Lord Jim

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search
There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
The real significance of crime is in its being a breach of faith with the community of mankind.

Lord Jim (1900) is a novel by Joseph Conrad.

Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life.
Frankly, it is not my words that I mistrust but your minds. I could be eloquent were I not afraid you fellows had starved your imaginations to feed your bodies. I do not mean to be offensive; it is respectable to have no illusions — and safe — and profitable — and dull.
There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.
Truth shall prevail — don't you know Magna est veritas . . . Yes, when it gets a chance. There is a law, no doubt — and likewise a law regulates your luck in the throwing of dice. It is not Justice — the servant of men, but accident, hazard, Fortune — the ally of patient Time — that holds an even and scrupulous balance.
  • I am a great foe of favoritism in public life, in private life, and even in the delicate relationship of an author to his works.
    • Author's note
  • There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.
    • Ch. 2
  • They wanted facts. Facts! They demanded facts from him, as if facts could explain anything.
    • Ch. 4
  • There are men here and there to whom the whole of life is like an after-dinner hour with a cigar; easy, pleasant, empty, perhaps enlivened by some fable of strife to be forgotten — before the end is told — even if there happens to be any end to it.
    • Ch. 5
  • Hang ideas! They are tramps, vagabonds, knocking at the back-door of your mind, each taking a little of your substance, each carrying away some crumb of that belief in a few simple notions you must cling to if you want to live decently and would like to die easy!.
    • Ch. 5
  • For it is my belief no man ever understands quite his own artful dodges to escape from the grim shadow of self-knowledge.
    • Ch. 7
  • It's extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it's just as well; and it may be that it is this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome. Nevertheless, there can be but few of us who had never known one of these rare moments of awakening when we see, hear, understand ever so much — everything — in a flash — before we fall back again into our agreeable somnolence.
    • Ch. 13
  • The real significance of crime is in its being a breach of faith with the community of mankind.
    • Ch. 14
  • There is a weird power in a spoken word... And a word carries far — very far — deals destruction through time as the bullets go flying through space.
    • Ch. 15
  • That faculty of beholding at a hint the face of his desire and the shape of his dream, without which the earth would know no lover and no adventurer.
    • Ch. 16
  • It is when we try to grapple with another man's intimate need that we perceive how incomprehensible, wavering, and misty are the beings that share with us the sight of the stars and the warmth of the sun.
    • Ch. 16
  • I respected the intense, almost passionate, absorption with which he looked at a butterfly, as though on the bronze sheen of these frail wings, in the white tracings, in the gorgeous markings, he could see other things, an image of something as perishable and defying destruction as these delicate and lifeless tissues displaying a splendour unmarred by death.
    • Ch. 20
  • This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man he will never on his heap of mud keep still.
    • Ch. 20
  • A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavour to do, he drowns.
    • Ch. 20
  • Going home must be like going to render an account.
    • Ch. 21
  • Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life.
    • Ch. 21
  • The last word is not said, — probably shall never be said. Are not our lives too short for that full utterance which through all our stammerings is of course our only and abiding intention? I have given up expecting those last words, whose ring, if they could only be pronounced, would shake both heaven and earth. There is never time to say our last word — the last word of our love, of our desire, faith, remorse, submissions, revolt. The heaven and the earth must not be shaken, I suppose — at least, not by us who know so many truths about either. My last words about Jim shall be few. I affirm he had achieved greatness; but the thing would be dwarfed in the telling, or rather in the hearing. Frankly, it is not my words that I mistrust but your minds. I could be eloquent were I not afraid you fellows had starved your imaginations to feed your bodies. I do not mean to be offensive; it is respectable to have no illusions — and safe — and profitable — and dull. Yet you, too, in your time must have known the intensity of life, that light of glamour created in the shock of trifles, as amazing as the glow of sparks struck from a cold stone — and as short-lived, alas!
    • Ch. 21
  • There is something haunting in the light of the moon; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of its inconceivable mystery.
    • Ch. 24
  • How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a spectre through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by its spectral throat?
    • Ch. 33
  • Truth shall prevail — don't you know Magna est veritas . . . Yes, when it gets a chance. There is a law, no doubt — and likewise a law regulates your luck in the throwing of dice. It is not Justice — the servant of men, but accident, hazard, Fortune — the ally of patient Time — that holds an even and scrupulous balance.
    • Ch. 34; Conrad here quotes the Latin phrase Magna est veritas et praevalebit — "Truth is mighty and shall prevail."
  • She said we lied. Poor soul! Well — let's leave it to Chance, whose ally is Time, that cannot be hurried, and whose enemy is Death, that will not wait.
    • Ch. 34
  • It was a great peace, as if the earth had been one grave, and for a time I stood there thinking mostly of the living who, buried in remote places out of the knowledge of mankind, still are fated to share in its tragic or grotesque miseries. In its noble struggles too — who knows? The human heart is vast enough to contain all the world. It is valiant enough to bear the burden, but where is the courage that would cast it off?
    • Ch. 34
  • You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.
    • Ch. 34
    • Variant misquotations: You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as his friends.
      You shall judge a man by his foes as well as by his friends.
  • Who could tell what forms, what visions, what faces, what forgiveness he could see in the glow of the west!
    • Ch. 36
  • Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory.
    • Ch. 41
  • Some great men owe most of their greatness to the ability of detecting in those they destine for their tools the exact quality of strength that matters for their work.
    • Ch. 42

External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: