There are all degrees of proficiency in the use men make of this instructive world where we are boarded and schooled and apprenticed. It is sufficient to our present purpose to indicate three degrees of progress.One class lives to the utility of the symbol, as the majority of men do, regarding health and wealth as the chief good. Another class live about this mark to the beauty of the symbol; as the poet and artist and the sensual school in philosophy. A third class live above the beauty of the symbol to the beauty of the thing signified and these are wise men. The first class have common sense; the second, taste; and the third spiritual perception.I see in society the neophytes of all these classes, the class especially of young men who in their best knowledge of the sign have a misgiving that there is yet an unattained substance and they grope and sigh and aspire long in dissatisfaction, the sand-blind adorers of the symbol meantime chirping and scoffing and trampling them down. I see moreover that the perfect man - one to a millennium - if so many, traverses the whole scale and sees and enjoys the symbol solidly; then also has a clear eye for its beauty; and lastly wears it lightly as a robe which he can easily throw off, for he sees the reality and divine splendor of the inmost nature bursting through each chink and cranny.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sweet for a little even to fear and sweet, O love, to lay down fear at love’s fair feet; Shall not some fiery memory of his breath Lie sweet on lips that touch the lips of death? Yet leave me not; yet, if thou wilt, be free;Love me no more, but love my love of thee. Love where thou wilt and live thy life; and I, One thing I can and one love cannot—die. Pass from me; yet thine arms, thine eyes, thine hair, Feed my desire and deaden my despair.Yet once more ere time change us, ere my cheek Whiten, ere hope be dumb or sorrow speak, Yet once more ere thou hate me, one full kiss; Keep other hours for others, save me this. Yea and I will not (if it please thee) weep,Lest thou be sad; I will but sigh and sleep. Sweet, does death hurt? thou canst not do me wrong: I shall not lack thee, as I loved thee, long. Hast thou not given me above all that live Joy and a little sorrow shalt not give?What even though fairer fingers of strange girls Pass nestling through thy beautiful boy’s curls As mine did, or those curled lithe lips of thine Meet theirs as these, all theirs come after mine; And though I were not, though I be not, best,I have loved and love thee more than all the rest. O love, O lover, loose or hold me fast, I had thee first, whoever have thee last; Fairer or not, what need I know, what care? To thy fair bud my blossom once seemed fair.Why am I fair at all before thee, why At all desired? seeing thou art fair, not I. I shall be glad of thee, O fairest head, Alive, alone, without thee, with thee, dead; I shall remember while the light lives yet,And in the night-time I shall not forget. Though (as thou wilt) thou leave me ere life leave, I will not, for thy love I will not, grieve; Not as they use who love not more than I, Who love not as I love thee though I die;And though thy lips, once mine, be oftener prest To many another brow and balmier breast, And sweeter arms, or sweeter to thy mind, Lull thee or lure, more fond thou wilt not find.
Algernon Charles Swinburne
I would be unfair to myself if I said I did not try. I did, even if desultorily. But desire is a curious thing. If it does not exist it does not exist and there is nothing you can do to conjure it up. Worse still, as I discovered, when desire begins to sink, like a capsizing ship it takes down a lot with it. In our case it took down the conversation, the laughter, the sharing, the concern, the dreams and nearly - the most important thing, the most important thing - and nearly the affection too. Soon my sinking desire had taken everything else down with it to the floor of the sea and only affection remained like the bobbing hand of a drowning man, poised perilously between life and death. More than once she tried to seize the moment and open up the issue. She did it with a hard face and a soft face; she did it when I was idling on the terrace and when I was in the thick of my works; first thing in the morning and last thing at night. We need to talk.Yes.Do you want to talk?Sure.What's happening?I don't know.Is there someone else?No.Is it something I did?Oh no.Then what the hell's happening?I don't know.Is there anything you want to talk to me about?I don't know.What do you mean you don't know?I don't know.What do you mean you don't know?I don't know. That's what I mean - I don't know.Toc toc toc. All the while I tried to save that bobbing hand - of affection - from vanishing. I felt somehow that if it drowned there would not be a single pointer on the wide stormy surface to show me where our great love had once stood. That bobbing hand of affection was a marker, a buoy, holding out the hope that one day we could salvage the sunken ship. If it drowned, our coordinates would be completely lost and we would not know where to even begin looking. Even in my weird state, it was an image of such desolation that it made my heart lurch wildly. *** For a long time, with her immense pride in herself - in us - she did not turn to anyone for help. Not friends, not family. For simply too long she imagined this was a passing phase, but then, as the weeks rolled by, through slow accretion the awful truth began to settle on her. By then she had run through all the plays of a relationship: withdrawal, sulking, anger, seduction, inquisition, affection, threat. Logic, love, lust.Now the epitaph was beginning to creep up on her. Acceptance. 
Tarun J. Tejpal