The pale Usher - threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now.
. . .we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.
What's all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself—the man's a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
Ignorance is the parent of fear, and being completely nonplussed and confounded about the stranger, I confess I was now as much afraid of him as if it was the devil himself. . .
So, if any one man, in his own proper person, afford stuff for a good joke to anybody, let him not be backward, but let him cheerfully allow himself to spend and be spent in that way. And the man that has anything bountifully laughable about him, be sure there is more in that man than you perhaps think for.
nearly every man maintained a profound silence. And not only that, but they looked embarrassed.
But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope.
Yes, the world's a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.
Adelle wrote: "I think humans are the insects being studied in this novel. Many of us. But not Ahab! Say what you will, Ahab lives large. He's out there engaging in life, in Life. Ahab is all in, he's not playing the safe hand.
And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.
What [Narcissus] sees he knows not; but that which he sees he burns for, and the same delusion mocks and allures his eyes. O fondly foolish boy, why vainly seek to clasp a fleeting image? What you seek is nowhere; but turn yourself away and the object of your love will be no more. That which you behold is but the shadow of a reflected form and has no substance of its own. With you it comes, with you it stays, and it will go with you – if you can go. (Loeb edition translated by Frank Justus Miller, pg 155)
And what was that, shipmates? To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood! That was it!
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