I see nothing. It’s because there is nothing. Or it’s because I have no eyes. Or both. (That makes three possibilities, to choose from.) But do I really see nothing? It’s not the moment to tell a lie. But how can you not tell a lie? What an idea!
A voice like this, who can check it? It tries everything. It’s blind, it seeks me blindly, in the dark. It seeks a mouth, to enter into. Who can query it? There is no other. (You’d need a head? you’d need things? I don’t know. I look too often as if I knew. It’s the voice does that: it goes all knowing, to make me think I know, to make me think it’s mine.)
It has no interest in eyes. It says I have none, or that they are no use to me. Then it speaks of tears. Then it speaks of gleams. It is truly at a loss. Gleams? Yes: far or near. (Distances: you know, measurements. Enough said?) Gleams, as at dawn. Then dying, as at evening. Or flaring up – they do that too: blaze up more dazzling than snow, for a second (that’s short!), then fizzle out.
That’s true enough?
If you like: one forgets, I forget. I say I see nothing, or I say it’s all in my head (as if I felt a head on me!). That’s all hypotheses, lies. These gleams too: they were to save me, they were to devour me. That came to nothing. I see nothing (either because of this or else on account of that). And these images at which they watered me, like a camel, before the desert? I don’t know. More lies, just for the fun of it? (Fun! What fun we’ve had! What fun of it!) All lies? (That’s soon said – you must say soon, it’s the regulations.)
The place. I’ll make it all the same. I’ll make it in my head, I’ll draw it out of my memory, I’ll gather it all about me. (I’ll make myself a head, I’ll make myself a memory.) I have only to listen: the voice will tell me everything (tell it to me again), everything I need – in dribs and drabs, breathless.
The Universe, which others call the Library, is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries. In the center of each gallery is a ventilation shaft, bounded by a low railing. From any hexagon one can see the floors above and below—one after another, endlessly. The arrangement of the galleries is always the same: Twenty bookshelves, five to each side, line four of the hexagon’s six sides; the height of the bookshelves, floor to ceiling, is hardly greater than the height of a normal librarian.
One of the hexagon’s free sides opens onto a narrow sort of vestibule, which in turn opens onto another gallery, identical to the first— identical in fact to all. To the left and right of the vestibule are two tiny compartments. One is for sleeping, upright; the other, for satisfying one’s physical necessities (otro, satisfacer las necesidades fecales). Through this space, too, there passes a spiral staircase, which winds upward and downward into the remotest distance. In the vestibule there is a mirror, which faithfully duplicates appearances. Men often infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite—if it were, what need would there be for that illusory replication? I prefer to dream that burnished surfaces are a figuration and promise of the infinite…. Light is provided by certain spherical fruits that bear the name “bulbs.” There are two of these bulbs in each hexagon, set crosswise. The light they give is insufficient, and unceasing.
To Thy goodness we commend ourselves this night beseeching Thy protection of us through its darkness and dangers. We are helpless and dependent; graciously preserve us. For all whom we love and value, for every friend and connection, we equally pray; however divided and far asunder, we know that we are alike before Thee, and under Thine eye. May we be equally united in Thy faith and fear, in fervent devotion towards Thee, and in Thy merciful protection this night.
Elizabeth felt herself growing more angry every moment; yet she tried to the utmost to speak with composure when she said: “You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.”
She saw him start at this, but he said nothing, and she continued: “You could not have made the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.”
Again his astonishment was obvious; and he looked at her with an expression of mingled incredulity and mortification. She went on: “From the very beginning–from the first moment, I may almost say–of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”
“You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness.”
OE Phoenix 37 Wintres ond sumeres wudu bið gelice bledum gehongen. OE Beowulf 1128 Hengest ða gyt wælfagne winter wunode mid Finne. OE Ælfric De Temporibus Anni (Cambr. Gg.3.28) (2009) x. 94 Durh his [sc. of zephyr] blæd acuciað ealle eorðlice blæda.., & se wind towyrpð & ðawað ælcne winter. OE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Tiber. B.iv) anno 1021 Her on þisan geare..Ælfgar biscop se ælmesfulla forðferde on Cristesmæsseuhtan.
OE Rule St. Benet (Corpus Cambr.) viii. 32 On wintres timan [a1225 Winteney wintres tyman], þæt is fram þan anginne þæs monðes, þe is nouember gehaten, oþ eastran..on þære eahteþan tide þære nihte is to arisenne. OE Genesis B 370 And moste [ic] ane tid ute weorðan, wesan ane winterstunde. OE King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Bodl.) (2009) I. xxi. 285 On sumera hit bið wearm and on wintra ceald. OE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Laud) (Peterborough contin.) anno 1127 Ðis gear heald se kyng Heanri his hird æt Cristesmæsse on Windlesoure. OE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Parker) Introd. Þa feng Ęlfred hiera broþur to rice, & þa was agan his ielde xxiii wintra. OE Possessions, Rents, & Grants, Bury St. Edmunds in A. J. Robertson Anglo-Saxon Charters (1956) 194 Brihtric hæfð.. i mæsseboc & winterrædingboc & sumerboc. OE Fortunes of Men 9 God ana wat hwæt him weaxendum winter bringað. OE On Length of Shadow (Tiber.) in T. O. Cockayne Leechdoms, Wortcunning, & Starcraft (1866) III. 218 On viii kalend Ianuarii þæt byð on cristesmæssedæg byð seo sceadu to underne..seofon & twentigoþan healfes fotes. OE Laws: Rectitudines (Corpus Cambr.) ix. 450 viii pund cornes to mete, i sceap oððe iii pæniga to wintersufle. OE Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Parker) anno 886 Her for se here..up on Sigene & þær wintersetl [OE Tiber. B.i wintersetu] namon. OE Phoenix 18 Ne mæg þær ren ne snaw.., ne sunnan hætu, ne sincaldu, ne wearm weder, ne winterscur wihte gewyrdan. OE Prudentius Glosses (Boulogne 189) in H. D. Meritt Old Eng. Prudentius Glosses (1959) 4 [Sub quo prima dies mihi quam multas] hiemes [uoluerit] : wintras oþþe ger. OE Wulfstan Homily: Be Cristendome (York) in A. S. Napier Wulfstan (1883) 311 Leohtgescot gelæste man be wite to Cristesmæssan and to candelmæssan and to eastron. OE Blickling Homilies 213 Wæs se winter eac þy geare to þæs grim þæt manig man his feorh for cyle gesealde. OE Will of Abba (Sawyer 1482) in N. P. Brooks & S. E. Kelly Charters of Christ Church Canterbury, Pt. 2 (2013) 665 Ten hennfuglas, ðritig teapera gif hit wintres deg sie, sester fulne huniges. OE Maxims II 5 Winter byð cealdost, lencten hrimigost.., sumor sunwlitegost. OE Permission to ring Bells, Exeter in J. Earle Hand-bk. Land-charters (1888) 260 Þat yc..gef leaua ðam munche on Sancte Nicholaus minstre to hringinde hyre tyde be dage & be nihte, hwanne hy efre willat..bute an Cristesmasseniht, & giestersunneue. OE Phoenix 250 Forst ond snaw mid ofermægne eorþan þeccað wintergewædum. OE Wanderer 24 Ic hean þonan wod wintercearig ofer waþena [read waþema] gebind, sohte seledreorig sinces bryttan. OE tr. Orosius Hist. (BL Add.) (1980) i. xiv. 35 Þa Læcedemonia besætan þa burg Mæse x winter.
The sheep ran huddling together against the hurdles, blowing out thin nostrils and stamping with delicate fore-feet, their heads thrown back and a light steam rising from the crowded sheep-pen into the frosty air, as the two animals hastened by in high spirits, with much chatter and laughter. They were returning across country after a long day’s outing with Otter, hunting and exploring on the wide uplands, where certain streams tributary to their own River had their first small beginnings; and the shades of the short winter day were closing in on them, and they had still some distance to go. Plodding at random across the plough, they had heard the sheep and had made for them; and now, leading from the sheep-pen, they found a beaten track that made walking a lighter business, and responded, moreover, to that small inquiring something which all animals carry inside them, saying unmistakably, “Yes, quite right; this leads home!”
