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What should I do




QUOTES [8 / 8 - 148 / 148]

KEYS (10k)

   7 The Mother
   1 Zen Proverb


   7 The Mother
   3 William Shakespeare
   3 Richard Rohr
   3 Ray Bradbury
   3 Lisa Kleypas
   3 J K Rowling
   2 Timothy Ferriss
   2 Sherrilyn Kenyon
   2 Robert Browning
   2 Michael A Singer
   2 Mary Oliver
   2 L David Marquet
   2 Joseph Heller
   2 John Heilemann
   2 John Flanagan
   2 Jen Wilkin
   2 Jeanette Winterson
   2 James Altucher
   2 Ilona Andrews
   2 Fyodor Dostoyevsky

1:I am very discouraged. What should I do? Master says, 'encourage others.'
   ~ Zen Proverb,
2:If thoughts come, what should I do?

   Dismiss them.
   ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother,
3:I aspire for the higher life from above the head; but I always feel strained in the middle part of the forehead. What should I do?

   Do not strain yourself.
   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II,
4:So what should I do when an unconverted part rises to the surface?

   Put the light and the knowledge on it patiently until it gets converted. 29 May 1934
   ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother,
5:My family consists of myself, wife, two sons and one girl. I desire to come here and stay permanently, but my wife does not approve of it. What should I do?

   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II,
6:Sometimes I think that the Agni You have kindled in me is going to burn up everything that separates me from You. What should I do to contribute to its fulfilment?

   Each time that you discover in yourself something that denies or resists, throw it into the flame of Agni, which is the fire of aspiration. 19 May 1967
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
7:O Mother, what should I do? I am completely unconscious. Mother, where are You?

   In your psychic being - I am always present there. It is there that you can find me and must find me, and when you have found me there, in the depths of your heart, you will also recognise me in my physical form. 31 October 1934
   ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother, [T0],
8:My sweet mother, The more I look into myself, the more discouraged I am, and I don't know whether there is any chance of my making any progress. It seems that all the obscurities and falsehoods are rising up on every side, inside and outside, and want to swallow me up. There are times when I cannot distinguish truth from falsehood and I am then on the verge of losing my mind.
   Still, there is something in me which says very weakly that all will be well; but this voice is so feeble that I cannot rely on it.1
   My faults are so numerous and so great that I think I shall fail. On the other hand, I have neither the inclination nor the capacity for the ordinary life. And I know that I shall never be able to leave this life. This is my situation right now. The struggle is getting more and more acute, and worst of all I cannot lie to you. What should I do?

   Do not torment yourself, my child, and remain as quiet as you can; do not yield to the temptation to give up the struggle and let yourself fall into darkness. Persist, and one day you will realise that I am close to you to console you and help you, and then the hardest part will be over. With all my love and blessings. 25 September 1947
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,


1:What should I do if my problems aren't all solved by the time I die? ~ ashleigh-brilliant, @wisdomtrove
2:When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, What should I do about it? Ask, What part of me is being disturbed by this? ~ michael-singer, @wisdomtrove
3:When a problem is disturbing you, don't ask, "What should I do about it?" Ask, "What part of me is being disturbed by this? ~ michael-singer, @wisdomtrove
4:Stop asking What should I do now?" That question only brings up what others expect of you. Free people don't have shoulds. They have choices." ~ steve-pavlina, @wisdomtrove
5:I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall— what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do. ~ mary-oliver, @wisdomtrove

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:"What should i do if Love seizes me?Start dancing of course!" ~ Jalaluddin Rumi,
2:I am very discouraged. What should I do? Master says, 'encourage others.'
   ~ Zen Proverb,
3:What's all this about? How does it work? What should I do? What am I for? ~ Terry Pratchett,
4:If thoughts come, what should I do?

   Dismiss them.
   ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother,
5:What should I do?" "Throw up in your typewriter every morning." "Yeah." "Clean up every noon. ~ Ray Bradbury,
6:Once I was adviced never to trust a pretty face. Well, and what should I do when a meet a shithead? ~ William C Brown,
7:What should I do?"
"Throw up in your typewriter every morning."
"Clean up every noon. ~ Ray Bradbury,
8:A calling is that thing that you can’t not do, an answer to the age-old question, “What should I do with my life? ~ Jeff Goins,
9:When you get your “Who am I?” question right, all the “What should I do?” questions tend to take care of themselves. ~ Richard Rohr,
10:To model yourself after Steve Jobs is like, 'I'd like to paint like Picasso, what should I do? Should I use more red?' ~ Larry Ellison,
11:When you get your,'Who am I?', question right, all of your,'What should I do?' questions tend to take care of themselves ~ Richard Rohr,
12:When a problem is disturbing you, don't ask, "What should I do about it?" Ask, "What part of me is being disturbed by this? ~ Michael A Singer,
13:When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should i do about it?” Ask, “ What part of me is being disturbed by this? ~ Michael A Singer,
14:For the believer wanting to know God’s will for her life, the first question to pose is not “What should I do?” but “Who should I be? ~ Jen Wilkin,
15:What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. ~ Jeanette Winterson,
16:What should I do?” Uriel asked. “Sit,” I said. “Stay inside. Don’t put pennies in the outlets or play with matches or run with scissors. ~ Jim Butcher,
17:And I spent the day in bed chewing aspirin and sipping tea, pondering the question, Now that I have my life back, what should I do with it? ~ Anonymous,
18:Archie shrugged. ‘All I know is what’s going to happen.’

Philippa said, ‘What should I do?’

And Archie said, ‘Break him. ~ Dorothy Dunnett,
19:If I have stepped on some people at times because I am at the top, it couldn't be helped. What should I do if someone gets hurt... retire? ~ Maria Callas,
20:Start simply everyday by asking yourself, "What is the dharma today? What should I do? What is right? What does the universe want from me?" ~ Frederick Lenz,
21:What should I do with my kid? I want to put him under my arm and get the hell out. But I have a Party card in my pocket. I can't do it. ~ Svetlana Alexievich,
22:Al, I am just not sure how we can win without so many of our best players. What should I do?” Davis: “Bill, nobody cares, just coach your team. ~ Ben Horowitz,
23:You may come to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” in a manner that means “How could I use my time to make things better, instead of worse? ~ Jordan Peterson,
24:You may come to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” in a manner that means “How could I use my time to make things better, instead of worse? ~ Jordan B Peterson,
25:Bless you, my boy. Have a horseshoe.” “Thank you, sir. What should I do with it?” “Throw it.” “Away?” “At that peg there. Then pick it up and throw it at this ~ Joseph Heller,
26:The idea occurred to him when he was twenty. At first it was only a vague idea, a question looming — what should I do? — with an answer taking shape: nothing. ~ Georges Perec,
27:Being your slave what should I do but tend, Upon the hours, and times of your desire? I have no precious time at all to spend; Nor services to do till you require. ~ William Shakespeare,
28:What’s this ”
“A needle.”
What should I do with it ” He’d walked right into it. Too easy.
“Please use it to pop your head. It’s obscuring my view of the room. ~ Ilona Andrews,
29:worth the bother, if you ask me.” “So what should I do?” “Cross your fingers that someone puts out an owner’s manual. Otherwise, we’re all stuck with ’em as they are.” Brother ~ Joan Hess,
30:What should I do? he demanded of his demon, abandoning thoughts about “all of you.” They’d gotten him nowhere. As Strider would say, the backpack and scroll could suck it. At ~ Gena Showalter,
31:I aspire for the higher life from above the head; but I always feel strained in the middle part of the forehead. What should I do?

   Do not strain yourself.
   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II,
32:If the one I've waited for
came now, what should I do?
This morning's garden filled with snow
is far too lovely
for footsteps to mar.

~ Izumi Shikibu, If The One Ive Waited For
33:So what should I do when an unconverted part rises to the surface?

   Put the light and the knowledge on it patiently until it gets converted. 29 May 1934
   ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother,
34:The whole interest of my reason, whether speculative or practical, is concentrated in the three following questions: What can I know? What should I do? What may I hope? (Critique of Pure Reason ~ Immanuel Kant,
35:you will not achieve true devotion in one go. The gihad of the soul, Taha, is the Greater Gihad, as the Messenger of God—God bless him and give him peace—called it.” “What should I do, Master? ~ Alaa Al Aswany,
36:My family consists of myself, wife, two sons and one girl. I desire to come here and stay permanently, but my wife does not approve of it. What should I do?

   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II,
37:If I'm sending emails, and I get all wound up and stressed and don't know what to do with myself for 20 minutes, I just go soak in hot water and lie there, thinking, 'What should I do?' So it's meditative. ~ Tom Ford,
38:What should I do?" I ask.
"You should have a really good excuse. And maybe you should cry -- girls do that, right? And possibly be gravely injured. If she has to fix you, she might go easier on you. ~ Cynthia Hand,
39:If we want our lives to align with God’s will, we will need to ask a better question than “What should I do?” . . . God is always more concerned with the decision-maker than he is with the decision itself. ~ Jen Wilkin,
40:Bless you, my boy. Have a horseshoe.” “Thank you, sir. What should I do with it?” “Throw it.” “Away?” “At that peg there. Then pick it up and throw it at this peg. It’s a game, see? You get the horseshoe back. ~ Joseph Heller,
41:Oh, no! The ladies from next door are headed to the church where Cole and Kyle are. What should I do?”
“Assuming they’re being…amorous right now, I would highly suggest a diversion.” Blake sounded amused. ~ Debra Anastasia,
42:Beau, will you please watch the entrance for us?"
"What should I do if I see anyone suspicious?"
"Kick a car," Iain said.
"Kick a car?"
"To set off the alarm."
"Gotcha," Beau said. "Good thinking. ~ Kirsten Miller,
43:How can you make light of it? I says.
What should I do? She says. Cry fer the rest of my life? Molly of the Many Sorrows?...You got battle scars. This is mine, she says. You know what it tells me? I'm a survivor. ~ Moira Young,
44:Not a week has passed since I became headmaster of this school when I haven’t had at least one owl complaining about the way I run it. But what should I do? Barricade myself in my study and refuse to talk to anybody? ~ J K Rowling,
45:What should I do if I were not to die now? What if I were to return to life again? What an eternity of days, and all mine! How I should grudge and count up every minute of it, so as to waste not a single instant! ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
46:Kane: So, what should I do?
Helen: Are you looking for another slap on the head? Hook up that wonderful connection you now have with your mate. Go find her, explain how you feel and then have some great make-up sex! ~ Nicky Charles,
47:Women are God's last creation. You suppose he's saying, "What should I do to follow this?" Well, it's really a head -scratcher. I think women are absolutely wonderful. I think this world is going to be governed by women. ~ Merle Haggard,
48:Stop judging your life only by the failures," he whispered.
"What should I do?" she whispered. "I'm always going to fail."
"We all do," he said softly, his voice closer now. "We all fail. But none of us fail all the time. ~ Michelle Sagara West,
49:What should I do—how should I act now, this very day . . . What she would resolve to do that day did not yet seem quite clear, but something that she could achieve stirred her as with an approaching murmur which would soon gather distinctness. ~ George Eliot,
50:Said Gilgamesh to him, to Uta-napishti the Distant:
'O Uta-napishti, what should I do and where should I go?
A thief has taken hold of my flesh!
For there in my bed-chamber Death does abide,
and wherever I turn, there too will be Death. ~ Anonymous,
51:What should I do with your strong, manly, spirited sketches, full of variety and glow? How could I possibly join them on to the little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as produces little effect after much labour? ~ Jane Austen,
52:I GO DOWN TO THE SHORE I go down to the shore in the morning and depending on the hour the waves are rolling in or moving out, and I say, oh, I am miserable, what shall— what should I do? And the sea says in its lovely voice: Excuse me, I have work to do. ~ Mary Oliver,
53:By living this way, what will my fortune be? There is nothing. Am I simply a sickly man? What should I do? I had no direction, nothing. I thought that this reckless life of mine was only a nuisance to others and devoid of meaning. This was quite hard to bear. ~ Osamu Dazai,
54:So every step of the way, I said to the world, "What should I do?" and the world answered back, "Here's what you've gotta do to have a rocking life… but dude, I should warn you, it's fucking hard as motherfucking FUCK!" But then I gave this dismissive wave ~ Johnny B Truant,
55:Was soll ich mit meinem Munde? Mit meiner Nacht?
Mit meinem Tag? Ich habe keine Geliebte, kein Haus, keine Stelle auf der ich lebe.’

'What should I do with my mouth? With my night?
With my day? I have no lover, no house, no place where I live. ~ Maggie Stiefvater,
56:Sometimes I have young comics that ask me, "What should I do when I meet an agent or a manager and they ask me stuff?" And I say, "Well, they always usually ask, 'Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years, 15 years?' And it's good to have an answer for that." ~ Baron Vaughn,
57:Dear God,
what is my purpose of life?
What should I do to find it?
Once I found it, will I become stronger?
....Oh no, my mind is blank.
a strange sound kept ringing in my head.
What sound is that...?
Ah, I know.
The sound of emptiness. ~ Chica Umino,
58:It is not my business to be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then? But in this case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the evil. This ~ Henry David Thoreau,
59:you can use positive constraints to increase perceived free will and results. Freeform days might seem idyllic, but they are paralyzing due to continual paradox of choice (e.g., “What should I do now?”) and decision fatigue (e.g., “What should I have for breakfast?”). In ~ Timothy Ferriss,
60:I flexed my wrist, popped a silver needle into my palm, and offered it to him.
'What's this?'
'A needle.'
'What should I do with it?'
He'd walked right into it. Too easy. 'Please use it to pop your head. It's obscuring my view of the room.'
- Kate & Saiman ~ Ilona Andrews,
61:I never really have to sit at a desk thinking, "What should I do now?" It doesn't work like that for me, and it never has. My thinking process is constant. The difference is that once I was in Antwerp only doing two men's shows a year. And the weird thing is I thought I was busy then. ~ Raf Simons,
62:You are the foundation of any change that will happen in your society. A student asked Thay, “There are so many urgent problems. What should I do?” Thay answered calmly, “Take one thing, and do it very deeply and carefully, and you will be doing everything at the same time.” Knowing ~ Thich Nhat Hanh,
63:I Go Down To The Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do. ~ Mary Oliver,
64:We think that the problems of the world and of ourselves can only be solved through "doing," not realizing that it is this focus on ceaseless activity that has created much of our present imbalance. Rather than always asking, "What should I do?," we can learn to reflect, "How should I be? ~ Llewellyn Vaughan Lee,
65:I want to tell him I want to go home, but I am so scared. I am afraid to make the man angry. What should I do? I just don’t know what to do. I wish I did. I’m so scared. I want to go to sleep and pretend this is not happening. Why is this happening? Who are these people and what do they want with me? ~ Jaycee Dugard,
66:disempowered phrases” that passive followers use: Request permission to . . . I would like to . . . What should I do about . . . Do you think we should . . . Could we . . . Here is a short list of “empowered phrases” that active doers use: I intend to . . . I plan on . . . I will . . . We will . . . ~ L David Marquet,
67:When you get your “Who am I?” question right, all the “What should I do?” questions tend to take care of themselves. The very fact that so many religious people have to so vigorously prove and defend their salvation theories makes one seriously doubt whether they have experienced divine mirroring at any great depth. ~ Richard Rohr,
68:One time someone wrote to us: “I’m applying all of the things you suggest, and I am coming up with a ton of ideas to improve my life. The only problem is, when I go out drinking with my friends on Friday night, they all laugh at the ideas. What should I do?” We wrote back: “Simple solution: stay home on Friday night. ~ James Altucher,
69:I've come to you because I need professional help... I get depressed when I realize how other girls hate me, and yet I know it's only jealousy... It's plain jealousy! They only hate me because I have naturally curly hair... They're jealous of me... What should I do?"
"Don't kid yourself, sister... Five cents, please! ~ Charles M Schulz,
70:Intern will resonate not only with doctors, but with anyone who has struggled with the grand question 'What should I do with my life?' In a voice of profound honesty and intelligence, Sandeep Jauhar gives us an insider's look at the medical profession and also a dramatic account of the psychological challenges of early adulthood. ~ Akhil Sharma,
71:Now came the question, what should I do? “Nothing,” the correct thing, according to the governor. “Stand for the county,” my mother suggested. “Go as attaché to my cousin, the envoy to St. Petersburg,” my relatives opined, who had triumphed, with much unholy glory, over my rustication, as is the custom of relatives from time immemorial. ~ Ouida,
72:What should I do, then? Give me a concrete example."
"First you decide that you want to help and that you need to be helped by the other person. Then you decide to be totally honest. You will not lie, you will not gloss over anything, you will not cover up anything that might prove embarrassing for you. That's all there is to it. ~ Haruki Murakami,
73:But what should I do?' Varun was saying. 'I'm not good for anything.'
'Write a book! Pull a rickshaw! Live! Don't make excuses,' said Dr. Ila Chattopadhyay, shaking her grey hair vigorously. 'Renounce the world like Dipankar. No, he's joined a bank, hasn't he? How did you do in your exams anyway?' she added." - Vikram Seth, "A Suitable Boy ~ Vikram Seth,
74:What should I do?” A sly grin crossed his face and he rolled his hand out in front of him. “You are only limited by your imagination, Freya.” Great, so if I screwed it up it was just a problem with my mind. I considered that, recalling what Steed had said about feeling it, thinking about what you wanted to happen. But what did I want to happen? ~ Melissa Wright,
75:Sometimes I think that the Agni You have kindled in me is going to burn up everything that separates me from You. What should I do to contribute to its fulfilment?

   Each time that you discover in yourself something that denies or resists, throw it into the flame of Agni, which is the fire of aspiration. 19 May 1967
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
76:Finally, when young people who “want to help mankind” come to me asking, “What should I do? I want to reduce poverty, save the world,” and similar noble aspirations at the macro-level, my suggestion is: 1) Never engage in virtue signaling; 2) Never engage in rent-seeking; 3) You must start a business. Put yourself on the line, start a business. ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb,
77:Because the truth is, nobody knows what's best for you better than you do. You have to really sit still and ask yourself: What do I want? Does this feel right? What should I do? I realized I had to go back and do what I had always done. Listening to my gut was just as important as listening to the advice of others, and only I knew what was best for me. ~ Jennifer Lopez,
78:The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point—ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. ~ Rick Warren,
79:O Mother, what should I do? I am completely unconscious. Mother, where are You?

   In your psychic being - I am always present there. It is there that you can find me and must find me, and when you have found me there, in the depths of your heart, you will also recognise me in my physical form. 31 October 1934
   ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother, [T0],
80:Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do till you require.

Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be or your affairs suppose,
But like a sad slave stay and think of nought
Save where you are, how happy you make those. ~ Allison Pearson,
81:What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don't want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don't want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you. ~ Jeanette Winterson,
82:He draws a line under his conclusions. Says, 'Gregory, what should I do about the great worm?'
'Send a commission against it, sir,' the boy says. 'It must be put down.'
He gives his son a long look. 'You do know it's Arthur Cobbler's tales?'
Gregory gives him a long look back. 'Yes, I do know.' He sounds regretful. 'But it makes people so happy when I believe them. ~ Hilary Mantel,
83:I’ll do most of the talking,” Alex said. “But don’t be afraid to ask Melinda Hubert questions-trust your instincts.”
My instincts said to stay home and let him handle it. “So, will we play good cop/bad cop? I want to be the bad cop. I’m not the warm. nurturing type.”
He cocked an eyebrow at me. “Really?”
Jerk. “So what should I do?”
“Stop watching cop shows for one. ~ Suzanne Johnson,
84:Dear Asshole Whisperer, I try to feed my toddler reasonably healthy food but still feel judged by other parents. What should I do? —Mom of Two in Maine Dear Mom of Two, There’s always going to be a parent who you feel is doing a better job than you, but think of it this way: In a zombie apocalypse, kids that smell like kefir and kombucha (i.e., rotting flesh) will get eaten first. ~ Bunmi Laditan,
85:No more dancing for now, Bea,” he murmured close to her ear. “Marks isn’t available to watch over you.” “Why not?” “I intend to find out. In the meantime, don’t get into trouble.” “What should I do?” “I don’t know. Go to the refreshment table and eat something.” “I’m not hungry.” Beatrix heaved a sigh. “But I suppose one doesn’t need to be hungry to eat.” “Good girl,” he muttered, and left the room swiftly. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
86:Really, Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time,' said Dumbledore, now peering sternly over his half-moon spectacles. 'Not a week has passed, since I became Headmaster of this school, when I haven't had at least one owl complaining about the way I run it. But what should I do? Barricade myself in my study and refuse to talk to anybody? ~ J K Rowling,
87:Really, Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I’m afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time,’ said Dumbledore, now peering sternly over his half-moon spectacles. ‘Not a week has passed, since I became Headmaster of this school, when I haven’t had at least one owl complaining about the way I run it. But what should I do? Barricade myself in my study and refuse to talk to anybody? ~ J K Rowling,
88:What should I do?” Patty put her head between her knees. She felt laughter in her stomach, it was all so ludicrous. I wonder if I’m having a breakdown, she thought. Maybe I could have a breakdown and then I won’t have to talk to anyone. A safe white room, and Patty being ushered like a child from breakfast to lunch to dinner, maneuvered by people with gentle whispers, Patty shuffling like someone who’s dying. ~ Gillian Flynn,
Explain to me why i have a crush on you.
Explain to me why i never told you.
Explain to me what should i do.
Explain to me why all i think about is you.
Explain to me why this is all true.
Explain to me why i can talk to you and
not be nervous even though, i like you.
can you pleae tell me what do i do,
when i really do like you but dont
know how you will accept it.
~ david bailey,
90:As far as I am concerned, I resign from humanity. I no longer want to be, nor can still be, a man. What should I do? Work for a social and political system, make a girl miserable? Hunt for weaknesses in philosophical systems, fight for moral and esthetic ideals? It’s all too little. I renounce my humanity even though I may find myself alone. But am I not already alone in this world from which I no longer expect anything? ~ Emil M Cioran,
91:As far as I am concerned, I resign from humanity. I no longer want to be, nor can still be, a man. What should I do? Work for a social and political system, make a girl miserable? Hunt for weaknesses in philosophical systems, fight for moral and aesthetic ideals? It's all too little. I renounce my humanity even though I may find myself alone. But am I not already alone in this world from which I no longer expect anything? ~ Emil M Cioran,
92:As far as I am concerned, I resign from humanity. I no longer want to be, nor can still be, a man. What should I do? Work for a social and political system, make a girl miserable? Hunt for weaknesses in philosophical systems, fight for moral and esthetic ideals? It’s all too little. I renounce my humanity even though I may find myself alone. But am I not already alone in this world from which I no longer expect anything? ~ Emile M Cioran,
93:Parcells: “Al, I am just not sure how we can win without so many of our best players. What should I do?” Davis: “Bill, nobody cares, just coach your team.” That might be the best CEO advice ever. Because, you see, nobody cares. When things go wrong in your company, nobody cares. The media don’t care, your investors don’t care, your board doesn’t care, your employees don’t care, and even your mama doesn’t care. Nobody cares. ~ Ben Horowitz,
94:You may light on a husband that hath no beard. BEATRICE What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bearherd, and lead his apes into hell. ~ William Shakespeare,
95:THE DANGER OF BIG QUESTIONS Most of the time, “What should I do with my life?” is a terrible question. “What should I do with this tennis serve?” “What should I do with this line at Starbucks?” “What should I do with this traffic jam?” “How should I respond to the anger I feel welling up in my chest?” These are better questions. Excellence is the next five minutes, improvement is the next five minutes, happiness is the next five minutes. ~ Timothy Ferriss,
96:The Power of Words The key to your team becoming more proactive rests in the language subordinates and superiors use. Here is a short list of “disempowered phrases” that passive followers use: Request permission to . . . I would like to . . . What should I do about . . . Do you think we should . . . Could we . . . Here is a short list of “empowered phrases” that active doers use: I intend to . . . I plan on . . . I will . . . We will . . . ~ L David Marquet,
97:What to do now, what shall I do now, what should I do, in my situation, how proceed? By aporia pure and simple? Or by affirmations and negations invalidated as uttered, or sooner or later. Generally speaking. There must be other shifts. Otherwise it would be quite hopeless. But it is quite hopeless. I should mention before going any further that I say aporia without knowing what it means. Can one be ephectic otherwise than unawares? I don't know. ~ Samuel Beckett,
98:I've told my mistress that I intend to leave my wife eventually and run away with her. But she has to understand that I have no intention of doing anything of that kind, right? I mean, anybody who has been on this planet for longer than a month knows that cheaters don't mean anything they say. If we did, we wouldn't be cheaters. But somehow I don't think she gets the implied and unspoken agreement of an extramarital affair. What should I do? ~ The Believer Magazine,
99:If they can’t survive alone for four days once a year, they deserve to die. (Acheron) That’s harsh, for you. (Dante) Harsh? Tell you what, you take my phone and skim through the three thousand phone calls I get every day and night and see how harsh I am. I truly hate modern technology and phones in particular. I haven’t had a full four hours of sleep in over fifty years. ‘Ash, I broke a toenail, help me. Ash, my head hurts, what should I do?’ (Acheron) ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon,
100:If they can’t survive alone for four days once a year, they deserve to die. (Acheron)
That’s harsh, for you. (Dante)
Harsh? Tell you what, you take my phone and skim through the three thousand phone calls I get every day and night and see how harsh I am. I truly hate modern technology and phones in particular. I haven’t had a full four hours of sleep in over fifty years. ‘Ash, I broke a toenail, help me. Ash, my head hurts, what should I do?’ (Acheron) ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon,
101:That is one of the reasons why religion has survived into the modern world: it tells people what to think and do, gratifying their reluctance to make the effort, or to take the risk, of achieving self-understanding and on that basis choosing a course that would be a fulfilling expression of their individual talents for living well. In wanting a quick answer to ‘what should I do, how should I live?’ people grab a one-size-fits-all model from a shelf in the ideas supermarket, and leave it at that. ~ A C Grayling,
102:J.P. Morgan once had a friend who was so worried about his stock holdings that he could not sleep at night. The friend asked, 'What should I do about my stocks?' Morgan replied, 'Sell down to your sleeping point' Every investor must decide the trade-off he or she is willing to make between eating well and sleeping well. High investment rewards can only be achieved at the cost of substantial risk-taking. So what is your sleeping point? Finding the answer to this question is one of the most important investment steps you must take. ~ Burton Malkiel,
103:I would stand like this, yelling directions, for what seemed like hours without a break. One time I was dying for a drink of water, and I caught his attention as he was on his way to his office. “M-Mr. Batton?” He looked at me. “Mr. Batton … could I please use the water fountain? I’m thirsty.” He came at me like a tank. “Burnett!” Lord, he’s actually talking. “Yessir?” “Don’t you ever do that again!” “What should I do?” “You snap your fingers until you get my attention, and when you do, you open your mouth and point to the back of your throat! ~ Carol Burnett,
104:The expression I use: Pain + Reality = Progress. Whenever I would have a painful mistake, I started to view that as puzzles that would give me gems if I could solve the puzzle. So, it made me thoughtful - what should I do differently next time? That was the puzzle. And the gem was some principle for handling the same thing when it came along again, and then I would write it down. And by writing it down and referring to it, and also being able to show it to other people so that we could agree that that was a good way of handling that thing - that was very, very powerful. ~ Ray Dalio,
105:The only thing you should have to do is find work you love to do. And I can't imagine living without having loved a person. A man, in my case. It could be a woman, but whatever. I think, what I always tell kids when they get out of class and ask, 'What should I do now?' I always say, 'Keep a low overhead. You're not going to make a lot of money.' And the next thing I say: 'Don't live with a person who doesn't respect your work.' That's the most important thing—that's more important than the money thing. I think those two things are very valuable pieces of information. ~ Grace Paley,
106:If she really were what she pretends to be, everything would have been wrong, everything I did and said and tried to get her to see, it would all have been monstrous. But her innocence left her a very long time ago, and she never noticed. She eats only grass, but she has a meat eater’s heart. And she doesn’t know it, and no one has told her. Maybe they don’t care enough about her to take the chance. What should I do? How many different truths are there, and what justifies them? What a person believes? What a person accomplishes? Self-deception? Is it only the result that counts? I no longer know. ~ Tove Jansson,
107:Thomas had followed his passion to the Zen Mountain Monastery, believing, as many do, that the key to happiness is identifying your true calling and then chasing after it with all the courage you can muster. But as Thomas experienced that late Sunday afternoon in the oak forest, this belief is frighteningly naïve. Fulfilling his dream to become a full-time Zen practitioner did not magically make his life wonderful. As Thomas discovered, the path to happiness—at least as it concerns what you do for a living—is more complicated than simply answering the classic question “What should I do with my life?” A ~ Cal Newport,
108:What should I do? Aby is coming from France any day, and he’s got to have a home to come to. I will have to take out from my eating the meat and the milk to save together the extra five dollars. People! Give me an advice! What else can I do? If a wild wolf falls on you in the black night, will crying help you?” With a gesture of abject despair, she fell prone upon the bench. “Gottuniu! If there is any justice and mercy on this earth, then may the landlord be tortured like he is torturing me! May the fires burn him and the waters drown him! May his flesh be torn from him in pieces and his bones be ground in the teeth of wild dogs! ~ Anzia Yezierska,
109:I did not read the Bible to find Jesus but to answer the question, what should I do? I read indiscriminately and was often confused by scriptures that seemed to contradict each other. My solution was to go for balance: A little of this, a little of that, for all scripture is profitable. But by failing to filter what I read through the finished work of the cross, I unwittingly poisoned myself. I mixed the death-dealing words of the law with the life-giving words of grace. I thought I was zealous for the Lord, but in truth I was lukewarm. I was neither under the stone-cold ministry of the law nor walking in the white-hot heat of God’s love and grace. ~ Paul Ellis,
110:Gilan hesitated. "I wouldn't advise anyone to face a battleax with just two knives," he said carefully.
So what should I do?" Will joined in. Gilan glared from one boy to the other. He had the feeling he was being set up.
Shoot him," he said shortly. Will shook his head, grinning.
Can't," he said. "My bowstring's broken."
Then run and hide," said Gilan, between gritted teeth.
But there's a cliff," Horace pointed out. "A sheer drop behind him and an angry axman coming at him."
What do I do?" prompted Will.
Gilan took a deep breath and lookd them both in the eye, one after the other.
Jump off the cliff. It'll be less messy that way. ~ John Flanagan,
111:Love Well The Hour
HEART of my heart, my life and light,
If you were lost what should I do?
I dare not let you from my sight,
Lest Death should fall in love with you.
Such countless terrors lie in wait.
The gods know well how dear you are:
What if they left me desolate
And plucked and set you for their star?
So hold my hand--the gods are strong,
And perfect joy so rare a flower
No man may hope to keep it long,
And I might lose it any hour.
So, kiss me close, my star, my flower,
Thus shall the future spare me this:
The thought that there was ever an hour
We might have kissed and did not kiss.
~ Edith Nesbit,
112:All at once my position rose on me like a ghost. Anomalous, desolate, almost blank of hope, it stood. What was I doing here alone in great London? What should I do on the morrow? What prospects had I in life? What friends had I on earth? Whence did I come? Whither should I go? What should I do?
I wet the pillow, my arms, and my hair with rushing tears. A dark interval of bitter thought followed this burst; but I did not regret the step taken, nor wish to retract it. A strong, vague persuasion that it was better to go forward than backward, and that I could go forward - that a way, however narrow and difficult, would in time open - predominated over other feelings. ~ Charlotte Bront,
113:SONNET 57

Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those.
So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill. ~ William Shakespeare,
114:Why did you make me want to live? Why did you do that to me?’
‘Because I wished it. Isn't that enough?’
‘Yes, it is enough. But if one day you didn't wish it. What should I do then? Suppose you took this happiness away when I wasn't looking …’
‘And lose my own? Who’d be so foolish?’
‘I am not used to happiness,’ she said. ‘It makes me afraid.’
‘Never be afraid. Or if you are tell no one.’
‘I understand. But trying does not help me.’
‘What would?’
She did not answer that, then one night whispered, ‘If I could die. Now, when I am happy. Would you do that? You wouldn't have to kill me. Say die and I will die. You don’t believe me? Then try, try, say die and watch me die. ~ Jean Rhys,
115:A Well-Worn Story
In April, in April,
My one love came along,
And I ran the slope of my high hill
To follow a thread of song.
His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.
Together we trod the secret lane
And walked the muttering town.
I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
On the breast of a velvet gown.
In April, in April,
My love went whistling by,
And I stumbled here to my high hill
Along the way of a lie.
Now what should I do in this place
But sit and count the chimes,
And splash cold water on my face
And spoil a page with rhymes?
~ Dorothy Parker,
116:All right, then, Adam, you know what to do,” Charlie said, trying to hold her head up. Unlike her husband, she wasn’t willing to have it out in front of his employees and friends. “God, I wish I had a video camera. Someone make sure security doesn’t erase these tapes,” Adam said. “Adam!” He could be so damn obnoxious. She had to keep him in line. He straightened up immediately. “Yes, ma’am. I’ll check into it.” A hard hand slapped at her ass, making her skin tingle. “He’s not going to check into anything except getting new locks for our fucking doors.” “Mommy and Daddy are fighting, Jake. What should I do?” Adam asked. From what she could see, they were all following her and Ian out of the conference room, snacks in hand. ~ Lexi Blake,
117:Goals are a myth. Our ancestors for 200,000 years didn’t have goals. Every day started from scratch: hunt, forage, eat, sex, sleep, and wake up to a new day. Then we were told to find our “goals”. And now everyone asks, “I’m 17 years old and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in life. What should I do?” Learning to find happiness with less is true wealth. Claudia and I recently got rid of most of our belongings, for instance. Then we started cancelling most meetings that I had set up. Sometimes it was hard. I had agreed to an event and then I would cancel. Ultimately we are the sum of our experiences and not the sum of our belongings. There is nothing wrong with making money but it is only one small part of living a life of comfort, of compassion, of calm. ~ James Altucher,
118:What about an axman?" he said. Gilan looked at him, nonplussed for a moment.
"An axman?" he asked.
"Yes," said Horace, warming to his theme. "What about if you're facing an enemy with a battleax? Do your knives work then?"
Gilan hesitated. "I wouldn't advise anyone face a battleax with just two knives," he said carefully.
"So what should I do?" Will joined in. Gilan glared from one boy to the other. He had the feeling he was being set up.
"Shoot him," he said shortly. Will shook his head, grinning.
"Can't," he said. "My bowstring's broken."
"Then run and hide," said Gilan, between gritted teeth.
"But there's a cliff," Horace pointed out. "A sheer drop behind him and an angry axman coming at him."
"What do I do?" prompted Will.
Gilan took a deep breath and looked them both in the eye, one after the other.
"Jump off the cliff. It'll be less messy that way. ~ John Flanagan,
119:It’s a Blue Vanda orchid,” she explained.
What should I do with it?”
“You might wish to keep it in a place where you can see it often. Remember that it doesn’t like to be cold and wet, or hot and dry. Whenever it’s moved to a new environment, the Vanda usually becomes distressed, so don’t be alarmed if a flower shrivels and drops off. Generally it’s best not to set it where there may be a draft, or too much sun. Or too much shadow. And never place it next to a bowl of fruit.” She gave him an encouraging glance. “Later, I’ll give you a special tonic to mist over it.”
As Winterborne stared at the exotic flower in his hands with perplexed reluctance, Helen began to regret her spontaneous action. He didn’t seem to want the gift, but she couldn’t very well ask to have it back.
“You needn’t take it if you don’t want it,” she said. “I would understand--”
“I want it.” Winterborne looked into her eyes and smiled slightly. “Thank you. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
120:Anacreontics, The Epicure
UNDERNEATH this myrtle shade,
On flowerly beds supinely laid,
With odorous oils my head o'erflowing,
And around it roses growing,
What should I do but drink away
The heat and troubles of the day?
In this more than kingly state
Love himself on me shall wait.
Fill to me, Love! nay, fill it up!
And mingled cast into the cup
Wit and mirth and noble fires,
Vigorous health and gay desires.
The wheel of life no less will stay
In a smooth than rugged way:
Since it equally doth flee,
Let the motion pleasant be.
Why do we precious ointments shower?-Nobler wines why do we pour?-Beauteous flowers why do we spread
Upon the monuments of the dead?
Nothing they but dust can show,
Or bones that hasten to be so.
Crown me with roses while I live,
Now your wines and ointments give:
After death I nothing crave,
Let me alive my pleasures have:
All are Stoics in the grave.
~ Abraham Cowley,
121:On New Year’s Day, Hillary and Bill were out on a boat, bobbing along on the blue-green sea, and decided to take a
swim. They leapt into the water, swam up to the beach, and then Hillary posed the question directly to the person who knew her best—and who understood as well as anyone alive what running for president entailed.
What should I do, Bill? she asked. Should I do this or not?
You have to ask yourself one question, he replied. Of all the people running, would I be the best president? If you can answer yes, then you need to run. If you’re not sure, then you need to think more about it, and if the answer is no, don’t do it. That’s all I can tell you, Bill said.
Not long after, Solis Doyle’s phone rang back in Washington.
“Bill said that if I really feel like I can do this, and do a good job
and be the best one, then I should do it,” Hillary said. “And I do
believe that.”
Solis Doyle exhaled and smiled.
“Okay! Let’s go, then!” Patti said, and they were finally off and running. ~ John Heilemann,
122:On New Year’s Day, Hillary and Bill were out on a boat, bobbing along on the blue-green sea, and decided to take a swim. They leapt into the water, swam up to the beach, and then Hillary posed the question directly to the person who knew her best—and who understood as well as anyone alive what running for president entailed.

What should I do, Bill? she asked. Should I do this or not?

You have to ask yourself one question, he replied. Of all the people running, would I be the best president? If you can answer yes, then you need to run. If you’re not sure, then you need to think more about it, and if the answer is no, don’t do it. That’s all I can tell you, Bill said.

Not long after, Solis Doyle’s phone rang back in Washington.
“Bill said that if I really feel like I can do this, and do a good job
and be the best one, then I should do it,” Hillary said. “And I do
believe that.”

Solis Doyle exhaled and smiled.
“Okay! Let’s go, then!” Patti said, and they were finally off and running. ~ John Heilemann,
123:Ten Questions People Ask About Difficult Conversations 1. It sounds like you’re saying everything is relative. Aren’t some things just true, and can’t someone simply be wrong?   2. What if the other person really does have bad intentions – lying, bullying, or intentionally derailing the conversation to get what they want?   3. What if the other person is genuinely difficult, perhaps even mentally ill?   4. How does this work with someone who has all the power – like my boss?   5. If I’m the boss/parent, why can’t I just tell my subordinates/ children what to do?   6. Isn’t this a very American approach? How does it work in other cultures?   7. What about conversations that aren’t face-to-face? What should I do differently if I’m on the phone or e-mail?   8. Why do you advise people to “bring feelings into the workplace”? I’m not a therapist, and shouldn’t business decisions be made on the merits?   9. Who has time for all this in the real world? 10. My identity conversation keeps getting stuck in either-or: I’m perfect or I’m horrible. I can’t seem to get past that. What can I do? ~ Douglas Stone,
124:Tell me," she said quietly. "If that [happiness] machine is like you say, has it got an answer to making babies in it somewhere? Can that machine make seventy-year-old people twenty? Also, how does death look when you hide in there with all that happiness?"


"If you died from overwork, what should I do today, climb in that big box down there and be happy? Also tell me, Lee, how is our life? You know how our house is. Seven in the morning, breakfast, the kids; all of you gone by eight thirty and it's just me and washing and me and cooking and socks to be darned, weeds to be dug, or I run to the
store or polish silver. Who's complaining? I'm just reminding you how the house is put
together, Lee, what's in it! So now answer: How do you get all those things I said in one machine?"

"That's not how it's built!"

"I'm sorry. I got no time to look, then."

And she kissed his cheek and went from the room and he lay smelling the wind that blew from the hidden machine below, rich with the odor of those roasted chestnuts that sold in the autumn streets of a Paris he had never known . . . ~ Ray Bradbury,
125:I concluded that first of all I had to understand better what I was. Investigate my nature as a woman. I had been excessive, I had striven to give myself male capacities. I thought I had to know everything, be concerned with everything. What did I care about politics, about struggles. I wanted to make a good impression on men, be at their level. I had been conditioned by my education, which had shaped my mind, my voice. To what secret pacts with myself had I consented, just to excel. And now, after the hard work of learning, what must I unlearn. Also, I had been forced by the powerful presence of Lila to imagine myself as I was not. I was added to her, and I felt mutilated as soon as I removed myself. Not an idea, without Lila. Not a thought I trusted, without the support of her thoughts. Not an image. I had to accept myself outside of her. The gist was that. Accept that I was an average person. What should I do. Try again to write. Maybe I didn’t have the passion. I merely limited myself to carrying out a task. So don’t write anymore. Find some job. Or act the lady, as my mother said. Shut myself up in the family. Or turn everything upside down. Home. Children. Husband. ~ Elena Ferrante,
126:My sweet mother, The more I look into myself, the more discouraged I am, and I don't know whether there is any chance of my making any progress. It seems that all the obscurities and falsehoods are rising up on every side, inside and outside, and want to swallow me up. There are times when I cannot distinguish truth from falsehood and I am then on the verge of losing my mind.
   Still, there is something in me which says very weakly that all will be well; but this voice is so feeble that I cannot rely on it.1
   My faults are so numerous and so great that I think I shall fail. On the other hand, I have neither the inclination nor the capacity for the ordinary life. And I know that I shall never be able to leave this life. This is my situation right now. The struggle is getting more and more acute, and worst of all I cannot lie to you. What should I do?

   Do not torment yourself, my child, and remain as quiet as you can; do not yield to the temptation to give up the struggle and let yourself fall into darkness. Persist, and one day you will realise that I am close to you to console you and help you, and then the hardest part will be over. With all my love and blessings. 25 September 1947
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
127:Whereas the craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, the passion mindset focuses instead on what the world can offer you. This mindset is how most people approach their working lives. There are two reasons why I dislike the passion mindset (that is, two reasons beyond the fact that, as I argued in Rule #1, it’s based on a false premise). First, when you focus only on what your work offers you, it makes you hyperaware of what you don’t like about it, leading to chronic unhappiness. This is especially true for entry-level positions, which, by definition, are not going to be filled with challenging projects and autonomy—these come later. When you enter the working world with the passion mindset, the annoying tasks you’re assigned or the frustrations of corporate bureaucracy can become too much to handle. Second, and more serious, the deep questions driving the passion mindset—“Who am I?” and “What do I truly love?”—are essentially impossible to confirm. “Is this who I really am?” and “Do I love this?” rarely reduce to clear yes-or-no responses. In other words, the passion mindset is almost guaranteed to keep you perpetually unhappy and confused, which probably explains why Bronson admits, not long into his career-seeker epic What Should I Do With My Life? that “the one feeling everyone in this book has experienced is of missing out on life. ~ Cal Newport,
Of mornings, bright and early,
When the lark is on the wing
And the robin in the maple
Hops from her nest to sing,
From yonder cheery chamber
Cometh a mellow coo 'T is the sweet, persuasive treble
Of my little Googly-Goo!
The sunbeams hear his music,
And they seek his little bed,
And they dance their prettiest dances
Round his golden curly head:
Schottisches, galops, minuets,
Gavottes and waltzes, too,
Dance they unto the music
Of my googling Googly-Goo.
My heart - my heart it leapeth
To hear that treble tone;
What music like thy music,
My darling and mine own!
And patiently - yes, cheerfully
I toil the long day through My labor seemeth lightened
By the song of Googly-Goo!
I may not see his antics,
Nor kiss his dimpled cheek:
I may not smooth the tresses
The sunbeams love to seek;
It mattereth not - the echo
Of his sweet, persuasive coo
Recurreth to remind me
Of my little Googly-Goo.
And when I come at evening,
I stand without the door
And patiently I listen
For that dear sound once more;
And oftentimes I wonder,
"Oh, God! what should I do
If any ill should happen
To my little Googly-Goo!"
Then in affright I call him I hear his gleeful shouts!
Begone, ye dread forebodings Begone, ye killing doubts!
For, with my arms about him,
My heart warms through and through
With the oogling and the googling
Of my little Googly-Goo!
~ Eugene Field,
129:You were a fucking moron to think this girl wanted anything more from you. I’m just her meal ticket, the same as I was for the rest of them. Red-hot rage builds in my chest as I stand there, staring at the screen, waiting for another email to pop up in the chain so I can write FUCK OFF in capital letters, repeated hundreds of times. What should I do? Confront her? No. I stride out of the room and slam the door, relishing the sound of it. I’m going to make Princess Daisy’s life hell. F*CK THE ROYALS! Madness in Harronvale Café Daisy Cheeseburgers. Sometimes I dream about the taste of them. The fried onions cooked in the ground beef patty, the toasted sesame bun, American cheese oozing over the whole thing, and the tang of ketchup to accompany it. Yeah, I fantasize about them a lot. I sometimes smell them. The moment I wake up, it hits my nose. I open my eyes, waiting for it to disappear, but the greasy smell doesn’t disappear. I nearly fall over my sheets in my haste to get out of bed. Anglefell doesn’t have a burger joint. I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without a burger or a pizza. I haven’t realized how much I need fast food until the tantalizing scent hits my stomach. I burst through the guest room door and walk toward it. Liam sits on the couch with his feet kicked up on the coffee table. There’s a half-eaten carton of french fries next to him with a little tub of red paste, and in his hand is a giant cheeseburger. He bites into it, and I imagine the taste exploding over my own tongue. He chews loudly, the sound carrying across the room. He gives the burger a thoughtful look. “Wow—this is—really adequate.” I make a strangled sound, ~ Vanessa Waltz,
130:The Violent Space (Or When Your Sister Sleeps
Around For Money)
Exchange in greed the ungraceful signs. Thrust
The thick notes between green apple breasts.
Then the shadow of the devil descends,
The violent space cries and angel eyes,
Large and dark, retreat in innocence and in ice.
(Run sister run—the Bugga man comes!)
The violent space cries silently,
Like you cried wide years ago
In another space, speckled by the sun
And the leaves of a green plum tree,
And you were stung
By a red wasp and we flew home.
(Run sister run—the Bugga man comes!)
Well, hell, lil sis, wasps still sting.
You are all of seventeen and as alone now
In your pain as you were with the sting
On your brow.
Well, shit. lil sis, here we are:
You and I and this poem.
And what should I do? should I squat
In the dust and make strange markings on the ground?
Shall I chant a spell to drive the demon away?
(Run sister run—the Bugga man comes!)
In the beginning you were the Virgin Mary,
And you are the Virgin Mary now.
But somewhere between Nazareth and Bethlehem
You lost your name in the nameless void.
'O Mary don't you weep don't you moan'
O Mary shake your butt to the violent juke,
Absord the demon puke and watch the whites eyes pop,
(Run sister run—the Bugga man comes!)
And what do I do. I boil my tears in a twisted spoon
And dance like an angel on the point of a needle.
I sit counting syllables like Midas gold.
I am not bold. I cannot yet take hold of the demon
And lift his weight from you black belly,
So I grab the air and sing my song.
(But the air cannot stand my singing long.)
~ Etheridge Knight,
131:Come here, cupcake,” I hear Sam say softly. He pulls me against him and holds me close as I sob on his shoulder. I pull myself together when the elevator stops on our floor. Sam leads me into the apartment and over to the sofa. He sits down and tugs me onto his lap. I curl into him and he holds me close. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen her,” I say when the hiccupping sobs finally subside. “I know.” He rubs my back. “She still looks the same. But it’s wrong. So wrong.” “I know.” “She didn’t even come to see me. She just came for money.” “Yes, she did.” “She doesn’t care. She never did.” My voice breaks again, and I want to kick myself for letting her get to me like this. “I know.” “What should I do?” “What do you want to do?” “I want her to go away! I want her to have never existed. Ever. I want a do-over.” He hums, but doesn’t say anything. “But if I had a do-over, I wouldn’t have Emilio and Marta, or any of my sisters. And without them, I wouldn’t have you.” I look up. “I do have you, right?” “You got me, cupcake.” “I’m squishing you.” I move to get up, but he holds me tightly. “I’m made of stronger stuff than you might think.” “You told her you love me,” I say quietly. He goes still under me. His hand stops sweeping down my hair. “Do you?” He turns my head with a finger under my chin so he can look into my eyes. “You doubt it?” “Well,” I hedge, “I told you yesterday and you didn’t tell me back, so I didn’t know.” “Oh, fuck,” he breathes. “I thought it was a given.” “A given?” “God, I can’t breathe when I’m around you, Peck. I can’t think. I love you, and I don’t want to be apart from you. Ever.” “You love me.” It’s not a question this time. The birds in my head start to sing, and my heart does this happy glug-glug thing in my chest. “Yes, I fucking love you.” I ~ Tammy Falkner,
132:When we realize that the path is the goal, there’s a sense of workability. Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Whatever occurs in the confused mind is regarded as the path. Everything is workable. It is a fearless proclamation, the lion’s roar.” Everything that occurs in our confused mind we can regard as the path. Everything is workable. If we find ourselves in what seems like a rotten or painful situation and we think, “Well, how is this enlightenment?” we can just remember this notion of the path, that what seems undesirable in our lives doesn’t have to put us to sleep. What seems undesirable in our lives doesn’t have to trigger habitual reactions. We can let it show us where we’re at and let it remind us that the teachings encourage precision and gentleness, with loving-kindness toward every moment. When we live this way, we feel frequently—maybe continuously—at a crossroads, never knowing what’s ahead. It’s an insecure way to live. We often find ourselves in the middle of a dilemma—what should I do about the fact that somebody is angry with me? What should I do about the fact that I’m angry with somebody? Basically, the instruction is not to try to solve the problem but instead to use it as a question about how to let this very situation wake us up further rather than lull us into ignorance. We can use a difficult situation to encourage ourselves to take a leap, to step out into that ambiguity. This teaching applies to even the most horrendous situations life can dish out. Jean-Paul Sartre said that there are two ways to go to the gas chamber, free or not free. This is our choice in every moment. Do we relate to our circumstances with bitterness or with openness? That is why it can be said that whatever occurs can be regarded as the path and that all things, not just some things, are workable. This teaching is a fearless proclamation of what’s possible for ordinary people like you and me. ~ Pema Ch dr n,
133:The repugnance to what must ensue almost immediately, and the uncertainty, were dreadful, he said; but worst of all was the idea, 'What should I do if I were not to die now? What if I were to return to life again? What an eternity of days, and all mine! How I should grudge and count up every minute of it, so as to waste not a single instant!' He said that this thought weighed so upon him and became such a terrible burden upon his brain that he could not bear it, and wished they would shoot him quickly and have done with it."

