top of page

Two on a Tower

Thomas Hardy

Top 10 Best Quotes

“You would hardly think, at first, that horrid monsters lie up there waiting to be discovered by any moderately penetrating mind--monsters to which those of the oceans bear no sort of comparison." What monsters may they be?" Impersonal monsters, namely, Immensities. Until a person has thought out the stars and their inter-spaces, he has hardly learnt that there are things much more terrible than monsters of shape, namely, monsters of magnitude without known shape. Such monsters are the voids and waste places of the sky... In these our sight plunges quite beyond any twinkler we have yet visited. Those deep wells for the human mind to let itself down into, leave alone the human body! and think of the side caverns and secondary abysses to right and left as you pass on!... There is a size at which dignity begins," he exclaimed; "further on there is a size at which grandeur begins; further on there is a size at which solemnity begins; further on, a size at which awfulness begins; further on, a size at which ghastliness begins. That size faintly approaches the size of the stellar universe. So am I not right in saying that those minds who exert their imaginative powers to bury themselves in the depths of that universe merely strain their faculties to gain a new horror?”

“So that, whatever the stars were made for, they were not made to please our eyes. It is just the same in everything; nothing is made for man.”

“But you will never realize that an incident which filled but a degree in the circle of your thoughts covered the whole circumference of mine. No person can see exactly what and where another's horizon is.”

“His parted lips were lips which spoke, not of love, but of millions of miles; those were eyes which habitually gazed, not into the depths of other eyes, but into other worlds. Within his temples dwelt thoughts, not of woman's looks, but of stellar aspects and the configuration of constellations.”

“But time is short, and science is infinite...”

“I think astronomy is a bad study for you. It makes you feel human insignificance too plainly.”

“At night, when human discords and harmonies are hushed, . . . there is nothing to moderate the blow with which the infinitely great, the stellar universe, strikes down upon the infinitely little, the mind of the beholder . . . Having got closer to immensity than their fellow-creatures, they saw at once its beauty and its frightfulness. They more and more felt the contrast between their own tiny magnitudes and those among which they had recklessly plunged, till they were oppressed with the presence of a vastness they could not cope with even as an idea, and which hung about them like a nightmare.”

“The inspection of these chasms brought him a second pulsation of that old horror which he had used to describe to Viviette as produced in him by bottomlessness in the north heaven. The ghostly finger of limitless vacancy touched him now on the other side.”

“Rural solitude, which provides ample themes for the intellect and sweet occupations innumerable for the minor sentiments, often denies a ready object for those stronger passions that enter no less than the others into the human constitution. The suspended pathos finds its remedy in settling on the first intrusive shape that happens to be reasonably well organized for the purpose, disregarding social and other minor accessories. Where the solitude is shadowed by the secret melancholies of the solitary, this natural law is still surer in operation.”

“Within his temples felt thoughts not of woman's looks, but of stellar aspects and the configuration of constellations. Thus, to his physical attractiveness was added the attractiveness of mental inaccessibility.”

Except where otherwise noted, all rights reserved to the author(s) of this book (mentioned above). The content of this page serves as promotional material only. If you enjoyed these quotes, you can support the author(s) by acquiring the full book from Amazon.

Book Keywords:

settling, monsters, size, time, astronomy-nerd, universe, infinite, life, feelings, horror, cosmic, science, astronomy, human-insignificance, solitude

bottom of page