Saturday, December 17, 2011

That Lady Thing

There were many very lovely and memorable quotes in De Profundis, and I hope to talk more about some of them later. But for now, let me give you a new favorite.

It's a sweet little vignette of a person Oscar Wilde knew and loved. I don't know who the woman described here is; I only know what he said about her. That is enough.

"I remember talking," Wilde wrote, "once on this subject to one of the most beautiful personalities I have ever known: a woman, whose sympathy and noble kindness to me, both before and since the tragedy of my imprisonment, have been beyond power and description; one who has really assisted me, though she does not know it, to bear the burden of my troubles more than any one else in the whole world has, and all through the mere fact of her existence, through her being what she is - partly an ideal and partly an influence: a suggestion of what one might become as well as a real help towards becoming it; a soul that renders the common air sweet, and makes what is spiritual seem as simple and natural as sunlight or the sea: one for whom beauty and sorrow walk hand in hand, and have the same message."

Reading that, what's your reaction? This is probably rather odd, but I had the same reaction I had when I heard that Meatloaf song and when I read about Melanie Wilkes in high school. This was my reaction: I want to be her.

Isn't that funny? Of course I know how far I am from that ideal. But it is my dream to be someone like that. I know it will take me the rest of my life to get there, and I like to save quotes like this one for inspiration when it seems impossible. To remind me why I'll keep trying. Because, here's hoping, someday that description will fit me.

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