Spectator Quotes

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A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (Rashomon and Other Stories)
Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the 'transcendent' and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.
Christopher Hitchens (Letters to a Young Contrarian)
It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still. For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remained to hope was that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
Most things break, including hearts. The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.
Wallace Stegner (The Spectator Bird)
... It's perfect! Locke would appreciate it." "Bug," Calo said, "Locke is our brother and our love for him knows no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are 'Locke would appreciate it.'" "Rivalled only by 'Locke taught me a new trick,'" added Galo. "The only person who gets away with Locke Lamora games ..." "... is Locke ..." "... because we think the gods are saving him up for a really big death. Something with knives and hot irons ..." "... and fifty thousand cheering spectators.
Scott Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1))
Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence.
Christopher Hitchens
Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. Don't you think? It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see.
Ann Patchett (Bel Canto)
To become a spectator of one's own life is to escape the suffering of life.
Oscar Wilde
I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.
Marcel Duchamp
It's the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Oscar Wilde (Miscellaneous Aphorisms; The Soul of Man)
I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmostphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world—impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito.
Charles Baudelaire (The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays (Phaidon Arts and Letters))
It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style. They affect us just as vulgarity affects us. They give us an impression of sheer brute force, and we revolt against that. Sometimes, however, a tragedy that possesses artistic elements of beauty crosses our lives. If these elements of beauty are real, the whole thing simply appeals to our sense of dramatic effect. Suddenly we find that we are no longer the actors, but the spectators of the play. Or rather we are both. We watch ourselves, and the mere wonder of the spectacle enthralls us.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Talking about one's feelings defeats the purpose of having those feelings. Once you try to put the human experience into words, it becomes little more than a spectator sport. Everything must have a cause, and a name. Every random thought must have a root in something else.
Derek Landy (Death Bringer (Skulduggery Pleasant, #6))
Beware, my body and my soul, beware above all of crossing your arms and assuming the sterile attitude of the spectator, for life is not a spectacle, a sea of griefs is not a proscenium, and a man who wails is not a dancing bear.
Aimé Césaire (Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (Wesleyan Poetry Series))
Film spectators are quiet vampires.
Jim Morrison
I am not talking about you being a spectator, I am talking about involvement. I am talking about involving yourself into life in such a way that you dissolve into it.
Sadhguru
It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. ...It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as the players-more if they are moderately restless.
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
Revolution is a spectators sport. The majority will sit in the stands and watch the factions fight. At the end they will choose side with the team that is winning.
George Lincoln Rockwell
The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus.
Wallace Stegner (The Spectator Bird)
As citizens, we must prevent wrongdoing because the world in which we all live, wrong-doer, wrong sufferer and spectator, is at stake.
Hannah Arendt
Something happens when you feel ownership. You no longer act like a spectator or consumer, because you're an owner. Faith is at its best when it's that way too. It's best lived when it's owned.
Bob Goff
A human being without the proper empathy or feeling is the same as an android built so as to lack it, either by design or mistake. We mean, basically, someone who does not care about the fate which his fellow living creatures fall victim to; he stands detached, a spectator, acting out by his indifference John Donne's theorem that 'No man is an island,' but giving that theorem a twist: that which is a mental and a moral island is not a man.
Philip K. Dick (The Dark-Haired Girl)
The spectator-buyer is meant to envy herself as she will become if she buys the product. She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself.
John Berger (Ways of Seeing)
Life is not a spectator sport. If watchin' is all you're going to do, you're going to watch your life go by without ya
Hunchback of Notre Dame
Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence
Christopher Hitchens (Letters to a Young Contrarian)
If you worry about what everyone is trying to do, you become a spectator and not a player.
Brent Weeks (The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1))
Anything can happen to change your life at any moment. Live life to the fullest. Do not be a spectator in your life be a player.
Julie Campbell
Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will provide plenty of time for silence.
Christopher Hitchens
Să te consideri spectator indulgent şi amuzat al lumii acesteia plină de infamie şi de prostie e să faci parte din ea, şi să beneficiezi de infamiile ei, având aerul că-i eşti deasupra.
Camil Petrescu (Ultima noapte de dragoste, întâia noapte de război)
The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art.
Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)
suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is, for the sufferer, his submission to the will of God, and, for the spectators, the compassion aroused and the acts of mercy to which it leads.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
You experience life alone, you can be as intimate with another as much as you like, but there has to be always a part of you and your existence that is incommunicable; you die alone, the experience is yours alone, you might have a dozen spectators who love you, but your isolation, from birth to death, is never fully penetrated.
Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone.. the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.
Marcel Duchamp
What shall we say about those spectators, then, who can see a plurality of beautiful things, but not beauty itself, and who are incapable of following if someone else tries to lead them to it, and who can see many moral actions, but not morality itself, and so on? That they only ever entertain beliefs, and do not know any of the things they believe?
