useful name in vain;
Made Him his catspaw and the Cross his tool,
And Christ the bait to trap his dupe and fool;
Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he forged,
And snakelike slimed his victim ere he gorged;
And oft at Bible meetings, o'er the rest
Arising, did his holy oily best,
Dropping the too rough H in Hell and Heaven,
To spread the Word by which himself had thriven.'
How like you this old satire? '
`Nay,' she said
`I loathe it: he had never kindly heart,
Nor ever cared to better his own kind,
Who first wrote satire, with no pity in it.
But will you hear MY dream, for I had one
That altogether went to music? Still
It awed me.'
Then she told it, having dream'd
Of that same coast.
- But round the North, a light,
A belt, it seem'd, of luminous vapor, lay,
And ever in it a low musical note
Swell'd up and died; and, as it swell'd, a ridge
Of breaker issued from the belt, and still
Grew with the growing note, and when the note
Had reach'd a thunderous fullness, on those cliffs
Broke, mixt with awful light (the same as that
Living within the belt) whereby she saw
That all those lines of cliffs were cliffs no more,
But huge cathedral fronts of every age,
Grave, florid, stern, as far as eye could see.
One after one: and then the great ridge drew,
Lessening to the lessening music, back,
And past into the belt and swell'd again
Slowly to music: ever when it broke
The statues, king or saint, or founder fell;
Then from the gaps and chasms of ruin left
Came men and women in dark clusters round,
Some crying, 'Set them up! they shall not fall! '
And others 'Let them lie, for they have fall'n.'
And still they strove and wrangled: and she grieved
In her strange dream, she knew not why, to find
Their wildest wailings never out of tune
With that sweet note; and ever as their shrieks
Ran highest up the gamut, that great wave
Returning, while none mark'd it, on the crowd
Broke, mixt with awful light, and show'd their eyes
Glaring, and passionate looks, and swept away
The men of flesh and blood, and men of stone,
To the waste deeps together.
`Then I fixt
My wistful eyes on two fair images,
Both crown'd with stars and high among the stars,The Virgin Mother standing with her child
High up on one of those dark minster-frontsTill she began to totter, and the child
Clung to the mother, and sent out a cry
Which mixt with little Margaret's, and I woke,
And my dream awed me:- well- but what are dreams?
Yours came but from the breaking of a glass,
And mine but from the crying of a child.'
`Child? No! ' said he, `but this tide's roar, and his,
Our Boanerges with his threats of doom,
And loud-lung'd Antibabylonianisms
(Altho' I grant but little music there)
Went both to make your dream: but if there were
A music harmonizing our wild cries,
Sphere-music such as that you dream'd about,
Why, that would make our passions far too like
The discords dear to the musician. NoOne shriek of hate would jar all the hymns of heaven:
True Devils with no ear, they howl in tune
With nothing but the Devil! '
One of our town, but later by an hour
Here than ourselves, spoke with me on the shore;
While you were running down the sands, and made
The dimpled flounce of the sea-furbelow flap,
Good man, to please the child. She brought strange news.
Why were you silent when I spoke to-night?
I had set my heart on your forgiving him
Before you knew. We MUST forgive the dead.'
`Dead! who is dead? '
`The man your eye pursued.
A little after you had parted with him,
He suddenly dropt dead of heart-disease.'
`Dead? he? of heart-disease? what heart had he
To die of? dead! '
`Ah, dearest, if there be
A devil in man, there is an angel too,
And if he did that wrong you charge him with,
His angel broke his heart. But your rough voice
(You spoke so loud) has roused the child again.
Sleep, little birdie, sleep! will she not sleep
Without her 'little birdie? ' well then, sleep,
And I will sing you 'birdie.''
The woman half turn'd round from him she loved,
Left him one hand, and reaching thro' the night
Her other, found (for it was close beside)
And half embraced the basket cradle-head
With one soft arm, which, like the pliant bough
That moving moves the nest and nestling, sway'd
The cradle, while she sang this baby song.
What does the little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?
Let me fly, says little birdie,
Mother, let me fly away.
Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger.
So she rests a little longer,
Then she flies away.
What does little baby say,
In her bed at peep of day?
Baby says, like little birdie,
Let me rise and fly away.
Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger.
If she sleeps a little longer,
Baby too shall fly away.
`She sleeps: let us too, let all evil, sleep.
He also sleeps- another sleep than ours.
He can do no more wrong: forgive him, dear,
And I shall sleep the sounder! '
Then the man,
`His deeds yet live, the worst is yet to come.
Yet let your sleep for this one night be sound:
I do forgive him! '
`Thanks, my love,' she said,
`Your own will be the sweeter,' and they slept.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
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