The prince paused and all waited, expecting him to go on again and finish the story.

"Is that all?" asked Aglaya.

"All? Yes," said the prince, emerging from a momentary reverie.

"And why did you tell us this?"

"Oh, I happened to recall it, that's all! It fitted into the conversation—"

"You probably wish to deduce, prince," said Alexandra, "that moments of time cannot be reckoned by money value, and that sometimes five minutes are worth priceless treasures. All this is very praiseworthy; but may I ask about this friend of yours, who told you the terrible experience of his life? He was reprieved, you say; in other words, they did restore to him that 'eternity of days.' What did he do with these riches of time? Did he keep careful account of his minutes?"

"Oh no, he didn't! I asked him myself. He said that he had not lived a bit as he had intended, and had wasted many, and many a minute."

"Very well, then there's an experiment, and the thing is proved; one cannot live and count each moment; say what you like, but one cannot."

"That is true," said the prince, "I have thought so myself. And yet, why shouldn't one do it?"

"You think, then, that you could live more wisely than other people?" said Aglaya.

"I have had that idea."

"And you have it still?"

"Yes — I have it still," the prince replied. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
134:Rather than returning to school, he drove straight to the psychologist. “You may need a bit of adjustment, but it’s nothing serious,” the doctor said, after listening to his lengthy narrative. “Nothing serious?” Luo Ji opened his bloodshot eyes wide. “I’m madly in love with a fictional person from a novel of my own creation. I’ve been with her, I’ve traveled with her, and I’ve even broken up with my real-life girlfriend over her. Is that nothing serious to you?” The doctor smiled tolerantly. “Don’t you get it? I’ve given my most profound love to an illusion!” “Are you under the impression that the object of everyone else’s love actually exists?” “Is that even a question?” “Sure. For the majority of people, what they love exists only in the imagination. The object of their love is not the man or woman of reality, but what he or she is like in their imagination. The person in reality is just a template used for the creation of this dream lover. Eventually, they find out the differences between their dream lover and the template. If they can get used to those differences, then they can be together. If not, they split up. It’s as simple as that. You differ from the majority in one respect: You didn’t need a template.” “So this isn’t a sickness?” “Only in the way your girlfriend pointed out: You’ve got natural literary talent. If you want to call that a sickness, go right ahead.” “But isn’t imagining to this degree a little excessive?” “There’s nothing excessive about imagination. Especially where love is concerned.” “So what should I do? How can I forget about her?” “It’s impossible. You can’t forget her, so don’t make the effort. That will only lead to side effects, and maybe even mental disorders. Let nature take its course. Once more, for emphasis: Don’t try to forget about her. It won’t work. But as time passes, her influence on your life will decrease. And you’re actually quite lucky. Whether or not she really exists, you’re fortunate to be in love.” This ~ Liu Cixin,
135:Mr. Lefkowitz—sixty-five, a widower—was having a very lonely time in Miami Beach, and he observed a man of his age who was never without a companion; people forever streamed around him, extending invitations, swapping jokes. So Lefkowitz screwed up his courage, leaned over, and said to the popular paragon, “Mister, excuse me. What should I do to make friends?” “Get—a camel,” the other said with a sneer. “Ride up and down Collins Avenue every day, and before you know it, everyone in Miami will be asking, ‘Who is that man?’ and you’ll have to hire a social secretary to handle all the invitations! Don’t bother me again with such a foolish question.” So Mr. Lefkowitz bought a paper and looked through the ads, and by good fortune he read of a circus, stranded in Miami, that needed capital. Mr. Lefkowitz telephoned the circus owner and within half an hour had rented a camel. The next morning, Mr. Lefkowitz, wearing khaki shorts and a pith helmet, mounted his camel and set forth on Collins Avenue. Everywhere people stopped, buzzed, gawked, pointed. Every day for a week, Lefkowitz rode his trusty steed. One morning, just as he was about to get dressed, the telephone rang. “Mr. Lefkowitz! This is the parking lot! Your camel—it’s gone! Stolen!” At once, Mr. Lefkowitz phoned the police. A Sergeant O’Neill answered: “What? … It sounded as though you said someone had stolen your camel.” “That’s right!” “Er—I’ll fill out a form…. How tall was the animal?” “From the sidewalk to his back, where I sat, a good six feet.” “What color was it?” “What color?” echoed Lefkowitz. “Camel color: a regular, camel-colored camel!” “Male or female?” “Hanh?” “Was the animal male or female?” “How am I supposed to know about the sex of a camel?” Lefkowitz exclaimed. “Wait! Aha! It was a male!” “Are you sure?” “Absolutely.” “But Mr. Lefkowitz, a moment ago you—” “I’m positive, Officer, because I just remembered: Every time and every place I was riding on that camel, I could hear people yelling: ‘Hey! Look at the shmuck on that camel! ~ Leo Rosten,
136:At the end of the evening, when Winterborne was donning his hat and gloves in the entrance hall, Helen impulsively picked up her potted orchid from a table in the drawing room, and brought it to him.
“Mr. Winterborne,” she said earnestly, “I would like very much for you to have this.”
He gave her a questioning glance as she pushed the pot into his hands.
“It’s a Blue Vanda orchid,” she explained.
What should I do with it?”
“You might wish to keep it in a place where you can see it often. Remember that it doesn’t like to be cold and wet, or hot and dry. Whenever it’s moved to a new environment, the Vanda usually becomes distressed, so don’t be alarmed if a flower shrivels and drops off. Generally it’s best not to set it where there may be a draft, or too much sun. Or too much shadow. And never place it next to a bowl of fruit.” She gave him an encouraging glance. “Later, I’ll give you a special tonic to mist over it.”
As Winterborne stared at the exotic flower in his hands with perplexed reluctance, Helen began to regret her spontaneous action. He didn’t seem to want the gift, but she couldn’t very well ask to have it back.
“You needn’t take it if you don’t want it,” she said. “I would understand--”
“I want it.” Winterborne looked into her eyes and smiled slightly. “Thank you.”
Helen nodded and watched forlornly as he departed with the orchid caught firmly in his grasp.
“You gave him the Blue Vanda,” Pandora said in wonder, coming to stand beside her.
Cassandra came to her other side. “The most diabolically temperamental orchid of your entire collection.”
Helen sighed. “Yes.”
“He’ll kill it within a week,” Kathleen said flatly. “Any of us would.”
“Then why did you give it to him?”
Helen frowned and gestured with her palms up. “I wanted him to have something special.”
“He has thousands of special things from all over the world,” Pandora pointed out.
“Something special from me,” Helen clarified gently, and no one asked her about it after that. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
137:Looking East
LITTLE white clouds, why are you flying
Over the sky so blue and cold?
Fair faint hopes, why are you lying
Over my heart like a white cloud's fold?
Slender green leaves, why are you peeping
Out of the ground where the snow yet lies?
Toying west wind, why are you creeping
Like a child's breath across my eyes?
Hope and terror by turns consuming,
Lover and friend put far from me,-What should I do with the bright spring, coming
Like an angel over the sea?
Over the cruel sea that parted
Me from mine own, and rolls between;-Out of the woful east, whence darted
Heaven's full quiver of vengeance keen.
Day teaches day, night whispers morning-'Hundreds are weeping their dead, while thou
Weeping thy living--Rise, be adorning
Thy brows, unwidowed, with smiles.'--But how?
O, had he married me!--unto anguish,
Hardship, sickness, peril, and pain;
That on my breast his head might languish
In lonely jungle or scorching plain;
O, had we stood on some rampart gory,
Till he--ere Horror behind us trod-Kissed me, and killed me--so, with his glory
My soul went happy and pure to God!
Nay, nay, Heaven pardon me! me, sick-hearted,
Living this long, long life-in-death:
Many there are far wider parted
Who under one roof-tree breathe one breath.
But we that loved--whom one word half broken
Had drawn together close soul to soul
As lip to lip--and it was not spoken,
Nor may be while the world's ages roll.
I sit me down with my tears all frozen:
I drink my cup, be it gall or wine:
For I know, if he lives, I am his chosen-I know, if he dies, that he is mine.
If love in its silence be greater, stronger
Than million promises, sighs, or tears-I will wait upon Him a little longer
Who holdeth the balance of our years.
Little white clouds, like angels flying,
Bring the spring with you across the sea-Loving or losing, living or dying,
Lord, remember, remember me!
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik,
138:Roman Centurion's Song"

LEGATE, I had the news last night - my cohort ordered home
By ships to Portus Itius and thence by road to Rome.
I've marched the companies aboard, the arms are stowed below:
Now let another take my sword. Command me not to go!

I've served in Britain forty years, from Vectis to the Wall,
I have none other home than this, nor any life at all.
Last night I did not understand, but, now the hour draws near
That calls me to my native land, I feel that land is here.

Here where men say my name was made, here where my work was done;
Here where my dearest dead are laid - my wife - my wife and son;
Here where time, custom, grief and toil, age, memory, service, love,
Have rooted me in British soil. Ah, how can I remove?

For me this land, that sea, these airs, those folk and fields suffice.
What purple Southern pomp can match our changeful Northern skies,
Black with December snows unshed or pearled with August haze -
The clanging arch of steel-grey March, or June's long-lighted days?

You'll follow widening Rhodanus till vine and olive lean
Aslant before the sunny breeze that sweeps Nemausus clean
To Arelate's triple gate; but let me linger on,
Here where our stiff-necked British oaks confront Euroclydon!

You'll take the old Aurelian Road through shore-descending pines
Where, blue as any peacock's neck, the Tyrrhene Ocean shines.
You'll go where laurel crowns are won, but -will you e'er forget
The scent of hawthorn in the sun, or bracken in the wet?

Let me work here for Britain's sake - at any task you will -
A marsh to drain, a road to make or native troops to drill.
Some Western camp (I know the Pict) or granite Border keep,
Mid seas of heather derelict, where our old messmates sleep.

Legate, I come to you in tears - My cohort ordered home!
I've served in Britain forty years. What should I do in Rome?
Here is my heart, my soul, my mind - the only life I know.
I cannot leave it all behind. Command me not to go! ~ Rudyard Kipling,
139:I went straight upstairs to my bedroom after Marlboro Man and I said good night. I had to finish packing…and I had to tend to my face, which was causing me more discomfort by the minute. I looked in the bathroom mirror; my face was sunburn red. Irritated. Inflamed. Oh no. What had Prison Matron Cindy done to me? What should I do? I washed my face with cool water and a gentle cleaner and looked in the mirror. It was worse. I looked like a freako lobster face. It would be a great match for the cherry red suit I planned to wear to the rehearsal dinner the next night.
But my white dress for Saturday? That was another story.
I slept like a log and woke up early the next morning, opening my eyes and forgetting for a blissful four seconds about the facial trauma I’d endured the day before. I quickly brought my hands to my face; it felt tight and rough. I leaped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, flipping on the light and looking in the mirror to survey the state of my face.
The redness had subsided; I noticed that immediately. This was a good development. Encouraging. But upon closer examination, I could see the beginning stages of pruney lines around my chin and nose. My stomach lurched; it was the day of the rehearsal. It was the day I’d see not just my friends and family who, I was certain, would love me no matter what grotesque skin condition I’d contracted since the last time we saw one another, but also many, many people I’d never met before--ranching neighbors, cousins, business associates, and college friends of Marlboro Man’s. I wasn’t thrilled at the possibility that their first impression of me might be something that involved scales. I wanted to be fresh. Dewy. Resplendent. Not rough and dry and irritated. Not now. Not this weekend.
I examined the damage in the mirror and deduced that the plutonium Cindy the Prison Matron had swabbed on my face the day before had actually been some kind of acid peel. The burn came first. Logic would follow that what my face would want to do next would be to, well, peel. This could be bad. This could be real, real bad. What if I could speed along that process? Maybe if I could feed the beast’s desire to slough, it would leave me alone--at least for the next forty-eight hours.
All I wanted was forty-eight hours. I didn’t think it was too much to ask. ~ Ree Drummond,
140:His vulnerability allowed me to let my guard down, and gently and methodically, he tore apart my well-constructed dam. Waves of tender feelings were lapping over the top and slipping through the cracks. The feelings flooded through and spilled into me. It was frightening opening myself up to feel love for someone again. My heart pounded hard and thudded audibly in my chest. I was sure he could hear it.
Ren’s expression changed as he watched my face. His look of sadness was replaced by one of concern for me.
What was the next step? What should I do? What do I say? How do I share what I’m feeling?
I remembered watching romance movies with my mom, and our favorite saying was “shut up and kiss her already!” We’d both get frustrated when the hero or heroine wouldn’t do what was so obvious to the two of us, and as soon as a tense, romantic moment occurred, we’d both repeat our mantra. I could hear my mom’s humor-filled voice in my mind giving me the same advice: “Kells, shut up and kiss him already!”
So, I got a grip on myself, and before I changed my mind, I leaned over and kissed him.
He froze. He didn’t kiss me back. He didn’t push me away. He just stopped…moving. I pulled back, saw the shock on his face, and instantly regretted my boldness. I stood up and walked away, embarrassed. I wanted to put some distance between us as I frantically tried to rebuild the walls around my heart.
I heard him move. He slid his hand under my elbow and turned me around. I couldn’t look at him. I just stared at his bare feet. He put a finger under my chin and tried to nudge my head up, but I still refused to meet his gaze.
“Kelsey. Look at me.” Lifting my eyes, they traveled from his feet to a white button in the middle of his shirt. “Look at me.”
My eyes continued their journey. They drifted past the golden-bronze skin of his chest, his throat, and then settled on his beautiful face. His cobalt blue eyes searched mine, questioning. He took a step closer. My breath hitched in my throat. Reaching out a hand, he slid it around my waist slowly. His other hand cupped my chin. Still watching my face, he placed his palm lightly on my cheek and traced the arch of my cheekbone with his thumb.
The touch was sweet, hesitant, and careful, the way you might try to touch a frightened doe. His face was full of wonder and awareness. I quivered. He paused just a moment more, then smiled tenderly, dipped is head, and brushed his lips lightly against mine.
He kissed me softly, tentatively, just a mere whisper of a kiss. His other hand slid down to my waist too. I timidly touched his arms with my fingertips. He was warm, and his skin was smooth. He gently pulled me closer and pressed me lightly against his chest. I gripped his arms.
He sighed with pleasure, and deepened the kiss. I melted into him.
How was I breathing? His summery sandalwood scent surrounded me. Everywhere he touched me, I felt tingly and alive.
I clutched his arms fervently. His lips never leaving mine, Ren took both of my arms and wrapped them, one by one, around his neck. Then he trailed one of his hands down my bare arm to my waist while the other slid into my hair. Before I realized what he was planning to do, he picked me up with one arm and crushed me to his chest.
I have no idea how long we kissed. It felt like a mere second, and it also felt like forever. My bare feet were dangling several inches from the floor. He was holding all my body weight easily with one arm. I buried my fingers into his hair and felt a rumble in his chest. It was similar to the purring sound he made as a tiger. After that, all coherent thought fled and time stopped. ~ Colleen Houck,
141:Guys, I’m not in labor. I just moved too quickly, OK?’’ Aisling said.

‘‘Take your hands off her,’’ Drake said in a low voice that sounded very much like a growl.

Jim sucked in its breath, sitting up to watch.

‘‘I’m not hurting her,’’ Gabriel answered, bending over her belly as he continued to gently prod her. ‘‘I’m simply trying to ascertain if she’s in labor or not. Aisling, is the pain sharp or dull?’’

The door opened, and Gabriel’s two bodyguards, Tipene and Maata, entered. Behind them came one of Drake’s men, a thick-necked, redheaded man named István. The latter picked up on Gabriel’s question.

‘‘Aisling is in pain? She is having the baby?’’

‘‘I should examine you more fully,’’ Gabriel said, smiling at Aisling as he took her hand. ‘‘Do not worry, Aisling. I have delivered many dragons over the centuries. My mother is a very good midwifeand has taught me well.’’

Drake snatched up her other hand. ‘‘You will not examine my mate any further! We have an excellent green-dragon midwife who is attending her. Now, get away from her before I have you removed!’’

Aisling looked perfectly fine to me. She rolled her eyes, casting a pleading look skyward. I might not have experience in this area, but it was clear to me that she was not in labor. I shot a glare at Gabriel, grinding my teeth just a little at the stupidity of what was normally such a bright man, my fingers itching to pry his hand from Aisling’s.

‘‘I will tell you once more—remove your hands from her!’’ Drake’s voice got even more menacing.

‘‘Gabriel, I think she would know if she was in labor,’’ I said, nudging the dragon of mydreams a bit more forcefully.

‘‘A voice of reason at last,’’ Aisling said, giving me a smile. ‘‘Guys, I’m not—’’

István turned in the doorway and bellowed out of it. ‘‘Pál! Call the midwife! Aisling is in labor! I will call Nora and Rene. They wish to be here, yes? Should I boil water?’’

He evidently asked the last bit of Maata, who, as the female member of Gabriel’s attendants, was obviously expected to know the answer. Maata looked surprised. ‘‘Would it make you feel better to boil water?’’ she asked.

István nodded his head vigorously. ‘‘It is done, is it not? The boiling of water? It is important. I saw it in a movie.’’

‘‘Then, by all means, boil water,’’ she answered.

István nodded again, announced to the room in general, ‘‘I boil water!’’ and rushed out to suit action to word.

Pál, the second of Drake’s two redheaded bodyguards, slammed into István as he was leaving, scattering apologies as he dashed into the room, a cell phone in his hand. ‘‘The midwife’s phone is busy!’’ he said, offering the phone to Drake as proof.

‘‘Oh, man, if there’s going to be baby juice and blood and guck, I’m getting out of here,’’ Jim said, sidling around the clutch of people that surrounded Aisling. ‘‘I’m going to Amelie’s to be with Cecile. Someone tell me when it’s all over.’’

‘‘Hello, can anyone hear me? I’m not in labor!’’ Aisling said.

‘‘What should I do?’’ Pál asked Drake, shaking the phone at him. ‘‘It is busy! Busy! How can it be busy?’’

A little wisp of smoke escaped Drake’s nose as he glared at the phone. ‘‘It should not be busy. Go fetch her. There is no business she can have as important as this.’’

Pál didn’t stop to answer; he just bolted from the room.

