Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

The family did not send to ask from whom the messenger had come; it was not the first time that messengers had visited them, after all. And there are some powers that no one, not even the Endless, seeks to inquire into too deeply. Invitations are delivered in SANDMAN #70, part one of "The Wake" The state of his bathroom— I'm not one to gossip, but there are things crusted on his sink that have not simply developed intelligent life but have in all probability by now evolved their own political systems. Cain in SANDMAN #70, "The Wake" part one Eblis O'Shaughnessy: you were created and gifted by five of the Endless, but you can neither dream nor, ultimately, destroy, and that shall be your triumph and that shall be your tragedy. Destiny, in SANDMAN #70, part one of "The Wake" I am not here to mourn him. I mourned the loss of my love a long time ago. I am here to say goodbye to a stranger who once did me a good turn. And to the man who gave my son the death he craved. Calliope, in SANDMAN #71, part two of "The Wake" The bonds of family bind both ways. They bind us up, support us, help us, and they are also a bond from which it is difficult, perhaps impossible to extricate oneself. Desire, in SANDMAN #72, part three of "The Wake" "The one I hate is where I'm just an actor on a strange television version of my life. Have you ever had that dream?" "Doesn't everyone?" "I don't." Superman, Batman, and Martian Manhunter, in SANDMAN #71, part two of "The Wake" We were never loves, and we never will be, now. I do not regret that, however. I regret the conversations we never had, the time we did not spend together. I regret that I never told him that he made me happy, when I was in his company. The world was the better for his being in it. These things alone do I now regret: things left unsaid. And he is gone, and I am old. Lady Bast, in SANDMAN #72, part three of "The Wake" I cared for him, very much. He was so wise; he seemed so certain of the rightness of his actions. And I, who do nothing but doubt, admired that in him. He was a creature of hope, for dreams are hopes, and echoes of hopes, and I am a creature of despair. Despair, in SANDMAN #72, part three of "The Wake" It's astonishing how much trouble one can get oneself into, if one works at it. And astonishing how much trouble one can get oneself out of, if one simply assumes that everything will, somehow or other, work out for the best. Destruction, in SANDMAN #72, part three of "The Wake" We never even noticed the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a load of bloody Italians poncing around claiming to be the golden age of the Greeks come around again. Nobody in England had even heard of the Renaissance until it had been over for centuries. Hob Gadling, in SANDMAN #73, epilogue to "The Wake" "There were a lot of Moors and Africans in Spain and Italy in the old days. Remember Othello? Trust me, if Catherine of Aragon had been in Alabama in the 1950s they'd have made her ride in the back of the bus." Hob, in SANDMAN #73, epilogue to "The Wake" "When I first met you I thought you were gay." "Why? 'Cos I'm English?" "Uh-uh. Because you seemed to know so many people who were dead." "... That's not funny." "No. It's not, is it?" Guenevere and Hob, in SANDMAN #73, epilogue to "The Wake" "Father? I am your son. That is only a kitten. Why do you abandon me to chase after it?" "When you were alive, you were all my joy. Now you are dead. I see you only in my dreams. And when I awake my pillow is wet with tears. The kitten is living, and it needs my help." Master Li and son, in SANDMAN #74, "The Exile" Why are you here, in this home of demons? Are you lost? Or are you also a demon? Forgive my bluntness, but I am an old man, and my flesh is sure to be stringy and lacking in taste: I doubt even a demon would relish it. Master Li is frightened of Dream, in SANDMAN #74, "The Exile" I have no liking for prisons, Master Li. Sometimes I suspect that we build our traps ourselves, then we back into them, pretending amazement the while. Dream, in SANDMAN #74, "The Exile" "My Lord, what was it the barbarian said, as the riders vanished?" "Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost. Fare you well Master Li." Master Li and Dream, in SANDMAN #74, "The Exile" But truth or no, still I believe in the correct manner, and correctness in behaviour is one of the cardinal virtues. I place the kitten in my sleeve once more. I have saved his life, as he saved mine, and am responsible for him. We cannot evade our responsibilities. Master Li, in SANDMAN #74, "The Exile" I am banished to the grey waste at the end of the world, but I mourn myself no longer; I cherish the pain in my hand. I imagine the taste of the mulberries in the violet dusk. And tomorrow I shall arrive in the town of Wei. Master Li, in SANDMAN #74, "The Exile" Only the phoenix arises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost. SANDMAN #74, "The Exile" "My own fine words notwithstanding, life is no play. We meet people once, and never see them again. There is no shape to events, no point at which we turn to the audience for their praise. No time at which we step behind the stage, to see the actors changing their wigs, and painting their faces, and muttering their lines." "But that is precisely where you are now, Will." William Shakespeare and Dream, in SANDMAN #75, "The Tempest" "I wanted a tale of graceful ends. I wanted a play about a king who ... leaves his kingdom .... About a man who turns his back on magic .... I am Prince of Stories, Will, but I have no story of my own. Nor shall I ever .... I thank you." Dream to William Shakespeare, in SANDMAN #75, "The Tempest"