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Vagueness   Listen
noun
Vagueness  n.  The quality or state of being vague.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Vagueness" Quotes from Famous Books



... on the other side, detesting plush, more than once accosted with leaflets, shifted irritably. He abhorred vagueness— the Christian religion, for example, and old Dean Parker's pronouncements. Dean Parker wrote books and Fraser utterly destroyed them by force of logic and left his children unbaptized—his wife did it secretly ...
— Jacob's Room • Virginia Woolf

... eyes lost all their vagueness. Either Miss Cahere had hit the mark with her second shot, or else he was making a mental note of the fact that Mr. Mangles belonged to that amiable body of amateurs, the ...
— The Vultures • Henry Seton Merriman

... man running at the nose. In short, he ascribed the highest form of existence to ideals and abstractions. This was a new and sophisticated republication of savage animism. It invited lesser minds than his to indulge in all sorts of noble vagueness and impertinent jargon which continue to curse our popular discussions of human affairs. He consecrated one of the chief foibles of the human mind, and elevated it to ...
— The Necessity of Atheism • Dr. D.M. Brooks

... to most minds is perhaps less the mere existence of the unseen than the want of definition, the apparently hopeless vagueness, and not least, the delight in this vagueness as mere vagueness by some who look upon this as the mark of quality in Spiritual things. It will be at least something to tell earnest seekers that the Spiritual World is not a castle in the air, ...
— Beautiful Thoughts • Henry Drummond

... nothing better than to be a man; what worried him—and it is perhaps a proof that his instinct was gravely at fault—was a certain vagueness as to the constituents of that character. He should approximate more nearly, as it seemed to him, to the brute were he to sacrifice in such an effort the decencies and pieties—holy things all of them—in ...
— The Reverberator • Henry James

... courteous vagueness. "Really, I am afraid I did not hear of it. My poor wife has her own little ideas about ...
— The Shuttle • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... truth was, he acknowledged, settling back in the chair, that the situation was threatening to unnerve him completely. Everything he'd seen implied McAllen's letter came close to stating the facts; what wasn't said became more alarming by a suggestion of deliberate vagueness. Until that melodramatically camouflaged door was disclosed—seventeen hours from now—he'd be better off if he didn't try ...
— Gone Fishing • James H. Schmitz

... that he would be immediately dismissed and sent home in disgrace; but her dream, and the glimpse she had caught of her uncle and the observant stranger, who, as she saw, still maintained his position, suggested worse consequences, whose very vagueness made them all the ...
— A Knight Of The Nineteenth Century • E. P. Roe

... the panorama filled the place now taken by the stereopticon; and though its crude pictures lacked the photographic truth of lantern slides, they were by no means devoid of interest. In fact, their gorgeousness of color, and the vagueness of detail that allowed each to represent several scenes, according to the pleasure of the lecturer, rendered them quite as popular, if not so ...
— Raftmates - A Story of the Great River • Kirk Munroe

... once more,—an odious being, whom Johnny was determined to sacrifice to his vengeance, if cause for such sacrifice should occur. And thus thinking of the real truth of his love, he endeavoured to excuse himself to himself from that charge of vagueness and laxness which his friend Conway Dalrymple had brought against him. And then again he accused himself of the same sin. If he had been positively in earnest, with downright manly earnestness, would he have ...
— The Last Chronicle of Barset • Anthony Trollope

... My reasons for vagueness are mandatory, to my mind. Feuds in the Umbrian mountains differ greatly from feuds in the Sabine hills; but, like Sabinum, Umbria is afflicted with feuds. Now I anticipate that this book will not only be widely read ...
— Andivius Hedulio • Edward Lucas White

... keeping the fire bright. Then we washed up and prepared for the night, and, once smoking, our minds unoccupied with any definite duties, the apprehension I had felt all day long became more and more acute. It was not then active fear, I think, but the very vagueness of its origin distressed me far more than if I had been able to ticket and face it squarely. The curious sound I have likened to the note of a gong became now almost incessant, and filled the stillness of the night with a faint, continuous ringing rather than a series of distinct notes. ...
— Famous Modern Ghost Stories • Various

... the long line of Judean, Samarian, and Galilean summits, Olivet, and Ebal, and Gerizim, and Gilboa, and Tabor, rolling away to the northward, growing ever fairer with the promise of fertile valleys between them and rich plains beyond them, and fading at last into the azure vagueness of the highlands round the ...
— Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land - Impressions of Travel in Body and Spirit • Henry Van Dyke

... her eyes, and blinded her as she heard. Even in the amaze and the vagueness of this first knowledge of the cause of his exile she felt instinctively, as the Little One also had done, that some great sacrifice, some great fortitude and generosity, lay within this sealed secret of his sufferance of wrong. She knew, too, that it would ...
— Under Two Flags • Ouida [Louise de la Ramee]

... It was a queer laugh. There was incredulity, uncertainty, a sense of vagueness in it; it suggested that ...
— Ravensdene Court • J. S. (Joseph Smith) Fletcher

... of inclining her head, her long, light-brown hair, the golden sheen of her slightly sunburnt neck and shoulders, and especially her straight nose—all these held me fascinated. Although in her sidelong glances I could read a certain wildness and disdain, although in her smile there was a certain vagueness, yet—such is the force of predilections—that straight nose of hers drove me crazy. I fancied that I had found Goethe's Mignon—that queer creature of his German imagination. And, indeed, there was a good deal of similarity between ...
— A Hero of Our Time • M. Y. Lermontov

... war. This not only reviewed the common history of the two nations for three hundred years, and suggested a programme for making the bonds tighter yet, but it brought the British public practical assurances as to America's intentions in the conflict. Up to that time there had been much vagueness and doubt; no official voice had spoken the clear word for the United States; the British public did not know what to expect from their kinsmen overseas. But after Page's Plymouth speech the people of Great Britain looked forward with complete confidence to the cooeperation ...
— The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page, Volume II • Burton J. Hendrick

... we not foolish waiting for such fools? Let us be off!" I stooped, took, shook the reins With one hand, while the other clasped her waist. "Ah, who?" she turned; I smiled like amorous Zeus; A certain vagueness clouded her wild eyes As though she saw a swan, a bull, a shower Of hurried flames, and felt divinely pleased. I cracked the whip and we were jolted down; A kiss was snatched getting the ribbons straight; We hardly heard them first begin to bawl, ...
— Georgian Poetry 1911-12 • Various

... behind the columns, a taper was burning, before which knelt a woman, making a vow; the dim flame seemed lost in the vagueness of the arches. Gaud experienced there the feeling of a long-forgotten impression: that kind of sadness and fear that she had felt when quite young at being taken to mass at Paimpol Church on raw, ...
— An Iceland Fisherman • Pierre Loti

... masters—vulgarly so known—interested her but moderately, and to praise them was, in her eyes, to incur a suspicion of philistinism. From her preceptors in this sphere, she had learnt certain names, old and new, which stood for more exquisite virtues, and the frequent mention of them with a happy vagueness made her conversation very impressive to the generality of people. The same in music. It goes without saying that Madeline was an indifferentist in politics and on social questions; at the introduction ...
— The Emancipated • George Gissing

... in remedying habits of confusion in manner, awkward bearing, vagueness in thought, and lack of precision in utterance, is to recognize your faults. If you are serenely unconscious of them, no one—least of all yourself—can help you. But once diagnose your own weaknesses, and you can overcome ...
— The Art of Public Speaking • Dale Carnagey (AKA Dale Carnegie) and J. Berg Esenwein

... marriage was an event of importance, and the circumstances are simple historic facts, it is strange that there should be any uncertainty regarding the details of its solemnisation. But there is a certain vagueness about the narratives. One version is so amusing that it deserves a slight consideration.[14] The chronicler relates how Charles VII. felt some uneasiness at the delay in the negotiations. Conscious of the sentiments ...
— Charles the Bold - Last Duke Of Burgundy, 1433-1477 • Ruth Putnam

... careful selection of the habits that are to be formed by the children. The habits that will be necessary for the child to form in order to meet the various situations of his future life, should be determined. There should be no vagueness about it. Definite habits, social, moral, religious, intellectual, professional, etc., will be necessary for efficiency. We should know what these various habits are, and should then set about the work of establishing them with system and determination, just as we would the building ...
— The Science of Human Nature - A Psychology for Beginners • William Henry Pyle

... adequate to the purpose; and when there is no law in existence, the privilege is to be justified by its accordance with the end, or final cause, of all law. Unusual and new- coined words are doubtless an evil; but vagueness, confusion, and imperfect conveyance of our thoughts, are a far greater. Every system, which is under the necessity of using terms not familiarized by the metaphysics in fashion, will be described as written in an unintelligible style, and the author must expect the charge ...
— Biographia Literaria • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... this setting out. But few words were spoken; the vagueness of the unknown impressed us, but the new and strange situation excited us, and rendered us insensible to its dangers. The landscape around was fantastic. But few outlines were distinguishable. Great white confused masses, with blackish spots here and there, closed the horizon. The ...
— A Winter Amid the Ice - and Other Thrilling Stories • Jules Verne

