Country Quotes (displaying: 61 - 90 of 9736 quotes )

Nature had once produced an Englishman whose domed head had been a hive of words; a man who had only to breathe on any particle of his stupendous vocabulary to have that particle live and expand and throw out tremulous tentacles until it became a complex image with a pulsing brain and correlated limbs. Three centuries later, another man, in another country, was trying to render these rhythms and metaphors in a different tongue. This process entailed a prodigious amount of labour, for the necessity of which no real reason could be given. It was as if someone, having seen a certain oak tree (further called Individual T) growing in a certain land and casting its own unique shadow on the green and brown ground, had proceeded to erect in his garden a prodigiously intricate piece of machinery which in itself was as unlike that or any other tree as the translator's inspiration and language were unlike those of the original author, but which, by means of ingenious combination of parts, light effects, breeze-engendering engines, would, when completed, cast a shadow exactly similar to that of Individual T - the same outline, changing in the same manner, with the same double and single spots of sun rippling in the same position, at the same hour of the day. From a practical point of view, such a waste of time and material (those headaches, those midnight triumphs that turn out to be disasters in the sober light of morning!) was almost criminally absurd, since the greatest masterpiece of imitation presupposed a voluntary limitation of thought, in submission to another man's genius.
A war always comes to someone else. In Salinas we were aware that the United States was the greatest and most powerful nation in the world. Every American was a rifleman by birth, and one American was worth ten or twenty foreigners in a fight. Pershin?s expedition into Mexico after Villa had exploded one of our myths for a little while. We had truly believed that Mexicans ca?t shoot straight and besides were lazy and stupid. When our own Troop C came wearily back from the border they said that none of this was true ?] Somehow we did?t connect Germans with Mexicans. We went right back to our own myths. One American was as good as twenty Germans. This being true, we had only to act in a stern manner to bring the Kaiser to heel. He would?t dare interfere with our trade--but he did. He would?t stick out his neck and and sink our ships--and he did. It was stupid, but he did, and so there was nothing for it but to fight him. The war, at first anyway, was for other people. We, I, my family and friends, had kind of bleacher seats, and it was pretty exciting. And just as war is always for somebody else, so it is also that somebody else always gets killed. And Mother of God! that was?t true either. The dreadful telegrams began to sneak sorrowfully in, and it was everybod?s brother. Here we were, over six thousand miles from the anger and the noise, and that did?t save us ?] The draftees would?t look at their mothers. They did?t dare. W?d never thought the war could happen to us. There were some in Salinas who began to talk softly in the poolrooms and the bars. These had private information from a soldier--we were?t getting the truth. Our men were being sent in without guns. Troopships were sunk and the government would?t tell us. The German army was so far superior to ours that we did?t have a chance. That Kaiser was a smart fellow. He was getting ready to invade America. But would Wilson tell us this? He would not. And usually these carrion talkers were the same ones who had said one American was worth twenty Germans in a scrap--the same ones.