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Theme   /θim/   Listen
Theme

noun
1.
The subject matter of a conversation or discussion.  Synonyms: subject, topic.  "It was a very sensitive topic" , "His letters were always on the theme of love"
2.
A unifying idea that is a recurrent element in literary or artistic work.  Synonym: motif.
3.
(music) melodic subject of a musical composition.  Synonyms: idea, melodic theme, musical theme.  "The accompanist picked up the idea and elaborated it"
4.
An essay (especially one written as an assignment).  Synonyms: composition, paper, report.
5.
(linguistics) the form of a word after all affixes are removed.  Synonyms: base, radical, root, root word, stem.



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"Theme" Quotes from Famous Books



... a Neutral Policy" is the theme of Mir, the organ of the Bulgarian Nationalist Party of Sofia, which on May 29 said: "If Bulgaria remains neutral to the end of the war, she runs the risk of being condemned to live forever within the narrow limits she has today, hemmed ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 5, August, 1915 • Various

... of Jarrow[2] that Bede wrote in rude Latin the Church history of England. It was at that in Whitby that the poet Caedmon composed his poem on the Creation, in which, a thousand years before Milton, he dealt with Milton's theme in Milton's spirit. ...
— The Leading Facts of English History • D.H. Montgomery

... up apparently a thought which Paoli, as reported by Boswell, had thrown out in conversation, proposed to Cowper the Mediterranean for a topic. 'He replied, "Unless I were a better historian than I am, there would be no proportion between the theme and my ability. It seems, indeed, not to be so properly a subject for one poem, as for a dozen."' Southey's Cowper, ...
— The Life Of Johnson, Volume 3 of 6 • Boswell

... of banqueting and speech-making, and banners, emblazoned with such appropriate mottoes as "Whalley for ever," "Hurrah for Sir John Hanmer and John Stanton, Esquire," floated in the breeze. One ingenious gentleman, elaborating the topical theme, had erected a flag which, we are told, "attracted special attention from its significance and quaintness," representing a donkey cart with two passengers on one side and a steam engine and carriages on the other, to personify "Ellesmere of yesterday," and "Ellesmere of ...
— The Story of the Cambrian - A Biography of a Railway • C. P. Gasquoine

... him who now filled the post of commander on board their vessel. The object of their remarks, meanwhile, stood once more quietly leaning over the monkey-rail on the weather side of the quarter-deck, quite unconscious that he was supplying a theme of entertainment to ...
— The Sea-Witch - or, The African Quadroon A Story of the Slave Coast • Maturin Murray

... The theme of the Treatise on the Sensations, 1754, is: Memory, comparison, judgment, abstraction, and reflection (in a word, cognition) are nothing but different forms of attention; similarly the emotions, the appetites, and the will, nothing but modifications of desire; ...
— History Of Modern Philosophy - From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time • Richard Falckenberg

... of an English Opium Eater," but he reached perfection only in some compositions intended as sequels to that book, namely, "Suspiria de Profundis," and "The English Mail Coach," with its "Vision of Sudden Death," and "Dream-Fugue" upon the theme ...
— The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English Language - Word-Study and Composition & Rhetoric • Sherwin Cody

... shilly-shally from first to last," continued the old sailor, warming up to his theme. "Why, when the Russians actually fired on our flag—the Union Jack of England, sir, that had never previously been insulted with impunity—they actually blamed me for returning the fire, and recalled me for it! I tell you what it is, Vernon, they were all a pack of pusillanimous ...
— Crown and Anchor - Under the Pen'ant • John Conroy Hutcheson

... People who come in contact with him and who may have occasion to oppose his views, may leave with the impression that he is hot-tempered; nothing could be further from the truth. He argues his point with great vehemence, pounds on the table to emphasize his views, and illustrates his theme with a wealth of apt similes; but, on account of his deafness, it is difficult to make the argument really two-sided. Before the visitor can fully explain his side of the matter some point is brought up that starts Edison off again, and new arguments from ...
— Edison, His Life and Inventions • Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin

... Cripple—a recitation I had prepared with particular enthusiasm and satisfaction. It fulfilled, as few poems do, all the requirements of length, climax and those many necessary features for a recitation. The subject was a theme of real pathos, beautified by the cheer and optimism of the little sufferer. Consequently when this couple left the hall I was very anxious to know the reason and asked a friend to find out. He learned that they had a little hunch-back child of their own. After this experience I never used that ...
— The Complete Works • James Whitcomb Riley

... same nation, and sometimes it has been the oppression of a weak nation by a stronger one. The successful revolt against tyranny, the terrible conflict resulting in the emancipation of a people, has always been the favorite theme of the historian, marking as it does a step in the progress of mankind from a savage to ...
— Ten Great Events in History • James Johonnot

... pageant-comedy had of course been made long before war was contemplated. The completion of Mr. BOURCHIER'S beard in itself points to a comparatively remote date for the play's inception. Certainly there is nothing very apposite in its theme at the present juncture; for HARRY OF ENGLAND, suffering from the gout, blustering into a sixth marriage, and haunted by the ghosts of four dead wives and the wraith of the sole survivor, is not a figure precisely ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 147, September 16, 1914 • Various

... near Witney and but a few miles out of Oxford. He and Charles visited Wroote that Christmas, and on January 11th he preached a funeral sermon at Epworth for John Griffith, a hopeful young man, the son of one of his father's parishioners, taking for his theme 2 Samuel xii. 23, "But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me "—a text obvious enough. He returned for the beginning of the Oxford Lent Term, having ...
— Hetty Wesley • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... was perfect melody. Their evenings were enlivened by the dance, or by those pleasant social games so prevalent among the French; and when she appeared at the village ball on Sunday evenings, she was the theme of ...
— Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists • Washington Irving

... she displayed a most decided poetic predisposition,—writing, when but ten years old, with surprising facility on every possible subject. No metre had any difficulties for her, and no theme seemed dull to her vivid intelligence,—her fancy being roused to action in a moment, by the barest hint given either by Nature or Art. Her first drama was written at this early age; it was called "Boadicea," and was composed immediately after she had ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, Number 60, October 1862 • Various

... brilliant color is the theme of many jests in the South, but it is entirely justified esthetically, although the constant sarcasm of the whites has checked its satisfaction, if it has not ...
— Birthright - A Novel • T.S. Stribling

... so stirred by the news that he ascended a cracker barrel, and made a speech to the assembled countrymen, preaching to responsive ears the theme of North and South, now reunited in a common sorrow. Thus, by the time he was twenty-six, Page, at any rate in respect to his Americanism, was a ...
— The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, Volume I • Burton J. Hendrick

... age I happen to live in, and I accommodate myself to it. [Pacing the room as he warms to his theme.] And if it's necessary for a private individual such as myself to advertise, as I maintain it is, how much more necessary is it for you to do so—a novelist, a poet, a would-be playwright, a man with something to sell! Dash it, they've ...
— The Big Drum - A Comedy in Four Acts • Arthur Pinero

... to where the master-tuner sat, and squatting down beside him began picking up tuning forks and striking one against the other. Each time he did that some city sound or other distinguished itself for a moment, exactly as the theme appears in music; only some of the vibrations seemed to jar against others instead of blending with them, and when that happened the effect ...
— Caves of Terror • Talbot Mundy

... be about twenty years of age,—in the full splendor of loveliness, and endowed with charms which presented to the gaze of those around a very incarnation of the ideal beauty which forms the theme of raptured poets. ...
— Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf • George W. M. Reynolds

... to explain why, except on that principle of decimation by which Macaulay accounted for the outcry against Lord Byron, Gibbon's solitary and innocent love passage has been made the theme of a good deal of malicious comment. The parties most interested, and who, we may presume, knew the circumstances better than any one else, seem to have been quite satisfied with each other's conduct. ...
— Gibbon • James Cotter Morison

... disagreeable themes, talk persistently and ceaselessly; never let up; the more tired he may be the more steadily you must talk, and the more irritating your theme must be. Go to the gadfly; consider her ways and be wise. Buzz, ...
— How to Cook Husbands • Elizabeth Strong Worthington

... race will find in it a theme well worthy of their finest talents. The subject can be ...
— History of the American Negro in the Great World War • W. Allison Sweeney

... great occasions of life. Every day there seemed something fresh and exciting to discuss, and the game of "pretend" made unfailing appeal to the happy Irish natures, but it was not often that such an original and thrilling topic came under discussion. A repaired nose! Pixie warmed to the theme with the zest of a skilled raconteur. ... "You'd be sitting here, and I'd walk in in my hat and veil—a new-fashioned scriggley veil, as a sort of screen. We'd kiss. If it was a long kiss, you'd feel the point, being accustomed to a button, ...
— The Love Affairs of Pixie • Mrs George de Horne Vaizey

... particulars so that there should be no doubt, and then the half-crazed Adah took up the theme nearest to her heart, her boy, her beautiful Willie. She could not take him with her. She knew not where she was going, and Willie must not suffer. Would Anna take ...
— Bad Hugh • Mary Jane Holmes

... my meaning," replied Mittie, pausing under a tree that shaded their path, and leaning against its trunk; "but I can feel it. Till you came, I knew not what feeling was; I read of it in books. It was the theme of many a fluent tongue, but all was cold and passive here," said she, pressing her hand on the throbbing heart that now ached with the intensity of its emotion. "Everybody said I had no heart, and I believed them. You first taught ...
— Helen and Arthur - or, Miss Thusa's Spinning Wheel • Caroline Lee Hentz

... princess and cousin, Catherine Semenovna," continued Prince Vasili, returning to his theme, apparently not without an inner struggle; "at such a moment as this one must think of everything. One must think of the future, of all of you... I love you all, like children of ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... Shaw's social philosophy is remarkable. His latest volume[10] deals with parents and children, the theme he touched on in 1884; his social ideal is still a birthright life interest in national wealth, and "an equal share in national industry," the latter a phrase more suggestive than lucid. On the other hand, he, ...
— The History of the Fabian Society • Edward R. Pease

... we may say, had come down from heaven with wonderful endowments. If he sang of a mountain, the eyes of all mankind beheld a mightier grandeur reposing on its breast, or soaring to its summit, than had before been seen there. If his theme were a lovely lake, a celestial smile had now been thrown over it, to gleam forever on its surface. If it were the vast old sea, even the deep immensity of its dread bosom seemed to swell the higher, ...
— The Snow Image • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... be a man, over it is to be a boy at school, if serious and elaborate writings, as if they were no more than the theme of a grammar lad under his pedagogue, must not be uttered without the cursory eyes of a temporizing and extemporizing licenser? whenas all the writer teaches, all he delivers, is but under the tuition, under the correction of his patriarchal licenser, to blot or alter what precisely accords ...
— Taboo - A Legend Retold from the Dirghic of Saevius Nicanor, with - Prolegomena, Notes, and a Preliminary Memoir • James Branch Cabell

... seem to have had communion with God and the saints most often when they seemed unconscious to bystanders.[2] The obsession with death, which seems so intimate a part of the stupor reaction, is a fundamental theme in poetry, religion and philosophy. The psychology of this interest is, speaking broadly, the psychology of stupor. So, from a general standpoint, our problem is related to the study of one of the most potent ideas which move ...
— Benign Stupors - A Study of a New Manic-Depressive Reaction Type • August Hoch

