Words could betray you if you chose the wrong ones, or mean less if you used too many. Jokes could be grandly miscalculated, or stories deemed boring, and I'd learned early on that my sense of humor and ideas about what sorts of things were fascinating didn't exactly overlap with my friends'.
We waded so gently and reverently, or we pulled together so smoothly, that the fishes of thought were not scared from the stream, nor feared any angler on the bank, but came and went grandly, like the clouds which came and went on the western sky, and the mother-o'-pearl flocks which sometimes form and dissolve there.
Henry David Thoreau
Converse with a mind that is grandly simple, and literature looks like word-catching. The simplest utterances are worthiest to bewritten, yet are they so cheap, and so things of course, that, in the infinite riches of the soul, it is like gathering a few pebbles off the ground, or bottling a little air in a phial, when the whole earth and the whole atmosphere are ours.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The truth is that the scientific value of Polar exploration is greatly exaggerated. The thing that takes men on such hazardous trips is really not any thirst for knowledge, but simply a yearning for adventure. ... A Polar explorer always talks grandly of sacrificing his fingers and toes to science. It is an amiable pretention, but there is no need to take it seriously.
H. L. Mencken
A gentleman who for reasons of chivalry I shall not mention, but who occupied grand office, and who had taken grandly of wine and allowed veritas to overcome him, went up to the Prime Minister and told her he had always fancied her, to which the Prime Minister replied, "Quite right - you have very good taste but I just don't think you would make it at the moment.
Things will be different this time," Caine said. "There was too much contention, too much violence the last time. I tried to be a peaceful leader. But thing went badly." "I wonder why," Diana muttered. "These people," Caine said grandly, sweeping his arm towards the town, "need more than a leader. They need...a king.
As Aristotle wrote a long, long time ago, and I'm paraphrasing here, the goal is to avoid mediocrity by being prepared to try something and either failing miserably or triumphing grandly. Mediocrity is not about failing, and it's the opposite of doing. Mediocrity, in other words, is about not trying. The reason is achingly simple, and I know you've heard it a thousand times before: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
It is impossible to think of Howard Hughes without seeing the apparently bottomless gulf between what we say we want and what we do want, between what we officially admire and secretly desire, between, in the largest sense, the people we marry and the people we love. In a nation which increasingly appears to prize social virtues, Howard Hughes remains not merely antisocial but grandly, brilliantly, surpassingly, asocial. He is the last private man, the dream we no longer admit.
True spiritual knowledge has sometimes flourished most grandly in some who were without eloquence and almost illiterate. And this is very clearly shown by the case of the Apostles and many holy men, who did not spread themselves out with an empty show of leaves, but were bowed down by the weight of the true fruits of spiritual knowledge: of whom it is written in Acts: 'But when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men, they were astonished' (Acts 4:13).
The gap between ideals and actualities, between dreams and achievements, the gap that can spur strong men to increased exertions, but can break the spirit of others / this gap is the most conspicuous, continuous land mark in American history. It is conspicuous and continuous not because Americans achieve little, but because they dream grandly. The gap is a standing reproach to Americans; but it marks them off as a special and singularly admirable community among the world's peoples.
George F. Will
The gap between ideals and actualities, between dreams and achievements, the gap that can spur strong men to increased exertions, but can break the spirit of others -- this gap is the most conspicuous, continuous land mark in American history. It is conspicuous and continuous not because Americans achieve little, but because they dream grandly. The gap is a standing reproach to Americans; but it marks them off as a special and singularly admirable community among the world's peoples.
I lifted the white cloth from the white face of the man that I had worshipped as an idol-looked upon as a demi-god. Notwithstanding the violence of the death of the President, there was something beautiful as well as grandly solemn in the expression of the placid face. There lurked the sweetness and gentleness of childhood, and the stately grandeur of godlike intellect. I gazed long at the face, and turned away with tears in my eyes and a choking sensation in my throat. Ah! never was man so widely mourned before. The whole world bowed their heads in grief when Abraham Lincoln died.
The Moroi then noticed Adrian's companions and jumped up. He caught hold of Lissa's hand, leaned over, and kissed it. "Princess Dragomir. It's an honor to meet you at last. Seeing you from a distance was beautiful. Up close? Divine." "This, " said Adrain grandly, "is Blake Lazar." "It's nice to meet you." she said. Blake smiled radiantly. "May I call you Vasilisa?" "You can call me Lissa." "You can also, " added Christian, "let go of her hand now." Blake looked over at Christian, taking a few more moments to release Lissa's hand-seeming very proud about those extra seconds. "I've seen you too. Ozera. Crispin, right?" "Christian, " corrected Lissa.
