Sunday, 24 February 2013

Duty is but a pot


Where shall I begin? 

Begin with what you have done, my friend. And stop wishing you had not done it. 

I did not do it. I was led to do it. 

What led you to do it? 

I was deceived. 

What intent lay behind the deception? 

I do not know. 

But you must judge. 

If she had truly loved me she could not have let me go. 

If she had truly loved you, could she have continued to deceive? 

She gave me no choice. She said herself that marriage between us was impossible. 

What reason did she give? 

Our difference in social position. 

A noble cause. 

Then Ernestina. I have given her my solemn promise. 

It is already broken. 

I will mend it. 

With love? Or with guilt? 

It does not matter which. A vow is sacred. 

If it does not matter which, a vow cannot be sacred. 

My duty is clear. 

Charles, Charles, I have read that thought in the cruelest eyes. Duty is but a pot. It holds whatever is put in 
it, from the greatest evil to the greatest good. 

She wished me to go. I could see it in her eyes—a contempt. 

Shall I tell you what Contempt is doing at this moment? She is weeping her heart out. 

I cannot go back. 

Do you think water can wash that blood from your loins? 

I cannot go back. 

Did you have to meet her again in the Undercliff? Did you have to stop this night in Exeter? Did you have 
to go to her room? Let her hand rest on yours? Did you— 

I admit these things! I have sinned. But I was fallen into her snare. 

Then why are you now free of her? 

My poor Charles, search your heart—you thought when you came to this city, did you not, to prove to yourself you were not yet in the prison of your future. But escape is not one act, my friend. It is no more achieved by that than you could reach Jerusalem from here by one small step. Each day, Charles, each hour, it has to be taken again. Each minute the nail waits to be hammered in. You know your choice. You stay in prison, what your time calls duty, honor, self-respect, and you are comfortably safe. Or you are free and crucified. Your only companions the stones, the thorns, the turning backs; the silence of cities, 
and their hate. 

I am weak. 

But ashamed of your weakness. 





- John Fowles (The French Lieutenant's Woman)

She Saw



She was too striking a girl not to have had suitors, in spite of the lack of a dowry of any kind. But always then had her first and innate curse come into operation; she saw through the too confident pretendants. She saw their meanness, their condescensions, their charities, their stupidities. Thus she appeared inescapably doomed to the one fate nature had so clearly spent many millions of years in evolving her to avoid: spinsterhood.


- John Fowles (French Lieutenant's Woman)





Saturday, 9 February 2013

La Belle Dame Sans Merci





Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
    Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
    And no birds sing.

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
    So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
    And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
    With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
    Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
    Full beautiful - a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
    And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
    And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
    And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
    And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
    A faery's song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
    And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said -
    'I love thee true'.

She took me to her elfin grot,
    And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
    With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep
    And there I dreamed - Ah! woe betide! -
The latest dream I ever dreamt
    On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
    Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried - 'La Belle Dame sans Merci
    Hath thee in thrall!'

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
    With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
    On the cold hill's side.

And this is why I sojourn here
    Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake, 
    And no birds sing.


- John Keats




Saturday, 2 February 2013

Victorious


"Jesus said, Truly I tell you, there is no one who has given up and left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for My sake and for the Gospel's who will not receive a hundred times as much now in this time- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions- and in the age to come, eternal life."
 - Mark 10:29-30




If God calls you to step out, the world will demand that you conform. 
Decide for God. 
You will go through trials- that's part of the challenge. 
You will go through a period of loneliness.
There will be other problems. 
But you will come out on the other side victorious.
You will be able to lie down at night and have that peace inside you knowing that, 
even if you may not popular with everybody else, 
you are pleasing to God.

- Joyce Meyer