... doubt; doubtfulness &c. adj.; dubiety, dubitation[obs3], dubitancy|, dubitousness[obs3]. hesitation, suspense; perplexity, embarrassment, dilemma, bewilderment; timidity &c. (fear) 860; vacillation &c. 605; diaporesis[obs3], indetermination. vagueness &c. adj.; haze, fog; obscurity &c. (darkness) 421; ambiguity &c. (double meaning) 520; contingency, dependence, dependency, double contingency, possibility upon a possibility; open question &c. (question) 461; onus probandi[Lat]; blind bargain, pig in ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... my watch-fire were cast upward and strewn asunder. It was an awful long winter night. The same sable clouds rioting in the sky, the same cruel wind moaning angrily through the chinks and crevices of many a shattered edifice. Solitude, the chillness of night, and the vagueness, even more than the inevitableness, of the danger, wrought fearfully on my exhausted frame. Stupor and lethargy soon followed these brief moments of speechless excitement. Bewildered imagination peopled the air with vague, unutterable terrors. Legions of phantoms ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 2, No. 12, May, 1851. • Various

... idea where the letter is, or what has become of Masters?" continued Mulrady, with a matter-of-fact gravity, that seemed to increase Slinn's vagueness ...
— A Millionaire of Rough-and-Ready • Bret Harte

... of the reporter's story there is a certain vagueness, but it can be gathered that there was a loud crashing noise at the rear of the house they were in. General Ludlow buttoned his coat closely and sprang for the door. But the reporter clutched him firmly with one hand, while he held the decanter ...
— Sixes and Sevens • O. Henry

... time thought highly of this performance. I remember one fellow saying that Number 2 seemed to have caught the spirit of Mr Browning without his vagueness, which was a ...
— Boycotted - And Other Stories • Talbot Baines Reed

... the credit of suggesting Pitt's sinking fund,[212] and spoke with the highest authority upon facts and figures. Price argued in 1780[213] that the population of England had diminished by one-fourth since the revolution of 1688. A sharp controversy followed upon the few ascertainable data. The vagueness of the results shows curiously how much economists had to argue in the dark. Malthus observes in his first edition that he had been convinced by reading Price that population was restrained by 'vice and misery,' as results, not of political institutions, but of 'our own creation.'[214] ...
— The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3) - James Mill • Leslie Stephen

... letters, but not in itself a proof of inability to express. Great writers have often misspelled; and the letters which some of our capable business men write when the stenographer fails to come back after lunch are by no means impeccable. Other accusations refer to a childish vagueness of expression—due to the fact that the American undergraduate is often a child intellectually rather than to any defects in composition per se. But it is a waste of time to deny that he writes, if not badly, at least not so clearly, so correctly, ...
— College Teaching - Studies in Methods of Teaching in the College • Paul Klapper

... about section 107—fair use—the fair use of copyrighted material. Having been a former schoolteacher myself, I believe they make a good point and there is a sincere fear on their part that, because of the vagueness or ambiguity in the bill's treatment of the doctrine of fair use, they may subject themselves to liability for an unintentional infringement of copyright when all they were trying to do was the job for which they ...
— Reproduction of Copyrighted Works By Educators and Librarians • Library of Congress. Copyright Office.

... why is indeed very short, but in its insidious brevity it comprises a multitude of things which are all the more dangerous because they are unforeseen, being concealed in a perfidious and cloudy vagueness. Why? This word is the beginning of the greater part of those temptations against frailty. The enemy, seeking our destruction, almost invariably announces his presence by this captious question, either by the mouth of another or by our own mind, in order to fill the heart with doubt and trouble. ...
— Serious Hours of a Young Lady • Charles Sainte-Foi

... experience which it contains; the interpenetration of sublime imagination, piercing pathos, and humour almost as moving as the pathos; the vastness of the convulsion both of nature and of human passion; the vagueness of the scene where the action takes place, and of the movements of the figures which cross this scene; the strange atmosphere, cold and dark, which strikes on us as we enter this scene, enfolding these figures and magnifying their dim outlines like a winter mist; the half-realised suggestions ...
— Shakespearean Tragedy - Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth • A. C. Bradley

... to him; and I doubt if the author could have explained his sympathetic process. He certainly would have lacked precision in any philosophical or metaphysical theme, and when, in his letters, he touches upon politics, there is a little vagueness of definition that indicates want of mental grip in that direction. But in the region of feeling his genius is sufficient to his purpose; either when that purpose is a highly creative one, as in the character ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... claimed that there were officers of the French Army in Liege and Namur before the war broke out. Neither names nor dates have been given, and the allegation might be fairly dismissed because of the very vagueness of the charge. But even if it were true, international law does not forbid the officers of one nation serving with the armies of another. German officers have for many years been thus employed in Turkey and engaged in training and developing the Turkish Army, but no one ...
— The Evidence in the Case • James M. Beck

