Ah! better far than this, to stray about Voluptuously through fields and rural walks, And ask no record of the hours, resigned To vacant musing, unreproved neglect Of all things, and deliberate holiday.
The waves broke and spread their waters swiftly over the shore. One after another they massed themselves and fell; the spray tossed itself back with the energy of their fall. The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a pattern of diamond-pointed light on their backs which rippled as the backs of great horses ripple with muscles as they move. The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.
‘I love,’ said Susan, ‘and I hate. I desire one thing only. My eyes are hard. Jinny’s eyes break into a thousand lights. Rhoda’s are like those pale flowers to which moths come in the evening. Yours grow full and brim and never break. But I am already set on my pursuit. I see insects in the grass. Though my mother still knits white socks for me and hems pinafores and I am a child, I love and I hate.’
Music is at once the most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts—it is the most abstract, the most perfect, the most pure—and the most sensual. I listen with my body and it is my body that aches in response to the passion and pathos embodied in this music. It is the physical “I” that feels an unbearable pain—and then a dull fretfulness—when the whole world of melody suddenly glistens and comes cascading down in the second part of the first movement—it is flesh and bone that dies a little each time I am sucked into the yearning of the second movement—
12/25/48, Susan Sontag, Reborn, Early Diaries 1947-1963
He was not to be stimulated. Some letters - both his and hers - were confiscated for some timid expression of affection. So they wrote about literature, and used characters as codes. At Cambridge, they had passed each other by in the street. All those books, those happy or tragic couples they had never met to discuss! Tristan and Isolde, the Duke Orsino and Olivia (and Malvolio too), Troilus and Criseyde, Mr Knightley and Emma, Venus and Adonis. Turner and Tallis. Once, in despair, he referred to Prometheus, chained to a rock, his liver devoured daily by a vulture. Sometimes she was patient Griselde. Mention of a 'quiet corner in a library' was a code for sexual ecstasy.