Page:Selections from the writings of Kierkegaard.djvu/53

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Selections from the Writings of Kierkegaard 51

illumination more splendid than have the gnomes when they lift up the mountain on pillars and dance in a sea of blazing light. I demand what most excites the senses, I demand their gratification by deliciously sweet perfumes, more superb than any in the Arabian Nights. I demand a cool- ness which voluptuously provokes desire and breathes re- laxation on desire satisfied. I demand a fountain's unceas- ing enlivenment. If Maecenas could not sleep without hear- ing the splashing of a fountain, I cannot eat without it. Do not misunderstand me, I can eat stockfish without it, but I cannot eat at a banquet without it ; I can drink water without it, but I cannot drink wine at a banquet without it. I demand a host of servants, chosen and comely, as if I sate at table with the gods ; I demand that there shall be music at the feast, both strong and subdued ; and I demand that it shall be an accompaniment to my thoughts ; and what con- cerns you, my friends, my demands regarding you are alto- gether incredible. Do you see, by reason of all these de- mands — which are as many reasons against it — I hold a banquet to be a pium desideratum,^ and am so far from de- siring a repetition of it that I presume it is not feasible even a first time."

The only one who had not actually participated in this conversation, nor in the frustration of the banquet, was Constantin. Without him, nothing would have been done save the talking. He had come to a different conclusion and was of the opinion that the idea might well be realized, if one but carried the matter with a high hand.

Then some time passed, and both the banquet and the discussion about it were forgotten, when suddenly, one day, the participants received a card of invitation from Constan- tius for a banquet the very same evening. The motto of the party had been given by him as: In Vino VeHtas, because there was to be speaking, to be sure, and not only coilver- sation ; but the speeches were not to be made except in vino, and no truth was to be uttered there excepting that which is

'Pious wish.