classes ::: place, the Worlds,
children :::
branches ::: the Abyss

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object:the Abyss
class:place
class:the Worlds

SEE ALSO:
  the Inconscient

see also :::

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now begins generated list of local instances, definitions, quotes, instances in chapters, wordnet info if available and instances among weblinks


OBJECT INSTANCES [0] - TOPICS - AUTHORS - BOOKS - CHAPTERS - CLASSES - SEE ALSO - SIMILAR TITLES

TOPICS
SEE ALSO


AUTH

BOOKS
Heart_of_Matter
Liber_157_-_The_Tao_Teh_King
Life_without_Death
Modern_Man_in_Search_of_a_Soul
Savitri
The_Divine_Comedy
The_Divine_Milieu
The_Tarot_of_Paul_Christian

IN CHAPTERS TITLE
1.17_-_Geryon._The_Violent_against_Art._Usurers._Descent_into_the_Abyss_of_Malebolge.

IN CHAPTERS CLASSNAME

IN CHAPTERS TEXT
0.00_-_The_Book_of_Lies_Text
01.01_-_The_Symbol_Dawn
01.02_-_The_Issue
01.04_-_The_Secret_Knowledge
0_1958-11-08
0_1960-07-26_-_Mothers_vision_-_looking_up_words_in_the_subconscient
0_1966-01-31
0_1966-12-21
0_1967-03-22
0_1967-05-26
02.01_-_The_World-Stair
02.02_-_The_Kingdom_of_Subtle_Matter
02.03_-_The_Glory_and_the_Fall_of_Life
02.05_-_The_Godheads_of_the_Little_Life
02.06_-_The_Kingdoms_and_Godheads_of_the_Greater_Life
02.07_-_The_Descent_into_Night
02.08_-_The_World_of_Falsehood,_the_Mother_of_Evil_and_the_Sons_of_Darkness
04.03_-_The_Call_to_the_Quest
04.04_-_To_the_Heights_IV
04.19_-_To_the_Heights-XIX_(The_March_into_the_Night)
06.02_-_The_Way_of_Fate_and_the_Problem_of_Pain
07.02_-_The_Parable_of_the_Search_for_the_Soul
07.03_-_The_Entry_into_the_Inner_Countries
07.06_-_Nirvana_and_the_Discovery_of_the_All-Negating_Absolute
08.16_-_Perfection_and_Progress
09.02_-_The_Journey_in_Eternal_Night_and_the_Voice_of_the_Darkness
10.03_-_The_Debate_of_Love_and_Death
10.04_-_Lord_of_Time
10.04_-_The_Dream_Twilight_of_the_Earthly_Real
1.01_-_Archetypes_of_the_Collective_Unconscious
1.01_-_On_knowledge_of_the_soul,_and_how_knowledge_of_the_soul_is_the_key_to_the_knowledge_of_God.
1.01_-_the_Call_to_Adventure
1.01_-_THE_STUFF_OF_THE_UNIVERSE
10.23_-_Prayers_and_Meditations_of_the_Mother
10.24_-_Savitri
1.02_-_MAPS_OF_MEANING_-_THREE_LEVELS_OF_ANALYSIS
1.02_-_The_Development_of_Sri_Aurobindos_Thought
1.02_-_THE_NATURE_OF_THE_GROUND
1.02_-_THE_QUATERNIO_AND_THE_MEDIATING_ROLE_OF_MERCURIUS
1.03_-_THE_EARTH_IN_ITS_EARLY_STAGES
1.03_-_THE_GRAND_OPTION
1.03_-_The_Sephiros
1.04_-_On_Knowledge_of_the_Future_World.
1.04_-_SOME_REFLECTIONS_ON_PROGRESS
1.04_-_THE_APPEARANCE_OF_ANOMALY_-_CHALLENGE_TO_THE_SHARED_MAP
1.04_-_The_First_Circle,_Limbo__Virtuous_Pagans_and_the_Unbaptized._The_Four_Poets,_Homer,_Horace,_Ovid,_and_Lucan._The_Noble_Castle_of_Philosophy.
1.04_-_The_Paths
1.05_-_Adam_Kadmon
1.05_-_On_painstaking_and_true_repentance_which_constitute_the_life_of_the_holy_convicts;_and_about_the_prison.
1.05_-_Splitting_of_the_Spirit
1.05_-_THE_NEW_SPIRIT
1.05_-_War_And_Politics
1.06_-_Being_Human_and_the_Copernican_Principle
1.06_-_On_remembrance_of_death.
1.06_-_Quieting_the_Vital
1.07_-_On_mourning_which_causes_joy.
1.07_-_The_Fourth_Circle__The_Avaricious_and_the_Prodigal._Plutus._Fortune_and_her_Wheel._The_Fifth_Circle__The_Irascible_and_the_Sullen._Styx.
1.07_-_The_Infinity_Of_The_Universe
1.07_-_The_Literal_Qabalah_(continued)
1.07_-_The_Three_Schools_of_Magick_2
1.08_-_Adhyatma_Yoga
1.08a_-_The_Ladder
1.08_-_Sri_Aurobindos_Descent_into_Death
1.08_-_The_Four_Austerities_and_the_Four_Liberations
1.08_-_The_Supreme_Discovery
1.09_-_The_Secret_Chiefs
11.01_-_The_Eternal_Day__The_Souls_Choice_and_the_Supreme_Consummation
1.10_-_Harmony
1.10_-_THE_FORMATION_OF_THE_NOOSPHERE
1.10_-_Theodicy_-_Nature_Makes_No_Mistakes
1.11_-_The_Kalki_Avatar
1.12_-_Love_The_Creator
1.12_-_The_Left-Hand_Path_-_The_Black_Brothers
1.13_-_Conclusion_-_He_is_here
1.1.3_-_Mental_Difficulties_and_the_Need_of_Quietude
1.13_-_Under_the_Auspices_of_the_Gods
1.14_-_FOREST_AND_CAVERN
1.15_-_On_incorruptible_purity_and_chastity_to_which_the_corruptible_attain_by_toil_and_sweat.
1.17_-_DOES_MANKIND_MOVE_BIOLOGICALLY_UPON_ITSELF?
1.17_-_Geryon._The_Violent_against_Art._Usurers._Descent_into_the_Abyss_of_Malebolge.
1.18_-_Mind_and_Supermind
1.21_-_WALPURGIS-NIGHT
1.22_-_On_the_many_forms_of_vainglory.
1.22_-_The_Necessity_of_the_Spiritual_Transformation
1.23_-_On_mad_price,_and,_in_the_same_Step,_on_unclean_and_blasphemous_thoughts.
1.25_-_Fascinations,_Invisibility,_Levitation,_Transmutations,_Kinks_in_Time
1.25_-_On_the_destroyer_of_the_passions,_most_sublime_humility,_which_is_rooted_in_spiritual_feeling.
1.25_-_SPIRITUAL_EXERCISES
1.26_-_On_discernment_of_thoughts,_passions_and_virtues
1.29_-_What_is_Certainty?
1.31_-_The_Giants,_Nimrod,_Ephialtes,_and_Antaeus._Descent_to_Cocytus.
1.33_-_The_Golden_Mean
1.34_-_Fourth_Division_of_the_Ninth_Circle,_the_Judecca__Traitors_to_their_Lords_and_Benefactors._Lucifer,_Judas_Iscariot,_Brutus,_and_Cassius._The_Chasm_of_Lethe._The_Ascent.
1.38_-_Woman_-_Her_Magical_Formula
1.39_-_Prophecy
1.42_-_This_Self_Introversion
1.50_-_A.C._and_the_Masters;_Why_they_Chose_him,_etc.
1.52_-_Family_-_Public_Enemy_No._1
1.68_-_The_God-Letters
1.71_-_Morality_2
1.74_-_Obstacles_on_the_Path
1.83_-_Epistola_Ultima
1914_08_18p
1914_08_29p
1929-04-14_-_Dangers_of_Yoga_-_Two_paths,_tapasya_and_surrender_-_Impulses,_desires_and_Yoga_-_Difficulties_-_Unification_around_the_psychic_being_-_Ambition,_undoing_of_many_Yogis_-_Powers,_misuse_and_right_use_of_-_How_to_recognise_the_Divine_Will_-_Accept_things_that_come_from_Divine_-_Vital_devotion_-_Need_of_strong_body_and_nerves_-_Inner_being,_invariable
1931_11_24p
1951-02-17_-_False_visions_-_Offering_ones_will_-_Equilibrium_-_progress_-_maturity_-_Ardent_self-giving-_perfecting_the_instrument_-_Difficulties,_a_help_in_total_realisation_-_paradoxes_-_Sincerity_-_spontaneous_meditation
1953-08-26
1954-04-14_-_Love_-_Can_a_person_love_another_truly?_-_Parental_love
1954-12-22_-_Possession_by_hostile_forces_-_Purity_and_morality_-_Faith_in_the_final_success_-Drawing_back_from_the_path
1956-11-28_-_Desire,_ego,_animal_nature_-_Consciousness,_a_progressive_state_-_Ananda,_desireless_state_beyond_enjoyings_-_Personal_effort_that_is_mental_-_Reason,_when_to_disregard_it_-_Reason_and_reasons
1957-03-27_-_If_only_humanity_consented_to_be_spiritualised
1957-12-18_-_Modern_science_and_illusion_-_Value_of_experience,_its_transforming_power_-_Supramental_power,_first_aspect_to_manifest
1.ac_-_Leah_Sublime
1.ac_-_Logos
1.ac_-_The_Buddhist
1.ac_-_The_Five_Adorations
1.ac_-_The_Garden_of_Janus
1.at_-_If_thou_wouldst_hear_the_Nameless_(from_The_Ancient_Sage)
1f.lovecraft_-_At_the_Mountains_of_Madness
1f.lovecraft_-_Celephais
1f.lovecraft_-_H.P._Lovecrafts
1f.lovecraft_-_Nyarlathotep
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Case_of_Charles_Dexter_Ward
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Challenge_from_Beyond
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Colour_out_of_Space
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Dream-Quest_of_Unknown_Kadath
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Dreams_in_the_Witch_House
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Haunter_of_the_Dark
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Lurking_Fear
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Mound
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Nameless_City
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Shadow_out_of_Time
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Strange_High_House_in_the_Mist
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Thing_on_the_Doorstep
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Transition_of_Juan_Romero
1f.lovecraft_-_Through_the_Gates_of_the_Silver_Key
1f.lovecraft_-_Under_the_Pyramids
1.fs_-_Pompeii_And_Herculaneum
1.jk_-_Endymion_-_Book_III
1.pbs_-_Alastor_-_or,_the_Spirit_of_Solitude
1.pbs_-_Hellas_-_A_Lyrical_Drama
1.pbs_-_Ode_To_Heaven
1.pbs_-_Ode_To_Liberty
1.pbs_-_Prometheus_Unbound
1.pbs_-_Queen_Mab_-_Part_V.
1.pbs_-_Scenes_From_The_Faust_Of_Goethe
1.pbs_-_The_Daemon_Of_The_World
1.pbs_-_The_Woodman_And_The_Nightingale
1.poe_-_The_Power_Of_Words_Oinos.
1.poe_-_To_--_(3)
1.rb_-_Paracelsus_-_Part_V_-_Paracelsus_Attains
1.rb_-_Sordello_-_Book_the_First
1.snt_-_In_the_midst_of_that_night,_in_my_darkness
1.tm_-_A_Psalm
1.ww_-_7-_The_White_Doe_Of_Rylstone,_Or,_The_Fate_Of_The_Nortons
1.ww_-_Book_Tenth_{Residence_in_France_continued]
1.ww_-_Book_Twelfth_[Imagination_And_Taste,_How_Impaired_And_Restored_]
1.ww_-_Composed_By_The_Side_Of_Grasmere_Lake_1806
1.ww_-_Dion_[See_Plutarch]
1.ww_-_The_Excursion-_V-_Book_Fouth-_Despondency_Corrected
1.ww_-_The_Excursion-_X-_Book_Ninth-_Discourse_of_the_Wanderer,_and_an_Evening_Visit_to_the_Lake
1.ww_-_The_Morning_Of_The_Day_Appointed_For_A_General_Thanksgiving._January_18,_1816
20.05_-_Act_III:_The_Return
2.01_-_On_Books
2.01_-_THE_ADVENT_OF_LIFE
2.01_-_The_Path
2.01_-_The_Road_of_Trials
2.02_-_The_Circle
2.02_-_THE_EXPANSION_OF_LIFE
2.02_-_The_Mother_Archetype
2.03_-_On_Medicine
2.04_-_Positive_Aspects_of_the_Mother-Complex
2.07_-_The_Cup
2.08_-_The_Sword
2.09_-_The_Pantacle
2.1.01_-_God_The_One_Reality
2.17_-_December_1938
2.17_-_The_Progress_to_Knowledge_-_God,_Man_and_Nature
2.19_-_Feb-May_1939
2.2.01_-_The_Problem_of_Consciousness
23.10_-_Observations_II
30.10_-_The_Greatness_of_Poetry
3.03_-_THE_MODERN_EARTH
3.03_-_The_Naked_Truth
3.04_-_BEFORE_SUNRISE
3.04_-_Folly_Of_The_Fear_Of_Death
3.04_-_LUNA
3.05_-_SAL
3.07_-_The_Formula_of_the_Holy_Grail
3.08_-_Of_Equilibrium
3.1.01_-_The_Problem_of_Suffering_and_Evil
3.14_-_Of_the_Consecrations
3.20_-_Of_the_Eucharist
3.21_-_Of_Black_Magic
33.10_-_Pondicherry_I
3.5.02_-_Thoughts_and_Glimpses
4.02_-_THE_CRY_OF_DISTRESS
4.03_-_THE_ULTIMATE_EARTH
4.04_-_Conclusion
4.04_-_In_the_Total_Christ
4.05_-_THE_DARK_SIDE_OF_THE_KING
4.1.2_-_The_Difficulties_of_Human_Nature
4.13_-_ON_THE_HIGHER_MAN
5.01_-_EPILOGUE
5.1.01.1_-_The_Book_of_the_Herald
5.1.02_-_Ahana
5_-_The_Phenomenology_of_the_Spirit_in_Fairytales
6.02_-_Great_Meteorological_Phenomena,_Etc
6.10_-_THE_SELF_AND_THE_BOUNDS_OF_KNOWLEDGE
7.5.21_-_The_Pilgrim_of_the_Night
APPENDIX_I_-_Curriculum_of_A._A.
Book_1_-_The_Council_of_the_Gods
BOOK_II._-_A_review_of_the_calamities_suffered_by_the_Romans_before_the_time_of_Christ,_showing_that_their_gods_had_plunged_them_into_corruption_and_vice
BOOK_II._--_PART_III._ADDENDA._SCIENCE_AND_THE_SECRET_DOCTRINE_CONTRASTED
BOOK_II._--_PART_II._THE_ARCHAIC_SYMBOLISM_OF_THE_WORLD-RELIGIONS
BOOK_I._--_PART_I._COSMIC_EVOLUTION
BOOK_I._--_PART_III._SCIENCE_AND_THE_SECRET_DOCTRINE_CONTRASTED
BOOK_I._--_PART_II._THE_EVOLUTION_OF_SYMBOLISM_IN_ITS_APPROXIMATE_ORDER
Book_of_Imaginary_Beings_(text)
BOOK_VIII._-_Some_account_of_the_Socratic_and_Platonic_philosophy,_and_a_refutation_of_the_doctrine_of_Apuleius_that_the_demons_should_be_worshipped_as_mediators_between_gods_and_men
BOOK_XVIII._-_A_parallel_history_of_the_earthly_and_heavenly_cities_from_the_time_of_Abraham_to_the_end_of_the_world
BOOK_XX._-_Of_the_last_judgment,_and_the_declarations_regarding_it_in_the_Old_and_New_Testaments
COSA_-_BOOK_I
COSA_-_BOOK_IV
COSA_-_BOOK_IX
COSA_-_BOOK_V
COSA_-_BOOK_VI
COSA_-_BOOK_X
COSA_-_BOOK_XIII
ENNEAD_04.03_-_Psychological_Questions.
Epistle_to_the_Romans
Liber
Liber_111_-_The_Book_of_Wisdom_-_LIBER_ALEPH_VEL_CXI
Liber_46_-_The_Key_of_the_Mysteries
Liber_71_-_The_Voice_of_the_Silence_-_The_Two_Paths_-_The_Seven_Portals
Sayings_of_Sri_Ramakrishna_(text)
Talks_With_Sri_Aurobindo_1
Talks_With_Sri_Aurobindo_2
The_Act_of_Creation_text
The_Dwellings_of_the_Philosophers
the_Eternal_Wisdom
The_Garden_of_Forking_Paths_2
The_Riddle_of_this_World
The_Shadow_Out_Of_Time

PRIMARY CLASS

place
the_Worlds
SIMILAR TITLES
the Abyss

DEFINITIONS


TERMS STARTING WITH

the Abyss,” reproduced on p. 3.

The Abyss ::: Though there are smaller "abysses", as discussed in the article on Da'ath, the Abyss, as a proper noun, usually refers to the gulf in conscious experience between the Non-Dual (i.e. the Causal Plane) and the dualistic worlds (i.e. the lower three of the Four Worlds). This gulf can seem like an impossible experiential gap to cross to the dualistic mind associated with mundane consciousness and hence is aptly named.

the abyss, where Xaphan is (and presumably will


TERMS ANYWHERE

7 spirits of the abyss, of whom it was said that

Abbadon: The Hebrew name of the “bottomless pit,” the place of the lost in Sheol; the abyss of hell.

abuna ::: n. --> The Patriarch, or head of the Abyssinian Church.

abyss ::: Abyss In Ritual Magick and Kabbalah, the Abyss is the divide between individual ego-consciousness and Cosmic consciousness (enlightenment). In Kabbalah, it is the divide between the Supernal and the lower Sephiroth, i.e. the divide between the higher and lower states of existence. The serpent Choronzon is the 'dweller' in the abyss, the final great obstacle between the magician and true enlightenment. See Oath of the Abyss for further details.

Abyss [from Greek a not + byssos, bythos deep, depth] Bottomless, unfathomable; chaos, space, the watery abyss which becomes the field of manifestation or cosmos — a concept found in all mythologies. With the Sumerians, Akkadians, and Babylonians the great Deep gave birth to Ea, the All-wise, unknowable infinite deity, while in the Chaldean cosmogony Tiamat, the female principle, is the imbodiment of chaos. The Abyss or chaos was the abode of cosmic wisdom. Egyptian cosmogony speaks of Nut as the celestial abyss while Scandinavian cosmogony tells of Ginnungagap (chasm of offspring of Ginn), the infinite void or the abyss of illusion (SD 1:367).

abyssinian ::: a. --> Of or pertaining to Abyssinia. ::: n. --> A native of Abyssinia.
A member of the Abyssinian Church.


Abyss: Metaphysically considered, the Abyss is the Gulf between the phenomenal and the noumenal; the illusory and the real. Magically considered, the Oath of the Abyss means to make a willed effort to Cross the Abyss, or transcend the world of subject and object and resolve the antinomies of mundane consciousness.

and, as punishment, was cast down into the abyss.

Angel of the Abyss—usually identified as

angel of the abyss (Appollyon/Abaddon), a 17th-

Angel with the Key of the Abyss by Albrecht Diirer. Gravure on wood, in the Bibliothfeque Nationale. The

Angel with the Key of the Abyss by Albrecht Diirer. Gravure on wood, in the Bibliothique

Arundhati is one of the most mystical terms in ancient Hindu mythology. The congruence of attributes suggests that Arundhati is the cosmic sakti or power stimulating, generating, and bringing to birth what would otherwise lie latent or relatively inactive in the abysses of cosmic force or energy. In her role of Lucifer-Venus, Arundahati may be mystically connected with the hierarchies of the manasaputras, the sons of mind, who quickened dormant mind in the early humanities.

beden ::: n. --> The Abyssinian or Arabian ibex (Capra Nubiana). It is probably the wild goat of the Bible.

Binah (Heb.): The third Sephira of the Tree of Life. Binah means "Understanding"; it is the first sephira above the Abyss. If Understanding does not illumine the mind, no matter how brilliant a man may be,he remains an idiot, academically speaking, compared with one who has crossed the Abyss. (See under Abyss for a fuller explanation of this term.)

the Abyss,” reproduced on p. 3.

Centaurs (Greek) Greek mythology preserves legends of monsters, half man, half horse, located in wild spots in Greece. “See, for comparison, the account of creation by Berosus (Alexander Polyhistor) and the hideous beings born from the two-fold principle (Earth and Water) in the Abyss of primordial creation: Neras [Naras] (Centaurs, men with the limbs of horses and human bodies), and Kimnaras (men with the heads of horses) created by Brahma in the commencement of the Kalpa” (SD 2:65). The centaurs were also said to be the offspring of Ixion, king of the Lapith people, and a cloud shaped like Hera, sent by Zeus to test his wickedness; or as being offsprings of Ixion’s son and mares. They were considered a rude, wild race living in the mountains of Thessaly.

[Cf. Apsu, female angel of the abyss in Babylonian-

Chaos ::: Usually used in reference to The Unmanifest and The Veils of Negative Existence. Can also indicate the gap known as The Abyss which separates phenomenal (dualistic) from noumenal (non-dualistic) reality as well as deities attributed qualities of both The Abyss and The Unmanifest.

choronzon ::: Choronzon The serpent Choronzon is the 'dweller' in the Abyss, the final great obstacle between the magician and true enlightenment. Choronzon is known as the 'Demon of Dispersion', and described by Crowley as "a temporary personification of the raving and inconsistent forces that occupy the Abyss." The name Choronzon has been popularised by Aleister Crowley, but it first occurred in the Enochian records of John Dee, where he is synonymous with the serpent of the garden. See also Oath of the Abyss for further details.

convincing ::: “Convincing the abyss by heavenly form,”

Crossing the Abyss ::: The Thelemic name for the process of unraveling self-nature from dualistic identity to non-dualistic identity. This involves crossing certain Rings-Pass-Not that are established in the psyche of the aspirant and that help evaporate the illusion of duality. See also The Abyss and Da'ath for further elaboration on this.

Da'ath ::: Translated as "Knowledge" in Hebrew. The "hidden" eleventh Sephirah of the Kabbalah. It is described as "hidden" because it is not so much a true Sephirah as it is a function of the state change that occurs between certain, more-or-less, stable stages of conscious experience. It is representative of the convergent-emergent singularity through which consciousness flips between the individual stages of the Four Worlds and especially through which it flips between a dualistic lens and the lens of the Non-Dual. In Kabbalistic terminology, this latter process is representative of the Da'ath between Atzilut and Briah and the state change from Briatic consciousness to Atzilutic consciousness is referred to as Crossing the Abyss.

Ego Death ::: An experience, usually entheogenically-generated, that disintegrates the usual ego associated with mundane consciousness and that challenges definitions of self. This experience can include glimpses into Causal consciousness that are usually difficult to integrate or understand as well as intense fears and feelings of self-destruction as the "self" approaches the Abyss.

ethiopic ::: a. --> Of or relating to Ethiopia or the Ethiopians. ::: n. --> The language of ancient Ethiopia; the language of the ancient Abyssinian empire (in Ethiopia), now used only in the Abyssinian church. It is of Semitic origin, and is also called Geez.

female (?) angel of the abyss; “father” of the

Fetahil, Ptahil (Gnostic) With the Nazarene Gnostics, the builder of the material worlds. In the Codex Nazaraeus, Abatur, the Father, opens a gate and walks to the dark water (chaos) and looks down into it. The darkness reflects the image, whereupon a son appears or is emanated, the Logos or Demiurge, Fetahil. Because Fetahil is thus produced in order to bring forth the worlds of manifestation, the Codex describes him as being immersed in the abyss of primordial stuff or matter (chaos), soliloquizing on his inability alone to produce it. Whereupon Spiritus (the Gnostic “Mother”) appears and unites with Karabtanos, cosmic kama involved in primordial matter, thus bringing forth seven stellars. These are, however, seven imperfect figures “which represent also the seven capital sins, the progeny of an astral soul separated from its divine source (spirit) and matter, the blind demon of concupiscence. Seeing this, Fetahil extends his hand towards the abyss of matter, and says: — ‘Let the Earth exist, just as the abode of the powers has exited.’ Dipping his hand in the chaos, which he condenses, he creates our planet” (SD 1:195).

formless mysticism ::: A peak experience of oneness with phenomena (or lack thereof) in the causal state. Can also refer to meditative formless absorption, nirvikalpa samadhi, jnana samadhi, the Void, the Abyss, Ayin, Urgrund, etc.

heavens and the abysses danced and rejoiced

Jhumur: “Of all the creatures the eagle is the one bird that can stare straight at the sun. It lives on the heights. Here is its counterpart, the bird at its full power with enormous strength usually climbing straight into the sun or at the sun and here into the abyss. It is a bird of tremendous power, the king of birds.. It is fearless and it is very, very strong. Instead of the bird that leads you up to the sun it is the bird that leads you down into the darkness with the same force, with the same dynamism.”

Kether (Heb.): The first concentration of the Am (Void), repre sented by the first Sephira of The Tree of Life. Kether forms the apex of the Supernal Triad, above the Abyss, of which the two bases are Chokmah and Binah (q.v.).

Life is a perpetual choice between truth and falsehood, light and darkness, progress and regression, the ascent towards the heights or a fall into the abyss. It is for each one to choose freely.
   Ref: CWM Vol. 14, Page: 29


Magister Templi ::: A higher grade within an occult organization. Latin for "Master of the Temple". This is the grade bestowed on those who have "crossed the Abyss" and evaporated the illusion of a separate self. While the Ipsissimus has stabilized consciousness within the Causal, the Magister Templi has witnessed the state of Causal reality.

Magister Templi: Master of the Temple. The technical desig nation of a Grade in the A.'.A.'., the members of which have successfully "crossed the Abyss". See Abyss. The qabalistic notation of this Grade is 8º=3

musa ::: n. --> A genus of perennial, herbaceous, endogenous plants of great size, including the banana (Musa sapientum), the plantain (M. paradisiaca of Linnaeus, but probably not a distinct species), the Abyssinian (M. Ensete), the Philippine Island (M. textilis, which yields Manila hemp), and about eighteen other species. See Illust. of Banana and Plantain.

of the abyss, i.e., Abaddon (which is the Hebrew

Porphyrion (Greek) Lurid, fiery; a gigante or giant born of the blood (vitality) of Ouranos (heaven) falling upon the earth. These giants were more human than the titans, and continued the war against the Olympian gods, which symbolizes the struggles which took place during the descending arc of evolution, cosmically and among the races of mankind, between the lower material forces and the celestial powers from above. Porphyrion is slain by the gods with the help of Hercules and buried in the abysses of earth.

Portrait (p. 39) the angel of the abyss (i.e., the angel

sangu ::: n. --> The Abyssinian ox (Bos / Bibos, Africanus), noted for the great length of its horns. It has a hump on its back.

Satan bound for a thousand years by the angel of the abyss (Apollyon/Abaddon), a 17th-century illustration

Self or Higher Ego. The Attainment of the Knowledge of the Holy Guardian Angel is the foundation of the Training of a Magician, and beside the Crossing of the Abyss constitutes the most critical stage in his development.

The Abyss ::: Though there are smaller "abysses", as discussed in the article on Da'ath, the Abyss, as a proper noun, usually refers to the gulf in conscious experience between the Non-Dual (i.e. the Causal Plane) and the dualistic worlds (i.e. the lower three of the Four Worlds). This gulf can seem like an impossible experiential gap to cross to the dualistic mind associated with mundane consciousness and hence is aptly named.

the abyss, where Xaphan is (and presumably will

“. . .the dark Ideas of the Abyss.”

Thelema ::: A philosophical and spiritual paradigm developed in the early 1900s by Aleister Crowley that emphasizes a central tenet to guide one's actions in the form of the Law of Thelema: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, Love under Will." Traditionally incorporating Egyptian symbolism and its pantheon, modern Thelema as practiced by groups such as the A∴A∴ and O.T.O. tends to focus on initiations based on the Kabbalah and its Visions (e.g. K&C with the HGA, crossing the Abyss, etc.). The word "magick" with a "k" at the end comes from the Thelemic writings of Aleister Crowley.

  “The Unknown Absolute, above all number, manifested Itself through an emanation in which it was immanent yet as to which it was transcendental. It first withdrew Itself into Itself, to form an infinite Space, the Abyss; which It then filled with a modified and gradually diminishing Light or Vitalization, first appearing in the Abyss, as the centre of a mathematical point which gradually spread Its Life-giving energy or force throughout all Space. This concentration or contraction and its expansion, being the centripetal and centrifugal energies of creation and existence, the Qabbalists called Tzimtzum. The Will of Ain Soph then manifests Itself through the Ideal Perfect Model or Vitalizing Form, first principle and perfect prototype in idea, of all the to be created, whether spiritual or material. This is the Mikrokosm to the Ain Soph, the Makrokosm as to all the created. It is called the Son of Elohim, i.e., God, and the Adam Illa-ah or Adam Qadmon, the Man of the East or Heavenly Adam” (Myer, Qabbalah p. 231).

Unity in Trituty above the Abyss, where all opposites are reconciled. Crossing the Abyss is the most critical stage upon the Spiritual Path. If the crossing is not achieved cleanly, insanity-temporary or permanent-results. A person can spend the best part of an incarnation being torn to pieces by the unresolved and ir rational elements of his nature.

Various terms more or less synonymous are akasa, the universal egg (from which Brahma issued as light), the virgin egg, the virgin mother, the immaculate root (fructified by the ray), the primeval deep, the abyss, the great mother. The divine ray and chaos are father-mother or cosmic fire and water. Chaos-Theos-Cosmos are the triple deity or all-in-all. Chaos was personified in Egypt by the goddess Neith, who is the Father-Mother of the Stanzas of Dzyan, the akasa of the Hindus, the svabhavat of the northern Buddhists, and the Icelandic ginnungagap.

was the “female angel of the abyss”; but, though female, she fathered the Babylonian gods and



QUOTES [27 / 27 - 847 / 847]


KEYS (10k)

   4 Aleister Crowley
   3 The Mother
   3 Sri Aurobindo
   2 Iamblichus
   1 Wikipedia
   1 Tsu-tse
   1 Sri Nisargadatta
   1 Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
   1 Marcus Aurelius
   1 Lao-Tse: Tao-te-King
   1 Kant
   1 Joseph Campbell
   1 Jean Gebser
   1 James W Fowler
   1 George Gordon Byron
   1 Friedrich Nietzsche
   1 Buddhist Texts
   1 Sri Ramakrishna
   1 Jorge Luis Borges

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

   38 Friedrich Nietzsche
   15 Brian Godawa
   13 Gustave Flaubert
   13 Fernando Pessoa
   13 Aleister Crowley
   12 Fyodor Dostoyevsky
   10 Victor Hugo
   9 Paulo Coelho
   8 Anonymous
   7 G K Chesterton
   7 Edgar Allan Poe
   7 Charles Baudelaire
   6 Thomas Merton
   6 Sri Aurobindo
   6 Ray Bradbury
   5 Umberto Eco
   5 Nikos Kazantzakis
   5 Michael Connelly
   5 Marcus Aurelius
   5 Marcel Proust

1:Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it. ~ Sri Nisargadatta,
2:Convincing the abyss by heavenly form
~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Kingdom of Subtle Matter,
3:We are all closer to the abyss than we would wish to admit. But is fortunate that we have an insight into the fact that we are the abyss ~ Jean Gebser,
4:Deluded by ignorance, you become attached to sense objects and go deeper and deeper into the abyss of Maya. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
5:He who follows the steep path that climbs the heights can easily slip down into the abyss.
   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II, The Path,
6:Beware that, when Fighting Monsters, You Yourself do not Become a Monster... for when You Gaze long into the Abyss, the Abyss Gazes also into You.
   ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
7:The man of superior virtue is well pleased in the humblest situation. His heart loves to be deep as the abyss. ~ Lao-Tse: Tao-te-King, the Eternal Wisdom
8:Our consciousness a torch that plays Between the Abyss and a supernal Light. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Collected Poems, Man of the Mediator,
9:The soul attracted leaned to the Abyss:
   It longed for the adventure of Ignorance
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain,
10:the two crises—the Angel and the Abyss—are necessary features in every career. The other tasks are not always accomplished in [any given order]". ~ Aleister Crowley, Confessions,
11:Let not the favourable moment pass thee by, for those who have suffered it to escape them, shall lament when they find themselves on the path which leads to the abyss. ~ Buddhist Texts, the Eternal Wisdom
12:Abyss calls to abyss. It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place, where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy, the immensity of the all of God. ~ Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD (1880-1906),
13:One thing that comes out of myth is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light. ~ Joseph Campbell,
14:The observations and reckonings of astronomers have taught us many surprising things, but the most important result of their studies is, undoubtedly, that they reveal to us the abyss of our ignorance. ~ Kant, the Eternal Wisdom
15:Life is a perpetual choice between truth and falsehood, light and darkness, progress and regression, the ascent towards the heights or a fall into the abyss. It is for each one to choose freely.
   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II, The Path of Yoga, The Path,
16:Regard behind thee the abyss of duration and in front that other infinity of the ages to come. What difference is there is in this immensity between one who has lived three days and one who has lived three human ages? ~ Marcus Aurelius, the Eternal Wisdom
17:His faculties are so ample, so vast, so profound that it is as if an immense source from which everything issues in its time. They are as vast and extended as the heavens; the hidden source from which they issue is deep as the abyss. ~ Tsu-tse, the Eternal Wisdom
18:Only the simple can withstand the sword. As we are below the Abyss, this weapon is then entirely destructive: it divides Satan against Satan. It is only in the lower forms of Magick, the purely human forms, that the Sword has become so important a weapon. A dagger should be sufficient. ~ Aleister Crowley, Liber ABA,
19:In the 20th century he became an important element within the mystical system of Thelema, founded by Aleister Crowley, where he is the Dweller in the Abyss,[1][2] believed to be the last great obstacle between the adept and enlightenment. Thelemites believe that if he is met with proper preparation, then his function is to destroy the ego, which allows the adept to move beyond the Abyss of occult cosmology. ~ Wikipedia,
20:God made Himself totally a man but a man to the point of infamy, a man to the point of reprobation and the abyss. To save us, He could have chosen *any* of the destinies which make up the complex web of history; He could have been Alexander or Pythagoras or Rurik or Jesus; He chose the vilest destiny of all: He was Judas.~ Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths, Selected Stories and Other Writings,
21:It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magician is the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Once he has achieved this he must of course be left entirely in the hands of that Angel, who can be invariably and inevitably relied upon to lead him to the further great step-crossing of the Abyss and the attainment of the grade of Master of the Temple. ~ Aleister Crowley, Magick Without Tears,
22:Faith is a coat against ... nakedness. For most of us, most of the time, faith functions so as to screen off the abyss of mystery that surrounds us. But we all at certain times call upon faith to provide nerve to stand in the presence of the abyss--naked, stripped of life supports, trusting only in the being, the mercy and the power of the Other in the darkness. Faith helps us form a dependable 'life space,' an ultimate environment. At a deeper level, faith undergirds us when our life space is punctured and collapses, when the felt reality of our ultimate environment proves to be less than ultimate.
   ~ James W Fowler, Stages Of Faith,
23:Two Paths Of Yoga :::
   There are two paths of Yoga, one of tapasya (discipline), and the other of surrender. The path of tapasya is arduous. Here you rely solely upon yourself, you proceed by your own strength. You ascend and achieve according to the measure of your force. There is always the danger of falling down. And once you fall, you lie broken in the abyss and there is hardly a remedy. The other path, the path of surrender. is a safe and sure. It is here, however, that the Western people find their difficulty. They have been taught to fear and avoid all that threatens their personal independence. They have imbibed with their mothers milk the sense of individuality. And surrender means giving up all that. In other words, you may follow, as Ramakrishna says, either the path of the baby monkey or that of the baby cat. The baby monkey holds to its mother in order to be carried about and it must hold firm, otherwise if it loses its grip, it falls. On the other hand, the baby cat does not hold to its mother, but is held by the mother and has no fear nor responsibility; it to nor has nothing do but to let the mother hold it and cry ma ma.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1929-1931,
24:The general characteristics and attributions of these Grades are indicated by their correspondences on the Tree of Life, as may be studied in detail in the Book 777.
   Student. -- His business is to acquire a general intellectual knowledge of all systems of attainment, as declared in the prescribed books. (See curriculum in Appendix I.) {231}
   Probationer. -- His principal business is to begin such practices as he my prefer, and to write a careful record of the same for one year.
   Neophyte. -- Has to acquire perfect control of the Astral Plane.
   Zelator. -- His main work is to achieve complete success in Asana and Pranayama. He also begins to study the formula of the Rosy Cross.
   Practicus. -- Is expected to complete his intellectual training, and in particular to study the Qabalah.
   Philosophus. -- Is expected to complete his moral training. He is tested in Devotion to the Order.
   Dominus Liminis. -- Is expected to show mastery of Pratyahara and Dharana.
   Adeptus (without). -- is expected to perform the Great Work and to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
   Adeptus (within). -- Is admitted to the practice of the formula of the Rosy Cross on entering the College of the Holy Ghost.
   Adeptus (Major). -- Obtains a general mastery of practical Magick, though without comprehension.
   Adeptus (Exemptus). -- Completes in perfection all these matters. He then either ("a") becomes a Brother of the Left Hand Path or, ("b") is stripped of all his attainments and of himself as well, even of his Holy Guardian Angel, and becomes a babe of the Abyss, who, having transcended the Reason, does nothing but grow in the womb of its mother. It then finds itself a
   Magister Templi. -- (Master of the Temple): whose functions are fully described in Liber 418, as is this whole initiation from Adeptus Exemptus. See also "Aha!". His principal business is to tend his "garden" of disciples, and to obtain a perfect understanding of the Universe. He is a Master of Samadhi. {232}
   Magus. -- Attains to wisdom, declares his law (See Liber I, vel Magi) and is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense.
   Ipsissimus. -- Is beyond all this and beyond all comprehension of those of lower degrees. ~ Aleister Crowley, Liber ABA,
25:Darkness
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went-and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires-and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings-the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire-but hour by hour
They fell and faded-and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash-and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twin'd themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless-they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again: a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought-and that was death
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails-men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress-he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they rak'd up,
And shivering scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects-saw, and shriek'd, and died-
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless-
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge-
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them-She was the Universe.
~ George Gordon Byron,
26:The Two Paths Of Yoga :::
   14 April 1929 - What are the dangers of Yoga? Is it especially dangerous to the people of the West? Someone has said that Yoga may be suitable for the East, but it has the effect of unbalancing the Western mind.

   Yoga is not more dangerous to the people of the West than to those of the East. Everything depends upon the spirit with which you approach it. Yoga does become dangerous if you want it for your own sake, to serve a personal end. It is not dangerous, on the contrary, it is safety and security itself, if you go to it with a sense of its sacredness, always remembering that the aim is to find the Divine.
   Dangers and difficulties come in when people take up Yoga not for the sake of the Divine, but because they want to acquire power and under the guise of Yoga seek to satisfy some ambition. if you cannot get rid of ambition, do not touch the thing. It is fire that burns.
   There are two paths of Yoga, one of tapasya (discipline), and the other of surrender. The path of tapasya is arduous. Here you rely solely upon yourself, you proceed by your own strength. You ascend and achieve according to the measure of your force. There is always the danger of falling down. And once you fall, you lie broken in the abyss and there is hardly a remedy. The other path, the path of surrender, is safe and sure. It is here, however, that the Western people find their difficulty. They have been taught to fear and avoid all that threatens their personal independence. They have imbibed with their mothers' milk the sense of individuality. And surrender means giving up all that. In other words, you may follow, as Ramakrishna says, either the path of the baby monkey or that of the baby cat. The baby monkey holds to its mother in order to be carried about and it must hold firm, otherwise if it loses its grip, it falls. On the other hand, the baby cat does not hold to its mother, but is held by the mother and has no fear nor responsibility; it has nothing to do but to let the mother hold it and cry ma ma.
   If you take up this path of surrender fully and sincerely, there is no more danger or serious difficulty. The question is to be sincere. If you are not sincere, do not begin Yoga. If you were dealing in human affairs, then you could resort to deception; but in dealing with the Divine there is no possibility of deception anywhere. You can go on the Path safely when you are candid and open to the core and when your only end is to realise and attain the Divine and to be moved by the Divine. There is another danger; it is in connection with the sex impulses. Yoga in its process of purification will lay bare and throw up all hidden impulses and desires in you. And you must learn not to hide things nor leave them aside, you have to face them and conquer and remould them. The first effect of Yoga, however, is to take away the mental control, and the hungers that lie dormant are suddenly set free, they rush up and invade the being. So long as this mental control has not been replaced by the Divine control, there is a period of transition when your sincerity and surrender will be put to the test. The strength of such impulses as those of sex lies usually in the fact that people take too much notice of them; they protest too vehemently and endeavour to control them by coercion, hold them within and sit upon them. But the more you think of a thing and say, "I don't want it, I don't want it", the more you are bound to it. What you should do is to keep the thing away from you, to dissociate from it, take as little notice of it as possible and, even if you happen to think of it, remain indifferent and unconcerned. The impulses and desires that come up by the pressure of Yoga should be faced in a spirit of detachment and serenity, as something foreign to yourself or belonging to the outside world. They should be offered to the Divine, so that the Divine may take them up and transmute them. If you have once opened yourself to the Divine, if the power of the Divine has once come down into you and yet you try to keep to the old forces, you prepare troubles and difficulties and dangers for yourself. You must be vigilant and see that you do not use the Divine as a cloak for the satisfaction of your desires. There are many self-appointed Masters, who do nothing but that. And then when you are off the straight path and when you have a little knowledge and not much power, it happens that you are seized by beings or entities of a certain type, you become blind instruments in their hands and are devoured by them in the end. Wherever there is pretence, there is danger; you cannot deceive God. Do you come to God saying, "I want union with you" and in your heart meaning "I want powers and enjoyments"? Beware! You are heading straight towards the brink of the precipice. And yet it is so easy to avoid all catastrophe. Become like a child, give yourself up to the Mother, let her carry you, and there is no more danger for you.
   This does not mean that you have not to face other kinds of difficulties or that you have not to fight and conquer any obstacles at all. Surrender does not ensure a smooth and unruffled and continuous progression. The reason is that your being is not yet one, nor your surrender absolute and complete. Only a part of you surrenders; and today it is one part and the next day it is another. The whole purpose of the Yoga is to gather all the divergent parts together and forge them into an undivided unity. Till then you cannot hope to be without difficulties - difficulties, for example, like doubt or depression or hesitation. The whole world is full of the poison. You take it in with every breath. If you exchange a few words with an undesirable man or even if such a man merely passes by you, you may catch the contagion from him. It is sufficient for you to come near a place where there is plague in order to be infected with its poison; you need not know at all that it is there. You can lose in a few minutes what it has taken you months to gain. So long as you belong to humanity and so long as you lead the ordinary life, it does not matter much if you mix with the people of the world; but if you want the divine life, you will have to be exceedingly careful about your company and your environment.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1929-1931,
27:The Supreme Discovery
   IF WE want to progress integrally, we must build within our conscious being a strong and pure mental synthesis which can serve us as a protection against temptations from outside, as a landmark to prevent us from going astray, as a beacon to light our way across the moving ocean of life.
   Each individual should build up this mental synthesis according to his own tendencies and affinities and aspirations. But if we want it to be truly living and luminous, it must be centred on the idea that is the intellectual representation symbolising That which is at the centre of our being, That which is our life and our light.
   This idea, expressed in sublime words, has been taught in various forms by all the great Instructors in all lands and all ages.
   The Self of each one and the great universal Self are one. Since all that is exists from all eternity in its essence and principle, why make a distinction between the being and its origin, between ourselves and what we place at the beginning?
   The ancient traditions rightly said:
   "Our origin and ourselves, our God and ourselves are one."
   And this oneness should not be understood merely as a more or less close and intimate relationship of union, but as a true identity.
   Thus, when a man who seeks the Divine attempts to reascend by degrees towards the inaccessible, he forgets that all his knowledge and all his intuition cannot take him one step forward in this infinite; neither does he know that what he wants to attain, what he believes to be so far from him, is within him.
   For how could he know anything of the origin until he becomes conscious of this origin in himself?
   It is by understanding himself, by learning to know himself, that he can make the supreme discovery and cry out in wonder like the patriarch in the Bible, "The house of God is here and I knew it not."
   That is why we must express that sublime thought, creatrix of the material worlds, and make known to all the word that fills the heavens and the earth, "I am in all things and all beings."When all shall know this, the promised day of great transfigurations will be at hand. When in each atom of Matter men shall recognise the indwelling thought of God, when in each living creature they shall perceive some hint of a gesture of God, when each man can see God in his brother, then dawn will break, dispelling the darkness, the falsehood, the ignorance, the error and suffering that weigh upon all Nature. For, "all Nature suffers and laments as she awaits the revelation of the Sons of God."
   This indeed is the central thought epitomising all others, the thought which should be ever present to our remembrance as the sun that illumines all life.
   That is why I remind you of it today. For if we follow our path bearing this thought in our hearts like the rarest jewel, the most precious treasure, if we allow it to do its work of illumination and transfiguration within us, we shall know that it lives in the centre of all beings and all things, and in it we shall feel the marvellous oneness of the universe.
   Then we shall understand the vanity and childishness of our meagre satisfactions, our foolish quarrels, our petty passions, our blind indignations. We shall see the dissolution of our little faults, the crumbling of the last entrenchments of our limited personality and our obtuse egoism. We shall feel ourselves being swept along by this sublime current of true spirituality which will deliver us from our narrow limits and bounds.
   The individual Self and the universal Self are one; in every world, in every being, in every thing, in every atom is the Divine Presence, and man's mission is to manifest it.
   In order to do that, he must become conscious of this Divine Presence within him. Some individuals must undergo a real apprenticeship in order to achieve this: their egoistic being is too all-absorbing, too rigid, too conservative, and their struggles against it are long and painful. Others, on the contrary, who are more impersonal, more plastic, more spiritualised, come easily into contact with the inexhaustible divine source of their being.But let us not forget that they too should devote themselves daily, constantly, to a methodical effort of adaptation and transformation, so that nothing within them may ever again obscure the radiance of that pure light.
   But how greatly the standpoint changes once we attain this deeper consciousness! How understanding widens, how compassion grows!
   On this a sage has said:
   "I would like each one of us to come to the point where he perceives the inner God who dwells even in the vilest of human beings; instead of condemning him we would say, 'Arise, O resplendent Being, thou who art ever pure, who knowest neither birth nor death; arise, Almighty One, and manifest thy nature.'"
   Let us live by this beautiful utterance and we shall see everything around us transformed as if by miracle.
   This is the attitude of true, conscious and discerning love, the love which knows how to see behind appearances, understand in spite of words, and which, amid all obstacles, is in constant communion with the depths.
   What value have our impulses and our desires, our anguish and our violence, our sufferings and our struggles, all these inner vicissitudes unduly dramatised by our unruly imagination - what value do they have before this great, this sublime and divine love bending over us from the innermost depths of our being, bearing with our weaknesses, rectifying our errors, healing our wounds, bathing our whole being with its regenerating streams?
   For the inner Godhead never imposes herself, she neither demands nor threatens; she offers and gives herself, conceals and forgets herself in the heart of all beings and things; she never accuses, she neither judges nor curses nor condemns, but works unceasingly to perfect without constraint, to mend without reproach, to encourage without impatience, to enrich each one with all the wealth he can receive; she is the mother whose love bears fruit and nourishes, guards and protects, counsels and consoles; because she understands everything, she can endure everything, excuse and pardon everything, hope and prepare for everything; bearing everything within herself, she owns nothing that does not belong to all, and because she reigns over all, she is the servant of all; that is why all, great and small, who want to be kings with her and gods in her, become, like her, not despots but servitors among their brethren.
   How beautiful is this humble role of servant, the role of all who have been revealers and heralds of the God who is within all, of the Divine Love that animates all things....
   And until we can follow their example and become true servants even as they, let us allow ourselves to be penetrated and transformed by this Divine Love; let us offer Him, without reserve, this marvellous instrument, our physical organism. He shall make it yield its utmost on every plane of activity.
   To achieve this total self-consecration, all means are good, all methods have their value. The one thing needful is to persevere in our will to attain this goal. For then everything we study, every action we perform, every human being we meet, all come to bring us an indication, a help, a light to guide us on the path.
   Before I close, I shall add a few pages for those who have already made apparently fruitless efforts, for those who have encountered the pitfalls on the way and seen the measure of their weakness, for those who are in danger of losing their self-confidence and courage. These pages, intended to rekindle hope in the hearts of those who suffer, were written by a spiritual worker at a time when ordeals of every kind were sweeping down on him like purifying flames.
   You who are weary, downcast and bruised, you who fall, who think perhaps that you are defeated, hear the voice of a friend. He knows your sorrows, he has shared them, he has suffered like you from the ills of the earth; like you he has crossed many deserts under the burden of the day, he has known thirst and hunger, solitude and abandonment, and the cruellest of all wants, the destitution of the heart. Alas! he has known too the hours of doubt, the errors, the faults, the failings, every weakness.
   But he tells you: Courage! Hearken to the lesson that the rising sun brings to the earth with its first rays each morning. It is a lesson of hope, a message of solace.
   You who weep, who suffer and tremble, who dare not expect an end to your ills, an issue to your pangs, behold: there is no night without dawn and the day is about to break when darkness is thickest; there is no mist that the sun does not dispel, no cloud that it does not gild, no tear that it will not dry one day, no storm that is not followed by its shining triumphant bow; there is no snow that it does not melt, nor winter that it does not change into radiant spring.
   And for you too, there is no affliction which does not bring its measure of glory, no distress which cannot be transformed into joy, nor defeat into victory, nor downfall into higher ascension, nor solitude into radiating centre of life, nor discord into harmony - sometimes it is a misunderstanding between two minds that compels two hearts to open to mutual communion; lastly, there is no infinite weakness that cannot be changed into strength. And it is even in supreme weakness that almightiness chooses to reveal itself!
   Listen, my little child, you who today feel so broken, so fallen perhaps, who have nothing left, nothing to cover your misery and foster your pride: never before have you been so great! How close to the summits is he who awakens in the depths, for the deeper the abyss, the more the heights reveal themselves!
   Do you not know this, that the most sublime forces of the vasts seek to array themselves in the most opaque veils of Matter? Oh, the sublime nuptials of sovereign love with the obscurest plasticities, of the shadow's yearning with the most royal light!
   If ordeal or fault has cast you down, if you have sunk into the nether depths of suffering, do not grieve - for there indeed the divine love and the supreme blessing can reach you! Because you have passed through the crucible of purifying sorrows, the glorious ascents are yours.
   You are in the wilderness: then listen to the voices of the silence. The clamour of flattering words and outer applause has gladdened your ears, but the voices of the silence will gladden your soul and awaken within you the echo of the depths, the chant of divine harmonies!
   You are walking in the depths of night: then gather the priceless treasures of the night. In bright sunshine, the ways of intelligence are lit, but in the white luminosities of the night lie the hidden paths of perfection, the secret of spiritual riches.
   You are being stripped of everything: that is the way towards plenitude. When you have nothing left, everything will be given to you. Because for those who are sincere and true, from the worst always comes the best.
   Every grain that is sown in the earth produces a thousand. Every wing-beat of sorrow can be a soaring towards glory.
   And when the adversary pursues man relentlessly, everything he does to destroy him only makes him greater.
   Hear the story of the worlds, look: the great enemy seems to triumph. He casts the beings of light into the night, and the night is filled with stars. He rages against the cosmic working, he assails the integrity of the empire of the sphere, shatters its harmony, divides and subdivides it, scatters its dust to the four winds of infinity, and lo! the dust is changed into a golden seed, fertilising the infinite and peopling it with worlds which now gravitate around their eternal centre in the larger orbit of space - so that even division creates a richer and deeper unity, and by multiplying the surfaces of the material universe, enlarges the empire that it set out to destroy.
   Beautiful indeed was the song of the primordial sphere cradled in the bosom of immensity, but how much more beautiful and triumphant is the symphony of the constellations, the music of the spheres, the immense choir that fills the heavens with an eternal hymn of victory!
   Hear again: no state was ever more precarious than that of man when he was separated on earth from his divine origin. Above him stretched the hostile borders of the usurper, and at his horizon's gates watched jailers armed with flaming swords. Then, since he could climb no more to the source of life, the source arose within him; since he could no more receive the light from above, the light shone forth at the very centre of his being; since he could commune no more with the transcendent love, that love offered itself in a holocaust and chose each terrestrial being, each human self as its dwelling-place and sanctuary.
   That is how, in this despised and desolate but fruitful and blessed Matter, each atom contains a divine thought, each being carries within him the Divine Inhabitant. And if no being in all the universe is as frail as man, neither is any as divine as he!
   In truth, in truth, in humiliation lies the cradle of glory! 28 April 1912 ~ The Mother, Words Of Long Ago, The Supreme Discovery,

*** WISDOM TROVE ***

1:He drove his mind into the abyss where poetry is written. ~ george-orwell, @wisdomtrove
2:The woman had looked into the abyss and then walked out across it. ~ stephen-king, @wisdomtrove
3:[death]... the abyss from where no traveler is permitted to return ~ george-washington, @wisdomtrove
4:If you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss. ~ franz-kafka, @wisdomtrove
5:We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us from seeing it. ~ blaise-pascal, @wisdomtrove
6:What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we cannot cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? ~ thomas-merton, @wisdomtrove
7:When we belong, we have an outside mooring to prevent our minds from falling into the abyss within us. ~ john-odonohue, @wisdomtrove
8:It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. ~ joseph-campbell, @wisdomtrove
9:If you're not willing to face the abyss of choice, you will almost certainly not spend enough time dancing with opportunity. ~ seth-godin, @wisdomtrove
10:There is a pain so utter, it swallows being up; The covers the abyss with a trance So memory can step around, across, upon it. ~ emily-dickinson, @wisdomtrove
11:There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. ~ martin-luther-king, @wisdomtrove
12:Treat with equal love all the people with whom you have relations. Thus the abyss between &
13:Q: Between the spirit and the body, is it love that provides the bridge? M: What else? Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it. ~ sri-nisargadatta-maharaj, @wisdomtrove
14:Authority allows two roles: the torturer and the tortured. Twists people into joyless mannequins that fear and hate, while culture plunges into the abyss. ~ alan-moore, @wisdomtrove
15:He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see. ~ ayn-rand, @wisdomtrove
16:The Dark Lord has Nine. But we have One, mightier than they: the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him. We will go where he leads. ~ j-r-r-tolkien, @wisdomtrove
17:If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o'-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death. ~ alan-watts, @wisdomtrove
18:Try to treat with equal love all the people with whom you have relations. Thus the abyss between &
19:There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. ~ g-k-chesterton, @wisdomtrove
20:If my life were not a dangerous, painful experiment, if I did not constantly skirt the abyss and feel the void under my feet, my life would have no meaning and I would not have been able to write anything. ~ hermann-hesse, @wisdomtrove
21:Because I'm a Karamazov. Because when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I'm even pleased that I'm falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. ~ fyodor-dostoevsky, @wisdomtrove
22:What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous. ~ thomas-merton, @wisdomtrove
23:Even when our life is most difficult, it is important to remember that something within us is keeping us alive- the life force-that lift us, energizes us, pulls us back sometimes from the abyss of despair. True spirituality does not exist without love of life. ~ nathaniel-branden, @wisdomtrove
24:We fell silent again. The thing we had shared was nothing more than a fragment of time that had died longe ago.Even so, a faint glimmer of that warm memory still claimed a part of my heart. And when death claim me, no doubt I would walk along by that faint light in the brief instant before being flung once again into the abyss of nothingness ~ haruki-murakami, @wisdomtrove
25:Safety lies in tending towards our highest and not in resting content with an inferior potentiality... .. To rest in or follow after an inferior potentiality may seem safe, rational, comfortable, easy, but it ends badly, in some futility or in a mere circling down the abyss or in a stagnant morass. Our right and natural road is towards the summits. ~ sri-aurobindo, @wisdomtrove
26:When I realize that she is gone, perhaps gone forever, a great void opens up and I feel that I am falling, falling, falling into deep, black space. And this is worse than tears, deeper than regret or pain or sorrow, it is the abyss into which Satan was plunged. There is no climbing back, no ray of light, no sound of human voice or human touch of hand. ~ henry-miller, @wisdomtrove
27:There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of many trumpets! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies. ~ edgar-allan-poe, @wisdomtrove
28:Every step in human progress, from the first feeble stirrings in the abyss of time, has been opposed by the great majority of men. Every valuable thing that has been added to the store of man's possessions has been derided by them when it was new, and destroyed by them when they had the power. They have fought every new truth ever heard of, and they have killed every truth-seeker who got into their hands. ~ h-l-mencken, @wisdomtrove
29:The interesting thing was that the Roman Catholic monks and the Buddhist monks had no trouble understanding each other. Each of them was seeking the same experience and knew that the experience was incommunicable. The communication is only an effort to bring the hearer to the edge of the abyss; it is a signpost, not the thing itself. But the secular clergy reads the communication and gets stuck with the letter, and that's where you have the conflict. ~ joseph-campbell, @wisdomtrove
30:[Buddhism and Christianity] are in one sense parallel and equal; as a mound and a hollow, as a valley and a hill. There is a sense in which that sublime despair is the only alternative to that divine audacity. It is even true that the truly spiritual and intellectual man sees it as sort of dilemma; a very hard and terrible choice. There is little else on earth that can compare with these for completeness. And he who does not climb the mountain of Christ does indeed fall into the abyss of Buddha. ~ g-k-chesterton, @wisdomtrove
31:And because our reason violently deters us from the brink, therefore, do we the more impetuously approach it. There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him, who shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a plunge. To indulge for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost; for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot. If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed. ~ edgar-allan-poe, @wisdomtrove

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:It’s easy to be led to the abyss. ~ Liu Cixin,
2:The abyss doesn't stare back. It winks. ~ Kresley Cole,
3:When the abyss gazes into you, bill it. ~ Steve Aylett,
4:I reach into the abyss and find my manners. ~ Jodi Picoult,
5:You're not a fish, so it isn't the Abyss. ~ Jonathan L Howard,
6:She felt the abyss of disenchantment. ~ Gabriel Garc a M rquez,
7:She felt the abyss of disenchantment. ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
8:Love guards the heart from the abyss. ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
9:Always look on the bright side of the abyss ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
10:Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it. ~ Sri Nisargadatta,
11:Cities are the abyss of the human species. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau,
12:A photograph offers us a glimpse into the abyss of time. ~ John Updike,
13:The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it. ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj,
14:He drove his mind into the abyss where poetry is written. ~ George Orwell,
15:When you look into the abyss, it also looks into you. ~ Patricia Cornwell,
16:when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. ~ Barry Eisler,
17:Do you come from Heaven or rise from the abyss, Beauty? ~ Charles Baudelaire,
18:Genius is the true mystery, and at its edge--the abyss. ~ Guillermo del Toro,
19:He unwittingly takes a false step and plunges into the abyss. ~ Paulo Coelho,
20:We did not touch each other. We were both leaning over the abyss. ~ Anais Nin,
21:We did not touch each other. We were both leaning over the abyss. ~ Ana s Nin,
22:When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
23:On the top of each peak you are on the edge of the abyss ~ Stanis aw Jerzy Lec,
24:On the top of each peak you are on the edge of the abyss ~ Stanislaw Jerzy Lec,
25:The abyss of absence. But who'll say: don't cry at night? ~ Alejandra Pizarnik,
26:we all have one foot in a fairytale, and the other in the abyss ~ Paulo Coelho,
27:All roads lead to the earth; the abyss leads to God. Jump! ~ Nikos Kazantzakis,
28:When you look into the abyss, it’s not supposed to wave back. ~ Terry Pratchett,
29:The mind creates the abyss, and the heart crosses it. ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,
30:The woman had looked into the abyss and then walked out across it. ~ Stephen King,
31:We see now that the abyss of history is deep enough to hold us all. ~ Paul Val ry,
32:When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
33:When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
34:When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
35:Books—they weren't ladders out of the abyss, but they were companions. ~ John Green,
36:If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. ~ Skye Warren,
37:Look into the abyss long enough, eventually it looks back into you, ~ David Simpson,
38:A leering succubus, vile temptress of the Abyss, stared back at him. ~ R A Salvatore,
39:One puts to one’s lips what drives one faster into the abyss”. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
40:[death]...the abyss from where no traveler is permitted to return ~ George Washington,
41:When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
42:It was the abyss of human illusion that was the real, the tideless deep. ~ Henry James,
43:Truth! Truth! Truth! crieth the Lord of the Abyss of Hallucinations ~ Aleister Crowley,
44:The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time. ~ John Playfair,
45:If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you? ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
46:Nietzsche said: When you look into the abyss, it also looks into you. ~ Patricia Cornwell,
47:Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death. ~ Elon Musk,
48:If you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss. ~ Franz Kafka,
49:If you stare into the Abyss long enough the Abyss stares back at you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
50:The mind creates the abyss. The heart crosses over it. Love is the bridge. ~ Stephen Levine,
51:And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
52:Books spoke mind to mind, soul to soul across the abyss of time and distance. ~ Rachel Caine,
53:The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower. Didn’t ~ Jeff VanderMeer,
54:This is where I stand, at the bottom gate, and I hold the key to the abyss ~ Ross E Lockhart,
55:When you gaze into the abyss, Nietzsche wrote, the abyss also gazes into you. ~ Stephen King,
56:If you are good at building bridges, you will never fall into the abyss! ~ Mehmet Murat ildan,
57:This is where I stand, at the bottom gate, and I hold the key to the abyss… ~ Ross E Lockhart,
58:When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. —FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE ~ Anonymous,
59:And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
60:And when the abyss looks into you—and it will—may you look back unflinching. ~ Neal Shusterman,
61:For every seeing soul, there are two absorbing facts - I, and the abyss. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
62:Days, months, years fly away, and irrecoverably sink in the abyss of time. ~ Jean de la Bruyere,
63:Man cannot sprout wings unless he has first reached the brink of the abyss! ~ Nikos Kazantzakis,
64:The abyss is full of reality, the abyss experiences itself, the abyss is alive. ~ Denis Johnson,
65:And when the abyss looks into you -and it will- may you look back unflinching. ~ Neal Shusterman,
66:Convincing the abyss by heavenly form
~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Kingdom of Subtle Matter,
67:And when the abyss looks into you - and it will - may you look back unflinching. ~ Neal Shusterman,
68:I am the abyss, and I’m staring back.”                                      —Caine ~ Morgan Blayde,
69:The Priestess (II) Circe Rémire, Ruler of the Deep “Terror from the abyss!” A.k.a.: ~ Kresley Cole,
70:And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
71:Reality
is always at the edge of the abyss,
hung from the thread of a thought. ~ Octavio Paz,
72:The soul attracted leaned to the Abyss:
It longed for the adventure of Ignorance ~ Sri Aurobindo,
73:When you stare into an abyss for a long time, the abyss also stares into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
74:It was the world of the abyss, supposedly as lifeless as the earth’s first midnight. ~ Loren Eiseley,
75:What is more thrilling than BASE jumping into the abyss of one’s imagination? ~ Khang Kijarro Nguyen,
76:There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. ~ Gilbert K Chesterton,
77:I fell straight into the abyss. My want of her isn’t just physical; it is soul deep. ~ Kristen Callihan,
78:Agnes peered into the abyss, and the abyss, not surprisingly, refused to peer back. “Hmm, ~ Chris Dolley,
79:I look into my heart and see the abyss looking back at me.'

