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If Time, so fleeting, must like humans die, let it be filled with good food and good talk, and then embalmed in the perfumes of conviviality.

The loud applause your speech received Was not at all deserved. It was not the speech you gave we liked, But the dinner that you served.
A rhetorician of times past said that his trade was to make little things appear and be thought great. That's a shoemaker who can make big shoes for a small foot. They would have had him whipped in Sparta for professing a deceitful and lying art. . . . Those who mask and make up women do less harm, for it is a matter of small loss not to see them in their natural state; whereas the other men make a profession of deceiving not our eyes but our judgment, and of adulterating and corrupting the essence of things.
The Physicians told me that yet there was one help for me, if I could constantly pursue it, to wit, A sober and orderly life : for this had every way great force for the recovering and preserving of Health, as a disorderly life to the overthrowing of it; as I too wel by experience found. For Temperance preserves even old men and sickly men sound: But Intemperance destroyes most healthy and flourishing constitutions.
See the Wretch, that long has tost On the thorny bed of pain, At length repair his vigour lost, And breathe, and walk again: The meanest floweret of the vale, The simplest note that swells the gale, The common sun, the air, the skies, To Him are opening Paradise.
The longer I abstained the higher my spirits were, the keener my enjoyment--till the moment, the direful moment, arrived when my pulse began to fluctuate, my heart to palpitate, and such a dreadful falling abroad, as it were, of my whole frame, such intolerable restlessness, and incipient bewilderment, that in the last of my several attempts to abandon the dire poison, I exclaimed in agony, which I now repeat in seriousness and solemnity, "I am too poor to hazard this."
To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.
It is difficult to live without opium after having known it because it is difficult, after knowing opium, to take earth seriously. And unless one is a saint, it is difficult to live without taking earth seriously.
I'm here to say that you can reel with your own heart and your own brain too once you quit believing that only alcohol or drugs can make you joyful. Sometimes, I'm almost sorry for people who haven't been alcoholic, because I know things that a person who's never been sick doesn't know. I had to climb over hurdles. I had to experience the disease, be sick with it and then experience recovery.
Keep moving! Steam, or Gas, or Stage, Hold, cabin, steerage, hencoop's cage--Tour, Journey, Voyage, Lounge, Ride, Walk, Skim, Sketch, Excursion, Travel-talk--For move you must! 'Tis now the rage, The law and fashion of the Age.
I must have leave, in the fulness of my soul, to regret the abolition, and doing away-with altogether, of those consolatory interstices and sprinklings of freedom, through the four seasons,--the red-letter days, now become, to all intents and purposes, dead-letter days. . . . These were bright visitations in a scholar's and clerk's life--"far off their coming shone."
He never took a vacation, and at sixty they read his will. His day for "retiring from business" Death wrote in a codicil; And pinn'd on the door of his office Was a notice which grimly read, Out of town--on a long vacation Indefinite" it said.
The average wife does not get enough holidays. The average husband gets a day and a half every week, besides his annual holiday. The wife's working week consists of seven days; for there is no period in the week when she can throw off the burden of housekeeping. . . . Many wives have even to keep house during their so-called vacation, and thus obtain no real relief whatever. And so they continue without surcease for twenty years, thirty years, half a lifetime! At best the wife who always takes vacation in the company of her husband only achieves a partial holiday.
I do not really like vacations; I much prefer an occasional day off when I do not feel like working. When I am confronted with a whole week in which I have nothing to do but enjoy myself I do not know where to begin. To me, enjoyment comes fleetingly and unheralded; I cannot determinedly enjoy myself for a whole week at a time.
The advantages of travel are many, such as recreation of the mind entailing profit; seeing of wonderful, and hearing of strange things; recreation in cities, associating with friends, acquisition of dignity, rank, property, the power of discriminating among acquaintances, and gaining experience of the world, as the travelers in the Tariqat have said: "As long as thou walkest about the shop or the house, thou wilt never become a man, O raw fellow! Go and travel in the world, before that day when thou goest from the world."
When a traveller returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath travelled altogether behind him, but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth. And let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture; and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers, than forward to tell stories.
A traveler! By my faith, you have great reason to be sad. I fear you have sold your own lands to see other men's. Then to have seen much and to have nothing is to have rich eyes and poor hands.
Walking has something that animates and enlivens my ideas: I almost cannot think when I stay in place; my body must be in motion to set my mind in motion . . .
The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to think, feel, do, just as one pleases. We go on a journey chiefly to be free of all impediments and of all inconveniences; to leave ourselves behind, much more to get rid of others.
Everything good is on the highway.
Thare are hotels that are a joy upon earth, where a man pays hiz bill az cheerfully az he did the parson who married him, whare yu kant find the landlord unless yu hunt in the kitchen, whare servants glide around like angels ov mercy, whare the beds fit a man's back like the feathers on a goose, and whare the vittle taste just az tho yure wife, or yure mother had fried them. Theze kind ov hotels ought tew be bilt on wheels and travel around the country; they are az phull ov real cumfort az a thanksgiving pudding, but alass! yes, alass! they are az unplenty az double-yelked eggs.
We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can "show off" and astonish people when we get home. We wish to excite the envy of our untraveled friends with our strange foreign fashions which we can't shake off. All our passengers are paying strict attention to this thing, with the end in view which I have mentioned. The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad. I speak now, of course, in the supposition that the gentle reader has not been abroad, and therefore is not already a consummate ass.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
The traveller who has gone to Italy to study the tactile values of Giotto, or the corruption of the Papacy, may return remembering nothing but the blue sky and the men and women who live under it.
And who would be a traveler And see the world afar, What joys at Rome could equal home Where my two children are?
Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me.
I didn't know who I was--I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.
Sleep on your writing; take a walk over it; scrutinize it of a morning; review it of an afternoon; digest it after a meal; let it sleep in your drawer a twelvemonth; never venture a whisper about it to your friend, if he be an author especially. You may read selections to sensible women,--if young the better.
What nuisance can be so great to a man busied with immense affairs, as to have to explain, or to attempt to explain, small details to men incapable of understanding them?
They question thee about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness.
A good sherris-sack . . . ascends me into the brain, dries me there all the foolish and dull and crudy vapors which environ it, makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery and delectable shapes, which, deliver'd o'er to the voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes excellent wit.
Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well us'd. Exclaim no more against it.
Old wine, and an old friend, are good provisions.
How doth the earth bring forth herbs, flowers, and fruits, both for physick and the pleasure of mankind? and above all, to me at least, the fruitful Vine, of which when I drink moderately, it clears my brain, chears my heart, and sharpens my wit.
Cupid and Bacchus my saints are; May drink and love still reign: With wine I wash away my cares, And then to love again.
Who, by disgraces or ill fortune sunk, Feels not his soul enlivened when he's drunk?
CALAMITY, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakeable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering.
Nothing ever happens but the unforeseen.
God uses suffering as a whetstone, to make men sharp with.
The petty misfortunes that vex us every hour may be regarded as intended to keep us in practice so that the strength to endure great misfortunes may not be wholly dissipated in prosperity.
I have often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters which break down the spirit of a man and prostrate him in the dust seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character that at times it approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence and alive to every trivial roughness while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and support of her husband under misfortune, and abiding with unshrinking firmness the bitterest blasts of adversity.
The pencil of the Holy Ghost hath laboured more in describing the afflictions of Job, than the felicities of Solomon. Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes, and adversity is not without comforts and hopes. . . . Certainly, virtue is like precious odours, most fragrant, when they are incensed, or crushed; for prosperity doth best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue.
Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
I met my old lover on the street last night She seemed so glad to see me, I just smiled And we talked about some old times And we drank ourselves some beers Still crazy after all these years.
We fell out, my wife and I, O we fell out I know not why, And kissed again with tears. And blessings on the falling out That all the more endears, When we fall out with those we love And kiss again with tears!
