For I was reared in the great city, pent with cloisters dim, and saw naught lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! Shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Of ancient mountains, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores And mountain crags: so shall thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters, who from eternity doth teach Himself in all, and al things in himself Great universal teacher! He shall mold Thy spirit and by giving , make it ask.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
He had been thinking of how landscape moulds a language. It was impossible to imagine these hills giving forth anything but the soft syllables of Irish, just as only certain forms of German could be spoken on the high crags of Europe; or Dutch in the muddy, guttural, phlegmish lowlands.
Alexander McCall Smith
In the condition of men, it frequently happens that grief and anxiety lie hid under the golden robes of prosperity; and the gloom of calamity is cheered by secret radiations of hope and comfort; as in the works of nature, the bog is sometimes covered with flowers, and the mine concealed in the barren crags.
What a lumbering poor vehicle prose is for the conveying of a great thought! ... Prose wanders around with a lantern & laboriously schedules & verifies the details & particulars of a valley & its frame of crags & peaks, then Poetry comes, & lays bare the whole landscape with a single splendid flash.
We found in the course of our journey the convenience of having disencumbered ourselves, by laying aside whatever we could spare; for it is not to be imagined without experience, how in climbing crags and treading bogs, and winding through narrow and obstructed passages, a little bulk will hinder, and a little weight will burden; or how often a man that has pleased himself at home with his own resolution, will, in the hour of darkness and fatigue, be content to leave behind him everything but himself.
Here eglantine embalm'd the air, Hawthorne and hazel mingled there; The primrose pale, and violet flower, Found in each cliff a narrow bower; Fox-glove and nightshade, side by side, Emblems of punishment and pride, Group'd their dark hues with every stain The weather-beaten crags retain.
From its fountains In the mountains, Its rills and its gills; Through moss and through brake, It runs and it creeps For awhile till it sleeps In its own little Lake. And thence at departing, Awakening and starting, It runs through the reeds And away it proceeds, Through meadow and glade, In sun and in shade, And through the wood-shelter, Among crags in its flurry, Helter-skelter, Hurry-scurry.
Mountains are nature's testimonials of anguish. They are the sharp cry of a groaning and travailing creation. Nature's stern agony writes itself on these furrowed brows of gloomy stone. These reft and splintered crags stand, the dreary images of patient sorrow, existing verdureless and stern because exist they must.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
We need wilderness because we are wild animals. Everyone needs a place where he can go to go crazy in peace. For the terror, freedom, and delirium. Because we need brutality and raw adventure, because men and women first learned to love in, under, and all around trees, because we need for every pair of feet and legs about ten leagues of naked nature, crags to leap from, mountains to measure by, deserts to finally die in when the heart fails.
A bird maintains itself in the air by imperceptible balancing, when near to the mountains or lofty ocean crags; it does this by means of the curves of the winds which as they strike against these projections, being forced to preserve their first impetus bend their straight course towards the sky with divers revolutions, at the beginning of which the birds come to a stop with their wings open, receiving underneath themselves the continual buffetings of the reflex courses of the winds.
Leonardo da Vinci
Long, blue, spiky-edged shadows crept out across the snow-fields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain-top, flushing the glaciers and the harsh crags above them. This was the alpenglow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations of God. At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.
Lightning my pilot sits; In a cavern under is fettered the thunder, It struggles and howls at fits; Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion, This pilot is guiding me, Lured by the love of the genii that move In the depths of the purple sea; Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills, Over the lakes and the plains, Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream The Spirit he loves remains; And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile, Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Jamie reflected that if he purposely went down to the crags of the Pacific and threw himself to the sharks, when he came before God and his father and mother, he could carry no smiling secret on his face. He would not have kept the faith. He would have broken the laws of God and man. He would have allowed frail woman to surpass him in courage, in endurance. He shut his eyes to close out even the imagined look on his mother's face. So right there Jamie crossed off the Pacific from his scheme of release.
Break, break, break, On thy cold gray stones, O Sea! And I would that my tongue could utter The thoughts that arise in me. O, well for the fisherman's boy, That he shouts with his sister at play! O, well for the sailor lad, That he sings in his boat on the bay! And the stately ships go on To their haven under the hill; But O for the touch of a vanished hand, And the sound of a voice that is still! Break, break, break, At the foot of thy crags, O Sea! But the tender grace of a day that is dead Will never come back to me.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
I brought the newspaper close up to my eyes to get a better view of George Pollucci's face, spotlighted like a three-quarter moon against a vague background of brick and black sky. I felt he had something important to tell me, and that whatever it was might just be written on his face. But the smudgy crags of George Pollucci's features melted away as I peered at them, and resolved themselves into a regular pattern of dark and light and medium gray dots. The inky black newspaper paragraph didn't tell why Mr Pollucci was on the ledge, or what Sgt Kilmartin did to him when he finally got him in through the window.
