May 28: Quotes on this day
we must not judge the nations of the south, which Heaven has treated so benevolently,
by our standards... when one considers the abundance of fish and sea food which the ocean
provides, the abundance and variety of fruits and vegetables at every season of the year,
when one remembers that the region around Naples is deservedly called "Terra di Lavoro"
(which does not mean the land of work but the land of cultivation) and that
the whole province has been honored for centuries with the title "Campagna Felice"
the happy land then one gets an idea of how easy life is in these parts
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Italian Journey, May 28, 1787 (Naples)
At least admire the great virtues, even if you are not strong enough yourself to be truly virtuous!
Dufresne said that he is capable of devotion to all great things, but that he sees the emptiness
of them, that they are nothing, in fact.
I feel the contrary. I pay them homage, but I am too weak to do them. My business is quite different.
Eugene Delacroix, Journal, Friday, May 28, 1824
All these last days have flowed away rapidly, half occupied with work and half with going out;
but there has been much less of the later thing, because of the rain that we are having these last
two or three days. Sometimes I want to throw
out of the window, sometimes I pick him up again
with fury or, at other times, in a more reasonable way.
Eugene Delacroix, Journal, Sunday, May 29, 1853
A bad day. I did scarcely any work; took a solitary walk in the evening. Painted a short time on
the Christ on the Sea:
impression of the sublime and of the light.
Eugene Delacroix, Journal, May 29, 1854
Nothing bizarre, nothing whimsical will endure. Nature is ever interfering with Art.
You cannot build your house or pagoda as you will but as you must. Gravity, Wind, sun, rain,
the size of men & animals, & such other aliens have more to say than the architect. Beneath
the almighty necessity therefore I regard what is artificial in man's life & works as petty &
insignificant by the side of what is natural. Every violation, every suicide, every miracle,
very wilfulness however large it may show near us, melts quickly into the All, & at a distance
is not seen. The outline is as smooth as the curve of the moon... A writer must have
l'abandon, he must be content to stand aside & let truth & beauty speak for him,
or he cannot expect to be heard far.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 28, 1836
I behold; I bask in beauty; I await; I wonder; where is my Godhead now? This is the Male & Female
principle in Nature. One Man, male & female created he him. Hard as it is to describe God, it is
harder to describe the Individual. A certain wandering light comes to me which I instantly perceive
to be the Cause of Causes. It transcends all proving. It is itself the ground of being; and I see
that it is not one & I another, but this is the life of my life. That is one fact, then; that in
certain moments I have known that I existed directly from God, and am, as it were, his organ.
And in my ultimate consciousness Am He. Then, secondly, the contradictory fact is familiar,
that I am a surprised spectator & learner of all my life. This is the habitual posture of
the mind beholding. But whenever the day dawns, the great day of truth on the soul,
it comes with awful invitation to me to accept it, to blend with its aurora. Cannot I conceive
the Universe without a contradiction?
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 26, 1837
There is no history: There is only Biography. The attempt to perpetuate, to fix a thought or principle,
fails continually. You can only live for yourself: Your action is good only whilst it is alive
whilst it is in you. the awkward imitation of it by your child or your disciple, is not a repetition
of it, is not the same thing but another thing. The new individual must work out the whole problem
of science, letters, & theology for himself, can owe his fathers nothing. There is no history; only biography.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 28, 1839
Old Age. Sad spectacle that a man should live & be fed that he may fill a paragraph ever year
in the newspapers for his wonderful age, as we record the weight & girth of the Big Ox or Mammoth girl.
We do no count a man's years until he has nothing else to count.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 28-29, 1840
We live with such different velocity. We are not timed with our contemporaries. We cannot keep step.
One man is thinking of Plato & his companion is thinking of lobsters.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 1846
Immortality. I notice that as soon as writers broach this question they begin to quote.
I hate quotation. Tell me what you know.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 1849
The old woman who was shown the telegraph & the railroad, said,
"Well, God's works are great, but man's words are greater!"
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 1851
If Minerva offered me a gift & an option, I would say give me continuity. I am tired of scraps.
I do not wish to be a literary or intellectual chiffonier. Away with this jew's rag-bag of ends
& tufts of brocade, velvet, & cloth of gold; let me spin some yards or miles of helpful twine,
a clew to lead to one kingly truth, a cord to bind wholesome & belonging facts.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 1854
In the acceptance that my papers find among my thoughtful countrymen, in these days,
I cannot help feeling how limited is their reading. If they read only the books that I do,
they would not exaggerate so wildly.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journal, May 26, 1865
I sit in my boat on Walden, playing the flute this evening, and see the perch, which I seem to
have charmed, hovering around me, and the moon travelling over the bottom, which is strewn with
the wrecks of the forest, and feel that nothing but the wildest imagination can conceive of the
manner of life we are living. Nature is a wizard. The Concord nights are stranger than the
Arabian nights... Heaven lies above, because the air is deep.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 27, 1841
The trees now begin to shade the streets. When the sun gets high in the sky the trees give shade.