Each in a marriage must make a contribution. Of course. What was that old song? "You're the cream in my coffee . . . You're the salt in my stew"? How great and how true. One has a right to expect such a complement. I was always eager to salt a good stew. The trouble was that I was expected to supply the meat and potatoes as well.
It is not the frequency of divorce which makes the times wicked; it is the wickedness of the times which increases divorce.
Judaism regards divorce as a catastrophe that is bound to occur in a certain number of mistaken marriages. Rather than chain two unsuited and hating partners together for life, our law provides the machinery for dissolving such unions.
I no longer believe that marriage means forever no matter how lousy it is--or "for the sake of the children."
I am still divorcing him, adding up the crimes Of how he came to me, how he left me.
I've been married too many times. How terrible to change children's affiliations, their affections--to give them the insecurity of placing their trust in someone when maybe that someone won't be there next year.
The only hope I can see for the unhappiness of divorce is knowing that it is better than a bad marriage. The unhappiness of divorce ends, in time, for healthy people. Healthy people refuse to stay unhappy. Sooner or later they wake up and decide to be happy again. They lose weight and start exercising. They dye their hair or get a toupee. They buy a red dress and get to a party and start flirting. They redecorate their living quarters. They get out their address books and start looking for old lovers to recycle.
There is cruelty in divorce. There is cruelty in forced or unfortunate marriage. We will continue to cry at weddings because we know how bittersweet, how fragile is the troth. We will always need legal divorce just as an emergency escape hatch is crucial in every submarine. No sense, however, in denying that after every divorce someone will be running like a cat, tin cans tied to its tail: spooked and slowed down.
Divorce after sixty is likely to mean that one or both partners feel imprisoned--not enough space between them to breathe, too much togetherness, too much interdependence, and no separate hobbies, trips or learning experiences. Boredom from passivity; too much acceptance of limitations.
What we're asking when we ask about divorce is how people fall out of love. And if, as girls, we searched for answers about what boys really wanted, what we're asking, as adults, is what men and women don't want--what causes them to take a stand, to draw the line, to divorce.
Sometimes I dream of an eighth sacrament, the sacrament of divorce. Like communion, it is a slim white wafer on the tongue. Like confession, it is forgiveness. Forgiveness is important not so much for what we've done wrong, but for what we feel we need to be forgiven for. Family, friends, God, whoever loves us, forgives us, takes us in again. They are thrilled by our life, our possibilities, our second chances.
Nothing teaches children about our capacity for deception, for multiple selves, like divorce.
Truth be told, there is nothing like a divorce to make a Madonna out of a Tammy Wynette. Nothing like a divorce, that is, to make even the most accommodating and least politicized female sit up and take note of the fact that the judicial system is run primarily by men who tend on the whole to favor women who stay home and busy themselves with kinder and kuche--and to regard with punitive suspicion (however unconscious) those women who want it every which way, the career and the children and the divorce.
Life is terribly deficient in form. Its catastrophes happen in the wrong way and to the wrong people.
He will be far less exposed to disaster who cherishes ideas within him that soar high above the indifference, selfishness, vanities of everyday life. And therefore, come happiness or sorrow, the happiest man will be he within whom the greatest idea shall burn the most ardently.
We are perplexed to see misfortune falling upon decent, inoffensive, worthy people--on capable, hardworking mothers of families or diligent, thrifty, little trades-people, on those who have worked so hard, and so honestly, for their modest stock of happiness and now seem to be entering on the enjoyment of it with the fullest right. . . . Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for the moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when He thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and that if they have not learned to know Him they will be wretched.
Tzu-yu said, "When mourning gives full expression to grief nothing more can be required."
Jeremiah said: "Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him" (Jeremiah 22.10). Weep not overmuch and bemoan not beyond the measure. What is the measure? Three days for weeping; seven days for bemoaning; thirty days for not donning clothes that have been pressed, and for not having the hair cut. From now on, saith the Lord, ye may not feel more compassion over him than I do.
