Power Quotes (displaying: 61 - 90 of 13350 quotes )

That day in Chartres they had passed through town and watched women kneeling at the edge of the water, pounding clothes against a flat, wooden board. Yves had watched them for a long time. They had wandered up and down the old crooked streets, in the hot sun; Eric remembered a lizard darting across a wall; and everywhere the cathedral pursued them. It is impossible to be in that town and not be in the shadow of those great towers; impossible to find oneself on those plains and not be troubled by that cruel and elegant, dogmatic and pagan presence. The town was full of tourists, with their cameras, their three-quarter coats, bright flowered dresses and shirts, their children, college insignia, Panama hats, sharp, nasal cries, and automobiles crawling like monstrous gleaming bugs over the laming, cobblestoned streets. Tourist buses, from Holland, from Denmark, from Germany, stood in the square before the cathedral. Tow-haired boys and girls, earnest, carrying knapsacks, wearing khaki-colored shorts, with heavy buttocks and thighs, wandered dully through the town. American soldiers, some in uniform, some in civilian clothes, leaned over bridges, entered bistros in strident, uneasy, smiling packs, circled displays of colored post cards, and picked up meretricious mementos, of a sacred character. All of the beauty of the town, all the energy of the plains, and all the power and dignity of the people seemed to have been sucked out of them by the cathedral. It was as though the cathedral demanded, and received, a perpetual, living sacrifice. It towered over the town, more like an affliction than a blessing, and made everything seem, by comparison with itself, wretched and makeshift indeed. The houses in which the people lived did not suggest shelter, or safety. The great shadow which lay over them revealed them as mere doomed bits of wood and mineral, set down in the path of a hurricane which, presently, would blow them into eternity. And this shadow lay heavy on the people, too. They seemed stunted and misshapen; the only color in their faces suggested too much bad wine and too little sun; even the children seemed to have been hatched in a cellar. It was a town like some towns in the American South, frozen in its history as Lot's wife was trapped in salt, and doomed, therefore, as its history, that overwhelming, omnipresent gift of God, could not be questioned, to be the property of the gray, unquestioning mediocre.
From solitude in the womb, we emerge into solitude among our Fellows, and return again to solitude within the Grave. We pass our lives in the attempt to mitigate that solitude. But Propinquity is never fusion. The most populous City is but an agglomeration of wildernesses. We exchange Words, but exchange them from prison to prison, and without hope that they will signify to others what they mean to ourselves. We marry, and there are two solitudes in the house instead of one, We beget children, and there are many solitudes. We reiterate the act of love; but again propinquity is never fusion. The most intimate contact is inly of Surfaces and we couple, as I have seen the condemned Prisoners at Newgate coupling with their trulls, between the bars of our cages. Pleasure cannot be shared; like pain, it can only be experienced or inflicted, and when we give pleasures to our lovers or Bestow charity upon the Needy, we do so, not to gratify the object of our Benevolence, but only ourselves. For the truth is that we are kind for the same reason the reason as we are cruel, in order that we may enhance the sense of our own power; and this we are for ever trying to do, despite the fact that by doing it we cause ourselves to feel more solitary then ever. The reality of solitude is the same in all men, there being no mitigation of it, except in Forgetfulness, Stupidity, or Illusion; but a mans sense of Solitude is proportionate to the sense and fact of his power. In any set of circumstances, the more Power we have, the more intensely do we feel our solitude. I have enjoyed much power in my life.- The Fifth Earl, in Aldous Huxle?s After Many A Summer Dies The Swan