Monday, January 14, 2019

Quotes from Eugene Vodolazkin's Laurus

Below are some favorite quotations from Vololazkin's Laurus


He has four names at various times. A person's life is heterogeneous, so this could be seen as an advantage.

It melted before reaching the ground and brought joy to nobody.

Paupers can feed themselves:  begging, after all, is their profession.

The horses and the donkey walked side by side, despite the difference in their strides:  This was a matter of honor for the donkey.

Imagined her hair was a lake and the comb was a boat.

The brain is the body's tsar...


Christofer did not like heretics.

Arseny made the rounds of Zavelichye, keeping an eye on life's flow.  He pelted demons with stones and conversed with angels.

Arsney tosses clods of mud at several venerable residents of Zapskovye.  He can faultlessly discern small and large demons behind their backs. The residents are displeased.
There is consolation only in the fact, Arseny informs Ustina, that the demons are even more displeased.

During the dayes, God's servant Ustin laughs at the whole worlde, at nyghte he mourns the same worlde.


What is death?  asked Arseny.
Death is when people are silent and do not move.

The seventh decade of his years would end the next day and he had decided to ask Nikandr, the elder, what to do next.
In principle, replied the elder, I have nothing to tell you. Just this:  live, O friend, close to the cemetery.

I saw only the dead.
For God, all are living.

We do not build marble crypts and we do not carve out names, for our cemeteries are granted the right to turn into forests and fields.  Which is gratifying.

One might ask a young person, who is this Yeleazar?  And he would not answer.  And even old men only vaguely remember him because they remember indifferently, without love.  But the Lord remembers with love and does not let any small detail slip his memory, thus He does not need his name.

It was clear to the old man that it was the living who should be feared.  All the unpleasantries that had occurred in his life hitherto had certainly originated with them.

Death gave off the smell of an unwashed body and the inhumanity that causes horror to arise in the soul.  The gravity that everything alive could feel.  That made the trees outside the window lose their leaves before their time.  And birds fall from the sky in horror.

Nikandr's temporary necrosis was a display of solidarity.

And they do not understand at all that the dead can be resurrected in no time at all.

It had been revealed to them that the elder's resolute spirit was in irreconcilable contradiction with the decrepitude of his body.

Suffering and grief are in his eyes:  he thinks they are already going to bury him.  He fears his pain will never pass, even in death.

The saints were not exactly moving or even speaking, but the silence and immobility of the dead were not absolute.

Does that mean you think the end of the world already exists, too?
Of course death of individual people exists, and is that not, really, a personal end of the world.  In the long run, history over all is just a part of personal history.

A person is not born ready-made.  He studies, analyzes his experience, and builds his personal history.  He needs time for that.

I, Ambrogio, am very afraid that time might end.  We are not ready for that, neither she nor I.
Nobody is ready for that, Ambrogio quietly said.

Confess to me.  I will take your Confession to Jerusalem and, I do believe, your sins will turn to dust.
But that will happen only after my death.  Will that really count for me?
I am telling you: the very existence of time is open to question.  Maybe there simply is no after.

I do not like parting.
Life consists of partings, said Arseny.

It is hardest of all, O Arseny, to foresee the future of one's own life, and that is good.  But of course I hoped to be saved.  If not in this world, then in the next.

Arseny should keep in mind that Abba Kirill's monastery is expecting him.  That's all.
After saying that, holy fool Foma died forever.

Why give birth for death?  boyar Frol said to the servants of his house.
But everyone is born for death, the servants objected.  We have yet to see other types.

This was inquired of Aristides the righteous:  how many yeares is it good for a man to live? And Aristides answerd:  untill he does understonde death is better than lyfe.

People are free, Ambrogio replied, but history is not free.  As you say, there are so many intentions and actions that history cannot bring them all together, and only God can holde them all.  I would even say that it is not people that are free but the individual person.


Christofer understood that fifty-four years was considerable for a country with a turbulent history.

Everyone in Rus' knows that you're not, like, allowed to beat holy fools.

And a Russian person is pious.  He knows a holy fool should endure suffering so he goes ahead and sins to supply him with suffering.