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud, For grief is proud and makes his owner stoop. To me and to the state of my great grief Let kings assemble, for my grief's so great That no supporter but the huge firm earth Can hold it up.
Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the living.
It is the will of God and Nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life; 'tis rather an embrio state, a preparation for living; a man is not completely born until he be dead: Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals?
Where there is leisure for fiction there is little grief.
She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her grave, and oh, The difference to me!
Ah, woe is me! Winter is come and gone, But grief returns with the revolving year.
The persons on whom I have bestowed my dearest love, lie deep in their graves; but, although the happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too, I have not made a coffin of my heart, and sealed it up, for ever, on my best affections. Deep affliction has but strengthened and refined them.
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.
Only those whom we have never possessed can pass away. And we cannot even mourn not having truly possessed this person or that--we have neither time, nor strength nor right to do so, for the most fleeting experience of any real possession . . . casts us back into ourselves with so much force, gives us so much to do there, demands so much loneliest development from us, that it suffices to absorb our individual attention for ever.
When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in.
. . . the body remains in a vacuum Gagged, bound, and sick with dread Knowing the words that can't be spoken Searching for words that must be said Dumb, inarticulate, heartbroken.
About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; how well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along.
Life is very insistent; and it always seems to be so when friends sadly leave us.
You know it takes a year, a full turn of the calendar, to get over losing somebody. That's a true saying.
I mourn in grey, grey as the sleeted wind the bled shades of twilight, gunmetal, battleships, industrial paint.
Formerly the deceased of the wealthy were buried in fancy caskets, of the poor in cheap coffins. This, too, was altered, and now all who die, whether rich or poor, are buried in inexpensive caskets.
Not a flower, not a flower sweet, On my black coffin let there be strown; Not a friend, not a friend greet My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown. A thousand thousand sighs to save, Lay me, O where Sad true lover never find my grave, To weep there!
I cannot choose but weep, to think they would lay him i' th' cold ground.
Then cheerly to your work again With hearts new-brac'd and set To run, untir'd, love's blesse'd race, As meet for those, who face to face Over the grave their Lord have met.
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide, And wash my Body whence the Life had died, And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt, So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.
No funeral gloom, my dears, when I am gone, Corpse-gazing, tears, black raiment, graveyard grimness; Think of me as withdrawn into the dimness, Yours still, you mine; remember all the best Of our past moments, and forget the rest.
Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? Is it because we are not the person involved?
It comes strangely over me in bidding you good-bye how a life is but a day and expresses mainly but a single note. It is so much like the act of bidding an ordinary goodnight. Good night, my sacred old Father! If I don't see you again--Farewell! a blessed farewell!
I know those are the conventional virtues that are inscribed on tombstones--but he is the one person in a million who deserves them. Perhaps these virtues are so common in cemeteries because they are so rare in life.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
Tell all my mourners To mourn in red-- Cause there ain't no sense In my bein' dead.
Funerals are pretty compared to deaths. Funerals are quiet, but deaths--not always. Sometimes their breathing is hoarse, and sometimes it rattles, and sometimes they even cry out to you, "Don't let me go!"
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Where, indeed. Many a badly stung survivor, faced with the aftermath of some relative's funeral, has ruefully concluded that the victory has been won hands down by a funeral establishment--in a disastrously unequal battle.
Every man in the chapel hoped that when his hour came he, too, would be eulogized, which is to say forgiven, and that all of his lapses, greeds, errors, and strayings from the truth would be invested with coherence and looked upon with charity. This was perhaps the last thing human beings could give each other, and it was what they demanded, after all, of the Lord.
I have no weddings or baptisms in the funeral home and the folks that pay me have maybe lost sight of the obvious connections between the life and the death of us. And how the rituals by which we mark the things that only happen to us once, birth and death, or maybe twice in the case of marriage, carry the same emotional mail--a message of loss and gain, love and grief, things changed utterly.
