April 14

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Quotes of the day from previous years:

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. ~ Kurt Vonnegut
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. ~ James Branch Cabell (born 14 April 1879)
Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. ~ Yeshua (Jesus Christ) (Good Friday 2006)
All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist... It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever... Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes." ~ Kurt Vonnegut (recent death)
What really matters is that there is so much faith and love and kindliness which we can share with and provoke in others, and that by cleanly, simple, generous living we approach perfection in the highest and most lovely of all arts. … But you, I think, have always comprehended this. ~ James Branch Cabell
Sad hours and glad hours, and all hours, pass over;
One thing unshaken stays:
Life, that hath Death for spouse, hath Chance for lover;
Whereby decays
Each thing save one thing: — mid this strife diurnal
Of hourly change begot,
Love that is God-born, bides as God eternal,
And changes not.

~ James Branch Cabell ~
I have read that the secret of gallantry is to accept the pleasures of life leisurely, and its inconveniences with a shrug; as well as that, among other requisites, the gallant person will always consider the world with a smile of toleration, and his own doings with a smile of honest amusement, and Heaven with a smile which is not distrustful — being thoroughly persuaded that God is kindlier than the genteel would regard as rational. ~ James Branch Cabell
It is necessary that I climb very high because of my love for you, and upon the heights there is silence. ~ James Branch Cabell

And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

Alien they seemed to be;
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history,

Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event,

Till the Spinner of the Years
Said "Now!" And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

~ Thomas Hardy ~

Criticism, whatever may be its pretensions, never does more than to define the impression which is made upon it at a certain moment by a work wherein the writer himself noted the impression of the world which he received at a certain hour.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
Everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
I agree with Freydis that, for various reasons, nobody ever, quite, knew Manuel well.
The hero of "The Silver Stallion" is, thus, no person, but an idea, — an idea presented at the moment of its conception... I mean, of course, the idea that Manuel, who was yesterday the physical Redeemer of Poictesme, will by and by return as his people's spiritual Redeemer.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
I quite fixedly believe the Wardens of Earth sometimes unbar strange windows, that face on other worlds than ours. And some of us, I think, once in a while get a peep through these windows. But we are not permitted to get a long peep, or an unobstructed peep, nor very certainly, are we permitted to see all there is — out yonder. The fatal fault, sir, of your theorizing is that it is too complete. It aims to throw light upon the universe, and therefore is self-evidently moonshine. The Wardens of Earth do not desire that we should understand the universe, Mr. Kennaston; it is part of Their appointed task to insure that we never do; and because of Their efficiency every notion that any man, dead, living, or unborn, might form as to the universe will necessarily prove wrong.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
You waste time, my friend, in trying to convince me of all human life's failure and unimportance, for I am not in sympathy with this modern morbid pessimistic way of talking. It has a very ill sound, and nothing whatever is to be gained by it.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
While it is well enough to leave footprints on the sands of time, it is even more important to make sure they point in a commendable direction.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
Everywhere in the world people were expecting the latter coming of one or another kickshaw messiah who would remove the discomforts which they themselves were either too lazy or too incompetent to deal with; and nobody had anything whatever to gain with electing for peculiarity among one's fellow creatures and a gloomier outlook.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
I shall not ever return to you, my pigs, because, at worst, to die valorously is better than to sleep out one's youth in the sun. A man has but one life. It is his all. Therefore I now depart from you, my pigs, to win me a fine wife and much wealth and leisure wherein to discharge my geas. And when my geas is lifted I shall not come back to you, my pigs, but I shall travel everywhither, and into the last limits of earth, so that I may see the ends of this world and may judge them while my life endures. For after that, they say, I judge not, but am judged: and a man whose life has gone out of him, my pigs, is not even good bacon.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
The purblind majority quite honestly believed that literature was meant to mimic human life, and that it did so. And in consequence, their love-affairs, their maxims, their so-called natural ties and instincts, and above all, their wickedness, became just so many bungling plagiarisms from something they had read, in a novel or a Bible or a poem or a newspaper. People progressed from the kindergarten to the cemetery assuming that their emotion at every crisis was what books taught them was the appropriate emotion, and without noticing that it was in reality something quite different. Human life was a distorting tarnished mirror held up to literature: this much at least of Wilde's old paradox — that life mimicked art — was indisputable. Human life, very clumsily, tried to reproduce the printed word.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
Ukrainians did not believe in war — we believed in civilized dialogue. But when the attack took place, we did not become a "frightened crowd," as the enemy had hoped. No. We became an organized community.
At once, the political and other controversies that exist in every society disappeared. Everyone came together to protect their home.
I see examples every day, and I never get tired of writing about it.
~ Olena Zelenska ~
The desire to write perfectly of beautiful happenings is, as the saying runs, old as the hills — and as immortal.
~ James Branch Cabell ~
Kennaston no longer thought of himself as a man of flesh-and-blood moving about a world of his compeers. Or, at least, that especial aspect of his existence was to him no longer a phase of any particular importance.
~ James Branch Cabell ~

