The soul of the Far East (Google eBook)

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Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1888 - East Asia - 226 pages
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Page 81 - ... following our own. We are the blind votaries of a species of ancestral language - worship, which, with all its erudition, tends to narrow our linguistic scope. A study of Japanese would free us from the fetters of any such family infatuation. The inviolable rules and regulations of our mother tongue would be found to be of relative application only. For we should discover that speech is a much less categorical matter than we had been led to suppose. We should actually come to doubt the fundamental...
Page 226 - Artistic attractive people that they are, their civilization is like their own tree flowers, beautiful blossoms destined never to bear fruit. If these people continue in their old course, their earthly career is closed. Just as surely as morning passes into afternoon, so surely are these races of the Far East, if unchanged, destined to disappear before the advancing nations of the West.
Page 161 - Nature," wrote a visitor to Japan, " and it almost seems as if Nature heard his silent prayer and smiled upon him in acceptance ; for nowhere in this world, probably, is she lovelier than in Japan ; a climate of long, happy means and short extremes, months of spring and months of autumn, with but a few weeks of winter in between ; a land of flowers, where the lotus and the cherry, the plum and the wistaria, grow wantonly side by side ; a land where the bamboo embosoms the maple, where the pine at...
Page 15 - ... past or present. Now, if we examine this belt and compare the different parts of it with one another, we shall be struck by a remarkable fact. The peoples inhabiting it grow steadily more personal as we go west. So unmistakable is this gradation, that one is almost tempted to ascribe it to cosmical rather than to human causes. It is as marked as the change in color of the human complexion observable along any meridian, which ranges from black at the equator to blonde toward the pole. In like...
Page 4 - ... to be a very different appearing person from what he is ? And who, when by chance he catches sight in like manner of the face of a friend, can keep from smiling at the caricatures which the mirror's left-for-right reversal makes of the asymmetry of his features, caricatures all the more comical for being utterly unsuspected by their innocent original ? Perhaps, could we once see ourselves as others see us, our surprise in the case of foreign peoples might be less pronounced. Regarding, then,...
Page 129 - ... suggestions of the pruning-knife as if man's wishes were their own whims. Liliputian maples, Tom Thumb trees, a foot high and thirty years old, with all the gnarls and knots and knuckles of their fellows of the forest, grow there in his parterres, their native vitality not a whit diminished. To enter a Japanese garden is like wandering of a sudden into one of those strange worlds we see reflected in the polished surface of a concave mirror, where all but the observer himself is transformed into...
Page 154 - It is a sunrise on the coast of Japan. A long line of surf is seen tumbling in to you from out a bank of mist, just piercing which shows the blood-red disk of the rising sun, while over the narrow strip of breaking rollers three cranes are slowly sailing north. And that is all you see. You do not see the shore ; you do not see the main ; you are looking but at the border-land of that great unknown, the heaving ocean still slumbering beneath its chilly coverlid of mist, out of which come the breakers,...
Page 1 - PERSONALITY. THE boyish belief that on the other side of our globe all things are of necessity upside down is startlingly brought back to the man when he first sets foot at Yokohama. If his initial glance does not, to be sure, disclose the natives in the every-day feat of standing calmly on their heads, an attitude which his youthful imagination conceived to be a necessary consequence of their geographical position, it does at least reveal them looking at the world as if from the standpoint of that...
Page 148 - His color-blindness to the warm, blood-red end of the spectrum of life in no wise affects his perception of the colder beauty of the great blues and greens of nature. To their poetry he is ever sensitive. His appreciation of them is something phenomenal, and his power of presentation worthy his appreciation. A Japanese painting is a poem rather than a picture. It portrays an emotion called up by a scene, and not the elaborate complexity of the scene itself.
Page 193 - And how, when he speculates upon his coming castles in the air, his most roseate desire is to be but an indistinguishable particle of the sunset clouds and vanish invisible as they into the starry stillness of all-embracing space.

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