‘‘Oh, for the love of Pete! I’m not in pain! And unless dragons have some sort ofpainless labor, a notion your mother vehemently says is false, then I’m not having the baby,’’ Aisling said, but was drowned out by Maata asking if Gabriel needed help at the same time Tipene offered to take overmidwife phone duty. ~ Katie MacAlister,
142:The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto Iv.
I Honour and Desert
O queen, awake to thy renown,
Require what 'tis our wealth to give,
And comprehend and wear the crown
Of thy despised prerogative!
I, who in manhood's name at length
With glad songs come to abdicate
The gross regality of strength,
Must yet in this thy praise abate,
That, through thine erring humbleness
And disregard of thy degree,
Mainly, has man been so much less
Than fits his fellowship with thee.
High thoughts had shaped the foolish brow,
The coward had grasp'd the hero's sword,
The vilest had been great, hadst thou,
Just to thyself, been worth's reward.
But lofty honours undersold
Seller and buyer both disgrace;
And favours that make folly bold
Banish the light from virtue's face.
II Love and Honour
What man with baseness so content,
Or sick with false conceit of right,
As not to know that the element
And inmost warmth of love's delight
Is honour? Who'd not rather kiss
A duchess than a milkmaid, prank
The two in equal grace, which is
Precedent Nature's obvious rank?
Much rather, then, a woman deck'd
With saintly honours, chaste and good,
Whose thoughts celestial things affect,
Whose eyes express her heavenly mood!
Those lesser vaunts are dimm'd or lost
Which plume her name or paint her lip,
Extinct in the deep-glowing boast
Of her angelic fellowship.
III Valour misdirected
‘I'll hunt for dangers North and South,
‘To prove my love, which sloth maligns!’
What seems to say her rosy mouth?
‘I'm not convinced by proofs but signs.’
Love In Idleness.
What should I do? In such a wife
Fortune had lavish'd all her store,
And nothing now seem'd left for life
But to deserve her more and more.
To this I vow'd my life's whole scope;
And Love said, ‘I forewarn you now,
‘The Maiden will fulfil your hope
‘Only as you fulfil your vow.’
A promised service, (task for days),
Was done this morning while she slept,
With that full heart which thinks no praise
Of vows which are not more than kept;
But loftier work did love impose,
And studious hours. Alas, for these,
While she from all my thoughts arose
Like Venus from the restless seas!
I conn'd a scheme, with mind elate:
My Uncle's land would fall to me,
My skill was much in school debate,
My friends were strong in Salisbury;
A place in Parliament once gain'd,
Thro' saps first labour'd out of sight,
Far loftier peaks were then attain'd
With easy leaps from height to height;
And that o'erwhelming honour paid,
Or recognised, at least, in life,
Which this most sweet and noble Maid
Should yield to him who call'd her Wife.
I fix'd this rule: in Sarum Close
To make two visits every week,
The first to-day; and, save on those,
I nought would do, think, read, or speak,
Which did not help my settled will
To earn the Statesman's proud applause.
And now, forthwith, to mend my skill
In ethics, politics, and laws,
The Statesman's learning! Flush'd with power
And pride of freshly-form'd resolve,
I read Helvetius half-an-hour;
But, halting in attempts to solve
Why, more than all things else that be,
A lady's grace hath force to move
That sensitive appetency
Of intellectual good, call'd love,
Took Blackstone down, only to draw
My swift-deriving thoughts ere long
To love, which is the source of law,
And, like a king, can do no wrong;
Then open'd Hyde, where loyal hearts,
With faith unpropp'd by precedent,
Began to play rebellious parts.
O, mighty stir that little meant!
How dull the crude, plough'd fields of fact
To me who trod the Elysian grove!
How idle all heroic act
By the least suffering of love!
I could not read; so took my pen,
And thus commenced, in form of notes,
A Lecture for the Salisbury men,
With due regard to Tory votes:
‘A road's a road, though worn to ruts;
‘They speed who travel straight therein;
‘But he who tacks and tries short cuts
‘Gets fools' praise and a broken shin—’
And here I stopp'd in sheer despair;
But, what to-day was thus begun,
I vow'd, up starting from my chair,
To-morrow should indeed be done;
So loosed my chafing thoughts from school,
To play with fancy as they chose,
And then, according to my rule,
I dress'd, and came to Sarum Close.
Ah, that sweet laugh! Diviner sense
Did Nature, forming her, inspire
To omit the grosser elements,
And make her all of air and fire!
To-morrow, Cowes Regatta fell:
The Dean would like his girls to go,
If I went too. ‘Most gladly.’ Well,
I did but break a foolish vow!
Unless Love's toil has love for prize,
(And then he's Hercules), above
All other contrarieties
Is labour contrary to love.
No fault of Love's, but nature's laws!
And Love, in idleness, lies quick;
For as the worm whose powers make pause,
And swoon, through alteration sick,
The soul, its wingless state dissolved,
Awaits its nuptial life complete,
All indolently self-convolved,
Cocoon'd in silken fancies sweet.
~ Coventry Patmore,
143:The Angel In The House. Book I. Canto Ix.
I The Wife's Tragedy
Man must be pleased; but him to please
Is woman's pleasure; down the gulf
Of his condoled necessities
She casts her best, she flings herself.
How often flings for nought, and yokes
Her heart to an icicle or whim,
Whose each impatient word provokes
Another, not from her, but him;
While she, too gentle even to force
His penitence by kind replies,
Waits by, expecting his remorse,
With pardon in her pitying eyes;
And if he once, by shame oppress'd,
A comfortable word confers,
She leans and weeps against his breast,
And seems to think the sin was hers;
And whilst his love has any life,
Or any eye to see her charms,
At any time, she's still his wife,
Dearly devoted to his arms;
She loves with love that cannot tire;
And when, ah woe, she loves alone,
Through passionate duty love springs higher,
As grass grows taller round a stone.
II Common Graces
Is nature in thee too spiritless,
Ignoble, impotent, and dead,
To prize her love and loveliness
The more for being thy daily bread?
And art thou one of that vile crew
Which see no splendour in the sun,
Praising alone the good that's new,
Or over, or not yet begun?
And has it dawn'd on thy dull wits
That love warms many as soft a nest,
That, though swathed round with benefits,
Thou art not singularly blest?
And fail thy thanks for gifts divine,
The common food of many a heart,
Because they are not only thine?
Beware lest in the end thou art
Cast for thy pride forth from the fold,
Too good to feel the common grace
Of blissful myriads who behold
For evermore the Father's face.
III The Zest of Life
Give thanks. It is not time misspent;
Worst fare this betters, and the best,
Wanting this natural condiment,
Breeds crudeness, and will not digest.
The grateful love the Giver's law;
But those who eat, and look no higher,
From sin or doubtful sanction draw
The biting sauce their feasts require.
Give thanks for nought, if you've no more,
And, having all things, do not doubt
That nought, with thanks, is blest before
Whate'er the world can give, without.
IV Fool and Wise
Endow the fool with sun and moon,
Being his, he holds them mean and low;
But to the wise a little boon
Is great, because the giver's so.
I stood by Honor and the Dean,
They seated in the London train.
A month from her! yet this had been,
Ere now, without such bitter pain.
But neighbourhood makes parting light,
And distance remedy has none;
Alone, she near, I felt as might
A blind man sitting in the sun;
She near, all for the time was well;
Hope's self, when we were far apart,
With lonely feeling, like the smell
Of heath on mountains, fill'd my heart.
To see her seem'd delight's full scope,
And her kind smile, so clear of care,
Ev'n then, though darkening all my hope,
Gilded the cloud of my despair.
She had forgot to bring a book.
I lent one; blamed the print for old;
And did not tell her that she took
A Petrarch worth its weight in gold.
I hoped she'd lose it; for my love
Was grown so dainty, high, and nice,
It prized no luxury above
The sense of fruitless sacrifice.
The bell rang, and, with shrieks like death,
Link catching link, the long array,
With ponderous pulse and fiery breath,
Proud of its burthen, swept away;
And through the lingering crowd I broke,
Sought the hill-side, and thence, heart-sick,
Beheld, far off, the little smoke
Along the landscape kindling quick.
What should I do, where should I go,
Now she was gone, my love! for mine
She was, whatever here below
Cross'd or usurp'd my right divine.
Life, without her, was vain and gross,
The glory from the world was gone,
And on the gardens of the Close
As on Sahara shone the sun.
Oppress'd with her departed grace,
My thoughts on ill surmises fed;
The harmful influence of the place
She went to fill'd my soul with dread.
She, mixing with the people there,
Might come back alter'd, having caught
The foolish, fashionable air
Of knowing all, and feeling nought.
Or, giddy with her beauty's praise,
She'd scorn our simple country life,
Its wholesome nights and tranquil days,
And would not deign to be my Wife.
‘My Wife,’ ‘my Wife,’ ah, tenderest word!
How oft, as fearful she might hear,
Whispering that name of ‘Wife,’ I heard
The chiming of the inmost sphere.
I pass'd the home of my regret.
The clock was striking in the hall,
And one sad window open yet,
Although the dews began to fall.
Ah, distance show'd her beauty's scope!
How light of heart and innocent
That loveliness which sicken'd hope
And wore the world for ornament!
How perfectly her life was framed;
And, thought of in that passionate mood,
How her affecting graces shamed
The vulgar life that was but good!
I wonder'd, would her bird be fed,
Her rose-plots water'd, she not by;
Loading my breast with angry dread
Of light, unlikely injury.
So, fill'd with love and fond remorse,
I paced the Close, its every part
Endow'd with reliquary force
To heal and raise from death my heart.
How tranquil and unsecular
The precinct! Once, through yonder gate,
I saw her go, and knew from far
Her love-lit form and gentle state.
Her dress had brush'd this wicket; here
She turn'd her face, and laugh'd, with light
Like moonbeams on a wavering mere.
Weary beforehand of the night,
I went; the blackbird, in the wood,
Talk'd by himself, and eastward grew
In heaven the symbol of my mood,
Where one bright star engross'd the blue.
~ Coventry Patmore,
144:A Dilettante
Good friend, be patient: goes the world awry?
well, can you groove it straight with all your pains?
and, sigh or scold, and, argue or intreat,
what have you done but waste your part of life
on impotent fool's battles with the winds,
that will blow as they list in spite of you?
Fie, I am weary of your pettish griefs
against the world that's given, like a child
who whines and pules because his bread's not cake,
because the roses have those ugly thorns
that prick if he's not careful of his hands.
Oh foolish spite: what talk you of the world,
and mean the men and women and the sin?
Oh friend, these all pass by, and God remains:
and God has made a world that pleases Him,
and when He wills then He will better it;
let it suffice us as he wills it now.
Nay, hush and look and listen. For this noon,
this summer noon, replies "but be content,"
speaking in voices of a hundred joys.
For lo, we, lying on this mossy knoll,
tasting the vivid musk of sheltering pines,
and balm of odorous flowers and sweet warm air;
feeling the uncadenced music of slow leaves,
and ripples in the brook athwart its stones,
and birds that call each other in the brakes
with sudden questions and smooth long replies,
the gossip of the incessant grasshoppers,
and the contented hum of laden bees;
we, knowing (with the easy restful eye
that, whichsoever way it turns, is filled
with unexacting beauty) this smooth sky,
blue with our English placid silvery blue,
mottled with little lazy clouds, this stretch
of dappled wealds and green and saffron slopes,
and near us these gnarled elm-trunks barred with gold,
and ruddy pine-boles, where the slumbrous beams
have slipped through the translucent leafy net
to break the shimmering dimness of the wood;
we, who, like licensed truants from light tasks
which lightly can be banished out of mind,
have all ourselves to give to idleness,
were more unreasoning, if we make moan
of miseries and toils and barrenness,
than if we sitting at a feast told tales
of famines and for the pity of them starved.
Oh, life is good when, on such summer days,
we linger in the dreamful paradise
that lies at every door where so much space
is left to garner in the languid air
as grass may grow in and some verdurous tree,
and some few yards of blueness and of clouds
may stretch above, making immensity;
when, lost out of our petty unit selves,
the heart grows large in the grave trance of peace,
and all things breathing, growing, are its kin,
and all the fair and blossoming earth is home.
And beauty is our lesson: for, look there,
that exquisite curve and cluster of rich leaves,
emerald and shadow, in that patch of sun,
what is it but a nettle? And that knoll
of woven green, where all fantastic grace
of shaggy stems and lush and trailing shoots
and all a thousand delicate varied tints,
are mingled in a wanton symmetry,
what is it but a thorn and bramble copse?
And that far plain, on which, through all the day,
change still grows lovelier and every cloud
makes different softer dimness, every light
an other-coloured glory, what is it?
a desolate barren waste, marshland and moor.
And in some other moment, when the rain
spurts greyly downwards on the soddening fields,
or the dank, autumn fog veils leaden skies,
or the keen baleful east winds nip the bloom
of frightened spring with bleak and parching chills,
the waste, the thorns, the nettle, each would seem
cursed with the unloveliness of evil things.
So beauty comes and goes: yet beauty is
a message out of Heaven; can it speak
from evil things? I know not; but I know
that waste and thorns and nettle are to-day
teachers of Love, a prospect not to change,
for use, against a fifty miles of corn.
Can we tell good from evil you and I?
Oh, if the men and women of to-day
seem ill or good to us, why, what know we?
to-morrow they, or those who follow them,
will seem another way; and are they changed,
or are the eyes that see them? Let them be;
are we divine that we should judge and rule?
And they are not the world by several selves
but in a gathered whole, and if that whole
drift heavenward or hellward God can see,
not we, who, ants hived in our colonies,
count the world loam or gravel, stocked with flowers
or weeds or cabbages, as we shall find
within our own small ranges, and (being wise
and full of care for all the universe),
wonder, and blame, and theorize, and plan,
by the broad guide of our experiences!
'Twere a neat world if levelled by the ants;
no ridges, no rough gaps, all fined and soft.
But I will rather use my antish wits
in smoothing just my cell and at my doors
than join in such heroic enterprise.
Selfish, you call me? callous? Hear a tale.
There was a little shallow brook that ran
between low banks, scarcely a child's leap wide,
feeding a foot or two of bordering grass
and, here and there, some tufts of waterflowers
and cresses, and tall sedge, rushes and reeds;
and, where it bubbled past a poor man's cot,
he and his household came and drank of it,
and all the children loved it for its flowers
and counted it a playmate made for them:
but, not far off, a sandy arid waste
where, when a winged seed rested, or a bird
would drop a grain in passing, and it grew,
it presently must droop and die athirst,
spread its scorched silent leagues to the fierce sun:
and once a learned man came by and saw,
and "lo," said he, "what space for corn to grow,
could we send vivifying moistures here,
while look, this wanton misdirected brook
watering its useless weeds!" so had it turned,
and made a channel for it through the waste:
but its small waters could not feed that drought,
and, in the wide unshadowed plain, it lagged,
and shrank away, sucked upwards of the sun
and downwards of the sands; so the new bed
lay dry, and dry the old; and the parched reeds
grew brown and dwined, the stunted rushes drooped,
the cresses could not root in that slacked soil,
the blossoms and the sedges died away,
the greenness shrivelled from the dusty banks,
the children missed their playmate and the flowers,
and thirsted in hot noon-tides for the draught
grown over precious now their mother went
a half-mile to the well to fill her pails;
and not two ears of corn the more were green.
Tell me, what should I do? I take my life
as I have found it, and the work it brings;
well, and the life is kind, the work is light,
shall I go fret and scorn myself for that?
and must I sally forth to hack and hew
at giants or at windmills, leave the post
I could have filled, the work I could have wrought,
for some magnificent mad enterprise,
some task to lift a mountain, drain a sea,
tread down a Titan, build a pyramid?
No, let me, like a bird bred in the cage,
that, singing its own self to gladness there,
makes some who hear it gladder, take what part
I have been born to, and make joy of it.
Grumbler, what are you muttering in your beard?
"You've a bird-likeness too, to shew me in;
I take life, as a sea-gull takes the sea,
mere skimmingly." I say no otherwise;
'tis a wise bird the sea-gull, does but taste
the hale and briny freshness of the spray:
what would you have me do? plunge in and drown?
Oh chiding friend, I am not of your kind,
you strenuous souls who cannot think you live
unless you feel your limbs, though 'twere by aches:
great boisterous winds you are, who must rush on
and sweep all on your way or drop and die,
but I am only a small fluttering breeze
to coax the roses open: let me be;
perhaps I have my use no less than you.
Ah well! How strange that you and I, who tread
so same a path, perceive it so unlike.
And which sees justly? Maybe both of us:
or maybe one of us is colour-blind,
and sees the tintings blurred, or sees them false,
or does not see, so misses what they shew.
Or likelier each of us is colour-blind,
and sees the world his own way, fit for him:
doubtless we afterwards shall understand
the beauty and the pain are more alike.
~ Augusta Davies Webster,

The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.
The vault yet blazes with the sun
Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome
Whose gladiators shock and shun
As the blue night devours them, crested comb
Of sleep's dead sea
That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!


So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame
Into my bowels; my blood's bewitched;
My brain's afloat with ecstasy of shame.
That tearing pain is gone, enriched
By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same
Myself is gone
Sucked by the dragon down below death's horizon.

I woke from this. I lay upon the lawn;
They had thrown roses on the moss
With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,
My lord and I; God sailed across
The sky in's galleon of amber, drawn
By singing winds
While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.


All day my lover deigned to murder me,
Linking his kisses in a chain
About my neck; demon-embroidery!
Bruises like far-ff mountains stain
The valley of my body of ivory!
Then last came sleep.
I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?


Nay, for I wept enough --- more sacred tears! ---
When first he pinned me, gripped

My flesh, and as a stallion that rears,
Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped;
Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears;
Sucked out my life
And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of


I will not weep; nay, I will follow him
Perchance he is not far,
Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim
Depth, where the evening star
May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky's rim
He makes his prayer
To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.


I rose to seek him. First my footsteps faint
Pressed the starred moss; but soon
I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint,
Into the wood, my mind. The moon
Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint
Hardly one ray
Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.


I wandered, crying on my Lord. I wandered
Eagerly seeking everywhere.
The stories of life that on my lips he squandered
Grew into shrill cries of despair,
Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered
Fled into space ---
Like to a demon-king's was grown my maiden face!


At last I came unto the well, my soul
In that still glass, I saw no sign
Of him, and yet --- what visions there uproll
To cloud that mirror-soul of mine?
Above my head there screams a flying scroll
Whose word burnt through
My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.


For in that scroll was written how the globe
Of space became; of how the light
Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe
Of glory; of how One most white
Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe
Of his right Ear,
So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.


Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell,
An incantation, a device
Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible
Wakes from its wilderness of ice
To flame, whereby the very core of hell
Bursts from its rind,
Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.


So then I saw my fault; I plunged within
The well, and brake the images
That I had made, as I must make - Men spin
The webs that snare them - while the knee
Bend to the tyrant God - or unto Sin
The lecher sunder!
Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?


It matters not. Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask!
Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep!
In vain we labour at the loathsome task
Not knowing if we wake or sleep;
But in the end we lift the plumed casque
Of the dead warrior;
Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.


Then I returned into myself, and took
All in my arms, God's universe:
Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook
His dumbness pregnant with a curse.
I made me ink, and in a little book
I wrote one word
That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.


It detonated. Nature, God, mankind
Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once
Blended, in one annihilation blind
Were rent into a myriad of suns.
Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind
Stood in the abyss,
Belching a Law for "That" more awful than for "This."


Vain was the toil. So then I left the wood
And came unto the still black sea,
That oily monster of beatitude!
('Hath "Thee" for "Me," and "Me" for "Thee!")
There as I stood, a mask of solitude
Hiding a face
Wried as a satyr's, rolled that ocean into space.


Then did I build an altar on the shore
Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round
With star-fish. Thither a green flame I bore
Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground
With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core
Was trembling steel
Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.


With that a goat came running from the cave
That lurked below the tall white cliff.
Thy name! cried I. The answer that gave
Was but one tempest-whisper - "If!"
Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave;
For on soul's curtain
Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!


So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.
And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
Then all this body's wealth of ambergris,
(Narcissus-scented flesh of man!)
I burnt before him in the sacrifice;
For he was sure -
Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!


Wherefore, when madness took him at the end,
He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt;
And that which inward did for ever tend
Came at the last to have come out;
And I who had the World and God to friend
Found all three foes!
Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!


Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein;
So they were not, and it was not.
As who should sweat his soul out through the skin
And find (sad fool!) he had begot
All that without him that he had left in,
And in himself
All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!


But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.
Him then I strove to woo, to win,
Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard,
Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin,
By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird
That only I
Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.


So still I conquered, and the vision passed.
Yet still was beaten, for I knew
Myself was He, Himself, the first and last;
And as an unicorn drinks dew
From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast
Into the mire;
For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.


More; in this journey I had clean forgotten
The quest, my lover. But the tomb
Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten,
Proved in the end to be my womb
Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten
A little child
To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!


This child hath not one hair upon his head,
But he hath wings instead of ears.
No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed
Within him on the ordered sphere
Of nature that he hideth; and in stead
Of mouth he hath
One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!


Also his nostrils are shut up; for he
Hath not the need of any breath;
Nor can the curtain of eternity
Cover that head with life or death.
So all his body, a slim almond-tree,
Knoweth no bough
Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.


This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.
I am in him, as he in me;
And like a satyr ravishing a lamb
So either seems, or as the sea
Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram
Beats its own head
Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.


Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!
Pile me the roses and the thorns,
Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!
He may return. A million morns
May follow that first dire daemonic dawn
When he did split
My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!


So I am stretched out naked to the knife,
My whole soul twitching with the stress
Of the expected yet surprising strife,
A martyrdom of blessedness.
Though Death came, I could kiss him into life;
Though Life came, I
Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!


Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam,
Am also none of these at all;
For now that cosmic chaos of I AM
Bursts like a bubble. Mystical
The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame
Woven therein
To be a sign to them who yet have never been.


The universe I measured with my rod.
The blacks were balanced with the whites;
Satan dropped down even as up soared God;
Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.
So in my book the even matched the odd:
No word I wrote
Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.


