"What, after all, does the practicalness of life amount to? The things immediate to be done are very trivial. I could postpone themall to hear this locust sing. The most glorious fact in my experience is not anything that I have done or may hope to do, but a transient thought, or vision, or dream, which I have had. I would give all the wealth of the world, and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision. But how can I communicate with the gods, who am a pencil-maker on the earth, and not be insane?"
"Most books belong to the house and street only, and in the fields their leaves feel very thin. They are bare and obvious, and haveno halo nor haze about them. Nature lies far and fair behind them all. But this, as it proceeds from, so it addresses, what is deepest and most abiding in man. It belongs to the noontide of the day, the midsummer of the year, and after the snows have melted, and the waters evaporated in the spring, still its truth speaks freshly to our experience."
"Christianity only hopes. It has hung its harp on the willows, and cannot sing a song in a strange land. It has dreamed a sad dream, and does not yet welcome the morning with joy. The mother tells her falsehoods to her child, but, thank heaven, the child does not grow up in its parent's shadow. Our mother's faith has not grown with her experience. Her experience has been too much for her. The lesson of life was too hard for her to learn."
"The intercourse of the sexes, I have dreamed, is incredibly beautiful, too fair to be remembered. I have had thoughts about it, but they are among the most fleeting and irrecoverable in my experience."
"Certainly for us of the modern world, with its conflicting claims, its entangled interests, distracted by so many sorrows, so manypreoccupations, so bewildering an experience, the problem of unity with ourselves in blitheness and repose, is far harder than it was for the Greek within the simple terms of antique life. Yet, not less than ever, the intellect demands completeness, centrality."
"I was curious, I was avid to know only what I found more real than myself, that which allowed me to glimpse the thoughts of a great genius, or the force or grace of nature left to its own devices, without the intervention of man."
"At a certain age, we have already been struck by love; it no longer develops alone, according to its own mysteries and fateful laws while our hearts stand by startled and passive. We come to its assistance ... Recognizing one of its symptoms, we recall, we bring back to life the others. Since we possess its song engraved in its totality within us, we do not need for a woman to tell us the beginning--filled with admiration inspired by beauty--to find the continuation."
"And yet we constantly reclaim some part of that primal spontaneity through the youngest among us, not only through their sorrow and anger but simply through everyday discoveries, life unwrapped. To see a child touch the piano keys for the first time, to watch a small body slice through the surface of the water in a clean dive, is to experience the shock, not of the new, but of the familiar revisited as though it were strange and wonderful."
"The totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs, from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest lawsof atomic physics or even of pure mathematics and logic, is a man-made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges. Or, to change the figure, total science is like a field of force whose boundary conditions are experience."