For I was reared in the great city, pent with cloisters dim,and saw naught lovely but the sky and stars.But thou, my babe! Shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the cragsOf ancient mountains, and beneath the clouds,Which image in their bulk both lakes and shoresAnd mountain crags: so shall thou see and hearThe lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy GodUtters, who from eternity doth teachHimself in all, and al things in himselfGreat universal teacher! He shall moldThy spirit and by giving , make it ask.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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!
A little while ago, I stood by the grave of the old Napoleon-a magnificent tomb of gilt and gold, fit almost for a dead deity-and gazed upon the sarcophagus of rare and nameless marble, where rest at last the ashes of that restless man. I leaned over the balustrade and thought about the career of the greatest soldier of the modern world. I saw him walking upon the banks of the Seine, contemplating suicide. I saw him at Toulon-I saw him putting down the mob in the streets of Paris-I saw him at the head of the army of Italy-I saw him crossing the bridge of Lodi with the tri-color in his hand-I saw him in Egypt in the shadows of the pyramids-I saw him conquer the Alps and mingle the eagles of France with the eagles of the crags. I saw him at Marengo-at Ulm and Austerlitz. I saw him in Russia, where the infantry of the snow and the cavalry of the wild blast scattered his legions like winter's withered leaves. I saw him at Leipsic in defeat and disaster-driven by a million bayonets back upon Paris-clutched like a wild beast-banished to Elba. I saw him escape and retake an empire by the force of his genius. I saw him upon the frightful field of Waterloo, where Chance and Fate combined to wreck the fortunes of their former king. And I saw him at St. Helena, with his hands crossed behind him, gazing out upon the sad and solemn sea. I thought of the orphans and widows he had made-of the tears that had been shed for his glory, and of the only woman who ever loved him, pushed from his heart by the cold hand of ambition. And I said I would rather have been a French peasant and worn wooden shoes. I would rather have lived in a hut with a vine growing over the door, and the grapes growing purple in the kisses of the autumn sun. I would rather have been that poor peasant with my loving wife by my side, knitting as the day died out of the sky-with my children upon my knees and their arms about me-I would rather have been that man and gone down to the tongueless silence of the dreamless dust, than to have been that imperial impersonation of force and murder, known as 'Napoleon the Great.
Robert G. Ingersoll
When reading the history of the Jewish people, of their flight from slavery to death, of their exchange of tyrants, I must confess that my sympathies are all aroused in their behalf. They were cheated, deceived and abused. Their god was quick-tempered unreasonable, cruel, revengeful and dishonest. He was always promising but never performed. He wasted time in ceremony and childish detail, and in the exaggeration of what he had done. It is impossible for me to conceive of a character more utterly detestable than that of the Hebrew god. He had solemnly promised the Jews that he would take them from Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. He had led them to believe that in a little while their troubles would be over, and that they would soon in the land of Canaan, surrounded by their wives and little ones, forget the stripes and tears of Egypt. After promising the poor wanderers again and again that he would lead them in safety to the promised land of joy and plenty, this God, forgetting every promise, said to the wretches in his power:-'Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness and your children shall wander until your carcasses be wasted.' This curse was the conclusion of the whole matter. Into this dust of death and night faded all the promises of God. Into this rottenness of wandering despair fell all the dreams of liberty and home. Millions of corpses were left to rot in the desert, and each one certified to the dishonesty of Jehovah. I cannot believe these things. They are so cruel and heartless, that my blood is chilled and my sense of justice shocked. A book that is equally abhorrent to my head and heart, cannot be accepted as a revelation from God. When we think of the poor Jews, destroyed, murdered, bitten by serpents, visited by plagues, decimated by famine, butchered by each, other, swallowed by the earth, frightened, cursed, starved, deceived, robbed and outraged, how thankful we should be that we are not the chosen people of God. No wonder that they longed for the slavery of Egypt, and remembered with sorrow the unhappy day when they exchanged masters. Compared with Jehovah, Pharaoh was a benefactor, and the tyranny of Egypt was freedom to those who suffered the liberty of God. While reading the Pentateuch, I am filled with indignation, pity and horror. Nothing can be sadder than the history of the starved and frightened wretches who wandered over the desolate crags and sands of wilderness and desert, the prey of famine, sword, and plague. Ignorant and superstitious to the last degree, governed by falsehood, plundered by hypocrisy, they were the sport of priests, and the food of fear. God was their greatest enemy, and death their only friend. It is impossible to conceive of a more thoroughly despicable, hateful, and arrogant being, than the Jewish god. He is without a redeeming feature. In the mythology of the world he has no parallel. He, only, is never touched by agony and tears. He delights only in blood and pain. Human affections are naught to him. He cares neither for love nor music, beauty nor joy. A false friend, an unjust judge, a braggart, hypocrite, and tyrant, sincere in hatred, jealous, vain, and revengeful, false in promise, honest in curse, suspicious, ignorant, and changeable, infamous and hideous:-such is the God of the Pentateuch.
Robert G. Ingersoll