When the artlesse Doctor sees No one hope, but of his Fees, And his skill runs on the lees, Sweet Spirit comfort me!
God heales, and the Physitian hath the thankes.
When a doctor talks to you of aiding, succouring and relieving nature, of taking away from her what is injurious and of giving her what she lacks; of re-establishing her and restoring her to the full exercise of her functions; when he talks to you of purifying the blood, of regulating the bowels and the brain, of reducing the spleen, of strengthening the chest, of renovating the liver, of improving the action of the heart, of re-establishing and preserving natural heat, and being possessed of secrets which will prolong life for many years: he is beguiling you with the romance of physic. But, when you come to learn the truth of things by experience, you find there is nothing in it all, it is like those beautiful dreams which, when you wake, leave you nothing but the regret of having put faith in them.
God heals, and the doctor takes the fees.
If you are making choice of a physician, be sure you get one, if possible, with a cheerful and serene countenance.
For everybody's family doctor was remarkably clever, and was understood to have immeasurable skill in the management and training of the most skittish or vicious diseases. The evidence of his cleverness was of the higher intuitive order, lying in his lady-patients' immovable conviction, and was unassailable by any objection except that their intuitions were opposed by others equally strong; each lady who saw medical truth in Wrench and "the strengthening treatment" regarding Toller and "the lowering system" as medical perdition. . . . The strengtheners and the lowerers were all "clever" men in somebody's opinion, which is really as much as can be said for any living talents.
It is the humdrum, day-in, day-out, everyday work that is the real satisfaction of the practice of medicine; the million and a half patients a man has seen on his daily visits over a forty-year period of weekdays and Sundays that make up his life. I have never had a money practice; it would have been impossible for me. But the actual calling on people, at all times and under all conditions, the coming to grips with the intimate conditions of their lives, when they were being born, when they were dying, watching them die, watching them get well when they were ill, has always absorbed me.
Have your own doctor, who answers to you. If you don't, when the time comes that you get mixed up with hospitals, they'll treat you like a fool. . . . You're bound to lose your health at some point, but you don't have to lose your dignity, too.
Here in the hospital, I say, that is not my body, not my body. I am not here for the doctors to read like a recipe.
Doctors need to give every patient a chance to talk with their clothes on after the examination is over.
There is, of course, an ordinary medicine, an everyday medicine, humdrum, prosaic, a medicine for stubbed toes, quinsies, bunions and boils; but all of us entertain the idea of another sort of medicine, of a wholly different kind: something deeper, older, extraordinary, almost sacred, which will restore to us our lost health and wholeness, and give us a sense of perfect well-being.
The first thing about being a patient is--you have to be patient.
I like to see doctors cough. What kind of human being would grab all your money just when you're down? I'm not saying they enjoy this: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . they'd rather be playing golf and swapping jokes about our feet.
If a Child be sick, give it whatever it wants to eat or drink, although particularly forbid by the Doctor: For what we long for in Sickness, will do us good; and throw the Physick out of the Window; the Child will love you the better; but bid it not tell. Do the same to your Lady when she longs for anything in Sickness, and engage it will do her good.
The best of remedies is a beefsteak Against sea-sickness; try it, Sir, before You sneer, and I assure you this is true, For I have found it answer--so may you.
Laffing keeps oph sickness, and haz conquered az menny diseases az ever pills have, and at mutch less expense.--It makes flesh, and keeps it in its place. It drives away weariness and brings a dream ov sweeness to the sleeper.
We study health, and we deliberate upon our meats and drink and air and exercises, and we hew and we polish every stone that goes to that building; and so our health is a long and regular work. But in a minute a cannon batters all, overthrows all, demolishes all; a sickness unprevented for all our diligence, unsuspected for all our curiosity, nay, undeserved, if we consider only disorder, summons us, seizes us, possesses us, destroys us in an instant.
Now that the frequent pangs my frame assail, Now that my sleepless eyes are sunk and dim, And seas of Pain seem waving through each limb--Ah what can all Life's gilded scenes avail?
