You should be nicer to him,' a schoolmate had once said to me of some awfully ill-favored boy. 'He has no friends.' This, I realized with a pang of pity that I can still remember, was only true as long as everybody agreed to it.
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascendThe brightest heaven of invention,A kingdom for a stage, princes to actAnd monarchs to behold the swelling scene!Then should the warlike Harry, like himself,Assume the port of Mars; and at his heels,Leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword and fireCrouch for employment. But pardon, and gentles all,The flat unraised spirits that have daredOn this unworthy scaffold to bring forthSo great an object: can this cockpit holdThe vasty fields of France? or may we cramWithin this wooden O the very casquesThat did affright the air at Agincourt?O, pardon! since a crooked figure mayAttest in little place a million;And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,On your imaginary forces work.Suppose within the girdle of these wallsAre now confined two mighty monarchies,Whose high upreared and abutting frontsThe perilous narrow ocean parts asunder:Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;Into a thousand parts divide on man,And make imaginary puissance;Think when we talk of horses, that you see themPrinting their proud hoofs i' the receiving earth;For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,Carry them here and there; jumping o'er times,Turning the accomplishment of many yearsInto an hour-glass: for the which supply,Admit me Chorus to this history;Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
Our struggle is--isn't it?--to achieve and retain faith on a lower level. To believe that there is a Listener at all. For as the situation grows more and more desperate, the grisly fears intrude. Are we only talking to ourselves in an empty universe? The silence is often so emphatic. And we have prayed so much already
Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the descernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious.
This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?