Plato (The Republic)
I know I am getting better at golf because I am hitting fewer spectators.
Gerald R. Ford
He was, like everyone of a strongly erotic disposition, twice as good, twice as much himself when he knew that women liked him, just as many actors find their most ardent vein when they sense that they have cast their spell over the audience, the breathing mass of spectators before them.
Stefan Zweig (The Burning Secret and other stories)
I enjoyed watching good-looking idiots looking at each other. A great spectator sport.
Jeff Lindsay (Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, #1))
It’s only a game. It only resolves tiny, insignificant things. Such as who gets validation. Who gets listened to. It allocates power and draws boundaries and turns some people into stars and others into spectators. That’s all.
Fredrik Backman (Beartown (Beartown, #1))
People always ask, Why does God allow suffering? Why does He allow a child to be beaten? A woman to cry? A holocaust to happen? A good dog to die painfully? Simple truth is, He wants to see for Himself what we’ll do. He’s stood up the candle, put the devil at the wick, and now He wants to see if we blow it out or let it burn down. God is suffering’s biggest spectator.
Tiffany McDaniel (The Summer that Melted Everything)
Every death even the cruelest death drowns in the total indifference of Nature Nature herself would watch unmoved if we destroyed the entire human race I hate Nature this passionless spectator this unbreakable iceberg-face that can bear everything this goads us to greater and greater acts
Peter Weiss (The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade)
And we, spectators always, everywhere, looking at, never out of, everything! It fills us. We arrange it. It collapses. We re-arrange it, and collapse ourselves. Who's turned us round like this, so that we always, do what we may, retain the attitude of someone who's departing? Just as he, on the last hill, that shows him all his valley for the last time, will turn and stop and linger, we live our lives, for ever taking leave.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Duino Elegies)
The fact that certain members of the oppressor class join the oppressed in their struggle for liberation, thus moving from one pole of the contradiction to the other... Theirs is a fundamental role, and has been throughout the history of this struggle. It happens, however, that as they cease to be exploiters or indifferent spectators or simply the heirs of exploitation and move to the side of the exploited, they almost always bring with them the marks of their origin: their prejudices and their deformations, which include a lack of confidence in the people's ability to think, to want, and to know. Accordingly, these adherents to the people's cause constantly run the risk of falling into a type of generosity as malefic as that of the oppressors. The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. Our converts, on the other hand, truly desire to transform the unjust order; but because of their background they believe that they must be the executors of the transformation. They talk about the people, but they do not trust them; and trusting the people is the indispensable precondition for revolutionary change. A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, than by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust.
Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)
For most Americans, economic growth is a spectator sport.
Paul Krugman
Democracy is not a spectator sport
Bernie Sanders
The Puritans hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
Thomas Babington Macaulay
To have lost is less disturbing than to wonder if we may possibly have won; and Eustacia could now, like other people at such a stage, take a standing-point outside herself, observe herself as a disinterested spectator, and think what a sport for Heaven this woman Eustacia was.
Thomas Hardy (The Return of the Native)
Sometimes I feel that I am destined always to be offstage whenever the main action occurs. That God has made me the victim of some cosmic practical joke, by assigning me little more than a walk-on part in my own life. Or sometimes I feel that my role is simply to be a spectator to other people's stories, and always to wander away at the most important moment, drifiting into the kitchen to make a cup of tea just as the denouement unfolds.
Jonathan Coe (The Rotters' Club)
With cold eyes and indifferent mind the spectators regard the work. Connoissers admire the "skill" (as one admires a tightrope walker), enjoy the "quality of painting" (as one enjoys a pasty). But hungry souls go hungry away. The vulgar herd stroll through the rooms and pronounce the pictures "nice" or "splendid." Those who could speak have said nothing, those who could hear have heard nothing.
Wassily Kandinsky (Concerning the Spiritual in Art)
If your own thoughts cannot provoke you, nothing external can provoke you either. Every external occurrence triggers an internal thought that may alter your state of mind. If you can just be the spectator and not the reactor or an adopter of the thought, the thought becomes powerless.
Om Swami (The Wellness Sense: A Practical Guide to Your Physical and Emotional Health Based on Ayurvedic and Yogic Wisdom)
As if this great outburst of anger had purged all my ills, killed all my hopes, I looked up at the mass of signs and stars in the night sky and laid myself open for the first time to the benign indifference of the world- and finding it so much like myself, in fact so fraternal, I realized that I’d been happy, and that I was still happy. For the final consummation and for me to feel less lonely, my last wish was that there should be a crowd of spectators at my execution and that they should greet me with cries of hatred.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
Surviving one’s own life, living on the other side of it like a spectator, is quite comfortable after all. You no longer expect anything, no longer fear anything, and every hour is like a memory.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Mandarins)
If there were a place that we didn't know of, and there, on some unsayable carpet, lovers displayed what they never could bring to mastery here – the bold exploits of their high-flying hearts, their towers of pleasure, their ladders that have long since been standing where there was no ground, leaning just on each other, trembling, - and could master all this, before the surrounding spectators, the innumerable soundless dead: Would these, then, throw down their final, forever saved-up, forever hidden, unknown to us, eternally valid coins of happiness before the at last genuinely smiling pair on the gratified carpet?