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Quotes by people born this day, already used as QOTD:

  • Whether or not it was a coincidence, Jurgen met precisely the vampire of whom he had inveigled his father into thinking. She was the most seductively beautiful creature that it would be possible for Jurgen's father or any other man to imagine: and her clothes were orange-colored, for a reason sufficiently well known in Hell, and were embroidered everywhere with green fig–leaves.
    "A good morning to you, madame," says Jurgen, "and whither are you going?"
    "Why, to no place at all, good youth. For this is my vacation, granted yearly by the Law of Kalki —"
    "And who is Kalki, madame?"
    "Nobody as yet: but he will come as a stallion. Meanwhile his Law precedes him, so that I am spending my vacation peacefully in Hell, with none of my ordinary annoyances to bother me."
    "And what, madame, can they be?"
    "Why, you must understand that it is little rest a vampire gets on earth, with so many fine young fellows like yourself going about everywhere eager to be destroyed." ~ James Branch Cabell

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Civilization is a movement, not a condition; it is a voyage, not a harbor. ~ Arnold J. Toynbee

  • 2 Zarbon 05:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC) with a lean toward 4.

History is a vision of God's creation on the move. ~ Arnold J. Toynbee

  • 2 Zarbon 05:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God. ~ Arnold J. Toynbee

  • 3 Zarbon 05:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

We human beings do have some genuine freedom of choice and therefore some effective control over our own destinies. I am not a determinist. But I also believe that the decisive choice is seldom the latest choice in the series. More often than not, it will turn out to be some choice made relatively far back in the past. ~ Arnold J. Toynbee

  • 2 Zarbon 05:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC) with a strong lean toward 4.
  • 3 bystander (talk) 05:50, 14 April 2013 (UTC) with a strong lean toward 4.

A life which does not go into action is a failure. ~ Arnold J. Toynbee

  • 3 Zarbon 05:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Great occasions rally great principles, and brace the mind to a lofty bearing, a bearing that is even above itself. But trials that make no occasion at all, leave it to show the goodness and beauty it has in its own disposition. And here precisely is the superhuman glory of Christ as a character, that He is just as perfect, exhibits just as great a spirit in little trials as in great ones. ~ Horace Bushnell

Christianity is not so much the advent of a better doctrine as of a perfect character. ~ Horace Bushnell

My own experience is that the Bible is dull when I am dull. When I am really alive, and set in upon the text with a tidal pressure of living affinities, it opens, it multiplies discoveries, and reveals depths even faster than I can note them. The worldly spirit shuts the Bible; the Spirit of God makes it a fire, flaming out all meanings and glorious truths. ~ Horace Bushnell

O Thou Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, what Thou bearest in Thy blessed hands and feet I cannot bear; take it all away. Hide me in the depths of Thy suffering love, mold me to the image of Thy divine passion. ~ Horace Bushnell