... by this great poet, which has escaped the researches of all his editors. Prefixed to a translation, translation is the theme; with us an unvalued art, because our translators have usually been the jobbers of booksellers; but no inglorious one among our French and Italian rivals. In this poem, if the reader's ear be guided by the compressed sense of the massive ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. II (of 3) - Edited, With Memoir And Notes, By His Son, The Earl Of Beaconsfield • Isaac D'Israeli

... this voluminous outpouring of matter the machinery is varied with wonderful fertility of invention, but one sentiment recurs very frequently. The great majority of Balzac's novels, including all the most powerful examples, may thus be described as variations on a single theme. Each of them is in fact the record of a martyrdom. There is always a virtuous hero or heroine who is tortured, and most frequently, tortured to death, by a combination of selfish intrigues. The ...
— Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) • Leslie Stephen

... life supplies the writer his theme. People who have not lived, no matter how grammatically they may write, have no real message. Robert Louis had now severed the umbilical cord. He was going to live his own life, to earn his own living. He could do but one ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Vol. 13 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Lovers • Elbert Hubbard

... that put to use in Hamlet. Romeo is half hidden from us in the rose-mist of passion, and after he is banished from Juliet's arms we only see him for a moment as he rushes madly by into never-ending night, and all the while Shakespeare is thinking more of the poetry of the theme than of his hero's character. Romeo is crude and immature when compared with a profound psychological study like Hamlet. In "Hamlet" the action often stands still while incidents are invented for the mere purpose of ...
— The Man Shakespeare • Frank Harris

... and exhaust-pipes and furniture—what on earth can they tell you that you have not heard already? A mere grinding-out of commonplaces! How often one has covered the same field! They cannot even put their knowledge, such as it is, into an attractive shape or play variations on the theme; it is patter; they have said the same thing, in the same language, for years and years; you have listened to the same thing from other lips, in the same language, for years and years. How one knows it all beforehand—every note in that barrel-organ of echoes! ...
— Alone • Norman Douglas

... once attracted attention quite as marked, though different in kind. His book became interesting not alone as the production of a Southern man interested in politics, but as an entirely original conception of a great theme. There was no question that a life of Jefferson from the hands of such a writer would command very general attention, and the publishers had no sooner announced the work as in preparation than negotiations were begun ...
— A Truthful Woman in Southern California • Kate Sanborn

... was over to our joint satisfaction, she had to return to the distressful main theme of our talk. She harked back to Sir Anthony, touched on his splendid behaviour, recalled, with a little dismay, the hitherto unnoted fact that, after the ceremony he had held himself aloof from those that thronged round Boyce. Then, without hint from me, she perceived the significance of the ...
— The Red Planet • William J. Locke

... a sermon on that theme," said he; for this was with him a favourite way out of an argument. In truth the Vicar loved the prophecy, as a quiet student often loves a thing that echoes of the world ...
— Simon Dale • Anthony Hope

... and windows against all mankind, the victor in the election, Senator Harding, of Ohio, knew better. The election returns were hardly announced before he began to ask the advice of his countrymen on the pressing theme that would not be downed: "What part shall America—first among the nations of the earth in wealth and power—assume at the council ...
— History of the United States • Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard

... himself with affairs of this life, that he might please Him who had called him to be a soldier;" and the reader of his life will find that this unworldly man took similar pains to avoid wealth, which others do to acquire it. Perhaps I may be excused for dwelling a moment on this theme, when I state that one of the latest public acts of my beloved and lamented father-in-law, James Cropper, was to cause John Woolman's auto-biography and writings to be re-edited, and a large and cheap edition to be struck off, which has appeared since his decease.[A] ...
— A Visit To The United States In 1841 • Joseph Sturge

... forth they went, with tongues of flame, In one blest theme delighting, The love of Jesus and His Name, God's children all uniting! That love, our theme and watchword still; That law of love may we fulfil, And love as we ...
— History of the Moravian Church • J. E. Hutton

... stronger King than he—a bony figure, in General's uniform, snow-besprinkled, who 'beckons him away.' Of all Leech's work, this seems to be the finest example. Think how savage Gillray or vulgar Rowlandson would have handled such a theme!—the Emperor would have been caricatured into a repulsive monster, and Death would have ...
— The History of "Punch" • M. H. Spielmann

... be a man, over it is to be a boy at school, if we have only escaped the ferula to come under the fescue of an Imprimatur; if serious and elaborate writings, as if they were no more than the theme of a grammar-lad under his pedagogue, must not be uttered without the cursory eyes of a temporizing and extemporizing licenser? He who is not trusted with his own actions, his drift not being known to be evil, ...
— Areopagitica - A Speech For The Liberty Of Unlicensed Printing To The - Parliament Of England • John Milton

... that record them rather guess at than solve. But the blow which had shattered my life had been dealt by the hand of a fool. Here, there were no mystic enchantments. Motives the most commonplace and paltry, suggested to a brain as trivial and shallow as ever made the frivolity of woman a theme for the satire of poets, had sufficed, in devastating the field of my affections, to blast the uses for which I had cultured my mind; and had my intellect been as great as heaven ever gave to man, it would ...
— A Strange Story, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... He first stated his theme; to the effect that all the forces of the civilised world were concentrating into two camps—the world and God. Up to the present time the forces of the world had been incoherent and spasmodic, breaking out in various ways—revolutions and wars had been like the movements of ...
— Lord of the World • Robert Hugh Benson

