Odour Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Odour. Here they are! All 100 of them:

If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die. That strain again! it had a dying fall: O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound, That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more: 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before. O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou, That, notwithstanding thy capacity Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there, Of what validity and pitch soe'er, But falls into abatement and low price, Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy That it alone is high fantastical.
William Shakespeare (Twelfth Night)
An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.
Leonardo da Vinci
He was consious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
Music, When Soft Voices Die Music, when soft voices die, Vibrates in the memory; Odours, when sweet violets sicken, Live within the sense they quicken. Rose leaves, when the rose is dead, Are heap'd for the belovèd's bed; And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone, Love itself shall slumber on.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (The Complete Poems)
He wished she knew his impressions, but he would as soon as thought of carrying an odour in a net as of attempting to convey the intangibles of his feeling in the coarse meshes of language. So he remained silent.
Thomas Hardy (Far From the Madding Crowd)
But the trees were gorgeous in their autumnal leafiness - the warm odours of flowers and herb came sweet upon the sense.
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant when it is crushed.
Emmuska Orczy (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night. Accurate scholarship can Unearth the whole offence From Luther until now That has driven a culture mad, Find what occurred at Linz, What huge imago made A psychopathic god: I and the public know What all schoolchildren learn, Those to whom evil is done Do evil in return. Exiled Thucydides knew All that a speech can say About Democracy, And what dictators do, The elderly rubbish they talk To an apathetic grave; Analysed all in his book, The enlightenment driven away, The habit-forming pain, Mismanagement and grief: We must suffer them all again. Into this neutral air Where blind skyscrapers use Their full height to proclaim The strength of Collective Man, Each language pours its vain Competitive excuse: But who can live for long In an euphoric dream; Out of the mirror they stare, Imperialism's face And the international wrong. Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good. The windiest militant trash Important Persons shout Is not so crude as our wish: What mad Nijinsky wrote About Diaghilev Is true of the normal heart; For the error bred in the bone Of each woman and each man Craves what it cannot have, Not universal love But to be loved alone. From the conservative dark Into the ethical life The dense commuters come, Repeating their morning vow; 'I will be true to the wife, I'll concentrate more on my work,' And helpless governors wake To resume their compulsory game: Who can release them now, Who can reach the dead, Who can speak for the dumb? All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And the lie of Authority Whose buildings grope the sky: There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die. Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.
W.H. Auden (Another Time)
To-day I think Only with scents, - scents dead leaves yield, And bracken, and wild carrot's seed, And the square mustard field; Odours that rise When the spade wounds the root of tree, Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed, Rhubarb or celery; The smoke's smell, too, Flowing from where a bonfire burns The dead, the waste, the dangerous, And all to sweetness turns. It is enough To smell, to crumble the dark earth, While the robin sings over again Sad songs of Autumn mirth." - A poem called DIGGING.
Edward Thomas (Collected Poems: Edward Thomas)
His touch both consoles and devastates me; I feel my heart pulse, then wither, naked as a stone on the roaring mattress while the lovely, moony night slides through the window to dapple the flanks of this innocent who makes cages to keep the sweet birds in. Eat me, drink me; thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden, I go back and back to him to have his fingers strip the tattered skin away and clothe me in his dress of water, this garment that drenches me, its slithering odour, its capacity for drowning.
Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories)
That is horse piss and rotted straw, he thought. It is a good odour to breathe. It will calm my heart. My heart is quite calm now. I will go back.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
It is strange. A man gets to know a woman. For a long time they are one. They have mingled their thoughts, their bodies, their hopes, their odours, their lives. They are one. And then a while later they are strangers. They are not one any more. Just as though it had never happened, as though looking at oneself in the mirror and seeing a stranger instead of one’s reflection.
Waguih Ghali
Scent is such a powerful tool of attraction, that if a woman has this tool perfectly tuned, she needs no other. I will forgive her a large nose, a cleft lip, even crossed-eyes; and I’ll bathe in the jouissance of her intoxicating odour.
Roman Payne
If you accept others as equals, you embrace them unconditionally, now and forever. But if you let them know that you tolerate them, you suggest in the same breath that they are actually an inconvenience, like a nagging pain or an unpleasant odour you are willing to disregard.
Arthur Japin (In Lucia's Eyes)
Books for the masses are always bad-smelling books: the odour of little people cling to them.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
In tombs of gold and lapis lazuli Bodies of holy men and women exude Miraculous oil, odour of violet. But under heavy loads of trampled clay Lie bodies of the vampires full of blood; Their shrouds are bloody and their lips are wet ("Oil and Blood")
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
And the awful thing was that Grenouille, although he knew that this odour was his odour, could not smell it. Virtually drowning in himself, he could not for the life of him smell himself!
Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer)
take a strict view of their excrements, and, from the colour, the odour, the taste, the consistence, the crudeness or maturity of digestion, form a judgment of their thoughts and designs; because men are never so serious, thoughtful, and intent, as when they are at stool...
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels)
Virtue is like precious odours, more fragrant when they are incensed or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
Francis Bacon (The Essays)
And then they were inside, and out of the wind, and surrounded by comforting walls and walls of books. The rich, delightful smell of old paper, leather and ink permeated the place, washing away the pettier odours of blood and oil and smog.
Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library, #1))
She has folded Them back into her body as petals Of a rose close when the garden Stiffens and odours bleed From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower. The moon has nothing to be sad about, Staring from her hood of bone.
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
Some prevailing signs of social climbers are their: - ticking cunning ambition - times of deceit - hand of wickedness - gloves of bigotry - hidden bunch of schemes - cup of pride - sip of prejudice - odour of greed - grit of hatred Their favorite hunger is comparing themselves to others. A thirst of competition with sloth, jealousy and anger at their spirits.
Angelica Hopes (Landscapes of a Heart, Whispers of a Soul (Speranza Odyssey Trilogy, #1))
Then, O King! the God, so saying, Stood, to Pritha's Son displaying All the splendour, wonder, dread Of His vast Almighty-head. Out of countless eyes beholding, Out of countless mouths commanding, Countless mystic forms enfolding In one Form: supremely standing Countless radiant glories wearing, Countless heavenly weapons bearing, Crowned with garlands of star-clusters, Robed in garb of woven lustres, Breathing from His perfect Presence Breaths of every subtle essence Of all heavenly odours; shedding Blinding brilliance; overspreading- Boundless, beautiful- all spaces With His all-regarding faces; So He showed! If there should rise Suddenly within the skies Sunburst of a thousand suns Flooding earth with beams undeemed-of, Then might be that Holy One's Majesty and radiance dreamed of!
