Weekend Words: Soul

Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, "Fishing for Souls" (1614). Oil on panel, 98 x 189 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. (Image via Web Gallery of Art)
Adriaen Pietersz. van de Venne, “Fishing for Souls” (1614), oil on panel, 98 x 189 cm. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. (image via Web Gallery of Art)

This week we celebrated All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day and last but not least, since it includes just about everybody, All Souls Day.

“In free society art is not a weapon. Artists are not engineers of the soul.”

—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“My soul
smoothed itself out, a long-cramped scroll
Freshening and fluttering in the wind.”

—Robert Browning, “The Last Ride Together”

“If you think about it seriously, all the questions about the soul and the immortality of the soul and paradise and hell are at bottom only a way of seeing this very simple fact: that every action of ours is passed on to others according to its value, of good or evil, it passes from father to son, from one generation to the next, in a perpetual movement.”

—Antonio Gramsci

“Now when your girl has gone
And you’re broke in two
You need a little bit o’ soul
To see you through
And when you raise the roof
With your rock and roll
You’ll get a lot more kicks
With a little bit o’ soul”

—John Carter and Ken Lewis, “Little Bit O’ Soul”

“Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
An seal the hushed casked of my soul.”

—John Keats, “Sonnet to Sleep”

“Most people sell their souls, and live with a good conscience on the proceeds.”

—Logan Pearsall Smith, Afterthoughts

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”

—John Keats

“Poor intricated soul! Riddling, perplexed, labyrinthical soul!”

—John Donne, LXXX Sermons

“In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time; the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.”

—Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic

“Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods.”

—Iris Murdoch

“These are the soul’s changes. I don’t believe in aging. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun. Hence my optimism.”

—Virginia Woolf

“Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen
Warm my mind near your gentle stove
Turn me out and I’ll wander baby
Stumblin’ in the neon groves.”

—Jim Morrison, “Soul Kitchen”

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