... would be summer weather on the sea before she bade good-bye to the water. Still, Virginia announced that she did not wish to be bound down to a definite programme, and Kate Gardiner had to be satisfied with a prospect of vagueness if she intended ...
— The Castle Of The Shadows • Alice Muriel Williamson

... calmness, told him that he saw nothing, absolutely nothing, upon which the Council could deliberate; that there was vagueness in all he had said. "Explain yourself; reveal the plot which you say you were urged ...
— Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

... what is meant by the glory of God. She had not quite learned that simplest of high truths that the glory of God is the beauty of Christ's face. She had a lingering idea—a hideously frightful one, though its vagueness kept it in great measure from injuring her—that the One only good, the One only unselfish thought a great deal of himself, and looked strictly after his rights in the way of homage. Hence she thought first of devoting the splendor and ...
— Weighed and Wanting • George MacDonald

... this must be some kind of postscript to the burial service for the private consolation of the family, let her mind wander. The word 'testament' in the first sentence seemed to make this certain, and the sentence or two that followed had a polysyllabic vagueness which by habit she connected with the offices of religion. The strained look on Aunt Hannah's face drew her attention away from Mr. Tulse and his recital. Her ear had been caught, too, by a low whining sound in the next room. By and by she heard him speak her ...
— Shining Ferry • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... sought not to penetrate: and as yet they had not arrived at that period of affection when there was danger of their fall,—their love had not passed the golden portal where Heaven ceases and Earth begins. Everything for them was the poetry, the vagueness, the refinement,—not the power, the concentration, the mortality,—of desire! The look—the whisper—the brief pressure of the hand, at most, the first kisses of love, rare and few,—these marked the human limits of that sentiment ...
— Rienzi • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... back to the sun again. Four o'clock! Yet the great yellow ball was hovering on the brim of Mount Taluchen; dusk was coming. A frightened glance showed him the black shadows of the valleys, the deeper tones of coloring, the vagueness of the distance which comes with the ...
— The White Desert • Courtney Ryley Cooper

... the younger woman in reply to one of the questions put by the painter during the few minutes when he was still under the influence of the vagueness that the shock had produced in his ideas, "my mother and I heard the noise of your fall on the floor, and we fancied we heard a groan. The silence following on the crash alarmed us, and we hurried up. Finding the key in the latch, we happily took the ...
— The Purse • Honore de Balzac

... as the cloud that floats in radiant space," murmured the poet. "The very vagueness of form permits the eye to clothe it in ...
— The Mystery of a Turkish Bath • E.M. Gollan (AKA Rita)

... indolence in Hawthorne's nature. Hollingsworth, in "The Blithedale Romance," is his picture of the one-ideaed reformer, sacrificing all to his hobby. Hollingsworth's hobby is prison reform, and characteristically Hawthorne gives us no details of his plan. It is vagueness itself, and its advocate is little better than a type. Holgrave again, in "The House of the Seven Gables," is the scornful young radical; and both he and Hollingsworth are guilty of the mistake of supposing that they can do ...
— Four Americans - Roosevelt, Hawthorne, Emerson, Whitman • Henry A. Beers

... system of laws which, however unjust they may be, recognize their character as accountable beings. When it is inferred from the fact that the slave is called the property of his master, that he is thereby degraded from his rank as a human being, the argument rests on the vagueness of the term property. Property is the right of possession and use, and must of necessity vary according to the nature of the objects to which it attaches. A man has property in his wife, in his children, in his domestic animals, in his ...
— Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments • Various

... countries had trading-stations, but the French were popular with the natives and the English were not. The weakness of the native support was not realized by either party. The conquests of Nadir Shah were scarcely known to them; the name of the Great Mogul at Delhi was one of vagueness and mysterious power; it seemed to the French that with Indian aid they could easily drive the English into the sea; and the attempt was made. It must have been successful but for Clive. That remarkable young warrior ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, v. 13 • Various

... an extent, however, both of facts and localities, and ideas—philosophic or imaginative, in the text of Ossian, was possible, has scarcely hitherto been believed by any one; it has certainly never been attempted. A sort of vagueness in many of his descriptions ill-understood, and a similarity in poetic figures that might be indiscriminately applied; and an occasional apparent conflict or confusion of details seem to have deterred ...
— The Celtic Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 2, December 1875 • Various

... usual vagueness that he supposed in the hut where the late Teacher had died after the mission-house was burnt down. So they trekked on a little way, passing beneath the shelf of rock that has been mentioned as projecting from that side ...
— Smith and the Pharaohs, and Other Tales • Henry Rider Haggard