Edwin Arnold (The Bhagavad Gita)
I stand holding the apple in both hands. It feels precious, like a heavy treasure. I lift it up and smell it. It has such an odour of outdoors on it I want to cry.
Margaret Atwood (Alias Grace)
The odour of humans is always a fleshly odour – that is, a sinful odour.
Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer)
Zombies smell worse than anything you can imagine if you haven’t been hunting things on the dark side of the world. It’s a ripe, gassy odour, like rotting eggs and meat gone bad, crawling blind with maggots. It’s road kill and decayed food and body odour all rolled into one package and tied up with puke.
Lilith Saintcrow (Strange Angels (Strange Angels, #1))
How long your closet held a whiff of you, Long after hangers hung austere and bare. I would walk in and suddenly the true Sharp sweet sweat scent controlled the air And life was in that small still living breath. Where are you? since so much of you is here, Your unique odour quite ignoring death. My hands reach out to touch, to hold what's dear And vital in my longing empty arms. But other clothes fill up the space, your space, And scent on scent send out strange false alarms. Not of your odour there is not a trace. But something unexpected still breaks through The goneness to the presentness of you.
Madeleine L'Engle (The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L'Engle)
As she stooped over him, her tears fell upon his forehead. The boy stirred, and smiled in his sleep, as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had never known; as a strain of gentle music, or the rippling of water in a silent place, or the odour of a flower, or even the mention of a familiar word, will sometimes call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes that never were, in this life; which vanish like a breath; and which some brief memory of a happier existence, long gone by, would seem to have awakened, for no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever recall them.
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
The duende....Where is the duende? Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child's saliva, crushed grass, and medusa's veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things.
Federico García Lorca
I love you, I love you, my heart is a rose which your love has brought to bloom, my life is a desert fanned by the delicious breeze of your breath, and whose cool spring are your eyes; the imprint of your little feet makes valleys of shade for me, the odour of your hair is like myrrh, and wherever you go you exhale the perfumes of the cassia tree. Love me always, love me always. You have been the supreme, the perfect love of my life; there can be no other...
Oscar Wilde (The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde)
The perfume that her body exhaled was of the quality of that earth-flesh, fungi, which smells of captured dampness and yet is so dry, overcast with the odour of oil of amber, which is an inner malady of the sea, making her seem as if she had invaded a sleep incautious and entire. Her flesh was the texture of plant life, and beneath it one sensed a frame, broad, porous and sleep-worn, as if sleep were a decay fishing her beneath the visible surface. About her head there was an effulgence as of phosphorous glowing about the circumference of a body of water - as if her life lay through her in ungainly luminous deteriorations - the troubling structure of the born somnambule.
Djuna Barnes (Nightwood)
The Troll was well over seven feet tall, and smelled of body odour and Germolene.
Andrew Barrett (A Splendid Salmagundi)
She smelled him. The blood was rushing through his veins. She could sniff out the heat in his body. His odour saturated her nostrils and filled her lungs.
Thomas Emson (Maneater (Maneater, #1))
I walk the city, through its crush of people and its smells: body odour, rotting food, vomit and urine. A cocktail of oppression and freedom.
Emma Cameron (Cinnamon Rain)
Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions or will. The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.
Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer)
Her room was warm and lightsome. A huge doll sat with her legs apart in the copious easy-chair beside the bed. He tried to bid his tongue speak that he might seem at ease, watching her as she undid her gown, noting the proud conscious movements of her perfumed head. As he stood silent in the middle of the room she came over to him and embraced him gaily and gravely. Her round arms held him firmly to her and he, seeing her face lifted to him in serious calm and feeling the warm calm rise and fall of her breast, all but burst into hysterical weeping. Tears of joy and relief shone in his delighted eyes and his lips parted though they would not speak. She passed her tinkling hand through his hair, calling him a little rascal. —Give me a kiss, she said. His lips would not bend to kiss her. He wanted to be held firmly in her arms, to be caressed slowly, slowly, slowly. In her arms he felt that he had suddenly become strong and fearless and sure of himself. But his lips would not bend to kiss her. With a sudden movement she bowed his head and joined her lips to his and he read the meaning of her movements in her frank uplifted eyes. It was too much for him. He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips. They pressed upon his brain as upon his lips as though they were the vehicle of a vague speech; and between them he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of sin, softer than sound or odour.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
Beauty was all around them. Unsuspected tintings glimmered in the dark demesnes of the woods and glowed in their alluring by-ways. The spring sunshine sifted through the young green leaves. Gay trills of song were everywhere. There were little hollows where you felt as if you were bathing in a pool of liquid gold. At every turn some fresh spring scent struck their faces: Spice ferns...fir balsam...the wholesome odour of newly ploughed fields. There was a lane curtained with wild-cherry blossoms; a grassy old field full of tiny spruce trees just starting in life and looking like elvish things that had sat down among the grasses; brooks not yet "too broad for leaping"; starflowers under the firs; sheets of curly young ferns; and a birch tree whence someone had torn away the white-skin wrapper in several places, exposing the tints of the bark below-tints ranging from purest creamy white, through exquisite golden tones, growing deeper and deeper until the inmost layer revealed the deepest, richest brown as if to tell tha all birches, so maiden-like and cool exteriorly, had yet warm-hued feelings; "the primeval fire of earth at their hearts.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, #6))
The brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii is another puppetmaster. It can only sexually reproduce in a cat; if it gets into a rat, it suppresses the rodent’s natural fear of cat odours and replaces it with something more like sexual attraction. The rodent scurries towards nearby cats, with fatal results, and T. gondii gets to complete its life cycle.50 The
Ed Yong (I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life)
between them he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of sin, softer than sound or odour.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Illustrated))
They may not change your skins colour; they may not change your body odour; but once they can change your daily thoughts, they can influence your habits! Beware of evil companions!
Israelmore Ayivor (Daily Drive 365)
The rancid, acerbic smell of burning flesh rasped in the throats of the shocked onlookers, an odour once breathed never forgotten.