A Russian person, after all, is not simply pious.  Just in case, I can report to you that he is also senseless and merciless and anything he does can easily turn into mortal sin.

Determining the time the world would end seemed like an estimable pursuit to many, for people in Rus' loved large-scale tasks.

..the condition of your roads will not change;  Basically, the history of your land will unscroll in a rather unusual way.

Lots of Russians are gloomy, said Ambrogio, sharing an observation.
It is the climate, nodded Arseny.

Russians are not as gloomy as you seemed to think, after all, Arseny told Ambrogio.  Sometimes they are in a good mood.  After a horde leaves, for example.

I heard you were talking about death, said the merchant.  You Russians really love talking about death.  And it distracts you from getting on with your lives.
Ambrigio shrugged.
So, do people just not die in Poland? asked Arseny.
The merchant Vladislav scratched the back of his head.  There was a doubtful expression in his face.
Of course they die, but ever less and less frequently.

The expanses of the Russian land were curative:  they were not yet boundless at the time, so they gave, rather than demanded, strength.

What kind of people are you?  says the merchant Zygfryd.  A person heals you, dedicates his whole life to you, and you torture him his whole life.  And when he does, you tie a rope to his feet, drag him, and tears stream down your faces.
You have already been in our land for a year and eight months, answers blacksmith Averky, but have not understood a thing about it.
And do you yourselves understand it? asks Zygfryd.
Do we?  The blacksmith mulls that over and looks at Zygfryd.  Of course we, too, do not understand.


Because there is no already where she is now.  And there is no still.  And there is no time, though there is God's eternal mercy, we trust in His mercy.

From then on, time definitely began moving differently for Arseny.  More precisely, it simply stopped moving and remained idle.  Arseny saw events taking place on earth but also noticed that events had, in some strange way, diverged from time.  Sometimes events came one after another, just as before;  sometimes they took a reverse order.  Rarer still, events arrived in no order whatsoever, shamelessly muddling prescribed sequences.  It refused to govern those sort of events.

And do you know, holy fool Foma asks Arseny, how many years have passed since you showed up here?
Arseny shrugs.
Well, you don't need to know that anyway, says holy fool Doma.  Live outside time for now.

He is attempting to determine when the world will end and though I am not sure this is within his competence, attention to eschatology, even on its own, seems worthy of encouragement.

All history is, to a certain extent, a scroll in the Almighty's hands.

I think time is given to us by the grace of God so we will not get mixed up, because a person's consciousness cannot take in all events at once.  We are locked up in time because of our weakness.

Time is likely a curse, for it did not exist in Heaven, O Arseny.  The forefathers lived that long because a heavenly timelessness still glowed in their faces.

After a brief but heated argument, they came to the conclusion that the infiltrators should be hung.  Further, the residents of Zara were not inclined to postpone the matter to a later date, since they were well aware that time is the arch-enemy of decisiveness.

Are those the same women who saw them off in Venice?  asked Ambrogio.
Yes, they look like them, replied Arseny, but they are different women. Completely different.  As it happens, I thought in Venice about how there is no repetition on this earth:  only similarity exists.

A thought slwly rises toward him from the leaden depths:  the ocean is mighty and he will never find Arseny.  That he will find him only if he drowns.  Only then would heave time to search.

Time was coming apart at the seams, like a wayfarer's traveling bag, and it was showing its contents to the wayfarer, who contemplated them as if for the first time.

Time no longer moves forward but goes around in circles because it teems with events that go around in circles.

There are events that resemble one another, continued the elder, but opposites are born from similarity.


In the most general sense, journeys confirmed to the world the continuity of the expanse, a concept that continued to evoke certain doubts.

And so, my love, am going to the very center of the earth.  I am going to the point that is closest of all to Heaven.

Moving around within an expanse enriches our experience, the brother modestly said.
It compacts time, said Ambrogio, and makes it more spacious.

And do not become like your beloved Alexander who had a journey but had no goal.  And do not be enamored of horizontal motion.
Then what should I be enamored of? asked Arsney.
Vertical motion, answered the elder, pointing above.

No comments:

Post a Comment