This also I seal up. Read thou herein
Whose eyes are blind! Thou may'st behold
Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin
All ways) a point of static gold.
Then may'st thou out therewith, and fit it in
That extreme spher
Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.
~ Aleister Crowley, The Garden of Janus
146:Under The Rose
'The iniquity of the fathers upon the children.'
Oh the rose of keenest thorn!
One hidden summer morn
Under the rose I was born.
I do not guess his name
Who wrought my Mother's shame,
And gave me life forlorn,
But my Mother, Mother, Mother,
I know her from all other.
My Mother pale and mild,
Fair as ever was seen,
She was but scarce sixteen,
Little more than a child,
When I was born
To work her scorn.
With secret bitter throes,
In a passion of secret woes,
She bore me under the rose.
One who my Mother nursed
Took me from the first:—
'O nurse, let me look upon
This babe that costs so dear;
To-morrow she will be gone:
Other mothers may keep
Their babes awake and asleep,
But I must not keep her here.'—
Whether I know or guess,
I know this not the less.
So I was sent away
That none might spy the truth:
And my childhood waxed to youth
And I left off childish play.
I never cared to play
With the village boys and girls;
And I think they thought me proud,
I found so little to say
And kept so from the crowd:
But I had the longest curls
And I had the largest eyes
And my teeth were small like pearls;
The girls might flout and scout me,
But the boys would hang about me
In sheepish mooning wise.
Our one-street village stood
A long mile from the town,
A mile of windy down
And bleak one-sided wood,
With not a single house.
Our town itself was small,
With just the common shops,
And throve in its small way.
Our neighbouring gentry reared
The good old-fashioned crops,
And made old-fashioned boasts
Of what John Bull would do
If Frenchman Frog appeared,
And drank old-fashioned toasts,
And made old-fashioned bows
To my Lady at the Hall.
My Lady at the Hall
Is grander than they all:
Hers is the oldest name
In all the neighbourhood;
But the race must die with her
Though she's a lofty dame,
For she's unmarried still.
Poor people say she's good
And has an open hand
As any in the land,
And she's the comforter
Of many sick and sad;
My nurse once said to me
That everything she had
Came of my Lady's bounty:
'Though she's greatest in the county
She's humble to the poor,
No beggar seeks her door
But finds help presently.
I pray both night and day
For her, and you must pray:
But she'll never feel distress
If needy folk can bless.'
I was a little maid
When here we came to live
From somewhere by the sea.
Men spoke a foreign tongue
There where we used to be
When I was merry and young,
Too young to feel afraid;
The fisher folk would give
A kind strange word to me,
There by the foreign sea:
I don't know where it was,
But I remember still
Our cottage on a hill,
And fields of flowering grass
On that fair foreign shore.
I liked my old home best,
But this was pleasant too:
So here we made our nest
And here I grew.
And now and then my Lady
In riding past our door
Would nod to Nurse and speak,
Or stoop and pat my cheek;
And I was always ready
To hold the field-gate wide
For my Lady to go through;
My Lady in her veil
So seldom put aside,
My Lady grave and pale.
I often sat to wonder
Who might my parents be,
For I knew of something under
My simple-seeming state.
Nurse never talked to me
Of mother or of father,
But watched me early and late
With kind suspicious cares:
Or not suspicious, rather
Anxious, as if she knew
Some secret I might gather
And smart for unawares.
Thus I grew.
But Nurse waxed old and grey,
Bent and weak with years.
There came a certain day
That she lay upon her bed
Shaking her palsied head,
With words she gasped to say
Which had to stay unsaid.
Then with a jerking hand
Held out so piteously
She gave a ring to me
Of gold wrought curiously,
A ring which she had worn
Since the day I was born,
She once had said to me:
I slipped it on my finger;
Her eyes were keen to linger
On my hand that slipped it on;
Then she sighed one rattling sigh
And stared on with sightless eye:—
The one who loved me was gone.
How long I stayed alone
With the corpse I never knew,
For I fainted dead as stone:
When I came to life once more
I was down upon the floor,
With neighbours making ado
To bring me back to life.
I heard the sexton's wife
Say: 'Up, my lad, and run
To tell it at the Hall;
She was my Lady's nurse,
And done can't be undone.
I'll watch by this poor lamb.
I guess my Lady's purse
Is always open to such:
I'd run up on my crutch
A cripple as I am,'
(For cramps had vexed her much)
'Rather than this dear heart
Lack one to take her part.'
For days day after day
On my weary bed I lay
Wishing the time would pass;
Oh, so wishing that I was
Likely to pass away:
For the one friend whom I knew
Was dead, I knew no other,
Neither father nor mother;
And I, what should I do?
One day the sexton's wife
Said: 'Rouse yourself, my dear:
My Lady has driven down
From the Hall into the town,
And we think she's coming here.
Cheer up, for life is life.'
But I would not look or speak,
Would not cheer up at all.
My tears were like to fall,
So I turned round to the wall
And hid my hollow cheek
Making as if I slept,
As silent as a stone,
And no one knew I wept.
What was my Lady to me,
The grand lady from the Hall?
She might come, or stay away,
I was sick at heart that day:
The whole world seemed to be
Nothing, just nothing to me,
For aught that I could see.
Yet I listened where I lay:
A bustle came below,
A clear voice said: 'I know;
I will see her first alone,
It may be less of a shock
If she's so weak to-day:'—
A light hand turned the lock,
A light step crossed the floor,
One sat beside my bed:
But never a word she said.
For me, my shyness grew
Each moment more and more:
So I said never a word
And neither looked nor stirred;
I think she must have heard
My heart go pit-a-pat:
Thus I lay, my Lady sat,
More than a mortal hour—
(I counted one and two
By the house-clock while I lay):
I seemed to have no power
To think of a thing to say,
Or do what I ought to do,
Or rouse myself to a choice.
At last she said: 'Margaret,
Won't you even look at me?'
A something in her voice
Forced my tears to fall at last,
Forced sobs from me thick and fast;
Something not of the past,
Yet stirring memory;
A something new, and yet
Not new, too sweet to last,
Which I never can forget.
I turned and stared at her:
Her cheek showed hollow-pale;
Her hair like mine was fair,
A wonderful fall of hair
That screened her like a veil;
But her height was statelier,
Her eyes had depth more deep;
I think they must have had
Always a something sad,
Unless they were asleep.
While I stared, my Lady took
My hand in her spare hand
Jewelled and soft and grand,
And looked with a long long look
Of hunger in my face;
As if she tried to trace
Features she ought to know,
And half hoped, half feared, to find.
Whatever was in her mind
She heaved a sigh at last,
And began to talk to me.
'Your nurse was my dear nurse,
And her nursling's dear,' said she:
'I never knew that she was worse
Till her poor life was past'
(Here my Lady's tears dropped fast):
'I might have been with her,
But she had no comforter.
She might have told me much
Which now I shall never know,
Never never shall know.'
She sat by me sobbing so,
And seemed so woe-begone,
That I laid one hand upon
Hers with a timid touch,
Scarce thinking what I did,
Not knowing what to say:
That moment her face was hid
In the pillow close by mine,
Her arm was flung over me,
She hugged me, sobbing so
As if her heart would break,
And kissed me where I lay.
After this she often came
To bring me fruit or wine,
Or sometimes hothouse flowers.
And at nights I lay awake
Often and often thinking
What to do for her sake.
Wet or dry it was the same:
She would come in at all hours,
Set me eating and drinking
And say I must grow strong;
At last the day seemed long
And home seemed scarcely home
If she did not come.
Well, I grew strong again:
In time of primroses,
I went to pluck them in the lane;
In time of nestling birds,
I heard them chirping round the house;
And all the herds
Were out at grass when I grew strong,
And days were waxen long,
And there was work for bees
Among the May-bush boughs,
And I had shot up tall,
And life felt after all
Pleasant, and not so long
When I grew strong.
I was going to the Hall
To be my Lady's maid:
'Her little friend,' she said to me,
'Almost her child,'
She said and smiled
Sighing painfully;
Blushing, with a second flush
As if she blushed to blush.
Friend, servant, child: just this
My standing at the Hall;
The other servants call me 'Miss,'
My Lady calls me 'Margaret,'
With her clear voice musical.
She never chides when I forget
This or that; she never chides.
Except when people come to stay,
(And that's not often) at the Hall,
I sit with her all day
And ride out when she rides.
She sings to me and makes me sing;
Sometimes I read to her,
Sometimes we merely sit and talk.
She noticed once my ring
And made me tell its history:
That evening in our garden walk
She said she should infer
The ring had been my father's first,
Then my mother's, given for me
To the nurse who nursed
My mother in her misery,
That so quite certainly
Some one might know me, who…
Then she was silent, and I too.
I hate when people come:
The women speak and stare
And mean to be so civil.
This one will stroke my hair,
That one will pat my cheek
And praise my Lady's kindness,
Expecting me to speak;
I like the proud ones best
Who sit as struck with blindness,
As if I wasn't there.
But if any gentleman
Is staying at the Hall
(Though few come prying here),
My Lady seems to fear
Some downright dreadful evil,
And makes me keep my room
As closely as she can:
So I hate when people come,
It is so troublesome.
In spite of all her care,
Sometimes to keep alive
I sometimes do contrive
To get out in the grounds
For a whiff of wholesome air,
Under the rose you know:
It's charming to break bounds,
Stolen waters are sweet,
And what's the good of feet
If for days they mustn't go?
Give me a longer tether,
Or I may break from it.
Now I have eyes and ears
And just some little wit:
'Almost my Lady's child;'
I recollect she smiled,
Sighed and blushed together;
Then her story of the ring
Sounds not improbable,
She told it me so well
It seemed the actual thing:—
Oh, keep your counsel close,
But I guess under the rose,
In long past summer weather
When the world was blossoming,
And the rose upon its thorn:
I guess not who he was
Flawed honour like a glass,
And made my life forlorn,
But my Mother, Mother, Mother,
Oh, I know her from all other.
My Lady, you might trust
Your daughter with your fame.
Trust me, I would not shame
Our honourable name,
For I have noble blood
Though I was bred in dust
And brought up in the mud.
I will not press my claim,
Just leave me where you will:
But you might trust your daughter,
For blood is thicker than water
And you're my mother still.
So my Lady holds her own
With condescending grace,
and fills her lofty place
With an untroubled face
As a queen may fill a throne.
While I could hint a tale—
(But then I am her child)—
Would make her quail;
Would set her in the dust,
Lorn with no comforter,
Her glorious hair defiled
And ashes on her cheek:
The decent world would thrust
Its finger out at her,
Not much displeased I think
To make a nine days' stir;
The decent world would sink
Its voice to speak of her.
Now this is what I mean
To do, no more, no less:
Never to speak, or show
Bare sign of what I know.
Let the blot pass unseen;
Yea, let her never guess
I hold the tangled clue
She huddles out of view.
Friend, servant, almost child,
So be it and nothing more
On this side of the grave.
Mother, in Paradise,
You'll see with clearer eyes;
Perhaps in this world even
When you are like to die
And face to face with Heaven
You'll drop for once the lie:
But you must drop the mask, not I.
My Lady promises
Two hundred pounds with me
Whenever I may wed
A man she can approve:
And since besides her bounty
I'm fairest in the county
(For so I've heard it said,
Though I don't vouch for this),
Her promised pounds may move
Some honest man to see
My virtues and my beauties;
Perhaps the rising grazier,
Or temperance publican,
May claim my wifely duties.
Meanwhile I wait their leisure
And grace-bestowing pleasure,
I wait the happy man;
But if I hold my head
And pitch my expectations
Just higher than their level,
They must fall back on patience:
I may not mean to wed,
Yet I'll be civil.
Now sometimes in a dream
My heart goes out of me
To build and scheme,
Till I sob after things that seem
So pleasant in a dream:
A home such as I see
My blessed neighbours live in
With father and with mother,
All proud of one another,
Named by one common name
From baby in the bud
To full-blown workman father;
It's little short of Heaven.
I'd give my gentle blood
To wash my special shame
And drown my private grudge;
I'd toil and moil much rather
The dingiest cottage drudge
Whose mother need not blush,
Than live here like a lady
And see my Mother flush
And hear her voice unsteady
Sometimes, yet never dare
Ask to share her care.
Of course the servants sneer
Behind my back at me;
Of course the village girls,
Who envy me my curls
And gowns and idleness,
Take comfort in a jeer;
Of course the ladies guess
Just so much of my history
As points the emphatic stress
With which they laud my Lady;
The gentlemen who catch
A casual glimpse of me
And turn again to see,
Their valets on the watch
To speak a word with me,
All know and sting me wild;
Till I am almost ready
To wish that I were dead,
No faces more to see,
No more words to be said,
My Mother safe at last
Disburdened of her child,
And the past past.
'All equal before God'—
Our Rector has it so,
And sundry sleepers nod:
It may be so; I know
All are not equal here,
And when the sleepers wake
They make a difference.
'All equal in the grave'—
That shows an obvious sense:
Yet something which I crave
Not death itself brings near;
Now should death half atone
For all my past; or make
The name I bear my own?
I love my dear old Nurse
Who loved me without gains;
I love my mistress even,
Friend, Mother, what you will:
But I could almost curse
My Father for his pains;
And sometimes at my prayer
Kneeling in sight of Heaven
I almost curse him still:
Why did he set his snare
To catch at unaware
My Mother's foolish youth;
Load me with shame that's hers,
And her with something worse,
A lifelong lie for truth?
I think my mind is fixed
On one point and made up:
To accept my lot unmixed;
Never to drug the cup
But drink it by myself.
I'll not be wooed for pelf;
I'll not blot out my shame
With any man's good name;
But nameless as I stand,
My hand is my own hand,
And nameless as I came
I go to the dark land.
'All equal in the grave'—
I bide my time till then:
'All equal before God'—
To-day I feel His rod,
To-morrow He may save:
~ Christina Georgina Rossetti,
147:Scene. Colmar in Alsatia: an Inn. 1528.
Paracelsus, Festus.
[to Johannes Oporinus, his Secretary].
Sic itur ad astra! Dear Von Visenburg
Is scandalized, and poor Torinus paralysed,
And every honest soul that Basil holds
Aghast; and yet we live, as one may say,
Just as though Liechtenfels had never set
So true a value on his sorry carcass,
And learned Ptter had not frowned us dumb.
We live; and shall as surely start to morrow
For Nuremberg, as we drink speedy scathe
To Basil in this mantling wine, suffused
A delicate blush, no fainter tinge is born
I' the shut heart of a bud. Pledge me, good John
"Basil; a hot plague ravage it, and Ptter
"Oppose the plague!" Even so? Do you too share
Their panic, the reptiles? Ha, ha; faint through these,
Desist for these! They manage matters so
At Basil, 't is like: but others may find means
To bring the stoutest braggart of the tribe
Once more to crouch in silencemeans to breed
A stupid wonder in each fool again,
Now big with admiration at the skill
Which stript a vain pretender of his plumes:
And, that done,means to brand each slavish brow
So deeply, surely, ineffaceably,
That henceforth flattery shall not pucker it
Out of the furrow; there that stamp shall stay
To show the next they fawn on, what they are,
This Basil with its magnates,fill my cup,
Whom I curse soul and limb. And now despatch,
Despatch, my trusty John; and what remains
To do, whate'er arrangements for our trip
Are yet to be completed, see you hasten
This night; we'll weather the storm at least: to-morrow
For Nuremberg! Now leave us; this grave clerk
Has divers weighty matters for my ear:
[Oporinus goes out.
And spare my lungs. At last, my gallant Festus,
I am rid of this arch-knave that dogs my heels
As a gaunt crow a gasping sheep; at last
May give a loose to my delight. How kind,
How very kind, my first best only friend!
Why, this looks like fidelity. Embrace me!
Not a hair silvered yet? Right! you shall live
Till I am worth your love; you shall be pround,
And Ibut let time show! Did you not wonder?
I sent to you because our compact weighed
Upon my conscience(you recall the night
At Basil, which the gods confound!)because
Once more I aspire. I call you to my side:
You come. You thought my message strange?
                      So strange
That I must hope, indeed, your messenger
Has mingled his own fancies with the words
Purporting to be yours.
            He said no more,
'T is probable, than the precious folk I leave
Said fiftyfold more roughly. Well-a-day,
'T is true! poor Paracelsus is exposed
At last; a most egregious quack he proves:
And those he overreached must spit their hate
On one who, utterly beneath contempt,
Could yet deceive their topping wits. You heard
Bare truth; and at my bidding you come here
To speed me on my enterprise, as once
Your lavish wishes sped me, my own friend!
What is your purpose, Aureole?
                Oh, for purpose,
There is no lack of precedents in a case
Like mine; at least, if not precisely mine,
The case of men cast off by those they sought
To benefit.
     They really cast you off?
I only heard a vague tale of some priest,
Cured by your skill, who wrangled at your claim,
Knowing his life's worth best; and how the judge
The matter was referred to, saw no cause
To interfere, nor you to hide your full
Contempt of him; nor he, again, to smother
His wrath thereat, which raised so fierce a flame
That Basil soon was made no place for you.
The affair of Liechtenfels? the shallowest fable,
The last and silliest outragemere pretence!
I knew it, I foretold it from the first,
How soon the stupid wonder you mistook
For genuine loyaltya cheering promise
Of better things to comewould pall and pass;
And every word comes true. Saul is among
The prophets! Just so long as I was pleased
To play off the mere antics of my art,
Fantastic gambols leading to no end,
I got huge praise: but one can ne'er keep down
Our foolish nature's weakness. There they flocked,
Poor devils, jostling, swearing and perspiring,
Till the walls rang again; and all for me!
I had a kindness for them, which was right;
But then I stopped not till I tacked to that
A trust in them and a respecta sort
Of sympathy for them; I must needs begin
To teach them, not amaze them, "to impart
"The spirit which should instigate the search
"Of truth," just what you bade me! I spoke out.
Forthwith a mighty squadron, in disgust,
Filed off"the sifted chaff of the sack," I said,
Redoubling my endeavours to secure
The rest. When lo! one man had tarried so long
Only to ascertain if I supported
This tenet of his, or that; another loved
To hear impartially before he judged,
And having heard, now judged; this bland disciple
Passed for my dupe, but all along, it seems,
Spied error where his neighbours marvelled most;
That fiery doctor who had hailed me friend,
Did it because my by-paths, once proved wrong
And beaconed properly, would commend again
The good old ways our sires jogged safely o'er,
Though not their squeamish sons; the other worthy
Discovered divers verses of St. John,
Which, read successively, refreshed the soul,
But, muttered backwards, cured the gout, the stone,
The colic and what not. Quid multa? The end
Was a clear class-room, and a quiet leer
From grave folk, and a sour reproachful glance
From those in chief who, cap in hand, installed
The new professor scarce a year before;
And a vast flourish about patient merit
Obscured awhile by flashy tricks, but sure
Sooner or later to emerge in splendour
Of which the example was some luckless wight
Whom my arrival had discomfited,
But now, it seems, the general voice recalled
To fill my chair and so efface the stain
Basil had long incurred. I sought no better,
Only a quiet dismissal from my post,
And from my heart I wished them better suited
And better served. Good night to Basil, then!
But fast as I proposed to rid the tribe
Of my obnoxious back, I could not spare them
The pleasure of a parting kick.
                 You smile:
Despise them as they merit!
               If I smile,
'T is with as very contempt as ever turned
Flesh into stone. This courteous recompense,
This grateful . . . Festus, were your nature fit
To be defiled, your eyes the eyes to ache
At gangrene-blotches, eating poison-blains,
The ulcerous barky scurf of leprosy
Which findsa man, and leavesa hideous thing
That cannot but be mended by hell fire,
I would lay bare to you the human heart
Which God cursed long ago, and devils make since
Their pet nest and their never-tiring home.
Oh, sages have discovered we are born
For various endsto love, to know: has ever
One stumbled, in his search, on any signs
Of a nature in us formed to hate? To hate?
If that be our true object which evokes
Our powers in fullest strength, be sure 't is hate!
Yet men have doubted if the best and bravest
Of spirits can nourish him with hate alone.
I had not the monopoly of fools,
It seems, at Basil.
          But your plans, your plans!
I have yet to learn your purpose, Aureole!
Whether to sink beneath such ponderous shame,
To shrink up like a crushed snail, undergo
In silence and desist from further toil,
and so subside into a monument
Of one their censure blasted? or to bow
Cheerfully as submissively, to lower
My old pretensions even as Basil dictates,
To drop into the rank her wits assign me
And live as they prescribe, and make that use
Of my poor knowledge which their rules allow,
Proud to be patted now and then, and careful
