Modest Man Quotes

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The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
Confucius
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger.
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
He was not a modest man. Contemplating suicide, he summoned a dragon.' Gothos' Folly
Steven Erikson (The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10))
Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.
Albert Einstein
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Daughter! Get you an honest Man for a Husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the Honour and moral Character of the Man more than all other Circumstances. Think of no other Greatness but that of the soul, no other Riches but those of the Heart. An honest, Sensible humane Man, above all the Littlenesses of Vanity, and Extravagances of Imagination, labouring to do good rather than be rich, to be usefull rather than make a show, living in a modest Simplicity clearly within his Means and free from Debts or Obligations, is really the most respectable Man in Society, makes himself and all about him the most happy.
John Adams (Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife)
Marginalia Sometimes the notes are ferocious, skirmishes against the author raging along the borders of every page in tiny black script. If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head. Other comments are more offhand, dismissive - Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" - that kind of thing. I remember once looking up from my reading, my thumb as a bookmark, trying to imagine what the person must look like who wrote "Don't be a ninny" alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson. Students are more modest needing to leave only their splayed footprints along the shore of the page. One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's. Another notes the presence of "Irony" fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal. Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers, Hands cupped around their mouths. Absolutely," they shout to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin. Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!" Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points rain down along the sidelines. And if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written "Man vs. Nature" in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward. We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge. Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria jotted along the borders of the Gospels brief asides about the pains of copying, a bird singing near their window, or the sunlight that illuminated their page- anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves. And you have not read Joshua Reynolds, they say, until you have read him enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling. Yet the one I think of most often, the one that dangles from me like a locket, was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer. I was just beginning high school then, reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room, and I cannot tell you how vastly my loneliness was deepened, how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed, when I found on one page A few greasy looking smears and next to them, written in soft pencil- by a beautiful girl, I could tell, whom I would never meet- Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.
Billy Collins (Picnic, Lightning)
Reading list (1972 edition)[edit] 1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus – Tragedies 4. Sophocles – Tragedies 5. Herodotus – Histories 6. Euripides – Tragedies 7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes – Comedies 10. Plato – Dialogues 11. Aristotle – Works 12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid – Elements 14. Archimedes – Works 15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections 16. Cicero – Works 17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil – Works 19. Horace – Works 20. Livy – History of Rome 21. Ovid – Works 22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy – Almagest 27. Lucian – Works 28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations 29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus – The Enneads 32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt Njál 36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks 40. Niccolò Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More – Utopia 44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. François Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays 48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan 57. René Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton – Works 59. Molière – Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics 63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve – The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
It seems to be the fashion nowadays for a girl to behave as much like a man as possible. Well, I won't! I'll make the best of being a girl and be as nice a specimen as I can: sweet and modest, a dear, dainty thing with clothes smelling all sweet and violety, a soft voice, and pretty, womanly ways. Since I'm a girl, I prefer to be a real one!
Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
You are a sick, sick man,” I told him. “Thank you,” Ben replied, looking modest.
Patricia Briggs (Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, #5))
Lord, if I thought you were listening, I'd pray for this above all: that any church set up in your name should remain poor, and powerless, and modest. That it should wield no authority except that of love. That it should never cast anyone out. That it should own no property and make no laws. That it should not condemn, but only forgive.
Philip Pullman (The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ)
Virtue is under certain circumstances merely an honorable form of stupidity: who could be ill-disposed toward it on that account? And this kind of virtue has not been outlived even today. A kind of sturdy peasant simplicity, which, however, is possible in all classes and can be encountered only with respect and a smile, believes even today that everything is in good hands, namely in the "hands of God"; and when it maintains this proportion with the same modest certainty as it would that two and two make four, we others certainly refrain from contradicting. Why disturb THIS pure foolishness? Why darken it with our worries about man, people, goal, future? And even if we wanted to do it, we could not. They project their own honorable stupidity and goodness into the heart of things (the old God, deus myops, still lives among them!); we others — we read something else into the heart of things: our own enigmatic nature, our contradictions, our deeper, more painful, more mistrustful wisdom.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Will to Power)
It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from the hands of opportunity;
Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde[Illustrated])
I looked about me. Luminous points glowed in the darkness. Cigarettes punctuated the humble meditations of worn old clerks. I heard them talking to one another in murmurs and whispers. They talked about illness, money, shabby domestic cares. And suddenly I had a vision of the face of destiny. Old bureaucrat, my comrade, it is not you who are to blame. No one ever helped you to escape. You, like a termite, built your peace by blocking up with cement every chink and cranny through which the light might pierce. You rolled yourself up into a ball in your genteel security, in routine, in the stifling conventions of provincial life, raising a modest rampart against the winds and the tides and the stars. You have chosen not to be perturbed by great problems, having trouble enough to forget your own fate as a man. You are not the dweller upon an errant planet and do not ask yourself questions to which there are no answers. Nobody grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time. Now the clay of which you were shaped has dried and hardened, and naught in you will ever awaken the sleeping musician, the poet, the astronomer that possibly inhabited you in the beginning.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Wind, Sand and Stars)
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Ito finally, who had been keeping very quiet
up to this point.
“Indeed. How much will it cost?” asked Brown
“About twenty million Interplanetary Credits,” said Demba. “A modest investment for
a man of your means.”
“Indeed,” said Brown again. That was all the money he had, which started to strike
him as strange, when his thoughts were interrupted.
“We’ll arrange a visit to the mine,” said Ito. “Show you the place itself.”
“Indeed,” said Brown. Or had he said that? The strange waking memory he had fallen
into started to become repetitive. Reality started to flow back in.
Diamonds, thought Brown. All those diamonds in that mine.
Max Nowaz (The Arbitrator)
Happiness--a small-scale, endearing, harmonious happiness--surely dwelt here beneath the low-powered lamps in the tiny rooms of these houses. A small-scale happiness and a modest harmony: let a man cry out, let him rage, let him howl with grief with all the power of which he was capable, what more than these could he ever hope to gain in this life?
Fumiko Enchi (The Waiting Years)
What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition and settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility.
William Shakespeare
I did not understand that she was hiding her feelings under irony, that this is usually the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded, and that their pride makes them refuse to surrender till the last moment and shrink from giving expression to their feelings before you. to have guessed the truth from the timidity with which she had repeatedly approached her sarcasm, only bringing herself to utter it at last with an effort.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
I sought a soul that might resemble mine, and I could not find it. I scanned all the crannies of the earth: my perseverance was useless. Yet I could not remain alone. There had to be someone who would approve of my character; there had to be someone with the same ideas as myself. It was morning. The sun in all his magnificence rose on the horizon, and behold, there also appeared before my eyes a young man whose presence made flowers grow as he passed. He approached me and held out his hand: “I have come to you, you who seek me. Let us give thanks for this happy day.” But I replied: “Go! I did not summon you. I do not need your friendship… .” It was evening. Night was beginning to spread the blackness of her veil over nature. A beautiful woman whom I could scarcely discern also exerted her bewitching sway upon me and looked at me with compassion. She did not, however, dare speak to me. I said: “Come closer that I may discern your features clearly, for at this distance the starlight is not strong enough to illumine them.” Then, with modest demeanour, eyes lowered, she crossed the greensward and reached my side. I said as soon as I saw her: “I perceive that goodness and justice have dwelt in your heart: we could not live together. Now you are admiring my good looks which have bowled over more than one woman. But sooner or later you would regret having consecrated your love to me, for you do not know my soul. Not that I shall be unfaithful to you: she who devotes herself to me with so much abandon and trust — with the same trust and abandon do I devote myself to her. But get this into your head and never forget it: wolves and lambs look not on one another with gentle eyes.” What then did I need, I who rejected with disgust what was most beautiful in humanity!
Comte de Lautréamont (Maldoror and the Complete Works)
Mr. Attlee is a very modest man. Indeed he has a lot to be modest about.
Winston S. Churchill
Nothing humbles a beautiful woman better than not being wanted by a man whose girlfriend or wife is ugly (or not as beautiful as she is).
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
If a man says: “But I realize that my natural endowments are mediocre—shall I then suffer, be ashamed, have an inferiority complex?” The answer is: “In the basic, crucial sphere, the sphere of morality and action, it is not your endowments that matter, but what you do with them.” It is here that all men are free and equal, regardless of natural gifts. You can be, in your own modest sphere, as good morally as the genius is in his—if you live by the same rules. Find your goal within yourself, in whatever work you are honestly capable of performing. Never make others your prime goal. Demand nothing from others as an unearned gift and grant them nothing unearned. Live by your own rational judgments. Be independent in whatever judgments you hold or actions you undertake, and do not venture beyond your own capacity, into spheres where you’ll have to become a parasite and a second-hander. You’ll be surprised how decent and wonderful a human being you’ll become, and how much honest, legitimate human affection and appreciation you’ll get from others.
Ayn Rand (The Journals of Ayn Rand)
Even a man who makes the most modest pretensions to integrity must know that a theologian, a priest, a pope of today not only errs when he speaks, but actually lies—and that he no longer escapes blame for his lie through “innocence” or “ignorance.” The priest knows, as every one knows, that there is no longer any “God,
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Anti-Christ)
The knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped-off limbs; he is also a demure, almost a maidenlike, guest in hall, a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man. He is not a compromise or happy mean between ferocity and meekness; he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth.
C.S. Lewis
For I must tell you, gentle reader, that Geralt the Witcher was always a modest, prudent and composed man, with a soul as simple and uncomplicated as the shaft of a halberd.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Wieża Jaskółki (Saga o Wiedźminie, #4))
An old man says to his grandson: ‘There’s a fight going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil–angry, greedy, jealous, arrogant, and cowardly. The other is good–peaceful, loving, modest, generous, honest, and trustworthy. These two wolves are also fighting within you, and inside every other person too.’ After a moment, the boy asks, ‘Which wolf will win?’ The old man smiles. ‘The one you feed.’ 3
Rutger Bregman (Humankind: A Hopeful History)
Did you ever notice that women can seem common while men never do? You won’t ever hear anyone describe a man’s appearance as common. The common man means the average man, a typical man, a decent hardworking person of modest dreams and resources. A common woman is a woman who looks cheap. A woman who looks cheap doesn’t have to be respected, and so she has a certain value, a certain cheap value.
Rachel Kushner (The Mars Room)
I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind — that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking. I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious. I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect. I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech — alike for the humblest man and the mightiest, and in the utmost freedom of conduct that is consistent with living in organized society. I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run. I believe in the reality of progress. I —But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.
H.L. Mencken (The Artist: A Drama Without Words)
Surely my lord will not hide his beautiful white legs!" exclaimed Infadoos regretfully. But Good persisted, and once only did the Kukuana people get the chance of seeing his beautiful legs again. Good is a very modest man. Henceforward they had to satisfy their aesthetic longings with his one whisker, his transparent eye, and his movable teeth.
H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon's Mines)
He had sunk from his modest elevation as pastoral king into the very slime pits of Siddim; but there was left to him a dignified calm he had never before known, and that indifference to fate which, though it often makes a villain of a man, is the basis of his sublimity when it does not. And thus the abasement had been exaltation, and the loss gain.
Thomas Hardy (Far from the Madding Crowd)
Show up for your own life, he said. Don't pass your days in a stupor, content to swallow whatever watery ideas modern society may bottle-feed you through the media, satisfied to slumber through life in an instant-gratification sugar coma. The most extraordinary gift you've been given is your own humanity, which is about conciousness, so honor that consciousness. Revere your senses; don't degrade them with drugs, with depression, with wilful oblivion. Try to notice something new everyday, Eustace said. Pay attention to even the most modest of daily details. Even if you're not in the woods, be aware at all times. Notice what food tastes like; notice what the detergent aisle in the supermarket smells like and recognize what those hard chemical smells do to your senses; notice what bare feet fell like; pay attention every day to the vital insights that mindfulness can bring. And take care of all things, of every single thing there is - your body, your intellect, your spirit, your neighbours, and this planet. Don't pollute your soul with apathy or spoil your health with junk food any more than you would deliberately contaminate a clean river with industrial sludge.
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Last American Man)
We can all participate in the heritage of man. We all can help to preserve it. And we can all make our own modest contribution to it. We must not as for more.
Karl Popper (Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem: In Defence of Interaction)
It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from the hands of opportunity
Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Lamen though of modest origins was a thoughtful young man who spoke Veretian very well, even if his knowledge of cloth was lacking. ‘I
C.S. Pacat (The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant (Captive Prince Short Stories, #3))
It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that.
Mark Twain
Francis Crozier now understood that the most desirable and erotic thing a woman could wear were the many modest layers such as Sophia Cracroft wore to dinner in the governor's house, enough silken fabric to conceal the lines of her body, allowing a man to concentrate on the exciting loveliness of her wit
Dan Simmons (The Terror)
Language as putative science. - The significance of language for the evolution of culture lies in this, that mankind set up in language a separate world beside the other world, a place it took to be so firmly set that, standing upon it, it could lift the rest of the world off its hinges and make itself master of it. To the extent that man has for long ages believed in the concepts and names of things as in aeternae veritates he has appropriated to himself that pride by which he raised himself above the animal: he really thought that in language he possessed knowledge of the world. The sculptor of language was not so modest as to believe that he was only giving things designations, he conceived rather that with words he was expressing supreame knowledge of things; language is, in fact, the first stage of occupation with science. Here, too, it is the belief that the truth has been found out of which the mightiest sources of energy have flowed. A great deal later - only now - it dawns on men that in their belief in language they have propagated a tremendous error. Happily, it is too late for the evolution of reason, which depends on this belief, to be put back. - Logic too depends on presuppositions with which nothing in the real world corresponds, for example on the presupposition that there are identical things, that the same thing is identical at different points of time: but this science came into existence through the opposite belief (that such conditions do obtain in the real world). It is the same with mathematics, which would certainly not have come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no real circle, no absolute magnitude.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
The prudent man always studies seriously and earnestly to understand whatever he professes to understand, and not merely to persuade other people that he understands it; and though his talents may not always be very brilliant, they are always perfectly genuine. He neither endeavours to impose upon you by the cunning devices of an artful impostor, nor by the arrogant airs of an assuming pedant, nor by the confident assertions of a superficial and imprudent pretender. He is not ostentatious even of the abilities which he really possesses. His conversation is simple and modest, and he is averse to all the quackish arts by which other people so frequently thrust themselves into public notice and reputation.
Adam Smith (The Theory of Moral Sentiments)
But it so happens that everything on this planet is, ultimately, irrational; there is not, and cannot be, any reason for the causal connexion of things, if only because our use of the word "reason" already implies the idea of causal connexion. But, even if we avoid this fundamental difficulty, Hume said that causal connexion was not merely unprovable, but unthinkable; and, in shallower waters still, one cannot assign a true reason why water should flow down hill, or sugar taste sweet in the mouth. Attempts to explain these simple matters always progress into a learned lucidity, and on further analysis retire to a remote stronghold where every thing is irrational and unthinkable. If you cut off a man's head, he dies. Why? Because it kills him. That is really the whole answer. Learned excursions into anatomy and physiology only beg the question; it does not explain why the heart is necessary to life to say that it is a vital organ. Yet that is exactly what is done, the trick that is played on every inquiring mind. Why cannot I see in the dark? Because light is necessary to sight. No confusion of that issue by talk of rods and cones, and optical centres, and foci, and lenses, and vibrations is very different to Edwin Arthwait's treatment of the long-suffering English language. Knowledge is really confined to experience. The laws of Nature are, as Kant said, the laws of our minds, and, as Huxley said, the generalization of observed facts. It is, therefore, no argument against ceremonial magic to say that it is "absurd" to try to raise a thunderstorm by beating a drum; it is not even fair to say that you have tried the experiment, found it would not work, and so perceived it to be "impossible." You might as well claim that, as you had taken paint and canvas, and not produced a Rembrandt, it was evident that the pictures attributed to his painting were really produced in quite a different way. You do not see why the skull of a parricide should help you to raise a dead man, as you do not see why the mercury in a thermometer should rise and fall, though you elaborately pretend that you do; and you could not raise a dead man by the aid of the skull of a parricide, just as you could not play the violin like Kreisler; though in the latter case you might modestly add that you thought you could learn. This is not the special pleading of a professed magician; it boils down to the advice not to judge subjects of which you are perfectly ignorant, and is to be found, stated in clearer and lovelier language, in the Essays of Thomas Henry Huxley.
Aleister Crowley
Great wealth can make a man no happier than moderate means, unless he has the luck to continue in propsperity to the end. Many very rich men have been unfortunate, and many with a modest competence have had good luck. The former are better off than the latter in two respects only, whereas the poor but lucky man has the advantage in many ways; for though the rich have the means to satisfy their appetites and to bear calamities, and the poor have not, the poor, if they are lucky, are more likely to keep clear of trouble, and will have besides the blessings of a sound body, health, freedom from trouble, fine children, and good looks. Now if a man thus favoured died as he has lived, he will be just the one you are looking for: the only sort of person who deserves to be called happy. But mark this: until he is dead, keep the word “happy” in reserve. Till then, he is not happy, but only lucky.
Herodotus (The Histories)
nothing to learning for I have none; nothing to youth for I was old when I began; nothing to popularity for I was hated all round.… This is the modest truth and my friends at Rome call me more god than man.
Barbara W. Tuchman (The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam)
Lord, if I thought you were listening, I'd pray for this above all: that any church set up in your name should remain poor, and powerless, and modest. That it should wield no authority except that of love. That it should never cast anyone out. That it should own no property and make no laws. That it should not condemn, but only forgive. That it should be not like a palace with marble walls and polished floors, and guards standing at the door, but like a tree with its roots deep in the soil, that shelters every kind of bird and beast and gives blossom in the spring and shade in the hot sun and fruit in the season, and in time gives up its good sound wood for the carpenter; but that sheds many thousands of seeds so that new trees can grow in its place. Does the tree say to the sparrow, 'Get out, you don't belong here?' Does the tree say to the hungry man, 'This fruit is not for you?' Does the tree test the loyalty of the beasts before it allows them into the shade?
