From Dangerous Liaisons
"I am grateful, of course, but that would have been at most insultingly simple. One does not applaud the tenor for clearing his throat."
"Illusions, of course, are by their nature sweet."
"I’ll tell you why not. Because when one woman strikes at the heart of another, she seldom misses, and the wound is invariably fatal."
"You loved that woman, Vicomte. What’s more, you still do, quite desperately. If you hadn’t been so ashamed of it, how could you have treated her so viciously..? You couldn’t bear even the vague possibility of being laughed at. And this has proved something I’ve always suspected- that vanity and happiness are incompatible."
From A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
What did it avail to pray when he knew that his soul lusted after its own destruction? A certain pride, a certain awe, withheld him from offering to God even one prayer at night though he knew it was in God's power to take away his life while he slept and hurl his soul hellward ere he could beg for mercy. His pride in his own sin, his loveless awe of God, told him that his offence was too grievous to be atoned for in whole or in part by a false homage to the Allseeing and Allknowing.
From Lawrence of Arabia
Auda: You love him.
Ali: No, I fear him.
Auda: Why do you weep?
Ali: If I fear him and love him, how must he fear himself who hates himself?
From American Gods
"You got to understand the god thing. It's not magic. It's about being you, but the you that people believe in. It's about being the concentrated, magnified, essence of you. It's about becoming thunder, or the power of a running horse, or wisdom. You take all the belief and become bigger, cooler, more than human. You crystallize." He paused. "And then one day they forget about you, and they don't believe in you, and they don't sacrifice, and they don't care, and the next thing you know you're running a three-card monte game on the corner of Broadway and Forty-third."
From Little Gidding
Ash on an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended.
Dust inbreathed was a house-
The walls, the wainscot and the mouse,
The death of hope and despair,
This is the death of air.
From Fool's Fate
"Would you have more than this?" The Fool's voice was less than a whisper. I discerned a challenge in his words, but could not understand it.
"Yes, please. Try," I bade him.
Beside me at the table, I was aware of the Fool making some small movement but my vision was unfocused on the room and I had no warning of his intentions until his hand settled on my wrist. His fingertips unerringly found their own faded gray fingerprints, left on my flesh so many years ago. His touch was gentle, but the sensation was an arrow in my heart. I physically spasmed, a speared fish, and then froze. The Fool ran through my veins, hot as liquor, cold as ice. For a flashing instant, we shared physical awareness. The intensity of it went beyond any joining I'd ever experienced. It was more intimate than a kiss and deeper than a knife thrust, beyond a Skill-link and beyond sexual coupling, even beyond my Wit-bond with Nighteyes. It was not a sharing, it was a becoming. Neither pain nor pleasure could encompass it. Worse, I felt myself turning and opening to it, as if it were my lover's mouth upon mine, yet I did not know if I would devour or be devoured. In another heartbeat, we would be one another, know one another more perfectly than two separate beings ever should.
Just as I opened my eyes, the Fool's thought uncurled in my mind like a leaf opening to sunlight.
And I set no limits on that love.
"It's too much," I said brokenly. "No one can give that much. No one."
So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.