'I won't let you fall. ~ Nalini Singh,
80:And if you gaze for long enough into an abyss, the abyss gazes also gazes into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
81:Managing innovation better may be the only way out of the abyss called commodity hell. ~ Jeffrey R Immelt,
82:I am fond of them, of the inferior beings of the abyss, of those who are full of longing. ~ Richard Wagner,
83:Of course I’m going to jump into the abyss. That’s what I do—throw myself into the unknown. ~ Rob Spillman,
84:pleasure, unless it has been kept within bounds, tends to rush headlong into the abyss of sorrow. ~ Seneca,
85:Starting a company is like staring into the abyss and eating glass.” @ElonMusk #JoinTheRide ~ Darren Hardy,
86:The abyss remains. It is pregnant with all the things yet to be. Ah, what gentle violence! ~ Frank Herbert,
87:It is because I dove into the abyss that I am beginning to love the abyss I am made of. ~ Clarice Lispector,
88:Please tread carefully and keep away from the shadows; you are about to enter the abyss. ~ Maxim Jakubowski,
89:At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss ~ Paulo Coelho,
90:And I definitely gravitate toward people who use laughter to pull themselves out of the abyss. ~ Lea Thompson,
91:At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss. ~ Paulo Coelho,
92:The abyss sometimes has these thoughtful ideas; but you will do well to beware of its kindness. ~ Victor Hugo,
93:We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us seeing it. ~ Blaise Pascal,
94:"The only way to escape the abyss is to look at it, gauge it, sound it out and descend into it." ~ Cesare Pavese,
95:Every month, it is woman's fate to face the abyss of time and being, the abyss which is herself. ~ Camille Paglia,
96:This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed. ~ Terence McKenna,
97:We run heedlessly into the abyss after putting something in front of us to stop us from seeing it. ~ Blaise Pascal,
98:YOU CLAWED YOUR WAY BACK FROM THE ABYSS. YOU SOUGHT TO REFORGE YOUR SPIRIT ON THE ANVIL OF YOUR WILL. ~ Phil Tucker,
99:That was when I waked half of Arkham with my screaming as I plunged madly up from the abyss of sleep. ~ H P Lovecraft,
100:In excessive griefs, as in great tempests, the abyss is found between the tops of the loftiest waves ~ Alexandre Dumas,
101:What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we cannot cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? ~ Thomas Merton,
102:But the human mind, when it reaches the bottom of the abyss, must bounce back or disintegrate entirely. ~ Edward Bunker,
103:Sometimes love carries us into the abyss, taking with us -- to make matters worse -- the people we love. ~ Paulo Coelho,
104:What did you do, you gutter stain?" she said. "Damn you, you sheep-shagger, what the Abyss did you do? ~ Daniel Arenson,
105:Every period of time is a sphinx that throws itself into the abyss as soon as its riddle has been solved. ~ Heinrich Heine,
106:I believe that were it not for the Holy Mass, as of this moment the world would be in the abyss. ~ Leonard of Port Maurice,
107:One mustn't look at the abyss, because there is at the bottom an inexpressible charm which attracts us. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
108:This is what I love about novels, both reading them and writing them. They jump into the abyss, to be with you ~ John Green,
109:When you gaze long into the Abyss of Sustainability, the Abyss of Sustainability also gazes into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
110:Movies like 'The Abyss' and 'Jaws' make people think the ocean is threatening. It's not. It's very tranquil. ~ Graham Hawkes,
111:You look into the abyss and the abyss looks back,” I said, shrugging. “Then you punch the abyss in the face. ~ Larry Correia,
112:It cannot be done all at once. To overpower vertigo - the keeper of the abyss- one must tame it, cautiously. ~ Philippe Petit,
113:… if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil ~ Clive Barker,
114:We live in such constant nearness to the abyss of past time that the moment is endlessly sucked into. ~ John Jeremiah Sullivan,
115:"What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?" ~ Thomas Merton,
116:I was watching souls going down into the abyss as thick and fast as snowflakes falling in the winter mist. ~ Benedict Joseph Labre,
117:Our consciousness a torch that plays Between the Abyss and a supernal Light. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Collected Poems, Man of the Mediator,
118:Before me is the abyss. How can I leap across it? And if I do not leap, how shall I ever be able to reach God? ~ Nikos Kazantzakis,
119:I stood at the edge of the abyss and gazed into eternity with childlike wonder until I sprouted wings and took flight. ~ Susan Marie,
120:Do it, Nesy. Say the words. Pierce my heart. Send me to the Abyss and end my suffering. Please. I won’t stop you. ~ Christine Fonseca,
121:The man of superior virtue is well pleased in the humblest situation. His heart loves to be deep as the abyss. ~ Lao-Tse: Tao-te-King,
122:throw roses into the abyss and say: ‘here is my thanks to the monster who didn't succeed in swallowing me alive. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
123:The vitality that can stand the abyss of meaninglessness is aware of a hidden meaning within the destruction of meaning. ~ Paul Tillich,
124:They covered their walls with beautiful paintings for the same reason they drank—to distract themselves from the abyss. ~ Dominic Smith,
125:Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
126:If you find someone who fills your heart, fills in all the cracks and stops all the leaking, to the Abyss with station, ~ Steven Erikson,
127:It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. ~ Joseph Campbell,
128:Battle not with monsters
lest you become a monster
and if you gaze into the abyss
the abyss gazes into you ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
129:Battle not with monsters, lest you become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
130:If you're not willing to face the abyss of choice, you will almost certainly not spend enough time dancing with opportunity. ~ Seth Godin,
131:In the face of horror ... there is no other answer than the cross of Christ: Love that descends to the abyss of evil. ~ Pope Benedict XVI,
132:...throw roses into the abyss and say: 'here is my thanks to the monster who didn't succeed in swallowing me alive. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
133:It is that to which we cling that drags us to the bottom of the abyss. There is real power at having nothing to lose. ~ Richard Paul Evans,
134:Still more than by the communion of souls, they were united by the abyss that separated them from the rest of the world. ~ Boris Pasternak,
135:This is what I love about novels - both reading them and writing them. They jump into the abyss to be with you where you are. ~ John Green,
136:All fear is ultimately fear of no-self. “And what is enlightenment,” I ask Sarah, “but a swan dive into the abyss of no-self? ~ Jed McKenna,
137:Finally he hears something: he thinks it is the ebb and flow of the sea, the water crashing back into the abyss of salt. ~ Marguerite Duras,
138:He who follows the steep path that climbs the heights can easily slip down into the abyss.
   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II, The Path,
139:It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.” Joseph Campbell “Shit don’t mean shit.” Jimmy Gold ~ Stephen King,
140:I had a feeling once about Mathematics, that I saw it all—Depth beyond depth was revealed to me—the Byss and the Abyss. ~ Winston S Churchill,
141:I started to think about the abyss that separates the poet from the reader and the next thing I knew I was deeply depressed. ~ Roberto Bola o,
142:Well, I was on the slippery slope into the abyss of love, companionship, and happiness—and you know where that leads. Misery. ~ Nelson DeMille,
143:Richness in the world is a result of other people's poverty. We should begin to shorten the abyss between haves and have-nots. ~ Eduardo Galeano,
144:She had wandered so far from the rules of propriety that she was making up new ones just to keep from sinking into the abyss. ~ Sabrina Jeffries,
145:There is a pain so utter, it swallows being up; The covers the abyss with a trance So memory can step around, across, upon it. ~ Emily Dickinson,
146:We today live on a planet of "robots" directed and managed by the Jews towards a tragic fatal end, towards the abyss and chaos. ~ Miguel Serrano,
147:I suppose love is never a sure thing, no matter what words are spoken. Love requires a leap of faith into the abyss, every time. ~ Tammara Webber,
148:I cannot bear that chirpy Bobby Kennedy, always building his beaver's nest with a few more facts. He needs to look into the abyss. ~ Norman Mailer,
149:The connection between our knowledge and the abyss of being is still real, and the explication must be not less magnificent. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
150:A man once said, ‘Battle not with monsters lest you become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. ~ Laini Taylor,
151:But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let’s keep that beginning. ~ Paulo Coelho,
152:There's something so scary about trying out new material and being completely comfortable jumping into the abyss with a comedic idea. ~ Judd Apatow,
153:IT IS BY GOING DOWN INTO THE ABYSS THAT WE RECOVER THE TREASURES OF LIFE. WHERE YOU STUMBLE, THERE LIES YOUR TREASURE. —JOSEPH CAMPBELL ~ Steve Kamb,
154:Nietzsche: “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. ~ Andreas Christensen,
155:These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss;
They cry, from unknown graves,
"We are the Witnesses! ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
156:When I see a head from a great distance, it ceases to be a sphere and becomes an extreme confusion falling down into the abyss. ~ Alberto Giacometti,
157:who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares also into you. ~ Ramez Naam,
158:She had done it. O, amazing grace. The woman had looked into the abyss and then walked out across it. No net. No way back. Amazing. ~ Richard Bachman,
159:Why should we honour those that die upon the field of battle? A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself. ~ W B Yeats,
160:For so many centuries, the exchange of gifts has held us together. It has made it possible to bridge the abyss where language struggles. ~ Barry Lopez,
161:There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. ~ Martin Luther King Jr,
162:Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche ~ Erec Stebbins,
163:He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares also into you. ~ Ramez Naam,
164:There is a pain so utter, it swallows being up;
The covers the abyss with a trance
So memory can step around, across, upon it. ~ Emily Dickinson,
165:We are all closer to the abyss than we would wish to admit. But is fortunate that we have an insight into the fact that we are the abyss ~ Jean Gebser,
166:If you die, Lily ... I’ll steal your soul and take you to the Abyss, where I will keep you in my magical dungeon so you can never escape. ~ Nalini Singh,
167:It doesn't require much for misfortune to strike in the King's Gambit - one incautious move, and Black can be on the edge of the abyss. ~ Anatoly Karpov,
168:The soul attracted leaned to the Abyss:
   It longed for the adventure of Ignorance
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain,
169:I admire the Elsie Tanners and Barbara Windsors of the world: people who have crawled back from the abyss. I'm quite camp in that respect. ~ Jenny Eclair,
170:When I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I'm even pleased that I'm falling in such a position. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
171:He told himself that it was the hatred of men, not the vengeance of God, which had plunged him into the abyss where he now found himself. ~ Alexandre Dumas,
172:When you stand at the abyss, you fall to your knees and you fucking grab for any comfort, any little thing to keep it from swallowing you whole. ~ T A Webb,
173:And if I thought too much about that, well, I moved toward the abyss. So I struggled desperately just to make it from one day to the next. ~ Masaji Ishikawa,
174:Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavias inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will last only so long. ~ Italo Calvino,
175:the abyss you stare into and that stares back at you is your reflection in the mirror - we all have it - that shadow self - that dark heart... ~ John Geddes,
176:The abyss you stare into and that stares back at you is your reflection in the mirror - we all have it - that shadow self - that dark heart. ~ John J Geddes,
177:He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
178:I knew what he was about to do, and a sob bubbled up, tearing from my throat as I sensed the mere inches separating my mouth from the abyss. ~ Pepper Winters,
179:In all the free falls of one's life, there are moments that stand out as a hand reaching across the abyss, and this, for me, was one of them. ~ Gail Caldwell,
180:On the other hand, the great helpless mass of the population, the people of the abyss, was sinking into a brutish apathy of content with misery. ~ Jack London,
181:When I look down into the abyss,
Down into the merciless blackness,
Colder and deeper than Hades itself,
There I see the Kraken rising. ~ Greig Beck,
182:Whoever fights monsters should take care not to become one. For as you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. Friedrich Nietzsche ~ Erec Stebbins,
183:If I did not love what is present, if I could not cling to this enormous, safe parachute, I would long since have fallen into the abyss. ~ Christian Morgenstern,
184:It is necessary for the saints to be disciplined in this way, to descend into hell and the abyss, and to be recalled from there into heaven. For ~ Martin Luther,
185:The abyss and the light of the world,
Time's need and the craving for eternity,
Vision, event, and poetry:
Was and is dialogue with you. ~ Martin Buber,
186:The abyss in which I live hasn't the wit to save itself from savage ignorance, and I now feel assured that I am not in the company of my own species ~ Morrissey,
187:Why should we honour those that die upon the field of battle? A man may show as reckless a courage in entering into the abyss of himself. ~ William Butler Yeats,
188:I deny that either singers or conductors can "create" or work creatively - this, as I have always said, is a conception that leads to the abyss. ~ Giuseppe Verdi,
189:Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss. ~ Hal Holbrook,
190:Man looks in the abyss, there’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss. ~ Oliver Stone,
191:You like to act as if you care about nothing and if you carry on like that then you’re going to drown in the abyss you have imagined for yourself. ~ Alice Oseman,
192:He had seen inferno and tempest, and had not only looked into the abyss but the abyss had looked into him, and then made disparaging comments. ~ Jonathan L Howard,
193:He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into you. —Nietzsche ~ Robert Kirkman,
194:I felt as if I were riding a pendulum. Just as I would swing into the abyss of hopelessness, the pendulum would swing back with some small goodness. ~ Ruta Sepetys,
195:I gazed upon the earth and saw that a body, in its tender faithlessness, had located it in the sky. A splendid scarf of blood, looming above the abyss. ~ Joe Bousquet,
196:Authority allows two roles: the torturer and the tortured. Twists people into joyless mannequins that fear and hate, while culture plunges into the abyss. ~ Alan Moore,
197:[Should Britain fail, then the entire world would] sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister ... by the lights of perverted science. ~ Winston Churchill,
198:Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster... for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
199:The night is alive with stars, and when I lie down and look up, I get lost up there. I feel like I’m falling, but upward, into the abyss of sky above me. ~ Markus Zusak,
200:There is now the capacity to make tyranny total in America. Only law ensures that we never fall into that abyss—the abyss from which there is no return. ~ James Bamford,
201:146. He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. ~ Anonymous,
202:He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
203:Beware that, when Fighting Monsters, You Yourself do not Become a Monster... for when You Gaze long into the Abyss, the Abyss Gazes also into You.
   ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
204:There may be two or three or four steps, according to the genius of each, but for every seeing soul there are two absorbing facts, --I and the abyss. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
205:By what instinct do you pretend to distinguish between a fallen seraph of the abyss and a messenger from the eternal throne, between a guide and a seducer ~ Charlotte Bront,
206:Emotional labor is what you get paid to do, and one of the most difficult types of emotional labor is staring into the abyss of choice and picking a path. Your ~ Seth Godin,
207:remembered a quote from Nietzsche: “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. ~ Andreas Christensen,
208:Battle not with monsters lest you become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’ Nietzsche, you know. Exceptional mustache. ~ Laini Taylor,
209:Don't focus on all the steps it will take. Don't stare into the abyss at the giant leap it will take. That view will keep you from taking the next small step. ~ Regina Brett,
210:He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
211:The bliss of the elect in heaven would not be perfect unless they were able to look across the abyss and enjoy the agonies of their brethren in eternal fire. ~ Pope Gregory I,
212:Gravity and sadness yank us down, and hope gives us a nudge to help one another get back up or to sit with the fallen on the ground, in the abyss, in solidarity. ~ Anne Lamott,
213:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you…. ~ Michael Connelly,
214:Meditation gives you the wherewithal to pause, observe how easily the mind can exaggerate the severity of a setback, and resist getting drawn into the abyss. ~ Richard Davidson,
215:Suppose God should damn to everlasting fire a man so great and good, that he, looking from the abyss of hell, would forgive God,—how would a god feel then? ~ Robert G Ingersoll,
216:He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.
And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
217:If I saw the gates of hell open and I stood on the brink of the abyss, I would not despair; I would not lose hope of mercy, because I would trust in you, my God. ~ Gemma Galgani,
218:There is no drop of water in the ocean, not even in the deepest parts of the abyss, that does not know and respond to the mysterious forces that create the tide. ~ Rachel Carson,
219:He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
220:He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee. 147. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
221:He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster . . . when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
222:It is as if a curtain had been drawn from before my eyes, and, instead of prospects of eternal life, the abyss of an ever open grave yawned before me. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,
223:"the two crises—the Angel and the Abyss—are necessary features in every career. The other tasks are not always accomplished in [any given order]". ~ Aleister Crowley, Confessions,
224:I have never encountered, not even in witchcraft trials, a dead man whom God or the Devil allowed to climb up from the abyss to erase the evidence of his misdeed—then ~ Umberto Eco,
225:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you. When ~ Laura Griffin,
226:We must prepare and study truth under every aspect, endeavoring to ignore nothing, if we do not wish to fall into the abyss of the unknown when the hour shall strike. ~ H P Blavatsky,
227:Love makes you weak. Love has unseen bondages that take you into the abyss of failure at that crucial moment when victory and failure get balanced. Beware of love. ~ Anand Neelakantan,
228:I understood that faith could help people see beyond themselves, not into the abyss but into the street, into the mix, to offer what was best about themselves to others. ~ Piper Kerman,
229:Let not the favourable moment pass thee by, for those who have suffered it to escape them, shall lament when they find themselves on the path which leads to the abyss. ~ Buddhist Texts,
230:A man might think he can stare into the abyss without falling in but sometimes the abyss stares back. Sometimes the abyss exerts a strange effect on your sense of balance. ~ Philip Kerr,
231:But what about when someone is alive yet wants nothing to do with you? Is there a mourning process in place then, or do you hold on to hope like a life raft in the abyss? ~ Sejal Badani,
232:Jumping down the cliff is a keen sense every person who comes to the edge of the cliff thinks of! The bottom of the abyss often hypnotizes the people who look at it! ~ Mehmet Murat ildan,
233:He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” (Friedrich Nietzsche) ~ Sigmund Brouwer,
234:Put a man on the brink of the abyss and - in the unlikely event that she doesn't fall into it - he will become a mystic or a madman... Which is probably the same thing! ~ Apostolos Doxiadis,
235:Having reached the summit of his vengeance by the slow and tortuous route that he had followed, he had looked over the far side of the mountain and into the abyss of doubt. ~ Alexandre Dumas,
236:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
237:Put a man on the brink of the abyss and - in the unlikely event that she doesn't fall into it - he will become a mystic or a madman... Which is probably the same thing! ~ Apostolos K Doxiadis,
238:The Dark Lord has Nine. But we have One, mightier than they: the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him. We will go where he leads. ~ J R R Tolkien,
239:Love makes you weak. Love has unseen bondages that take you into the abyss of failure at that crucial moment when victory and failure get balanced. Beware of love. Finally, ~ Anand Neelakantan,
240:I saw the abyss of my misery; whatever there is of good in me is Yours, O Lord. But because I am so small and wretched, I have a right to count on Your boundless mercy. ~ Mary Faustina Kowalska,
241:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.—Nietzsche. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
242:I wasn't entirely awake, but I couldn't cross the line into sleep. 'Go. Go on. The abyss is right there. Just a few more steps.' But I was too tired to break through the glass. ~ Ottessa Moshfegh,
243:As the abyss widens, though, I begin to fear that coming back to the surface may, someday, not be under my control. Because at the bottom of my abyss is not death, it's madness. ~ Kelley Armstrong,
244:In Buddhist writings, mention is often made of “the abyss of birth." An abyss indeed, a gulf into which we do not fall but from which, instead, we emerge, to our universal chagrin. ~ Emil M Cioran,
245:In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the eartha — 2   * and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters — ~ Anonymous,
246:Whoever fights monsters,” Nietzsche had said, “should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you. ~ Azar Nafisi,
247:A great relationship ... breaches the barriers of a lofty solitude, subdues its strict law, and throws a bridge from self-being to self-being across the abyss of dread of the universe. ~ Martin Buber,
248:The person who fights monsters should make sure that in the process, he does not become a monster himself. Because when you stare down at an abyss, the abyss stares back at you. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
249:Try to treat with equal love all the people with whom you have relations. Thus the abyss between 'myself' and 'yourself' will be filled in, which is the goal of all religious worship. ~ Anandamayi Ma,
250:The waters of the Abyss also operated as a passageway that linked the earth above with the underworld below. Panias had a nickname throughout the land. It was called the Gates of Hades. ~ Brian Godawa,
251:The gaps in power, the gaps in wealth, the gaps in ideology which hold the nations apart also make up the abyss into which mankind can fall to annihilation. ~ Barbara Ward Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth,
252:I could almost believe that a love as passionate as theirs had been would enable them to reach across the abyss between life and death and join hands for some precious moments every night. ~ V C Andrews,
253:Madness is the WHO staring into the abyss and denying it is there. Madness is an ostrich who sticks her head in the sand while a pack of hyenas closes around her. - Lanky Man with green eyes ~ Dan Brown,
254:But that was the funny thing about mistakes: your heart always found a way to rationalize, a way to explain it away as you stepped ever further to the abyss, even if your mind knew better. ~ Jeremy Asher,
255:If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o'-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death. ~ Alan Watts,
256:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche ~ Meg Gardiner,
257:And I, infinitesima­l being, drunk with the great starry void, likeness, image of mystery, I felt myself a pure part of the abyss, I wheeled with the stars, my heart broke loose on the wind. ~ Pablo Neruda,
258:If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death. ~ Alan W Watts,
259:On our life map, he drew a bright circle around twelve through eighteen. This was the abyss where, unguided, black boys were swallowed whole, only to reemerge on corners and prison tiers. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates,
260:The abyss beyond our beliefs is something we have to pass through in order to see the world anew, to see it in terms not dictated so much by our culture, our parents, or our religious convictions. ~ Sam Keen,
261:The fear of dying is not just the terror of pain, the humiliation of the loss of faculties, the fall into the abyss . . . but the primeval fear that afterwards one might remember it. The ~ Christopher Priest,
262:The observations and reckonings of astronomers have taught us many surprising things, but the most important result of their studies is, undoubtedly, that they reveal to us the abyss of our ignorance. ~ Kant,
263:He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. —Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886 ~ D M Pulley,
264:If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death. As ~ Alan W Watts,
265:The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that when you look into the darkness of the abyss the abyss looks into you. Probably no other line or thought more inspires or informs my work. ~ Michael Connelly,
266:It was going to be a long, dark night but not quite as dark as it was in the abyss of his heart where there was nothing but hollowness, yet it felt heavy, almost as if someone still resided there. ~ Faraaz Kazi,
267:We exchanged disagreeable remarks. The impression of this first quarrel was terrible. I say quarrel, but the term is inexact. It was the sudden discovery of the abyss that had been dug between us. ~ Leo Tolstoy,
268:Dead voices, lost sounds, forgotten noises, vibrations lockstepping into the abyss and now too distant ever to be recaptured!...What sort of arrows would be able to transfix such birds? ~ Villiers de L Isle Adam,
269:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”   -Friedrich Nietzsche   ~ Jane Washington,
270:In prison, for the first time, I understood that faith could help people see beyond themselves, not into the abyss but into the street, into the mix, to offer what was best about themselves to others. ~ Piper Kerman,
271:Is it not better to intimate our astonishment as we pass through this world if it be only for a moment ere we are swallowed up in the yeast of the abyss? I will lift up my hands and say Kosmos. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
272:There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss. You will never succeed in filling that hole, because your needs are inexhaustible. You have to work around it so that gradually the abyss closes. ~ Henri J M Nouwen,
273:He has heart who knows fear, but vanquishes it; who sees the abyss, but with pride.
He who sees the abyss, but with eagle's eyes,- he who with eagle's talons grasps the abyss: he has courage. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
274:There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one … ~ Ruth Rendell,
275:There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. ~ G K Chesterton,
276:He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL ~ Whitley Strieber,
277:There was such fear in the world. But love was everywhere if you looked. It was the best thing about humans. That they could stare into the abyss and still open up their hearts. A spit in the eye to fear. ~ Libba Bray,
278:One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
279:The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths and becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp. ~ Viktor E Frankl,
280:To confess your sins to God is not to tell [God] anything [God] doesn't already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge. ~ Frederick Buechner,
281:For the first time, he truly understood what Nietzsche had meant when he had yammered about looking into abysses. Not only had the abyss looked into him, it had noted his name, address and shoe size. ~ Jonathan L Howard,
282:Redemption isn’t as simple or cheap as they’d suggest; not as easy as winning some vapid and pointless competition. Redemption for us means saving our souls from the abyss that most of our kind dwell in. ~ Robert J Crane,
283:If my life were not a dangerous, painful experiment, if I did not constantly skirt the abyss and feel the void under my feet, my life would have no meaning and I would not have been able to write anything. ~ Hermann Hesse,
284:Nietzsche quote I have often considered: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. For when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”) ~ Gavin de Becker,
285:Dead voices, lost sounds, forgotten noises, vibrations lockstepping into the abyss and now too distant ever to be recaptured!...What sort of arrows would be able to transfix such birds? ~ Auguste de Villiers de l Isle Adam,
286:There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. ~ Gilbert K Chesterton,
287:A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss. ~ John Kennedy Toole,
288:To confess your sins to God is not to tell God anything God doesn't already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the Golden Gate Bridge. ~ Frederick Buechner,
289:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster,” as Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. “And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Walter ~ Michael Capuzzo,
290:Do you see how little it all matters? How quickly and easily I can take it all away, should I choose to do so? Beware, gunslinger! Beware, shaman! The abyss is all around you. You float or fall into it at my whim. ~ Stephen King,
291:A pang of deep longing ripples through me. I’m torn between my promise to send Aydan to the Abyss and my need to keep him safe. The opposing forces fragment what remains of my mind, breaking me down once again. ~ Christine Fonseca,
292:a woman who despite her years was still as strong willed as ever, a woman who didn’t cling to the edge of the abyss but plunged into it with curiosity and elegance. A woman who plunged into the abyss sitting down. ~ Roberto Bola o,
293:That’s what had changed when he jumped into the abyss. He exchanged illusion for truth. He felt purified, and yet some part of him couldn’t rejoice in it. What would it be like to be the only man who wasn’t afraid? ~ Deepak Chopra,
294:You explode, if that's more to your taste, shoot yourself all around in endless darts, be prodigal, spendthrift, reckless: I shall implode, collapse inside the abyss of myself, towards my buried centre, infinitely. ~ Italo Calvino,
295:I thought, 'There are a lot of poets who have the courage to look into the abyss, but there are very few who have the courage to look happiness in the face and write about it,' which is what I wanted to be able to do. ~ Kenneth Koch,
296:...for now he was in one of those crises when the soul yields a blurred glimpse of all that it enfolds, like an ocean, tempest-torn, uncovering everything from the seaweed in the shallows to the sands of the abyss. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
297:Smoking blood, over-filled cemeteries, mothers in tears,—these are formidable pleaders. When the earth is suffering from too heavy a burden, there are mysterious groanings of the shades, to which the abyss lends an ear. ~ Victor Hugo,
298:Because I'm a Karamazov. Because when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I'm even pleased that I'm falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky,
299:The Waves is an extraordinary achievement ... It is trembling on the edge. A little less - and it would lose its poetry. A little more - and it would be over into the abyss, and be dull and arty. It is her greatest book. ~ E M Forster,
300:A Greek term, kaos means the void, the abyss, the First Created Thing. The word derives from the Proto-Indo-European term for gaping, or yawning, as in an opening mouth, a primal scream issuing from behind ancient teeth. ~ Gordon White,
301:Because I'm a Karamazov. Because when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I'm even pleased that I'm falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
302:Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings—a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
303:Regard behind thee the abyss of duration and in front that other infinity of the ages to come. What difference is there is in this immensity between one who has lived three days and one who has lived three human ages? ~ Marcus Aurelius,
304:Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings,--a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
305:That was the beginning of the Cuban missile crisis—a confrontation between the two giant atomic nations, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., which brought the world to the abyss of nuclear destruction and the end of mankind. From ~ Robert F Kennedy,
306:Rachel’s way was not so easy. When she lost her fat she became very pretty and quite fast. She smoked and drank and probably fornicated and the abyss that opens up before a pretty and an intemperate young woman is unfathomable. ~ John Cheever,
307:His faculties are so ample, so vast, so profound that it is as if an immense source from which everything issues in its time. They are as vast and extended as the heavens; the hidden source from which they issue is deep as the abyss. ~ Tsu-tse,
308:One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light ~ Joseph Campbell,
309:people of all ages shelling out precious quarters and dimes to see the story of a huge, irrational beast that had invaded the civilized world, taken its inhabitants into its clutches, and left them dangling over the abyss. ~ Daniel James Brown,
310:One thing that comes out of myth is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light. ~ Joseph Campbell,
311:Every so often, we all gaze into the abyss. It's a depressing fact of life that eventually the clock expires; eventually the sand in the hourglass runs out. It's the leaving behind of everything that matters to us that hurts the most. ~ Ben Shapiro,
312:What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it all the rest are not only useless but disastrous. ~ Thomas Merton,
313:I thought this must be obvious to everyone else, as it seemed obvious to me; and that, if once it became apparent that we were on the edge, all the Great Powers would call a halt and recoil from the abyss. ~ Edward Grey 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon,
314:Mrs. Bennet was not one to tiptoe around the edges of disaster, with one eye to the abyss and another to her own comportment: she plunged headlong in, and as she fell, took pains to enumerate the discomforts and inconveniences of the fall. ~ Jo Baker,
315:What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous. ~ Thomas Merton,
316:It is a stern fact of history that no nation that rushed to the abyss ever turned back. Not ever, in the long history of the world. We are now on the edge of the abyss. Can we, for the first time in history, turn back? It is up to you. ~ Taylor Caldwell,
317:When I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I’m even pleased that I’m falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
318:Now, what is the good of driblets? To go through life having done one thing — to have raised one person from the abyss; not these puny gifts of shillings and blankets — making the grey more grey. No doubt people will think me extraordinary. ~ E M Forster,
319:With its head in the heavens, and its foundation in the Abyss, this tower would be the center of power for the pantheon of gods, uniting with the earthly potentate Nimrod. It would make them an unstoppable united force of heaven and earth. ~ Brian Godawa,
320:Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu'importe? / Au fond de l'Inconnu pour trouver du NOUVEAU! (rough translation : Into the abyss -- Heaven or Hell, what difference does it make? / To the depths of the Unknown to find the NEW!) ~ Charles Baudelaire,
321:The exposure of the conspiracy, the thanks from Petersburg, a career in the future, the influence of ‘kindness’ on the young people to keep them from falling into the abyss — all this coexisted in complete harmony in her fantastic head. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
322:He looked at his foreword, written, as ever, in his customary green ink, with the simple, if guilty, hope that in the abyss that lay between his dream and his failure there might be something worth reading in which the truth could be felt. ~ Richard Flanagan,
323:Ptolemy’s disciples told the story, before the beginning of time there existed in the primal aeon only the primordial Source of all being, what they called the abyss, the depth, or primal origin, progenitor of all that was to come into being. ~ Elaine Pagels,
324:they meant to test the ground; and in so doing they were prepared to go to the very edge of the precipice. It is so easy to lose one’s balance there: a touch, a gust of wind, a momentary dizziness, and all is precipitated into the abyss. ~ Winston S Churchill,
325:they meant to test the ground; and in so doing they were prepared to go to the very edge of the precipice. It is so easy to lose one��s balance there: a touch, a gust of wind, a momentary dizziness, and all is precipitated into the abyss. ~ Winston S Churchill,
326:And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you. Ahh . . . an educated man. Well, you're not as stupid as you look. Don't quote Nietzsche at me, kid. That German crackpot wouldn't know a real monster if it bit him on the ass. ~ Larry Correia,
327:Life is a perpetual choice between truth and falsehood, light and darkness, progress and regression, the ascent towards the heights or a fall into the abyss. It is for each one to choose freely.
   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II, The Path of Yoga, The Path,
328:Sweat was running down my face. The next turn wasn’t too bad, and I noticed an old barn on the roadside, the roof caved-in, the windows empty holes, but I had already been distracted for too long, and the abyss came so close that I cried out. I ~ Daniel Kehlmann,
329:When the houses of the great collapse
Many little people are slain.
Those who have no share in the fortunes of the mighty
Often have a share in their misfortunes. The plunging
wain
Drags the sweating beasts with it into the abyss. ~ Bertolt Brecht,
330:There we were, doctor and patient, in a relationship that sometimes carries a magisterial air and other times, like now, was no more, and no less, than two people huddled together, as one faces the abyss.
Doctors, it turns out, need hope, too. ~ Paul Kalanithi,
331:When the madness came, he would be like a man staggering along the rim of the abyss – which was his rage – and when the edge gave way or he missed his step, he might clutch at anyone within reach and drag that person with him over the precipice. ~ Geraldine Brooks,
332:Here is a masterly study of the inner life by a heart thirsting after God, eager to grasp at least the outskirts of His ways, the abyss of His love for sinners, and the height of His unapproachable majesty—and it was written by a busy pastor in Chicago! ~ A W Tozer,
333:The whole organization seemed to be in free fall, indulging in a collective fantasy in which experienced colleagues refused to admit that their every movement, every decision that was made and implemented, only led them one step closer to the abyss. ~ Steig Larsson,
334:The whole organization seemed to be in free fall, indulging in a collective fantasy in which experienced colleagues refused to admit that their every movement, every decision that was made and implemented, only led them one step closer to the abyss. ~ Stieg Larsson,
335:Love, she believed, must come suddenly, with great thunderclaps and bolts of lightening - a hurricane from heaven that drops down on your life, overturns it, tears away your will like a leaf, and carries your whole heart with it off into the abyss. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
336:McCaleb classified these cops as avenging angels. It had been his experience that these cop/angels were the best investigators he ever worked with. He also came to believe that they traveled closest to that unseen edge beneath which lies the abyss. ~ Michael Connelly,
337:So finally we tumble into the abyss, we ask God why he has made us so feeble. But, in spite of ourselves, He replies through our consciences: 'I have made you too feeble to climb out of the pit, because i made you strong enough not to fall in. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau,
338:People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind. ~ Richard Rohr,
339:It must really be a lonelier journey than anyone could imagine. Cutting through absolute darkness, encountering nothing but the occasional hydrogen atom. Flying blindly into the abyss, believing therein lie the answers to the mysteries of the universe. ~ Makoto Shinkai,
340:...to write a story is to inch backward and forward along a series of planks you are cantilevering out into the darkness, plank by plank, inch by inch, and the best you can hope is that each day you find yourself a little bit farther out over the abyss. ~ Anthony Doerr,
341:We belong to an age where apocalypse is our daily bread, coffee's black, and we know we're part of the abyss. Red Spider White Web is right on target in conveying that understanding. It splinters in the mind... the underworld of the century's imaginings. ~ Brian Aldiss,
342:When you see the abyss, and we have looked into it, then what? There isn't much room at the edge -- one person, another, not many. If you are there, others cannot be there. If you are there, you become a protective wall. What happens? You become part of t ~ Elie Wiesel,
343:At times, we forget the magnitude of the havoc we can wreak by off-loading our minds onto super-intelligent machines, that is, until they run away from us, like mad sorcerers' apprentices, and drag us up to the precipice for a look down into the abyss. ~ Richard Dooling,
344:I have good news and bad news! The bad news is that the abyss and the void are all the same thing and it is monumental and everywhere. The good news is you can lie still in your bed while the cursed and the unskinned walk around in it and not feel a thing. ~ Gabe Habash,
345:In everyday life males and females alike are relatively silent about love. Our silence shields us from uncertainty. We want to know love. We are simply afraid the desire to know too much about love will lead us closer and closer to the abyss of lovelessness. ~ bell hooks,
346:When she returned her attention to the road, something large and black was in her path. A shriek escaped from her clenched jaw as she jammed on the brakes. The tiny car skidded perilously, and she was certain she’d be spiraling into the abyss at any second. ~ Marie Force,
347:We cry because language is imperfect and fails to reach all the way down to the bottom-most depths of life, not even halfway down into the deepest charms, our tears begin where our words stop, are they messages from the abyss, the unspoiled depths? ~ J n Kalman Stef nsson,
348:So many bright futures consigned to the ashes of the past.So many dreams lost in the madness that had engulfed us.Except for a few widely scattered shouts of joy,the survivors of the abyss sat hollow-eyed and silent, trying to comprehend a world without war. ~ Paul Fussell,
349:There is a pain – so utter –
It swallows substance up –
Then covers the Abyss with Trance –
So Memory can step
Around – across – opon it –
As one within a Swoon –
Goes safely – where an open eye –
Would drop Him – Bone by Bone. ~ Emily Dickinson,
350:Alas! Victor, when falsehood can look so like the truth, who can assure themselves of certain happiness? I feel as if I were walking on the edge of a precipice, towards which thousands are crowding, and endeavouring to plunge me into the abyss. ~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
351:For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you look into the abyss the abyss looks into you. You know, all the clichés. They're clichés because they're true. You don't go into the darkness without it going into you and taking its piece. ~ Michael Connelly,
352:For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you look into the abyss the abyss looks into you. You know, all the clichés. They’re clichés because they’re true. You don’t go into the darkness without it going into you and taking its piece. ~ Michael Connelly,
353:Night, the time I can stop worrying about my life and drift off into the abyss, free from conscious thought. It is my only diversion from the realities of my life; my escape from this incomprehensible heaviness, this foreboding feeling that has over taken me. ~ Jaime Guerard,
354:Revelation 20:3 says that Satan is cast into the abyss for 1000 years after the return of Christ to earth “so that he should not deceive the nations any longer.” This indicates that deceiving the nations must be one of his main goals during this present age. ~ Mark Hitchcock,
355:The drowsiness of midnight, so sweet, so heavy, began again to flow through his limbs; and little by little, like a hundred grains of sand, his consciousness filtered down into the abyss of his sleep-world until oblivion had once more filled it full. ~ Halld r Kiljan Laxness,
356:The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. ~ Umberto Eco,
357:When our ruling principle and formations of the good, of God, of reality break down, and when we find we must develop the least developed part of us, we find at the bottom of that lowest point evil looking at us coldly, dragging our light into the abyss. ~ Ann Belford Ulanov,
358:America has become one of the foremost countries in regard to the depth of the abyss which lies between the handful of arrogant multimillionaires who wallow in filth and luxury, and the millions of working people who constantly live on the verge of pauperism. ~ Vladimir Lenin,
359:I am free, anonymous man. My flights and falls occurred while I was wearing a magical cap of of invisibility, my successes and sins sailed on in invisible corvettes, and films and books flew off into the abyss in invisible strongboxes. I am free, anonymous. ~ Tadeusz Konwicki,
360:if some interference in the infrared spectrum looked like a fractal, and that fractal looked like it was made of tentacles, and the suckers on those tentacles looked like eyes…that didn’t mean that when you stared into the abyss the abyss was staring into you. ~ Douglas Wynne,
361:…when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. ~ Martin Luther King Jr,
362:America, like a few other nations, has become characteristic for the depth of the abyss that divide a handful of brutal millionaires who are stagnating in a mire of luxury, and millions of laboring starving men and women who are always staring want in the face. ~ Vladimir Lenin,
363:[…] as if the next thing must quickly come along to occupy her, or the abyss might open. What abyss? The abyss that waits for all of us, when all our actions seem futile, when the ability to fill the day seems stalled, and the waiting takes on an edge of dread. ~ Anita Brookner,
364:He was a futurist. They were all futurists. Everyone here gazed into the abyss for a living. Do it long enough, and the abyss would gaze back into you. If the abyss did that for long enough, the people who paid you for your eyes would send you to Normal Head. The ~ Warren Ellis,
365:Soon I will fall asleep and I will wake from this terrible dream. The endless night will fall, and I will rise.
I long for that night. I do not fear it.
I have had my fill of fear. I have stared too long into the abyss, and now the abyss stares back at me. ~ Rick Yancey,
366:Christ, you’ve had it rough. An ex-wife who’s a mind-fucker. I take back most of the things I was thinking about you, Nitchy.” “That’s Nietzsche, you idiot.” “ ‘If you gaze for too long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’ Watch who you call an idiot. ~ Jilliane Hoffman,
367:Even when our life is most difficult, it is important to remember that something within us is keeping us alive- the life force-that lift us, energizes us, pulls us back sometimes from the abyss of despair. True spirituality does not exist without love of life. ~ Nathaniel Branden,
368:Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. ~ G K Chesterton,
369:Voluptuaries, consumed by their senses, always begin by flinging themselves with a great display of frenzy into an abyss. But they survive, they come to the surface again. And they develop a routine of the abyss: It's four o clock. At five I have my abyss. ~ Sidonie Gabrielle Colette,
370:but then the memory—not yet of the place in which I was, but of various other places where I had lived and might now very possibly be—would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I could never have escaped by myself: ~ Marcel Proust,
371:As to Emma, she did not ask herself whether she loved. Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings—a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss ~ Gustave Flaubert,
372:Dorian sat quietly for a moment and then said, “We all straddle the abyss, Penny. If you never look down, how will you ever know who you are or what you will become? Your dad could never be ashamed of you, because falling in that abyss is part of the process of growing up. ~ Karen Gammons,
373:As I crawled out of the abyss of combat and over the rail of the Sea Runner, I realized that compassion for the sufferings of others is a burden to those who have it. As Wilfred Owen's poem "Insensibility" puts it so well, those who feel most of others suffer most in war. ~ Eugene B Sledge,
374:She walked to where he stood, where the fire met the water. He took her hand and they both looked out into the abyss of it. The fear that Marcus had felt inside the Castle was still there, but he knew it was like the fire, a wild thing that could still be controlled, contained. ~ Yaa Gyasi,
375:After... The seas have dried out The trains have come to a shrieking holt The hounds of the abyss cease to howl The prisons have closed their doors The pigs have no one to arrest except themselves The drugs no longer have an effect When it's all over All I'll remember is you ~ Henry Rollins,
376:Eagles live in the darkness,
And the sons of the Alps
Cross over the abyss without fear
On lightly-built bridges.
***
Growing weak on the separate mountains —
Then give us calm waters;
Give us wings, and loyal minds
To cross over and return. ~ Friedrich H lderlin,
377:Those who take the most from the table, teach contentment. Those for whom the taxes are destined, demand sacrifice. Those who eat their fill, speak to the hungry, of wonderful times to come. Those who lead the country into the abyss, call ruling difficult, for ordinary folk. ~ Bertolt Brecht,
378:Urging the need for community upon American religionists is a vain enterprise; the experiential encounter with Jesus or God is too overwhelming for memories of community to abide, and the believer returns from the abyss of ecstasy with the self enhanced and otherness devalued. ~ Harold Bloom,
379:The anxiety engendered by confronting the abyss of nothingness [of the loss of self] is more terrifying than the tortures of hell. In the vision of hell, I am punished and tortured—In the vision of nothingness I am driven to the border of madness—because I cannot say ‘I’ any more. ~ Erich Fromm,
380:When I started off as an actress, I did at a play at the Taper Too Theatre here in Los Angeles, called 'In The Abyss Of Coney Island.' That was more of a dramatic play. It was a small theater house. This was the first time I was literally on the road, doing a play, for four months. ~ Vivica Fox,
381:Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. ~ Ray Bradbury,
382:The damned are in the abyss of Hell, as within a woeful city, where they suffer unspeakable torments, in all their senses and members, because as they have employed all their senses and their members in sinning, so shall they suffer in each of them the punishment due to sin. ~ Saint Francis de Sales,
383:I've been in contact with Marshal Badoglio. We agree that Italy must be saved from the abyss toward which Fascism is driving her. If we depose Mussolini, however, the new government should do nothing drastic to upset Hitler until we can secretly negotiate an armistice with the Allies. ~ Ugo Cavallero,
384:I askt the seas and all the deeps below  My God to know,  I askt the reptiles, and whatever is  In the abyss;  Even from the shrimps to the leviathan  Enquiry ran;  But in those deserts that no line can sound  The God I sought for was not to be found. ~ Thomas Heywood, Searching after God,
385:On the abyss’s edge we slide and soon will plunge head first; our life is given us with our death – and we, when we are born, begin to die. Without an ounce of pity, death strikes all things, brings to nothing stars, and suns are quenched by her cold breath – destroyer of the universe. ~ Robert Chandler,
386:...we are of a broad, Karamazovian nature--and this is what I am driving at--capable of containing all possible opposites and of contemplating both abysses at once, the abyss above us, an abyss of lofty ideals, and the abyss beneath us, and abyss of the lowest and foulest degradation. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
387:You have delivered up our holy German Fatherland to one of the greatest demagogues of all time. I solemnly prophesy that this accursed man will cast our Reich into the abyss and bring our nation to inconceivable misery. Future generations will damn you in your grave for what you have done. ~ Ian Kershaw,
388:1058
There Is A Pain—so Utter
599
There is a pain—so utter—
It swallows substance up—
Then covers the Abyss with Trance—
So Memory can step
Around—across—upon it—
As one within a Swoon—
Goes safely—where an open eye—
Would drop Him—Bone by Bone.
~ Emily Dickinson,
389:We remember the surge and we remember the Awakening -- when the abyss of chaos turned toward the promise of reconciliation. By battling and building block by block in Baghdad, by bringing tribes into the fold and partnering with the Iraqi army and police, you helped turn the tide toward peace. ~ Barack Obama,
390:Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss. By the time we had left the swamps and reached those rolling hills near Baton Rouge, I was getting afraid that some rural rednecks might toss bombs at the bus. They love to attack vehicles, which are a symbol of progress, I guess. ~ John Kennedy Toole,
391:Every second since then has been a struggle against my vices and against self-pity. I need to remain focused and calm, to do the work I chose to do with love, and never to cling to the present moment, because death is still very close, the abyss is there beside me, and I am walking along the edge. ~ Paulo Coelho,
392:After...
The seas have dried out
The trains have come to a shrieking holt
The hounds of the abyss cease to howl
The prisons have closed their doors
The pigs have no one to arrest except themselves
The drugs no longer have an effect
When it's all over
All I'll remember is you ~ Henry Rollins,
393:Only the simple can withstand the sword. As we are below the Abyss, this weapon is then entirely destructive: it divides Satan against Satan. It is only in the lower forms of Magick, the purely human forms, that the Sword has become so important a weapon. A dagger should be sufficient. ~ Aleister Crowley, Liber ABA,
394:Acquired characteristics are inherited in technology and culture. Lamarckian evolution is rapid and accumulative. It explains the cardinal difference between our past, purely biological mode of change, and our current, maddening acceleration toward something new and liberating- or toward the abyss. ~ Stephen Jay Gould,
395:fiends. Turning, I saw outlined against the luminous aether of the abyss what could not be seen against the dusk of the corridor—a nightmare horde of rushing devils; hate-distorted, grotesquely panoplied, half-transparent; devils of a race no man might mistake—the crawling reptiles of the nameless city. ~ H P Lovecraft,
396:Not a bad thing to know something about darkness. You can’t talk about light without some knowledge of darkness. Like your buddy Nietzsche said, 'He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you. ~ Kazuki Kaneshiro,
397:Dan pulled him in. Anchored him. Secured him, like one mountain climber to the other, rope and irons and nothing but the abyss if the rope failed. “It will work. I haven’t got this far to give up.”

“It’ll work.” Dan’s kisses grew more intense. “It must.” Because you’re mine, and you belong to me. ~ Aleksandr Voinov,
398:Boredom in the midst of paradise generated our first ancestor’s appetite for the abyss which has won us this procession of centuries whose end we now have in view. That appetite, a veritable nostalgia for hell, would not fail to ravage the race following us and to make it the worthy heir of our misfortunes. ~ Emil M Cioran,
399:I stood here, and saw before me the unutterable, the unthinkable gulf that yawns profound between two worlds, the world of matter and the world of spirit; I saw the great empty deep stretch dim before me, and in that instant a bridge of light leapt from the earth to the unknown shore, and the abyss was spanned. ~ Arthur Machen,
400:It is the Sacrament of Love that excites the soul to ardent prayer. It stirs up the virtue of impetration and, as it were, forces God to grant our petition. It deepens the abyss of humility, above all it enkindles the flame of love in the heart; hence the Sacrament is the Gift of gifts, and the Grace of graces ~ Angela of Foligno,
401:While we are looking for the antidote or the medicine to cure us, that is, the 'new', which can only be found by plunging deep into the Unknown, we have to go on exploring sex, books, and travel, although we know that they lead us to the abyss, which, as it happens, is the only place where the antidote can be found. ~ Roberto Bola o,
402:Soulmates aren't the ones who make you happiest, no. They're instead the ones who make you feel the most. Burning edges and scars and stars. Old pangs, captivation and beauty. Strain and shadows and worry and yearning. Sweetness and madness and dreamlike surrender. They hurl you into the abyss. They taste like hope. ~ Victoria Erickson,
403:And indeed when we are no longer in love with women whom we meet after many years, is there not the abyss of death between them and ourselves, just as much as if they were no longer of this world, since the fact that we are no longer in love makes the people that they were or the person that we were then as good as dead? ~ Marcel Proust,
404:He clasped her fingers, not so she could pull him up but clearly because he wanted to touch them. She wanted it too, way too much, and then he stood there right in front of her, the abyss beside them, and she could smell his skin and his hair, and let go of his hand, even though she secretly wanted something quite different. ~ Kai Meyer,
405:I’d gazed into the abyss and the abyss had gazed back, just like Daddy always said it would: You want to know about life, Mac? It’s simple. Keep watching rainbows, baby. Keep looking at the sky. You find what you look for. If you go hunting good in the world, you’ll find it. If you go hunting evil . . . well, don’t. ~ Karen Marie Moning,
406:In the past, the U.S. has shown its capacity to reinvent its gifts for leadership. During the 1970s, in the aftermath of the Nixon abdication and the Ford and Carter presidencies, the whole nation peered into the abyss, was horrified by what it saw and elected Ronald Reagan as president, which began a national resurgence. ~ Paul Johnson,
407:My whole life has been spent walking by the side of a bottomless chasm, jumping from stone to stone. Sometimes I try to leave my narrow path and join the swirling mainstream of life, but I always find myself drawn inexorably back towards the chasm's edge, and there I shall walk until the day I finally fall into the abyss. ~ Edvard Munch,
408:Not a bad thing to know something about darkness. You can’t talk about light without some knowledge of darkness. Like your buddy Nietzsche said, ‘He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.’ Keep that in mind. ~ Kazuki Kaneshiro,
409:God made Himself totally a man but a man to the point of infamy, a man to the point of reprobation and the abyss. To save us, He could have chosen *any* of the destinies which make up the complex web of history; He could have been Alexander or Pythagoras or Rurik or Jesus; He chose the vilest destiny of all: He was Judas. ~ Jorge Luis Borges,
410:I watched our friends' wary, intelligent faces droop at our tale. Their shock was a mere shadow of our own, resembling more the goodwilled imitation of that emotion, and for this reason it was a temptation to exaggerate, to throw a rope of superlatives across the abyss that divided experience from its representation by anecdote. ~ Ian McEwan,
411:I watched our friends' wary, intelligent faces droop at our tale. Their shock was a mere shadow of our own, resembling more the goodwilled imitation of that emotion, and for this reason it was a temptation to exaggerate, to throw a rope of superlatives across the abyss that divided experience from its representation by anecdote. ~ Ian Mcewan,
412:Soulmates aren’t the ones who make you happiest, no. They’re instead the ones who make you feel the most. Burning edges and scars and stars. Old pains and pangs, captivation and beauty. Strain and shadows and worry and yearning. Sweetness and madness and dreamlike surrender. They hurl you into the abyss. They taste like hope. ~ Victoria Erickson,
413:I had no problem working for 15 hours straight when I was producing someone else, but I couldn't do it with my own songs. It took that moment of pointing the camera at myself to realize that it was okay to get lost in making my own music. I think before that I was scared of pushing myself to the point of staring into the abyss. ~ Rostam Batmanglij,
414:In this unlighted cave, one step forward
That step can be the down-step into the Abyss.
But we, we have no sense of direction; impetus
Is all we have; we do not proceed, we only
Roll down the mountain,
Like disbalanced boulders, crushing before us many
Delicate springing things, whose plan it was to grow. ~ Edna St Vincent Millay,
415:Maybe I’m afraid that if I could do otherwise I would gradually cease to be a human being, and would soon be creeping about, dirty and stinking, emitting incomprehensible noises. Not that I’m afraid of becoming an animal. That wouldn’t be too bad, but a human being can never become just an animal; he plunges beyond, into the abyss. ~ Marlen Haushofer,
416:One was the common one with writers of his type: the bridging of the abyss lying between expression and thought; the maddening feeling that the right words, the only words are awaiting you on the opposite bank in the misty distance, and the shudderings of the still unclothed thought clamouring for them on this side of the abyss. He ~ Vladimir Nabokov,
417:Sometimes, when I was sitting in the Crimson Cabaret on a rainy night, I thought of myself as occupying a waiting room for the abyss (which of course was exactly what I was doing) and between sips from my glass of wine or cup of coffee I smiled sadly and touched the front pocket of my coat where I kept my imaginary ticket to oblivion. ~ Thomas Ligotti,
418:Marisa! Marisa!” The cry was torn from Lord Asriel, and with the snow leopard beside her, with a roaring in her ears, Lyra’s mother stood and found her footing and leapt with all her heart, to hurl herself against the angel and her daemon and her dying lover, and seize those beating wings, and bear them all down together into the abyss. ~ Philip Pullman,
419:Within this arena, which grows more stable night after day, generations work and love and hope and vanish. New generations tread on the corpses of their fathers, continue the work above the abyss and struggle to tame the dread mystery. How? By cultivating a single field, by kissing a woman, by studying a stone, an animal, an idea. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis,
420:Seeee, I told you so!"
"Be quiet. Don't talk to me."
"Now you should understand
No matter where you go...
you'll always be alone."
"Shut up...
Intention of the abyss...!!"
"Say...
why are you Alice?
....
..........Why... is Alice you...?
'cos...
...your name is...
...The Bloody Black Rabbit Isn't It? ~ Jun Mochizuki,
421:The madness of the eyes is the lure of the abyss. Sirens lurk in the dark depths of the pupils as they lurk at the bottom of the sea, that I know for sure - but I have never encountered them, and I am searching still for the profound and plaintive gazes in whose depths I might be able, like Hamlet redeemed, to drown the Ophelia of my desire. ~ Jean Lorrain,
422:Or is it your reputation that's bothering you? But look at how soon we're all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of those applauding hands. The people who praise us; how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region it takes place. The whole earth a point in space - and most of it uninhabited. ~ Marcus Aurelius,
423:Emotional labor is the hard work of making art, producing generosity, and exposing creativity. Working without a map involves both vision and the willingness to do something about what you see. Emotional labor is what you get paid to do, and one of the most difficult types of emotional labor is staring into the abyss of choice and picking a path. ~ Seth Godin,
424:We fell silent again. The thing we had shared was nothing more than a fragment of time that had died longe ago.Even so, a faint glimmer of that warm memory still claimed a part of my heart. And when death claim me, no doubt I would walk along by that faint light in the brief instant before being flung once again into the abyss of nothingness ~ Haruki Murakami,
425:Safety lies in tending towards our highest and not in resting content with an inferior potentiality..... To rest in or follow after an inferior potentiality may seem safe, rational, comfortable, easy, but it ends badly, in some futility or in a mere circling down the abyss or in a stagnant morass. Our right and natural road is towards the summits. ~ Sri Aurobindo,
426:Even in the abyss of despair in which today, half-blinded, we grope about with distorted and broken souls, I look up again and again to those old star-patterns that shone over my childhood, and comfort myself with the inherited confidence that this collapse will appear, in days to come, as a mere interval in the eternal rhythm of the onward and onward. ~ Anonymous,
427:When I realize that she is gone, perhaps gone forever, a great void opens up and I feel that I am falling, falling, falling into deep, black space. And this is worse than tears, deeper than regret or pain or sorrow, it is the abyss into which Satan was plunged. There is no climbing back, no ray of light, no sound of human voice or human touch of hand. ~ Henry Miller,
428:When I realize that she is gone, perhaps gone forever, a great void opens up and I feel that I am falling, falling, falling into deep, black space. And this is worse than tears, deeper than regret or pain or sorrow; it is the abyss into which Satan was plunged. There is no climbing back, no ray of light, no sound of human voice or human touch of hand. ~ Henry Miller,
429:I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return. ~ Frank Church,
430:If I never had another book published, and it was very clear to me that this was a real possibility, I still had to go on writing. I'm glad I made this decision in a moment of failure. It's easy to say you're a writer when things are going well. When the decision is made in the abyss, the in is quite clear that it is not one's own decision at all. ~ Madeleine L Engle,
431:No abyss of evil can remain hidden from him through whom the world is reconciled to God. But the abyss of the love of God[26.] embraces even the most abysmal godlessness of the world. In an incomprehensible reversal of all righteous and pious thought, God declares himself as guilty toward the world and thereby extinguishes the guilt of the world. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
432:Evan Handler is a man who’s looked into the abyss and laughed. His book, It’s Only Temporary, made me laugh along with him. He covers love, lust, showbiz, triumph, and despair – and he manages to be both funny and inspiring about all of it. It’s an important book that I think can help to spread goodness around the world. Something we desperately need. ~ Lance Armstrong,
433:So that’s where we stand. The Me Generation, addicted to performance, dismantled the controls that protect us from corporate abuses and stock market crashes. A Distracted Generation, living in a world of abstraction, thinks it has ADHD but more likely has a dopamine-fueled addiction to social media and cell phones. It would seem we have reached the abyss. ~ Simon Sinek,
434:I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return. —Senator Frank Church (1975) ~ Peter Dale Scott,
435:Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. That is why, in spite of a hundred disadvantages, the world will always return to monogamy. ~ G K Chesterton,
436:He wanted nothing more to do with love; he was fed up with the whole business. He had thought that he could just give up and follow his father’s advice, but he had advanced too far in his work; he had crossed the abyss that separates a man from his dream, and now there was no going back. He couldn’t go forward or back. It was easier just to leave the stage. ~ Paulo Coelho,
437:It is commonly understood that the opposite of addiction is connection. That in our addictive behaviours we are trying to achieve the connection. Think of it: the bliss of a hit or a drink or of sex or of gambling or eating, all legitimate drives gone awry, all a reach across the abyss, the separateness of ‘self’, all an attempt to redress this disconnect. ~ Russell Brand,
438:Even from the abyss of horror in which we try to feel our way today, half-blind, our hearts distraught and shattered, I look up again and again to the ancient constellations that shone on my childhood, comforting myself with the inherited confidence that, some day, this relapse will appear only an interval in the eternal rhythm of progress onward and upward. ~ Stefan Zweig,
439:There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of many trumpets! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies. ~ Edgar Allan Poe,
440:It was a sunny day, I was carrying a child in a white dress to be christened. The path to the church led up a steep slope, but I held the child in my arms firmly and without faltering. Then suddenly my footing gave way ... I had enough time to put the child down before plunging into the abyss. The child is our idea. In spite of all obstacles it will prevail. ~ Sophie Scholl,
441:Gathering speed, the wagon reached the point where the tunnel took a sudden plunge. Its passengers held on tightly as the vehicle tipped over the edge and careered into the abyss.
Ireheart wooped in excitement, Boëndal held on for dear life, Bavragor burst into song, and Goïmgar petitioned Vraccas, while Tungdil wondered if any of his companions were sane. ~ Markus Heitz,
442:Yes, he would look for her, whether to delight in the joys of spring together or to plunge into the abyss. He would look for her because he loved her. And somehow this would lessen the lie Claire was living. For, in the end, the girl's love was reciprocated, and Tom's love, like Shackleton's, was also unattainable, lost in the ether, unable to its way to her. ~ F lix J Palma,
443:After she left, no one knows how wretched I felt, how deep the abyss. How could they? I can barely recall it myself. How much did I suffer? How much pain did I go through? I wish there was a machine that could accurately measure sadness, and display it in numbers that you could record, And it would be great if that machine could fit in the palm of your hand. ~ Haruki Murakami,
444:Let him who cannot be alone beware of community... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone... Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
445:Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Wait a minute. "Once upon a time" is how all the best children's stories begin, and "prostitute" is a word for adults. How can I start a book with this apparent contradiction? But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let's keep that beginning. ~ Paulo Coelho,
446:Poor devil! None of us can have the remotest idea of the agony it is to be despised and rejected of men. A cancer in the soul and then madness. The feeling of there being a curtain, more invisible than gauze, stronger than iron, between one’s self and one’s fellow man. To cry out of the abyss and to know that there will be no answer, that one is buried alive. ~ Nicholas Blake,
447:And amid all this confusion I, what’s truly I, am the centre that exists only in the geometry of the abyss: I’m the nothing around which everything spins, existing only so that it can spin, being a centre only because every circle has one. I, what’s truly I, am a well without walls but with the walls’ viscosity, the centre of everything with nothing around it. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
448:Let him who cannot be alone beware of community...
Let him who is not in community beware of being alone...
Each by itself has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation, and despair. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
449:Activating or inactivating any single gene, he postulated, produced only the first steps toward carcinogenesis. Cancer’s march was long and slow and proceeded though many mutations in many genes over many iterations. In genetic terms, our cells were not sitting on the edge of the abyss of cancer. They were dragged toward that abyss in graded, discrete steps. ~ Siddhartha Mukherjee,
450:I cling unto the burning Æthyr like Lucifer that fell through the Abyss, and by the fury of his flight kindled the air. And I am Belial, for having seen the Rose upon thy breast, I have denied God. And I am Satan! I am Satan! I am cast out upon a burning crag! And the sea boils about the desolation thereof. And already the vultures gather, and feast upon my flesh. ~ Aleister Crowley,
451:I discovered a version of the sinner's prayer that increased my faith far more than the one that I had said years earlier...In this version, there were no formulas, no set phrases that promised us safe passage across the abyss. There was only our tattered trust that the Spirit who had given us life would not leave us in the wilderness without offering us life again. ~ Barbara Brown Taylor,
452:God made Himself totally a man but a man to the point of infamy, a man to the point of reprobation and the abyss. To save us, He could have chosen *any* of the destinies which make up the complex web of history; He could have been Alexander or Pythagoras or Rurik or Jesus; He chose the vilest destiny of all: He was Judas.~ Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths, Selected Stories and Other Writings,
453:The abyss in which I live hasn't the wit to save itself from savage ignorance, and I now feel assured that I am not in the company of my own species (at least, I hope I am not, for it I am, then I am they). Dear God, let time pass quickly, and let this end. Let me be older and let this mediocrity pass as a dream - one in which the utmost was done to bury me alive. ~ Morrissey,
454:Abel came to the sad conclusion that he was watching a once-great civilization slide toward the abyss. The masses wanted the state to provide for them in every way, and the politicians who promised the most largesse were the ones who were elected. They in turn gave the people what they wanted, which then placed an ever-increasing burden on the most productive members of society. ~ Vince Flynn,
455:When you lose someone there is a grieving process. Shock, anger, despair, among a multitude of other emotions. Every one of them wrapping around you like a vise. No room to breathe, to think, or to understand. But what about when someone is alive yet wants nothing to do with you? Is there a mourning process in place then, or do you hold on to hope like a life raft in the abyss? ~ Sejal Badani,
456:We, each of us, have a ticket to ride, and if the trip be interesting (if it's dull, we have only ourselves to blame), then we relish the landscape (how quickly it whizzes by!), interact with our fellow travelers, pay frequent visits to the washrooms and concession stands, and hardly ever hold up the ticket to the light where we can read its plainly stated destination: The Abyss. ~ Tom Robbins,
457:And I, I myself, am the centre that exists only because the geometry of the abyss demands it; I am the nothing around which all this spins, I exist so that it can spin, I am a centre that exists only because every circle has one. I, I myself, am the well in which the walls have fallen away to leave only viscous slime. I am the centre of everything surrounded by the great nothing. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
458:Donald Trump creates scapegoats in Muslims and Mexican immigrants. He calls for the use of torture. He calls for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit First Amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss. ~ Mitt Romney,
459:The prisoner was Driver A. J. Hayes, chauffeur of the commander of one of the crack field batteries attached to the Fourth Indian Division. “He says Hitler has on several occasions offered Britain good peace terms. But Churchill, inspired by malice and ruthlessness, is leading the British people toward the abyss. The prisoner’s manner of speaking makes his testimony seem trustworthy. ~ David Irving,
460:Eroticism is the brink of the abyss. I'm leaning out over deranged horror (at this point my eyes roll back in my head). The abyss is the foundation of the possible. We're brought to the edge of the same abyss by uncontrolled laughter or ecstasy. From this comes a "questioning" of everything possible. This is the stage of rupture, of letting go of things, of looking forward to death. ~ Georges Bataille,
461:There is something terrifying about seeing someone strong standing on the edge of the abyss, like a ship on the lip of a whirlpool where the whole sea plunges into the maw of Charybdis. There is that moment when they reach out—like a drowning man will—and if you’re within reach, they will pull you down with them. I didn’t want to stand there beside him. I didn’t want to be dragged down. ~ Heidi Heilig,
462:What if I could learn to trust my feelings instead of asking to be delivered from them? What if I could follow one of my great fears all the way to the edge of the abyss, take a breath, and keep going? Isn’t there a chance of being surprised by what happens next? Better than that, what if I could learn how to stay in the present instead of letting my anxieties run on fast-forward? ~ Barbara Brown Taylor,
463:Each night I am nailed into place
and forget who I am.
Daddy?
That's another kind of prison.
It's not the prince at all,
but my father
drunkeningly bends over my bed,
circling the abyss like a shark,
my father thick upon me
like some sleeping jellyfish.
What voyage is this, little girl?
This coming out of prison?
God help -
this life after death? ~ Anne Sexton,
464:Only memory matters. Mine sometimes overflows. Because it harbours my father's memories, too, since his mind has become a sieve. No, not a sieve: an autumn leaf, dried, torn. No, a phantom which I see only at midnight. I know: one cannot see a memory. But I can. I see it as the shadow of a shadow which constantly withdraws and turns inward. I hardly glimpse it, and it vanishes in the abyss. ~ Elie Wiesel,
465:We are surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of Eternity, without taking the final plunge into the abyss. From billows a thousand times more stupendous than any I have ever seen, we glide away with the facility of the arrowy seagull; and the colossal waters rear their heads above us like demons of the deep, but like demons confined to simple threats and forbidden to destroy. ~ Edgar Allan Poe,
466:The Secret of Enlightenment is not in Perfection but in Completeness. Everything that is below the Abyss carries the imperfection within.
After the Infinite establishes Divine Order, the Life of Duality as we know it on Earth begins. It is Yin and Yang in its Manifestation, and only through the two meeting, marrying, merging, they both reach God.’ Ama Alchemy of Love by Nuit Quote ~ Nata a Nuit Pantovi,
467:Feebleness of will brings about weakness of head, and the abyss, in spite of its horror, comes to fascinate us, as though it were a place of refuge. Terrible danger! For this abyss is within us; this gulf, open like the vast jaws of an infernal serpent bent on devouring us, is in the depth of our own being, and our liberty floats over this void, which is always seeking to swallow it up. ~ Henri Fr d ric Amiel,
468:When they turned, Pelletier and Espinoza saw an older woman in a white blouse and black skirt, a woman with a figure like Marlene Dietrich, as Pelletier would say much later, a woman who despite her years was still as strong willed as ever, a woman who didn't cling to the edge of the abyss but plunged into it with curiosity and elegance. A woman who plunged into the abyss sitting down. ~ Roberto Bola o,
469:This my goodness does to endow the souls of the just more fully with spiritual riches when for my love they are stripped of material goods because they have renounced the world and all its pleasures and even their own will. These are the ones who fatten their souls, enlarging them in the abyss of my charity. Then I become their spiritual provider. The Holy Spirit becomes their servant. ~ Saint Catherine of Siena,
470:Every step in human progress, from the first feeble stirrings in the abyss of time, has been opposed by the great majority of men. Every valuable thing that has been added to the store of man's possessions has been derided by them when it was new, and destroyed by them when they had the power. They have fought every new truth ever heard of, and they have killed every truth-seeker who got into their hands. ~ H L Mencken,
471:It was not a column, but a mob, an awful river that filled the street, the people of the abyss, mad with drink and wrong, up at last and roaring for the blood of their masters. I had seen the people of the abyss before, gone through its ghettos, and thought I knew it; but I found that I was now looking on it for the first time. Dumb apathy had vanished. It was now dynamic—a fascinating spectacle of dread. ~ Jack London,
472:The Fist
The fist clenched round my heart
loosens a little, and I gasp
brightness; but it tightens
again. When have I ever not loved
the pain of love? But this has moved
past love to mania. This has the strong
clench of the madman, this is
gripping the ledge of unreason, before
plunging howling into the abyss.
Hold hard then, heart. This way at least you live.
~ Derek Walcott,
473:In the 20th century he became an important element within the mystical system of Thelema, founded by Aleister Crowley, where he is the Dweller in the Abyss,[1][2] believed to be the last great obstacle between the adept and enlightenment. Thelemites believe that if he is met with proper preparation, then his function is to destroy the ego, which allows the adept to move beyond the Abyss of occult cosmology. ~ Wikipedia,
474:And then she turns to look at me with the same look in her eyes, and I melt the way I always do. I am the luckiest man in any world, a soul transformed, pulled back from the abyss and blessed with love more powerful than evil or death or time or space or any of the rules.
"I love you," I whisper.
She smiles. "Two thousand and twenty-four," she says, and then she kisses me. And it is still the best kiss. ~ Stacey Jay,
475:And when you see those good things—and I promise you, there are so many good things—they’re going to be so much brighter for you than they are for other people, just like the abyss always seems deeper and bigger when you stare at it. If you stick it out, it’s all going to feel worth it in the end. Every moment you live, every darkness you face, they’ll all feel worth it when you’re staring light in the face. ~ Emily Henry,
476:changes the lives of those left behind, forever. “I don’t know what kind of point you’re trying to make, bringing me here,” she said, her voice shaking with tears. But she didn’t turn back. They walked forward a few paces, stepped over an old, tumbled-down metal fence and kept walking until they got to where the center of the bridge used to be. There it was, the abyss that he’d fallen through, the night ~ Michele Campbell,
477:STARING INTO THE ABYSS by Richard Thomas is an outstanding book, a grim tapestry of broken lives and shattered dreams, of dark fantasies and dark reflections. It's one of the better single-author collections I've had the pleasure to read in recent years, and as such, gets my highest recommendation. It's also a fine testament to a talent I suspect we are going to be hearing a lot more from, and soon. ~ Kealan Patrick Burke,
478:Love can become devotion. Love is the first step; only then can devotion flower. But for us even love is a faraway reality, sex is the only real thing. Love has two possibilities: either it falls into sex and becomes a bodily thing, or it rises into devotion and becomes a thing of the spirit. Love is just in between. Just below it is the abyss of sex, and beyond it is the open sky - the infinite sky of devotion. ~ Rajneesh,
479:And when you see those good things--and I promise you, there are so many good things--they're going to be so much brighter for you than they are for other people, just like the abyss always seems deeper and bigger when you stare at it. If you stick it out, it's all going to feel worth it in the end. Every moment you live, every darkness you face, they'll all feel worth it when you're staring light in the face. ~ Emily Henry,
480:For, as the German diplomat and philosopher Max Scheler wrote, “He who has not, as it were, looked into the abyss of the absolute Nothing will completely overlook the eminently positive content of the realization that there is something rather than nothing.” Let us, then, dip briefly into that abyss, with full assurance that we will not come up empty-handed. For, as the old saying goes: Nothing seek, nothing find. ~ Jim Holt,
481:Gripped by a feverish urge to climb, he felt like running up the stone stairs. People often talk of the attraction of the abyss. There is also the abyss above. Borluut was still going up; he would have liked to keep on going up for ever, melancholy at the thought that the stairway was doubtless going to stop and that at the end, on the edge of the air, he would still yearn to continue, go farther, higher. ~ Georges Rodenbach,
482:All at once I felt myself haunted by a terrible vision, of a world without guidance: a land of emptiness, where all was ruled by the madness of chance. How could one endure such a place, where all significance was lost? I myself would mean nothing, but would merely be a kind of self-invention: a speck upon the wind, calling itself Wilson. I felt my spirit waver, as if it were toppling into the abyss before me. ~ Matthew Kneale,
483:Thinking of the cute, giddy, doe eyed, light-hearted, and innocent Snow White as a vampire, turns my stomach. According to dubious Mr. Officer, she isn’t even the modern kind of vampire. She is one of the older ones rooted in the abyss of the human psyche, the sexy but scary, vicious, unapologetic, blood sucking one, living in a Dracula mansion built by the Evil Queen herself. What kind of twisted story is that? ~ Cameron Jace,
484:I survived,” would be my meek reply. Might as well have said “Blue! No, No, Yellow!!” Right before I was launched into the abyss. (You would have to be a fan of Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail to catch the reference. If you have by some chance gone this far in your life and have not witnessed one of the greatest comedies created then odds are you’re not going to find a DVD player that works now, sorry.) ~ Mark Tufo,
485:At the same time, the truth is that we are beloved, even in our current condition, by someone; we have loved and been loved. We have also known the abyss of love lost to death or rejection, and that it somehow leads to new life. We have been redeemed and saved by love, even as a few times we have been nearly destroyed, and worse, seen our children nearly destroyed. We are who we love, we are one, and we are autonomous. ~ Anne Lamott,
486:His voice shifted into a sexual purr. “I love you. And I’ve waited a lifetime to be your lover. But you were too young, Lady.”

She raised her head, her body stiff with dignity. “I wasn’t too young here, in the abyss.”

Slowly, he continued moving around the altar. “Your body had been violated. Your mind had shattered. But even if that hadn’t been the case, you were still too young—even here in the abyss. ~ Anne Bishop,
487:It is not the task of the state to create mankind’s happiness, nor is it the task of the state to create new men. It is not the task of the state to change the world into a paradise—nor can it do so. If it tries, it abandons its own boundaries and posits itself as something absolute. It behaves as if it were God, and, as the Revelation of John shows, this makes it the beast from the abyss, the power of the Antichrist. ~ Benedict XVI,
488:Love, she felt, ought to come all at once, with great thunderclaps and flashes of lightning; it was like a storm bursting upon life from the sky, uprooting it, overwhelming the will, and sweeping the heart into the abyss. It did not occur to her that rain forms puddles on a flat roof when the drainpipes are clogged, and she would have continued to feel secure if she had not suddenly discovered a crack in the wall. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
489:The Abyss. Globalization had many economic benefits but, as in our own times, the creation of a truly international economic network combined greater efficiency with greater fragility. In 1914 a highly optimized system crashed in what was, without doubt, the biggest financial collapse of all time. (Unlike in 1929 or in 2008, the world’s major stock markets were forced to suspend trading for no less than five months.) ~ Niall Ferguson,
490:The power of the word, with which the cast away is cast away, pronounces the turning away from all moral uncertainty, from every sympathy with the abyss, the reneging of that phrase of compassion, that “to understand all is to forgive all”, and what was beginning here was that “wonder of the reborn impartiality”, which was briefly mentioned in one of the author’s dialogues with not a little mystery. What strange coherence! ~ Thomas Mann,
491:It's time, Old Captain, lift anchor, sink!

The land rots; we shall sail into the night;

if now the sky and sea are black as ink

our hearts, as you must know, are filled with light.

Only when we drink poison are we well —

we want, this fire so burns our brain tissue,

to drown in the abyss — heaven or hell,

who cares? Through the unknown, we'll find the new. ("Le Voyage") ~ Charles Baudelaire,
492:We're told, often enough, that as a species we are poised on the edge of the abyss. It's possible that our puffed-up, prideful intelligence has outstripped our instinct for survival and the road back to safety has already been washed away. In which case there's nothing much to be done. If there is something to be done, then one thing is for sure: those who created the problem will not be the ones who come up with a solution. ~ Arundhati Roy,
493:Yes, it would have been good, he thought, to spend quiet years with his family, waiting for his diseased heart to fail as he sat in his chair staring at the mountains. But this was better. This was life! Not the killing and the terrified screams of dying men suddenly facing the awesome spectre of their own mortality. No, but to face his fears as a man, to stand at the brink of the abyss and refuse to be cowed or beaten down. ~ David Gemmell,
494:All the "not readies," all the "I need time," are understandable, but only for a short while. The truth is that there is never a "completely ready," there is never a really "right time." As with any descent to the unconscious, there comes a time when one simply hopes for the best, pinches one's nose, and jumps into the abyss. If this were not so, we would not have needed to create the words heroine, hero, or courage. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes,
495:dedication Sometimes I wish I were an architect, so that I could dedicate a building to a person; a superstructure that broke the clouds and continued up into the abyss. And if Bird Box were made of bricks instead of letters, I’d host a ceremony, invite every shadowy memory I have, and cut the ribbon with an axe, letting everyone see for the first time that building’s name. It’d be called the Debbie. Mom, Bird Box is for you. ~ Josh Malerman,
496:I would very much like to know what the Founding Fathers would say if they could see these children being debauched to further the cause of Clearasil. However, I always suspected that democracy would come to this . . . “A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss". ~ John Kennedy Toole,
497:Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said,  “Legion,” for many demons had entered him.
And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.
Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission.
Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned. ~ Anonymous,
498:Some people,” the Vizier went on, “think it’s the world of anxieties and dreams – your world, in short – that governs this one. I myself think it’s from this world that everything is governed. I think it’s this world that chooses the dreams and anxieties and imaginings that ought to be brought to the surface, as a bucket draws water from a well. Do you see what I mean? It’s this world that selects what it wants from the abyss. ~ Ismail Kadare,
499:Deconstruction seems to offer a way out of the closure of knowledge. By inaugurating the open-ended indefiniteness of textuality-by thus 'placing in the abyss' (mettre en abime), as the French expression would literally have it-it shows us the lure of the abyss as freedom. The fall into the abyss of deconstruction inspires us with as much pleasure as fear. We are intoxicated with the prospect of never hitting bottom ~ Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak,
500:The anchor of meaning resides in an abyss, deeper than the reach of despair. Yet the abyss is not not infinite; its bottom may suddenly be discovered within the confines of a human heart or under the debris of might doubts. This may be the vocation of man: to say "Amen" to being and to the Author of being; to live in defiance of absurdity, notwithstanding futility and defeat; to attain faith in God even in spite of God. ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel,
501:Nietzsche, who you don't spend too much time with after the age of seventeen, did have that one great line about "he who stares into the abyss must know that the abyss also stares into him" and I never really understood that until my friend got killed and you really get your head around the idea of what horror means. It's a truly awful thing, to really, kind of have that understanding of things and when you really peer into that. ~ Henry Rollins,
502:We looked into the abyss if the gold price rose further. A further rise would have taken down one or several trading houses, which might have taken down all the rest in their wake. Therefore at any price, at any cost, the central banks had to quell the gold price, manage it. It was very difficult to get the gold price under control but we have now succeeded. The US Fed was very active in getting the gold price down. So was the U.K. ~ Eddie George,
503:Danny should have been elated: Everything they had thought might happen was now happening. He wasn’t elated, however; he was anxious. At 10:30, an hour into trading, every financial stock went into a free fall, whether it deserved to or not. “All this information goes through me,” he said. “I’m supposed to know how to transmit information. Prices were moving so quickly I couldn’t get a fix. It felt like a black hole. The abyss.” It ~ Michael Lewis,
504:At the moment when his soul brimmed with bitterness and disgust, when his spirit was darkened, he encountered a woman, a stranger… who showed gratitude for this proposal of a special union. She was an invalid, marked for death, eaten away by cancer as Kleist was eaten away by the fatigue of life, and though herself incapable of making a forceful resolution, she was exalted by his passion and agreed to journey with him into the abyss. ~ Stefan Zweig,
505:All the "not readies," all the "I need time," are understandable, but only for a short while. The truth is that there is never a "completely ready," there is never a really "right time."

As with any descent to the unconscious, there comes a time when one simply hopes for the best, pinches one's nose, and jumps into the abyss. If this were not so, we would not have needed to create the words heroine, hero, or courage. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Est s,
506:Many women don’t know what orgasm is. Many men don’t know was total orgasm is. Many only achieve a local orgasm, a genital orgasm; it is confined to the genitals. Just a small ripple in the genitals-and finished. It is not like possession when the whole body moves into a whirlpool and you are lost in the abyss. For a few moments time stops and the mind does not function. For a few moments you do not know who you are. Then it is a total orgasm. ~ Osho,
507:Sometimes I look at you and I wonder,” he says, his voice taking on a strange quality, like it’s being filtered, muffled, “what power your blood could bring.” It’s not what he says at the end there that makes my blood run cold. And it’s not the Irish accent that he says it in. It’s that when I look at his eyes, I don’t see Jay anymore. I see someone else entirely. Stare into the abyss and the abyss stares right back. Silas Black. “Ada! ~ Karina Halle,
508:we are tired—tired of being segregated and humiliated; tired of being kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression. There comes a time my friends when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, when they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glimmering sunlight of last July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an Alpine November. ~ Ann Patchett,
509:Until the discovery of hydrothermal vents off the Galápagos Islands in 1977, scientists assumed that life on earth was photosynthetic and belonged to the surface. It was the other way around: photosynthetic life came later, when cells strayed to the top where they were cooked for millions of years before evolving a way to absorb the light, and all the while the chemosynthetic life in the abyss was evolving a stability we cannot hope for. ~ J M Ledgard,
510:What will it cost you, oh Mary, to hear our prayer? What will it cost you to save us? Has not Jesus placed in your hands all the treasures of His grace and mercy? You sit crowned Queen at the right hand of your son: your dominion reaches as far as the heavens and to you are subject the earth and all creatures dwelling thereon. Your dominion reaches even down into the abyss of hell, and you alone, oh Mary, save us from the hands of Satan. ~ Pope Pius X,
511:Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster . . .” I said. “And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you. Ahh . . . an educated man. Well, you’re not as stupid as you look. Don’t quote Nietzsche at me, kid. That German crackpot wouldn’t know a real monster if it bit him on the ass.” Actually I hated philosophy. I had memorized the quote from the intro of a video game. ~ Larry Correia,
512:It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class—in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding—but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does. ~ Mohsin Hamid,
513:Nah, I shook my head, things that come out of nowhere go back to nowhere, that’s all.

We fell silent again. The thing we had shared was nothing more than a fragment of time that had died long ago. Even so, a faint glimmer of that warm memory still claimed a part of my heart. And when death claimed me, no doubt I would walk along by that faint light in the brief instant before being flung once again into the abyss of nothingness. ~ Haruki Murakami,
514:Many women don’t know what orgasm is. Many men don’t know was total orgasm is. Many only achieve a local orgasm, a genital orgasm; it is confined to the genitals. Just a small ripple in the genitals-and finished. It is not like possession when the whole body moves into a whirlpool and you are lost in the abyss. For a few moments time stops and the mind does not function. For a few moments you do not know who you are. Then it is a total orgasm. ~ Rajneesh,
515:I leaned up to kiss him. He inhaled sharply, freezing, but his lips parted just enough for my affection to warp into the sharp ache of lust. My gut tightened, dick hardening, and I pushed my lips against his with more force but didn’t slide my tongue into his mouth. Once I did, there would be no going back. I’d fall face-first into the abyss of my long-suppressed attraction, and I’d fuck him right here on this goddamn obstacle course. Or ~ Santino Hassell,
516:A Meeting
On a sheer peak of joy we meet;
Below us hums the abyss;
Death either way allures our feet
If we take one step amiss.
One moment let us drink the blue
Transcendent air together—
Then down where the same old work’s to do
In the same dull daily weather.
We may not wait . . . yet look below!
How part? On this keen ridge
But one may pass. They call you—go!
My life shall be your bridg.
~ Edith Wharton,
517:It might seem odd that in cities teetering at the edge of the abyss young people still go to class—in this case an evening class on corporate identity and product branding—but that is the way of things, with cities as with life, for one moment we are pottering about our errands as usual and the next we are dying, and our eternally impending ending does not put a stop to our transient beginnings and middles until the instant when it does. Saeed ~ Mohsin Hamid,
518:I am ignorant of how I was formed and how I was born. Through a quarter of my lifetime I was absolutely ignorant of the reasons for everything I saw and heard and felt, and was merely a parrot prompted by other parrots... When I sought to advance along that infinite course, I could neither find one single footpath or fully discover one single object, and from the upward leap I made to contemplate eternity I fell back into the abyss of my ignorance. ~ Voltaire,
519:Cameron looked down long enough to end the call. When she returned her attention to the road, something large and black was in her path. A shriek escaped from her clenched jaw as she jammed on the brakes. The tiny car skidded perilously, and she was certain she’d be spiraling into the abyss at any second. Instead she smashed straight into the immovable object, deploying the car’s airbags. That was the last thing she saw before everything went black. ~ Marie Force,
520:Despair is not for the living
but for those unable to rise and continue;
they are the only souls with a right to it.
It is an end where breath and strength and will
have vanished, leaving no way to persevere.
To sink into the abyss that is despair
is to suffer an existence far worse than death;
therefore, cling to its enemy, our ally—hope.
For life goes on,
and we must not live in despair.
We must not. ~ Richelle E Goodrich,
521:He did recall that the summer after graduating from college before he joined the state police he had read Shakespeare. It was the pure language that stupefied him. He would be in a diner reading A Midsummer Night's Dream and his acquaintances were confident he was studying for some test. The test turned out to be the nature of his mind. Shakespeare seemed even truer than history. Literature was against the abyss while history wallowed in it. ~ Jim Harrison,
522:You know, my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. ~ Martin Luther King Jr,
523:And I no longer even know where the source is; at present, everything looks the same. The landscape is more and more gentle, amiable, joyous; my skin hurts. I am at the heart of the abyss. I feel my skin again as a frontier, and the external world as a crushing weight. The impression of separation is total; from now on I am imprisoned within myself. It will not take place, the sublime fusion; the goal of life is missed. It is two in the afternoon. ~ Michel Houellebecq,
524:Pastor Hardy’s wife had been the organist back in Arkansas, and he missed her acutely whenever Mrs. Turner—her small spidery hands—would play the opening chords of “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” or “Abide with Me.” A warmth would travel up his spine and then fly off, leaving him more lonesome than ever. In front of his flock, he sometimes could feel the abyss of despair open beneath him. He feared these moments and felt the hand of the devil in them. ~ Rae Meadows,
525:I greeted the morning the only way that makes sense. I groaned. I groaned some more as I pried me off the sheet. Several thousand maniacs were raising hell out in the street. I muttered dreadful threats, dropped my feet into the abyss beside my bed. My threats didn’t scare up any peace. Pain blazed from my right temple to my left, ricocheted, clattered around inside my skull. I must have had a great time. I told me, “You got to quit drinking that cheap beer. ~ Glen Cook,
526:The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life and Martha no longer loves the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels. Everything is diverted from its proper course. ~ Umberto Eco,
527:And you know, my friends,” King said, “there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled over by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July, and left standing amid the piercing chill of an Alpine November. ~ Jon Meacham,
528:It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magician is the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Once he has achieved this he must of course be left entirely in the hands of that Angel, who can be invariably and inevitably relied upon to lead him to the further great step-crossing of the Abyss and the attainment of the grade of Master of the Temple. ~ Aleister Crowley, Magick Without Tears,
529:......the interesting thing was that the Roman Catholic monks and the Buddhist monks had no trouble understanding each other. Each of them was seeking the same experience and knew that the experience was incommunicable. The communication is only an effort to bring the hearer to the edge of the abyss; it is a signpost, not the thing itself. But the secular clergy reads the communication and gets stuck with the letter, and that's where you have the conflict. ~ Joseph Campbell,
530:But we have not yet reached that point. For the moment, Ivan offers us only the tortured face of the rebel
plunged in the abyss, incapable of action, torn between the idea of his own innocence and the desire to
kill. He hates the death penalty because it is the image of the human condition, and, at the same time, he
is drawn to crime. Because he has taken the side of mankind, solitude is his lot. With him the rebellion of
reason culminates in madness. ~ Albert Camus,
531:Grief is like a storm. It can be calm and refreshing, a way to finally close one chapter of your life. Or it can be as unforgiving as a hurricane. It can bring our world into the abyss of darkness and turmoil. But just like with the most perilous of storms, it will soon pass. We never truly forget the helplessness and fear we felt during the eye of the storm, but we learn to move on and rebuild our lives. We never forget the loss, but the loss no longer consumes us. ~ T K Leigh,
532:You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression. There comes a time my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life's July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November. There comes a time. ~ Martin Luther King Jr,
533:As to Emma, she did not ask herself whether she loved. Love, she thought, must come suddenly, with great outbursts and lightnings—a hurricane of the skies, which falls upon life, revolutionises it, roots up the will like a leaf, and sweeps the whole heart into the abyss. She did not know that on the terrace of houses it makes lakes when the pipes are choked, and she would thus have remained in her security when she suddenly discovered a rent in the wall of it. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
534:To the non-combatants and those on the periphery of action, the war meant only boredom or occasional excitement, but to those who entered the meat grinder itself the war was a netherworld of horror from which escape seemed less and less likely as casualties mounted and the fighting dragged on and on. Time had no meaning, life had no meaning. The fierce struggle for survival in the abyss of Peleliu had eroded the veneer of civilization and made savages of us all. ~ Eugene B Sledge,
535:Love, she believed, had to come, suddenly, with a great clap of thunder and a lightning flash, a tempest from heaven that falls upon your life, like a devastation, scatters your ideals like leaves and hurls your very soul into the abyss. Little did she know that up on the roof of the house, the rain will form a pool if the gutters are blocked, and there she would have stayed feeling safe inside, until one day she suddenly discovered the crack right down the wall. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
536:His position at that moment was like the position of a man standing over a frightful precipice, when the earth breaks away under him, is rocking, shifting, sways for a last time, and falls, drawing him into the abyss, and meanwhile the unfortunate man has neither the strength nor the firmness of spirit to jump back, to take his eyes from the yawning chasm; the abyss draws him, and he finally leaps into it himself, himself hastening the moment of his own perdition. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
537:You don't know everything," he says softly. "Not yet you don't. And when you see those good things - and I promise you, there are so many good things - they're going to be so much brighter for you than they are for other people, just like the abyss see,s deeper and bigger when you stare at it. If you stick it out, it's all going to feel worth it in the end. Every moment you live, every darkness you face, they'll all feel worth it when you're staring light in the face. Okay? ~ Emily Henry,
538:Somehow Luke understood - in a way that Lando never had, that Hand and Leia and Chewbacca had simply never grasped - just how dark a place the universe really was.
Lando guessed that was where Luke got his humility. His kindness. His gentle faith that people could change for the better. That must have been why he rarely smiled, and almost never made jokes. Because the goodness was all he rally had. It was his lifeline. The rope to which he clung, dangling over the abyss. ~ Matthew Woodring Stover,
539:On the brink of mystery, the spirit of man is seized with giddiness. Mystery is the abyss which ceaselessly attracts our unquiet curiosity by the terror of its depth. The greatest mystery of the infinite is the existence of Him for whom alone all is without mystery. Comprehending the infinite which is essentially incomprehensible, He is Himself that infinite and eternally unfathomable mystery; that is to say, that He is, in all seeming, that supreme absurdity in which Tertullian believed. ~ liphas L vi,
540:However, the balloon, lightened of heavy articles, such as ammunition, arms, and provisions, had risen into the higher layers of the atmosphere, to a height of 4,500 feet. The voyagers, after having discovered that the sea extended beneath them, and thinking the dangers above less dreadful than those below, did not hesitate to throw overboard even their most useful articles, while they endeavored to lose no more of that fluid, the life of their enterprise, which sustained them above the abyss. ~ Jules Verne,
541:[Buddhism and Christianity] are in one sense parallel and equal; as a mound and a hollow, as a valley and a hill. There is a sense in which that sublime despair is the only alternative to that divine audacity. It is even true that the truly spiritual and intellectual man sees it as sort of dilemma; a very hard and terrible choice. There is little else on earth that can compare with these for completeness. And he who does not climb the mountain of Christ does indeed fall into the abyss of Buddha. ~ G K Chesterton,
542:Today social justice represents one of the most serious challenges to the conscience of the world. The abyss between those who are within the world 'order' and those who are excluded is widening day by day. The use of leading-edge technologies has made it possible to accumulate wealth in a way that is fantastic but perverse because it is unjustly distributed. Twenty-percent of humankind control eighty percent of all means of life. That fact creates a dangerous imbalance in the movement of history. ~ Leonardo Boff,
543:As soon as we put something into words, we devalue it in a strange way. We think we have plunged into the depths of the abyss, and when we return to the surface the drop of water on our pale fingertips no longer resembles the sea from which it comes. We delude ourselves that we have discovered a wonderful treasure trove, and when we return to the light of day we find that we have brought back only false stones and shards of glass; and yet the treasure goes on glimmering in the dark, unaltered. ~ Maurice Maeterlinck,
544:For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. Such are the autumn people. ~ Ray Bradbury,
545:O your life, your lonely lifeWhat have you ever done with it,And done with the great gift of consciousness?What will you ever do before Death's knifeProvides the answer ultimate and appropriate?As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls,Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feels the vastDraft of the abyss sucking him down and down,An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown:This is the way the night passes by, thisIs the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable abyss. ~ Delmore Schwartz,
546:[Buddhism and Christianity] are in one sense parallel and equal; as a mound and a hollow, as a valley and a hill. There is a sense in which that sublime despair is the only alternative to that divine audacity. It is even true that the truly spiritual and intellectual man sees it as sort of dilemma; a very hard and terrible choice. There is little else on earth that can compare with these for completeness. And he who does not climb the mountain of Christ does indeed fall into the abyss of Buddha. ~ Gilbert K Chesterton,
547:For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth....Such are the autumn people. ~ Ray Bradbury,
548:Silence comes in two varieties: One that nourishes and comforts; another that chokes, smothers, and isolates. Solitary confinement is the worst kind of imprisonment we can inflict on fellow humans, and if you are forced to keep silent about some dark secret, you live in solitary confinement. Without the bridge of communication connecting you to other human beings, you can’t share your burdens, can’t receive comfort, can’t confirm that you still belong. Silence is the abyss that separates you from hope. ~ Martha N Beck,
549:When he thought of his youth he could scarcely believe that his memories had anything at all to do with the absurd life he was now living, an observation, he knew, that was far from original. Somehow, he had thought that his old age would miraculously produce finer, subtler notions of — what? — life? But he was no better, no cleverer, no more insightful than any shuffling old bastard in the street, absurdly bundled against the slightest breeze.”
- The Abyss of Human Illusion, Gilbert Sorrentino ~ Gilbert Sorrentino,
550:Honey, you're a smart kid, and you're sensitive too. That's not a bad thing, but it is a hard thing. For you, the dark's going to feel a whole lot darker, and you won't be able to hide from it. But I want you to listen to me. Listen good. You don't know everything, not yet you don't. And when you see those good things-and I promise you, there are so many good things-they're going to be so much brighter for you than they are for other people, just like the abyss seems deeper and bigger when you stare at it. ~ Emily Henry,
551:Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed. ~ Terence McKenna,
552:Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed. ~ Terence McKenna,
553:We should run too great a risk of losing everything by our vain imaginations if God were to give us, at once, all the perfection we desired. The inordinate love of our own excellence would carry us to as high a flight as Lucifer, but only like him, to fall into the abyss of pride. God, who knows our weakness in this respect, allows us to grovel like worms in the mud of our imperfections, until He finds us capable of being raised without feeling any foolish self-satisfaction, or any contempt of others. ~ Jean Pierre de Caussade,
554:Now from his breast into the eyes the ache of longing mounted, and he wept at last, his dear wife, clear and faithful, in his arms, longed for as the sunwarmed earth is longed for by a swimmer spent in rough water where his ship went down under Poseidon's blows, gale winds and tons of sea. Few men can keep alive through a big serf to crawl, clotted with brine, on kindly beaches in joy, in joy, knowing the abyss behind: and so she too rejoiced, her gaze upon her husband, her white arms round him pressed as though forever. ~ Homer,
555:But at the best, it is a dull, animal happiness, the content of the full belly. The dominant note of their lives is materialistic. They are stupid and heavy, without imagination. The Abyss seems to exude a stupefying atmosphere of torpor, which wraps about them and deadens them. Religion passes them by. The Unseen holds for them neither terror nor delight. They are unaware of the Unseen; and the full belly and the evening pipe, with their regular “arf an’ arf,” is all they demand, or dream of demanding, from existence. ~ Jack London,
556:Gabriel ignored Enoch’s protest. “Trust in Elohim. Rahab is coming upon this city.” Rahab was the name of the sea dragon of chaos, the creature of destruction that swam the waters of the Abyss. People invoked her name when they wanted to express foreboding disaster of total annihilation. “Bring your family and loved ones to the mountains of Aratta in the north. In the volcanic lands of Sahand you will find your distant ancestor, Adam. He will teach you what you need to learn to fulfill Elohim’s calling upon your life. ~ Brian Godawa,
557:e never fall twice into the same abyss. But we always fall the same way, in a mixture of ridicule and dread. We so desperately want not to fall that we grapple for a handhold, screaming. With their heels they crush our fingers, with their beaks they smash our teeth and peck out our eyes. The abyss is bordered by tall mansions. And there stands History, a reasonable goddess, a frozen statue in the middle of the town square. Dried bunches of peonies are her annual tribute; her daily gratuity, bread crumbs for the birds. ~ ric Vuillard,
558:Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil. ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
559:I read about a man condemned to death saying or thinking, an hour before his death, that if he had to live somewhere high up on a cliffside, on a ledge so narrow that there was room only for his two feet- and with the abyss, the ocean, eternal darkness, eternal solitude, eternal storm all around him- and had to stay like that, on a square foot of space, an entire lifetime, a thousand years, an eternity- it would be better to live so than to die right now! Only to live, to live, to live! To live, no matter how- only to live! ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
560:Early on a difficult climb, especially a solo climb, you’re hyper-aware of the abyss pulling at your back, constantly feeling its call, its immense hunger. To resist takes tremendous conscious effort, you don’t dare let your guard down for an instant. The void puts you on edge, makes your movements tentative and clumsy. But as the climb continues, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. ~ Jon Krakauer,
561:I was not much afraid of punishment, I was only afraid of disgrace.But that I feared more than death, more than crime, more than anything in the world. I should have rejoiced if the earth had swallowed me up and stifled me in the abyss. But my invincible sense of shame prevailed over everything . It was my shame that made me impudent, and the more wickedly I behaved the bolder my fear of confession made me. I saw nothing but the horror of being found out, of being publicly proclaimed, to my face, as a thief, as a liar, and slanderer. ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau,
562:Does it seem all but incredible to you that intelligence should travel for two thousand miles, along those slender copper lines, far down in the all but fathomless Atlantic; never before penetrated … save when some foundering vessel has plunged with her hapless company to the eternal silence and darkness of the abyss? Does it seem … but a miracle … that the thoughts of living men … should burn over the cold, green bones of men and women, whose hearts, once as warm as ours, burst as the eternal gulfs closed and roared over them centuries ago? ~ Edward Everett,
563:Laments of an Icarus The paramours of courtesans Are well and satisfied, content. But as for me my limbs are rent Because I clasped the clouds as mine. I owe it to the peerless stars Which flame in the remotest sky That I see only with spent eyes Remembered suns I knew before. In vain I had at heart to find The center and the end of space. Beneath some burning, unknown gaze I feel my very wings unpinned And, burned because I beauty loved, I shall not know the highest bliss, And give my name to the abyss Which waits to claim me as its own. ~ Charles Baudelaire,
564:Now from his breast into the eyes the ache
of longing mounted, and he wept at last,
his dear wife, clear and faithful, in his arms,
longed for as the sunwarmed earth is longed for by a swimmer
spent in rough water where his ship went down
under Poseidon's blows, gale winds and tons of sea.
Few men can keep alive through a big serf
to crawl, clotted with brine, on kindly beaches
in joy, in joy, knowing the abyss behind:
and so she too rejoiced, her gaze upon her husband,
her white arms round him pressed as though forever. ~ Homer,
565:It’s all so strange. It’s like nothing ever really happened. No, it really happened, only it’s gone. Taking it hard? Nah, I shook my head, things that come out of nowhere go back to nowhere, that’s all. We fell silent again. The thing we had shared was nothing more than a fragment of time that had died long ago. Even so, a faint glimmer of that warm memory still claimed a part of my heart. And when death claimed me, no doubt I would walk along by that faint light in the brief instant before being flung once again into the abyss of nothingness. ~ Haruki Murakami,
566:The only sovereign I can allow to rule me is reason. The first law of reason is this: what exists exists; what is is. From this irreducible, bedrock principle, all knowledge is built. This is the foundation from which life is embraced. Reason is a choice. Wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discovering them. Reason is our only way of grasping reality–it is our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking, to reject reason, but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see." -Richard ~ Terry Goodkind,
567:Fictions exist because of this fact. Because we have only one life, and our desires and fantasies demand a thousand lives. Because the abyss between what we are and what we would like to be has to be bridged somehow. That was why fictions were born: so that, through living this vicarious, transient, precarious, but also passionate and fascinating life that fiction transports us to, we can incorporate the impossible into the possible and our existence can be both reality and unreality, history and fable, concrete life and marvellous adventure. ~ Mario Vargas Llosa,
568:Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free, and life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fall, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age... Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.' ~ Winston Churchill,
569:It was as if these depths, constantly bridged over by a structure that was firm enough in spite of its lightness and of its occasional oscillation in the somewhat vertiginous air, invited on occasion, in the interest of their nerves, a dropping of the plummet and a measurement of the abyss. A difference had been made moreover, once for all, by the fact that she had, all the while, not appeared to feel the need of rebutting his charge of an idea within her that she didn't dare express, uttered just before one of the fullest of their later discussions ended. ~ Henry James,
570:A trite but effective tactic against the fear of death: think of the list of people who had to be pried away from life. What did they gain by dying old? In the end, they all sleep six feet under—Caedicianus, Fabius, Julian, Lepidus, and all the rest. They buried their contemporaries, and were buried in turn. Our lifetime is so brief. And to live it out in these circumstances, among these people, in this body? Nothing to get excited about. Consider the abyss of time past, the infinite future. Three days of life or three generations: what’s the difference? ~ Marcus Aurelius,
571:Marriage is always rather a leap into the abyss for a woman.”
“For anyone,” Colin said. “Though I’ll admit your point. Bonds . . . well, they bind, to be dreadfully obvious about it. Takes a bit of nerve to hold out your hands that way.”
Reggie’s eyebrows went up, and a sudden smile flashed in the moonlight. “Colin MacAlasdair,” she said, “are you daring me to marry you?”
“Of course,” he said, though he hadn’t thought of it before.
Her laughter rippled through the darkness. “Well, God knows I’m not much for backing down,” she said. ~ Isabel Cooper,
572:Poetry is perhaps this: an Atemwende, a turning of our breath. Who knows, perhaps poetry goes its way—the way of art—for the sake of just such a turn? And since the strange, the abyss and Medusa’s head, the abyss and the automaton, all seem to lie in the same direction—is it perhaps this turn, this Atemwende, which can sort out the strange from the strange? It is perhaps here, in this one brief moment, that Medusa’s head shrivels and the automaton runs down? Perhaps, along with the I, estranged and freed here, in this manner, some other thing is also set free? ~ Paul Celan,
573:...we spend most of our time... misinterpreting others, reading them in the wrong key, trying to take a leap toward them and then falling into the abyss. There is no real way to know what goes on inside, though the illusion might be never so attractive: all the time vast spaces open between us and others, and the mirage of comprehension or empathy is just that, a mirage. We are all enclosed in our own incommunicable experience, and death is the least communicable experience of all, and after death, the most incommunicable experience is the desire to die. ~ Juan Gabriel V squez,
574:And because our reason violently deters us from the brink, therefore, do we the more impetuously approach it. There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him, who shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a plunge. To indulge for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost; for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot. If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed. ~ Edgar Allan Poe,
575:For those who have dwelt in depression's dark wood, and known its inexplicable agony, their return from the abyss is not unlike the ascent of the poet, trudging upward and upward out of hell's black depths and at last emerging into what he saw as "the shining world." There, whoever has been restored to health has almost always been restored to the capacity for serenity and joy, and this may be indemnity enough for having endured the despair beyond despair.

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.
And so we came forth, and once again beheld the stars.
~ William Styron,
576:Mount Hermon and Bashan have important lore behind them. The name means place of the Serpent.” Jabal nodded. “It is the Cosmic Mountain,” he said. “The Gateway of the Gods. Some people say the mountain is also the gateway to Sheol.” “They are not wrong,” Uriel said. “It is in the foothill village of Kur, guarded by the goddess of the underworld, Ereshkigal, sister of Inanna. If one makes it through the Seven Gates of Ganzir, they have access to the waters of the Abyss, which leads to the netherworld of Sheol.” Noah took note of the connection of Ereshkigal to Inanna. ~ Brian Godawa,
577:I pray that each one of us stays awake as we fall. I pray that we choose to go into the abyss willingly and that our fall is cushioned by faith--faith that at the bottom we will be caught and taught and turned toward the light. I pray that we don't waste precious energy feeling ashamed of our mistakes, or embarrassed by our flaws. After years of teaching, I know only a few things for sure. One of them is this: We are chunks of dense matter that need to be cracked open. Our errors and failings are chinks in the heart's armor through which our true colors can shine. ~ Elizabeth Lesser,
578:There was a middle way between capitalism and socialism. ‘I do not want to see impaired the vigour of competition,’ Churchill told his Glasgow audience, ‘but we can do much to mitigate the consequences of failure. We want to draw a line below which we will not allow persons to live and labour, yet above which they may compete with all the strength of their manhood. We want to have free competition upwards; we decline to allow free competition to run downwards. We do not want to pull down the structures of science and civilisation; but to spread a net over the abyss. ~ Martin Gilbert,
579:He heard a soft voice calling him and turned towards it, trying to focus the vision before him. It wasn't his mother. If he weren't so tired, he would have smiled. He hadn't expected to find an angel in Hell.

The angel, her image blurred, a whiteness surrounding her, would understand. The angel would know.

"Why couldn't she love me?" he asked. The angel's answer was garbled. He strained to understand the words, not all his senses failed him as he slipped back into the abyss on the edge of Hell.

And the angel knelt down beside the bed and wept. ~ Lorraine Heath,
580:And day by day I became convinced that not only is it unwise, but it is criminal for the people of the Abyss to marry. They are the stones by the builder rejected. There is no place for them, in the social fabric while all the forces of society drive them downward till they perish. At the bottom of the Abyss they are feeble, besotted, and imbecile. If they reproduce, the life is so cheap that perforce it perishes of itself. The work of the world goes on above them, and they do not care to take part in it, nor are they able. Moreover, the work of the world does not need them. ~ Jack London,
581:Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you're hyperaware of the abyss pulling at your back. You constantly feel its call, its immense hunger. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don't dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge, it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. Bus as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. ~ Jon Krakauer,
582:Do other dads not end their phone calls with existential despair? Because that's what my dad does. Papa ends most of his calls with me the way you might close a conversation with someone you want to menace. "Anyway," he'll say, "I'll be here. Staring into the abyss." Or, when I have given him good news, "The talented will rule and the rest will perish in the sea of mediocrity." Or, when I have given him bad news, "I am for for everything that happens to you, as everything is my fault." He never ends with anything that couldn't one day be construed as a tragic yet comic last word. ~ Scaachi Koul,
583:One of the most amazing commentaries on the fallen human nature to be found in all the Word of God is right here in this passage. After one thousand years of a perfect environment, with an abundance of material possessions and spiritual instruction for everyone, no crime, no war, no external temptation to sin, with the personal presence of all the resurrected saints and even Christ Himself, and with Satan and all his demons bound in the abyss, there are still a multitude of unsaved men and women on earth who are ready to rebel against the Lord the first time they get a chance.2 ~ Mark Hitchcock,
584:There are people whose eyes you must avoid, whose attention you must not draw to yourself. They are strange, parasitic creatures, lost souls seeking to stretch across the abyss and make fatal contact with the warm, constant flow of humanity. They live in pain, and exist only to visit that pain on others. A random glance, the momentary lingering of a look, is enough to give them the excuse that they seek. Sometimes, it is better to keep your eyes on the gutter for the fear that, by looking up, you might catch a glimpse of them, black shapes against the sun, and be blinded forever. ~ John Connolly,
585:This cloistered existence which is so austere, so depressing, a few of whose features we have just traced, is not life, for it is not liberty; it is not the tomb, for it is not plenitude; it is the strange place whence one beholds, as from the crest of a lofty mountain, on one side the abyss where we are, on the other, the abyss whither we shall go; it is the narrow and misty frontier separating two worlds, illuminated and obscured by both at the same time, where the ray of life which has become enfeebled is mingled with the vague ray of death; it is the half obscurity of the tomb. ~ Victor Hugo,
586:The problem with all students, he said, is that they inevitably stop somewhere. They hear an idea and they hold on to it until it becomes dead; they want to flatter themselves that they know the truth. But true Zen never stops, never congeals into such truths. That is why everyone must constantly be pushed to the abyss, starting over and feeling their utter worthlessness as a student. Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on clichés and stay there, until the spirit dies as well. Not even enlightenment is enough. You must continually start over and challenge yourself. ~ Robert Greene,
587:The smallest decisions made had such profound repercussions. One ten-minute wait could save a life… Or end it… One wrong turn down the right street or one seemingly unimportant conversation, and everything was changed. It wasn’t right that each lifetime was defined, ruined, ended, and made by such seemingly innocuous details. A major life-threatening event should come with a flashing warning sign that either said ABANDON ALL HOPE or SAFETY AHEAD. It was the cruelest joke of all that no one could see the most vicious curves until they were over the edge, falling into the abyss below. ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon,
588:But the more shrewdly and earnestly we study the histories of men, the less ready shall we be to make use of the word ‘artificial.’ Nothing in the world has ever been artificial. Many customs, many dresses, many works of art are branded with artificiality because the exhibit vanity and self-consciousness: as if vanity were not a deep and elemental thing, like love and hate and the fear of death. Vanity may be found in darkling deserts, in the hermit and in the wild beasts that crawl around him. It may be good or evil, but assuredly it is not artificial: vanity is a voice out of the abyss. ~ G K Chesterton,
589:The autumn will take everything, everything I ever thought or dreamed, everything I did or did not do, spent matches scattered at random on the floor, discarded scraps of paper, great empires, all the religions and philosophies that the drowsy children of the abyss played at making. The autumn will take everything, everything, that is, that made up my soul, from my noblest aspirations to the ordinary house in which I live, from the gods I once worshipped to my boss Vasques. The autumn will take everything, will sweep everything up with tender indifference. The autumn will take everything. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
590:So far as Emma was concerned she did not ask herself whether she was in love. Love, she thought, was something that must come suddenly, with a great display of thunder and lightning, descending on one's life like a tempest from above, turning it topsy-turvy, whirling away one's resolutions like leaves and bearing one onward, heart and soul, towards the abyss. She never bethought herself how on the terrace of a house the rain forms itself into little lakes when the gutters are choked, and she was going on quite unaware of her peril, when all of a sudden she discovered--a crack in the wall! ~ Gustave Flaubert,
591:The smoke! The golden smoke!
His robe whipped upward, turning him until his face was directed downward into the abyss. With his gaze on the depths, he recognized a maelstrom of boiling rapids there, the mirror of his life-precipitous currents and plunges, all movement gathering up all substance. Leto’s words wound through his mind on a path of golden smoke: “Caution is the path to mediocrity. Gliding, passionless mediocrity is all that most people think they can achieve.” Moneo fell freely then in the ecstasy of awareness. The universe opened for him like clear glass, everything flowing in a no Time. ~ Frank Herbert,
592:They heard the thud of wood on flesh. Boot on bone. On teeth. The muffled grunt when a stomach is kicked in. The muted crunch of skull on cement. The gurgle of blood on a man’s breath when his lung is torn by the jagged end of a broken rib.

Blue-lipped and dinner-plate-eyed, they watched, mesmerized by something that they sensed but didn’t understand: the absence of caprice in what the policemen did. The abyss where anger should have been. The sober, steady brutality, the economy of it all.

They were opening a bottle.

Or shutting a tap.

Cracking an egg to make an omelette. ~ Arundhati Roy,
593:Thinking leads inexorably to the abyss. It did not work for Tolstoy. It might not even have worked for Nietzsche, who arguably thought more clearly about such things than anyone in history. But if it is not thinking that can be relied upon in the direst of situations, what is left? Thought, after all, is the highest of human achievements, is it not?
Perhaps not.
Something supersedes thinking, despite its truly awesome power. When existence reveals itself as existentially intolerable, thinking collapses in on itself. In such situations—in the depths—it’s noticing, not thinking, that does the trick. ~ Jordan Peterson,
594:Where was it that I read of how a condemned man, just before he died, said, or thought, that if he had to live on some high crag, on a ledge so small that there was no more than room for his two feet, with all about him the abyss, the ocean, eternal night, eternal solitude, eternal storm, and there he must remain, on a hand's-breadth of ground, all his life, a thousand years, through all eternity-it would be better to live so, than die within the hour? Only to live, to live! No matter how-only to live!... How true! Lord, how true! How base men are!... And he is worse who decries them on that account! ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
595:If she were running through the rye, if she were headed towards the abyss, I would grab hold with every ounce of my strength, with every scared beat of my heart, with every thought that could only be for her. And if I were to be running the same way, I’d like to think she’d do the same. But maybe her hands would be busy holding the book. Maybe she wouldn’t see me, too intent on looking for Phoebe from the carousel. Or waiting for Holden to hold her, to wrap her in the pages of his arms, to say she was the only one who truly knew him, as I plunged past her, sad to be leaving, and a little happy to be away. ~ David Levithan,
596:Laments of an Icarus

The paramours of courtesans
Are well and satisfied, content.
But as for me my limbs are rent
Because I clasped the clouds as mine.

I owe it to the peerless stars
Which flame in the remotest sky
That I see only with spent eyes
Remembered suns I knew before.

In vain I had at heart to find
The center and the end of space.
Beneath some burning, unknown gaze
I feel my very wings unpinned

And, burned because I beauty loved,
I shall not know the highest bliss,
And give my name to the abyss
Which waits to claim me as its own. ~ Charles Baudelaire,
597:Thinking leads inexorably to the abyss. It did not work for Tolstoy. It might not even have worked for Nietzsche, who arguably thought more clearly about such things than anyone in history. But if it is not thinking that can be relied upon in the direst of situations, what is left? Thought, after all, is the highest of human achievements, is it not?
Perhaps not.
Something supersedes thinking, despite its truly awesome power. When existence reveals itself as existentially intolerable, thinking collapses in on itself. In such situations—in the depths—it’s noticing, not thinking, that does the trick. ~ Jordan B Peterson,
598:A swishing is often heard in the Carpathians, the sound as of a thousand mill wheels turning in the water. It is the dead men gnawing at the dead man, in the abyss without issue, which no man has ever seen, fearing to pass near it. It happens not seldom in the world that the earth shakes from one end to the other: learned people say it is because somewhere by the sea there is a mountain out of which flames burst and burning rivers flow. But the old men who live in Hungary and the land of Galicia know better and say that the earth shakes because there is a dead man grown great and huge in it who wants to rise. ~ Nikolai Gogol,
599:The moment had arrived for the incorruptible and supreme equity to alter its plan. Probably the principles and the elements, on which the regular gravitations of the moral, as of the material, world depend, had complained. Smoking blood, over-filled cemeteries, mothers in tears,—these are formidable pleaders. When the earth is suffering from too heavy a burden, there are mysterious groanings of the shades, to which the abyss lends an ear. Napoleon had been denounced in the infinite and his fall had been decided on. He embarrassed God. Waterloo is not a battle; it is a change of front on the part of the Universe. ~ Victor Hugo,
600:Thus, the self-confidence, the "feeling of self," is merely an indication of what others think of the person. It is not he who is convinced of his value regardless of popularity and his success on the market. If he is sought after, he is somebody; if he is not popular, he is simply nobody. This dependence of self-esteem on the success of the "personality" is the reason why for modern man popularity has this tremendous importance. On it depends not only whether or not one goes ahead in practical matters, but also whether one can keep up one's self-esteem or whether one falls into the abyss of inferiority feelings. ~ Erich Fromm,
601:At the beginning of the twenty-first century, probably for the first time in human history, the living presence of the abyss—that is, the simultaneous existence of one world that is dying and another one that is being born—is a widely shared experience for millions of people across cultures, sectors, and generations. It is experienced in communities as well as in ministries, global companies, NGOs, and UN organizations—wherever people are looking at the real picture. It’s a felt sense that applies to relationships, institutions, and systems, but even more to the personal level of our journey from self to Self. ~ C Otto Scharmer,
602:retreat, with nothing to look forward to, nowhere to be, nothing to do, we are forced to confront the “wound of existence” head-on, to stare into the abyss and realize that so much of what we do in life—every shift in our seat, every bite of food, every pleasant daydream—is designed to avoid pain or seek pleasure. But if we can drop all that, we can, as Sam once said in his speech to the angry, befuddled atheists, learn how to be happy “before anything happens.” This happiness is self-generated, not contingent on exogenous forces; it’s the opposite of “suffering.” What the Buddha recognized was a genuine game changer. ~ Dan Harris,
603:On retreat, with nothing to look forward to, nowhere to be, nothing to do, we are forced to confront the “wound of existence” head-on, to stare into the abyss and realize that so much of what we do in life—every shift in our seat, every bite of food, every pleasant daydream—is designed to avoid pain or seek pleasure. But if we can drop all that, we can, as Sam once said in his speech to the angry, befuddled atheists, learn how to be happy “before anything happens.” This happiness is self-generated, not contingent on exogenous forces; it’s the opposite of “suffering.” What the Buddha recognized was a genuine game changer. ~ Dan Harris,
604:The struggle for power had reached a new stage; it was fought with scientific formulas. The weapons vanished in the abyss like fleeting images, like pictures one throws into the fire....

When new models were displayed to the masses at the great parades on Red Square in Moscow or elsewhere, the crowds stood in reverent silence and then broke into jubilant shouts of triumph....

Though the display was continual, in this silence and these shouts something evil, old as time, manifested itself in man, who is an outsmarter and setter of traps. Invisible, Cain and Tubalcain marched past in the parade of phantoms. ~ Ernst J nger,
605:The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life and Martha no longer loves the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels, Lucretius becomes a
woman. Everything is on the wrong path. In those days, thank God, I acquired from my master the desire to learn and a sense of the straight way, which remains even when the path is tortuous. ~ Umberto Eco,
606:Faith is a coat against ... nakedness. For most of us, most of the time, faith functions so as to screen off the abyss of mystery that surrounds us. But we all at certain times call upon faith to provide nerve to stand in the presence of the abyss--naked, stripped of life supports, trusting only in the being, the mercy and the power of the Other in the darkness. Faith helps us form a dependable 'life space,' an ultimate environment. At a deeper level, faith undergirds us when our life space is punctured and collapses, when the felt reality of our ultimate environment proves to be less than ultimate.
   ~ James W Fowler, Stages Of Faith,
607:The mind, like a spinning flywheel of fatigued steel, was gradually racked to bursting by the conflict of stresses. And yet: every equilibrium was an opposure of forces. Rotation, if swift enough, creates amazing stability: he had seen how the gyroscope can balance at apparently impossible angles. Perhaps it was so of the mind. If it twirls at high speed it can lean right out over the abyss without collapse. But the stationary mindhe thought of Bishop Borzoimust keep away from the edge. Try to force it to the edge, it raves in panic. Every mind, very likely, knows its own frailties, and does well to safeguard them. ~ Christopher Morley,
608:Hong Kong, please watch over him, he saw that young man Lazaro in a dream and is convinced he’s a terrorist, always has been, and I should never have let him into the house that day with the tray of seafood I’d ordered; this anxiety gives him abominable, uncontrollable thoughts, but the analyst told me to look at it differently, he said I know the road he’s on, and even if it leads down into the abyss, yawning glaciers, he sees things we don’t, fresh tracks under a starlit night, for him brightly lit, so much so that even in the farthest depths he knows he can’t get lost, and you’ll see he’ll find his way back to us ~ Marie Claire Blais,
609:Sometimes you need the anesthesia. Because what you learn about yourself when fear finally overtakes you isn’t pretty. You understand that the person you thought of as yourself, your immutable, indivisible self, is just an overlay, fragile and frail. Fear strips away the façade. And having to see what lies beneath, and accept it, makes you different from everyone who hasn’t been similarly forged. You’ve been aged; they remain neophytes. You have brutal clarity; they, comforting illusions. You’ve looked into the abyss, and can feel it looking back still; they don’t even know such a place exists. And for all of it, you hate them. ~ Barry Eisler,
610:Remove your hands, brother!" Raistlin said in a flat, soft whisper.
"I'll see you in the Abyss!"
"I said remove your hands!" There was a flash of blue light, a crackle and sizzling sound, Caramon screamed in pain, loosening his hold as jarring, paralyzing shock surged through his body.
"I warned you," Raistlin straightened his robes and resumed his seat.
"By the gods, I will kill you this time!" Caramon said through clenched teeth, drawing his sword with trembling hand.
"Then do so," Raistlin snapped, looking up from the spellbook he had reopened, "and get it over with. This constant threatening becomes boring! ~ Margaret Weis,
611:And any room that I enter may become a sideshow tent where I must take my place upon a rickety old bench on the verge of collapse. Even now the Showman stands before my eyes. His stiff red hair moves a little toward one shoulder, as if he is going to turn his gaze upon me, and moves back again; then his head moves a little toward the other shoulder in this never-ending game of horrible peek-a-boo. I can only sit and wait, knowing that one day he will turn full around, step down from his stage, and claim me for the abyss I have always feared. Perhaps then I will discover what it was I did - what any of us did - to deserve this fate. ~ Thomas Ligotti,
612:The first law of reason is that what exists, exists; what is, is, and that from this ineducible, bedrock principle, all knowledge is built...that is the foundation from which life is embraced... thinking is a choice...wishes and whims are not facts, nor are they a means to discover them... reason is our only way of grasping reality--it's our basic tool of survival. We are free to evade the effort of thinking--to reject reason--but we are not free to avoid the penalty of the abyss we refuse to see... Reason is the very substance of truth itself. The glory that is life is wholly embraced through reason. In rejecting reason one embraces death. ~ Terry Goodkind,
613:Death Will Come with Your Eyes"

Death will come with your eyes—
this death that accompanies us
from morning till night, sleepless,
deaf, like an old regret
or a stupid vice. Your eyes
will be a useless word,
a muted cry, a silence.
As you see them each morning
when alone you lean over
the mirror. O cherished hope,
that day we too shall know
that you are life and nothing.

For everyone death has a look.
Death will come with your eyes.
It will be like terminating a vice,
as seen in the mirror
a dead face re-emerging,
like listening to closed lips.
We’ll go down the abyss in silence. ~ Cesare Pavese,
614:Out of the night forth flamed a star -mine own!
Now seventy light-years nearer as I urge
Constant my heart through the abyss unknown,
Its glory my sole guide while space surge
About me. Seventy light-years! As I near
That gate of light that men call death, its cold
Pale gleam begins to pulse, a throbbing sphere,
Systole and diastole of eager gold,
New life immortal, warmth of passion bleed
Till night's black velvet burn to crimson. Hark!
It is thy voice, Thy word, the secret seed
Of rapture that admonishes the dark.
Swift! By necessity most righteous drawn,
Hermes, authentic augur of the dawn!
~ Aleister Crowley, Logos
,
615:These summer nights are short. Going to bed before midnight is unthinkable and talk, wine, moonlight and the warm air are often in league to defer it one, two or three hours more. It seems only a moment after falling asleep out of doors that dawn touches one gently on the shoulder, and, completely refreshed, up one gets, or creeps into the shade or indoors for another luxurious couple of hours. The afternoon is the time for real sleep: into the abyss one goes to emerge when the colours begin to revive and the world to breathe again about five o'clock, ready once more for the rigours and pleasures of late afternoon, the evening, and the night. ~ Patrick Leigh Fermor,
616:Where was it that I read about a man condemned to death saying or thinking, an hour before his death, that if he had to live somewhere high up on a cliffside, on a ledge so narrow that there was room only for his two feet - and with the abyss, the ocean, eternal darkness, eternal solitude, eternal storm all around him - and had to stay like that, on a square foot of space, an entire lifetime, a thousand years, an eternity - it would be better to live so than die right now! Only to live, to live, to live! To live, no matter how - only to live! ...How true! Lord, how true! Man is a scoundrel! And he's a scoundrel who calls him a scoundrel for that. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
617:My Face Turned Upwards To The Sky
My face turned upwards to the sky
One summer night I lay upon some hay
A lively close-knit starry chorus
Was flickering all around.
The mute earth, nebulous and dreamlike,
Rushed off without a trace
And I, like Eden's first inhabitant,
Faced night's gaze all alone.
Was it I hurtling into midnight's depths
Or was it crowds of stars that hurtled toward me?
It seemed as if a mighty palm
Held me suspended over the abyss.
And with a heart confused and stunned
I cast my gaze into the depths,
Whence sinking every moment deeper,
I never will return.
~ Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet,
618:It is a very thin line between us and the abyss, Will Henry,' he said. 'For most it is like that line out there, where the sea meets the sky. They see it. They cannot deny the evidence of their eyes, but they never cross it. They cannot cross it; though they chase it for a thousand years, it will forever stay where it is. Do you realize it took our species more than ten millennia to realize that simple fact? That the line is unreachable, that we live on a ball and not on a plate? Most of us do, anyway. Men like Jacob Torrance and John Kearns ... Those kinds of men still live on a plate. Do you understand what I mean?'

I nodded. I thought I did. ~ Rick Yancey,
619:Death Will Come With Your Eyes
Death will come with your eyes—
this death that accompanies us
from morning till night, sleepless,
deaf, like an old regret
or a stupid vice. Your eyes
will be a useless word,
a muted cry, a silence.
As you see them each morning
when alone you lean over
the mirror. O cherished hope,
that day we too shall know
that you are life and nothing.
For everyone death has a look.
Death will come with your eyes.
It will be like terminating a vice,
as seen in the mirror
a dead face re-emerging,
like listening to closed lips.
We'll go down the abyss in silence.
~ Cesare Pavese,
620:Lets say from the first moment of my life, everything's always been about me and nothing else, including apocalypse and chaos; let's say even apocalypse and chaos have been conceits of my psyche and bad faith--this assumes I ever kept any kind of faith at all, bad or otherwise...Let's say I'm faithlessness made flesh, the modern age's leap of faith stopped dead in its tracks, fucking around with apocalypse and chaos only because in some broken part of me, among any wreckage of honor or altruism or commitment of compassion, or the bits and pieces of moral vanity, I really believed the abyss was always just the playground of my imagination, and I was its bully. ~ Steve Erickson,
621:Logos
Out of the night forth flamed a star -mine own!
Now seventy light-years nearer as I urge
Constant my heart through the abyss unknown,
Its glory my sole guide while space surge
About me. Seventy light-yaers! As I near
That gate of light that men call death, its cold
Pale gleam begins to pulse, a throbbing sphere,
Systole and diastole of eager gold,
New life immortal, wartmth of passion bleed
Till night's black velvet burn to crimson. Hark!
It is thy voice, Thy word, the secret seed
Of rapture that admonishes the dark.
Swift! By necessity most righteous drawn,
Hermes, authentic augur of the dawn!
~ Aleister Crowley,
622:This saintly anarchist, who aroused the people of the abyss, the outcasts and “sinners,” the Chandala of Judaism, to rise in revolt against the established order of things—and in language which, if the Gospels are to be credited, would get him sent to Siberia today—this man was certainly a political criminal, at least in so far as it was possible to be one in so absurdly unpolitical a community. This is what brought him to the cross: the proof thereof is to be found in the inscription that was put upon the cross. He died for his own sins—there is not the slightest ground for believing, no matter how often it is asserted, that he died for the sins of others. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
623:He had never clearly fathomed the true weight of a word of good, truth, and purity cast in the stream of human speech and the deep bend it cut in it. Nor had he thought that a word spoken boldly and loudly, with no hint of false shame, but rather with courage, that this word would not drown in the ugly cries of fashionable satyrs but would plunge like a pearl into the abyss of public life and always find itself a shell.

Many stumble over a good word, blushing in embarrassment, and utter a careless word boldly and loudly, never suspecting that it, too, unfortunately, will not go for naught but will leave a long trail of often times ineradicable evil.

p. 296 ~ Ivan Goncharov,
624:They talked some more. When Nahed asked him about his wife, Sharko leaned the arch of his eyebrow against the window, his gaze fixed on the peaceful currents, and confided simply that he missed his wife and daughter and that he’d never see them again, except in his dreams. He didn’t open his mouth after that. What for? What could he tell her? That there wasn’t a single night when their absence didn’t grip him so hard it woke him from his sleep, barely able to breathe? That his job had destroyed the lives of those he held dearest and was dragging him slowly but surely toward the abyss of a joyless old age? No, he had nothing to tell. Not here, and not now. Not with her. ~ Franck Thilliez,
625:For then I lost all sense of the place in which I had gone to sleep, and when I awoke at midnight, not knowing where I was, I could not be sure at first who I was; I had only the most rudimentary sense of existence, such as may lurk and flicker in the depths of an animal’s consciousness; I was more destitute of human qualities than the cave-dweller; but then the memory, not yet of the place in which I was, but of various other places where I had lived, and might now very possibly be, would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I could never have escaped by myself".

Marcel Proust
In Search of Lost Time, 1913 ~ Marcel Proust,
626:Help!"
This was my last cry. My mouth filled with water, I struggled against being drawn the abyss. Suddenly my clothes were seized by a strong hand, and I felt myself quickly drawn up to the surface of the sea; and I heard, yes, I heard these words pronounced in my ear:
"If master would be so good as to lean on my shoulder, master would swim with much greater ease."
I seized with one hand my faithful Conseil's arm.
"Is it you?" said I, "you?"
"Myself," answered Conseil; "and waiting master's orders."
"That shock threw you as well as me in the sea?"
"No; but, being in my master's service, I followed him."
The worthy fellow thought that was but natural. ~ Jules Verne,
627:In the Gnostic Remains it is described that the Demiurgus, or creating power, fashioned innumerable bodies while experimenting with the cosmic substances. Most of these bodies were incapable of containing a mind. They were the night-born, the false birth, the monsters of the Abyss. This account is based upon the Hermetic legend wherein it is described that these first creatures were destroyed by the gods because they could not be the vehicles or bodies for the incarnation of intellectual entities. Of such an order also are the giant-kings of Edom who "perished in the void." Also, these are the Sheddai, the antedeluvian kings recorded in the Zohar. ~ Manly P Hall, How to Understand Your Bible,
628:For people who have something in the present it is easier to forget the past, although you never wholly do so. When winter comes, spring is a vague memory, something looked back at with nostalgia, but winter is the here and now and requires all your energies. If spring were to vanish and there were nothing, an abyss, if that were even possible to imagine, then you would live with memories of spring for ever and ever or else become a part of the abyss itself. The same can sometimes be said for love, but not always. There are some loves that live on for years, inexplicably, although the lovers are parted and there is no hope that they may ever reunite except as polite and distant friends. ~ Rona Jaffe,
629:I tell you, you Heaven's Holy Baal, you don't exist; but that, if you did, I would curse you so that your Heaven would quiver with the fire of hell! I tell you, I have offered you my service, and you repulsed me; and I turn my back on you for all eternity, because you did not know your time of visitation! I tell you that I am about to die, and yet I mock you! You Heaven God and Apis! with death staring me in the face - I tell you, I would rather be a bondsman in hell than a freedman in your mansions! I tell you, I am filled with a blissful contempt for your divine paltriness; and I choose the abyss of destruction for a perpetual resort, where the devils Judas and Pharaoh are cast down! ~ Knut Hamsun,
630:May I at least carry, to the boundless possibility contained in the abyss of everything, the glory of my disillusion like that of a great dream, and the splendor of not believing like a banner of defeat; a banner in feeble hands, but still and all a banner, dragged through mud and the blood of the weak but raised high for who knows what reason - whether in defiance, or as a challenge, or in mere desperation - as we vanish into quicksand. No one knows for what reason, because no one knows anything, and the sand swallows those with banners as it swallows those without. And the sand covers everything: my life, my prose, my eternity. I carry my awareness of defeat like a banner of victory. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
631:Far more serious still is the division between the Church of Rome and evangelical Protestantism in all its forms. Yet how great is the common heritage which unites the Roman Catholic Church, with its maintenance of the authority of Holy Scripture and with its acceptance of the great early creeds, to devout Protestants today!

We would not indeed obscure the difference which divides us from Rome. The gulf is indeed profound. But profound as it is, it seems almost trifling compared to the abyss which stands between us and many ministers of our own Church. The Church of Rome may represent a perversion of the Christian religion; but naturalistic liberalism is not Christianity at all. ~ J Gresham Machen,
632:Dark the sea was: but I saw him,
One great head with goggle eyes,
Like a diabolic cherub
Flying in those fallen skies.

I have heard the hoarse deniers,
I have known the wordy wars;
I have seen a man, by shouting,
Seek to orphan all the stars.

I have seen a fool half-fashioned
Borrow from the heavens a tongue,
So to curse them more at leisure--
--And I trod him not as dung.

For I saw that finny goblin
Hidden in the abyss untrod;
And I knew there can be laughter
On the secret face of God.

Blow the trumpets, crown the sages,
Bring the age by reason fed!
(He that sitteth in the heavens,
'He shall laugh'--the prophet said. ~ G K Chesterton,
633:When my father died... I felt so alone. Then I saw you...and it only made me more sad.

When you look out into the abyss that awaits you as you grow older... You're always looking past your father. He's always there, facing it before you and telling you what to expect, preparing you for what's coming. He's a comfort you grow to...take for granted.

Then when he's gone, it's just you...facing the abyss alone.

See you in the room when he died... It just reminded me that one day you'll feel just as alone and scared as I did in that moment. But for now, you're sleeping...and you're happy... and everything is okay. Right now. In this moment... It almost seems cruel to wake you up. ~ Robert Kirkman,
634:Mount Kikineis
Look, the abyss, the downward sky, the sea!
Bird-mountain, shot with thunder, furls below
feathers and wings, in curve beyond rainbow,
snow-sails and mast, immobile, vast, free;
and cloudlike over spacious limbo, covers
wide azure - oh, island-hemisphere in flight,
darkens a half-world with its own sad night.
Look, on its forehead ribbon flames and hovers!
Lightning! But stop here. At our feet, abysses,
ravines, thresholds we must at gallop span.
I leap; stand ready with whip and spur; stare
past rock escarpment where I vanish. This is
your sign: If white panache gleams, I am there;
if not, there is no path beyond for man.
~ Adam Mickiewicz,
635:The Five Adorations
I praise Thee, God, whose rays upstart beneath the Bright
and Morning Star:
Nowit asali fardh salat assobhi allahu akbar.
I praise Thee, God, the fierce and swart; at noon Thou ridest
forth to war!
Nowit asali fardh salat assohri allahu akabr.
I praise Thee, God, whose arrows dart their royal radiance
o'er the scar:
Nowit asali fardh salat asasri allahu akabr.
I praise Thee, God, whose fires depart, who drivest down the
sky thy car:
Nowit asali fardh salat al maghrab allahu akabr.
I praise Thee, God, whose purple heart is hidden in the abyss
afar:
Nowit asali fardh salat al asha allahu akabr.
DOST ACHIHA KHAN.
~ Aleister Crowley,
636:All had this in common: that if they returned from the Empty Quarter - even though their journey might have taken them only a day's ride into that place - they came back changed men. Nobody could set his eyes on such a void and return to hearth and home without having lost a part of himself to the wilderness forever. Many, having endured the void once, went back, and back again, as if daring the desert to claim them; not content until it did. And those unhappy few who died at home, died with their eyes not on the loving faces at their bedside, nor on the cherry tree in blossom outside the window, but on that waste that called them as only the Abyss can call, promising the soul the balm of nothingness. ~ Clive Barker,
637:I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. I don’t know where it will take me, because I don’t know anything. I could see this inn as a prison, for I’m compelled to wait in it; I could see it as a social centre, for it’s here that I meet others. But I’m neither impatient nor common. I leave who will to stay shut up in their rooms, sprawled out on beds where they sleeplessly wait, and I leave who will to chat in the parlours, from where their songs and voices conveniently drift out here to me. I’m sitting at the door, feasting my eyes and ears on the colours and sounds of the landscape, and I softly sing – for myself alone – wispy songs I compose while waiting. ~ Anonymous,
638:Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dim-lit halls of other places forms that never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who have never seen or been seen. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear ~ Jeff VanderMeer,
639:I suppose there are three kinds of people in this world. Some people live their lives around the holes―never finding them, never even worrying about them. Their lives are full and happy. Then there are others who keep falling through those hidden gaps, into nightmares they never knew existed. I wouldn't want to be one of them.
And then there's a few...restless people who spend our lives plugging holes in the unfinished corners of creation and building walls to hold back all the things that must never be seen.
Perhaps there's more holes than can be patched in a lifetime. But I've got to live on the hope that maybe, just maybe, we'll get them all...and the abyss will never look into us again. ~ Neal Shusterman,
640:
I praise Thee, God, whose rays upstart beneath the Bright
and Morning Star:
Nowit asali fardh salat assobhi allahu akbar.

I praise Thee, God, the fierce and swart; at noon Thou ridest
forth to war!
Nowit asali fardh salat assohri allahu akabr.

I praise Thee, God, whose arrows dart their royal radiance
o'er the scar:
Nowit asali fardh salat asasri allahu akabr.

I praise Thee, God, whose fires depart, who drivest down the
sky thy car:
Nowit asali fardh salat al maghrab allahu akabr.

I praise Thee, God, whose purple heart is hidden in the abyss
afar:
Nowit asali fardh salat al asha allahu akabr.

DOST ACHIHA KHAN.
~ Aleister Crowley, The Five Adorations
,
641: The Pilgrim of the Night
I made an assignation with the Night;
In the abyss was fixed our rendezvous:
In my breast carrying God's deathless light
I came her dark and dangerous heart to woo.

I left the glory of the illumined Mind
And the calm rapture of the divinised soul
And travelled through a vastness dim and blind
To the grey shore where her ignorant waters roll.

I walk by the chill wave through the dull slime
And still that weary journeying knows no end;
Lost is the lustrous godhead beyond Time,
There comes no voice of the celestial Friend.

And yet I know my footprints' track shall be
A pathway towards Immortality.

~ Sri Aurobindo, - The Pilgrim of the Night
,
642:Mystic
On the slope of the knoll angels
whirl their woolen robes
in pastures of emerald and steel.
Meadows of flame leap up to the summit of the little hill.
At the left, the mold of the ridge is trampled by all the homicides
and all the battles, and all the disastrous noises
describe their curve. Behind the right-hand
ridge, the line of orients and of progress.
And while the band above the picture is composed of the revolving
and rushing hum of seashells and of human nights,
The flowering sweetness of the stars and of the night
and all the rest descends, opposite the knol
l, like a basket,-- against our face, and
makes the abyss perfumed and blue below.
~ Arthur Rimbaud,
643:That dusty, musty theater smell, how it still haunts each one of us in turn, and Maria at least will never shake it free. That swing door with the bar across it, the cold passage, those hollow-sounding stairs and the descent to the abyss. Those notices upon the walls that no one ever reads, that prowling cat with tail erect which mews and vanishes, the rusty fire-bucket into which someone throws the stub of a cigarette. The first sight of it would always be the same, no matter in what city or what country. The posters, sometimes black-printed, sometimes red, with Pappy’s and Mama’s names upon them, and the photographs, always of Mama, never of Pappy—this was a superstition of them both—hanging by the entrance. ~ Daphne du Maurier,
644:The evil spirits returned to Belial inside the mountain. He stared with a dire face into the blackened ooze of the Abyss that filled the large lake inside their sanctuary. Small flames of fire flitted across the surface of it. The sixty plus other gods gathered around their leader like a bodyguard of Watchers, swords drawn, javelins and maces held tight. Would they fight this day? Belial said, still staring into the oblivion, “It is worse than I thought.” Molech whined, “Are the heavenly host approaching?” “No. He transfigured.” “Glorification,” said Molech. “Is that not a call to battle?” “He is not attacking us on our turf. He is challenging us to his.” “It is almost upon us,” said Belial. “All gods, prepare for war. ~ Brian Godawa,
645:The areas they traveled through became less and less populated. They followed an interminably straight road, thickly surrounded by maples and conifers as far as the eye could see. Only rarely did their path cross a truck or car. Night was falling. Now and again they saw points of light in the distance, boats that must have been navigating the rivers and lakes. They had driven about sixty miles when the man told her to turn onto a path. The headlights lit the massive bases of tree trunks. Lucie felt she was on the edge of the abyss; she had seen only two or three houses in the past half hour. A cabin emerged from the darkness. When the cop stepped onto the ground, feeling feverish, she heard the furious roar of a waterfall. ~ Franck Thilliez,
646:And as for the vague something --- was it a sinister or a sorrowful, a designing or a desponding expression? --- that opened upon a careful observer, now and then, in his eye, and closed again before one could fathom the strange depth partially disclosed; that something which used to make me fear and shrink, as if I had been wandering amongst volcanic-looking hills, and had suddenly felt the ground quiver, and seen it gape: that something, I, at intervals, beheld still; and with throbbing heart, but not with palsied nerves. Instead of wishing to shun, I longed only to dare --- to divine it; and I thought Miss Ingram happy, because one day she might look into the abyss at her leisure, explore its secrets and analyse their nature. ~ Charlotte Bront,
647:The excessive weight of this man in human destiny disturbed the balance. This individual alone counted for more than a universal group. These plethoras of all human vitality concentrated in a single head; the world mounting to the brain of one man,—this would be mortal to civilization were it to last. The moment had arrived for the incorruptible and supreme equity to alter its plan. Probably the principles and the elements, on which the regular gravitations of the moral, as of the material, world depend, had complained. Smoking blood, over-filled cemeteries, mothers in tears,—these are formidable pleaders. When the earth is suffering from too heavy a burden, there are mysterious groanings of the shades, to which the abyss lends an ear. ~ Victor Hugo,
648:There was a mountain climber who slipped on a ledge and was about to plummet thousands of feet to his death, but as he started to fall, he grabbed a branch of a tiny, scraggly tree that was growing out of a crack in the face of the cliff. As he clung to the branch, the roots of the scraggly tree began to pull loose, and the climber was facing certain death. At that moment, he cried out to the heavens, “Is there anyone up there who can help me?” In reply, he heard a rich, baritone voice from the sky, saying: “Yes. I am here and I will help you. Let go of the branch and trust Me.” The man looked up to heaven and then looked back down into the abyss. Finally, he raised his voice again and said, “Is there anyone else up there who can help me? ~ R C Sproul,
649:WHEN WALLY BENNETT was a kid, his parents taught him to say this prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. He had stopped saying the prayer at nine or ten, and he had always found it disturbing, for two reasons. One: Dying in his sleep was not a pleasant thought, not something Wally wished to entertain; the idea that the Lord was poised above his sleeping form like some immense holy vulture waiting to grab his soul—and do exactly what with it?—was unsettling, to say the least. And two: There was always the implicit suggestion that, should he forget to say this prayer, something awful would occur. One of Satan’s minions might drag him into the abyss. ~ Ellen Datlow,
650:My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Psalm 22:1 We here behold the Saviour in the depth of his sorrows. No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ as Calvary, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as that in which his cry rends the air--"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which he had to pass; and to make his grief culminate with emphasis, he suffered spiritual agony surpassing all expression, resulting from the departure of his Father's presence. This was the black midnight of his horror; then it was that he descended the abyss of suffering. No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon,
651:Anonymous > Quotes > Quotable Quote
“I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. I don’t know where it will take me, because I don’t know anything. I could see this inn as a prison, for I’m compelled to wait in it; I could see it as a social centre, for it’s here that I meet others. But I’m neither impatient nor common. I leave who will to stay shut up in their rooms, sprawled out on beds where they sleeplessly wait, and I leave who will to chat in the parlours, from where their songs and voices conveniently drift out here to me. I’m sitting at the door, feasting my eyes and ears on the colours and sounds of the landscape, and I softly sing – for myself alone – wispy songs I compose while waiting. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
652:Hitler remains undeniably the creation of his time, a creature of German imagination rather than, strictly speaking, of social and economic forces. He was never regarded in the first instance as the prospective agent of social and economic recovery—that was a post facto interpretation—but rather as a symbol of revolt and counteraffirmation by the dispossessed, the frustrated, the humiliated, the unemployed, the resentful, the angry. Hitler stood for protest. He was a mental construct in the midst of defeat and failure, of inflation and depression, of domestic political chaos and international humiliation. ... The ultimate kitsch artist, he filled the abyss with symbols of beauty. The victim he turned into the hero, hell into heaven, death into transfiguration. ~ Modris Eksteins,
653:And if I must follow you to the abyss, follow you I shall!
You are not the passer-by, but the one who remains. The notion of eternity is linked to my love for you. No, you are not the passer-by nor the strange pilot guiding the adventurer through the labyrinth of desire. You have opened to me the country of passion itself. I lose myself in your thoughts more surely than in a desert. And even as I write these lines, I have still not confronted my image of you with your "reality". You are not the passer-by but the eternal lover, whether you wish it or not. Painful joy of the passion aroused by meeting you. I suffer, but my suffering is dear to me, and if I hold my self in any esteem, it is because I have encountered you in my blind rush towards the shifting horizons. ~ Robert Desnos,
654:He was dead; I needed to let his memory go, too. That was the first step for me, before discrimination.

Yet my love was the ghost of a young girl's dream. It walked alone in the abyss, stubbornly, where only illusions prospered on tears and regrets. My love had a life of its own; it was perverted but nevertheless still vital. For that reason, I wanted to return to deep space. Honestly, I would have preferred it if we had traveled forever and never stopped at another star system. To fall into endless blackness, that was my new fantasy.

The young girl with the ancient dream wept. I could hear her; I even saw her tears on the glass of the observation deck. It made me feel old. I didn't want to know her name. I couldn't forget Tem but I needed to forget her. ~ Christopher Pike,
655:For some, autumn comes early, stays late through life where October follows September and November touches October and then instead of December and Christ’s birth, there is no Bethlehem Star, no rejoicing, but September comes again and old October and so on down the years, with no winter, spring, or revivifying summer. For these beings, fall is the ever normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They ~ Ray Bradbury,
656:There is one moment, a moment in eternity. Before we find out the truth about one another. That simple moment is the one that propels us through life – what we felt at the very edge of our future, standing over the abyss, before we knew for sure we loved. Before we knew for sure we loved forever. …

Before all that, you and I walked through The Summer Garden, and once in a while my bare arm touched your arm, and once in a while you spoke and that gave me an excuse to look up into your face, into your laughing eyes, to catch a glimpse of your mouth and I, who had never been touched, tried to imagine what it might be like to have your mouth touch me. Falling in love with you in The Summer Garden in the white nights of Leningrad is the moment that propels me though life. ~ Paullina Simons,
657:From The Graveyard By The Sea
(After Valery)
This hushed surface where the doves parade
Amid the pines vibrates, amid the graves;
Here the noon's justice unites all fires when
The sea aspires forever to begin again and again.
O what a gratification comes after long meditation
O satisfaction, after long meditation or ratiocination
Upon the calm of the gods
Upon the divine serenity, in luxurious contemplation!
What pure toil of perfect lightning enwombs, consumes,
Each various manifold jewel of imperceptible foam,
And how profound a peace appears to be begotten and
begun
When upon the abyss the sunlight seems to pause,
The pure effects of an eternal cause:
Time itself sparkles, to dream and to know are one....
~ Delmore Schwartz,
658:In the past men were handsome and great (now they are children and dwarfs), but this is merely one of the many facts that demonstrate the disaster of an aging world. The young no longer want to study anything, learning is in decline, the whole world walks on its head, blind men lead others equally blind and cause them to plunge into the abyss, birds leave the nest before they can fly, the jackass plays the lyre, oxen dance. Mary no longer loves the contemplative life and Martha no longer loves the active life, Leah is sterile, Rachel has a carnal eye, Cato visits brothels, Lucretius becomes a woman. Everything is on the wrong path. In those days, thank God, I acquired from my master the desire to learn and a sense of the straight way, which remains even when the path is tortuous. ~ Umberto Eco,
659:Composure
(The speaker addresses himself)
Lighten up, you bitch, stop being so bitter.
You lobbied for night. It falls. Right here.
The air, a haziness, wimples the town.
Peace for some, for the others the jitters.
With cranked-up hope, the plodding herd, most of us,
sapped silly by desire, that ruthlessness,
we bend in the traces and ask mortgage on remorse.
Dear, dear, glum thing, let's hold hands. Come 'ere.
Let's get away. Look up. There the gone years slouch
in second-hand robes on the balcony of the sky—
over the abyss Regret breaks water, smirking.
The dead sun's gonna pass out under the bridge.
And like a mummy's long bandage, off to the west,
listen, sweets, listen, the double-soft dark is coming on.
~ Charles Baudelaire,
660:Syn closed his eyes as he savored the taste of her body. He'd never made love to a woman who knew anything about him. At least nothing more than the lies he'd told her.
But Shahara had stared into the abyss of his soul and seen the monster that lurked there. And she hadn't run.
Why?
What made her able to see the man when no one else ever had? In this one moment, he would give her anything.
Even his life.
I'm lost.
Lost in a way he'd never been before. Not even with Mara. Shahara made him want to be something more than a drunken thief and a paid killer.
She made him want to be a hero...
Pulling back, he stared at her dilated eyes and saw the ragged pleasure on her face. And as he gazed at her, he realized the truth.
I'm not lost. I'm found. ~ Sherrilyn Kenyon,
661:Within chapter 26 Job affirms the three-tiered universe of waters of the Abyss below him (v. 5) and under that Sheol (v. 6), with pillars holding up the heavens (v. 11). Later in the same book, God himself speaks about the earth laid on foundations (38:4), sinking its bases and cornerstone like a building (38:5-6). Ancient peoples believed the earth was on top of some other object like the back of a turtle, and that it was too heavy to float on the waters. So in context, Job 26 appears to be saying that the earth is over the waters of the abyss and Sheol, on its foundations, but there is nothing under those pillars but God himself holding it all up. This is not the suggestion of a planet hanging in space, but rather the negative claim of an earth that is not on top of an ancient object. ~ Brian Godawa,
662:Poetry: that can mean an Atemwende, a breathturn. Who knows, perhaps poetry travels this route—also the route of art—for the sake of such a breathturn? Perhaps it will succeed, as the strange, I mean the abyss and the Medusa’s head, the abyss and the automatons, seem to lie in one direction—perhaps it will succeed here to differentiate between strange and strange, perhaps it is exactly here that the Medusa’s head shrinks, perhaps it is exactly here that the automatons break down—for this single short moment? Perhaps here, with the I—with the estranged I set free here and in this manner—perhaps here a further Other is set free? Perhaps the poem is itself because of this … and can now, in this art-less, art-free manner, walk its other routes, thus also the routes of art—time and again? Perhaps. ~ Paul Celan,
663:What crooked, blind, narrow, impassable, far-straying paths mankind has chosen, striving to attain eternal truth, while a whole straight road lay open before it, like the road leading to a magnificent dwelling meant for a king's mansion! Broader and more splendid than all other roads it is, lit by the sun and illumined all night by lamps, yet people have flowed past it in the blind darkness. So many times already, though guided by a sense come down from heaven, they have managed to waver and go astray, have managed in broad daylight to get again into an impassable wilderness, have managed again to blow a blinding fog into each other's eyes, and, dragging themselves after marsh-lights, have managed finally to reach the abyss, only to ask one another in horror: where is the way out, where is the path? ~ Nikolai Gogol,
664:Talin looked up at Clay. "Do you know what they are muttering about?"

He shook his head. "They're mated."

Oddly enough, Talin understood. Different rules applied to couples, especially couples as profoundly in sync as Lucas and Sascha. Their connection was a near visible line of pure emotion, one that made her hurt with envy.

"Tally." Clay tugged at her ponytail.

She glanced up, knowing that unlike the alpha pair, she and Clay remained divided. In her mind, she saw them on opposite ends of a glass bridge. Able to see the abyss that awaited if they didn't make it to each other, but unable to take the steps that would close the gap forever. "Sit down," she said, angry at him for being so possessive, at herself for being too scared to trust in his promise to never leave her again. ~ Nalini Singh,
665:He saw his enemies stealthily darting from rock to tree, and tree to bush, creeping through the brush, and slipping closer and closer every moment. On three sides were his hated foes and on the remaining side—the abyss. Without a moment's hesitation the intrepid Major spurred his horse at the precipice. Never shall I forget that thrilling moment. The three hundred savages were silent as they realized the Major's intention. Those in the fort watched with staring eyes. A few bounds and the noble steed reared high on his hind legs. Outlined by the clear blue sky the magnificent animal stood for one brief instant, his black mane flying in the wind, his head thrown up and his front hoofs pawing the air like Marcus Curtius' mailed steed of old, and then down with a crash, a cloud of dust, and the crackling of pine limbs. ~ Zane Grey,
666:AFTER THEIR FALL INTO TARTARUS, jumping three hundred feet to the Mansion of Night should have felt quick. Instead, Annabeth’s heart seemed to slow down. Between the beats she had ample time to write her own obituary. Annabeth Chase, died age 17. BA-BOOM. (Assuming her birthday, July 12, had passed while she was in Tartarus; but honestly, she had no idea.) BA-BOOM. Died of massive injuries while leaping like an idiot into the abyss of Chaos and splattering on the entry hall floor of Nyx’s mansion. BA-BOOM. Survived by her father, stepmother, and two stepbrothers who barely knew her. BA-BOOM. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Camp Half-Blood, assuming Gaea hasn’t already destroyed it. Her feet hit solid floor. Pain shot up her legs, but she stumbled forward and broke into a run, hauling Percy after her. ~ Rick Riordan,
667:From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two--the "race" of the decent man and the "race" of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group of "pure race"--and therefore one occasionally found a decent fellow among the camp guards.

Life in a concentration camp tore open the human soul and exposed its depths. Is it surprising that in those depths we again found only human qualities which in their very nature were a mixture of good and evil? The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths and becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp. ~ Viktor E Frankl,
668:The Great Mother aborts children, and is the dead fetus; breeds pestilence, and is the plague; she makes of the skull something gruesomely compelling, and is all skulls herself. To unveil her is to risk madness, to gaze over the abyss, to lose the way, to remember the repressed trauma. She is the molestor of children, the golem, the bogey-man, the monster in the swamp, the rotting cadaverous zombie who threatens the living. She is progenitor of the devil, the “strange son of chaos.” She is the serpent, and Eve, the temptress; she is the femme fatale, the insect in the ointment, the hidden cancer, the chronic sickness, the plague of locusts, the cause of drought, the poisoned water. She uses erotic pleasure as bait to keep the world alive and breeding; she is a gothic monster, who feeds on the blood of the living. ~ Jordan Peterson,
669:The Great Mother aborts children, and is the dead fetus; breeds pestilence, and is the plague; she makes of the skull something gruesomely compelling, and is all skulls herself. To unveil her is to risk madness, to gaze over the abyss, to lose the way, to remember the repressed trauma. She is the molestor of children, the golem, the bogey-man, the monster in the swamp, the rotting cadaverous zombie who threatens the living. She is progenitor of the devil, the “strange son of chaos.” She is the serpent, and Eve, the temptress; she is the femme fatale, the insect in the ointment, the hidden cancer, the chronic sickness, the plague of locusts, the cause of drought, the poisoned water. She uses erotic pleasure as bait to keep the world alive and breeding; she is a gothic monster, who feeds on the blood of the living. ~ Jordan B Peterson,
670:If God loves the world, might that not be proved in my own love for it? I prayed to know in my heart His love for the world, and this was my most prideful, foolish, and dangerous prayer. It was my step into the abyss. As soon as I prayed it, I knew that I would die. I knew the old wrong and the death that lay in the world. Just as a good man would not coerce the love of his wife, God does not coerce the love of His human creatures, not for Himself or for the world or for one another. To allow that love to exist fully and freely, He must allow it not to exist at all. His love is suffering. It is our freedom and His sorrow. To love the world as much even as I could love it would be suffering also, for I would fail. And yet all the good I know is in this, that a man might so love this world that it would break his heart. ~ Wendell Berry,
671:Doubt swells and surges, with swelling doubt behind!
My soul in storm is but a tattered sail,
Streaming its ribbons on the torrent gale;
In calm, 'tis but a limp and flapping thing:
Oh! swell it with thy breath; make it a wing,
To sweep through thee the ocean, with thee the wind
Nor rest until in thee its haven it shall find.

Roses are scentless, hopeless are the morns,
Rest is but weakness, laughter crackling thorns,

But love is life. To die of love is then
The only pass to higher life than this.
All love is death to loving, living men;
All deaths are leaps across clefts to the abyss.

Weakness needs pity, sometimes love's rebuke;
Strength only sympathy deserves and draws -
And grows by every faithful loving look.

Ripeness must always come with loss of might. ~ George MacDonald,
672:These moments of intoxication, when we defy everything, when, the anchor raised, we go merrily toward the abyss, with no more thought for the inevitable fall than for the limits given in the beginning, are the only ones when we are completely free of the ground (of laws) …

Nothing exists that doesn’t have this senseless sense - common to flames, dreams, uncontrollable laughter - in those moments when consumption accelerates, beyond the desire to endure. Even utter senselessness ultimately is always this sense made of the negation of all the others. (Isn’t this sense basically that of each particular being who, as such, is the senselessness of all the others, but only if he doesn’t care a damn about enduring - and thought (philosophy) is at the limit of this conflagration, like a candle blown out at the limit of a flame.) ~ Georges Bataille,
673:Even a strong child, a powerful child, would be dependent on the adults around her. If her strength could unnerve him, how would her people, her family, react if they ever discovered what was contained inside that small husk? Would they accept the child who already was the strongest Queen in the history of the Blood, or would they fear the power? And if they feared the power, would they try to cut her off from it by breaking her? A Virgin Night performed with malevolent skill could strip her of her power while leaving the rest intact. But, since her inner web was so deep in the abyss, she might be able to withdraw far enough to withstand the physical violation—unless the male was able to descend deep enough into the abyss to threaten her even there. Was there a male strong enough, dark enough, vicious enough? There was…one." - Saetan ~ Anne Bishop,
674:There have been more thoughtful and more destructively thoughtful times than ours: times like those in which Buddha appeared, for instance, in which the people themselves, after centuries of sectarian quarrels, had sunk so deeply into the abyss of philosophical dogmas, as, from time to time, European people have done in regard to the fine points of religious dogma.

European Pessimism is still in its infancy — a fact which argues against it: it has not yet attained to that prodigious and yearning fixity of sight to which it attained in India once upon a time, and in which nonentity is reflected; there is still too much of the 'ready-made,' and not enough of the 'evolved' in its constitution, too much learned and poetic Pessimism; I mean that a good deal of it has been discovered, invented, and 'created,' but not caused. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
675:Scientific thinking explores and redraws the world, gradually offering us better and better images of it, teaching us to think in ever more effective ways. Science is a continual exploration of ways of thinking. Its strength is its visionary capacity to demolish preconceived ideas, to reveal new regions of reality, and to construct new and more effective images of the world. This adventure rests upon the entirety of past knowledge, but at its heart is change. The world is boundless and iridescent; we want to go and see it. We are immersed in its mystery and in its beauty, and over the horizon there is unexplored territory. The incompleteness and the uncertainty of our knowledge, our precariousness, suspended over the abyss of the immensity of what we don't know, does not render life meaningless: it makes it interesting and precious. ~ Carlo Rovelli,
676:He could not feel that they were an island of life journeying through an abyss of death. He felt almost the opposite--that life was waiting outside the little iron egg-shell in which they rode, ready at any moment to break in, and that, if it killed them, it would kill them by excess of its vitality. He hoped passionately that if they were to perish they would perish by the "unbodying" of the space-ship and not by suffocation within it. To be let out, to be free, to dissolve into the ocean of eternal noon, seemed to him at certain moments a consummation even more desirable than their return to Earth. And if he had felt some such lift of the heart when first he passed through heaven on their outward journey, he felt it now tenfold, for now he was convinced that the abyss was full of life in the most literal sense, full of living creatures. ~ C S Lewis,
677:The truth is, the abyss lives in us. In our greed. In the way we look at things different to us, and see things lesser. In the way we see the smaller, or the weaker, and think them prey.

It begins with the beasts of the land, the birds of the sky. And in a blinking, we find ourselves seeing our lessers in people with different colored skins. Different gods. Different creeds. We see them as lessers, and we hurt, and we kill, and we think nothing of it. Because they are different, we think ourselves just. Because we are stronger, we think ourselves righteous.

That is the abyss in all of us. And we stand close to the edge still. Closer than any can dream. We need but stray for a moment and we will find ourselves back again, staring down into that black. And who will save us? When everything that was different to us is already gone? ~ Jay Kristoff,
678:The path that humanity entered upon in the modern era led precisely to liberalism and to the repudiation of God, tradition, community, ethnicity, empires and kingdoms. Such a path is tread entirely logically: having decided to liberate itself from everything that keeps man in check, the man of the modern era reached his logical apogee: before our eyes he is liberated from himself. The logic of world liberalism and globalisation pulls us into the abyss of postmodern dissolution and virtuality. Our youth already have one foot in it: the codes of liberal globalism are effectively introduced on an unconscious level — through habits, commercials, glamour, technology, the media, celebrities. The usual phenomenon now is the loss of identity, and already not simply only national or cultural identity, but even sexual, and soon enough even human identity. ~ Alexander Dugin,
679:Last Words Of Saul (Extract From Saul)
Now let me die, for I indeed was slain
With my three sons. Where are ye, sons? Oh let me
Find ye, that I may perish with you; dying,
Cover you with my form, as doth the fowl
Cover her chickens! Oh, Philistia
Thou now art compensated,--now are getting
Rich with this crimson, hot, and molten tide;
That waits not patient to be coined in drops,
But rushes, in an ingot-forming stream,
Out of the mine and mintage of my heart!
Oh my three poor dead sons, where are you? Ye
Have gone before me into the hereafter
Upon such innocently-flighted steps.
That I, with feet cumbered with clots of blood,
Shall lose of you all glimpse, and then my soul
Shall drop to the abyss. Gush faster, blood,
And gallop with my soul towards Hades,
That yawns obscure.
~ Charles Heavysege,
680:When the ship approached the equator, I stopped going out on deck in the daytime. The sun burned like a flame. The days had shortened and night came swiftly. One moment it was light, the next it was dark. The sun did not set but fell into the water like a meteor. Late in the evening, when I went out briefly, a hot wind slapped my face. From the ocean came a roar of passions that seemed to have broken through all barriers:'We mus procreate and multiply! We must exhaust all the powers of lust!' The waves glowed like lava, and I imagined I could see multitudes of living beings - algae, whales, sea monsters - reveling in an orgy, from the surface to the bottom of the sea. Immortality was the law here. The whole planet raged with animation. At times, I heard my name in the clamor: the spirit of the abyss calling me to join them in their nocturnal dance. ("Hanka") ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer,
681:The angels heard a noise and turned. Behind them stood two eight foot tall gods, Ba’al and Pan. The warriors moved to shield Jesus, who remained kneeling beside the quivering Ob. Ba’al carried his mace, and Pan, a dagger in each hand. Ba’al said, “We meet again, godlickers.” Uriel quipped, “But no running like a chicken this time, Lord Lettucehead.” Ba’al was the god of storm and vegetation. The insult was Uriel’s witty way of getting under the deity’s scaly skin. “And no Asherah to give up, either,” added Gabriel. “Does the goat here know how you betray your allies?” Pan gave a surprised glance at Ba’al. Ba’al said, “We cannot touch the Son of God. But our human puppets can.” The angels glanced behind them. The dozen nymphs approached Jesus, with their eyes black as the Abyss and serpentine fangs ready to bite. Mikael and Raphael stepped in front of them to protect Jesus. ~ Brian Godawa,
682:I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. I don't know where it will take me, because I don't know anything. I could see this inn as a prison, for I'm compelled to wait in it; I could see it as a social centre, for it's here that I meet others. But I'm neither impatient nor sociable. I leave who will to stay shut up in their rooms, sprawled out on beds where they sleeplessly wait, and I leave who will to chat in the parlours, from where their songs and voices conveniently drift out here to me. I'm sitting at the door, feasting my eyes and ears on the colours and sounds of the landscape, and I softly sing - for myself alone - wispy songs I compose while waiting.

Night will fall on us all and the coach will pull up. I enjoy the breeze I'm given and the soul I'm given to enjoy it with, and I no longer question or seek. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
683:An Expostulation
Against too many writers of science fiction
Why did you lure us on like this,
Light-year on light-year, through the abyss,
Building (as though we cared for size!)
Empires that cover galaxies
If at the journey's end we find
The same old stuff we left behind,
Well-worn Tellurian stories of
Crooks, spies, conspirators, or love,
Whose setting might as well have been
The Bronx, Montmartre, or Bedinal Green?
Why should I leave this green-floored cell,
Roofed with blue air, in which we dwell,
Unless, outside its guarded gates,
Long, long desired, the Unearthly waits
Strangeness that moves us more than fear,
Beauty that stabs with tingling spear,
Or Wonder, laying on one's heart
That finger-tip at which we start
As if some thought too swift and shy
For reason's grasp had just gone by?
~ Clive Staples Lewis,
684:I coast through the abyss on the colder side of Neptune's orbit. Most of the time I exist only as an absence, to any observer on the visible spectrum: a moving, asymmetrical silhouette blocking the stars. But occasionally, during my slow endless spin, I glint with dim hints of reflected starlight. If you catch me in those moments you might infer something of my true nature: a segmented creature with foil skin, bristling with joints and dishes and spindly antennae. Here and there a whisper of accumulated frost clings to a joint or seam, some frozen wisp of gas encountered in Jupiter space perhaps. Elsewhere I carry the microscopic corpses of Earthly bacteria who thrived with carefree abandon on the skins of space stations or the benign lunar surface—but who had gone to crystal at only half my present distance from the sun. Now, a breath away from Absolute Zero, they might shatter at a photon's touch. ~ Peter Watts,
685:series of torches surrounded the curved opening of a large pit, the opening of the Abyss. The high priestess from earlier stood on the opposite side of the pit, before an entourage of twelve nymphs, all seductively alluring in translucent gowns and jewelry. The priestess wore a headdress of gems on her raven black hair. Her purple robe, made from the finest of Phoenician silks, flowed behind her like a spirit. Her eyes were large, deep brown and hypnotic. Her beauty was beguiling. When she spoke, her voice sounded like seven voices blended into one bewitching unity. “Welcome to the Gates of Hades, Son of God,” she said. “And your ass-kissing suck-upssss.” Her “esses” slid through the air like the serpents that wrapped around her arms and neck. Jesus stared her down. She faltered and visibly shivered, but regained her composure and approached him. “What is your name, woman?” “I am the Ob of Paniassss. ~ Brian Godawa,
686:Ode To The New Year
Let's account for life's deficit blight.
Count our griefs, know our pains right.
What plaints blister at the bottom.
Today is the day to unleash them.
Lets' tell the unloyal to his face.
Speak out what your lips are burning to
Leave apart guarded reticence.
Even blab out what's between the lines.
Why do you greet me with laughters feigned?
Let looks be frozen if your heart is reigned.
Let your face reveal.
What whispers in the bosom.
Know our pains, count our griefs.
One word binds you and me.
Just one word in the abyss of the diction.
Lets adopt the word selfsame.
That carries the truth of times.
For hypocrisy, a whole life is ahead.
So let's not molest that one word dead.
Count our griefs, know our pains right.
Let's account for life's deficit blight.
[Translated by Dildar Pervez Bhatti]
~ Amjad Islam Amjad,
687:The Road is not a record of fatherly fidelity; it is a testament to the abyss of a parent’s greatest fears. The fear of leaving your child alone, of dying before your child has reached adulthood and learned to work the mechanisms and face the dangers of the world, or found a new partner to face them with. The fear of one day being obliged for your child’s own good, for his peace and comfort, to do violence to him or even end his life. And, above all, the fear of knowing—as every parent fears—that you have left your children a world more damaged, more poisoned, more base and violent and cheerless and toxic, more doomed, than the one you inherited. It is in the audacity and single-mindedness with which The Road extends the metaphor of a father’s guilt and heartbreak over abandoning his son to shift for himself in a ruined, friendless world that The Road finds its great power to move and horrify the reader. ~ Michael Chabon,
688:Ever since I was fifteen, that is to say from that moment when I lost all that was left me of my childhood, from the moment when I ceased to be aware of the present and knew only the past hurrying into the future, that is to say into the abyss, ever since I became fully conscious of time I have felt old and I have wanted to live. I have run after life as though to catch time, and I have tried to live. I have run after life so much that it has always escaped me, I have run, I have never been late and never too early, and yet I have never caught up with it: it is as though I have run alongside of it.

What is life, I may be asked. For me, life is not Time; it is not this state of existence, for ever escaping us, slipping between our fingers and vanishing like a ghost as soon as you try to grasp it. For me it is, it must be, the present, presentness, plenitude. I have run after life so much that I have lost it. ~ Eug ne Ionesco,
689:These are not fables. You will touch with your hands, you will see with your own eyes, the Azoth, the Mercury of Philosophers, which alone will suffice to obtain for you our Stone. … Darkness will appear on the face of the Abyss; Night, Saturn and the Antimony of the Sages will appear; blackness, and the raven's head of the alchemists, and all the colors of the world, will appear at the hour of conjunction; the rainbow also, and the peacock's tail. Finally, after the matter has passed from ashen-colored to white and yellow, you will see the Philosopher's Stone, our King and Dominator Supreme, issue forth from his glassy sepulcher to mount his bed or his throne in his glorified body... diaphanous as crystal; compact and most weighty, as easily fusible by fire as resin, as flowing as wax and more so than quicksilver … the color of saffron when powdered, but red as rubies when in an integral mass... ~ Heinrich Khunrath, in Amphitheatrum,
690:One of them screeched like a child, “Please, we beg of you, do not cast us into the Abyss!” The other finished his sentence, pointing at the herd of pigs that passed them by during their altercation. “Send us into that herd of swine. Please!” Jesus kept his eyes on the two of them and prayed. The two fell to the ground and flopped around like fish out of water trying to survive. What the disciples saw next took several minutes but seemed like an eternity, as each of the multitude of demons exited the two men’s bodies like a small increasing whirlwind of souls. Finally, after the last of the demons had left their hosts, the whirlwind moved over to the herd of swine and engulfed the animals like a rushing wind. The pigs squealed with their possession and reacted by stampeding their way to the edge of the cliff. The herdsmen ran after their animals, only to see them launch off the cliff to their deaths in the waters below. ~ Brian Godawa,
691:For me life is an inn where I must stay until the carriage from the abyss calls to collect me [...] I could consider this inn to be a prison, since I’m compelled to stay here; I could consider it a kind of club, because I meet other people here. However, unlike others, I am neither impatient nor sociable. I leave those who chatter in the living room, from where the cosy sound of music and voices reaches me. I sit at the door and fill my eyes and ears with the colours and sounds of the landscape and slowly, just for myself, I sing vague songs that I compose while I wait.
Night will fall on all of us and the carriage will arrive. I enjoy the breeze given to me and the soul given to me to enjoy it and I ask no more questions, look no further. If what I leave written in the visitors’ book is one day read by others and entertains them on their journey, that’s fine. If no one reads it or is entertained by it, that’s fine too. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
692:Before us is mighty, so to speak, transformative and preparatory work. From a period which is creative, immediate and elemental, we must proceed to a period which is critical, conscious and cultural. These are the two worlds between which exists the entire abyss. The contemporary generation has the misfortune of being born between these two worlds, before this abyss. Herein is explained its frailty, diseased anxiety, hungry search for new ideals and a certain fateful impotency in all of its efforts. The best youth and vigor of talent is not expended on vital creativity but on an internal destructiveness and struggle with the past, on the passage across the abyss to that land, to that shore, to the frontiers of a free and divine idealism. How many people are perishing in this passage or are losing their strength irrevocably!...

("On The Reasons For The Decline And On The New Tendencies In Contemporary Literature") ~ Dmitry Merezhkovsky,
693:He sighed. "I do hope not. I should have to train another porter. I quite fancied a royina for a time." The eyes glittered. "So does my great-souled Illvin. He's prayed to Me for you, after all. Consider my reputation."

Ista considered His reputation. "It's dreadful," she observed.

He merely grinned, that familiar, stolen, heart-stopping flash of teeth.

"What training?" she added, feeling suddenly cantankerous. "You never explained anything."

"Instructing you, sweet Ista, would be like teaching a falcon to walk up to its prey. It might with great effort be done, but one would end with a very footsore and cranky bird, and a tedious wait for dinner. With a wingspan like yours, it's ever so much easier just to shake you from my wrist and let you fly."

"Plummet," Ista growled.

"No. Not you. Granted, you tumble and complain halfway down the abyss, but eventually you do spread your wings and soar. ~ Lois McMaster Bujold,
694:But for me it was enough if, in my own bed, my sleep was so heavy as completely to relax my consciousness; for then I lost all sense of the place in which I had gone to sleep, and when I awoke at midnight, not knowing where I was, I could not be sure at first who I was; I had only the most rudimentary sense of existence, such as may lurk and flicker in the depths of an animal's consciousness; I was more destitute of human qualities than the cave-dweller; but then the memory, not yet of the place in which I was, but of various other places where I had lived, and might now very possibly be, would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I could never have escaped by myself: in a flash I would traverse and surmount centuries of civilisation, and out of a half-visualised succession of oil-lamps, followed by shirts with turned-down collars, would put together by degrees the component parts of my ego. ~ Anonymous,
695:It is the case that, albeit to a lesser extent, all fictions make their readers live "the impossible", taking them out of themselves, breaking down barriers, and making them share, by identifying with the characters of the illusion, a life that is richer, more intense, or more abject and violent, or simply different from the one that they are confined to by the high-security prison that is real life. Fictions exist because of this fact. Because we have only one life, and our desires and fantasies demand a thousand lives. Because the abyss between what we are and what we would like to be has to be bridged somehow. That was why fictions were born: so that, through living this vicarious, transient, precarious, but also passionate and fascinating life that fiction transports us to, we can incorporate the impossible into the possible and our existence can be both reality and unreality, history and fable, concrete life and marvellous adventure. ~ Mario Vargas Llosa,
696:He racked his brains for a way of making his declaration. Torn all the while between fear of offending and shame at his own faint-heartedness, he wept tears of dejection and desire. Then he made forceful resolutions. He wrote letters, and tore them up; he gave himself a time limit, then extended it. Often he started out with a determination to dare all; but his decisiveness quickly deserted him in Emma's presence [...]
Emma, for her part, never questioned herself to find out whether she was in love with him. Love, she believed, must come suddenly, with thunder and lightning, a hurricane from on high that swoops down into your life and turns it topsy-turvy, snatches away your will-power like a leaf, hurls your heart and soul into the abyss. She did not know how on the terrace of a house the rain collects in pools when the gutters are choked; and she would have continued to feel quite safe had she not suddenly discovered a crack in the wall. ~ Gustave Flaubert,
697:It was time that this vast man should fall. The excessive weight of this man in human destiny disturbed the balance. This individual alone counted for more than a universal group. These plethoras of all human vitality concentrated in a single head; the world mounting to the brain of one man, — this would be mortal to civilization were it to last. The moment had arrived for the incorruptible and supreme equity to alter its plan. Probably the principles and the elements, on which the regular gravitations of the moral, as of the material, world depend, had complained. Smoking blood, over-filled cemeteries, mothers in tears, — these are formidable pleaders. When the earth is suffering from too heavy a burden, there are mysterious groanings of the shades, to which the abyss lends an ear. Napoleon had been denounced in the infinite, and his fall had been decided on. He embarrassed God. Waterloo is not a battle; it is a change of front on the part of the Universe. ~ Victor Hugo,
698:There is one moment, a moment in eternity. Before we find out the truth about one another. That simple moment is the one that propels us through life—what we felt like at the very edge of our future, standing over the abyss, before we knew for sure we loved. Before we knew for sure we loved forever. Before the dying Dasha, the dying Mama, the dying Leningrad. Before Luga. Before the divinity of Lazarevo, when the miracles you heaped upon me with your love and your body alloyed us for life. Before all that, you and I walked through the Summer Garden, and once in a while my bare arm touched your arm, and once in a while you spoke and that gave me an excuse to look up into your face, into your laughing eyes, to catch a glimpse of your mouth and I, who had never been touched, tried to imagine what it might be like to have your mouth touch me. Falling in love with you in the Summer Garden in the white nights of Leningrad is the moment that propels me through life. ~ Paullina Simons,
699:Fear not, O backward alien, I have experts who will explain to you the endless benefits one may derive from owning a horde of slaves. You can, for example, dress them in robes of different colors and have them stand in a great square to form a living mosaic, or signs providing sentiments for every occasion. You can tie them in bundles and roll them down hills, you can make a huge hammer—five thousand for the head, three thousand for the handle—to break up boulders or clear forests. You can braid them into rope and make decorative hangings, where those at the very bottom, by the droll gyrations of their bodies, the kicking and squeaking as they dangle over the abyss, create a sight that gladdens the heart and rejoices the eye. Or take ten thousand young female slaves, stand them all on one leg and have them make figure eights with their right hands and circles with their left—a spectacle, believe me, which you won't wish to part with, and I speak from experience! ~ Stanis aw Lem,
700:New eyes awaken.
I send Love's name into the world with wings
And songs grow up around me like a jungle.
Choirs of all creatures sing the tunes
Your Spirit played in Eden.
Zebras and antelopes and birds of paradise
Shine on the face of the abyss
And I am drunk with the great wilderness
Of the sixth day in Genesis.

But sound is never half so fair
As when that music turns to air
And the universe dies of excellence.

Sun, moon and stars
Fall from their heavenly towers.
Joys walk no longer down the blue world's shore.

Though fires loiter, lights still fly on the air of the gulf,
All fear another wind, another thunder:
Then one more voice
Snuffs all their flares in one gust.

And I go forth with no more wine and no more stars
And no more buds and no more Eden
And no more animals and no more sea:

While God sings by himself in acres of night
And walls fall down, that guarded Paradise. ~ Thomas Merton,
701:What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour. ~ Winston S Churchill,
702:I have the idea that we grandmothers are meant to play the part of protective witches; we must watch over younger women, children, community, and also, why not?, this mistreated planet, the victim of such unrelenting desecration. I would like to fly on a broomstick and dance in the moonlight with other pagan witches in the forest, invoking earth forces and howling demons; I want to become a wise old crone, to learn ancient spells and healers' secrets. It is no small thing, this design of mine. Witches, like saints, are solitary stars that shine with a light of their own; they depend on nothing and no one, which is why they have no fear and can plunge blindly into the abyss with the assurance that instead of crashing to earth, they will fly back out. They can change into birds and see the world from above, or worms to see it from within, they can inhabit other dimensions and travel to other galaxies, they are navigators on an infinite ocean of consciousness and cognition. ~ Isabel Allende,
703:Oh! in his rapture he was weeping even over those stars, which were shining to him from the abyss of space, and "he was not ashamed of that ecstasy." There seemed to be threads from all those innumerable worlds of God, linking his soul to them, and it was trembling all over "in contact with other worlds." He longed to forgive everyone and for everything, and to beg forgiveness. Oh, not for himself, but for all men, for all and for everything. "And others are praying for me too," echoed again in his soul. But with every instant he felt clearly and, as it were, tangibly, that something firm and unshakable as that vault of heaven had entered into his soul. It was as though some idea had seized the sovereignty of his mind -- and it was for all his life and for ever and ever. He had fallen on the earth a weak boy, but he rose up a resolute champion, and he knew and felt it suddenly at the very moment of his ecstasy. And never, never, his life long, could Alyosha forget that minute. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
704:For some, autumn comes early, stays late through life where October follows September and November touches October and then instead of December and Christ's birth, there is no Bethlehem Star, no rejoicing, but September comes again and old OCtober and so on down the years, with no winter, spring, or revivifying summer. FOr these beings, fall is the ever normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. In gusts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters. THe spider-web hears them, trembles--breaks. Such are the autumn people. Beware of them. ~ Ray Bradbury,
705:There are no situations we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink into quicksand, in which the more we move the deeper we sink. Jesus is there, his hand extended, ready to reach out to us and pull us out of the mud, out of sin, out of the abyss of evil into which we have fallen. We need only be conscious of our state, be honest with ourselves, and not lick our wounds. We need to ask for the grace to recognize ourselves as sinners. The more we acknowledge that we are in need, the more shame and humility we feel, the sooner we will feel his embrace of grace. Jesus waits for us, he goes ahead of us, he extends his hand to us, he is patient with us. God is faithful. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, no one can put a limit on the love of the all-forgiving God. Just by looking at him, just by raising our eyes from our selves and our wounds, we leave an opening for the action of his grace. Jesus performs miracles with our sins, with what we are, with our nothingness, with our wretchedness. ~ Pope Francis,
706:What had spoken to her in that scoured-out cavity of the granite? What dwelt in the first of the caves? Something very old and very small. Before time, it was before space also. Something snub-nosed, incapable of generosity -- the undying worm itself. Since hearing its voice, she had not entertained one large thought, she was actually envious of Adela. All this fuss over a frightened girl! Nothing had happened, 'and if it had,' she found herself thinking with the cynicism of a withered priestess, 'if it had there are worse evils than love.' The unspeakable attempt presented itself to her as love: in a cave, in a church -- Boum, it amounts to the same. Visions are supposed to entail profundity, but -- Wait till you get one, dear reader! The abyss also may be petty, the serpent of eternity made of maggots; her constant thought was: 'Less attention should be paid to my future daughter-in-law and more to me, there is no sorrow like my sorrow,' although when the attention was paid she rejected it irritably. ~ E M Forster,
707:If you choose to believe me, good. Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made. There is a precipice between two steep mountains: the city is over the void, bound to the two crests with ropes and chains and catwalks. You walk on the little wooden ties, careful not to set your foot in the open spaces, or you cling to the hempen strands. Below there is nothing for hundreds and hundreds of feet: a few clouds glide past; farther down you can glimpse the chasm's bed.
This is the foundation of the city: a net which serves as passage and as support. All the rest, instead of rising up, is hung below: rope ladders, hammocks, houses made like sacks, clothes hangers, terraces like gondolas, skins of water, gas jets, spits, baskets on strings, dumb-waiters, showers, trapezes and rings for children's games, cable cars, chandeliers, pots with trailing plants.
Suspended over the abyss, the life of Octavia's inhabitants is less uncertain than in other cities. They know the net will only last so long. ~ Italo Calvino,
708:I will reluctantly teach you enough trivia for a passing mark on the Ministry-mandated portions of your first-year finals. Since your exact mark on these sections will make no difference to your future life, anyone who wants more than a passing mark is welcome to waste their own time studying our pathetic excuse for a textbook. The title of this subject is not Defence Against Minor Pests. You are here to learn how to defend yourselves against the Dark Arts. Which means, let us be very clear on this, defending yourselves against Dark Wizards. People with wands who want to hurt you and who will likely succeed in doing so unless you hurt them first! There is no defence without offence! There is no defence without fighting! This reality is deemed too harsh for eleven-year-olds by the fat, overpaid, Auror-guarded politicians who mandated your curriculum. To the abyss with those fools! You are here for the subject that has been taught at Hogwarts for eight hundred years! Welcome to your first year of Battle Magic! ~ Eliezer Yudkowsky,
709:The Byronic
hero, incapable of love, or capable only of an impossible love, suffers endlessly. He is solitary, languid,
his condition exhausts him. If he wants to feel alive, it must be in the terrible exaltation of a brief and
destructive action. To love someone whom one will never see again is to give a cry of exultation as one
perishes in the flames of passion. One lives only in and for the moment, in order to achieve "the brief and
vivid union of a tempestuous heart united to the tempest" (lermontov). The threat of mortality which
hangs over us makes everything abortive. Only the cry of anguish can bring us to life; exaltation takes the
place of truth. To this extent the apocalypse becomes an absolute value in which everything is
confounded—love and death, conscience and culpability. In a chaotic universe no other life exists but that
of the abyss where, according to Alfred Le Poittevin, human beings come "trembling with rage and
exulting in
their crimes" to curse the Creator. ~ Albert Camus,
710:I fancy myself a writer. And writing, in its most eloquent manner, since time became a concept indoctrinated by true troglodytes, tickles my dong; it throttles my flume; it punts my epididymus to horizons fantastical.

And not just writing bullshit; a few seemingly overused words to describe the belched bark of a goddamn sequoia, but actually writing. Writing to me is not about thinking, it's not about personality traits or hell, even the conveyance of feelings. Writing is like breathing to me. I have to do it. I have to inhale it and exhale it, no matter what comes in and likewise what comes out. Traversing the slopes of the soul, scratching that all but intangible itch, I find solace in the abyss of my complacency. It‟s not for recognition, not for income or monetary satisfaction. None of that really matters to me. The only thing that matters to me is finding the way to transfer a thought to paper; a heartbeat to the surface; a blink and a gasp to submissively correspond with the outcry of tangible suspense. ~ Dave Matthes,
711:Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now in his third five-year term as head of the modern equivalent of the Holy Inquisition, served in the military in Germany during the war, though he saw no combat. By his own admission he was aware of the Holocaust. No German could have been totally ignorant. "The abyss of Hitlerism could not be overlooked," Ratzinger now confesses.22 Yet he overlooked it when it would have cost him something to speak out against it. Surely now, as the watchdog of orthodoxy and the longestserving and most powerful official in the Vatican next to the pope, Ratzinger could make amends both for his own silence and that of his Church all during the Holocaust. Why not offer genuine repentance and sorrowful apology to the Jews? But Ratzinger and John Paul II continue Pius XII's stony silence. And how could they apologize without admitting that their popes and Church have sinned grievously against Christ's natural brethren, and thus that the very claim to infallibility and being the one true Church is a fraud? No Escape from Guilt ~ Dave Hunt,
712:For some, autumn comes early, stays late through life where October follows September and November touches October and then instead of December and Christ’s birth, there is no Bethlehem Star, no rejoicing, but September comes again and old October and so on down the years, with no winter, spring, or revivifying summer. For these beings, fall is the ever normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. In gusts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters. The spider-web hears them, trembles—breaks. Such are the autumn people. Beware of them.’ ” After a pause, both boys exhaled at ~ Ray Bradbury,
713:Reading Aloud to My Father

I chose the book haphazard
from the shelf, but with Nabokov's first
sentence I knew it wasn't the thing
to read to a dying man:
The cradle rocks above an abyss, it began,
and common sense tells us that our existence
is but a brief crack of light
between two eternities of darkness.

The words disturbed both of us immediately,
and I stopped. With music it was the same --
Chopin's Piano Concerto — he asked me
to turn it off. He ceased eating, and drank
little, while the tumors briskly appropriated
what was left of him.

But to return to the cradle rocking. I think
Nabokov had it wrong. This is the abyss.
That's why babies howl at birth,
and why the dying so often reach
for something only they can apprehend.