The world is my country, science is my religion. ~ Christiaan Huygens

  • 4 Zarbon 05:46, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki (talk · contributions) 10:12, 12 April 2010 (UTC) 2 Kalki 23:32, 12 April 2009 (UTC) but only in revised form, and as yet very tenuously for that: the earliest and only published citation I can find attributing such a statement to Huygens is in The Making of Modern Europe, 1648-1780 (1985) by Geoffrey Treasure, p. 474 where it is declared that his "motto" was "The world is my country, to promote science is my religion" but this seems very similar to the much more famous and long attested declaration of Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion."

The true test of intelligence is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do. ~ John Holt

The idea of painless, non-threatening coercion is an illusion. Fear is the inseparable companion of coercion, and its inescapable consequence. ~ John Holt

God and the people are the source of all power. I have twice been given the power. I have taken it, and damn it, I will keep it forever. ~ François Duvalier

Bullets and machine guns capable of daunting Duvalier do not exist. They cannot touch me... I am already an immaterial being. ~ François Duvalier

If you have been yourself you cannot reasonably be punished, but if you have been somebody else you will find that this is not permitted. ~ James Branch Cabell

Literature is a vast bazaar where customers come to purchase everything except mirrors. ~ James Branch Cabell

It was The Cream of the Jest which first made for me in the seventeenth year of my writing, a few warm friends who but a little later were to fight in my behalf very nobly, and with wholly heroic tenacity... If few writers have met with more smug, more prurient, or more disingenuous opponents, no writer whatever, I think has found more faithful allies. ~ James Branch Cabell

It was not his to choose from what volume or on which page thereof he would read; accident, as it seemed, decided that; but the chance-opened page lay unblurred before him, and he saw it with a clarity denied to other men of his generation. ~ James Branch Cabell

Man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams. ~ James Branch Cabell

I consider the saga of no lord of the Silver Stallion to be worth squabbling over. Your sagas in the end must all be perverted and engulfed by the great legend about Manuel. No matter how you strive against that legend, it will conquer: no matter what you may do or suffer, my doomed Guivric, your saga will be recast until it conforms in everything to the legend begotten by the terrified imaginings of a lost child. For men dare not face the universe with no better backing than their own resources; all men that live, and that go perforce about this world like blundering lost children whose rescuer is not yet in sight, have a vital need to believe in this sustaining legend about the Redeemer: and the wickedness and the foolishness of no man can avail against the fond optimism of mankind. ~ James Branch Cabell

I am content. While my shrewd fellows rode about the world to seek and to attain power and wisdom, I have elected, as and unpractical realist, to follow after beauty. ~ James Branch Cabell

There is no gift more great than love. ~ James Branch Cabell

No woman marries for money: they are all clever enough, before marrying a millionaire, to fall in love with him. ~ Cesare Pavese
  • 2 witty, and has a point about desires and the impossibility of knowing yourself. Nemo 14:10, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
  • 2 ♌︎Kalki ⚓︎ 12:27, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

For although this was a very heroic war, with a parade of every sort of high moral principle, and with the most sonorous language employed upon both sides, it somehow failed to bring about either the reformation or the ruin of humankind: and after the conclusion of the murdering and general breakage, the world went on pretty much as it has done after all other wars, with a vague notion that a deal of time and effort had been unprofitably invested, and a conviction that it would be inglorious to say so. ~ James Branch Cabell, Figures of Earth

  • 3 bystander (talk) 05:50, 14 April 2013 (UTC) with a strong lean toward 4

Encounters taking the form of challenge-and-response are the most illuminating kind of events a for student of human affairs if he believes, as I believe, that one of the most distinctive characteristics of Man is the he is partially free to make choices.... Encounters are the occasions in human life on which freedom and creativity come into play and on which new things are brought into existence. ~ Arnold J. Toynbee (goodreads.com)

Don't become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a pufferfish. ~ Bruce Sterling born April 14, 1954