1330 R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 4024 After Sysilly com Glegabret, A syngere of þe beste get. 1386 G. Chaucer Pardoner’s Tale 17 And right anon thanne comen Tombesteres,..Syngeres with harpes. 1440 Promptorium Parvulorum 456/1 Synggare, cantor. 1486 in H. Littlehales Medieval Rec. London City Church (1905) 5 Namely, that he..help the Syngers after his cunnyng in the honour of our blessed lady. 1538 T. Starkey Dial. Pole & Lupset (1989) 102 Marchauntys therof [sc. pleasures] & craftys men, syngarys & playarys apon instrumentys. 1602 W. Shakespeare Merry Wives of Windsor i. iii. 24 His filching was like An vnskilfull singer, he kept not time. 1652 R. Brome City Wit iii. i. sig. C7v, in Five New Playes (1653) He..has been..one of the sweet singers to the City Funeralls. 1757 tr. J. G. Keyssler Trav. IV. 208 The vocal musicians, or singers,..perform even in private houses for money. 1781 E. Gibbon Decline & Fall III. xxxi. 216 Three thousand singers, with the masters of the respective chorusses. 1828 W. Scott Fair Maid of Perth x, in Chron. Canongate 2nd Ser. I. 268 My judgment is not deep, my lord; but the singer may dispense with my approbation. 1843 W. Hammond tr. Def. Faith Œcumen. Councils 183 If a Subdeacon, Reader, or Singer commits the same things.
1880 ‘V. Lee’ Stud. 18th Cent. Italy iii. ii. 113 Farinelli..was proud of being a singer and afraid of being a political agent. 1626 F. Bacon Sylua Syluarum §239 We see also, that Cock-birds, among Singing-birds, are ever the better singers. 1849 J. Craig New Universal Dict. (at cited word) The canary is a fine singer. 1896 J. W. Kirkaldy & E. C. Pollard tr. J. E. V. Boas Text Bk. Zool. 462 Singers (Sylviadæ)… Some of them noted singers. 1935 Amer. Speech 10 20/2 Singer, a stool pigeon or trusty who carries tales to the administration. (Obs.) 1961 John o’ London’s 30 Nov. 610/3 An informer, then a squealer, is now more often referred to..as a singer. 1560 Bible (Geneva) 2 Sam. xxiii. 1 Dauid.., the swete singer of Israel. 1652 (title) Herbert’s Remains, or, sundry Pieces of that sweet Singer of the Temple. 1704 T. Brown Presbyt. Proposals in Wks. (1711) IV. 126 Quakers, Muggletonians and Sweet-Singers of Israel. 1874 J. R. Green Short Hist. Eng. People vii. §7. 423 Amidst the throng in Elizabeth’s antechamber the noblest form is that of the singer who lays the ‘Faerie Queen’ at her feet. 1880 S. Lanier Sci. Eng. Verse Pref. Wyatt, Surrey, Sackville, and a host of less known or unknown singers. 1843 T. Carlyle Hist. Sketches (1898) 74 A sterling man, a true Singer-heart.