... equal that which shall greet the freed spirit on its entrance into that better world, then indeed would our emotions reach their highest possible climax; then indeed should we hear and see and feel, not with the bodily senses, but with the senses of the soul; then would there be no vagueness, no sadness in the feeling as now, but clear and well defined would be our knowledge, comprehending all spiritual things. Then would our heaven be here on earth, and we should desire no other. Wisely has a great and merciful God thrown an impenetrable veil between the soul and its future belongings, ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol III, Issue VI, June, 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... remained liegeman for such lands as the Scottish kings had, in times past, done homage to England. The agreement with Richard I is certainly not incompatible with the Scottish position that the homage, before the Treaty of Falaise, applied only to the earldom of Huntingdon; but the usual vagueness was maintained, and the arrangement in no way determines the question of the homage paid by the earlier Scottish kings. For a hundred years after this date, the two countries were never at war. William had difficulties with John; in 1209, an outbreak ...
— An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707) • Robert S. Rait

... prejudices, and tastes all reflect these of the highest and most exclusive society. He began the career of honours under Vespasian [41] by obtaining his quaestorship, and, some years later, the aedileship. The dates of both these events are uncertain—another instance of the vagueness with which writers of this time allude to the circumstances of their own lives. We know that at twenty-one he married the daughter of Cn. Julius Agricola, and that he was praetor ten years afterwards. He was also quindecimvir at the secular games ...
— A History of Roman Literature - From the Earliest Period to the Death of Marcus Aurelius • Charles Thomas Cruttwell

... question confirmed his consciousness of his physical and mental disturbance, and he dreaded the ready ridicule of his companion. He would tell him later; Masters need not know WHEN he had made the strike. Besides, in his present vagueness, he shrank from the brusque, practical questioning that would be sure to follow the revelation to a ...
— A Millionaire of Rough-and-Ready • Bret Harte

... that hindered breath; she covered her eyes with her small cold fingers, seeking the dark, mute under torture. He was alive—that niggard concession was made to Allan Gerard, whose rich fullness of vigor and dominant presence last night had seemed the one firm reality in a world of pleasant vagueness. Weak, conscious of nothing but what her inward vision showed, she lay in her chair; questioning no ...
— From the Car Behind • Eleanor M. Ingram

... the sight more than I could bear, and returning to the ship bade farewell to Nauplius and resumed the voyage. Very soon we seemed quite close to the Isle of Dreams, though there was a certain dimness and vagueness about its outline; but it had something dreamlike in its very nature; for as we approached it receded, and seemed to get further and further off. At last we reached it and sailed into Slumber, the port, close to the ivory gates where stands the temple of the Cock. It was evening when ...
— Works, V2 • Lucian of Samosata

... had illustrated the fatal weakness of the Congress as an organ of government, and the Articles merely embodied the vagueness of the American people in regard to any real regime. The Congress has been much derided for its shortcomings and its blunders, although in truth not so much the Congress, as those who made it, was to blame. They had refused, in their timidity, to give it ...
— George Washington • William Roscoe Thayer

... "part of the vagueness of the scheme—if it is a scheme—is that it takes half a lifetime to find it out. Before that, we are always either telling ourselves that we are not going to do any harm, or that we are under the guidance of a ...
— In Connection with the De Willoughby Claim • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... blase with moral precepts and irregular conjugations turns with delight to the unrolling of ferns and the song of birds. There is a moral training in clearness and tangibility. An occult impulse to vice is hidden in all vagueness and in all teachings meant to be heard but not to be understood. Nature is never obscure, never occult, never esoteric. She must be questioned in earnest, else she will not reply. But to every serious question ...
— The Story of the Innumerable Company, and Other Sketches • David Starr Jordan

... direction, signs, rumors, and perhaps instincts, leading him to believe that Livingstone, if found alive, would be discovered somewhere in the region of Lake Tanganyika. It would be impossible to describe the vagueness and mysteriousness of the rumors which float to and fro in an untravelled and savage country, but as the intrepid adventurer pressed on he heard more and more credible reports of the lost white man. His first convincing intimation of his being near Livingstone was when a ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 6 of 8 • Various

... homicidal tendency seems to have been carefully concealed," I said. "I recollect having detected in her a strange vagueness of manner, but it never occurred to me that she was mentally weak. In the days immediately preceding the tragedy I certainly saw but little of her. She was out nearly ...
— The Seven Secrets • William Le Queux

... propriety of her spouse's suggestion; but, nevertheless, was unable to refrain from dropping hints to sundry gossips concerning her anticipations of coming good fortune; and the vagueness and mysterious importance of her manner created a sensation, and caused many strange surmises. Some decided that the Wags had been so imprudent as to purchase a whole lottery ticket, and blamed them accordingly; while others shook their heads, and hinted that, with so large a family, ...
— Tales from Blackwood, Volume 7 • Various