To practise the true posture for receiving
The amplest benefit from their hoofs' appliance
When they shall condescend to tutor me?
Then, one may feel resentment like a flame
Within, and deck false systems in truth's garb,
And tangle and entwine mankind with error,
And give them darkness for a dower and falsehood
For a possession, ages: or one may mope
Into a shade through thinking, or else drowse
Into a dreamless sleep and so die off.
But I,now Festus shall divine!but I
Am merely setting out once more, embracing
My earliest aims again! What thinks he now?
Your aims? the aims?to Know? and where is found
The early trust . . .
           Nay, not so fast; I say,
The aimsnot the old means. You know they made me
A laughing-stock; I was a fool; you know
The when and the how: hardly those means again!
Not but they had their beauty; who should know
Their passing beauty, if not I? Still, dreams
They were, so let them vanish, yet in beauty
If that may be. Stay: thus they pass in song!
[He sings.
Heap cassia, sandal-buds and stripes
Of labdanum, and aloe-balls,
Smeared with dull nard an Indian wipes
From out her hair: such balsam falls
Down sea-side mountain pedestals,
From tree-tops where tired winds are fain,
Spent with the vast and howling main,
To treasure half their island-gain.
And strew faint sweetness from some old
Egyptian's fine worm-eaten shroud
Which breaks to dust when once unrolled;
Or shredded perfume, like a cloud
From closet long to quiet vowed,
With mothed and dropping arras hung,
Mouldering her lute and books among,
As when a queen, long dead, was young.
Mine, every word! And on such pile shall die
My lovely fancies, with fair perished things,
Themselves fair and forgotten; yes, forgotten,
Or why abjure them? So, I made this rhyme
That fitting dignity might be preserved;
No little proud was I; though the list of drugs
Smacks of my old vocation, and the verse
Halts like the best of Luther's psalms.
                     But, Aureole,
Talk not thus wildly and madly. I am here
Did you know all! I have travelled far, indeed,
To learn your wishes. Be yourself again!
For in this mood I recognize you less
Than in the horrible despondency
I witnessed last. You may account this, joy;
But rather let me gaze on that despair
Than hear these incoherent words and see
This flushed cheek and intensely-sparkling eye.
Why, man, I was light-hearted in my prime
I am light-hearted now; what would you have?
Aprile was a poet, I make songs
'T is the very augury of success I want!
Why should I not be joyous now as then?
Joyous! and how? and what remains for joy?
You have declared the ends (which I am sick
Of naming) are impracticable.
Pursued as I pursued themthe arch-fool!
Listen: my plan will please you not, 't is like,
But you are little versed in the world's ways.
This is my plan(first drinking its good luck)
I will accept all helps; all I despised
So rashly at the outset, equally
With early impulses, late years have quenched:
I have tried each way singly: now for both!
All helps! no one sort shall exclude the rest.
I seek to know and to enjoy at once,
Not one without the other as before.
Suppose my labour should seem God's own cause
Once more, as first I dreamed,it shall not baulk me
Of the meanest earthliest sensualest delight
That may be snatched; for every joy is gain,
And gain is gain, however small. My soul
Can die then, nor be taunted"what was gained?"
Nor, on the other hand, should pleasure follow
As though I had not spurned her hitherto,
Shall she o'ercloud my spirit's rapt communion
With the tumultuous past, the teeming future,
Glorious with visions of a full success.
    And wherefore not? Why not prefer
Results obtained in my best state of being,
To those derived alone from seasons dark
As the thoughts they bred? When I was best, my youth
Unwasted, seemed success not surest too?
It is the nature of darkness to obscure.
I am a wanderer: I remember well
One journey, how I feared the track was missed,
So long the city I desired to reach
Lay hid; when suddenly its spires afar
Flashed through the circling clouds; you may conceive
My transport. Soon the vapours closed again,
But I had seen the city, and one such glance
No darkness could obscure: nor shall the present
A few dull hours, a passing shame or two,
Destroy the vivid memories of the past.
I will fight the battle out; a little spent
Perhaps, but still an able combatant.
You look at my grey hair and furrowed brow?
But I can turn even weakness to account:
Of many tricks I know, 't is not the least
To push the ruins of my frame, whereon
The fire of vigour trembles scarce alive,
Into a heap, and send the flame aloft.
What should I do with age? So, sickness lends
An aid; it being, I fear, the source of all
We boast of: mind is nothing but disease,
And natural health is ignorance.
                 I see
But one good symptom in this notable scheme.
I feared your sudden journey had in view
To wreak immediate vengeance on your foes
'T is not so: I am glad.
             And if I please
To spit on them, to trample them, what then?
'T is sorry warfare truly, but the fools
Provoke it. I would spare their self-conceit
But if they must provoke me, cannot suffer
Forbearance on my part, if I may keep
No quality in the shade, must needs put forth
Power to match power, my strength against their strength,
And teach them their own game with their own arms
Why, be it so and let them take their chance!
I am above them like a god, there's no
Hiding the fact: what idle scruples, then,
Were those that ever bade me soften it,
Communicate it gently to the world,
Instead of proving my supremacy,
Taking my natural station o'er their head,
Then owning all the glory was a man's!
And in my elevation man's would be.
But live and learn, though life's short, learning, hard!
And therefore, though the wreck of my past self,
I fear, dear Ptter, that your lecture-room
Must wait awhile for its best ornament,
The penitent empiric, who set up
For somebody, but soon was taught his place;
Now, but too happy to be let confess
His error, snuff the candles, and illustrate
(Fiat experientia corpore vili)
Your medicine's soundness in his person. Wait,
Good Ptter!
      He who sneers thus, is a god!
Ay, ay, laugh at me! I am very glad
You are not gulled by all this swaggering; you
Can see the root of the matter!how I strive
To put a good face on the overthrow
I have experienced, and to bury and hide
My degradation in its length and breadth;
How the mean motives I would make you think
Just mingle as is due with nobler aims,
The appetites I modestly allow
May influence me as being mortal still
Do goad me, drive me on, and fast supplant
My youth's desires. You are no stupid dupe:
You find me out! Yes, I had sent for you
To palm these childish lies upon you, Festus!
Laughyou shall laugh at me!
               The past, then, Aureole,
Proves nothing? Is our interchange of love
Yet to begin? Have I to swear I mean
No flattery in this speech or that? For you,
Whate'er you say, there is no degradation;
These low thoughts are no inmates of your mind,
Or wherefore this disorder? You are vexed
As much by the intrusion of base views,
Familiar to your adversaries, as they
Were troubled should your qualities alight
Amid their murky souls; not otherwise,
A stray wolf which the winter forces down
From our bleak hills, suffices to affright
A village in the valeswhile foresters
Sleep calm, though all night long the famished troop
Snuff round and scratch against their crazy huts.
These evil thoughts are monsters, and will flee.
May you be happy, Festus, my own friend!
Nay, further; the delights you fain would think
The superseders of your nobler aims,
Though ordinary and harmless stimulants,
Will ne'er content you. . . .
               Hush! I once despised them,
But that soon passes. We are high at first
In our demand, nor will abate a jot
Of toil's strict value; but time passes o'er,
And humbler spirits accept what we refuse:
In short, when some such comfort is doled out
As these delights, we cannot long retain
Bitter contempt which urges us at first
To hurl it back, but hug it to our breast
And thankfully retire. This life of mine
Must be lived out and a grave thoroughly earned:
I am just fit for that and nought beside.
I told you once, I cannot now enjoy,
Unless I deem my knowledge gains through joy;
Nor can I know, but straight warm tears reveal
My need of linking also joy to knowledge:
So, on I drive, enjoying all I can,
And knowing all I can. I speak, of course,
Confusedly; this will better explainfeel here!
Quick beating, is it not?a fire of the heart
To work off some way, this as well as any.
So, Festus sees me fairly launched; his calm
Compassionate look might have disturbed me once,
But now, far from rejecting, I invite
What bids me press the closer, lay myself
Open before him, and be soothed with pity;
I hope, if he command hope, and believe
As he directs mesatiating myself
With his enduring love. And Festus quits me
To give place to some credulous disciple
Who holds that God is wise, but Paracelsus
Has his peculiar merits: I suck in
That homage, chuckle o'er that admiration,
And then dismiss the fool; for night is come.
And I betake myself to study again,
Till patient searchings after hidden lore
Half wring some bright truth from its prison; my frame
Trembles, my forehead's veins swell out, my hair
Tingles for triumph. Slow and sure the morn
Shall break on my pent room and dwindling lamp
And furnace dead, and scattered earths and ores;
When, with a failing heart and throbbing brow,
I must review my captured truth, sum up
Its value, trace what ends to what begins,
Its present power with its eventual bearings,
Latent affinities, the views it opens,
And its full length in perfecting my scheme.
I view it sternly circumscribed, cast down
From the high place my fond hopes yielded it,
Proved worthlesswhich, in getting, yet had cost
Another wrench to this fast-falling frame.
Then, quick, the cup to quaff, that chases sorrow!
I lapse back into youth, and take again
My fluttering pulse for evidence that God
Means good to me, will make my cause his own.
See! I have cast off this remorseless care
Which clogged a spirit born to soar so free,
And my dim chamber has become a tent,
Festus is sitting by me, and his Michal . . .
Why do you start? I say, she listening here,
(For yonderWrzburg through the orchard-bough!)
Motions as though such ardent words should find
No echo in a maiden's quiet soul,
But her pure bosom heaves, her eyes fill fast
With tears, her sweet lips tremble all the while!
Ha, ha!
   It seems, then, you expect to reap
No unreal joy from this your present course,
But rather . . .
         Death! To die! I owe that much
To what, at least, I was. I should be sad
To live contented after such a fall,
To thrive and fatten after such reverse!
The whole plan is a makeshift, but will last
My time.
    And you have never mused and said,
"I had a noble purpose, and the strength
"To compass it; but I have stopped half-way,
"And wrongly given the first-fruits of my toil
"To objects little worthy of the gift.
"Why linger round them still? why clench my fault?
"Why seek for consolation in defeat,
"In vain endeavours to derive a beauty
"From ugliness? why seek to make the most
"Of what no power can change, nor strive instead
"With mighty effort to redeem the past
"And, gathering up the treasures thus cast down,
"To hold a steadfast course till I arrive
"At their fit destination and my own?"
You have never pondered thus?
               Have I, you ask?
Often at midnight, when most fancies come,
Would some such airy project visit me:
But ever at the end . . . or will you hear
The same thing in a tale, a parable?
You and I, wandering over the world wide,
Chance to set foot upon a desert coast.
Just as we cry, "No human voice before
"Broke the inveterate silence of these rocks!"
Their querulous echo startles us; we turn:
What ravaged structure still looks o'er the sea?
Some characters remain, too! While we read,
The sharp salt wind, impatient for the last
Of even this record, wistfully comes and goes,
Or sings what we recover, mocking it.
This is the record; and my voice, the wind's.
[He sings.
Over the sea our galleys went,
With cleaving prows in order brave
To a speeding wind and a bounding wave,
A gallant armament:
Each bark built out of a forest-tree
Left leafy and rough as first it grew,
And nailed all over the gaping sides,
Within and without, with black bull-hides,
Seethed in fat and suppled in flame,
To bear the playful billows' game:
So, each good ship was rude to see,
Rude and bare to the outward view,
But each upbore a stately tent
Where cedar pales in scented row
Kept out the flakes of the dancing brine,
And an awning drooped the mast below,
In fold on fold of the purple fine,
That neither noontide nor starshine
Nor moonlight cold which maketh mad,
Might pierce the regal tenement.
When the sun dawned, oh, gay and glad
We set the sail and plied the oar;
But when the night-wind blew like breath,
For joy of one day's voyage more,
We sang together on the wide sea,
Like men at peace on a peaceful shore;
Each sail was loosed to the wind so free,
Each helm made sure by the twilight star,
And in a sleep as calm as death,
We, the voyagers from afar,
Lay stretched along, each weary crew
In a circle round its wondrous tent
Whence gleamed soft light and curled rich scent,
And with light and perfume, music too:
So the stars wheeled round, and the darkness past,
And at morn we started beside the mast,
And still each ship was sailing fast.
Now, one morn, land appeareda speck
Dim trembling betwixt sea and sky:
"Avoid it," cried our pilot, "check
"The shout, restrain the eager eye!"
But the heaving sea was black behind
For many a night and many a day,
And land, though but a rock, drew nigh;
So, we broke the cedar pales away,
Let the purple awning flap in the wind,
And a statute bright was on every deck!
We shouted, every man of us,
And steered right into the harbour thus,
With pomp and pan glorious.
A hundred shapes of lucid stone!
All day we built its shrine for each,
A shrine of rock for every one,
Nor paused till in the westering sun
We sat together on the beach
To sing because our task was done.
When lo! what shouts and merry songs!
What laughter all the distance stirs!
A loaded raft with happy throngs
Of gentle islanders!
"Our isles are just at hand," they cried,
"Like cloudlets faint in even sleeping
"Our temple-gates are opened wide,
"Our olive-groves thick shade are keeping
"For these majestic forms"they cried.
Oh, then we awoke with sudden start
From our deep dream, and knew, too late,
How bare the rock, how desolate,
Which had received our precious freight:
Yet we called out"Depart!
"Our gifts, once given, must here abide.
"Our work is done; we have no heart
"To mar our work,"we cried.
In truth?
     Nay, wait: all this in tracings faint
On rugged stones strewn here and there, but piled
In order once: then followsmark what follows!
"The sad rhyme of the men who proudly clung
"To their first fault, and withered in their pride."
Come back then, Aureole; as you fear God, come!
This is foul sin; come back! Renounce the past,
Forswear the future; look for joy no more,
But wait death's summons amid holy sights,
And trust me for the eventpeace, if not joy.
Return with me to Einsiedeln, dear Aureole!
No way, no way! it would not turn to good.
A spotless child sleeps on the flowering moss
'T is well for him; but when a sinful man,
Envying such slumber, may desire to put
His guilt away, shall he return at once
To rest by lying there? Our sires knew well
(Spite of the grave discoveries of their sons)
The fitting course for such: dark cells, dim lamps,
A stone floor one may writhe on like a worm:
No mossy pillow blue with violets!
I see no symptom of these absolute
And tyrannous passions. You are calmer now.
This verse-making can purge you well enough
Without the terrible penance you describe.
You love me still: the lusts you fear will never
Outrage your friend. To Einsiedeln, once more!
Say but the word!
         No, no; those lusts forbid:
They crouch, I know, cowering with half-shut eye
Beside you; 't is their nature. Thrust yourself
Between them and their prey; let some fool style me
Or king or quack, it matters notthen try
Your wisdom, urge them to forego their treat!
No, no; learn better and look deeper, Festus!
If you knew how a devil sneers within me
While you are talking now of this, now that,
As though we differed scarcely save in trifles!
Do we so differ? True, change must proceed,
Whether for good or ill; keep from me, which!
Do not confide all secrets: I was born
To hope, and you . . .
           To trust: you know the fruits!
Listen: I do believe, what you call trust
Was self-delusion at the best: for, see!
So long as God would kindly pioneer
A path for you, and screen you from the world,
Procure you full exemption from man's lot,
Man's common hopes and fears, on the mere pretext
Of your engagement in his serviceyield you
A limitless licence, make you God, in fact,
And turn your slaveyou were content to say
Most courtly praises! What is it, at last,
But selfishness without example? None
Could trace God's will so plain as you, while yours
Remained implied in it; but now you fail,
And we, who prate about that will, are fools!
In short, God's service is established here
As he determines fit, and not your way,
And this you cannot brook. Such discontent
Is weak. Renounce all creatureship at once!
Affirm an absolute right to have and use
Your energies; as though the rivers should say
"We rush to the ocean; what have we to do
"With feeding streamlets, lingering in the vales,
"Sleeping in lazy pools?" Set up that plea,
That will be bold at least!
               'T is like enough.
The serviceable spirits are those, no doubt,
The East produces: lo, the master bids,
They wake, raise terraces and garden-grounds
In one night's space; and, this done, straight begin
Another century's sleep, to the great praise
Of him that framed them wise and beautiful,
Till a lamp's rubbing, or some chance akin,
Wake them again. I am of different mould.
I would have soothed my lord, and slaved for him
And done him service past my narrow bond,
And thus I get rewarded for my pains!
Beside, 't is vain to talk of forwarding
God's glory otherwise; this is alone
The sphere of its increase, as far as men
Increase it; why, then, look beyond this sphere?
We are his glory; and if we be glorious,
Is not the thing achieved?
              Shall one like me
Judge hearts like yours? Though years have changed you much,
And you have left your first love, and retain
Its empty shade to veil your crooked ways,
Yet I still hold that you have honoured God.
And who shall call your course without reward?
For, wherefore this repining at defeat
Had triumph ne'er inured you to high hopes?
I urge you to forsake the life you curse,
And what success attends me?simply talk
Of passion, weakness and remorse; in short,
Anything but the naked truthyou choose
This so-despised career, and cheaply hold
My happiness, or rather other men's.
Once more, return!
         And quickly. John the thief
Has pilfered half my secrets by this time:
And we depart by daybreak. I am weary,
I know not how; not even the wine-cup soothes
My brain to-night . . .
Do you not thoroughly despise me, Festus?
No flattery! One like you needs not be told
We live and breathe deceiving and deceived.
Do you not scorn me from your heart of hearts,
Me and my cant, each petty subterfuge,
My rhymes and all this frothy shower of words,
My glozing self-deceit, my outward crust
Of lies which wrap, as tetter, morphew, furfair
Wrapt the sound flesh?so, see you flatter not!
Even God flatters: but my friend, at least,
Is true. I would depart, secure henceforth
Against all further insult, hate and wrong
From puny foes; my one friend's scorn shall brand me:
No fear of sinking deeper!
              No, dear Aureole!
No, no; I came to counsel faithfully.
There are old rules, made long ere we were born,
By which I judge you. I, so fallible,
So infinitely low beside your mighty
Majestic spirit!even I can see
You own some higher law than ours which call
Sin, what is no sinweakness, what is strength.
But I have only these, such as they are,
To guide me; and I blame you where they bid,
Only so long as blaming promises
To win peace for your soul: the more, that sorrow
Has fallen on me of late, and they have helped me
So that I faint not under my distress.
But wherefore should I scruple to avow
In spite of all, as brother judging brother,
Your fate is most inexplicable to me?
And should you perish without recompense
And satisfaction yettoo hastily
I have relied on love: you may have sinned,
But you have loved. As a mere human matter
As I would have God deal with fragile men
In the endI say that you will triumph yet!
Have you felt sorrow, Festus?'t is because
You love me. Sorrow, and sweet Michal yours!
Well thought on: never let her know this last
Dull winding-up of all: these miscreants dared
Insult meme she loved:so, grieve her not!
Your ill success can little grieve her now.
Michal is dead! pray Christ we do not craze!
Aureole, dear Aureole, look not on me thus!
Fool, fool! this is the heart grown sorrow-proof
I cannot bear those eyes.
             Nay, really dead?
'T is scarce a month.
           Stone dead!then you have laid her
Among the flowers ere this. Now, do you know,
I can reveal a secret which shall comfort
Even you. I have no julep, as men think,
To cheat the grave; but a far better secret.
Know, then, you did not ill to trust your love
To the cold earth: I have thought much of it:
For I believe we do not wholly die.
    Nay, do not laugh; there is a reason
For what I say: I think the soul can never
Taste death. I am, just now, as you may see,
Very unfit to put so strange a thought
In an intelligible dress of words;
But take it as my trust, she is not dead.
But not on this account alone? you surely,
Aureole, you have believed this all along?
And Michal sleeps among the roots and dews,
While I am moved at Basil, and full of schemes
For Nuremberg, and hoping and despairing,
As though it mattered how the farce plays out,
So it be quickly played. Away, away!
Have your will, rabble! while we fight the prize,
Troop you in safety to the snug back-seats
And leave a clear arena for the brave
About to perish for your sport!Behold!

