There are neither raptures, nor ecstasies, nor transports of bliss in the pleasures of the table; but they make up in duration what they lose in intensity, and are distinguished above all by the merit of inclining us towards all the other pleasures of life, or at least of consoling us for the loss of them.
How to forgive the world for its beauty, which merely disguises its ugliness; for its gentleness, which merely cloaks its cruelty; for its illusion of continuity, seamlessly, as the night follows the day, so to speak- whereas in reality life is a series of brutal raptures, falling upon your defenseless hands, like the blows of a woodman's axe?
Among the poor, the approach of dissolution is usually regarded with a quiet and natural composure, which it is consolatory to contemplate, and which is as far removed from the dead palsy of unbelief as it is from the delirious raptures of fanaticism. Theirs is a true, unhesitating faith, and they are willing to lay down the burden of e weary life, in the sure and certain hope of a blessed immortality.
Lovely & too charming Fair one, notwithstanding your forbidding Squint, your greazy tresses & your swelling Back, which are more frightful than imagination can paint or pen describe, I cannot refrain from expressing my raptures, at the engaging Qualities of your Mind, which so amply atone for the Horror, with which your first appearance must ever inspire the unwary visitor.
The fable runs that the gods mix our pains and pleasure in one cup, and thus mingle for us the adulterate immortality which we alone are permitted here to enjoy. Voluptuous raptures, could we prolong these at pleasure, would dissipate and dissolve us. A sip is the most that mortals are permitted from any goblet of delight.
Amos Bronson Alcott
Death must obliterate all memories and affections and ideas and laws, or the awakening in the next world will be amid the welcomes, and loves and raptures of those who left us with tearful farewells, and with dying promises that they would wait to welcomes us when we should arrive. And so they do. Not sorrowfully, not anxiously, but lovingly, they wait to bid us welcome.
Randolph Sinks Foster
If science exterminates a disease which has been working for God, it is God that gets the credit and all the pulpits break into grateful advertising-raptures and call attention to how good he is. Yes, he has done it. Perhaps he waited a thousand years before doing it. They forget to say that he is the slowest mover in the universe, that his Eye That Never Sleeps, might as well, since it takes a century to see what any other eye can see in a week.
Men of science, osteologists And surgeons, beat some poets, in respect For nature,-count nought common or unclean, Spend raptures upon perfect specimens Of indurated veins, distorted joints, Or beautiful new cases of curved spine; While we, we are shocked at nature's falling off, We dare to shrink back from her warts and blains.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Real orgies are never so exciting as pornographic books. In a volume by Pierre Louys all the girls are young and their figures perfect; there's no hiccoughing or bad breath, no fatigue or boredom, no sudden recollections of unpaid bills or business letters unanswered, to interrupt the raptures. Art gives you the sensation, the thought, the feeling quite pure--chemically pure, I mean,... not morally.
I profoundly admire Aldous Huxley, both for his philosophy and uncompromising sincerity. But I disagree with his advocacy of 'the chemical opening of doors into the Other World', and with his belief that drugs can procure 'what Catholic theologians call a gratuitous grace'. Chemically induced hallucinations, delusions and raptures may be frightening or wonderfully gratifying; in either case they are in the nature of confidence tricks played on one's own nervous system.
[Milton's] argument is (a) St. Augustine was wrong in thinking God's only purpose in giving Adam a female, instead of a male, companion, was copulation. For (b) there is a "peculiar comfort" in the society of man and woman "beside, (i.e. in addition to, apart from) the genial bed"; and (c) we know from Scripture that something analogous to "play" or "slackening the cords" occurs even in God. That is why the Song of Songs describes a thousand raptures...far on the hither side of carnal enjoyment.
C. S. Lewis
But in truth, neither the lonely meditations of the hermit nor the turmulos raptures of the reveller, are capable of satisfying man's heart. From the one we gather unquiet speculation, from the other satiety. The mind flags beneath the weight of thought, and droops in thee heartless intercourse of those whose sole aim is amusement. There is no fruition in their vacant kindness, and sharp rocs lur beneath the smiling ripples of these shallow waters.
I have quitted all forms of devotion and set prayers but those to which my state obliges me. And I make it my business only to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I keep myself by a simple attention, and a general fond regard to GOD, which I may call an actual presence of GOD, or, to speak better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with GOD, which often causes me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes also outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them, and prevent their appearance to others.
Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd, As home his footsteps he hath turn'd From wandering on a foreign strand! If such there breathe, go mark him well; For him no Minstrel raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonor'd, and unsung.