Stanley Goldyn (The Cavalier's Commission (#2))
Someone appeared, with gentle and penetrating eyes, who - with no exchange of words - understood; and before whose glance her eyes dropped. The someone had no face, no form, no voice, no odour. He was a simple Presence, an all-embracing tenderness with strength and a promise of rest.
Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)
In an earlier chapter I mentioned recent research which has shown that the preference for sweet and fruity odours falls off dramatically at puberty, when there is a shift in favour of flowery, oily and musky odours. The juvenile weakness for sweetness can be easily exploited, and frequently is.
Desmond Morris (The Naked Ape)
There is absolutely no such thing as reading but by a candle. We have tried the affectation of a book at noon-day in gardens, and in sultry arbours, but it was labor thrown away. Those gay motes in the beam come about you, hovering and teasing, like so many coquets, that will have you all to their self, and are jealous of your abstractions. By the midnight taper, the writers digests his meditations. By the same light we must approach to their perusal, if we would catch the flame, the odour.
Charles Lamb
Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions or will. The persuasive power of an dour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.
Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer)
A silence fell at the mention of Gavard. They all looked at each other cautiously. As they were all rather short of breath by this time, it was the camembert they could smell. This cheese, with its gamy odour, had overpowered the milder smells of the marolles and the limbourg; its power was remarkable. Every now and then, however, a slight whiff, a flute-like note, came from the parmesan, while the bries came into play with their soft, musty smell, the gentle sound, so to speak, of a damp tambourine. The livarot launched into an overwhelming reprise, and the géromé kept up the symphony with a sustained high note.
Émile Zola (The Belly of Paris (Les Rougon-Macquart, #3))
Books for the general reader are always ill-smelling books, the odour of paltry people clings to them. Where the populace eat and drink, and even where they reverence, it is accustomed to stink. One should not go into churches if one wishes to breathe pure air.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
[Jürgen Habermas' obituary to friend and philosopher, Richard Rorty] One small autobiographical piece by Rorty bears the title 'Wild Orchids and Trotsky.' In it, Rorty describes how as a youth he ambled around the blooming hillside in north-west New Jersey, and breathed in the stunning odour of the orchids. Around the same time he discovered a fascinating book at the home of his leftist parents, defending Leon Trotsky against Stalin. This was the origin of the vision that the young Rorty took with him to college: philosophy is there to reconcile the celestial beauty of orchids with Trotsky's dream of justice on earth. Nothing is sacred to Rorty the ironist. Asked at the end of his life about the 'holy', the strict atheist answered with words reminiscent of the young Hegel: 'My sense of the holy is bound up with the hope that some day my remote descendants will live in a global civilization in which love is pretty much the only law.
Jürgen Habermas
When I open them, most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out from between their pages – a special odour of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers>
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
In this valley, Love is represented by fire, Reason by smoke. When Love bursts into flame, Reason is forthwith dissipated like smoke. Reason cannot coexist with Love’s mania, for Love has nothing whatever to do with human Reason. If ever you attain a clear vision of the unseen world, then only will you be able to realize the source of Love. By the odour of Love every atom in the world is intoxicated. It owes its existence to the existence of Love. If
Attar of Nishapur (The Conference of the Birds)
Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart. Silently, in a dream she had come to him after her death, her wasted body within its loose brown graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood, her breath, that had bent upon him, mute, reproachful, a faint odour of wetted ashes.
James Joyce (James Joyce: Collection of All Complete Classics Works)
What do you think, you Higher Men? Am I a prophet? A dreamer? A drunkard? An interpreter of dreams? A midnight bell? A drop of dew? An odour and scent of eternity? Do you not hear it? Do you not smell it? My world has just become perfect, midnight is also noonday, pain is also joy, a curse is also a blessing, the night is also a sun – be gone, or you will learn: a wise man is also a fool. Did you ever say Yes to one joy? O my friends, then you said Yes to all woe as well. All things are chained and entwined together, all things are in love; if ever you wanted one moment twice, if ever you said: ‘You please me, happiness, instant, moment!’ then you wanted everything to return! you wanted everything anew, everything eternal, everything chained, entwined together, everything in love, O that is how you loved the world, you everlasting men, loved it eternally and for all time: and you say even to woe:’ Go, but return!’ For all joy wants -eternity!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
There's not much room left in a cabriolet after you've factored in two hoods, the armoury, a suitcase, the victim and the body odour
C.S. Boag
I am always hearing. . . the sound of a far off song. I do not exactly know where it is, or what it means; and I don't hear much of it, only the odour of its music, as it were, flitting across the great billows of the ocean outside this air in which I make such a storm; but what I do hear, is quite enough to make me able to bear the cry from the drowning ship. So it would you if you could hear it.' 'No it wouldn't,' returned Diamond stoutly. 'For they wouldn't hear the music of the far-away song; and if they did, it wouldn't do them any good. You see you and I are not going to be drowned, and so we might enjoy it.' 'But you have never heard the psalm, and you don't know what it is like. Somehow, I can't say how, it tells me that all is right; that it is coming to swallow up all the cries. . . . It wouldn't be the song it seems if it did not swallow up all their fear and pain too, and set them singing it themselves with all the rest.
George MacDonald (At the Back of the North Wind)
I arise from dreams of thee In the first sweet sleep of night, When the winds are breathing low, And the stars are shining bright. I arise from dreams of thee, And a spirit in my feet Has led me -who knows how? To thy chamber-window, Sweet! The wandering airs they faint On the dark, the silent stream - The champak odours fail Like sweet thoughts in a dream; The nightingale's complaint, It dies upon her heart, As I must die on thine, O beloved as thou art! Oh lift me from the grass! I die! I faint! I fail! Let thy love in kisses rain On my lips and eyelids pale. My cheek is cold and white, alas! My heart beats loud and fast; Oh press it close to thine again, Where it will break at last!
Percy Bysshe Shelley (The Complete Poems)
With a sudden movement she bowed his head and joined her lips to his and he read the meaning of her movements in her frank uplifted eyes. It was too much for him. He closed his eyes, surrendering himself to her, body and mind, conscious of nothing in the world but the dark pressure of her softly parting lips. They pressed upon his brain as upon his lips as though they were the vehicle of a vague speech; and between them he felt an unknown and timid pressure, darker than the swoon of sin, softer than sound or odour.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
There grew between him and Ella a conspiracy of experience, as if the raising of children, the industry of supporting each other in ways practical and tender, and the sum of years and then decades of private conversations and small intimacies—the odour of each other on waking; the trembling sound of each other’s breathing when a child was unwell; the illnesses, the griefs and cares, the tendernesses, unexpected and unbidden—as if all this were somehow more binding, more important and more undeniable than love, whatever love was.
Richard Flanagan (The Narrow Road to the Deep North)
Beautiful surroundings, the society of learned men, the charm of noble women, the graces of art, could not make up for the loss of those light-hearted mornings of the desert, for that wind that made one a boy again. He had noticed that this peculiar quality in the air of new countries vanished after they were tamed by man and made to bear harvests. Parts of Texas and Kansas that he had first known as open range had since been made into rich farming districts, and the air had quite lost that lightness, that dry, aromatic odour. The moisture of plowed land, the heaviness of labour and growth and grain-bearing, utterly destroyed it; one could breathe that only on the bright edges of the world, on the great grass plains or the sage-brush desert.
Willa Cather (Death Comes for the Archbishop)
It is uncomfortable to keep your dreams in a house just behind a public toilet; your dreams will surely attract bad odours from the waste products of people in detracting environments. Keep it away from negative people!
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
No two bodies will decompose in the same way, and at the same rate. You can have two bodies that are literally six feet apart and they will decompose in entirely different manners. It could be the amount of fat on the body. It could be the drugs they were taking, or the medication. It could be the type of clothing they’re wearing. It could be that one has a particular odour that is more attractive to flies than the other. Absolutely anything.
Val McDermid (Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA, and More Tell Us About Crime)
I’d loved women who were old and who were young; those extra kilos and large rumps, and others so thin there was barely even skin to pinch, and every time I held them, I worried I would snap them in two. But for all of these: where they had merited my love was in their delicious smell. Scent is such a powerful tool of attraction, that if a woman has this tool perfectly tuned, she needs no other. I will forgive her a large nose, a cleft lip, even crossed-eyes; and I’ll bathe in the jouissance of her intoxicating odour.
Roman Payne
Where the trees thicken into a wood, the fragrance of the wet earth and rotting leaves kicked up by the horses' hoofs fills my soul with delight. I particularly love that smell, -- it brings before me the entire benevolence of Nature, for ever working death and decay, so piteous in themselves, into the means of fresh life and glory, and sending up sweet odours as she works.
Elizabeth von Arnim (Elizabeth and Her German Garden)
To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits: for, after all, habit is relative to a stereotyped world, and meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes two persons, things, situations, seem alike. While all melts under our feet, we may well grasp at any exquisite passion, or any contribution to knowledge that seems by a lifted horizon to set the spirit free for a moment, or any stirring of the sense, strange dyes, strange colours, and curious odours, or work of the artist’s hands, or the face of one’s friend. Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us, and in the very brilliancy of their gifts some tragic dividing on their ways, is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening. With this sense of the splendour of our experience and of its awful brevity, gathering all we are into one desperate effort to see and touch, we shall hardly have time to make theories about the things we see and touch. What we have to do is to be for ever curiously testing new opinions and courting new impressions, never acquiescing in a facile orthodoxy, of Comte, or of Hegel, or of our own. Philosophical theories or ideas, as points of view, instruments of criticism, may help us to gather up what might otherwise pass unregarded by us. “Philosophy is the microscope of thought.” The theory or idea or system which requires of us the sacrifice of any part of this experience, in consideration of some interest into which we cannot enter, or some abstract theory we have not identified with ourselves, or of what is only conventional, has no real claim upon us.
Walter Pater
All he had loved, and moulded into thought, From shape, and hue, and odour, and sweet sound, Lamented Adonais. Morning sought Her eastern watch-tower, and her hair unbound, Wet with the tears which should adorn the ground, Dimmed the aerial eyes that kindle day; Afar the melancholy thunder moaned, Pale Ocean in unquiet slumber lay, And the wild winds flew round, sobbing in their dismay.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (Adonais)
It was in mid-summer, when the alchemy of Nature transmutes the sylvan landscape to one vivid and almost homogeneous mass of green; when the senses are well-nigh intoxicated with the surging seas of moist verdure and the subtly indefinable odours of the soil and the vegetation. In such surroundings the mind loses its perspective; time and space become trivial and unreal, and echoes of a forgotten prehistoric past beat insistently upon the enthralled consciousness.
H.P. Lovecraft (The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft)
Edain came out of Midhir's hill, and lay Beside young Aengus in his tower of glass, Where time is drowned in odour-laden winds And Druid moons, and murmuring of boughs, And sleepy boughs, and boughs where apples made Of opal and ruhy and pale chrysolite Awake unsleeping fires; and wove seven strings, Sweet with all music, out of his long hair, Because her hands had been made wild by love. When Midhir's wife had changed her to a fly, He made a harp with Druid apple-wood That she among her winds might know he wept; And from that hour he has watched over none But faithful lovers.
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
His body had become a companion which seemed always about to leave him: it had its own pains which moved him to pity, and its own particular movements which he tried hard to follow. He had learned from it how to keep his eyes down on the road, so that he could see no one, and how important it was never to look back - although there were times when memories of an earlier life filled him with grief and he lay face down upon the grass until the sweet rank odour of the earth brought him to his senses. But slowly he forgot where it was he had come from, and what it was he was escaping.
Peter Ackroyd (Hawksmoor)
In his book Defying Hitler, written in British exile in 1939, Sebastian Haffner recalled the “icy fright” that had been his first reaction to the news that Hitler had been named chancellor: “For a moment I almost physically sensed the odour of blood and filth surrounding this man Hitler. It was a bit like being approached by a threatening and disgusting predator—it felt like a dirty paw with sharp claws in my face.” But
Volker Ullrich (Hitler: Ascent: 1889-1939)
There was something displeasing about mortals, which the gods never spoke about, because they all knew it to be true. They had a strange smell - faint, when they were young, ripening to a stench as they grew old - but always present. It was the odour of death. Even the healthy ones, the uninjured, even children had it, this invisible, indelible mark.
Natalie Haynes (A Thousand Ships)
Smell is of all senses by far the most evocative: perhaps because we have no vocabulary for it – nothing but a few poverty-stricken approximations to describe the whole vast complexity of odour – and therefore the scent, unnamed and unnamable, remains pure of association; it cannot be called upon again and again, and blunted, by the use of a word; and so it strikes afresh every time, bringing with it all the circumstances of its first perception.