... gift is bestowed is a subject of more controversy perhaps than any other Bible theme. There need be no confusion upon this point if all would take the plain statements and examples in the New Testament. Jesus declares the world can not receive the Spirit, John 14:17. The disciples enjoyed the ...
— The Gospel Day • Charles Ebert Orr

... from him a series of the same impatient, sarcastic remarks on the subject of the neighbors as had scandalized her the day before. She fired up, and they were soon in the midst of another battle-royal, partly on the merits of particular persons and partly on a more general theme—the advantage or disadvantage of an optimist view of ...
— The Testing of Diana Mallory • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... He {67} lived on Earth—(3) after His Ascension (see the Latin Form). The Saviour's Existence, from the Eternal Beginning on to the Eternal Future, is the central thought of the Hymn. The dual form of each line in this Middle Stanza proves it to be a separate Stanza. The Incarnation is its theme—The Incarnation ...
— The Prayer Book Explained • Percival Jackson

... the sight should cause surprise to the most indifferent observer, nor that it should have been long a theme of speculation with the curious, and an interesting subject of ...
— The Ocean Waifs - A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea • Mayne Reid

... unimportant fact—unimportant, that is, to you—my name is Malcolm Francois de Lorraine Vernon. My father was cousin-german to Sir George Vernon, at and near whose home, Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, occurred the events which will furnish my theme. ...
— Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall • Charles Major

... beside the proud Potowmac's stream, Might sages still pursue the flattering theme Of days to come, when man shall conquer fate, Rise o'er the level of his mortal state, Belie the monuments of frailty past, And plant perfection in this world at last! "Here," might they say, "shall power's divided reign "Evince ...
— The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore • Thomas Moore et al

... I shall pursue the theme no further. The truth is, Mr. O'Brien remained among a people who were sorely stricken by terror. Their friends were dead or scattered; and rumour, with a thousand tongues, multiplied the most awful horrors which were said to be approaching them. Although they received ...
— The Felon's Track • Michael Doheny

... which the battle-ground is a bereaved human heart and the prize its complete possession; between earthly duty and spiritual desire also; was one that had long attracted him. Finding at length a few months of leisure, he treated the difficult theme, not indeed as he would have wished to do, but as best ...
— Stella Fregelius • H. Rider Haggard

... monarch. His court was splendid, and his retinue large and magnificent. But the chief glory of his palace, and the pride of his heart, was his daughter Clotilda, whose amazing beauty formed the theme of poets' praise, and whose fame was spread far beyond the limits of the Empire. Her form was of queenly majesty, her movements swan-like. Her glossy raven tresses set off a complexion of the greatest brilliancy: her faultless features would ...
— Holidays at the Grange or A Week's Delight - Games and Stories for Parlor and Fireside • Emily Mayer Higgins

... conversation is that it is kept personal, in the sense, I mean, that the personality of the speakers suffuses it. "The theme being taken," as Stevenson says, "each talker plays on himself as on an instrument, affirming and justifying himself." This counter-assertion of personality, to all appearances, is combat, but at bottom is amicable. An issue which is essentially general and impersonal ...
— Conversation - What to Say and How to Say it • Mary Greer Conklin

... any credit due to her, but the more I exercise my memory for evidence, the more I am convinced that her compliance on these occasions was not conceived entirely in the spirit of self-sacrifice. Often would she suggest the game and even the theme; in such case, casting herself invariably for what, in old theatrical parlance, would have been termed the heavy lead, the dragons and the wicked uncles, the fussy necromancers and the uninvited fairies. As authoress of a new cookery book for use in giant-land, my aunt, I am sure, would have been ...
— Paul Kelver • Jerome Klapka, AKA Jerome K. Jerome

... limited than that of any other great English novelist; for she deliberately restricted herself, with excellent judgment, to portraying what she knew at first-hand, namely the life of the well-to-do classes of her own 'provincial' region. Moreover, her theme is always love; desirable marriage for themselves or their children seems to be the single object of almost all her characters; and she always conducts her heroine successfully to this goal. Her artistic achievement, like herself, ...
— A History of English Literature • Robert Huntington Fletcher

... that treads thy shore? No legend of thine olden time, No theme on which the mind might soar High as thine ...
— The Forest of Vazon - A Guernsey Legend Of The Eighth Century • Anonymous

... the winter of 1869, and now appears for the first time as completed. The sea, as a picture of life, has been celebrated by the poetic thought of all ages, and the author will therefore hardly hope to offer much that is new in the following verses. His only excuse for so worn a theme is, that the world still loves the picture, and that each generation can, at best, but reset the old ...
— Across the Sea and Other Poems. • Thomas S. Chard

... clutches of the fever, unconscious that her most devoted and tenderest nurse was the father whom she had bitterly imagined thought more of his hobby than of his boys and girls. All Northbourne, as with one heart, sorrowed aloud for their favourite Miss Theedory; her grave condition was the sole theme of talk in the cottages round ...
— The Captain's Bunk - A Story for Boys • M. B. Manwell

... dynasty would form a brilliant poem; and, if India shall ever have a poet again, he could not choose a more varied, animating, and splendid theme. Tippoo, in peace, turned saint, and, following the example of his prophet, forced one hundred thousand Hindoos, at the sword's point, to swear by the Koran. We pass over the remaining features of his fierce history. Restless with ambition, and plethoric with power, in 1790 he invaded Travancore. ...
— Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 366, April, 1846 • Various