At the end they don't want their hands
to be under the covers, and if you should put
your hand on theirs in a tentative gesture
of solidarity, they'll pull the hand free;
and you must honor that desire,
and let them pull it free. ~ Jane Kenyon,
714:The science fiction writer cuts out her heart. It is a thousand hearts. It is all the hearts she will ever have. It is her only child’s dead heart. It is the heart of herself when she is old and nothing she ever wrote can be revised again. It is a heart that says with its wet beating mouth: Time is the same thing as light. Both arrive long after they began, bearing sad messages. How lovely you are. I love you.
  The science fiction writer steals her heart from herself to bring it into the light. She escapes her old heart through a smoke hole and becomes a self-referencing system of imperfect, but elegant, memory. She sews up her heart into her own leg and gives birth to it twenty years later on the long highway to Ohio. The heat of herself dividing echoes forward and back, and she accretes, bursts, and begins again the long process of her own super-compression until her heart is an egg containing everything. She eats of her heart and knows she is naked. She throws her heart into the abyss and it falls a long way, winking like a red star. ~ Catherynne M Valente,
715:I speak as a judge and I know that I was guilty. Even in the whirl in which I was caught up, and though I was alone without a guide or counsellor, I was, I swear, conscious of my downfall, and so there's no excuse for me. And yet, for those two months I was almost happy -- why, almost? I was quite happy! And so happy -- would it be believed -- that the consciousness of my degradation, of which I had glimpses at moments (frequent moments!) and which made me shudder in my inmost soul, only intoxicated me more. "What do I care if I'm fallen! And i won't fall, I'll get out of it! I have a lucky star!" I was crossing a precipice on a thin plank without a rail, and I was pleased at my position, and even peeped into the abyss. It was risky and it was delightful. And "my idea"? My "idea" later, the idea would wait. Everything that happened was simply "a temporary deviation." "Why not enjoy oneself?" That's what was amiss with my idea. I repeat, it admitted of all sorts of deviations; if it had not been so firm and fundamental I might have been afraid of deviating. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
716:Hark! The Dogs Howl!
Hark! the dogs howl! the sleetwinds blow,
The church-clocks knoll: the hours haste,
I leave the dreaming world below.
Blown o'er frore heads of hills I go,
Long narrowing friths and stripes of snow ÔÇô
Time bears my soul into the waste.
I seek the voice I loved ÔÇô ah where
Is that dear hand that I should press,
Those honoured brows that I would kiss?
Lo! the broad Heavens cold and bare,
The stars that know not my distress.
My sighs are wasted in the air,
My tears are dropped into the abyss.
Now riseth up a little cloud ÔÇô
Divideth like a broken wave ÔÇô
Shows Death a drooping youth pale-browed
And crowned with daisies of the grave.
The vapour labours up the sky,
Uncertain forms are darkly moved,
Larger than human passes by
The shadow of the man I loved.
I wind my arms for one embrace ÔÇô
Can this be he? is that his face?
In my strait throat expires the cry.
He bends his eyes reproachfully
And clasps his hands, as one that prays.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
717:I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. I don’t know where it will take me, because I don’t know anything. I could see this inn as a prison, for I’m compelled to wait in it; I could see it as a social centre, for it’s here that I meet others. But I’m neither impatient nor common. I leave who will to stay shut up in their rooms, sprawled out on beds where they sleeplessly wait, and I leave who will to chat in the parlours, from where their songs and voices conveniently drift out here to me. I’m sitting at the door, feasting my eyes and ears on the colours and sounds of the landscape, and I softly sing – for myself alone – wispy songs I compose while waiting.
Night will fall on us all and the coach will pull up. I enjoy the breeze I’m given and the soul I was given to enjoy it with, and I no longer question or seek. If what I write in the book of travellers can, when read by others at some future date, also entertain them on their journey, then fine. If they don’t read it, or are not entertained, that’s fine too ~ Fernando Pessoa,
718:I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. I don't know where it will take me, because I don't know anything. I could see this inn as a prison, for I'm compelled to wait in it; I could see it as a social center, for it's here that I meet others. But I'm neither impatient nor common. I leave who will to stay shut up in their rooms, sprawled out on beds where they sleeplessly wait, and I leave who will to chat in the parlors, from where their songs and voices conveniently drift out here to me. I'm sitting at the door, feasting my eyes and ears on the colors and sounds of the landscape, and I softly sing - for myself alone - wispy songs I compose while waiting.

Night will fall on us all and the coach will pull up. I enjoy the breeze I'm given and the soul I'm given to enjoy it with, and I no longer question or seek. If what I write in the book of travellers can, when read by others at some future date, also entertain them on their journey, then fine. If they don't read it, or are not entertained, that's fine too. ~ Fernando Pessoa,
719:Against a set of desolate scenery, amid spectral crags and livid mountains of ash, beneath the funereal daylight of slopes illuminated in blue, she personified the spirit of the witches' sabbat. Morbid and voluptuous, sometimes with extenuated grace and infinite lassitude, she seemed to carry the burden of a criminal beauty, a beauty charged with all the sins cf the multitude. She fell again and again upon her pliant legs, and as she outlined the symbolic gestures of her two beautiful dead arms she seemed to be towing them behind her. Then, the vertigo of the abyss took hold of her again, and like one possessed she stood on point, holding herself fully erect from top to toe, like a spike of flesh and shadows. Her arms, weighed down just a few moments earlier, became menacing, demoniac, and audacious. Twisting like a screw, she whirled around, like a winnowing-machine - no, like a great lily stirred by a storm-wind. Clownish and macabre, a nacreous gleam showed between her lips... oh, that cruel and sardonic smile, and the two deep pools of her terrible eyes!

Ize Kranile! ~ Jean Lorrain,
720:The Witnesses

In Ocean's wide domains,
Half buried in the sands,
Lie skeletons in chains,
With shackled feet and hands.

Beyond the fall of dews,
Deeper than plummet lies,
Float ships, with all their crews,
No more to sink nor rise.

There the black Slave-ship swims,
Freighted with human forms,
Whose fettered, fleshless limbs
Are not the sport of storms.

These are the bones of Slaves;
They gleam from the abyss;
They cry, from yawning waves,
We are the Witnesses!

Within Earth's wide domains
Are markets for men's lives;
Their necks are galled with chains,
Their wrists are cramped with gyves.

Dead bodies, that the kite
In deserts makes its prey;
Murders, that with affright
Scare school-boys from their play!

All evil thoughts and deeds;
Anger, and lust, and pride;
The foulest, rankest weeds,
That choke Life's groaning tide!

These are the woes of Slaves;
They glare from the abyss;
They cry, from unknown graves,
We are the Witnesses! ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
721:The initiation undergone by St. John of the Cross was a very high one, and one which Crowley fancied himself to have taken. He makes much of ‘The Wastelands’ and ‘Babe of the Abyss’ and one of his groups was called the Order of the Silver Star after the title of the Tarot Trump of this Path.
But initiation is not merely a question of knowing the externals of symbolism, it is a state of being, and anyone can judge for themselves the extent of Crowley’s real condition by comparing his writings with those of St. John of the Cross, who achieved without any advanced knowledge of symbols, secret or otherwise, but purely by faith and spiritual will. An even more revealing and damning analysis would be to compare their lives. It seems necessary to emphasise this, not so much for the doubtful pleasure of kicking a man who is already down, but in order to act as a warning to the many who tend to injure themselves by trying to follow the Crowley system without sufficient knowledge of its pitfalls — some of which, sad to say, seem deliberately placed, either through malice or a misplaced sense of humour. ~ Gareth Knight,
722:Daydream, which is to thought as the nebula is to the star, borders on sleep, and is concerned with it as its frontier. An atmosphere inhabited by living transparencies: there's a beginning of the unknown. But beyond it the Possible opens out, immense.
Other beings, other facts, are there. No supernaturalism, only the occult continuation of infinite nature. . . . Sleep is in contact with the Possible, which we also call the improbable. The world of the night is a world. Night, as night, is a universe. . . . The dark things of the unknown world become neighbors of man, whether by true communication or by a visionary enlargement of the distances of the abyss . . . and the sleeper, not quite seeing, not quite unconscious, glimpses the strange animalities, weird vegetations, terrible or radiant pallors, ghosts, masks, figures, hydras, confusions, moonless moonlights, obscure unmakings of miracle, growths and vanishings within a murky depth, shapes floating in shadow, the whole mystery which we call Dreaming, and which is nothing other than the approach of an invisible reality. The dream is the aquarium of Night. ~ Victor Hugo,
723:Movement
A winding movement on the slope beside the rapids of the river.
The abyss at the stern,
The swiftness of the incline,
The overwhelming passage of the tide,
With extraordinary lights and chemical wonders
Lead on the travelers
Through the windspouts of the valley
And the whirlpool.
These are the conquerors of the world,
Seeking their personal chemical fortune;
Sport and comfort accompany them;
They bring education for races, for classes, for animals
Within this vessel, rest adn vertigo
In diluvian light,
In terrible evenings of study.
For in this conversation in the midst of machines,
Of blood, of flowers, of fire, of jewels,
In busy calculations on this fugitive deck,
Is their stock of studies visible
- Rolling like dike beyond
The hydraulic propulsive road,
Monstrous, endlessly lighting its way Themselves driven into harmonic ecstasy
And the heroism of discovery.
Amid the most amazing accidents,
Two youths stand out alone upon the ark
- Can one excuse past savagery? And sing, upon their watch.
~ Arthur Rimbaud,
724:His order [Hitler's] to stand firm not only created clarity about what the army was doing but also had some effect in improving morale. On the other hand, the rigidity with which he now implemented it began to have an effect on the smaller-scale tactical withdrawals that the desperate situation frequently necessitated at various parts of the front. Gotthard Henrici in particular became increasingly frustrated at the repeated orders to stand firm, when all this brought was a repeated danger of being surrounded.
'The distaster continues,' he wrote to his wife on Christmas Eve 1941. 'And at the top, in Berlin, at the very top, nobody wants to admit it. Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make blind. Every day we experience this anew. But for reasons of prestige nobody dares to take a determined step backwards. They don't want to admit that their army is surrounded before Moscow. They refuse to recognize that the Russians can do such a thing. And in complete blindness they are kneeling over into the abyss. And they will end in 4 weeks by losing their army before Moscow and later on by losing the whole war. ~ Richard J Evans,
725:Within moments, they were through the sanctuary tunnel way and headed down into the cavern below the altar. But the gods were gone. “Deplorable,” said Uriel, gazing upon the dismembered body parts of his brother archangel on the wall. They carefully took down the arms, legs, torso and head of Mikael and reattached them like a human anatomy puzzle. Uriel said, “Why would they have left all of him here for us to find and heal?” Uriel remembered all too terribly when he had been decapitated by Anu in the primeval city of Uruk. Anu had kept Uriel’s head separated from his body so that the angel could not heal and fight them. Gabriel said, “They must have wanted us to find him.” Raphael said, “But they did not want us to follow them, as we would have, had they taken part of his body.” The angels had done so in the past when Ishtar had cut Gabriel in half and threw his legs into the Abyss. “Which means we should follow them,” said Uriel. “But where?” It would take some time for his organic tissue to reconnect, including his voice box. But Mikael could not wait for that healing. His hand wrote out on the sandy floor, “Ashkelon. ~ Brian Godawa,
726:Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don’t dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence—the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes—all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand. ~ Jon Krakauer,
727:Outside the walls of the Crimson Cabaret was a world of rain and darkness. At intervals, whenever someone entered or exited through the front door of the club, one could actually see the steady rain and was allowed a brief glimpse of the darkness. Inside it was all amber light, tobacco smoke, and the sound of the raindrops hitting the windows, which were all painted black. On such nights, as I sat at one of the tables in that drab little place, I was always filled with an infernal merriment, as if I were waiting out the apocalypse and could not care less about it. I also liked to imagine that I was in the cabin of an old ship during a really vicious storm at sea or in the club car of a luxury passenger train that was being rocked on its rails by ferocious winds and hammered by a demonic rain. Sometimes, when I was sitting in the Crimson Cabaret on a rainy night, I thought of myself as occupying a waiting room for the abyss (which of course was exactly what I was doing) and between sips from my glass of wine or cup of coffee I smiled sadly and touched the front pocket of my coat where I kept my imaginary ticket to oblivion. ~ Thomas Ligotti,
728:The abyss that divides the two modalities of experience — sacred and profane — will be apparent when we come to describe sacred space and the ritual building of the human habitation, or the varieties of the religious experience of time, or the relations of religious man to nature and the world of tools, or the consecration of human life itself, the sacrality with which man’s vital functions (food, sex, work and so on) can be charged. Simply calling to mind what the city or the house, nature, tools, or work have become for modern and nonreligious man will show with the utmost vividness all that distinguishes such a man from a man belonging to any archaic society, or even form a peasant of Christian Europe. For modern consciousness, a physiological act — eating, sex, and so on — is in sum only an organic phenomenon, however much it may still be encumbered by tabus (imposing, for example, particular rules for "eating properly" or forbidding some sexual behavior disapproved by social morality). But for the primitive, such an act is never simply physiological; it is , or can become, a sacrament, that is, a communion with the sacred. ~ Mircea Eliade,
729:I’m on a side of a road somewhere, stuck in the middle of a very deep hole, with no way of getting out. Never mind how I got in there, it’s not relevant to the story. I’ll invent a back-story… I was walking to get pizza and a chasm opened up in the earth and I fell in, and now I’m at the bottom of this hole, screaming for help. And along comes you. Now, maybe you just keep walking. You know, there’s a strange guy screaming from the center of the Earth. It’s perhaps best to just ignore him. But let’s say that you don’t. Let’s say that you stop. The sensible thing to do in this situation is to call down to me and say “I’m going to look for a ladder. I will be right back.” But you don’t do that. Instead you sit down at the edge of this abyss, and then you push yourself forward, and jump. And when you land at the bottom of the hole and dust yourself off, I’m like “What the hell are you doing?! Now there are two of us in this hole!” And you look at me and say, “Well yeah, but now I’m highly motivated to get you out.” This is what I love about novels, both reading them and writing them. They jump into the abyss to be with you where you are ~ John Green,
730:When psalms surprise me with their music And antiphons turn to rum The Spirit sings: the bottom drops out of my soul. And from the center of my cellar, Love, louder than thunder Opens a heaven of naked air. New eyes awaken. I send Love's name into the world with wings And songs grow up around me like a jungle. Choirs of all creatures sing the tunes Your Spirit played in Eden. Zebras and antelopes and birds of paradise Shine on the face of the abyss And I am drunk with the great wilderness Of the sixth day in Genesis. But sound is never half so fair As when that music turns to air And the universe dies of excellence. Sun, moon and stars Fall from their heavenly towers. Joys walk no longer down the blue world's shore. Though fires loiter, lights still fly on the air of the gulf, All fear another wind, another thunder: Then one more voice Snuffs all their flares in one gust. And I go forth with no more wine and no more stars And no more buds and no more Eden And no more animals and no more sea: While God sings by himself in acres of night And walls fall down, that guarded Paradise. [1499.jpg] -- from Selected Poems of Thomas Merton, by Thomas Merton

~ Thomas Merton, A Psalm
,
731:Two Paths Of Yoga :::
   There are two paths of Yoga, one of tapasya (discipline), and the other of surrender. The path of tapasya is arduous. Here you rely solely upon yourself, you proceed by your own strength. You ascend and achieve according to the measure of your force. There is always the danger of falling down. And once you fall, you lie broken in the abyss and there is hardly a remedy. The other path, the path of surrender. is a safe and sure. It is here, however, that the Western people find their difficulty. They have been taught to fear and avoid all that threatens their personal independence. They have imbibed with their mothers milk the sense of individuality. And surrender means giving up all that. In other words, you may follow, as Ramakrishna says, either the path of the baby monkey or that of the baby cat. The baby monkey holds to its mother in order to be carried about and it must hold firm, otherwise if it loses its grip, it falls. On the other hand, the baby cat does not hold to its mother, but is held by the mother and has no fear nor responsibility; it to nor has nothing do but to let the mother hold it and cry ma ma.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1929-1931,
732:The careful observations and the acute reasonings of the Italian geologists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the speculations of Leibnitz in the 'Protogaea' and of Buffon in his 'Théorie de la Terre;' the sober and profound reasonings of Hutton, in the latter part of the eighteenth century; all these tended to show that the fabric of the earth itself implied the continuance of processes of natural causation for a period of time as great, in relation to human history, as the distances of the heavenly bodies from us are, in relation to terrestrial standards of measurement. The abyss of time began to loom as large as the abyss of space. And this revelation to sight and touch, of a link here and a link there of a practically infinite chain of natural causes and effects, prepared the way, as perhaps nothing else has done, for the modern form of the ancient theory of evolution. ~ Thomas Henry Huxley,
733:Enoch Primordial (Sumer) Elohim Anu   Inanna     Noah Primeval (Sumer) Elohim, Yahweh  Inanna   Gilgamesh Immortal (Sumer) Elohim  Ishtar   Ninurta Gilgamesh Abraham Allegiant (Babylon) El Shaddai  Ishtar   Marduk   Nimrod Abraham Allegiant (Canaan) El Elyon  Ashtart Ba’al Amraphel Divine attribute Creator Almighty Most High High God of pantheon Goddess of sex & war God of vegetation & storm A Nephilim     Creator God Nachash Giants Sons of God Noah Other Names Yahweh Elohim The Serpent Nephilim Bene ha Elohim Utnaphishtim Yahweh The satan Adversary Rephaim Watchers Ziusudra Elohim Mastema Emim gods Chosen One El Shaddai A Seraphim Caphtorim Heavenly Host   Angel of Yahweh Shining One Zamzummim Divine Council   Son of Man Accuser Anakim Shining Ones   El Elyon Belial Avvim Holy Ones     Diablos Horim Anunnaki       True Heaven Sumerian Pantheon Seven Gods Who Decree the Fates Sumerian Pantheon Four High Gods Mesopotamian Heavens and Earth Hierarchy Yahweh Elohim Anu Anu Yahweh Elohim’s throne Angel of Yahweh Enlil Enlil The waters above the heavens Seraphim Enki Enki The firmament Cherubim Ninhursag Ninhursag The heavens Sons of God Inanna  Earth M’alak (angels) Utu  The Abyss   Nana  ~ Brian Godawa,
734:Jaenelle looked thoughtful. “He seduced me. Well, seduced Witch. When we were in the abyss.”

“He what?” Lucivar asked with deadly calm.

“Don’t get snarly,” Jaenelle snapped. “It was a trick to make me heal the body. He didn’t really want me. Her. He didn’t…” Her voice trailed away. She waited a minute before continuing. “He said he’d been waiting for Witch all his life. That he’d been born to be her lover. But then he didn’t want to be her lover.”

“Hell’s fire, Cat,” Lucivar exploded. “You were a twelve-year-old who had recently been raped. What did you expect him to do?”

“I wasn’t twelve in the abyss.” Lucivar narrowed his eyes, wondering what she meant by that. “He lied to me,” she said in a small voice.

“No, he didn’t. He meant exactly what he said. If you had been eighteen and had offered him the Consort’s ring, you would have found that out quick enough.” Lucivar stared at the blurry garden. He cleared his throat. “Saetan loves you, Cat. And you love him. He did what he had to do to save his Queen. He did what any Warlord Prince would do. If you can’t forgive him, how will you ever be able to forgive me?”

“Oh, Lucivar.” Sobbing, Jaenelle threw her arms around him. ~ Anne Bishop,
735:If ever again we happened to lose our balance, just when sleepwalking through the same dream on the brink of hell’s valley, if ever the magical mare (whom I ride through the night air hollowed out into caverns and caves where wild animals live) in a crazy fit of anger over some word I might have said without the perfect sweetness that works on her like a charm, if ever the magic Mare looks over her shoulder and whinnies: “So! You don’t love me!” and bucks me off, sends me flying to the hyenas, if ever the paper ladder that I climb so easily to go pick stars for Promethea—at the very instant that I reach out my hand and it smells like fresh new moon, so good, it makes you believe in god’s genius—if ever at that very instant my ladder catches fire—because it is so fragile, all it would take is someone’s brushing against it tactlessly and all that would be left is ashes—if ever I had the dreadful luck again to find myself falling screaming down into the cruel guts of separation, and emptying all my being of hope, down to the last milligram of hope, until I am able to melt into the pure blackness of the abyss and be no more than night and a death rattle,

I would really rather not be tumbling around without my pencil and paper. ~ H l ne Cixous,
736:And just like the Soviet Union bankrupted itself trying to keep up with the United States technologically, the West was almost there. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, plus an out of control security apparatus in most Western nations demanding more and more funding to protect against a perceived threat, had almost bankrupted the mighty Western economies. A few more attacks, each using different methods, would soon tip them over the edge, and into the abyss of a global Great Depression the likes the world had never seen. The Dirty Thirties were terrible, but people were never used to living well. A good life meant food on the table and a warm bed to sleep in. Now a good life meant two cars, a large house, multiple televisions, computers, cellphones, tablets, Internet, cable, restaurants and vacations. This time when the economy collapsed, they would have a hell of a time trying to get out of it. And Islam would continue to spread. Hassan knew their birthrate was two to three times that of the West, and they would eventually win. But in the meantime, the West would be looking for a way out of their economic calamity. And a way would be offered, by the military industrial complex and the security apparatus that had sprung up around 9/11. War. ~ J Robert Kennedy,
737:escaped captivity in pursuit of revenge, only to be supernaturally redeemed by the god he had hated. And all of it was so that Yahweh could use him in a single important event to capture an enemy of God. Of all the glory and fame that Eleazar had sought for in his life, it was all a pile of steaming excrement compared to the surpassing value of meeting Jesus and being used for this single event of spiritual significance. He considered it an honor to sacrifice himself on behalf of such a worthy cause. Mikael maneuvered to gain advantage over the god as they fell. The last time the angels had taken down the deity, was in his Mount Sapan palace. In that case, the other angels had tackled Ba’al in a similar way, by knocking him off a cliff into a river of fiery magma in the earth. This time he would land in the waters of the Abyss as opposed to the molten flames of lava. But this time, it would be permanent, because the waters of the Abyss led to Hades and Tartarus, where Mikael would leave the Watcher god bound until judgment. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of falling through the darkness, the three warriors hit the black waters of the Abyss, killing the giant. Mikael already had Ba’al bound with the Cherubim hair as they sank into the depths. ~ Brian Godawa,
738:But if the generals were not enthused by what Hitler had to say, they posed no objections. The mood was largely fatalistic, resigned. After the war, Liebmann tried to summarize the broad impact of the speech. The assembled generals, he commented, were certain that the picture was less rosy than Hitler’s description. But they took the view that it was too late for objections, and simply hoped things would turn out well.161 No one spoke out against Hitler.162 Brauchitsch, who ought to have replied if anyone were to do so, said nothing. Any objections on his part, in Liebmann’s view, could only have been made as representing all the generals. Evidently he doubted whether Brauchitsch could have spoken for all. In any case, he thought such objections would have to have been raised by spring. By August it was too late. Liebmann added one other telling point. For Hitler it was only a matter of a war against Poland. And the army felt up to that.163 The disastrous collapse in the army’s power since the first weeks of 1938 could not have been more apparent. Its still lamented former head, Werner von Fritsch, had remarked to Ulrich von Hassell some months earlier: ‘This man – Hitler – is Germany’s fate for good or evil. If it’s now into the abyss, he’ll drag us all with him. There’s nothing to be done. ~ Ian Kershaw,
739:We are small worms, Zorba, very small worms on the tiniest leaf of a gigantic tree. This tiny leaf is our earth; the other leaves are the stars you see moving at night. We drag ourselves along on our tiny leaf, eagerly ferreting around in it. We smell it: it has an odor. We taste it: it can be eaten. We strike it: it resounds, shouting like a living thing. Some of us human beings, the most fearless, reach the edge of the leaf. We bend over this edge with open eyes and ears, observing chaos below. We shudder. We divine the terrible drop beneath us, occasionally hear a sound made by the gigantic tree’s other leaves, sense the sap rising from the roots, swelling our hearts. In this way, leaning over the abyss, we realize with all our body and soul that we are being overcome by terror. What begins at that moment is—” I stopped. I had wanted to say, “What begins at that moment is poetry,” but Zorba would not have understood, so I kept silent. “What begins?” asked Zorba eagerly. “Why did you stop?” “At that moment, Zorba, begins the great danger,” I replied. “Some become dazed and delirious; others, growing afraid, take great pains to discover an answer that will brace their heart. These say, ‘God.’ Still others, calmly, bravely, look down at the drop from the leaf’s edge and say, ‘I like it.’  ~ Nikos Kazantzakis,
740:The word for teardrinkers is lachryphagous, and for the eaters of human flesh it is anthropophagous, and the rest of us feed on sorrow all the time. It is the essence of many of the most beautiful ballads and pop songs, and why sorrow and heartbreak are so delicious might have to do with the emotions it stirs in us, the empathy for others' suffering, and the small comfort of not being alone with our own. With a sad song we feel a delicate grief, as though we mourn for three minutes a loss we can't remember but taste again, sorrow like salt tears, and then close it up like a letter in the final notes. Sadness the blue like dusk, the reminder that all things are emphemeral, and that because there is time there is change and that is another name for change, if you look back toward what is vanishing in the distance, is loss.

But sadness is also beautiful, maybe because it rings so true and goes so deep, because it is about the distances in our lives, the things we lose, the abyss between what the lover and the beloved want and imagine and understand that may widen to become unbridgeable any moment, the distance between the hope at the onset and the eventual outcome, the journeys we have to travel, including the last one out of being and on past becoming into the unimaginable: the moth flown into the pure dark. ~ Rebecca Solnit,
741:Desperately. Tally searched her brain for a prayer. Any prayer. Now I lay me down to sleep... No! Not that one. Hail Mary something, something. She wasn't Catholic. Oh, God, she should've gone to church more often. And Jesus, now definitely wasn't the time to blaspheme.
Fingers completely numb from gripping the chair, she kept her gaze pinned, with manic attention, on the pirate's large, strong hands on the wheel. Backlit eerily by the red lights on the instrument panel, those few teeny, tiny red lights were all that held her together.
She hated the dark. Hated, hated, hated it.
She wasn't that fond of roller coasters, either, and this was about seven hundred times worse. Putting the two together was overkill and proved that God had a sense of humor. Maybe she didn't want to pray after all. The boat hit a trough with the force of a ten-ton cement truck slamming into a granite mountain. Every bone in her body jarred.
Dear God, how long could the pirate ship last in this onslaught? Her brain pulled up every water movie she'd ever seen. Titanic. The Abyss. The Deep. Jaws... Oh, Lord. The Perfect Storm...
There were things she still wanted to do in her life. Off the top of her head she couldn't think of a one right now. But topping her list was dying in her own bed in Chicago. Dry. Of old age. ~ Cherry Adair,
742:Similarly, when the dreadful depths of sickness and death open up inside us and we have nothing left to defy the havoc into which the world and our own bodies hurl us, then to sustain even the weight of our muscles, even the shudder that strikes us to the very marrow, and even to keep still, in what we would normally regard as no more than a strained posture, all this demands, if we want our head to remain erect and our expression to keep its composure, a good deal of vital energy, and so turns into an exhausting struggle.
And if Legrandin had looked at us with astonishment on his face, it was because to him, as to others who passed us at the time, in the cab in which my grandmother was apparently sitting back, she had seemed to be sinking down, slithering into the abyss, desperately clinging to the cushions which could scarcely hold back the impetus of her falling body, her hair dishevelled, a distraught look in her eyes, which were no longer capable of focusing on the onrush of images their pupils could bear no more. She had seemed, even with me sitting beside her, to be plunged into that unknown world in which she had already received the blows whose marks I had noticed earlier in the Champs-Élysées when I saw her hat, her face, her coat thrown into disarray by the hand of the invisible angel with whom she had wrestled. ~ Marcel Proust,
743:To think that just when one's happiness is full to overflowing, and one is thoroughly in love with life, there should come upon one a taint of sorrow!" she murmured.

Yes; such is the payment exacted for the Promethean fire. You must not only endure, you must even love and respect, the sorrow and the doubts and the self-questionings of which you have spoken: for they constitute the excess, the luxury, of life, and show themselves most when happiness is at its zenith, and has alloyed with it no gross desires.
Such troubles are powerless to spring to birth amid life which is ordinary and everyday; they cannot touch the individual who is forced to endure hardship and want. That is why the bulk of the crowd goes on its way without ever experiencing the cloud of doubt, the pain of self-questioning. To him or to her, however, who voluntarily goes to meet those difficulties they become welcome guests, not a scourge.

But one can never get even with them. To almost every one they bring sorrow and indifference.

Yes; but that does not last. Later they serve to shed light upon life, for they lead one to the edge of the abyss whence there is no return--then gently force one to turn once more and look upon life.
Thus they seem to challenge one's tried faculties in order that the latter may be prevented from sinking wholly into inertia. ~ Ivan Goncharov,
744:...The efficacy of psychedelics with regard to art has to do with their ability to render language weightless, as fluid and ephemeral as those famous "bubble letters" of the sixties. Psychedelics, I think, disconnect both the signifier and the signified from their purported referents in the phenomenal world - simultaneously bestowing upon us a visceral insight into the cultural mechanics of language, and a terrifying inference of the tumultuous nature that swirls beyond it. In my own experience, it always seemed as if language were a tablecloth positioned neatly upon the table until some celestial busboy suddenly shook it out, fluttering and floating it, and letting it fall back upon the world in not quite the same position as before - thereby giving me a vertiginous glimpse into the abyss that divides the world from our knowing of it. And it is into this abyss that the horror vacui of psychedelic art deploys itself like an incandescent bridge. Because it is one thing to believe, on theoretical evidence, that we live in a prison-house of language. It is quite another to know it, to actually peek into the slippery emptiness as the Bastille explodes around you. Yet psychedelic art takes this apparent occasion for despair and celebrates our escape from linguistic control by flowing out, filling that rippling void with meaningful light, laughter, and a gorgeous profusion. ~ Dave Hickey,
745:And who talks of error now? I scarcely think the notion that flittered across my brain was an error. I believe it was an inspiration rather than a temptation: it was very genial, very soothing—I know that. Here it comes again! It is no devil, I assure you; or if it be, it has put on the robes of an angel of light. I think I must admit so fair a guest when it asks entrance to my heart.”

“Distrust it, sir; it is not a true angel.”

“Once more, how do you know? By what instinct do you pretend to distinguish between a fallen seraph of the abyss and a messenger from the eternal throne—between a guide and a seducer?”

“I judged by your countenance, sir, which was troubled when you said the suggestion had returned upon you. I feel sure it will work you more misery if you listen to it.”

“Not at all—it bears the most gracious message in the world: for the rest, you are not my conscience-keeper, so don’t make yourself uneasy. Here, come in, bonny wanderer!”

He said this as if he spoke to a vision, viewless to any eye but his own; then, folding his arms, which he had half extended, on his chest, he seemed to enclose in their embrace the invisible being.

“Now,” he continued, again addressing me, “I have received the pilgrim—a disguised deity, as I verily believe. Already it has done me good: my heart was a sort of charnel; it will now be a shrine. ~ Charlotte Bront,
746:Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don't dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control. By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence — the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes — all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand. At such moments something resembling happiness actually stirs in your chest, but it isn't the sort of emotion you want to lean on very hard. In solo climbing the whole enterprise is held together with little more than chutzpah, not the most reliable adhesive. ~ Jon Krakauer,
747:My job is never boring," Staples said. "There's nuts-and-bolts stuff like getting the tarpaulin over the shaft when it rains, and so in. Cataloging and reshelving. The shelves are in a shocking state. And when you've got everything ever written or lost to keep track of, it's quite a job. And there's fetching books.

"I used to really look forward to requests for books way down in the abyss. We'd all rope up, follow our lines down for miles. The order falls apart a way down but you learn to sniff out class-marks. Sometimes we'd be gone for weeks, fetching volumes.' She spoke with a faraway voice.

"There are risks. Hunters, animals, and accidents. Ropes that snap. Sometimes someone gets separated. Twenty years ago, I was in a group looking for a book someone had requested. I remember, it was called 'Oh, All Right Then': Bartleby Returns. We were led by Ptolemy Yes. He was the man taught me. Best librarian there's ever been, some say.

"Anyway, after weeks of searching, we ran out of food and had to turn back. No one likes it when we fail, so none of us were feeling great.

"We felt that much worse when we realized that we'd lost Ptolemy.

"Some people say he went off deliberately. That he couldn't bear not to find the book. That he's out there still in the Wordhoard Abyss, living off shelf-monkeys, looking. And that he'll be back one day, book in his hand. ~ China Mi ville,
748:Soon the air of the high place was blowing in through the gaps in the masonry, the open bays, where the wind flowed like water round the arches of a bridge. Borluut felt refreshed fanned by this sea-breeze coming from the beaches of the sky: It seemed to be sweeping up dead leaves inside him. New paths, leading elsewhere, appeared in his soul; fresh clearings
were revealed. Finally he found himself.

Total oblivion as a prelude to taking possession of one's self! He was like the first man on the first day to whom nothing has yet happened. The delights of metamorphosis. He owed them to the tall tower, to the summit he had gained where the battlemented platform was ready for him, a refuge in the infinite.

From that height he could no longer see the world, he no longer understood it. Yes, each time he was seized with vertigo, with a desire to lose his footing, to throw himself off, but not towards the ground, into the abyss with its spirals of belfries and roofs over the depths of the town below. It was the abyss above of which he felt the pull.

He was more and more bewildered.

Everything was becoming blurred - before his eyes, inside his head - because of the fierce wind, the boundless space with nothing to hold on to, the clouds he had come too close to, which long continued to journey on inside him. The delights of sojourning among the summits have their price. ~ Georges Rodenbach,
749:
   Good and bad; from here to eternity, and from eternity to here. But I have been not here before, remember that. By which I mean that I have been here; I have already been at the destination towards which I’m now heading. I have already been absent, non-existent. Beckett and Nabokov know:



I too shall cease and be as when I was not yet, only all over instead of in store.



From an Abandoned Work




The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.



Speak, Memory



   This thought, this fact, is a genuine comfort, the only one that works, to calm me down when the panic comes. It brings me real solace in the terror of the infinite desert. It doesn’t resolve the question (though, as an atheist I don’t really have one), but it offers me familiarity with ‘The undiscovered country from whose bourn/No traveller returns’. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And it soothes. When I find myself trembling at the prospect of extinction, I can steady myself by thinking of the abyss that I have already experienced. Sometimes I can almost take a kindly, unhurried interest in my own extinction. The not-being that I have already been. I whisper it to myself, like a mantra, or a lullaby.

~ Jenny Diski,
750:When I came to men for the first time, then did I commit the hermit's folly, the great folly: I appeared in the market-place.

And when I spoke to all, I spoke to none. In the evening, however, rope-dancers were my companions, and corpses; and I myself almost a corpse.

With the new morning, however, there came to me a new truth: Then did I learn to say 'Of what account to me are market-place and crowd and crowd-noise and long crowd-ears!'

You higher men, learn this from me: In the market-place no one believes in higher men. But if you will speak there, very well! The crowd, however, sputters 'We are all equal.'

'You higher men,' — so sputters the crowd — 'there are no higher men, we are all equal; man is man, before God — we are all equal!'

Before God! — Now, however, this God has died. Before the crowd, however, we will not be equal. You higher men, go away from the market-place!


Before God! — Now however this God has died! You higher men, this God was your greatest danger.

Only since he lay in the grave have you again arisen. Only now comes the great noontide, only now does the higher man become — master!

Have you understood this word, O my brothers? You are frightened: Do your hearts turn giddy? Does the abyss here yawn for you? Does the hell-hound here yelp at you?

Well! Take heart, you higher men! Only now does the mountain of the human future begin to work. God has died: Now we desire that the Superman live! ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
751:A chill penetrating wail of outrage screamed up from the depts of the Abyss. So loud and horrifying was it that all the citizens of Palanthas woke shruddering from even the deepest sleep and lay in their beds, paralyzed by fear, waiting for the end of the world. The guards on the the city walls could move neither hand nor foot. Shutting their eyes, they cowered in shadows, awaiting death. Babies wimpered in fear, dogs cringed and slunk beneath beds, cat's eyes gleamed.
The shriek sounded again, and a pale hand reached out from the Tower gates. A ghastly face, twisted in fury, floated in the dank air.
Raistlin did not move.
The hand drew near, the face promised him tortures of the Abyss, where he would be dragged for his great folly in daring the curse of the Tower. The skeletal hand touched Raistlin's heart. Then, trembling, it halted.
'Know this,' said Raistlin calmly, looking up at the Tower, pitching his voice so that it could be heard by those within. 'I am the master of the past and the present! My coming was foretold. For me, the gates will open.'
The skeletal hand shrank back and, with a slow sweeping motion of invitation, parted the darkness. The gates swung open upon silent hinges.
Raistlin passed through them without a glance at the hand or the pale visage that was lowered in reverence. As he entered, all the black and shapeless, dark and shadowy things dwelling within the Tower bowed in homage.
Then Raistlin stopped and looked around him.
'I am home,' he said. ~ Margaret Weis,
752:they told me that the night and day were all that I could see

They told me that I had five senses to inclose me up

And they inclosed my brain into a narrow circle

And sunk my heart into the abyss, a red round globe, hotburning, Til all from life I was obliterated and erased. Instead of morn arises a bright shadow, like an eye In the eastern cloud; instead of night, a sickly charnel house....

What Blake is intimating here is that the vision of things as ‘infinite and holy’ is not an abnormal vision, but the perfectly normal emotional state. And yet man is not born with such a vision, and he can five so far from it that he can decide at the end of his life that ‘not to be born is the best thing, and death is better than life’. Why? Blake cannot say why; he can only account for it by utilizing the legend of a Fall; by saying, as it were, ‘Men are born like smashed radio sets, and before they can function properly, they must repair themselves’. (Blake lived before the machine-age, or no doubt he would have used the same kind of simile.) In short, he used the legend of Original Sin.

For readers who approach this argument for the first time, the most doubtful part about it is the proposition that men ought to see the world like Van Gogh’s Nuit Etoile as a matter of course. They may object: ‘We agree that man could see a starry night that way, but to claim that he ought to, perhaps that he did, once upon a time, and lost the faculty because he ate an apple from a forbidden tree ~ Colin Wilson,
753:If a person leads an ‘active’ life, as Wiggs had, if a person has goals, ideals, a cause to fight for, then that person is distracted, temporarily, from paying a whole lot of attention to the heavy scimitar that hangs by a mouse hair just about his or her head. We, each of us, have a ticket to ride, and if the trip be interesting (if it’s dull, we have only ourselves to blame), then we relish the landscape (how quickly it whizzes by!), interact with our fellow travelers, pay frequent visits to the washrooms and concession stands, and hardly ever hold up the ticket to the light where we can read its plainly stated destination: The Abyss.
Yet, ignore it though we might in our daily toss and tussle, the fact of our impending death is always there, just behind the draperies, or, more accurately, inside our sock, like a burr that we can never quite extract. If one has a religious life, one can rationalize one’s slide into the abyss; if one has a sense of humor (and a sense of humor, properly developed, is superior to any religion so far devised), one can minimalize it through irony and wit. Ah, but the specter is there, night and day, day in and day out, coloring with its chalk of gray almost everything we do. And a lot of what we do is done, subconsciously, indirectly, to avoid the thought of death, or to make ourselves so unexpendable through our accomplishments that death will hesitate to take us, or, when the scimitar finally falls, to insure that we ‘live on’ in the memory of the lucky ones still kicking. ~ Tom Robbins,
754:Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dimlit halls of other places forms that never were and never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who never saw what could have been. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear, but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air, all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit—and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice, for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive. And there shall be in the planting in the shadows a grace and a mercy from which shall blossom dark flowers, and their teeth shall devour and sustain and herald the passing of an age. That which dies shall still know life in death for all that decays is not forgotten and reanimated it shall walk the world in the bliss of not-knowing. And then there shall be a fire that knows the naming of you, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, its dark flame shall acquire every part of you that remains. ~ Jeff VanderMeer,
755:He was the kind of young man whose handsome face has brought him plenty of success in the past and is now ever-ready for a new encounter, a fresh-experience, always eager to set off into the unknown territory of a little adventure, never taken by surprise because he has worked out everything in advance and is waiting to see what happens, a man who will never overlook any erotic opportunity, whose first glance probes every woman's sensuality, and explores it, without discriminating between his friend's wife and the parlour-maid who opens the door to him. Such men are described with a certain facile contempt as lady-killers, but the term has a nugget of truthful observation in it, for in fact all the passionate instincts of the chase are present in their ceaseless vigilance: the stalking of the prey, the excitement and mental cruelty of the kill. They are constantly on the alert, always ready and willing to follow the trail of an adventure to the very edge of the abyss. They are full of passion all the time, but it is the passion of a gambler rather than a lover, cold, calculating and dangerous. Some are so persistent that their whole lives, long after their youth is spent, are made an eternal adventure by this expectation. Each of their days is resolved into hundreds of small sensual experiences - a look exchanged in passing, a fleeting smile, knees brushing together as a couple sit opposite each other - and the year, in its own turn, dissolves into hundreds of such days in which sensuous experience is the constantly flowing, nourishing, inspiring source of life. ~ Stefan Zweig,
756:No: I want nothing.
I’ve already said I want nothing.

Don’t come to me with conclusions!
The only conclusion is death.

Don’t bring me aesthetics!
Don’t speak to me of morals!

Get out of here with metaphysics!
Don’t trumpet complete systems, don’t line up conquests
Of science (science, my God, science!) —
Of the sciences, the arts, of modern civilization!

What harm did I ever do all the gods?

If they have the truth, let them keep it!

I’m a technician, but I have technique only in technique.
Beyond that I’m crazy, with every right to be so.
With every right to be so, do you hear?

Don’t bother me, for the love of God!

Did they want me married, futile, quotidian and taxable?
Did they want me the opposite of that, the opposite of anything?
If I were another person, I would’ve done what they wanted.
The way I am, give me a break!
Go to hell without me,
Or let me go alone!
Why do we have to go together?

Don’t take me by the arm!
I don’t like being taken by the arm. I want to be alone.
I just told you: I’m alone!
Ah, what a nuisance, them wanting to keep me company!

The blue sky — the same as in my childhood —
Eternal truth, empty and perfect!
O River Tejo, glassy, ancestral, mute,
Small truth where the sky reflects itself!
O sorrows revisited, Lisbon past and present!
You give nothing, you take nothing, you’re nothing I feel.

Leave me in peace! I’m not dallying, I never dally...
And as long as the Abyss and Silence dally, I want to be alone! ~ Fernando Pessoa,
757:There were worse things than death.
There would be a leap and a moment suspended, then a long hopeless curve to the rocks and river below. They would fall like leaves between clouds of swifts and then be washed away by the thundering rapids. Bramble clung to that thought. If their bodies washed away then there could be no identification, no danger of reprisals on her family.
She hung on tighter.
The roan's hindquarters bunched under her and they were in the air. It was like she had imagined: the leap, and then the moment suspended in air that seemed to last forever.
Below her the swifts boiled up through the river mist, swerving and swooping, while she and the roan seemed to stay frozen above them. Bramble felt, like a rush of air, the presence of the gods surround her. The shock made her lose her balance and begin to slide sideways.
She felt herself falling.
With an impossible flick of both legs, the roan shrugged her back onto his shoulders. Then the long curve downward and she braced herself to see the cliffs rushing past as they fell.
Time to die.
Instead she felt a thumping jolt that flung her from the roan's back and tossed her among the rocks at the cliff's edge on the other side.
On the other side.
Her sight cleared, although the light still seemed dim. Her hearing came back a little. On the other side of the abyss a jumble of men and hounds were milling, shouting, astonished and very angry.
"You can't do that!" one yelled. "It's impossible!"
"Well, he shagging did it!" another said. "Can't be impossible!"
"Head for the bridge!" Beck shouted. "We can still get him! I want that horse! ~ Pamela Freeman,
758:Now the final dogmatic veil has been eternally torn away, the final mystical spirit is being extinguished. And here stand today's people, defenseless-face to face with the indescribable gloom, on the dividing line of light and darkness, and now no one can protect his heart any longer from the terrifying cold drifting up out of the abyss. Wherever we might go, wherever we might hide behind the barrier of scientific criticism, we feel with all our being the nearness of a mystery, the nearness of the ocean.

There are no limits! We are free and lonely... No enslaved mysticism of a previous age can be compared with this terror. Never before have people felt in their hearts such a need to believe, and in their minds comprehended their inability to believe. In this diseased and irresolvable dissonance, in this tragic contradiction, as well as in the unheard-of intellectual freedom, in the courage of negation, is contained the most characteristic feature of the mystical need of the nineteenth century.

Our time must define in two contrasting features this time of the most extreme materialism and at the same time of the most passionate idealistic outbursts of the spirit. We are witnessing a mighty and all-important struggle between two views of life, between two diametrically opposed worldviews. The final demands of religious feeling are experiencing a confrontation with the final conclusions of the experimental sciences.

The intellectual struggle which filled the nineteenth century could not but be reflected in contemporary literature.

("On The Reasons For The Decline And On The New Tendencies In Contemporary Literature") ~ Dmitry Merezhkovsky,
759:Suppose that, towards morning, after a night of insomnia, sleep descends upon him while he is reading, in quite a different position from that in which he normally goes to sleep, he has only to lift his arm to arrest the sun and turn it back in its course, and, at the moment of waking, he will have no idea of the time, but will conclude that he has just gone to bed. Or suppose that he gets drowsy in some even more abnormal position; sitting in an armchair, say, after dinner: then the world will fall topsy-turvy from its orbit, the magic chair will carry him at full speed through time and space, and when he opens his eyes again he will imagine that he went to sleep months earlier and in some far distant country. But for me it was enough if, in my own bed, my sleep was so heavy as completely to relax my consciousness; for then I lost all sense of the place in which I had gone to sleep, and when I awoke at midnight, not knowing where I was, I could not be sure at first who I was; I had only the most rudimentary sense of existence, such as may lurk and flicker in the depths of an animal’s consciousness; I was more destitute of human qualities than the cave-dweller; but then the memory, not yet of the place in which I was, but of various other places where I had lived, and might now very possibly be, would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I could never have escaped by myself: in a flash I would traverse and surmount centuries of civilisation, and out of a half-visualised succession of oil-lamps, followed by shirts with turned-down collars, would put together by degrees the component parts of my ego ~ Marcel Proust,
760:Again, I call to mind that distant moment in [the prison at] Hermanice when on a hot, cloudless summer day, I sat on a pile of rusty iron and gazed into the crown of an enormous tree that stretched, with dignified repose, up and over all the fences, wires, bars and watchtowers that separated me from it. As I watched the imperceptible trembling of its leaves against an endless sky, I was overcome by a sensation that is difficult to describe: all at once, I seemed to rise above all the coordinates of my momentary existence in the world into a kind of state outside time in which all the beautiful things I had ever seen and experienced existed in a total “co-present”; I felt a sense of reconciliation, indeed of an almost gentle consent to the inevitable course of things as revealed to me now, and this combined with a carefree determination to face what had to be faced. A profound amazement at the sovereignty of Being became a dizzying sensation of tumbling endlessly into the abyss of its mystery; an unbounded joy at being alive, at having been given the chance to live through all I have lived through, and at the fact that everything has a deep and obvious meaning— this joy formed a strange alliance in me with a vague horror at the inapprehensibility and unattainability of everything I was so close to in that moment, standing at the very “edge of the finite”; I was flooded with a sense of ultimate happiness and harmony with the world and with myself, with that moment, with all the moments I could call up, and with everything invisible that lies behind it and has meaning. I would even say that I was somehow “struck by love,” though I don’t know precisely for whom or what. ~ V clav Havel,
761:We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss—we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain. By slow degrees our sickness and dizziness and horror become merged in a cloud of unnamable feeling. By gradations, still more imperceptible, this cloud assumes shape, as did the vapor from the bottle out of which arose the genius in the Arabian Nights. But out of this our cloud upon the precipice’s edge, there grows into palpability, a shape, far more terrible than any genius or any demon of a tale, and yet it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bones with the fierceness of the delight of its horror. It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height. And this fall—this rushing annihilation—for the very reason that it involves that one most ghastly and loathsome of all the most ghastly and loathsome images of death and suffering which have ever presented themselves to our imagination—for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire it. And because our reason violently deters us from the brink, therefore do we the most impetuously approach it. There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him who, shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a Plunge. To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost; for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot. If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed. ~ Edgar Allan Poe,
762:the two kinds of repentance. There are two kinds of repentance, one which belongs to time and the senses and another which is supernatural and of God. The temporal kind always draws us downwards into yet greater suffering, plunging us into such distress that it is as if we were already in a state of despair. And so repentance can find no way out of suffering. Nothing comes of this. But the repentance which is of God is very different. As soon as we become ill at ease, we immediately reach up to God and vow with an unshakeable will to turn away from all sin for ever. Thus we raise ourselves up to a great trust in God and gain a great sense of certainty. This brings a spiritual joy that lifts the soul out of her suffering and distress and binds her to God. For the more inadequate and guilty we perceive ourselves to be, the more reason we have to bind ourselves to God with an undivided love, who knows neither sin nor inadequacy. And so if we wish to approach God in complete devotion, the best path that we can follow is to be without sin in the power of that kind of repentance which comes from God. And the greater we feel our sin to be, the more prepared God is to forgive our sin, to enter into the soul and drive sin away. Everyone is keenest to rid themselves of what is most hateful to them, and so the greater and graver our sins, the more God is immeasurably willing and quick to forgive them, since they are hateful to him. And when the repentance which comes from God rises up to him, all our sins vanish more quickly in the abyss of God than the eye can blink, and are eradicated so totally that it is as if they had never existed, provided only that we have perfect contrition. ~ Meister Eckhart,
763:In Excelsis
It is half winter, half spring,
and Barbara and I are standing
confronting the ocean.
Its mouth is open very wide,
and it has dug up its green,
throwing it, throwing it at the shore.
You say it is angry.
I say it is like a kicked Madonna.
Its womb collapses, drunk with its fever.
We breathe in its fury.
I, the inlander,
am here with you for just a small space.
I am almost afraid,
so long gone from the sea.
I have seen her smooth as a cheek.
I have seen her easy,
doing her business,
lapping in.
I have seen her rolling her hoops of blue.
I have seen her tear the land off.
I have seen her drown me twice,
and yet not take me.
You tell me that as the green drains backward
it covers Britain,
but have you never stood on that shore
and seen it cover you?
We have come to worship,
the tongues of the surf are prayers,
and we vow,
the unspeakable vow.
Both silently.
Both differently.
I wish to enter her like a dream,
leaving my roots here on the beach
like a pan of knives.
And my past to unravel, with its knots and snarls,
and walk into ocean,
111
letting it explode over me
and outward, where I would drink the moon
and my clothes would slip away,
and I would sink into the great mother arms
I never had,
except here where the abyss
throws itself on the sand
blow by blow,
over and over,
and we stand on the shore
loving its pulse
as it swallows the stars,
and has since it all began
and will continue into oblivion,
past our knowing
and the wild toppling green that enters us today,
for a small time
in half winter, half spring.
~ Anne Sexton,
764:While they fought for the privilege of carrying him on their shoulders along the steep escarpment by the cliffs, men and women became aware for the first time of the desolation of their streets, the dryness of their courtyards, the narrowness of their dreams as they faced the splendor and beauty of their drowned man. They let him go without an anchor so that he could come back if he wished and whenever he wished, and they all held their breath for the fraction of centuries the body took to fall into the abyss. They did not need to look at one another to realize that they were no longer all present, that they would never be. But they also knew that everything would be different from then on, that their houses would have wider doors, higher ceilings, and stronger floors so that Esteban's memory could go everywhere without bumping into beams and so that no one in the future would dare whisper the big boob finally died, too bad, the handsome fool has finally died, because they were going to paint their house fronts gay colors to make Esteban's memory eternal and they were going to break their backs digging for springs among the stones and planting flowers on the cliffs so that in future years at dawn the passengers on great liners would awaken, suffocated by the smell of gardens on the high seas, and the captain would have to come down from the bridge in his dress uniform, with his astrolabe, his pole star, and his row of war medals and, pointing to the promontory of roses on the horizon, he would say in fourteen languages, look there, where the wind is so peaceful now that it's gone to sleep beneath the beds, over there, where the sun's so bright that the sunflowers don't know which way to turn, yes, over there, that's Esteban's village. ~ Gabriel Garc a M rquez,
765:In the midst of that night, in my darkness, I saw the awesome sight of Christ opening the heavens for me. And he bent down to me and showed himself to me with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the thrice holy light -- a single light in three, and a threefold light in one, for they are altogether light, and the three are but one light,. And he illumined my soul more radiantly than the sun, and he lit up my mind, which had until then been in darkness. Never before had my mind seen such things. I was blind, you should know it, and I saw nothing. That was why this strange wonder was so astonishing to me, when Christ, as it were, opened the eye of my mind, when he gave me sight, as it were, and it was him that I saw. He is Light within Light, who appears to those who contemplate him, and contemplatives see him in light -- see him, that is, in the light of the Spirit... And now, as if from far off, I still see that unseeable beauty, that unapproachable light, that unbearable glory. My mind is completely astounded. I tremble with fear. Is this a small taste from the abyss, which like a drop of water serves to make all water known in all its qualities and aspects?... I found him, the One whom I had seen from afar, the one whom Stephen saw when the heavens opened, and later whose vision blinded Paul. Truly, he was as a fire in the center of my heart. I was outside myself, broken down, lost to myself, and unable to bear the unendurable brightness of that glory. And so, I turned and fled into the night of the senses. [1735.jpg] -- from The Book of Mystical Chapters: Meditations on the Soul's Ascent from the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplatives, Translated by John Anthony McGuckin

~ Symeon the New Theologian, In the midst of that night, in my darkness
,
766:April 15 MORNING “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” — Psalm 22:1 WE here behold the Saviour in the depth of His sorrows. No other place so well shows the griefs of Christ as Calvary, and no other moment at Calvary is so full of agony as that in which His cry rends the air — “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” At this moment physical weakness was united with acute mental torture from the shame and ignominy through which He had to pass; and to make His grief culminate with emphasis, He suffered spiritual agony surpassing all expression, resulting from the departure of His Father’s presence. This was the black midnight of His horror; then it was that He descended the abyss of suffering. No man can enter into the full meaning of these words. Some of us think at times that we could cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” There are seasons when the brightness of our Father’s smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ’s case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father’s love; but the real turning away of God’s face from His Son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused Him? In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in His case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from Him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God’s face, but art now in darkness, remember that He has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when He shines forth in all the lustre of His grace; but since even the thought that He has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the woe of the Saviour have been when He exclaimed, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon,
767:The Voyager

We are all lonely voyagers sailing on life's ebb tide,
To a far off place were all stripling warriors have died,
Sometime at eve when the tide is low,
The voices call us back to the rippling water's flow,
Even though our boat sailed with love in our hearts,
Neither our dreams or plans would keep heaven far apart,
We drift through the hush of God's twilight pale,
With no response to our friendly hail,
We raise our sails and search for majestic light,
While finding company on this journey to the brighten our night,
Then suddenly he pulls us through the reef's cutting sea,
Back to the place that he asked us to be,
Friendly barges that were anchored so sweetly near,
In silent sorrow they drop their salted tears,
Shall our soul be a feast of kelp and brine,
The wasted tales of wishful time,
Are we a fish on a line lured with bait,
Is life the grind, a heartless fate,
Suddenly, "HUSH", said the wind from afar,
Have you not looked to the heavens and seen the new star,
It danced on the abyss of the evening sky,
The sparkle of heaven shining on high,
Its whisper echoed on the ocean's spray,
From the bow to the mast they heard him say,
"Hope is above, not found in the deep,
I am alive in your memories and dreams when you sleep,
I will greet you at sunset and with the moon's evening smile,
I will light your path home.. every last lonely mile,
My friends, have no fear, my work was done well,
In this life I broke the waves and rode the swell,
I found faith in those that I called my crew,
My love will be the compass that will see you through,
So don't look for me on the ocean's floor to find,
I've never left the weathered docks of your loving mind,
For I am in the moon, the wind and the whale's evening song,
I am the sailor of eternity whose voyage is not gone. ~ Shannon L Alder,
768:Screams died in them and floated belly up, like dead fish. Cowering on the floor, rocking between dread and disbelief, they realized that the man being beaten was Velutha. Where had he come from? What had he done? Why had the policemen brought him here?
They heard the thud of wood on flesh. Boot on bone. On teeth. The muffled grunt when a stomach is kicked in The muted crunch of skull on cement. The gurgle of blood on a man's breath when his lung is torn by the jagged end of a broken rib.
Blue-lipped and dinner-plate-eyed, they watched, mesmerized by something that they sensed but didn't understand: the absence of caprice in what the policemen did. The abyss where anger should have been. The sober, steady brutality, the economy of it all.
They were opening a bottle.
Or shutting a tap.
Cracking an egg to make an omelette.

The twins were too young to know that these were only history’s henchmen. Sent to square the books and collect the dues from those who broke its laws. Impelled by feelings that were primal yet paradoxically wholly impersonal. Feelings of contempt born of inchoate, unacknowledged fear — civilization’s fear of nature, men’s fear of women, power’s fear of powerlessness.
Man’s subliminal urge to destroy what he could neither subdue nor deify.
Men’s Needs.
What Esthappen and Rahel witnessed that morning, though they didn’t know it then, was a clinical demonstration in controlled conditions (this was not war after all, or genocide) of human nature’s pursuit of ascendancy. Structure. Order Complete monopoly. It was human history, masquerading as God’s Purpose, revealing herself to an under-age audience.
There was nothing accidental about what happened that morning. Nothing incidental. It was no stray mugging or personal settling of scores. This was an era imprinting itself on those who lived in it.
History in live performance. ~ Arundhati Roy,
769:Le Roi S’amuse
Jove gazed
On woven mazes
Of patterned movement as the atoms whirled.
His glance turned
Into dancing, burning
Colour-gods who rushed upon that sullen world,
Waking, re-making, exalting it anew –
Silver and purple, shrill-voiced yellow, turgid crimson, and virgin blue.
Jove stared
On overbearing
And aching splendour of the naked rocks.
Where his gaze smote,
Hazily floated
To mount like thistledown in countless flocks,
Fruit-loving, root-loving gods, cool and green
Of feathery grasses, heather and orchard, pollen'd lily, the olive and the bean.
Jove laughed.
Like cloven-shafted
Lightning, his laughter into brightness broke.
From every dint
Where the severed splinters
Had scattered a Sylvan or a Satyr woke;
Ounces came pouncing, dragon-people flew,
There was spirited stallion, squirrel unrespectful, clanging raven and kangaroo.
Jove sighed.
The hoving tide of
Ocean trembled at the motion of his breath.
The sigh turned
Into white, eternal,
Radiant Aphrodite unafraid of death;
A fragrance, a vagrant unrest on earth she flung,
There was favouring and fondling and bravery and building
and chuckling music and suckling of the young.
Jove thought.
He strove and wrought at
47
A thousand clarities; from his brows sprang
With earnest mien
Stern Athene;
The cold armour on her shoulders rang.
Our sires at the fires of her lucid eyes began
To speak in symbols, to seek out causes, to name the creatures; they became
Man.
World and Man
Unfurled their banner –
It was gay Behemoth on a sable field.
Fresh-robed
In flesh, the ennobled
Spirits carousing in their myriads reeled;
There was frolic and holiday. Jove laughed to see
The abyss empeopled, his bliss imparted, the throng that was his and no longer
he.
~ Clive Staples Lewis,
770:Turn it beautiful.

His words came faintly at first, but they came again and again, always softly, always with the insistence of an elder commanding wisdom.

Turn it all to beauty.

She walked to the rail. When she turned and sat upon it, she heard a sailor in the crowd murmur that she might play them a tune. She hoped he was right. She needed the voices to be wrong. Fin raised the instrument to the cleft of her neck and closed her eyes. She emptied her mind and let herself be carried back to her earliest memory, the first pain she ever knew: the knowledge that her parents didn’t want her. The despair of rejection coursed through her. It fathered a knot of questions that bound her, enveloped her. Waves of uncertainty and frailty shook her to the bones. Her body quivered with anger and hopelessness. She reeled on the edge of a precipice. She wanted to scream or to throw her fists but she held it inside; she struggled to control it. She fought to subjugate her pain, but it grew. It welled up; it filled her mind. When she could hold it no more, exhausted by defiance and wearied by years of pretending not to care, Bartimaeus’s words surrounded her.

Got to turn it beautiful.

She dropped her defenses. She let weakness fill her. She accepted it. And the abyss yawned. She tottered over the edge and fell. The forces at war within her raced down her arms and set something extraordinary in motion; they became melody and harmony: rapturous, golden. Her fingers coaxed the long-silent fiddle to life. They danced across the strings without hesitation, molding beauty out of the miraculous combination of wood, vibration, and emotion. The music was so bright she felt she could see it. The poisonous voices were outsung. Notes raged out of her in a torrent. She had such music within her that her bones ached with it, the air around her trembled with it, her veins bled it. The men around fell still and silent. Some slipped to the deck and sat enraptured like children before a travelling bard. ~ A S Peterson,
771:All about her she saw that two thousand out of the horde had made it across the water. They were on the frontier of Eden. A mere two thousand combatants for the invasion of an impregnable fortress. Five out of six Nephilim had perished at the mercy of Rahab and her brood of Leviathan and the tentacled one. The devastation was inestimable. It could lose her the war. Still, she had two thousand warriors with her. They were on the shores of the entrance to the Garden that hid the Tree of Life deep in its midst. Thanks to the Cursed One, she knew exactly where that tree was. She looked for her Rephaim generals but could not find them. They had all been lost to the denizens of the deep. An earthquake rocked the land. It was deep, the precursor of something much bigger. “Now what?” Inanna complained. She looked onto the horizon of her destination. Black smoke billowing out of the mountaintops of not only Mount Sahand, but the more distant northern Mount Savalan. The earth rumbled again. She realized she did not have much time. She signaled for her Anzu bird, and called out to Utu, flying above them at a safe height. “SOUND THE CRY OF WAR!” she bellowed. Utu put the trumpet to his lips and blew with all his might. The war cry of Inanna echoed throughout the land. Her Nephilim gathered their arms and dashed toward the heart of Eden. Inanna mounted her thunderbird. She glanced out at the Lake. Rahab glided on the surface, its eyes watching her. It would not forget this day, nor the Watcher, who for one moment bested the sea dragon of the Abyss.               • • • • • At the top of the Mount Sahand ridge, six thousand Nephilim prepared their sail-chutes. They waited for the call of war. When it came, they jumped off the cliff edge by the dozens. They opened up their sails to float down into the Garden. Handfuls of them failed and Nephilim plummeted to their deaths a thousand feet below. But most of them worked. The Nephilim drifted from the heavens into the pristine paradise. Right into the flaming whirling swords of the Cherubim. ~ Brian Godawa,
772:I lived inscrutable hours, a succession of disconnected moments, in my night-time walk to the lonely shore of the sea. All the thoughts that have made men live and all their emotions that have died passed through my mind, like a dark summary of history, in my meditation that went to the seashore. I suffered in me, with me, the aspirations of all eras, and every disquietude of every age walked with me to the murmuring shore of the sea. What men wanted and didn’t achieve, what they killed in order to achieve, and all that souls have secretly been – all of this filled the feeling soul with which I walked to the seashore. What lovers found strange in those they love, what the wife never revealed to her husband, what the mother imagines about the son she didn’t have, what only had form in a smile or opportunity, in a time that wasn’t the right time or in an emotion that was missing – all of this went to the seashore with me and with me returned, and the waves grandly churned their music that made me live it all in a sleep. We are who we’re not, and life is quick and sad. The sound of the waves at night is a sound of the night, and how many have heard it in their own soul, like the perpetual hope that dissolves in the darkness with a faint plash of distant foam! What tears were shed by those who achieved, what tears lost by those who succeeded! And all of this, in my walk to the seashore, was a secret told me by the night and the abyss. How many we are! How many of us fool ourselves! What seas crash in us, in the night when we exist, along the beaches that we feel ourselves to be, inundated by emotion! All that was lost, all that should have been sought, all that was obtained and fulfilled by mistake, all that we loved and lost and then, after losing it and loving it for having lost it, realized we never loved; all that we believed we were thinking when we were feeling; all the memories we took for emotions; and the entire ocean, noisy and cool, rolling in from the depths of the vast night to ripple over the beach, during my nocturnal walk to the seashore … ~ Fernando Pessoa,
773:I call it the state where everyone, good and bad, is a poison-drinker: the state where everyone, good and bad, loses himself: the state where universal slow suicide is called — life.
Just look at these superfluous people! They steal for themselves the works of inventors and the treasures of the wise: they call their theft culture — and they turn everything to sickness and calamity.
Just look at these superfluous people! They are always ill, they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper. They devour one another and cannot even digest themselves.
Just look at these superfluous people! They acquire wealth and make themselves poorer with it. They desire power and especially the lever of power, plenty of money — these impotent people!
See them clamber, these nimble apes! They clamber over one another and so scuffle into the mud and the abyss.
They all strive towards the throne: it is a madness they have — as if happiness sat upon the throne! Often filth sits upon the throne — and often the throne upon filth, too.
They all seem madmen to me and clambering apes and too vehement. Their idol, that cold monster, smells unpleasant to me: all of them, all these idolaters, smell unpleasant to me.
My brothers, do you then want to suffocate in the fumes of their animal mouths and appetites? Better to break the window and leap into the open air.
Avoid this bad odour! Leave the idolatry of the superfluous!
Avoid this bad odour! Leave the smoke of these human sacrifices!
The earth still remains free for great souls. Many places — the odour of tranquil seas blowing about them — are still empty for solitaries and solitary couples.
A free life still remains for great souls. Truly, he who possesses little is so much the less possessed: praised be a moderate poverty!
Only there, where the state ceases, does the man who is not superfluous begin: does the song of the necessary man, the unique and irreplaceable melody, begin.
There, where the state ceases — look there, my brothers. Do you not see it: the rainbow and the bridges to the Superman? ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
774:The mass of men have been forced to be gay about the little things, but sad about the big ones. Nevertheless (I offer my last dogma defiantly) it is not native to man to be so. Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live. Yet, according to the apparent estate of man as seen by the pagan or the agnostic, this primary need of human nature can never be fulfilled. Joy ought to be expansive; but for the agnostic it must be contracted, it must cling to one comer of the world. Grief ought to be a concentration; but for the agnostic its desolation is spread through an unthinkable eternity. This is what I call being born upside down. The sceptic may truly be said to be topsy-turvy; for his feet are dancing upwards in idle ecstacies, while his brain is in the abyss. To the modern man the heavens are actually below the earth. The explanation is simple; he is standing on his head; which is a very weak pedestal to stand on. But when he has found his feet again he knows it. Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man's ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this; that by its creed joy becomes something gigantic and sadness something special and small. The vault above us is not deaf because the universe is an idiot; the silence is not the heartless silence of an endless and aimless world. Rather the silence around us is a small and pitiful stillness like the prompt stillness in a sick-room. We are perhaps permitted tragedy as a sort of merciful comedy: because the frantic energy of divine things would knock us down like a drunken farce. We can take our own tears more lightly than we could take the tremendous levities of the angels. So we sit perhaps in a starry chamber of silence, while the laughter of the heavens is too loud for us to hear. ~ G K Chesterton,
775:Filled with rapture, his soul yearned for freedom, space, vastness. Over him the heavenly dome, full of quiet, shining stars, hung boundlessly. From the zenith to the horizon the still-dim Milky Way stretched its double strand. Night, fresh and quiet, almost unstirring, enveloped the earth. The white towers and golden domes of the church gleamed in the sapphire sky. The luxuriant autumn flowers in the flowerbeds near the house had fallen asleep until morning. The silence of the earth seemed to merge with the silence of the heavens, the mystery of the earth touched the mystery of the stars... Alyosha stood gazing and suddenly, as if he had been cut down, threw himself to the earth.

He did not know why he was embracing it, he did not try to understand why he longed so irresistibly to kiss it, to kiss all of it, but he was kissing it, weeping, sobbing, and watering it with his tears, and he vowed ecstatically to love it, to love it unto ages of ages. "Water the earth with the tears of your joy, and love those tears...," rang in his soul. What was he weeping for? Oh, in his rapture he wept even for the stars that shone on him from the abyss, and "he was not ashamed of this ecstasy." It was as if threads from all those innumerable worlds of God all came together in his soul, and it was trembling all over, "touching other worlds." He wanted to forgive everyone and for everything, and to ask forgiveness, oh, not for himself! but for all and for everything, "as others are asking for me," rang again in his soul. But with each moment he felt clearly and almost tangibly something as firm and immovable as this heavenly vault descend into his soul. Some sort of idea, as it were, was coming to reign in his mind-now for the whole of his life and unto ages of ages. He fell to the earth a weak youth and rose up a fighter, steadfast for the rest of his life, and he knew it and felt it suddenly, in that very moment of his ecstasy. Never, never in all his life would Alyosha forget that moment. "Someone visited my soul in that hour," he would say afterwards, with firm belief in his words... ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
776:Sic Semper Liberatoribus!
As one who feels the breathless nightmare grip
His heart-strings, and through visioned horrors fares,
Now on a thin-ledged chasm's rock-crumbling lip,
Now on a tottering pinnacle that dare
The front of heaven, while always unawares
Weird monsters start above, around, beneath,
Each glaring from some uglier mask of death,
So the White Czar imperial progress made
Through terror-haunted days. A shock, a cry
Whose echoes ring the globe-the spectre's laid.
Hurled o'er the abyss, see the crowned martyr lie
Resting in peace-fear, change, and death gone by.
Fit end for nightmare-mist of blood and tears,
Red climax to the slow, abortive years.
The world draws breath-one long, deep-shuddering sigh,
At that which dullest brain prefigured clear
As swift-sure bolt from thunder-threatening sky.
How heaven-anointed humblest lots appear
Beside his glittering eminence of fear;
His spiked crown, sackcloth purple, poisoned cates,
His golden palace honey-combed with hates.
Well is it done! A most heroic plan,
Which after myriad plots succeeds at last
In robbing of his life this poor old man,
Whose sole offense-his birthright-has but passed
To fresher blood, with younger strength recast.
What men are these, who, clamoring to be free,
Would bestialize the world to what they be?
Whose sons are they who made the snow-wreathed head
Their frenzy's target? In their Russian veins,
What alien current urged on to smite him dead,
Whose word had loosed a million Russian chains?
What brutes were they for whom such speechless pains,
So royally endured, no human thrill
Awoke, in hearts drunk with the lust to kill?
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Not brutes! No tiger of the wilderness,
No jackal of the jungle, bears such brand
As man's black heart, who shrinks not to confess
The desperate deed of his deliberate hand.
Our kind, our kin, have done this thing. We stand
Bowed earthward, red with shame, to see such wrong
Prorogue Love's cause and Truth's-God knows how long!
~ Emma Lazarus,
777:The Cathedral Tombs
THEY lie, with upraised hands, and feet
Stretched like dead feet that walk no more,
And stony masks oft human sweet,
As if the olden look each wore,
Familiar curves of lip and eye,
Were wrought by some fond memory.
All waiting: the new-coffined dead,
The handful of mere dust that lies
Sarcophagused in stone and lead
Under the weight of centuries:
Knight, cardinal, bishop, abbess mild,
With last week's buried year-old child.
After the tempest cometh peace,
After long travail sweet repose;
These folded palms, these feet that cease
From any motion, are but shows
Of--what? What rest? How rest they? Where?
The generations naught declare.
Dark grave, unto whose brink we come,
Drawn nearer by all nights and days;
Each after each, thy solemn gloom
We pierce with momentary gaze,
Then go, unwilling or content,
The way that all our fathers went.
Is there no voice or guiding hand
Arising from the awful void,
To say, 'Fear not the silent land;
Would He make aught to be destroyed?
Would He? or can He? What know we
Of Him who is Infinity?
Strong Love, which taught us human love,
Helped us to follow through all spheres
Some soul that did sweet dead lips move,
Lived in dear eyes in smiles and tears,
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Love--once so near our flesh allied,
That 'Jesus wept' when Lazarus died;-Eagle-eyed Faith that can see God,
In worlds without and heart within;
In sorrow by the smart o' the rod,
In guilt by the anguish of the sin;
In everything pure, holy, fair,
God saying to man's soul, 'I am there';-These only, twin-archangels, stand
Above the abyss of common doom,
These only stretch the tender hand
To us descending to the tomb,
Thus making it a bed of rest
With spices and with odors drest.
So, like one weary and worn, who sinks
To sleep beneath long faithful eyes,
Who asks no word of love, but drinks
The silence which is paradise-We only cry--'Keep angelward,
And give us good rest, O good Lord!'
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik,
778:The following is one of the oldest sermon illustrations used in the Christian church. It also tests one’s understanding of the Christian life. There once lived an ugly, hunchback dwarf. No one ever invited him to a party. No one showed him love or even attention. He became disillusioned with life and decided to climb a mountain and throw himself from its peak into the abyss. When he ascended the mountain, he met a beautiful girl. He talked to her and discovered that she was climbing the mountain for the same purpose. Her suffering was at the other extreme. She had everyone’s attention and love, but the one she loved had forsaken her for another girl, one with riches. She felt life had no meaning for her any longer, so they decided to make the ascent together. While they climbed, they met a man who introduced himself as a police officer in search of a very dangerous bandit who had robbed and murdered many people. The king had promised a large reward to the person who captured him. The police officer was very confident: “I will catch him because I know he has a feature by which he can be recognized. He has six fingers on his right hand. The police have been looking for him for years. For the last two or three, nothing has been heard from him, but he must pay for a multitude of past crimes.” The three climbed the mountain. Near its peak was a monastery. Its abbot, although he had become a monk only recently, had quickly attained great renown for saintliness. When they entered the monastery, he came to meet them. You could see the glory of God in his face. As the girl bowed to kiss his right hand, she saw he had six fingers. With this, the story ends. Those who hear this story are perplexed. It can’t finish like this! What happened to the dwarf, the girl, the policeman? Was the criminal caught? The story’s beauty is that it does finish here. Something beautiful has happened: A criminal hunted because of his many robberies and murders has become a great saint, renowned for his godly life. All the rest is of no further interest. The great miracle has been performed. Christ has been born in the heart of a man of very low character. ~ Richard Wurmbrand,
779:Grom, I need to ask you something."
Hesitant, Grom tears his gaze from the abyss and settles it on his brother, but his eyes still hold a distance. "Hmm?"
"Do you believe in the pull?"
The question visibly jolts Grom, replacing the detachment in his eyes with pain. "What kind of question is that?"
Galen shrugs, guilt stabbing him like a trident. "Some say you felt the pull for Nalia."
Grom massages his eyes with fingertips, but not before Galen sees the torment deepen. "I didn't realize you listened to gossip, little brother."
"If I listened to gossip, I wouldn't bother to ask."
"Do you believe in the pull, Galen?"
"I don't know."
Galen nods, sighing. "I don't know either. But if there is such a thing, I guess it would be safe to say I felt it toward Nalia." With a flit of his tail, he swims forward, turning away from his brother. "Sometimes I swear I can still sense her. It's faint, and it comes and goes. Some days it's so real, I think I'm losing my mind."
"What...what does it feel like?" Galen almost can't ask. He'd already determined to never have this conversation with Grom. But things have changed.
To his surprise, Grom chuckles. "Is there something I need to know, little brother? Has someone finally hooked you?"
Galen doesn't quite get his mouth closed before his brother turns around. Grom's laugh seems foreign in this dismal place. "Looks like she's got you hooked and reeled. Who is she?"
"None of your business." At least not yet.
Grom grins. "So that's where you've been. Chasing after a female."
"You could say that." In fact, his brother can say anything he wants. He's not telling Grom about Emma. Not while Paca is out there somewhere, just waiting to be mated with a Triton king.
"If you won't tell me, I'll just ask Rayna."
"If Rayna knew, there would have already been a public announcement."
"True," Grom says, smirking. "You're smarter than I give you credit for, tadpole. So smart, in fact, that I know I don't have to tell you to keep her away from here, whoever she is. Just until things settle down."
Galen nods. "You don't have to worry about that. ~ Anna Banks,
780:When you’re in the middle and stuck, you need to know when to back out and call for help. If that person is someone you live with, set up your signals as Molly and her husband did. Use expressions or words that clearly signify “I need your help now!” It is imperative that parents of spirited children work together. It is not a sign of failure to let others assist you. It is a recognition and acceptance of your own intensity and limits. Blaming or ridiculing only fuels the intensity levels. Teamwork is essential. You have to talk about how you react when your child is upset. You have to decide how you can help and support each other. By working together, you take the sting out of your child’s strong responses. You create a lifeline that keeps you from falling into the abyss of the red zone. If it seems impossible for you and your partner to work together, seek counseling, and make weekly dates a priority so that you can work together. Researchers at the Gottman Institute have found that children of unhappily married parents are chronically aroused physiologically and it takes them much longer to recover from emotional arousal. Your children need you to work together so that they can stay in the green zone, where they are calm and open to your guidance. If you are a single parent, you might think that you can’t ask someone else for help. Single parents often say, “What if I call and interrupt their meal or family time?” Or, “I don’t want to bother anyone.” But good friends don’t mind being bothered. They appreciate the opportunity to help and the joy of giving. Look for someone you know who likes your child and won’t be critical of him or you. You have to be able to trust that they’ll support you, and then feel free to call. As the parent of a spirited child, you have to know and use your resources well. Step Away from It Of course there are times when your kids are plummeting into the red zone and you are all alone, with no one to help. If you realize you’re going over the edge with them, give yourself permission to step out of the fire. It’s much better to take a breather than to have two bulls charging head to head into each other. ~ Mary Sheedy Kurcinka,
781:August
This was its promise, held to faithfully:
The early morning sun came in this way
Until the angle of its saffron beam
Between the curtains and the sofa lay,
And with its ochre heat it spread across
The village houses, and the nearby wood,
Upon my bed and on my dampened pillow
And to the corner where the bookcase stood.
Then I recalled the reason why my pillow
Had been so dampened by those tears that fellI'd dreamt I saw you coming one by one
Across the wood to wish me your farewell.
You came in ones and twos, a straggling crowd;
Then suddenly someone mentioned a word:
It was the sixth of August, by Old Style,
And the Transfiguration of Our Lord.
For from Mount Tabor usually this day
There comes a light without a flame to shine,
And autumn draws all eyes upon itself
As clear and unmistaken as a sign.
But you came forward through the tiny, stripped,
The pauperly and trembling alder grove,
Into the graveyard's coppice, russet-red,
Which, like stamped gingerbread, lay there and glowed.
And with the silence of those high treetops
Was neighbour only the imposing sky
And in the echoed crowing of the cocks
The distances and distances rang by:
There in the churchyard underneath the trees,
Like some surveyor from the government
Death gazed on my pale face to estimate
How large a grave would suit my measurement.
29
All those who stood there could distinctly hear
A quiet voice emerge from where I lay:
The voice was mine, my past; prophetic words
That sounded now, unsullied by decay:
'Farewell, wonder of azure and of gold
Surrounding the Transfiguration's power:
Assuage now with a woman's last caress
The bitterness of my predestined hour!
'Farewell timeless expanse of passing years!
Farewell, woman who flung your challenge steeled
Against the abyss of humiliations:
For it is I who am your battlefield!
'Farewell, you span of open wings outspread,
The voluntary obstinacy of flight,
O figure of the world revealed in speech,
Creative genius, wonder-working might!'
~ Boris Pasternak,
782:Metaphysics, a completely isolated and speculative branch of rational knowledge which is raised above all teachings of experience and rests on concepts only (not, like mathematics, on their application to intuition), in which reason therefore is meant to be its own pupil, has hitherto not had the good fortune to enter upon the secure path of a science, although it is older than all other sciences, and would survive even if all the rest were swallowed up in the abyss of an all-destroying barbarism. Reason in metaphysics, even if it tries, as it professes, only to gain *a priori* insight into those laws which are confirmed by our most common experience, is constantly being brought to a standstill, and we are obliged again and again to retrace our steps, as they do not lead us where we want to go. As to unanimity among its participants, there is so little of it in metaphysics that it has rather become an arena that would seem especially suited for those who wish to exercise themselves in mock fights, where no combatant has as yet succeeded in gaining even an inch of ground that he could call his permanent possession. There cannot be any doubt, therefore, that the method of metaphysics has hitherto consisted in a mere random groping, and, what is worst of all, in groping among mere concepts.

What, then, is the reason that this secure scientific course has not yet been found? Is this, perhaps, impossible? Why, in that case, should nature have afflicted our reason with the restless aspiration to look for it, and have made it one of its most important concerns? What is more, how little should we be justified in trusting our reason, with regard to one of the most important objects of which we desire knowledge, it not only abandons us, but lures us on by delusions, and in the end betrays us! Or, if hitherto we have only failed to meet with the right path, what indications are there to make us hope that, should we renew our search, we shall be more successful than others before us?"

