Monday, December 29, 2008

Quotations from *Cup of Gold*, 7 of 11
John Steinbeck
1902-1968 American

It is amazing how this road-mender has his whole life curled like a kitten around four days in London.
John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold

“Why, to speak truthfully, Robert, I have taken it in my mind several times—but always there were too many things to think about. I could not take the time to die. If I did, I might not be able to think ever again.

“For up here, Robert, that furtive hope the valley men call faith becomes a questionable thing. Oh, without doubt, if there were a great many about me, and they all intoning endlessly the chant, ‘There is a wise, kind God; surely we shall go on living after death,’ then I might be preparing for the coming life. But here, alone, halfway up the sky, I am afraid that death would interrupt my musing. The mountains are a kind of poultice for a man’s abstract pain. Among them he laughs—oh, far more often than he cries.”

“You know,” said Robert, “my mother, the old Gwenliana, made a last, curious prophecy before she died. ‘This night the world ends,’ she said, ‘and there will be no more earth to walk upon.’”

“Robert, I think she spoke truth. I think her dying words were truth, whatever may have been her other auguries. This gnawing thought comes visiting, sometimes, and because of it I am afraid to die—horribly afraid. If by my living I give life to you, and fresh existence to the fields and trees and all the long green world, it would be an unutterable deed to wipe them all out like a chalk drawing. I must not—yet awhile.”
John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold

“News of him comes out of the south on a light, inaccurate wind. Rumor has wings like bats. It is said that he rules a wild race of pirates; that he has captured towns and pillaged cities. The English are elated, and call him a hero and a patriotic man—and so do I, sometimes. But I fear if I were a Spaniard, he would be only a successful robber.”
John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold

“So,” Merlin mused, “he has come to be the great man he thought he wanted to be. If this is true, then he is not a man. He is still a little boy and wants the moon. I suppose he is rather unhappy about it. Those who say children are happy, forget their childhood. I wonder how long he can stave off manhood.”
John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold

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