~ Robert Browning, Paracelsus - Part IV - Paracelsus Aspires
148:Scene. Basil; a chamber in the house of Paracelsus. 1526.
Paracelsus, Festus.
Heap logs and let the blaze laugh out!
                     True, true!
'T is very fit all, time and chance and change
Have wrought since last we sat thus, face to face
And soul to soulall cares, far-looking fears,
Vague apprehensions, all vain fancies bred
By your long absence, should be cast away,
Forgotten in this glad unhoped renewal
Of our affections.
         Oh, omit not aught
Which witnesses your own and Michal's own
Affection: spare not that! Only forget
The honours and the glories and what not,
It pleases you to tell profusely out.
Nay, even your honours, in a sense, I waive:
The wondrous Paracelsus, life's dispenser,
Fate's commissary, idol of the schools
And courts, shall be no more than Aureole still,
Still Aureole and my friend as when we parted
Some twenty years ago, and I restrained
As best I could the promptings of my spirit
Which secretly advanced you, from the first,
To the pre-eminent rank which, since, your own
Adventurous ardour, nobly triumphing,
Has won for you.
         Yes, yes. And Michal's face
Still wears that quiet and peculiar light
Like the dim circlet floating round a pearl?
Just so.
    And yet her calm sweet countenance,
Though saintly, was not sad; for she would sing
Alone. Does she still sing alone, bird-like,
Not dreaming you are near? Her carols dropt
In flakes through that old leafy bower built under
The sunny wall at Wrzburg, from her lattice
Among the trees above, while I, unseen,
Sat conning some rare scroll from Tritheim's shelves
Much wondering notes so simple could divert
My mind from study. Those were happy days.
Respect all such as sing when all alone!
Scarcely alone: her children, you may guess,
Are wild beside her.
           Ah, those children quite
Unsettle the pure picture in my mind:
A girl, she was so perfect, so distinct:
No change, no change! Not but this added grace
May blend and harmonize with its compeers,
And Michal may become her motherhood;
But't is a change, and I detest all change,
And most a change in aught I loved long since.
So, Michalyou have said she thinks of me?
O very proud will Michal be of you!
Imagine how we sat, long winter-nights,
Scheming and wondering, shaping your presumed
Adventure, or devising its reward;
Shutting out fear with all the strength of hope.
For it was strange how, even when most secure
In our domestic peace, a certain dim
And flitting shade could sadden all; it seemed
A restlessness of heart, a silent yearning,
A sense of something wanting, incomplete
Not to be put in words, perhaps avoided
By mute consentbut, said or unsaid, felt
To point to one so loved and so long lost.
And then the hopes rose and shut out the fears
How you would laugh should I recount them now
I still predicted your return at last
With gifts beyond the greatest of them all,
All Tritheim's wondrous troop; did one of which
Attain renown by any chance, I smiled,
As well aware of who would prove his peer
Michal was sure some woman, long ere this,
As beautiful as you were sage, had loved . . .
Far-seeing, truly, to discern so much
In the fantastic projects and day-dreams
Of a raw restless boy!
           Oh, no: the sunrise
Well warranted our faith in this full noon!
Can I forget the anxious voice which said
"Festus, have thoughts like these ere shaped themselves
"In other brains than mine? have their possessors
"Existed in like circumstance? were they weak
"As I, or ever constant from the first,
"Despising youth's allurements and rejecting
"As spider-films the shackles I endure?
"Is there hope for me?"and I answered gravely
As an acknowledged elder, calmer, wiser,
More gifted mortal. O you must remember,
For all your glorious . . .
               Glorious? ay, this hair,
These handsnay, touch them, they are mine! Recall
With all the said recallings, times when thus
To lay them by your own ne'er turned you pale
As now. Most glorious, are they not?
Something must be subtracted from success
So wide, no doubt. He would be scrupulous, truly,
Who should object such drawbacks. Still, still, Aureole,
You are changed, very changed! 'T were losing nothing
To look well to it: you must not be stolen
From the enjoyment of your well-won meed.
My friend! you seek my pleasure, past a doubt:
You will best gain your point, by talking, not
Of me, but of yourself.
            Have I not said
All touching Michal and my children? Sure
You know, by this, full well how Aennchen looks
Gravely, while one disparts her thick brown hair;
And Aureole's glee when some stray gannet builds
Amid the birch-trees by the lake. Small hope
Have I that he will honour (the wild imp)
His namesake. Sigh not! 't is too much to ask
That all we love should reach the same proud fate.
But you are very kind to humour me
By showing interest in my quiet life;
You, who of old could never tame yourself
To tranquil pleasures, must at heart despise . . .
Festus, strange secrets are let out by death
Who blabs so oft the follies of this world:
And I am death's familiar, as you know.
I helped a man to die, some few weeks since,
Warped even from his go-cart to one end
The living on princes' smiles, reflected from
A mighty herd of favourites. No mean trick
He left untried, and truly well-nigh wormed
All traces of God's finger out of him:
Then died, grown old. And just an hour before,
Having lain long with blank and soulless eyes,
He sat up suddenly, and with natural voice
Said that in spite of thick air and closed doors
God told him it was June; and he knew well,
Without such telling, harebells grew in June;
And all that kings could ever give or take
Would not be precious as those blooms to him.
Just so, allowing I am passing sage,
It seems to me much worthier argument
Why pansies,[1] eyes that laugh, bear beauty's prize
From violets, eyes that dream(your Michal's choice)
Than all fools find to wonder at in me
Or in my fortunes. And be very sure
I say this from no prurient restlessness,
No self-complacency, itching to turn,
Vary and view its pleasure from all points,
And, in this instance, willing other men
May be at pains, demonstrate to itself
The realness of the very joy it tastes.
What should delight me like the news of friends
Whose memories were a solace to me oft,
As mountain-baths to wild fowls in their flight?
Ofter than you had wasted thought on me
Had you been wise, and rightly valued bliss.
But there's no taming nor repressing hearts:
God knows I need such!So, you heard me speak?
Speak? when?
      When but this morning at my class?
There was noise and crowd enough. I saw you not.
Surely you know I am engaged to fill
The chair here?that't is part of my proud fate
To lecture to as many thick-skulled youths
As please, each day, to throng the theatre,
To my great reputation, and no small
Danger of Basil's benches long unused
To crack beneath such honour?
               I was there;
I mingled with the throng: shall I avow
Small care was mine to listen?too intent
On gathering from the murmurs of the crowd
A full corroboration of my hopes!
What can I learn about your powers? but they
Know, care for nought beyond your actual state,
Your actual value; yet they worship you,
Those various natures whom you sway as one!
But ere I go, be sure I shall attend . . .
Stop, o' God's name: the thing's by no means yet
Past remedy! Shall I read this morning's labour
At least in substance? Nought so worth the gaining
As an apt scholar! Thus then, with all due
Precision and emphasisyou, beside, are clearly
Guiltless of understanding more, a whit,
The subject than your stoolallowed to be
A notable advantage.
           Surely, Aureole,
You laugh at me!
         I laugh? Ha, ha! thank heaven,
I charge you, if't be so! for I forget
Much, and what laughter should be like. No less,
However, I forego that luxury
Since it alarms the friend who brings it back.
True, laughter like my own must echo strangely
To thinking men; a smile were better far;
So, make me smile! If the exulting look
You wore but now be smiling, 't is so long
Since I have smiled! Alas, such smiles are born
Alone of hearts like yours, or herdsmen's souls
Of ancient time, whose eyes, calm as their flocks,
Saw in the stars mere garnishry of heaven,
And in the earth a stage for altars only.
Never change, Festus: I say, never change!
My God, if he be wretched after all
When last we parted, Festus, you declared,
Or Michal, yes, her soft lips whispered words
I have preserved. She told me she believed
I should succeed (meaning, that in the search
I then engaged in, I should meet success)
And yet be wretched: now, she augured false.
Thank heaven! but you spoke strangely: could I venture
To think bare apprehension lest your friend,
Dazzled by your resplendent course, might find
Henceforth less sweetness in his own, could move
Such earnest mood in you? Fear not, dear friend,
That I shall leave you, inwardly repining
Your lot was not my own!
             And this for ever!
For ever! gull who may, they will be gulled!
They will not look nor think;'t is nothing new
In them: but surely he is not of them!
My Festus, do you know, I reckoned, you
Though all beside were sand-blindyou, my friend,
Would look at me, once close, with piercing eye
Untroubled by the false glare that confounds
A weaker vision: would remain serene,
Though singular amid a gaping throng.
I feared you, or I had come, sure, long ere this,
To Einsiedeln. Well, error has no end,
And Rhasis is a sage, and Basil boasts
A tribe of wits, and I am wise and blest
Past all dispute! 'T is vain to fret at it.
I have vowed long ago my worshippers
Shall owe to their own deep sagacity
All further information, good or bad.
Small risk indeed my reputation runs,
Unless perchance the glance now searching me
Be fixed much longer; for it seems to spell
Dimly the characters a simpler man
Might read distinct enough. Old Eastern books
Say, the fallen prince of morning some short space
Remained unchanged in semblance; nay, his brow
Was hued with triumph: every spirit then
Praising, his heart on flame the while:a tale!
Well, Festus, what discover you, I pray?
Some foul deed sullies then a life which else
Were raised supreme?
           Good: I do well, most well
Why strive to make men hear, feel, fret themselves
With what is past their power to comprehend?
I should not strive now: only, having nursed
The faint surmise that one yet walked the earth,
One, at least, not the utter fool of show,
Not absolutely formed to be the dupe
Of shallow plausibilities alone:
One who, in youth, found wise enough to choose
The happiness his riper years approve,
Was yet so anxious for another's sake,
That, ere his friend could rush upon a mad
And ruinous course, the converse of his own,
His gentle spirit essayed, prejudged for him
The perilous path, foresaw its destiny,
And warned the weak one in such tender words,
Such accentshis whole heart in every tone
That oft their memory comforted that friend
When it by right should have increased despair:
Having believed, I say, that this one man
Could never lose the light thus from the first
His portionhow should I refuse to grieve
At even my gain if it disturb our old
Relation, if it make me out more wise?
Therefore, once more reminding him how well
He prophesied, I note the single flaw
That spoils his prophet's title. In plain words,
You were deceived, and thus were you deceived
I have not been successful, and yet am
Most miserable; 't is said at last; nor you
Give credit, lest you force me to concede
That common sense yet lives upon the world!
You surely do not mean to banter me?
You know, orif you have been wise enough
To cleanse your memory of such mattersknew,
As far as words of mine could make it clear,
That't was my purpose to find joy or grief
Solely in the fulfilment of my plan
Or plot or whatsoe'er it was; rejoicing
Alone as it proceeded prosperously,
Sorrowing then only when mischance retarded
Its progress. That was in those Wrzburg days!
Not to prolong a theme I thoroughly hate,
I have pursued this plan with all my strength;
And having failed therein most signally,
Cannot object to ruin utter and drear
As all-excelling would have been the prize
Had fortune favoured me. I scarce have right
To vex your frank good spirit late so glad
In my supposed prosperity, I know,
And, were I lucky in a glut of friends,
Would well agree to let your error live,
Nay, strengthen it with fables of success.
But mine is no condition to refuse
The transient solace of so rare a godsend,
My solitary luxury, my one friend:
Accordingly I venture to put off
The wearisome vest of falsehood galling me,
Secure when he is by. I lay me bare
Prone at his mercybut he is my friend!
Not that he needs retain his aspect grave;
That answers not my purpose; for't is like,
Some sunny morningBasil being drained
Of its wise population, every corner
Of the amphitheatre crammed with learned clerks,
Here OEcolampadius, looking worlds of wit,
Here Castellanus, as profound as he,
Munsterus here, Frobenius there, all squeezed
And staring,that the zany of the show,
Even Paracelsus, shall put off before them
His trappings with a grace but seldom judged
Expedient in such cases:the grim smile
That will go round! Is it not therefore best
To venture a rehearsal like the present
In a small way? Where are the signs I seek,
The first-fruits and fair sample of the scorn
Due to all quacks? Why, this will never do!
These are foul vapours, Aureole; nought beside!
The effect of watching, study, weariness.
Were there a spark of truth in the confusion
Of these wild words, you would not outrage thus
Your youth's companion. I shall ne'er regard
These wanderings, bred of faintness and much study.
'T is not thus you would trust a trouble to me,
To Michal's friend.
          I have said it, dearest Festus!
For the manner, 't is ungracious probably;
You may have it told in broken sobs, one day,
And scalding tears, ere long: but I thought best
To keep that off as long as possible.
Do you wonder still?
           No; it must oft fall out
That one whose labour perfects any work,
Shall rise from it with eye so worn that he
Of all men least can measure the extent
Of what he has accomplished. He alone
Who, nothing tasked, is nothing weary too,
May clearly scan the little he effects:
But we, the bystanders, untouched by toil,
Estimate each aright.
           This worthy Festus
Is one of them, at last! 'T is so with all!
First, they set down all progress as a dream;
And next, when he whose quick discomfiture
Was counted on, accomplishes some few
And doubtful steps in his career,behold,
They look for every inch of ground to vanish
Beneath his tread, so sure they spy success!
Few doubtful steps? when death retires before
Your presencewhen the noblest of mankind,
Broken in body or subdued in soul,
May through your skill renew their vigour, raise
The shattered frame to pristine stateliness?
When men in racking pain may purchase dreams
Of what delights them most, swooning at once
Into a sea of bliss or rapt along
As in a flying sphere of turbulent light?
When we may look to you as one ordained
To free the flesh from fell disease, as frees
Our Luther's burning tongue the fettered soul?
When . . .
     When and where, the devil, did you get
This notable news?
         Even from the common voice;
From those whose envy, daring not dispute
The wonders it decries, attributes them
To magic and such folly.
             Folly? Why not
To magic, pray? You find a comfort doubtless
In holding, God ne'er troubles him about
Us or our doings: once we were judged worth
The devil's tempting . . . I offend: forgive me,
And rest content. Your prophecy on the whole
Was fair enough as prophesyings go;
At fault a little in detail, but quite
Precise enough in the main; and hereupon
I pay due homage: you guessed long ago
(The prophet!) I should failand I have failed.
You mean to tell me, then, the hopes which fed
Your youth have not been realized as yet?
Some obstacle has barred them hitherto?
Or that their innate . . .
              As I said but now,
You have a very decent prophet's fame,
So you but shun details here. Little matter
Whether those hopes were mad,the aims they sought,
Safe and secure from all ambitious fools;
Or whether my weak wits are overcome
By what a better spirit would scorn: I fail.
And now methinks't were best to change a theme
I am a sad fool to have stumbled on.
I say confusedly what comes uppermost;
But there are times when patience proves at fault,
As now: this morning's strange encounteryou
Beside me once again! you, whom I guessed
Alive, since hitherto (with Luther's leave)
No friend have I among the saints at peace,
To judge by any good their prayers effect.
I knew you would have helped mewhy not he,
My strange competitor in enterprise,
Bound for the same end by another path,
Arrived, or ill or well, before the time,
At our disastrous journey's doubtful close?
How goes it with Aprile? Ah, they miss
Your lone sad sunny idleness of heaven,
Our martyrs for the world's sake; heaven shuts fast:
The poor mad poet is howling by this time!
Since you are my sole friend then, here or there,
I could not quite repress the varied feelings
This meeting wakens; they have had their vent,
And now forget them. Do the rear-mice still
Hang like a fretwork on the gate (or what
In my time was a gate) fronting the road
From Einsiedeln to Lachen?
              Trifle not:
Answer me, for my sake alone! You smiled
Just now, when I supposed some deed, unworthy
Yourself, might blot the else so bright result;
Yet if your motives have continued pure,
Your will unfaltering, and in spite of this,
You have experienced a defeat, why then
I say not you would cheerfully withdraw
From contestmortal hearts are not so fashioned
But surely you would ne'ertheless withdraw.
You sought not fame nor gain nor even love,
No end distinct from knowledge,I repeat
Your very words: once satisfied that knowledge
Is a mere dream, you would announce as much,
Yourself the first. But how is the event?
You are defeatedand I find you here!
As though "here" did not signify defeat!
I spoke not of my little labours here,
But of the break-down of my general aims:
For you, aware of their extent and scope,
To look on these sage lecturings, approved
By beardless boys, and bearded dotards worse,
As a fit consummation of such aims,
Is worthy notice. A professorship
At Basil! Since you see so much in it,
And think my life was reasonably drained
Of life's delights to render me a match
For duties arduous as such post demands,
Be it far from me to deny my power
To fill the petty circle lotted out
Of infinite space, or justify the host
Of honours thence accruing. So, take notice,
This jewel dangling from my neck preserves
The features of a prince, my skill restored
To plague his people some few years to come:
And all through a pure whim. He had eased the earth
For me, but that the droll despair which seized
The vermin of his household, tickled me.
I came to see. Here, drivelled the physician,
Whose most infallible nostrum was at fault;
There quaked the astrologer, whose horoscope
Had promised him interminable years;
Here a monk fumbled at the sick man's mouth
With some undoubted relica sudary
Of the Virgin; while another piebald knave
Of the same brotherhood (he loved them ever)
Was actively preparing 'neath his nose
Such a suffumigation as, once fired,
Had stunk the patient dead ere he could groan.
I cursed the doctor and upset the brother,
Brushed past the conjurer, vowed that the first gust
Of stench from the ingredients just alight
Would raise a cross-grained devil in my sword,
Not easily laid: and ere an hour the prince
Slept as he never slept since prince he was.
A dayand I was posting for my life,
Placarded through the town as one whose spite
Had near availed to stop the blessed effects
Of the doctor's nostrum which, well seconded
By the sudary, and most by the costly smoke
Not leaving out the strenuous prayers sent up
Hard by in the abbeyraised the prince to life:
To the great reputation of the seer
Who, confident, expected all along
The glad eventthe doctor's recompense
Much largess from his highness to the monks
And the vast solace of his loving people,
Whose general satisfaction to increase,
The prince was pleased no longer to defer
The burning of some dozen heretics
Remanded till God's mercy should be shown
Touching his sickness: last of all were joined
Ample directions to all loyal folk
To swell the complement by seizing me
Whodoubtless some rank sorcererendeavoured
To thwart these pious offices, obstruct
The prince's cure, and frustrate heaven by help
Of certain devils dwelling in his sword.
By luck, the prince in his first fit of thanks
Had forced this bauble on me as an earnest
Of further favours. This one case may serve
To give sufficient taste of many such,
So, let them pass. Those shelves support a pile
Of patents, licences, diplomas, titles
From Germany, France, Spain, and Italy;
They authorize some honour; ne'ertheless,
I set more store by this Erasmus sent;
He trusts me; our Frobenius is his friend,
And him "I raised" (nay, read it) "from the dead."
I weary you, I see. I merely sought
To show, there's no great wonder after all
That, while I fill the class-room and attract
A crowd to Basil, I get leave to stay,
And therefore need not scruple to accept
The utmost they can offer, if I please:
For't is but right the world should be prepared
To treat with favour e'en fantastic wants
Of one like me, used up in serving her.
Just as the mortal, whom the gods in part
Devoured, received in place of his lost limb
Some virtue or othercured disease, I think;
You mind the fables we have read together.
You do not think I comprehend a word.
The time was, Aureole, you were apt enough
To clothe the airiest thoughts in specious breath;
But surely you must feel how vague and strange
These speeches sound.
           Well, then: you know my hopes;
I am assured, at length, those hopes were vain;
That truth is just as far from me as ever;
That I have thrown my life away; that sorrow
On that account is idle, and further effort
To mend and patch what's marred beyond repairing,
As useless: and all this was taught your friend
By the convincing good old-fashioned method
Of forceby sheer compulsion. Is that plain?
Dear Aureole, can it be my fears were just?
God wills not . . .
          Now, 't is this I most admire
The constant talk men of your stamp keep up
Of God's will, as they style it; one would swear
Man had but merely to uplift his eye,
And see the will in question charactered
On the heaven's vault. 'T is hardly wise to moot
Such topics: doubts are many and faith is weak.
I know as much of any will of God
As knows some dumb and tortured brute what Man,
His stern lord, wills from the perplexing blows
That plague him every way; but there, of course,
Where least he suffers, longest he remains
My case; and for such reasons I plod on,
Subdued but not convinced. I know as little
Why I deserve to fail, as why I hoped
Better things in my youth. I simply know
I am no master here, but trained and beaten
Into the path I tread; and here I stay,
Until some further intimation reach me,
Like an obedient drudge. Though I prefer
To view the whole thing as a task imposed
Which, whether dull or pleasant, must be done
Yet, I deny not, there is made provision
Of joys which tastes less jaded might affect;
Nay, some which please me too, for all my pride
Pleasures that once were pains: the iron ring
Festering about a slave's neck grows at length
Into the flesh it eats. I hate no longer
A host of petty vile delights, undreamed of
Or spurned before; such now supply the place
Of my dead aims: as in the autumn woods
Where tall trees used to flourish, from their roots
Springs up a fungous brood sickly and pale,
Chill mushrooms coloured like a corpse's cheek.
If I interpret well your words, I own
It troubles me but little that your aims,
Vast in their dawning and most likely grown
Extravagantly since, have baffled you.
Perchance I am glad; you merit greater praise;
Because they are too glorious to be gained,
You do not blindly cling to them and die;
You fell, but have not sullenly refused
To rise, because an angel worsted you
In wrestling, though the world holds not your peer;
And though too harsh and sudden is the change
To yield content as yet, still you pursue
The ungracious path as though't were rosv-strewn.
'T is well: and your reward, or soon or late,
Will come from him whom no man serves in vain.
Ah, very fine! For my part, I conceive
The very pausing from all further toil,
Which you find heinous, would become a seal
To the sincerity of all my deeds.
To be consistent I should die at once;
I calculated on no after-life;
Yet (how crept in, how fostered, I know not)
Here am I with as passionate regret
For youth and health and love so vainly lavished,
As if their preservation had been first
And foremost in my thoughts; and this strange fact
Humbled me wondrously, and had due force
In rendering me the less averse to follow
A certain counsel, a mysterious warning
You will not understandbut't was a man
With aims not mine and yet pursued like mine,
With the same fervour and no more success,
Perishing in my sight; who summoned me
As I would shun the ghastly fate I saw,
To serve my race at once; to wait no longer
That God should interfere in my behalf,
But to distrust myself, put pride away,
And give my gains, imperfect as they were,
To men. I have not leisure to explain
How, since, a singular series of events
Has raised me to the station you behold,
Wherein I seem to turn to most account
The mere wreck of the past,perhaps receive
Some feeble glimmering token that God views
And may approve my penance: therefore here
You find me, doing most good or least harm.
And if folks wonder much and profit little
'T is not my fault; only, I shall rejoice
When my part in the farce is shuffled through,
And the curtain falls: I must hold out till then.
Till when, dear Aureole?
             Till I'm fairly thrust
From my proud eminence. Fortune is fickle
And even professors fall: should that arrive,
I see no sin in ceding to my bent.
You little fancy what rude shocks apprise us
We sin; God's intimations rather fail
In clearness than in energy: 't were well
Did they but indicate the course to take
Like that to be forsaken. I would fain
Be spared a further sample. Here I stand,
And here I stay, be sure, till forced to flit.
Be you but firm on that head! long ere then
All I expect will come to pass, I trust:
The cloud that wraps you will have disappeared.
Meantime, I see small chance of such event:
They praise you here as one whose lore, already
Divulged, eclipses all the past can show,
But whose achievements, marvellous as they be,
Are faint anticipations of a glory
About to be revealed. When Basil's crowds
Dismiss their teacher, I shall be content
That he depart.
        This favour at their hands
I look for earlier than your view of things
Would warrant. Of the crowd you saw to-day,
Remove the full half sheer amazement draws,
Mere novelty, nought else; and next, the tribe
Whose innate blockish dulness just perceives
That unless miracles (as seem my works)
Be wrought in their behalf, their chance is slight
To puzzle the devil; next, the numerous set
Who bitterly hate established schools, and help
The teacher that oppugns them, till he once
Have planted his own doctrine, when the teacher
May reckon on their rancour in his turn;
Take, too, the sprinkling of sagacious knaves
Whose cunning runs not counter to the vogue
But seeks, by flattery and crafty nursing,
To force my system to a premature
Short-lived development. Why swell the list?
Each has his end to serve, and his best way
Of serving it: remove all these, remains
A scantling, a poor dozen at the best,
Worthy to look for sympathy and service,
And likely to draw profit from my pains.
'T is no encouraging picture: still these few
Redeem their fellows. Once the germ implanted,
Its growth, if slow, is sure.
               God grant it so!
I would make some amends: but if I fail,
The luckless rogues have this excuse to urge,
That much is in my method and my manner,
My uncouth habits, my impatient spirit,
Which hinders of reception and result
My doctrine: much to say, small skill to speak!
These old aims suffered not a looking-off
Though for an instant; therefore, only when
I thus renounced them and resolved to reap
Some present fruitto teach mankind some truth
So dearly purchasedonly then I found
Such teaching was an art requiring cares
And qualities peculiar to itself:
That to possess was one thingto display
Another. With renown first in my thoughts,
Or popular praise, I had soon discovered it:
One grows but little apt to learn these things.
If it be so, which nowise I believe,
There needs no waiting fuller dispensation
To leave a labour of so little use.
Why not throw up the irksome charge at once?
A task, a task!
        But wherefore hide the whole
Extent of degradation, once engaged
In the confessing vein? Despite of all
My fine talk of obedience and repugnance,
Docility and what not, 't is yet to learn
If when the task shall really be performed,
My inclination free to choose once more,
I shall do aught but slightly modify
The nature of the hated task I quit.
In plain words, I am spoiled; my life still tends
As first it tended; I am broken and trained
To my old habits: they are part of me.
I know, and none so well, my darling ends
Are proved impossible: no less, no less,
Even now what humours me, fond fool, as when
Their faint ghosts sit with me and flatter me
And send me back content to my dull round?
How can I change this soul?this apparatus
Constructed solely for their purposes,
So well adapted to their every want,
To search out and discover, prove and perfect;
This intricate machine whose most minute
And meanest motions have their charm to me
Though to none elsean aptitude I seize,
An object I perceive, a use, a meaning,
A property, a fitness, I explain
And I alone:how can I change my soul?
And this wronged body, worthless save when tasked
Under that soul's dominionused to care
For its bright master's cares and quite subdue
Its proper cravingsnot to ail nor pine
So he but prosperwhither drag this poor
Tried patient body? God! how I essayed
To live like that mad poet, for a while,
To love alone; and how I felt too warped
And twisted and deformed! What should I do,
Even tho'released from drudgery, but return
Faint, as you see, and halting, blind and sore,
To my old life and die as I began?
I cannot feed on beauty for the sake
Of beauty only, nor can drink in balm
From lovely objects for their loveliness;
My nature cannot lose her first imprint;
I still must hoard and heap and class all truths
With one ulterior purpose: I must know!
Would God translate me to his throne, believe
That I should only listen to his word
To further my own aim! For other men,
Beauty is prodigally strewn around,
And I were happy could I quench as they
This mad and thriveless longing, and content me
With beauty for itself alone: alas,
I have addressed a frock of heavy mail
Yet may not join the troop of sacred knights;
And now the forest-creatures fly from me,
The grass-banks cool, the sunbeams warm no more.
Best follow, dreaming that ere night arrive,
I shall o'ertake the company and ride
Glittering as they!
          I think I apprehend
What you would say: if you, in truth, design
To enter once more on the life thus left,
Seek not to hide that all this consciousness
Of failure is assumed!
           My friend, my friend,
I toil, you listen; I explain, perhaps
You understand: there our communion ends.
Have you learnt nothing from to-day's discourse?
When we would thoroughly know the sick man's state
We feel awhile the fluttering pulse, press soft
The hot brow, look upon the languid eye,
And thence divine the rest. Must I lay bare
My heart, hideous and beating, or tear up
My vitals for your gaze, ere you will deem
Enough made known? You! who are you, forsooth?
That is the crowning operation claimed
By the arch-demonstratorheaven the hall,
And earth the audience. Let Aprile and you
Secure good places: 't will be worth the while.
Are you mad, Aureole? What can I have said
To call for this? I judged from your own words.
Oh, doubtless! A sick wretch describes the ape
That mocks him from the bed-foot, and all gravely
You thither turn at once: or he recounts
The perilous journey he has late performed,
And you are puzzled much how that could be!
You find me here, half stupid and half mad;
It makes no part of my delight to search
Into these matters, much less undergo
Another's scrutiny; but so it chances
That I am led to trust my state to you:
And the event is, you combine, contrast
And ponder on my foolish words as though
They thoroughly conveyed all hidden here
Here, loathsome with despair and hate and rage!
Is there no fear, no shrinking and no shame?
Will you guess nothing? will you spare me nothing?
Must I go deeper? Ay or no?
               Dear friend . . .
True: I am brutal't is a part of it;
The plague's signyou are not a lazar-haunter,
How should you know? Well then, you think it strange
I should profess to have failed utterly,
And yet propose an ultimate return
To courses void of hope: and this, because
You know not what temptation is, nor how
'T is like to ply men in the sickliest part.
You are to understand that we who make
Sport for the gods, are hunted to the end:
There is not one sharp volley shot at us,
Which 'scaped with life, though hurt, we slacken pace
And gather by the wayside herbs and roots
To staunch our wounds, secure from further harm:
We are assailed to life's extremest verge.
It will be well indeed if I return,
A harmless busy fool, to my old ways!
I would forget hints of another fate,
Significant enough, which silent hours
Have lately scared me with.
               Another! and what?
After all, Festus, you say well: I am
A man yet: I need never humble me.
I would have beensomething, I know not what;
But though I cannot soar, I do not crawl.
There are worse portions than this one of mine.
You say well!
         And deeper degradation!
If the mean stimulants of vulgar praise,
If vanity should become the chosen food
Of a sunk mind, should stifle even the wish
To find its early aspirations true,
Should teach it to breathe falsehood like life-breath
An atmosphere of craft and trick and lies;
Should make it proud to emulate, surpass
Base natures in the practices which woke
Its most indignant loathing once . . . No, no!
Utter damnation is reserved for hell!
I had immortal feelings; such shall never
Be wholly quenched: no, no!
               My friend, you wear
A melancholy face, and certain't is
There's little cheer in all this dismal work.
But was it my desire to set abroach
Such memories and forebodings? I foresaw
Where they would drive. 'T were better we discuss
News from Lucerne or Zurich; ask and tell
Of Egypt's flaring sky or Spain's cork-groves.
I have thought: trust me, this mood will pass away!
I know you and the lofty spirit you bear,
And easily ravel out a clue to all.
These are the trials meet for such as you,
Nor must you hope exemption: to be mortal
Is to be plied with trials manifold.
Look round! The obstacles which kept the rest
From your ambition, have been spurned by you;
Their fears, their doubts, the chains that bind themall,
Were flax before your resolute soul, which nought
Avails to awe save these delusions bred
From its own strength, its selfsame strength disguised,
Mocking itself. Be brave, dear Aureole! Since
The rabbit has his shade to frighten him,
The fawn a rustling bough, mortals their cares,
And higher natures yet would slight and laugh
At these entangling fantasies, as you
At trammels of a weaker intellect,
Measure your mind's height by the shade it casts!
I know you.
     And I know you, dearest Festus!
And how you love unworthily; and how
All admiration renders blind.
               You hold
That admiration blinds?
            Ay and alas!
Nought blinds you less than admiration, friend!
Whether it be that all love renders wise
In its degree; from love which blends with love
Heart answering heartto love which spends itself
In silent mad idolatry of some
Pre-eminent mortal, some great soul of souls,
Which ne'er will know how well it is adored.
I say, such love is never blind; but rather
Alive to every the minutest spot
Which mars its object, and which hate (supposed
So vigilant and searching) dreams not of.
Love broods on such: what then? When first perceived
Is there no sweet strife to forget, to change,
To overflush those blemishes with all
The glow of general goodness they disturb?
To make those very defects an endless source
Of new affection grown from hopes and fears?
And, when all fails, is there no gallant stand
Made even for much proved weak? no shrinking-back
Lest, since all love assimilates the soul
To what it loves, it should at length become
Almost a rival of its idol? Trust me,
If there be fiends who seek to work our hurt,
To ruin and drag down earth's mightiest spirits
Even at God's foot, 't will be from such as love,
Their zeal will gather most to serve their cause;
And least from those who hate, who most essay
By contumely and scorn to blot the light
Which forces entrance even to their hearts:
For thence will our defender tear the veil
And show within each heart, as in a shrine,
The giant image of perfection, grown
In hate's despite, whose calumnies were spawned
In the untroubled presence of its eyes.
True admiration blinds not; nor am I
So blind. I call your sin exceptional;
It springs from one whose life has passed the bounds
Prescribed to life. Compound that fault with God!
I speak of men; to common men like me
The weakness you reveal endears you more,
Like the far traces of decay in suns.
I bid you have good cheer!
              Proeclare! Optime!
Think of a quiet mountain-cloistered priest
Instructing Paracelsus! yet't is so.
Come, I will show you where my merit lies.
'T is in the advance of individual minds
That the slow crowd should ground their expectation
Eventually to follow; as the sea
Waits ages in its bed till some one wave
Out of the multitudinous mass, extends
The empire of the whole, some feet perhaps,
Over the strip of sand which could confine
Its fellows so long time: thenceforth the rest,
Even to the meanest, hurry in at once,
And so much is clear gained. I shall be glad
If all my labours, failing of aught else,
Suffice to make such inroad and procure
A wider range for thought: nay, they do this;
For, whatsoe'er my notions of true knowledge
And a legitimate success, may be,
I am not blind to my undoubted rank
When classed with others: I precede my age:
And whoso wills is very free to mount
These labours as a platform whence his own
May have a prosperous outset. But, alas!
My followersthey are noisy as you heard;
But, for intelligence, the best of them
So clumsily wield the weapons I supply
And they extol, that I begin to doubt
Whether their own rude clubs and pebble-stones
Would not do better service than my arms
Thus vilely swayedif error will not fall
Sooner before the old awkward batterings
Than my more subtle warfare, not half learned.
I would supply that art, then, or withhold
New arms until you teach their mystery.
Content you, 't is my wish; I have recourse
To the simplest training. Day by day I seek
To wake the mood, the spirit which alone
Can make those arms of any use to men.
Of course they are for swaggering forth at once
Graced with Ulysses' bow, Achilles' shield
Flash on us, all in armour, thou Achilles!
Make our hearts dance to thy resounding step!
A proper sight to scare the crows away!
Pity you choose not then some other method
Of coming at your point. The marvellous art
At length established in the world bids fair
To remedy all hindrances like these:
Trust to Frobenius' press the precious lore
Obscured by uncouth manner, or unfit
For raw beginners; let his types secure
A deathless monument to after-time;
Meanwhile wait confidently and enjoy
The ultimate effect: sooner or later
You shall be all-revealed.
              The old dull question
In a new form; no more. Thus: I possess
Two sorts of knowledge; one,vast, shadowy,
Hints of the unbounded aim I once pursued:
The other consists of many secrets, caught
While bent on nobler prize,perhaps a few
Prime principles which may conduct to much:
These last I offer to my followers here.
Now, bid me chronicle the first of these,
My ancient study, and in effect you bid
Revert to the wild courses just abjured:
I must go find them scattered through the world.
Then, for the principles, they are so simple
(Being chiefly of the overturning sort),
That one time is as proper to propound them
As any otherto-morrow at my class,
Or half a century hence embalmed in print.
For if mankind intend to learn at all,
They must begin by giving faith to them
And acting on them: and I do not see
But that my lectures serve indifferent well:
No doubt these dogmas fall not to the earth,
For all their novelty and rugged setting.
I think my class will not forget the day
I let them know the gods of Israel,
Atius, Oribasius, Galen, Rhasis,
Serapion, Avicenna, Averres,
Were blocks!
      And that reminds me, I heard something
About your waywardness: you burned their books,
It seems, instead of answering those sages.
And who said that?
         Some I met yesternight
With OEcolampadius. As you know, the purpose
Of this short stay at Basil was to learn
His pleasure touching certain missives sent
For our Zuinglius and himself. 'T was he
Apprised me that the famous teacher here
Was my old friend.
         Ah, I forgot: you went . . .
From Zurich with advices for the ear
Of Luther, now at Wittenberg(you know,
I make no doubt, the differences of late
With Carolostadius)and returning sought
Basil and . . .
        I remember. Here's a case, now,
Will teach you why I answer not, but burn
The books you mention. Pray, does Luther dream
His arguments convince by their own force
The crowds that own his doctrine? No, indeed!
His plain denial of established points
Ages had sanctified and men supposed
Could never be oppugned while earth was under
And heaven above thempoints which chance or time
Affected notdid more than the array
Of argument which followed. Boldly deny!
There is much breath-stopping, hair-stiffening
Awhile; then, amazed glances, mute awaiting
The thunderbolt which does not come: and next,
Reproachful wonder and inquiry: those
Who else had never stirred, are able now
To find the rest out for themselves, perhaps
To outstrip him who set the whole at work,
As never will my wise class its instructor.
And you saw Luther?
          'T is a wondrous soul!
True: the so-heavy chain which galled mankind
Is shattered, and the noblest of us all
Must bow to the deliverernay, the worker
Of our own projectwe who long before
Had burst our trammels, but forgot the crowd,
We should have taught, still groaned beneath the load:
This he has done and nobly. Speed that may!
Whatever be my chance or my mischance,
What benefits mankind must glad me too;
And men seem made, though not as I believed,
For something better than the times produce.
Witness these gangs of peasants your new lights
From Suabia have possessed, whom Mnzer leads,
And whom the duke, the landgrave and the elector
Will calm in blood! Well, well; 't is not my world!
   'T is the melancholy wind astir
Within the trees; the embers too are grey:
Morn must be near.
         Best ope the casement: see,
The night, late strewn with clouds and flying stars,
Is blank and motionless: how peaceful sleep
The tree-tops altogether! Like an asp,
The wind slips whispering from bough to bough.
Ay; you would gaze on a wind-shaken tree
By the hour, nor count time lost.
                 So you shall gaze:
Those happy times will come again.
                  Gone, gone,
Those pleasant times! Does not the moaning wind
Seem to bewail that we have gained such gains
And bartered sleep for them?
               It is our trust
That there is yet another world to mend
All error and mischance.
             Another world!
And why this world, this common world, to be
A make-shift, a mere foil, how fair soever,
To some fine life to come? Man must be fed
With angels' food, forsooth; and some few traces
Of a diviner nature which look out
Through his corporeal baseness, warrant him
In a supreme contempt of all provision
For his inferior tastessome straggling marks
Which constitute his essence, just as truly
As here and there a gem would constitute
The rock, their barren bed, one diamond.
But were it sowere man all mindhe gains
A station little enviable. From God
Down to the lowest spirit ministrant,
Intelligence exists which casts our mind
Into immeasurable shade. No, no:
Love, hope, fear, faiththese make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character,
And these I have lost!gone, shut from me for ever,
Like a dead friend safe from unkindness more!
See, morn at length. The heavy darkness seems
Diluted, grey and clear without the stars;
The shrubs bestir and rouse themselves as if
Some snake, that weighed them down all night, let go
His hold; and from the East, fuller and fuller
Day, like a mighty river, flowing in;
But clouded, wintry, desolate and cold.
Yet see how that broad prickly star-shaped plant,
Half-down in the crevice, spreads its woolly leaves
All thick and glistering with diamond dew.
And you depart for Einsiedeln this day,
And we have spent all night in talk like this!
If you would have me better for your love,
Revert no more to these sad themes.
                   One favour,
And I have done. I leave you, deeply moved;
Unwilling to have fared so well, the while
My friend has changed so sorely. If this mood
Shall pass away, if light once more arise
Where all is darkness now, if you see fit
To hope and trust again, and strive again,
You will remembernot our love alone
But that my faith in God's desire that man
Should trust on his support, (as I must think
You trusted) is obscured and dim through you:
For you are thus, and this is no reward.
Will you not call me to your side, dear Aureole?