OE (Mercian) Vespasian Psalter (1965) xxxii. 3 Cantate ei canticum nouum, bene psallite in iubilatione : singað him song neowne wel singað in wynsumnisse. OE Beowulf 787 Þara þe of wealle wop gehyrdon, gryreleoð galan Godes andsacan, sigeleasne sang. OE Beowulf 1063 Þær wæs sang ond sweg samod ætgædere fore Healfdenes hildewisan, gomenwudu greted, gid oft wrecen. OE Beowulf 2447 Þonne he gyd wrece, sarigne sang, þonne his sunu hangað hrefne to hroðre. OE Crist III 1649 Ðær is engla song, eadigra blis. OE Cynewulf Elene 112 Wulf sang ahof, holtes gehleða. OE King Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. (Otho) (2009) I. xii. 435 [Þa he þa] þis leoð asungen hæ[fde, þ]a forlet he þone sang. OE King Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care (Hatton) (1871) lii. 409 Ða singað ðone sang [L. canticum] ðe nan mon elles singan ne mæg. OE Lindisf. Gospels: Luke xv. 25 Cum ueniret et appropinquaret domui audiuit simphoniam et chorum : miððy gecuome & geneolecde to huse geherde huislung..& þæt song. OE Metres of Boethius (partly from transcript of damaged MS) (2009) xiii. 50 Þonne hi geherað hleoðrum brægdan oðre fugelas, hi heora agne stefne styriað. Stunað eal geador welwynsum sanc. OE Riddle 24 6 Hwilum gielle swa hafoc, hwilum ic onhyrge þone haswan earn, guðfugles hleoþor, hwilum glidan reorde muþe gemæne, hwilum mæwes song. OE St. Neot (Vesp.) in R. D.-N. Warner Early Eng. Homilies (1917) 129 He dæighwamlice to his Drihtene clypode æfter Dauides sange þuss cweðende, Drihten [etc.]. OE tr. Felix St. Guthlac (Vercelli) (1909) ii. 108 Ne he mistlice fugelas [read fugela] sangas ne wurþode, swa oft swa cnihtlicu yldo begæð. OE Widsith 100 Þonne ic be songe secgan sceolde hwær ic..selast wisse goldhrodene cwen giefe bryttian. 1175 Ælfric Let. to Sigeweard (De Veteri et Novo Test.) (Bodl.) 30 Heo up comen ealle isunde, herigende mid sangum [OE Laud mid sange] ðone heofenlice God. 1175 Homily (Bodl. 343) in S. Irvine Old Eng. Homilies (1993) 202 Þær is feȝer englæ werod, & apostola song. 1175 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 3374 Þeȝȝ alle sungenn ænne sang Drihhtin to lofe. & wurrþe. 1175 Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 7931 Wop wass uss bitacnedd wel Þurrh cullfre. & turrtle baþe. Forr þeȝȝre sang iss lic wiþþ wop. 1225 MS Lamb. in R. Morris Old Eng. Homilies (1868) 1st Ser. 63 Godes songes beoð alle gode; to þere saule heo senden fode. 1225 Vices & Virtues (1888) 15 Ða aingles of heuene..sunge ðane derewurðe sang, Gloria in exselsis deo. 1275 Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 15282 Þer wes blisse & muche song. 1275 Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) (1935) 221 Þu miȝt mid þine songe afere Alle þat ihereþ þine ibere. 1275 Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) (1935) 722 Vor þi me singþ in holi chirche, An clerkes ginneþ songes wirche. 1300 Floris & Blauncheflur (Vitell.) (1966) l. 250 (MED) Þer is fowelene song. 1300 Poema Morale (Jesus Oxf.) 347 in R. Morris Old Eng. Misc. (1872) 70 Þer is alre Murehþe mest myd englene songe. 1325 Gen. & Exod. (1968) l. 699 (MED) Of ðis kinge wil we leden song. 1330 Arthour & Merlin (Auch.) (1973) l. 3535 (MED) In euerich toun fram Portesmouþe To Londen..Men made song and hopinges. 1330 Sir Tristrem (1886) l. 2654 Of ysonde he made a song. 1340 Ayenbite (1866) 60 Þe dyeules noriches þet..doþ ham slepe ine hare zenne be hare uayre zang. 1340 Ayenbite (1866) 68 Þe holi gost..makeþ his ychosene zinge ine hare herten þe zuete zonges of heuene. 1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Job xxx. 9 Now forsothe I am turned in to the song [L. canticum] of hem. 1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Lament. iii. 14 Y am mad in to scorne to al puple, the song [L. canticum] of them al dai. 1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John’s Cambr.) (1865) I. 317 (MED) Þerfore herdes of þat lond byhedeþ hem [sc. grasshoppers] forto haue þe swetter song. 1390 MS Vernon Homilies in Archiv f. das Studium der Neueren Sprachen (1877) 57 277 Þe brid song..so Murie..þat þenne to ryse mihte he nouht Til þat song weore i brouht to ende. 1393 J. Gower Confessio Amantis (Fairf.) ii. l. 3012 (MED) Now schalt thou singe an other song. 1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. xii. xiv. 625 There is a maner grashoppere þat hatte cicada and haþ þat name of canendo ‘syngynge’, for wiþ a ful litil throte he[o] schapiþ a wondirful song.