Desolation

The passions and capacities of our nature are foundations of power, happiness and glory; but if we turn them into occasions and sources of self-indulgence, the structure itself falls, and buries everything in its overwhelming desolation.

Power may justly be compared to a great river; while kept within its bounds it is both beautiful and useful, but when it overflows its banks, it brings destruction and desolation to all in its way.

The life of a godly man is like a river, not like a stagnant pool or a dead sea. I is ever in motion, sometimes sparkling in the sunbeam, and sometimes shivering in the clouds; sometimes chanting through scenery as beautiful as Eden, and sometimes moaning through districts of miserable desolation; sometimes clear as the day, and sometimes black as the night. Still it is ever moving to its ocean destiny - progress is its law, infinitude is its home.

The first thing I remember about the world – and I pray it may be the last – is that I was a stranger in it. This feeling, which everyone has in some degree, and which at once the glory and desolation of homo sapiens, provides the only thread of consistency that I can see in my life.

The most tragic thing in the world and in life... is love. Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion; love is consolation in desolation; it is the sole medicine against death, for it is death's brother.

Tragedy seems to consist in temperament, not in events. There are natures so doomed that no prosperity can soothe their ragged and disheveled desolation.

Hell is oneself. Hell is alone, and the other figures in it merely projections. There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to. One is always alone... the final desolation of solitude in the phantasmal world of imagination, shuffling memories, and desires.

It always strikes me, and it is very peculiar, that, whenever we see the image of indescribable and unutterable desolation - of loneliness, poverty, and misery, the end and extreme of things - the thought of God comes into one's mind.

Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than to submit to the desolation of an empty abundance. It is a strange part of the other America that one finds in the intellectual slums.

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. Arrival often brings nothing but a sense of desolation and disappointment.

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. Arrival often brings nothing but a sense of desolation and disappointment.

When they make a desolation they call it peace.

Which of us were fortunate--who can tell? For you there is silence and cold twilight drooping in awful desolation over those motionless lands. For us sunlight and the sound of women's voices, song and hope and laughter, despair, gaiety, love--life.

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones, when small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them; ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one;

We might well believe that the law of universal gravitation whereby each physical reality attracts and is attracted to every other physical reality has its correspondence in the hidden or overt attraction of all human beings and all human societies to each other. This attraction takes place within a functional balance of tensions whereby each is sustained in its existence by all the others even as each sustains the others in existence. This seems to be demonstrated in the extensive and continuing efforts of humans to encounter each other and to establish a universal network of communication throughout the human order.

A forty years' experience of popular assemblies has taught me that you must give them time for every step you take. If too hard pushed, they balk, and the machine retrogrades.

The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers. ... Happy in the prospect of a restoration of primitive Christianity, I must leave to younger athletes to encounter and lop off the false branches which have been engrafted into it by the mythologists of the middle and modern ages.

Contradictions have always existed in the soul of [individuals]. But it is only when we prefer analysis to silence that they become a constant and insoluble problem. We are not meant to resolve all contradictions but to live with them and rise above them and see them in the light of exterior and objective values which make them trivial by comparison.

It is not for you to say - you Englishmen, who have conquered your freedom so long ago, that you have conveniently forgotten what blood you shed, and what extremities you proceeded to in the conquering - it is not for you to say how far the worst of all exasperations may, or may not, carry the maddened men of an enslaved nation. The iron that has entered into our souls has gone too deep for you to find it. Leave the refugee alone! Laugh at him, distrust him, open your eyes in wonder at the secret self which smolders in him, sometimes under the every-day respectability and tranquility of a man like me - sometimes under the grinding poverty, the fierce squalor, of men less lucky, less pliable, less patient than I am - but judge us not. In the time of your first Charles you might have done us justice - the long luxury of your freedom has made you incapable of doing us justice now.

So with the lamps all put out, the moon sunk, and a thin rain drumming on the roof, a downpouring of immense darkness began. Nothing, it seemed, could survive the flood, the profusion of darkness which creeping in at keyholes and crevices, stole round window blinds, came into bedrooms, swallowed up here a jug and basin, there a bowl of red and yellow dahlias, there the sharp edges and firm bulk of a chest of drawers. Not only was furniture confounded; there was scarcely anything left of body or mind by which one could say, 'This is he,' or, 'This is she.