... only acted, when he did act, behind the scenes. Ministerial exertions were also paralysed by another cause. A prevalent notion existed that there was a mysterious power about the court which worked to the detriment of the public good. This was a constant theme of invective among the opposition, and, it would seem, not without good reason. But there was another cause of obstruction to the measures formed by government. This was found in the democratical spirit, which now ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... imperfect passage, through human agents, of the life of God into the life of man. The subject is too vast, the agents too various and numerous, to be more than hinted here; and in the limitation of our theme, not only to the young in years, but to the male in sex, we are precluded from celebrating one who stands in history as perhaps the loveliest human embodiment of all that is more winning and inspiring ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 93, July, 1865 • Various

... as the portrait of a real man, faithfully copied from the man as he lived. But that is precisely the art of the painter. Walton's picture is so beautiful because everything in it is sacrificed to beauty; because it is a convention, a picture in which life is treated almost as theme for music. And so there remains an opportunity, even after this masterpiece, for a life of Donne which shall make no pretence to harmonise a sometimes discordant existence, or indeed to produce, properly speaking, a piece of art at all; but which shall be ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... a common cause dilutes the sectarian ego, dissolves village caste, makes neighbor acquainted with neighbor, and liberates a vast amount of human love which otherwise would remain hermetically sealed. Gossip is only the lack of a worthy theme. A town library supplies topics for talk, and the books there supply ten thousand more. To accept a Carnegie library means to take on an obligation. Achievement always stands for responsibility. "Is it possible that you are nervous?" asked the man of Abraham Lincoln when ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 11 (of 14) - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Businessmen • Elbert Hubbard

... than in pages of writing. It is probable that nearly the same emotions, but much weaker and far less complex, are felt by birds when the male pours forth his full volume of song, in rivalry with other males, to captivate the female. Love is still the commonest theme of our songs. As Herbert Spencer remarks, "music arouses dormant sentiments of which we had not conceived the possibility, and do not know the meaning; or, as Richter says, tells us of things we have ...
— The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex • Charles Darwin

... Edna, in some embarrassment, for she should have remembered that Mademoiselle Reisz's avoidance of the water had furnished a theme for much pleasantry. Some among them thought it was on account of her false hair, or the dread of getting the violets wet, while others attributed it to the natural aversion for water sometimes believed to accompany the artistic ...
— The Awakening and Selected Short Stories • Kate Chopin

... or rocks or winds or waves, the mutable or the unchangeable was in turn the theme of our reproductive praise. There were transfigurations on the mountain tops, where the spirit of the universe wore shining garbs and hailed us, their Interpreters. From every wave stretched Undine arms to greet us, and tongues of flame taught us ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, Issue 2, February, 1864 • Various

... search it to the very core, leads you straight to a sex problem of a very curious nature. Nowhere else does it occur in the relations of the great personages of history; but in literature Balzac, that master of psychology, has touched upon the theme in the early chapters of his famous novel ...
— Famous Affinities of History, Vol 1-4, Complete - The Romance of Devotion • Lyndon Orr

... me my life through gratitude. I was going to continue my defense, by relating frankly my relations with Marie, and her rescue. But if I spoke of her the Commission would force her to appear, and her name would become the theme of no very delicate remarks by the interrogated witnesses. These thoughts so troubled me that I stammered, and at last ...
— Marie • Alexander Pushkin

... hours of reflection were at first shortened, and then dismissed entirely. The general mirth of my new shipmates at the thoughts of once more revisiting their dear native land—the anticipation of indulging in the sensual worship of Bacchus and Venus, the constant theme of discourse among the midshipmen; the loud and senseless applause bestowed on the coarsest ribaldry—these all had their share in destroying that religious frame of mind in which I had parted with my first captain, and seemed to awaken me to a sense of the folly ...
— Frank Mildmay • Captain Frederick Marryat

... the result of reading; but since there is a meagre quantity of literature bearing on this general theme, they are largely the result of observation, experiment, and discussion with my students. Many of the latter will recognize their own contributions in these pages, for I have endeavored to preserve and use every good suggestion that came ...
— How To Study and Teaching How To Study • F. M. McMurry

... the work of ages into meteorites and from meteorites into worlds—and these went on rolling in their appointed orbits, for what reason nobody knew, but then nobody cared! And Love—the key-note of the theme to which I had set my mistaken life in tune—Love was only a graceful word used to politely define the low but very general sentiment of coarse animal attraction—in short, poetry such as mine was altogether absurd and out of date when confronted with the facts of every-day ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... it was found that topics failed them, the professor would give Bob a Spanish book to glance through, and its subject would serve as a theme for talk on, the following day; and as it was five months since the lad had landed, he was now able to speak in Spanish almost as fluently as in English. As he had learnt almost entirely by ear, and any word mispronounced had had to be gone over, again and again, until Don ...
— Held Fast For England - A Tale of the Siege of Gibraltar (1779-83) • G. A. Henty

... be said that this glorious Elizabethan Era with its Shakspeare, as the outcome and flowerage of all which had preceded it, is itself attributable to the Catholicism of the Middle Ages. The Christian Faith, which was the theme of Dante's Song, had produced this Practical Life which Shakspeare was to sing. For Religion then, as it now and always is, was the soul of Practice; the primary vital fact in men's life. And remark here, as rather curious, that Middle-Age Catholicism was abolished, ...
— Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History • Thomas Carlyle

... thy countenance, and thy God," was all that I could say in reply. Then I turned to the boy, who sat with his eyes cast down as if in deep thought, and engaged him in conversation on other subjects, by way of diverting the old woman's mind from the painful theme. ...
— My Doggie and I • R.M. Ballantyne

... of snow over the follies and adventures of the Duchesse de Maufrigneuse, and had whitened them so thoroughly that it now required a serious effort of memory to recall them. Of the queen once adored by so many courtiers, and whose follies might have given a theme to a variety of novels, there remained a woman still adorably beautiful, thirty-six years of age, but quite justified in calling herself thirty, although she was the mother of Duc Georges de Maufrigneuse, a young man of eighteen, handsome ...
— The Secrets of the Princesse de Cadignan • Honore de Balzac

... cheerful; tales with a purpose seldom are. But the poignant humanity of it will hold your sympathy throughout. You may think that Mr. MAXWELL too obviously loads his dice, and be aware also that (like others of its kind) the story suffers from over-concentration on a single theme. It moves in a world of incompatibles. The heroine's kindly friend is tied to a dipsomaniac wife; her coachman has no remedy for a ruined home because of the expense of divorce, and so on. To a great extent, however, Mr. MAXWELL'S craft has enabled ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, April 14, 1920 • Various

... not the dignity of the theme which constitutes the great work of art, for in that case a prose summary of the "Divine Comedy" would be as exalted as the original, and it would be necessary merely to know the subject of a poem in order to pass judgment ...
— Hazlitt on English Literature - An Introduction to the Appreciation of Literature • Jacob Zeitlin

... a few months they would be left to carry on without His bodily companionship. They had solemnly testified that they knew Him to be the Christ; to them therefore He could impart much that the people in general were wholly unprepared to receive. The particular theme of His special and advanced instruction to the Twelve was that of His approaching death and resurrection; and this was dwelt upon again and again, for they were slow or unwilling ...
— Jesus the Christ - A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to Holy - Scriptures Both Ancient and Modern • James Edward Talmage

... the fox has furnished theme for song and legend, and only those who have followed the trap line for both fox and coyote know that Reynard's vaunted brain is but a dry sponge when compared to the knowledge-soaked brain of the prairie wolf. It is the ...
— The Yellow Horde • Hal G. Evarts

... years. But the slight regard paid to English influence and action throughout the struggle by those Continental writers who had dealt imaginatively with Napoleon's career, seemed always to leave room for a new handling of the theme which should re-embody the features of this influence in their true proportion; and accordingly, on a belated day about six years back, the following drama was outlined, to be taken up now and then at ...
— The Dynasts - An Epic-Drama Of The War With Napoleon, In Three Parts, - Nineteen Acts, And One Hundred And Thirty Scenes • Thomas Hardy

... his life to the study. The most I can do is to name the architects of the most famous of the palaces and draw the reader's attention to the frequency with which the lovely Ducal gallery pattern recurs, like a theme in a fugue, until one comes to think the symbol of the city not the winged lion but a row of Gothic curved and pointed arches surmounted by circles containing equilateral crosses. The greatest names in Venetian architecture are Polifilo, who wrote the Hypnerotomachia, the two Bons, ...
— A Wanderer in Venice • E.V. Lucas

... full of another and a different subject; but the sight of Libbie's sad, weeping face, and the quiet, subdued tone of her manner, made her feel it awkward to begin on any other theme than the one which filled up her companion's mind. To her last speech ...
— The Grey Woman and other Tales • Mrs. (Elizabeth) Gaskell

... Lord is my Shepherd: or—as the Greek, vibrating to the force of the original—The Lord is shepherding me; I shall not want. This is the theme ...
— Four Psalms • George Adam Smith

... am your theme: you have the start of me. I am dejected; I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel; ignorance itself is a plummet over me: ...
— The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish • James Fenimore Cooper

... little time would soften his views on Saloonio. But I had not reckoned on the way in which old men hang on to a thing. Colonel Hogshead quite took up Saloonio. From that time on Saloonio became the theme of his constant conversation. He was never tired of discussing the character of Saloonio, the wonderful art of the dramatist in creating him, Saloonio's relation to modern life, Saloonio's attitude toward women, the ethical significance of Saloonio, ...
— Literary Lapses • Stephen Leacock

... whole, we must express our gratitude to Mr. Gage for his labor of love, in thus giving us the results of the studies of his friend and master on this important theme. Students of the Bible and of Syrian geography can nowhere else find the matters treated so fully and conscientiously ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 117, July, 1867. • Various

... or in hilly regions far away from the refining influences of social contact, the old-time superstitions lingered, changing little in the theme, and inspiring the succeeding generations, as they unfolded in the long roll-call of life, with the same fears of the mystery of death and of a future life. One of the customs of recent practice is fitly described ...
— A History of Nursery Rhymes • Percy B. Green

... alteration in her dress, and went down, perfectly calm, and outwardly at ease, to a tete-a-tete dinner with her son. When they were left alone at the table she suddenly changed the subject from the commonplace to the engrossing theme occupying both their minds, and, leaning towards him, ...
— The Guinea Stamp - A Tale of Modern Glasgow • Annie S. Swan

... remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is AMERICAN SLAVERY. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point ...
— My Bondage and My Freedom • Frederick Douglass

... Canaan. "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren."[17] This passage was the leading theme of the defenders of slavery in the pulpit for many years. ...
— History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1 - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens • George W. Williams

... has lost the grace and beauty of the earlier dialogues. The mind of the writer seems to be so overpowered in the effort of thought as to impair his style; at least his gift of expression does not keep up with the increasing difficulty of his theme. The idea of the king or statesman and the illustration of method are connected, not like the love and rhetoric of the Phaedrus, by 'little invisible pegs,' but in a confused and inartistic manner, which ...
— Statesman • Plato

... books for any information. I find a S. Tryphonius, but only as a grown man; not a word of his tender years and his grotesque attendant. How amusing it would be to forget the halo and set the picture as a theme among a class of fanciful fantastic writers, to fit it with an appropriate fairy story! For of course it is as absolute a fairy tale illustration as the dragon pictures on the ...
— A Wanderer in Venice • E.V. Lucas

... "belly"; how to fill up the middle so that the butts of the sheaves droop to run off the rain; and how high to go with the bulge before he begins to draw in with the roof. All day long as he worked on his knees, not in prayer, he had mental leisure to think about one vast, fructifying theme; which of course is Free-Trade as they had it in England; unrestricted trade according to the Manchester School. And when he got his stack done he could tell to a ten-dollar bill how much tariff the railways and steamships would levy on that stack by the time the wheat ...
— The Masques of Ottawa • Domino

... the course of the evening my attention was called to listen to a narrative with which he was entertaining those around him, and he seemed as usual to have excited the eager interest of his hearers. The commencement of the story I had not heard, but soon perceived that a shipwreck was the theme, which he described with all the vivid touches of his fancy, marshalling the incidents and striking features of the situation with a degree of dexterity that seemed to bring all the horrors of a polar storm home to every one's mind, and although it occurred to me that our ...
— The Journal of Sir Walter Scott - From the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford • Walter Scott

... be loved?—then let thy heart From its present pathway part not; Being everything which now thou art, Be nothing which thou art not. So with the world thy gentle ways, Thy grace, thy more than beauty, Shall be an endless theme of praise. And ...
— Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works • Edgar Allan Poe

... have it your own way," said her husband impatiently. "Of course, I do not wish that Laura should become the theme of scandal. But as for this young firebrand of a Haldane, there must be a decided change in him. I cannot ...
— A Knight Of The Nineteenth Century • E. P. Roe

... And what a theme! It demands a volume from any pen capable of doing it justice. For the present purposes, however, I approve strongly of a compilation which shall express the reasoned opinions of writers representing the allied nations, while it is a real pleasure to turn for a few minutes from ...
— Defenders of Democracy • The Militia of Mercy

... in discussion is exactly given in the title, and she does not stray from her theme; but brings out, sharply and inescapably, the universal fact, that marriage, to a woman, is not only a happiness (or a grief!), not only a duty, or at least a natural function, but a trade—she earns her ...
— The Forerunner, Volume 1 (1909-1910) • Charlotte Perkins Gilman

... you talk of glory and the guards, Of fighting heroes, and their great rewards! Our eyes behold you glow with martial flame, Our ears attend the never-ceasing theme. Fast from your tongue the rousing accents flow, And horror darkens on your sable brow! We hear the thunder of the rolling war, And see red ...
— Boswell's Correspondence with the Honourable Andrew Erskine, and His Journal of a Tour to Corsica • James Boswell

... either of superiority or of inferiority. The great historian of European Morals has analysed the constitutional differences of the sexes as he conceived them; and I may quote his remarks as pertinent to my theme. Lecky writes as follows[422]: ...
— A Short History of Women's Rights • Eugene A. Hecker

... be a mingled one, for so is our theme; having a sympathy alike for our mirthful and sorrowful moments, which it alike spiritualizes; striking the light, gleesome chord to the one, and attuning the soul to more ethereal joy; while by its ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 364, February 1846 • Various

... is e a brathair, If it be not Bran, it is Bran's brother,' was the proverbial reply of Maccombich. [Footnote: Bran, the well-known dog of Fingal, is often the theme of Highland proverb ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... falleth on those things that have not relation to stage-plays, musick in the church, dancing, new-years' gifts, &c.,—then upon altars, images, hair of men and women, bishops and bonfires. Cards and tables do offend him, and perukes do fall within the compass of his theme. His end is to persuade the people that we are returning back again to paganism, and to persuade them to go and serve God in another country, as many are gone already, and set up new laws and fancies among themselves. Consider what may come ...
— Calamities and Quarrels of Authors • Isaac D'Israeli

... good," said I complacently, regarding the drawing with head bent sideways. "It's an old theme, but it's up to date. At Janot's they would say it was palpitating ...
— The Beloved Vagabond • William J. Locke

... prayer in prose, preceded by nine defective verses which probably preserve old epic turns of expression. The dialect is Bavarian, the theme that of Psalm XC, 2. The manuscript dates from the year 814. Wessobrunn was the ...
— An anthology of German literature • Calvin Thomas

... turning over the pages of this volume, one is struck by his breadth, his versatility, his compass, as evidenced in theme, sentiment, and style." ...
— Five Months at Anzac • Joseph Lievesley Beeston

... this theme till we have sought to set our hearts a-singing by a sight of Him who is, and ever shall be, the source as well as the theme of all our songs. We but recently traced Him in His glorious upward path ...
— Old Groans and New Songs - Being Meditations on the Book of Ecclesiastes • F. C. Jennings

... the portfolio of theme paper I carry underneath my arm. But in this corner of the world a portfolio of theme paper and a pile of books are as common a part of a girl's paraphernalia as a muff and a shopping-bag on a winter's ...
— The Fifth Wheel - A Novel • Olive Higgins Prouty

... of them, with a higher art, and to her a finer cruelty, a sharper torture, uttered no abuse, but always spoke of her in terms of mocking eulogy and ironical admiration. Everybody talked about the new wonder, canvassed the theme of her proposed discourse, and marveled how she ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... not play—she had been too busy to practice, all spring and summer; she scarcely ever touched the violin, she said. And she did not want to talk—or if she did, it was plain that she had only one theme. So Kent, perforce, listened to the story. Afterward, he assured her that it was "outa sight." As a matter of fact, half the time he had not heard a word of what she was reading; he had been too busy just looking at her and being glad he was there. He had, however, a dim impression ...
— Lonesome Land • B. M. Bower

... theme was touched upon now. "No, poor girl, she is in bad condition, but I think she's better. The air seems not to have made her worse, at any rate. I haven't much faith in climate, but I believe she has improved since we left Kansas City ...
— The Spirit of Sweetwater • Hamlin Garland

... men, typifies the spirit of the age. The one motiv is loud at the beginning of the Reformation but almost dies away before the end of the century; the other, beginning at the same time, rises slowly into a crescendo culminating far beyond the boundaries of the age. The first theme was the Prodigal Son, treated by no less than twenty-seven German dramatists, not counting several in other languages. To the Protestant, the Younger Son represented faith, the Elder Son works. To all, the exile in the far country, the riotous living with harlots and ...
— The Age of the Reformation • Preserved Smith

... I raise my glass, The goal of every human, The hope of every clan and class And every man and woman. The daydreams of the urchin there, The sweet theme of the maiden's prayer, The strong man's one ambition, The sacred prize of mothers sweet, The tramp of soldiers on the street Have all the selfsame mission. Life here is nothing more or less Than just a ...
— A Heap o' Livin' • Edgar A. Guest

... no less novel than his theme. It may or it may not have been consciously modelled after the saga style, to which, however, it bears an obvious resemblance. In his early childhood, while he lived among the peasants, he became familiar with their mode of thought and speech, and it entered into his being, and became ...
— Essays on Scandinavian Literature • Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen

... doubtful if in any previous age our highest literature has more emphatically and persistently devoted itself to proclaiming this great doctrine of the Cross. Sometimes directly and explicitly, oftener by implication, this is the ultimate theme of those who are most deeply influencing the spirit of the time. Our finest and most widely recognised pulpit oratory is at home here, and only here: Maurice and Arnold, Trench and Vaughan, Robertson and Stanley, James Martineau and Seeley, Thirlwall and Wilberforce, Kingsley ...
— The Ethics of George Eliot's Works • John Crombie Brown

... must have large recourse to "big names," not because of inbred snobbishness on the part of the editors but because the "big name," besides carrying advertising value, is more likely than a little one to stand for material with a "big" theme, handled by a writer of experience. A surer touch in selecting and handling topics of nation-wide appeal is what counts most heavily in favor of the writer with an established reputation. Often enough it is not his vastly superior craftsmanship. ...
— If You Don't Write Fiction • Charles Phelps Cushing

... and death. There are also some very healthy bacchic notes. Often the ballads are a mere presentation of a scene, with neither plot nor moral; once in a while, too, Uhland shows a humorous touch. But various as are his themes and treatments, the treatment is always nicely adapted to the theme. ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: - Masterpieces of German Literature Translated into English, Volume 5. • Various

... Authors have feelings, which even scholastic young maidens cannot be permitted to lacerate. I therefore warn the reader of this article against any inclination toward sympathy with the critical mood of that obnoxious female. My theme is not as lively as "Punch" used to be; but, on the other hand, it is not as dull as a religious novel. Patient investigation may find it really agreeable: good-nature will not ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 79, May, 1864 • Various

... she said was always worth hearing; a greater compliment could not be paid her. She was a most conscientious listener, giving you her mind and heart, as well as her magnetic eyes. Persons were never her theme, unless public characters were under discussion, or friends were to be praised. One never dreamed of frivolities in Mrs. Browning's presence, and gossip felt itself out of place. Yourself, not herself, was always a pleasant subject to her, calling ...
— Lives of Girls Who Became Famous • Sarah Knowles Bolton

... Orthodox doctrine of justification to be of merely local and temporary interest, having no permanent value. It is not likely that a man like Paul, of so large, so deep, so philosophic a mind, should have devoted himself so earnestly, and returned so fondly, to a theme involving no universal and eternal principles, whose interest was to perish with the hour. It is not probable that, in this small volume of writings of the new covenant,—this precious gift of God to the world in all ages and in every nation,—so large a portion should ...
— Orthodoxy: Its Truths And Errors • James Freeman Clarke

... my line To enact "Love in a Cot." Well, you see, I'd had my swing, Been engaged to eight or ten, Got to stop some time, of course, So it don't much matter when. Auntie hates old maids, and thinks Every girl should marry young— On that theme my whole life long I have heard the changes sung. So, ma belle, what could I do? Charley wants a stylish wife. We'll suit well enough, no fear, When we settle down for life. But for love-stuff! See my ring! Lovely, isn't it? ...
— The Wit of Women - Fourth Edition • Kate Sanborn

... no claim to unity of theme, since its subjects range from skyscrapers to symbols and soul states; but the author claims for it nevertheless a unity of point of view, and one (correct or not) so comprehensive as to include in one synthesis every subject dealt with. For according to ...
— Architecture and Democracy • Claude Fayette Bragdon

... is giving most of his attention to a bound volume of music which he has open. He is a young man of twenty-two, with wavy auburn hair; wears old corduroy trousers and a grey flannel shirt, open at the throat. He stirs the fire, then takes violin and plays the Nibelung theme ...
— Prince Hagen • Upton Sinclair

... is it, at each turn I trace Some memory of that exiled race? Can I not mountain maiden spy, But she must bear the Douglas eye? Can I not view a Highland brand, But it must match the Douglas hand? Can I not frame a fevered dream, But still the Douglas is the theme? I'll dream no more,—by manly mind Not even in sleep is will resigned. My midnight orisons said o'er, I'll turn to rest, and dream no more.' His midnight orisons he told, A prayer with every bead of ...
— The Lady of the Lake • Sir Walter Scott



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