Whereas the truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, trans. Francis Steegmuller, New York, Random House, 1957, p.215-216.
CIRCUMSTANCE: Charles thinks of the poverty of the human language to express and give meaning to such concepts as love.
Meanwhile the candles were lighted on the music stands and the chandelier came down from the ceiling, the sparkle of its crystals filling the house with sudden gaiety; then the musicians filed in and there was a long cacophony of booming cellos, scraping violins, blaring horns, and piping flutes and flageolets. Then three heavy blows came from the stage; there was a roll of kettledrums and a series of chords from the brasses; and the curtain rose on an outdoor scene.
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, trans. Francis Steegmuller, New York, Random House, 1957, pp. 250-251-252.
PLACE: Rouen, France
CIRCUMSTANCE: commencing an evening at the opera in Rouen
...From the shipyards came the thumping of caulking irons against hulls ...
...The sounds of the city gradually receded - the rattle of wagons, the tumult of voices, the barking of dogs on the decks of ships...
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, trans. Francis Steegmuller, New York, Random House, 1957, p. 291.
CIRCUMSTANCE: hearing sounds at the waterfront.