Patrick O'Brian (Post Captain (Aubrey & Maturin, #2))
It looked like a colour, but also... like a bruise or a secretion, like an oozing-and something else, an odour, for example, it melted into the odour of wet earth, warm, moist wood, into a black odour that spread like varnish over this sensitive wood, in a flavour of chewed, sweet fibre. I did not simply see this black: sight is an abstract invention, a simplified idea, one of man's ideas. That black, amorphous, weakly presence, far surpassed sight, smell and taste. But this richness was lost in confusion and finally was no more because it was too much.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
He looked around and yawned. “I haven’t been sleeping well. It’s nice in here. But after a while the lushes will fill the place up and talk loud and laugh and the goddam women will start waving their hands and screwing up their faces and tinkling their goddam bracelets and making up with the packaged charm which will later on in the evening have a slight but unmistakable odour of sweat.” “Take it easy,” I said. “So they’re human, they sweat, they get dirty, they have to go to the bathroom. What did you expect – golden butterflies hovering in a rosy mist?
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6))
Secular society has been unfairly impoverished by the loss of an array of practices and themes which atheists typically find it impossible to live with because they seem too closely associated with, to quote Nietzsche’s useful phrase, ‘the bad odours of religion’. We have grown frightened of the word morality. We bridle at the thought of hearing a sermon. We flee from the idea that art should be uplifting or have an ethical mission. We don’t go on pilgrimages. We can’t build temples. We have no mechanisms for expressing gratitude. Strangers rarely sing together. We are presented with an unpleasant choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle or just charming rituals for which we struggle to find equivalents in secular society.
Alain de Botton (Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion)
Joao Elvas wrapped his cloak tightly around him, tucked up his legs as if he were still in his mother's womb, and snoozed in the warmth of the hay, which gave off a pleasant odour generated by the heat of his body. There are refined men and women, and sometimes not all that refined, who cannot bear such odours and who take great pains to cover any traces of their natural smell, and the day will come when artificial roses will be sprayed with the artificial scent of roses, and these refined souls will exclaim, How lovely they smell.
José Saramago (Baltasar and Blimunda)
She looked at his face, and she turned her own face to the wall. For his look was other than hers, his way was not her way. She had denied him what he was—she saw it now. She had refused him as himself.—And this had been her life, and his life.—She was grateful to death, which restored the truth.
D.H. Lawrence (Odour of Chrysanthemums)
In the writings of a recluse one always hears something of the echo of the wilderness, something of the murmuring tones and timid vigilance of solitude; in his strongest words, even in his cry itself, there sounds a new and more dangerous kind of silence, of concealment. He who has sat day and night, from year's end to year's end, alone with his soul in familiar discord and discourse, he who has become a cave-bear, or a treasure-seeker, or a treasure-guardian and dragon in his cave—it may be a labyrinth, but can also be a gold-mine—his ideas themselves eventually acquire a twilight-colour of their own, and an odour, as much of the depth as of the mould, something uncommunicative and repulsive, which blows chilly upon every passer-by.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
But the first glad moment in our first love is a vision which returns to us to the last, and brings with it a thrill of feeling intense and special as the recurrent sensation of a sweet odour breathed in a far off hour of happiness. It is a memory that gives a more exquisite touch to tenderness, that feeds the madness of jealousy, and adds the last keenness to the agony of despair.
George Eliot (Adam Bede)
I do not know why people here have taken upon themselves the duty of making attempts at speaking to me. I work hard to keep the ‘don’t speak to me’ look on my face and yet it seems they read it as ‘please speak to me’….It really is very inconsiderate. Sometimes one just wants to be alone with one’s thoughts and not have to deal with bad breath and body odour so early in the morning.
Kopano Matlwa (Coconut)
Ethanol is a volatile, flammable, colourless liquid with a slight chemical odour. It is used as an antiseptic, a solvent, in medical wipes and antibacterial formulas because it kills organisms by denaturing their proteins. Ethanol is an important industrial ingredient. Ethanol is a good general purpose solvent and is found in paints, tinctures, markers and personal care products such as perfumes and deodorants. The largest single use of ethanol is as an engine fuel and fuel additive. In other words, we drink, for fun, the same thing we use to make rocket fuel, house paint, anti-septics, solvents, perfumes, and deodorants and to denature, i.e. to take away the natural properties of, or kill, living organisms. Which might make sense on some level if we weren’t a generation of green minded, organic, health-conscious, truth seeking individuals. But we are. We read labels, we shun gluten, dairy, processed foods, and refined sugars. We buy organic, we use natural sunscreen and beauty products. We worry about fluoride in our water, smog in our air, hydrogenated oils in our food, and we debate whether plastic bottles are safe to drink from. We replace toxic cleaning products with Mrs. Myers and homemade vinegar concoctions. We do yoga, we run, we SoulCycle and Fitbit, we go paleo and keto, we juice, we cleanse. We do coffee enemas and steam our yonis, and drink clay and charcoal, and shoot up vitamins, and sit in infrared foil boxes, and hire naturopaths, and shamans, and functional doctors, and we take nootropics and we stress about our telomeres. These are all real words. We are hyper-vigilant about everything we put into our body, everything we do to our body, and we are proud of this. We Instagram how proud we are of this, and we follow Goop and Well+Good, and we drop 40 bucks on an exercise class because there are healing crystals in the floor. The global wellness economy is estimated to be worth $4 trillion. $4 TRILLION DOLLARS. We are on an endless and expensive quest for wellness and vitality and youth. And we drink fucking rocket fuel.
Holly Whitaker (Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol)
People have always associated the country with love, and they have done well; nothing affords so fine a frame for the woman whom one loves as the blue sky, the odours, the flowers, the breeze, the shining solitude of fields, or woods. However much one loves a woman, whatever confidence one may have in her, whatever certainty her past may offer us as to her future, one is always more or less jealous. If you have been in love, you must have felt the need of isolating from this world the being in whom you would live wholly.
Alexandre Dumas fils (La Dame aux Camélias)
I laughed on the way home, and I laughed again for sheer satisfaction when we reached the garden and drove between the quiet trees to the pretty old house; for when I went into the library, with its four windows open to the moonlight and the scent, and looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness, and rescued me from a life like that I had just seen -- a life spent with the odours of other people's dinners in one's nostrils, and the noise of their wrangling servants in one's years, and parties and tattle for all amusement.
