Love is such a simple thing when we have only one-and-twenty summers and a sweet girl of seventeen trembles under our glance, as if she were a bud first opening her heart with wondering rapture to the morning. Such young unfurrowed souls roll to meet each other like two velvet peaches that touch softly and are at rest; they mingle as easily as two brooklets that ask for nothing but to entwine themselves and ripple with ever-interlacing curves in the leafiest hiding-places.
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Great Love has many attributes, and shrines For varied worshippers, but his force divine Shows most its many-named fulness in the man Whose nature multitudinously mixed-- Each ardent impulse grappling with a thought-- Resists all easy gladness, all content Save mystic rapture, where the questioning soul Flooded with consciousness of good that is Finds life one bounteous answer.
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Though I am not endowed with an ear to seize those earthly harmonies, which to some devout souls have seemed, as it were, the broken echoes of the heavenly choir--I apprehend that there is a law in music, disobedience whereunto would bring us in our singing to the level of shrieking maniacs or howling beasts.
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There comes a terrible moment to many souls when the great movements of the world, the larger destinies of mankind, which have lain aloof in newspapers and other neglected reading, enter like an earthquake into their own lives--when the slow urgency of growing generations turns into the tread of an invading army or the dire clash of civil war, and grey fathers know nothing to seek for but the corpses of their blooming sons, and girls forget all vanity to make lint and bandages which may serve for the shattered limbs of their betrothed husbands.
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O the anguish of that thought that we can never atone to our dead for the stinted affection we gave them, for the light answers we returned to their plaints or their pleadings, for the little reverence we showed to that sacred human soul that lived so close to us, and was the divinest thing God had given us to know!
Quick souls have their intensest life in the first anticipatory sketch of what may or will be, and the pursuit of their wish is the pursuit of that paradisiacal vision which only impelled them, and is left farther and farther behind, vanishing forever even out of hope in the moment which is called success.
The impulse to confession almost always requires the presence of a fresh ear and a fresh heart; and in our moments of spiritual need, the man to whom we have no tie but our common nature, seems nearer to us than mother, brother, or friend. Our daily familiar life is but a hiding of ourselves from each other behind a screen of trivial words and deeds, and those who sit with us at the same hearth, are often the farthest off from the deep human soul within us, full of unspoken evil and unacted good.
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... it is one of the gains of advancing age that the good of young creatures becomes a more definite intense joy to us. With that renunciation for ourselves which age inevitably brings, we get more freedom of soul to enter into the life of others; what we can never learn they will know, and the gladness which is a departed sunlight to us is rising with the strength of morning to them.
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Poor dog! I've a strange feeling about the dumb things as if they wanted to speak, and it was a trouble to 'em because they couldn't. I can't help being sorry for the dogs always, though perhaps there's no need. But they may well have more in them than they know how to make us understand, for we can't say half what we feel, with all our words.
But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
And Dorothea..she had no dreams of being praised above other women. Feeling that there was always something better which she might have done if she had only been better and known better, her full nature spent itself in deeds which left no great name on the earth, but the effect of her being on those around her was incalculable. For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts and on all those Dorotheas who life faithfully their hidden lives and rest in unvisited tombs. Middlemarch
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Looking at your life as a debt may seem the dreariest view of things at a distance; but it cannot really be so. What makes life dreary is the want of motive; but once beginning to act with the penitential, loving purpose you have in your mind, there will be unexpected satisfactions--there will be newly-opening needs--continually coming to carry you on from day to day. You will find your life growing like a plant.
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When our life is a continuous trial, the moments of respite seem only to substitute the heaviness of dread for the heaviness of actual suffering; the curtain of cloud seems parted an instant only that we may measure all its horror as it hangs low, black, and imminent, in contrast with the transient brightness; the waterdrops that visit the parched lips in the desert bear with them only the keen imagination of thirst.
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