He lay with a pack of panting dogs on a hill overlooking plains where antelope grazed. He marched with ants, and labored in the rigors of the nest, filing eggs. He danced the mating dance of the bower bird, and slept on a warm rock with his lizard kin. He was a cloud. He was the shadow of a cloud. He was the moon that cast the shadow of a cloud. He was a blind fish; he was a shoal; he was a whale; he was the sea. He was the lord of all he surveyed. He was a worm in the dung of a kite. He did not grieve, knowing his life was a day long, or an hour. He did not wonder who made him. He did not wish to be other. He did not pray. He did not hope. He only was, and was, and was, and that was the joy of it. (Clive Barker, from Sacrament)
“Life is so embarrassing,” he said. “How I love it.” (Robert Boswell, from The Geography of Desire)
“Sometimes I ask myself,” Emmerich said. “What is the function of a murderer? Is he the person you go to in order to confess?” (Don DeLillo, from The Names)
For it is a general rule of human nature that people despise those who treat them well and look up to those who make no concessions. (Thucydides, from History of the Peloponnesian War)
It was the smell of death and destruction and it smelled fresh and lively and hopeful. (A. S. Byatt, from Possession)
I looked through the Gideon Bible in my motel room for tales of great destruction. ‘The sun was risen upon the Earth when Lot entered into Zo-ar,’ I read. ‘Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.’
So it goes.
Those were vile people in both those cities, as is well known. The world was better off without them.
And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. (Kurt Vonnegut, from Slaughterhouse-5)
Turkish influence would have been better for Georgia than Russian influence, because Atatürk took a backward Turkey and made it modern, while Lenin and Stalin took a directionless Russia and made it backward. (Robert Kaplan, from Eastward to Tartary)
Ah, villains, hath that Mortimer escap’d?
With him is Edmund gone associate?
And will Sir John of Hainault lead the round?
Welcome, o’ God’s name, madam, and your son!
England shall welcome you and all your rout.
Gallop apace, bright Phoebus, through the sky;
And, dusky Night, in rusty iron car,
Between you both shorten the time, I pray,
That I may see that most desired day,
When we may meet these traitors in the field!
Ah, nothing grieves me, but my little boy
Is thus misled to countenance their ills!
Come, friends, to Bristow, there to make us strong:
And, winds, as equal be to bring them in,
As you injurious were to bear them forth!
Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice
And could of men distinguish her election,
Sh’ hath seal’d thee for herself, for thou hast been
As one in suff’ring all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards
Hast ta’en with equal thanks; and blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well co-meddled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger
To sound what stop she please.
“And if I offended you, oh I’m sorry, but maybe you need to be offended, but here’s my apology and one more thing …”1
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