Philip Pullman (The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ)
The knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped-off limbs; he is also a demure, almost maidenlike, guest in a hall, a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man. He is not compromise or happy mean between ferocity and meekness; he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth. The man who combines both characters – the knight – is not a work of nature but of art; of that art which has human beings, instead of canvas or marble, for its medium.
C.S. Lewis
An arrogant man whose arrogance we see from his own behaviour is more tolerable than a humble man whose humility we hear of from his own mouth.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
One of the first evidences of a real lady, is that she should be modest. By modesty we mean that she shall not say, do, nor wear anything that would cause her to appear gaudy, ill-bred, or unchaste. There should be nothing about her to attract unfavorable attention, nothing in her dress or manner that would give a man an excuse for vulgar comment. When we dress contrary to the rule of modesty we give excuse for unwholesome thoughts in the mind of those who look upon us, and every girl who oversteps these bounds makes herself liable to misunderstanding and insult, though she may be innocent of any such intention.
Margaret Hale
I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds praised most, while the cranks, misfits, and malcontents praised least. The good critics found something to praise in many imperfect works; the bad ones continually narrowed the list of books we might be allowed to read. The healthy and unaffected man, even if luxuriously brought up and widely experienced in good cookery, could praise a very modest meal: the dyspeptic and the snob found fault with all. Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible.
C.S. Lewis (Reflections on the Psalms)
There is little more I can add short of dissecting the man, or going into intimate details such as the modest proportions and slight southeasterly curvature of his manhood.
Félix J. Palma (The Map of Time)
It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from the hands of opportunity; and that was the lawyer’s way.
Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Margaret's attention was thus called to her host; his whole manner as master of the house, and entertainer of his friends, was so straightforward, yet simple and modest, as to be thoroughly dignified. Margaret thought she had never seen him to so much advantage. When he had come to their house, there had been always something, either of over-eagerness or of that kind of vexed annoyance which seemed ready to pre-suppose that he was unjustly judged, and yet felt too proud to try and make himself better understood. But now, among his fellows, there was no uncertainty as to his position. He was regarded by them as a man of great force of character; of power in many ways. There was no need to struggle for their respect. He had it, and he knew it; and the security of this gave a fine grand quietness to his voice and ways, which Margaret had missed before.
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circle ready-made from the hands of opportunity; and that was the lawyer's way. His friends were those of his own blood or those whom he had known the longest; his affections, like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied no aptness in the object.
Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circle ready made from the hands of opportunity; and that was the lawyer's way. His friends were those of his own blood, or those whom he had known the longest; his affections, like ivy, were the growth of time, they implied no aptness in the object.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
Someone A man worn down by time, a man who does not even expect death (the proofs of death are statistics and everyone runs the risk of being the first immortal), a man who has learned to express thanks for the days' modest alms: sleep, routine, the taste of water, an unsuspected etymology, a Latin or Saxon verse, the memory of a woman who left him thirty years ago now whom he can call to mind without bitterness, a man who is aware that the present is both future and oblivion, a man who has betrayed and has been betrayed, may feel suddenly, when crossing the street, a mysterious happiness not coming from the side of hope but from an ancient innocence, from his own root or from some diffuse god. He knows better than to look at it closely, for there are reasons more terrible than tigers which will prove to him that wretchedness is his duty, but he accepts humbly this felicity, this glimmer. Perhaps in death when the dust is dust, we will be forever this undecipherable root, from which will grow forever, serene or horrible, or solitary heaven or hell.
Jorge Luis Borges
To forget the past so easily seems scarcely loyal to oneself. I am so selfishly absorbed in my present self that I have grown not to care a damn about that ever increasing collection of past selves- those dear, dead gentlemen who one after the other have tenanted the temple of this flesh and handed on the torch of my life and personal identity before creeping away silently and modestly to rest.
W.N.P. Barbellion (The Journal of a Disappointed Man)
To be meek, patient, tactful, modest, honorable, brave is not to be either manly or womanly; it is to be humane
Jane Harrison
Beneath the pleasure generated by the juxtaposition of order and complexity, we can identify the subsidiary architectural virtue of balance. Beauty is a likely outcome whenever architects skilfully mediate between any number of oppositions, including the old and the new, the natural and the man-made, the luxurious and the modest, and the masculine and the feminine.
Alain de Botton (The Architecture of Happiness)
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; Let pry through the portage of the head Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a galled rock O'erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean. Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit To his full height. On, on, you noblest English. Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof! Fathers that, like so many Alexanders, Have in these parts from morn till even fought And sheathed their swords for lack of argument: Dishonour not your mothers; now attest That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you. Be copy now to men of grosser blood, And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman, Whose limbs were made in England, show us here The mettle of your pasture; let us swear That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not; For there is none of you so mean and base, That hath not noble lustre in your eyes. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game's afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
At length the Turk turned to Larry: 'You write, I believe?' he said with complete lack of interest. Larry's eyes glittered. Mother, seeing the danger signs, rushed in quickly before he could reply. 'Yes, yes' she smiled, 'he writes away, day after day. Always tapping at the typewriter' 'I always feel that I could write superbly if I tried' remarked the Turk. 'Really?' said Mother. 'Yes, well, it's a gift I suppose, like so many things.' 'He swims well' remarked Margo, 'and he goes out terribly far' 'I have no fear' said the Turk modestly. 'I am a superb swimmer, so I have no fear. When I ride the horse, I have no fear, for I ride superbly. I can sail the boat magnificently in the typhoon without fear' He sipped his tea delicately, regarding our awestruck faces with approval. 'You see' he went on, in case we had missed the point, 'you see, I am not a fearful man.
Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1))
Does it explain my astonishment the other day when Z, most humane, most modest of men, taking up some book by Rebecca West and reading a passage in it, exclaimed, 'The arrant feminist! She says that men are snobs!' The exclamation, to me so surprising - for why was Miss West an arrant feminist for making a possibly true if uncomplimentary statement about the other sex? - was not merely the cry of wounded vanity; it was a protest against some infringement of his power to believe in himself. Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.
Virginia Woolf
My primary pastoral work had to do with Scripture and prayer. I was neither capable nor competent to form Christ in another person, to shape a life of discipleship in man, woman or child. That is supernatural work, and I am not supernatural. Mine was the more modest work of Scripture and prayer- helping people listen to God speak to them from the Scriptures and then joining them in answering God as personally and honestly as we could in lives of prayer. This turned out to be slow work. From time to time, impatient with the slowness, I would try out ways of going about my work that promised quicker results. But after a while it always seemed to be more like meddling in these people's lives than helping them attend to God. More often than not I found myself getting in the way of what the Holy Spirit had been doing long before I arrived on the scene, so I would go back, feeling a bit chastised, to my proper work: Scripture and prayer; prayer and Scripture.
Eugene H. Peterson (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society)
It is, therefore, necessary to be suspicious of those who seek to convince us with means other than reason, and of charismatic leaders: we must be cautious about delegating to others our judgement and our will. Since it is difficult to distinguish true prophets from false, it is as well to regard all prophets with suspicion. It is better to renounce revealed truths, even if they exalt us by their splendor of if we find them convenient because we can acquire them gratis. It is better to content oneself with other more modest and less exiting truths, those one acquires painfully, little by little and without shortcuts, with study, discussion, and reasoning, those that can we verified and demonstrated.
Primo Levi (If This Is a Man • The Truce)
Above the modest house and the palace—the same darkness. Above the evil man and the just, the same stars. Above the child who will recover and the child who will not recover, the same energies roll forward, from one tragedy to the next and from one foolishness to the next. I bow down.
Mary Oliver (Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver)
Conjugal love, like romantic love, wants to be heroic; but it does not limit arbitrarily the scope of this heroism. In its desire to relate itself existentially to heroism, it will find it also in the modest deeds of everyday life, and will transform the tiresome routine of daily duties into golden threads binding oneself closer and closer to the beloved. There is in conjugal love a note of truth which is lacking in romantic love. It is a love that has been tested in the furnace of everyday trials and difficulties and had come out victoriously [...] To be kind and loveable for a moment is no great feat. But to be loving day after day in the most varied and trying circumstances can be achieved only by a man who truly loves.
Alice von Hildebrand
What grief is not taken away by time? What passion will survive an unequal battle with it? I knew a man in the bloom of his still youthful powers, filled with true nobility and virtue, I knew him when he was in love, tenderly, passionately, furiously, boldly, modestly, and before me, almost before my eyes, the object of his passion - tender, beautiful as an angel - was struck down by insatiable death. I never saw such terrible fits of inner suffering, such furious scorching anguish, such devouring despair as shook the unfortunate lover. I never thought a man could create such a hell for himself, in which there would be no shadow, no image, nothing in the least resembling hope... They tried to keep an eye on him; they hid all instruments he might have used to take his own life. Two weeks later he suddenly mastered himself: he began to laugh, to joke; freedom was granted him, and the first thing he did was buy a pistol. One day his family was terribly frightened by the sudden sound of a shot. They ran into the room and saw him lying with his brains blown out. A doctor who happened to be there, whose skill was on everyone's lips, saw signs of life in him, found that the wound was not quite mortal, and the man, to everyone's amazement, was healed. The watch on him was increased still more. Even at the table they did not give him a knife to and tried to take away from him anything that he might strike himself with; but a short while later he found a new occasion and threw himself under the wheels of a passing carriage. His arms and legs were crushed; but again they saved him. A year later I saw him in a crowded room; he sat at the card table gaily saying 'Petite ouverte,' keeping one card turned down, and behind him, leaning on the back of his chair, stood his young wife, who was sorting through his chips.
Nikolai Gogol (The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol)
She’d never had feelings about any man that were important enough to be real romantic love. Affection, lust, yes those things. Instants in time with someone that had touched her, yes that too. But she found no one for romance that she could look up to, that was real , an individual that wasn’t made up of bits and pieces of clichés, buffeted about on the tide of their wants and the opinions of others, no goal, no point of view that they understood themselves why they held it. She had researched him when she was assigned to protect him, she told him. She had not understood in the beginning. “You were a man that had it all! Worthy and courageous military action; you grew up, came of age in war. A successful career, status in letters, a full professorship at a prestigious university if you wanted it. Accrued wealth and income enough to live however you wanted. Beautiful women in your life … you do not show the full measure of your years in either looks or fitness. “You were a full fledged member of the oligarchy, though at a modest level. Yet you threw it all away! You started your novel, became a thorn in the side of the establishment,” she told him. “I didn’t understand until I read the fragment of manuscript that you had Jean Augereau print out for you. You were on a crusade … totally focused! I saw that you were something special then,” she told him, “That’s when you began to become very special to me!
William C. Samples (Fe Fi FOE Comes)
In his Petersburg world people were divided into two quite opposite sorts. One--the inferior sort: the paltry, stupid, and, above all, ridiculous people who believe that a husband should live with the one wife to whom he is married, that a girl should be pure, a woman modest, and a man, manly, self controlled and firm; that one should bring up one's children to earn their living, should pay one's debts, and other nonsense of the kind. These were the old-fashioned and ridiculous people. But there was another sort of people: the real people to which all his set belonged, who had above all to be well-bred, generous, bold, gay, and to abandon themselves unblushingly to all their passions and laugh at everything else.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
Why the devil couldn’t it have been blue?” I said to myself. And this thought—one of the most profound ever made since the discovery of butterflies—consoled me for my misdeed and reconciled me with myself. I stood there, looking at the corpse with, I confess, a certain sympathy. The butterfly had probably come out of the woods, well-fed and happy, into the sunlight of a beautiful morning. Modest in its demands on life, it had been content to fly about and exhibit its special beauty under the vast cupola of a blue sky, al sky that is always blue for those that have wings. It flew through my open window, entered by room, and found me there. I suppose it had never seen a man; therefore it did not know what a man was. It described an infinite number of circles about my body and saw that I moved, that I had eyes, arms, legs, a divine aspect, and colossal stature. Then it said to itself, “This is probably the maker of butterflies.” The idea overwhelmed it, terrified it; but fear, which is sometimes stimulating, suggested the best way for it to please its creator was to kiss him on the forehead, and so it kissed me on the forehead. When I brushed it away, it rested on the windowpane, saw from there the portrait of my father, and quite possibly perceived a half-truth, i.e., that the man in the picture was the father of the creator of butterflies, and it flew to beg his mercy. Then a blow from a towel ended the adventure. Neither the blue sky’s immensity, nor the flowers’ joy, nor the green leaves’ splendor could protect the creature against a face towel, a few square inches fo cheap linin. Note how excellent it is to be superior to butterflies! For, even if it had been blue, its life would not have been safe; I might have pierced it with a pin and kept it to delight my eyes. It was not blue. This last thought consoled me again. I placed the nail of my middle finger against my thumb, gave the cadaver a flip, and it fell into the garden. It was high time; the provident ants were already gathering around…Yes, I stand by my first idea: I think that it would have been better for the butterfly if it had been born blue.
Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)
Our dress affects not only our thoughts and actions but also the thoughts and actions of others. Accordingly, Paul the Apostle counseled “women [to] adorn themselves in modest apparel” (1 Timothy 2:9). The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure. Men and women can look sharp and be fashionable, yet they can also be modest. Women particularly can dress modestly and in the process contribute to their own self-respect and to the moral purity of men. In the end, most women get the type of man they dress for. [Ensign, Mar. 2014, 47-48]
Tad R. Callister
Whatever we have in the glory of man is "away". Those are just not enough before we go "home" to the glory of God.
indonesia123
God’s love is earned by a man through being a scholar and at the same time behaving as inconspicuously and modestly as if he were an ignoramus.
Franz Rosenthal (Knowledge Triumphant: The Concept of Knowledge in Medieval Islam)
The man of the future will be young or he will not be.
Régis Debray (A Modest Proposal: A Plan for the Golden Years)
According to history, quite a few times simple man turned out to be the significant man.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
The true angler is generally a modest man.....
Thaddeus Norris
The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions. —Confucius
S.T. Abby (Sidetracked (Mindf*ck, #2))
It is the mark of a modest man to accept his friendly circle read-made from the hands of opportunity.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales)
Mr. Attlee is a modest man with much to be modest about.
Winston Churchill
Mr. Attlee is a modest man with much to be modest about.
Winston S. Churchill
This, then, is held to be the duty of the man of wealth: To set an example of modest, unostentatious living, shunning display or extravagance; to provide moderately for the legitimate wants of those dependent on him; and, after doing so, to consider all surplus revenues which come to him simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer, and strictly bound as a matter of duty to administer in the manner which, in his judgement, is best calculated to produce the most beneficial results for the community--the man of wealth thus becoming the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.
Andrew Carnegie
What is the age of the soul of man? As she hath the virtue of the chameleon to change her hue at every new approach, to be gay with the merry and mournful with the downcast, so too is her age changeable as her mood. No longer is Leopold, as he sits there, ruminating, chewing the cud of reminiscence, that staid agent of publicity and holder of a modest substance in the funds. He is young Leopold, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself. That young figure of then is seen, precociously manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Clambrassil street to the high school, his booksatchel on him bandolierwise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a mother's thought. Or it is the same figure, a year or so gone over, in his first hard hat (ah, that was a day!), already on the road, a fullfledged traveller for the family firm, equipped with an orderbook, a scented handkerchief (not for show only), his case of bright trinketware (alas, a thing now of the past!), and a quiverful of compliant smiles for this or that halfwon housewife reckoning it out upon her fingertips or for a budding virgin shyly acknowledging (but the heart? tell me!) his studied baisemoins. The scent, the smile but more than these, the dark eyes and oleaginous address brought home at duskfall many a commission to the head of the firm seated with Jacob's pipe after like labours in the paternal ingle (a meal of noodles, you may be sure, is aheating), reading through round horned spectacles some paper from the Europe of a month before. But hey, presto, the mirror is breathed on and the young knighterrant recedes, shrivels, to a tiny speck within the mist. Now he is himself paternal and these about him might be his sons. Who can say? The wise father knows his own child. He thinks of a drizzling night in Hatch street, hard by the bonded stores there, the first. Together (she is a poor waif, a child of shame, yours and mine and of all for a bare shilling and her luckpenny), together they hear the heavy tread of the watch as two raincaped shadows pass the new royal university. Bridie! Bridie Kelly! He will never forget the name, ever remember the night, first night, the bridenight. They are entwined in nethermost darkness, the willer and the willed, and in an instant (fiat!) light shall flood the world. Did heart leap to heart? Nay, fair reader. In a breath 'twas done but - hold! Back! It must not be! In terror the poor girl flees away through the murk. She is the bride of darkness, a daughter of night. She dare not bear the sunnygolden babe of day. No, Leopold! Name and memory solace thee not. That youthful illusion of thy strength was taken from thee and in vain. No son of thy loins is by thee. There is none to be for Leopold, what Leopold was for Rudolph.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
President Nixon presented a bill providing for a modest basic income, calling it “the most significant piece of social legislation in our nation’s history.” According to Nixon, the baby boomers would do two things deemed impossible by earlier generations. Besides putting a man on the moon (which had happened the month before), their generation would also, finally, eradicate poverty.