Elizabeth von Arnim (Elizabeth and Her German Garden)
It’s very true; there are many more iron pots certainly than porcelain. But you may depend on it that every one bears some mark; even the hardest iron pots have a little bruise, a little hole somewhere. I flatter myself that I’m rather stout, but if I must tell you the truth I’ve been shockingly chipped and cracked. I do very well for service yet, because I’ve been cleverly mended; and I try to remain in the cupboard—the quiet, dusky cupboard where there’s an odour of stale spices—as much as I can. But when I’ve to come out and into a strong light—then, my dear, I’m a horror!
Henry James
Ugly and futile: lean neck and thick hair and a stain of ink, a snail’s bed. Yet someone had loved him, borne him in her arms and in her heart. But for her the race of the world would have trampled him underfoot, a squashed boneless snail. She had loved his weak watery blood drained from her own. Was that then real? The only true thing in life? His mother’s prostrate body the fiery Columbanus in holy zeal bestrode. She was no more: the trembling skeleton of a twig burnt in the fire, an odour of rosewood and wetted ashes. She had saved him from being trampled underfoot and had gone, scarcely having been. A poor soul gone to heaven: and on a heath beneath winking stars a fox, red reek of rapine in his fur, with merciless bright eyes scraped in the earth, listened, scraped up the earth, listened, scraped and scraped.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
Then the woman in the bed sat up and looked about her with wild eyes; and the oldest of the old men said: 'Lady, we have come to write down the names of the immortals,’ and at his words a look of great joy came into her face. Presently she, began to speak slowly, and yet eagerly, as though she knew she had but a little while to live, and, in English, with the accent of their own country; and she told them the secret names of the immortals of many lands, and of the colours, and odours, and weapons, and instruments of music and instruments of handicraft they held dearest; but most about the immortals of Ireland and of their love for the cauldron, and the whetstone, and the sword, and the spear, and the hills of the Shee, and the horns of the moon, and the Grey Wind, and the Yellow Wind, and the Black Wind, and the Red Wind. ("The Adoration of the Magi")
W.B. Yeats
The faithful clamoured to be buried alongside the martyrs, as close as possible to the venerable remains, a custom which, in anthropological terms, recalls Neolithic beliefs that certain human remains possessed supernatural properties. It was believed that canonized saints did not rot, like lesser mortals, but that their corpses were miraculously preserved and emanated an odour of sanctity, a sweet, floral smell, for years after death. In forensic terms, such preservation is likely to be a result of natural mummification in hot, dry conditions.
Catharine Arnold (Necropolis: London and Its Dead)
Darkness makes the brain giddy. Man needs light. Whoever plunges into the opposite of day feels his heart chilled. When the eye sees blackness, the mind sees trouble. In an eclipse, in night, in the sooty darkness, there is an anxiety even to the strongest. Nobody walks alone at night in the forest without trembling. Darkness and trees, two formidable depths - a reality of chimeras appears in the indistinct distance. The Inconceivable outlines itself a few steps from you with a spectral clearness. You see floating in space or in your brain something strangely vague and unseizable as the dreams of sleeping flowers. There are fierce phantoms in the horizon. You breathe in the odours of the great black void. You are afraid, and tempted to look behind you. The hollowness of night, the haggardness of all things, the silent profiles that fade away as you advance, the obscure dishevelments, angry clumps, livid pools, the gloomy reflected in the funeral, the sepulchral immensity of silence, the possible unknown beings, the swaying of mysterious branches, the frightful twistings of the trees, long spires of shivering grass - against all this you have no defence. There is no bravery which does not shudder and feel the nearness of anguish. You feel something hideous as if the soul were amalgamating with the shadow. This penetration of the darkness is inexperessibly dismal for a child. Forests are apocalypses; and the beating of the wings of a little soul makes an agonising sound under their monstrous vault.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
There must have been a billion leaves on the land; he waded in them, a dry river smelling of hot cloves and warm dust. And the other smells! There was a smell like a cut potato from all the land, raw and cold and white from having the moon on it most of the night. There was a smell like pickles from a bottle and a smell like parsley on the table at home. There was a faint yellow odour like mustard from a jar. There was a smell like carnations from the yard next door. He put down his hand and felt a weed rise up like a child brushing him. His fingers smelled of liquorice. He stood breathing, and the more he breathed the land in, the more he was filled up with all the details of the land. He was not empty. There was more than enough here to fill him. There would always be more than enough.
Ray Bradbury
One encounters in the streets, late at night on the evenings of fetes, the most strange and bizarre passers-by. Do these nights of popular celebration cause ancient and forgotten avatars to stir in the depths of the human soul? This evening, in the movement of the sweaty and excited crowd, I am certain that I passed between the masks of the liberated Bythinians and encountered the courtesans of the Roman decadence. There emerged, this evening, from that swarming esplanade of Des Invalides - amid the crackle of fireworks, the shooting stars, the stink of frying, the hiccuping of drunkards and the reeking atmosphere of menageries - the wild effusions of one of Nero's festivals. It was like the odour of a May evening on the Basso-Porto of Naples. It was easy to believe that the faces in that crowd were Sicilian.
Jean Lorrain
Endless love and voluptuous appetite pervaded this stifling nave in which settled the ardent sap of the tropics. Renée was wrapped in the powerful bridals of the earth that gave birth to these dark growths, these colossal stamina; and the acrid birth-throes of this hotbed, of this forest growth, of this mass of vegetation aglow with the entrails that nourished it, surrounded her with disturbing odours. At her feet was the steaming tank, its tepid water thickened by the sap from the floating roots, enveloping her shoulders with a mantle of heavy vapours, forming a mist that warmed her skin like the touch of a hand moist with desire. Overhead she could smell the palm trees, whose tall leaves shook down their aroma. And more than the stifling heat, more than the brilliant light, more than the great dazzling flowers, like faces laughing or grimacing between the leaves, it was the odours that overwhelmed her. An indescribable perfume, potent, exciting, composed of a thousand different perfumes, hung about her; human exudation, the breath of women, the scent of hair; and breezes sweet and swooningly faint were blended with breezes coarse and pestilential, laden with poison. But amid this strange music of odours, the dominant melody that constantly returned, stifling the sweetness of the vanilla and the orchids' pungency, was the penetrating, sensual smell of flesh, the smell of lovemaking escaping in the early morning from the bedroom of newlyweds.
