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Man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams - In the Shadow of Leaves
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Man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams
Between ANZAC Day and Mother's Day, as April turns over into May, Sydney feels the breath of winter approaching. There are birthdays and anniversaries important to me in the first week of May, immovably connected with the memory of walking out in the chill of dawn, watching puffs of breath mist out into the air. Daylight saving's ended; dark closes in earlier & earlier; thoughts can turn towards larger themes.
From Bartleby, an excellent & useful site:
Modern Essays, 1921. (Christopher Morley, ed.) 30. Beyond Life by James Branch Cabell:
… romance tricks him, but not to his harm. For, be it remembered that man alone of animals plays the ape to his dreams. Romance it is undoubtedly who whispers to every man that life is not a blind and aimless business, not all a hopeless waste and confusion; and that his existence is a pageant (appreciatively observed by divine spectators), and that he is strong and excellent and wise: and to romance he listens, willing and thrice willing to be cheated by the honeyed fiction. The things of which romance assures him are very far from true: yet it is solely by believing himself a creature but little lower than the cherubim that man has by interminable small degrees become, upon the whole, distinctly superior to the chimpanzee …
And it is this will that stirs in us to have the creatures of earth and the affairs of earth, not as they are, but “as they ought to be,” which we call romance …

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