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
But there is an unbounded pleasure to be had in the possession of a young, newly blossoming soul! It is like a flower, from which the best aroma evaporates when meeting the first ray of the sun; you must pluck it at that minute, breathing it in until you’re satisfied, and then throw it onto the road: perhaps someone will pick it up! I feel this insatiable greed, which swallows everything it meets on its way. I look at the suffering and joy of others only in their relation to me, as though it is food that supports the strength of my soul. I myself am not capable of going mad under the influence of passion. My ambition is stifled by circumstances, but it has manifested itself in another way, for ambition is nothing other than a thirst for power, and my best pleasure is to subject everyone around me to my will, to arouse feelings of love, devotion and fear of me—is this not the first sign and the greatest triumph of power? Being someone’s reason for suffering while not being in any position to claim the right—isn’t this the sweetest nourishment for our pride? And what is happiness? Sated pride. If I considered myself to be better, more powerful than everyone in the world, I would be happy. If everyone loved me, I would find endless sources of love within myself. Evil spawns evil. The first experience of torture gives an understanding of the pleasure in tormenting others. An evil idea cannot enter a person’s head without his wanting to bring it into reality: ideas are organic creations, someone once said. Their birth gives them form immediately, and this form is an action. The person in whom most ideas are born is the person who acts most. Hence a genius, riveted to his office desk, must die or lose his mind, just as a man with a powerful build who has a sedentary life and modest behavior will die from an apoplectic fit. Passions are nothing other than the first developments of an idea: they are a characteristic of the heart’s youth, and whoever thinks to worry about them his whole life long is a fool: many calm rivers begin with a noisy waterfall, but not one of them jumps and froths until the very sea. And this calm is often the sign of great, though hidden, strength. The fullness and depth of both feeling and thought will not tolerate violent upsurges. The soul, suffering and taking pleasure, takes strict account of everything and is always convinced that this is how things should be. It knows that without storms, the constant sultriness of the sun would wither it. It is infused with its own life—it fosters and punishes itself, like a child. And it is only in this higher state of self-knowledge that a person can estimate the value of divine justice.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
Call no man lucky until he is dead, but there have been moment of rare satisfaction in the often random and fragmented life of the radical freelance scribbler. I have lived to see Ronald Reagan called “a useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda” by his former idolators; to see the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union regarded with fear and suspicion by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (which blacked out an interview with Miloš Forman broadcast live on Moscow TV); to see Mao Zedong relegated like a despot of antiquity. I have also had the extraordinary pleasure of revisiting countries—Greece, Spain, Zimbabwe, and others—that were dictatorships or colonies when first I saw them. Other mini-Reichs have melted like dew, often bringing exiled and imprisoned friends blinking modestly and honorably into the glare. E pur si muove—it still moves, all right.
Christopher Hitchens (Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports)
We should not forget that when we limp away afflicted through the spirit, it is not to the factory gates or to the corporate steps we pilgrimage. Instead we go to the sea for its salt. We find shade under the sycamores on the great avenues. Or we go to the rivers where water tells us modestly of its own sickness.
Sarah Hall (How to Paint a Dead Man)
What can be more disgusting than that impudent dross of gallantry, thought so manly, which makes many men stare insultingly at every female they meet? Can it be termed respect for the sex? No, this loose behaviour shews such habitual depravity, such weakness of mind, that it is vain to expect much public or private virtue, till both men and women grow more modest . . . not the indolent condescension of protectorship.
Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Woman)
[339] Vita femina. To see the ultimate beauties in a work-all knowledge and good-will is not enough; it requires the rarest, good chance for the veil of clouds to move for once from the summits, and for the sun to shine on them. We must not only stand at precisely the right place to see this, our very soul itself must have pulled away the veil from its heights, and must be in need of an external expression and simile, so as to have a hold and remain master of itself. All these, however, are so rarely united at the same time that I am inclined to believe that the highest summit of all that is good, be it work, deed, man, or nature, has hitherto remained for most people, and even for the best, as something concealed and shrouded-that, however, which unveils itself to us, unveils itself to us but once. The Greeks indeed prayed: "Twice and thrice, everything beautiful!" Ah, they had their good reason to call on the Gods, for ungodly actuality does not furnish us with the beautiful at all, or only does so once! I mean to say that the world is overfull of beautiful things, but it is nevertheless poor, very poor, in beautiful moments, and in the unveiling of those beautiful things. But perhaps this is the greatest charm of life: it puts a gold- embroidered veil of lovely potentialities over itself, promising, resisting, modest, mocking, sympathetic, seductive. Yes, life is a woman!
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
Without the future there is no present,” my father is saying. “Without the future there can be no hope for redemption, and without hope for redemption there is nothing. A man must plan for the future.” Max smiles politely. That is the sort of talk, he once told me, he used to get from his own father. “They talk about redeeming the world for the future,” Max said. “I have more modest goals. I wish only to redeem a canvas for today.
Chaim Potok (The Gift of Asher Lev)
The humorous self-sufficiency of genius is the unity of a modest resignation in the world and a proud elevation above the world: of being an unnecessary superfluity and a precious ornament. If the genius is an artist, then he accomplishes his work of art, but neither he nor his work of art has a telos outside him. Or he is an author, who abolishes every teleological relation to his environment and humorously defines himself as a poet. Lyrical art has certainly no telos outside it: and whether a man writes a short lyric or folios, it makes no difference to the quality of the nature of his work. The lyrical author is only concerned with his production, enjoys the pleasure of producing, often perhaps only after pain and effort; but he has nothing to do with others, he does not write in order that: in order to enlighten men or in order to help them along the right road, in order to bring about something; in short, he does not write in order that. The same is true of every genius. No genius has an in order that; the Apostle has absolutely and paradoxically, an in order that.
Søren Kierkegaard (The Present Age)
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser. do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on. do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material. this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition. the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence. avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
Rarely has a man been more comfortable with his own greatness. He spent much of his leisure time penning long and flattering portraits of himself, declaring that there had never ‘been a greater botanist or zoologist’, and that his system of classification was ‘the greatest achievement in the realm of science’. Modestly, he suggested that his gravestone should bear the inscription Princeps Botanicorum, ‘Prince of Botanists’. It was never wise to question his generous self-assessments. Those who did so were apt to find they had weeds named after them.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
As soon as we entered I plunged into the giddy whirl of the waltz. That delightful exercise has always been dear to me; I know of nothing more beautiful, more worthy of a beautiful woman and a young man; all dances compared with the waltz are but insipid conventions or pretexts for insignificant converse. It is truly to possess a woman, in a certain sense, to hold her for a half hour in your arms, and to draw her on in the dance, palpitating in spite of herself, in such a way that it can not be positively asserted whether she is being protected or seduced. Some deliver themselves up to the pleasure with such modest voluptuousness, with such sweet and pure abandon, that one does not know whether he experiences desire or fear, and whether, if pressed to the heart, they would faint or break in pieces like the rose. Germany, where that dance was invented, is surely the land of love.
Alfred de Musset (The Confession of a Child of the Century)
...it takes only a modest amount of disruption to create an inordinate amount of mayhem. It's not necessary to wreak all the destruction yourself. Just begin with a fair amount and man's stupidity and selfishness will do the rest.
David Maine (The Book of Samson)
Scuffing her bare feet into slippers, she shrugged into a silk robe, then hesitated, looking down at Perrin. He would be able to see her clearly, if he woke, but to her, he was just a shadowed mound. She wished her mother were there, now, to advise her. She loved Perrin with every fiber of her being, and he confused every fiber. Actually understanding men was impossible, of course, but he was so unlike anyone she had grown up with. He never swaggered, and instead of laughing at himself, he was... modest. She had not believed a man could be modest! He insisted that only chance had made him a leader, claimed he did not know how to lead, when men who met him were ready to follow after an hour. He dismissed his own thinking as slow, when those slow, considering thoughts saw so deeply that she had to dance a merry jig to keep any secrets at all. He was a wonderful man, her curly-haired wolf. So strong. And so gentle.
Robert Jordan (The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, #8))
But what is the use of the humanities as such? Admittedly they are not practical, and admittedly they concern themselves with the past. Why, it may be asked, should we engage in impractical investigations, and why should we be interested in the past? The answer to the first question is: because we are interested in reality. Both the humanities and the natural sciences, as well as mathematics and philosophy, have the impractical outlook of what the ancients called vita contemplativa as opposed to vita activa. But is the contemplative life less real or, to be more precise, is its contribution to what we call reality less important, than that of the active life? The man who takes a paper dollar in exchange for twenty-five apples commits an act of faith, and subjects himself to a theoretical doctrine, as did the mediaeval man who paid for indulgence. The man who is run over by an automobile is run over by mathematics, physics and chemistry. For he who leads the contemplative life cannot help influencing the active, just as he cannot prevent the active life from influencing his thought. Philosophical and psychological theories, historical doctrines and all sorts of speculations and discoveries, have changed, and keep changing, the lives of countless millions. Even he who merely transmits knowledge or learning participates, in his modest way, in the process of shaping reality - of which fact the enemies of humanism are perhaps more keenly aware than its friends. It is impossible to conceive of our world in terms of action alone. Only in God is there a "Coincidence of Act and Thought" as the scholastics put it. Our reality can only be understood as an interpenetration of these two.
Erwin Panofsky (Meaning in the Visual Arts)
Petecure (n.) Modest cooking; cooking on a small scale. Very few people eat in an epicurean fashion, yet many of them know what the word epicure means. A great many people eat in a simple fashion, and yet no one knows the word for this. Petrichor
Ammon Shea (Reading the Oxford English Dictionary: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages)
Barret thinks- he thinks, briefly- of turning around and leaving the park; of being, this time, the vanisher, the man who leaves you wondering, who offers no explanation, not even the sour satisfaction of a real fight; who simply drifts away, because (it seems) there's affection and there's sex but there's no urgency, no little hooks clasping little eyes; no binding, no dogged devotions, no prayers for mercy, not when mercy can be so easily self-administered. What would it be like, Barrett wonders, to be the other, the man who's had the modest portion he thinks of as enough, who slips away before the mess sets in, before he's available to accusation and recrimination, before the authorities start demanding of him When, and Why, and With Whom
Michael Cunningham (The Snow Queen)
I learned that my new lover was hard, but always good. She did not tease. If you pursued her, she would reveal her sweetest secrets and uncover her hidden places. Yes, she would grant those who came to her by car a measured beauty. There were wonderful things to be seen from the road. Her lesser suitors would jump out of their autos, snapping pictures, trying to save memories before having them, and hurry on. But what can be seen from a road is more enticing than revealing – like a shapely woman whose fleshly mystery cannot be hidden by modest garments but is made more alluring. From the roadside her eyes would invite and challenge: “Will you pursue me?” I did. And though my pursuit cost me a lot – pain, humiliation, hunger and sleepless nights – she was good.
Martin McCorkle (Walk With Me: The Story of One Man's Life with Muscular Degeneration and His 1,700-Mile Walk Through California)
Even a man who makes the most modest pretensions to integrity must know that a theologian, a priest, a pope of today not only errs when he speaks, but actually lies— and that he no longer escapes blame for his lie through “innocence” or “ignorance.” The priest knows, as every one knows, that there is no longer any “God,” or any “sinner,” or any “Saviour”— that “free will” and the “moral order of the world” are lies —: serious reflection, the profound self-conquest of the spirit, allow no man to pretend that he does not know it. . . . All the ideas of the church are now recognized for what they are — as the worst counterfeits in existence, invented to debase nature and all natural values; the priest himself is seen as he actually is — as the most dangerous form of parasite, as the venomous spider of creation. . . . We know, our conscience now knows — just what the real value of all those sinister inventions of priest and church has been and what ends they have served, with their debasement of humanity to a state of self-pollution, the very sight of which excites loathing — the concepts “the other world,” “the last judgment,” “the immortality of the soul,” the “soul” itself: they are all merely so many instruments of torture, systems of cruelty, whereby the priest becomes master and remains master. . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Anti-Christ)
For this end Africa needs a new type of citizen, a dedicated, modest, honest and informed man. A man submerges self in service to the nation and mankind. A man who abhors greed and detests vanity. A new type of man whose humility is his strength and whose integrity is his greatness
Kwame Nkrumah (Africa Must Unite)
How many ills, how many infirmities, does man owe to his excesses, his ambition – in a word, to the indulgence of his various passions! He who should live soberly in all respects, who should never run into excesses of any kind, who should be always simple in his tastes, modest in his desires, would escape a large proportion of the tribulations of human life. It is the same with regard to spirit-life, the sufferings of which are always the consequence of the manner in which a spirit has lived upon the earth. In that life undoubtedly he will no longer suffer from gout or rheumatism; but his wrong-doing down here will cause him to experience other sufferings no less painful. We have seen that those sufferings are the result of the links which exist between a spirit and matter; that the more completely he is freed from the influence of matter – in other words, the more dematerialized he is – the fewer are the painful sensations experienced by him. It depends, therefore, on each of us to free ourselves from the influence of matter by our action in this present life. Man possesses free-will, and, consequently, the power of electing to do or not to do. Let him conquer his animal passions; let him rid himself of hatred, envy, jealousy, pride; let him throw off the yoke of selfishness; let him purify his soul by cultivating noble sentiments; let him do good; let him attach to the things of this world only the degree of importance which they deserve – and he will, even under his present corporeal envelope, have effected his purification, and achieved his deliverance from the influence of matter, which will cease for him on his quitting that envelope. For such a one the remembrance of physical sufferings endured by him in the life he has quitted has nothing painful, and produces no disagreeable impression, because they affected his body only, and left no trace in his soul. He is happy to be relieved from them; and the calmness of a good conscience exempts him from all moral suffering.
Allan Kardec (The Spirits' Book)
The modest truth I speak to thee. If Man, that microcosmic fool, can see Himself a whole so frequently, Part of the Part am I, once All, in primal Night,— Part of the Darkness which brought forth the Light, The haughty Light, which now disputes the space, And claims of Mother Night her ancient place.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust, Part One)
Revere your senses; don't degrade them with drugs, with depression, with willful oblivion. Try to notice something new every day, Eustace said. Pay attention to even the most modest of daily details. Even if you're not in the woods, be aware at all times. Notice what food tastes like, notice what the detergent aisle in the supermarket smells like and recognize what those hard chemical smells do to your senses; notice what bare feet feel like; pay attention every day to the vital insights that mindfulness can bring. And take care of all things, of every single thing there is - your body, your intellect, your spirit, your neighbors, and this planet. Don't pollute your soul with apathy or spoil your health with junk food any more than you would deliberately contaminate a clean river with industrial sludge. You can never become a real man if you have a careless and destructive attitude, Eustace said, but maturity will follow mindfulness even as day follows night.
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Last American Man)
When it comes to specifying the values particular to paganism, people have generally listed features such as these: an eminently aristocratic conception of the human individual; an ethics founded on honor (“shame” rather than “sin”); an heroic attitude toward life’s challenges; the exaltation and sacralization of the world, beauty, the body, strength, health; the rejection of any “worlds beyond”; the inseparability of morality and aesthetics; and so on. From this perspective, the highest value is undoubtedly not a form of “justice” whose purpose is essentially interpreted as flattening the social order in the name of equality, but everything that can allow a man to surpass himself. To paganism, it is pure absurdity to consider the results of the workings of life’s basic framework as unjust. In the pagan ethic of honor, the classic antithesis noble vs. base, courageous vs. cowardly, honorable vs. dishonorable, beautiful vs. deformed, sick vs. healthy, and so forth, replace the antithesis operative in a morality based on the concept of sin: good vs. evil, humble vs. vainglorious, submissive vs. proud, weak vs. arrogant, modest vs. boastful, and so on. However, while all this appears to be accurate, the fundamental feature in my opinion is something else entirely. It lies in the denial of dualism.
Alain de Benoist (On Being A Pagan)
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, Or close the wall up with our English dead! In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility, But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the actions of the tiger: Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favored rage.
Beatriz Williams (The Summer Wives)
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage. "Henry the Fifth.
John Ringo (Unto the Breach (Paladin of Shadows))
A truly big man is always try to be a small man.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
It is an excellent thing to live modestly, shun luxury and wealth and not lust after fame and fortune. Rare has been the wise man who was rich.
Yoshida Kenkō (A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees)
However opinionated, perhaps even high-handed his presentations were, he was unquestionably an ingenious man--that was evident in the stimulating, thought-provoking effect his words had on a highly gifted young mind like Adri Leverkühn's. What had chiefly impressed him, as he revealed on the way home and the following day in the schoolyard, was the distinction Kretzschmar had made between cultic and cultural epochs and his observation that the secularization of art, its separation from worship, was of only a superficial and episodic nature. The high-school sophomore was manifestly moved by an idea that the lecturer had not even articulated, but that had caught fire in him:: that the separation of art from any liturgical context, its liberation and elevation to the isolated and personal, to culture for culture's sake, had burdened it with a solemnity without any point of reference, an absolute seriousness, a pathos of suffering epitomized in Beethoven's terrible appearance in the doorway--but that did not have to be its abiding destiny, its perpetual state of mind. Just listen to the young man! With almost no real, practical experience in the field of art, he was fantasizing in a void and in precocious words about art's apparently imminent retreat from its present-day role to a happier, more modest one in the service of a higher fellowship, which did not have to be, as at one time, the Church. What it would be, he could not say.
Thomas Mann (Doctor Faustus)
At any street corner we may meet a man who utters the frantic and blasphemous statement that he may be wrong. Every day one comes across somebody who says that of course his view may not be the right one. Of course his view must be the right one, or it is not his view. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table. We are in danger of seeing philosophers who doubt the law of gravity as being a mere fancy of their own. Scoffers of old time were too proud to be convinced; but these are too humble to be convinced. The meek do inherit the earth; but the modern sceptics are too meek even to claim their inheritance. It is exactly this intellectual helplessness which is our second problem.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
Let us finally consider how naive it is altogether to say: "Man ought to be such and such!" Reality shows us an enchanting wealth of types, the abundance of a lavish play and change of forms — and some wretched loafer of a moralist comments: "No! Man ought to be different." He even knows what man should be like, this wretched bigot and prig: he paints himself on the wall and comments, "Ecce homo!" But even when the moralist addresses himself only to the single human being and says to him, "You ought to be such and such!" he does not cease to make himself ridiculous. The single human being is a piece of fatum from the front and from the rear, one law more, one necessity more for all that is yet to come and to be. To say to him, "Change yourself!" is to demand that everything be changed, even retroactively. And indeed there have been consistent moralists who wanted man to be different, that is, virtuous — they wanted him remade in their own image, as a prig: to that end, they negated the world! No small madness! No modest kind of immodesty! Morality, insofar as it condemns for its own sake, and not out of regard for the concerns, considerations, and contrivances of life, is a specific error with which one ought to have no pity — an idiosyncrasy of degenerates which has caused immeasurable harm. We others, we immoralists, have, conversely, made room in our hearts for every kind of understanding, comprehending, and approving. We do not easily negate; we make it a point of honor to be affirmers. More and more, our eyes have opened to that economy which needs and knows how to utilize everything that the holy witlessness of the priest, the diseased reason in the priest, rejects — that economy in the law of life which finds an advantage even in the disgusting species of the prigs, the priests, the virtuous. What advantage? But we ourselves, we immoralists, are the answer.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Twilight of the Idols)
No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it. It is only with your own knowledge that you can deal. It is only your own knowledge that you can claim to possess or ask others to consider. Your mind is your only judge of truth—and if others dissent from your verdict, reality is the court of final appeal. Nothing but a man’s mind can perform that complex, delicate, crucial process of identification which is thinking. Nothing can direct the process but his own judgment. Nothing can direct his judgment but his moral integrity.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
the old story of the man who was going to fight a duel the next day. His second asked him, "Are you a good shot?" "Well," said the duelist, "I can snap the stem of a wineglass at twenty paces," and he looked modest. "That's all very well," said the unimpressed second. "But can you snap the stem of the wineglass while the wineglass is pointing a loaded pistol straight at your heart?