―from Critique of Pure Reason . Preface to the Second Edition. Translated, edited, and with an Introduction by Marcus Weigelt, based on the translation by Max Müller, p. 17 ~ Immanuel Kant,
783:Today, suddenly, I reached an absurd but unerring conclusion. In a moment of enlightenment, I realized that I'm nobody, absolutely nobody. When the lightning flashed, I saw that what I had thought to be a city was in fact a deserted plain and, in the same sinister light that revealed me to myself, there seemed to be no sky above it. I was robbed of any possibility of having existed before the world. If I was ever reincarnated, I must have done so without myself, without a self to reincarnate.
I am the outskirts of some non-existent town, the long-winded prologue to an unwritten book. I'm nobody, nobody. I don't know how to feel or think or love. I'm a character in a novel as yet unwritten, hovering in the air and undone before I've even existed, amongst the dreams of someone who never quite managed to breathe life into me.
I'm always thinking, always feeling, but my thoughts lack all reason, my emotions all feeling. I'm falling through a trapdoor, through infinite, infinitous space, in a directionless, empty fall. My soul is a black maelstrom, a great madness spinning about a vacuum, the swirling of a vast ocean around a hole in the void, and in the waters, more like whirlwinds than waters, float images of all I ever saw or heard in the world: houses, faces, books, boxes, snatches of music and fragments of voices, all caught up in a sinister, bottomless whirlpool.
And I, I myself, am the centre that exists only because the geometry of the abyss demands it; I am the nothing around which all this spins, I exist so that it can spin, I am a centre that exists only because every circle has one. I, I myself, am the well in which the walls have fallen away to leave only viscous slime. I am the centre of everything surrounded by the great nothing.
And it is as if hell itself were laughing within me but, instead of the human touch of diabolical laughter, there's the mad croak of the dead universe, the circling cadaver of physical space, the end of all worlds drifting blackly in the wind, misshapen, anachronistic, without the God who created it, without God himself who spins in the dark of darks, impossible, unique, everything.
If only I could think! If only I could feel! ~ Fernando Pessoa,
784:Six heads erupted from the water with fangs flashing and mouths roaring. On the neck of one of them was Asherah, riding it like a steed. She pointed down at the approaching form of Mikael. The monster focused on the angel as a target. The sound of gurgling from deep within its bowels warned Mikael. He had been caught by this attack before, at the beach of Mount Sapan. He was not going to let it happen again. He dove behind a huge boulder as a stream of fire poured out from the dragon head and blackened the entire area of stone. Another head reached down and Dagon leapt onto it, pulled away before Uriel and Gabriel could reach him. Ba’alzebul and Molech dashed headlong at the seven heads. Ba’alzebul’s muscular form launched an amazing thirty feet to catch one of the gaping jaws as it swung past the rocks of the beach. Molech was not so glorious. He could only make a good twenty feet. It was not enough to reach his target. He landed in the water in a belly flop. Uriel and Gabriel could not help but look at each other, smirking. One of the dragon heads reached down and picked Molech out of the water with its teeth and placed him on the back of another neck. The head that Ba’alzebul had caught had a sword stuck in the roof of its mouth, the hilt sticking out of its head. It was Gabriel’s sword, from their confrontation at Sapan generations earlier. Ba’alzebul pulled it from the creature’s mouth and swung around to mount its neck. He raised the sword high in victory, as all seven heads plunged back into the deep, carrying its four riders away from the grasp of the angels. Mikael stepped down to the shoreline to stand by Uriel and Gabriel as Raphael and Raguel helped the trapped angels get free from the rocks. They looked out onto the frothing, swirling waters left behind by the exit of the gargantuan and its riders. There was no way the archangels could ever chase that chaos monster. “You have to hand it to that Asherah,” said Uriel. “She is one goddess with chutzpah, taking her chances with enchanting Leviathan.” Gabriel added, “And I thought Ashtart was gutsy.” “Ashtart cut your gut in half back at Mount Hermon,” said Uriel wryly. “If I had not found your legs in the waters of the Abyss you would have been a paraplegic until the Resurrection. ~ Brian Godawa,
785:Georgi M. Derluguian's Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus tells the extraordinary story of Musa Shanib from Abkhazia, the leading intellectual of this turbulent region whose incredible career passed from Soviet dissident intellectual through democratic political reformer and Muslim fundamentalist war leader up to respected professor of philosophy, his entire career marked by the strange admiration for Pierre Bourdieu's thought. There are two ways to approach such a figure. The first reaction is to dismiss it as local eccentricity, to treat it with benevolent irony - "what a strange choice, Bourdieu - who knows what this folkloric guy sees in Bourdieu...". The second reaction is to directly assert the universal scope of theory - "see how universal theory is: every intellectual from Paris to Chechenia and Abkhazia can debate his theories..." The true task, of course, is to avoid both these options and to assert the universality of a theory as the result of a hard theoretical work and struggle, a struggle that is not external to theory: the point is not (only) that Shanib had to do a lot of work to break the constraints of his local context and penetrate Bourdieu - this appropriation of Bourdieu by an Abkhazian intellectual also affects the substance of the theory itself, transposing it into a different universe. Did - mutatis mutandis - Lenin not do something similar with Marx? The shift of Mao with regard to Lenin AND Stalin concerns the relationship between the working class and peasants: both Lenin and Stalin were deeply distrustful towards the peasants, they saw as one of the main tasks of the Soviet power to break the inertia of the peasants, their substantial attachment to land, to "proletarize" them and thus fully expose them to the dynamics of modernization - in clear contrast to Mao who, in his critical notes on Stalin's Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR (from 1958) remarked that "Stalin's point of view /.../ is almost altogether wrong. The basic error is mistrust of the peasants." The theoretical and political consequences of this shift are properly shattering: they imply no less than a thorough reworking of Marx's Hegelian notion of proletarian position as the position of "substanceless subjectivity," of those who are reduced to the abyss of their subjectivity. ~ Slavoj i ek,
786:The general characteristics and attributions of these Grades are indicated by their correspondences on the Tree of Life, as may be studied in detail in the Book 777.
   Student. -- His business is to acquire a general intellectual knowledge of all systems of attainment, as declared in the prescribed books. (See curriculum in Appendix I.) {231}
   Probationer. -- His principal business is to begin such practices as he my prefer, and to write a careful record of the same for one year.
   Neophyte. -- Has to acquire perfect control of the Astral Plane.
   Zelator. -- His main work is to achieve complete success in Asana and Pranayama. He also begins to study the formula of the Rosy Cross.
   Practicus. -- Is expected to complete his intellectual training, and in particular to study the Qabalah.
   Philosophus. -- Is expected to complete his moral training. He is tested in Devotion to the Order.
   Dominus Liminis. -- Is expected to show mastery of Pratyahara and Dharana.
   Adeptus (without). -- is expected to perform the Great Work and to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
   Adeptus (within). -- Is admitted to the practice of the formula of the Rosy Cross on entering the College of the Holy Ghost.
   Adeptus (Major). -- Obtains a general mastery of practical Magick, though without comprehension.
   Adeptus (Exemptus). -- Completes in perfection all these matters. He then either ("a") becomes a Brother of the Left Hand Path or, ("b") is stripped of all his attainments and of himself as well, even of his Holy Guardian Angel, and becomes a babe of the Abyss, who, having transcended the Reason, does nothing but grow in the womb of its mother. It then finds itself a
   Magister Templi. -- (Master of the Temple): whose functions are fully described in Liber 418, as is this whole initiation from Adeptus Exemptus. See also "Aha!". His principal business is to tend his "garden" of disciples, and to obtain a perfect understanding of the Universe. He is a Master of Samadhi. {232}
   Magus. -- Attains to wisdom, declares his law (See Liber I, vel Magi) and is a Master of all Magick in its greatest and highest sense.
   Ipsissimus. -- Is beyond all this and beyond all comprehension of those of lower degrees. ~ Aleister Crowley, Liber ABA,
787:Interestingly, a point that never emerged in the press but that Tim Donovan revealed to the police was that Annie had specifically "asked him to trust her" for that night's doss money. This "he declined to do." Had this incident become common knowledge, it's likely that Donovan would have faced an even worse public backlash for his role in Annie's demise. "You can find money for your beer, and you can't find money for your bed." the deputy keeper is said to have spoken in response to her request. Annie, not quite willing to admit defeat, or perhaps in a show of pride, responded with a sigh: "Keep my bed for me. I shan't be long." Ill and drunk, she went downstairs and "stood in the door for two or three minutes," considering her options. Like the impecunious lodger described by Goldsmith, she too would have been contemplating from whom among her "pals" it might have been "possible to borrow the halfpence necessary to complete {her} doss money." More likely, Annie was mentally preparing "to spend the night with only the sky for a canopy." She then set off down Brushfield Street, toward Christ Church, Spitalfields, where the homeless regularly bedded down. Her thoughts as she stepped out onto Dorest Street, as the light from Crossingham's dimmed at her back, can never be known. What route she wove through the black streets and to whom she spoke along the will never be confirmed. All that is certain is her final destination. Of the many tragedies that befell Annie Chapman in the final years of her life, perhaps one of the most poignant was that she needn't have been on the streets on that night, or on any other. Ill and feverish, she needn't have searched the squalid corners for a spot to sleep. Instead, she might have lain in a bed in her mother's house or in her sisters' care, on the other side of London. She might have been treated for tuberculosis; she might have been comforted by the embraces of her children or the loving assurances of her family. Annie needn't have suffered. At every turn there had been a hand reaching to pull her from the abyss, but the counter-tug of addiction was more forceful, and the grip of shame was just as strong. It was this that pulled her under, that had extinguished her hope and then her life many years earlier. What her murderer claimed on that night was simply all that remained of what drink had left behind. ~ Hallie Rubenhold,
788:People try to get away from it all—to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within. Nowhere you can go is more peaceful—more free of interruptions—than your own soul. Especially if you have other things to rely on. An instant’s recollection and there it is: complete tranquillity. And by tranquillity I mean a kind of harmony. So keep getting away from it all—like that. Renew yourself. But keep it brief and basic. A quick visit should be enough to ward off all < . . . > and send you back ready to face what awaits you. What’s there to complain about? People’s misbehavior? But take into consideration: • that rational beings exist for one another; • that doing what’s right sometimes requires patience; • that no one does the wrong thing deliberately; • and the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fought and died and been buried. . . . and keep your mouth shut. Or are you complaining about the things the world assigns you? But consider the two options: Providence or atoms. And all the arguments for seeing the world as a city. Or is it your body? Keep in mind that when the mind detaches itself and realizes its own nature, it no longer has anything to do with ordinary life—the rough and the smooth, either one. And remember all you’ve been taught—and accepted—about pain and pleasure. Or is it your reputation that’s bothering you? But look at how soon we’re all forgotten. The abyss of endless time that swallows it all. The emptiness of all those applauding hands. The people who praise us—how capricious they are, how arbitrary. And the tiny region in which it all takes place. The whole earth a point in space—and most of it uninhabited. How many people there will be to admire you, and who they are. So keep this refuge in mind: the back roads of your self. Above all, no strain and no stress. Be straightforward. Look at things like a man, like a human being, like a citizen, like a mortal. And among the things you turn to, these two: i. That things have no hold on the soul. They stand there unmoving, outside it. Disturbance comes only from within—from our own perceptions. ii. That everything you see will soon alter and cease to exist. Think of how many changes you’ve already seen. “The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception. ~ Marcus Aurelius,
789:Agamemnon’s Tomb
Uplift the ponderous, golden mask of death,
And let the sun shine on him as it did
How many thousand years agone! Beneath
This worm-defying, uncorrupted lid,
Behold the young, heroic face, round-eyed,
Of one who in his full-flowered manhood died;
Of nobler frame than creatures of to-day,
Swathed in fine linen cerecloths fold on fold,
With carven weapons wrought of bronze and gold,
Accoutred like a warrior for the fray.
We gaze in awe at these huge-modeled limbs,
Shrunk in death's narrow house, but hinting yet
Their ancient majesty; these sightless rims
Whose living eyes the eyes of Helen met;
The speechless lips that ah! what tales might tell
Of earth's morning-tide when gods did dwell
Amidst a generous-fashioned, god-like race,
Who dwarf our puny semblance, and who won
The secret soul of Beauty for their own,
While all our art but crudely apes their grace.
We gather all the precious relics up,
The golden buttons chased with wondrous craft,
The sculptured trinkets and the crystal cup,
The sheathed, bronze sword, the knife with brazen haft.
Fain would we wrest with curious eyes from these
Unnumbered long-forgotten histories,
The deeds heroic of this mighty man,
On whom once more the living daylight beams,
To shame our littleness, to mock our dreams,
And the abyss of centuries to span.
Yet could we rouse him from his blind repose,
How might we meet his searching questionings,
Concerning all the follies, wrongs, and woes,
Since his great day whom men call King of Kings,
Victorious Agamemnon? How might we
Those large, clear eyes confront, which scornfully
26
Would view us as a poor, degenerate race,
Base-souled and mean-proportioned? What reply
Give to the beauty-loving Greek's heart-cry,
Seeking his ancient gods in vacant space?
What should he find within a world grown cold,
Save doubt and trouble? To his sunny creed
A thousand gloomy, warring sects succeed.
How of the Prince of Peace might he be told,
When over half the world the war-cloud lowers?
How would he mock these faltering hopes of ours,
Who knows the secret now of death and fate!
Humbly we gaze on the colossal frame,
And mutely we accept the mortal shame,
Of men degraded from a high estate.
~ Emma Lazarus,
790:Algebra applies to the clouds, the radiance of the star benefits the rose--no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who could ever calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined by falling grains of sand? Who can understand the reciprocal ebb and flow of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abyss of being and the avalanches of creation? A mite has value; the small is great, the great is small. All is balanced in necessity; frightening vision for the mind. There are marvelous relations between beings and things, in this inexhaustible whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn, each needs the other. Light does not carry terrestrial perfumes into the azure depths without knowing what it does with them; night distributes the stellar essence to the sleeping plants. Every bird that flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow's beak breaking the egg, and it guides the birth of the earthworm, and the advent of Socrates. Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which of the two has a greater view? Choose. A bit of mold is a pleiad of flowers; a nebula is an anthill of stars. The same promiscuity, and still more wonderful, between the things of the intellect and material things. Elements and principles are mingled, combined, espoused, multiplied one by another, to the point that the material world, and the moral world are brought into the same light. Phenomena are perpetually folded back on themselves. In the vast cosmic changes, universal life comes and goes in unknown quantities, rolling everything up in the invisible mystery of the emanations, using everything, losing no dream from any single sleep, sowing a microscopic animal here, crumbling a star there, oscillating and gyrating, making a force of light, and an element of thought, disseminated and indivisible dissolving all, that geometric point, the self; reducing everything to the soul-atom; making everything blossom into God; entangling from the highest to the lowest, all activities in the obscurity of a dizzying mechanism, linking the flight of an insect to the movement of the earth, subordinating--who knows, if only by the identity of the law--the evolutions of the comet in the firmament to the circling of the protozoa in the drop of water. A machine made of mind. Enormous gearing, whose first motor is the gnat, and whose last is the zodiac. ~ Victor Hugo,
791:CHORUS OF SPIRITS:

FIRST SPIRIT:
Palace-roof of cloudless nights!
Paradise of golden lights!
Deep, immeasurable, vast,
Which art now, and which wert then
Of the Present and the Past,
Of the eternal Where and When,
Presence-chamber, temple, home,
Ever-canopying dome,
Of acts and ages yet to come!

Glorious shapes have life in thee,
Earth, and all earths company;
Living globes which ever throng
Thy deep chasms and wildernesses;
And green worlds that glide along;
And swift stars with flashing tresses;
And icy moons most cold and bright,
And mighty suns beyond the night,
Atoms of intensest light.

Even thy name is as a god,
Heaven! for thou art the abode
Of that Power which is the glass
Wherein man his nature sees.
Generations as they pass
Worship thee with bended knees.
Their unremaining gods and they
Like a river roll away:
Thou remainest suchalway!

SECOND SPIRIT:
Thou art but the minds first chamber,
Round which its young fancies clamber,
Like weak insects in a cave,
Lighted up by stalactites;
But the portal of the grave,
Where a world of new delights
Will make thy best glories seem
But a dim and noonday gleam
From the shadow of a dream!

THIRD SPIRIT:
Peace! the abyss is wreathed with scorn
At your presumption, atom-born!
What is Heaven? and what are ye
Who its brief expanse inherit?
What are suns and spheres which flee
With the instinct of that Spirit
Of which ye are but a part?
Drops which Natures mighty heart
Drives through thinnest veins! Depart!

What is Heaven? a globe of dew,
Filling in the morning new
Some eyed flower whose young leaves waken
On an unimagined world:
Constellated suns unshaken,
Orbits measureless, are furled
In that frail and fading sphere,
With ten millions gathered there,
To tremble, gleam, and disappear.

CANCELLED FRAGMENTS OF THE ODE TO HEAVEN.
[Published by Mr. C.D. Locock, Examination, etc., 1903.]

The [living frame which sustains my soul]
Is [sinking beneath the fierce control]
Down through the lampless deep of song
I am drawn and driven along

When a Nation screams aloud
Like an eagle from the cloud
When a...

...

When the night...

...

Watch the look askance and old
See neglect, and falsehood fold...
Published with Prometheus Unbound, 1820. Dated 'Florence, December, 1819' in Harvard manuscript (Woodberry). A transcript exists amongst the Shelley manuscripts at the Bodleian Library.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode To Heaven
,
792:All Night, All Night
"I have been one acquainted with the night" - Robert Frost
Rode in the train all night, in the sick light. A bird
Flew parallel with a singular will. In daydream's moods and
attitudes
The other passengers slumped, dozed, slept, read,
Waiting, and waiting for place to be displaced
On the exact track of safety or the rack of accident.
Looked out at the night, unable to distinguish
Lights in the towns of passage from the yellow lights
Numb on the ceiling. And the bird flew parallel and still
As the train shot forth the straight line of its whistle,
Forward on the taut tracks, piercing empty, familiar -The bored center of this vision and condition looked and
looked
Down through the slick pages of the magazine (seeking
The seen and the unseen) and his gaze fell down the well
Of the great darkness under the slick glitter,
And he was only one among eight million riders and
readers.
And all the while under his empty smile the shaking drum
Of the long determined passage passed through him
By his body mimicked and echoed. And then the train
Like a suddenly storming rain, began to rush and thresh-The silent or passive night, pressing and impressing
The patients' foreheads with a tightening-like image
Of the rushing engine proceeded by a shaft of light
Piercing the dark, changing and transforming the silence
Into a violence of foam, sound, smoke and succession.
A bored child went to get a cup of water,
And crushed the cup because the water too was
Boring and merely boredom's struggle.
The child, returning, looked over the shoulder
Of a man reading until he annoyed the shoulder.
A fat woman yawned and felt the liquid drops
Drip down the fleece of many dinners.
And the bird flew parallel and parallel flew
The black pencil lines of telephone posts, crucified,
At regular intervals, post after post
Of thrice crossed, blue-belled, anonymous trees.
And then the bird cried as if to all of us:
0 your life, your lonely life
What have you ever done with it,
And done with the great gift of consciousness?
What will you ever do with your life before death's
knife
Provides the answer ultimate and appropriate?
As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls,
Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feel the vast
Draft of the abyss sucking him down and down,
An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown:
This is the way that night passes by, this
Is the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable
abyss.
~ Delmore Schwartz,
793:Sonnets Xlix: L: Li: Lii: Willowwood
I sat with Love upon a woodside well,
Leaning across the water, I and he;
Nor ever did he speak nor looked at me,
But touched his lute wherein was audible
The certain secret thing he had to tell:
Only our mirrored eyes met silently
In the low wave; and that sound came to be
The passionate voice I knew; and my tears fell.
And at their fall, his eyes beneath grew hers;
And with his foot and with his wing-feathers
He swept the spring that watered my heart's drouth.
Then the dark ripples spread to waving hair,
And as I stooped, her own lips rising there
Bubbled with brimming kisses at my mouth.
II
And now Love sang: but his was such a song,
So meshed with half-remembrance hard to free,
As souls disused in death's sterility
May sing when the new birthday tarries long.
And I was made aware of a dumb throng
That stood aloof, one form by every tree,
All mournful forms, for each was I or she,
The shades of those our days that had no tongue.
They looked on us, and knew us and were known;
While fast together, alive from the abyss,
Clung the soul-wrung implacable close kiss;
And pity of self through all made broken moan
Which said “For once, for once, for once alone!”
And still Love sang, and what he sang was this:—
III
“O Ye, all ye that walk in Willowwood,
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That walk with hollow faces burning white;
What fathom-depth of soul-struck widowhood,
What long, what longer hours, one lifelong night,
Ere ye again, who so in vain have wooed
Your last hope lost, who so in vain invite
Your lips to that their unforgotten food,
Ere ye, ere ye again shall see the light!
Alas! the bitter banks in Willowwood,
With tear-spurge wan, with blood-wort burning red:
Alas! if ever such a pillow could
Steep deep the soul in sleep till she were dead,—
Better all life forget her than this thing,
That Willowwood should hold her wandering!”
IV
So sang he: and as meeting rose and rose
Together cling through the wind's wellaway
Nor change at once, yet near the end of day
The leaves drop loosened where the heart-stain glows,—
So when the song died did the kiss unclose;
And her face fell back drowned, and was as grey
As its grey eyes; and if it ever may
Meet mine again I know not if Love knows.
Only I know that I leaned low and drank
A long draught from the water where she sank,
Her breath and all her tears and all her soul:
And as I leaned, I know I felt Love's face
Pressed on my neck with moan of pity and grace,
Till both our heads were in his aureole.
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
794:And so when the generation, which itself desired to level and to be emancipated, to destroy authority and at the same time itself, has, through the scepticism of the principle association, started the hopeless forest fire of abstraction; when as a result of levelling with this scepticism, the generation has rid itself of the individual and of everything organic and concrete, and put in its place 'humanity' and the numerical equality of man and man: when the generation has, for a moment, delighted in this unlimited panorama of abstract infinity, unrelieved by even the smallest eminence, undisturbed by even the slightest interest, a sea of desert; then the time has come for work to begin, for every individual must work for himself, each for himself. No longer can the individual, as in former times, turn to the great for help when he grows confused. That is past; he is either lost in the dizziness of unending abstraction or saved for ever in the reality of religion. Perhaps very many will cry out in despair, but it will not help them--already it is too late...Nor shall any of the unrecognizable presume to help directly or to speak directly or to teach directly at the head of the masses, in order to direct their decisions, instead of giving his negative support and so helping the individual to make the decision which he himself has reached; any other course would be the end of him, because he would be indulging in the short-sighted compassion of man, instead of obeying the order of divinity, of an angry, yet so merciful, divinity. For the development is, in spite of everything, a progress because all the individuals who are saved will receive the specific weight of religion, its essence at first hand, from God himself. Then it will be said: 'behold, all is in readiness, see how the cruelty of abstraction makes the true form of worldliness only too evident, the abyss of eternity opens before you, the sharp scythe of the leveller makes it possible for every one individually to leap over the blade--and behold, it is God who waits. Leap, then, into the arms of God'. But the 'unrecognizable' neither can nor dares help man, not even his most faithful disciple, his mother, or the girl for whom he would gladly give his life: they must make the leap themselves, for God's love is not a second-hand gift. And yet the 'unrecognizable' neither can nor dares help man, not even his most faithful disciple, his mother, or the girl for whom he would gladly give his life: they must make the leap themselves, for God's love is not a second-hand gift. And yet the 'unrecognizable' (according to his degree) will have a double work compared with the 'outstanding' man (of the same degree), because he will not only have to work continuously, but at the same time labour to conceal his work. ~ S ren Kierkegaard,
795:The Birth Of Man
A Legend of the Talmud.
I.
When angels visit earth, the messengers
Of God's decree, they come as lightning, wind:
Before the throne, they all are living fire.
There stand four rows of angels-to the right
The hosts of Michael, Gabriel's to the left,
Before, the troop of Ariel, and behind,
The ranks of Raphael; all, with one accord,
Chanting the glory of the Everlasting.
Upon the high and holy throne there rests,
Invisible, the Majesty of God.
About his brows the crown of mystery
Whereon the sacred letters are engraved
Of the unutterable Name. He grasps
A sceptre of keen fire; the universe
Is compassed in His glance; at His right hand
Life stands, and at His left hand standeth Death.
II.
Lo, the divine idea of making man
Had spread abroad among the heavenly hosts;
And all at once before the immortal throne
Pressed troops of angels and of seraphim,
With minds opposed, and contradicting cries:
'Fulfill, great Father, thine exalted thought!
Create and give unto the earth her king!'
'Cease, cease, Almighty God! create no more!'
And suddenly upon the heavenly sphere
Deep silence fell; before the immortal throne
The angel Mercy knelt, and thus he spoke:
'Fulfill, great Father, thine exalted thought!
Create the likeness of thyself on earth.
In this new creature I will breathe the spirit
Of a divine compassion; he shall be
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Thy fairest image in the universe.'
But to his words the angel Peace replied,
With heavy sobs: 'My spirit was outspread,
Oh God, on thy creation, and all things
Were sweetly bound in gracious harmony.
But man, this strange new being, everywhere
Shall bring confusion, trouble, discord, war.'
'Avenger of injustice and of crime,'
Exclaimed the angel Justice, 'he shall be
Subject to me, and peace shall bloom again.
Create, oh Lord, create!' 'Father of truth,'
Implored with tears the angel Truth, 'Thou bring'st
Upon the earth the father of all lies!'
And over the celestial faces gloomed
A cloud of grief, and stillness deep prevailed.
Then from the midst of that abyss of light
Whence sprang the eternal throne, these words rang forth:
'Be comforted, my daughter! Thee I send
To be companion unto man on earth.'
And all the angels cried, lamenting loud:
'Thou robbest heaven of her fairest gem.
Truth! seal of all thy thoughts, Almighty God,
The richest jewel that adorns thy crown.'
From the abyss of glory rang the voice:
'From heaven to earth, from earth once more to heaven,
Shall Truth, with constant interchange, alight
And soar again, an everlasting link
Between the world and sky.'
And man was born.
~ Emma Lazarus,
796:We were eighteen thousand vertical feet above sea level, in the mouth of Everest’s killer jaws. I noticed my hand was shaking as I fumbled with the ropes through thick mittens.
It was pure fatigue.
An hour later, it felt like we were still no closer to base camp, and it was starting to get late.
I glanced nervously around the icefall. We should be meeting back up with Nima somewhere around here, as arranged. I scanned around but couldn’t see him.
I dug my crampons into the snow, leaned back against the face to get my breath back, and waited for Mick behind me.
He was still ten yards away, stepping carefully across the broken blocks of ice. We had been in this crevasse-ridden frozen death trap for more than nine hours, and we were both moving very laboriously.
Watching him, I knew that if the mighty Mick was moving this slowly then we were indeed on a big mountain.
I stood up and took a few more careful steps, testing the ice with each movement. I reached the end of one length of rope, unclipped, breathed hard, and grabbed the next rope.
I held it loosely in my hand, looked around, took another deep breath, then clipped my karabiner into the line.
Then all of a sudden, I felt the ground beneath me twitch.
I looked down and saw a crack in the ice shoot between my feet, with a quiet, slicing sound.
I didn’t dare move.
The world seemed to stand still.
The ice cracked once more behind me, then with no warning, it just dropped away beneath me, and I was falling.
Falling down this lethal black scar in the glacier that had no visible bottom.
Suddenly I smashed against the gray wall of the crevasse.
The force threw me to the other side, crushing my shoulder and arm against the ice. Then I jerked to a halt as the thin rope that I had just clipped into held me.
I am spinning round and round in free air. The tips of my crampons catch the edge of the crevasse wall.
I can hear my screams echoing in the darkness below.
Shards of ice keep raining down on me, and one larger bit smashes into my skull, jerking my head backward. I lose consciousness for a few precious seconds.
I blink back into life to see the last of the ice falling away beneath me into the darkness.
My body gently swings around on the end of the rope, and all is suddenly eerily silent.
Adrenaline is coursing through my body, and I find myself shaking in waves of convulsions.
I scream up at Mick, and the sound echoes around the walls. I looked up to the ray of light above, then down to the abyss below.
I clutch frantically for the wall, but it is glassy smooth. I swing my ice axe at it wildly, but it doesn’t hold, and my crampons just screech across the ice.
In desperation I cling to the rope above me and look up.
I am twenty-three years old and about to die.
Again. ~ Bear Grylls,
797:Rahab could swim the waters above and below the firmament. It was all her territory. But her special domain was the Abyss. From there, she could access every body of water that ultimately connected to this underwater abode. Her birth waters were Lake Urimiya, where Elohim created her and held her at bay when he established the heavens and the earth. She was in the Lake again at that moment. She had returned to this sacred ground to give birth to her own spawn. The Nephilim paddled on the surface of the water. They were unaware of the nemesis below, a protective mother sea dragon and her very hungry newborn offspring, Leviathan. Leviathan was every bit the armored sea serpent as its parent. Even so young, it was already about half the size of Rahab. But it had something its progenitor did not: seven heads. Seven dragon heads on seven snakelike necks with seven times the predator’s snapping jaws, and seven times the rows of razor teeth. Leviathan’s strike zone was wide and it was more agile and speedier than Rahab. And it had seven times the fury. The Nephilim were oblivious to the shadowy forms approaching them from the darkness below. They filled the waters with their crafts The lead skiffs were only two thirds of the way across. The first casualties came at the front of the line. A huge explosion of water erupted. Pontoons snapped in two, throwing Nephilim into the water. Yahipan screamed, “RAHAB!!” The Nephilim stopped rowing and looked about the water. The huge serpentine armor broke the surface again, crushing a slew of the flatboats and dragging Nephilim into the depths. The spiny back cut through the water and disappeared. The Rephaim yelled orders. The Nephilim rowed for their lives. But it was an easy feast for the monsters of the deep. Rahab simply opened her mouth and scooped up dozens of Nephilim like so many minnows. Leviathan came next, with the seven dragon heads snapping up Nephilim faster than they could get out of the way. Leviathan might be a newborn and smaller than its mother, but already armor covered it. It was even able to launch small pillars of fire from its nostrils. Its youth and speed made up for its size as it darted and dodged around, all of its heads coordinated in a bloodbath of feeding. Inanna wondered where all that food went. Some Nephilim tried to fight back But it was futile and the smart ones made for the shoreline. They hoped they might get lucky and be overlooked by their serpentine predators. That was only the beginning. The sorry paddlers were no match for the worst of all Elohim’s creatures. Another creature came up from the depths. Its body could not be seen, only tentacles bursting from the water and crushing demigods in its grip. Yahipan and Thamaq were in the middle of the mayhem and counted eight of these snakelike appendages grabbing hapless soldiers. ~ Brian Godawa,
798:L'Aube Spirituelle (Spiritual Dawn)
Quand chez les débauchés l'aube blanche et vermeille
Entre en société de l'Idéal rongeur,
Par l'opération d'un mystère vengeur
Dans la brute assoupie un ange se réveille.
Des Cieux Spirituels l'inaccessible azur,
Pour l'homme terrassé qui rêve encore et souffre,
S'ouvre et s'enfonce avec l'attirance du gouffre.
Ainsi, chère Déesse, Etre lucide et pur,
Sur les débris fumeux des stupides orgies
Ton souvenir plus clair, plus rose, plus charmant,
À mes yeux agrandis voltige incessamment.
Le soleil a noirci la flamme des bougies;
Ainsi, toujours vainqueur, ton fantôme est pareil,
Ame resplendissante, à l'immortel soleil!
Spiritual Dawn
When debauchees are roused by the white, rosy dawn,
Escorted by the Ideal which gnaws at their hearts
Through the action of a mysterious, vengeful law,
In the somnolent brute an Angel awakens.
The inaccessible blue of Spiritual Heavens,
For the man thrown to earth who suffers and still dreams,
Opens and yawns with the lure of the abyss.
Thus, dear Goddess, Being, lucid and pure,
Over the smoking ruins of stupid orgies,
Your memory, clearer, more rosy, more charming,
Hovers incessantly before my widened eyes.
The sunlight has darkened the flame of the candles;
Thus, ever triumphant, resplendent soul!
Your phantom is like the immortal sun!
263
— Translated by William Aggeler
Spiritual Dawn
When in the company of the Ideal
(That gnawing tooth) Dawn enters, white and pink,
The rooms of rakes — each sated beast can feel
An Angel waking through the fumes of drink.
For downcast Man, who dreams and suffers still,
The azure of the mystic heaven above,
With gulf-like vertigo, attracts his will.
So, Goddess, lucid Being of pure love,
Over the smoking wreck of feasts and scandals,
Your phantom, rosy and enchanting, flies
And still returns to my dilated eyes.
The sun has blackened out the flame of candles.
So your victorious phantom seems as one,
O blazing spirit, with the deathless Sun!
— Translated by Roy Campbell
L'Aube spirituelle
when to the drunkard's room the flushing East
comes with her comrade sharply-clawed, the Dream,
she wakens, by a dark avenging scheme,
an angel in the dull besotted beast.
deep vaults of inaccessible azure there,
before the dreamer sick with many a phasm,
open, abysmal as a beckoning chasm.
thus, deity, all pure clear light and air,
over the stupid orgy's reeking track
— brighter and lovelier yet, thine image flies
in fluttering rays before my widening eyes.
the sun has turned the candles' flame to black;
264
even so, victorious always, thou art one
— resplendent spirit! — with the eternal sun!
— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
~ Charles Baudelaire,
799:Genesis Bk Vii
(ll. 322-336) The other fiends who waged so fierce a war with God
lay wrapped in flames. They suffer torment, hot and surging
flame in the midst of hell, broad-stretching blaze of fire and
bitter smoke, darkness and gloom, because they broke allegiance
unto God. Their folly and the angel's pride deceived them. They
would not heed the word of God. Great was their punishment!
They fell, through folly and through pride, to fiery depths of
flame in hell. They sought another home devoid of light and
filled with fire -- a mighty flaming death. The fiends perceived
that through the might of God, because of their presumptuous
hearts and boundless insolence, they had won a measureless woe.
(ll. 337-355) Then spake their haughty king, who formerly was
fairest of the angels, most radiant in heaven, beloved of his
Leader and dear unto his Lord, until they turned to folly, and
Almighty God was moved to anger at their wantonness, and hurled
him down to depths of torment on that bed of death. He named him
with a name, and said their leader should be called from
thenceforth Satan. He bade him rule the black abyss of hell in
place of striving against God. Satan spake -- who now must needs
have charge of hell and dwell in the abyss -- in bitterness he
spake who once had been God's angel, radiant-hued in heaven,
until his pride and boundless arrogance betrayed him, so that he
would not do the bidding of the Lord of hosts. Bitterness was
welling in his heart; and round him blazed his cruel torment.
These words he spake:
(ll. 355-367) "This narrow place is little like those other
realms we knew, on high in heaven, allotted by my Lord, though
the Almighty hath not granted us to hold our state, or rule our
kingdom. He hath done us wrong to hurl us to the fiery depths of
hell, and strip us of our heavenly realm. He hath ordained that
human kind shall settle there. That is my greatest grief that
Adam -- wrought of earth -- should hold my firm-set throne and
live in joy, while we endure this bitter woe in hell.
(ll. 368-388) "Alas! could I but use my hands and have my
freedom for an hour, one winter hour, then with this host I would
-- But bands of iron crush me down, the bondage of my chains is
21
heavy. I am stripped of my dominion. Firmly are hell's fetters
forged upon me. Above me and below a blaze of fire! Never have
I seen a realm more fatal -- flame unassuaged that surges over
hell. Ensnaring links and heavy shackles hold me. My ways are
trammelled up; my feet are bound; my hands are fastened. Closed
are the doors of hell, the way cut off. I may not escape out of
my bonds, but mighty gyves of tempered iron, hammered hot, press
hard upon me. God hath set His foot upon my neck. So I know the
Lord of hosts hath read the purpose of my heart, and knew full
well that strife would grow between our host and Adam over the
heavenly realm, had I the freedom of my hands.
~ Caedmon,
800:In the State of Cheng there was a wonderful magician named Chi Han. He knew all about birth and death, gain and loss, misfortune and happiness, long life and short life—predicting events to a day with supernatural accuracy. The people of Cheng used to flee at his approach; but Lieh Tzu went to see him, and became so infatuated that on his return he said to Hu Tzu,  "I used to look upon your Tao as perfect. Now I know something more perfect still." "So far," replied Hu Tzu, "I have only taught you the ornamentals, not the essentials, of Tao; and yet you think you know all about it. Without cocks in your poultry-yard, what sort of eggs do the hens lay?  If you go about trying to force Tao down people's throats, you will be simply exposing yourself. Bring your friend with you, and let me show myself to him." So next day Lieh Tzu went with Chi Han to see Hu Tzu, and when they came out Chi Han said: "Alas! your teacher is doomed. He cannot live. I hardly give him ten days. I am astonished at him. He is but wet ashes." Lieh Tzu went in and wept bitterly, and told Hu Tzu; but the latter said: "I showed myself to him just now as the earth shows us its outward form, motionless and still, while production is all the time going on. I merely prevented him from seeing my pent-up energy within. Bring him again." Next day the interview took place as before; but as they were leaving Chi Han said to Lieh Tzu: "It is lucky for your teacher that he met me. He is better. He will recover. I saw he had recuperative power." Lieh Tzu went in and told Hu Tzu; whereupon the latter replied: "I showed myself to him just now as heaven shows itself in all its dispassionate grandeur, letting a little energy run out of my heels. He was thus able to detect that I had some. Bring him here again." Next day a third interview took place, and as they were leaving, Chi Han said to Lieh Tzu: "Your teacher is never one day like another; I can tell nothing from his physiognomy. Get him to be regular, and I will then examine him again." This being repeated to Hu Tzu as before, the latter said: "I showed myself to him just now in a state of harmonious equilibrium. Where the whale disports itself,—is the abyss. Where water is at rest,—is the abyss. Where water is in motion,—is the abyss. The abyss has nine names. These are three of them." Next day the two went once more to see Hu Tzu; but Chi Han was unable to stand still, and in his confusion turned and fled. "Pursue him!" cried Hu Tzu; whereupon Lieh Tzu ran after him, but could not overtake him; so he returned and told Hu Tzu that the fugitive had disappeared. "I showed myself to him just now," said Hu Tzu, "as Tao appeared before time was. I was to him as a great blank, existing of itself. He knew not who I was. His face fell. He became confused. And so he fled." Upon this Lieh Tzu stood convinced that he had not yet acquired any real knowledge, and at once set to work in earnest, passing three years without leaving the house. He helped his wife to cook the family dinner, and fed his pigs just like human beings. He discarded the artificial and reverted to the natural. He became merely a shape. Amidst confusion he was unconfounded. And so he continued to the end. ~ Lao Tzu,
801:A woodman whose rough heart was out of tune
(I think such hearts yet never came to good)
Hated to hear, under the stars or moon,

One nightingale in an interfluous wood
Satiate the hungry dark with melody;--
And as a vale is watered by a flood,

Or as the moonlight fills the open sky
Struggling with darknessas a tuberose
Peoples some Indian dell with scents which lie

Like clouds above the flower from which they rose,
The singing of that happy nightingale
In this sweet forest, from the golden close

Of evening till the star of dawn may fail,
Was interfused upon the silentness;
The folded roses and the violets pale

Heard her within their slumbers, the abyss
Of heaven with all its planets; the dull ear
Of the night-cradled earth; the loneliness

Of the circumfluous waters,every sphere
And every flower and beam and cloud and wave,
And every wind of the mute atmosphere,

And every beast stretched in its rugged cave,
And every bird lulled on its mossy bough,
And every silver moth fresh from the grave

Which is its cradleever from below
Aspiring like one who loves too fair, too far,
To be consumed within the purest glow

Of one serene and unapproached star,
As if it were a lamp of earthly light,
Unconscious, as some human lovers are,

Itself how low, how high beyond all height
The heaven where it would perish!and every form
That worshipped in the temple of the night

Was awed into delight, and by the charm
Girt as with an interminable zone,
Whilst that sweet bird, whose music was a storm

Of sound, shook forth the dull oblivion
Out of their dreams; harmony became love
In every soul but one.

...

And so this man returned with axe and saw
At evening close from killing the tall treen,
The soul of whom by Natures gentle law

Was each a wood-nymph, and kept ever green
The pavement and the roof of the wild copse,
Chequering the sunlight of the blue serene

With jagged leaves,and from the forest tops
Singing the winds to sleepor weeping oft
Fast showers of aereal water-drops

Into their mothers bosom, sweet and soft,
Natures pure tears which have no bitterness;--
Around the cradles of the birds aloft

They spread themselves into the loveliness
Of fan-like leaves, and over pallid flowers
Hang like moist clouds:or, where high branches kiss,

Make a green space among the silent bowers,
Like a vast fane in a metropolis,
Surrounded by the columns and the towers

All overwrought with branch-like traceries
In which there is religionand the mute
Persuasion of unkindled melodies,

Odours and gleams and murmurs, which the lute
Of the blind pilot-spirit of the blast
Stirs as it sails, now grave and now acute,

Wakening the leaves and waves, ere it has passed
To such brief unison as on the brain
One tone, which never can recur, has cast,
One accent never to return again.

...

The world is full of Woodmen who expel
Loves gentle Dryads from the haunts of life,
And vex the nightingales in every dell.

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Woodman And The Nightingale
,
802:What wonder this?we ask the lympid well,
O earth! of theeand from thy solemn womb
What yieldest thou?is there life in the abyss
Doth a new race beneath the lava dwell?
Returns the past, awakening from the tomb?
RomeGreece!Oh, come!Beholdbehold! for this!
Our living worldthe old Pompeii sees;
And built anew the town of Dorian Hercules!
House upon houseits silent halls once more
Opes the broad portico!Oh, haste and fill
Again those halls with life!Oh, pour along
Through the seven-vista'd theatre the throng!
Where are ye, mimes?Come forth, the steel prepare
For crowned Atrides, or Orestes haunt,
Ye choral Furies, with your dismal chant!
The arch of triumph!whither leads it?still
Behold the forum!on the curule chair
Where the majestic image? Lictors, where
Your solemn fasces?Place upon his throne
The Praetorhere the witness lead, and there
Bid the accuser stand

O God! how lone
The clear streets glitter in the quiet day
The footpath by the doors winding its lifeless way!
The roofs arise in shelter, and around
The desolate Atriumevery gentle room
Wears still the dear familiar smile of home!
Open the doorsthe shopson dreary night
Let lusty day laugh down in jocund light!

See the trim benches ranged in order!See
The marble-tesselated floorand there
The very walls are glittering livingly
With their clear colors. But the artist, where!
Sure but this instant he hath laid aside
Pencil and colors!Glittering on the eye
Swell the rich fruits, and bloom the flowers!See all
Art's gentle wreaths still fresh upon the wall!
Here the arch Cupid slyly seems to glide
By with bloom-laden basket. There the shapes
Of genii press with purpling feet the grapes,
Here springs the wild Bacchante to the dance,
And there she sleeps [while that voluptuous trance
Eyes the sly faun with never-sated glance]
Now on one knee upon the centaur-steeds
Hoveringthe Thyrsus plies.Hurrah!away she speeds!

Comecome, why loiter ye?Here, here, how fair
The goodly vessels still! Girls, hither turn,
Fill from the fountain the Etruscan urn!
On the winged sphinxes see the tripod. Ho!
Quickquick, ye slaves, comefire!the hearth prepare!
Ha! wilt thou sell?this coin shall pay theethis,
Fresh from the mint of mighty Titus!Lo!
Here lie the scales, and not a weight we miss
Sobring the light! The delicate lamp!what toil
Shaped thy minutest grace!quick pour the oil!
Yonder the fairy chest!come, maid, behold
The bridegroom's giftsthe armletsthey are gold,
And paste out-feigning jewels!lead the bride
Into the odorous bathlo! unguents still
And still the crystal vase the arts for beauty fill!

But where the men of oldperchance a prize
More precious yet in yon papyrus lies,
And see ev'n still the tokens of their toil
The waxen tabletsthe recording style.
The earth, with faithful watch, has hoarded all!
Still stand the mute penates in the hall;
Back to his haunts returns each ancient god.
Why absent only from their ancient stand
The priests?waves Hermes his Caducean rod,
And the winged victory struggles from the hand.
Kindle the flamebehold the altar there!
Long hath the god been worshiplessto prayer.
~ Friedrich Schiller, Pompeii And Herculaneum
,
803:But it is just as useless for a man to want first of all to decide the externals and after that the fundamentals as it is for a cosmic body, thinking to form itself, first of all to decide the nature of its surface, to what bodies it should turn its light, to which its dark side, without first letting the harmony of centrifugal and centripetal forces realize [*realisere*] its existence [*Existents*] and letting the rest come of itself. One must learn first to know himself before knowing anything else (γνῶθι σε αυτόν). Not until a man has inwardly understood himself and then sees the course he is to take does his life gain peace and meaning; only then is he free of the irksome, sinister traveling companion―that irony of life which manifests itself in the sphere of knowledge and invites true knowing to begin with a not-knowing (Socrates), just as God created the world from nothing. But in the waters of morality it is especially at home to those who still have not entered the tradewinds of virtue. Here it tumbles a person about in a horrible way, for a time lets him feel happy and content in his resolve to go ahead along the right path, then hurls him into the abyss of despair. Often it lulls a man to sleep with the thought, "After all, things cannot be otherwise," only to awaken him suddenly to a rigorous interrogation. Frequently it seems to let a veil of forgetfulness fall over the past, only to make every single trifle appear in a strong light again. When he struggles along the right path, rejoicing in having overcome temptation's power, there may come at almost the same time, right on the heels of perfect victory, an apparently insignificant external circumstance which pushes him down, like Sisyphus, from the height of the crag. Often when a person has concentrated on something, a minor external circumstance arises which destroys everything. (As in the case of a man who, weary of life, is about to throw himself into the Thames and at the crucial moment is halted by the sting of a mosquito). Frequently a person feels his very best when the illness is the worst, as in tuberculosis. In vain he tries to resist it but he has not sufficient strength, and it is no help to him that he has gone through the same thing many times; the kind of practice acquired in this way does not apply here. Just as no one who has been taught a great deal about swimming is able to keep afloat in a storm, but only the man who is intensely convinced and has experiences that he is actually lighter than water, so a person who lacks this inward point of poise is unable to keep afloat in life's storms.―Only when a man has understood himself in this way is he able to maintain an independent existence and thus avoid surrendering his own I. How often we see (in a period when we extol that Greek historian because he knows how to appropriate an unfamiliar style so delusively like the original author's, instead of censuring him, since the first prize always goes to an author for having his own style―that is, a mode of expression and presentation qualified by his own individuality)―how often we see people who either out of mental-spiritual laziness live on the crumbs that fall from another's table or for more egotistical reasons seek to identify themselves with others, until eventually they believe it all, just like the liar through frequent repetition of his stories."

―from Journals , Search for Personal Meaning ~ S ren Kierkegaard,
804:These Claudines, then…they want to know because they believe they already do know, the way one who loves fruit knows, when offered a mango from the moon, what to expect; and they expect the loyal tender teasing affection of the schoolgirl crush to continue: the close and confiding companionship, the pleasure of the undemanding caress, the cuddle which consummates only closeness; yet in addition they want motherly putting right, fatherly forgiveness and almost papal indulgence; they expect that the sights and sounds, the glorious affairs of the world which their husbands will now bring before them gleaming like bolts of silk, will belong to the same happy activities as catching toads, peeling back tree bark, or powdering the cheeks with dandelions and oranging the nose; that music will ravish the ear the way the trill of the blackbird does; that literature will hold the mind in sweet suspense the way fairy tales once did; that paintings will crowd the eye with the delights of a colorful garden, and the city streets will be filled with the same cool dew-moist country morning air they fed on as children. But they shall not receive what they expect; the tongue will be about other business; one will hear in masterpieces only pride and bitter contention; buildings will have grandeur but no flowerpots or chickens; and these Claudines will exchange the flushed cheek for the swollen vein, and instead of companionship, they will get sex and absurd games composed of pinch, leer, and giggle—that’s what will happen to “let’s pretend.”

'The great male will disappear into the jungle like the back of an elusive ape, and Claudine shall see little of his strength again, his intelligence or industry, his heroics on the Bourse like Horatio at the bridge (didn’t Colette see Henri de Jouvenel, editor and diplomat and duelist and hero of the war, away to work each day, and didn’t he often bring his mistress home with him, as Willy had when he was husband number one?); the great affairs of the world will turn into tawdry liaisons, important meetings into assignations, deals into vulgar dealings, and the en famille hero will be weary and whining and weak, reminding her of all those dumb boys she knew as a child, selfish, full of fat and vanity like patrons waiting to be served and humored, admired and not observed.

'Is the occasional orgasm sufficient compensation? Is it the prize of pure surrender, what’s gained from all that giving up? There’ll be silk stockings and velvet sofas maybe, the customary caviar, tasting at first of frog water but later of money and the secretions of sex, then divine champagne, the supreme soda, and rubber-tired rides through the Bois de Boulogne; perhaps there’ll be rich ugly friends, ritzy at homes, a few young men with whom one may flirt, a homosexual confidant with long fingers, soft skin, and a beautiful cravat, perfumes and powders of an unimaginable subtlety with which to dust and wet the body, many deep baths, bonbons filled with sweet liqueurs, a procession of mildly salacious and sentimental books by Paul de Kock and company—good heavens, what’s the problem?—new uses for the limbs, a tantalizing glimpse of the abyss, the latest sins, envy certainly, a little spite, jealousy like a vaginal itch, and perfect boredom.

'And the mirror, like justice, is your aid but never your friend.' -- From "Three Photos of Colette," The World Within the Word, reprinted from NYRB April 1977 ~ William H Gass,
805:I have often tried in dreams to be the kind of imposing individual the Romantics imagined themselves to be, and whenever I have, I’ve always ended up laughing out loud at myself for even giving house-room to such an idea. After all, the homme fatal exists in the dreams of all ordinary men, and romanticism is merely the turning inside out of our normal daily selves. In the most secret part of their being, all men dream of ruling over a great empire, with all men their subjects, all women theirs for the asking, adored by all the people and (if they are inferior men) of all ages … Few are as accustomed to dreaming as I am and so are not lucid enough to laugh at the aesthetic possibility of nurturing such dreams. The most serious criticism of romanticism has not yet been made, namely, that it represents the inner truth of human nature, an externalization of what lies deepest in the human soul, but made concrete, visible, even possible, if being possible depends on something other than Fate, and its excesses, its absurdities, its various ploys for moving and seducing people, all stem from that.

Even I who laugh at the seductive traps laid by the imagination often find myself imagining how wonderful it would be to be famous, how gratifying to be loved, how thrilling to be a success! And yet I can never manage to see myself in those exulted roles without hearing a guffaw from the other “I” I always keep as close to me as a street in the Baixa. Do I imagine myself famous? Only as a famous bookkeeper. Do I fancy myself raised up onto the thrones of celebrity? This fantasy only ever comes upon me in the office in Rua dos Douradores, and my colleagues inevitably ruin the effect. Do I hear the applause of the most variegated multitudes? That applause comes from the cheap fourth-floor room where I live and clashes horribly with the shabby furnishings, with the surrounding vulgarity, humiliating both me and the dream. I never even had any castles in Spain, like those Spaniards we Portuguese have always feared. My castles were built out of an incomplete deck of grubby playing cards; and they didn’t collapse of their own accord, but had to be demolished with a sweeping gesture of the hand, the impatient gesture of an elderly maid wanting to restore the tablecloth and reset the table, because teatime was calling like some fateful curse. Even that vision is of little worth, because I don’t have a house in the provinces or old aunts at whose table, at the end of a family gathering, I sit sipping a cup of tea that tastes to me of repose. My dream failed even in its metaphors and figurations. My empire didn’t even go as far as a pack of old playing cards. My victory didn’t even include a teapot or an ancient cat. I will die as I lived, among the bric-a-brac of my room, sold off by weight among the postscripts of things lost.

May I at least take with me into the immense possibilities to be found in the abyss of everything the glory of my disillusion as if it were that of a great dream, the splendor of my unbelief like a flag of defeat — a flag held aloft by feeble hands, but dragged through the mud and blood of the weak and held on high as we sink into the shifting sands, whether in protest or defiance or despair no one knows … No one knows because no one knows anything, and the sands swallow up those with flags and those without … And the sands cover everything, my life, my prose, my eternity.

I carry with me the knowledge of my defeat as if it were a flag of victory ~ Fernando Pessoa,
806:From A German War Primer
AMONGST THE HIGHLY PLACED
It is considered low to talk about food.
The fact is: they have
Already eaten.
The lowly must leave this earth
Without having tasted
Any good meat.
For wondering where they come from and
Where they are going
The fine evenings find them
Too exhausted.
They have not yet seen
The mountains and the great sea
When their time is already up.
If the lowly do not
Think about what's low
They will never rise.
THE BREAD OF THE HUNGRY HAS
ALL BEEN EATEN
Meat has become unknown. Useless
The pouring out of the people's sweat.
The laurel groves have been
Lopped down.
From the chimneys of the arms factories
Rises smoke.
THE HOUSE-PAINTER SPEAKS OF
GREAT TIMES TO COME
The forests still grow.
The fields still bear
The cities still stand.
The people still breathe.
ON THE CALENDAR THE DAY IS NOT
21
YET SHOWN
Every month, every day
Lies open still. One of those days
Is going to be marked with a cross.
THE WORKERS CRY OUT FOR BREAD
The merchants cry out for markets.
The unemployed were hungry. The employed
Are hungry now.
The hands that lay folded are busy again.
They are making shells.
THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.
WHEN THE LEADERS SPEAK OF PEACE
The common folk know
That war is coming.
When the leaders curse war
The mobilization order is already written out.
THOSE AT THE TOP SAY: PEACE
AND WAR
Are of different substance.
But their peace and their war
Are like wind and storm.
War grows from their peace
Like son from his mother
He bears
Her frightful features.
Their war kills
Whatever their peace
Has left over.
22
ON THE WALL WAS CHALKED:
They want war.
The man who wrote it
Has already fallen.
THOSE AT THE TOP SAY:
This way to glory.
Those down below say:
This way to the grave.
THE WAR WHICH IS COMING
Is not the first one. There were
Other wars before it.
When the last one came to an end
There were conquerors and conquered.
Among the conquered the common people
Starved. Among the conquerors
The common people starved too.
THOSE AT THE TOP SAY COMRADESHIP
Reigns in the army.
The truth of this is seen
In the cookhouse.
In their hearts should be
The selfsame courage. But
On their plates
Are two kinds of rations.
WHEN IT COMES TO MARCHING MANY DO NOT
KNOW
That their enemy is marching at their head.
The voice which gives them their orders
Is their enemy's voice and
The man who speaks of the enemy
Is the enemy himself.
IT IS NIGHT
The married couples
Lie in their beds. The young women
Will bear orphans.
23
GENERAL, YOUR TANK IS A POWERFUL VEHICLE
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.
General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.
General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.
~ Bertolt Brecht,
807:Lenox Hill
(In Lenox Hill Hospital, after surgery,
my mother said the sirens sounded like the
elephants of Mihiragula when his men drove
them off cliffs in the Pir Panjal Range.)
The Hun so loved the cry, one falling elephant's,
he wished to hear it again. At dawn, my mother
heard, in her hospital-dream of elephants,
sirens wail through Manhattan like elephants
forced off Pir Panjal's rock cliffs in Kashmir:
the soldiers, so ruled, had rushed the elephant,
The greatest of all footprints is the elephant's,
said the Buddha. But not lifted from the universe,
those prints vanished forever into the universe,
though nomads still break news of those elephants
as if it were just yesterday the air spread the dye
("War's annals will fade into night / Ere their story die"),
the punishing khaki whereby the world sees us die
out, mourning you, O massacred elephants!
Months later, in Amherst, she dreamt: She was, with diamonds, being stoned to death. I prayed: If she must die,
let it only be some dream. But there were times, Mother,
while you slept, that I prayed, 'Saints, let her die.'
Not, I swear by you, that I wished you to die
but to save you as you were, young, in song in Kashmir,
and I, one festival, crowned Krishna by you, Kashmir
listening to my flute. You never let gods die.
Thus I swear, here and now, not to forgive the universe
that would let me get used to a universe
without you. She, she alone, was the universe
as she earned, like a galaxy, her right not to die,
defying the Merciful of the Universe,
Master of Disease, "in the circle of her traverse"
of drug-bound time. And where was the god of elephants,
plump with Fate, when tusk to tusk, the universe,
dyed green, became ivory? Then let the universe,
like Paradise, be considered a tomb. Mother,
they asked me, So how's the writing? I answered My mother
17
is my poem. What did they expect? For no verse
sufficed except the promise, fading, of Kashmir
and the cries that reached you from the cliffs of Kashmir
(across fifteen centuries) in the hospital. Kashmir,
she's dying! How her breathing drowns out the universe
as she sleeps in Amherst. Windows open on Kashmir:
There, the fragile wood-shrines—so far away—of Kashmir!
O Destroyer, let her return there, if just to die.
Save the right she gave its earth to cover her, Kashmir
has no rights. When the windows close on Kashmir,
I see the blizzard-fall of ghost-elephants.
I hold back—she couldn't bear it—one elephant's
story: his return (in a country far from Kashmir)
to the jungle where each year, on the day his mother
died, he touches with his trunk the bones of his mother.
'As you sit here by me, you're just like my mother,'
she tells me. I imagine her: a bride in Kashmir,
she's watching, at the Regal, her first film with Father.
If only I could gather you in my arms, Mother,
I'd save you—now my daughter—from God. The universe
opens its ledger. I write: How helpless was God's mother!
Each page is turned to enter grief's accounts. Mother,
I see a hand. Tell me it's not God's. Let it die.
I see it. It's filling with diamonds. Please let it die.
Are you somewhere alive, somewhere alive, Mother?
Do you hear what I once held back: in one elephant's
cry, by his mother's bones, the cries of those elephants
that stunned the abyss? Ivory blots out the elephants.
I enter this: The Beloved leaves one behind to die.
For compared to my grief for you, what are those of Kashmir,
and what (I close the ledger) are the griefs of the universe
when I remember you—beyond all accounting—O my mother?
~ Agha Shahid Ali,
808:Leah Sublime,
Goddess above me!
Snake of the slime
Alostrael, love me!
Our master, the devil
Prospers the revel.
Tread with your foot
My heart til it hurt!
Tread on it, put
The smear of your dirt
On my love, on my shame
Scribble your name!
Straddle your Beast
My Masterful Bitch
With the thighs of you greased
With the Sweat of your Itch!
Spit on me, scarlet
Mouth of my harlot!
Now from your wide
Raw cunt, the abyss,
Spend spouting the tide
Of your sizzling piss
In my mouth; oh my Whore
Let it pour, let it pour!
You stale like a mare
And fart as you stale;
Through straggled wet hair
You spout like a whale.
Splash the manure
And piss from the sewer.
Down to me quick
With your tooth on my lip
And your hand on my prick
With feverish grip
My life as it drinks
How your breath stinks!
Your hand, oh unclean
Your hand that has wasted
Your love, in obscene
Black masses, that tasted
Your soul, its your hand!
Feel my prick stand!
Your life times from lewd
Little girl, to mature
Worn whore that has chewed
Your own pile of manure.
Your hand was the key to
And now your frig me, too!
Rub all the much
Of your cunt on me, Leah
Cunt, let me suck
All your glued gonorrhea!
Cunt without end!
Amen! til you spend!
Cunt! you have harboured
All dirt and disease
In your slimy unbarbered
Loose hole, with its cheese
And its monthlies, and pox
You chewer of cocks!
Cunt, you have sucked
Up pricks, you squirted
Out foetuses, fucked
Til bastards you blurted
Out into space
Spend on my face!
Rub all your gleet away!
Envenom the arrow.
May your pox eat away
Me to the marrow.
Cunt you have got me;
I love you to rot me!
Spend again, lash me!
Leah, one spasm
Scream to splash me.
Slime of the chasm
Choke me with spilth
Of your sow-bellys filth.
Stab your demonical
Smile to my brain!
Soak me in cognac
Cunt and cocaine;
Sprawl on me! Sit
On my mouth, Leah, shit!
Shit on me, slut!
Creamy the curds
That drip from your gut!
Greasy the turds!
Dribble your dung
On the tip of my tongue!
Churn on me, Leah!
Twist on your thighs!
Smear diarrhoea
Into my eyes!
Splutter out shit
From the bottemless pit.
Turn to me, chew it
With me, Leah, whore!
Vomit it, spew it
And lick it once more.
We can make lust
Drunk on disgust.
Splay out your gut,
Your ass hole, my lover!
You buggering slut,
I know where to shove her!
There she goes, plumb
Up the foul Bitchs bum!
Sackful of skin
And bone, as I speak
Ill bugger your grin
Into a shriek.
Bugger you, slut
Bugger your gut!
Wriggle, you hog!
Wrench at the pin!
Wrench at it, drag
It half out, suck it in!
Scream, you hog dirt, you!
I want it to hurt you!
Beast-Lioness, squirt
From your Cocksuckers hole!
Belch out the dirt
From your Syphillis soul.
Splutter foul words
Through your supper of turds!
May the Devil our lord, your
Soul scribble over
With sayings of ordure!
Call me your lover!
Slave of the gut
Of the arse of a slut!
Call me your sewer
Of spilth and snot
Your fart-sniffer, chewer
Of the shit in your slot.
Call me that as you rave
In the rape of your slave.
Fuck! Shit! Let me come
AlostraelFuck!
Ive spent in your bum.
Shit! Give me the muck
From my whores arse, slick
Dirt of my prick!
Eat it, you sow!
Im your dog, fuck, shit!
Swallow it now!
Rest for a bit!
Satan, you gave
A crown to a slave.
I am your fate, on
Your belly, above you.
I swear it by Satan
Leah, I love you.
Im going insane
Do it again!

~ Aleister Crowley, Leah Sublime
,
809:Darkness
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went-and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires-and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings-the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum'd,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire-but hour by hour
They fell and faded-and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash-and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smil'd;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twin'd themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless-they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again: a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought-and that was death
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails-men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lur'd their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress-he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they rak'd up,
And shivering scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects-saw, and shriek'd, and died-
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless-
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge-
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, had expir'd before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them-She was the Universe.
~ George Gordon Byron,
810:Intima (Intimate)
Spanish
Yo te diré los sueños de mi vida
En lo más hondo de la noche azul...
Mi alma desnuda temblará en tus manos,
Sobre tus hombros pesará mi cruz.
Las cumbres de la vida son tan solas,
Tan solas y tan frías! Y encerré
Mis ansias en mí misma, y toda entera
Como una torre de marfil me alcé.
Hoy abriré a tu alma el gran misterio;
Tu alma es capaz de penetrar en mí.
En el silencio hay vértigos de abismo:
Yo vacilaba, me sostengo en ti.
Muero de ensueños; beberé en tus fuentes
Puras y frescas la verdad, yo sé
Que está en el fondo magno de tu pecho
El manantial que vencerá mi sed.
Y sé que en nuestras vidas se produjo
El milagro inefable del reflejo...
En el silencio de la noche mi alma
Llega a la tuya como a un gran espejo.
Imagina el amor que habré soñado
En la tumba glacial de mi silencio!
Más grande que la vida, más que el sueño,
Bajo el azur sin fin se sintió preso.
Imagina mi amor, amor que quiere
Vida imposible, vida sobrehumana,
Tú que sabes si pesan, si consumen
Alma y sueños de Olimpo en carne humana.
Y cuando frente al alma que sentia
Poco el azur para bañar sus alas,
16
Como un gran horizonte aurisolado
O una playa de luz se abrió tu alma:
Imagina! Estrecha vivo, radiante
El Imposible! La ilusión vivida!
Bendije a Dios, al sol, la flor, el aire,
La vida toda porque tú eras vida!
Si con angustia yo compré esta dicha,
Bendito el llanto que manchó mis ojos!
¡Todas las llagas del pasado ríen
Al sol naciente por sus labios rojos!
¡Ah! tú sabrás mi amor, mas vamos lejos
A través de la noche florecida;
Acá lo humano asusta, acá se oye,
Se ve, se siente sin cesar la vida.
Vamos más lejos en la noche, vamos
Donde ni un eco repercuta en mí,
Como una flor nocturna allá en la sombra
Y abriré dulcemente para ti.
English
I will tell you the dreams of my life
On this deepest of blue nights.
In your hands my soul will tremble,
On your shoulders my cross will rest.
The summits of life are lonely,
So lonely and so cold! I locked
My yearnings inside, and all reside
In the ivory tower I raised.
Today I will reveal a great mystery;
Your soul has the power to penetrate me.
In silence are vertigos of the abyss:
I hesitate, I am sustained in you.
I die of dreams; I will drink truth,
17
Pure and cool, from your springs.
I know in the well of your breast
Is a fountain that vanquishes my thirst.
And I know that in our lives, this
Is the inexpressible miracle of reflection…
In the silence, my soul arrives at yours
As to a magnificent mirror.
Imagine the love I dreamed
In the glacial tomb of silence!
Larger than life, larger than dream,
A love imprisoned beneath an azure without end.
Imagine my love, love which desires
Impossible life, superhuman life,
You who know how it burdens and consumes,
Dreams of Olympus bound by human flesh.
And when met with a soul which found
A bit of azure to bathe its wings,
Like a great, golden sun, or a shore
Made of light, your soul opened:
Imagine! To embrace the Impossible!
Radiant! The lived illusion!
Blessed be God, the sun, the flower, the air,
And all of life, because you are life!
If I bought this happiness with my anguish,
Bless the weeping that stains my eyes!
All the ulcers of the past laugh
At the sun rising from red lips!
Ah you will know, My Love,
We will travel far across the flowery night;
There what is human frightens, there you can hear it,
See it, feel it, life without end.
We go further into night, we go
Where in me not an echo reverberates,
Like a nocturnal flower in the shade,
18
I will open sweetly for you.
~ Delmira Agustini,
811:Intima (Intimate)
Spanish
Yo te diré los sueños de mi vida
En lo más hondo de la noche azul...
Mi alma desnuda temblará en tus manos,
Sobre tus hombros pesará mi cruz.
Las cumbres de la vida son tan solas,
Tan solas y tan frías! Y encerré
Mis ansias en mí misma, y toda entera
Como una torre de marfil me alcé.
Hoy abriré a tu alma el gran misterio;
Tu alma es capaz de penetrar en mí.
En el silencio hay vértigos de abismo:
Yo vacilaba, me sostengo en ti.
Muero de ensueños; beberé en tus fuentes
Puras y frescas la verdad, yo sé
Que está en el fondo magno de tu pecho
El manantial que vencerá mi sed.
Y sé que en nuestras vidas se produjo
El milagro inefable del reflejo...
En el silencio de la noche mi alma
Llega a la tuya como a un gran espejo.
Imagina el amor que habré soñado
En la tumba glacial de mi silencio!
Más grande que la vida, más que el sueño,
Bajo el azur sin fin se sintió preso.
Imagina mi amor, amor que quiere
Vida imposible, vida sobrehumana,
Tú que sabes si pesan, si consumen
Alma y sueños de Olimpo en carne humana.
Y cuando frente al alma que sentia
Poco el azur para bañar sus alas,
16
Como un gran horizonte aurisolado
O una playa de luz se abrió tu alma:
Imagina! Estrecha vivo, radiante
El Imposible! La ilusión vivida!
Bendije a Dios, al sol, la flor, el aire,
La vida toda porque tú eras vida!
Si con angustia yo compré esta dicha,
Bendito el llanto que manchó mis ojos!
¡Todas las llagas del pasado ríen
Al sol naciente por sus labios rojos!
¡Ah! tú sabrás mi amor, mas vamos lejos
A través de la noche florecida;
Acá lo humano asusta, acá se oye,
Se ve, se siente sin cesar la vida.
Vamos más lejos en la noche, vamos
Donde ni un eco repercuta en m��,
Como una flor nocturna allá en la sombra
Y abriré dulcemente para ti.
English
I will tell you the dreams of my life
On this deepest of blue nights.
In your hands my soul will tremble,
On your shoulders my cross will rest.
The summits of life are lonely,
So lonely and so cold! I locked
My yearnings inside, and all reside
In the ivory tower I raised.
Today I will reveal a great mystery;
Your soul has the power to penetrate me.
In silence are vertigos of the abyss:
I hesitate, I am sustained in you.
I die of dreams; I will drink truth,
17
Pure and cool, from your springs.
I know in the well of your breast
Is a fountain that vanquishes my thirst.
And I know that in our lives, this
Is the inexpressible miracle of reflection…
In the silence, my soul arrives at yours
As to a magnificent mirror.
Imagine the love I dreamed
In the glacial tomb of silence!
Larger than life, larger than dream,
A love imprisoned beneath an azure without end.
Imagine my love, love which desires
Impossible life, superhuman life,
You who know how it burdens and consumes,
Dreams of Olympus bound by human flesh.
And when met with a soul which found
A bit of azure to bathe its wings,
Like a great, golden sun, or a shore
Made of light, your soul opened:
Imagine! To embrace the Impossible!
Radiant! The lived illusion!
Blessed be God, the sun, the flower, the air,
And all of life, because you are life!
If I bought this happiness with my anguish,
Bless the weeping that stains my eyes!
All the ulcers of the past laugh
At the sun rising from red lips!
Ah you will know, My Love,
We will travel far across the flowery night;
There what is human frightens, there you can hear it,
See it, feel it, life without end.
We go further into night, we go
Where in me not an echo reverberates,
Like a nocturnal flower in the shade,
18
I will open sweetly for you.
~ Delmira Agustini,
812:It’s loneliness. Even though I’m surrounded by loved ones who care about me and want only the best, it’s possible they try to help only because they feel the same thing—loneliness—and why, in a gesture of solidarity, you’ll find the phrase “I am useful, even if alone” carved in stone. Though the brain says all is well, the soul is lost, confused, doesn’t know why life is being unfair to it. But we still wake up in the morning and take care of our children, our husband, our lover, our boss, our employees, our students, those dozens of people who make an ordinary day come to life. And we often have a smile on our face and a word of encouragement, because no one can explain their loneliness to others, especially when we are always in good company. But this loneliness exists and eats away at the best parts of us because we must use all our energy to appear happy, even though we will never be able to deceive ourselves. But we insist, every morning, on showing only the rose that blooms, and keep the thorny stem that hurts us and makes us bleed hidden within. Even knowing that everyone, at some point, has felt completely and utterly alone, it is humiliating to say, “I’m lonely, I need company. I need to kill this monster that everyone thinks is as imaginary as a fairy-tale dragon, but isn’t.” But it isn’t. I wait for a pure and virtuous knight, in all his glory, to come defeat it and push it into the abyss for good, but that knight never comes. Yet we cannot lose hope. We start doing things we don’t usually do, daring to go beyond what is fair and necessary. The thorns inside us will grow larger and more overwhelming, yet we cannot give up halfway. Everyone is looking to see the final outcome, as though life were a huge game of chess. We pretend it doesn’t matter whether we win or lose, the important thing is to compete. We root for our true feelings to stay opaque and hidden, but then … … instead of looking for companionship, we isolate ourselves even more in order to lick our wounds in silence. Or we go out for dinner or lunch with people who have nothing to do with our lives and spend the whole time talking about things that are of no importance. We even manage to distract ourselves for a while with drink and celebration, but the dragon lives on until the people who are close to us see that something is wrong and begin to blame themselves for not making us happy. They ask what the problem is. We say that everything is fine, but it’s not … Everything is awful. Please, leave me alone, because I have no more tears to cry or heart left to suffer. All I have is insomnia, emptiness, and apathy, and, if you just ask yourselves, you’re feeling the same thing. But they insist that this is just a rough patch or depression because they are afraid to use the real and damning word: loneliness. Meanwhile, we continue to relentlessly pursue the only thing that would make us happy: the knight in shining armor who will slay the dragon, pick the rose, and clip the thorns. Many claim that life is unfair. Others are happy because they believe that this is exactly what we deserve: loneliness, unhappiness. Because we have everything and they don’t. But one day those who are blind begin to see. Those who are sad are comforted. Those who suffer are saved. The knight arrives to rescue us, and life is vindicated once again. Still, you have to lie and cheat, because this time the circumstances are different. Who hasn’t felt the urge to drop everything and go in search of their dream? A dream is always risky, for there is a price to pay. That price is death by stoning in some countries, and in others it could be social ostracism or indifference. But there is always a price to pay. You keep lying and people pretend they still believe, but secretly they are jealous, make comments behind your back, say you’re the very worst, most threatening thing there is. You are not an adulterous man, tolerated and often even admired, but an adulterous woman, one who is ... ~ Paulo Coelho,
813:Letter To Sainte-Beuve
On the old oak benches, more shiny and polished
than links of a chain that were, each day, burnished
rubbed by our human flesh, we, still un-bearded,
trailed our ennui, hunched, round-shouldered,
under the four-square heaven of solitude,
where a child drinks study’s tart ten-year brew.
It was in those days, outstanding and memorable,
when the teachers, forced to loosen our classical
fetters, yet all still hostile to your rhyming,
succumbed to the pressure of our mad duelling,
and allowed a triumphant, mutinous, pupil
to make Triboulet howl in Latin, at will.
Which of us in those days of pale adolescence
didn’t share the weary torpor of confinement,
- eyes lost in the dreary blue of a summer sky
or the snowfall’s whiteness, we were dazzled by,
ears pricked, eager, waiting – a pack of hounds
drinking some book’s far echo, a riot’s sound?
Most of all in summer, that melted the leads,
the walls, high, blackened, filled with dread,
with the scorching heat, or when autumn haze
lit the sky with its one monotonous blaze
and made the screeching falcons fall asleep,
white pigeons’ terrors, in their slender keep:
the season of reverie when the Muse clings
through the endless day to some bell that rings:
when Melancholy at noon when all is drowsing
at the corridor’s end, chin in hand, dragging –
eyes bluer and darker than Diderot’s Nun,
that sad, obscene tale known to everyone,
– her feet weighed down by premature ennui,
her brow from night’s moist languor un-free.
– and unhealthy evenings, then, feverish nights,
that make young girls love their bodies outright,
and, sterile pleasure, gaze in their mirrors to see
the ripening fruits of their own nubility: –
Italian evenings of thoughtless lethargy,
when knowledge of false delights is revealed
when sombre Venus, on her high black balcony,
354
out of cool censers, waves of musk sets free.
In this war of enervating circumstances,
matured by your sonnets, prepared by your stanzas,
one evening, having sensed the soul of your art,
I transported Amaury’s story into my heart.
Every mystical void is but two steps away
from doubt. – The potion, drop by drop, day by day,
filtering through me, I ,drawn to the abyss since I
was fifteen, who swiftly deciphered René’s sigh,
I parched by some strange thirst for the unknown,
within the smallest of arteries, made its home.
I absorbed it all, the perfumes, the miasmas,
the long-vanished memories’ sweetest whispers,
the drawn-out tangle of phrases, their symbols,
the rosaries murmuring in mystical madrigals,
– a voluptuous book, if ever one was brewed.
Now, whether I’m deep in some leafy refuge,
or in the sun of a second hemispheres’ days,
the eternal swell swaying the ocean waves,
the view of endless horizons always re-born,
draw my heart to the dream divine, once more,
be it in heavy languor of burning summer,
or shivering idleness of early December,
beneath tobacco-smoke clouds, hiding the ceiling,
through the book’s subtle mystery, always leafing,
a book so dear to those numb souls whose destiny
has, one and all, stamped them, with that same malady,
in front of the mirror, I’ve perfected the cruelty
of the art that, at birth, some demon granted me,
– art of that pain that creates true voluptuousness, –
scratching the wound, to draw blood from my distress.
Poet, is it an insult, or a well-turned compliment?
For regarding you I’m like a lover, to all intent,
faced with a ghost whose gestures are caresses,
with hand, eye of unknown charms, who blesses,
in order to drain one’s strength. – All loved beings
are cups of venom one drinks with eyes unseeing,
and the heart that’s once transfixed, seduced by pain,
finds death, while still blessing the arrow, every day.
~ Charles Baudelaire,
814:Many of you out there
will have encountered a world of calamity and ruin
with one last gasp at the end of it
and clearly labelled the instructions:
“this Day the Suprise Transport”
“port Saild from this”
and so on.
Not on our planet
yet still
that destination lingers –
terminus,
“animae viles, a sort of
excrementitious mass, that could be projected,
and accordingly was projected – ”
as detritus, cast “from the depth of a shipwreck”
floundering in the blast of an abandoned broadcast –
“Sudden effluvial aftermath here. Have encountered
daze without number...” – doomed
emission, vast dump “which departs from itself”
as a wheezed, unavoidable, looming
exhalation – insidious galactic bloom
whose drift is a swift mutation aboard that
soundtrack lumbering in the background,
strange clank or muffled boom
heralding a dank impending cloudbank possibly
or black-and-white photograph taken on the moon,
featuring I, quaint blip,
feinted relic ’mid dim reverberations
e.g. ghost in portalled tomb
whose blundered destination
plunges on – old death throes
rattle in the deep,
where the dice cup heaves up sleep I’m leaving.
Denizens, sensitive as always, I remain
captain of the spaceship
“Isle of Destolation”
creepily dotted about my photo – where it roams,
approximations of despair breathing malice
pass by in the wake of an interest
I no longer maintain, who fondly recall
how to comb myself and shave my hair
and park my coat and hat in the hall.
Sincerely I resemble all those
who have written to me with letters of condolence,
whether edifice or orifice, bit or whole.
“Though alien drones and foreign hums
within me thrive... ”
strange feeling of sudden distinction was creeping upon me
convinced of its authenticity,
spurting up like a hideous gas
and the whole mass imploding
into its own brief fumes.
Oddly,
I began my radio career
as a swarm of bees.
Some still speak of it
and I go on and on about it,
as befits my condition.
For example, this transmission explains
why someone of approximately my own
age and intelligence suddenly
led me across the large laboratory,
Firkon, Zuhl and the others all following.
Frankly I could have disintegrated
in a pilot’s suit of the same style
“whereby hangs
an immense bridge”
chomping away at the background
as we reached the platform.
Firkon suggested looking down into the elevator shaft
“Notice anything? ”
and when I did, saw three
more floors or deck
levels below.
“At each level
a bridge or balcony...”
projected into the shaft contra-indicating the gap
dome of saucer
between
“analogy of the abyss”
and his tautology
hovered outrageously above it.
“We use rudder-post technology to detach the post and
reinser it on a short staff carried by a frame –
Welcome, 260 thousand cubic centimetres.”
At once, I clambered aboard and found
that taste of his butthole strangely hypnotic
whine of the motor gained in pitch like a twanging ’cello string.
Spike took up the “How long must I wait? I mean – ”
...
A tremor ran through the hull of the Moonraker...
A pencil fell from the instrument ta...
“I – I’m not sure...
Always together in this darned silence,
midground hard to determine between
both and neither,
column and house.”
(I could see right away what these things had in common:
they were all crap. I decided to demonstrate this
by tying strings between various objects.)
“My first
close-up
shot of the moon
filled me with cold foreboding”
– i.e.
stillness, a lack
of “Thank you”
amid the harsh glare of remnants,
bright greys and sooty
blacks,
the jagged,
razor-sharp outlines of the crags –
and no living thing but me,
crater.
“I? But I am an expert! I have so much to discover!
My ‘shallow cell’ theory – ”
a twelve-foot cylinder mounted on two
pairs of caterpillar tracks
glanced to the left, in the direction of the pit.
From this I could disappear into a narrow, walled valley several miles away.
Suddenly,
there I was, ethereal vapour
trails cut deep between the intermittent static
dispatched amid stygian fumes
his only glue
then split.
~ Chris Edwards,
815:Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)
Consider
a girl who keeps slipping off,
arms limp as old carrots,
into the hypnotist's trance,
into a spirit world
speaking with the gift of tongues.
She is stuck in the time machine,
suddenly two years old sucking her thumb,
as inward as a snail,
learning to talk again.
She's on a voyage.
She is swimming further and further back,
up like a salmon,
struggling into her mother's pocketbook.
Little doll child,
come here to Papa.
Sit on my knee.
I have kisses for the back of your neck.
A penny for your thoughts, Princess.
I will hunt them like an emerald.
Come be my snooky
and I will give you a root.
That kind of voyage,
rank as a honeysuckle.
Once
a king had a christening
for his daughter Briar Rose
and because he had only twelve gold plates
he asked only twelve fairies
to the grand event.
The thirteenth fairy,
her fingers as long and thing as straws,
her eyes burnt by cigarettes,
her uterus an empty teacup,
arrived with an evil gift.
She made this prophecy:
The princess shall prick herself
on a spinning wheel in her fifteenth year
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and then fall down dead.
Kaputt!
The court fell silent.
The king looked like Munch's Scream
Fairies' prophecies,
in times like those,
held water.
However the twelfth fairy
had a certain kind of eraser
and thus she mitigated the curse
changing that death
into a hundred-year sleep.
The king ordered every spinning wheel
exterminated and exorcised.
Briar Rose grew to be a goddess
and each night the king
bit the hem of her gown
to keep her safe.
He fastened the moon up
with a safety pin
to give her perpetual light
He forced every male in the court
to scour his tongue with Bab-o
lest they poison the air she dwelt in.
Thus she dwelt in his odor.
Rank as honeysuckle.
On her fifteenth birthday
she pricked her finger
on a charred spinning wheel
and the clocks stopped.
Yes indeed. She went to sleep.
The king and queen went to sleep,
the courtiers, the flies on the wall.
The fire in the hearth grew still
and the roast meat stopped crackling.
The trees turned into metal
and the dog became china.
They all lay in a trance,
each a catatonic
stuck in a time machine.
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Even the frogs were zombies.
Only a bunch of briar roses grew
forming a great wall of tacks
around the castle.
Many princes
tried to get through the brambles
for they had heard much of Briar Rose
but they had not scoured their tongues
so they were held by the thorns
and thus were crucified.
In due time
a hundred years passed
and a prince got through.
The briars parted as if for Moses
and the prince found the tableau intact.
He kissed Briar Rose
and she woke up crying:
Daddy! Daddy!
Presto! She's out of prison!
She married the prince
and all went well
except for the fear the fear of sleep.
Briar Rose
was an insomniac...
She could not nap
or lie in sleep
without the court chemist
mixing her some knock-out drops
and never in the prince's presence.
If if is to come, she said,
sleep must take me unawares
while I am laughing or dancing
so that I do not know that brutal place
where I lie down with cattle prods,
the hole in my cheek open.
Further, I must not dream
for when I do I see the table set
and a faltering crone at my place,
her eyes burnt by cigarettes
as she eats betrayal like a slice of meat.
35
I must not sleep
for while I'm asleep I'm ninety
and think I'm dying.
Death rattles in my throat
like a marble.
I wear tubes like earrings.
I lie as still as a bar of iron.
You can stick a needle
through my kneecap and I won't flinch.
I'm all shot up with Novocain.
This trance girl
is yours to do with.
You could lay her in a grave,
an awful package,
and shovel dirt on her face
and she'd never call back: Hello there!
But if you kissed her on the mouth
her eyes would spring open
and she'd call out: Daddy! Daddy!
Presto!
She's out of prison.
There was a theft.
That much I am told.
I was abandoned.
That much I know.
I was forced backward.
I was forced forward.
I was passed hand to hand
like a bowl of fruit.
Each night I am nailed into place
and forget who I am.
Daddy?
That's another kind of prison.
It's not the prince at all,
but my father
drunkeningly bends over my bed,
circling the abyss like a shark,
my father thick upon me
like some sleeping jellyfish.
What voyage is this, little girl?
36
This coming out of prison?
God help this life after death?
~ Anne Sexton,
816:L'Horloge (The Clock)
Horloge! dieu sinistre, effrayant, impassible,
Dont le doigt nous menace et nous dit: «Souviens-toi!
Les vibrantes Douleurs dans ton coeur plein d'effroi
Se planteront bientôt comme dans une cible;
Le Plaisir vaporeux fuira vers l'horizon
Ainsi qu'une sylphide au fond de la coulisse;
Chaque instant te dévore un morceau du délice
À chaque homme accordé pour toute sa saison.
Trois mille six cents fois par heure, la Seconde
Chuchote: Souviens-toi! — Rapide, avec sa voix
D'insecte, Maintenant dit: Je suis Autrefois,
Et j'ai pompé ta vie avec ma trompe immonde!
Remember! Souviens-toi! prodigue! Esto memor!
(Mon gosier de métal parle toutes les langues.)
Les minutes, mortel folâtre, sont des gangues
Qu'il ne faut pas lâcher sans en extraire l'or!
Souviens-toi que le Temps est un joueur avide
Qui gagne sans tricher, à tout coup! c'est la loi.
Le jour décroît; la nuit augmente; Souviens-toi!
Le gouffre a toujours soif; la clepsydre se vide.
Tantôt sonnera l'heure où le divin Hasard,
Où l'auguste Vertu, ton épouse encor vierge,
Où le Repentir même (oh! la dernière auberge!),
Où tout te dira Meurs, vieux lâche! il est trop tard!»
The Clock
Impassive clock! Terrifying, sinister god,
Whose finger threatens us and says: 'Remember!
The quivering Sorrows will soon be shot
Into your fearful heart, as into a target;
Nebulous pleasure will flee toward the horizon
Like an actress who disappears into the wings;
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Every instant devours a piece of the pleasure
Granted to every man for his entire season.
Three thousand six hundred times an hour, Second
Whispers: Remember! — Immediately
With his insect voice, Now says: I am the Past
And I have sucked out your life with my filthy trunk!
Remember! Souviens-toi, spendthrift! Esto memor!
(My metal throat can speak all languages.)
Minutes, blithesome mortal, are bits of ore
That you must not release without extracting the gold!
Remember, Time is a greedy player
Who wins without cheating, every round! It's the law.
The daylight wanes; the night deepens; remember!
The abyss thirsts always; the water-clock runs low.
Soon will sound the hour when divine Chance,
When august Virtue, your still virgin wife,
When even Repentance (the very last of inns!),
When all will say: Die, old coward! it is too late!'
— Translated by William Aggeler
The Clock
The Clock, calm evil god, that makes us shiver,
With threatening finger warns us each apart:
'Remember! Soon the vibrant woes will quiver,
Like arrows in a target, in your heart.
To the horizon Pleasure will take flight
As flits a vaporous sylphide to the wings.
Each instant gnaws a crumb of the delight
That for his season every mortal brings.
Three thousand times and more, each hour, the second
Whispers 'Remember!' Like an insect shrill
The present chirps, 'With Nevermore I'm reckoned,
I've pumped your lifeblood with my loathsome bill.'
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Remember! Souviens-toi I Esto Memor!
My brazen windpipe speaks in every tongue.
Each moment, foolish mortal, is like ore
From which the precious metal must be wrung.
Remember. Time the gamester (it's the law)
Wins always, without cheating. Daylight wanes.
Night deepens. The abyss with gulfy maw
Thirsts on unsated, while the hour-glass drains.
Sooner or later, now, the time must be
When Hazard, Virtue (your still-virgin mate),
Repentance, (your last refuge), or all three —
Will tell you, 'Die, old Coward. It's too late!''
— Translated by Roy Campbell
The Clock
Terrible Clock! God without mercy; mighty Power!
Saying all day, 'Remember! Remember and beware:
There is no arrow of pain but in a tiny hour
Will make thy heart its target, and stick and vibrate there.
'Toward the horizon all too soon and out of sight
Vaporous Pleasure, like a sylphide, floats away;
Each instant swallows up one crumb of that delight
Accorded to each man for all his mortal day.'
The Second says, three thousand six hundred times an hour,
'Remember! Look, the wingèd insect Now doth sit
Upon thy vein, and shrilleth, 'I am Nevermore,
And I have sucked thy blood; I am flying away with it!'
'Remember! Souviens-toi! Esto memor! — no tongue
My metal larynx does not speak — O frivolous man,
These minutes, rich in gold, slide past; thou art not young;
Remember! and wash well the gravel in the pan!
'Remember! Time, the player that need not cheat to win,
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Makes a strong adversary. Is thy game begun?
Thy game is lost! Day wanes; night waxes. Look within
The gulf, — it still is thirsty. The sands are all but run.
'Soon, soon, the hour will strike, when Hazard, he that showed
A god-like face, when Virtue — thy bride, but still intact —
When even Repentance (oh, last inn along the road!)
Will say to thee, 'Die, coward. It is too late to act.''
— Translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay
~ Charles Baudelaire,
817:BEFORE

SUNRISE

o heaven above me, pure and deep! You abyss of
lightly Seeing you, I tremble with godlike desires. To
throw myself into your height, that is my depth. To
hide in your purity, that is my innocence.
Gods are shrouded by their beauty; thus you conceal
your stars. You do not speak; thus you proclaim your
wisdom to me. Today you rose for me silently over the
roaring sea; your love and your shyness are a revelation
to my roaring soul. That you came to me, beautiful,
shrouded in your beauty, that you speak to me silently,
revealing your wisdom-oh, how should I not guess
all that is shy in your soul! Before the sun you came to
me, the loneliest of all.
We are friends from the beginning: we share grief
and ground and gray dread; we even share the sun.
We do not speak to each other, because we know
too much; we are silent to each other, we smile our
knowledge at each other. Are you not the light for my
fire? Have you not the sister soul to my insight? Together we have learned everything; together we have
learned to ascend over ourselves to ourselves and to
smile cloudlessly-to smile down cloudlessly from
bright eyes and from a vast distance when constraint
and contrivance and guilt steam beneath us like rain.
And when I wandered alone, for whom did my soul
hunger at night, on false paths? And when I climbed
mountains, whom did I always seek on the mountains,
if not you? And all my wandering and mountain climbing were sheer necessity and a help in my helplessness:
what I want with all my will is to fly, to fly up into you.
And whom did I hate more than drifting clouds and
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all that stains you? And I hated even my own hatred
because it stained you. I loa the the drifting clouds,
those stealthy great cats which prey on what you and
I have in common-the uncanny, unbounded Yes and
Amen. We loa the these mediators and mixers, the drifting clouds that are half-and-half and have learned
neither to bless nor to curse from the heart.
Rather would I sit in a barrel under closed heavens,
rather sit in the abyss without a heaven, than see you,
bright heaven, stained by drifting clouds.
And often I had the desire to tie them fast with the
jagged golden wires of the lightning, that, like thunder, I might beat the big drums on their kettle-bellyan angry kettle-drummer-because they rob me of
your Yes and Amen, 0 heaven over me, pure and lightly
You abyss of light! Because they rob you of my Yes and
Amen. For I prefer even noise and thunder and stormcurses to this deliberate, doubting cats' calm; and
among men too I hate most of all the soft-treaders and
those who are half-and-half and doubting, tottering
drift clouds.
And "whoever cannot bless should learn to curse"this bright doctrine fell to me from a bright heaven;
this star stands in my heaven even in black nights.
But I am one who can bless and say Yes, if only you
are about me, pure and light, you abyss of light; then
I carry the blessings of my Yes into all abysses. I have
become one who blesses and says Yes; and I fought
long for that and was a fighter that I might one day
get my hands free to bless. But this is my blessing: to
stand over every single thing as its own heaven, as its
round roof, its azure bell, and eternal security; and
blessed is he who blesses thus.
For all things have been baptized in the well of
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eternity and are beyond good and evil; and good and
evil themselves are but intervening shadows and damp
depressions and drifting clouds.
Verily, it is a blessing and not a blasphemy when I
teach: "Over all things stand the heaven Accident, the
heaven Innocence, the heaven Chance, the heaven
Prankishness."
"By Chance"-that is the most ancient nobility of
the world, and this I restored to all things: I delivered
them from their bondage under Purpose. This freedom
and heavenly cheer I have placed over all things like
an azure bell when I taught that over them and through
them no "eternal will" wills. This prankish folly I have
put in the place of that will when I taught: "In everything one thing is impossible: rationality."
A little reason, to be sure, a seed of wisdom scattered
from star to star-this leaven is mixed in with all
things: for folly's sake, wisdom is mixed in with all
things. A little wisdom is possible indeed; but this
blessed certainty I found in all things: that they would
rather dance on the feet of Chance.
O heaven over me, pure and high! That is what your
purity is to me now, that there is no eternal spider or
spider web of reason; that you are to me a dance floor
for divine accidents, that you are to me a divine table
for divine dice and dice players. But you blush? Did I
speak the unspeakable? Did I blaspheme, wishing to
bless you? Or is it the shame of twosomeness that makes
you blush? Do you bid me go and be silent because
the day is coming now?
The world is deep-and deeper than day had ever
been aware. Not everything may be put into words in
the presence of the day. But the day is coming, so let
us part.
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0 heaven over me, bashful and glowing! 0 you, my
happiness before sunrise The day is coming, so let us
partly
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, BEFORE SUNRISE
,
818:Hymne À La Beauté (Hymn To Beauty)
Viens-tu du ciel profond ou sors-tu de l'abîme,
O Beauté? ton regard, infernal et divin,
Verse confusément le bienfait et le crime,
Et l'on peut pour cela te comparer au vin.
Tu contiens dans ton oeil le couchant et l'aurore;
Tu répands des parfums comme un soir orageux;
Tes baisers sont un philtre et ta bouche une amphore
Qui font le héros lâche et l'enfant courageux.
Sors-tu du gouffre noir ou descends-tu des astres?
Le Destin charmé suit tes jupons comme un chien;
Tu sèmes au hasard la joie et les désastres,
Et tu gouvernes tout et ne réponds de rien.
Tu marches sur des morts, Beauté, dont tu te moques;
De tes bijoux l'Horreur n'est pas le moins charmant,
Et le Meurtre, parmi tes plus chères breloques,
Sur ton ventre orgueilleux danse amoureusement.
L'éphémère ébloui vole vers toi, chandelle,
Crépite, flambe et dit: Bénissons ce flambeau!
L'amoureux pantelant incliné sur sa belle
A l'air d'un moribond caressant son tombeau.
Que tu viennes du ciel ou de l'enfer, qu'importe,
Ô Beauté! monstre énorme, effrayant, ingénu!
Si ton oeil, ton souris, ton pied, m'ouvrent la porte
D'un Infini que j'aime et n'ai jamais connu?
De Satan ou de Dieu, qu'importe? Ange ou Sirène,
Qu'importe, si tu rends, — fée aux yeux de velours,
Rythme, parfum, lueur, ô mon unique reine! —
L'univers moins hideux et les instants moins lourds?
Hymn to Beauty
Do you come from Heaven or rise from the abyss,
Beauty? Your gaze, divine and infernal,
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Pours out confusedly benevolence and crime,
And one may for that, compare you to wine.
You contain in your eyes the sunset and the dawn;
You scatter perfumes like a stormy night;
Your kisses are a philtre, your mouth an amphora,
Which make the hero weak and the child courageous.
Do you come from the stars or rise from the black pit?
Destiny, bewitched, follows your skirts like a dog;
You sow at random joy and disaster,
And you govern all things but answer for nothing.
You walk upon corpses which you mock, O Beauty!
Of your jewels Horror is not the least charming,
And Murder, among your dearest trinkets,
Dances amorously upon your proud belly.
The dazzled moth flies toward you, O candle!
Crepitates, flames and says: 'Blessed be this flambeau!'
The panting lover bending o'er his fair one
Looks like a dying man caressing his own tomb,
Whether you come from heaven or from hell, who cares,
O Beauty! Huge, fearful, ingenuous monster!
If your regard, your smile, your foot, open for me
An Infinite I love but have not ever known?
From God or Satan, who cares? Angel or Siren,
Who cares, if you make, — fay with the velvet eyes,
Rhythm, perfume, glimmer; my one and only queen!
The world less hideous, the minutes less leaden?
— Translated by William Aggeler
Hymn to Beauty
Did you spring out of heaven or the abyss,
Beauty? Your gaze infernal, yet divine,
Spreads infamy and glory, grief and bliss,
And therefore you can be compared to wine.
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Your eyes contain both sunset and aurora:
You give off scents, like evenings storm-deflowered:
Your kisses are a philtre: an amphora
Your mouth, that cows the brave, and spurs the coward.
Climb you from gulfs, or from the stars descend?
Fate, like a fawning hound, to heel you've brought;
You scatter joy and ruin without end,
Ruling all things, yet answering for naught.
You trample men to death, and mock their clamour.
Amongst your gauds pale Horror gleams and glances,
And Murder, not the least of them in glamour,
On your proud belly amorously dances.
The dazzled insect seeks your candle-rays,
Crackles, and burns, and seems to bless his doom.
The groom bent o'er his bride as in a daze,
Seems, like a dying man, to stroke his tomb.
What matter if from hell or heaven born,
Tremendous monster, terrible to view?
Your eyes and smile reveal to me, like morn,
The Infinite I love but never knew.
From God or Fiend? Siren or Sylph ? Invidious
The answer — Fay with eyes of velvet, ray,
Rhythm, and perfume! — if you make less hideous
Our universe, less tedious leave our day.
— Translated by Roy Campbell
Hymn to Beauty
Did you fall from high heaven or surge from the abyss,
O Beauty? Your bright gaze, infernal and divine,
Confusedly pours out courage and cowardice,
Or love and crime. Therefore men liken you to wine.
Your eyes hold all the sunset and the dawn, you are
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As rich in fragrances as a tempestuous night,
Your kisses are a philtre and your mouth a jar
Filling the child with valor and the man with fright.
Did the stars mould you or the pit's obscurity?
You bring at random Paradise or Juggernaut.
Fate sniffs your skirts with a charmed dog's servility,
You govern all and yet are answerable for naught.
Beauty, you walk on corpses of dead men you mock.
Among your store of gems, Horror is not the least;
Murder, amid the dearest trinkets of your stock,
Dances on your proud belly like a ruttish beast.
Candle, the transient moth flies dazzled to your light,
Crackles and flames and says: 'Blessèd this fiery doom!'
The panting lover with his mistress in the night
Looks like a dying man caressing his own tomb.
Are you from heaven or hell, Beauty that we adore?
Who cares? A dreadful, huge, ingenuous monster, you!
So but your glance, your smile, your foot open a door
Upon an Infinite I love but never knew.
From Satan or from God? Who cares? Fierce or serene,
Who cares? Sister to sirens or to seraphim?
So but, dark fey, you shed your perfume, rhythm and sheen
To make the world less hideous and Time less grim.
— Translated by Jacques LeClercq
~ Charles Baudelaire,
819:The Two Paths Of Yoga :::
   14 April 1929 - What are the dangers of Yoga? Is it especially dangerous to the people of the West? Someone has said that Yoga may be suitable for the East, but it has the effect of unbalancing the Western mind.