With oppressive heats come refreshing shadows. The buttercups spot the churchyard.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1851
White thorn and yellow Bethlehem-star (Hypoxis erecta).
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1852
A rose in a garden... To Lupine Hill by boat. The carnival of the year commencing a warm,
moist, hazy air, the water already smooth and uncommonly high, the river overflowing, and yellow
lilies all drowned, their stems not long enough to reach the surface. I see the boat-club, or
three or four in pink shirts, rowing at a distance... Already the ringing croak of a toad
begins to be heard here and there along the river, and the troonk of a bullfrog
from time to time.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1853
It would be worth the while to ask ourselves weekly, Is our life innocent enough? Do we live
inhumanely, toward man or beast, in thought or act? To be serene and successful we must
be at one with the universe. The least conscious and needless injury inflicted on any creature
is to its extent a suicide. What peace or life can a murderer have?... The inhumanity
of science concerns me, as when I am tempted to kill a rare snake that I may ascertain its species.
I feel that this is not the means of acquiring true knowledge.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1854
The apple bloom is very rich now... Large yellow and black butterfly... I have seen within
three or four days two or three new warblers which I have not identified; one today,
in the woods, all pure white beneath, with a full breast, and greenish-olive-yellow above,
with a duskier head and a slight crest muscicapa-like, on pines, etc., high; very small.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1855
A seringo or yellow-browed sparrow's nest about ten or twelve rods southwest of house-leek rock,
between two rocks which are several rods apart northwest and southeast; four eggs... A cricket creaks.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1856
Rain again in the night, and this forenoon, more or less. In some places the ground is strewn
with apple blossoms, quite concealing it, as white and thick as if a snow-storm had occurred.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1857
I get the nest of the turtle dove above named, it being deserted and no egg left. It appears to
have been built on the foundation of an old robin's nest and consists of a loose wisp of straw
and pinweed, the seedy ends projecting, ten inches long, laid across the mud foundation of the
robin's nest, with a very slight depression. Very loose and coarse material is artifially disposed,
without any lining or architecture... hear for a long time, as I sit under a willow, a summer
yellowbird sing, without knowing what it is. It is a rich and varied singer with but few notes
to remind me of its common one, continually hopping about.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1858
Low blackberry in bloom on railroad bank. At the extreme east side of Trillium Wood, come upon
a black snake, which at first keeps still prudently, thinking I may not wee him in the
grass in open land then glides to the edge of the wood and darts swiftly up into the top
of some slender shrubs there Viburnum dentatum and alder and lies stretched
out, eying me, in horizontal loops eight feet high.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1859
Along the edge of Warren's wood east of the Cut, see not only the chestnut-sided warbler but
the splendid Sylvia pardalina. It is a bright yellow beneath, with a broad black stripe
along each side of the throat, becoming longish black marks crescentwise on the fore part of
the breast leaving a distinct clear bright-yellow throat, and all the rest beneath bright-yellow;
a distinct bright-yellow ring around eye; a dark bluish brown apparently all above; yellowish legs.
Not shy; on the birches.
Henry David Thoreau, Journal, May 28, 1860
Just now the men from the wharf are going home such an intriguing sight.
I hear them already early in the morning; I think there are about 3,000 of them,
and the sound of their footsteps is like the roaring of the sea. This morning
I bought a small engraving, "Tobias" after Rembrandt, from a Jew for 6 cents.
Vincent Van Gogh,
Letter to Theo, Amsterdam, 28 May 1877
Last winter you wrote that in my watercolours of that time you found some parts which you thought more
satisfactory in colour and tone than before. And you said something like "if you stick to that."
Now you will certainly see how very decidedly I shall stick to that, and how the qualities of those
watercolours are even more emphasized in what I have painted since. Just now I finished a figure of
a weaver standing in front of a loom, and one sees the machine in the background. And I am working on
a view of the pond at the back of our garden!
Vincent Van Gogh,
Letter to Theo, Nuenen, late May 1884
My dear Walt:
We are well here, the season is backward, the leaves not fully out yet; indeed the oaks and even some
of the maples and elms have scarcely begun to come out yet however the asylum grounds look lovely,
we have had a great deal of rain and the grass and the young leaves are exquisitely fresh and green.
Richard Maurice Bucke (1837-1902)
Letter to Walt Whitman, London, 28th May 1883
Richard Maurice Bucke, medical mystic
(Edited by Artem Lozynsky)
Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 1977, pp. 86-87