... Second had been barely three months on the throne, and the plans of the Huguenots had, to all appearance, by no means had time to assume the completeness implied in Faure's statement. Not to speak of the great vagueness and the utter absence of circumstantial details in the announcement of the conspiracy and in the promised advantages, it should be remarked that the confidant selected by La Renaudie was a very unlikely person to be chosen. The "official," an ecclesiastical judge deputed ...
— The Rise of the Hugenots, Vol. 1 (of 2) • Henry Martyn Baird

... were small; their expression meek and timid; the form, though tall, was not firm-knit and muscular; the lower limbs were too thin, the body had too much flesh, the delicate hands betrayed the sickly paleness of feeble health; there was a dreamy vagueness in the clear soft blue eyes, and a listless absence of all energy in the habitual bend, the slow, heavy, sauntering tread,—all about that benevolent aspect, that soft voice, that resigned mien, and gentle manner, spoke the exquisite, unresisting goodness, which provoked ...
— The Last Of The Barons, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... presentment; the virtues of the other style are glow of the spirit, with magic and richness of suggestion." Mr. Colvin then goes on to enforce and illustrate this contrast between the "accurate and firm definition of things" in classical writers and the "thrilling vagueness and uncertainty," the tremulous, coruscating, vibrating or colored light—the "halo"—with which the romantic writer invests his theme. "The romantic manner, . . . with its thrilling uncertainties and its rich suggestions, may be more attractive than the classic manner, ...
— A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century • Henry A. Beers

... enormous differences. He had not slept two consecutive hours through the night, and when he had slept he had been tormented by dreary dreams, which were more full of misery because of their elusive vagueness, which kept his tortured brain on a wearying strain of effort to reach some definite understanding of them. Yet when he awakened the consciousness of being again alive was an awful thing. If the dreams could have faded into blankness and all have passed with the passing of the night, how ...
— The Dawn of a To-morrow • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... manly worth and womanly modesty, excelling, as they seem to me to do, most other written precepts that I know, they always seem to lack something that might have been there. There is a touch of vagueness which indicates that his pen was not firm while he was using it. He seems to me to have been dreaming ever of some high flight, and then to have told himself, with a half-broken heart, that it was beyond his power to soar up into those bright regions. I can fancy ...
— Thackeray • Anthony Trollope

... not compelled to the discharge of their duty by the just authority of magistrates, and by the wholesome terrors of the laws. With the same views this law has been styled, and (notwithstanding the objections of some writers to the vagueness of the language) appears to have been styled with great propriety, "the law of nature." It may with sufficient correctness, or at least by an easy metaphor, be called a "law," inasmuch as it is a supreme, ...
— A Discourse on the Study of the Law of Nature and Nations • James Mackintosh

... Such vagueness and uncertainty, if not positive misunderstanding with regard to source, are characteristic of many romances. It is not difficult to find explanations for this. The writer may, as was suggested before, be reproducing a story which he has only heard or ...
— Early Theories of Translation • Flora Ross Amos

... which developed into an appeal and an invocation, ascending, falling, and still higher ascending, till it faded and expired, and then, after a little pause, was revived; then silence, and two chords, defining and clarifying the vagueness of the appeal and the invocation. And then, almost before I was aware of it, there stole forth from under the fingers of Diaz the song of the soul of man, timid, questioning, plaintive, neither sad nor joyous, but ...
— Sacred And Profane Love • E. Arnold Bennett

... dear! you don't know what that is, do you? Now, if I were scientific, I should give you such a vivid description of it that you would see a pen-and-ink flume staring at you from this very letter. But, alas! my own ideas on the subject are in a state of melancholy vagueness. I will do the best possible, however, in the way of explanation. A flume, then, is an immense trough which takes up a portion of the river, and with the aid of a dam compels it to run in another channel, leaving the vacated bed of the ...
— The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52 • Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe

... their dead friendship with Sebastian Dundas, and came to the conclusion that they must know something more definite now about this person calling herself Madame la Marquise de Montfort. As a stranger it was all very well to overlook the vagueness of her biography—they were not committed to anything really dangerous by simply visiting a householder among them—but it was another matter if she was to be married to one of themselves. Then they must learn who she really was, and Mr. Dundas must satisfy them scrupulously, ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 17, - No. 97, January, 1876 • Various