Edwin Lefèvre (Reminiscences of a Stock Operator)
As a young man, he was already rather pompous and full of himself, concerned with what he would write and with his early (and, later, perennial) hatred of Ireland and the Irish. When he had still written only a few poems, he asked his brother Stanislaus: “Don’t you think there is a certain resemblance between the mystery of the Mass and what I am trying to do? I mean that I am trying in my poems to give people some kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of daily life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own…for their mental, moral, and spiritual uplift.” When he was older his comparisons may have been less eucharistic and more modest, but he was always convinced of the extreme importance of his work, even before it existed.
Javier Marías (Written Lives)
Caselli was a modest, taciturn man, in whose sad but proud eyes could be read: - He is a great scientist, and as his 'famulus', I am also a little great; - I, though humble, know things that he does not know; - I know him better than he knows himself; I foresee his acts; - I have power over him; I defend and protect him; - I can say bad things about him because I love him; that is not granted to you
Primo Levi (The Periodic Table)
Religion, then, is far from "useless." It humanizes violence; it protects man from his own violence by taking it out of his hands, transforming it into a transcendent and ever-present danger to be kept in check by the appropriate rites appropriately observed and by a modest and prudent demeanor. Religious misinterpretation is a truly constructive force, for it purges man of the suspicions that would poison his existence if he were to remain conscious of the crisis as it actually took place. To think religiously is to envision the city's destiny in terms of that violence whose mastery over man increases as man believes he has gained mastery over it. To think religiously (in the primitive sense) is to see violence as something superhuman, to be kept always at a distance and ultimately renounced. When the fearful adoration of this power begins to diminish and all distinctions begin to disappear, the ritual sacrifices lose their force; their potency is not longer recognized by the entire community. Each member tries to correct the situation individually, and none succeeds. The withering away of the transcendental influence means that there is no longer the slightest difference between a desire to save the city and unbridled ambition, between genuine piety and the desire to claim divine status for oneself. Everyone looks on a rival enterprise as evidence of blasphemous designs. Men set to quarreling about the gods, and their skepticism leads to a new sacrificial crisis that will appear - retrospectively, in the light of a new manifestation of unanimous violence - as a new act of divine intervention and divine revenge. Men would not be able to shake loose the violence between them, to make of it a separate entity both sovereign and redemptory, without the surrogate victim. Also, violence itself offers a sort of respite, the fresh beginning of a cycle of ritual after a cycle of violence. Violence will come to an end only after it has had the last word and that word has been accepted as divine. The meaning of this word must remain hidden, the mechanism of unanimity remain concealed. For religion protects man as long as its ultimate foundations are not revealed. To drive the monster from its secret lair is to risk loosing it on mankind. To remove men's ignorance is only to risk exposing them to an even greater peril. The only barrier against human violence is raised on misconception. In fact, the sacrificial crisis is simply another form of that knowledge which grows grater as the reciprocal violence grows more intense but which never leads to the whole truth. It is the knowledge of violence, along with the violence itself, that the act of expulsion succeeds in shunting outside the realm of consciousness. From the very fact that it belies the overt mythological messages, tragic drama opens a vast abyss before the poet; but he always draws back at the last moment. He is exposed to a form of hubris more dangerous than any contracted by his characters; it has to do with a truth that is felt to be infinitely destructive, even if it is not fully understood - and its destructiveness is as obvious to ancient religious thought as it is to modern philosophers. Thus we are dealing with an interdiction that still applies to ourselves and that modern thought has not yet invalidated. The fact that this secret has been subjected to exceptional pressure in the play [Bacchae] must prompt the following lines: May our thoughts never aspire to anything higher than laws! What does it cost man to acknowledge the full sovereignty of the gods? That which has always been held as true owes its strength to Nature.
René Girard (Violence and the Sacred)
The medieval ideal brought together two things which have no natural tendency to gravitate towards one another. It brought them together for that very reason. It taught humility and forbearance to the great warrior because everyone knew by experience how much he usually needed that lesson. It demanded valour of the urbane and modest man because everyone knew that he was as likely as not to be a milksop.
C.S. Lewis (Present Concerns)
Within a few months Mitch Bush, head veterinarian at the National Zoo, and David Wildt, a young reproductive physiologist working as a postdoctoral fellow in my laboratory at the National Cancer Institute, were on a plane bound for South Africa. Bush is a towering, bearded, giant of a man with a strong interest and acumen in exotic animal veterinary medicine, particularly the rapidly improving field of anesthetic pharmacology. Wildt is a slight and modest Midwestern farm boy, schooled in the reproductive physiology of barnyard animals. His boyish charm and polite shy demeanor mask a piercing curiosity and deep knowledge of all things reproductive. Bush and Wildt's expedition to the DeWildt cheetah breeding center outside Pretoria would ultimately change the way the conservation community viewed cheetahs forever.
Stephen J. O'Brien (Tears of the Cheetah: The Genetic Secrets of Our Animal Ancestors)
After that they browsed for a minute or two in a semi-detached fashion. Nick found a set of Trollope which had a relatively modest and approachable look among the rest, and took down The Way We Live Now, with an armorial bookplate, the pages uncut. “What have you found there?” said Lord Kessler, in a genially possessive tone. “Ah, you’re a Trollope man, are you?” “I’m not sure I am, really,” said Nick. “I always think he wrote too fast. What was it Henry James said, about Trollope and his ‘great heavy shovelfuls of testimony to constituted English matters’?” Lord Kessler paid a moment’s wry respect to this bit of showing off, but said, “Oh, Trollope’s good. He’s very good on money.” “Oh…yes…” said Nick, feeling doubly disqualified by his complete ignorance of money and by the aesthetic prejudice which had stopped him from ever reading Trollope. “To be honest, there’s a lot of him I haven’t yet read.” “No, this one is pretty good,” Nick said, gazing at the spine with an air of judicious concession. Sometimes his memory of books he pretended to have read became almost as vivid as that of books he had read and half forgotten, by some fertile process of auto-suggestion. He pressed the volume back into place and closed the gilded cage.
Alan Hollinghurst (The Line of Beauty)
There are a vast number of stars within our galaxy. The number is not so large as the number of cometary nuclei around the Sun but is nevertheless hardly modest. It's about 400 billion stars, of which the Sun is one.
C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)
The airport in Sofia was a tiny place; I'd expected a palace of modern communism, but we descended to a modest area of tarmac and strolled across it with the other travelers. Nearly all of them were Bulgarian, I decided, trying to catch something of their conversations. They were handsome people, some of them strikingly so, and their faces varied from the dark-eyed pale Slav to a Middle-Eastern bronze, a kaleidoscope of rich hues and shaggy black eyebrows, noses long and flaring, or aquiline, or deeply hooked, young women with curly black hair and noble foreheads, and energetic old men with few teeth. They smiled or laughed and talked eagerly with one another; one tall man gesticulated to his companion with a folded newspaper. Their clothes were distinctly not Western, although I would have been hard put to say what it was about the cuts of suits and skirts, the heavy shoes and dark hats, that was unfamiliar to me.
Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian)
We should not forget that when we limp away afflicted through the spirit, it is not to the factory gates or to the corporate steps we pilgrimage. Instead we go to the sea for its salt. We find shade under the sycamores on the great avenues. Or we go to the rivers where water tells us modestly of its own sickness. I cannot say that I have found peace now. But I have never loved with greater strength than in this place, with its earth the color of verdaccio and its generous fruit.
Sarah Hall (How to Paint a Dead Man)
In this respect our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn't a thing made to man's measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn't always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they haven't taken their precautions. Our townsfolk were not more to blame than others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything still was possible for them; which presupposed that pestilences were impossible. They went on doing business, arranged for journeys, and formed views. How should they have given a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views. They fancied themselves free, and no one will ever be free so long as there are pestilences.
Albert Camus (The Plague)
He(Rahul Dravid) is the intelligent man's guide to what a sportsman ought to be - modest, dependable, well-educated, with the gift of grace under pressure and a perspective that is adult. He is the comfort for those who know they cannot be Tendulkar
Suresh Menon - The Best of Indian Sports Writing
The only public memorials ever raised to the two most tragically linked of this saga’s protagonists are miserable, niggardly affairs. William Minor has just a simple little gravestone in a New Haven cemetery, hemmed in between litter and slums. George Merrett has for years had nothing at all, except for a patch of grayish grass in a sprawling graveyard in South London. Minor does, however, have the advantage of the great dictionary, which some might say acts as his most lasting remembrance. But nothing else remains to suggest that the man he killed was ever worthy of any memory at all. George Merrett has become an absolutely unsung man. Which is why it now seems fitting, more than a century and a quarter on, that this modest account begins with the dedication that it does. And why this book is offered as a small testament to the late George Merrett of Wiltshire and Lambeth, without whose untimely death these events would never have unfolded, and this tale could never have been told.
Simon Winchester (The Professor & the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity & the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary)
In his Petersburg world all people were divided into utterly opposed classes. One, the lower class, vulgar, stupid, and, above all, ridiculous people, who believe that one husband ought to live with the one wife whom he has lawfully married; that a girl should be innocent, a woman modest, and a man manly, self-controlled, and strong; that one ought to bring up one's children, earn one's bread, and pay one's debts; and various similar absurdities. This was the class of old-fashioned and ridiculous people. But there was another class of people, the real people. To this class they all belonged, and in it the great thing was to be elegant, generous, plucky, gay, to abandon oneself without a blush to every passion, and to laugh at everything else.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
(On choosing to write the book in third person, and using his name Norman as the nom de plume) NOW, OUR MAN of wisdom had a vice. He wrote about himself. Not only would he describe the events he saw, but his own small effect on events. This irritated critics. They spoke of ego trips and the unattractive dimensions of his narcissism. Such criticism did not hurt too much. He had already had a love affair with himself, and it used up a good deal of love. He was no longer so pleased with his presence. His daily reactions bored him. They were becoming like everyone else’s. His mind, he noticed, was beginning to spin its wheels, sometimes seeming to repeat itself for the sheer slavishness of supporting mediocre habits. If he was now wondering what name he ought to use for his piece about the fight, it was out of no excess of literary ego. More, indeed, from concern for the reader’s attention. It would hardly be congenial to follow a long piece of prose if the narrator appeared only as an abstraction: The Writer, The Traveler, The Interviewer. That is unhappy in much the way one would not wish to live with a woman for years and think of her as The Wife. Nonetheless, Norman was certainly feeling modest on his return to New York and thought he might as well use his first name — everybody in the fight game did. Indeed, his head was so determinedly empty that the alternative was to do a piece without a name. Never had his wisdom appeared more invisible to him and that is a fair condition for acquiring an anonymous voice.
Norman Mailer (The Fight)
The lengths we went to as a society to crush someone of such modest ambitions-Garner's big dream was to someday sit down at work-were awesome to contemplate. What happened to Garner spoke to the increasing desperation of white America to avoid having to even see, much less speak to or live alongside, people like him. Half a century after the civil rights movement, white Americans do not want to know this man. They don't want him walking in their neighborhoods. they want him moved off the corner. Even white liberals seem to, deep down inside, if the policies they advocate and the individual choices they make are any indication. The police are blamed for these deaths, and often rightly so, but the highly confrontational, physically threatening strategies cops such as Daniel Pantaleo employ draw their power from the tacit approval of upscale white voters. Whether they admit it or not, many voters would rather that Eric Garner be dead and removed from view somewhere than living and eating Cheetos on the stoop next door.
Matt Taibbi (I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street)
When you’re addressing power, don’t expect it to crumble willingly. If you’re going to say, “Hey now, look you guys, please look at what you did and look at yourselves and punish yourselves and at least try to square this thing, right?”—well, you’ll make slower progress at that than you would expect. I mean, even the most modest expectations are going to be unfulfilled. Think about it. Today there are still people all over the world who maintain that the Holocaust didn’t happen. There are people in the United States—people among that power echelon we speak of—who maintain that all slaves were happy. There are those power symbols that always say, “Well, it was for the good of the states. It was for the cohesion of the political process.” There are myriad justifications for denial. There are also people who say, “Hey, after thirty years of affirmative action, they’ve got it made. Black people—it’s their own fault if they can’t make it today.” Yeah, well, of course they say that. And they say it not just about black people. They say it in every country. We did something for you people, whoever “you” are. And we think that’s quite enough now. That’s the gist of it: we’ve done something, and we think it’s enough. It may not be perfect, but it damn sure comes close to being okay. Now let us hear you applaud that for a little while. And thank us. And you can take that hat off your head when you come in here thanking us. That’s the way it is. But let’s not get stuck there. We have miles to go before we sleep. We have lots to do, and some things just aren’t going to get done, you know?
Sidney Poitier (The Measure of a Man)
A nation is only an individual multiplied. It makes plans and Circumstances comes and upsets them—or enlarges them. Some patriots throw the tea overboard; some other patriots destroy a Bastille. The PLANS stop there; then Circumstance comes in, quite unexpectedly, and turns these modest riots into a revolution. And there was poor Columbus. He elaborated a deep plan to find a new route to an old country. Circumstance revised his plan for him, and he found a new WORLD. And HE gets the credit of it to this day. He hadn’t anything to do with it.
Mark Twain (What Is Man? and Other Essays, improved 11/28/2010)
Very well, but - who are you?' again asked Gil Gil, in whom curiosity was beginning to get the better of every other feeling. 'I told you that when I first spoke to you - I am your friend. And bear in mind that you are the only being on the face of the earth to whom I accord the title of friend. I am bound to you by remorse! I am the cause of all your misfortunes.' 'I do not know you,' replied the shoemaker. 'And yet I have entered your house many times! Through me you were left motherless at your birth; I was the cause of the apoplectic stroke that killed Juan Gil; it was I who turned you out of the palace of Rionuevo; I assassinated your old house-mate, and, finally, it was I who placed in your pocket the vial of sulfuric acid.' Gil Gil trembled like a leaf; he felt his hair stand on end, and it seemed to him as if his contracted muscles must burst asunder. 'You are the devil!' he exclaimed, with indescribable terror. 'Child!' responded the black-robed figure in accents of amiable censure, 'what has put that idea into your head? I am something greater and better than the wretched being you have named.' 'Who are you, then?' 'Let us go into the inn and you shall learn.' Gil hastily entered, drew the Unknown before the modest lantern that lighted the apartment, and looked at him with intense curiosity. He was a person about thirty-three years old; tall, handsome, pale, dressed in a long black tunic and a black mantle, and his long locks were covered by a Phrygian cap, also black. He had not the slightest sign of a beard, yet he did not look like a woman. Neither did he look like a man... ("The Friend of Death")
Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (Ghostly By Gaslight)
That the man in the bed was the one whom, to my cost, I had suffered myself to stumble on the night before, there could, of course, not be the faintest doubt. And yet, directly I saw him, I recognised that some astonishing alteration had taken place in his appearance. To begin with, he seemed younger,— the decrepitude of age had given place to something very like the fire of youth. His features had undergone some subtle change. His nose, for instance, was not by any means so grotesque; its beak-like quality was less conspicuous. The most part of his wrinkles had disappeared, as if by magic. And, though his skin was still as yellow as saffron, his contours had rounded,— he had even come into possession of a modest allowance of chin. But the most astounding novelty was that about the face there was something which was essentially feminine; so feminine, indeed, that I wondered if I could by any possibility have blundered, and mistaken a woman for a man; some ghoulish example of her sex, who had so yielded to her depraved instincts as to have become nothing but a ghastly reminiscence of womanhood.
Richard Marsh (The Beetle)
Though the people of this modest village were not accustomed to seeing such barbaric men as Varg, it was his inhuman features that had the citizens of Fellenshire Village on edge. Not only was Varg's hair whiter than an old wise man's beard, but he was nearly six and a half feet tall and easily towered over the shaken folk of the village. His enormous stature alone would intimidate even the most hardened warriors, but with Varg's hair paired with his silver eyes, the people of this small town whispered that the devil himself may be walking amongst them.
Brittany Comeaux (The White Wolf (Half Breed, #1))
For what is modesty but hypocritical humility, by means of which, in a world swelling with vile envy, a man seeks to beg pardon for his excellences and merits from those who have none? For whoever attributes no merit to himself because he really has none is not modest, but merely honest.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The World as Will and Idea)
Many a present-day Alcibiades, who laves all the week in the muddy waters of life, comes on Sundays to cleanse himself in the pure stream of Tolstovian ideas. Book-keeping is satisfied with this modest success, and assumes that if it commands universal attention one day in the week, then obviously it is the sum and essence of life, beyond which man needs nothing. On the same grounds the keepers of public baths could argue that, since so many people come to them on Saturdays, therefore cleanliness is the highest ambition of man, and during the week no one should stir at all, lest he sweat or soil himself.
Lev Shestov (All Things are Possible (Apotheosis of Groundlessness))
Because what should I fear facing eternity, if today the wind tousles my hair, freshens my face, blows into the collar of my shirt, flows through my pockets, and rips the buttons off of my jacket, while tomorrow it breaks useless old buildings, uproots oaks, stirs and swells reservoirs, and carries the seeds from my orchard all over the world—what should I fear, I, geographer Pavel Norvegov, an honest suntanned man from the fifth suburban zone, a modest but well-qualified pedagogue, whose thin but still-regal hand from morning until evening keeps turning the empty planet made of the deceptive papier-mâché?
