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Joseph Joubert (1754–1824). Joubert: A Selection from His Thoughts. 1899.

Chapter XII.

Of Space, Time, Light, and Sound

[1]EVEN in eternity there is time; but it is not an earthly and worldly time, counted by the movement and succession of material bodies; it is a spiritual and incorruptible time, measured by the affections of spirits and by the succession of the thoughts which are their movements. It destroys nothing, it completes. Its changes are but improvements and developments. It consumes evil to make room for good, and effaces good for what is better. It provides God with His pageants, and will so provide Him for ever.

[2]Light is the shadow of God; all clearness is the shadow of light.

[3]The first morning light rejoices us more than the hours that follow. It has really an essential character of mirth, wherewith it colours all our moods, without any effort of our own.

[4]The fire, they say, makes company; that is because it makes thought. Physically, there is something peculiarly inspiring in the sight of fire. The attitude, the silence, the place, the kind of reverie into which we fall as we warm ourselves—all these combine to give the mind more steadiness and more activity. The hearth is a Pindus and the Muses are there.

[5]The sound of the drum drives out thought; for that very reason is it the most military of instruments.

[6]Without the song of the grasshopper as an accompaniment, the quiver of the sunlit air in great summer heat is like a dance without music.

[7]We should not gather anything that grows in graveyards, and even the grass should have a sacred uselessness.

[8]Places die like men, although they appear to last on.

[9]Monuments are the links which unite one generation with another. Preserve what your fathers have seen.

[10]Agriculture produces good sense, and good sense of an excellent kind.

[11]In gardening we enjoy the purer and more delicate delights of husbandry.

[12]I never like evergreen trees. There is something black in their green and cold in their shade, something dry, pointed and prickly in their leaves. As besides, they lose nothing and have nothing to fear, they seem to me without feeling, and therefore interest me little.

[13]Carnivorous animals care not only for their prey, but for the chase. It is their game, their pastime, their pleasure. All, in fact, hunt gaily—laughingly—so to speak.