Remember that one should be thankful that there is any fault that one can be unjustly accused.
If you find one false excuse for yourself, you will soon find a hundred, and be just what you were before.
You had no motives in life, appetites merely.
The real fool, such as the Gods mock or mar, is he who does not know himself.
I had always thought that my giving up to you in small things meant nothing: that when a great moment arrived I could reassert my willpower in its natural superiority. It was not so. In the great moment my willpower completely failed me. In there is really no small or great thing. All things are of equal size and value.
I recognized the ultimate moment had come, and recognized it as being a really great relief. And I knew that for the future my Art and Life would be freer and better and more beautiful in ever way. Ill as I was, I was at peace The fact that the separation was irrevocable gave me peace.
Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain. The paralysing immobility of a life every circumstance of which is regulated after an unchangeable pattern, so that we eat and drink and lie down and pray, or kneel at least for prayer, according to the inflexible laws of an iron formula: this immobile quality, that makes each dreadful day in the very minutest detail like its brother, seems to communicate itself to those external forces the very essence of whose existence is ceaseless change. Of seed-time or harvest, of the reapers bending over the corn, or the grape gatherers threading through the vines, of the grass in the orchard made white with broken blossoms or strewn with fallen fruit: of these we know nothing and can know nothing.
Prosperity, pleasure and success, may be rough of grain and common in fibre, but sorrow is the most sensitive of all created things. There is nothing that stirs in the whole world of thought to which sorrow does not vibrate in terrible and exquisite pulsation. The thin beaten-out leaf of tremulous gold that chronicles the direction of forces the eye cannot see is in comparison coarse. It is a wound that bleeds when any hand but that of love touches it, and even then must bleed again, though not in pain.
Where there is sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realise what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do, - and natures like his can realise it.
I used to live entirely for pleasure. I shunned suffering and sorrow of every kind. I hated both. I resolved to ignore them as far as possible: to treat them, that is to say, as modes of imperfection. They were not part of my scheme of life. They had no place in my philosophy.
I am a born antinomian. I am one of those who are made for exceptions, not for laws. But while I see that there is nothing wrong in what one does, I see that there is something wrong in what one becomes.
The only people I would care to be with now are artists and people who have suffered: those who know what beauty is, and those who know what sorrow is: nobody else interests me.
The gods had given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured
into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. I amused myself
with being a dandy, a man of fashion. I surrounded
myself with the smaller natures and the meaner minds. I became the
spendthrift of my own genius, and to waste an eternal youth gave me
a curious joy. Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went
to the depths in the search for new sensation. What the paradox
was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the
sphere of passion. Desire, at the end, was a malady, or a madness,
or both. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure
where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little
action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that
therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day
to cry aloud on the housetop. I ceased to be lord over myself. I
was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I
allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace.
There is only one thing for me now, absolute humility.
But while there were times when I rejoiced in the idea that my
sufferings were to be endless, I could not bear them to be without
meaning. Now I find hidden somewhere away in my nature something
that tells me that nothing in the whole world is meaningless, and
suffering least of all. That something hidden away in my nature,
like a treasure in a field, is Humility.
It is the last thing left in me, and the best: the ultimate
discovery at which I have arrived, the starting-point for a fresh
development. It has come to me right out of myself, so I know that
it has come at the proper time. It could not have come before, nor
later. Had any one told me of it, I would have rejected it. Had
it been brought to me, I would have refused it. As I found it, I
want to keep it. I must do so. It is the one thing that has in it
the elements of life, of a new life, VITA NUOVA for me. Of all
things it is the strangest. One cannot acquire it, except by
surrendering everything that one has. It is only when one has lost
all things, that one knows that one possesses it.