... Mr. Burton, have so mysteriously come. Let us, blending its constituents as nearly as possible, place upon the market a health-food not for the body but for the mind. You follow me now, I am sure? Menti-culture is the craze of the moment. It would become the craze of the million but for a certain vagueness in its principles, a certain lack of appeal to direct energies. We will preach the cause. We will give the public something to buy. We will ask them ten and sixpence a time and they will pay it gladly. What is more, Mr. Burton, the public will pay it all over the world. America ...
— The Double Life Of Mr. Alfred Burton • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... perfection of the soul or the idea of poetry," so you wrote; "the vagueness of exaltation aroused by a sweet air (which should be indefinite and never too strongly suggestive) is precisely what we should aim at in poetry." You aimed at that mark, and struck it again and again, notably in "Helen, thy beauty is to me," in "The Haunted Palace," "The Valley of ...
— Letters to Dead Authors • Andrew Lang

... Iron Works; where, he had told himself optimistically, he was but finding a temporary competence. What, when he should be free to follow his inclination, he'd do, Lee never particularized; it was in the clouds nebulous and bright, and accompanied by music. His dream left him imperceptibly, its vagueness killed partly by the superior reality of pig iron and ore and partly because he never had anyone with whom to talk it over; he could find no ...
— Cytherea • Joseph Hergesheimer

... all more or less bearing on the central thought, but the movements of which they cannot wholly control. Their thoughts are like a turbulent crowd, and one's business is to drill them into an ordered regiment. A writer has to pass through a certain apprenticeship; and the cure for this natural vagueness is to choose small precise subjects, to say all that we have in our minds about them, and to stop when we have finished; not to aim at fine writing, but at definiteness ...
— From a College Window • Arthur Christopher Benson

... another street," I answered, with deliberate vagueness. Nancy had suddenly become demure. I did not dare look at her, but I had a most uncomfortable notion that she suspected the plot. Meanwhile we had begun to walk along, all three of us, Tom, obviously ill at ease and discomfited, lagging ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... much of vagueness in theory and practice as to the sovereignty, there was nothing criminal on the part of Maurice if he was ambitious of obtaining the sovereignty himself. He was not seeking to compass it by base ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... lineage running back to the same ancestry. Of course it is always admitted that there WAS an English poetry as old to Chaucer as Chaucer is to us; but it is admitted with a certain inclusive and amateur vagueness removing it out of the rank of facts which involve grave and important duties. We can neither deny the fact nor the strangeness of it, that the English poetry written between the time of Aldhelm and Caedmon in the seventh century and that of Chaucer in the fourteenth ...
— Sidney Lanier • Edwin Mims

... on general principles; the American snubbed us rather badly; what the French said to us I don't remember, and I can't think that we carried persistency so far as to apply to the Russian and the Japanese. Many of our scheme perished in their own vagueness. Others, vivid and adventurous, were checked by the first encounter with the crass reality. At one time, I remember, we were to have sent out a detachment of stalwart Amazons in khaki breeches who ...
— A Journal of Impressions in Belgium • May Sinclair

... scale fixed by the Code. Where a tenant takes a field on produce-rent his neglect to cultivate caused a loss to the landlord. He was thus bound to pay an average yield, or a crop like his neighbor's, or that of the next field.(169) In later times, the vagueness of this rule, which might give rise to dispute, was avoided by stating in the lease the average rent to be expected. For certain classes of land, where no comparison with the next field could be instituted, a fixed rate was set down.(170) Compensation ...
— Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters • C. H. W. Johns

... which I conceived it to spring. For a long time they would allow admission to no other thoughts. Surprise is an emotion that enfeebles, not invigorates. All my meditations were accompanied with wonder. I rambled with vagueness, or clung to one image with an obstinacy which sufficiently testified the ...
— Stories by Modern American Authors • Julian Hawthorne

... "But I do think God might have made me remember before!" which remark Eleanor judged it best to ignore. Then she kissed Maggie, and the child clung to her affectionately. But still Eleanor could not feel satisfied; there was a dreamy vagueness about the little girl, a want, it seemed to Eleanor, of realising her fault to the full, which puzzled and perplexed her. Still Maggie was restored to favour, and in a day or two seemed much the same as usual, even flying into a passion when, contrary to Eleanor's order, the ...
— A Christmas Posy • Mary Louisa Stewart Molesworth

... lie Something from which the mind shrank, appalled. Now gigantic tentacles rolled about a central mass, groping out in unsatisfied greed. Now an ape-like shape seemed to stalk there, rearing up its monstrous stature until all that Breach was choked with it. It fell down into vagueness, where huge coils upraised and sank their loops. But through all change steadily fixed upon me I felt ...
— The Thing from the Lake • Eleanor M. Ingram

