“Not even need and love can defeat fate...”
“Without war there are no heroes."
"What harm would that be?"
"Oh, Lavinia, what a woman's question that is.”
“Oh, never and forever aren't for mortals, love. But we won't be parted till I know it's right that we part.”
“As often as we made love I remembered what my poet told me, that this man was born of a goddess, the force that moves the stars and the waves of the sea and couples the animals in the fields in spring, the power of passion, the light of the evening star.”
“I can never get used to the fact, though I know it, that women are born cynics. Men have to learn cynicism. Infant girls could teach it to them.”
“Men call women faithless, changeable, and though they say it in jealousy of their own ever-threatened sexual honor, there is some truth in it. We can change our life, our being; no matter what our will is, we are changed. As the moon changes yet is one, so we are virgin, wife, mother, grandmother. For all their restlessness, men are who they are; once they put on the man's toga they will not change again; so they make a virtue of that rigidity and resist whatever might soften it and set them free.”
“I know who I was, I can tell you who I may have been, but I am, now, only in this line of words I write. I'm not sure of the nature of my existence, and wonder to find myself writing.”
“Aeneas' mother is a star?"
"No; a goddess."
I said cautiously, "Venus is the power that we invoke in spring, in the garden, when things begin growing. And we call the evening star Venus."
He thought it over. Perhaps having grown up in the country, among pagans like me, helped him understand my bewilderment. "So do we, he said. "But Venus also became more...With the help of the Greeks. They call her Aphrodite...There was a great poet who praised her in Latin. Delight of men and gods, he called her, dear nurturer. Under the sliding star signs she fills the ship-laden sea and the fruitful earth with her being; through her the generations are conceived and rise up to see the sun; from her the storm clouds flee; to her the earth, the skillful maker, offers flowers. The wide levels of the sea smile at her, and all the quiet sky shines and streams with light..."
It was the Venus I had prayed to, it was my prayer, though I had no such words. They filled my eyes with tears and my heart with inexpressible joy.”
“My mother was mad, but I was not. My father was old, but I was young. Like Spartan Helen, I caused a war. She caused hers by letting men who wanted her take her. I caused mine because I wouldn’t be given, wouldn’t be taken, but chose my man and my fate.”
“A woman has her Juno, just as a man has his Genius; they are names for the sacred power, the divine spark we each of us have in us. My Juno can't "get into" me, it is already my deepest self. The poet was speaking of Juno as if it were a person, a woman, with likes and dislikes: a jealous woman.
The world is sacred, of course, it is full of gods, numina, great powers and presences. We give some of them names--Mars of the fields and the war, Vesta the fire, Ceres the grain, Mother Tellus the earth, the Penates of the storehouse. The rivers, the springs. And in the storm cloud and the light is the great power called the father god. But they aren't people. They don't love and hate, they aren't for or against. They accept the worship due them, which augments their power, through which we live.”
“There's a saying," Aeneas said: "Keep an eye on Greeks when they offer gifts." He spoke wryly. "Horses, particularly.”
“There is not much you can say about a baby unless you are talking with its father or another mother or nurse; infants are not part of the realm of ordinary language, talk is inadequate to them as they are inadequate to talk.”
“I think if you have lost a great happiness and try to recall it, you are only asking for sorrow, but if you do not try to dwell on the happiness, sometimes you find it dwelling in your heart and body, silent but sustaining.”
“We are all contingent. Resentment is foolish and ungenerous, and even anger is inadequate. I am a fleck of light on the surface of the sea, a glint of light from the evening star. I live in awe. If I never lived at all, yet I am a silent wing on the wind, a bodiless voice in the forest of Albunea. I speak, but all I can say is: Go, go on.”
“Perhaps women have more complicated selves. They know how to do more than one thing at one time. That comes late to men. If at all.”
“I came to the center of the maze following him. Now I must find my way back out alone.”
“Why must there be war?" "Oh Lavinia, what a woman's question that is! Because men are men.”
“We’re a rough people, born of oak, as they say, here in the western land; tempers run high, weapons are always at hand.”
“Sairin bana siirinde okudugu Troya'nin dususu hikayesinde kralin kizi Cassandra olacaklari onceden goruyor ve Troyalıların buyuk atı sehre sokmalarını onlemeye calisiyor, ama onu kimse dinlemiyordu: Uzerrindeki lanetti bu, hakikati gorecek, bunu soyleyecek, ama onu kimse duymayacaktı. Erkeklerden ziyade kadinlarin uzerindeki bir lannetir bu. Erkekler hakikatin kendilerine ait olmasini, kendi kesifleri, kendi mulkleri olmasini ister.”
“The moths look like souls in the underworld,”
“There was room for them. A great deal of Italy, back then, was forest. Where man goes, trees die; or, to paraphrase Tacitus, we make a desert and call it progress.”
“We who are called royal are those who speak for our people to the powers of the earth and sky, as those powers transmit their will through us to the people. We are go-betweens. The chief duty of a king is to perform the rites of praise and placation as they should be performed, to observe care and ceremony and so understand and make known the will of the powers that are greater than we are. It is the king who tells the farmer when to plow, when to plant, when to harvest, when the cattle should go up to the hills and when they should return to the valleys, as he learns these things from his experience and his service at the altars of earth and sky. In the same way it is the mother of the family who tells her household when to rise, what work to do, what food to prepare and cook, and when to sit to eat it, having learned these things from her experience and her service at the altars of her Lares and Penates. So peace is maintained and things go well, in the kingdom and in the house. Both Aeneas and I had grown up in this responsibility, and it was dear to us both.”
“Is it the gods who set this fire in our hearts, or do we each make our fierce desire into a god?”
“Oh Lavinia, Lavinia, you are worth ten Camillas. And I never saw it.”
“Hector had no virtue?” “Of course he did. He won all his battles, till the last one.” “We all do,” Aeneas remarked.”
“I think one cannot be left alive among so many deaths without feeling unendurable shame.”
“Justice, mercy, does Mars care for them?”
“All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough...the fact will prevail through the universe...but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall so: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body...”
“I went back to my conversation with Siegfried that morning; we had just about decided that the man with a lot of animals couldn't be expected to feel affection for individuals among them. But those buildings back there were full of John Skipton's animals - he must have hundreds. Yet what made him trail down that hillside every day in all weathers? Why had he filled the last years of those two old horses with peace and beauty? Why had he given them a final ease and comfort which he had withheld from himself? It could only be love.”
“It's a good idea to have your own books with you in a strange place”
“A birth is not really a beginning. Our lives at the start are not really our own but only the continuation of someone else's story.”
“He wouldn't even dance with Levana at the stupid ball if he could help it—to hell with diplomacy.”
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