Patriotism Breathes there the man with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, 'This is my own, my native land!' Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd As home his footsteps he hath turn'd From wandering on a foreign strand? If such there breathe, go, mark him well; For him no Minstrel raptures swell; High though his titles, proud his name, Boundless his wealth as wish can claim; Despite those titles, power, and pelf, The wretch, concentred all in self, Living, shall forfeit fair renown, And, doubly dying, shall go down To the vile dust from whence he sprung, Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung.
She gave a shiver, and suddenly clutched her arms about her body. She spoke, Gascoigne thought, with an exhilarated fatigue, the kind that comes after the first blush of love, when the self has lost its mooring, and, half-drowning, succumbs to a fearful tide. But addiction was not love; it could not be love. Gascoigne could not romanticize the purple shadows underneath her eyes, her wasted limbs, the dreamy disorientation with which she spoke; but even so, he thought, it was uncanny that opium's ruin could mirror love's raptures with such fidelity.
When the starry sky, a vista of open seas, or a stained-glass window shedding purple beams fascinate me, there is a cluster of meaning, of colors, of words, of caresses, there are light touches, scents, sighs, cadences that arise, shroud me, carry me away, and sweep me beyond the things I see, hear, or think, The "sublime" object dissolves in the raptures of a bottomless memory. It is such a memory, which, from stopping point to stopping point, remembrance to remembrance, love to love, transfers that object to the refulgent point of the dazzlement in which I stray in order to be.
I was actually permitting myself to experience a sickening sense of disappointment: but rallying my wits, and recollecting my principles, I at once called my sensations to order; and it was wonderful how I got over the temporary blunder-how I cleared up the mistake of supposing Mr. Rochester's movements a matter in which I had any cause to take vital interest. Not that I humbled myself by a slavish notion of inferiority: on the contrary, I just said- "You have nothing to do with the master of Thornfield further than to receive the salary he gives you for teaching his protegee and to be grateful for such respectful and kind treatment as, if you do your duty, you have a right to expect at his hands. Be sure that is the only tie he seriously acknowledges between you and him, so don't make him the object of your fine feelings, your raptures, agonies, and so forth. He is not of your order: keep to your caste; and be too self-respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart, soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be despised.
It may be laid down as a general rule that if a man begins to sing, no one will take any notice of his song except his fellow human beings. This is true even if his song is surpassingly beautiful. Other men may be in raptures at his skill, but the rest of creation is, by and large, unmoved. Perhaps a cat or a dog may look at him; his horse, if it is an exceptionally intelligent beast, may pause in cropping the grass, but that is the extent of it. But when the fairy sang, the whole world listened to him. Stephen felt clouds pause in their passing; he felt sleeping hills shift and murmur; he felt cold mists dance. He understood for the first time that the world is not dumb at all, but merely waiting for someone to speak to it in a language it understands. In the fairy's song the earth recognized the names by which it called itself.
Just at that moment, Lucilla happened to cross the lawn at a distance. At sight of her, I could not, as I pointed to her, forbear exclaiming in the words of Sir John's favorite poet, There doth beauty dwell, There most conspicuous, e'en in outward shape, Where dawns the high expression of a mind. "This is very fine, " said Sir John, sarcastically. "I admire all you young enthusiastic philosophers, with your intellectual refinement. You pretend to be captivated only with _mind_. I observe, however, that previous to your raptures, you always take care to get this mind lodged in a fair and youthful form. This mental beauty is always prudently enshrined in some elegant corporeal frame, before it is worshiped. I should be glad to see some of these intellectual adorers in love with the mind of an old or ugly woman. I never heard any of you fall into ecstasies in descanting on the mind of your grandmother.
We have a soul at times. No one's got it non-stop, for keeps. Day after day, year after year may pass without it. Sometimes it will settle for awhile only in childhood's fears and raptures. Sometimes only in astonishment that we are old. It rarely lends a hand in uphill tasks, like moving furniture, or lifting luggage, or going miles in shoes that pinch. It usually steps out whenever meat needs chopping or forms have to be filled. For every thousand conversations it participates in one, if even that, since it prefers silence. Just when our body goes from ache to pain, it slips off-duty. It's picky: it doesn't like seeing us in crowds, our hustling for a dubious advantage and creaky machinations make it sick. Joy and sorrow aren't two different feelings for it. It attends us only when the two are joined. We can count on it when we're sure of nothing and curious about everything. Among the material objects it favors clocks with pendulums and mirrors, which keep on working even when no one is looking. It won't say where it comes from or when it's taking off again, though it's clearly expecting such questions. We need it but apparently it needs us for some reason too.