201. “Love was like rain; there could be periods of drought when it seemed that love would never return, would never make its presence felt again. In such times, the heart could harden, but then, just as droughts broke, so too could love suddenly appear, and heal just as quickly and completely as rain can heal the parched land.”
213. “The trouble with Grace, she thought, is that she is so literal. But that was the trouble with most people, when it came down to it; there were very few who enjoyed flights of fantasy, and to have that sort of mind – one which enjoyed dry with and understood the absurd – left one in a shrinking minority.”
214. “Auden returns to one of his most important themes – that of repairing the tragic division in our lives, of making us whole again: While, as they lie in the grass of our neglect, So many long-forgotten objects Revealed by his undisclosed shining Are returned to us and made precious again; Games we thought we must drop as we grew up, Little noises we dared not laugh at, Faces we made when no one was looking. But he wishes us more than this.”
220. “Moral beauty existed as clearly as any other form of beauty and perhaps that was where we could find the God who was so vividly, and sometimes bizarrely, described in our noisy religious explanations. It was an intriguing thought, as it meant that a concert could be a spiritual experience, a secular painting a religious icon, a beguiling face a passing angel.”
221. “As a child she had believed that wrongs would always be righted, that somehow the world would not let the innocent suffer, but now she realised that this was not true. Old oppressors were replaced by new ones, from another distant place or from right next door. Old lies were replaced by new ones, backed up by old threats.”
222. “He thought of all the ways that so many people felt about life. Life was a matter of regret – how could it be anything else? We knew that we would lose the things we loved; we knew that sooner or later we would lose everything, and beyond that was a darkness, a state of non-being that we found hard to imagine, let alone accept.”
224. “Our possessing of our world is a temporary matter: we stamp our ownership upon our surroundings, give familiar names to the land about us, erect statues of ourselves, but all of this is swept away, so quickly, so easily. We think the world is ours for ever, but we are little more than squatters.”
239. “Already many of the memories of the previous two weeks had faded: the smell of that small hotel in St. Andrews; that mixture of bacon cooking for breakfast and the lavender-scented soap in the bathroom; the air from the sea drifing across the golf course; the aroma of coffee in the coffee bar in South Street. She should have noted them down. She should have said something about all that and the light and the hills with sheep on them like small white stones.”
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