Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Guiseppe
Tomasi di Lampedusa
1896
1957

Duke of Palms, Prince of Lampedusa , Italian Author, Aristocrat

Author Quotes

A man of forty-five years may be believed to still young when he realizes that he has daughters age love. The Prince was suddenly aged. Forgot the miles that ran Hunting, the Jesus Maria I knew cause, current bloom itself at the end of a long and difficult journey. Suddenly he saw himself as a grizzled person accompanying a procession of horse grandchildren Goats Villa Giulia.

What would the Senate do with me, an inexperienced legislator who lacks the faculty of self-deception, essential requisite for anyone wanting to guide others.

All this shouldn't last; but it will, always; the human 'always' of course, a century, two centuries... and after that it will be different, but worse. We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who'll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we'll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.

When a peasant gives me his bit of cheese he's making me a bigger present than the Prince of L…scari when he invites me to dinner. That's obvious. The difficulty is that the cheese is nauseating. So all that remains is the heart's gratitude which can't be seen and the nose wrinkled in disgust which can be seen only too well.

As always the thought of his own death calmed him as much as that of others disturbed him: was it perhaps because, when all was said and done, his own death would in the first place mean that of the whole world?

As always, the account of his death as much as it disturbed calmed the death of others. Maybe because, after all, his death was the end of the world.

At every twirl a year fell from his shoulders, soon I felt back at the age of twenty, when in That very same ballroom I had danced with Stella before I Knew disappointment, boredom, and the rest. For a second, That Night, Death Seemed to him eleven more Something That happens to others. ...

In context this is funny: Tancredi, we passed a beam of wood lying in front of Ginestra's house. Go and fetch it, it'll get you in all the quicker

Love. Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty.

Tancredi and Angelica were passing in front of them at that moment, his gloved right hand on her waist, their outspread arms interlaced, their eyes gazing into each other's. The black of his tail coat, the pink of her dress, combining formed a kind of strange jewel. They were the most moving sight there, two young people in love dancing together, blind to each other's defects, deaf to the warnings of fate, deluding themselves that the whole course of their lives would be as smooth as the ballroom floor, unknowing actors made to play the parts of Juliet and Romeo by a director who had concealed the fact that tomb and poison were already in the script. Neither of them was good, each full of self-interest, swollen with secret aims; yet there was something sweet and touching about them both; those murky but ingenuous ambitions of theirs were obliterated by the words of jesting tenderness he was murmuring in her ear, by the scent of her hair, by the mutual clasp of those bodies of theirs destined to die. . . For them death was purely an intellectual concept, a fact of knowledge as it were and no more, not an experience which pierced the marrow of their bones. Death, oh yes, it existed of course, but it was something that happened to others. The thought occurred to Don Fabrizio that it was ignorance of this supreme consolation that made the young feel sorrows much more sharply than the old; the latter are nearer the safety exit.

Tancredi, in an attempt to link gallantry with greed, tasting himself tried to suppose, in the aromatic forkfuls, the kisses of his neighbor angelica, but at once I realized that the experiment was disgusting and suspended it, with a mind reviving acerca book this fantasy with the pudding.

That solar hue, that variegation of gleam and shade, made Don Fabrizio's heart ache as he stood black and stiff in a doorway: this eminently patrician room reminded him of country things; the chromatic scale was the same as that of the vast wheat fields around Donnafugata, rapt, begging pity from the tyrannous sun; in this room, too, as on his estates in mid-August, the harvest had been gathered long before, stacked elsewhere, leaving, as here, a sole reminder in the color of the stubble burned and useless now. The notes of the waltz in the warm air seemed to him but a stylization of the incessant winds harping their own sorrows on the parched surfaces, today, yesterday, tomorrow, forever and forever. The crowd of dancers, among whom he could count so many near to him in blood if not in heart, began to seem unreal, made up of that material from which are woven lapsed memories, more elusive even than the stuff of disturbing dreams.

The carriage was crammed: waves of silk, ribs of three crinolines, billowed, clashed, entwined almost to the height of their heads; beneath was a tight press of stockings, girls' silken slippers, the Princess's bronze-colored shoes, the Princes patent-leather pumps; each suffered from the others' feet and could find nowhere to put his own.

The young feel sorrows much more sharply that the old; the latter are nearer the safety exit.

Those were the best days in the life of Tancredi and Angelica, lives later to be so variegated, so erring, against the inevitable background of sorrow. But that they did not know then; and they were pursuing a future which they deemed more concrete than it turned out to be, made of nothing but smoke and wind. When they were old and uselessly wise their thoughts would go back to those days with insistent regret; they had been days when desire was always present because it was always overcome, when many beds had been offered and refused, when the sensual urge, because restrained, had for one second been sublimated in renunciation, that is into real love.

To rage and mock is gentlemanly; to grumble and whine is not.

Waking at very early dawn amid all that sweat and stink, he had found himself comparing this ghastly journey with his own life, which had first moved over smiling level ground, then clambered up rocky mountains, slid over threatening passes, to emerge eventually into a landscape of interminable undulations, all of the same color, all bare as despair. These early morning fantasies were the very worst that could happen to a man of middle age; and although the Prince knew that they would vanish with the day's activities, he suffered acutely all the same, as he was used enough to them by now to realize that deep inside him they left a sediment of grief which, accumulating day by day, would in the end be the real cause of his death.

A house of which one knew every room wasn't worth living in.

We were the Leopards, the Lions; those who'll take our place will be little jackals, hyenas; and the whole lot of us, Leopards, jackals, and sheep, we'll all go on thinking ourselves the salt of the earth.

This violence of landscape, this cruelty of climate, this continual tension in everything, and even these monuments of the past, magnificent yet incomprehensible because not built by us and yet standing round us like lovely mute ghosts; all those rulers who landed by main force from every direction who were at once obeyed, soon detested, and always misunderstood, their only expressions works of art we couldn't understand and taxes which we understood only too well and which they spent elsewhere: all these things have formed our character, which is thus conditioned by events outside our control as well as by a terrifying insularity of mind.

For over twenty-five centuries we’ve been bearing the weight of superb and heterogeneous civilizations, all from outside, none made by ourselves, none that we could call our own. This violence of landscape, this cruelty of climate, this continual tension in everything, and even these monuments of the past, magnificent yet incomprehensible because not built by us and yet standing round us like lovely mute ghosts; all those rulers who landed by main force from every direction who were at once obeyed, soon detested, and always misunderstood, their only expressions works of art we couldn't understand and taxes which we understood only too well and which they spent elsewhere: all these things have formed our character, which is thus conditioned by events outside our control as well as by a terrifying insularity of mind.

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

Author Picture
First Name
Guiseppe
Last Name
Tomasi di Lampedusa
Birth Date
1896
Death Date
1957
Bio

Duke of Palms, Prince of Lampedusa , Italian Author, Aristocrat