Lofty Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 86 quotes )
There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling. Every summit seems an exaggeration. Climbing wearies. The steepnesses take away one's breath; we slip on the slopes, we are hurt by the sharp points which are its beauty; the foaming torrents betray the precipices, clouds hide the mountain tops; mounting is full of terror, as well as a fall. Hence, there is more dismay than admiration. People have a strange feeling of aversion to anything grand. They see abysses, they do not see sublimity; they see the monster, they do not see the prodigy.
Why don't you use some sense and try to be more like me? You might live to be a hundred and seven, too." "Because it’s better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees,” Nately retorted with triumphant and lofty conviction. “I guess you’ve heard that saying before.” “Yes, I certainly have,” mused the treacherous old man, smiling again. “But I’m afraid you have it backward. It is better to live on one’s feet than die on one’s knees. That is the way the saying goes.” “Are you sure?” Nately asked with sober confusion. “It seems to make more sense my way.” “No, it makes more sense my way. Ask your friends.
I use this as a paradigm for our whole attitude toward life, what you did was you worked very hard, you try to understand and try to direct these complicated, powerful forces and at the very end of the struggle you've made no progress at all. That upon discovering that, you've raised to a lofty moral height, and you've accepted your fate, and somehow went on.
With much interest I sat watching him. Savage though he was, and hideously marred about the face--at least to my taste--his countenance yet had something in it which was by no means disagreeable. You cannot hide the soul. Through all his unearthly tattooings, I thought I saw the traces of a simple honest heart; and in his large, deep eyes, fiery black and bold, there seemed tokens of a spirit that would dare a thousand devils. And besides all this, there was a certain lofty bearing about the Pagan, which even his uncouthness could not altogether maim. He looked like a man who had never cringed and never had had a creditor.
Even I would be moved by his kindness at times, but he could, just as easily, be malicious and cruel. He was both a spirit of amazing loftiness and an irredeemable man of the gutter. He could charge forward, the optimistic leader, even as his heart writhed in a swamp of loneliness. He lived in his own special hell.
The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.
The room was not a room to elevate the soul. Louis XIV, to pick a name at random, would not have liked it, would have found it not sunny enough, and insufficiently full of mirrors. He would have desired someone to pick up the socks, put the records away, and maybe burn the place down. Michelangelo would have been distressed by its proportions, which were neither lofty nor shaped by any noticeable inner harmony or symmetry, other than that all parts of the room were pretty much equally full of old coffee mugs, shoes and brimming ashtrays, most of which were sharing their tasks with each other. The walls were painted in almost precisely that shade of green which Rafaello Sanzio would have bitten off his own right hand at the wrist rather than use, and Hercules, on seeing the room, would probably have returned half an hour later armed with a navigable river.
Their conversation is like a gently wicked dance: sound meets sound, curtsies, shimmies, and retires. Another sound enters but is upstaged by still another: the two circle each other and stop. Sometimes their words move in lofty spirals; other times they take strident leaps, and all of it is punctuated with warm-pulsed laughter—like the throb of a heart made of jelly. The edge, the curl, the thrust of their emotions is always clear to Frieda and me. We do not, cannot, know the meanings of all their words, for we are nine and ten years old. So we watch their faces, their hands, their feet, and listen for truth in timbre.
It was not man who implanted in himself what is infinite and the love of what is immortal: those lofty instincts are not the offspring of his capricious will; their steadfast foundation is fixed in human nature, and they exist in spite of his efforts. He may cross and distort them? destroy them he cannot. The soul wants which must be satisfied; and whatever pains be taken to divert it from itself, it soon grows weary, restless, and disquieted amidst the enjoyments of sense.
Know what it is to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of today. It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of Baptism; it is to believe in belief; it is to be so little that elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child had its fairy godmother in its soul.