Long illness is the real vampyrism; think of living a year or two after one is dead, by sucking the lifeblood out of a frail young creature at one's bedside! Well, souls grow white, as well as cheeks, in these holy duties; one that goes in a nurse may come out an angel.
The sick man in his apparent inactivity has a very grand human task to fulfil. He must of course never cease to aim at his own cure and recovery. Also he must of course use all the strength that remains to him for the different kinds of sometimes extremely productive work that are within his powers. Christian resignation, in fact, is just the opposite of giving up. Once he has resolved to combat his sickness in this way, the sick man must realize that in proportion to his sickness he has a special function to perform, in which no one can replace him: the task of co-operating in the transformation (one might say conversion) of human suffering.
In the last states of a final illness, we need only the absence of pain and the presence of family.
I might have had a tough break; but I have an awful lot to live for!
To be sick brings out all our prejudices and primitive feelings. Like fear or love, it makes us a little crazy. Yet the craziness of the patient is part of his condition.
A man's illness is his private territory and, no matter how much he loves you and how close you are, you stay an outsider. You are healthy.
Pain probably makes us a bit godly. . . as tender love does. It makes us rue and summarize; it makes us bend and yield up ourselves.
Grieve for a decent limited time over whatever parts of your old self you know you'll miss. . . . Then stanch the grief, by whatever legal means. Next find your way to be somebody else, the next viable you--a stripped down whole other clear-eyed person, realistic as a sawed-off shotgun and thankful for air, not to speak of the human kindness you'll meet if you get normal luck.
Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.
Right there is the usefulness of migraine, there in that imposed yoga, the concentration on the pain. For when the pain recedes, ten or twelve hours later, everything goes with it, all the hidden resentments, all the vain anxieties. The migraine has acted as a circuit breaker, and the fuses have emerged intact. There is a pleasant convalescent euphoria.
For a while she'd exist in that peculiar stage in her recovery in which she'd be too strong for the hospital, yet too weak for the world, able to repossess her body only enough to feel again the claims of those who loved and needed her, but not enough to feel that she could satisfy those claims.
Night is when the patient imagines dying. It was at these moments that I was most acutely conscious of the stark truth that everyone faces in hospital: no amount of loving care and attention (and I was greatly blessed in this) can disguise the fact that a dramatic illness emphasizes our solitude and isolation.
Though seas and land betwixt us both Our faith and troth, Like separated souls, All time and space controls; Above the highest sphere we meet Unseen, unknown, and greet as angels greet.
There can never be any adequate ground for separation. The condition of man is pitched so high in its joys and in its sorrows, that the sum which two married people owe to each other defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through all eternity.
My dearest Mary, wherefore hast thou gone, And left me in this dreary world alone? Thy form is here indeed--a lovely one--But thou art fled, gone down the dreary road, That lead to Sorrow's most obscure abode.
When two people are once parted--have abandoned a common domicile and a common environment--new growths insensibly bud upward to fill each vacated place; unforeseen accidents hinder intentions, and old plans are forgotten.
Marriage is easy, and divorce difficult, because this is Nature's plan. The natural law of attraction brings men and women together, and it is difficult to separate them. . . . Most couples who desire freedom only think they do: what they really want is a vacation; but they would not separate for good if they could. It is hard to part--people who have lived together grow to need each other. They want someone to quarrel with.
Let him lack for the million and one things that a wife has done so long for his comfort that he did not even know she had done them. Above all, let him have to turn to strangers who are not interested in him and his affairs and who have no common backgrounds or mutual interests with him, for society. Then he will find out the worth of a wife and the price of a divorce.
When a divorced man marries a divorced woman, there are four natures with which to contend.
O Prophet! When ye (men) put away women, put them away for their (legal) period and reckon the period, and keep your duty to Allah, your Lord. Expel them not from their houses nor let them go forth unless they commit open immorality. Such are the limits (imposed by) Allah; and whoso transgresseth Allah's limits, he verily wrongeth his soul. Thou knowest not: it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass. Then, when they have reached their term, take them back in kindness or part from them in kindness, and call to witness two just men among you, and keep your testimony upright for Allah.
