Mix Pictures of the Mind
the light of evening

arranged alphabetically by author

Compilation by
Robert Wilfred Franson


But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

W. H. Auden
"In Memory of W. B. Yeats"  (1939)
Collected Poems

Buffy (to Dawn):

You know what they say:
Those of us who fail History —
doomed to repeat it in summer school.

Jane Espenson, episode writer
Joss Whedon, series creator
"After Life"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 6.3  (2001)

The underground brought to epidemic proportions something the Party had always identified as a threatening disease: self-doubt. Self-doubt was the infectious illness the Party sought to isolate. Self-doubt was at the heart of trial and expulsion, non-personness, avoidance of named carriers. ...

Thus, in relation to certain kinds of memories, the Communists with whom I spoke were often like the Germans in relation to the Jews: nobody was there. Communists whose memories were letter-perfect with regard to everything else couldn't remember ever having had anything to do with anybody's expulsion, couldn't remember ever having brutally cut off relations with an expelled Communist, couldn't remember ever having presided over or been present at anybody's trial.

Vivian Gornick
The Romance of American Communism  (1977)

Talos, the smith, was a Cretan hero born to Daedalus's sister Perdix ('partridge'), with whom the mythographer is identifying Hera. Partridges, sacred to the Great Goddess, figured in the spring equinox orgies of the Eastern Mediterranean, when a hobbling dance was performed in imitation of cock-partridges. The hens were said by Aristotle, Pliny, and Aelian to conceive merely by hearing the cock's voice. Hobbling Hephaestus and Talos seem to be the same parthenogenous character; and both were cast down from a height by angry rivals — originally in honour of their goddess-mother.
Robert Graves
"12. Hera and Her Children"
The Greek Myths  (1955)

It is no accident that the cultivation of memory received new and careful attention from Renaissance educators. In the education treatises of Erasmus, the memory was understood as a crucial, creative faculty, already on its way toward becoming for Vico an instrument of the creative imagination. ...

The paradox of this particular continuity is that it has to leap a thousand years. That is why even the act of memory always involves an implicit necromantic metaphor: a resuscitation.

Thomas M. Greene
The Light in Troy:
Imitation and Discovery in Renaissance Poetry

United We Stand - NYC Twin Towers draped flags "The Lieutenant told me before he bought it to tell you that he will always have his eye on you every minute ... and that he expects your names to shine!"

Robert A. Heinlein
[U.S. Naval Academy 1929;
 Lieutenant (jg), U.S. Navy, retired]
Starship Troopers  (1959)

In the Buchenwald concentration camp we had no real bread at all; what was called bread was a mixture of potato flour, peas, and sawdust. The inside was the color of lead; the crust looked and tasted like iron. The thing sweated water like the brow of a tormented man. ... Nevertheless, we called it bread, in memoriam of the real bread we had formerly eaten. We loved it and could scarcely wait for it to be distributed among us.

Many died there without ever tasting real bread again. I still live. It seems remarkable to me that I can eat real bread. Bread is holy. And bread is profane. It is most wonderful when all can have it. In the six thousand years that men and bread have lived side by side there have often been moments when each of God's creatures had all they wanted. "And they were filled," the Bible says. No simpler words can be written to describe happiness, satisfaction, gratitude.

H. E. Jacob
Six Thousand Years of Bread
Its Holy and Unholy History  (1944)

Far-called, our navies melt away;
    On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
    Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

Rudyard Kipling
"Recessional"  (1897)
Rudyard Kipling's Verse,
Definitive Edition

... toward Pete Herman's bar. ... This was a pilgrimage. Herman (his name in the prize ring), who has been blind for thirty-seven years, was the best infighter I have ever seen in my life, and I had to tell him so. ...

I had watched Herman fight fifteen rounds against Midget Smith at the old Madison Square Garden during my college holidays in December of 1921. They were bantamweights — a hundred and eighteen pounds. Herman was already nearly blind, although he was not saying so. He fought by a system of feint and touch. Until he could make contact, he would move his head to draw Smith's punches to where he did not mean to be, and then, as soon as he felt a glove or an arm or a passing current of air, he knew where he was. If he had his glove on a man's right biceps, he knew where the man's left hand and belly and chin must be as a touch typist knows where the letters are on the keyboard. He could anticipate moves, and lead and counter and put his combinations of blows together at a range of inches; I have heard it said that he could feint, and fool you, with both hands out of sight.

A. J. Liebling
The Earl of Louisiana  (1961)

"I have done that," says my memory. "I cannot have done that," says my pride, and remains inexorable. Eventually — memory yields.
Friedrich Nietzsche
"Epigrams and Interludes"; section 68
Beyond Good and Evil  (1886)
translated by Walter Kaufmann

Clouds had wrapped the sky and had descended as fog to wrap the streets below, as if the sky were engulfing the city. She could see the whole of Manhattan Island, a long, triangular shape cutting into an invisible ocean. It looked like the prow of a sinking ship; a few tall buildings still rose above it, like funnels, but the rest was disappearing under gray-blue coils, going down slowly into vapor and space. This was how they had gone — she thought — Atlantis, the city that sank into the ocean, and all the other kingdoms that vanished, leaving the same legend in all the languages of men, and the same longing.
Ayn Rand
"The Face without Pain or Fear or Guilt"
Atlas Shrugged  (1957)

It is with a real, though a very melancholy pleasure, that I sit down to give you some account of the behaviour of our late excellent friend, Mr. Hume, during his last illness. ...

