Weekend

Weekend Words: Passage

“In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.”

Adrien Dauzats, "Passage of the Iron Gates in Algeria" (1840)
Adrien Dauzats, “Passage of the Iron Gates in Algeria” (1840), oil on canvas, 150 x 130 cm,
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Orléans (image via Web Gallery of Art)

The one thing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted this week was passage of the American Health Care Act, and it’s the one thing he didn’t get.

Nothing knits man to man […] like the frequent passage from hand to hand of cash.

—Walter Sickert, “The Language of Art”

I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.

—Henry David Thoreau

If Nature denies eternity to beings, it follows that their destruction is one of her laws. Now, once we observe that destruction is so useful to her that she absolutely cannot dispense with it from this moment onward the idea of annihilation which we attach to death ceases to be real what we call the end of the living animal is no longer a true finish, but a simple transformation, a transmutation of matter. According to these irrefutable principles, death is hence no more than a change of form, an imperceptible passage from one existence into another.

—Marquis De Sade

My English text is chaste, and all licentious passages are left in the obscurity of a learned language.

—Edward Gibbon

​He was one of a lean body and visage, as if his eager soul, biting for anger at the clog of his body, desired to fret a passage through it.

—Thomas Fuller, “The Life of the Duke of Alva”

All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet. There are passages in Ulysses which can be read only in the toilet — if one wants to extract the full flavor of their content.

—Henry Miller

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.
My words echo
Thus, in your mind.

—T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.

—George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”

Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed passage with you?

—Walt Whitman

When I was young I had an elderly friend who used often to ask me to stay with him in the country. He was a religious man and he read prayers to the assembled household every morning. But he had crossed out in pencil all the passages that praised God. He said that there was nothing so vulgar as to praise people to their faces and, himself a gentleman, he could not believe that God was so ungentlemanly as to like it.

—W. Somerset Maugham

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.

—Mark Twain

And since, in our passage through this world, painful circumstances occur more frequently than pleasing ones, and since our sense of evil is, I fear, more acute than our sense of good, we become the victims of our feelings, unless we can in some degree command them.

—Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho

Time has no division to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire pistols.

—Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

Enlarge my Life with Multitude of Days,
In Health, in Sickness, thus the Suppliant prays;
Hides from himself his State, and shuns to know,
That Life protracted is protracted Woe.
Time hovers o’er, impatient to destroy,
And shuts up all the Passages of Joy.

—Samuel Johnson, “The Vanity of Human Wishes”

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