Émile Zola (La Curée)
If we have largely forgotten the physical discomforts of the itching, oppressive garments of the past and the corrosive effects of perpetual physical discomfort on the nerves, then we have mercifully forgotten, too, the smells of the past, the domestic odours -- ill-washed flesh; infrequently changed underwear; chamber pots; slop-pails; inadequately plumbed privies; rotting food; unattended teeth; and the streets are no fresher than indoors, the omnipresent acridity of horse piss and dung, drains, sudden stench of old death from butchers' shops, the amniotic horror of the fishmonger. You would drench your handkerchief with cologne and press it to your nose. You would splash yourself with parma violet so that the reek of fleshly decay you always carried with you was overlaid by that of the embalming parlour. You would abhor the air you breathed.
Angela Carter (Lizzie Borden (Penguin 60s))
lot of noises all at once, even if they are exclusively pleasant sounds, will always feel like an assault. So, the relentless cacophony of high school was constantly and unbearably overwhelming. And don’t get me started on the smell of it. Body sprays competed with hair sprays, which competed with the always over-deployed deodorants that still somehow managed to lose the war against the toxic bouquet of teenage body odour. Thank god I was a smoker; I might’ve perished otherwise. The other hurdle high school threw up at me was homework. I am not morally opposed to extracurricular curricula; I just didn’t have time for it. As in primary school, I needed my evenings to catch up on the things my brain had been unable to take on board during the day, not to mention recover from the sheer exhaustion of trying to subtly navigate a sea of hypercritical teens for hours on end. On top of that, the closer I got to being an adult and the further away from being a baby, the more chores I was expected to get done at home. These extra burdens, as reasonable as they were, led to my brain shutting down more and more, and, without my brain, learning became impossible.
Hannah Gadsby (Ten Steps to Nanette)
Alas! what are you, after all, my written and painted thoughts! Not long ago you were so variegated, young and malicious, so full of thorns and secret spices, that you made me sneeze and laugh — and now? You have already doffed your novelty, and some of you, I fear, are ready to become truths, so immortal do they look, so pathetically honest, so tedious! And was it ever otherwise? What then do we write and paint, we mandarins with Chinese brush, we immortalizers of things which lend themselves to writing, what are we alone capable of painting? Alas, only that which is just about to fade and begins to lose its odour! Alas, only exhausted and departing storms and belated yellow sentiments! Alas, only birds strayed and fatigued by flight, which now let themselves be captured with the hand — with our hand! We immortalize what cannot live and fly much longer, things only which are exhausted and mellow! And it is only for your afternoon, you, my written and painted thoughts, for which alone I have colours, many colours, perhaps, many variegated softenings, and fifty yellows and browns and greens and reds; — but nobody will divine thereby how ye looked in your morning, you sudden sparks and marvels of my solitude, you, my old, beloved — evil thoughts!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
He felt as if he were under an intolerable physical strain, as if his body were likely at any moment to fly to pieces. Other strange physical symptoms came to trouble him. An unpleasant odour lingered in his nostrils, as if he could literally smell the sulphur of the pit; and he had from time to time the curious illusion that his flesh was turning black. He had to look continually at his hands to be sure that it was not so. Nightmares troubled him, waking and sleeping - and one bad dream conjured up another, running from box to box to release its fellows. The world around him seemed to have become equally mad and hateful. The newspapers were full of stories of grotesque violence and unnatural crimes. He knew neither how to go on nor what to do to bring these horrors to an end.
Iris Murdoch (The Sandcastle)
The term ‘female’ is derogatory not because it emphasises woman’s animality, but because it imprisons her in her sex; and if this sex seems to man to be contemptible and inimical even in harmless dumb animals, it is evidently because of the uneasy hostility stirred up in him by woman. Nevertheless he wishes to find in biology a justification for this sentiment. The word female brings up in his mind a saraband of imagery – a vast, round ovum engulfs and castrates the agile spermatozoan; the monstrous and swollen termite queen rules over the enslaved males; the female praying mantis and the spider, satiated with love, crush and devour their partners; the bitch in heat runs through the alleys, trailing behind her a wake of depraved odours; the she-monkey presents posterior immodestly and then steals away with hypocritical coquetry; and the most superb wild beasts – the tigress, the lioness, the panther – bed down slavishly under the imperial embrace of the male. Females sluggish, eager, artful, stupid, callous, lustful, ferocious, abased – man projects them all at once upon woman.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex)
The Yamato spirit is not a tame, tender plant, but a wild--in the sense of natural--growth; it is indigenous to the soil; its accidental qualities it may share with the flowers of other lands, but in its essence it remains the original, spontaneous outgrowth of our clime. But its nativity is not its sole claim to our affection. The refinement and grace of its beauty appeal to our æsthetic sense as no other flower can. We cannot share the admiration of the Europeans for their roses, which lack the simplicity of our flower. Then, too, the thorns that are hidden beneath the sweetness of the rose, the tenacity with which she clings to life, as though loth or afraid to die rather than drop untimely, preferring to rot on her stem; her showy colours and heavy odours--all these are traits so unlike our flower, which carries no dagger or poison under its beauty, which is ever ready to depart life at the call of nature, whose colours are never gorgeous, and whose light fragrance never palls. Beauty of colour and of form is limited in its showing; it is a fixed quality of existence, whereas fragrance is volatile, ethereal as the breathing of life. So in all religious ceremonies frankincense and myrrh play a prominent part. There is something spirituelle in redolence. When the delicious perfume of the sakura quickens the morning air, as the sun in its course rises to illumine first the isles of the Far East, few sensations are more serenely exhilarating than to inhale, as it were, the very breath of beauteous day.
Nitobe Inazō (Bushido, the Soul of Japan)
I didn't cry out and I didn't weep when I was told that my son Henri was a prisoner in his own world, when it was confirmed that he is one of those children who don't hear us, don't speak to us, even though they're neither deaf nor mute. He is also one of those children we must love from a distance, neither touching, nor kissing, not smiling at them because every one of their senses would be assaulted by the odour of our skin, by the intensity of our voices, the texture of our hair, the throbbing of our hearts. Probably he'll never call me maman lovingly, even if he can pronounce the world poire with all the roundness and sensuality of the oi sound. He will never understand why I cried when he smiled for the first time. He won't know that, thanks to him, every spark of joy has become a blessing and that I will keep waging war against autism, even if I know already that it's invincible. Already, I am defeated, stripped bare, beaten down.