Sasha Sokolov (A School for Fools)
Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will Always to strive for wisdom; opened hand And governed appetites; and piety, And love of lonely study; humbleness, Uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives, Truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind That lightly letteth go what others prize; And equanimity, and charity Which spieth no man's faults; and tenderness Towards all that suffer; a contented heart, Fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild, Modest, and grave, with manhood nobly mixed, With patience, fortitude, and purity; An unrevengeful spirit, never given To rate itself too high;--such be the signs, O Indian Prince! of him whose feet are set On that fair path which leads to heavenly birth! Deceitfulness, and arrogance, and pride, Quickness to anger, harsh and evil speech, And ignorance, to its own darkness blind,-- These be the signs, My Prince! of him whose birth Is fated for the regions of the vile.
Edwin Arnold (The Song Celestial or Bhagavad-Gita: Discourse Between Arjuna, Prince of India, and the Supreme Being Under the Form of Krishna (Religious Classic): Synthesis ... the yogic ideals of moksha, and Raja Yoga)
Landscapes like ours were created by and survive through the efforts of nobodies. That's why I was so shocked to be given such a dead, rich, white man's version of its history at school. This is a landscape of modest, hardworking people. The real history of our landscape should be the history of the nobodies.
James Rebanks (The Shepherd's Life: A People's History of the Lake District)
I will that women adorn themselves in modest apparel," he says, "with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; "But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection." Here he looks us over. "All," he repeats. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. "For Adam was first formed, then Eve. "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. "Notwithstanding she shall be saved by childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." Saved
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
A kind of unspoken grand bargain was forged between the anti-Establishment and the Establishment. Going forward, individuals would be permitted as never before to indulge their self-expressive and hedonistic impulses. But capitalists in return would be unshackled as well, free to indulge their own animal spirits with fewer and fewer fetters in the forms of regulation, taxes, or social opprobrium. “Do your own thing” has a lot in common with “Every man for himself.” If it feels good, do it: for some that will mean smoking weed and watching porn—and for others, opposing modest gun regulation and paying yourself four hundred times what you pay your employees.
Kurt Andersen (Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History)
Christians might return to the foundational book, which as ever is very timely. Jesus preached that it “is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” We should be modest, for “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
I MEAN not to defend the scapes of any, Or justify my vices being many; For I confess, if that might merit favour, Here I display my lewd and loose behaviour. I loathe, yet after that I loathe, I run: 5 Oh, how the burthen irks, that we should shun. I cannot rule myself but where Love please; Am driven like a ship upon rough seas. No one face likes me best, all faces move, A hundred reasons make me ever love. 10 If any eye me with a modest look, I blush, and by that blushful glance am took; And she that’s coy I like, for being no clown, Methinks she would be nimble when she’s down. Though her sour looks a Sabine’s brow resemble, 15 I think she’ll do, but deeply can dissemble. If she be learned, then for her skill I crave her; If not, because she’s simple I would have her. Before Callimachus one prefers me far; Seeing she likes my books, why should we jar? 20 Another rails at me, and that I write, Yet would I lie with her, if that I might: Trips she, it likes me well; plods she, what then? She would be nimbler lying with a man. And when one sweetly sings, then straight I long, 25 To quaver on her lips even in her song; Or if one touch the lute with art and cunning, Who would not love those hands for their swift running? And her I like that with a majesty, Folds up her arms, and makes low courtesy. 30 To leave myself, that am in love with all, Some one of these might make the chastest fall. If she be tall, she’s like an Amazon, And therefore fills the bed she lies upon: If short, she lies the rounder: to speak troth, 35 Both short and long please me, for I love both. I think what one undecked would be, being drest; Is she attired? then show her graces best. A white wench thralls me, so doth golden yellow: And nut-brown girls in doing have no fellow. 40 If her white neck be shadowed with brown hair, Why so was Leda’s, yet was Leda fair. Amber-tress’d is she? Then on the morn think I: My love alludes to every history: A young wench pleaseth, and an old is good, 45 This for her looks, that for her womanhood: Nay what is she, that any Roman loves, But my ambitious ranging mind approves?
Ovid
I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution. I have suffered very little pain from my disorder; and what is more strange have, notwithstanding the great decline of my person, never suffered a moment's abatement of spirits; insomuch that were I to name the period of my life which I should most choose to pass over again, I might be tempted to point to this later period. I possess the same ardour as ever in study, and the same gaiety in company; I consider, besides, that a man of sixty-five, by dying, cuts off only a few years of infirmities; and though I see many symptoms of my literary reputation's breaking out at last with additional lustre, I know that I could have but few years to enjoy it. It is difficult to be more detached from life than I am at present. "To conclude historically with my own character, I am, or rather was (for that is the style I must now use in speaking of myself); I was, I say, a man of mild dispositions, of command of temper, of an open, social, and cheerful humour, capable of attachment, but little susceptible of enmity, and of great moderation in all my passions. Even my love of literary fame, my ruling passion, never soured my temper, notwithstanding my frequent disappointments. My company was not unacceptable to the young and careless, as well as to the studious and literary; and as I took a particular pleasure in the company of modest women, I had no reason to be displeased with the reception I met with from them. In a word, though most men any wise eminent, have found reason to complain of calumny, I never was touched or even attacked by her baleful tooth; and though I wantonly exposed myself to the rage of both civil and religious factions, they seemed to be disarmed in my behalf of their wonted fury. My friends never had occasion to vindicate any one circumstance of my character and conduct; not but that the zealots, we may well suppose, would have been glad to invent and propagate any story to my disadvantage, but they could never find any which they thought would wear the face of probability. I cannot say there is no vanity in making this funeral oration of myself, but I hope it is not a misplaced one; and this is a matter of fact which is easily cleared and ascertained.
David Hume (Essays)
Roy was very modest about his first novel. It was short, neatly written, and, as is everything he has produced since, in perfect taste. He sent it with a pleasant letter to all the leading writers of the day, and in this he told each one how greatly he admired his works, how much he had learned from his study of them, and how ardently he aspired to follow, albeit at a humble distance, the trail his correspondent had blazed. He laid his book at the feet of a great artist as the tribute of a young man entering upon the profession of letters to one whom he would always look up to as his master. Deprecatingly, fully conscious of his audacity in asking so busy a man to waste his time on a neophyte’s puny effort, he begged for criticism and guidance.
W. Somerset Maugham (Cakes and Ale)
Some men, when they do you a kindness, at once demand the payment of gratitude from you; others are more modest than this. However, they remember the favor, and look upon you as their debtor in a manner. A third sort shall scarce know what they have done. These are much like a vine, which is satisfied by being fruitful in its kind, and bears a bunch of grapes without expecting any thanks for it. A fleet horse or greyhound do not make a noise when they have done well, nor a bee neither when she has made a little honey. And thus a man that has done a kindness never proclaims it, but does another as soon as he can, just like a vine that bears again the next season. Now we should imitate those who are so obliging as hardly to reflect on their beneficence” (v. 6).
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Let us be quite clear that the ideal is a paradox. Most of us, having grown up among the ruins of the chivalrous tradition, were taught in our youth that a bully is always a coward. Our first week at school refuted this lie, along with its corollary that a truly brave man is always gentle. It is a pernicious lie because it misses the real novelty and originality of the medieval demand upon human nature. Worse still, it represents as a natural fact something which is really a human ideal, nowhere fully attained, and nowhere attained at all without arduous discipline. It is refuted by history and Experience. Homer’s Achilles knows nothing of the demand that the brave should also be the modest and the merciful. He kills men as they cry for quarter or takes them prisoner to kill them at leisure.
C.S. Lewis (Present Concerns)
When thou hast assumed these names, good, modest, true, rational, a man of equanimity, and magnanimous, take care that thou dost not change these names; and if thou shouldst lose them, quickly return to them. And remember that the term Rational was intended to signify a discriminating attention to every several thing and freedom from negligence; and that Equanimity is the voluntary acceptance of the things
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
She was reading Francis Godwin's Man in the Moone--its man was borne into space in a carriage drawn by swans--when she heard the sound of wheels upon the gravel. Two boxes from Martin & Allestyre were set down on the drive. 'My modest closet plays,' she said. She nearly ran down the stairs--for the recovery of her wayward crates that spring and the preparation of her plays for publication had rekindled inside Margaret a flame she'd feared had gone out. ... But now, in turning the pages, she grew concerned and then incensed: 'reins' where she had written 'veins,' 'exterior' when she had clearly meant 'interior.' The sun went down. The room grew dim. ... 'Before the printer ruined it,' she cried, 'my book was good!' 'Could it be,' he asked, soaking his bread in {lamb's} blood, 'that you were yourself the cause of this misfortune?
Danielle Dutton (Margaret the First)
Yes, Phebe was herself now, and it showed in the change that came over her at the first note of music. No longer shy and silent, no longer the image of a handsome girl, but a blooming woman, alive and full of the eloquence her art gave her, as she laid her hands softly together, fixed her eye on the light, and just poured out her song as simply and joyfully as the lark does soaring toward the sun. "My faith, Alec! that's the sort of voice that wins a man's heart out of his breast!" exclaimed Uncle Mac, wiping his eyes after one of the plaintive ballads that never grow old. "So it would!" answered Dr. Alec, delightedly. "So it has," added Archie to himself; and he was right: for just at that moment he fell in love with Phebe. He actually did, and could fix the time almost to a second: for at a quarter past nine, he thought merely thought her a very charming young person; at twenty minutes past, he considered her the loveliest woman he ever beheld; at five and twenty minutes past, she was an angel singing his soul away; and at half after nine he was a lost man, floating over a delicious sea to that temporary heaven on earth where lovers usually land after the first rapturous plunge. If anyone had mentioned this astonishing fact, nobody would have believed it; nevertheless, it was quite true: and sober, business-like Archie suddenly discovered a fund of romance at the bottom of his hitherto well-conducted heart that amazed him. He was not quite clear what had happened to him at first, and sat about in a dazed sort of way; seeing, hearing, knowing nothing but Phebe: while the unconscious idol found something wanting in the cordial praise so modestly received, because Mr. Archie never said a word.
Louisa May Alcott (Rose in Bloom (Eight Cousins, #2))
The knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped-off limbs; he is also a demure, almost a maidenlike, guest in hall, a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man. He is not a compromise or happy mean between ferocity and meekness; he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth. When Launcelot heard himself pronounced the best knight in the world, ‘he wept as he had been a child that had been beaten’.2
C.S. Lewis (Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays)
Old bureaucrat, my comrade, it is not you who are to blame. No one ever helped you to escape. You, like a termite, built your peace by blocking up with cement every chink and cranny through which the light might pierce. You rolled yourself up into a ball in your genteel security, in routine, in the stifling conventions of provincial life, raising a modest rampart against the winds and the tides and the stars. You have chosen not to be perturbed by great problems, having trouble enough to forget your own fate as man. You are not the dweller upon an errant planet and do not ask yourself questions to which there are no answers. You are a petty bourgeois of Toulouse. Nobody grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time. Now the clay of which you were shaped has dried and hardened, and naught in you will ever awaken the sleeping musician, the poet, the astronomer that possibly inhabited you in the beginning.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Wind, Sand and Stars)
All this and much else besides is merely a form of identification. Such considering is wholly based upon ‘requirements’. A man inwardly ‘requires’ that everyone should see what a remarkable man he is and that they should constantly give expression to their respect, esteem, and admiration for him, for his intellect, his beauty, his cleverness, his wit, his presence of mind, his originality, and all his other qualities. Requirements in their turn are based on a completely fantastic notion about themselves such as very often occurs with people of very modest appearance. Various writers, actors, musicians, artists, and politicians, for instance, are almost without exception sick people. And what are they suffering from? First of all from an extraordinary opinion of themselves, then from requirements, and then from considering, that is, being ready and prepared beforehand to take offence at lack of understanding and lack of appreciation.
G.I. Gurdjieff (In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching)
Why would you do that with me? A simple kiss was enough. What could you be thinking?" "What indeed." He pushed a hand through his hair, more than a little offended at her accusatory tone. "I'm male. You rubbed your... femaleness all over me. I didn't think. I reacted." "You reacted." "Yes." "To..." She shifted her weight from one foot to the other. "To me." "It is a natural response. Aren't you a scientist? Then you should understand. Any red-blooded man would react to such stimulus." She stepped back. She dipped her chin and peered at him over her spectacles. "So you find me stimulating." "That's not what I-" He bit off the rest of that sentence. The only way to end a nonsensical conversation was to simply cease talking. Colin drew a deep breath and squared his shoulders. He closed his eyes briefly. And then he opened them and looked at her. Really looked at her, as though for the first time. He saw thick, dark hair a man could gather by the fistful. Prim spectacles, perched on a gently sloped nose. Behind the lenses, wide-set eyes- dark and intelligent. And that mouth. That ripe, pouting, sensual mouth. He let his gaze drift down her form. There was a wicked thrill to knowing lushness smoldered beneath that modest sprigged muslin gown. To having felt her shape, scouting and chartering her body with all the nerve endings of his own. Their bodies had met. More than that. They'd grown acquainted. Nothing more would come from it, of course. Colin had rules for himself, and as for her... she didn't even liked him, or pretend to. But she showed up in the middle of the night, hatching schemes that skirted the line between academic logic and reckless adventure. She started kisses she had no notion how to continue. Taken all together, she was simply... A surprise. A fresh, bracing gust of the unexpected, for good or ill. "Perhaps," he said cautiously, "I do find you stimulating.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
Yet study after study has shown that most people do think they’re above average along various dimensions, ranging from athletic ability to social skills. And this sort of self-appraisal can firmly resist evidence. One study of fifty people found that on average they rated their driving skill toward the “expert” end of the spectrum—which would be less notable were it not for the fact that all fifty had recently been in car accidents, and two-thirds of them had been deemed responsible for the accidents by police. If there is anything we’re more impressed by than our competence, it’s our moral fiber. One finding among many that drive this point home is that the average person believes he or she does more good things and fewer bad things than the average person. Nearly half a millennium after Montaigne died, science has validated the logic behind his perhaps too modest remark: “I consider myself an average man except for the fact that I consider myself an average man.
Robert Wright (Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment)
I recalled with some discomfort that the man driving the vehicle had invented the sport of volcano boarding, presumably as a way of solving, in one deft move, the problems of the insufficient riskiness of both snowboarding and hanging out on the slopes of active volcanoes. Although I was not sure that I wanted to live forever, I was sure that I didn’t want to go down in a blaze of chintzy irony, plunging into a ravine strapped into the passenger seat of a thing called the Immortality Bus.
Mark O'Connell (To Be a Machine : Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death)
But where's the man, who counsel can bestow, Still pleas'd to teach, and yet not proud to know? Unbias'd, or by favour or by spite; Not dully prepossess'd, nor blindly right; Though learn'd, well-bred; and though well-bred, sincere; Modestly bold, and humanly severe? Who to a friend his faults can freely show, And gladly praise the merit of a foe? Blest with a taste exact, yet unconfin'd; A knowledge both of books and human kind; Gen'rous converse; a soul exempt from pride; And love to praise, with reason on his side?
Alexander Pope (An Essay On Criticism)
When older people ask me, “How have you been so successful after age 65?” I tell them, “Anyone who’s reached 65 years of age has had a world of experience behind him. He’s had his ups and downs and all the trials and tribulations of life. He certainly ought to be able to gather something out of that, something he can put together at the end of his 65 years so he can get a new start.” The way I see it, a man’s life is written by the way he lives it. It’s using any talent God has given him, even if his talent is cooking food or running a good motel. You can reach higher, think bigger, grow stronger and live deeper in this country of ours than anywhere else on Earth. The rules here give everybody a chance to win. If my story is different, it’s because my life really began at age 65 when most folks have already called it a day. I’d been modestly successful before I hit 65. After that I made millions. When they’re about 60 or 65, a lot of people feel that life is all over for them. Too many of them just sit and wait until they die or they become a burden to other people. The truth is they can make a brand new life for themselves if they just don’t give up and hunker down. I want to tell people, “You’re only as old as you feel or as you think, and no matter what your age there’s plenty of work to be done.” I don’t want to sound like I’m clearing my throat and giving advice about how a man can be successful. I’m not all puffed up. My main trade secret is I’m not afraid of hard, back-cracking work. After all, I was raised on a farm where hard work is the way of life.
Harland Sanders (Colonel Harland Sanders: The Autobiography of the Original Celebrity Chef)
I must quote from Dr. Faustus, with which the tragedy ends: "Often he talked of eternal grace, the poor man, and I don't know if it will be enough. But an understanding heart, believe me, is enough for everything." Let us understand these words correctly. They are not proud or arrogant; on the contrary they are desperately modest. We really do not know any longer whether grace is enough, precisely because we are as we are and are beginning to see ourselves as we are. But at a time of overwhelming crisis, the questionable nature of grace, or rather our knowledge that we are unworthy of grace, compels us to understand and love mankind, the fallible mankind that we ourselves are. Behind this abysmal crisis, the archetype of the Eternal Feminine as earth and as Sophia would seem to be discernible; it is no accident that these words are spoken by Frau Schweigestill, the mother. That is to say, it is precisely in chaos, in hell, that the New makes its appearance. Did not Kwanyin descend into hell rather than spend her time with the serene music makers in heaven?
Erich Neumann (Man and Time: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks)
A rattle of dishes warned of a servant’s entry into the hall, but Christopher was incensed, and half turning with a growl, he gestured Paine back. “Get out of here, man!” “Christopher!” Erienne gasped and took two halting steps to follow the befuddled servant, but Christopher came around to face her with a glare. “Stay where you are, madam! I am not finished with you.” “You have no right to give orders here,” she protested, her own ire growing. “This is my husband’s house!” “I’ll give orders when and where I damn well please, and for once, you will stand and listen until I’m through!” More than a trifle outraged herself, Erienne hurled back her answer. “You may command the men on your ship to your will, Mister Seton, but you have no such authority here! Good day to you!” Catching up her skirts, she whirled and stalked toward the tower until she heard the sound of rapid footsteps coming behind her, then a sudden panic seized her that he would make such a scene that she would not be able to face the servants… or her husband. She raced into the entry, stepping over the puddle, and took to the stairs, forcing every bit of strength she could into her limbs. She had barely gained the fourth step when she heard sliding feet, a loud thump, and then a painful grunt followed by an angry curse. When she whirled, Christopher was just coming to rest in a heap against the wall after sliding across the floor, partway on his back. For a moment she stared aghast at the dignified man sprawled in a most undignified manner, but when he raised his head to look at her with barely contained rage, she was struck by the humor of it all. Bubbling laughter broke forth, winning from him a dark scowl of exasperation. “Are you hurt, Christopher?” she asked sweetly. “Aye! My pride has been mightily bruised!” “Oh, that will mend, sir,” she chuckled, spreading her skirts to perch primly on the step above him. Her eyes danced with a lively light that was simply dazzling to behold. “But you should take care. If such a modest spot of water can bring you down so abruptly, I would not advise sailing beyond these shores.” “ ’Tis not a spot of water that’s brought me down, but a waspish wench who sets her barbs against me at every turn.” “You dare accuse me when you come in here huffing and snorting like a raging bull?” She gave a throaty, skeptical laugh. “Really, Christopher, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You frightened Paine and nearly made me swallow my heart.” “That’s an impossibility, madam, for that thing is surely made of cold, hard steel.” “You’re pouting,” she chided flippantly, “because I have not fallen swooning at your feet.” “I’m angry because you continually deny the fact that you should be my wife!” he stated emphatically. Footsteps on the stairs behind Erienne made them glance up. Aggie came nonchalantly down the steps, seeming unaware of Christopher’s storm-dark frown. Excusing herself, she stepped past her mistress. Finally, on reaching level footing, she contemplated the man, a twinkle of mischief in her eye. “Aren’t ye a wee bit old ter be takin’ yer leisure on the floor, sir?” He raised a brow at Erienne as that one smothered a giggle, and with a snort, got to his feet and brushed off his breeches and coatsleeve. -Christopher, Erienne, and Aggie
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (A Rose in Winter)
Elizabeth automatically started forward three steps, then halted, mesmerized. An acre of thick Aubusson carpet stretched across the book-lined room, and at the far end of it, seated behind a massive baronial desk with his shirtsleeves folded up on tanned forearms, was the man who had lied in the little cottage in Scotland and shot at a tree limb with her. Oblivious to the other three men in the room who were politely coming to their feet, Elizabeth watched Ian arise with that same natural grace that seemed so much a part of him. With a growing sense of unreality she heard him excuse himself to his visitors, saw him move away from behind his desk, and watched him start toward her with long, purposeful strides. He grew larger as he neared, his broad shoulders blocking her view of the room, his amber eyes searching her face, his smile one of amusement and uncertainty. “Elizabeth?” he said. Her eyes wide with embarrassed admiration, Elizabeth allowed him to lift her hand to his lips before she said softly, “I could kill you.” He grinned at the contrast between her words and her voice. “I know.” “You might have told me.” “I hoped to surprise you.” More correctly, he had hoped she didn’t know, and now he had his proof: Just as he had thought, Elizabeth had agreed to marry him without knowing anything of his personal wealth. That expression of dazed disbelief on her face had been real. He’d needed to see it for himself, which was why he’d instructed his butler to bring her to him as soon as she arrived. Ian had his proof, and with it came the knowledge that no matter how much she refused to admit it to him or to herself, she loved him. She could insist for now and all time that all she wanted from marriage was independence, and now Ian could endure it with equanimity. Because she loved him. Elizabeth watched the expressions play across his face. Thinking he was waiting for her to say more about his splendid house, she gave him a jaunty smile and teasingly said, “’Twill be a sacrifice, to be sure, but I shall contrive to endure the hardship of living in such a place as this. How many rooms are there?” she asked. His brows rose in mockery. “One hundred and eighty-two.” “A small place of modest proportions,” she countered lightly. “I suppose we’ll just have to make do.” Ian thought they were going to do very well.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
What will it be in the end? One flies to the east, the other to the west; they lose the principle, dispersing it in the crowd of incidents: after an hour of tempest, they know not what they seek: one is low, the other high, and a third wide. One catches at a word and a simile; another is no longer sensible of what is said in opposition to him, and thinks only of going on at his own rate, not of answering you: another, finding himself too weak to make good his rest, fears all, refuses all, at the very beginning, confounds the subject; or, in the very height of the dispute, stops short and is silent, by a peevish ignorance affecting a proud contempt or a foolishly modest avoidance of further debate: provided this man strikes, he cares not how much he lays himself open; the other counts his words and weighs them for reasons; another only brawls and uses the advantage of his lungs. Here’s one who learnedly concludes against himself, and another, who deafens you with prefaces and senseless digressions: another falls into downright railing, and seeks a quarrel after the German fashion, to disengage himself from a wit that presses too hard upon him: and a last man sees nothing into the reason of the thing, but draws a line of circumvallation about you of dialectic clauses, and the formulas of his art.
Michel de Montaigne (The Complete Essays)
If truth is a value it is because it is true and not because it is brave to speak it. But truth is a character of judgements and so one would suppose that its value lay in the judgements it characterizes rather than in itself. A bridge that joined two great cities would be more important than a bridge that led from one barren field to another. And if truth is one of the ultimate values, it seems strange that no one seems quite to know what it is. Philosophers still quarrel about its meaning and the upholders of rival doctrines say many sarcastic things of one another. In these circumstances the plain man must leave them to it and content himself with the plain man's truth. This is a very modest affair and merely asserts something about particular existents. It is a bare statement of the facts. If this is a value one must admit that none is more neglected. The books on ethics give long lists of occasions on which it may be legitimately withheld; their authors might have saved themselves the trouble. The wisdom of the ages has long since decided that toutes vérités ne sont pas bonnes á dire. Man has always sacrificed truth to his vanity, comfort and advantage. He lives not by truth but by make-believe, and his idealism, it has sometimes seemed to me, is merely his effort to attach the prestige of truth to the fictions he has invented to satisfy his self-conceit.
W. Somerset Maugham
Closing the distance between them, he had savored the modest allure of her walk and felt his body respond to the graceful sway of her hips as they approached the pool. He had envisioned her taking off her robe and showing him her slender nakedness, but instead, she had just stood there, as though searching for someone. It skipped through his mind that when he caught up to the girl, he would either apprehend or ravish her. He still wasn't sure which it would be as he stood before her, blocking her escape with a dark, slight smile. As she peered up at him fearfully from the shadowed folds of her hood, he found himself staring into the bluest eyes he had ever seen. He had only encountered that deep, dream-spun shade of cobalt once in his life before, in the stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral. His awareness of the crowd them dimmed in the ocean-blue depths of her eyes. 'Who are you?' He did not say a word nor ask her permission. With the smooth self-assurance of a man who has access to every woman in the room, he captured her chin in a firm but gentle grip. She jumped when he touched her, panic flashing in her eyes. His hard stare softened slightly in amusement at that, but then his faint smile faded, for her skin was silken beneath his fingertips. With one hand, he lifted her face toward the dim torchlight, while the other softly brushed back her hood. Then Lucien faltered, faced with a beauty the likes of which he had never seen. His very soul grew hushed with reverence as he gazed at her, holding his breath for fear the vision would dissolve, a figment of his overactive brain. With her bright tresses gleaming the flame-gold of dawn and her large, frightened eyes of that shining, ethereal blue, he was so sure for a moment that she was a lost angel that he half expected to see silvery, feathered wings folded demurely beneath her coarse brown robe. She appeared somewhere between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two- a wholesome, nay, a virginal beauty of trembling purity. He instantly 'knew' that she was utterly untouched, impossible as that seemed in this place. Her face was proud and weary. Her satiny skin glowed in the candlelight, pale and fine, but her soft, luscious lips shot off an effervescent champagne-pop of desire that fizzed more sweetly in his veins than anything he'd felt since his adolescence, which had taken place, if he recalled correctly, some time during the Dark Ages. There was intelligence and valor in her delicate face, courage, and a quivering vulnerability that made him ache with anguish for the doom of all innocent things. 'A noble youth, a questing youth,' he thought, and if she had come to slay dragons, she had already pierced him in his black, fiery heart with the lance of her heaven-blue gaze.
Gaelen Foley (Lord of Fire (Knight Miscellany, #2))
Am I to assume the Valerie I was introduced to earlier was the Valerie of our greenhouse notes?” He realized his mistake the instant her eyes clouded over and she glanced in the direction he’d looked. “Yes.” “Shall I ask Willington to clear his ballroom so you have the requisite twenty paces? Naturally, I’ll stand as your second.” Elizabeth drew a shaky breath, and a smile curved her lips. “Is she wearing a bow?” Ian looked and shook his head. “I’m afraid not.” “Does she have an earring?” He glanced again and frowned. “I think that’s a wart.” Her smile finally reached her eyes. “It’s not a large target, but I suppose-“ “Allow me,” he gravely replied, and she laughed. The last strains of their waltz were dying away, and as they left the dance floor Ian watched Mondevale making his way toward the Townsendes, who’d returned to the ballroom. “Now that you’re a marquess,” Elizabeth asked, “will you live in Scotland or in England?” “I only accepted the title, not the money or the lands,” he replied absently, watching Mondevale. “I’ll explain everything to you tomorrow morning at your house. Mondevale is going to ask you to dance as soon as we reach the Townsendes, so listen closely-I’m going to ask you to dance again later. Turn me down.” She sent him a puzzled look, but she nodded. “Is there anything else?” she asked when he was about to relinquish her to her friends. “There’s a great deal else, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.” Mystified, Elizabeth turned her attention to Viscount Mondevale. Alex watched the byplay between Elizabeth and Ian but her mind was elsewhere. While the couple danced, Alex had told her husband exactly what she thought of Ian Thornton who’d first ruined Elizabeth’s reputation and now deceived her into thinking he was still a man of very modest means. Instead of agreeing that Thornton was completely without principles, Jordan had calmly insisted that Ian intended to set matters aright in the morning, and then he’d made her, and his grandmother, promise not to tell Elizabeth anything until Ian had been given the opportunity to do so himself. Dragging her thoughts back to the ballroom, Alex hoped more than anything that Ian Thornton would do nothing more to hurt her good friend. By the end of the evening a majority of the guests at the Willington ball had drawn several conclusions: first, that Ian Thornton was definitely the natural grandson of the Duke of Stanhope (which everyone claimed to have always believed); second, that Elizabeth Cameron had very probably rebuffed his scandalous advances two years ago (which everyone claimed to have always believed); third, that since she had rejected his second request for a dance tonight, she might actually prefer her former suitor Viscount Mondevale (which hardly anyone could really believe).
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The most direct path to Party was raising pigs. The company had several dozen of these and they occupied an unequaled place in the hearts of the soldiers; officers and men alike would hang around the pigsty, observing, commenting, and willing the animals to grow. If the pigs were doing well, the swine herds were the darlings of the company, and there were many contestants for this profession. Xiao-her became a full-time swineherd. It was hard, filthy work, not to mention the psychological pressure. Every night he and his colleagues took turns to get up in the small hours to give the pigs an extra feed. When a sow produced piglets they kept watch night after night in case she crushed them. Precious soybeans were carefully picked, washed, ground, strained, made into 'soybean milk," and lovingly fed to the mother to stimulate her milk. Life in the air force was very unlike what Xiao-her had imagined. Producing food took up more than a third of the entire time he was in the military. At the end of a year's arduous pig raising, Xiao-her was accepted into the Party. Like many others, he put his feet up and began to take it easy. After membership in the Party, everyone's ambition was to become an officer; whatever advantage the former brought, the latter doubled it. Getting to be an officer depended on being picked by one's superiors, so the key was never to displease them. One day Xiao-her was summoned to see one of the college's political commissars. Xiao-her was on tenterhooks, not knowing whether he was in for some unexpected good fortune or total disaster. The commissar, a plump man in his fifties with puffy eyes and a loud, commanding voice, looked exceedingly benign as he lit up a cigarette and asked Xiao-her about his family background, age, and state of health. He also asked whether he had a fiance to which Xiao-her replied that he did not. It struck Xiao-her as a good sign that the man was being so personal. The commissar went on to praise him: "You have studied Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought conscientiously. You have worked hard. The masses have a good impression of you. Of course, you must keep on being modest; modesty makes you progress," and so on. By the time the commissar stubbed out his cigarette, Xiao-her thought his promotion was in his pocket.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
And how rare is it to find someone who shares your tastes? The one real fight they’d ever had was over David Foster Wallace. It was around the time of Wallace’s suicide. A.J. had found the reverent tone of the eulogies to be insufferable. The man had written a decent (if indulgent and overlong) novel, a few modestly insightful essays, and not much else. “Infinite Jest is a masterpiece,” Harvey had said. “Infinite Jest is an endurance contest. You manage to get through it and you have no choice but to say you like it. Otherwise, you have to deal with the fact that you just wasted weeks of your life,” A.J. had countered. “Style, no substance, my friend.” Harvey’s face had reddened as he leaned over the desk. “You say that about any writer who was born in the same decade as you!
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Girls, I was dead and down in the Underworld, a shade, a shadow of my former self, nowhen. It was a place where language stopped, a black full stop, a black hole Where the words had to come to an end. And end they did there, last words, famous or not. It suited me down to the ground. So imagine me there, unavailable, out of this world, then picture my face in that place of Eternal Repose, in the one place you’d think a girl would be safe from the kind of a man who follows her round writing poems, hovers about while she reads them, calls her His Muse, and once sulked for a night and a day because she remarked on his weakness for abstract nouns. Just picture my face when I heard - Ye Gods - a familiar knock-knock at Death’s door. Him. Big O. Larger than life. With his lyre and a poem to pitch, with me as the prize. Things were different back then. For the men, verse-wise, Big O was the boy. Legendary. The blurb on the back of his books claimed that animals, aardvark to zebra, flocked to his side when he sang, fish leapt in their shoals at the sound of his voice, even the mute, sullen stones at his feet wept wee, silver tears. Bollocks. (I’d done all the typing myself, I should know.) And given my time all over again, rest assured that I’d rather speak for myself than be Dearest, Beloved, Dark Lady, White Goddess etc., etc. In fact girls, I’d rather be dead. But the Gods are like publishers, usually male, and what you doubtless know of my tale is the deal. Orpheus strutted his stuff. The bloodless ghosts were in tears. Sisyphus sat on his rock for the first time in years. Tantalus was permitted a couple of beers. The woman in question could scarcely believe her ears. Like it or not, I must follow him back to our life - Eurydice, Orpheus’ wife - to be trapped in his images, metaphors, similes, octaves and sextets, quatrains and couplets, elegies, limericks, villanelles, histories, myths… He’d been told that he mustn’t look back or turn round, but walk steadily upwards, myself right behind him, out of the Underworld into the upper air that for me was the past. He’d been warned that one look would lose me for ever and ever. So we walked, we walked. Nobody talked. Girls, forget what you’ve read. It happened like this - I did everything in my power to make him look back. What did I have to do, I said, to make him see we were through? I was dead. Deceased. I was Resting in Peace. Passé. Late. Past my sell-by date… I stretched out my hand to touch him once on the back of the neck. Please let me stay. But already the light had saddened from purple to grey. It was an uphill schlep from death to life and with every step I willed him to turn. I was thinking of filching the poem out of his cloak, when inspiration finally struck. I stopped, thrilled. He was a yard in front. My voice shook when I spoke - Orpheus, your poem’s a masterpiece. I’d love to hear it again… He was smiling modestly, when he turned, when he turned and he looked at me. What else? I noticed he hadn’t shaved. I waved once and was gone. The dead are so talented. The living walk by the edge of a vast lake near, the wise, drowned silence of the dead.
Carol Ann Duffy (The World's Wife)
Morgan actually looks like he is blushing and seems almost embarrassed for a moment. When he stresses again that he likes cleavages but that he doesn’t think they should be on display during tributes to dead colleagues, but that again he loves cleavages, Bialik gets back up. ‘Do you need to see it again?’ and once again (more briefly this time) pulls the top of her dress apart for him.8 None of this could have possibly gone down better. All of it was lapped up by audiences in the studio and at home. In 2016 exposing your breasts was a ‘feminist’ act. Exposing them to a man who had not asked to see them was an especially ‘feminist’ act. And even a woman who claimed for religious and social reasons to be ‘modest’ could willingly and easily delight a studio audience by flashing her breasts – unasked for – at a man.
Douglas Murray (The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity)
It’s a proper hideout, as long as one of us stays in here, they can’t get at us, the door won’t open. It’s all down to Neville. He really gets this room. You’ve got to ask it for exactly what you need--like, ‘I don’t want any Carrow supporters to be able to get in’--and it’ll do it for you! You’ve just got to make sure you close the loopholes! Neville’s the man!” “It’s quite straightforward, really,” said Neville modestly. “I’d been in here about a day and a half, and getting really hungry, and wishing I could get something to eat, and that’s when the passage to the Hog’s Head opened up. I went through it and met Aberforth. He’s been providing us with food, because for some reason, that’s the one thing the room doesn’t really do.” “Yeah, well, food’s one of the five exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration,” said Ron to general astonishment.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
The consequences of the regulation regarding the use of footpaths were rather serious for me. I always went out for a walk through President Street to an open plain. President Kruger’s house was in this street – a very modest, unostentatious building, without a garden and not distinguishable from other houses in its neighbourhood. The houses of many of the millionaires in Pretoria were far more pretentious, and were surrounded by gardens. Indeed President Kruger’s simplicity was proverbial. Only the presence of a police patrol before the house indicated that it belonged to some official. I nearly always went along the footpaths past this patrol without the slightest hitch or hindrance. Now the man on duty used to be changed from time to time. Once one of these men, without giving me the slightest warning, without even asking me to leave the footpath, pushed and kicked me into the street. I was dismayed. Before I could question him as to his behaviour, Mr Coates, who happened to be passing the spot on horseback, hailed me and said: ‘Gandhi, I have seen everything. I shall gladly be your witness in court if you proceed against the man. I am very sorry you have been so rudely assaulted.’ ‘You need not be sorry,’ I said. ‘What does the poor man know? All coloured people are the same to him. He no doubt treats Negroes just as he has treated me. I have made it a rule not to go to court in respect of any personal grievance. So I do not intend to proceed against him.’ ‘That is just like you,’ said Mr Coates, ‘but do think it over again. We must teach such men a lesson.’ He then spoke to the policeman and reprimanded him. I could not follow their talk, as it was in Dutch, the policeman being a Boer. But he apologized to me, for which there was no need. I had already forgiven him. But I never again went through this street. There would be other men coming in this man’s place and, ignorant of the incident, they would behave likewise. Why should I unnecessarily court another kick? I therefore selected a different walk. The incident deepened my feeling for the Indian settlers. I discussed with them the advisability of making a test case, if it were found necessary to do so, after having seen the British Agent in the matter of these regulations. I thus made an intimate study of the hard condition of the Indian settlers, not only by reading and hearing about it, but by personal experience. I saw that South Africa was no country for a self-respecting Indian, and my mind became more and more occupied with the question as to how this state of things might be improved.
Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi: An Autobiography)
A MAP IN THE hands of a pilot is a testimony of a man’s faith in other men; it is a symbol of confidence and trust. It is not like a printed page that bears mere words, ambiguous and artful, and whose most believing reader — even whose author, perhaps — must allow in his mind a recess for doubt. A map says to you, ‘Read me carefully, follow me closely, doubt me not.’ It says, ‘I am the earth in the palm of your hand. Without me, you are alone and lost.’ And indeed you are. Were all the maps in this world destroyed and vanished under the direction of some malevolent hand, each man would be blind again, each city be made a stranger to the next, each landmark become a meaningless signpost pointing to nothing. Yet, looking at it, feeling it, running a finger along its lines, it is a cold thing, a map, humourless and dull, born of calipers and a draughtsman’s board. That coastline there, that ragged scrawl of scarlet ink, shows neither sand nor sea nor rock; it speaks of no mariner, blundering full sail in wakeless seas, to bequeath, on sheepskin or a slab of wood, a priceless scribble to posterity. This brown blot that marks a mountain has, for the casual eye, no other significance, though twenty men, or ten, or only one, may have squandered life to climb it. Here is a valley, there a swamp, and there a desert; and here is a river that some curious and courageous soul, like a pencil in the hand of God, first traced with bleeding feet. Here is your map. Unfold it, follow it, then throw it away, if you will. It is only paper. It is only paper and ink, but if you think a little, if you pause a moment, you will see that these two things have seldom joined to make a document so modest and yet so full with histories of hope or sagas of conquest.
Beryl Markham (West with the Night)
FACING THE MUSIC Many years ago a man conned his way into the orchestra of the emperor of China although he could not play a note. Whenever the group practiced or performed, he would hold his flute against his lips, pretending to play but not making a sound. He received a modest salary and enjoyed a comfortable living. Then one day the emperor requested a solo from each musician. The flutist got nervous. There wasn’t enough time to learn the instrument. He pretended to be sick, but the royal physician wasn’t fooled. On the day of his solo performance, the impostor took poison and killed himself. The explanation of his suicide led to a phrase that found its way into the English language: “He refused to face the music.”2 The cure for deceit is simply this: face the music. Tell the truth. Some of us are living in deceit. Some of us are walking in the shadows. The lies of Ananias and Sapphira resulted in death; so have ours. Some of us have buried a marriage, parts of a conscience, and even parts of our faith—all because we won’t tell the truth. Are you in a dilemma, wondering if you should tell the truth or not? The question to ask in such moments is, Will God bless my deceit? Will he, who hates lies, bless a strategy built on lies? Will the Lord, who loves the truth, bless the business of falsehoods? Will God honor the career of the manipulator? Will God come to the aid of the cheater? Will God bless my dishonesty? I don’t think so either. Examine your heart. Ask yourself some tough questions. Am I being completely honest with my spouse and children? Are my relationships marked by candor? What about my work or school environment? Am I honest in my dealings? Am I a trustworthy student? An honest taxpayer? A reliable witness at work? Do you tell the truth . . . always? If not, start today. Don’t wait until tomorrow. The ripple of today’s lie is tomorrow’s wave and next year’s flood. Start today. Be just like Jesus. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Max Lucado (Just Like Jesus: A Heart Like His (The Bestseller Collection Book 2))
I freely admit that the best of my fun, I owe it to Horse and Hound - Whyte Melville (1821-1878) "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; Let pry through the portage of the head Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a galled rock O'erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean. Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide, Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit To his full height. On, on, you noblest English. Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof! Fathers that, like so many Alexanders, Have in these parts from morn till even fought And sheathed their swords for lack of argument: Dishonour not your mothers; now attest That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you. Be copy now to men of grosser blood, And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman, Whose limbs were made in England, show us here The mettle of your pasture; let us swear That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not; For there is none of you so mean and base, That hath not noble lustre in your eyes. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game's afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!" ... King Henry V 1598 (William Shakespeare) I can resist anything except temptation - Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan, 1892) In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different - Coco Chanel When it comes to pain and suffering, she's right up there with Elizabeth Taylor - Truvy (Steel Magnolias) She looks too pure to be pink (Rizzo, Grease) I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow - Scarlett O'Hara (Gone With The Wind.)
George John Whyte-Melville
What, then, does submission and respect look like for a woman in a dating relationship? Here are some guidelines: 1. A woman should allow the man to initiate the relationship. This does not mean that she does nothing. She helps! If she thinks there is a good possibility for a relationship, she makes herself accessible to him and helps him to make conversation, putting him at ease and encouraging him as opportunities arise (she does the opposite when she does not have interest in a relationship with a man). A godly woman will not try to manipulate the start of a relationship, but will respond to the interest and approaches of a man in a godly, encouraging way. 2. A godly woman should speak positively and respectfully about her boyfriend, both when with him and when apart. 3. She should give honest attention to his interests and respond to his attention and care by opening up her heart. 4. She should recognize the sexual temptations with which a single man will normally struggle. Knowing this, she will dress attractively but modestly, and will avoid potentially compromising situations. She must resist the temptation to encourage sexual liberties as a way to win his heart. 5. The Christian woman should build up the man with God's Word and give encouragement to godly leadership. She should allow and seek biblical encouragement from the man she is dating. 6. She should make "helping" and "respecting" the watchwords of her behavior toward a man. She should ask herself, "How can I encourage him, especially in his walk with God?" "How can I provide practical helps that are appropriate to the current place in our relationship?" She should share with him in a way that will enable him to care for her heart, asking, "What can I do or say that will help him to understand who I really am, and how can I participate in the things he cares about?" 7. She must remember that this is a brother in the Lord. She should not be afraid to end an unhealthy relationship, but should seek to do so with charity and grace. Should the relationship not continue forward, the godly woman will ensure that her time with a man will have left him spiritually blessed.
Richard D. Phillips (Holding Hands, Holding Hearts: Recovering a Biblical View of Christian Dating)
ON GETTING DRUNK: "Those who are Christians are to see to it that they are grateful for grace and redemption and conduct themselves modestly, moderately, and soberly, so that one does not go on living the swinish life that goes on in the filthy world...." "...In my time it was considered a great shame among the nobility [drunkenness]. Now they are worse than the citizens and peasants;...We preach, but who stops it? Those who should stop it do it themselves; the princes even more. Therefore Germany is a land of hogs and a filthy people which debauches its body and its life. If you were going to paint it, you would have to paint a pig. "This gluttony is inundating us like an ocean....We are the laughingstock of all the other countries, who look upon us as filthy pigs;...It is possible to tolerate a little elevation, when a man takes a drink or two too much after working hard and when he is feeling low. This must be called a frolic. But to sit day and night, pouring it in and pouring it out again, is piggish. This is not a human way of living. not to say Christian, but rather a pig's life." - Martin Luther
Martin Luther
I instantly saw something I admired no end. So while he was weighing my envelope, I remarked with enthusiasm: "I certainly wish I had your head of hair." He looked up, half-startled, his face beaming with smiles. "Well, it isn't as good as it used to be," he said modestly. I assured him that although it might have lost some of its pristine glory, nevertheless it was still magnificent. He was immensely pleased. We carried on a pleasant little conversation and the last thing he said to me was: "Many people have admired my hair." I'll bet that person went out to lunch that day walking on air. I'll bet he went home that night and told his wife about it. I'll bet he looked in the mirror and said: "It is a beautiful head of hair." I told this story once in public and a man asked me afterwards: "'What did you want to get out of him?" What was I trying to get out of him!!! What was I trying to get out of him!!! If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can't radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return - if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
There was also a package wrapped in pale blue paper and tied with a matching ribbon. Picking up a small folded note that had been tucked under the ribbon, Beatrix read: A gift for your wedding night, darling Bea. This gown was made by the most fashionable modiste in London. It is rather different from the ones you usually wear, but it will be very pleasing to a bridegroom. Trust me about this. -Poppy Holding the nightgown up, Beatrix saw that it was made of black gossamer and fastened with tiny jet buttons. Since the only nightgowns she had ever worn had been of modest white cambric or muslin, this was rather shocking. However, if it was what husbands liked... After removing her corset and her other underpinnings, Beatrix drew the gown over her head and let a slither over her body in a cool, silky drift. The thin fabric draped closely over her shoulders and torso and buttoned at the waist before flowing to the ground in transparent panels. A side slit went up to her hip, exposing her leg when she moved. And her back was shockingly exposed, the gown dipping low against her spine. Pulling the pins and combs from her hair, she dropped them into the muslin bag in the trunk. Tentatively she emerged from behind the screen. Christopher had just finished pouring two glasses of champagne. He turned toward her and froze, except for his gaze, which traveled over her in a burning sweep. "My God," he muttered, and drained his champagne. Setting the empty glass aside, he gripped the other as if he were afraid it might slip through his fingers. "Do you like my nightgown?" Beatrix asked. Christopher nodded, not taking his gaze from her. "Where's the rest of it?" "This was all I could find." Unable to resist teasing him, Beatrix twisted and tried to see the back view. "I wonder if I put it on backward..." "Let me see." As she turned to reveal the naked line of her back, Christopher drew in a harsh breath. Although Beatrix heard him mumble a curse, she didn't take offense, deducing that Poppy had been right about the nightgown. And when he drained the second glass of champagne, forgetting that it was hers, Beatrix sternly repressed a grin. She went to the bed and climbed onto the mattress, relishing the billowy softness of its quilts and linens. Reclining on her side, she made no attempt to cover her exposed leg as the gossamer fabric fell open to her hip. Christopher came to her, stripping off his shirt along the way. The sight of him, all that flexing muscle and sun-glazed skin, was breathtaking. He was a beautiful man, a scarred Apollo, a dream lover. And he was hers.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
The war against ISIS in Iraq was a long, hard slog, and for a time the administration was as guilty of hyping progress as the most imaginative briefers at the old “Five O’Clock Follies” in Saigon had been. In May 2015, an ISIS assault on Ramadi and a sandstorm that grounded U.S. planes sent Iraqi forces and U.S. Special Forces embedded with them fleeing the city. Thanks to growing hostility between the Iraqi government and Iranian-supported militias in the battle, the city wouldn’t be taken until the end of the year. Before it was over we had sent well over five thousand military personnel back to Iraq, including Special Forces operators embedded as advisors with Iraqi and Kurdish units. A Navy SEAL, a native Arizonan whom I had known when he was a boy, was killed in northern Iraq. His name was Charles Keating IV, the grandson of my old benefactor, with whom I had been implicated all those years ago in the scandal his name had branded. He was by all accounts a brave and fine man, and I mourned his loss. Special Forces operators were on the front lines when the liberation of Mosul began in October 2016. At immense cost, Mosul was mostly cleared of ISIS fighters by the end of July 2017, though sporadic fighting continued for months. The city was in ruins, and the traumatized civilian population was desolate. By December ISIS had been defeated everywhere in Iraq. I believe that had U.S. forces retained a modest but effective presence in Iraq after 2011 many of these tragic events might have been avoided or mitigated. Would ISIS nihilists unleashed in the fury and slaughter of the Syrian civil war have extended their dystopian caliphate to Iraq had ten thousand or more Americans been in country? Probably, but with American advisors and airpower already on the scene and embedded with Iraqi security forces, I think their advance would have been blunted before they had seized so much territory and subjected millions to the nightmare of ISIS rule. Would Maliki have concentrated so much power and alienated Sunnis so badly that the insurgency would catch fire again? Would Iran’s influence have been as detrimental as it was? Would Iraqis have collaborated to prevent a full-scale civil war from erupting? No one can answer for certain. But I believe that our presence there would have had positive effects. All we can say for certain is that Iraq still has a difficult road to walk, but another opportunity to progress toward that hopeful vision of a democratic, independent nation that’s learned to accommodate its sectarian differences, which generations of Iraqis have suffered without and hundreds of thousands of Americans risked everything for.
John McCain (The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations)
He glanced sidelong at me, then looked down a bit sheepishly. “Well, it’s—ah, it’s only that I didna want to take my shirt off before Alec.” “Modest, are you?” I asked dryly, making him raise his arm to test the extension of the joint. He winced slightly at the movement, but smiled at the remark. “If I were, I should hardly be sittin’ half-naked in your chamber, should I? No, it’s the marks on my back.” Seeing my raised eyebrows, he went on to explain. “Alec knows who I am—I mean, he’s heard I was flogged, but he’s not seen it. And to know something like that is no the same as seein’ it wi’ your own eyes.” He felt the sore shoulder tentatively, eyes turned away. He frowned at the floor. “It’s—maybe you’ll not know what I mean. But when you know a man’s suffered some harm, it’s only one of the things you know about him, and it doesna make much difference to how ye see him. Alec knows I’ve been flogged, like he knows I’ve red hair, and it doesna matter to how he treats me.” He looked up then, searching for some sign of understanding from me. “But when you see it yourself, it’s like”—he hesitated, looking for words—“it’s a bit … personal, maybe, is what I mean. I think … if he were to see the scars, he couldna see me anymore without thinking of my back. And I’d be able to see him thinking of it, and that would make me remember it, and—” He broke off, shrugging.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
Closing the distance between them, he had saved the modest allure of her walk and felt his body respond to the graceful sway of her hips as they approached the pool. He had envisioned her taking off her robe and showing him her slender nakedness, but instead, she had just stood there, as though searching for someone. It skipped through his mind that when he caught up to the girl, he would either apprehend or ravish her. He still wasn't sure which it would be as he stood before her, blocking her escape with a dark, slight smile. As she peered up at him fearfully from the shadowed folds of her hood, he found himself staring into the bluest eyes he had ever seen. He had only encountered that deep, dream-spun shade of cobalt once in his life before, in the stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral. His awareness of the crowd them dimmed in the ocean-blue depths of her eyes. 'Who are you?' He did not say a word nor ask her permission. With the smooth self-assurance of a man who has access to every woman in the room, he captured her chin in a firm but gentle grip. She jumped when he touched her, panic flashing in her eyes. His hard stare softened slightly in amusement at that, but then his faint smile faded, for her skin was silken beneath his fingertips. With one hand, he lifted her face toward the dim torchlight, while the other softly brushed back her hood. Then Lucien faltered, faced with a beauty the likes of which he had never seen. His very soul grew hushed with reverence as he gazed at her, holding his breath for fear the vision would dissolve, a figment of his overactive brain. With her bright tresses gleaming the flame-gold of dawn and her large, frightened eyes of that shining, ethereal blue, he was so sure for a moment that she was a lost angel that he half expected to see silvery, feathered wings folded demurely beneath her coarse brown robe. She appeared somewhere between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two- a wholesome, nay, a virginal beauty of trembling purity. He instantly 'knew' that she was utterly untouched, impossible as that seemed in this place. Her face was proud and weary. Her satiny skin glowed in the candlelight, pale and fine, but her soft, luscious lips shot off an effervescent champagne-pop of desire that fizzed more sweetly in his veins than anything he'd felt since his adolescence, which had taken place, if he recalled correctly, some time during the Dark Ages. There was intelligence and valor in her delicate face, courage, and a quivering vulnerability that made him ache with anguish for the doom of all innocent things. 'A noble youth, a questing youth,' he thought, and if she had come to slay dragons, she had already pierced him in his black, fiery heart with the lance of her heaven-blue gaze.
Gaelen Foley (Lord of Fire (Knight Miscellany, #2))
—I cannot, at this place, avoid a sigh. There are days when I am visited by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy—contempt of man. Let me leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am unhappily contemporaneous. The man of today—I am suffocated by his foul breath!… Toward the past, like all who understand, I am full of tolerance, which is to say, generous self-control: with gloomy caution I pass through whole millenniums of this madhouse of a world, call it “Christianity,” “Christian faith” or the “Christian church,” as you will—I take care not to hold mankind responsible for its lunacies. But my feeling changes and breaks out irresistibly the moment I enter modern times, our times. Our age knows better… . What was formerly merely sickly now becomes indecent—it is indecent to be a Christian today. And here my disgust begins.—I look about me: not a word survives of what was once called “truth”; we can no longer bear to hear a priest pronounce the word. Even a man who makes the most modest pretensions to integrity must know that a theologian, a priest, a pope of today not only errs when he speaks, but actually lies—and that he no longer escapes blame for his lie through “innocence” or “ignorance.” The priest knows, as every one knows, that there is no longer any “God,” or any “sinner,” or any “Saviour”—that “free will” and the “moral order of the world” are lies—: serious reflection, the profound self-conquest of the spirit, allow no man to pretend that he does not know it… . All the ideas of the church are now recognized for what they are—as the worst counterfeits in existence, invented to debase nature and all natural values; the priest himself is seen as he actually is—as the most dangerous form of parasite, as the venomous spider of creation… . We know, our conscience now knows—just what the real value of all those sinister inventions of priest and church has been and what ends they have served, with their debasement of humanity to a state of self-pollution, the very sight of which excites loathing,—the concepts “the other world,” “the last judgment,” “the immortality of the soul,” the “soul” itself: they are all merely so many instruments of torture, systems of cruelty, whereby the priest becomes master and remains master… . Every one knows this, but nevertheless things remain as before. What has become of the last trace of decent feeling, of self-respect, when our statesmen, otherwise an unconventional class of men and thoroughly anti-Christian in their acts, now call themselves Christians and go to the communion-table?… A prince at the head of his armies, magnificent as the expression of the egoism and arrogance of his people—and yet acknowledging, without any shame, that he is a Christian!… Whom, then, does Christianity deny? what does it call “the world”? To be a soldier, to be a judge, to be a patriot; to defend one’s self; to be careful of one’s honour; to desire one’s own advantage; to be proud … every act of everyday, every instinct, every valuation that shows itself in a deed, is now anti-Christian: what a monster of falsehood the modern man must be to call himself nevertheless, and without shame, a Christian!—
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Antichrist)
While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur'd Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method. I was charm'd with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter. And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real doubter in many points of our religious doctrine, I found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a delight in it, practis'd it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved. I continu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously:           "Men should be taught as if you taught them not,           And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;" farther recommending to us "To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence." And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly, "For want of modesty is want of sense." If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,           "Immodest words admit of no defense,           For want of modesty is want of sense." Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand more justly thus?           "Immodest words admit but this defense,           That want of modesty is want of sense." This, however, I should submit to better judgments.
