We thank Him less by words than by the serene happiness of silent acceptance. It is our emptiness in the presence of His reality, our silence in the presence of His infinitely rich silence, our joy in the bosom of the serene darkness in which His light holds us absorbed, it is all this that praises Him.
Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn New York. Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber as a word was better. But it did not apply to Williamsburg Brooklyn. Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound but you couldn't fit those words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word for it especially on a Saturday afternoon in summer.
(Response to King Erik XIV of Sweden's proposal of marriage:) "[W]hile we perceive... the zeal and love of your mind towards us is not diminished, yet in part we are grieved that we cannot gratify your Serene Highness with the same kind of affection. And that indeed does not happen because we doubt in any way of your love and honour, but, as often we have testified both in words and writing, that we have never yet conceived a feeling of that kind of affection towards anyone. We therefore beg your Serene Highness again and again that you be pleased to set a limit to your love, that it advance not beyond the laws of friendship for the present nor disregard them in the future... We certainly think that if God ever direct our hearts to consideration of marriage we shall never accept or choose any absent husband how powerful and wealthy a Prince soever. But that we are not to give you an answer until we have seen your person is so far from the thing itself that we never even considered such a thing. I have always given both to your brother... and also to your ambassador likewise the same answer with scarcely any variation of the words, that we do not conceive in our heart to take a husband but highly commend this single life, and hope that your Serene Highness will no longer spend time in waiting for us.
Elizabeth I Tudor
They gathered after mass, sang hymns and read. Everyone had grown even more serene; beneath the sisters' kerchiefs it was as if there were no faces. When they met Daryushka - it was as if they bowed down lower. She was walking in the Spirit. Daryushka was entirely serene. She was thinking of nothing, had turned within herself, peering inside; and inside her all was smiling ever so gently. After the storm clear days came, frosty, crackling, clear days. Snow and sky, snow and sky, and the sky was even brighter, whiter, from the snow - and the snow sparkled with blue fires from the sky. Daryushka went down to the river with buckets, to the ice-hole. She went down to the landing alone... Snow, and sky, and brilliance... ("He Has Descended")