I told him that though I was sensible how very much he was weakened ... yet his cheerfulness was still so great, the spirit of life seemed still to be so very strong in him, that I could not help entertaining some faint hopes.

He answered, "Your hopes are groundless. .. I must soon die."

"Well," said I, "if it must be so, you have at least the satisfaction of leaving all your friends, your brother's family in particular, in great prosperity."

He said that he felt that satisfaction so sensibly, that when he was reading a few days before, Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead, among all the excuses which are alleged to Charon for not entering readily into his boat, he could not find one that fitted him; he had no house to finish, he has no daughter to provide for, he had no enemies upon whom he wished to revenge himself.

"I could not well imagine," said he, "what excuse I could make to Charon in order to obtain a little delay. I have done every thing of consequence which I ever meant to do, and I could at no time expect to leave my relations and friends in a better situation than that in which I am now likely to leave them; I, therefore, have all reason to die contented."

He then diverted himself with inventing several jocular excuses, which he supposed he might make to Charon, and with imagining the very surly answers which it might suit the character of Charon to return to them.

"Upon further consideration," said he, "I thought I might say to him, Good Charon, I have been correcting my works for a new edition. Allow me a little time, that I may see how the Public receives the alterations."

But Charon would answer, "When you have seen the effect of these, you will be for making other alterations. There will be no end of such excuses; so, honest friend, please step into the boat."

But I might still urge, "Have a little patience, good Charon. I have been endeavoring to open the eyes of the Public. If I live a few years longer, I may have the satisfaction of seeing the downfall of some of the prevailing systems of superstition."

But Charon would then lose all temper and decency. "You loitering rogue, that will not happen these many hundred years. Do you fancy I will grant you a lease for so long a term? Get into the boat this instant ..."

Adam Smith to William Strahan, 9 November 1776
a letter on the death of David Hume, added as a preface to

David Hume
Essays: Moral, Political and Literary  (1777)
edited by Eugene F. Miller  (1987)

... operetta deals mainly in certainties. And, as the long reign of [Austro-Hungarian Emperor] Franz Joseph wore on, nothing was that certain anymore. In 1889, Crown Prince Rudolph and his mistress were found dead at the hunting lodge at Mayerling ... Emmerich Kalman later used these tragic events as the subject of a Broadway musical, Marinka [1945]. But, in his version ... the star-crossed lovers emigrate to America and settle down on a farm in Pennsylvania. ... a particularly telling example of the widening gulf between operetta fantasy and reality.

Here's an operetta staple: an archduke who falls in love with a commoner. Amazingly, unlike poor old Prince Rudolph, love prevails and they live happily ever after ... for a while. On 28 June 1914 ... operetta lost the plot once and for all: Rudolph's successor, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated at Sarajevo. The Balkans, so appealingly mythologized on stage, had plunged the world into war. The Habsburg Empire shriveled away ... an abortive coup was described as "bad operetta" ... And, for Kalman and other European composers, that farmhouse in Pennsylvania came to represent musical theatre's own shift of gravity. Along with the Habsburgs and the Romanovs and the Kaiser, operetta also lost its throne.

Mark Steyn
"The Real World"
Broadway Babies Say Goodnight
Musicals Then and Now  (1997)

For some reason, he put a considerable distance between himself and the taffy-stand; but before long halted in the presence of a red-faced man who flourished a long fork over a small cooking apparatus and shouted jovially: "Winnies! Here's your hot winnies! Hot winny-wurst! Food for the over-worked brain, nourishing for the weak stummick, entertaining for the tired business man! Here's your hot winnies, three for a nickel, a half-a-dime, the twentieth-pot-of-a-dollah!"

This, above all nectar and ambrosia, was the favourite dish of Penrod Schofield. Nothing inside him now craved it — on the contrary! But memory is the great hypnotist; his mind argued against his inwards that opportunity knocked at his door: "winny-wurst" was rigidly forbidden by the home authorities. ...

Penrod placed the nickel in the red hand of the red-faced man.

Booth Tarkington
Penrod  (1914)

Because of the size of the conflagration, no one present that night had the slightest doubt that a whole gang of arsonists — naturally Communists — must have been responsible for the fire. Imagine Göring's surprise, therefore, when he was told that, though the whole building had been sealed off and though every nook and cranny had been searched, not a single accomplice had been run to earth.

Fritz Tobias
The Reichstag Fire
Legend and Truth  (1962)

This is not a polemical book; and I do not call anybody names. In so far as the facts are known — and especially in the history of the Czech crisis there are still a few gaps and a few obscurities — this book is mainly an examination of French foreign policy during the past eighteen months, and of the currents of French opinion in relation to the tragic events of 1938 and the early part of 1939. If ... I have at times spoken with some bitterness, it was because the period covered in this book will probably long be remembered as a time when the radiance of France had grown dim as seldom before. And to anyone who loves France and all that she represents to the world, it was often painful to watch.

But the revival of France, with all her immense spiritual forces, is in progress once again. Like England, she is to-day making an immense effort to save not only her political, but also her moral independence. The days are gone when some Frenchmen could say, with an air of lamentable resignation, that the moral leadership of Europe had passed into the hands of Hitler and Mussolini. Few to-day believe it any longer. The revival of England and France began the moment these errors were recognized; and all one can hope for is that we do not have to pay too heavy a price for past errors.

Alexander Werth
"Preface", 27 April 1939
France and Munich
Before and After the Surrender  (1939)

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.

William Butler Yeats
"In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz"  (1927)
The Poems, Second Edition


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