The Open Air

Front Cover
Chatto & Windus, 1893 - 270 pages

From inside the book

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 30 - So it has ever been to me, by day or by night, summer or winter, beneath trees the heart feels nearer to that depth of life the far sky means. The rest of spirit found only in beauty, ideal and pure, comes there because the distance seems within touch of thought.
Page 219 - The wind passes, and it bends — let the wind, too, pass over the spirit. From the cloud-shadow it emerges to the sunshine — let the heart come out from the shadow of roofs to the open glow of the sky. High above, the songs of the larks fall as rain — receive it with open hands. Pure is the colour of the green flags, the slender-pointed blades — let the thought be pure as the light that shines through that colour.
Page 34 - So it seemed to me as a boy, sweet and new like this each morning; and even now, after the years that have passed, and the lines they have worn in the forehead, the summer mead shines as bright and fresh as when my foot first touched the grass. It has another meaning now; the sunshine and the flowers speak differently, for a heart that has once known sorrow reads behind the page, and sees sadness in joy. But the freshness is still there, the dew washes the colours before dawn. Unconscious happiness...
Page 47 - I do not want change: I want the same old and loved things, the same wild-flowers, the same trees and soft ash-green; the turtle-doves, the blackbirds, the coloured yellowhammer sing, sing, singing so long as there is light to cast a shadow on the dial, for such is the measure of his song, and I want them in the same place. Let me find them morning after morning, the starry-white petals radiating, striving upwards to their ideal. Let me see the idle shadows resting on the white dust; let me hear...
Page 47 - Let me find them morning after morning, the starry-white petals radiating, striving upwards to their ideal. Let me see the idle shadows resting on the white dust ; let me hear the humble-bees, and stay to look down on the rich dandelion disk. Let me see the very thistles opening their great crowns — I should miss the thistles ; the reed-grasses hiding the moorhen ; the bryony bine, at first crudely ambitious and lifted by force of youthful sap straight above the hedgerow to sink of its own weight...
Page 34 - If we had never before looked upon the earth, but suddenly came to it man or woman grown, set down in the midst of a summer mead, would it not seem to us a radiant vision? The hues, the shapes, the song and life of birds, above all the sunlight, the breath of heaven, resting on it; the mind would be filled with its glory, unable to grasp it, hardly believing that such things could be mere matter and no more.
Page 209 - Stepping up the hill laboriously, suddenly a lark starts into the light and pours forth a rain of unwearied notes overhead. With bright light, and sunshine, and sunrise, and blue skies the bird is so associated in the mind, that even to see him in the frosty- days of winter, at least assures us that summer will certainly return. Ought not winter, in allegorical designs, the rather to be represented with such things that might suggest hope than such as convey a cold and grim despair? The withered...
Page 111 - Is money earned with such expenditure of force worth the having ? Look at the arm of a woman labouring in the harvest-field — thin, muscular, sinewy, black almost, it tells of continual strain. After much of this she becomes pulled out of shape, the neck loses its roundness and shows the sinews, the chest flattens. In time the women find the strain of it tell severely. I am not trying to make out a case of special hardship, being aware that both men, women, and children work as hard and perhaps...
Page 251 - I cannot regret the mediaeval days. I do not wish them back again ; I would sooner fight in the foremost ranks of Time. Nor do we need them, for the spirit of nature stays, and will always be here, no matter to how high a pinnacle of thought the human mind may attain ; still the sweet air, and the hills, and the sea, and the sun, will always be with us.
Page 51 - It is a Piccadilly crowd by the sea — exactly the same style of people you meet in Piccadilly, but freer in dress, and particularly in hats. All fashionable Brighton parades the King's Road, twice a day, morning and afternoon, always on the side of the shops.

Bibliographic information