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Obscurity   /əbskjˈʊrəti/   Listen
Obscurity

noun
1.
The quality of being unclear or abstruse and hard to understand.  Synonyms: abstruseness, obscureness, reconditeness.
2.
An obscure and unimportant standing; not well known.
3.
The state of being indistinct or indefinite for lack of adequate illumination.  Synonym: obscureness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Obscurity" Quotes from Famous Books



... mortals, in the ecstasy of passion, recognize in the object of their love the incarnate presence of deity. Love, like music, can raise a "mortal to the skies" and "bring an angel down." In this stanza there is, perhaps, an intentional obscurity in the confusion of ideas, which are "thrown out" for the reader to shape for himself as he ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 2 • George Gordon Byron

... central depths, filtered into purity by time and travel. The waters are copious, sometimes to overflowing; but they are always limpid and unforced, singing their own quiet tune, not saddening, though sometimes sad, and their darkness not that of obscurity, but of depth, like that ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... Christian teachers, for the Chinese were strictly reticent when questioned by Europeans. 'My heathen brother, you have a sister who is a demoniac?' asks the intelligent European. The reply of the heathen brother is best left in the obscurity of a remarkably difficult and copious Oriental language. We are thus obliged to fall back on the reports of Mr. Leng and other native Christian teachers. They are perfectly modest and rational ...
— The Making of Religion • Andrew Lang

... had found Ruth out, in her penurious obscurity; and she was disposed to complain a little, like Nan, sometimes, of "the ills that ...
— Home-Life of the Lancashire Factory Folk during the Cotton Famine • Edwin Waugh

... Nothing then. The obscurity was profound in the bullet. Its cylindro-conical sides had resisted perfectly. There was not a break, a crack, or a dint in them. The admirable projectile was not hurt by the intense deflagration of the powders, instead ...
— The Moon-Voyage • Jules Verne

... in connection with that of the sweet potato, is involved in obscurity, as the accounts of their introduction into Europe are somewhat conflicting, and often they appear to be confounded with one another. The common kind was doubtless introduced into Spain in the early part of ...
— The Commercial Products of the Vegetable Kingdom • P. L. Simmonds

... 26 the Erebus and Terror were seen, for the last time, by an English whaler. After that day the fate of the most unfortunate of all Polar expeditions was involved in an obscurity much denser than that which surrounded Gordon in Khartum after the telegraph line was cut. What is known only came to light many years later through the relief expeditions that were sent out, or was communicated ...
— From Pole to Pole - A Book for Young People • Sven Anders Hedin

... full titles of them all. Yet it may perhaps be large enough to let the reader see what manner of man he was concerning whom so many bitter controversies have raged. Perhaps it may serve to explain how a Scotch-Irish boy, born to the deepest obscurity and the wretchedest poverty, and blessed, apparently, with no remarkable gifts of mind or body, came to have statues carved in his honor, towns and counties and cities named for him, long books written about him, a great party organized ...
— Andrew Jackson • William Garrott Brown

... likely to have a Heading without a Head, and where was his Head when he took such things into it? In some cases, such as his Boots, he would appear to have hid the writings; thereby involving his style in greater obscurity. But his Boots was at least pairs,—and no two of his writings can put in any claim to be so regarded. Here follows (not to give more specimens) what was ...
— Somebody's Luggage • Charles Dickens

... day Cesar had the honor of fighting against Napoleon on the steps of Saint-Roch, and was wounded at the beginning of the affair. Every one knows the result of that attempt. If the aide-de-camp of Barras then issued from his obscurity, the obscurity of Birotteau saved the clerk's life. A few friends carried the belligerent perfumer to "The Queen of Roses," where he remained hidden in the garret, nursed by Madame Ragon, and happily forgotten. Cesar Birotteau never ...
— Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau • Honore de Balzac

... gave him commands. "When ten o'clock strikes, tap at this window with your sword." He pointed as he spoke to the wall of the castle, and in that wall Lagardere, peering through the obscurity, could faintly discern a window about a man's height from the moat. The speaker went on: "A woman will open. Whisper very low, 'I ...
— The Duke's Motto - A Melodrama • Justin Huntly McCarthy

... flower to flower, white has another and wider function. As applied to the broader landscape it is not only a maker of perspective, but it often indicates a picture and fairly pulls it from obscurity, giving the same lifelike roundness that the single white dot lends in portraiture to the correctly tinted ...
— The Garden, You, and I • Mabel Osgood Wright

... of tradition, their history involved in obscurity, their broad lands filled with their unknown and nameless graves, these mighty races have passed away; they could not pass into slavery, therefore ...
— The Englishwoman in America • Isabella Lucy Bird

... acquaintances, has thirsted for something beyond what they could give him; everybody who, with nothing but a dull, daily round of mechanical routine before him, would welcome death, if it were martyrdom for a cause; every humblest creature, in the obscurity of great cities or remote hamlets, who silently does his or her duty without recognition—all these turn to Jesus, and find themselves in Him. He died, faithful to the end, with infinitely higher hopes, purposes, and capacity than mine, and with almost ...
— The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford • Mark Rutherford

... had doubtless gone off in the cutter, it was impossible for me to return on board the Cultivateur. I directed my steps towards my lodgings, creeping along the walls, and taking advantage of the obscurity, when, on turning the corner of a street, I fell into the midst of a band of dockyard workmen, armed with axes, and about to proceed to the attack of the French vessels then in harbour. Here again I owed my preservation ...
— Adventures in the Philippine Islands • Paul P. de La Gironiere

... practise in order to elude my keepers. Poor mamma loves me, after a selfish worldly fashion, and there are moments when I really think she pities me; but from Palma influence and association wealth has long been her most precious fetich. Poverty, obscurity terrify her, and for the fleshpots of fashion she would literally sell me, as she once sold herself to Godwin Palma. Repeatedly I have been urged to accept offers of marriage that revolted every instinct of my nature, that seemed insulting ...
— Infelice • Augusta Jane Evans Wilson

... nature. Paul supplied the opportunity of exhibiting this. He was naturally of immense mental stature and force. He would have been a remarkable man even if he had never become a Christian. The other apostles would have lived and died in the obscurity of Galilee if they had not been lifted into prominence by the Christian movement; but the name of Saul of Tarsus would have been remembered still in some character or other even if Christianity had never existed. Christianity got the opportunity in him of ...
— The Life of St. Paul • James Stalker

... Joe Newbolt, leap out of the obscurity of his life into the place of heroes, as he would have had his own son do, if he could have kept him by his side and fashioned his life. But that boy was gone; long years ago he had left him, and none had come after him to stand in his place. ...
— The Bondboy • George W. (George Washington) Ogden

... accumulated knowledge, delivered with the impatience and passion of one who feels too much, and has too little time to say it in, to pause for expression or ponder over his syllables." And again of his latest works—"There is in them the obscurity, but the truth, of prophecy; the instinctive and burning language, which would express less if it uttered more; which is indistinct only by its fulness, and dark with its abundant meaning. He feels now, with long-trained vividness and keenness of sense, ...
— Six Centuries of Painting • Randall Davies

... ambition being overturned, he was more than once on the point of killing himself, and for a long time was always kept in sight by his friends. He sold out at the end of the campaign. As he had been gentle and polite to his friends, they did not desert him. But he ever afterwards remained in obscurity. ...
— The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete • Duc de Saint-Simon

... accorded its deserved honor; the man who wrote it has been allowed to remain in unmerited obscurity. The Pacific coast alone, in one of the most beautiful of personal monuments,* has acknowledged his service to his country—a service which will terminate only with that country's life; for he who gives a nation its popular air, enfeoffs posterity with an inalienable gift. Yet ...
— The Star-Spangled Banner • John A. Carpenter

... His artistic Development His Art Poems His Minor Characters His Sense of Colour His Composition His Cosmopolitan Sympathies As a Dramatist As Poet of Humanity His Imagination The Influence of Shelley Intellectual Analysis His Love Poems His Lyrical Poems His Methods His Treatment of Nature His Obscurity His Originality His Treatment of the Renaissance Romantic and Classic Elements in His Spontaneity His Style Compared with Tennyson His Theory of Life His Wideness of Range ...
— The Poetry Of Robert Browning • Stopford A. Brooke

... the same year; and other agents were dispatched to Florence, Vienna, and Berlin. The representative selected for St. Petersburg spent two fruitless years there, "ignored by the court, living in obscurity and experiencing nothing but humiliation and failure." Frederick the Great, king of Prussia, expressed a desire to find in America a market for Silesian linens and woolens, but, fearing England's command of the sea, he refused to give direct aid to ...
— History of the United States • Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard

... reached the bluff they saw two horses come down the opposite bank and enter the water. Then they seemed to fade from view. The tall trees cast a dark shadow over the water and the horses had become lost in this obscurity. Col. Zane and Jonathan walked up and down the bank seeking to find a place which afforded a ...
— Betty Zane • Zane Grey

... Tradescants is involved in considerable obscurity, and the period of the arrival of the first of that name in England is not, for a certainty, known. There were, it seems, three of the Tradescants at one time in this country—grandfather, father, and son. John Tradescant (or Tradeskin, as he was generally called by his contemporaries) ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 79, May 3, 1851 • Various

... scarcely take his eyes from the tinsel-crowned Mother of Heaven, resplendent in white and gold and glittering with jewels; the radiant shield before the Host, illuminated by tall spectral candles in the mysterious obscurity of the altar, dazzled him like the rayed disk of the ...
— Selected Stories • Bret Harte

... will be more dignified, more consistent, and more proud in all its acts. Fame is to national manners little less than virtue to national morals. A nation with a high and notorious character to sustain will be more stately and firm than if it lived in obscurity. Each citizen feels that the national name which he bears is a pledge for his honour. The soldier's uniform much less surely checks the display of his vices, and an army's standard less certainly excites its valour than the name of an illustrious country stimulates its sons to greatness ...
— Thomas Davis, Selections from his Prose and Poetry • Thomas Davis

... unravel all the threads of the plot, but the spectator demands that a play should be clearly and easily intelligible. The audience, however, is sorely puzzled by the events of this awful third night after Martinmas, and resents the obscurity of all this intrigue by candlelight. Why do the various persons meet at Oestraat? Who sends them? Whence do they come and whither do they go? To these questions, no doubt, an answer can be found, and it is partly given, and very awkwardly, by the incessant ...
— Henrik Ibsen • Edmund Gosse

... acuteness of the intellect. Many young men had devoted themselves to this doctrine, and already formed a respectable body, which attracted the more attention, as Ernesti with his friends threatened, not to illuminate, but completely to disperse, the obscurity in which these delighted. Hence arose controversies, hatred, persecution, and much that was unpleasant. I attached myself to the lucid party, and sought to appropriate to myself their principles and advantages; although I ventured to forebode, that by this extremely praiseworthy, ...
— Autobiography • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

... There must be some misunderstanding, such as occurs between the warmest friends. And was not the great government his friend? Did it not send him his pension regularly? Had it not sent a special messenger to seek him out, in his obscurity, for this position; and was he not far better suited to it ...
— In Madeira Place - 1887 • Heman White Chaplin

... thickened, and I mounted to the gallery, or the corridor above the cloisters, which communicated with our own rooms. Here I paced back and forth, a moment, in obscurity, until, by means of a flash, I discovered a door, at one extremity of the passage. Bent on adventure, I pushed and it opened. As there were only moments when anything could be seen, I proceeded in utter darkness, using great caution not to fall through a trap. Had it been my happy fortune ...
— A Residence in France - With An Excursion Up The Rhine, And A Second Visit To Switzerland • J. Fenimore Cooper

... in the craft are involved in some obscurity. He may have merely carried over from college days what he then had in hand. At all events his sister Elizabeth, from whom the information comes in respect to these details, remembered a little collection which he had ...
— Nathaniel Hawthorne • George E. Woodberry

... of one, alone, (Assy), who had acquired a deplorable notoriety, these names were unknown to almost all who read them; they had suddenly emerged from utter obscurity, and people asked themselves with astonishment, with stupor, what unseen power could have given them an influence and a meaning which they did not possess in themselves. This power was the International; these names were those of some of ...
— Paris under the Commune • John Leighton

... vivid, as if brilliant particles were interfused with the gloom. Now, also, the cloud began to roll away from the mountain, while, as it heavily withdrew, one object after another started out of its impenetrable obscurity into sight, with precisely the effect of a new creation, before the indistinctness of the old chaos had been completely swallowed up. As the process went on, they saw the gleaming of water close at their feet, and found themselves on the ...
— The Great Stone Face - And Other Tales Of The White Mountains • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... trying than the day. I felt very tired, but as to turning in, that was out of the question. Hours after hours we flew on, plunging headlong through the darkness, and often, to my excited imagination, strange shrieks and cries seemed to come out of the obscurity. Once as we flew on, as I stood watching black masses of water rising on our quarter and rolling on abeam of us, I fancied that I saw a large ship, her hull with her lofty masts towering up to the skies, close to us. It appeared as if another send ...
— Marmaduke Merry - A Tale of Naval Adventures in Bygone Days • William H. G. Kingston

... perfection. When it was over, he shrugged his shoulders, wrote his magnificent Apology with a style of adamant upon a plate of steel, and left it for the outlaws of Filippo Strozzi's faction to deal with the crisis he had brought about. For some years he dragged out an ignoble life in obscurity, and died at last, as Varchi puts it, more by his own carelessness than by the watchful animosity of others. Over the wild, turbid, clever, incomprehensible, inconstant hero-artist's grave we write our Requiescat. Clio, as she takes the pen in hand to record this prayer, ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece • John Addington Symonds

... look at a new picture, which was being exhibited by gas-light in Bond Street, and she began to feel that the pleasures of London were delightful. "Don't you think those two old priests are magnificent?" she said, pressing on his arm, in the obscurity of the darkened chamber. "I don't know that I care much about ...
— Is He Popenjoy? • Anthony Trollope

... their marriage contract, as she had heroically volunteered to do. She kept her resolution, exiled herself, buried herself in obscurity, accepted the trial with calm fortitude, and was as resigned as only faithful and devoted ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume II (of 8) • Guy de Maupassant

... on him, and the shadows of failure seemed to compass him round. In one terrible passage which he wrote in a flippant novel called "The Young Duke" he speaks about the woful fate of a man who feels himself full of strength and ability, and who is nevertheless compelled to live in obscurity. The bitter sadness of this startling page catches the reader by the throat, for it is a sudden revelation of a strong man's agony. At last the toiler obtained his chance, and rose to make his first speech in the House of Commons. He was then long ...
— Side Lights • James Runciman

... were unguessed by me in the days of my obscurity. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, uneasy also, lies the wife of that head, and the best friend of the wife. I dismissed my stenographer, and spent ten or fifteen restless ...
— Sylvia's Marriage • Upton Sinclair

... such poems in translation. The translator inevitably puts more of himself than of Michael Angelo into his version. Even the first Italian editor could not let them alone. He felt he must dose them with elegance. This itching to amend the sonnets results largely from the obscurity of the text. A translator is required to be, above all things, comprehensible, and, therefore, he must interpret, he must paraphrase. He is not at liberty to retain the equivocal suggestiveness of the original. The language of a translation must be ...
— Emerson and Other Essays • John Jay Chapman

... If you shall cleave to my consent, Then 'tis,/It shall make honour for you] Macbeth expressed his thought with affected obscurity; he does not mention the royalty, though he apparently has it in his mind, If you shall cleave to my consent, if you shall concur with me when I determine to accept the crown, when 'tis, when that happens which the prediction promises, it ...
— Notes to Shakespeare, Volume III: The Tragedies • Samuel Johnson

... and found himself almost in darkness, for the big windows on either side of the door were shuttered, and only a tiny flame, like a spark, burned somewhere among the dense shadows of the interior at some distance from him. Pretending to be alarmed at the obscurity, he put out his hand gropingly, and let it light on her arm, then slip down to her warm, ...
— The Call of the Blood • Robert Smythe Hichens

... pensioned him off with a moderate allowance, and he lived in obscurity to an advanced age, carrying about with him to the last a trunk filled with the congratulatory addresses and oaths of allegiance which he had ...
— The Leading Facts of English History • D.H. Montgomery

... forms of art is wrapped in obscurity. Even in music, the youngest of the arts, the precise origin of many modern developments is largely a matter of conjecture. The history of opera, fortunately for the historian, is an exception to the rule. All the circumstances which combine to produce the idea of opera ...
— The Opera - A Sketch of the Development of Opera. With full Descriptions - of all Works in the Modern Repertory • R.A. Streatfeild

... which appear strictly national, many which are common to them all. Of our own familiar ones several may be tracked among the snows of the Latins and the Greeks, and have sometimes been drawn from "The Mines of the East:" like decayed families which remain in obscurity, they may boast of a high lineal descent whenever they recover their lost title-deeds. The vulgar proverb, "To carry coals to Newcastle," local and idiomatic as it appears, however, has been borrowed and applied by ourselves; it may be found among the Persians: in the ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... Irene!" said her friend, in a tone of deprecation. "The lightest sense of wrong gains undue magnitude the moment we begin to complain. We see almost anything to be of greater importance when from the obscurity of thought we bring it out into the daylight ...
— After the Storm • T. S. Arthur

... for children and idiots," said Laura gently. We didn't ask her whether she meant us or Tony McGinnis or both. There are some things better left in obscurity. I'd have probably said something much sharper than that if anybody had made off with my Thanksgiving turkey ...
— Lucy Maud Montgomery Short Stories, 1907 to 1908 • Lucy Maud Montgomery

... a figure that moved Miss Sherwood deeply: content to busy himself in his earthly obscurity, ever dreaming and gloating over his one great sustaining thought—that he had given his child the best chance which circumstances permitted; that he had removed himself from his child's life; that some unknown where out in the world ...
— Children of the Whirlwind • Leroy Scott

... and commerce are necessarily involved in much obscurity, and are, besides, few and faint. It is impossible to assign to them any clear and definite chronology; and they are, with a few exceptions, utterly uncircumstantial. Nevertheless, in a work like this, they ought not to be passed over without ...
— Robert Kerr's General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 18 • William Stevenson

... It was only on the brightest days that the child dared to rummage in this box. The top of it was high and it was blind fumbling unless he stood upon a chair. Then he bent over, jack-knife fashion, until the upper part of him—all above the legs—disappeared. In the obscurity—his head being gone—it must have seemed that Solomon lived upon the premises and had carried out his ugly threat in that old affair of the disputed child. Then he lifted out the papers—in particular a set of Leslie's Weekly with battle pictures of the Civil War. Once he discovered ...
— Chimney-Pot Papers • Charles S. Brooks

... stands a tall, hexagonal tower, built of chalk in four stories, with a string course between each. The signs of age it bears and the remarkable obscurity surrounding its origin and purpose would suggest great antiquity, and yet there seems little doubt that the tower is at the very earliest Elizabethan. The chalk, being extremely soft, has weathered away to such an extent that the harder stone of the ...
— Yorkshire Painted And Described • Gordon Home

... then beginning to emerge from obscurity, was entrusted with the task of repression. With such a leader action was swift and energetic. Vigorously pounded with ball near the church at St. Roch, the insurgents fled, leaving some hundreds of ...
— The Psychology of Revolution • Gustave le Bon

... vestibule. His blood stood still with horror, he stared into the dusky hall. The little oil lamps which hung on both sides of the door leading into the Electoral Prince's apartments shed abroad only a glimmering, uncertain light, and left the background enveloped in gloom and obscurity. ...
— The Youth of the Great Elector • L. Muhlbach

... fact, to us of the government, the Brende model was not indispensable. The greatest factor was that the threat of Tarrano's universal conquest must be forever removed. Like a rocket-bomb, this man of genius had risen from obscurity—had all but conquered the three greatest ...
— Tarrano the Conqueror • Raymond King Cummings

... that this question has been argued only by tyrannical or very silly men, who found it difficult to get rid of the absurd prejudices which retain the finest half of human nature in slavery, and condemn it to obscurity under the pretext that it is essentially corrupted. Towards the end of the 15th century a certain demented writer attempted to prove that women do not even deserve the title of reasonable creatures, which in the original sounds oddly enough, namely, probare nititur ...
— The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims - Volume I (of II) • Andrew Steinmetz

... praised for honesty. It is wholly free from the artifices of the rhetorician; if it is wanting in charm, it is never weak; if it is sometimes obscure, it must be remembered that the author does not write for readers who find it a trouble to think. The bishop's obscurity was not due to negligence. 'Confusion and perplexity in writing,' he says, 'is indeed without excuse; because anyone may, if he pleases, know whether he understands and sees through what he is about; and it is unpardonable for a man to lay his thoughts before others when ...
— The Age of Pope - (1700-1744) • John Dennis

... valuable and clearer continuity of the narrative is almost always obtained. For instance, in the existing narrative certain repetitions keep on occurring; one of these, especially, is connected with a difference in the matters of fact related, introducing no slight difficulty and obscurity." [Footnote: Vol. ...
— Who Wrote the Bible? • Washington Gladden

... difficulties. The birth of a "species" has often been compared with that of an "individual." The origin, however, of even an individual animal or plant (that which determines an embryo to evolve itself,—as, e.g., a spider rather than a beetle, a rose-plant {2} rather than a pear) is shrouded in obscurity. A fortiori must this be the case with the origin of ...
— On the Genesis of Species • St. George Mivart

... see that the turn of the tide has left the dregs of the old system to corrupt the new. For the same pride of office, the same desire of power are still visible; with this aggravation, that, fearing to return to obscurity after having but just acquired a relish for distinction, each hero, or philosopher, for all are dubbed with these new titles, endeavours to make hay while the sun shines; and every petty municipal officer, become the idol, or rather the tyrant of the day, stalks ...
— Posthumous Works - of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman • Mary Wollstonecraft

... in compressing into a small compass all the leading events of history, without the slightest obscurity, or without sinking her book into a ...
— The World's Fair • Anonymous

... medical men in this Country employ the word infection and contagion in various senses, I shall, generally substitute transmissible or communicable, to avoid obscurity.] ...
— Letters on the Cholera Morbus. • James Gillkrest

... sad, with a wild and savage silence. She either laughs in wild peals, or weeps moaning. She has not the gentle smile, the joyful brightness that distinguishes the man from the animal. If she laughs it is showing all her teeth; her inner meaning is always gloomy, with the obscurity of a cavern in which all passions rage like wild beasts ...
— The Shadow of the Cathedral • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... under more favourable circumstances than are accorded to most of my countrywomen. Our republican simplicity, Mr. Glascock, has this drawback, that away from home it subjects us somewhat to the cold shade of unobserved obscurity. That it possesses merits which much more than compensate for this trifling evil I should be the last man in Europe to deny." It is to be observed that American citizens are always prone to talk of Europe. It affords ...
— He Knew He Was Right • Anthony Trollope

... was a small cellar built beneath the level of the ground. An iron grating at the top of the wall admitted one blanched wink of light, but the place was bathed in obscurity. A wooden ladder led down to the cell from a hole in the ceiling, and this hole also gave a spark of brightness and some little air to the room. The walls were of stone covered with plaster, but the plaster had fallen away in many places leaving ...
— The Crock of Gold • James Stephens

... The reasons why the Cockpit at Whitehall has remained so long in obscurity (its history is here attempted for the first time) are obvious. Some scholars have confused it with the public playhouse of the same name, a confusion which persons in the days of Charles avoided by invariably saying "The ...
— Shakespearean Playhouses - A History of English Theatres from the Beginnings to the Restoration • Joseph Quincy Adams

... together, and Shelley may have been thinking of this passage amongst others when, on September 6, 1819, he wrote to Ollier:—'In the "Rosalind and Helen" I see there are some few errors, which are so much the worse because they are errors in the sense.' The obscurity, however, may have been, in part at least, designed: Rosalind grows incoherent before breaking off abruptly. No satisfactory emendation ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley Volume I • Percy Bysshe Shelley

... secretly during the night and separation was necessary immediately afterward, therefore from time to time, not only Zbyszko, but everybody was filled with sadness. The conversation was broken. From time to time, also the fire was quenched and plunged all heads in obscurity. Then the ksiondz Wyszoniek threw fresh logs on the charcoal and when something whined in the wood, as happens very often when the ...
— The Knights of the Cross • Henryk Sienkiewicz

... the consequences of his displeasure. It may, however, be safely doubted, whether a monarch, who had actually performed the achievements above narrated, would have been scandalized by those imputed to him in the text. In other respects, the distance and obscurity of the events gave a poet the same authority over them, as if they had occurred in the annals of past ages; a circumstance in which Dryden's age widely differed from ours, when so much has our intimacy increased with the Oriental world, ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Volume 5 (of 18) - Amboyna; The state of Innocence; Aureng-Zebe; All for Love • John Dryden

... above. On bright days a cheerful light lay along the floor and dust motes danced in its luminous shaft. And always there was cobwebbed stillness. But on dark days, when the roof pattered and the branches of trees scratched the shingles and when windows rattled, a deeper obscurity crept out of the corners. Yet was there little fear in the place. This was the front garret where the theatre was, with the practicable curtain. But when the darker mood was on us, there was the back garret. It was six steps lower and over it the roof crouched as if to hide its secrets. The ...
— Journeys to Bagdad • Charles S. Brooks

... my importunity. I intimated to him plainly, that the only way to do justice to his own assertion and arguments regarding the present state of the Inquisition, was to show me the prisons and the captives. I should then describe only what I saw; but now the subject was left in awful obscurity. "Lead me down," said I, "to the inner building, and let me pass through the two hundred dungeons, ten feet square, described by your former captives. Let me count the number of your present captives, ...
— Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal • Sarah J Richardson

... pleasure, and acquire a larger portion of fame, if, instead of being an imitator, he did justice to his talents, and ventured to be more an original. These two Odes, it must be confessed, breath[e] much of the spirit of Pindar, but then they have caught the seeming obscurity, the sudden transition, and hazardous epithet, of his mighty master; all which, though evidently intended for beauties, will, probably, be regarded as blemishes, by the generality of his Readers. In short, they are in some measure, a representation ...
— Early Reviews of English Poets • John Louis Haney

... Thus he groped and wandered, until he became aware that the gloom of the corridor had gradually deepened, and that the tiny opening in the rock were now far less frequent than at the outset. Even to his eyes, by this time accustomed to obscurity, the darkness grew portentous, and at every step he stumbled against some unseen projection, or bruised his hands in vain efforts to discover a returning path. Too late he began to apprehend that he was nearly lost in the heart of the mountain. Either the windings of the labyrinth ...
— Dreams and Dream Stories • Anna (Bonus) Kingsford

... words that can be found in the compass of the language, to express the thing meant: these few words being also arranged in the most straightforward and intelligible way; allowing inversion only when the subject can be made primary without obscurity: (thus, "his present, and your pains, we thank you for" is better than "we thank you for his present and your pains," because the Dauphin's gift is by courtesy put before the Ambassador's pains; but "when to these balls our rackets we have matched" would ...
— On the Old Road, Vol. 2 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... constitution and their forms of proceeding; and I know not how to descend to these minutiae without wearying the curiosity of the reader by the natural aridity of the subject, or without risking to fall into obscurity through a desire to be succinct. I can scarcely hope to escape these various evils; for if I appear too prolix to a man of the world, a lawyer may on the other hand complain of my brevity. But these are the natural disadvantages ...
— American Institutions and Their Influence • Alexis de Tocqueville et al

... a retired spot, inoffensive from its obscurity, safe in its remoteness from the haunts of despots, where the little church of Leyden might enjoy freedom of conscience? Behold the mighty regions over which in peaceful conquest—victoria sine clade—they have borne the banners of ...
— The United States in the Light of Prophecy • Uriah Smith

... remarkable but no very interesting features. The classical notices, apart from the tales which Ctesias originated, are limited to a few sentences in Abydenus, and a word or two in Polyhistor. Thus nearly the same obscurity which enfolds the earlier portion of the history gathers about the monarch in whose person the empire terminated; and instead of the ample details which have crowded upon us now for many consecutive reigns, we shall be reduced to a meagre outline, ...
— The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria • George Rawlinson

... way he picked up a couple of like kind with himself—two sloops off Madagascar. With these he sailed away to the coast of India, and for a time his name was lost in the obscurity of uncertain history. But only for a time, for suddenly it flamed out in a blaze of glory. It was reported that a vessel belonging to the Great Mogul, laden with treasure and bearing the monarch's own daughter upon a holy pilgrimage to Mecca (they being Mohammedans), had fallen ...
— Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates • Howard I. Pyle

... secured our success by the address of some agents among the common soldiers, men by their very obscurity fitted for the accomplishment of such a task, and now excited by the expectation of reward, at sunrise, as soon as the east began to redden, a band of armed men suddenly sallied forth, and, as is common in critical moments, behaving ...
— The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus • Ammianus Marcellinus

... first number of the Spectator may be compared to those of a fond Parent, when he beholds a beloved child about to embark on the troubled Ocean of public Life. Perhaps the iron hand of Criticism may crush our humble undertaking, ere it is strengthened by time. Or it may pine in obscurity neglected and forgotten by those, with whose assistance it might become the Pride and Ornament of our Country.... We beg leave farther to remark that in order to carry on any enterprise with spirit MONEY ...
— A Study Of Hawthorne • George Parsons Lathrop

... Renovales passed from obscurity to the light of apotheosis. The older men whose duty it was to judge his work became benevolent and extended kindly sympathy. The little tiger was getting tame. Renovales had seen the world and now he was coming back to the good traditions; he was going to be a painter like ...
— Woman Triumphant - (La Maja Desnuda) • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... de la Chanterie, whose family had fallen into obscurity, though it dates from the Crusade of Philip Augustus, was anxious to recover the rank and position which this ancient lineage properly gave him in the province of Normandy. This gentleman had doubly derogated from his rightful station; for he ...
— The Brotherhood of Consolation • Honore de Balzac

... of Amerigo is enshrouded in the obscurity which envelops that of the average boy in whatever age, for no one divined that he would become great or famous, and hence he was not provided with a biographer. This is unfortunate, of course, but we must console ourselves with the thought that he was not unusually precocious, and probably ...
— Amerigo Vespucci • Frederick A. Ober

... where wretched wigwams stood, the miserable abodes of savages, we behold the foundations of cities laid, that, in all probability, will rival the glory of the greatest upon earth. And we view Kentucke situated on the fertile banks of the great Ohio, rising from obscurity to shine with splendor, equal to any other of the stars of ...
— The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone • John Filson

... person of W. C. Brann. Nature fashioned him to be a power among his fellow men. By industry, by hard study, by careful observation, by diligent research, by interminable effort, he rose from comparative obscurity to teach and impress the civilized world. In the person of W. C. Brann we have an illustration of what may be expected in a country like ours. He was a natural product of our American democracy. He was a star that rose by dint ...
— Volume 12 of Brann The Iconoclast • William Cowper Brann

... the case came to trial. Everybody remembers it,—how for six weeks it was the daily food of Calaveras County; how for six weeks the intellectual and moral and spiritual competency of Mr. James Byways to dispose of his property was discussed with learned and formal obscurity in the court, and with unlettered and independent prejudice by camp-fires and in bar-rooms. At the end of that time, when it was logically established that at least nine-tenths of the population of Calaveras were harmless lunatics, ...
— The Twins of Table Mountain and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... dispelled by his restoration, so also might they hope that their anxiety about Tom would be dispelled. True, he had been lost to them for a much longer time, and his absence was certainly surrounded by a more terrible obscurity than any which had been connected with that of Solomon. Yet this one favorable circumstance served to show them that all might not be so dark as they had feared. Thus, therefore, they began to be more sanguine, and to hope that when they reached St. John, some tidings of the ...
— Lost in the Fog • James De Mille

... has become very interesting to me. No one of importance lives near it, and the occupants of its houses, realizing their social submergence and pecuniary impotence, have too long existed in the protection of obscurity to venture into the publicity which civic attention necessitates, and on first acquaintance it is not attractive. I agree with my friends in that. I did not come here because I thought it was an attractive place in which ...
— People Like That • Kate Langley Bosher

... the pride and the hope of the McNultys—especially of her mother. This ambitious lady had lived long in obscurity—a prosperous, well-fed obscurity, but an obscurity all the same—and now she was tired of it and was rebelling against it and was meaning to emerge from it. Every inch of her tall, meagre figure was straining with the wish ...
— Under the Skylights • Henry Blake Fuller

... on and wrapped the country in obscurity, and in the distance, in a meadow, he saw a dark spot on the grass; it was a cow, and so he got over the ditch by the roadside and went up to her without exactly knowing what he was doing. When he got close to her she raised her great head to him, and ...
— Une Vie, A Piece of String and Other Stories • Guy de Maupassant

... assaults of hostile rage? Such war can Virtue wage, Virtue, that bears the sacred shield of Truth! Alas! full oft on Guilt's victorious car The spoils of Virtue are in triumph borne; While the fair captive, marked with many a scar, In lone obscurity, oppressed, forlorn, Resigns to tears her angel form. Ill-fated youth, then, whither wilt thou fly? No friend, no shelter now is nigh, And onward ...
— The Minstrel; or the Progress of Genius - with some other poems • James Beattie

... have been an Athenian by birth, and of noble extraction. His extraordinary piety and learning, (it is added,) drew the admiration of the world upon him in such a manner, that it was impossible for him to enjoy, in his own country, that obscurity and retirement which was the chief object of his desires on earth." Having sailed for France, he spent many years in the wild deserts near the mouth of the Rhone, and afterwards in a forest in the diocese ...
— The Works of John Knox, Vol. 1 (of 6) • John Knox

... historic material, which ought to be given to the world. He loaned her money, which he did not expect to be repaid, and exerted himself to find a publisher for her, recollecting perhaps the vows he had made to the gods in the days of his own obscurity. He mentions in his diary calling on the Rutledges for this purpose—where he saw Charles Reade, a tall, strong-looking man, just leaving the office. He also wrote to Ticknor & Fields, and finally did get Miss Bacon's volume brought out in London. The critics treated it in a contemptuous manner, ...
— The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne • Frank Preston Stearns

... practical illustration, and his petition was carried through with a majority of only two votes! These two votes to the good were enough, however, to save the wonderful discovery, perhaps from present obscurity, and with the thirty thousand dollars appropriated by Congress Morse stretched his first wires from Washington to Baltimore—wires, it will be noted, because the principle of the ground circuit was ...
— The Romance of Old New England Rooftrees • Mary Caroline Crawford

... he appeased his wife's suspicions I will not trouble you, partly because I could not follow them myself, owing to the obscurity of the plot at its most critical moment. Enough that all ends well with her firmly-expressed resolution that in the future she will herself do ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, August 25th, 1920 • Various

... transcript from Bulb de Tristibus. I will keep your secret, though I am persuaded that a man who had composed such a funeral oration on his master had himself fully intended that its flowers should not bloom and wither in obscurity.' ...
— The Wits and Beaux of Society - Volume 2 • Grace & Philip Wharton

... understanding of men. In the latter, if common reason ventures to depart from the laws of experience and from the perceptions of the senses, it falls into mere inconceivabilities and self-contradictions, at least into a chaos of uncertainty, obscurity, and instability. But in the practical sphere it is just when the common understanding excludes all sensible springs from practical laws that its power of judgement begins to show itself to advantage. It then becomes ...
— Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals • Immanuel Kant

... incapable of ascending to his position in the world, and he had loved her well enough to sink into obscurity with her. Was history about to repeat itself ...
— The Beggar Man • Ruby Mildred Ayres

... thy Friend, I am Reuenge sent from th' infernall Kingdome, To ease the gnawing Vulture of the mind, By working wreakefull vengeance on my Foes: Come downe and welcome me to this worlds light, Conferre with me of Murder and of Death, Ther's not a hollow Caue or lurking place, No Vast obscurity, or Misty vale, Where bloody Murther or detested Rape, Can couch for feare, but I will finde them out, And in their eares tell them my dreadfull name, Reuenge, which makes the foule ...
— The First Folio [35 Plays] • William Shakespeare

... explained how this disturbed balance becomes an inexhaustible source of electrical energy, capable of pouring forth a constant and copious supply of electrical fluid, though without any means of replenishing itself from other sources. This subject, it must be owned, is involved in too much obscurity to enable us to speak very decidedly in favour of any theory. But, in order to avoid perplexing you with different explanations, I shall confine myself to one which appears to me to be least encumbered with difficulties, and most likely to ...
— Conversations on Chemistry, V. 1-2 • Jane Marcet

... the tenth, and he went forward timidly, and took a seat directly in the centre of the House. He did not care to seem anxious for a front seat. The Democratic members looked at him closely, and he stepped out of his obscurity as ...
— A Spoil of Office - A Story of the Modern West • Hamlin Garland

... half-breed, with coarse black hair hanging from a scarlet handkerchief bound smooth over his head. He was of a sinewy, muscular build, his coppery skin, hard black eyes, and high cheek bones showing the blood of his mother, a Crow squaw. His father, long forgotten in the obscurity of mountain history, had evidently bequeathed him the French Canadian's good-humored gayety. Zavier was a light-hearted and merry fellow, and where he came laughter sprang up. He spoke English well, and could ...
— The Emigrant Trail • Geraldine Bonner

... it, if he persists in his downward course he must take the consequences. Charles has had every advantage; when other young lawyers have had to battle year after year with obscurity and poverty, he entered into a business that was already established and flourishing. What other men were struggling for, he found ready made to his hand, and if he chooses to throw away every advantage and make a complete wreck of himself, ...
— Sowing and Reaping • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

... Socialist Party, we can talk to them inside of our ranks, talk of the higher philosophy and of the logical consequences of our explanation of society and nature.... We should not go out in our propaganda among people that are as yet unconvinced and are still groping in ignorance and obscurity, and tell them that they first must become materialists before they can become members of the Socialist Party. No. This declaration that religion is a private matter does not mean that it is not a social matter or class matter at the same time. It merely means that we shall bide our ...
— The Red Conspiracy • Joseph J. Mereto

... heard by the Chapter had been chiefly cases of debt, and under the new constitution they were authorized to hold a court, which was called the Canon Fee Court, for cases of debt and other civil cases. Some obscurity exists as to the mediaeval relation of the Archbishop to the town. There was, of course, a town council, and its president the Wakeman[26] (an official peculiar to Ripon) had charge of what would now be called ...
— Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Ripon - A Short History of the Church and a Description of Its Fabric • Cecil Walter Charles Hallett

... of Samaria; I feel a passion for glory; give me leave to seek it amidst the perils of war. My father, the sultan of Harran, has many enemies. Why does he not call me to his assistance? Why does he leave me here so long in obscurity? Must I spend my life in sloth, when all my brothers have the happiness to be fighting by his side?" "My son," answered Pirouz, "I am no less impatient to have your name become famous; I could wish you had already signalized yourself against your father's enemies; but we must wait till he requires ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 3 • Anon.



Words linked to "Obscurity" :   namelessness, standing, nowhere, anonymity, clarity, abstruseness, oblivion, reconditeness, obscureness, humbleness, obscure, limbo, semidarkness, lowliness, unimportance, incomprehensibility, prominence



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