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
And yet to possess a young soul that has barely developed is a source of very deep delight. It is like a flower whose richest perfume goes out to meet the first ray of the sun. One must pluck it at that very moment and, after inhaling its perfume to one's heart's content, discard it along the wayside on the chance that someone will pick it up. I sense in myself that insatiable avidity that devours everything in its path. And I regard the sufferings and joys of others merely in relation to myself, as food to sustain my spiritual strength. Passion is no longer capable of robbing me of my sanity. My ambition has been crushed by circumstances, but it has manifested itself in a new form, for ambition is nothing but lust for power, and my greatest pleasure I derive from subordinating everything around me to my will. Is it not both the first token of power and its supreme triumph to inspire in others the emotions of love, devotion and fear? Is it not the sweetest fare for our vanity to be the cause of pain or joy for someone without the least claim thereto? And what is happiness? Pride gratified. Could I consider myself better and more powerful than anyone else in the world, I would be happy. Were everybody to love me, I'd find in myself unending wellsprings of love. Evil begets evil; one's first suffering awakens a realization of the pleasure of tormenting another. The idea of evil cannot take root in the mind of man without his desiring to apply it in practice. Someone has said that ideas are organic entities: their very birth imparts them form, and this form is action. He in whose brain the most ideas are born is more active than others, and because of this a genius shackled to an office desk must either die or lose his mind, just as a man with a powerful body who leads a modest, sedentary life dies from an apoplectic stroke
Mikhail Lermontov
I have finished Russell's Nightmares and must confess that they did not come up to expectation. No doubt it was my fault for expecting too much, knowing how unsatisfactory I find his philosophical views; but I had hoped that, at least, when he was not writing normal philosophy, he would be entertaining. Alas! I found his wit insipid, and his serious passages almost intolerable—there was something of the embarrassment of meeting a Great Man for the first time, and finding him even more preoccupied with trivialities than oneself. In his Introduction, Russell says 'Every isolated passion is, in isolation, insane; sanity may be defined as a synthesis of insanities', and then he proceeds to give us examples of isolated insanities—the Queen of Sheba as Female Vanity, Bowdler as Prudery, the Psycho-Analyst as Social Conformity, and so on. Amongst these, as you noted, is the Existentialist as Ontological Scepticism. Here, Russell's satire is directed partly against what Sartre has called 'a literature of extreme situations'; and this, for an Englishman, is no doubt a legitimate target, since the English do not admit that there are such things—though, of course, this makes the English a target for the satire of the rest of Europe, particularly the French. But what Russell is not entitled to do is to group the insanity of doubting one's existence along with the other insanities, and this for the simple reason that it precedes them. One may be vain or modest; one may be prudish or broadminded; one may be a social conformist or an eccentric; but in order to be any of these things, one must at least be. The question of one's existence must be settled first—one cannot be insanely vain if one doubts whether one exists at all and, precisely, Russell's existentialist does not even succeed in suffering—except when his philosophy is impugned (but this merely indicates that he has failed to apply his philosophy to itself, and not, as Russell would have us believe, because he has failed to regard his philosophy in the light of his other insanities). The trouble really is, that Russell does not, or rather will not, admit that existence poses a problem at all; and, since he omits this category from all his thinking nothing he says concerns anybody in particular.
Nanavira Thera
For a brief moment she considered the unfairness of it all. How short was the time for fun, for pretty clothes, for dancing, for coquetting! Only a few, too few years! Then you married and wore dull-colored dresses and had babies that ruined your waist line and sat in corners at dances with other sober matrons and only emerged to dance with your husband or with old gentlemen who stepped on your feet. If you didn't do these things, the other matrons talked about you and then your reputation was ruined and your family disgraced. It seemed such a terrible waste to spend all your little girlhood learning how to be attractive and how to catch men and then only use the knowledge for a year or two. When she considered her training at the hands of Ellen and Mammy, se knew it had been thorough and good because it had always reaped results. There were set rules to be followed, and if you followed them success crowned your efforts. With old ladies you were sweet and guileless and appeared as simple minded as possible, for old ladies were sharp and they watched girls as jealously as cats, ready to pounce on any indiscretion of tongue or eye. With old gentlemen, a girl was pert and saucy and almost, but not quite, flirtatious, so that the old fools' vanities would be tickled. It made them feel devilish and young and they pinched your cheek and declared you were a minx. And, of course, you always blushed on such occasions, otherwise they would pinch you with more pleasure than was proper and then tell their sons that you were fast. With young girls and young married women, you slopped over with sugar and kissed them every time you met them, even if it was ten times a day. And you put your arms about their waists and suffered them to do the same to you, no matter how much you disliked it. You admired their frocks or their babies indiscriminately and teased about beaux and complimented husbands and giggled modestly and denied you had any charms at all compared with theirs. And, above all, you never said what you really thought about anything, any more than they said what they really thought. Other women's husbands you let severely alone, even if they were your own discarded beaux, and no matter how temptingly attractive they were. If you were too nice to young husbands, their wives said you were fast and you got a bad reputation and never caught any beaux of your own. But with young bachelors-ah, that was a different matter! You could laugh softly at them and when they came flying to see why you laughed, you could refuse to tell them and laugh harder and keep them around indefinitely trying to find out. You could promise, with your eyes, any number of exciting things that would make a man maneuver to get you alone. And, having gotten you alone, you could be very, very hurt or very, very angry when he tried to kiss you. You could make him apologize for being a cur and forgive him so sweetly that he would hang around trying to kiss you a second time. Sometimes, but not often, you did let them kiss you. (Ellen and Mammy had not taught her that but she learned it was effective). Then you cried and declared you didn't know what had come over you and that he couldn't ever respect you again. Then he had to dry your eyes and usually he proposed, to show just how much he did respect you. And there were-Oh, there were so many things to do to bachelors and she knew them all, the nuance of the sidelong glance, the half-smile behind the fan, the swaying of hips so that skirts swung like a bell, the tears, the laughter, the flattery, the sweet sympathy. Oh, all the tricks that never failed to work-except with Ashley.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
Sam Anderson. “The Greatest Novel.” New York Magazine (outline). Jan. 9, 2011. New York is, famously, the everything bagel of megalopolises—one of the world’s most diverse cities, defined by its churning mix of religions, ethnicities, social classes, attitudes, lifestyles, etc., ad infinitum. This makes it a perfect match for the novel, a genre that tends to share the same insatiable urge. In choosing the best New York novel, then, my first instinct was to pick something from the city’s proud tradition of megabooks—one of those encyclopedic ambition bombs that attempt to capture, New Yorkily, the full New Yorkiness of New York. Something like, to name just a quick armful or two, Manhattan Transfer, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Underworld, Invisible Man, Winter’s Tale, or The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay—or possibly even one of the tradition’s more modest recent offspring, like Lush Life and Let the Great World Spin. In the end, however, I decided that the single greatest New York novel is the exact opposite of all of those: a relatively small book containing absolutely zero diversity. There are no black or Hispanic or Asian characters, no poor people, no rabble-rousers, no noodle throwers or lapsed Baha’i priests or transgender dominatrixes walking hobos on leashes through flocks of unfazed schoolchildren. Instead there are proper ladies behaving properly at the opera, and more proper ladies behaving properly at private balls, and a phlegmatic old Dutch patriarch dismayed by the decline of capital-S Society. The book’s plot hinges on a subtly tragic love triangle among effortlessly affluent lovers. It is 100 percent devoted to the narrow world of white upper-class Protestant heterosexuals. So how can Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence possibly be the greatest New York novel of all time?
Anonymous
Do you know what the word fey means?” He shrugged. “It’s a Scots word, isn’t it? Something to do with fairies?” “It means a sort of grand happiness, a joy so indescribable that it must be followed by a terrible calamity.” He began to understand, and he enfolded her in his arms. “I see, pet. You’re worried it’s all too wonderful, is that it? That we should have found each other like this, on this night?” She tipped back her head to look from his silvered face to the moon. “It’s like something in a romantic novel. There’s a war on and it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m wearing my first Worth gown in the moonlight. And there’s you. I shouldn’t tell you because it isn’t modest or proper, but I think you’re marvelous. You’re handsome and debonair and you’ve the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen on a man. Actually, you’ve the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen anywhere. And for you to...” she hesitated then plunged on, “for you to want me, too, it’s just too unbelievable. It’s all too perfect. You’re too perfect.” Again he suppressed the urge to laugh. “My darling girl, I wouldn’t tread on your feelings for all the world, but someday, when we’re both more than forty, I’m going to remind you of this night when we found each other for the first time and you thought I must be perfect.” “Aren’t you?” she demanded. “Not a bit. In fact, I’ll tell you everything that’s wrong with me.
Deanna Raybourn (Whisper of Jasmine (City of Jasmine, #0.5))
exponential growth. In ancient China a man came to the emperor and demonstrated to him his invention of the game of chess. The emperor was so impressed by the brilliance of the man’s invention that he told the man to name his reward. The man asked for his reward in an amount of rice — that one grain be placed on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, and so on — doubling the number of grains on each subsequent square. Not being a very good mathematician, the emperor at first thought the reward to be too modest and directed his servants to fulfill the man’s request. By the time the rice grains filled the first half of the chessboard, the man had more than four billion rice grains — or about the harvest of one rice field. At that point the man was rich. By the time the servants got to the sixty-fourth square, the man had more than eighteen quintillion rice grains (18 x 1018), or more than all the wealth in the land. But his wealth and ability to outsmart the emperor came with a price — he ended up being decapitated.
Anonymous
I know not,” I said modestly. “But I think she must not, for she caught me with an easy smile, then stole away without a word. Like dew in dawn’s pale light.” “Like a dream upon waking,
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
Following the Soviet invasion, the Communists, to their credit, passed decrees making girls’ education compulsory and abolishing certain oppressive tribal customs—such as the bride-price, a payment to the bride’s family in return for her hand in marriage. However, by massacring thousands of tribal elders, they paved the way for the “commanders” to step in as the new elite. Aided by American and Saudi patronage, extremism flourished. What had once been a social practice confined to areas deep in the hinterlands now became a political practice, which, according to ideologues, applied to the entire country. The modest gains of urban women were erased. “The first time a woman enters her husband’s house," Heela “told me about life in the countryside, “she wears white”—her wedding dress—“and the first time she leaves, she wears white”—the color of the Muslim funeral shroud. The rules of this arrangement were intricate and precise, and, it seemed to Heela, unchanged from time immemorial. In Uruzgan, a woman did not step outside her compound. In an emergency, she required the company of a male blood relative to leave, and then only with her father’s or husband’s permission. Even the sound of her voice carried a hint of subversion, so she was kept out of hearing range of unrelated males. When the man of the house was not present, boys were dispatched to greet visitors. Unrelated males also did not inquire directly about a female member of the house. Asking “How is your wife?” qualified as somewhere between uncomfortably impolite and downright boorish. The markers of a woman’s life—births, anniversaries, funerals, prayers, feasts—existed entirely within the four walls of her home. Gossip, hopscotching from living room to living room, was carried by husbands or sons.
Anand Gopal (No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes)
I knew that people lived badly, remembered the barracks of the Khamovniki brewery, had seen flophouses, all-night cafés, drunkards, cruel and ignorant people, prison. But all that had been from the outside, and in the courtroom I caught a glimpse of people's hearts. Why had that quiet, modest peasant woman brutally murdered her next-door neighbour? Why had this old man stabbed to death the stepdaughter with whom he lived? Why did people have faith in this pock-marked ugly miracle-worker? Why were they full of darkness, prejudice, violent passions which they themselves could not understand?
Ilya Ehrenburg (People, Years and Life (C.I.L.))
Since the characterizations herein are my own I should clarify these details absent a second’s further delay. Beginning at its newest beginning, with the matters of today – midday, in fact – with a scene punctuated by the appearance and subsequent felinious capture of the vermin given mention. More benignly put, these particular footsteps were taken by a timid, terrified, adolescent Norway rat who would shortly be christened Twitch. I shall focus forthwith upon those details which emerged moments later – subsequent to his short-lived escape from imminent annihilation by scurrying anew. This time beneath an oaken china cabinet. In an effort to avoid confiding any facts or details absent direct pertinence to the life-or-death matter at hand, I’ll reveal for the moment only that its precedent had been a similarly random appearance of a rather less fortunate rat 29 years ere and whose ill-fated tale remains snugly entangled within the roots of this one. Its tangible form began as a spontaneous act of nature that was observed by a 15-year-old dreamer and provoked a flight of fancy which led him to conceive of a grandiose idea that gestated until the man he would become tediously nurtured his evolving purpose into six centuries of historically faithful fables of human survival and struggle ‒ of growth and decay. To put it more tangibly yet ‒ he re-imagined the act of a hungry cat pursuing a frantic rat in the lower Manhattan alleyway in back of his childhood apartment, into an elaborate daydream of a cougar hunting a deer roughly a half-millennia ago. Then ‒ being a born writer ‒ he kicked back in his usual beige folding metal chair, causing its backrest to thud familiarly against the red and gray brick exterior wall behind him; lowered his forest green spiral notebook until it intersected the top front edge of a modest stack of drab-jacketed library books which rested upon his lap and began to transcribe the more fanciful images into a short story. In it, the cougar’s impending success was interrupted by a handful of natives who’d targeted his prey as their own. Having chosen a 15-year-old Lenape brave named Talli as its protagonist, he likewise conceived a fictional version of himself as the narrator ‒ leading to his eventual conception of peering through the lens of this and subsequent parallel visualizations as chronicled by the successive pens of 40 unique contemporary same-age narrators to detail the human evolution on the island wherein he’d grown up. On which millions-upon-millions of rats ‒ in near synchronicity with their hosts ‒ had likewise made their home…
Monte Souder (Rat Luck: Vol I)
Spiritual experience is a modest woman who looks lovingly at one man
Rumi (The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing)
continu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously: "Men should be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;" farther recommending to us "To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence." And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly, "For want of modesty is want of sense." If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines, "Immodest words admit of no defense, For want of modesty is want of sense." Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand more justly thus? "Immodest words admit but this defense, That want of modesty is want of sense." This, however, I should submit to better judgments. My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun
Charles William Eliot (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
I continu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously: "Men should be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;" farther recommending to us "To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence." And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly, "For want of modesty is want of sense." If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines, "Immodest words admit of no defense, For want of modesty is want of sense." Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand more justly thus? "Immodest words admit but this defense, That want of modesty is want of sense." This, however, I should submit to better judgments. My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a newspaper.
Charles William Eliot (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
Good fortune and bad are both fine tests of a man’s character. Mesmer had not been boastful or presumptuous in the days of his fame, and now, when the world had suddenly forgotten him, he was modest and stoical. Far from making any attempt to attract attention to himself, when an endeavor was made to recall him into the limelight he rejected the overture.
Stefan Zweig (Mental Healers: Franz Anton Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud)
Darwin himself, a member of the RSPCA, was more modest in his views and actually quite empathetic toward animals, often describing in his letters and journals their capacity for misery and happiness alike. But today's evolutionary scientists seem to remember only the survival-of-the-fittest part, just as many Christians and Jews remember only the go-forth-and-subdue part of their Bible.
Matthew Scully (Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy)
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You are modest,” he said, propping an elbow along the top of the wooden screen. “I would not have anticipated that in such a practical woman. I like it.” Ellie tossed her dress at him. “You are naked. I like that.” “A duke is always appropriately attired for the occasion.” “You are awful.” Awfully dear, drat him. “Come to bed, Eleanora, and I’ll improve your opinion of me.” And there was the problem no amount of tallying or rounding could solve. Ellie not only desired Elsmore, she respected him and liked him.... As she settled onto the warmed mattress, and Elsmore drew the covers up over her, she admitted a quiet, devastating truth: This was how it should be between a woman and the man with whom she chose to share intimacies—comfortable, pleasurable, and so very special.
Grace Burrowes (Forever and a Duke (Rogues to Riches, #3))
He takes his time, and the movement of his hips and shoulders, along with the way he holds his head slightly upturned, are all evidence of his colossal self-confidence. It oozes out of him and he radiates success, power, and determination. His slender body is shaped perfectly for my modest taste: wide shoulders, narrow hips, strong arms and muscles, his summer clothes doing nothing to hide their soft outline. I am not really an admirer of male bodies, but I am definitely having trouble resisting the urge to undress this one and see the whole picture, so to speak. He is manly, but it is not a manliness that comes from time spent at the gym, but rather from nature – organically. Nobility, gentility, and elegant manners all make up Alex’s very being. You can find them in his every movement, gesture, phrase, word, and look.
Victoria Sobolev (Monogamy Book One. Lover (Monogamy, #1))
This simple but profound service—to grasp a fading man’s need for everyday comforts, for companionship, for help achieving his modest aims—is the thing that is still so devastatingly lacking more than a century later.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
In this respect our townsfolk were like everybody else, wrapped up in themselves; in other words they were humanists: they disbelieved in pestilences. A pestilence isn’t a thing made to man’s measure; therefore we tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away, and the humanists first of all, because they haven’t taken their precautions. Our townsfolk were not more to blame than others; they forgot to be modest, that was all, and thought that everything still was possible for them; which presupposed that pestilences were impossible. They went on doing business, arranged for journeys, and formed views. How should they have given a thought to anything like plague, which rules out any future, cancels journeys, silences the exchange of views. They fancied themselves free, and no
Albert Camus (The Plague)