   Yoga is not more dangerous to the people of the West than to those of the East. Everything depends upon the spirit with which you approach it. Yoga does become dangerous if you want it for your own sake, to serve a personal end. It is not dangerous, on the contrary, it is safety and security itself, if you go to it with a sense of its sacredness, always remembering that the aim is to find the Divine.
   Dangers and difficulties come in when people take up Yoga not for the sake of the Divine, but because they want to acquire power and under the guise of Yoga seek to satisfy some ambition. if you cannot get rid of ambition, do not touch the thing. It is fire that burns.
   There are two paths of Yoga, one of tapasya (discipline), and the other of surrender. The path of tapasya is arduous. Here you rely solely upon yourself, you proceed by your own strength. You ascend and achieve according to the measure of your force. There is always the danger of falling down. And once you fall, you lie broken in the abyss and there is hardly a remedy. The other path, the path of surrender, is safe and sure. It is here, however, that the Western people find their difficulty. They have been taught to fear and avoid all that threatens their personal independence. They have imbibed with their mothers' milk the sense of individuality. And surrender means giving up all that. In other words, you may follow, as Ramakrishna says, either the path of the baby monkey or that of the baby cat. The baby monkey holds to its mother in order to be carried about and it must hold firm, otherwise if it loses its grip, it falls. On the other hand, the baby cat does not hold to its mother, but is held by the mother and has no fear nor responsibility; it has nothing to do but to let the mother hold it and cry ma ma.
   If you take up this path of surrender fully and sincerely, there is no more danger or serious difficulty. The question is to be sincere. If you are not sincere, do not begin Yoga. If you were dealing in human affairs, then you could resort to deception; but in dealing with the Divine there is no possibility of deception anywhere. You can go on the Path safely when you are candid and open to the core and when your only end is to realise and attain the Divine and to be moved by the Divine. There is another danger; it is in connection with the sex impulses. Yoga in its process of purification will lay bare and throw up all hidden impulses and desires in you. And you must learn not to hide things nor leave them aside, you have to face them and conquer and remould them. The first effect of Yoga, however, is to take away the mental control, and the hungers that lie dormant are suddenly set free, they rush up and invade the being. So long as this mental control has not been replaced by the Divine control, there is a period of transition when your sincerity and surrender will be put to the test. The strength of such impulses as those of sex lies usually in the fact that people take too much notice of them; they protest too vehemently and endeavour to control them by coercion, hold them within and sit upon them. But the more you think of a thing and say, "I don't want it, I don't want it", the more you are bound to it. What you should do is to keep the thing away from you, to dissociate from it, take as little notice of it as possible and, even if you happen to think of it, remain indifferent and unconcerned. The impulses and desires that come up by the pressure of Yoga should be faced in a spirit of detachment and serenity, as something foreign to yourself or belonging to the outside world. They should be offered to the Divine, so that the Divine may take them up and transmute them. If you have once opened yourself to the Divine, if the power of the Divine has once come down into you and yet you try to keep to the old forces, you prepare troubles and difficulties and dangers for yourself. You must be vigilant and see that you do not use the Divine as a cloak for the satisfaction of your desires. There are many self-appointed Masters, who do nothing but that. And then when you are off the straight path and when you have a little knowledge and not much power, it happens that you are seized by beings or entities of a certain type, you become blind instruments in their hands and are devoured by them in the end. Wherever there is pretence, there is danger; you cannot deceive God. Do you come to God saying, "I want union with you" and in your heart meaning "I want powers and enjoyments"? Beware! You are heading straight towards the brink of the precipice. And yet it is so easy to avoid all catastrophe. Become like a child, give yourself up to the Mother, let her carry you, and there is no more danger for you.
   This does not mean that you have not to face other kinds of difficulties or that you have not to fight and conquer any obstacles at all. Surrender does not ensure a smooth and unruffled and continuous progression. The reason is that your being is not yet one, nor your surrender absolute and complete. Only a part of you surrenders; and today it is one part and the next day it is another. The whole purpose of the Yoga is to gather all the divergent parts together and forge them into an undivided unity. Till then you cannot hope to be without difficulties - difficulties, for example, like doubt or depression or hesitation. The whole world is full of the poison. You take it in with every breath. If you exchange a few words with an undesirable man or even if such a man merely passes by you, you may catch the contagion from him. It is sufficient for you to come near a place where there is plague in order to be infected with its poison; you need not know at all that it is there. You can lose in a few minutes what it has taken you months to gain. So long as you belong to humanity and so long as you lead the ordinary life, it does not matter much if you mix with the people of the world; but if you want the divine life, you will have to be exceedingly careful about your company and your environment.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1929-1931, #index,
820:The Voyage
À Maxime du Camp
For the child, in love with globe, and stamps,
the universe equals his vast appetite.
Ah! How great the world is in the light of the lamps!
In the eyes of memory, how small and slight!
One morning we set out, minds filled with fire,
travel, following the rhythm of the seas,
hearts swollen with resentment, and bitter desire,
soothing, in the finite waves, our infinities:
Some happy to leave a land of infamies,
some the horrors of childhood, others whose doom,
is to drown in a woman’s eyes, their astrologies
the tyrannous Circe’s dangerous perfumes.
In order not to become wild beasts, they stun
themselves, with space and light, and skies of fire:
The ice that stings them, and the scorching sun,
slowly erase the marks of their desire.
But the true voyagers are those who leave
only to move: hearts like balloons, as light,
they never swerve from their destinies,
and, without knowing why, say, always: ‘Flight!’
Those whose desires take on cloud-likenesses,
who dream of vast sensualities, the same
way a conscript dreams of the guns, shifting vaguenesses,
that the human spirit cannot name.
II
We imitate, oh horror, tops and bowls,
in their leaps and bounds, and even in dreams, dumb
curiosity torments us, and we are rolled,
as if by a cruel Angel that whips the sun!
Strange fate, where the goal never stays the same,
and, belonging nowhere, perhaps it’s no matter where
Man, whose hope never tires, as if insane,
rushes on, in search of rest, through the air.
Our soul, a three-master, heads for the isle, of Icarus.
A voice booms, from the bridge ‘Skin your eyes!’
A voice, from aloft, eager and maddened, calls to us:
‘Love... Fame... Happiness! Hell, it’s a rock!’ it cries.
481
On every island, that the lookouts sight,
destiny promises its Eldorado:
Imagination, conjuring an orgiastic rite,
finds only a barren reef in the afterglow.
O, the poor lover of chimeric sands!
Clap him in irons, toss him in the sea,
this drunken sailor, inventing New Found Lands,
whose mirage fills the abyss, with fresh misery?
Like an old tramp, trudging through the mire,
dreaming, head up, of dazzling paradise,
his gaze, bewitched, discovering Capua’s fire,
wherever a candlelit hovel meets his eyes.
III
Astounding travellers! What histories
we read in your eyes, deeper than the ocean there!
Show us the treasures of your rich memories,
marvellous jewels made of stars and air.
We wish to voyage without steam or sails!
Project on our spirits, stretched out, like the sheets,
lightening the tedium of our prison tales,
your past, the horizon’s furthest reach completes.
Tell us, what did you see?
IV
‘We saw the sand,
and waves, we also saw the stars:
despite the shocks, disasters, the unplanned,
we were often just as bored as before.
The sunlight’s glory on the violet shoals,
the cities’ glory as the sunlight wanes,
kindled that restless longing in our souls,
to plunge into the sky’s reflected flames.
The richest cities, the greatest scenes, we found
never contained the magnetic lures,
of those that chance fashioned, in the clouds.
Always desire rent us, on distant shores!
Enjoyment adds strength to our desire.
Desire, old tree, for whom, pleasure is the ground,
while your bark thickens, as you grow higher,
your branches long to touch the sky you sound!
Will you grow forever, mighty tree
more alive than cypress? Though, we have brought, with care,
a few specimens, for your album leaves,
482
brothers, who find beauty, in objects, from out there!
We have saluted gods of ivory,
thrones, jewelled with constellated gleams,
sculpted palaces, whose walls of faery,
to your bankers, would be ruinous dreams.
Clothes that, to your vision, bring drunkenness,
women with painted teeth and breasts,
juggling savants gliding snakes caress.’
And then, what then?
VI
‘O, Childishness!
Not to forget the main thing, everywhere,
effortlessly, through this world, we’ve seen,
from top to bottom of the fatal stair,
the tedious spectacle of eternal sin.
Woman, vile slave, full of pride and foolishness,
adoring herself without laughing, loving without disgust:
Man, greedy tyrant, harsh, lewd, merciless,
slave of that slave, a sewer in the dust.
The torturer who plays; the martyr who sobs;
the feast, perfumed and moist, from the bloody drip;
the poison of power, corrupting the despot;
the crowd, in love with the stupefying whip:
Several religions just like our own,
all climbing heaven. Sanctity,
like an invalid, under the eiderdown,
finding in nails, and hair-shirts, ecstasy:
Drunk with its genius, chattering Humanity,
as mad today as ever, or even worse,
crying to God, in furious agony:
' O, my likeness, my master, take my curse!
And, the least stupid, harsh lovers of Delirium,
fleeing the great herd, guarded by Destiny,
taking refuge in the depths of opium!
- That is the news, from the whole world’s country.’
VII
Bitter the knowledge we get from travelling!
Today, tomorrow, yesterday, the world shows what we see,
monotonous and mean, our image beckoning,
an oasis of horror, in a desert of ennui!
Shall we go, or stay? Stay, if you can stay:
483
Go, if you must. One runs, another crouches, to elude
Time, that vigilant, shadow enemy.
Alas! There are runners for whom nothing is any good,
like Apostles, or wandering Jews,
nothing, no vessel or railway car, they assume,
can flee this vile slave driver; others whose
minds can kill him, without leaving their room.
When, at last he places his foot on our spine, a
hope still stirs, and we can shout: ‘Forward!’
Just as when we left for China,
the wind in our hair and our eyes fixed to starboard,
sailing over the Shadowy sea,
with a young traveller’s joyous mind.
Do you hear those voices, sadly, seductively,
chanting: ‘Over here, if you would find,
the perfumed Lotus! It’s here we press
miraculous fruits on which your hopes depend:
Come and be drunk, on the strange sweetness,
of the afternoons, that never end.’
Behind a familiar tongue we see the spectre:
Our Pylades stretches his arms towards our face.
‘To renew your heart, swim towards your Electra!’
she calls, whose knees we once embraced.
VIII
O Death, old captain, it is time! Weigh anchor.
This land wearies us, O Death! Take flight!
If the sky and sea are dark as ink’s black rancour,
our hearts, as you must know, are filled with light!
Pour out your poison, and dissolve our fears!
Its fire so burns our minds, we yearn, it’s true,
to plunge to the Void’s depths, Heaven or Hell, who cares?
Into the Unknown’s depths, to find the new.
~ Charles Baudelaire,
821:
XIV - FOREST AND CAVERN

FAUST (solus)

Spirit sublime, thou gav'st me, gav'st me all
For which I prayed. Not unto me in vain
Hast thou thy countenance revealed in fire.
Thou gav'st me Nature as a kingdom grand,
With power to feel and to enjoy it. Thou
Not only cold, amazed acquaintance yield'st,
But grantest, that in her profoundest breast
I gaze, as in the bosom of a friend.
The ranks of living creatures thou dost lead
Before me, teaching me to know my brothers
In air and water and the silent wood.
And when the storm in forests roars and grinds,
The giant firs, in falling, neighbor boughs
And neighbor trunks with crushing weight bear down,
And falling, fill the hills with hollow thunders,
Then to the cave secure thou leadest me,
Then show'st me mine own self, and in my breast
The deep, mysterious miracles unfold.
And when the perfect moon before my gaze
Comes up with soothing light, around me float
From every precipice and thicket damp
The silvery phantoms of the ages past,
And temper the austere delight of thought.

That nothing can be perfect unto Man
I now am conscious. With this ecstasy,
Which brings me near and nearer to the Gods,
Thou gav'st the comrade, whom I now no more
Can do without, though, cold and scornful, he
Demeans me to myself, and with a breath,
A word, transforms thy gifts to nothingness.
Within my breast he fans a lawless fire,
Unwearied, for that fair and lovely form:
Thus in desire I hasten to enjoyment,
And in enjoyment pine to feel desire.

(MEPHISTOPHELES enters.)

MEPHISTOPHELES

Have you not led this life quite long enough?
How can a further test delight you?
'Tis very well, that once one tries the stuff,
But something new must then requite you.

FAUST

Would there were other work for thee!
To plague my day auspicious thou returnest.

MEPHISTOPHELES

Well! I'll engage to let thee be:
Thou darest not tell me so in earnest.
The loss of thee were truly very slight,
comrade crazy, rude, repelling:
Faust

One has one's hands full all the day and night;
If what one does, or leaves undone, is right,
From such a face as thine there is no telling.

FAUST

There is, again, thy proper tone!
That thou hast bored me, I must thankful be!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Poor Son of Earth, how couldst thou thus alone
Have led thy life, bereft of me?
I, for a time, at least, have worked thy cure;
Thy fancy's rickets plague thee not at all:
Had I not been, so hadst thou, sure,
Walked thyself off this earthly ball
Why here to caverns, rocky hollows slinking,
Sit'st thou, as 'twere an owl a-blinking?
Why suck'st, from sodden moss and dripping stone,
Toad-like, thy nourishment alone?
A fine way, this, thy time to fill!
The Doctor's in thy body still.

FAUST

What fresh and vital forces, canst thou guess,
Spring from my commerce with the wilderness?
But, if thou hadst the power of guessing,
Thou wouldst be devil enough to grudge my soul the blessing.

MEPHISTOPHELES

A blessing drawn from supernatural fountains!
In night and dew to lie upon the mountains;
All Heaven and Earth in rapture penetrating;
Thyself to Godhood haughtily inflating;
To grub with yearning force through Earth's dark marrow,
Compress the six days' work within thy bosom narrow,
To taste, I know not what, in haughty power,
Thine own ecstatic life on all things shower,
Thine earthly self behind thee cast,
And then the lofty instinct, thus

(With a gesture:)

at last,
I daren't say howto pluck the final flower!

FAUST

Shame on thee!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Yes, thou findest that unpleasant!
Thou hast the moral right to cry me "shame!" at present.
One dares not that before chaste ears declare,
Which chaste hearts, notwithstanding, cannot spare;
And, once for all, I grudge thee not the pleasure
Of lying to thyself in moderate measure.
But such a course thou wilt not long endure;
Already art thou o'er-excited,
And, if it last, wilt soon be plighted
To madness and to horror, sure.
Enough of that! Thy love sits lonely yonder,
By all things saddened and oppressed;
Her thoughts and yearnings seek thee, tenderer, fonder,
mighty love is in her breast.
First came thy passion's flood and poured around her
As when from melted snow a streamlet overflows;
Thou hast therewith so filled and drowned her,
That now thy stream all shallow shows.
Methinks, instead of in the forests lording,
The noble Sir should find it good,
The love of this young silly blood
At once to set about rewarding.
Her time is miserably long;
She haunts her window, watching clouds that stray
O'er the old city-wall, and far away.
"Were I a little bird!" so runs her song,
Day long, and half night long.
Now she is lively, mostly sad,
Now, wept beyond her tears;
Then again quiet she appears,Always
love-mad.

FAUST

Serpent! Serpent!

MEPHISTOPHELES (aside)

Ha! do I trap thee!

FAUST

Get thee away with thine offences,
Reprobate! Name not that fairest thing,
Nor the desire for her sweet body bring
Again before my half-distracted senses!

MEPHISTOPHELES

What wouldst thou, then? She thinks that thou art flown;
And half and half thou art, I own.

FAUST

Yet am I near, and love keeps watch and ward;
Though I were ne'er so far, it cannot falter:
I envy even the Body of the Lord
The touching of her lips, before the altar.

MEPHISTOPHELES

'Tis very well! My envy oft reposes
On your twin-pair, that feed among the roses.

FAUST

Away, thou pimp!

MEPHISTOPHELES

You rail, and it is fun to me.
The God, who fashioned youth and maid,
Perceived the noblest purpose of His trade,
And also made their opportunity.
Go on! It is a woe profound!
'Tis for your sweetheart's room you're bound,
And not for death, indeed.

FAUST

What are, within her arms, the heavenly blisses?
Though I be glowing with her kisses,
Do I not always share her need?
I am the fugitive, all houseless roaming,
The monster without air or rest,
That like a cataract, down rocks and gorges foaming,
Leaps, maddened, into the abyss's breast!
And side-wards she, with young unwakened senses,
Within her cabin on the Alpine field
Her simple, homely life commences,
Her little world therein concealed.
And I, God's hate flung o'er me,
Had not enough, to thrust
The stubborn rocks before me
And strike them into dust!
She and her peace I yet must undermine:
Thou, Hell, hast claimed this sacrifice as thine!
Help, Devil! through the coming pangs to push me;
What must be, let it quickly be!
Let fall on me her fate, and also crush me,
One ruin whelm both her and me!

MEPHISTOPHELES

Again it seethes, again it glows!
Thou fool, go in and comfort her!
When such a head as thine no outlet knows,
It thinks the end must soon occur.
Hail him, who keeps a steadfast mind!
Thou, else, dost well the devil-nature wear:
Naught so insipid in the world I find
As is a devil in despair.
Faust
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, FOREST AND CAVERN
,
822:Flee On Your Donkey
Because there was no other place
to flee to,
I came back to the scene of the disordered senses,
came back last night at midnight,
arriving in the thick June night
without luggage or defenses,
giving up my car keys and my cash,
keeping only a pack of Salem cigarettes
the way a child holds on to a toy.
I signed myself in where a stranger
puts the inked-in X's—
for this is a mental hospital,
not a child's game.
Today an intern knocks my knees,
testing for reflexes.
Once I would have winked and begged for dope.
Today I am terribly patient.
Today crows play black-jack
on the stethoscope.
Everyone has left me
except my muse,
that good nurse.
She stays in my hand,
a mild white mouse.
The curtains, lazy and delicate,
billow and flutter and drop
like the Victorian skirts
of my two maiden aunts
who kept an antique shop.
Hornets have been sent.
They cluster like floral arrangements on the screen.
Hornets, dragging their thin stingers,
hover outside, all knowing,
hissing: the hornet knows.
I heard it as a child
72
but what was it that he meant?
The hornet knows!
What happened to Jack and Doc and Reggy?
Who remembers what lurks in the heart of man?
What did The Green Hornet mean, he knows?
Or have I got it wrong?
Is it The Shadow who had seen
me from my bedside radio?
Now it's Dinn, Dinn, Dinn!
while the ladies in the next room argue
and pick their teeth.
Upstairs a girl curls like a snail;
in another room someone tries to eat a shoe;
meanwhile an adolescent pads up and down
the hall in his white tennis socks.
A new doctor makes rounds
advertising tranquilizers, insulin, or shock
to the uninitiated.
Six years of such small preoccupations!
Six years of shuttling in and out of this place!
O my hunger! My hunger!
I could have gone around the world twice
or had new children - all boys.
It was a long trip with little days in it
and no new places.
In here,
it's the same old crowd,
the same ruined scene.
The alcoholic arrives with his gold clubs.
The suicide arrives with extra pills sewn
into the lining of her dress.
The permanent guests have done nothing new.
Their faces are still small
like babies with jaundice.
Meanwhile,
they carried out my mother,
wrapped like somebody's doll, in sheets,
bandaged her jaw and stuffed up her holes.
73
My father, too. He went out on the rotten blood
he used up on other women in the Middle West.
He went out, a cured old alcoholic
on crooked feet and useless hands.
He went out calling for his father
who died all by himself long ago that fat banker who got locked up,
his genes suspended like dollars,
wrapped up in his secret,
tied up securely in a straitjacket.
But you, my doctor, my enthusiast,
were better than Christ;
you promised me another world
to tell me who
I was.
I spent most of my time,
a stranger,
damned and in trance—that little hut,
that naked blue-veined place,
my eyes shut on the confusing office,
eyes circling into my childhood,
eyes newly cut.
Years of hints
strung out—a serialized case history—
thirty-three years of the same dull incest
that sustained us both.
You, my bachelor analyst,
who sat on Marlborough Street,
sharing your office with your mother
and giving up cigarettes each New Year,
were the new God,
the manager of the Gideon Bible.
I was your third-grader
with a blue star on my forehead.
In trance I could be any age,
voice, gesture—all turned backward
like a drugstore clock.
Awake, I memorized dreams.
Dreams came into the ring
74
like third string fighters,
each one a bad bet
who might win
because there was no other.
I stared at them,
concentrating on the abyss
the way one looks down into a rock quarry,
uncountable miles down,
my hands swinging down like hooks
to pull dreams up out of their cage.
O my hunger! My hunger!
Once, outside your office,
I collapsed in the old-fashioned swoon
between the illegally parked cars.
I threw myself down,
pretending dead for eight hours.
I thought I had died
into a snowstorm.
Above my head
chains cracked along like teeth
digging their way through the snowy street.
I lay there
like an overcoat
that someone had thrown away.
You carried me back in,
awkwardly, tenderly,
with help of the red-haired secretary
who was built like a lifeguard.
My shoes,
I remember,
were lost in the snowbank
as if I planned never to walk again.
That was the winter
that my mother died,
half mad on morphine,
blown up, at last,
like a pregnant pig.
I was her dreamy evil eye.
In fact,
75
I carried a knife in my pocketbook—
my husband's good L. L. Bean hunting knife.
I wasn't sure if I should slash a tire
or scrape the guts out of some dream.
You taught me
to believe in dreams;
thus I was the dredger.
I held them like an old woman with arthritic fingers,
carefully straining the water out—
sweet dark playthings,
and above all, mysterious
until they grew mournful and weak.
O my hunger! My hunger!
I was the one
who opened the warm eyelid
like a surgeon
and brought forth young girls
to grunt like fish.
I told you,
I said—
but I was lying—
that the knife was for my mother . . .
and then I delivered her.
The curtains flutter out
and slump against the bars.
They are my two thin ladies
named Blanche and Rose.
The grounds outside
are pruned like an estate at Newport.
Far off, in the field,
something yellow grows.
Was it last month or last year
that the ambulance ran like a hearse
with its siren blowing on suicide—
Dinn, dinn, dinn!—
a noon whistle that kept insisting on life
all the way through the traffic lights?
76
I have come back
but disorder is not what it was.
I have lost the trick of it!
The innocence of it!
That fellow-patient in his stovepipe hat
with his fiery joke, his manic smile—
even he seems blurred, small and pale.
I have come back,
recommitted,
fastened to the wall like a bathroom plunger,
held like a prisoner
who was so poor
he fell in love with jail.
I stand at this old window
complaining of the soup,
examining the grounds,
allowing myself the wasted life.
Soon I will raise my face for a white flag,
and when God enters the fort,
I won't spit or gag on his finger.
I will eat it like a white flower.
Is this the old trick, the wasting away,
the skull that waits for its dose
of electric power?
This is madness
but a kind of hunger.
What good are my questions
in this hierarchy of death
where the earth and the stones go
Dinn! Dinn! Dinn!
It is hardly a feast.
It is my stomach that makes me suffer.
Turn, my hungers!
For once make a deliberate decision.
There are brains that rot here
like black bananas.
Hearts have grown as flat as dinner plates.
Anne, Anne,
77
flee on your donkey,
flee this sad hotel,
ride out on some hairy beast,
gallop backward pressing
your buttocks to his withers,
sit to his clumsy gait somehow.
Ride out
any old way you please!
In this place everyone talks to his own mouth.
That's what it means to be crazy.
Those I loved best died of it—
the fool's disease.
~ Anne Sexton,
823:Le Léthé (Lethe)
Viens sur mon coeur, âme cruelle et sourde,
Tigre adoré, monstre aux airs indolents;
Je veux longtemps plonger mes doigts tremblants
Dans l'épaisseur de ta crinière lourde;
Dans tes jupons remplis de ton parfum
Ensevelir ma tête endolorie,
Et respirer, comme une fleur flétrie,
Le doux relent de mon amour défunt.
Je veux dormir! dormir plutôt que vivre!
Dans un sommeil aussi doux que la mort,
J'étalerai mes baisers sans remords
Sur ton beau corps poli comme le cuivre.
Pour engloutir mes sanglots apaisés
Rien ne me vaut l'abîme de ta couche;
L'oubli puissant habite sur ta bouche,
Et le Léthé coule dans tes baisers.
À mon destin, désormais mon délice,
J'obéirai comme un prédestiné;
Martyr docile, innocent condamné,
Dont la ferveur attise le supplice,
Je sucerai, pour noyer ma rancoeur,
Le népenthès et la bonne ciguë
Aux bouts charmants de cette gorge aiguë
Qui n'a jamais emprisonné de coeur.
Lethe
Come, lie upon my breast, cruel, insensitive soul,
Adored tigress, monster with the indolent air;
I want to plunge trembling fingers for a long time
In the thickness of your heavy mane,
To bury my head, full of pain
In your skirts redolent of your perfume,
296
To inhale, as from a withered flower,
The moldy sweetness of my defunct love.
I wish to sleep! to sleep rather than live!
In a slumber doubtful as death,
I shall remorselessly cover with my kisses
Your lovely body polished like copper.
To bury my subdued sobbing
Nothing equals the abyss of your bed,
Potent oblivion dwells upon your lips
And Lethe flows in your kisses.
My fate, hereafter my delight,
I'll obey like one predestined;
Docile martyr, innocent man condemned,
Whose fervor aggravates the punishment.
I shall suck, to drown my rancor,
Nepenthe and the good hemlock
From the charming tips of those pointed breasts
That have never guarded a heart.
— Translated by William Aggeler
Lethe
Rest on my heart, deaf, cruel soul, adored
Tigress, and monster with the lazy air.
I long, in the black jungles of your hair,
To force each finger thrilling like a sword:
Within wide skirts, filled with your scent, to hide
My bruised and battered forehead hour by hour,
And breathe, like dampness from a withered flower,
The pleasant mildew of a love that died.
Rather than live, I wish to sleep, alas!
Lulled in a slumber soft and dark as death,
In ruthless kisses lavishing my breath
Upon your body smooth as burnished brass.
297
To swallow up my sorrows in eclipse,
Nothing can match your couch's deep abysses;
The stream of Lethe issues from your kisses
And powerful oblivion from your lips.
Like a predestined victim I submit:
My doom, to me, henceforth, is my delight,
A willing martyr in my own despite
Whose fervour fans the faggots it has lit.
To drown my rancour and to heal its smart,
Nepenthe and sweet hemlock, peace and rest,
I'll drink from the twin summits of a breast
That never lodged the semblance of a heart.
— Translated by Roy Campbell
Lethe
Come to my arms, cruel and sullen thing;
Indolent beast, come to my arms again,
For I would plunge my fingers in your mane
And be a long time unremembering —
And bury myself in you, and breathe your wild
Perfume remorselessly for one more hour:
And breathe again, as of a ruined flower,
The fragrance of the love you have defiled.
I long to sleep; I think that from a stark
Slumber like death I could awake the same
As I was once, and lavish without shame
Caresses upon your body, glowing and dark.
To drown my sorrow there is no abyss,
However deep, that can compare with your bed.
Forgetfulness has made its country your red
Mouth, and the flowing of Lethe is in your kiss.
My doom, henceforward, is my sole desire:
298
As martyrs, being demented in their zeal,
Shake with delightful spasms upon the wheel,
Implore the whip, or puff upon the fire,
So I implore you, fervently resigned!
Come; I would drink nepenthe and long rest
At the sweet points of this entrancing breast
Wherein no heart has ever been confined.
— Translated by George Dillon
Lethe
Tigress adored, indolent fiend, lie there,
There on my heart now, merciless and strong,
I wish to run my trembling fingers long
Through the black tangles of your heavy hair,
To plunge my aching head amorous of
Your skirts as into secret, perfumed bowers,
To breathe your scent as from pale withered flowers
The after-flavor of my defunct love.
I wish to sleep rather than live, alas!
In slumber deep and sweet as death, O lover,
As my fierce and remorseless kisses cover
Your lovely body, bright as burnished brass,
To bury my stilled sobs in the abysses
Of your anodyne bed, to feast upon
Your lips that shed potent oblivion,
To drink the Lethe flowing in your kisses.
I shall delight in following my fate,
Obeying it gladly as a man contemned,
O docile martyr, innocent condemned
To tortures that his fervors aggravate.
With suckling lips to quell my spleen and rancor,
Nepenthe I shall drain, and hemlock's sweets,
Out of the magic tips of pointed teats
That never served a human heart for anchor.
299
— Translated by Jacques LeClercq
Le Léthé
come to my heart, cold viper-soul malign,
beloved tiger, hydra indolent;
long will I drag my hands incontinent
and quivering, through this vast loosed mane of thine;
long will I bury throbbing brow and head
among thy skirts all redolent of thee,
and breathe — a blighted flower of perfidy —
the fading odour of my passion dead.
I'll sleep, not live! I'll lose myself in sleep!
in slumber soft as Death's uncertain shore,
I'll sleep and sow my drowsy kisses o'er
thy polished coppery arms and bosom deep.
to drown my sobs and still my spirit — o!
no boon but thine abysmal bed avails;
poppied oblivion from thy mouth exhales
and through thy kisses floods of Lethe flow.
so to my doom, henceforward my desire,
I shall submit as one predestinate;
and like a martyr, calm, immaculate,
whose fervour prods again his flickering pyre,
I'll suck, to drown my hate's eternal smart,
Nepenthe, and good bitter hemlock brew,
from the sharp rose-buds of thy breast, anew,
thy breast that never did contain a heart.
— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
Lethe
Come on my heart, cruel and insensible soul,
My darling tiger, beast with indolent airs;
I want to plunge for hours my trembling fingers
300
In your thick and heavy mane;
In your petticoats filled with your perfume
To bury my aching head,
And breathe, like a faded flower,
The sweet taste of my dead love.
I want to sleep, to sleep and not to live,
In a sleep as soft as death,
I shall cover with remorseless kisses
Your body beautifully polished as copper.
To swallow my appeased sobbing
I need only the abyss of your bed;
A powerful oblivion lives on your lips,
And all Lethe flows in your kisses.
I shall obey, as though predestined,
My destiny, that is now my delight;
Submissive martyr, innocent damned one,
My ardor inflames my torture,
And I shall suck, to drown my bitterness
The nepenthe and the good hemlock,
On the lovely tips of those jutting breasts
Which have never imprisoned love.
— TRanslated by Geoffrey Wagner
Lethe
Come to my heart, cruel, insensible one,
Adored tiger, monster with the indolent air;
I would for a long time plunge my trembling fingers
Into the heavy tresses of your hair;
And in your garments that exhale your perfume
I would bury my aching head,
And breathe, like a withered flower,
The sweet, stale reek of my love that is dead.
301
I want to sleep! sleep rather than live!
And in a slumber, dubious as the tomb's,
I would lavish my kisses without remorse
Upon the burnished copper of your limbs.
To swallow my abated sobs
Nothing equals your bed's abyss;
Forgetfulness dwells in your mouth,
And Lethe flows from your kiss.
My destiny, henceforth my pleasure,
I shall obey, predestined instrument,
Docile martyr, condemned innocent,
Whose fervour but augments his torment.
I shall suck, to drown my rancour,
Nepenthe, hemlock, an opiate,
At the charming tips of this pointed breast
That has never imprisoned a heart.
Translated by Anonymous
~ Charles Baudelaire,
824:London Bridge
“Do I hear them? Yes, I hear the children singing—and what of it?
Have you come with eyes afire to find me now and ask me that?
If I were not their father and if you were not their mother,
We might believe they made a noise…. What are you—driving at!”
“Well, be glad that you can hear them, and be glad they are so near us,—
For I have heard the stars of heaven, and they were nearer still.
All within an hour it is that I have heard them calling,
And though I pray for them to cease, I know they never will;
For their music on my heart, though you may freeze it, will fall always,
Like summer snow that never melts upon a mountain-top.
Do you hear them? Do you hear them overhead—the children—singing?
Do you hear the children singing?… God, will you make them stop!”
“And what now in His holy name have you to do with mountains?
We’re back to town again, my dear, and we’ve a dance tonight.
Frozen hearts and falling music? Snow and stars, and—what the devil!
Say it over to me slowly, and be sure you have it right.”
“God knows if I be right or wrong in saying what I tell you,
Or if I know the meaning any more of what I say.
All I know is, it will kill me if I try to keep it hidden—
Well, I met him…. Yes, I met him, and I talked with him—today.”
“You met him? Did you meet the ghost of someone you had poisoned,
Long ago, before I knew you for the woman that you are?
Take a chair; and don’t begin your stories always in the middle.
Was he man, or was he demon? Anyhow, you’ve gone too far
To go back, and I’m your servant. I’m the lord, but you’re the master.
Now go on with what you know, for I’m excited.”
“Do you mean—
Do you mean to make me try to think that you know less than I do?”
“I know that you foreshadow the beginning of a scene.
Pray be careful, and as accurate as if the doors of heaven
Were to swing or to stay bolted from now on for evermore.”
“Do you conceive, with all your smooth contempt of every feeling,
176
Of hiding what you know and what you must have known before?
Is it worth a woman’s torture to stand here and have you smiling,
With only your poor fetish of possession on your side?
No thing but one is wholly sure, and that’s not one to scare me;
When I meet it I may say to God at last that I have tried.
And yet, for all I know, or all I dare believe, my trials
Henceforward will be more for you to bear than are your own;
And you must give me keys of yours to rooms I have not entered.
Do you see me on your threshold all my life, and there alone?
Will you tell me where you see me in your fancy—when it leads you
Far enough beyond the moment for a glance at the abyss?”
“Will you tell me what intrinsic and amazing sort of nonsense
You are crowding on the patience of the man who gives you—this?
Look around you and be sorry you’re not living in an attic,
With a civet and a fish-net, and with you to pay the rent.
I say words that you can spell without the use of all your letters;
And I grant, if you insist, that I’ve a guess at what you meant.”
“Have I told you, then, for nothing, that I met him? Are you trying
To be merry while you try to make me hate you?”
“Think again,
My dear, before you tell me, in a language unbecoming
To a lady, what you plan to tell me next. If I complain,
If I seem an atom peevish at the preference you mention—
Or imply, to be precise—you may believe, or you may not,
That I’m a trifle more aware of what he wants than you are.
But I shouldn’t throw that at you. Make believe that I forgot.
Make believe that he’s a genius, if you like,—but in the meantime
Don’t go back to rocking-horses. There, there, there, now.”
“Make believe!
When you see me standing helpless on a plank above a whirlpool,
Do I drown, or do I hear you when you say it? Make believe?
How much more am I to say or do for you before I tell you
That I met him! What’s to follow now may be for you to choose.
Do you hear me? Won’t you listen? It’s an easy thing to listen….”
“And it’s easy to be crazy when there’s everything to lose.”
“If at last you have a notion that I mean what I am saying,
Do I seem to tell you nothing when I tell you I shall try?
177
If you save me, and I lose him—I don’t know—it won’t much matter.
I dare say that I’ve lied enough, but now I do not lie.”
“Do you fancy me the one man who has waited and said nothing
While a wife has dragged an old infatuation from a tomb?
Give the thing a little air and it will vanish into ashes.
There you are—piff! presto!”
“When I came into this room,
It seemed as if I saw the place, and you there at your table,
As you are now at this moment, for the last time in my life;
And I told myself before I came to find you, ‘I shall tell him,
If I can, what I have learned of him since I became his wife.’
And if you say, as I’ve no doubt you will before I finish,
That you have tried unceasingly, with all your might and main,
To teach me, knowing more than I of what it was I needed,
Don’t think, with all you may have thought, that you have tried in vain;
For you have taught me more than hides in all the shelves of knowledge
Of how little you found that’s in me and was in me all along.
I believed, if I intruded nothing on you that I cared for,
I’d be half as much as horses,—and it seems that I was wrong;
I believed there was enough of earth in me, with all my nonsense
Over things that made you sleepy, to keep something still awake;
But you taught me soon to read my book, and God knows I have read it—
Ages longer than an angel would have read it for your sake.
I have said that you must open other doors than I have entered,
But I wondered while I said it if I might not be obscure.
Is there anything in all your pedigrees and inventories
With a value more elusive than a dollar’s? Are you sure
That if I starve another year for you I shall be stronger
To endure another like it—and another—till I’m dead?”
“Has your tame cat sold a picture?—or more likely had a windfall?
Or for God’s sake, what’s broke loose? Have you a bee-hive in your head?
A little more of this from you will not be easy hearing
Do you know that? Understand it, if you do; for if you won’t….
What the devil are you saying! Make believe you never said it,
And I’ll say I never heard it…. Oh, you…. If you….”
“If I don’t?”
“There are men who say there’s reason hidden somewhere in a woman,
But I doubt if God himself remembers where the key was hung.”
178
“He may not; for they say that even God himself is growing.
I wonder if He makes believe that He is growing young;
I wonder if He makes believe that women who are giving
All they have in holy loathing to a stranger all their lives
Are the wise ones who build houses in the Bible….”
“Stop—you devil!”
“…Or that souls are any whiter when their bodies are called wives.
If a dollar’s worth of gold will hoop the walls of hell together,
Why need heaven be such a ruin of a place that never was?
And if at last I lied my starving soul away to nothing,
Are you sure you might not miss it? Have you come to such a pass
That you would have me longer in your arms if you discovered
That I made you into someone else…. Oh!…Well, there are worse ways.
But why aim it at my feet—unless you fear you may be sorry….
There are many days ahead of you.”
“I do not see those days.”
“I can see them. Granted even I am wrong, there are the children.
And are they to praise their father for his insight if we die?
Do you hear them? Do you hear them overhead—the children—singing?
Do you hear them? Do you hear the children?”
“Damn the children!”
“Why?
What have they done?…Well, then,—do it…. Do it now, and have it over.”
“Oh, you devil!…Oh, you….”
“No, I’m not a devil, I’m a prophet—
One who sees the end already of so much that one end more
Would have now the small importance of one other small illusion,
Which in turn would have a welcome where the rest have gone before.
But if I were you, my fancy would look on a little farther
For the glimpse of a release that may be somewhere still in sight.
Furthermore, you must remember those two hundred invitations
For the dancing after dinner. We shall have to shine tonight.
We shall dance, and be as happy as a pair of merry spectres,
On the grave of all the lies that we shall never have to tell;
We shall dance among the ruins of the tomb of our endurance,
And I have not a doubt that we shall do it very well.
There!—I’m glad you’ve put it back; for I don’t like it. Shut the drawer now.
179
No—no—don’t cancel anything. I’ll dance until I drop.
I can’t walk yet, but I’m going to…. Go away somewhere, and leave me….
Oh, you children! Oh, you children!…God, will they never stop!”
~ Edwin Arlington Robinson,
825:Le Balcon (The Balcony)
Le Balcon
Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses,
Ô toi, tous mes plaisirs! ô toi, tous mes devoirs!
Tu te rappelleras la beauté des caresses,
La douceur du foyer et le charme des soirs,
Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses!
Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon,
Et les soirs au balcon, voilés de vapeurs roses.
Que ton sein m'était doux! que ton coeur m'était bon!
Nous avons dit souvent d'impérissables choses
Les soirs illumines par l'ardeur du charbon.
Que les soleils sont beaux dans les chaudes soirées!
Que l'espace est profond! que le coeur est puissant!
En me penchant vers toi, reine des adorées,
Je croyais respirer le parfum de ton sang.
Que les soleils sont beaux dans les chaudes soirées!
La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison,
Et mes yeux dans le noir devinaient tes prunelles,
Et je buvais ton souffle, ô douceur! ô poison!
Et tes pieds s'endormaient dans mes mains fraternelles.
La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison.
Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses,
Et revis mon passé blotti dans tes genoux.
Car à quoi bon chercher tes beautés langoureuses
Ailleurs qu'en ton cher corps et qu'en ton coeur si doux?
Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses!
Ces serments, ces parfums, ces baisers infinis,
Renaîtront-ils d'un gouffre interdit à nos sondes,
Comme montent au ciel les soleils rajeunis
Après s'être lavés au fond des mers profondes?
— Ô serments! ô parfums! ô baisers infinis!
The Balcony
266
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses,
O you, all my pleasure, O you, all my duty!
You'll remember the sweetness of our caresses,
The peace of the fireside, the charm of the evenings.
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!
The evenings lighted by the glow of the coals,
The evenings on the balcony, veiled with rose mist;
How soft your breast was to me! how kind was your heart!
We often said imperishable things,
The evenings lighted by the glow of the coals.
How splendid the sunsets are on warm evenings!
How deep space is! how potent is the heart!
In bending over you, queen of adored women,
I thought I breathed the perfume in your blood.
How splendid the sunsets are on warm evenings!
The night was growing dense like an encircling wall,
My eyes in the darkness felt the fire of your gaze
And I drank in your breath, O sweetness, O poison!
And your feet nestled soft in my brotherly hands.
The night was growing dense like an encircling wall.
I know the art of evoking happy moments,
And live again our past, my head laid on your knees,
For what's the good of seeking your languid beauty
Elsewhere than in your dear body and gentle heart?
I know the art of evoking happy moments.
Those vows, those perfumes, those infinite kisses,
Will they be reborn from a gulf we may not sound,
As rejuvenated suns rise in the heavens
After being bathed in the depths of deep seas?
— O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
— Translated by William Aggeler
267
The Balcony
Mother of memories, queen of paramours,
Yourself are all my pleasure, all my duty;
You will recall caresses that were yours
And fireside evenings in their warmth and beauty.
Mother of memories, queen of paramours.
On eves illumined by the light of coal,
The balcony beneath a rose-veiled sky,
Your breast how soft! Your heart how good and whole!
We spoke eternal things that cannot die —
On eves illumined by the light of coal!
How splendid sets the sun of a warm evening!
How deep is space! the heart how full of power!
When, queen of the adored, towards you leaning,
I breathed the perfume of your blood in flower.
How splendid sets the sun of a warm evening!
The evening like an alcove seemed to thicken,
And as my eyes astrologised your own,
Drinking your breath, I felt sweet poisons quicken,
And in my hands your feet slept still as stone.
The evening like an alcove seemed to thicken.
I know how to resuscitate dead minutes.
I see my past, its face hid in your knees.
How can I seek your languorous charm save in its
Own source, your heart and body formed to please.
I know how to resuscitate dead minutes.
These vows, these perfumes, and these countless kisses,
Reborn from gulfs that we could never sound,
Will they, like suns, once bathed in those abysses,
Rejuvenated from the deep, rebound —
These vows, these perfumes, and these countless kisses?
— Translated by Roy Campbell
268
The Balcony
Inspirer of my youth, mistress beyond compare,
You who were all my pleasures, all my hopes and dreams!
Do you recall our cheerful room — our evenings there,
Quiet and passionate? Like yesterday, it seems,
Inspirer of my youth, mistress beyond compare!
The evenings lighted by the hushed flame of the coal,
The warm rose-misted twilights in the early springs,
The balcony! How I adored you, body and soul!
And, darling, we have said imperishable things
The evenings lighted by the hushed flame of the coal.
How splendid were the long slow summer sunsets, too!
How large the world appeared to us! How strong and good
Life ran then in our veins! When I leaned close to you
I thought that I could breathe the perfume of your blood.
How splendid were the long slow summer sunsets, too!
The night would close around us like a dim blue wall,
And your eyes flashed within the darkness, and the sweet
Drug of your breath came over me. Do you recall
How I would love to lie for hours holding your feet?
The night would close around us like a dim blue wall.
I can relive the ecstasy that Time has slain;
At moments I can feel myself between your thighs.
What use to hope for anything like that again
With someone else? What use to seek in any wise?
I can relive the ecstasy that Time has slain.
Those cries, those long embraces, that remembered scent:
Can they be lost for ever? Will they not come round
Like stars, like suns, to blaze upon the firmament
Of future worlds, from the abyss we cannot sound?
— O cries! O long embraces! O remembered scent!
— Translated by George Dillon
269
The Balcony
Mistress of mistresses, mother of memories,
O you my every pleasure, you my every duty!
You shall recall our blandishments and ecstasies,
The warm peace of our hearth, the evening's placid beauty.
Mistress of mistresses, mother of memories!
Evenings illumined by the glow of coals afire
Or on the balcony, veiled in a rosy mist.
How soft your breast, how kind your heart to my desire!
We said imperishable things the while we kissed,
Evenings illumined by the glow of coals afire.
How glorious the sunset on warm summer nights!
How deep space is! the human heart how competent!
As I bent over you, queen of my soul's delight,
I thought I breathed your blood with its suave acrid scent.
How glorious the sunset on warm summer nights!
The night grew dense, forming a wall to compass us,
Across the dark your eyes bound mine with golden bands,
I drank your breath in deep, O sweet, O poisonous!
Your slender feet slept softly in my gentle hands.
The night grew dense, forming a wall to compass us.
The resurrection of glad moments is an art
I know: I live anew, my head pressed to your knees,
For where, if not in your loved flesh and tender heart,
Can I seek out the wonder of your languidness?
The resurrection of glad moments is an art.
These vows, these fragrant scents, these kisses without end,
Shall they be born again out of infinity?
As suns rejuvenated in the skies ascend,
Having been laved in the unfathomable sea?
— O vows! O fragrant scents! — O kisses without end!
— Translated by Jacques LeClercq
270
Le Balcon
mother of memories, mistress of mistresses
— thou, all my pleasure, thou, my fealties all!
thou shalt recall each kiss how soft it is,
how warm our hearth, the night how magical,
mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!
long hours illumined by the glowing fire
long balcony-hours veiled with misty rose;
soft pillowing breast! heart warm to my desire!
and all the imperishable things we whispered, those
long hours illumined by the glowing fire
how softly shone the golden, shimmering sun!
how deep the skyey space! how rich love's power!
for bending toward thee, most belovèd one,
I seemed to breathe thy pulses like a flower.
how softly shone the golden, shimmering sun!
Night with her thickening wall imprisoned us,
eyes groped for widening eyes the black withheld,
I drank thy breath, o sweet, o poisonous!
thy feet slept in my hands fraternal held;
Night with her thickening wall imprisoned us.
my magic art evoked a rapture perished,
for in thy clasp I saw my youth afresh,
could others yield the languorous charm I cherished,
thy gentle heart, thy dear and lovely flesh?
my magic art evoked a rapture perished!
but — vows and fragrance, infinite desire —
shall they arise from gulfs too deep to plumb,
as morn by morn new suns of rosier fire
mount, laved in some dark sea Elysium?
o vows! o fragrance! infinite desire!
271
— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
~ Charles Baudelaire,
826:I

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!

II

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.

III
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.

IV

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?

V

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
wife.

VI

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.

VII

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.

VIII

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!

XI

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.

X

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.

IX

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.

XII

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?

XIII

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.

XIV

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.

XV

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."

XVI

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.

XVII

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.

XVIII

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!

XIX

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!

XX

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!

XXI

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!

XXII

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.

XXIII

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.

XXIV

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!

XXV

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!

XXVI

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.

XXVII

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.

XXVIII

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!

XXIX

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!

XXX

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.

XXXI

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.

XXXII

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
,
827:Requiem
Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
[1961]
INSTEAD OF A PREFACE
During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I
spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in
Leningrad. One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me,
her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in
her life heard my name. Jolted out of the torpor
characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear
(everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe
this?' And I answered - 'I can.' It was then that
something like a smile slid across what had previously
been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957. Leningrad]
DEDICATION
Mountains fall before this grief,
A mighty river stops its flow,
But prison doors stay firmly bolted
Shutting off the convict burrows
And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone,
Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this,
We are everywhere the same, listening
To the scrape and turn of hateful keys
And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass,
Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed,
We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun,
Lower every day; the Neva, mistier:
But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict. Immediately a flood of tears,
62
Followed by a total isolation,
As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or,
Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out,
But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends,
Captives of my two satanic years?
What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard?
What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon?
I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
[March 1940]
INTRODUCTION
[PRELUDE]
It happened like this when only the dead
Were smiling, glad of their release,
That Leningrad hung around its prisons
Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang
Short songs of farewell
To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering,
As they, in regiments, walked along Stars of death stood over us
As innocent Russia squirmed
Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres
Of the black marias.
You were taken away at dawn. I followed you
As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God. . .
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold
sweat
On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather
To wail with the wives of the murdered streltsy (1)
Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
[1935. Autumn. Moscow]
II
63
Silent flows the river Don
A yellow moon looks quietly on
Swanking about, with cap askew
It sees through the window a shadow of you
Gravely ill, all alone
The moon sees a woman lying at home
Her son is in jail, her husband is dead
Say a prayer for her instead.
III
It isn't me, someone else is suffering. I couldn't.
Not like this. Everything that has happened,
Cover it with a black cloth,
Then let the torches be removed. . .
Night.
IV
Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling,
The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2)
If only you could have foreseen
What life would do with you That you would stand, parcel in hand,
Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in
line,
Burning the new year's ice
With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways
With not a sound - how many innocent
Blameless lives are being taken away. . .
[1938]
For seventeen months I have been screaming,
Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers
For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever I can no longer distinguish
64
Who is an animal, who a person, and how long
The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers,
The chinking of the thurible,
Tracks from somewhere into nowhere
And, staring me in the face
And threatening me with swift annihilation,
An enormous star.
[1939]
VI
Weeks fly lightly by. Even so,
I cannot understand what has arisen,
How, my son, into your prison
White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn,
Eyes that focus like a hawk,
And, upon your cross, the talk
Is again of death.
[1939. Spring]
VII
THE VERDICT
The word landed with a stony thud
Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared,
I will manage with the rest.
I have a lot of work to do today;
I need to slaughter memory,
Turn my living soul to stone
Then teach myself to live again. . .
But how. The hot summer rustles
Like a carnival outside my window;
I have long had this premonition
Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939. Summer. Fontannyi Dom (4)]
VIII
65
TO DEATH
You will come anyway - so why not now?
I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door
For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish. Burst in
Like a shell of noxious gas. Creep up on me
Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation,
Or, with a simple tale prepared by you
(And known by all to the point of nausea), take me
Before the commander of the blue caps and let me
glimpse
The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore. The river Yenisey
Swirls on. The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes
Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939. Fontannyi Dom]
IX
Madness with its wings
Has covered half my soul
It feeds me fiery wine
And lures me into the abyss.
That's when I understood
While listening to my alien delirium
That I must hand the victory
To it.
However much I nag
However much I beg
It will not let me take
One single thing away:
Not my son's frightening eyes A suffering set in stone,
Or prison visiting hours
Or days that end in storms
66
Nor the sweet coolness of a hand
The anxious shade of lime trees
Nor the light distant sound
Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940. Fontannyi Dom]
CRUCIFIXION
Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.
1.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour,
The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!'
But to his mother, 'Weep not for me. . .'
[1940. Fontannyi Dom]
2.
Magdalena smote herself and wept,
The favourite disciple turned to stone,
But there, where the mother stood silent,
Not one person dared to look.
[1943. Tashkent]
EPILOGUE
1.
I have learned how faces fall,
How terror can escape from lowered eyes,
How suffering can etch cruel pages
Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair
Can suddenly turn white. I've learned to recognise
The fading smiles upon submissive lips,
The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself
But all of you who stood there with me
Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat
Under a towering, completely blind red wall.
67
2.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you:
The one who resisted the long drag to the open window;
The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar
soil beneath her feet;
The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied,
'I arrive here as if I've come home!'
I'd like to name you all by name, but the list
Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
So,
I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble
words
I overheard you use. Everywhere, forever and always,
I will never forget one single thing. Even in new
grief.
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth
Through which one hundred million people scream;
That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead
On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country
Decides to raise a memorial to me,
I give my consent to this festivity
But only on this condition - do not build it
By the sea where I was born,
I have severed my last ties with the sea;
Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump
Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me;
Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours
And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear
That I will forget the Black Marias,
Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman
Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears
From my immovable bronze eyelids
And let the prison dove coo in the distance
While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940. Fontannyi Dom]
68
FOOTNOTES
1 An elite guard which rose up in rebellion
against Peter the Great in 1698. Most were either
executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St
Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the
Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the
shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.
~ Anna Akhmatova,
828:Aurora Leigh (Excerpts)
[Book 1]
I am like,
They tell me, my dear father. Broader brows
Howbeit, upon a slenderer undergrowth
Of delicate features, -- paler, near as grave ;
But then my mother's smile breaks up the whole,
And makes it better sometimes than itself.
So, nine full years, our days were hid with God
Among his mountains : I was just thirteen,
Still growing like the plants from unseen roots
In tongue-tied Springs, -- and suddenly awoke
To full life and life 's needs and agonies,
With an intense, strong, struggling heart beside
A stone-dead father. Life, struck sharp on death,
Makes awful lightning. His last word was, `Love --'
`Love, my child, love, love !' -- (then he had done with grief)
`Love, my child.' Ere I answered he was gone,
And none was left to love in all the world.
There, ended childhood. What succeeded next
I recollect as, after fevers, men
Thread back the passage of delirium,
Missing the turn still, baffled by the door ;
Smooth endless days, notched here and there with knives ;
A weary, wormy darkness, spurr'd i' the flank
With flame, that it should eat and end itself
Like some tormented scorpion. Then at last
I do remember clearly, how there came
A stranger with authority, not right,
(I thought not) who commanded, caught me up
From old Assunta's neck ; how, with a shriek,
She let me go, -- while I, with ears too full
Of my father's silence, to shriek back a word,
In all a child's astonishment at grief
Stared at the wharf-edge where she stood and moaned,
My poor Assunta, where she stood and moaned !
The white walls, the blue hills, my Italy,
Drawn backward from the shuddering steamer-deck,
Like one in anger drawing back her skirts
Which supplicants catch at. Then the bitter sea
31
Inexorably pushed between us both,
And sweeping up the ship with my despair
Threw us out as a pasture to the stars.
Ten nights and days we voyaged on the deep ;
Ten nights and days, without the common face
Of any day or night ; the moon and sun
Cut off from the green reconciling earth,
To starve into a blind ferocity
And glare unnatural ; the very sky
(Dropping its bell-net down upon the sea
As if no human heart should 'scape alive,)
Bedraggled with the desolating salt,
Until it seemed no more that holy heaven
To which my father went. All new and strange
The universe turned stranger, for a child.
Then, land ! -- then, England ! oh, the frosty cliffs
Looked cold upon me. Could I find a home
Among those mean red houses through the fog ?
And when I heard my father's language first
From alien lips which had no kiss for mine
I wept aloud, then laughed, then wept, then wept,
And some one near me said the child was mad
Through much sea-sickness. The train swept us on.
Was this my father's England ? the great isle ?
The ground seemed cut up from the fellowship
Of verdure, field from field, as man from man ;
The skies themselves looked low and positive,
As almost you could touch them with a hand,
And dared to do it they were so far off
From God's celestial crystals ; all things blurred
And dull and vague. Did Shakspeare and his mates
Absorb the light here ? -- not a hill or stone
With heart to strike a radiant colour up
Or active outline on the indifferent air.
I think I see my father's sister stand
Upon the hall-step of her country-house
To give me welcome. She stood straight and calm,
Her somewhat narrow forehead braided tight
As if for taming accidental thoughts
From possible pulses ; brown hair pricked with grey
By frigid use of life, (she was not old
Although my father's elder by a year)
32
A nose drawn sharply yet in delicate lines ;
A close mild mouth, a little soured about
The ends, through speaking unrequited loves
Or peradventure niggardly half-truths ;
Eyes of no colour, -- once they might have smiled,
But never, never have forgot themselves
In smiling ; cheeks, in which was yet a rose
Of perished summers, like a rose in a book,
Kept more for ruth than pleasure, -- if past bloom,
Past fading also.
She had lived, we'll say,
A harmless life, she called a virtuous life,
A quiet life, which was not life at all,
(But that, she had not lived enough to know)
Between the vicar and the country squires,
The lord-lieutenant looking down sometimes
From the empyrean to assure their souls
Against chance-vulgarisms, and, in the abyss
The apothecary, looked on once a year
To prove their soundness of humility.
The poor-club exercised her Christian gifts
Of knitting stockings, stitching petticoats,
Because we are of one flesh after all
And need one flannel (with a proper sense
Of difference in the quality) -- and still
The book-club, guarded from your modern trick
Of shaking dangerous questions from the crease,
Preserved her intellectual. She had lived
A sort of cage-bird life, born in a cage,
Accounting that to leap from perch to perch
Was act and joy enough for any bird.
Dear heaven, how silly are the things that live
In thickets, and eat berries !
I, alas,
A wild bird scarcely fledged, was brought to her cage,
And she was there to meet me. Very kind.
Bring the clean water, give out the fresh seed.
She stood upon the steps to welcome me,
Calm, in black garb. I clung about her neck, -Young babes, who catch at every shred of wool
To draw the new light closer, catch and cling
Less blindly. In my ears, my father's word
33
Hummed ignorantly, as the sea in shells,
`Love, love, my child.' She, black there with my grief,
Might feel my love -- she was his sister once,
I clung to her. A moment, she seemed moved,
Kissed me with cold lips, suffered me to cling,
And drew me feebly through the hall into
The room she sate in.
There, with some strange spasm
Of pain and passion, she wrung loose my hands
Imperiously, and held me at arm's length,
And with two grey-steel naked-bladed eyes
Searched through my face, -- ay, stabbed it through and through,
Through brows and cheeks and chin, as if to find
A wicked murderer in my innocent face,
If not here, there perhaps. Then, drawing breath,
She struggled for her ordinary calm
And missed it rather, -- told me not to shrink,
As if she had told me not to lie or swear, -`She loved my father, and would love me too
As long as I deserved it.' Very kind.
[Book 5]
AURORA LEIGH, be humble. Shall I hope
To speak my poems in mysterious tune
With man and nature ? -- with the lava-lymph
That trickles from successive galaxies
Still drop by drop adown the finger of God
In still new worlds ? -- with summer-days in this ?
That scarce dare breathe they are so beautiful ?-With spring's delicious trouble in the ground,
Tormented by the quickened blood of roots,
And softly pricked by golden crocus-sheaves
In token of the harvest-time of flowers ?-With winters and with autumns, -- and beyond,
With the human heart's large seasons, when it hopes
And fears, joys, grieves, and loves ? -- with all that strain
Of sexual passion, which devours the flesh
In a sacrament of souls ? with mother's breasts
Which, round the new-made creatures hanging there,
Throb luminous and harmonious like pure spheres ? -With multitudinous life, and finally
34
With the great escapings of ecstatic souls,
Who, in a rush of too long prisoned flame,
Their radiant faces upward, burn away
This dark of the body, issuing on a world,
Beyond our mortal ? -- can I speak my verse
Sp plainly in tune to these things and the rest,
That men shall feel it catch them on the quick,
As having the same warrant over them
To hold and move them if they will or no,
Alike imperious as the primal rhythm
Of that theurgic nature ? I must fail,
Who fail at the beginning to hold and move
One man, -- and he my cousin, and he my friend,
And he born tender, made intelligent,
Inclined to ponder the precipitous sides
Of difficult questions ; yet, obtuse to me,
Of me, incurious ! likes me very well,
And wishes me a paradise of good,
Good looks, good means, and good digestion, -- ay,
But otherwise evades me, puts me off
With kindness, with a tolerant gentleness, -Too light a book for a grave man's reading ! Go,
Aurora Leigh : be humble.
There it is,
We women are too apt to look to One,
Which proves a certain impotence in art.
We strain our natures at doing something great,
Far less because it 's something great to do,
Than haply that we, so, commend ourselves
As being not small, and more appreciable
To some one friend. We must have mediators
Betwixt our highest conscience and the judge ;
Some sweet saint's blood must quicken in our palms
Or all the life in heaven seems slow and cold :
Good only being perceived as the end of good,
And God alone pleased, -- that's too poor, we think,
And not enough for us by any means.
Ay, Romney, I remember, told me once
We miss the abstract when we comprehend.
We miss it most when we aspire, -- and fail.
Yet, so, I will not. -- This vile woman's way
Of trailing garments, shall not trip me up :
35
I 'll have no traffic with the personal thought
In art's pure temple. Must I work in vain,
Without the approbation of a man ?
It cannot be ; it shall not. Fame itself,
That approbation of the general race,
Presents a poor end, (though the arrow speed,
Shot straight with vigorous finger to the white,)
And the highest fame was never reached except
By what was aimed above it. Art for art,
And good for God Himself, the essential Good !
We 'll keep our aims sublime, our eyes erect,
Although our woman-hands should shake and fail ;
And if we fail .. But must we ? -Shall I fail ?
The Greeks said grandly in their tragic phrase,
`Let no one be called happy till his death.'
To which I add, -- Let no one till his death
Be called unhappy. Measure not the work
Until the day 's out and the labour done,
Then bring your gauges. If the day's work 's scant,
Why, call it scant ; affect no compromise ;
And, in that we have nobly striven at least,
Deal with us nobly, women though we be.
And honour us with truth if not with praise.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
829:The Supreme Discovery
   IF WE want to progress integrally, we must build within our conscious being a strong and pure mental synthesis which can serve us as a protection against temptations from outside, as a landmark to prevent us from going astray, as a beacon to light our way across the moving ocean of life.
   Each individual should build up this mental synthesis according to his own tendencies and affinities and aspirations. But if we want it to be truly living and luminous, it must be centred on the idea that is the intellectual representation symbolising That which is at the centre of our being, That which is our life and our light.
   This idea, expressed in sublime words, has been taught in various forms by all the great Instructors in all lands and all ages.
   The Self of each one and the great universal Self are one. Since all that is exists from all eternity in its essence and principle, why make a distinction between the being and its origin, between ourselves and what we place at the beginning?
   The ancient traditions rightly said:
   "Our origin and ourselves, our God and ourselves are one."
   And this oneness should not be understood merely as a more or less close and intimate relationship of union, but as a true identity.
   Thus, when a man who seeks the Divine attempts to reascend by degrees towards the inaccessible, he forgets that all his knowledge and all his intuition cannot take him one step forward in this infinite; neither does he know that what he wants to attain, what he believes to be so far from him, is within him.
   For how could he know anything of the origin until he becomes conscious of this origin in himself?
   It is by understanding himself, by learning to know himself, that he can make the supreme discovery and cry out in wonder like the patriarch in the Bible, "The house of God is here and I knew it not."
   That is why we must express that sublime thought, creatrix of the material worlds, and make known to all the word that fills the heavens and the earth, "I am in all things and all beings."When all shall know this, the promised day of great transfigurations will be at hand. When in each atom of Matter men shall recognise the indwelling thought of God, when in each living creature they shall perceive some hint of a gesture of God, when each man can see God in his brother, then dawn will break, dispelling the darkness, the falsehood, the ignorance, the error and suffering that weigh upon all Nature. For, "all Nature suffers and laments as she awaits the revelation of the Sons of God."
   This indeed is the central thought epitomising all others, the thought which should be ever present to our remembrance as the sun that illumines all life.
   That is why I remind you of it today. For if we follow our path bearing this thought in our hearts like the rarest jewel, the most precious treasure, if we allow it to do its work of illumination and transfiguration within us, we shall know that it lives in the centre of all beings and all things, and in it we shall feel the marvellous oneness of the universe.
   Then we shall understand the vanity and childishness of our meagre satisfactions, our foolish quarrels, our petty passions, our blind indignations. We shall see the dissolution of our little faults, the crumbling of the last entrenchments of our limited personality and our obtuse egoism. We shall feel ourselves being swept along by this sublime current of true spirituality which will deliver us from our narrow limits and bounds.
   The individual Self and the universal Self are one; in every world, in every being, in every thing, in every atom is the Divine Presence, and man's mission is to manifest it.
   In order to do that, he must become conscious of this Divine Presence within him. Some individuals must undergo a real apprenticeship in order to achieve this: their egoistic being is too all-absorbing, too rigid, too conservative, and their struggles against it are long and painful. Others, on the contrary, who are more impersonal, more plastic, more spiritualised, come easily into contact with the inexhaustible divine source of their being.But let us not forget that they too should devote themselves daily, constantly, to a methodical effort of adaptation and transformation, so that nothing within them may ever again obscure the radiance of that pure light.
   But how greatly the standpoint changes once we attain this deeper consciousness! How understanding widens, how compassion grows!
   On this a sage has said:
   "I would like each one of us to come to the point where he perceives the inner God who dwells even in the vilest of human beings; instead of condemning him we would say, 'Arise, O resplendent Being, thou who art ever pure, who knowest neither birth nor death; arise, Almighty One, and manifest thy nature.'"
   Let us live by this beautiful utterance and we shall see everything around us transformed as if by miracle.
   This is the attitude of true, conscious and discerning love, the love which knows how to see behind appearances, understand in spite of words, and which, amid all obstacles, is in constant communion with the depths.
   What value have our impulses and our desires, our anguish and our violence, our sufferings and our struggles, all these inner vicissitudes unduly dramatised by our unruly imagination - what value do they have before this great, this sublime and divine love bending over us from the innermost depths of our being, bearing with our weaknesses, rectifying our errors, healing our wounds, bathing our whole being with its regenerating streams?
   For the inner Godhead never imposes herself, she neither demands nor threatens; she offers and gives herself, conceals and forgets herself in the heart of all beings and things; she never accuses, she neither judges nor curses nor condemns, but works unceasingly to perfect without constraint, to mend without reproach, to encourage without impatience, to enrich each one with all the wealth he can receive; she is the mother whose love bears fruit and nourishes, guards and protects, counsels and consoles; because she understands everything, she can endure everything, excuse and pardon everything, hope and prepare for everything; bearing everything within herself, she owns nothing that does not belong to all, and because she reigns over all, she is the servant of all; that is why all, great and small, who want to be kings with her and gods in her, become, like her, not despots but servitors among their brethren.
   How beautiful is this humble role of servant, the role of all who have been revealers and heralds of the God who is within all, of the Divine Love that animates all things....
   And until we can follow their example and become true servants even as they, let us allow ourselves to be penetrated and transformed by this Divine Love; let us offer Him, without reserve, this marvellous instrument, our physical organism. He shall make it yield its utmost on every plane of activity.
   To achieve this total self-consecration, all means are good, all methods have their value. The one thing needful is to persevere in our will to attain this goal. For then everything we study, every action we perform, every human being we meet, all come to bring us an indication, a help, a light to guide us on the path.
   Before I close, I shall add a few pages for those who have already made apparently fruitless efforts, for those who have encountered the pitfalls on the way and seen the measure of their weakness, for those who are in danger of losing their self-confidence and courage. These pages, intended to rekindle hope in the hearts of those who suffer, were written by a spiritual worker at a time when ordeals of every kind were sweeping down on him like purifying flames.
   You who are weary, downcast and bruised, you who fall, who think perhaps that you are defeated, hear the voice of a friend. He knows your sorrows, he has shared them, he has suffered like you from the ills of the earth; like you he has crossed many deserts under the burden of the day, he has known thirst and hunger, solitude and abandonment, and the cruellest of all wants, the destitution of the heart. Alas! he has known too the hours of doubt, the errors, the faults, the failings, every weakness.
   But he tells you: Courage! Hearken to the lesson that the rising sun brings to the earth with its first rays each morning. It is a lesson of hope, a message of solace.
   You who weep, who suffer and tremble, who dare not expect an end to your ills, an issue to your pangs, behold: there is no night without dawn and the day is about to break when darkness is thickest; there is no mist that the sun does not dispel, no cloud that it does not gild, no tear that it will not dry one day, no storm that is not followed by its shining triumphant bow; there is no snow that it does not melt, nor winter that it does not change into radiant spring.
   And for you too, there is no affliction which does not bring its measure of glory, no distress which cannot be transformed into joy, nor defeat into victory, nor downfall into higher ascension, nor solitude into radiating centre of life, nor discord into harmony - sometimes it is a misunderstanding between two minds that compels two hearts to open to mutual communion; lastly, there is no infinite weakness that cannot be changed into strength. And it is even in supreme weakness that almightiness chooses to reveal itself!
   Listen, my little child, you who today feel so broken, so fallen perhaps, who have nothing left, nothing to cover your misery and foster your pride: never before have you been so great! How close to the summits is he who awakens in the depths, for the deeper the abyss, the more the heights reveal themselves!
   Do you not know this, that the most sublime forces of the vasts seek to array themselves in the most opaque veils of Matter? Oh, the sublime nuptials of sovereign love with the obscurest plasticities, of the shadow's yearning with the most royal light!
   If ordeal or fault has cast you down, if you have sunk into the nether depths of suffering, do not grieve - for there indeed the divine love and the supreme blessing can reach you! Because you have passed through the crucible of purifying sorrows, the glorious ascents are yours.
   You are in the wilderness: then listen to the voices of the silence. The clamour of flattering words and outer applause has gladdened your ears, but the voices of the silence will gladden your soul and awaken within you the echo of the depths, the chant of divine harmonies!
   You are walking in the depths of night: then gather the priceless treasures of the night. In bright sunshine, the ways of intelligence are lit, but in the white luminosities of the night lie the hidden paths of perfection, the secret of spiritual riches.
   You are being stripped of everything: that is the way towards plenitude. When you have nothing left, everything will be given to you. Because for those who are sincere and true, from the worst always comes the best.
   Every grain that is sown in the earth produces a thousand. Every wing-beat of sorrow can be a soaring towards glory.
   And when the adversary pursues man relentlessly, everything he does to destroy him only makes him greater.
   Hear the story of the worlds, look: the great enemy seems to triumph. He casts the beings of light into the night, and the night is filled with stars. He rages against the cosmic working, he assails the integrity of the empire of the sphere, shatters its harmony, divides and subdivides it, scatters its dust to the four winds of infinity, and lo! the dust is changed into a golden seed, fertilising the infinite and peopling it with worlds which now gravitate around their eternal centre in the larger orbit of space - so that even division creates a richer and deeper unity, and by multiplying the surfaces of the material universe, enlarges the empire that it set out to destroy.
   Beautiful indeed was the song of the primordial sphere cradled in the bosom of immensity, but how much more beautiful and triumphant is the symphony of the constellations, the music of the spheres, the immense choir that fills the heavens with an eternal hymn of victory!
   Hear again: no state was ever more precarious than that of man when he was separated on earth from his divine origin. Above him stretched the hostile borders of the usurper, and at his horizon's gates watched jailers armed with flaming swords. Then, since he could climb no more to the source of life, the source arose within him; since he could no more receive the light from above, the light shone forth at the very centre of his being; since he could commune no more with the transcendent love, that love offered itself in a holocaust and chose each terrestrial being, each human self as its dwelling-place and sanctuary.
   That is how, in this despised and desolate but fruitful and blessed Matter, each atom contains a divine thought, each being carries within him the Divine Inhabitant. And if no being in all the universe is as frail as man, neither is any as divine as he!
   In truth, in truth, in humiliation lies the cradle of glory! 28 April 1912 ~ The Mother, Words Of Long Ago, The Supreme Discovery,
830:Yet, Freedom, yet, thy banner, torn but flying,
Streams like a thunder-storm against the wind.--BYRON.

I.
A glorious people vibrated again
The lightning of the nations: Liberty
From heart to heart, from tower to tower, o'er Spain,
Scattering contagious fire into the sky,
Gleamed. My soul spurned the chains of its dismay,
And in the rapid plumes of song
Clothed itself, sublime and strong;
As a young eagle soars the morning clouds among,
Hovering inverse o'er its accustomed prey;
Till from its station in the Heaven of fame
The Spirit's whirlwind rapped it, and the ray
Of the remotest sphere of living flame
Which paves the void was from behind it flung,
As foam from a ship's swiftness, when there came
A voice out of the deep: I will record the same.

II.
The Sun and the serenest Moon sprang forth:
The burning stars of the abyss were hurled
Into the depths of Heaven. The daedal earth,
That island in the ocean of the world,
Hung in its cloud of all-sustaining air:
But this divinest universe
Was yet a chaos and a curse,
For thou wert not: but, power from worst producing worse,
The spirit of the beasts was kindled there,
And of the birds, and of the watery forms,
And there was war among them, and despair
Within them, raging without truce or terms:
The bosom of their violated nurse
Groaned, for beasts warred on beasts, and worms on worms,
And men on men; each heart was as a hell of storms.

III.
Man, the imperial shape, then multiplied
His generations under the pavilion
Of the Suns throne: palace and pyramid,
Temple and prison, to many a swarming million
Were, as to mountain-wolves their ragged caves.
This human living multitude
Was savage, cunning, blind, and rude,
For thou wert not; but oer the populous solitude,
Like one fierce cloud over a waste of waves,
Hung Tyranny; beneath, sate deified
The sister-pest, congregator of slaves;
Into the shadow of her pinions wide
Anarchs and priests, who feed on gold and blood
Till with the stain their inmost souls are dyed,
Drove the astonished herds of men from every side.

IV.
The nodding promontories, and blue isles,
And cloud-like mountains, and dividuous waves
Of Greece, basked glorious in the open smiles
Of favouring Heaven: from their enchanted caves
Prophetic echoes flung dim melody.
On the unapprehensive wild
The vine, the corn, the olive mild,
Grew savage yet, to human use unreconciled;
And, like unfolded flowers beneath the sea,
Like the mans thought dark in the infants brain,
Like aught that is which wraps what is to be,
Arts deathless dreams lay veiled by many a vein
Of Parian stone; and, yet a speechless child,
Verse murmured, and Philosophy did strain
Her lidless eyes for thee; when oer the Aegean main.

