It is just dawn, daylight: that gray and lonely suspension filled with the peaceful and tentative waking of birds. The air, inbreathed, is like spring water. He breathes deep and slow, feeling with each breath himself diffuse in the natural grayness, becoming one with loneliness and quiet that has never known fury or despair. "that was all i wanted," he thinks, in a quiet and slow amazement. "that was all, for thirty years. That didn't seem to be a whole lot to ask in thirty years.
April is the cruelest month, t.S. Eliot wrote, by which i think he meant (among other things) that springtime makes people crazy. We expect too much, the world burgeons with promises it can't keep, all passion is really a setup, and we're doomed to get our hearts broken yet again. I agree, and would further add: who cares? Every spring i go out there anyway, around the bend, unconditionally. ... Come the end of the dark days, i am more than joyful. I'm nuts.
I regret exceedingly that the disputes between the protestants and roman catholics should be carried to the serious alarming height mentioned in your letters. religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause; and i was not without hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy of the present age would have put an effectual stop to contentions of this kind.
I am already kindly disposed towards you. My friendship it is not in my power to give: this is a gift which no man can make, it is not in our own power: a sound and healthy friendship is the growth of time and circumstance, it will spring up and thrive like a wildflower when these favour, and when they do not, it is in vain to look for it.
It is not like studying german, where you mull along, in a groping, uncertain way, for thirty years; and at last, just as you think you've got it, they spring the subjunctive on you, and there you are. No- and i see now plainly enough, that the great pity about the german language is, that you can't fall off it and hurt yourself. There is nothing like that feature to make you attend strictly to business.
When thou cam'st first, thou strok'st me and made much of me; wouldst give me water with berries in't; and teach me how to name the bigger light, and how the less, that burn by day and night; and then i loved thee and showed thee all the qualities o' th' isle, the fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile.