The Tale of Genji Quotes

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The Tale of Genji The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
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The Tale of Genji Quotes Showing 1-30 of 45
“Real things in the darkness seem no realer than dreams.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“There are as many sorts of women as there are women.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“The world know it not; but you, Autumn, I confess it: your wind at night-fall stabs deep into my heart”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“No art or learning is to be pursued halfheartedly...and any art worth learning will certainly reward more or less generously the effort made to study it.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“Ceaseless as the interminable voices of the bell-cricket, all night till dawn my tears flow.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“Autumn is no time to lie alone”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“Life is full of uncertainties, perhanps one day some unforeseen circumstance would bring her into his life once more”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“The bond between husband and wife is a strong one. Suppose the man had hunted her out and brought her back. The memory of her acts would still be there, and inevitably, sooner or later, it would be cause for rancor. When there are crises, incidents, a woman should try to overlook them, for better or for worse, and make the bond into something durable. The wounds will remain, with the woman and with the man, when there are crises such as I have described. It is very foolish for a woman to let a little dalliance upset her so much that she shows her resentment openly. He has his adventures--but if he has fond memories of their early days together, his and hers, she may be sure that she matters. A commotion means the end of everything. She should be quiet and generous, and when something comes up that quite properly arouses her resentment she should make it known by delicate hints. The man will feel guilty and with tactful guidance he will mend his ways. Too much lenience can make a woman seem charmingly docile and trusting, but it can also make her seem somewhat wanting in substance. We have had instances enough of boats abandoned to the winds and waves.
It may be difficult when someone you are especially fond of, someone beautiful and charming, has been guilty of an indiscretion, but magnanimity produces wonders. They may not always work, but generosity and reasonableness and patience do on the whole seem best.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“One ought not to be unkind to a woman merely on account of her plainness, any more than one had a right to take liberties with her merely because she was handsome”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“You that in far-off countries of the sky can dwell secure, look back upon me here; for I am weary of this frail world's decay.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“If like the leaf of the wisteria through which the sun darts his rays transparently you give your heart to me, I will no longer distrust you”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“You are here to remind me of someone I long for, and what is it you long for yourself? We must have been together in an earlier life, you and I.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“Your coldness serves to emphasize my own inadequacy, and makes me feel that the best solution might be to expire.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
tags: love
“She was gentle and sedate as usual, but evidently absent and preoccupied. Her eyes rested on the dew lying on the grass in the garden, and her ears were intent upon the melancholy singing of the autumn insects. It was as if we were in a real romance.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“Would that, like the smoke of the watch-fires that mounts and vanishes at random in the empty sky, the smouldering flame of passion could burn itself away”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“Why do you grieve so uselessly? Every uncertainty is the result of a certainty. There is nothing in this world really to be lamented.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“It is indeed in many ways more comfortable to belong to that section of society whose action are not publicly canvassed and discussed”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“No penance can your hard heart find save such as you long since have taught me to endure”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“The hanging gate, of something like trelliswork, was propped on a pole, and he could see that the house was tiny and flimsy. He felt a little sorry for the occupants of such a place--and then asked himself who in this world had a temporary shelter.

[Anonymous, Kokinshuu 987:
Where in all this world shall I call home?
A temporary shelter is my home.]

A hut, a jeweled pavilion, they were the same. A pleasantly green vine was climbing a board wall. The white flowers, he said to himself, had a rather self-satisfied look about them.
'I needs must ask the lady far yonder," he said, as if to himself.

[Anonymous, Kokinshuu 1007:
I needs must ask the lady far yonder
What flower it is off there that blooms so white.]

An attendant came up, bowing deeply. "The white flowers far off yonder are known as 'evening faces," he said. "A very human sort of name--and what a shabby place they have picked to bloom in."
It was as the man said. The neighborhood was a poor one, chiefly of small houses. Some were leaning precariously, and there were "evening faces" at the sagging eaves.
A hapless sort of flower. Pick one off for me, will you?"
The man went inside the raised gate and broke off a flower. A pretty little girl in long, unlined yellow trousers of raw silk came out through a sliding door that seemed too good for the surroundings. Beckoning to the man, she handed him a heavily scented white fan.
Put it on this. It isn't much of a fan, but then it isn't much of a flower either.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“The wood-carver can fashion whatever he will. Yet his products are but toys of the moment, to be glanced at in jest, not fashioned according to any precept or law. When times change, the carver too will change his style and make new trifles to hit the fancy of the passing day. But there is another kind of artist, who sets more soberly about his work, striving to give real beauty to the things which men actually use and to give to them the shape which tradition has ordained. This maker of real things must not for a moment be confused with the maker of idle toys.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“in the mountains the cherry trees were in full bloom, and the farther he went, the lovelier the veils of mist became, until for him, whose rank so restricted travel that all this was new, the landscape became a source of wonder.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“My dwelling is but a rustic cottage, but still I should like you to see, at least, the pretty mountain streamlet which waters my garden.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“We are not told of things that happened to specific people exactly as they happened; but the beginning is when there are good things and bad things, things that happen in this life which one never tires of seeing and hearing about, things which one cannot bear not to tell of and must pass on for all generations. If the storyteller wishes to speak well, then he chooses the good things; and if he wishes to hold the reader’s attention he chooses bad things, extraordinarily bad things. Good things and bad things alike, they are things of this world and no other.
Writers in other countries approach the matter differently. Old stories in our own are different from new. There are differences in the degree of seriousness. But to dismiss them as lies is itself to depart from the truth. Even in the writ which the Buddha drew from his noble heart are parables, devices for pointing obliquely at the truth. To the ignorant they may seem to operate at cross purposes. The Greater Vehicle is full of them, but the general burden is always the same. The difference between enlightenment and confusion is of about the same order as the difference between the good and the bad in a romance. If one takes the generous view, then nothing is empty and useless.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“I leave you, to go the road we all must go. The road I would choose, if only I could, is the other.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“Even those people who have no sorrow of their own often feel melancholy from the circumstances in which they are placed.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“En asuntos de arte la modestia no es una virtud.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
tags: art
“What need have I for a palace? Rather to lie with you where the weeds grow thick.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“When in my present lonely lot, I feel my past has not been free From sins which I remember not, I dread more, what to come, may be.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“There is much to be said for cherry blossoms, but they seem so flighty. They are so quick to run off and leave you. And then just when your regrets are the strongest the wisteria comes into bloom, and it blooms on into the summer. There is nothing quite like it. Even the color is somehow companionable and inviting.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
“At a guess I see that you may indeed be he: the light silver dew brings to clothe in loveliness a twilight beauty flower.”
Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji

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