Weakness and incapacity legitimately break up a marriage.
Alas, sir, In what have I offended you? What cause Hath my behavior given to your displeasure, That thus you should proceed to put me off And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness, I have been to you a true and humble wife, At all times to your will conformable, Ever in fear to kindle your dislike, Yea, subject to your countenance--glad or sorry As I saw it inclin'd.
Love in marriage cannot live nor subsist unless it be mutual; and where love cannot be, there can be left of wedlock nothing but the empty husk of an outside matrimony, as undelightful and unpleasing to God as any other kind of hypocrisy.
When a man receives no dowry [other] than that of beauty in his wife, he repents soon after the wedding ceremony is over, and the best-looking woman has but few means of defence against the indifference that soon takes the place of infatuation. I tell you again, these unbalanced raptures, these youthful longings and these transports may give us, at first, a few enjoyable nights, but this kind of happiness is not lasting, and, when our passion cools, disagreeable days follow the pleasant nights.
Why should a foolish marriage vow Which long ago was made, Oblige us to each other now When passion is decayed?
When they [the French] promise always to love a woman, they suppose that she, in turn, promises that she will always be lovable; if she breaks her word, they no longer feel bound to theirs.
It is quite difficult to understand clearly what reason led the Christians to abolish divorce. Marriage, in every nation on earth, is a contract sensitive to all conventions, and from it should be abolished only what could enfeeble its intended purpose. But the Christians do not regard it from this point of view and they go to considerable trouble to explain their attitude. Marriage to them does not consist in sensual pleasure; on the contrary. . . it seems they wish to banish that element from it as much as possible. Rather, it is to them an image, a symbol, and something mysteriously more, which I do not understand.
Divorce is probably of nearly the same date as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks more ancient; that is to say, men quarrelled with their wives at the end of five days, beat them at the end of the month, and separated from them after six weeks' cohabitation.
The only way to be reconciled to old friends is to part with them for good: at a distance we may chance to be thrown back (in a waking dream) upon old times and old feelings: or at any rate we should not think of renewing our intimacy, till we have fairly spit our spite, said, thought, and felt all the ill we can of each other.
[Marriage] is never wholly happy. Two people can never literally be as one: there is, perhaps, a possibility of content under peculiar circumstances, such as are seldom combined; but it is as well not to run the risk: you may make fatal mistakes. . . . Let all the single be satisfied with their freedom.
The sort of men and women that marriage enslaves would be vastly more wretched and mischievous, if they were set free. I believe that the hell people make for themselves isn't at all a bad place for them. It's the best place for them.
The instant, quick release by divorce from all troubles, great and small, between man and wife, is not better than that other instant, quick relief from bodily pain, which is morphia. . . . We are a cowardly generation, and men shrink from pain.
When people are tied together for life they too often regard manners as a mere superfluity, and courtesy as a thing of no moment; but where the bond can be easily broken, its very fragility makes its strength, and reminds the husband that he should always try to please, and the wife that she should never cease to be charming.
Divorces are made in Heaven.
Divorce is a heroic remedy for an awful condition. It is the culmination of a fearful tragedy. I know of nothing worse than incompatibility. There is no hell equal to the hell of having to live with a person who is not your own.
All young women begin by believing they can change and reform the men they marry. They can't.
Do you know, I always have a distinct feeling of pleasure when I hear of married people parting. . . . But it isn't a malicious pleasure; There's nothing personal in it. . . . But marriage in general is such a humbug--you forgive the word.
Women are so used t' takin' things home on approval, an' makin' things over, an' exchangin' things, an' takin' things back, that they use th' same system with husbands. They jest reason that they kin take a man an' if they don't like him they kin dump him. Sometimes they try t' make him over. Men don't hanker fer divorces as much as women do. They hain't home much an' besides they kin get away with a double life better'n a woman.

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