V.
Athens arose: a city such as vision
Builds from the purple crags and silver towers
Of battlemented cloud, as in derision
Of kingliest masonry: the ocean-floors
Pave it; the evening sky pavilions it;
Its portals are inhabited
By thunder-zoned winds, each head
Within its cloudy wings with sun-fire garlanded,--
A divine work! Athens, diviner yet,
Gleamed with its crest of columns, on the will
Of man, as on a mount of diamond, set;
For thou wert, and thine all-creative skill
Peopled, with forms that mock the eternal dead
In marble immortality, that hill
Which was thine earliest throne and latest oracle.

VI.
Within the surface of Times fleeting river
Its wrinkled image lies, as then it lay
Immovably unquiet, and for ever
It trembles, but it cannot pass away!
The voices of thy bards and sages thunder
With an earth-awakening blast
Through the caverns of the past:
(Religion veils her eyes; Oppression shrinks aghast):
A winged sound of joy, and love, and wonder,
Which soars where Expectation never flew,
Rending the veil of space and time asunder!
One ocean feeds the clouds, and streams, and dew;
One Sun illumines Heaven; one Spirit vast
With life and love makes chaos ever new,
As Athens doth the world with thy delight renew.

VII.
Then Rome was, and from thy deep bosom fairest,
Like a wolf-cub from a Cadmaean Maenad,
She drew the milk of greatness, though thy dearest
From that Elysian food was yet unweaned;
And many a deed of terrible uprightness
By thy sweet love was sanctified;
And in thy smile, and by thy side,
Saintly Camillus lived, and firm Atilius died.
But when tears stained thy robe of vestal-whiteness,
And gold profaned thy Capitolian throne, 100
Thou didst desert, with spirit-winged lightness,
The senate of the tyrants: they sunk prone
Slaves of one tyrant: Palatinus sighed
Faint echoes of Ionian song; that tone
Thou didst delay to hear, lamenting to disown

VIII.
From what Hyrcanian glen or frozen hill,
Or piny promontory of the Arctic main,
Or utmost islet inaccessible,
Didst thou lament the ruin of thy reign,
Teaching the woods and waves, and desert rocks,
And every Naiads ice-cold urn,
To talk in echoes sad and stern
Of that sublimest lore which man had dared unlearn?
For neither didst thou watch the wizard flocks
Of the Scald's dreams, nor haunt the Druid's sleep.
What if the tears rained through thy shattered locks
Were quickly dried? for thou didst groan, not weep,
When from its sea of death, to kill and burn,
The Galilean serpent forth did creep,
And made thy world an undistinguishable heap.

IX.
A thousand years the Earth cried, 'Where art thou?'
And then the shadow of thy coming fell
On Saxon Alfreds olive-cinctured brow:
And many a warrior-peopled citadel.
Like rocks which fire lifts out of the flat deep,
Arose in sacred Italy,
Frowning o'er the tempestuous sea
Of kings, and priests, and slaves, in tower-crowned majesty;
That multitudinous anarchy did sweep
And burst around their walls, like idle foam,
Whilst from the human spirits deepest deep
Strange melody with love and awe struck dumb
Dissonant arms; and Art, which cannot die,
With divine wand traced on our earthly home
Fit imagery to pave Heavens everlasting dome.

X.
Thou huntress swifter than the Moon! thou terror
Of the worlds wolves! thou bearer of the quiver,
Whose sunlike shafts pierce tempest-winged Error,
As light may pierce the clouds when they dissever
In the calm regions of the orient day!
Luther caught thy wakening glance;
Like lightning, from his leaden lance
Reflected, it dissolved the visions of the trance
In which, as in a tomb, the nations lay;
And Englands prophets hailed thee as their queen,
In songs whose music cannot pass away,
Though it must flow forever: not unseen
Before the spirit-sighted countenance
Of Milton didst thou pass, from the sad scene
Beyond whose night he saw, with a dejected mien.

XI.
The eager hours and unreluctant years
As on a dawn-illumined mountain stood.
Trampling to silence their loud hopes and fears,
Darkening each other with their multitude,
And cried aloud, 'Liberty!' Indignation
Answered Pity from her cave;
Death grew pale within the grave,
And Desolation howled to the destroyer, Save!
When like Heavens Sun girt by the exhalation
Of its own glorious light, thou didst arise.
Chasing thy foes from nation unto nation
Like shadows: as if day had cloven the skies
At dreaming midnight oer the western wave,
Men started, staggering with a glad surprise,
Under the lightnings of thine unfamiliar eyes.

XII.
Thou Heaven of earth! what spells could pall thee then
In ominous eclipse? a thousand years
Bred from the slime of deep Oppressions den.
Dyed all thy liquid light with blood and tears.
Till thy sweet stars could weep the stain away;
How like Bacchanals of blood
Round France, the ghastly vintage, stood
Destruction's sceptred slaves, and Follys mitred brood!
When one, like them, but mightier far than they,
The Anarch of thine own bewildered powers,
Rose: armies mingled in obscure array,
Like clouds with clouds, darkening the sacred bowers
Of serene Heaven. He, by the past pursued,
Rests with those dead, but unforgotten hours,
Whose ghosts scare victor kings in their ancestral towers.

XIII.
England yet sleeps: was she not called of old?
Spain calls her now, as with its thrilling thunder
Vesuvius wakens Aetna, and the cold
Snow-crags by its reply are cloven in sunder:
Oer the lit waves every Aeolian isle 185
From Pithecusa to Pelorus
Howls, and leaps, and glares in chorus:
They cry, 'Be dim; ye lamps of Heaven suspended o'er us!'
Her chains are threads of gold, she need but smile
And they dissolve; but Spains were links of steel,
Till bit to dust by virtues keenest file.
Twins of a single destiny! appeal
To the eternal years enthroned before us
In the dim West; impress us from a seal,
All ye have thought and done! Time cannot dare conceal.

XIV.
Tomb of Arminius! render up thy dead
Till, like a standard from a watch-towers staff,
His soul may stream over the tyrants head;
Thy victory shall be his epitaph,
Wild Bacchanal of truths mysterious wine,
King-deluded Germany,
His dead spirit lives in thee.
Why do we fear or hope? thou art already free!
And thou, lost Paradise of this divine
And glorious world! thou flowery wilderness!
Thou island of eternity! thou shrine
Where Desolation, clothed with loveliness,
Worships the thing thou wert! O Italy,
Gather thy blood into thy heart; repress
The beasts who make their dens thy sacred palaces.

XV.
Oh, that the free would stamp the impious name
Of KING into the dust! or write it there,
So that this blot upon the page of fame
Were as a serpents path, which the light air
Erases, and the flat sands close behind!
Ye the oracle have heard:
Lift the victory-flashing sword.
And cut the snaky knots of this foul gordian word,
Which, weak itself as stubble, yet can bind
Into a mass, irrefragably firm,
The axes and the rods which awe mankind;
The sound has poison in it, tis the sperm
Of what makes life foul, cankerous, and abhorred;
Disdain not thou, at thine appointed term,
To set thine armed heel on this reluctant worm.

XVI.
Oh, that the wise from their bright minds would kindle
Such lamps within the dome of this dim world,
That the pale name of PRIEST might shrink and dwindle
Into the hell from which it first was hurled,
A scoff of impious pride from fiends impure;
Till human thoughts might kneel alone,
Each before the judgement-throne
Of its own aweless soul, or of the Power unknown!
Oh, that the words which make the thoughts obscure
From which they spring, as clouds of glimmering dew
From a white lake blot Heavens blue portraiture,
Were stripped of their thin masks and various hue
And frowns and smiles and splendours not their own,
Till in the nakedness of false and true
They stand before their Lord, each to receive its due!

XVII.
He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever
Can be between the cradle and the grave
Crowned him the King of Life. Oh, vain endeavour!
If on his own high will, a willing slave,
He has enthroned the oppression and the oppressor
What if earth can clothe and feed
Amplest millions at their need,
And power in thought be as the tree within the seed?
Or what if Art, an ardent intercessor,
Driving on fiery wings to Natures throne,
Checks the great mother stooping to caress her,
And cries: Give me, thy child, dominion
Over all height and depth? if Life can breed
New wants, and wealth from those who toil and groan,
Rend of thy gifts and hers a thousandfold for one!

XVIII.
Come thou, but lead out of the inmost cave
Of mans deep spirit, as the morning-star
Beckons the Sun from the Eoan wave,
Wisdom. I hear the pennons of her car
Self-moving, like cloud charioted by flame;
Comes she not, and come ye not,
Rulers of eternal thought,
To judge, with solemn truth, lifes ill-apportioned lot?
Blind Love, and equal Justice, and the Fame
Of what has been, the Hope of what will be?
O Liberty! if such could be thy name
Wert thou disjoined from these, or they from thee:
If thine or theirs were treasures to be bought
By blood or tears, have not the wise and free
Wept tears, and blood like tears?The solemn harmony

XIX.
Paused, and the Spirit of that mighty singing
To its abyss was suddenly withdrawn;
Then, as a wild swan, when sublimely winging
Its path athwart the thunder-smoke of dawn,
Sinks headlong through the aereal golden light
On the heavy-sounding plain,
When the bolt has pierced its brain;
As summer clouds dissolve, unburthened of their rain;
As a far taper fades with fading night,
As a brief insect dies with dying day,--
My song, its pinions disarrayed of might,
Drooped; oer it closed the echoes far away
Of the great voice which did its flight sustain,
As waves which lately paved his watery way
Hiss round a drowners head in their tempestuous play.
Composed early in 1820, and published, with Prometheus Unbound, in the same year. A transcript in Shelley's hand of lines 1-21 is included in the Harvard manuscript book, and amongst the Boscombe manuscripts there is a fragment of a rough draft (Garnett).
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode To Liberty
,
831: ON THE HIGHER

MAN

1

The first time I came to men I committed the folly
of hermits, the great folly: I stood in the market place.
And as I spoke to all, I spoke to none. But in the
evening, tightrope walkers and corpses were my companions; and I myself was almost a corpse. But with
the new morning a new truth came to me: I learned
to say, "Of what concern to me are market and mob and
mob noise and long mob ears?"
You higher men, learn this from me: in the market
place nobody believes in higher men. And if you want
to speak there, very well! But the mob blinks: "We are
all equal."
"You higher men"-thus blinks the mob-"there are
no higher men, we are all equal, man is man; before
God we are all equal."
Before God! But now this god has died. And before
the mob we do not want to be equal. You higher men,
go away from the market place!
2

Before God! But now this god has died. You higher
men, this god was your greatest danger. It is only since
he lies in his tomb that you have been resurrected.
Only now the great noon comes; only now the higher
man becomes-lord.
Have you understood this word, 0 my brothers? You
are startled? Do your hearts become giddy? Does the
287
abyss yawn before you? Does the hellhound howl at
you? Well then, you higher men! Only now is the mountain of man's future in labor. God died: now we want
the overman to live.
3
The most concerned ask today: "How is man to be
preserved?" But Zarathustra is the first and only one to
ask: "How is man to be overcome?"
I have the overman at heart, that is my first and only
concern-and not man: not the neighbor, not the poorest, not the most ailing, not the best.
O my brothers, what I can love in man is that he is
an overture and a going under. And in you too there
is much that lets me love and hope. That you despise,
you higher men, that lets me hope. For the great
despisers are the great reveres. That you have despaired, in that there is much to revere. For you did not
learn how to surrender, you did not learn petty prudences. For today the little people lord it: they all
preach surrender and resignation and prudence and
industry and consideration and the long etcetera of the
small virtues.
What is womanish, what derives from the servile, and
especially the mob hodgepodge: that would now become
master of all human destiny. 0 nausea Nauseal Nausea!
That asks and asks and never grows weary: "How is
man to be preserved best, longest, most agreeably?"
With that-they are the masters of today.
Overcome these masters of today, 0 my brothers these, small people, they are the overman's greatest
danger.
You higher men, overcome the small virtues, the small
prudences, the grain-of-sand consideration, the ants' riffraff, the wretched contentment, the "happiness of the
288
greatest number"! And rather despair than surrender.
And verily, I love you for not knowing how to live
today, you higher men! For thus you live best.
4
Do you have courage, 0 my brothers? Are you brave?
Not courage before witnesses but the courage of hermits
and eagles, which is no longer watched even by a god.
Cold souls, mules, the blind, and the drunken I do
not call brave. Brave is he who knows fear but conquers
fear, who sees the abyss, but with pride.
Who sees the abyss but with the eyes of an eagle;
who grasps the abyss with the talons of an eagle-that
man has courage.
5
"Man is evil"-thus said all the wisest to comfort me.
Alas, if only it were still true today! For evil is man's
best strength.
"Man must become better and more evil"-thus I
teach. The greatest evil is necessary for the overman's
best. It may have been good for that preacher of the
little people that he suffered and tried to bear man's
sin. But I rejoice over great sin as my great consolation.
But this is not said for long ears. Not every word
belongs in every mouth. These are delicate distant
matters: they should not be reached for by sheeps' hoofs.
6
You higher men, do you suppose I have come to set
right what you have set wrong? Or that I have come to
you that suffer to bed you more comfortably? Or to
you that are restless, have gone astray or climbed
astray, to show you new and easier paths?
No! Nol Three times no! Ever more, ever better ones
289
of your kind shall perish-for it shall be ever worse

and harder for you. Thus alone-thus alone, man grows
to the height where lightning strikes and breaks him:
lofty enough for lightning.
My mind and my longing are directed toward the
few, the long, the distant; what are your many small
short miseries to me? You do not yet suffer enough to
suit mel For you suffer from yourselves, you have not
yet suffered from man. You would lie if you claimed
otherwise! You all do not suffer from what I have
suffered.
7

It is not enough for me that lightning no longer does
any harm. I do not wish to conduct it away: it shall
learn to work for me.
My wisdom has long gathered like a cloud; it is
becoming stiller and darker. Thus does every wisdom
that is yet to give birth to lightning bolts.
For these men of today I do not wish to be light, or
to be called light. These I wish to blind. Lightning of
my wisdom! put out their eyes!
8
Will nothing beyond your capacity: there is a wicked
falseness among those who will beyond their capacity.
Especially if they will great things For they arouse
mistrust against great things, these subtle counterfeiters
and actors-until finally they are false before themselves, squinters, whited worm-eaten decay, cloaked
with strong words, with display-virtues, with splendid
false deeds.
Take good care there, you higher menl For nothing
today is more precious to me and rarer than honesty.
Is this today not the mob's? But the mob does not
290
know what is great, what is small, what is straight and
honest: it is innocently crooked, it always lies.
9

Have a good mistrust today, you higher men, you
stouthearted ones, you openhearted ones And keep
your reasons secretly For this today is the mob's.
What the mob once learned to believe without reasons
-who could overthrow that with reasons?
And in the market place one convinces with gestures.
But reasons make the mob mistrustful.
And if truth was victorious for once, then ask yourself
with good mistrust: "What strong error fought for it?"
Beware of the scholars! They hate you, for they are
sterile. They have cold, dried-up eyes; before them
every bird lies unplumed.
Such men boast that they do not lie: but the inability
to lie is far from the love of truth. Bewarel
Freedom from fever is not yet knowledge by any
means I do not believe chilled spirits. Whoever is
unable to lie does not know what truth is.
10

If you would go high, use your own legs. Do not let
yourselves be carried up; do not sit on the backs and
heads of others. But you mounted a horse? You are now
riding quickly up to your goal? All right, my friend!
But your lame foot is sitting on the horse too. When you
reach your goal, when you jump off your horse-on
your very height, you higher man, you will stumble.
11

You creators, you higher men! One is pregnant only
with one's own child. Do not let yourselves be gulled
and beguiled! Who, after all, is your neighbor? And
291
even if you act "for the neighbor"-you still do not
create for him.
Unlearn this "for," you creators! Your very virtue
wants that you do nothing "for" and "in order" and
"because." You shall plug up your ears against these
false little words. "For the neighbor" is only the virtue
of the little people: there one says "birds of a feather"
and "one hand washes the other." They have neither
the right nor the strength for your egoism. In your egoism, you creators, is the caution and providence of the
pregnant. What no one has yet laid eyes on, the fruit:
that your whole love shelters and saves and nourishes.
Where your whole love is, with your child, there is
also your whole virtue. Your work, your will, that is
your "neighbor": do not let yourselves be gulled with
false values
12

You creators, you higher menl Whoever has to give
birth is sick; but whoever has given birth is unclean.
Ask women: one does not give birth because it is
fun. Pain makes hens and poets cackle.
You creators, there is much that is unclean in you.
That is because you had to be mothers.
A new child: oh, how much new filth has also come
into the world Go aside! And whoever has given birth
should wash his soul clean.
13

Do not be virtuous beyond your strength! And do
not desire anything of yourselves against probability.
Walk in the footprints where your fathers' virtue
walked before you. How would you climb high if your
fathers' will does not climb with you?
But whoever would be a firstling should beware lest
292
he also become a lastling. And wherever the vices of
your fathers are, there you should not want to represent
saints. If your fathers consorted with women, strong
wines, and wild boars, what would it be if you wanted
chastity of yourself? It would be folly! Verily, it seems
much to me if such a man is the husb and of one or two
or three women. And if he founded monasteries and
wrote over the door, "The way to sainthood," I should
yet say, What for? It is another folly. He founded a
reformatory and refuge for himself: may it do him
good! But I do not believe in it.
In solitude, whatever one has brought into it growsalso the inner beast. Therefore solitude is inadvisable for
many. Has there been anything filthier on earth so far
than desert saints? Around them not only was the devil
loose, but also the swine.
14
Shy, ashamed, awkward, like a tiger whose leap has
failed: thus I have often seen you slink aside, you
higher men. A throw had failed you. But, you dicethrowers, what does it matter? You have not learned to
gamble and jest as one must gamble and jest. Do we
not always sit at a big jesting-and-gaming table? And if
something great has failed you, does it follow that you
yourselves are failures? And if you yourselves are failures, does it follow that man is a failure? But if man is
a failure-well then!
15
The higher its type, the more rarely a thing succeeds.
You higher men here, have vou not all failed?
Be of good cheer, what does it matter? How much is
still possible! Learn to laugh at yourselves as one must
laugh!
293
Is it any wonder that you failed and only half
succeeded, being half broken? Is not something thronging and pushing in you-man's future? Man's greatest
distance and depth and what in him is lofty to the stars,
his tremendous strength-are not all these frothing
against each other in your pot? Is it any wonder that
many a pot breaks? Learn to laugh at yourselves as

one must laugh! You higher men, how much is still
possible

And verily, how much has already succeeded! How
rich is the earth in little good perfect things, in what
has turned out well!
Place little good perfect things around you, 0 higher
menl Their golden ripeness heals the heart. What is
perfect teaches hope.
i6
What has so far been the greatest sin here on earth?
Was it not the word of him who said, "Woe unto those
who laugh here"? Did he himself find no reasons oln
earth for laughing? Then he searched very badly. Even
a child could find reasons here. He did not love enough:
else he would also have loved us who laugh. But he
hated and mocked us: howling and gnashing of teeth
he promised us.
Does one have to curse right away, where one does
not love? That seems bad taste to me. But thus he acted,
being unconditional. He came from the mob. And he
himself simply did not love enough: else he would not
have been so wroth that one did not love him. All great
love does not want love: it wants more.
Avoid all such unconditional people! They are a poor
sick sort, a sort of mob: they look sourly at this life,
they have the evil eye for this earth. Avoid all such
unconditional people! They have heavy feet and sultry
294

hearts: they do not know how to dance. How should
the earth be light for them?
17

All good things approach their goal crookedly. Like
cats, they arch their backs, they purr inwardly over their
approaching happiness: all good things laugh.
A man's stride betrays whether he has found his
own way: behold me walking! But whoever approaches
his goal dances. And verily, I have not become a statue:
I do not yet stand there, stiff, stupid, stony, a column;
I love to run swiftly. And though there are swamps and
thick melancholy on earth, whoever has light feet runs
even over mud and dances as on swept ice.
Lift up your hearts, my brothers, high, higher And
do not forget your legs either. Lift up your legs too,
you good dancers; and better yet, stand on your heads
38
This crown of him who laughs, this rose-wreath
crown: I myself have put on this crown, I myself have
pronounced my laughter holy. Nobody else have I
found strong enough for this today.
Zarathustra the dancer, Zarathustra the light, waves
with his wings, ready for flight, waving at all birds,
ready and heady, happily lightheaded; Zarathustra the
soothsayer, Zarathustra the sooth-laugher, not impatient,
not unconditional, one who loves leaps and side-leaps:
I myself have put on this crown!
19

Lift up your hearts, my brothers, high, higher And
do not forget your legs either. Lift up your legs too,
you good dancers; and better yet, stand on your heads
In happiness too there are heavy animals; there are
295
pondrous-pedes through and through. Curiously they
labor, like an elephant laboring to stand on its head.
But it is still better to be foolish from happiness than
foolish from unhappiness; better to dance ponderously
than to walk lamely. That you would learn my wisdom
from me: even the worst thing has two good reverse
sides-even the worst thing has good dancing legs; that
you would learn, you higher men, to put yourselves on
your right legsl That you would unlearn nursing melancholy and all mob-sadnessl Oh, how sad even the mob's
clowns seem to me today But this today is the mob's.
20

Be like the wind rushing out of his mountain caves:
he wishes to dance to his own pipe; the seas tremble
and leap under his feet.
What gives asses wings, what milks lionessespraised be this good intractable spirit that comes like
a cyclone to all today and to all the mob. What is
averse to thistle-heads and casuists' heads and to all
wilted leaves and weeds-praised be this wild, good,
free storm spirit that dances on swamps and on melancholy as on meadows. What hates the mob's blether.cocks and all the bungled gloomy brood-praised
be this spirit of all free spirits, the laughing gale that
blows dust into the eyes of all the black-sighted, soreblighted.
You higher men, the worst about you is that all of
you have not learned to dance as one must dance--dancing away over yourselves! What does it matter that you
are failures? How much is still possible! So learn to
laugh away over yourselves! Lift up your hearts, you
good dancers, high, higher And do not forget good
laughter. This crown of him who laughs, this rose-wreath
crown: to you, my brothers, I throw this crown. Laugh-
296
ter I have pronounced holy; you higher men, learn to,
laugh
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, ON THE HIGHER MAN
,
832:Bénédiction (Benediction)
Lorsque, par un décret des puissances suprêmes,
Le Poète apparaît en ce monde ennuyé,
Sa mère épouvantée et pleine de blasphèmes
Crispe ses poings vers Dieu, qui la prend en pitié:
— «Ah! que n'ai-je mis bas tout un noeud de vipères,
Plutôt que de nourrir cette dérision!
Maudite soit la nuit aux plaisirs éphémères
Où mon ventre a conçu mon expiation!
Puisque tu m'as choisie entre toutes les femmes
Pour être le dégoût de mon triste mari,
Et que je ne puis pas rejeter dans les flammes,
Comme un billet d'amour, ce monstre rabougri,
Je ferai rejaillir ta haine qui m'accable
Sur l'instrument maudit de tes méchancetés,
Et je tordrai si bien cet arbre misérable,
Qu'il ne pourra pousser ses boutons empestés!»
Elle ravale ainsi l'écume de sa haine,
Et, ne comprenant pas les desseins éternels,
Elle-même prépare au fond de la Géhenne
Les bûchers consacrés aux crimes maternels.
Pourtant, sous la tutelle invisible d'un Ange,
L'Enfant déshérité s'enivre de soleil
Et dans tout ce qu'il boit et dans tout ce qu'il mange
Retrouve l'ambroisie et le nectar vermeil.
II joue avec le vent, cause avec le nuage,
Et s'enivre en chantant du chemin de la croix;
Et l'Esprit qui le suit dans son pèlerinage
Pleure de le voir gai comme un oiseau des bois.
Tous ceux qu'il veut aimer l'observent avec crainte,
Ou bien, s'enhardissant de sa tranquillité,
Cherchent à qui saura lui tirer une plainte,
Et font sur lui l'essai de leur férocité.
35
Dans le pain et le vin destinés à sa bouche
Ils mêlent de la cendre avec d'impurs crachats;
Avec hypocrisie ils jettent ce qu'il touche,
Et s'accusent d'avoir mis leurs pieds dans ses pas.
Sa femme va criant sur les places publiques:
«Puisqu'il me trouve assez belle pour m'adorer,
Je ferai le métier des idoles antiques,
Et comme elles je veux me faire redorer;
Et je me soûlerai de nard, d'encens, de myrrhe,
De génuflexions, de viandes et de vins,
Pour savoir si je puis dans un coeur qui m'admire
Usurper en riant les hommages divins!
Et, quand je m'ennuierai de ces farces impies,
Je poserai sur lui ma frêle et forte main;
Et mes ongles, pareils aux ongles des harpies,
Sauront jusqu'à son coeur se frayer un chemin.
Comme un tout jeune oiseau qui tremble et qui palpite,
J'arracherai ce coeur tout rouge de son sein,
Et, pour rassasier ma bête favorite
Je le lui jetterai par terre avec dédain!»
Vers le Ciel, où son oeil voit un trône splendide,
Le Poète serein lève ses bras pieux
Et les vastes éclairs de son esprit lucide
Lui dérobent l'aspect des peuples furieux:
— «Soyez béni, mon Dieu, qui donnez la souffrance
Comme un divin remède à nos impuretés
Et comme la meilleure et la plus pure essence
Qui prépare les forts aux saintes voluptés!
Je sais que vous gardez une place au Poète
Dans les rangs bienheureux des saintes Légions,
Et que vous l'invitez à l'éternelle fête
Des Trônes, des Vertus, des Dominations.
Je sais que la douleur est la noblesse unique
36
Où ne mordront jamais la terre et les enfers,
Et qu'il faut pour tresser ma couronne mystique
Imposer tous les temps et tous les univers.
Mais les bijoux perdus de l'antique Palmyre,
Les métaux inconnus, les perles de la mer,
Par votre main montés, ne pourraient pas suffire
A ce beau diadème éblouissant et clair;
Car il ne sera fait que de pure lumière,
Puisée au foyer saint des rayons primitifs,
Et dont les yeux mortels, dans leur splendeur entière,
Ne sont que des miroirs obscurcis et plaintifs!»
Benediction
When, after a decree of the supreme powers,
The Poet is brought forth in this wearisome world,
His mother terrified and full of blasphemies
Raises her clenched fist to God, who pities her:
— 'Ah! would that I had spawned a whole knot of vipers
Rather than to have fed this derisive object!
Accursed be the night of ephemeral joy
When my belly conceived this, my expiation!
Since of all women You have chosen me
To be repugnant to my sorry spouse,
And since I cannot cast this misshapen monster
Into the flames, like an old love letter,
I shall spew the hatred with which you crush me down
On the cursed instrument of your malevolence,
And twist so hard this wretched tree
That it cannot put forth its pestilential buds!'
Thus she gulps down the froth of her hatred,
And not understanding the eternal designs,
Herself prepares deep down in Gehenna
The pyre reserved for a mother's crimes.
37
However, protected by an unseen Angel,
The outcast child is enrapt by the sun,
And in all that he eats, in everything he drinks,
He finds sweet ambrosia and rubiate nectar.
He cavorts with the wind, converses with the clouds,
And singing, transported, goes the way of the cross;
And the Angel who follows him on pilgrimage
Weeps to see him as carefree as a bird.
All those whom he would love watch him with fear,
Or, emboldened by his tranquility,
Emulously attempt to wring a groan from him
And test on him their inhumanity.
With the bread and the wine intended for his mouth
They mix ashes and foul spittle,
And, hypocrites, cast away what he touches
And feel guilty if they have trod in his footprints.
His wife goes about the market-places
Crying: 'Since he finds me fair enough to adore,
I shall imitate the idols of old,
And like them I want to be regilded;
I shall get drunk with spikenard, incense, myrrh,
And with genuflections, viands and wine,
To see if laughingly I can usurp
In an admiring heart the homage due to God!
And when I tire of these impious jokes,
I shall lay upon him my strong, my dainty hand;
And my nails, like harpies' talons,
Will cut a path straight to his heart.
That heart which flutters like a fledgling bird
I'll tear, all bloody, from his breast,
And scornfully I'll throw it in the dust
To sate the hunger of my favorite hound!'
To Heav'n, where his eye sees a radiant throne,
Piously, the Poet, serene, raises his arms,
38
And the dazzling brightness of his illumined mind
Hides from his sight the raging mob:
— 'Praise be to You, O God, who send us suffering
As a divine remedy for our impurities
And as the best and the purest essence
To prepare the strong for holy ecstasies!
I know that you reserve a place for the Poet
Within the blessed ranks of the holy Legions,
And that you invite him to the eternal feast
Of the Thrones, the Virtues, and the Dominations.
I know that suffering is the sole nobility
Which earth and hell shall never mar,
And that to weave my mystic crown,
You must tax every age and every universe.
But the lost jewels of ancient Palmyra,
The unfound metals, the pearls of the sea,
Set by Your own hand, would not be adequate
For that diadem of dazzling splendor,
For that crown will be made of nothing but pure light
Drawn from the holy source of primal rays,
Whereof our mortal eyes, in their fullest brightness,
Are no more than tarnished, mournful mirrors!'
— Translated by William Aggeler
Benediction
When by an edict of the powers supreme
A poet's born into this world's drab space,
His mother starts, in horror, to blaspheme
Clenching her fists at God, who grants her grace.
'Would that a nest of vipers I'd aborted
Rather than this absurd abomination.
Cursed be the night of pleasures vainly sported
On which my womb conceived my expiation.
39
Since of all women I am picked by You
To be my Mate's aversion and his shame:
And since I cannot, like a billet-doux,
Consign this stunted monster to the flame,
I'll turn the hatred, which You load on me,
On the curst tool through which You work your spite,
And twist and stunt this miserable tree
Until it cannot burgeon for the blight.'
She swallows down the white froth of her ire
And, knowing naught of schemes that are sublime,
Deep in Gehenna, starts to lay the pyre
That's consecrated to maternal crime.
Yet with an unseen Angel for protector
The outcast waif grows drunken with the sun,
And finds ambrosia, too, and rosy nectar
In all he eats or drinks, suspecting none.
He sings upon his Via Crucis, plays
With winds, and with the clouds exchanges words:
The Spirit following his pilgrim-ways
Weeps to behold him gayer than the birds.
Those he would love avoid him as in fear,
Or, growing bold to see one so resigned,
Compete to draw from him a cry or tear,
And test on him the fierceness of their kind.
In food or drink that's destined for his taste
They mix saliva foul with cinders black,
Drop what he's touched with hypocrite distaste,
And blame themselves for walking in his track.
His wife goes crying in the public way
— 'Since fair enough he finds me to adore,
The part of ancient idols I will play
And gild myself with coats of molten ore.
I will get drunk on incense, myrrh, and nard,
40
On genuflexions, meat, and beady wine,
Out of his crazed and wondering regard,
I'll laugh to steal prerogatives divine.
When by such impious farces bored at length,
I'll place my frail strong hand on him, and start,
With nails like those of harpies in their strength,
To plough myself a pathway to his heart.
Like a young bird that trembles palpitating,
I'll wrench his heart, all crimson, from his chest,
And to my favourite beast, his hunger sating,
Will fling it in the gutter with a jest.'
Skyward, to where he sees a Throne blaze splendid,
The pious Poet lifts his arms on high,
And the vast lightnings of his soul extended
Blot out the crowds and tumults from his eye.
'Blessèd be You, O God, who give us pain,
As cure for our impurity and wrong —
Essence that primes the stalwart to sustain
Seraphic raptures that were else too strong.
I know that for the Poet You've a post,
Where the blest Legions take their ranks and stations,
Invited to the revels with the host
Of Virtues, Powers, and Thrones, and Dominations
That grief's the sole nobility, I know it,
Where neither Earth nor Hell can make attacks,
And that, to deck my mystic crown of poet,
All times and universes paid their tax.
But all the gems from old Palmyra lost,
The ores unmixed, the pearls of the abyss,
Set by Your hand, could not suffice the cost
Of such a blazing diadem as this.
Because it will be only made of light,
Drawn from the hearth of the essential rays,
To which our mortal eyes, when burning bright,
41
Are but the tarnished mirrors that they glaze.'
— Translated by Roy Campbell
Benediction
When by decree of the almighty powers,
The Poet walks the world's wearisome sod,
His mother, blasphemous and fearful, cowers,
Clenching her fist against a pitying God:
— 'Ah, would whole knots of vipers were my spawn
Rather than this woeful abomination!
Cursed be the sweet swift night and evil dawn
Wherein my womb conceived my expiation!
Since of all women Thou hast chosen me
To be my sorry husband's shame of shames,
Since I may not toss this monstrosity
Like an old billet-doux into the flames,
Thy heavy hatred I shall vomit back
On the damned tool of your malevolence,
Twisting this wretched tree until it crack,
Never to sprout in buds of pestilence!'
Thus she gulps down the froth of her despair,
Nor knowing the eternal paradigms,
Sinks deep into Gehenna to prepare,
Herself, the pyre set for a mother's crimes.
Yet guarded by an unseen Angel's favors,
The outcast child is fired by radiant suns,
In all he eats and all he drinks he savors
Ambrosial gifts and nectared benisons,
He sports with winds, he talks with clouds, he keeps
Singing along the road to Calvary,
While the bright Angel in his traces weeps,
Beholding him as free as birds are free.
42
All those whom he would love watch him with fear,
Or else, made bold by his serenity,
Wring groans from him that float sweet on the ear
Making him touchstone of their cruelty.
With his due bread and wine, hypocrites, they,
Mix ashes and fat gobs of spittle; grim,
What he has touched, these humbugs cast away,
Deeming it guilty but to follow him.
His wife cries in the market place: 'Behold
Since he adores me, I am fair, and fain,
As idols did, and images of old,
To be regilded and adored again.
I shall be drunk with spikenard, incense, myrrh,
With genuflections, viands and wine to see
If, as a glad usurper, I may stir
His heart to pay God's homages to me!
Tired of these impious japes and of their butt,
My strong lithe hand's caress with subtle art
And my sharp nails like harpy claws shall cut
A mortal path straight to his quivering heart.
That heart which flutters like a fledgling bird,
I shall tear, bleeding, from his breast, to pitch
It blandly in the dust without a word
To slake the hunger of my favorite bitch.'
To Heaven where he spies a splendent throne,
Serene, the Poet lifts rapt arms; and bright
Luminous thoughts that shine through him alone
Conceal the furious rabble from his sight:
— 'Blessèd, O God, who send woe for a cure,
A balm divine for our impurities,
Of essences the noblest and most pure
To school the strong for holy ecstasies!
I know the Poet has his place above
43
Amid God's saintly hosts and congregations,
Guest at the everlasting banquet of
The Thrones, the Virtues and the Dominations.
Sorrow alone is noble and august,
A force nor earth nor hell shall ever mar,
To weave my mystic crown I know you must
Tax every age and universe that are.
Old Tadmor's vanished gems beyond all price,
Metals unknown, pearls from the richest sea,
Set by Thy holy hand, cannot suffice
To match this dazzling chapter's splendency;
This diadem shall be of sheerest light,
Drawn from the sacred source of primal rays,
Whereof our mortal eyes, however bright,
Serve but as piteous mirrors dull with glaze.'
— Translated by Jacques LeClercq
Benediction
When, on a certain day, into this harassed world
The Poet, by decree of the high powers, was born,
His mother, overwhelmed by shame and fury, hurled
These blasphemies at God, clenching her fists in scorn:
'Would I had whelped a knot of vipers — at the worst
'Twere better than this runt that whines and snivels there!
Oh, cursèd be that night of pleasure, thrice accurst
My womb, that has conceived and nourished my despair!
'Since, of all mortal women, it would seem my fate
To be my saddened husband's horror and disgust;
And since I may not toss this monster in the grate —
Like any crumpled letter, reeking of stale lust —
'Upon his helpless form, whereby Thou humblest me,
I shall divert Thy hatred in one raging flood;
44
And I shall twist so well this miserable tree
That it shall not put forth one pestilential bud!'
Thus did she foam with anger, railing, swallowing froth;
And, unaware of what the mighty powers had willed,
She set about to draw Gehenna on them both,
Eyeing the fire, considering how he might be killed.
Meantime, above the child an unseen angel beats
His wings, and the poor waif runs laughing in the sun;
And everything he drinks and everything he eats
Are nectar and ambrosia to this hapless one.
Companioned by the wind, conversing with the cloud,
Along the highway to the Cross his song is heard;
And the bright Spirit, following him, weeps aloud
To see him hop so gaily, like a little bird.
Those whom he longs to love observe him with constraint
And fear, as he grows up; or, seeing how calm he is,
Grow bold, and seek to draw from him some sharp complaint,
Wreaking on him all day their dull ferocities.
Cinders are in his bread, are gritty in his teeth;
Spittle is in his wine. Where his footprints are seen
They hesitate to set their shoes, mincing beneath
Hypocrisy; all things he touched, they call unclean.
His wife in public places cries, 'Since after all
He loves me so, that he's the laughingstock of men,
I'll make a business of it, be an idol, call
For gold, to have myself regilded now and then!
'And some day, when I'm drunk with frankincense, rich food,
Flattery, genuflexions, spikenard, beady wine,
I'll get from him (while laughing in his face, I could!)
That homage he has kept, so far, for things divine.
'And, when my pleasure in these impious farces fails,
My dainty, terrible hands shall tear his breast apart,
And these long nails of mine, so like to harpies' nails,
Shall dig till they have dug a tunnel to his heart.
45
'Then, like a young bird, caught and fluttering to be freed,
('Twill make a tasty morsel for my favorite hound)
I'll wrench his heart out, warm and bleeding — let it bleed! —
And drop it, with contempt and loathing, to the ground.'
Meanwhile toward Heaven, the goal of his mature desire,
The Poet, oblivious, lifts up his arms in prayer;
His lucid essence flames with lightnings — veiled by fire
Is all the furious world, all the lewd conflict there.
'Be praised, Almighty God, that givest to faulty me
This suffering, to purge my spirit of its sin,
To fortify my puny strength, to bid me see
Pure Faith, and what voluptuous blisses dwell therein.
'I know that in those ranks on ranks of happy blest
The Poet shall have some place among Thy Seraphim;
And that Thou wilt at length to the eternal feast
Of Virtues, Thrones and Dominations, summon him.
'I know, Pain is the one nobility we have
Which not the hungry ground nor hell shall ever gnaw;
I know that space and time, beyond the temporal grave,
Weave me a mystic crown, free from all earthly flaw.
'Not emeralds, not all the pearls of the deep sea,
All the rare metals, every lost and buried gem
Antique Palmyra hides, could ever seem to me
So beautiful as that clear glittering diadem.
'Of Light, of Light alone, it will be fashioned, Light
Drawn from the holy fount, rays primitive and pure,
Whereof the eyes of mortal men, so starry bright,
Are but the mirrors, mirrors cloudy and obscure.'
— Translated by Edna St. Vincent Millay
~ Charles Baudelaire,
833:The Princess (Part 2)
At break of day the College Portress came:
She brought us Academic silks, in hue
The lilac, with a silken hood to each,
And zoned with gold; and now when these were on,
And we as rich as moths from dusk cocoons,
She, curtseying her obeisance, let us know
The Princess Ida waited: out we paced,
I first, and following through the porch that sang
All round with laurel, issued in a court
Compact of lucid marbles, bossed with lengths
Of classic frieze, with ample awnings gay
Betwixt the pillars, and with great urns of flowers.
The Muses and the Graces, grouped in threes,
Enringed a billowing fountain in the midst;
And here and there on lattice edges lay
Or book or lute; but hastily we past,
And up a flight of stairs into the hall.
There at a board by tome and paper sat,
With two tame leopards couched beside her throne,
All beauty compassed in a female form,
The Princess; liker to the inhabitant
Of some clear planet close upon the Sun,
Than our man's earth; such eyes were in her head,
And so much grace and power, breathing down
From over her arched brows, with every turn
Lived through her to the tips of her long hands,
And to her feet. She rose her height, and said:
'We give you welcome: not without redound
Of use and glory to yourselves ye come,
The first-fruits of the stranger: aftertime,
And that full voice which circles round the grave,
Will rank you nobly, mingled up with me.
What! are the ladies of your land so tall?'
'We of the court' said Cyril. 'From the court'
She answered, 'then ye know the Prince?' and he:
'The climax of his age! as though there were
One rose in all the world, your Highness that,
726
He worships your ideal:' she replied:
'We scarcely thought in our own hall to hear
This barren verbiage, current among men,
Light coin, the tinsel clink of compliment.
Your flight from out your bookless wilds would seem
As arguing love of knowledge and of power;
Your language proves you still the child. Indeed,
We dream not of him: when we set our hand
To this great work, we purposed with ourself
Never to wed. You likewise will do well,
Ladies, in entering here, to cast and fling
The tricks, which make us toys of men, that so,
Some future time, if so indeed you will,
You may with those self-styled our lords ally
Your fortunes, justlier balanced, scale with scale.'
At those high words, we conscious of ourselves,
Perused the matting: then an officer
Rose up, and read the statutes, such as these:
Not for three years to correspond with home;
Not for three years to cross the liberties;
Not for three years to speak with any men;
And many more, which hastily subscribed,
We entered on the boards: and 'Now,' she cried,
'Ye are green wood, see ye warp not. Look, our hall!
Our statues!--not of those that men desire,
Sleek Odalisques, or oracles of mode,
Nor stunted squaws of West or East; but she
That taught the Sabine how to rule, and she
The foundress of the Babylonian wall,
The Carian Artemisia strong in war,
The Rhodope, that built the pyramid,
Clelia, Cornelia, with the Palmyrene
That fought Aurelian, and the Roman brows
Of Agrippina. Dwell with these, and lose
Convention, since to look on noble forms
Makes noble through the sensuous organism
That which is higher. O lift your natures up:
Embrace our aims: work out your freedom. Girls,
Knowledge is now no more a fountain sealed:
Drink deep, until the habits of the slave,
The sins of emptiness, gossip and spite
727
And slander, die. Better not be at all
Than not be noble. Leave us: you may go:
Today the Lady Psyche will harangue
The fresh arrivals of the week before;
For they press in from all the provinces,
And fill the hive.'
She spoke, and bowing waved
Dismissal: back again we crost the court
To Lady Psyche's: as we entered in,
There sat along the forms, like morning doves
That sun their milky bosoms on the thatch,
A patient range of pupils; she herself
Erect behind a desk of satin-wood,
A quick brunette, well-moulded, falcon-eyed,
And on the hither side, or so she looked,
Of twenty summers. At her left, a child,
In shining draperies, headed like a star,
Her maiden babe, a double April old,
Aglaïa slept. We sat: the Lady glanced:
Then Florian, but not livelier than the dame
That whispered 'Asses' ears', among the sedge,
'My sister.' 'Comely, too, by all that's fair,'
Said Cyril. 'Oh hush, hush!' and she began.
'This world was once a fluid haze of light,
Till toward the centre set the starry tides,
And eddied into suns, that wheeling cast
The planets: then the monster, then the man;
Tattooed or woaded, winter-clad in skins,
Raw from the prime, and crushing down his mate;
As yet we find in barbarous isles, and here
Among the lowest.'
Thereupon she took
A bird's-eye-view of all the ungracious past;
Glanced at the legendary Amazon
As emblematic of a nobler age;
Appraised the Lycian custom, spoke of those
That lay at wine with Lar and Lucumo;
Ran down the Persian, Grecian, Roman lines
Of empire, and the woman's state in each,
How far from just; till warming with her theme
She fulmined out her scorn of laws Salique
728
And little-footed China, touched on Mahomet
With much contempt, and came to chivalry:
When some respect, however slight, was paid
To woman, superstition all awry:
However then commenced the dawn: a beam
Had slanted forward, falling in a land
Of promise; fruit would follow. Deep, indeed,
Their debt of thanks to her who first had dared
To leap the rotten pales of prejudice,
Disyoke their necks from custom, and assert
None lordlier than themselves but that which made
Woman and man. She had founded; they must build.
Here might they learn whatever men were taught:
Let them not fear: some said their heads were less:
Some men's were small; not they the least of men;
For often fineness compensated size:
Besides the brain was like the hand, and grew
With using; thence the man's, if more was more;
He took advantage of his strength to be
First in the field: some ages had been lost;
But woman ripened earlier, and her life
Was longer; and albeit their glorious names
Were fewer, scattered stars, yet since in truth
The highest is the measure of the man,
And not the Kaffir, Hottentot, Malay,
Nor those horn-handed breakers of the glebe,
But Homer, Plato, Verulam; even so
With woman: and in arts of government
Elizabeth and others; arts of war
The peasant Joan and others; arts of grace
Sappho and others vied with any man:
And, last not least, she who had left her place,
And bowed her state to them, that they might grow
To use and power on this Oasis, lapt
In the arms of leisure, sacred from the blight
Of ancient influence and scorn.
At last
She rose upon a wind of prophecy
Dilating on the future; 'everywhere
Who heads in council, two beside the hearth,
Two in the tangled business of the world,
Two in the liberal offices of life,
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Two plummets dropt for one to sound the abyss
Of science, and the secrets of the mind:
Musician, painter, sculptor, critic, more:
And everywhere the broad and bounteous Earth
Should bear a double growth of those rare souls,
Poets, whose thoughts enrich the blood of the world.'
She ended here, and beckoned us: the rest
Parted; and, glowing full-faced welcome, she
Began to address us, and was moving on
In gratulation, till as when a boat
Tacks, and the slackened sail flaps, all her voice
Faltering and fluttering in her throat, she cried
'My brother!' 'Well, my sister.' 'O,' she said,
'What do you here? and in this dress? and these?
Why who are these? a wolf within the fold!
A pack of wolves! the Lord be gracious to me!
A plot, a plot, a plot to ruin all!'
'No plot, no plot,' he answered. 'Wretched boy,
How saw you not the inscription on the gate,
LET NO MAN ENTER IN ON PAIN OF DEATH?'
'And if I had,' he answered, 'who could think
The softer Adams of your Academe,
O sister, Sirens though they be, were such
As chanted on the blanching bones of men?'
'But you will find it otherwise' she said.
'You jest: ill jesting with edge-tools! my vow
Binds me to speak, and O that iron will,
That axelike edge unturnable, our Head,
The Princess.' 'Well then, Psyche, take my life,
And nail me like a weasel on a grange
For warning: bury me beside the gate,
And cut this epitaph above my bones;
~Here lies a brother by a sister slain,
All for the common good of womankind.~'
'Let me die too,' said Cyril, 'having seen
And heard the Lady Psyche.'
I struck in:
'Albeit so masked, Madam, I love the truth;
Receive it; and in me behold the Prince
Your countryman, affianced years ago
To the Lady Ida: here, for here she was,
730
And thus (what other way was left) I came.'
'O Sir, O Prince, I have no country; none;
If any, this; but none. Whate'er I was
Disrooted, what I am is grafted here.
Affianced, Sir? love-whispers may not breathe
Within this vestal limit, and how should I,
Who am not mine, say, live: the thunderbolt
Hangs silent; but prepare: I speak; it falls.'
'Yet pause,' I said: 'for that inscription there,
I think no more of deadly lurks therein,
Than in a clapper clapping in a garth,
To scare the fowl from fruit: if more there be,
If more and acted on, what follows? war;
Your own work marred: for this your Academe,
Whichever side be Victor, in the halloo
Will topple to the trumpet down, and pass
With all fair theories only made to gild
A stormless summer.' 'Let the Princess judge
Of that' she said: 'farewell, Sir--and to you.
I shudder at the sequel, but I go.'
'Are you that Lady Psyche,' I rejoined,
'The fifth in line from that old Florian,
Yet hangs his portrait in my father's hall
(The gaunt old Baron with his beetle brow
Sun-shaded in the heat of dusty fights)
As he bestrode my Grandsire, when he fell,
And all else fled? we point to it, and we say,
The loyal warmth of Florian is not cold,
But branches current yet in kindred veins.'
'Are you that Psyche,' Florian added; 'she
With whom I sang about the morning hills,
Flung ball, flew kite, and raced the purple fly,
And snared the squirrel of the glen? are you
That Psyche, wont to bind my throbbing brow,
To smoothe my pillow, mix the foaming draught
Of fever, tell me pleasant tales, and read
My sickness down to happy dreams? are you
That brother-sister Psyche, both in one?
You were that Psyche, but what are you now?'
'You are that Psyche,' said Cyril, 'for whom
I would be that for ever which I seem,
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Woman, if I might sit beside your feet,
And glean your scattered sapience.'
Then once more,
'Are you that Lady Psyche,' I began,
'That on her bridal morn before she past
From all her old companions, when the kind
Kissed her pale cheek, declared that ancient ties
Would still be dear beyond the southern hills;
That were there any of our people there
In want or peril, there was one to hear
And help them? look! for such are these and I.'
'Are you that Psyche,' Florian asked, 'to whom,
In gentler days, your arrow-wounded fawn
Came flying while you sat beside the well?
The creature laid his muzzle on your lap,
And sobbed, and you sobbed with it, and the blood
Was sprinkled on your kirtle, and you wept.
That was fawn's blood, not brother's, yet you wept.
O by the bright head of my little niece,
You were that Psyche, and what are you now?'
'You are that Psyche,' Cyril said again,
'The mother of the sweetest little maid,
That ever crowed for kisses.'
'Out upon it!'
She answered, 'peace! and why should I not play
The Spartan Mother with emotion, be
The Lucius Junius Brutus of my kind?
Him you call great: he for the common weal,
The fading politics of mortal Rome,
As I might slay this child, if good need were,
Slew both his sons: and I, shall I, on whom
The secular emancipation turns
Of half this world, be swerved from right to save
A prince, a brother? a little will I yield.
Best so, perchance, for us, and well for you.
O hard, when love and duty clash! I fear
My conscience will not count me fleckless; yet-Hear my conditions: promise (otherwise
You perish) as you came, to slip away
Today, tomorrow, soon: it shall be said,
These women were too barbarous, would not learn;
They fled, who might have shamed us: promise, all.'
732
What could we else, we promised each; and she,
Like some wild creature newly-caged, commenced
A to-and-fro, so pacing till she paused
By Florian; holding out her lily arms
Took both his hands, and smiling faintly said:
'I knew you at the first: though you have grown
You scarce have altered: I am sad and glad
To see you, Florian. ~I~ give thee to death
My brother! it was duty spoke, not I.
My needful seeming harshness, pardon it.
Our mother, is she well?'
With that she kissed
His forehead, then, a moment after, clung
About him, and betwixt them blossomed up
From out a common vein of memory
Sweet household talk, and phrases of the hearth,
And far allusion, till the gracious dews
Began to glisten and to fall: and while
They stood, so rapt, we gazing, came a voice,
'I brought a message here from Lady Blanche.'
Back started she, and turning round we saw
The Lady Blanche's daughter where she stood,
Melissa, with her hand upon the lock,
A rosy blonde, and in a college gown,
That clad her like an April daffodilly
(Her mother's colour) with her lips apart,
And all her thoughts as fair within her eyes,
As bottom agates seen to wave and float
In crystal currents of clear morning seas.
So stood that same fair creature at the door.
Then Lady Psyche, 'Ah--Melissa--you!
You heard us?' and Melissa, 'O pardon me
I heard, I could not help it, did not wish:
But, dearest Lady, pray you fear me not,
Nor think I bear that heart within my breast,
To give three gallant gentlemen to death.'
'I trust you,' said the other, 'for we two
Were always friends, none closer, elm and vine:
But yet your mother's jealous temperament-Let not your prudence, dearest, drowse, or prove
733
The Danaïd of a leaky vase, for fear
This whole foundation ruin, and I lose
My honour, these their lives.' 'Ah, fear me not'
Replied Melissa; 'no--I would not tell,
No, not for all Aspasia's cleverness,
No, not to answer, Madam, all those hard things
That Sheba came to ask of Solomon.'
'Be it so' the other, 'that we still may lead
The new light up, and culminate in peace,
For Solomon may come to Sheba yet.'
Said Cyril, 'Madam, he the wisest man
Feasted the woman wisest then, in halls
Of Lebanonian cedar: nor should you
(Though, Madam, ~you~ should answer, ~we~ would ask)
Less welcome find among us, if you came
Among us, debtors for our lives to you,
Myself for something more.' He said not what,
But 'Thanks,' she answered 'Go: we have been too long
Together: keep your hoods about the face;
They do so that affect abstraction here.
Speak little; mix not with the rest; and hold
Your promise: all, I trust, may yet be well.'
We turned to go, but Cyril took the child,
And held her round the knees against his waist,
And blew the swollen cheek of a trumpeter,
While Psyche watched them, smiling, and the child
Pushed her flat hand against his face and laughed;
And thus our conference closed.
And then we strolled
For half the day through stately theatres
Benched crescent-wise. In each we sat, we heard
The grave Professor. On the lecture slate
The circle rounded under female hands
With flawless demonstration: followed then
A classic lecture, rich in sentiment,
With scraps of thunderous Epic lilted out
By violet-hooded Doctors, elegies
And quoted odes, and jewels five-words-long
That on the stretched forefinger of all Time
Sparkle for ever: then we dipt in all
That treats of whatsoever is, the state,
734
The total chronicles of man, the mind,
The morals, something of the frame, the rock,
The star, the bird, the fish, the shell, the flower,
Electric, chemic laws, and all the rest,
And whatsoever can be taught and known;
Till like three horses that have broken fence,
And glutted all night long breast-deep in corn,
We issued gorged with knowledge, and I spoke:
'Why, Sirs, they do all this as well as we.'
'They hunt old trails' said Cyril 'very well;
But when did woman ever yet invent?'
'Ungracious!' answered Florian; 'have you learnt
No more from Psyche's lecture, you that talked
The trash that made me sick, and almost sad?'
'O trash' he said, 'but with a kernel in it.
Should I not call her wise, who made me wise?
And learnt? I learnt more from her in a flash,
Than in my brainpan were an empty hull,
And every Muse tumbled a science in.
A thousand hearts lie fallow in these halls,
And round these halls a thousand baby loves
Fly twanging headless arrows at the hearts,
Whence follows many a vacant pang; but O
With me, Sir, entered in the bigger boy,
The Head of all the golden-shafted firm,
The long-limbed lad that had a Psyche too;
He cleft me through the stomacher; and now
What think you of it, Florian? do I chase
The substance or the shadow? will it hold?
I have no sorcerer's malison on me,
No ghostly hauntings like his Highness. I
Flatter myself that always everywhere
I know the substance when I see it. Well,
Are castles shadows? Three of them? Is she
The sweet proprietress a shadow? If not,
Shall those three castles patch my tattered coat?
For dear are those three castles to my wants,
And dear is sister Psyche to my heart,
And two dear things are one of double worth,
And much I might have said, but that my zone
Unmanned me: then the Doctors! O to hear
The Doctors! O to watch the thirsty plants
735
Imbibing! once or twice I thought to roar,
To break my chain, to shake my mane: but thou,
Modulate me, Soul of mincing mimicry!
Make liquid treble of that bassoon, my throat;
Abase those eyes that ever loved to meet
Star-sisters answering under crescent brows;
Abate the stride, which speaks of man, and loose
A flying charm of blushes o'er this cheek,
Where they like swallows coming out of time
Will wonder why they came: but hark the bell
For dinner, let us go!'
And in we streamed
Among the columns, pacing staid and still
By twos and threes, till all from end to end
With beauties every shade of brown and fair
In colours gayer than the morning mist,
The long hall glittered like a bed of flowers.
How might a man not wander from his wits
Pierced through with eyes, but that I kept mine own
Intent on her, who rapt in glorious dreams,
The second-sight of some Astræan age,
Sat compassed with professors: they, the while,
Discussed a doubt and tost it to and fro:
A clamour thickened, mixt with inmost terms
Of art and science: Lady Blanche alone
Of faded form and haughtiest lineaments,
With all her autumn tresses falsely brown,
Shot sidelong daggers at us, a tiger-cat
In act to spring.
At last a solemn grace
Concluded, and we sought the gardens: there
One walked reciting by herself, and one
In this hand held a volume as to read,
And smoothed a petted peacock down with that:
Some to a low song oared a shallop by,
Or under arches of the marble bridge
Hung, shadowed from the heat: some hid and sought
In the orange thickets: others tost a ball
Above the fountain-jets, and back again
With laughter: others lay about the lawns,
Of the older sort, and murmured that their May
Was passing: what was learning unto them?
736
They wished to marry; they could rule a house;
Men hated learned women: but we three
Sat muffled like the Fates; and often came
Melissa hitting all we saw with shafts
Of gentle satire, kin to charity,
That harmed not: then day droopt; the chapel bells
Called us: we left the walks; we mixt with those
Six hundred maidens clad in purest white,
Before two streams of light from wall to wall,
While the great organ almost burst his pipes,
Groaning for power, and rolling through the court
A long melodious thunder to the sound
Of solemn psalms, and silver litanies,
The work of Ida, to call down from Heaven
A blessing on her labours for the world.
Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea!
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.
Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
Father will come to thee soon;
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
Under the silver moon:
Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
834:The Passing Of Arthur
That story which the bold Sir Bedivere,
First made and latest left of all the knights,
Told, when the man was no more than a voice
In the white winter of his age, to those
With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.
For on their march to westward, Bedivere,
Who slowly paced among the slumbering host,
Heard in his tent the moanings of the King:
'I found Him in the shining of the stars,
I marked Him in the flowering of His fields,
But in His ways with men I find Him not.
I waged His wars, and now I pass and die.
O me! for why is all around us here
As if some lesser god had made the world,
But had not force to shape it as he would,
Till the High God behold it from beyond,
And enter it, and make it beautiful?
Or else as if the world were wholly fair,
But that these eyes of men are dense and dim,
And have not power to see it as it is:
Perchance, because we see not to the close;-For I, being simple, thought to work His will,
And have but stricken with the sword in vain;
And all whereon I leaned in wife and friend
Is traitor to my peace, and all my realm
Reels back into the beast, and is no more.
My God, thou hast forgotten me in my death;
Nay--God my Christ--I pass but shall not die.'
Then, ere that last weird battle in the west,
There came on Arthur sleeping, Gawain killed
In Lancelot's war, the ghost of Gawain blown
Along a wandering wind, and past his ear
Went shrilling, 'Hollow, hollow all delight!
Hail, King! tomorrow thou shalt pass away.
Farewell! there is an isle of rest for thee.
And I am blown along a wandering wind,
706
And hollow, hollow, hollow all delight.'
And fainter onward, like wild birds that change
Their season in the night and wail their way
From cloud to cloud, down the long wind the dream
Shrilled; but in going mingled with dim cries
Far in the moonlit haze among the hills,
As of some lonely city sacked by night,
When all is lost, and wife and child with wail
Pass to new lords; and Arthur woke and called,
'Who spake? A dream. O light upon the wind,
Thine, Gawain, was the voice--are these dim cries
Thine? or doth all that haunts the waste and wild
Mourn, knowing it will go along with me?'
This heard the bold Sir Bedivere and spake:
'O me, my King, let pass whatever will,
Elves, and the harmless glamour of the field;
But in their stead thy name and glory cling
To all high places like a golden cloud
For ever: but as yet thou shalt not pass.
Light was Gawain in life, and light in death
Is Gawain, for the ghost is as the man;
And care not thou for dreams from him, but rise-I hear the steps of Modred in the west,
And with him many of thy people, and knights
Once thine, whom thou hast loved, but grosser grown
Than heathen, spitting at their vows and thee.
Right well in heart they know thee for the King.
Arise, go forth and conquer as of old.'
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
'Far other is this battle in the west
Whereto we move, than when we strove in youth,
And brake the petty kings, and fought with Rome,
Or thrust the heathen from the Roman wall,
And shook him through the north. Ill doom is mine
To war against my people and my knights.
The king who fights his people fights himself.
And they my knights, who loved me once, the stroke
That strikes them dead is as my death to me.
Yet let us hence, and find or feel a way
Through this blind haze, which ever since I saw
707
One lying in the dust at Almesbury,
Hath folded in the passes of the world.'
Then rose the King and moved his host by night,
And ever pushed Sir Modred, league by league,
Back to the sunset bound of Lyonnesse-A land of old upheaven from the abyss
By fire, to sink into the abyss again;
Where fragments of forgotten peoples dwelt,
And the long mountains ended in a coast
Of ever-shifting sand, and far away
The phantom circle of a moaning sea.
There the pursuer could pursue no more,
And he that fled no further fly the King;
And there, that day when the great light of heaven
Burned at his lowest in the rolling year,
On the waste sand by the waste sea they closed.
Nor ever yet had Arthur fought a fight
Like this last, dim, weird battle of the west.
A deathwhite mist slept over sand and sea:
Whereof the chill, to him who breathed it, drew
Down with his blood, till all his heart was cold
With formless fear; and even on Arthur fell
Confusion, since he saw not whom he fought.
For friend and foe were shadows in the mist,
And friend slew friend not knowing whom he slew;
And some had visions out of golden youth,
And some beheld the faces of old ghosts
Look in upon the battle; and in the mist
Was many a noble deed, many a base,
And chance and craft and strength in single fights,
And ever and anon with host to host
Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard mail hewn,
Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, the crash
Of battleaxes on shattered helms, and shrieks
After the Christ, of those who falling down
Looked up for heaven, and only saw the mist;
And shouts of heathen and the traitor knights,
Oaths, insults, filth, and monstrous blasphemies,
Sweat, writhings, anguish, labouring of the lungs
In that close mist, and cryings for the light,
Moans of the dying, and voices of the dead.
708
Last, as by some one deathbed after wail
Of suffering, silence follows, or through death
Or deathlike swoon, thus over all that shore,
Save for some whisper of the seething seas,
A dead hush fell; but when the dolorous day
Grew drearier toward twilight falling, came
A bitter wind, clear from the North, and blew
The mist aside, and with that wind the tide
Rose, and the pale King glanced across the field
Of battle: but no man was moving there;
Nor any cry of Christian heard thereon,
Nor yet of heathen; only the wan wave
Brake in among dead faces, to and fro
Swaying the helpless hands, and up and down
Tumbling the hollow helmets of the fallen,
And shivered brands that once had fought with Rome,
And rolling far along the gloomy shores
The voice of days of old and days to be.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere,
And whiter than the mist that all day long
Had held the field of battle was the King:
'Hearest thou this great voice that shakes the world,
And wastes the narrow realm whereon we move,
And beats upon the faces of the dead,
My dead, as though they had not died for me?-O Bedivere, for on my heart hath fallen
Confusion, till I know not what I am,
Nor whence I am, nor whether I be King.
Behold, I seem but King among the dead.'
Then spake the bold Sir Bedivere: 'My King,
King everywhere! and so the dead have kings,
There also will I worship thee as King.
Yet still thy life is whole, and still I live
Who love thee; but who hates thee, he that brought
The heathen back among us, yonder stands,
Modred, unharmed, the traitor of thine house.'
Then spake the King: 'My house hath been my doom.
709
But call not thou this traitor of my house
Who hath but dwelt beneath one roof with me.
My house are rather they who sware my vows,
Yea, even while they brake them, owned me King.
And well for thee, saying in my dark hour,
When all the purport of my throne hath failed,
That quick or dead thou holdest me for King.
King am I, whatsoever be their cry;
And one last act of kinghood shalt thou see
Yet, ere I pass.' And uttering this the King
Made at the man: then Modred smote his liege
Hard on that helm which many a heathen sword
Had beaten thin; while Arthur at one blow,
Striking the last stroke with Excalibur,
Slew him, and all but slain himself, he fell.
So all day long the noise of battle rolled
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur's Table, man by man,
Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their lord,
King Arthur. Then, because his wound was deep,
The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark strait of barren land:
On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
Lay a great water, and the moon was full.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
'The sequel of today unsolders all
The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
They sleep--the men I loved. I think that we
Shall never more, at any future time,
Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
Walking about the gardens and the halls
Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
I perish by this people which I made,-Though Merlin sware that I should come again
To rule once more; but, let what will be, be,
I am so deeply smitten through the helm
That without help I cannot last till morn.
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Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
Holding the sword--and how I rowed across
And took it, and have worn it, like a king;
And, wheresoever I am sung or told
In aftertime, this also shall be known:
But now delay not: take Excalibur,
And fling him far into the middle mere:
Watch what thou se st, and lightly bring me word.'
To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
'It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
Aidless, alone, and smitten through the helm-A little thing may harm a wounded man;
Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word.'
So saying, from the ruined shrine he stept,
And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
Came on the shining levels of the lake.
There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
That both his eyes were dazzled as he stood,
This way and that dividing the swift mind,
In act to throw: but at the last it seemed
Better to leave Excalibur concealed
There in the many-knotted waterflags,
That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
So strode he back slow to the wounded King.
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Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
'Hast thou performed my mission which I gave?
What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?'
And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
'I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,
And the wild water lapping on the crag.'
To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
'Thou hast betrayed thy nature and thy name,
Not rendering true answer, as beseemed
Thy f alty, nor like a noble knight:
For surer sign had followed, either hand,
Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again,
As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing
I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word.'
Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
Counting the dewy pebbles, fixed in thought;
But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
His palms together, and he cried aloud:
'And if indeed I cast the brand away,
Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
Should thus be lost for ever from the earth,
Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
What good should follow this, if this were done?
What harm, undone? Deep harm to disobey,
Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
Were it well to obey then, if a king demand
An act unprofitable, against himself?
The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
What record, or what relic of my lord
Should be to aftertime, but empty breath
And rumours of a doubt? But were this kept,
Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
Some one might show it at a joust of arms,
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Saying, "King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,
Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.
Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
Upon the hidden bases of the hills."
So might some old man speak in the aftertime
To all the people, winning reverence.
But now much honour and much fame were lost.'
So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,
And hid Excalibur the second time,
And so strode back slow to the wounded King.
Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:
'What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?'
And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
'I heard the water lapping on the crag,
And the long ripple washing in the reeds.'
To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
'Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!
Authority forgets a dying king,
Laid widowed of the power in his eye
That bowed the will. I see thee what thou art,
For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,
In whom should meet the offices of all,
Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;
Either from lust of gold, or like a girl
Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,
And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:
But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
I will arise and slay thee with my hands.'
Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged
Among the bulrush beds, and clutched the sword,
And strongly wheeled and threw it. The great brand
Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,
And flashing round and round, and whirled in an arch,
Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
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Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
By night, with noises of the Northern Sea.
So flashed and fell the brand Excalibur:
But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
And caught him by the hilt, and brandished him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
And lightly went the other to the King.
Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
'Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?'
And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
'Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems
Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,
Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,
Not though I live three lives of mortal men,
So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;
But when I looked again, behold an arm,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
That caught him by the hilt, and brandished him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere.'
And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
'My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone.
Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,
And bear me to the margin; yet I fear
My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die.'
So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
Remorsefully regarded through his tears,
And would have spoken, but he found not words;
Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,
O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,
And rising bore him through the place of tombs.
But, as he walked, King Arthur panted hard,
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Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed
When all the house is mute. So sighed the King,
Muttering and murmuring at his ear, 'Quick, quick!
I fear it is too late, and I shall die.'
But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walked,
Larger than human on the frozen hills.
He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
Before. His own thought drove him like a goad.
Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves
And barren chasms, and all to left and right
The bare black cliff clanged round him, as he based
His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
Sharp-smitten with the dint of armd heels-And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon.
Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
Beneath them; and descending they were ware
That all the decks were dense with stately forms,
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream--by these
Three Queens with crowns of gold: and from them rose
A cry that shivered to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.
Then murmured Arthur, 'Place me in the barge.'
So to the barge they came. There those three Queens
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she, that rose the tallest of them all
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
And loosed the shattered casque, and chafed his hands,
And called him by his name, complaining loud,
And dropping bitter tears against a brow
Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
And colourless, and like the withered moon
Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
And all his greaves and cuisses dashed with drops
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Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls-That made his forehead like a rising sun
High from the das-throne--were parched with dust;
Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
Mixed with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
So like a shattered column lay the King;
Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,
From spur to plume a star of tournament,
Shot through the lists at Camelot, and charged
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
'Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world,
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.'
And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
'The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
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But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou se st--if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)-To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound.'
So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the mere the wailing died away.
But when that moan had past for evermore,
The stillness of the dead world's winter dawn
Amazed him, and he groaned, 'The King is gone.'
And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme,
'From the great deep to the great deep he goes.'
Whereat he slowly turned and slowly clomb
The last hard footstep of that iron crag;
Thence marked the black hull moving yet, and cried,
'He passes to be King among the dead,
And after healing of his grievous wound
He comes again; but--if he come no more-O me, be yon dark Queens in yon black boat,
Who shrieked and wailed, the three whereat we gazed
On that high day, when, clothed with living light,
They stood before his throne in silence, friends
Of Arthur, who should help him at his need?'
Then from the dawn it seemed there came, but faint
As from beyond the limit of the world,
Like the last echo born of a great cry,
Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
Around a king returning from his wars.
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Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
Even to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
835:Idylls Of The King: The Passing Of Arthur (Excerpt)
That story which the bold Sir Bedivere,
First made and latest left of all the knights,
Told, when the man was no more than a voice
In the white winter of his age, to those
With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.
For on their march to westward, Bedivere,
Who slowly paced among the slumbering host,
Heard in his tent the moanings of the King:
"I found Him in the shining of the stars,
I mark'd Him in the flowering of His fields,
But in His ways with men I find Him not.
I waged His wars, and now I pass and die.
O me! for why is all around us here
As if some lesser god had made the world,
But had not force to shape it as he would,
Till the High God behold it from beyond,
And enter it, and make it beautiful?
Or else as if the world were wholly fair,
But that these eyes of men are dense and dim,
And have not power to see it as it is:
Perchance, because we see not to the close;-For I, being simple, thought to work His will,
And have but stricken with the sword in vain;
And all whereon I lean'd in wife and friend
Is traitor to my peace, and all my realm
Reels back into the beast, and is no more.
My God, thou hast forgotten me in my death:
Nay--God my Christ--I pass but shall not die."
Then, ere that last weird battle in the west,
There came on Arthur sleeping, Gawain kill'd
In Lancelot's war, the ghost of Gawain blown
Along a wandering wind, and past his ear
Went shrilling, "Hollow, hollow all delight!
Hail, King! to-morrow thou shalt pass away.
Farewell! there is an isle of rest for thee.
And I am blown along a wandering wind,
And hollow, hollow, hollow all delight."
And fainter onward, like wild birds that change
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Their season in the night and wail their way
From cloud to cloud, down the long wind the dream
Shrill'd; but in going mingled with dim cries
Far in the moonlit haze among the hills,
As of some lonely city sack'd by night,
When all is lost, and wife and child with wail
Pass to new lords; and Arthur woke and call'd,
"Who spake? A dream. O light upon the wind,
Thine, Gawain, was the voice--are these dim cries
Thine? or doth all that haunts the waste and wild
Mourn, knowing it will go along with me?"
This heard the bold Sir Bedivere and spake:
"O me, my King, let pass whatever will,
Elves, and the harmless glamour of the field;
But in their stead thy name and glory cling
To all high places like a golden cloud
For ever: but as yet thou shalt not pass.
Light was Gawain in life, and light in death
Is Gawain, for the ghost is as the man;
And care not thou for dreams from him, but rise-I hear the steps of Modred in the west,
And with him many of thy people, and knights
Once thine, whom thou hast loved, but grosser grown
Than heathen, spitting at their vows and thee.
Right well in heart they know thee for the King.
Arise, go forth and conquer as of old."
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
"Far other is this battle in the west
Whereto we move, than when we strove in youth,
And brake the petty kings, and fought with Rome,
Or thrust the heathen from the Roman wall,
And shook him thro' the north. Ill doom is mine
To war against my people and my knights.
The king who fights his people fights himself.
And they my knights, who loved me once, the stroke
That strikes them dead is as my death to me.
Yet let us hence, and find or feel a way
Thro' this blind haze, which ever since I saw
One lying in the dust at Almesbury,
Hath folded in the passes of the world."
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Then rose the King and moved his host by night,
And ever push'd Sir Modred, league by league,
Back to the sunset bound of Lyonnesse-A land of old upheaven from the abyss
By fire, to sink into the abyss again;
Where fragments of forgotten peoples dwelt,
And the long mountains ended in a coast
Of ever-shifting sand, and far away
The phantom circle of a moaning sea.
There the pursuer could pursue no more,
And he that fled no further fly the King;
And there, that day when the great light of heaven
Burn'd at his lowest in the rolling year,
On the waste sand by the waste sea they closed.
Nor ever yet had Arthur fought a fight
Like this last, dim, weird battle of the west.
A deathwhite mist slept over sand and sea:
Whereof the chill, to him who breathed it, drew
Down with his blood, till all his heart was cold
With formless fear; and ev'n on Arthur fell
Confusion, since he saw not whom he fought.
For friend and foe were shadows in the mist,
And friend slew friend not knowing whom he slew;
And some had visions out of golden youth,
And some beheld the faces of old ghosts
Look in upon the battle; and in the mist
Was many a noble deed, many a base,
And chance and craft and strength in single fights,
And ever and anon with host to host
Shocks, and the splintering spear, the hard mail hewn,
Shield-breakings, and the clash of brands, the crash
Of battleaxes on shatter'd helms, and shrieks
After the Christ, of those who falling down
Look'd up for heaven, and only saw the mist;
And shouts of heathen and the traitor knights,
Oaths, insult, filth, and monstrous blasphemies,
Sweat, writhings, anguish, labouring of the lungs
In that close mist, and cryings for the light,
Moans of the dying, and voices of the dead.
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Last, as by some one deathbed after wail
Of suffering, silence follows, or thro' death
Or deathlike swoon, thus over all that shore,
Save for some whisper of the seething seas,
A dead hush fell; but when the dolorous day
Grew drearier toward twilight falling, came
A bitter wind, clear from the North, and blew
The mist aside, and with that wind the tide
Rose, and the pale King glanced across the field
Of battle: but no man was moving there;
Nor any cry of Christian heard thereon,
Nor yet of heathen; only the wan wave
Brake in among dead faces, to and fro
Swaying the helpless hands, and up and down
Tumbling the hollow helmets of the fallen,
And shiver'd brands that once had fought with Rome,
And rolling far along the gloomy shores
The voice of days of old and days to be.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere,
And whiter than the mist that all day long
Had held the field of battle was the King:
"Hearest thou this great voice that shakes the world,
And wastes the narrow realm whereon we move,
And beats upon the faces of the dead,
My dead, as tho' they had not died for me?-O Bedivere, for on my heart hath fall'n
Confusion, till I know not what I am,
Nor whence I am, nor whether I be King.
Behold, I seem but King among the dead."
Then spake the bold Sir Bedivere: "My King,
King everywhere! and so the dead have kings,
There also will I worship thee as King.
Yet still thy life is whole, and still I live
Who love thee; but who hates thee, he that brought
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The heathen back among us, yonder stands,
Modred, unharm'd, the traitor of thine house."
Then spake the King: "My house hath been my doom.
But call not thou this traitor of my house
Who hath but dwelt beneath one roof with me.
My house are rather they who sware my vows,
Yea, even while they brake them, own'd me King.
And well for thee, saying in my dark hour,
When all the purport of my throne hath fail'd,
That quick or dead thou hottest me for King.
King am I, whatsoever be their cry;
And one last act of kinghood shalt thou see
Yet, ere I pass." And uttering this the King
Made at the man: then Modred smote his liege
Hard on that helm which many a heathen sword
Had beaten thin; while Arthur at one blow,
Striking the last stroke with Excalibur,
Slew him, and all but slain himself, he fell.
So all day long the noise of battle roll'd
Among the mountains by the winter sea;
Until King Arthur's Table, man by man,
Had fall'n in Lyonnesse about their lord,
King Arthur. Then, because his wound was deep,
The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,
And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark strait of barren land:
On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
Lay a great water, and the moon was full.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
"The sequel of to-day unsolders all
The goodliest fellowship of famous knights
Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep
They sleep--the men I loved. I think that we
Shall never more, at any future time,
Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,
222
Walking about the gardens and the halls
Of Camelot, as in the days that were.
I perish by this people which I made,-Tho' Merlin sware that I should come again
To rule once more; but, let what will be, be,
I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm
That without help I cannot last till morn.
Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,
Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how
In those old days, one summer noon, an arm
Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
Holding the sword--and how I row'd across
And took it, and have worn it, like a king;
And, wheresoever I am sung or told
In aftertime, this also shall be known:
But now delay not: take Excalibur,
And fling him far into the middle mere:
Watch what thou seëst, and lightly bring me word."
To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:
"It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,
Aidless, alone, and smitten thro' the helm-A little thing may harm a wounded man;
Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,
Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word."
So saying, from the ruin'd shrine he stept,
And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,
Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,
Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang
Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down
By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock,
Came on the shining levels of the lake.
There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,
And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,
Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth
And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:
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For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,
Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work
Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long
That both his eyes were dazzled as he stood,
This way and that dividing the swift mind,
In act to throw: but at the last it seem'd
Better to leave Excalibur conceal'd
There in the many-knotted waterflags,
That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.
So strode he back slow to the wounded King.
Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:
"Hast thou perform'd my mission which I gave?
What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"
And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,
And the wild water lapping on the crag."
To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:
"Thou hast betray'd thy nature and thy name,
Not rendering true answer, as beseem'd
Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight:
For surer sign had follow'd, either hand
Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.
This is a shameful thing for men to lie.
Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again,
As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing
I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word."
Then went Sir Bedivere the second time
Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,
Counting the dewy pebbles, fix'd in thought;
But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,
How curiously and strangely chased, he smote
His palms together, and he cried aloud:
224
"And if indeed I cast the brand away,
Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,
Should thus be lost for ever from the earth,
Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.
What good should follow this, if this were done?
What harm, undone? Deep harm to disobey,
Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.
Were it well to obey then, if a king demand
An act unprofitable, against himself?
The King is sick, and knows not what he does.
What record, or what relic of my lord
Should be to aftertime, but empty breath
And rumours of a doubt? But were this kept,
Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,
Some one might show it at a joust of arms,
Saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,
Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.
Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps
Upon the hidden bases of the hills.'
So might some old man speak in the aftertime
To all the people, winning reverence.
But now much honour and much fame were lost."
So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,
And hid Excalibur the second time,
And so strode back slow to the wounded King.
Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:
"What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?'
And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"I heard the water lapping on the crag,
And the long ripple washing in the reeds."
To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:
"Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,
Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!
Authority forgets a dying king,
225
Laid widow'd of the power in his eye
That bow'd the will. I see thee what thou art,
For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,
In whom should meet the offices of all,
Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;
Either from lust of gold, or like a girl
Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.
Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,
And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:
But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,
I will arise and slay thee with my hands."
Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,
And, leaping down the ridges, lightly, plunged
Among the bulrush beds, and clutch'd the sword,
And strongly wheel'd and threw it. The great brand
Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,
And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch,
Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,
Seen where the moving isles of winter shock
By night, with noises of the Northern Sea.
So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur:
But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm
Clothed in white samite, mystic wonderful,
And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere.
And lightly went the other to the King.
Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:
"Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.
Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?"
And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:
"Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems
Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,
Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,
Not tho' I live three lives of mortal men,
So great a miracle as yonder hilt.
Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;
226
But when I look'd again, behold an arm,
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,
That caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him
Three times, and drew him under in the mere."
And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
"My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone.
Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,
And bear me to the margin; yet I fear
My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die."
So saying, from the pavement he half rose,
Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,
And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes
As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere
Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears,
And would have spoken, but he found not words;
Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,
O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,
And rising bore him thro' the place of tombs.
But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted hard,
Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed
When all the house is mute. So sigh'd the King,
Muttering and murmuring at his ear, "Quick, quick!
I fear it is too late, and I shall die."
But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,
Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk'd,
Larger than human on the frozen hills.
He heard the deep behind him, and a cry
Before. His own thought drove him like a goad.
Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves
And barren chasms, and all to left and right
The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as he based
His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang
Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels-And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,
And the long glories of the winter moon.
227
Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,
Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,
Beneath them; and descending they were ware
That all the decks were dense with stately forms,
Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream--by these
Three Queens with crowns of gold: and from them rose
A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars,
And, as it were one voice, an agony
Of lamentation, like a wind that shrills
All night in a waste land, where no one comes,
Or hath come, since the making of the world.
Then murmur'd Arthur, "Place me in the barge."
So to the barge they came. There those three Queens
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she, that rose the tallest of them all
And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,
And loosed the shatter'd casque, and chafed his hands,
And call'd him by his name, complaining loud,
And dropping bitter tears against a brow
Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white
And colourless, and like the wither'd moon
Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;
And all his greaves and cuisses dash'd with drops
Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls-That made his forehead like a rising sun
High from the daïs-throne--were parch'd with dust
Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
Mix'd with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.
So like a shatter'd column lay the King;
Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,
From spur to plume a star of tournament,
Shot thro' the lists at Camelot, and charged
Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere:
"Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
228
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole Round Table is dissolved
Which was an image of the mighty world,
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds."
And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
May He within himself make pure! but thou,
If thou shouldst never see my face again,
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
But now farewell. I am going a long way
With these thou seëst--if indeed I go
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)-To the island-valley of Avilion;
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea,
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."
So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan
That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,
229
Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood
With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere
Revolving many memories, till the hull
Look'd one black dot against the verge of dawn,
And on the mere the wailing died away.
But when that moan had past for evermore,
The stillness of the dead world's winter dawn
Amazed him, and he groan'd, ``The King is gone.''
And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme,
"From the great deep to the great deep he goes."
Whereat he slowly turn'd and slowly clomb
The last hard footstep of that iron crag;
Thence mark'd the black hull moving yet, and cried,
"He passes to be King among the dead,
And after healing of his grievous wound
He comes again; but--if he come no more-O me, be yon dark Queens in yon black boat,
Who shriek'd and wail'd, the three whereat we gazed
On that high day, when, clothed with living light,
They stood before his throne in silence, friends
Of Arthur, who should help him at his need?"
Then from the dawn it seem'd there came, but faint
As from beyond the limit of the world,
Like the last echo born of a great cry,
Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
Around a king returning from his wars.
Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
Ev'n to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.
230
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
836:The Drunken Boat
As I drifted on a river I could not control,
No longer guided by the bargemen's ropes.
They were captured by howling Indians
Who nailed them naked to coloured posts.
I cared no more for other boats or cargoes:
Flemish wheat or English cottons, all were gone
When my bargemen could no longer haul me
I forgot about everything and drifted on.
Amid the fury of the loudly chopping tides
Last winter, deaf as a child's dark night,
Ah, how I raced! And the drifting Peninsulas
Have never known such conquering delight.
Lighter than cork, I revolved upon waves
That roll the dead forever in the deep,
Ten days, beyond the blinking eyes of land!
Lulled by storms, I drifted seaward from sleep.
Sweeter than apples to a child its pungent edge;
The wash of green water on my shell of pine.
Anchor and rudder went drifting away,
Washed in vomit and stained with blue wine.
Now I drift through the poem of the sea;
This gruel of stars mirrors the milky sky,
Devours green azures; ecstatic flotsam,
Drowned men, pale and thoughtful, sometimes drift by.
Staining the sudden blueness, the slow sounds,
Deliriums that streak the glowing sky,
Stronger than drink and the songs we sing,
It is boiling, bitter, red; it is love!
I know how lightening split the sky apart,
I know the surf and waterspouts and evening's fall,
I've seen the dawn arisen like a flock of doves;
I've seen what men have only dreamed they saw!
166
I saw the sun with mystic horrors darken
And shimmer through a violet haze;
With a shiver of shutters the waves fell
Like actors in ancient, forgotten plays!
I dreamed of green nights and glittering snow,
Slow kisses rising in the eyes of the sea,
Unknown liquids flowing, the blue and yellow
Stirring of phosphorescent melody!
For months I watched the surge of the sea,
Hysterical herds attacking the reefs;
I never thought the bright feet of Mary
Could muzzle up the heavy-breathing waves!
I have jostled - you know? - unbelievable Floridas
And seen among the flowers the wild eyes
Of panthers in the skins of men! Rainbows
Birdling blind flocks beneath the horizons!
In stinking swamps I have seen great hulks:
A Leviathan that rotted in the reeds!
Water crumbling in the midst of calm
And distances that shatter into foam.
Glaciers, silver suns, waves of pearl, fiery skies,
Giant serpents stranded where lice consume
Them, falling in the depths of dark gulfs
From contorted trees, bathed in black perfume!
I wanted to show children these fishes shining
In the blue wave, the golden fish that sing A froth of flowers cradled my wandering
And delicate winds tossed me on their wings.
Sometimes, a martyr of poles and latitudes,
The sea rocked me softly in sighing air,
And brought me dark blooms with yellow stems I remained there like a woman on her knees.
Almost an island, I balanced on my boat's sides
167
Rapacious blond-eyed birds, their dung, their screams.
I drifted on through fragile tangled lines
Drowned men, still staring up, sank down to sleep.
Now I, a little lost boat, in swirling debris,
Tossed by the storm into the birdless upper air
- All the Hansa Merchants and Monitors
Could not fish up my body drunk with the sea;
Free, smoking, touched the violet haze above,
I, who the lurid heavens breached like some rare wall
Which boasts - confection that the poets love Lichens of sunlight, and snots of bright blue sky;
Lost branch spinning in a herd of hippocamps,
Covered over with electric animals,
An everlasting July battering
The glittering sky and its fiery funnels;
Shaking at the sound of monsters roaring,
Rutting Behemoths in thick whirlpools,
Eternal weaver of unmoving blues,
I thought of Europe and its ancient walls!
I have seen archipelagos in the stars,
Feverish skies where I was free to roam!
Are these bottomless nights your exiled nests,
Swarm of golden birds, O Strength to come?
True, I've cried too much; I am heartsick at dawn.
The moon is bitter and the sun is sour…
Love burns me; I am swollen and slow.
Let my keel break! Oh, let me sink in the sea!
If I long for a shore in Europe,
It's a small pond, dark, cold, remote,
The odour of evening, and a child full of sorrow
Who stoops to launch a crumpled paper boat.
Washed in your languors, sea, I cannot trace
The wake of tankers foaming through the cold,
Nor assault the pride of pennants and flags,
168
Nor endure the slave ship's stinking hold.
____________________________________________________
Translation by Rebecca Seiferle:
As I descended impassible Rivers,
I felt no longer steered by bargemen;
they were captured by howling Redskins,
nailed as targets, naked, to painted stakes.
What did I care for cargo or crews,
bearers of English cotton or Flemish grain—
having left behind the bargemen and racket,
the Rivers let me descend where I wished.
In the furious splashing of the waves,
I — that other winter, deafer than the minds
of children — ran! And the unanchored Peninsulas
never knew a more triumphant brouhaha.
The tempest blessed my sea awakening.
Lighter than cork, I danced the waves
scrolling out the eternal roll of the dead—
ten nights, without longing for the lantern's silly eye.
Sweeter than the flesh of tart apples to children,
the green water penetrated my pine hull
and purged me of vomit and the stain of blue wines—
my rudder and grappling hooks drifting away.
Since then, I have bathed in the Poem
of the Sea, a milky way, infused with stars,
devouring the azure greens where, flotsam-pale
and ravished, drowned and pensive men float by.
Where, suddenly staining the blues, delirious
and slow rhythms under the glowing red of day,
stronger than alcohol, vaster than our lyrics,
ferment the red bitters of love!
I know heavens pierced by lightning, the waterspouts
169
and undertows and currents: I know night,
Dawn rising like a nation of doves,
and I've seen, sometimes, what men only dreamed they saw!
I've seen the sun, low, a blot of mystic dread,
illuminating with far-reaching violet coagulations,
like actors in antique tragedies,
the waves rolling away in a shiver of shutters.
I've dreamed a green night to dazzling snows,
kisses slowly rising to the eyelids of the sea,
unknown saps flowing, and the yellow and blue
rising of phosphorescent songs.
For months, I've followed the swells assaulting
the reefs like hysterical herds, without ever thinking
that the luminous feet of some Mary
could muzzle the panting Deep.
I've touched, you know, incredible Floridas
where, inside flowers, the eyes of panthers mingle
with the skins of men! And rainbows bridle
glaucous flocks beneath the rim of the sea!
I've seen fermenting— enormous marshes, nets
where a whole Leviathan rots in the rushes!
Such a ruin of water in the midst of calm,
and the distant horizon worming into whirlpools!
Glaciers, silver suns, pearly tides, ember skies!
Hideous wrecks at the bottom of muddy gulfs
where giant serpents, devoured by lice,
drop with black perfume out of twisted trees!
I wanted to show children these dorados
of the blue wave, these golden, singing fish.
A froth of flowers has cradled my vagrancies,
and ineffable winds have winged me on.
Sometimes like a martyr, tired of poles and zones,
the sea has rolled me softly in her sigh
and held out to me the yellow cups of shadow flowers,
170
and I've remained there, like a woman, kneeling . . .
Almost an island, balancing the quarrels,
the dung, the cries of blond-eyed birds on the gunnels
of my boat, I sailed on, and through my frail lines,
drowned men, falling backwards, sank to sleep.
Now, I, a boat lost in the hair of the coves,
tossed by hurricane into the birdless air,
me, whom all the Monitors and Hansa sailing ships
could not salvage, my carcass drunk with sea;
free, rising like smoke, riding violet mists,
I who pierced the sky turning red like a wall,
who bore the exquisite jam of all good poets,
lichens of sun and snots of azure,
who, spotted with electric crescents, ran on,
a foolish plank escorted by black hippocamps,
when the Julys brought down with a single blow
the ultramarine sky with its burning funnels;
I who tremble, feeling the moan fifty leagues away
of the Behemoth rutting and the dull Maelstrom,
eternal weaver of the unmovable blue—
I grieve for Europe with its ancient breastworks!
I've seen thunderstruck archipelagos! and islands
that open delirious skies for wanderers:
Are these bottomless nights your nest of exile,
O millions of gold birds, O Force to come?
True, I've cried too much! Dawns are harrowing.
All moons are cruel and all suns, bitter:
acrid love puffs me up with drunken slowness.
Let my keel burst! Give me to the sea!
If I desire any of the waters of Europe, it's the pond
black and cold, in the odor of evening,
where a child full of sorrow gets down on his knees
to launch a paperboat as frail as a May butterfly.
171
Bathed in your languors, o waves, I can no longer
wash away the wake of ships bearing cotton,
nor penetrate the arrogance of pennants and flags,
nor swim past the dreadful eyes of slave ships.
______________________________________________________
As I was floating down impassive Rivers,
I no longer felt myself steered by the haulers:
gaudy Redskins had taken them for targets,
nailing them naked to coloured stakes.
I cared nothing for all my crews,
carrying Flemish wheat or English cotton.
When, along with my haulers, those uproars stopped,
the Rivers let me sail downstream where I pleased.
Into the ferocious tide-rips, last winter,
more absorbed than the minds of children, I ran!
And the unmoored Peninsulas never
endured more triumphant clamourings.
The storm made bliss of my sea-borne awakenings.
Lighter than a cork, I danced on the waves
which men call the eternal rollers of victims,
for ten nights, without once missing the foolish eye of the harbor lights!
Sweeter than the flesh of sour apples to children,
the green water penetrated my pinewood hull
and washed me clean of the bluish wine-stains
and the splashes of vomit, carrying away both rudder and anchor.
And from that time on I bathed in the Poem
of the Sea, star-infused and churned into milk,
devouring the green azures where, entranced
in pallid flotsam, a dreaming drowned man sometimes goes down;
where, suddenly dyeing the blueness,
deliriums and slow rhythms under the gleams of the daylight,
stronger than alcohol, vaster than music,
ferment the bitter rednesses of love!
172
I have come to know the skies splitting with lightning,
and the waterspouts, and the breakers and currents;
I know the evening, and dawn rising up like a flock of doves,
and sometimes I have seen what men have imagined they saw!
I have seen the low-hanging sun speckled with mystic horrors
lighting up long violet coagulations
like the performers in antique dramas;
waves rolling back into the distances their shiverings of venetian blinds!
I have dreamed of the green night of the dazzled snows,
the kiss rising slowly to the eyes of the seas,
the circulation of undreamed-of saps,
and the yellow-blue awakenings of singing phosphorus!
I have followed, for whole months on end,
the swells battering the reefs like hysterical herds of cows,
never dreaming that the luminous feet of the Marys
could muzzle by force the snorting Oceans!
I have struck, do you realize, incredible Floridas,
where mingle with flowers the eyes of panthers in human skins!
Rainbows stretched like bridles
under the sea's horizon to glaucous herds!
I have seen the enormous swamps seething,
traps where a whole leviathan rots in the reeds!
Downfalls of waters in the midst of the calm,
and distances cataracting down into abysses!
Glaciers, suns of silver, waves of pearl, skies of red-hot coals!
Hideous wrecks at the bottom of brown gulfs
where the giant snakes, devoured by vermin,
fall from the twisted trees with black odours!
I should have liked to show to children those dolphins
of the blue wave, those golden, those singing fish. -Foam of flowers rocked my driftings,
and at times ineffable winds would lend me wings.
Sometimes, a martyr weary of poles and zones,
the sea whose sobs sweetened my rollings
173
lifted my shadow-flowers with their yellow sucking disks toward me,
and I hung there like a kneeling woman...
Resembling an island, tossing on my sides the brawls
and droppings of pale-eyed, clamouring birds.
And I was scudding along when across my frayed ropes
drowned men sank backwards into sleep!...
But now I, a boat lost under the hair of coves,
hurled by the hurricane into the birdless ether;
I, whose wreck, dead-drunk and sodden with water,
neither Monitor nor Hanseatic ships would have fished up;
free, smoking, risen from violet fogs,
I who bored through the wall of the reddening sky which bears
a sweetmeat good poets find delicious:
lichens of sunlight mixed with azure snot;
who ran, speckled with tiny electric moons,
a crazy plank with black sea-horses for escort,
when Julys were crushing with cudgel blows
skies of ultramarine into burning funnels;
I who trembled to feel at fifty leagues off
the groans of Behemoths rutting, and the dense Maelstroms;
eternal spinner of blue immobilities,
I long for Europe with it's age-old parapets!
I have seen archipelagos of stars! and islands
whose delirious skies are open to sea wanderers: -Do you sleep, are you exiled in those bottomless nights,
O million golden birds, Life Force of the future?
But, truly, I have wept too much! Dawns are heartbreaking.
Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter:
sharp love has swollen me up with intoxicating torpor.
O let my keel split! O let me sink to the bottom!
If there is one water in Europe I want, it is the black
cold pool where into the scented twilight
a child squatting full of sadness launches
a boat as fragile as a butterfly in May.
174
I can no more, bathed in your langours, O waves,
sail in the wake of the carriers of cottons;
nor undergo the pride of the flags and pennants;
nor pull past the horrible eyes of prison hulks.
_____________________________________________________
Translation by Wallace Fowlie:
As I was going down impassive rivers,
I no longer felt myself guided by haulers!
Yelping redskins had taken them as targets,
And had nailed them naked to colored stakes.
I was indifferent to all crews,
The bearer of Flemish wheat or English cottons,
When with my haulers this uproar stopped,
The Rivers let me go where I wanted.
Into the furious lashing of the tides,
More heedless than children's brains, the other winter
I ran! And loosened peninsulas
Have not undergone a more triumphant hubbub.
The storm blessed my sea vigils.
Lighter than a cork I danced on the waves
That are called eternal rollers of victims,
Ten nights, without missing the stupid eye of the lighthouses!
Sweeter than the flesh of hard apples is to children,
The green water penetrated my hull of fir
And washed me of spots of blue wine
And vomit, scattering rudder and grappling-hook.
And from then on I bathed in the Poem
Of the Sea, infused with stars and lactescent,
Devouring the green azure where, like a pale elated
Piece of flotsam, a pensive drowned figure sometimes sinks;
Where, suddenly dyeing the blueness, delirium
And slow rhythms under the streaking of daylight,
Stronger than alcohol, vaster than our lyres,
175
The bitter redness of love ferments!
I know the skies bursting with lighting, and the waterspouts
And the surf and the currents; I know the evening,
And dawn as exhalted as a flock of doves,
And at times I have seen what man thought he saw!
I have seen the low sun spotted with mystic horrors,
Lighting up, with long violet clots,
Resembling actors of very ancient dramas,
The waves rolling far off their quivering of shutters!
I have dreamed of the green night with dazzled snows,
A kiss slowly rising to the eyes of the sea,
The circulation of unknown saps,
And the yellow and blue awakening of singing phosphorous!
I followed during pregnant months the swell,
Like hysterical cows, in its assault on the reefs,
Without dreaming that the luminous feet of the Marys
Could restrain the snout of the wheezing Oceans!
I struck against, you know, unbelievable Floridas
Mingling with flowers panthers' eyes and human
Skin! Rainbows stretched like bridal reins
Under the horizon of the seas to greenish herds!
I have seen enormous swamps ferment, fish-traps
Where a whole Leviathan rots in the rushes!
Avalanches of water in the midst of a calm,
And the distances cataracting toward the abyss!
Glaciers, suns of silver, nacreous waves, skies of embers!
Hideous strands at the end of brown gulfs
Where giant serpents devoured by bedbugs
Fall down from gnarled tress with black scent!
I should have liked to show children those sunfish
Of the blue wave, the fish of gold, the singing fish.
--Foam of flowers rocked my drifting
And ineffable winds winged me at times.
176
At times a martyr weary of poles and zones,
The sea, whose sob created my gentle roll,
Brought up to me her dark flowers with yellow suckers
And I remained like a woman on her knees...
Resembling an island tossing on my sides the quarrels
And droppings of noisy birds with yellow eyes.
And I sailed on, when through my fragile ropes
Drowned men sank backward to sleep!
Now I, a boat lost in the foliage of caves,
Thrown by the storm into the birdless air,
I whose water-drunk carcass would not have been rescued
By the Monitors and the Hanseatic sailboats;
Free, smoking, topped with violet fog,
I who pierced the reddening sky like a wall
Bearing--delicious jam for good poets-Lichens of sunlight and mucus of azure;
Who ran, spotted with small electric moons,
A wild plank, escorted by black seahorses,
When Julys beat down with blows of cudgels
The ultramarine skies with burning funnels;
I, who trembled, hearing at fifty leagues off
The moaning of the Behemoths in heat and the thick Maelstroms,
I, eternal spinner of the blue immobility,
Miss Europe with its ancient parapets!
I have seen sidereal archipelagos! and islands
Whose delirious skies are open to the sea-wanderer:
--Is it in these bottomless nights that you sleep and exile yourself,
Million golden birds, O future Vigor?
But, in truth, I have wept too much! Dawns are heartbreaking.
Every moon is atrocious and every sun bitter.
Acrid love has swollen me with intoxicating torpor.
O let my keel burst! O let me go into the sea!
If I want a water of Europe, it is the black
Cold puddle where in the sweet-smelling twilight
177
A squatting child full of sadness releases
A boat as fragile as a May butterfly.
No longer can I, bathed in your languor, O waves,
Follow in the wake of the cotton boats,
Nor cross through the pride of flags and flames,
Nor swim under the terrible eyes of prison ships.
______________________________________________________
Translation by A. S. Kline
As I floated down impassive Rivers,
I felt myself no longer pulled by ropes:
The Redskins took my hauliers for targets,
And nailed them naked to their painted posts.
Carrying Flemish wheat or English cotton,
I was indifferent to all my crews.
The Rivers let me float down as I wished,
When the victims and the sounds were through.
Into the furious breakers of the sea,
Deafer than the ears of a child, last winter,
I ran! And the Peninsulas sliding by me
Never heard a more triumphant clamour.
The tempest blessed my sea-borne arousals.
Lighter than a cork I danced those waves
They call the eternal churners of victims,
Ten nights, without regret for the lighted bays!
Sweeter than sour apples to the children
The green ooze spurting through my hull’s pine,
Washed me of vomit and the blue of wine,
Carried away my rudder and my anchor.
Then I bathed in the Poem of the Sea,
Infused with stars, the milk-white spume blends,
Grazing green azures: where ravished, bleached
Flotsam, a drowned man in dream descends.
Where, staining the blue, sudden deliriums
178
And slow tremors under the gleams of fire,
Stronger than alcohol, vaster than our rhythms,
Ferment the bitter reds of our desire!
I knew the skies split apart by lightning,
Waterspouts, breakers, tides: I knew the night,
The Dawn exalted like a crowd of doves,
I saw what men think they’ve seen in the light!
I saw the low sun, stained with mystic terrors,
Illuminate long violet coagulations,
Like actors in a play, a play that’s ancient,
Waves rolling back their trembling of shutters!
I dreamt the green night of blinded snows,
A kiss lifted slow to the eyes of seas,
The circulation of unheard-of flows,
Sung phosphorus’s blue-yellow awakenings!
For months on end, I’ve followed the swell
That batters at the reefs like terrified cattle,
Not dreaming the Three Marys’ shining feet
Could muzzle with their force the Ocean’s hell!
I’ve struck Floridas, you know, beyond belief,
Where eyes of panthers in human skins,
Merge with the flowers! Rainbow bridles, beneath
the seas’ horizon, stretched out to shadowy fins!
I’ve seen the great swamps boil, and the hiss
Where a whole whale rots among the reeds!
Downfalls of water among tranquilities,
Distances showering into the abyss.
Nacrous waves, silver suns, glaciers, ember skies!
Gaunt wrecks deep in the brown vacuities
Where the giant eels riddled with parasites
Fall, with dark perfumes, from the twisted trees!
I would have liked to show children dolphins
Of the blue wave, the golden singing fish.
– Flowering foams rocked me in my drift,
179
At times unutterable winds gave me wings.
Sometimes, a martyr tired of poles and zones,
The sea whose sobs made my roilings sweet
Showed me its shadow flowers with yellow mouths
And I rested like a woman on her knees…
Almost an isle, blowing across my sands, quarrels
And droppings of pale-eyed clamorous gulls,
And I scudded on while, over my frayed lines,
Drowned men sank back in sleep beneath my hull!…
Now I, a boat lost in the hair of bays,
Hurled by the hurricane through bird-less ether,
I, whose carcass, sodden with salt-sea water,
No Monitor or Hanseatic vessel could recover:
Freed, in smoke, risen from the violet fog,
I, who pierced the red skies like a wall,
Bearing the sweets that delight true poets,
Lichens of sunlight, gobbets of azure:
Who ran, stained with electric moonlets,
A crazed plank, companied by black sea-horses,
When Julys were crushing with cudgel blows
Skies of ultramarine in burning funnels:
I, who trembled to hear those agonies
Of rutting Behemoths and dark Maelstroms,
Eternal spinner of blue immobilities,
I regret the ancient parapets of Europe!
I’ve seen archipelagos of stars! And isles
Whose maddened skies open for the sailor:
– Is it in depths of night you sleep, exiled,
Million birds of gold, O future Vigour? –
But, truly, I’ve wept too much! The Dawns
Are heartbreaking, each moon hell, each sun bitter:
Fierce love has swallowed me in drunken torpors.
O let my keel break! Tides draw me down!
180
If I want one pool in Europe, it’s the cold
Black pond where into the scented night
A child squatting filled with sadness launches
A boat as frail as a May butterfly.
Bathed in your languor, waves, I can no longer
Cut across the wakes of cotton ships,
Or sail against the pride of flags, ensigns,
Or swim the dreadful gaze of prison ships.
~ Arthur Rimbaud,
837:The Watch At Midnight
Dead stars, beneath the midnight's granite cope
and round your dungeon-gulf that blindly grope
and fall not, since no lower than any place
needs when the wing is dash'd and foil'd the face:
is this your shadow on the watcher's thought
imposed, or rather hath his anguish taught
the dumb and suffering dark to send you out,
reptile, the doubles of his lurking doubt,
in coasts of night that well might be supposed
the exiled hall of chaos late-deposed,
to haunt across this hour's desuetude,
immense, that whelms in monumental mood
the broad waste of his spirit, stonily
strewn with the wreck of his eternity?
The plumes of night, unfurl'd
and eyed with fire, are whirl'd
slowly above this watch, funereal:
the vast is wide, and yet
no way lies open; set
no bar, but the flat deep rises, a placid wall.
Some throne thou think'st to win
or pride of thy far kin;
this incomplete and dusty hour to achieve:
know that the hour is one,
eternally begun,
eternally deferr'd, thy grasp a Danaid sieve.
O weary realm, O height
the which exhausted flight
familiar finds, home of its prompting ill!
here, there, or there, or there,
even the same despair;
rest in thy place, O fool, the heart eludes thee still.
Rest — and a new abyss
suddenly yawns, of this
the moment sole, and yet the counterpart:
and thou must house it, thou,
within thy fleshy Now,
thyself the abyss that shrinks, the unbounded hermit-heart:
70
the mightier heart untold
whose paining depths enfold
all loneliness, all height, all vision'd shores;
and the abyss uncrown'd,
blank failure thro' each bound
from the consummate point thy broken hope implores.
The trees that thro' the tuneful morn had made
bride-dusk for beams that pierce the melting shade,
or thro' the opulent afternoon had stood
lordly, absorb'd in hieratic mood, —
now stricken with misgiving of the night
rise black and ominous, as who invite
some fearful coming whose foreblown wind shall bow,
convuls'd and shuddering, each dishevell'd brow:
the garden that had sparkled thro' its sheen
all day, a self-sufficing gem serene,
hiding in emerald depths the vision'd white
of limbs that follow their own clear delight,
exhales towards the inaccessible skies,
commencing, failing, broken, scents or sighs:
O mother, only,
where that thou hidest thee,
crown for the lonely brow,
bosom for the spent wanderer,
or balm for ache:
O mother,
nightly —
undiscoverable —
O heart too vast to find,
whelming our little desire:
we wander and fail —
But on the zenith, mass'd, a glittering throng,
the distant stars dropt a disdainful song:
They said, because their parcel-thought
might nor her shadowy vast embrace,
nor be refurl'd within that nought
which is the hid heart of all place,
they said: She is not anywhere!
have we not sought her and not seen?
71
nor is there found in earth or air
a sign to tell if she hath been!
— O fools and blind, not to have found!
is her desire not as your own?
stirs she not in the arms that round
a hopeless clasp, lone with the lone!
And the tense lips towards her bliss
in secret cells of anguish'd prayer
might know her in the broken kiss
she prompts nor, prompting, fails to share.
We drift from age to age nor waste
our strenuous song's exultant tone,
disdaining or to rest or haste:
because each place is still our throne.
The anguish'd doubt broods over Eden; night
hangs her rent banners thro' the viewless height;
trophies and glories whence a trouble streams
of lamentable valour in old dreams:
out of its blank the watcher's soul is stirr'd
to take unto itself some olden word:
O thou that achest, pulse o' the unwed vast,
now in the distant centre of my brain
dizzily narrow'd, now beyond the last
calm circle widening of the starry plain,
where, on the scatter'd edge of my surmise,
the twilit dreams fail off and rule is spent
vainly on vagrant bands the gulfs invite
to break away to the dark: they, backward sent,
tho' dumb, with dire infection in their eyes,
startle the central seat: — O pulse of night,
passing the hard throb of sun-smitten blood
when the noon-world is fused in fire and blent
with my then unattained hero-mood;
what will with me the imperious instinct
that hounds the gulfs together on that place
vanishing utterly out of mortal trace,
the citadel where I would seem distinct —
if not thou ween'st a vanity, my deep
unlighted still, the which thy refluent sweep
intolerably dilates, a tide that draws
72
with lunatic desire, distraught and fond,
to some dark moon of vastness, hung beyond
our little limits of familiar cause,
as tho' the tense and tortured voids should dash
ruining amorously together, a clash
portentous with some rose of thinnest flame,
secret, exhaled in the annull'd abyss,
that, with this soul, passes in that fell kiss
and to the soft-sprung flush all sanctity
surrenders, centring in the blossom'd Name,
as the dark wings of silence lovingly
hover above the adventurous song that fares
forth to the void and finds no lip that shares
its rapture, just the great wings spreading wide.
O mother thou or sister or my bride,
inevitable, whom this hour in me declares,
were thine of old such rhythmic pangs that bore
my shivering soul, wind-waif upon the shore
that is a wavering twilight, thence astray
beneath the empty plainness of the day?
me thy first want conceived to some dim end,
that my unwelcom'd love might henceward tend
to the dumb home that draws it in thy breast
and the veil'd couch of some divine incest,
where thou didst wait some hour of sharp delight
to wither up in splendour the stark night
and haggard shame that ceremented thy dearth,
with purest diamond-blaze, some overbirth
of the dark fire thy foresight did enmesh
within this hither and thither harried flesh?
Ay, yet obscurely stirs, a monstrous worm
in the rear cavern of my dazzled thought,
a memory that wavers, formless form
of superhuman nuptials, clasp'd and caught
unto the breast that is our loathed tomb:
then, issuing from the violated womb,
tremendous birth of dreadful prodigies
begotten on the apocalyptic skies:
one moment's hope, one thrill alone was given
of pinions beating up the parting heaven;
but straight thereon the spectral mirk was riven
73
by shapes of snaky horror, grisly jaw,
cold fear, and scaly fold, and endless maw.
What terror clutch'd me, even as ecstasy
smote dire across transfigured mystery?
and whose the sin that doom'd thee to disgrace,
to haunt the shapeless dark, a burning face,
eyes that would cling to mine and lips that seek
some baffled kiss, some word they may not speak,
condemn'd to yearn where the worn foam is hoar
and vain against the unshaken nightly shore.
Nightly thy tempting comes, when the dark breeze
scatters my thought among the unquiet trees
and sweeps it, with dead leaves, o'er widow'd lands
and kingdoms conquer'd by no human hands;
nightly thou wouldst exalt me in the deep,
crown'd with the morn that shines beyond our sleep,
nightly renew those nuptials, and re-win
virginity, and shed the doubtful sin:
but I am born into dividual life
and I have ta'en the woman for my wife,
a flowery pasture fenced and soft with streams,
fill'd with slow ease and fresh with eastern beams
of coolest silver on the sliding wave:
such refuge the derisive morning gave,
shaped featly in thy similitude, to attract
earthward the gusty soul thy temptings rack'd.
I sicken with the long unsatisfied
waiting: the sombre gulfs of night divide:
no dawn is shown that keeps its grace nor soon
degraded not to brutal fires of noon;
and heavy on my soul the tyrant lays
his hand, and dazzles with his common blaze
eyes that are fain, when evening brings the dew,
to cool them in the grasses: few, how few
are now the hours that thou mayst claim as thine!
— And shall I not take heart? if no divine
revealment star me with the diadem
hermetic, magian, alchemic gem,
shall I not feel the earth with firmer tread
if abdicating to the viewless dead
74
the invaluable round of nothingness?
Kingdom awaits me, homage, swords, liesse,
battle, broad fame in fable, song: shall I
confide all hope to scanty shapes that fly
in dreams, whom even if they be all I know
not, or fore-runners of the One? I go,
shaking them from my spirit, to rule and mould
in mine own shape the gods that shall be old.
— Nay, not thus lightly, heart the winds have mock'd!
wings of fierce winds that o'er the star-strown height
sweep, and adown the wide world-ways unlock'd
feign for thy trouble a last conclusive fight:
O heart wherethro' these insolent powers stray,
pass and repass, and thou dost foolish hold
aught else inspires them than their cynic play,
the aimless idle sport they plann'd of old
to while the waste hours of their tedious state
and shall pursue when thou art seal'd in dust,
thou latest toy, framed for this silly fate,
to watch their pastime turning, tremble and trust
some deathless gain for thee should issue of it
imblazed in stars on some thy kindred's brow;
O thou, all laughable for thy short wit,
not lightly thus shalt thou put off their slight
and steady thee to build in their despite
secure, some seat, and hold thy being safe,
joying in this at last that thou art thou,
distinct, no longer in wilful tides a waif:
O heart the winds have emptied of all clear
and natural impulse, O wasted brain
and spirit expent with straining from thy sphere,
turn thee to earth, if that be not a cheat,
and, childlike, lay thee in her torpid lap,
there to reflush these flaccid veins with sap
from spilth of sleep, where herbs of drowsy bane
spring in slow shade and death is sprinkled sweet,
with promis'd coolness dark — perchance a lure..
Thou sleep, at least, receive and wrap me sure
in midmost of thy softness, that no flare,
disastrous, from some rending of the veil,
nor dawn from springs beyond thy precincts, rare
75
with revelation, risen, or dewy-pale
exhaled from fields of death, disturb that full
absorption of robustness, and I wake
in placid large content, replete and dull,
fast-grown to earth, whom winds no longer shake.
Thick sleep, with error of the tangled wood,
and vapour from the evening marsh of sense,
and smoothness of the glide of Lethe, would
inaugurate his dullard innocence,
cool'd of his calenture, elaborate brute:
but, all deceitful of his craven hope,
the devious and covert ways of dream
shall lead him out upon no temper'd beam
or thick-grass'd ease, where herbs of soothing shoot
in asphodel, but on the shuddering scope
and the chill touch of endless distances
still thronging on the wingless soul that flees
along the self-pursuing path, to find
the naked night before it and behind.
What night is this, made denser, in his breast
or round him, suddenly or first confest
after its gradual thickening complete?
as tho' the mighty current, bearing fleet
the unresting stars, had here devolved its lees,
stagnant, contempt, on recreant destinies;
as tho' a settling of tremendous pens,
above the desolate dream, had shed immense
addition to the incumbence of despair
downward, across this crypt of stirless air,
from some henceforth infrangible attitude,
upon his breast, that knows no dawn renew'd,
builded enormously, each brazen stage,
with rigor of his hope in hopeless age
mummied, and look that turns his thew to stone:
even hers, that is his strangling sphinx, made known
with, on her breast, his fore-erected tomb,
engraven deep, the letters of his doom.
Terrible, if he will not have me else,
I lurk to seize and strangle, in the cells
where he hath made a dusk round his delight:
76
whether he woo the bride's incarnate bright
and natural rose to shimmer thro' the dense
of odour-motes whereby the brooding sense
flows forth beyond its aching bounds and lies,
full-brimm'd and sombre, around her clear disguise
that saturates the dusk with secret gold;
or the miraculous rose of Heaven to unfold
out from its heart of ruby fire and rain
unceasing drift of petals, and maintain
a tabernacle about the little hour
where his eternity hath phantom power:
and terrible I am moulded in the stone
that clamps for ever, rigid, stark, alone,
round nought but absence of the man he was,
some cell of that cold space against whose laws
he seeks a refuge in his inner deep
of love, and soften'd fire, and quicken'd sleep,
tho' knowing that I, the bride his sin dethroned
and exiled to the wastes that lie disown'd,
can bring that icy want even to the heart
of his most secret bliss, that he shall start
aghast, to see its burning centre fade
and know his hope, the impious, vain, unmade.
Lo now, beneath the watch of knitted boughs
he lies, close-folded to his newer spouse,
creature of morn, that hath ordain'd its fresh
dew and cool glimmer in her crystal flesh
sweetly be mix'd, with quicken'd breath of leaves
and the still charm the spotless dawning weaves.
But I have set my hand upon his soul
and moulded it to my unseen control;
and he hath slept within my shadowy hair
and guards a memory how in my far lair
the forces of tremendous passion stir:
my spectral face shall come between his eyes
and the soft face of her, my name shall rise,
unutter'd, in each thought that goes to her;
and in the quiet waters of her gaze
shall lurk a siren-lure that beckons him
down halls of death and sinful chambers dim:
he shall not know her nor her gentle ways
77
nor rest, content, by her sufficing source,
but, under stress of the veil'd stars, shall force
her simple bloom to perilous delight
adulterate with pain, some nameless night
stain'd with miasm of flesh become a tomb:
then baffled hope, some torch o' the blood to illume
and flush the jewel hid beyond all height,
and sombre rage that burst the holy bourne
of garden-joy, murdering innocence,
and the distraught desire to bring a kiss
unto the fleeting centre of the abyss,
discovering the eternal lack, shall spurn
even that sun-god's garden of pure sense,
not wisely wasted with insensate will.
I am his bride and was and shall be still,
tho' infamous as devil's dam, a fear
to wives that watch the cradle-side and hear
how I devour the newling flesh, and none
shall void my claim upon his latest son,
because the father fell beneath my harm,
not god invented late, nor anxious charm;
tho' with the chemic mind he holds in trust
to show me gem, he celebrate the dust;
dumb earth, in garb of borrow'd beauty dight
by the fond day that curtains him in light;
green pleasaunces, whose smiling would attest
his heart true-born of her untroubled breast
and leaves that beckon on the woodland ways
of the stream-side, where expectation strays
of water-brides, swift blight to them that see,
because the waters are to mirror me:—
of these his hunted thought, seeking retreat
in narrow light, and some sure bosom-heat
to cherish him, and friendly face of kin,
shall mould him fancied ancestors, to win
some certitude that he is in his home
rescued from any doom that bids him roam,
and him the blossom of the day presume,
unheeding that its roots are in my womb
nor song may breathe a magic unconfest
of the anterior silence of my breast:
78
but I shall lurk within the sightless stare
of his impassive idols, housing there
an unknown that allures and makes him fain
to perish for his creatures' fancied gain;
and they shall gaze and see not while his brood
befouls their stony presence with much blood,
their children's, and their captive enemies',
stretch'd out, exenterate, on those callous knees,
and, last, their own, ere some ill-fortuned field
drink all of it, since faith forbids them yield
and brings to learn in full, the fool's just trade,
the gratitude of gods themselves have made.
Last, since a pinch of dust may quench the eyes
that took the azure curve of stainless skies
and still the fiercest heart, he seeks to whelm
infinite yearning with a little realm,
beating together with ungentle hands,
enslaved, the trembling spawn of generous lands,
whom he shall force, a busy swarm, to raise,
last bulwarks of his whelming discontent,
heaven-threatening Babels, iron Ninevehs
square-thought with rigid will, a monument
of stony rage in high defiant stones
eternized with blasphemous intent,
and carve the mountain-cone to hide his bones,
a wonder to blank tribes of shrunken days:
but in that cave before his upstart gates
where elder night endures unshaken, waits
that foe of settled peace, the smiling sphinx,
or foul Echidna's mass'd insidious links,
reminding him that all is vanities;
and when, at last, o'er his nine roods he lies,
stretch'd in the sarcophage whereover grief
makes way before one huge gust of relief,
not the wing-blast of his vain shade shall drive
his wizen'd captives from their dungeon-hive,
and make a solitude about his bed;
nor the chill thought petrific his low head
exudes in rays of darkness, that beyond
this perturb'd sphere congeal, an orb of dread:
I, Lilith, on his tomb immensely throned,
79
with viewless face and viewless vans outspread;
in the wide waste of his unhallow'd work,
calm coils of fear, my serpent-brood shall lurk;
and I shall muse above the little dust
that was the flesh that held my word in trust.
Warrior and prince and poet, thou that fain
over some tract of lapsing years wouldst reign
nor know'st the crown that all thy wants confess
is Lilith's own, the round of nothingness:
warrior, whose witless game is but to feel
thyself authentic thro' the wielded steel
and give thy ghost assurance that thou art,
what aimless endless wars shall make thy heart
arena for the wheeling of their play!
king, that wast mighty in the easy way
of thy desire, what time these thews were young,
how bitter is the wisdom on thy tongue
in the late season, when a westering sun
shows thee thy work, that it is evil done!
O priest and poet, thou that makest God,
woe, when the path of thine illusion, trod
even to the end, reveals thee thy worn face,
eternal hermit of the unhallow'd place!
O man, the coward hope of thy despair
to be confounded with the driven air,
the grass that grows and knows not, the kind herds
that are not wrought with dreams nor any words,
to hollow out some refuge sunk as deep
as that was high thou hadst not sense to keep,
and here thy vexing shade to obliterate
ensuring that it rise not, soon or late,
thou knowing I claim thee whole when that thou art dead.
Go forth: be great, O nothing. I have said.
Thus in her hour of wrath, o'er Adam's head
Lilith, then first reveal'd, a name of dread,
thus in her hour of sorrow: and the rage,
that drove the giant-hunters in that age
since whelm'd beneath the weltering cataclysm,
was the mad flight from her instant abysm
and iron sadness and unsatisfied
80
despair of kings that by Euphrates' side
rein the wing'd steer or grasp the stony mane
of lions dared, if so they might obtain
surcease of lingering unnamed distress.
And if she kept the word forgetfulness
absorb'd, sole ear of sunken sleep, it is
to them that wander thro' Persepolis,
Ekbatan, or where else o'er arrow'd bricks
her snakes make the dry noise of trodden sticks,
known and well-known how that revolt was dash'd
and cruel keeps with lustral silence wash'd.
A name of dread reveal'd: and tho' forgot
in strenuous times to whom the lyre was not,
yet, when her hour awoke, the peoples heard
her coming and the winds no more deferr'd
that sweep along the expected day of wrath,
and rear'd the soaring aisles along her path
to house the massive gloom where she might dwell,
conjectured, hovering, impenetrable,
while o'er the mortal terror crouch'd beneath
the shuddering organ pour'd black wave of death;
when man withheld his hand from life, in fear
to find her, temptress, in the flesh most dear
or on the lowliest ways of simple peace —
vain-weening he that thus their feud might cease:
ay, and the cynic days that thought them blest
to know this earth a plunder-ground confest
and calm within them of the glutted beast
knew her, the emptiness that, when the feast
hath quench'd its lamps, makes, in the invaded hall,
stray'd steps, reverberated from the wall,
sound on the ear like some portentous stride,
companion's fixt, to mock our tread, beside,
nor near and show his apprehended guise
familiar, ease to our intended eyes.
Lilith, a name of dread: yet was her pain
and loving to her chosen ones not vain
hinted, who know what weight of gelid tears
afflicts the widow'd uplands of the spheres,
and whence the enrapturing breaths are sent that bring
a perfume of the secular flowering
81
of the far-bleeding rose of Paradise,
that mortal hearts in censer-fume arise
unto the heart that were an ardent peace,
and whence the sibyl-hints of song, that cease
in pale and thrilling silence, lest they wrong
her beauty, whose love bade live their fleeting throng,
even hers, who is the silence of our thought,
as he that sleeps in hush'd Valvins hath taught.
She is the night: all horror is of her
heap'd, shapeless, on the unclaim'd chaotic marsh
or huddled on the looming sepulchre
where the incult and scanty herb is harsh.
She is the night: all terror is of her
when the distemper'd dark begins to boil
with wavering face of larve and oily blur
of pallor on her suffocating coil.
Or majesty is hers, when marble gloom
supports her, calm, with glittering signs severe
and grandeur of metallic roof of doom,
far in the windows of our broken sphere.
Or she can be all pale, under no moon
or star, with veiling of the glamour cloud,
all pale, as were the fainting secret soon
to be exhaled, bride-robed in clinging shroud.
For she is night, and knows each wooing mood:
and her warm breasts are near in the charm'd air
of summer eve, and lovingly delude
the aching brow that craves their tender care.
The wooing night: all nuptials are of her;
and she the musky golden cloud that hangs
on maiden blood that burns, a boding stir
shot thro' with flashes of alluring pangs,
far off, in creeks that slept unvisited
or moved so smoothly that no ripple creas'd
their mirror'd slip of blue, till that sweet dread
melted the air and soft sighs stole, releas'd;
and she the shame of brides, veiling the white
of bosoms that for sharp fulfilment yearn;
she is the obscure centre of delight
and steals the kiss, the kiss she would return
82
deepen'd with all the abysm that under speech
moves shudderingly, or as that gulf is known
to set the astonied spouses each from each
across the futile sea of sighs, alone.
All mystery, and all love, beyond our ken,
she woos us, mournful till we find her fair:
and gods and stars and songs and souls of men
are the sparse jewels in her scatter'd hair.
This rose, the lips that kiss, and the young breast
they kindle, flush'd throughout its waking snows;
and this, that tremulous on the morning blows,
heart's youth some golden dew of dream hath blest;
auroras, grace and sooth! no tragic west
shed splendid the red anger of your close:
how soon within this wandering barrow grows
the canker'd heap of petals once caress'd!
Old odours of the rose are sickening; night,
hasten above the corpse of old delight,
if in decay the heart cherish some heat,
to breed new spice within the charnel-mould,
that eyes unseal'd with living dew may greet
the morning of the deathless rose of gold.
~ Christopher John Brennan,
838:SCENE 1.PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN. THE LORD AND THE HOST OF HEAVEN. ENTER THREE ARCHANGELS.

