"I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back."
He closed his eyes, still smiling. "Pick an apocalypse, any apocalypse. A sea of black oil and dead things. No wind. No light. Nothing stirring, not even an ant, a spider. A silent universe. Such is the end of the flicker of time, the brief hot fuse of events and ideas set off, accidentally, and snuffed out, accidentally, by man. Not a real ending of course, nor even a beginning. Mere ripple in Time's stream."
“Nevertheless, something will come of all this,” I said.
“Nothing,” he said. “A brief pulsation in the black hole of eternity. My advice to you—”
“Wait and see,” I said.
He shook his head. “My advice to you, my violent friend, is to seek out gold and sit on it.”
All pigs eat cheese.
Old Snaggle is a pig.
If Snaggle is sick and refuses to eat, try cheese.
“You improve them, my boy! Can’t you see that yourself? You stimulate them! You make them think and scheme. You drive them to poetry, science, religion, all that makes them what they are for as long as they last. You are, so to speak, the brute existent by which they learn to define themselves. The exile, captivity, death they shirk from—the blunt facts of their mortality, their abandonment—that’s what you make them recognize, embrace! You are mankind, or man’s condition: inseparable as the mountain-climber and the mountain.”
"Personally," he said, "my great ambition is to count all this," --he waved vaguely at the treasure around him--"and possibly sort it into piles."
"Importance is derived from the immanence of infinitude in the finite."
"I've never seen a live hero before. I thought they were only in poetry. Ah, ah, it must be a terrible burden, though, being a hero--glory reaper, harvester of monsters! Everybody always watching you, weighing you, seeing if you're still heroic. You know how it is--he he! Sooner or later the harvest virgin will make her mistake in the haystack." I laughed.
"Hey!" he yelled. A forgivable lapse.
"Such is life," I said, and mocked a sigh. "Such is dignity."
I am not the only monster on these moors.
I met an old woman as wild as the wind
Striding in white out of midnight's den.
Her cloak was in rags, and her flesh, it was lean,
And her eyes, her murdered eyes...
O happy Grendel! Fifteen glorious heroes, proud in their battle dress, fat as cows!
His voice, though powerful, was mild. Voice of a dead thing, calm as dry sticks and ice when the wind blows over them. He had a strange face that, little by litte, grew unsettling to me: it was a face, or so it seemed for an instant, from a dream I had almost forgotten. The eyes slanted downward, never blinking, unfeeling as a snake's. He had no more beard than a fish. He smiled as he spoke, but it was as if the gentle voice, the childlike yet faintly ironic smile were holding something back, some magician-power that could blast stone cliffs to ashes as lighting blasts trees.
I understood at last the look in his eyes. He was insane.
The Geats build up the fire, prepare to sleep.
And now, silence.
It is time.
Grendel, Grendel! You make the world by whispers, second by second. Are you blind to that? Whether you make it a grave or garden of roses is not the point. Feel the wall: is it not hard? He smashes me against it. Hard, yes! Observe the hardness, write it down in careful runes. Now, sing of walls! Sing!
"I sing of walls," I howl. "Hooray for the hardness of walls!"
Terrible, he whispers. Terrible. He laughs and lets out fire.
"Poor Grendel's had an accident," I whisper. "So may you all."