~ Robert Browning, Paracelsus - Part III - Paracelsus


   22 Integral Yoga
   3 Poetry
   1 Yoga
   1 Occultism
   1 Fiction

   21 The Mother
   11 Satprem
   4 Sri Ramana Maharshi

   5 Talks
   4 Some Answers From The Mother
   4 Agenda Vol 08
   3 The Mother With Letters On The Mother
   3 Questions And Answers 1950-1951
   2 Agenda Vol 10

0.02 - Letters to a Sadhak, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  I feel I am contradicting Mother. What should I do?
  There is no contradiction in stating what you think. I am not
  was completely dejected. What should I do?
  These things need to be considered carefully, not lightly as one

0.10 - Letters to a Young Captain, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  But I am afraid of wasting time. What should I do?
  It all depends on the quality of the silence - if it is a luminous
  again. What should I do?
  This means that you are not yet ready for a spiritual discipline
  fortress. What should I do to succeed in what You have
  told me?

0.11 - Letters to a Sadhak, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  reactions. What should I do?
  The radical method is to cut off all mental and vital connection
  You. What should I do to contribute to its fulfilment?
  Each time that you discover in yourself something that denies

0.12 - Letters to a Student, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  lacks control, isn't it? So What should I do to keep it
  quiet at night?

0 1960-10-11, #Agenda Vol 01, #unset, #Zen
   Doing japa seems to exert a pressure on my physical consciousness, which goes on turning! How can I silence it? As soon as my concentration is not absolute, the physical mind starts upit grabs at anything, anything at all, any word, fact or event that comes along, and it starts turning, turning. If you stop it, if you put some pressure on it, then it springs back up two minutes later And there is no inner consent at all. It chews on words, it chews on ideas or feelingsinterminably. What should I do?
   Yes, its the physical mind. The japa is made precisely to control the physical mind.

0 1961-09-28, #Agenda Vol 02, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   What should I do?
   Your child,

0 1962-09-08, #Agenda Vol 03, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   But how should I act outwardly, What should I do?
   Nothing. Or do pranam1 to him, thats all, it doesnt matter. Personally, I could do pranam before a puppy dog, mon petit, in all sincerityseeing the Lord in it. You have only to think of the Lord, no?

0 1967-07-22, #Agenda Vol 08, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   Wait, theres something else again. Oh, poor K., he held examinations (theyre out of their minds with their exams!), he held examinations on a text or a subject he had dictated to the students in his class. In other words, they had the answer quite ready. Two of the boys (one of whom K. finds very intelligen the is, moreover and has a liking for, while he doesnt like the other) were late, and K. asked the boy he doesnt like to bring to him at home the result of their work. He brought it. K. read it, and to one of the questions, the two boys answers were not quite identical but extremely similar. It was precisely the subject K. had dictated to them, so it was natural enough that the answers should be similar. K. felt right away that the boy had copied from the other, and told him so! The boy lost his temper and spoke to him rather rudely. So K. writes to tell me the whole story in his own way, and the boy writes to tell me the whole story, in his own way, moreover expressing regret that he was rude to his teacher. But K. remains convinced that he copied. So, a flood of letters Finally I wrote to K., Send me the two texts, I will see (not see with my eyes, but like that, feeling the thing). The boy did NOT copy. But to me, its far worse, because it means K. made a mental formation with wordswords put in a certain order and stuffed it into their brains. And they repeat it parrot fashionnaturally, it bears an extraordinary similarity to his teaching. Finally, K. told me, If I accept that the boy didnt copy, I am obliged to give him a very good mark, which I cant do! (Mother laughs) And he asks me, What should I do? I replied yesterday evening: There is a very simple way out: cancel the exam. Take all the papers, tie them into a bundle, put them away in your cupboard, and pretend it never existed and in future, no more exams! And at the end of the year, when you have to give marks to the students, well, instead of using such an artificial method, you will be obliged to observe attentively, follow the childs inner development, have a deeper contact with him (Mother laughs mockingly), and know if he has really understood or not! Then you will be able to give marks instead of basing yourself on the parrot-like repetition of something they have learned without understanding. And I sent that. So now, theyre in a fix! (Mother laughs) I find it so funny, its very amusing!
   They had to hold a teachers meeting to face up to my answer! (Mother laughs) I upset the whole School!

0 1967-08-19, #Agenda Vol 08, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   It was as if the body were asking, What attitude (thats what provided the link), What attitude should I have? What should I do? Because there was the vision of life, death, of all occurences, everything was there. The full knowledge of everything. Oh, all the stories of death were very, very interesting, and how mankind has tried to understand, and how there have been all kinds of solutions (that is, partial attitudes), and all of it, all of it was part of the Whole.
   Then the conclusion Oh, at that moment I could have said many things about all the different intellectual and even spiritual attitudes of mankind. There arent big differences. The spiritual (whats commonly called spiritual) boils down to the whole attempt at finding the Divine again by annulling the creation thats what has been regarded as spiritual life (thats why the word got distorted). To annul the creation in order to find the Divine again. And then, NOW: the vision of now. We are obviously drawing nearer to the moment of possibility that is clear. Its a question of timeof course, it cant be on the human scale, but we are on the borderline.

0 1967-08-26, #Agenda Vol 08, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   What should I do? Should I attempt something? I am like an intermediary, you understand. Or should I put it to her bluntly, but with consciousness and force, that she is a prisoner and I really cannot do anything for her?
   I wouldnt like her to encroach on your life, thats clear. Because she isnt aware of it, but that may be an adverse formation (she is a completely unconscious instrument). If you were quite sturdy, you understand, with much vital force, I would say, Never mind, well break their necks. But you need to be careful.
   But you understand; I am divided between concern for her and concern for myself. What should I do?
   (After a long silence) Do you know how to put me or Sri Aurobindo between you and the people you see?

0 1967-11-22, #Agenda Vol 08, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   So What should I do to you?
   I dont know, an operation!

0 1968-02-17, #Agenda Vol 09, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   What should I do with this?
   It would be a pity if people were given this at Aurovilles inauguration.

0 1969-07-26, #Agenda Vol 10, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   What should I do?
   (Laughing) See if my translation is good!

0 1969-08-20, #Agenda Vol 10, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   Hes had that sensation. He said, They will do it as they usually do; they generally give you a promotion somewhere: they might, for instance, nominate me bishop of [such and such a country]. Then he would be driven out of the Vatican. But when something of that kind happens, you are put under the Holy Office, which means you cannot talk to anyone and are obliged to answer with yes or no. If this situation comes, asks PL., what shall I do? Should I fight it out to assert my place at the Vatican, because they must give me the reasons for my exclusion (he can openly challenge their intentions), or should I accept, get caught tip in the meshes of a post such as that of bishop [of such and such a country], with, at the same time, a rather widespread sphere of actionshould I accept that? Or What should I do in that case? His sensation is that he is going to be excluded from the Vatican this year.
   Officially, is it the Pope who does it, or the cardinals?

0 1970-05-23, #Agenda Vol 11, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   And he was prodigiously interested in this new consciousness. He said, Id like to experience this new consciousness, so What should I do? He told me, All spiritual stories tell us that you mustnt do this, mustnt do that, then you must do this, must meditate and
   No, no!

1.240 - 1.300 Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  D.: The future is the result of the present. So, What should I do to make it good? Or should I keep still?
  M.: Whose is the doubt? Who is it that wants a course of action?

1.240 - Talks 2, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  D.: The future is the result of the present. So, What should I do to make it good? Or should I keep still?
  M.: Whose is the doubt? Who is it that wants a course of action?
  D.: When I try to meditate, I am unable to do so because my mind wanders. What should I do?
  M.: Your question furnishes the answer. First, with regard to the first part of the question, you say you concentrate, but do not succeed.

1.300 - 1.400 Talks, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  D.: When I try to meditate, I am unable to do so because my mind wanders. What should I do?
  M.: Your question furnishes the answer. First, with regard to the first part of the question, you say you concentrate, but do not succeed.

1.439, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
  D.: What should I do for it?
  M.: Thought of God, certainly.

1951-03-05 - Disasters- the forces of Nature - Story of the charity Bazar - Liberation and law - Dealing with the mind and vital- methods, #Questions And Answers 1950-1951, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   I do not say this to discourage you; only, things happen like that. And the worst of all is to get discouraged when it happens. You must tell yourself, With the means of transport at my disposal I have reached a certain point, but these means do not allow me to go further. What should I do? Sit there and not stir any longer?not at all. I must find other means of transport. This will happen quite often, but after a while you will get used to it. You must sit down for a moment, meditate, and then find other means. You must increase your concentration, your aspiration and your trust and with the new help which comes to you, make a new programme, work out other means to replace those you have left behind. This is how one progresses stage by stage.
   But you must take great care to apply at each stage, as perfectly as possible, what you have gained or learnt. If you remain in an indrawn state of consciousness and do not apply materially the inner progress, a time will certainly come when you will not be able to move at all, for your outer being, unchanged, will be like a fetter pulling you back and hindering you from advancing. So, the most important point (what everybody says but only a few do) is to put into practice what you know. With that you have a good chance of succeeding, and with perseverance you will certainly get there.

1951-04-02 - Causes of accidents - Little entities, helpful or mischievous- incidents, #Questions And Answers 1950-1951, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   That depends upon people. Each case is different. Individual precautions would be different according to individual reactions, difficulties, resistances. For each one there is a programme to follow which is good only for him. There is no general rule. These things cannot be distributed as one distributes sweets. If someone asks me What should I do?well that, yes.
   What are the causes of accidents? Are they due to a disequilibrium?

1951-04-21 - Sri Aurobindos letter on conditions for doing yoga - Aspiration, tapasya, surrender - The lower vital - old habits - obsession - Sri Aurobindo on choice and the double life - The old fiasco - inner realisation and outer change, #Questions And Answers 1950-1951, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   It is not absolutely ignorant. Things are not so absolute; it can feel there is something lacking. All depends upon that. Naturally, those who are quite satisfied with themselves as they areit is not worth the trouble trying to change them, because they dont want it. But in fact, even in the lower nature, it is possible to have a kind of feeling that things could be better. For example, take someone whose health is bad or who is weak, who has desires but is too weak to fulfil them, who has ambitions but no capacity; such a person will perhaps tell himself, Oh! If I were better than I am, if I knew a little more, if I were a little stronger, if I understood a little what ought to be done. Or suppose, for instance, in ordinary life, someone who needs to earn his living and must choose a situation, and the situation offered is not very congenial to him; he is caught in this dilemma: not to have anything to eat or to accept this unpleasant situation; he finds himself facing this problem and says, What should I do? He does not know, does not understand; but even in his stupidity he will have a sort of impression that it would be better if he could see a little more clearly, could know a little better, could have some elements of foresight. Then this awakens a slight aspiration for progressit is the beginning of a choice. Someone has said that if there were no ticks to bite the dogs, they would always be in a state of inertia, stretched out on the ground, motionless. Now, these trouble them, they begin to scratch, they move, and this awakens them a little from their tamas. For men, it is the same thing. When they have a small desire which they cannot satisfy, they are a little shaken up: they come out of their inertia and try to find a solution to their problem. It is like that. There is no absolute unconsciousness there is no absolute ignorance, no absolute night. Behind all unconsciousness, behind all ignorance, behind the night, there is always the supreme Light which is everywhere. The least little thing suffices for a beginning of contact to be established.
   At the beginning of this letter Sri Aurobindo writes that he has no intention of giving his sanction to a new edition of the old fiasco. Does the word fiasco2 refer to something particular or general?

1954-12-29 - Difficulties and the world - The experience the psychic being wants - After death -Ignorance, #Questions And Answers 1954, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  And then, when the problem of wanting to help someone comes up If you have goodwill and want to help someone You dont know how to help yourself to begin with, but still, you are not selfish; at a particular moment you want to help someone, and then comes this question: What should I do? You know nothing at all about it. What does he need? I mean not only material things but the feeling you must have, the thought you must have, the word you ought to say. If you just take a step backward, you look at yourself, but you know nothing about it; you do it like that, haphazardly, at random, in the hope that it will succeed, but the knowledge is not there. Without speaking, naturally, about I am not speaking of people who know nothing at all and who, when they happen to have even a child, dont even know what is to be done to hold it in the right way and keep it healthy. I am not even speaking of this kind of ignorance, because this everybody recognises. I knew, you see, countless mothers who hadnt the faintest idea of what had to be done to keep their children healthy. I am not even speaking of this. Because thisif one reads a book, works a little, studies, one can at least have a minimum of knowledge.
  I am speaking simply of a slightly higher step: morally, your moral, psychological relation with people. You are with someone who is in difficulty. Do you know what you should say to him? Do you even know the cause, the origin of his difficulty? What is going on in him? You may guess, you may imagine it, you may deduce, may reason, but you dont know!

1956-07-18 - Unlived dreams - Radha-consciousness - Separation and identification - Ananda of identity and Ananda of union - Sincerity, meditation and prayer - Enemies of the Divine - The universe is progressive, #Questions And Answers 1956, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  I begin to meditate and pray ardently and fervently , my aspiration is intense and my prayer full of devotion; and then, after a certain length of time sometimes short, sometimes long the aspiration becomes mechanical and the prayer purely verbal. What should I do?
  This is not an individual case, it is extremely common. I have already said this a number of times, but still it was in passing that people who claim to meditate for hours every day and spend their whole day praying, to me it seems that three-fourths of the time it must be absolutely mechanical; that is to say, it loses all its sincerity. For human nature is not made for that and the human mind is not built that way.

1958-03-26 - Mental anxiety and trust in spiritual power, #Questions And Answers 1957-1958, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  How can a problem be solved when one doesnt have the necessary knowledge? And the unfortunate thing is that man believes that he has to resolve all the problems of his life, and he does not have the knowledge needed to do it. That is the source, the origin of all his troubles that perpetual question, What should I do? which is followed by another one still more acute, What is going to happen? and at the same time, more or less, the inability to answer.
  That is why all spiritual disciplines begin with the necessity of surrendering all responsibility and relying on a higher principle. Otherwise peace is impossible. - The Garden of Janus, #Crowley - Poems, #Aleister Crowley, #Philosophy
  I wake, and he is gone; What should I do but weep?
  Nay, for I wept enough --- more sacred tears! ---

1f.lovecraft - The Electric Executioner, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   minutes more. What should I do next? I was hastily going through the
   form of concluding the will when a new idea struck me. Ending with a - If The One Ive Waited For, #unset, #Arthur C Clarke, #Fiction
  came now, What should I do?
  This morning's garden filled with snow

1.rb - Paracelsus - Part III - Paracelsus, #Browning - Poems, #Robert Browning, #Poetry
  And twisted and deformed! What should I do,
  Even tho'released from drudgery, but return

2.02 - THE DURGA PUJA FESTIVAL, #The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  Kedr worked at Dcc. Many devotees brought offerings of sweets and other food for him. Referring to this, Kedr said to the Master: "People want to give me food. What should I do? Lord, what is your comm and in this matter?"
  MASTER: "One can eat food even from an untouchable if the untouchable is a devotee of God. After spending seven years in a God-intoxicated state at Dakshineswar, I visited Kamarpukur. Oh, what a state of mind I was in at that time! Even a prostitute fed me with her own hands. But I cannot allow that now."

2.05 - Aspects of Sadhana, #Words Of The Mother II, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  6. My family consists of myself, wife, two sons and one girl. I desire to come here and stay permanently, but my wife does not approve of it. What should I do?

2.3.02 - Opening, Sincerity and the Mother's Grace, #The Mother With Letters On The Mother, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  I am not getting much time to sit down for meditation, but the calmness is maintained throughout my work. What should I do when I can make no time for meditation?
  Keep yourself open, remember the Mother always - call for her help and guidance in your work. You must get into a condition in which not only the calmness remains always but the sadhana is going on all the time in work and rest as well as in meditation.

2.3.04 - The Mother's Force, #The Mother With Letters On The Mother, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
   What should I do so that my work becomes an offering? What should I do so that I can always be with the Mother?
  What you should do is to have confidence and try to remain always confident and cheerful. If you feel depressed call for the

2.3.08 - The Mother's Help in Difficulties, #The Mother With Letters On The Mother, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  I stick to you. I am quiet sometimes, but still feel sad. What should I do?
  Remain firm and turned in the one direction - towards the

Conversations with Sri Aurobindo, #unset, #Arthur C Clarke, #Fiction
  Before coming here I used to smoke, then I stopped. Now I often have the desire to smoke. What should I do?
  There is no absolute rule and this is of no very great importance. I too smoke. But to abstain from something gives a purer atmosphere. Besides, you have stopped; it is better not to begin again.
  In meditation the entire mind is quiet. The faculty of forming images disappears and also that of reasoning, of putting out ideas. And I remain immobile, incapable of any inner movement. There is no change in the consciousness, only in the instruments of this consciousness. What should I do in meditation? Should this new state be brought into the ordinary life?
  In the first analysis, the mind is divided into two parts: one, whose movements are aroused by Nature; the other which shares the nature of the Purusha and remains immobile. It is now necessary to extend the power of this immobile part to remain the witness of the changes of the other. Thought will seem to occur in front of it, and it will become aware that it is universal Nature which raises the play of thoughts. One must go towards this universalisation. Thoughts will come from outside and you will see them taking shape in you. You will also experience that you have power over them: you will be able to make a choice, refuse a movement, etc. This is the beginning of mastery. The part of the immobile mind will also have to be seen as the reflection of a vaster, more universal Purusha above you. From both sides you must free yourself from the self. You must relax the pressure you have put on the mind to succeed in mastering thought and being free from it. Insist on the witness attitude. When a thought comes, examine it, see from where it comes, follow it.

Liber 46 - The Key of the Mysteries, #unset, #Arthur C Clarke, #Fiction
   I, What should I do without you? In order to be just, I need to know
   and to believe. But I must never confound what I know with what I

Talks 026-050, #Talks, #Sri Ramana Maharshi, #Hinduism
    D.: My mind is very unsteady. What should I do?
    M.: Fix your attention on any single thing and try to hold on to it.

Talks 500-550, #unset, #Arthur C Clarke, #Fiction
  D.: What should I do for it?
  M.: Thought of God, certainly.


IN WEBGEN [10000/14]
What Should I Do? (1969 - 1992) - The What Should I Do? Series was a 9-episode educational show produced by The Walt Disney Company. The films were included in some "Donald Duck Presents" episodes. Originally it was animated, in 1992 were produced additional live-action segments.!;_what_should_I_do?;_what_should_I_do?;_what_should_I_do?!;_what_should_I_do?;_what_should_I_do?;_what_should_I_do?!;_what_should_I_do?;_what_should_I_do?;_what_should_I_do?
What Should I Do?

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powers -- Aspiration - Beauty - Concentration - Effort - Faith - Force - Grace - inspiration - Presence - Purity - Sincerity - surrender
difficulties -- cowardice - depres. - distract. - distress - dryness - evil - fear - forget - habits - impulse - incapacity - irritation - lost - mistakes - obscur. - problem - resist - sadness - self-deception - shame - sin - suffering
practices -- Lucid Dreaming - meditation - project - programming - Prayer - read Savitri - study
subjects -- CS - Cybernetics - Game Dev - Integral Theory - Integral Yoga - Kabbalah - Language - Philosophy - Poetry - Zen
6.01 books -- KC - ABA - Null - Savitri - SA O TAOC - SICP - The Gospel of SRK - TIC - The Library of Babel - TLD - TSOY - TTYODAS - TSZ - WOTM II
8 unsorted / add here -- Always - Everyday - Verbs

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last updated: 2022-05-08 04:53:40
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