BOOK I, CHAPTER VIII
(b) Sicut aquæ tremulum labris ubi lumen ahenis
Sole repercussum, aut radiantis imagine Lunæ,
Omnia percolitat late loca, jamque sub auras
Erigitur, summique ferit laquearia tecti.
(a) And there is no folly or fantasy to which they do not give birth in this agitation.
The mind that has no fixed goal loses itself; for, as they say, to be everywhere is to be nowhere.
(a) When, not long ago, I withdrew into my own house, determined, so far as it was in my power, to take no thought of any thing except to pass in peace and by myself the little of life that remains for me, it seemed to me that I could do my mind no greater service than to leave it in complete and idle liberty to commune with itself and to give itself pause and steady itself; which I hoped that it could do thenceforth the more easily, having become with time far more solid and more mature; but I find, —
that, on the contrary, like a runaway horse, it is a hundred times more active for itself than it ever was for another, and presents me with so many chimeras and fanciful monsters, one after another, irregular and unmeaning, that, in order to consider at leisure their absurdity and strangeness, I have begun to put them on paper, hoping in time to make my mind ashamed of itself.
- Like a dancing light from water within brazen vats, reflected from the sun or from the form of the radiant moon, that flits afar in every direction, and now rises in air and strikes the lofty fretted ceilings. — Virgil, Æneid, VIII, 22.
- Unreal monsters are imagined, like a sick man’s dreams. — Horace, Ars Poetica, 7.
- He who dwells everywhere, Maximus, dwells nowhere. — Martial, VII, 73.
- Leisure ever breeds an inconstant mind. — Lucan, IV, 704.