Even there, in the mines, underground, I may find a human heart in another convict and murderer by my side, and I may make friends with him, for even there one may live and love and suffer. One may thaw and revive a frozen heart in that convict, one may wait upon him for years, and at last bring up from the dark depths a lofty soul, a feeling, suffering creature; one may bring forth an angel, create a hero! There are so many of them, hundreds of them, and we are all to blame for them. [...] If they drive God from the earth, we shall shelter Him underground.
What I heard was but the melody of children at play, nothing but that, and so limpid was the air that within this vapor of blended voices, majestic and minute, remote and magically near, frank and divinely enigmatic—one could hear now and then, as if released, an almost articulate spurt of vivid laughter, or the crack of a bat, or the clatter of a toy wagon, but it was all really too far for the eye to distinguish any movement in the lightly etched streets. I stood listening to that musical vibration from my lofty slope, to those flashes of separate cries with a kind of demure murmur for background, and then I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing was not Lolita’s absence from my side, but the absence of her voice from that concord.
Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.
[H]e was soon to be head clerk; it was time to settle down. So he gave up his flute, exalted sentiments, and poetry; for every bourgeois in the flush of his youth, were it but for a day, a moment, has believed himself capable of immense passions, of lofty enterprises. The most mediocre libertine has dreamed of sultanas; every notary bears within him the debris of a poet.
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men. This she has not done deliberately, but little by little and without her knowledge; and her very unawareness only makes her situation all the more tragic.
When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced The rich proud cost of outworn buried age; When sometime lofty towers I see down-razed And brass eternal slave to mortal rage; When I have seen the hungry ocean gain Advantage on the kingdom of the shore, And the firm soil win of the watery main, Increasing store with loss and loss with store; When I have seen such interchange of state, Or state itself confounded to decay; Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate, That Time will come and take my love away. This thought is as a death which cannot choose. But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
Two things significantly distinguish human beings from the other animals; an interest in the past and the possibility of language. Brought together they make a third: Art. The invisible city not calculated to exist. Beyond the lofty pretensions of the merely ceremonial, long after the dramatic connivings of plitical life, like it or not, it remains. Time past eternally present and undestroyed.
She was a grown young woman when she was overtaken by what she supposed to be the climax of her fate. It was when the face and figure of a great tragedian began to haunt her imagination and stir her senses. The persistence of the infatuation lent it an aspect of genuineness. The hopelessness of it colored it with the lofty tones of a great passion.
Have it compose a poem- a poem about a haircut! But lofty, tragic, timeless, full of love, treachery, retribution, quiet heroism in the face of certain doom! Six lines, cleverly rhymed, and every word beginning with the letter S!!” [sic]…. Seduced, shaggy Samson snored. She scissored short. Sorely shorn, Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed, Silently scheming Sightlessly seeking Some savage, spectacular suicide." ("The First Sally (A) or The Electronic Bard" THE CYBERIAD)
I can't bear it that some man, even with a lofty heart and the highest mind, should start from the ideal of the Madonna and end with the ideal of Sodom. It's even more fearful when someone who already has the ideal of Sodom in his soul does not deny the ideal of the Madonna either, and his hear burns with it, verily, verily burns, as in his young, blameless years. No, man is broad, even too broad, I would narrow him down. Devil knows even what to make of him, that's the thing! What's shame for the mind is beauty all over for the heart. Can there be beauty in Sodom? Believe me, for the vast majority of people, that's just where beauty lies--did you know that secret? The terrible thing is that beauty is not only fearful but also mysterious. Here the devil is struggling with God, and the battlefield is the human heart. But, anyway, why kick against the pricks?
Sir," returned Mrs. Sparsit, " I cannot say that i have heard him precisely snore, and therefore must not make that statement. But on winter evenings, when he has fallen asleep at his table, I have heard him, what I should prefer to describe as partially choke. I have heard him on such occasions produce sounds of a nature similar to what may be heard in dutch clocks. Not," said Mrs. Sparsit, with a lofty sense of giving strict evidence, " That I would convey any imputation on his moral character. Far from it.