Swan Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 83 quotes )
She poured out Swann's tea, inquired "Lemon or cream?" and, on his answering "Cream, please," said to him with a laugh: "A cloud!" And as he pronounced it excellent, "You see, I know just how you like it." This tea had indeed seemed to Swann, just as it seemed to her; something precious, and love has such a need to find some justification for itself, some guarantee of duration, in pleasures which without it would have no existence and must cease with its passing.
"You see, I do a little in this way myself," he explained; "here is my most prized piece." He took from his pocket a snuffbox, which looked to be of eighteenth-century workmanship. Inside the lid was an enamel picture of Leda and the Swan, and when a knob was pushed to and fro the swan thrust itself between Leda's legs, which jerked in mechanical ecstasy. A nasty toy, I thought, but Urky doted on it. "We single gentlemen like to have these things," he said. "What do you do, Darcourt? Of course we know that Hollier has his beautiful Maria." To my astonishment Hollier blushed, but said nothing. His beautiful Maria? My Miss Theotoky, of New Testament Greek? I didn't like it at all.
In the story of Ugly Duckling, when did the Ugly Duckling stop feeling Ugly? When he realized that he was a Swan. Each of us has something Special, a swan of some sort, hidden inside somewhere. But until we recognize that it's there, what can we do but splash around, treading water? The Wise are Who They Are. They work with what they've got and do what they can do.
Talking of being eaten by dogs, there’s a dachshund at Brinkley who when you first meet him will give you the impression that he plans to convert you into a light snack between his regular meals. Pay no attention. It’s all eyewash. His belligerent attitude is simply—" Sound and fury signifying nothing, sir?" That’s it. Pure swank. A few civil words, and he will be grappling you . . . What’s the expression I’ve heard you use?" Grappling me to his soul with hoops of steel, sir?" In the first two minutes. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, but he has to put up a front because his name’s Poppet. One can readily appreciate that when a dog hears himself addressed day in and day out as Poppet, he feels he must throw his weight about. Is self-respect demands it." Precisely, sir." You’ll like Poppet. Nice dog. Wears his ears inside out. Why do dachshunds wear their ears inside out?" I could not say, sir." Nor me. I’ve often wondered.
Never look back, that's what she's told herself. Don't think about swans or being alone in the dark. Don't think of storms, or lightning and thunder, or the true love you won't ever have. Life is brushing your teeth and making breakfast for your children and not thinking about things, and as it turns out, Sally is first-rate at all of this. She gets things done and done on time.
And this tenderness was not like. That which a certain poet. At the beginning of the century called true. And, for some reason, quiet. No, not at all. It rang out, like the first waterfall, It crunched like the crust of bluish ice. And it prayed with a swanlike voice, And it broke down right before our eyes.
Cheating is easy. There's no swank to infidelity. To borrow against the trust someone has placed in you costs nothing at first. You get away with it, you take a little more and a little more until there is no more to draw on. Oddly, your hands should be full with all that taking but when you open them there's nothing there.
Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria:1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable ... They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser; they do not make you feel they are conferring a great benefit on you when they live with you, and they don't make a scandal when they leave. (...)2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye. (...)3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts.4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors. (...)5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted ... that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false. (...)6) They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken [judicial orator], the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar ... They regard prases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' -- the sort of thing one only hears from [very minor journalists] -- as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in (...) True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight ... As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one. (...)7) If they do possess talent, they value it ... They take pride in it ... they know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits. (...)8) They work at developing their aesthetic sensibility ... Civilized people don't simply obey their baser instincts ... they require mens sana in corpore sano. And so on. That's what civilized people are like ... Reading Pickwick and learning a speech from Faust by heart is not enough if your aim is to become a truly civilized person and not to sink below the level of your surroundings.[From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886]
Tie your heart at night to mine, love, and both will defeat the darknesslike twin drums beating in the forestagainst the heavy wall of wet leaves. Night crossing: black coal of dreamthat cuts the thread of earthly orbswith the punctuality of a headlong trainthat pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly. Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement, to the grip on life that beats in your breast, with the wings of a submerged swan, So that our dream might replyto the sky's questioning starswith one key, one door closed to shadow.
It was with an unusual intensity of pleasure, a pleasure destined to have a lasting effect on him, that Swann remarked Odette's resemblance to the Zipporah of that Alessandro de Mariano to whom more people willingly give his popular surname, Botticelli, now that it suggests not so much the actual work of the Master as that false and banal conception of it which has of late obtained common currency.
It's a wonder they can sit down at all, and when they walk, nothing touches their legs under the billowing skirts, except their shifts and stockings. They are like swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or else like the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house, when I was little, before I ever made the long sad journey across the ocean. They were bell-shaped and ruffled, gracefully waving and lovely under the sea; but if they washed up on the beach and dried out in the sun there was nothing left of them. And that is what the ladies are like: mostly water.