Rainer Maria Rilke
In fact, public speaking anxiety may be primal and quintessentially human, not limited to those of us born with a high-reactive nervous system. One theory, based on the writings of the sociobiologist E.O. Wilson, holds that when our ancestors lived on the savannah, being watched intently meant only one thing: a wild animal was stalking us. And when we think we're about to be eaten, do we stand tall and hold forth confidently? No. We run. In other words, hundreds of thousands of years of evolution urge us to get the hell off the stage, where we can mistake the gaze of the spectators for the glint in a predator's eye.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Fulfillment, Shevek thought, is a function of time. The search for pleasure is circular, repetitive, atemporal, The variety seeking of the spectator, the thrill hunter, the sexually promiscuous, always ends in the same place. It has an end. It comes to the end and has to start over. It is not a journey and return, but a closed cycle, a locked room, a cell. Outside the locked room is the landscape of time, in which the spirit may, with luck and courage, construct the fragile, makeshift, improbable roads and cities of fidelity: a landscape inhabitable by human beings. It is not until an act occurs within the landscape of the past and the future that it is a human act. Loyalty, which asserts the continuity of past and future, binding time into a whole, is the root of human strength; there is no good to be done without it.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia)
In a world of fixed future, life is an infinite corridor of rooms, one room lit at each moment, the next room dark but prepared. We walk from room to room, look into the room that is lit, the present moment, then walk on. We do not know the rooms ahead, but we know we cannot change them. We are spectators of our lives.
Alan Lightman (Einstein’s Dreams)
Royce understood then why she had come: she had come to finish the task her relatives had begun; to do to him what he had done to her brother. Unmoving, he watched her, noting that tears were pouring down her beautiful face as she slowly bent down. But instead of reaching for his lance or her dagger, she took his hand between both of hers and pressed her lips to it. Through his daze of pain and confusion, Royce finally understood that she was kneeling to him, and a groan tore from his chest: "Darling," he said brokenly, tightening his hand, trying to make her stand, "don't do this…" But his wife wouldn't listen. In front of seven thousand onlookers, Jennifer Merrick Westmoreland, countess of Rockbourn, knelt before her husband in a public act of humble obeisance, her face pressed to his hand, her shoulders wrenched with violent sobs. By the time she finally arose, there could not have been many among the spectators who had not seen what she had done. Standing up, she stepped back, lifted her tear-streaked face to his, and squared her shoulders. Pride exploded in Royce's battered being—because, somehow, she was managing to stand as proudly—as defiantly—as if she had just been knighted by a king.
Judith McNaught (A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland, #1))
Princess, the great difference between people in this world is not between the rich and the poor or the good and the evil, the biggest of all differences in this world is between the ones that had or have the pleasure in love and those that haven't and hadn't any pleasure in love, but just watched it with envy, sick envy. The spectators and the performers.
Tennessee Williams (Sweet Bird of Youth)
Nobody knows what God's plan is for your life, but a whole lot of people will guess for you if you let them.
Shannon L. Alder
Why does the rain make us feel so romantic and strange? Maybe it's the fact that we are unnatural spectators of it, from inside our homes, and it is a reminder that we have the power to live our whole lives like this, if we choose. It's not the smell of fertile ground kicked up by raindrops, or the slick leaves, or the way we must amplify our voices to be heard over this larger presence. It's the power of the rooftop that makes us want to fuck under it.
Amelia Gray (AM/PM)
Both the grand and the intimate aspects of nature can be revealed in the expressive photograph. Both can stir enduring affirmations and discoveries, and can surely help the spectator in his search for identification with the vast world of natural beauty and wonder surrounding him.
Ansel Adams
When you are born without the ordinary feelings and emotions shared by most other human beings, life looks different to you. It seems at times like a movie you’re walking through, more a spectator than a participant. There is above all a lack of empathy with most of mankind, a sense of detachment. But with detachment comes perspective. The less you care, the more you know, and the more you know the less you care.