Kim Thúy
Eliot's understanding of poetic epistemology is a version of Bradley's theory, outlined in our second chapter, that knowing involves immediate, relational, and transcendent stages or levels. The poetic mind, like the ordinary mind, has at least two types of experience: The first consists largely of feeling (falling in love, smelling the cooking, hearing the noise of the typewriter), the second largely of thought (reading Spinoza). The first type of experience is sensuous, and it is also to a great extent monistic or immediate, for it does not require mediation through the mind; it exists before intellectual analysis, before the falling apart of experience into experiencer and experienced. The second type of experience, in contrast, is intellectual (to be known at all, it must be mediated through the mind) and sharply dualistic, in that it involves a breaking down of experience into subject and object. In the mind of the ordinary person, these two types of experience are and remain disparate. In the mind of the poet, these disparate experiences are somehow transcended and amalgamated into a new whole, a whole beyond and yet including subject and object, mind and matter. Eliot illustrates his explanation of poetic epistemology by saying that John Donne did not simply feel his feelings and think his thoughts; he felt his thoughts and thought his feelings. He was able to "feel his thought as immediately as the odour of a rose." Immediately" in this famous simile is a technical term in philosophy, used with precision; it means unmediated through mind, unshattered into subject and object. Falling in love and reading Spinoza typify Eliot's own experiences in the years in which he was writing The Waste Land. These were the exciting and exhausting years in which he met Vivien Haigh-Wood and consummated a disastrous marriage, the years in which he was deeply involved in reading F. H. Bradley, the years in which he was torn between the professions of philosophy and poetry and in which he was in close and frequent contact with such brilliant and stimulating figures as Bertrand Russell and Ezra Pound, the years of the break from his family and homeland, the years in which in every area of his life he seemed to be between broken worlds. The experiences of these years constitute the material of The Waste Land. The relevant biographical details need not be reviewed here, for they are presented in the introduction to The Waste Land Facsimile. For our purposes, it is only necessary to acknowledge what Eliot himself acknowledged: the material of art is always actual life. At the same time, it should also be noted that material in itself is not art. As Eliot argued in his review of Ulysses, "in creation you are responsible for what you can do with material which you must simply accept." For Eliot, the given material included relations with and observations of women, in particular, of his bright but seemingly incurably ill wife Vivien(ne).
Jewel Spears Brooker (Reading the Waste Land: Modernism and the Limits of Interpretation)
Ode to the West Wind I O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low, Each like a corpse within its grave, until Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) With living hues and odours plain and hill: Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere; Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear! II Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky’s commotion, Loose clouds like earth’s decaying leaves are shed, Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean, Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread On the blue surface of thine aëry surge, Like the bright hair uplifted from the head Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge Of the horizon to the zenith’s height, The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge Of the dying year, to which this closing night Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre, Vaulted with all thy congregated might Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear! III Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, Lull’d by the coil of his crystàlline streams, Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay, And saw in sleep old palaces and towers Quivering within the wave’s intenser day, All overgrown with azure moss and flowers So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear The sapless foliage of the ocean, know Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear, And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear! IV If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear; If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee; A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share The impulse of thy strength, only less free Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even I were as in my boyhood, and could be The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven, As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed Scarce seem’d a vision; I would ne’er have striven As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need. Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! A heavy weight of hours has chain’d and bow’d One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud. V Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is: What if my leaves are falling like its own! The tumult of thy mighty harmonies Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone, Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce, My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one! Drive my dead thoughts over the universe Like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth! And, by the incantation of this verse, Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind! Be through my lips to unawaken’d earth The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Percy Bysshe Shelley (Ode to the West Wind and Other Poems)
But Eugene was untroubled by thought of a goal. He was mad with such ecstasy as he had never known. He was a centaur, moon-eyed and wild of name, torn apart with hunger for the golden world. He became at times almost incapable of coherent speech. While talking with people, he would whinny suddenly into their startled faces, and leap away, his face contorted with an idiot joy. He would hurl himself squealing through the streets and along the paths, touched with the ecstasy of a thousand unspoken desires. The world lay before him for his picking—full of opulent cities, golden vintages, glorious triumphs, lovely women, full of a thousand unmet and magnificent possibilities. Nothing was dull or tarnished. The strange enchanted coasts were unvisited. He was young and he could never die. He went back to Pulpit Hill for two or three days of delightful loneliness in the deserted college. He prowled through the empty campus at midnight under the great moons of the late rich Spring; he breathed the thousand rich odours of tree and grass and flower, of the opulent and seductive South; and he felt a delicious sadness when he thought of his departure, and saw there in the moon the thousand phantom shapes of the boys he had known who would come no more. He still loitered, although his baggage had been packed for days. With a desperate pain, he faced departure from that Arcadian wilderness where he had known so much joy. At night he roamed the deserted campus, talking quietly until morning with a handful of students who lingered strangely, as he did, among the ghostly buildings, among the phantoms of lost boys. He could not face a final departure. He said he would return early in autumn for a few days, and at least once a year thereafter. Then one hot morning, on sudden impulse, he left. As the car that was taking him to Exeter roared down the winding street, under the hot green leafiness of June, he heard, as from the sea-depth of a dream, far-faint, the mellow booming of the campus bell. And suddenly it seemed to him that all the beaten walks were thudding with the footfalls of lost boys, himself among them, running for their class. Then, as he listened, the far bell died away, and the phantom runners thudded into oblivion. The car roared up across the lip of the hill, and drove steeply down into the hot parched countryside below. As the lost world faded from his sight, Eugene gave a great cry of pain and sadness, for he knew that the elfin door had closed behind him, and that he would never come back again. He saw the vast rich body of the hills, lush with billowing greenery, ripe-bosomed, dappled by far-floating cloudshadows. But it was, he knew, the end. Far-forested, the horn-note wound. He was wild with the hunger for release: the vast champaign of earth stretched out for him its limitless seduction. It was the end, the end. It was the beginning of the voyage, the quest of new lands. Gant was dead. Gant was living, death-in-life. In
Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel)