Night my banner, and my herald Fear.
A lot of people think that scuttling around stencilling images onto buildings in the middle of the night is the action of a sad, frustrated individual who can't get attention or recognition any other way. They might be right, but I've done gallery shows and, if you've been hitting on people with all sorts of images in all sorts of places, they're a real step backwards, painting the streets means becoming an actual part of the city. It's not a spectator sport.
Between the daylight gambler and the player at night there is the same difference that lies between a careless husband and the lover swooning under his ladys window.
In the evening I study a fair (for his later painting Luna park in Paris, he made in 1900, ed.) if you could see the pomp and luxury of the merry-go-round and the stands and booths. Everything is decorated in Baroque-style, all gold and silver; there are mirrors, fabrics, and electric lightning. By night the whole thing is fantastic and rowdy. First of all I shall make a small picture and some drawings for illustrations.
Id work eighteen-hour stretches and fall asleep in my clothes. Then Id wake up in the middle of the night, brew a pot of tea, and start work again. I was tired, but work had become pure enjoyment.
You are living on a Plane. What you style Flatland is the vast level surface of what I may call a fluid, on, or in, the top of which you and your countrymen move about, without rising above it or falling below it.
I am not a plane Figure, but a Solid. You call me a Circle; but in reality I am not a Circle, but an infinite number of Circles, of size varying from a Point to a Circle of thirteen inches in diameter, one placed on the top of the other. When I cut through your plane as I am now doing, I make in your plane a section which you, very rightly, call a Circle. For even a Sphere which is my proper name in my own country if he manifest himself at all to an inhabitant of Flatland must needs manifest himself as a Circle.
Do you not remember for I, who see all things, discerned last night the phantasmal vision of Lineland written upon your brain do you not remember, I say, how, when you entered the realm of Lineland, you were compelled to manifest yourself to the King, not as a Square, but as a Line, because that Linear Realm had not Dimensions enough to represent the whole of you, but only a slice or section of you? In precisely the same way, your country of Two Dimensions is not spacious enough to represent me, a being of Three, but can only exhibit a slice or section of me, which is what you call a Circle.
The diminished brightness of your eye indicates incredulity. But now prepare to receive proof positive of the truth of my assertions. You cannot indeed see more than one of my sections, or Circles, at a time; for you have no power to raise your eye out of the plane of Flatland; but you can at least see that, as I rise in Space, so my sections become smaller. See now, I will rise; and the effect upon your eye will be that my Circle will become smaller and smaller till it dwindles to a point and finally vanishes.
There was no "rising" that I could see; but he diminished and finally vanished. I winked once or twice to make sure that I was not dreaming. But it was no dream. For from the depths of nowhere came forth a hollow voice close to my heart it seemed "Am I quite gone? Are you convinced now? Well, now I will gradually return to Flatland and you shall see my section become larger and larger."
Every reader in Spaceland will easily understand that my mysterious Guest was speaking the language of truth and even of simplicity. But to me, proficient though I was in Flatland Mathematics, it was by no means a simple matter.
In Paris a queer little man you may see,
A little man all in gray;
Rosy and round as an apple is he,
Content with the present whate'er it may be,
While from care and from cash he is equally free,
And merry both night and day!
"Ma foi! I laugh at the world." says he,
"I laugh at the world, and the world laughs at me!"
What a gay little man in gray.
The rainy night when I am standing wearing armor with sword and shield in my hand and looking again and again towards the eastern horizon, waiting for sun to rise so that I could start the battle.
Many persons get nothing out of their fasts but hunger and thirst, many more get nothing out of their night prayers but exertions and sleepless nights. Wise and sagacious persons are praiseworthy even if they do not fast and sleep during the nights.
Her cabind, ample Spirit,
It flutterd and faild for breath.
To-night it doth inherit
The vasty Hall of Death.
Poets, I dare you to choose, for one night, the ambrosia over the ashes.
There must be justice, not charity. Kindness is solitary. Compassion becomes one with him whom we pity; it allows us to fathom him, to understand him alone amongst the rest; but it blurs and befogs the laws of the whole. I must set off with a clear idea, like the beam of a lighthouse through the deformities and temptations of night.
The others, one by one, straighten themselves. The storm is falling more heavily on the expanse of flayed and martyred fields. The day is full of night.
Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earths shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
Yes, thou art gone! and round me too the night
In ever-nearing circle weaves her shade.
I see her veil draw soft across the day,
I feel her slowly chilling breath invade
The cheek grown thin, the brown hair sprent with grey;
I feel her finger light
Laid pausefully upon lifes headlong train;
The foot less prompt to meet the morning dew,
The heart less bounding at emotion new,
And hope, once crushd, less quick to spring again.
Still nursing the unconquerable hope,
Still clutching the inviolable shade,
With a free, onward impulse brushing through,
By night, the silverd branches of the glade.
The day in his hotness,
The strife with the palm;
The night in her silence,
The stars in their calm.
There is no drop more loved by God than a teardrop that falls in the dark of the night from fear of God, meant solely for Him and no one else.
Art is always aimed (like a rifle, if you wish) at the middle class. The working class has its own culture and will have no truck with fanciness of any kind. The upper class owns the world and thus needs know no more about the world than is necessary for its orderly exploitation. The notion that art cuts across class boundaries to stir the hearts of hoe hand and Morgan alike is, at best, a fiction useful to the artist, his Hail Mary. It is the poor puzzled bourgeoisie that is sufficiently uncertain, sufficiently hopeful, to pay attention to art. It follows (as the night the day) that the bourgeoisie should get it in the neck.
Ah! when shall it dawn on the night of the grave!
But when shall spring visit the mouldering urn?
Oh when shall it dawn on the night of the grave?
Look at the ocean!
Never seen anything like that!
What? A sail? A fin? Smoke?
The light is sunk.
Pah! We all knew that.
There was a bit left.
And the horizon? Nothing on the horizon?
What in God's name could there be on the horizon? (Pause.)
The waves, how are the waves?
The waves? (He turns the telescope on the waves.) Lead.
And the sun?
But it should be sinking. Look again.
Damn the sun.
Is it night already then?
Then what is it?
Gray. (Lowering the telescope, turning towards Hamm, louder.) Gray! (Pause. Still louder.) GRRAY! (Pause. He gets down, approaches Hamm from behind, whispers in his ear.)
Gray! Did I hear you say gray?
Light black. From pole to pole.
Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time! It's abominable! When! When! One day, is that not enough for you, one day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we'll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you? (Calmer.) They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.
I begin my work at about nine or ten o'clock in the evening and continue until four or five in the morning. Night is a more quiet time to work. It aids thought.