RAPHAEL:
The sun makes music as of old
Amid the rival spheres of Heaven,
On its predestined circle rolled
With thunder speed: the Angels even
Draw strength from gazing on its glance,
Though none its meaning fathom may:--
The worlds unwithered countenance
Is bright as at Creations day.

GABRIEL:
And swift and swift, with rapid lightness,
The adorned Earth spins silently,
Alternating Elysian brightness
With deep and dreadful night; the sea
Foams in broad billows from the deep
Up to the rocks, and rocks and Ocean,
Onward, with spheres which never sleep,
Are hurried in eternal motion.

MICHAEL:
And tempests in contention roar
From land to sea, from sea to land;
And, raging, weave a chain of power,
Which girds the earth, as with a band.--
A flashing desolation there,
Flames before the thunders way;
But Thy servants, Lord, revere
The gentle changes of Thy day.

CHORUS OF THE THREE:
The Angels draw strength from Thy glance,
Though no one comprehend Thee may;--
Thy worlds unwithered countenance
Is bright as on Creation's day.
The sun sounds, according to ancient custom,
In the song of emulation of his brother-spheres.
And its fore-written circle
Fulfils with a step of thunder.
Its countenance gives the Angels strength
Though no one can fathom it.
The incredible high works
Are excellent as at the first day.

GABRIEL:
And swift, and inconceivably swift
The adornment of earth winds itself round,
And exchanges Paradise--clearness
With deep dreadful night.
The sea foams in broad waves
From its deep bottom, up to the rocks,
And rocks and sea are torn on together
In the eternal swift course of the spheres.

MICHAEL:
And storms roar in emulation
From sea to land, from land to sea,
And make, raging, a chain
Of deepest operation round about.
There flames a flashing destruction
Before the path of the thunderbolt.
But Thy servants, Lord, revere
The gentle alternations of Thy day.

CHORUS:
Thy countenance gives the Angels strength,
Though none can comprehend Thee:
And all Thy lofty works
Are excellent as at the first day.

[ENTER MEPHISTOPHELES.]

MEPHISTOPHELES:
As thou, O Lord, once more art kind enough
To interest Thyself in our affairs,
And ask, How goes it with you there below?
And as indulgently at other times
Thou tookest not my visits in ill part,
Thou seest me here once more among Thy household.
Though I should scandalize this company,
You will excuse me if I do not talk
In the high style which they think fashionable;
My pathos certainly would make You laugh too,
Had You not long since given over laughing.
Nothing know I to say of suns and worlds;
I observe only how men plague themselves;--
The little god o the world keeps the same stamp,
As wonderful as on creations day:--
A little better would he live, hadst Thou
Not given him a glimpse of Heavens light
Which he calls reason, and employs it only
To live more beastlily than any beast.
With reverence to Your Lordship be it spoken,
Hes like one of those long-legged grasshoppers,
Who flits and jumps about, and sings for ever
The same old song i the grass. There let him lie,
Burying his nose in every heap of dung.

THE LORD:
Have you no more to say? Do you come here
Always to scold, and cavil, and complain?
Seems nothing ever right to you on earth?

MEPHISTOPHELES:
No, Lord! I find all there, as ever, bad at best.
Even I am sorry for mans days of sorrow;
I could myself almost give up the pleasure
Of plaguing the poor things.

THE LORD:
Knowest thou Faust?

MEPHISTOPHELES:
The Doctor?

THE LORD:
Ay; My servant Faust.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
In truth
He serves You in a fashion quite his own;
And the fools meat and drink are not of earth.
His aspirations bear him on so far
That he is half aware of his own folly,
For he demands from Heaven its fairest star,
And from the earth the highest joy it bears,
Yet all things far, and all things near, are vain
To calm the deep emotions of his breast.

THE LORD:
Though he now serves Me in a cloud of error,
I will soon lead him forth to the clear day.
When trees look green, full well the gardener knows
That fruits and blooms will deck the coming year.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
What will You bet?--now am sure of winning--
Only, observe You give me full permission
To lead him softly on my path.

THE LORD:
As long
As he shall live upon the earth, so long
Is nothing unto thee forbiddenMan
Must err till he has ceased to struggle.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Thanks.
And that is all I ask; for willingly
I never make acquaintance with the dead.
The full fresh cheeks of youth are food for me,
And if a corpse knocks, I am not at home.
For I am like a cat--I like to play
A little with the mouse before I eat it.

THE LORD:
Well, well! it is permitted thee. Draw thou
His spirit from its springs; as thou findst power
Seize him and lead him on thy downward path;
And stand ashamed when failure teaches thee
That a good man, even in his darkest longings,
Is well aware of the right way.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Well and good.
I am not in much doubt about my bet,
And if I lose, then tis Your turn to crow;
Enjoy Your triumph then with a full breast.
Ay; dust shall he devour, and that with pleasure,
Like my old paramour, the famous Snake.

THE LORD:
Pray come here when it suits you; for I never
Had much dislike for people of your sort.
And, among all the Spirits who rebelled,
The knave was ever the least tedious to Me.
The active spirit of man soon sleeps, and soon 100
He seeks unbroken quiet; therefore I
Have given him the Devil for a companion,
Who may provoke him to some sort of work,
And must create forever.--But ye, pure
Children of God, enjoy eternal beauty;--
Let that which ever operates and lives
Clasp you within the limits of its love;
And seize with sweet and melancholy thoughts
The floating phantoms of its loveliness.

[HEAVEN CLOSES; THE ARCHANGELS EXEUNT.]

MEPHISTOPHELES:
From time to time I visit the old fellow,
And I take care to keep on good terms with Him.
Civil enough is the same God Almighty,
To talk so freely with the Devil himself.

SCENE 2.MAY-DAY NIGHT. THE HARTZ MOUNTAIN, A DESOLATE COUNTRY. FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Would you not like a broomstick? As for me
I wish I had a good stout ram to ride;
For we are still far from the appointed place.

FAUST:
This knotted staff is help enough for me,
Whilst I feel fresh upon my legs. What good
Is there in making short a pleasant way?
To creep along the labyrinths of the vales,
And climb those rocks, where ever-babbling springs,
Precipitate themselves in waterfalls,
Is the true sport that seasons such a path.
Already Spring kindles the birchen spray,
And the hoar pines already feel her breath:
Shall she not work also within our limbs?

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Nothing of such an influence do I feel.
My body is all wintry, and I wish
The flowers upon our path were frost and snow.
But see how melancholy rises now,
Dimly uplifting her belated beam,
The blank unwelcome round of the red moon,
And gives so bad a light, that every step
One stumbles gainst some crag. With your permission,
Ill call on Ignis-fatuus to our aid:
I see one yonder burning jollily.
Halloo, my friend! may I request that you
Would favour us with your bright company?
Why should you blaze away there to no purpose?
Pray be so good as light us up this way.

IGNIS-FATUUS:
With reverence be it spoken, I will try
To overcome the lightness of my nature;
Our course, you know, is generally zigzag.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Ha, ha! your worship thinks you have to deal
With men. Go straight on, in the Devils name,
Or I shall puff your flickering life out.

IGNIS-FATUUS:
Well,
I see you are the master of the house;
I will accommodate myself to you.
Only consider that to-night this mountain
Is all enchanted, and if Jack-a-lantern
Shows you his way, though you should miss your own,
You ought not to be too exact with him.

FAUST, MEPHISTOPHELES, AND IGNIS-FATUUS, IN ALTERNATE CHORUS:
The limits of the sphere of dream,
The bounds of true and false, are past.
Lead us on, thou wandering Gleam,
Lead us onward, far and fast,
To the wide, the desert waste.

But see, how swift advance and shift
Trees behind trees, row by row,--
How, clift by clift, rocks bend and lift
Their frowning foreheads as we go.
The giant-snouted crags, ho! ho!
How they snort, and how they blow!

Through the mossy sods and stones,
Stream and streamlet hurry down
A rushing throng! A sound of song
Beneath the vault of Heaven is blown!
Sweet notes of love, the speaking tones
Of this bright day, sent down to say
That Paradise on Earth is known,
Resound around, beneath, above.
All we hope and all we love
Finds a voice in this blithe strain,
Which wakens hill and wood and rill,
And vibrates far oer field and vale,
And which Echo, like the tale
Of old times, repeats again.

To-whoo! to-whoo! near, nearer now
The sound of song, the rushing throng!
Are the screech, the lapwing, and the jay,
All awake as if twere day?
See, with long legs and belly wide,
A salamander in the brake!
Every root is like a snake,
And along the loose hillside,
With strange contortions through the night,
Curls, to seize or to affright;
And, animated, strong, and many,
They dart forth polypus-antennae,
To blister with their poison spume
The wanderer. Through the dazzling gloom
The many-coloured mice, that thread
The dewy turf beneath our tread,
In troops each others motions cross,
Through the heath and through the moss;
And, in legions intertangled,
The fire-flies flit, and swarm, and throng,
Till all the mountain depths are spangled.

Tell me, shall we go or stay?
Shall we onward? Come along!
Everything around is swept
Forward, onward, far away!
Trees and masses intercept
The sight, and wisps on every side
Are puffed up and multiplied.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Now vigorously seize my skirt, and gain
This pinnacle of isolated crag.
One may observe with wonder from this point,
How Mammon glows among the mountains.

FAUST:
Ay--
And strangely through the solid depth below
A melancholy light, like the red dawn,
Shoots from the lowest gorge of the abyss
Of mountains, lightning hitherward: there rise
Pillars of smoke, here clouds float gently by;
Here the light burns soft as the enkindled air,
Or the illumined dust of golden flowers;
And now it glides like tender colours spreading;
And now bursts forth in fountains from the earth;
And now it winds, one torrent of broad light,
Through the far valley with a hundred veins;
And now once more within that narrow corner
Masses itself into intensest splendour.
And near us, see, sparks spring out of the ground,
Like golden sand scattered upon the darkness;
The pinnacles of that black wall of mountains
That hems us in are kindled.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Rare: in faith!
Does not Sir Mammon gloriously illuminate
His palace for this festival?--it is
A pleasure which you had not known before.
I spy the boisterous guests already.

FAUST:
How
The children of the wind rage in the air!
With what fierce strokes they fall upon my neck!

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Cling tightly to the old ribs of the crag.
Beware! for if with them thou warrest
In their fierce flight towards the wilderness,
Their breath will sweep thee into dust, and drag
Thy body to a grave in the abyss.
A cloud thickens the night.
Hark! how the tempest crashes through the forest!
The owls fly out in strange affright;
The columns of the evergreen palaces
Are split and shattered;
The roots creak, and stretch, and groan;
And ruinously overthrown,
The trunks are crushed and shattered
By the fierce blasts unconquerable stress.
Over each other crack and crash they all
In terrible and intertangled fall;
And through the ruins of the shaken mountain
The airs hiss and howl--
It is not the voice of the fountain,
Nor the wolf in his midnight prowl.
Dost thou not hear?
Strange accents are ringing
Aloft, afar, anear?
The witches are singing!
The torrent of a raging wizard song
Streams the whole mountain along.

CHORUS OF WITCHES:
The stubble is yellow, the corn is green,
Now to the Brocken the witches go;
The mighty multitude here may be seen
Gathering, wizard and witch, below.
Sir Urian is sitting aloft in the air;
Hey over stock! and hey over stone!
'Twixt witches and incubi, what shall be done?
Tell it who dare! tell it who dare!

A VOICE:
Upon a sow-swine, whose farrows were nine,
Old Baubo rideth alone.

CHORUS:
Honour her, to whom honour is due,
Old mother Baubo, honour to you!
An able sow, with old Baubo upon her,
Is worthy of glory, and worthy of honour!
The legion of witches is coming behind,
Darkening the night, and outspeeding the wind--

A VOICE:
Which way comest thou?

A VOICE:
Over Ilsenstein;
The owl was awake in the white moonshine;
I saw her at rest in her downy nest,
And she stared at me with her broad, bright eyne.

VOICES:
And you may now as well take your course on to Hell,
Since you ride by so fast on the headlong blast.

A VOICE:
She dropped poison upon me as I passed.
Here are the wounds--

CHORUS OF WITCHES:
Come away! come along!
The way is wide, the way is long,
But what is that for a Bedlam throng?
Stick with the prong, and scratch with the broom.
The child in the cradle lies strangled at home,
And the mother is clapping her hands.--

SEMICHORUS OF WIZARDS 1:
We glide in
Like snails when the women are all away;
And from a house once given over to sin
Woman has a thousand steps to stray.

SEMICHORUS 2:
A thousand steps must a woman take,
Where a man but a single spring will make.

VOICES ABOVE:
Come with us, come with us, from Felsensee.

VOICES BELOW:
With what joy would we fly through the upper sky!
We are washed, we are nointed, stark naked are we;
But our toil and our pain are forever in vain.

BOTH CHORUSES:
The wind is still, the stars are fled,
The melancholy moon is dead;
The magic notes, like spark on spark,
Drizzle, whistling through the dark. Come away!

VOICES BELOW:
Stay, Oh, stay!

VOICES ABOVE:
Out of the crannies of the rocks
Who calls?

VOICES BELOW:
Oh, let me join your flocks!
I, three hundred years have striven
To catch your skirt and mount to Heaven,--
And still in vain. Oh, might I be
With company akin to me!

BOTH CHORUSES:
Some on a ram and some on a prong,
On poles and on broomsticks we flutter along;
Forlorn is the wight who can rise not to-night.

A HALF-WITCH BELOW:
I have been tripping this many an hour:
Are the others already so far before?
No quiet at home, and no peace abroad!
And less methinks is found by the road.

CHORUS OF WITCHES:
Come onward, away! aroint thee, aroint!
A witch to be strong must anoint--anoint--
Then every trough will be boat enough;
With a rag for a sail we can sweep through the sky,
Who flies not to-night, when means he to fly?

BOTH CHORUSES:
We cling to the skirt, and we strike on the ground;
Witch-legions thicken around and around;
Wizard-swarms cover the heath all over.

[THEY DESCEND.]

MEPHISTOPHELES:
What thronging, dashing, raging, rustling;
What whispering, babbling, hissing, bustling;
What glimmering, spurting, stinking, burning,
As Heaven and Earth were overturning.
There is a true witch element about us;
Take hold on me, or we shall be divided:--
Where are you?

FAUST [FROM A DISTANCE]:
Here!

MEPHISTOPHELES:
What!
I must exert my authority in the house.
Place for young Voland! pray make way, good people.
Take hold on me, doctor, an with one step
Let us escape from this unpleasant crowd:
They are too mad for people of my sort.
Just there shines a peculiar kind of light--
Something attracts me in those bushes. Come
This way: we shall slip down there in a minute.

FAUST:
Spirit of Contradiction! Well, lead on--
Twere a wise feat indeed to wander out
Into the Brocken upon May-day night,
And then to isolate oneself in scorn,
Disgusted with the humours of the time.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
See yonder, round a many-coloured flame
A merry club is huddled altogether:
Even with such little people as sit there
One would not be alone.

FAUST:
Would that I were
Up yonder in the glow and whirling smoke,
Where the blind million rush impetuously
To meet the evil ones; there might I solve
Many a riddle that torments me.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Yet
Many a riddle there is tied anew
Inextricably. Let the great world rage!
We will stay here safe in the quiet dwellings.
Tis an old custom. Men have ever built
Their own small world in the great world of all.
I see young witches naked there, and old ones
Wisely attired with greater decency.
Be guided now by me, and you shall buy
A pound of pleasure with a dram of trouble.
I hear them tune their instruments--one must
Get used to this damned scraping. Come, Ill lead you
Among them; and what there you do and see,
As a fresh compact twixt us two shall be.
How say you now? this space is wide enough--
Look forth, you cannot see the end of it--
An hundred bonfires burn in rows, and they
Who throng around them seem innumerable:
Dancing and drinking, jabbering, making love,
And cooking, are at work. Now tell me, friend,
What is there better in the world than this?

FAUST:
In introducing us, do you assume
The character of Wizard or of Devil?

MEPHISTOPHELES:
In truth, I generally go about
In strict incognito; and yet one likes
To wear ones orders upon gala days.
I have no ribbon at my knee; but here
At home, the cloven foot is honourable.
See you that snail there?she comes creeping up,
And with her feeling eyes hath smelt out something.
I could not, if I would, mask myself here.
Come now, well go about from fire to fire:
Ill be the Pimp, and you shall be the Lover.
[TO SOME OLD WOMEN, WHO ARE SITTING ROUND A HEAP OF GLIMMERING COALS.]
Old gentlewomen, what do you do out here?
You ought to be with the young rioters
Right in the thickest of the revelry--
But every one is best content at home.

General.
Who dare confide in right or a just claim?
So much as I had done for them! and now--
With women and the people tis the same,
Youth will stand foremost ever,--age may go
To the dark grave unhonoured.

MINISTER:
Nowadays
People assert their rights: they go too far; 280
But as for me, the good old times I praise;
Then we were all in all--twas something worth
Ones while to be in place and wear a star;
That was indeed the golden age on earth.

PARVENU:
We too are active, and we did and do
What we ought not, perhaps; and yet we now
Will seize, whilst all things are whirled round and round,
A spoke of Fortunes wheel, and keep our ground.

AUTHOR:
Who now can taste a treatise of deep sense
And ponderous volume? tis impertinence
To write what none will read, therefore will I
To please the young and thoughtless people try.
MEPHISTOPHELES [WHO AT ONCE APPEARS TO HAVE GROWN VERY OLD]:
I find the people ripe for the last day,
Since I last came up to the wizard mountain;
And as my little cask runs turbid now,
So is the world drained to the dregs.

PEDLAR-WITCH:
Look here,
Gentlemen; do not hurry on so fast;
And lose the chance of a good pennyworth.
I have a pack full of the choicest wares
Of every sort, and yet in all my bundle
Is nothing like what may be found on earth;
Nothing that in a moment will make rich
Men and the world with fine malicious mischief--
There is no dagger drunk with blood; no bowl
From which consuming poison may be drained
By innocent and healthy lips; no jewel,
The price of an abandoned maidens shame;
No sword which cuts the bond it cannot loose,
Or stabs the wearers enemy in the back;
No--

MEPHISTOPHELES:

Gossip, you know little of these times.
What has been, has been; what is done, is past,
They shape themselves into the innovations
They breed, and innovation drags us with it.
The torrent of the crowd sweeps over us:
You think to impel, and are yourself impelled.

FAUST:
What is that yonder?

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Mark her well. It is
Lilith.

FAUST:
Who?

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Lilith, the first wife of Adam.
Beware of her fair hair, for she excels
All women in the magic of her locks;
And when she winds them round a young mans neck,
She will not ever set him free again.

FAUST:
There sit a girl and an old woman--they
Seem to be tired with pleasure and with play.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
There is no rest to-night for any one:
When one dance ends another is begun;
Come, let us to it. We shall have rare fun.

[FAUST DANCES AND SINGS WITH A GIRL, AND MEPHISTOPHELES WITH AN OLD WOMAN.]

FAUST:
I had once a lovely dream
In which I saw an apple-tree,
Where two fair apples with their gleam
To climb and taste attracted me.

THE GIRL:
She with apples you desired
From Paradise came long ago:
With you I feel that if required,
Such still within my garden grow.
...

PROCTO-PHANTASMIST:
What is this cursed multitude about?
Have we not long since proved to demonstration
That ghosts move not on ordinary feet?
But these are dancing just like men and women.

THE GIRL:
What does he want then at our ball?

FAUST:
Oh! he
Is far above us all in his conceit:
Whilst we enjoy, he reasons of enjoyment;
And any step which in our dance we tread,
If it be left out of his reckoning,
Is not to be considered as a step.
There are few things that scandalize him not:
And when you whirl round in the circle now,
As he went round the wheel in his old mill,
He says that you go wrong in all respects,
Especially if you congratulate him
Upon the strength of the resemblance.

PROCTO-PHANTASMIST:
Fly!
Vanish! Unheard-of impudence! What, still there!
In this enlightened age too, since you have been
Proved not to exist!--But this infernal brood
Will hear no reason and endure no rule.
Are we so wise, and is the POND still haunted?
How long have I been sweeping out this rubbish
Of superstition, and the world will not
Come clean with all my pains!--it is a case
Unheard of!

THE GIRL:
Then leave off teasing us so.

PROCTO-PHANTASMIST:
I tell you, spirits, to your faces now,
That I should not regret this despotism
Of spirits, but that mine can wield it not.
To-night I shall make poor work of it,
Yet I will take a round with you, and hope
Before my last step in the living dance
To beat the poet and the devil together.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
At last he will sit down in some foul puddle;
That is his way of solacing himself;
Until some leech, diverted with his gravity,
Cures him of spirits and the spirit together.
[TO FAUST, WHO HAS SECEDED FROM THE DANCE.]
Why do you let that fair girl pass from you,
Who sung so sweetly to you in the dance?

FAUST:
A red mouse in the middle of her singing
Sprung from her mouth.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
That was all right, my friend:
Be it enough that the mouse was not gray.
Do not disturb your hour of happiness
With close consideration of such trifles.

FAUST:
Then saw I--

MEPHISTOPHELES:
What?

FAUST:
Seest thou not a pale,
Fair girl, standing alone, far, far away?
She drags herself now forward with slow steps,
And seems as if she moved with shackled feet:
I cannot overcome the thought that she
Is like poor Margaret.

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Let it be--pass on--
No good can come of it--it is not well
To meet itit is an enchanted phantom,
A lifeless idol; with its numbing look,
It freezes up the blood of man; and they
Who meet its ghastly stare are turned to stone,
Like those who saw Medusa.

FAUST:
Oh, too true!
Her eyes are like the eyes of a fresh corpse
Which no beloved hand has closed, alas!
That is the breast which Margaret yielded to me--
Those are the lovely limbs which I enjoyed!

MEPHISTOPHELES:
It is all magic, poor deluded fool!
She looks to every one like his first love.

FAUST:
Oh, what delight! what woe! I cannot turn
My looks from her sweet piteous countenance.
How strangely does a single blood-red line,
Not broader than the sharp edge of a knife,
Adorn her lovely neck!

MEPHISTOPHELES:
Ay, she can carry
Her head under her arm upon occasion;
Perseus has cut it off for her. These pleasures
End in delusion.Gain this rising ground,
It is as airy here as in a...
And if I am not mightily deceived,
I see a theatre.What may this mean?

ATTENDANT:
Quite a new piece, the last of seven, for tis
The custom now to represent that number.
Tis written by a Dilettante, and
The actors who perform are Dilettanti;
Excuse me, gentlemen; but I must vanish.
I am a Dilettante curtain-lifter.

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Scenes From The Faust Of Goethe
,
839:A FRAGMENT

PART I

Nec tantum prodere vati,
Quantum scire licet. Venit aetas omnis in unam
Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot saecula pectus.
Lucan, Phars. v. 176.

How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep!
One pale as yonder wan and hornd moon,
With lips of lurid blue,
The other glowing like the vital morn,
When throned on ocean's wave
It breathes over the world:
Yet both so passing strange and wonderful!
Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton,
Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres,
To the hell dogs that couch beneath his throne
Cast that fair prey? Must that divinest form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, whose azure veins
Steal like dark streams along a field of snow,
Whose outline is as fair as marble clothed
In light of some sublimest mind, decay?
Nor putrefaction's breath
Leave aught of this pure spectacle
But loathsomeness and ruin?
Spare aught but a dark theme,
On which the lightest heart might moralize?
Or is it but that downy-wingd slumbers
Have charmed their nurse coy Silence near her lids
To watch their own repose?
Will they, when morning's beam
Flows through those wells of light,
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
Where woods and streams with soft and pausing winds
A lulling murmur weave?
Ianthe doth not sleep
The dreamless sleep of death:
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,
Or mark her delicate cheek
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon.
Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward.
Her dewy eyes are closed;
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below
With unapparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed:
Her golden tresses shade
The bosom's stainless pride,
Twining like tendrils of the parasite
Around a marble column.
Hark! whence that rushing sound?
'Tis like a wondrous strain that sweeps
Around a lonely ruin
When west winds sigh and evening waves respond
In whispers from the shore:
'Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes
Which from the unseen lyres of dells and groves
The genii of the breezes sweep.
Floating on waves of music and of light,
The chariot of the Daemon of the World
Descends in silent power:
Its shape reposed within: slight as some cloud
That catches but the palest tinge of day
When evening yields to night,
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars indue
Its transitory robe.
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
Draw that strange car of glory, reins of light
Check their unearthly speed; they stop and fold
Their wings of braided air:
The Daemon leaning from the ethereal car
Gazed on the slumbering maid.
Human eye hath ne'er beheld
A shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o'er the maiden's charmd sleep
Waving a starry wand,
Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds
Of wakening spring arose,
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.
Maiden, the world's supremest spirit
Beneath the shadow of her wings
Folds all thy memory doth inherit
From ruin of divinest things,
Feelings that lure thee to betray,
And light of thoughts that pass away.
For thou hast earned a mighty boon,
The truths which wisest poets see
Dimly, thy mind may make its own,
Rewarding its own majesty,
Entranced in some diviner mood
Of self-oblivious solitude.
Custom, and Faith, and Power thou spurnest;
From hate and awe thy heart is free;
Ardent and pure as day thou burnest,
For dark and cold mortality
A living light, to cheer it long,
The watch-fires of the world among.
Therefore from nature's inner shrine,
Where gods and fiends in worship bend,
Majestic spirit, be it thine
The flame to seize, the veil to rend,
Where the vast snake Eternity
In charmd sleep doth ever lie.
All that inspires thy voice of love,
Or speaks in thy unclosing eyes,
Or through thy frame doth burn or move,
Or think or feel, awake, arise!
Spirit, leave for mine and me
Earth's unsubstantial mimicry!
It ceased, and from the mute and moveless frame
A radiant spirit arose,
All beautiful in naked purity.
Robed in its human hues it did ascend,
Disparting as it went the silver clouds,
It moved towards the car, and took its seat
Beside the Daemon shape.
Obedient to the sweep of ary song,
The mighty ministers
Unfurled their prismy wings.
The magic car moved on;
The night was fair, innumerable stars
Studded heaven's dark blue vault;
The eastern wave grew pale
With the first smile of morn.
The magic car moved on.
From the swift sweep of wings
The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew;
And where the burning wheels
Eddied above the mountain's loftiest peak
Was traced a line of lightning.
Now far above a rock the utmost verge
Of the wide earth it flew,
The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow
Frowned o'er the silver sea.
Far, far below the chariot's stormy path,
Calm as a slumbering babe,
Tremendous ocean lay.
Its broad and silent mirror gave to view
The pale and waning stars,
The chariot's fiery track,
And the grey light of morn
Tingeing those fleecy clouds
That cradled in their folds the infant dawn.
The chariot seemed to fly
Through the abyss of an immense concave,
Radiant with million constellations, tinged
With shades of infinite colour,
And semicircled with a belt
Flashing incessant meteors.
As they approached their goal,
The wingd shadows seemed to gather speed.
The sea no longer was distinguished; earth
Appeared a vast and shadowy sphere, suspended
In the black concave of heaven
With the sun's cloudless orb,
Whose rays of rapid light
Parted around the chariot's swifter course,
And fell like ocean's feathery spray
Dashed from the boiling surge
Before a vessel's prow.
The magic car moved on.
Earth's distant orb appeared
The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens,
Whilst round the chariot's way
Innumerable systems widely rolled,
And countless spheres diffused
An ever varying glory.
It was a sight of wonder! Some were horned.
And like the moon's argentine crescent hung
In the dark dome of heaven; some did shed
A clear mild beam like Hesperus, while the sea
Yet glows with fading sunlight; others dashed
Athwart the night with trains of bickering fire,
Like spherd worlds to death and ruin driven;
Some shone like stars, and as the chariot passed
Bedimmed all other light.
Spirit of Nature! here
In this interminable wilderness
Of worlds, at whose involved immensity
Even soaring fancy staggers,
Here is thy fitting temple.
Yet not the lightest leaf
That quivers to the passing breeze
Is less instinct with thee,
Yet not the meanest worm,
That lurks in graves and fattens on the dead,
Less shares thy eternal breath.
Spirit of Nature! thou
Imperishable as this glorious scene,
Here is thy fitting temple.
If solitude hath ever led thy steps
To the shore of the immeasurable sea,
And thou hast lingered there
Until the sun's broad orb
Seemed resting on the fiery line of ocean,
Thou must have marked the braided webs of gold
That without motion hang
Over the sinking sphere:
Thou must have marked the billowy mountain clouds,
Edged with intolerable radiancy,
Towering like rocks of jet
Above the burning deep:
And yet there is a moment
When the sun's highest point
Peers like a star o'er ocean's western edge,
When those far clouds of feathery purple gleam
Like fairy lands girt by some heavenly sea:
Then has thy rapt imagination soared
Where in the midst of all existing things
The temple of the mightiest Daemon stands.
Yet not the golden islands
That gleam amid yon flood of purple light,
Nor the feathery curtains
That canopy the sun's resplendent couch,
Nor the burnished ocean waves
Paving that gorgeous dome,
So fair, so wonderful a sight
As the eternal temple could afford.
The elements of all that human thought
Can frame of lovely or sublime, did join
To rear the fabric of the fane, nor aught
Of earth may image forth its majesty.
Yet likest evening's vault that fary hall,
As heaven low resting on the wave it spread
Its floors of flashing light,
Its vast and azure dome;
And on the verge of that obscure abyss
Where crystal battlements o'erhang the gulf
Of the dark world, ten thousand spheres diffuse
Their lustre through its adamantine gates.
The magic car no longer moved;
The Daemon and the Spirit
Entered the eternal gates.
Those clouds of ary gold
That slept in glittering billows
Beneath the azure canopy,
With the ethereal footsteps trembled not;
While slight and odorous mists
Floated to strains of thrilling melody
Through the vast columns and the pearly shrines.
The Daemon and the Spirit
Approached the overhanging battlement,
Below lay stretched the boundless universe!
There, far as the remotest line
That limits swift imagination's flight,
Unending orbs mingled in mazy motion,
Immutably fulfilling
Eternal Nature's law.
Above, below, around,
The circling systems formed
A wilderness of harmony,
Each with undeviating aim
In eloquent silence through the depths of space
Pursued its wondrous way.
Awhile the Spirit paused in ecstasy.
Yet soon she saw, as the vast spheres swept by,
Strange things within their belted orbs appear.
Like animated frenzies, dimly moved
Shadows, and skeletons, and fiendly shapes,
Thronging round human graves, and o'er the dead
Sculpturing records for each memory
In verse, such as malignant gods pronounce,
Blasting the hopes of men, when heaven and hell
Confounded burst in ruin o'er the world:
And they did build vast trophies, instruments
Of murder, human bones, barbaric gold,
Skins torn from living men, and towers of skulls
With sightless holes gazing on blinder heaven,
Mitres, and crowns, and brazen chariots stained
With blood, and scrolls of mystic wickedness,
The sanguine codes of venerable crime.
The likeness of a thrond king came by,
When these had passed, bearing upon his brow
A threefold crown; his countenance was calm,
His eye severe and cold; but his right hand
Was charged with bloody coin, and he did gnaw
By fits, with secret smiles, a human heart
Concealed beneath his robe; and motley shapes,
A multitudinous throng, around him knelt,
With bosoms bare, and bowed heads, and false looks
Of true submission, as the sphere rolled by.
Brooking no eye to witness their foul shame,
Which human hearts must feel, while human tongues
Tremble to speak, they did rage horribly,
Breathing in self-contempt fierce blasphemies
Against the Daemon of the World, and high
Hurling their armd hands where the pure Spirit,
Serene and inaccessibly secure,
Stood on an isolated pinnacle,
The flood of ages combating below,
The depth of the unbounded universe
Above, and all around
Necessity's unchanging harmony.
PART II
O happy Earth! reality of Heaven!
To which those restless powers that ceaselessly
Throng through the human universe aspire;
Thou consummation of all mortal hope!
Thou glorious prize of blindly-working will!
Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time,
Verge to one point and blend for ever there:
Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place!
Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime,
Languor, disease, and ignorance dare not come:
O happy Earth, reality of Heaven!
Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams,
And dim forebodings of thy loveliness,
Haunting the human heart, have there entwined
Those rooted hopes, that the proud Power of Evil
Shall not for ever on this fairest world
Shake pestilence and war, or that his slaves
With blasphemy for prayer, and human blood
For sacrifice, before his shrine for ever
In adoration bend, or Erebus
With all its banded fiends shall not uprise
To overwhelm in envy and revenge
The dauntless and the good, who dare to hurl
Defiance at his throne, girt tho' it be
With Death's omnipotence. Thou hast beheld
His empire, o'er the present and the past;
It was a desolate sightnow gaze on mine,
Futurity. Thou hoary giant Time,
Render thou up thy half-devoured babes,
And from the cradles of eternity,
Where millions lie lulled to their portioned sleep
By the deep murmuring stream of passing things,
Tear thou that gloomy shroud.Spirit, behold
Thy glorious destiny!
           The Spirit saw
The vast frame of the renovated world
Smile in the lap of Chaos, and the sense
Of hope thro' her fine texture did suffuse
Such varying glow, as summer evening casts
On undulating clouds and deepening lakes.
Like the vague sighings of a wind at even,
That wakes the wavelets of the slumbering sea
And dies on the creation of its breath,
And sinks and rises, fails and swells by fits,
Was the sweet stream of thought that with wild motion
Flowed o'er the Spirit's human sympathies.
The mighty tide of thought had paused awhile,
Which from the Daemon now like Ocean's stream
Again began to pour.
           To me is given
The wonders of the human world to keep
Space, matter, time and mindlet the sight
Renew and strengthen all thy failing hope.
All things are recreated, and the flame
Of consentaneous love inspires all life:
The fertile bosom of the earth gives suck
To myriads, who still grow beneath her care,
Rewarding her with their pure perfectness:
The balmy breathings of the wind inhale
Her virtues, and diffuse them all abroad:
Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere,
Glows in the fruits, and mantles on the stream;
No storms deform the beaming brow of heaven,
Nor scatter in the freshness of its pride
The foliage of the undecaying trees;
But fruits are ever ripe, flowers ever fair,
And Autumn proudly bears her matron grace,
Kindling a flush on the fair cheek of Spring,
Whose virgin bloom beneath the ruddy fruit
Reflects its tint and blushes into love.
The habitable earth is full of bliss;
Those wastes of frozen billows that were hurled
By everlasting snow-storms round the poles,
Where matter dared not vegetate nor live,
But ceaseless frost round the vast solitude
Bound its broad zone of stillness, are unloosed;
And fragrant zephyrs there from spicy isles
Ruffle the placid ocean-deep, that rolls
Its broad, bright surges to the sloping sand,
Whose roar is wakened into echoings sweet
To murmur through the heaven-breathing groves
And melodise with man's blest nature there.
The vast tract of the parched and sandy waste
Now teems with countless rills and shady woods,
Corn-fields and pastures and white cottages;
And where the startled wilderness did hear
A savage conqueror stained in kindred blood,
Hymning his victory, or the milder snake
Crushing the bones of some frail antelope
Within his brazen foldsthe dewy lawn,
Offering sweet incense to the sunrise, smiles
To see a babe before his mother's door,
Share with the green and golden basilisk
That comes to lick his feet, his morning's meal.
Those trackless deeps, where many a weary sail
Has seen, above the illimitable plain,
Morning on night and night on morning rise,
Whilst still no land to greet the wanderer spread
Its shadowy mountains on the sunbright sea,
Where the loud roarings of the tempest-waves
So long have mingled with the gusty wind
In melancholy loneliness, and swept
The desert of those ocean solitudes,
But vocal to the sea-bird's harrowing shriek,
The bellowing monster, and the rushing storm.
Now to the sweet and many-mingling sounds
Of kindliest human impulses respond:
Those lonely realms bright garden-isles begem,
With lightsome clouds and shining seas between,
And fertile valleys, resonant with bliss,
Whilst green woods overcanopy the wave,
Which like a toil-worn labourer leaps to shore,
To meet the kisses of the flowerets there.
Man chief perceives the change, his being notes
The gradual renovation, and defines
Each movement of its progress on his mind.
Man, where the gloom of the long polar night
Lowered o'er the snow-clad rocks and frozen soil,
Where scarce the hardiest herb that braves the frost
Basked in the moonlight's ineffectual glow,
Shrank with the plants, and darkened with the night:
Nor where the tropics bound the realms of day
With a broad belt of mingling cloud and flame,
Where blue mists through the unmoving atmosphere
Scattered the seeds of pestilence, and fed
Unnatural vegetation, where the land
Teemed with all earthquake, tempest and disease,
Was man a nobler being; slavery
Had crushed him to his country's blood-stained dust.
Even where the milder zone afforded man
A seeming shelter, yet contagion there,
Blighting his being with unnumbered ills,
Spread like a quenchless fire; nor truth availed
Till late to arrest its progress, or create
That peace which first in bloodless victory waved
Her snowy standard o'er this favoured clime:
There man was long the train-bearer of slaves,
The mimic of surrounding misery,
The jackal of ambition's lion-rage,
The bloodhound of religion's hungry zeal.
Here now the human being stands adorning
This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind:
Blest from his birth with all bland impulses,
Which gently in his noble bosom wake
All kindly passions and all pure desires.
Him, still from hope to hope the bliss pursuing,
Which from the exhaustless lore of human weal
Dawns on the virtuous mind, the thoughts that rise
In time-destroying infiniteness gift
With self-enshrined eternity, that mocks
The unprevailing hoariness of age,
And man, once fleeting o'er the transient scene
Swift as an unremembered vision, stands
Immortal upon earth: no longer now
He slays the beast that sports around his dwelling
And horribly devours its mangled flesh,
Or drinks its vital blood, which like a stream
Of poison thro' his fevered veins did flow
Feeding a plague that secretly consumed
His feeble frame, and kindling in his mind
Hatred, despair, and fear and vain belief,
The germs of misery, death, disease, and crime.
No longer now the wingd habitants,
That in the woods their sweet lives sing away,
Flee from the form of man; but gather round,
And prune their sunny feathers on the hands
Which little children stretch in friendly sport
Towards these dreadless partners of their play.
All things are void of terror: man has lost
His desolating privilege, and stands
An equal amidst equals: happiness
And science dawn though late upon the earth;
Peace cheers the mind, health renovates the frame;
Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here,
Reason and passion cease to combat there;
Whilst mind unfettered o'er the earth extends
Its all-subduing energies, and wields
The sceptre of a vast dominion there.
Mild is the slow necessity of death:
The tranquil spirit fails beneath its grasp,
Without a groan, almost without a fear,
Resigned in peace to the necessity,
Calm as a voyager to some distant land,
And full of wonder, full of hope as he.
The deadly germs of languor and disease
Waste in the human frame, and Nature gifts
With choicest boons her human worshippers.
How vigorous now the athletic form of age!
How clear its open and unwrinkled brow!
Where neither avarice, cunning, pride, or care,
Had stamped the seal of grey deformity
On all the mingling lineaments of time.
How lovely the intrepid front of youth!
How sweet the smiles of taintless infancy.
Within the massy prison's mouldering courts,
Fearless and free the ruddy children play,
Weaving gay chaplets for their innocent brows
With the green ivy and the red wall-flower,
That mock the dungeon's unavailing gloom;
The ponderous chains, and gratings of strong iron,
There rust amid the accumulated ruins
Now mingling slowly with their native earth:
There the broad beam of day, which feebly once
Lighted the cheek of lean captivity
With a pale and sickly glare, now freely shines
On the pure smiles of infant playfulness:
No more the shuddering voice of hoarse despair
Peals through the echoing vaults, but soothing notes
Of ivy-fingered winds and gladsome birds
And merriment are resonant around.
The fanes of Fear and Falsehood hear no more
The voice that once waked multitudes to war
Thundering thro' all their aisles: but now respond
To the death dirge of the melancholy wind:
It were a sight of awfulness to see
The works of faith and slavery, so vast,
So sumptuous, yet withal so perishing!
Even as the corpse that rests beneath their wall.
A thousand mourners deck the pomp of death
To-day, the breathing marble glows above
To decorate its memory, and tongues
Are busy of its life: to-morrow, worms
In silence and in darkness seize their prey.
These ruins soon leave not a wreck behind:
Their elements, wide-scattered o'er the globe,
To happier shapes are moulded, and become
Ministrant to all blissful impulses:
Thus human things are perfected, and earth,
Even as a child beneath its mother's love,
Is strengthened in all excellence, and grows
Fairer and nobler with each passing year.
Now Time his dusky pennons o'er the scene
Closes in steadfast darkness, and the past
Fades from our charmd sight. My task is done:
Thy lore is learned. Earth's wonders are thine own.
With all the fear and all the hope they bring.
My spells are past: the present now recurs.
Ah me! a pathless wilderness remains
Yet unsubdued by man's reclaiming hand.
Yet, human Spirit, bravely hold thy course,
Let virtue teach thee firmly to pursue
The gradual paths of an aspiring change:
For birth and life and death, and that strange state
Before the naked powers that thro' the world
Wander like winds have found a human home,
All tend to perfect happiness, and urge
The restless wheels of being on their way,
Whose flashing spokes, instinct with infinite life,
Bicker and burn to gain their destined goal:
For birth but wakes the universal mind
Whose mighty streams might else in silence flow
Thro' the vast world, to individual sense
Of outward shows, whose unexperienced shape
New modes of passion to its frame may lend;
Life is its state of action, and the store
Of all events is aggregated there
That variegate the eternal universe;
Death is a gate of dreariness and gloom,
That leads to azure isles and beaming skies
And happy regions of eternal hope.
Therefore, O Spirit! fearlessly bear on:
Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk,
Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bloom,
Yet spring's awakening breath will woo the earth,
To feed with kindliest dews its favourite flower,
That blooms in mossy banks and darksome glens,
Lighting the green wood with its sunny smile.
Fear not then, Spirit, death's disrobing hand,
So welcome when the tyrant is awake,
So welcome when the bigot's hell-torch flares;
'Tis but the voyage of a darksome hour,
The transient gulf-dream of a startling sleep.
For what thou art shall perish utterly,
But what is thine may never cease to be;
Death is no foe to virtue: earth has seen
Love's brightest roses on the scaffold bloom,
Mingling with freedom's fadeless laurels there,
And presaging the truth of visioned bliss.
Are there not hopes within thee, which this scene
Of linked and gradual being has confirmed?
Hopes that not vainly thou, and living fires
Of mind as radiant and as pure as thou,
Have shone upon the paths of menreturn,
Surpassing Spirit, to that world, where thou
Art destined an eternal war to wage
With tyranny and falsehood, and uproot
The germs of misery from the human heart.
Thine is the hand whose piety would soothe
The thorny pillow of unhappy crime,
Whose impotence an easy pardon gains,
Watching its wanderings as a friend's disease:
Thine is the brow whose mildness would defy
Its fiercest rage, and brave its sternest will,
When fenced by power and master of the world.
Thou art sincere and good; of resolute mind,
Free from heart-withering custom's cold control,
Of passion lofty, pure and unsubdued.
Earth's pride and meanness could not vanquish thee.
And therefore art thou worthy of the boon
Which thou hast now received: virtue shall keep
Thy footsteps in the path that thou hast trod,
And many days of beaming hope shall bless
Thy spotless life of sweet and sacred love.
Go, happy one, and give that bosom joy
Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
Light, life and rapture from thy smile.
The Daemon called its wingd ministers.
Speechless with bliss the Spirit mounts the car,
That rolled beside the crystal battlement,
Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness.
The burning wheels inflame
The steep descent of Heaven's untrodden way.
Fast and far the chariot flew:
The mighty globes that rolled
Around the gate of the Eternal Fane
Lessened by slow degrees, and soon appeared
Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs
That ministering on the solar power
With borrowed light pursued their narrower way.
Earth floated then below:
The chariot paused a moment;
The Spirit then descended:
And from the earth departing
The shadows with swift wings
Speeded like thought upon the light of Heaven.
The Body and the Soul united then,
A gentle start convulsed Ianthe's frame:
Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed;
Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remained:
She looked around in wonder and beheld
Henry, who kneeled in silence by her couch,
Watching her sle