if I were an angel of the Lord, I would mark the doors of each of my children's homes with an X, so that plague and misfortune would pass over them. Alas, I lack the qualifications. So when there was still world and time enough I fretted. I nagged. I corrected. I got everything wrong.
I read and learned and fretted more about Canada after I left than I ever did while I was home. I absorbed anything I could on topics that ranged from Folklore to history to political mainifestos... I ranted and raved and seethed about things beyond my control. In short I acted like a Canadian.
Oh, it was delicious to have someone to keep secrets with. If I'd had a sister or a brother closer in age, I guessed that's what it would be like. But it wasn't just smoking or skirting around Mother. It was having someone look at you after your mother has nearly fretted herself to death because you are freakishly tall and frizzy and odd. Someone whose eyes simply said, without words, You are fine with me.
I might mention all the divine charms of a bright spring day, but if you had never in your life utterly forgotten yourself in straining your eyes after the mounting lark, or in wandering through the still lanes when the fresh-opened blossoms fill them with a sacred silent beauty like that of fretted aisles, where would be the use of my descriptive catalogue?
Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself. I mean do not be disheartened by your imperfections, but always rise up with fresh courage. How are we to be patient in dealing with our neighbour's faults if we are impatient in dealing with our own? He who is fretted by his own failings will not correct them. All profitable correction comes from a calm and peaceful mind.
Saint Francis de Sales
Behold the Child among his new-born blissesA six years' Darling of a pigmy size!See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,With light upon him from his father's eyes!See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,Some fragment from his dream of human life,Shaped by himself with newly-learned art.
Once more September marveled that even the Dodo knew what she wanted to be when she was grown. She simply could not think what she herself might do. September expected that destinies, which is how she thought of professions, simply landed upon one like a crown, and ever after no one questioned or fretted over it, being sure of one's own use in the world. It was only that somehow her crown had not yet appeared. She did hope it would hurry up.
Catherynne M. Valente
As mankind grew obsessed with its hours, the sorrow of lost time became a permanent hole in the human heart. People fretted over missed chances, over inefficient days; they worried constantly about how long they would live, because counting life's moments had led, inevitably, to counting them down. Soon, in every nation and in every language, time became the most precious commodity.
Once I knew the depth where no hope was and darkness lay on the face of all things. Then love came and set my soul free. Once I fretted and beat myself against the wall that shut me in. My life was without a past or future, and death a consummation devoutly to be wished. But a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hands that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped up with the rapture of living. I do not know the meaning of the darkness, but I have learned the overcoming of it.
Especially on Broadway, composers and lyricists fretted over their creations, obsessed over every rhyme, every critical chord or interval. The stakes were so high. On Broadway, people were watching and judging, especially newspaper critics who knew a thousand ways to slice and dice a songwriter for the entertainment of hundreds of thousands of faithful readers. There was no anonymity for the Broadway songwriter. Even the best could find themselves stripped naked the morning after by the tastemakers and their readers.
This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen deity, nor were they minced into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock; for I lived like the Puri Indians, of whom it is said that "for yesterday, today, and tomorrow they have only one word, and they express the variety of meaning by pointing backward for yesterday forward for tomorrow, and overhead for the passing day." This was sheer idleness to my fellow-townsmen, no doubt; but if the birds and flowers had tried me by their standard, I should not have been found wanting.
Henry David Thoreau
Had Mary Shelley fretted so? Maybe yes, maybe no. She'd begun her classic work on a dare. Had culled a dream to bring it into being. But it was not lost on Laura that the story might be a prolonged exercise in Shelley's personal terrors. The subtitle of the work was 'Prometheus Unbound, ' and Laura wondered if Shelley herself was not Prometheus in the form of the wandering monster, who desperately sought love and acceptance but was ultimately driven to face an icy landscape that seemed almost fantastical-the way our own subconscious could be, white and frozen-slippery.
As the year goes on, certain deputies-and others, high in public life-will appear unshaven, without coat or cravat; or they will jettison these marks of the polite man, when the temperature rises. They affect the style of men who begin their mornings with a splash under a backyard pump, and who stop off at their street-corner bar for a nip of spirits on their way to ten hours' manual labor. Citizen Robespierre, however, is a breathing rebuke to these men; he retains his buckled shoes, his striped coat of olive green. Can it be the same coat that he wore in the first year of the Revolution? He is not profligate with coats. While Citizen Danton tears off the starched linen that fretted his thick neck, Citizen Saint-Just's cravat grows ever higher, stiffer, more wonderful to behold. He affects a single earring, but he resembles less a corsair than a slightly deranged merchant banker.
A pair of young mothers now became the centre of interest. They had risen from their lying-in much sooner than the doctors would otherwise have allowed. (French doctors are always very good about recognizing the importance of social events, and certainly in this case had the patients been forbidden the ball the might easily have fretted themselves to death.) One came as the Duchesse de Berri with l'Enfant du Miracle, and the other as Madame de Montespan and the Duc du Maine. The two husbands, the ghost of the Duc de Berri, a dagger sticking out of his evening dress, and Louis XIV, were rather embarrassed really by the horrible screams of their so very young heirs, and hurried to the bar together. The noise was indeed terrific, and Albertine said crossly that had she been consulted she would, in this case, have permitted and even encouraged the substitution of dolls. The infants were then dumped down to cry themselves to sleep among the coats on her bed, whence they were presently collected by their mothers' monthly nannies. Nobody thereafter could feel quite sure that the noble families of Bregendir and Belestat were not hopelessly and for ever interchanged. As their initials and coronets were, unfortunately, the same, and their baby linen came from the same shop, it was impossible to identify the children for certain. The mothers were sent for, but the pleasures of society rediscovered having greatly befogged their maternal instincts, they were obliged to admit they had no idea which was which. With a tremendous amount of guilty giggling they spun a coin for the prettier of the two babies and left it at that.
When you are quite well enough to travel, Latimer, I shall take you home with me. The journey will amuse you and do you good, for I shall go through the Tyrol and Austria, and you will see many new places. Our neighbours, the Filmores, are come; Alfred will join us at Basle, and we shall all go together to Vienna, and back by Prague... ' My father was called away before he had finished his sentence, and he left my mind resting on the word Prague with a strange sense that a new and wondrous scene was breaking upon me: a city under the broad sunshine, that seemed to me as if it were summer sunshine of a long-past century arrested in its course-unrefreshed for ages by dews of night, or the rushing rain-cloud; scorching the dusty, weary, time-eaten grandeur of a people doomed to live on in the stale repetition of memories, like deposed and superannuated kings in their regal gold inwoven tatters. The city looked so thirsty that the broad river seemed to me a sheet of metal; and the blackened statues, as I passed under their blank gaze, along the unending bridge, with their ancient garments and their saintly crowns, seemed to me the real inhabitants and owners of this place, while the busy, trivial men and women, hurrying to and fro, were a swarm of ephemeral visitants infesting it for a day. It is such grim, stony beings as these, I thought, who are the fathers of ancient faded children, in those tanned time-fretted dwellings that crowd the steep before me; who pay their court in the worn and crumbling pomp of the palace which stretches its monotonous length on the height; who worship wearily in the stifling air of the churches, urged by no fear or hope, but compelled by their doom to be ever old and undying, to live on in the rigidity of habit, as they live on in perpetual midday, without the repose of night or the new birth of morning. A stunning clang of metal suddenly thrilled through me, and I became conscious of the objects in my room again: one of the fire-irons had fallen as Pierre opened the door to bring me my draught. My heart was palpitating violently, and I begged Pierre to leave my draught beside me; I would take it presently. ("The Lifted Veil")