Boyd Rice (NO)
We need a barn or one of those storage areas for the Broken vehicles." "A garage?" He gave her a short nod. "A private, relatively remote location, with thick walls to dampen the sound and preferably a sturdy door I could bolt from the inside, keeping your grandmother, your brothers, and all other painfully annoying spectators out..." Rose began to laugh. A make-out bunker... "I'm glad you find our dilemma hilarious,
Ilona Andrews (On the Edge (The Edge, #1))
Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word, Sword and sward, retain and Britain. (Mind the latter, how it’s written.) Now I surely will not plague you With such words as plaque and ague. But be careful how you speak: Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Cloven, oven, how and low, Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Exiles, similes, and reviles; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war and far; One, anemone, Balmoral, Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Scene, Melpomene, mankind. Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Toward, to forward, to reward. And your pronunciation’s OK When you correctly say croquet, Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, Friend and fiend, alive and live. Ivy, privy, famous; clamour And enamour rhyme with hammer. River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Doll and roll and some and home. Stranger does not rhyme with anger, Neither does devour with clangour. Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, And then singer, ginger, linger, Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. Query does not rhyme with very, Nor does fury sound like bury. Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. Though the differences seem little, We say actual but victual. Refer does not rhyme with deafer. Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. Mint, pint, senate and sedate; Dull, bull, and George ate late. Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, Science, conscience, scientific. Liberty, library, heave and heaven, Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. We say hallowed, but allowed, People, leopard, towed, but vowed. Mark the differences, moreover, Between mover, cover, clover; Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, Chalice, but police and lice; Camel, constable, unstable, Principle, disciple, label. Petal, panel, and canal, Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, Senator, spectator, mayor. Tour, but our and succour, four. Gas, alas, and Arkansas. Sea, idea, Korea, area, Psalm, Maria, but malaria. Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. Doctrine, turpentine, marine. Compare alien with Italian, Dandelion and battalion. Sally with ally, yea, ye, Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. Say aver, but ever, fever, Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. Heron, granary, canary. Crevice and device and aerie. Face, but preface, not efface. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. Large, but target, gin, give, verging, Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. Ear, but earn and wear and tear Do not rhyme with here but ere. Seven is right, but so is even, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work. Pronunciation (think of Psyche!) Is a paling stout and spikey? Won’t it make you lose your wits, Writing groats and saying grits? It’s a dark abyss or tunnel: Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, Islington and Isle of Wight, Housewife, verdict and indict. Finally, which rhymes with enough, Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough? Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!!!
Gerard Nolst Trenité (Drop your Foreign Accent)
We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them.
Erwin Schrödinger ('Nature and the Greeks' and 'Science and Humanism')
Let us consider two important factors, the two poles of the creation of art: the artist on one hand, and on the other the spectator who later becomes the posterity; to all appearances the artist acts like a mediumistic being who, from the labyrinth beyond time and space, seeks his way out to a clearing
Marcel Duchamp
I said, you'll have to prove that I ran into you on purpose. That I meant to cause you harm. And besides, I checked with you at the time---" "Emma." "---and you said you didn't have injuries---" "EM-MA" "Did you hear me, Galen?" I turn around and yell at the remaining spectators in the hall as the bell rings. "CHLOE IS DEAD!
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
You can see all of this online. But that's cheating. No computer program can compare to the physical experience. It's like learning how to play a virtual sports game. You're not really playing anything, against anyone. You're just a spectator. People are becoming spectators of their own lives instead of living them. But the best part is getting in the game. That's when it's all worth it.
Katie Kacvinsky (Awaken (Awaken, #1))
And art has come to be a spectator of itself, the way it reacts, what newspapers write about it; the artist is a performer. That is how it is. Art does not know a beyond, science does not know a beyond, religion does not know a beyond, not anymore. Our world is enclosed around itself, enclosed around us, and there is no way out of it.
Karl Ove Knausgård (My Struggle: Book 1)
Yes, movies! Look at them — All of those glamorous people — having adventures — hogging it all, gobbling the whole thing up! You know what happens? People go to the movies instead of moving! Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them! Yes, until there's a war. That's when adventure becomes available to the masses! Everyone's dish, not only Gable's! Then the people in the dark room come out of the dark room to have some adventures themselves — Goody, goody! — It's our turn now, to go to the south Sea Island — to make a safari — to be exotic, far-off! — But I'm not patient. I don't want to wait till then. I'm tired of the movies and I am about to move!
Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie)
What is our life? A play of passion. Our mirth the music of division. Our mother's wombs the tyring houses be, Where we are drest for this short Comedy. Heaven the judicious sharp spectator is, That sits and marks still who doth act amiss, Our graves that hide us from the searching sun, Are like drawn curtains when the play is done. Thus march we playing to our latest rest, Only we die in earnest, that's no jest.
Walter Raleigh
Essentially, perspective is a form of abstraction. It simplifies the relationship between eye, brain and object. It is an ideal view, imagined as being seen by a one-eyed, motionless person who is clearly detached from what he sees. It makes a God of the spectator, who becomes the person on whom the whole world converges, the Unmoved Onlooker.
Robert Hughes (The Shock of the New)
I don't wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players - more if they are moderately restless. It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
It reminds me too much of how little life changes: how, without dramatic events or high resolves, without tragedy, without even pathos, a reasonably endowed, reasonable well-intentioned man can walk through the world's great kitchen from end to end and arrive at the back door hungry.