The American critic Dale Peck, author of Hatchet Jobs (2004), argues that reviewing finds its true character in critical GBH such as Fischer's [review of Martin Amis's Yellow Dog]. It represents a return to the prehistoric origins of reviewing in Zoilism - a kind of pelting of pretentious literature with dung, lest the writers get above themselves; it is to the novelist what the gown of humiliation was to the Roman politician - a salutary ordeal. Less grandly, bad reviews are fun, so long as you are not the author. There is, it must be admitted, a kind of furtive blood sport pleasure in seeing a novelist suffer. You read on. Whereas most of us stop reading at the first use of the word 'splendid' or 'marvellous' in a review.
In the streets and in society I am almost invariablycheap and dissipated, my life is unspeakably mean.No amount of gold or respectability would in the leastredeem it,-- dining with the Governor or a member of Congress!!But alone in the distant woods or fields,in unpretending sprout-lands or pastures tracked by rabbits,even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day, like this,when a villager would be thinking of his inn,I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related,and that cold and solitude are friends of mine.I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalentto what others get by churchgoing and prayer.I come home to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are,grand and beautiful. I have told many that I walk every dayabout half the daylight, but I think they do not believe it.I wish to get the Concord, the Massachusetts, the America,out of my head and be sane a part of every day.
Henry David Thoreau
I've read dozens of interviews and accounts that basically come down to How Poets Do It and the truth is they're all do-lally and they're all different. There's Gerard Manly Hopkins in his black Jesuit clothes lying face down on the ground to look at an individual bluebell, Robert Frost who never used a desk, was once caught short by a poem coming and wrote it on the sole of his shoe, T.S. Eliot in his I'm-not-a-Poet suit with his solid sensible available-for-poetry three hours a day, Ted Hughes folded into his tiny cubicle at the top of the stairs where there is no window, no sight or smell of earth or animal but the rain clatter on the roof bows him to the page, Pablo Neruda who grandly declared poetry should only ever be handwritten, and then added his own little bit of bonkers by saying: in green ink. Poets are their own nation. Most of them know.
Man was, and is, too shallow and cowardly to endure the fact of the mortality of everything living. He wraps it up in rose-coloured progress-optimism, he heaps upon it the flowers of literature, he crawls behind the shelter of ideals so as not to see anything. But impermanence, the birth and the passing, is the form of all that is actual - from the stars, whose destiny is for us incalculable, right down to the ephemeral concourses on our planet. The life of the individual - whether this be animal or plant or man - is as perishable as that of peoples of Cultures. Every creation is foredoomed to decay, every thought, every discovery, every deed to oblivion. Here, there, and everywhere we are sensible of grandly fated courses of history that have vanished. Ruins of the "have-been" works of dead Cultures lie all about us. The hybris of Prometheus, who thrust his hand into the heavens in order to make the divine powers subject to man, carries with it his fall. What, then, becomes of the chatter about "undying achievements"?
Think of all the stories you've heard, Bast. You have a young boy, the hero. His parents are killed he sets out for vengeance. What next?" Bast hesitated, his expression puzzled. Chronicler answered the question instead. "He finds help. A clever talking squirrel. An old drunken swordsman. A mad hermit in the woods. That sort of thing." Kvothe nodded. "Exactly! He finds the mad hermit in the woods, proves himself worthy, and learns the names of all things, just like Taborlin the Great. Then with these powerful magics at his beck and call, what does he do?" Chronicler shrugged. "He finds the villains and kills them." "Of course, " Kvothe said grandly. "Clean, quick, and easy as lying. We know how it ends practically before it starts. That's why stories appeal to us. They give us the clarity and simplicity our real lives lack.
The formerly absolute distinction between time and eternity in Christian thought-between nunc movens with its beginning and end, and nunc stans, the perfect possession of endless life-acquired a third intermediate order based on this peculiar betwixt-and-between position of angels. But like the Principle of Complementarity, this concord-fiction soon proved that it had uses outside its immediate context, angelology. Because it served as a means of talking about certain aspects of human experience, it was humanized. It helped one to think about the sense, men sometimes have of participating in some order of duration other than that of the nunc movens-of being able, as it were, to do all that angels can. Such are those moments which Augustine calls the moments of the soul's attentiveness; less grandly, they are moments of what psychologists call 'temporal integration.' When Augustine recited his psalm he found in it a figure for the integration of past, present, and future which defies successive time. He discovered what is now erroneously referred to as 'spatial form.' He was anticipating what we know of the relation between books and St. Thomas's third order of duration-for in the kind of time known by books a moment has endless perspectives of reality. We feel, in Thomas Mann's words, that 'in their beginning exists their middle and their end, their past invades the present, and even the most extreme attention to the present is invaded by concern for the future.' The concept of aevum provides a way of talking about this unusual variety of duration-neither temporal nor eternal, but, as Aquinas said, participating in both the temporal and the eternal. It does not abolish time or spatialize it; it co-exists with time, and is a mode in which things can be perpetual without being eternal. We've seen that the concept of aevum grew out of a need to answer certain specific Averroistic doctrines concerning origins. But it appeared quite soon that this medium inter aeternitatem et tempus had human uses. It contains beings (angels) with freedom of choice and immutable substance, in a creation which is in other respects determined. Although these beings are out of time, their acts have a before and an after. Aevum, you might say, is the time-order of novels. Characters in novels are independent of time and succession, but may and usually do seem to operate in time and succession; the aevum co-exists with temporal events at the moment of occurrence, being, it was said, like a stick in a river. Brabant believed that Bergson inherited the notion through Spinoza's duratio, and if this is so there is an historical link between the aevum and Proust; furthermore this duree reelle is, I think, the real sense of modern 'spatial form, ' which is a figure for the aevum.
I used to read in books how our fathers persecuted mankind. But I never appreciated it. I did not really appreciate the infamies that have been committed in the name of religion, until I saw the iron arguments that Christians used. I saw the Thumbscrew-two little pieces of iron, armed on the inner surfaces with protuberances, to prevent their slipping; through each end a screw uniting the two pieces. And when some man denied the efficacy of baptism, or may be said, 'I do not believe that a fish ever swallowed a man to keep him from drowning, ' then they put his thumb between these pieces of iron and in the name of love and universal forgiveness, began to screw these pieces together. When this was done most men said, 'I will recant.' Probably I should have done the same. Probably I would have said: 'Stop; I will admit anything that you wish; I will admit that there is one god or a million, one hell or a billion; suit yourselves; but stop.' But there was now and then a man who would not swerve the breadth of a hair. There was now and then some sublime heart, willing to die for an intellectual conviction. Had it not been for such men, we would be savages to-night. Had it not been for a few brave, heroic souls in every age, we would have been cannibals, with pictures of wild beasts tattooed upon our flesh, dancing around some dried snake fetich. Let us thank every good and noble man who stood so grandly, so proudly, in spite of opposition, of hatred and death, for what he believed to be the truth. Heroism did not excite the respect of our fathers. The man who would not recant was not forgiven. They screwed the thumbscrews down to the last pang, and then threw their victim into some dungeon, where, in the throbbing silence and darkness, he might suffer the agonies of the fabled damned. This was done in the name of love-in the name of mercy, in the name of Christ. I saw, too, what they called the Collar of Torture. Imagine a circle of iron, and on the inside a hundred points almost as sharp as needles. This argument was fastened about the throat of the sufferer. Then he could not walk, nor sit down, nor stir without the neck being punctured, by these points. In a little while the throat would begin to swell, and suffocation would end the agonies of that man. This man, it may be, had committed the crime of saying, with tears upon his cheeks, 'I do not believe that God, the father of us all, will damn to eternal perdition any of the children of men.' I saw another instrument, called the Scavenger's Daughter. Think of a pair of shears with handles, not only where they now are, but at the points as well, and just above the pivot that unites the blades, a circle of iron. In the upper handles the hands would be placed; in the lower, the feet; and through the iron ring, at the centre, the head of the victim would be forced. In this condition, he would be thrown prone upon the earth, and the strain upon the muscles produced such agony that insanity would in pity end his pain. I saw the Rack. This was a box like the bed of a wagon, with a windlass at each end, with levers, and ratchets to prevent slipping; over each windlass went chains; some were fastened to the ankles of the sufferer; others to his wrists. And then priests, clergymen, divines, saints, began turning these windlasses, and kept turning, until the ankles, the knees, the hips, the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists of the victim were all dislocated, and the sufferer was wet with the sweat of agony. And they had standing by a physician to feel his pulse. What for? To save his life? Yes. In mercy? No; simply that they might rack him once again. This was done, remember, in the name of civilization; in the name of law and order; in the name of mercy; in the name of religion; in the name of Christ.
Robert G. Ingersoll