A few more George McDonald quotes from Phantastes accompanied by an Islay photo from the excellent blog, Islay Pictures. The first quote is about the heart's ability to sing at certain times and not at others and what it takes to find a song in one's heart. The second quote is about the consequence of tears. The third quote is about finding the truth of who we are.
"And now, what songs should I sing ...? I hurried my way to the white hall ... I wandered long, up and down the silent space: no songs came. My soul was not still enough for songs. Only in the silence and the darkness of the soul's night, do those stars of the inward firmament sink to its lower surface from the singing realms beyond .. . Here all effort was unavailing. If (songs) came not, they could not be found."
"Surely this youth will not serve our ends," said I, "for he weeps." The old woman smiled. "Past tears are present strength," she said. ... "Wait for a while," said the (old) woman; "if I mistake not, he will make you weep till your tears are dry forever. Tears are the only cure for weeping."
"Then, first, I knew the delight of being lowly; of saying to myself, "I am what I am, nothing more. "I have failed," I said, "I have lost myself .. ." I learned that it is better, a thousand-fold, for a proud man to fall and be humbled, than to hold up his head in his pride and fancied innocence. I learned that he that will be a hero, will barely be a man; that he that will be nothing but a doer of his work, is sure of his manhood."