Wallace Stegner (The Spectator Bird)
A mirror does not exist by itself. A mirror is a half. Half is done by the piece. The other half has to be done by the beholder. You need to be the half to see what you’re looking for, so the mirror can exist. As you should do with other persons.
Cristiane Serruya (Trust: Pandora's Box (TRUST Trilogy #3; TRUST Universe #6-8))
This metropolitan world, then, is a world where flesh and blood is less real than paper and ink and celluloid. It is a world where the great masses of people, unable to have direct contact with more satisfying means of living, take life vicariously, as readers, spectators, passive observers: a world where people watch shadow-heroes and heroines in order to forget their own clumsiness or coldness in love, where they behold brutal men crushing out life in a strike riot, a wrestling ring or a military assault, while they lack the nerve even to resist the petty tyranny of their immediate boss: where they hysterically cheer the flag of their political state, and in their neighborhood, their trades union, their church, fail to perform the most elementary duties of citizenship. Living thus, year in and year out, at second hand, remote from the nature that is outside them and no less remote from the nature within, handicapped as lovers and as parents by the routine of the metropolis and by the constant specter of insecurity and death that hovers over its bold towers and shadowed streets - living thus the mass of inhabitants remain in a state bordering on the pathological. They become victims of phantasms, fears, obsessions, which bind them to ancestral patterns of behavior.
Lewis Mumford (The Culture of Cities (Book 2))
The artist has some internal experience that produces a poem, a painting, a piece of music. Spectators submit themselves to the work, which generates an inner experience for them. But historically it's a very new, not to mention vulgar, idea that the spectators experience should be identical to, or have anything to do with, the artist's. That idea comes from an over-industrialized society which has learned to distrust magic.
Samuel R. Delany (Dhalgren)
Wow, Angela and Holly,” Ash said, sounding awed. “Hot.” “Excuse me, what is wrong with you?” Kami demanded. “Other people’s sexuality is not your spectator sport.” Ash paused. “Of course,” he said. “But—” “No!” Kami exclaimed. “No buts. That’s my best friend you’re talking about. Your first reaction should not be ‘Hot.’ ” “It’s not an insult,” Ash protested. “Oh, okay,” Kami said. “In that case, you’re going to give me a minute. I’m picturing you and Jared. Naked. Entwined.” There was a pause. Then Jared said, “He is probably my half brother, you know.” “I don’t care,” Kami informed him. “All you are to me are sex objects that I choose to imagine bashing together at random. Oh, there you go again, look at that, nothing but Lynburn skin as far as the mind’s eye can see. Masculine groans fill the air, husky and..." "Stop it," Ash said in a faint voice. "That isn't fair.
Sarah Rees Brennan (Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2))
Droll thing life is--that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself--that comes too late--a crop of unextinguishable regrets. I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be. I was within a hair's-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
He showed, in a few words, that it is not sufficient to throw together a few incidents that are to be met with in every romance, and that to dazzle the spectator the thought should be new, without being farfetched; frequently sublime, but always natural; the author should have a thorough knowledge of the human heart and make it speak properly; he should be a complete poet, without showing an affectation of it in any of the characters of his piece; he should be a perfect master of his language, speak it with all its pruity and with the utmost harmony, and yet so as not to make the sense a slave to the rhyme. Whoever, added he, neglects any one of these rules, though he may write two or three tragedies with tolerable success, will never be reckoned in the number of good authors.
Voltaire (Candide)
She opened her curtains, and looked out towards the bit of road that lay in view, with fields beyond outside the entrance-gates. On the road there was a man with a bundle on his back and a woman carrying her baby; in the field she could see figures moving - perhaps the shepherd with his dog. Far off in the bending sky was the pearly light; and she felt the largeness of the world and the manifold wakings of men to labor and endurance. She was a part of that involuntary, palpitating life, and could neither look out on it from her luxurious shelter as a mere spectator, nor hide her eyes in selfish complaining.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
I think true freedom is being yourself no matter what. True freedom is living authentically. As if there are no spectators. You are the subject, and you are the object under observation. Only you exist. Only you! And no one else. You live the way you live when you are alone in your room. You behave the way you behave when you are alone in your room. You are under the spotlight. It is you who switched it on. And it is you who is focusing the same on yourself.
Abhaidev (The Meaninglessness of Meaning)
Outside much has changed. I don't know how. But inside and before you, O my God, inside before you, spectator, are we not without action? We discover, indeed, that we do not know our part, we look for a mirror, we want to rub off the make-up and remove the counterfeit and be real. But somewhere a bit of mummery still sticks to us that we forget. A trace of exaggeration remains in our eyebrows, we do not notice that the corners of our lips are twisted. And thus we go about, a laughing-stock, a mere half-thing: neither existing, not actors.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
You could call him,' Wes suggests. 'Why be a spectator in the game of love? Take charge. Don't wait around and let the boy call all the shots.' 'As cheesy as all of that sounds,' Kimmie adds. 'Cheese or not,I know what I'm talking about.' He sulks. 'I've lived it. I've learned it.' Kimmie lets out a laugh. 'With who,Romeo? That Wendy girl you paid to date you?' 'Oh, and because I don't have a dating history as big as your mouth, it doesn't quite measure up?' 'I hate to break this to you, but that isn't the only thing of yours that doesn't measure up.' 'Wouldn't you like to know?' He grins.
Laurie Faria Stolarz (Deadly Little Games (Touch, #3))
THE PUZZLE IS WHY SO MANY PEOPLE LIVE so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs. Infamous criminals act out the aggressions of timid conformists. Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators. People, aimless and bored, amuse themselves with trivia and trash. Neither the adventure of goodness nor the pursuit of righteousness gets headlines.
Eugene H. Peterson (Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best)
Some people, I am told, have memories like computers, nothing to do but punch the button and wait for the print-out. Mine is more like a Japanese library of the old style, without a card file or an indexing system or any systematic shelf plan. Nobody knows where anything is except the old geezer in felt slippers who has been shuffling up and down those stacks for sixty-nine years. When you hand him a problem he doesn't come back with a cartful and dump it before you, a jackpot of instant retrieval. He finds one thing, which reminds him of another, which leads him off to the annex, which directs him to the east wing, which sends him back two tiers from where he started. Bit by bit he finds you what you want, but like his boss who seems to be under pressure to examine his life, he takes his time.
Wallace Stegner (The Spectator Bird)
As I, my real self, grew older, I entered more and more into the substance of my dreams. One may dream, and even in the midst of the dream be aware that he is dreaming, and if the dream be bad, comfort himself with the thought that it is only a dream. This is a common experience with all of us. And so it was that I, the modern, often entered into my dreaming, and in the consequent strange dual personality was both actor and spectator. And right often have I, the modern, been perturbed and vexed by the foolishness, illogic, obtuseness, and general all-round stupendous stupidity of myself, the primitive.
Jack London
Cunoști o femeie, o vezi, o auzi, constaîind o serie de calități și defecte, distrat și în treacăt, sau atent și cu dinadins, te deprinzi să rămîi “tu” în prezența ei, adică spectator mai mult sau mai puțin atras de spectacolul feminității ei, o critici mintal, o apreciezi uneori și o accepți treptat, aflînd cum e frumoasă, cum e deșteaptă sau mediocră, avînd surprize agreabile și dezamăgiri supărătoare, pînă cînd într-o zi simți că mai presus de aprecierea ta femeia aceea a devenit un fel de secret intim, pe care abea-l știi numai tu. Bătaia de inimă pe care ți-o dă acest secret te face să respiri adînc propriul tău suflet, în care au apărut arome mai misterioase decît cele aduse de sevele pămîntului. Întinzi brațele spre primavara lor. Iubești. Și femeia de mult cunoscută îți apare nouă, din clipa în care ai întîlnit-o. Te miri că n-ai vazut de atunci ceea ce abea descoperi într-o evidentă edenică. E o mirare intensă ca geniul, oricît ar fi de plat ceea ce-i urmează. Secunda acestei mirări hrănește cu luceferi pe poeți și cu cea mai virulentă toxină pe oamenii obișnuiți.
Ionel Teodoreanu (Lorelei)
The more we understand what is happening in the world, the more frustrated we often become, for our knowledge leads to feelings of powerlessness. We feel that we are living in a world in which the citizen has become a mere spectator or a forced actor, and that our personal experience is politically useless and our political will a minor illusion. Very often, the fear of total permanent war paralyzes the kind of morally oriented politics, which might engage our interests and our passions. We sense the cultural mediocrity around us-and in us-and we know that ours is a time when, within and between all the nations of the world, the levels of public sensibilities have sunk below sight; atrocity on a mass scale has become impersonal and official; moral indignation as a public fact has become extinct or made trivial.
C. Wright Mills (Letters and Autobiographical Writings)
The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things. The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. The nineteenth century dislike of realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. The nineteenth century dislike of romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass. The moral life of man forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. Thought and language are to the artist instruments of an art. Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of feeling, the actor's craft is the type. All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself. We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd. For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite. To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world - impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito. The lover of life makes the whole world his family, just like the lover of the fair sex who builds up his family from all the beautiful women that he has ever found, or that are or are not - to be found; or the lover of pictures who lives in a magical society of dreams painted on canvas. Thus the lover of universal life enters into the crowd as though it were an immense reservoir of electrical energy. Or we might liken him to a mirror as vast as the crowd itself; or to a kaleidoscope gifted with consciousness, responding to each one of its movements and reproducing the multiplicity of life and the flickering grace of all the elements of life.
Charles Baudelaire (The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays (Phaidon Arts and Letters))
Ah, the freshness in the face of leaving a task undone! To be remiss is to be positively out in the country! What a refuge it is to be completely unreliable! I can breathe easier now that the appointments are behind me. I missed them all, through deliberate negligence, Having waited for the urge to go, which I knew wouldn’t come. I’m free, and against organized, clothed society. I’m naked and plunge into the water of my imagination. It’s too late to be at either of the two meetings where I should have been at the same time, Deliberately at the same time... No matter, I’ll stay here dreaming verses and smiling in italics. This spectator aspect of life is so amusing! I can’t even light the next cigarette... If it’s an action, It can wait for me, along with the others, in the nonmeeting called life.
Fernando Pessoa (Fernando Pessoa and Co.: Selected Poems)
The Stadium Have you ever entered an empty stadium? Try it. Stand in the middle of the field and listen. There is nothing less empty than an empty stadium. There is nothing less mute than stands bereft of spectators. At Wembley, shouts from the 1966 World Cup, which England won, still resound, and if you listen very closely you can hear groans from 1953 when England fell to the Hungarians. Montevideo’s Centenario Stadium sighs with nostalgia for the glory days of Uruguayan soccer. Maracanã is still crying over Brazil’s 1950 World Cup defeat. At Bombonera in Buenos Aires, drums boom from half a century ago. From the depths of Azteca Stadium, you can hear the ceremonial chants of the ancient Mexican ball game. The concrete terraces of Camp Nou in Barcelona speak Catalan, and the stands of San Mamés in Bilbao talk in Basque. In Milan, the ghosts of Giuseppe Meazza scores goals that shake the stadium bearing his name. The final match of the 1974 World Cup, won by Germany, is played day after day and night after night at Munich’s Olympic Stadium. King Fahd Stadium in Saudi Arabia has marble and gold boxes and carpeted stands, but it has no memory or much of anything to say.
Eduardo Galeano (Soccer in Sun and Shadow)
In the cage is the lion. She paces with her memories. Her body is a record of her past. As she moves back and forth, one may see it all: the lean frame, the muscular legs, the paw enclosing long sharp claws, the astonishing speed of her response. She was born in this garden. She has never in her life stretched those legs. Never darted farther than twenty yards at a time. Only once did she use her claws. Only once did she feel them sink into flesh. And it was her keeper's flesh. Her keeper whom she loves, who feeds her, who would never dream of harming her, who protects her. Who in his mercy forgave her mad attack, saying this was in her nature, to be cruel at a whim, to try to kill what she loves. He had come into her cage as he usually did early in the morning to change her water, always at the same time of day, in the same manner, speaking softly to her, careful to make no sudden movement, keeping his distance, when suddenly she sank down, deep down into herself, the way wild animals do before they spring, and then she had risen on all her strong legs, and swiped him in one long, powerful, graceful movement across the arm. How lucky for her he survived the blow. The keeper and his friends shot her with a gun to make her sleep. Through her half-open lids she knew they made movements around her. They fed her with tubes. They observed her. They wrote comments in notebooks. And finally they rendered a judgment. She was normal. She was a normal wild beast, whose power is dangerous, whose anger can kill, they had said. Be more careful of her, they advised. Allow her less excitement. Perhaps let her exercise more. She understood none of this. She understood only the look of fear in her keeper's eyes. And now she paces. Paces as if she were angry, as if she were on the edge of frenzy. The spectators imagine she is going through the movements of the hunt, or that she is readying her body for survival. But she knows no life outside the garden. She has no notion of anger over what she could have been, or might be. No idea of rebellion. It is only her body that knows of these things, moving her, daily, hourly, back and forth, back and forth, before the bars of her cage.
Susan Griffin (Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her)
The rapid nightfall of mid-December had quite beset the little village as they approached it on soft feet over a first thin fall of powdery snow. Little was visible but squares of a dusky orange-red on either side of the street, where the firelight or lamplight of each cottage overflowed through the casements into the dark world without. Most of the low latticed windows were innocent of blinds, and to the lookers-in from outside, the inmates, gathered round the tea-table, absorbed in handiwork, or talking with laughter and gesture, had each that happy grace which is the last thing the skilled actor shall capture--the natural grace which goes with perfect unconsciousness of observation. Moving at will from one theatre to another, the two spectators, so far from home themselves, had something of wistfulness in their eyes as they watched a cat being stroked, a sleepy child picked up and huddled off to bed, or a tired man stretch and knock out his pipe on the end of a smouldering log.
Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely. Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems. In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age. At least you used to. But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Peter Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa)
and if a rainy morning deprived them of other enjoyments, they were still resolute in meeting in defiance of wet and dirt, and shut themselves up, to read novels together. Yes, novels; for I will not adopt that ungenerous and impolitic custom so common with novel–writers, of degrading by their contemptuous censure the very performances, to the number of which they are themselves adding — joining with their greatest enemies in bestowing the harshest epithets on such works, and scarcely ever permitting them to be read by their own heroine, who, if she accidentally take up a novel, is sure to turn over its insipid pages with disgust. Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure, and over every new novel to talk in threadbare strains of the trash with which the press now groans. Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body. Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the world, no species of composition has been so much decried. From pride, ignorance, or fashion, our foes are almost as many as our readers. And while the abilities of the nine–hundredth abridger of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens — there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them. “I am no novel–reader — I seldom look into novels — Do not imagine that I often read novels — It is really very well for a novel.” Such is the common cant. “And what are you reading, Miss — ?” “Oh! It is only a novel!” replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. “It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda”; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language. Now, had the same young lady been engaged with a volume of the Spectator, instead of such a work, how proudly would she have produced the book, and told its name; though the chances must be against her being occupied by any part of that voluminous publication, of which either the matter or manner would not disgust a young person of taste: the substance of its papers so often consisting in the statement of improbable circumstances, unnatural characters, and topics of conversation which no longer concern anyone living; and their language, too, frequently so coarse as to give no very favourable idea of the age that could endure it.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
I know of nothing in all drama more incomparable from the point of view of art, nothing more suggestive in its subtlety of observation, than Shakespeare's drawing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They are Hamlet's college friends. They have been his companions. They bring with them memories of pleasant days together. At the moment when they come across him in the play he is staggering under the weight of a burden intolerable to one of his temperament. The dead have come armed out of the grave to impose on him a mission at once too great and too mean for him. He is a dreamer, and he is called upon to act. He has the nature of the poet, and he is asked to grapple with the common complexity of cause and effect, with life in its practical realisation, of which he knows nothing, not with life in its ideal essence, of which he knows so much. He has no conception of what to do, and his folly is to feign folly. Brutus used madness as a cloak to conceal the sword of his purpose, the dagger of his will, but the Hamlet madness is a mere mask for the hiding of weakness. In the making of fancies and jests he sees a chance of delay. He keeps playing with action as an artist plays with a theory. He makes himself the spy of his proper actions, and listening to his own words knows them to be but 'words, words, words.' Instead of trying to be the hero of his own history, he seeks to be the spectator of his own tragedy. He disbelieves in everything, including himself, and yet his doubt helps him not, as it comes not from scepticism but from a divided will. Of all this Guildenstern and Rosencrantz realise nothing. They bow and smirk and smile, and what the one says the other echoes with sickliest intonation. When, at last, by means of the play within the play, and the puppets in their dalliance, Hamlet 'catches the conscience' of the King, and drives the wretched man in terror from his throne, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz see no more in his conduct than a rather painful breach of Court etiquette. That is as far as they can attain to in 'the contemplation of the spectacle of life with appropriate emotions.' They are close to his very secret and know nothing of it. Nor would there be any use in telling them. They are the little cups that can hold so much and no more.
Oscar Wilde (De Profundis and Other Writings)
Glossa Time goes by, time comes along, All is old and all is new; What is right and what is wrong, You must think and ask of you; Have no hope and have no fear, Waves that rise can never hold; If they urge or if they cheer, You remain aloof and cold. To our sight a lot will glisten, Many sounds will reach our ear; Who could take the time to listen And remember all we hear? Keep aside from all that patter, Seek yourself, far from the throng When with loud and idle clatter Time goes by, time comes along. Nor forget the tongue of reason Or its even scales depress When the moment, changing season, Wears the mask of happiness - It is born of reason's slumber And may last a wink as true: For the one who knows its number All is old and all is new. Be as to a play, spectator, As the world unfolds before: You will know the heart of matter Should they act two parts or four; When they cry or tear asunder From your seat enjoy along And you'll learn from art to wonder What is right and what is wrong. Past and future, ever blending, Are the twin sides of same page: New start will begin with ending When you know to learn from age; All that was or be tomorrow We have in the present, too; But what's vain and futile sorrow You must think and ask of you; For the living cannot sever From the means we've always had: Now, as years ago, and ever, Men are happy or are sad: Other masks, same play repeated; Diff'rent tongues, same words to hear; Of your dreams so often cheated, Have no hope and have no fear. Hope not when the villains cluster By success and glory drawn: Fools with perfect lack of luster Will outshine Hyperion! Fear it not, they'll push each other To reach higher in the fold, Do not side with them as brother, Waves that rise can never hold. Sounds of siren songs call steady Toward golden nets, astray; Life attracts you into eddies To change actors in the play; Steal aside from crowd and bustle, Do not look, seem not to hear From your path, away from hustle, If they urge or if they cheer; If they reach for you, go faster, Hold your tongue when slanders yell; Your advice they cannot master, Don't you know their measure well? Let them talk and let them chatter, Let all go past, young and old; Unattached to man or matter, You remain aloof and cold. You remain aloof and cold If they urge or if they cheer; Waves that rise can never hold, Have no hope and have no fear; You must think and ask of you What is right and what is wrong; All is old and all is new, Time goes by, time comes along.
Mihai Eminescu (Poems)