... Florence party is breaking up, you see. He has printed a few copies of his poems, and is likely to publish them if he meets with encouragement in England, I suppose. They are full of imagery, encompassed with poetical atmosphere, and very melodious. On the other hand, there is vagueness and too much personification. It's the smell of a rose rather than a rose—very sweet, notwithstanding. His poems are far superior to Charles Tennyson's, bear in mind. As for the poet, we quite love him, ...
— The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Volume II • Elizabeth Barrett Browning

... image erect in a niche or as some black-vizored sentinel guarding a treasure. Brydon was to know afterwards, was to recall and make out, the particular thing he had believed during the rest of his descent. He saw, in its great grey glimmering margin, the central vagueness diminish, and he felt it to be taking the very form toward which, for so many days, the passion of his curiosity had yearned. It gloomed, it loomed, it was something, it was somebody, the prodigy ...
— The Jolly Corner • Henry James

... Coxon, the aunt, had been established here for years in consequence of her marriage with the late Sir Gregory of that name. She had a house in the Regent's Park, a Bath-chair and a fernery; and above all she had sympathy. Mrs. Saltram had made her acquaintance through mutual friends. This vagueness caused me to feel how much I was out of it and how large an independent circle Mrs. Saltram had at her command. I should have been glad to know more about the disappointed young lady, but I felt I should know most by not depriving her of her advantage, as she might ...
— The Coxon Fund • Henry James

... begin to loom out of the general vagueness, and to this he instinctively turned as trying to seize it—I mean, the fact that he was saving very few souls, whereas there were thousands and thousands being lost hourly all around him which a little energy such as Mr Hawke's might save. Day ...
— The Way of All Flesh • Samuel Butler

... had been dreaming faded into vagueness. He couldn't have said what he had been dreaming about. He was neither asleep nor awake, but in the shadowland somewhere between. Something as yet undefined had brought him halfway toward awakening, but the influence was not powerful enough ...
— The Electronic Mind Reader • John Blaine

... Hebrew studies, however, notwithstanding the personal assistance which we drew from the kindness of Dr. Bailey, languished. For this there were several reasons; but it was enough that the systematic vagueness in the pronunciation of this, as of the other Oriental languages, disgusted both of us. A word which could not be pronounced with any certainty, was not in a true sense possessed. Let it be understood, ...
— Memorials and Other Papers • Thomas de Quincey

... independent as well as free! How great to drift with the tide of innocent women and law-abiding men, once more one of themselves, and not even a magnet for morbid curiosity! That would come soon enough; the present was all the more to be enjoyed; and even the vagueness of the immediate future, even the lack of definite plans, had a glamor of their own in eyes that were yet to have their fill of street lamps and shop windows and omnibuses and ...
— The Shadow of the Rope • E. W. Hornung

... to Hell is easy. On the pale, white faces which the great billows whirl upward to my tower I see again and again, often and still more often, a writing of human hatred, a deep and passionate hatred, vast by the very vagueness of its expressions. Down through the green waters, on the bottom of the world, where men move to and fro, I have seen a man—an educated gentleman—grow livid with anger because a little, silent, black woman was sitting by herself in a Pullman car. He was ...
— Darkwater - Voices From Within The Veil • W. E. B. Du Bois

... is strange that what one fears in death is the vagueness and the solitude of it—we are afraid of finding ourselves lost in the night. It would be agitating, but not frightful, if we were sure of finding company; and if we were sure of meeting those whom we had loved and lost, ...
— Father Payne • Arthur Christopher Benson

... be delighted—I haven't written so very many," Overt pleaded, feeling, and without resentment, that the General at least was vagueness itself about that. But he wondered a little why, expressing this friendly disposition, it didn't occur to the doubtless eminent soldier to pronounce the word that would put him in relation with Mrs. St. George. If it was a question of introductions Miss Fancourt—apparently ...
— The Lesson of the Master • Henry James

... obliterating distances. As I lean over the parapet of the Tenjin-bashi, on my homeward way, to take one last look eastward, I find that the mountains have already been effaced. Before me there is only a shadowy flood far vanishing into vagueness without a horizon—the phantom of a sea. And I become suddenly aware that little white things are fluttering slowly down into it from the fingers of a woman standing upon the bridge beside me, and murmuring something in a low sweet voice. She is praying ...
— Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan - First Series • Lafcadio Hearn

... have to do duty for harbors in these parts; and it was only a few days ago that the lifeboat, with the English mail on board, capsized in crossing the bar at D'Urban. The telegram was—as telegrams always are—terrifying in its vagueness, and spoke of the mail-bags as "floating about." When one remembers the vast size of the breakers on which this floating would take place, it sounded hopeless for our letters. They turned up, however, a few days later—in a pulpy state, ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, April, 1876. • Various

... with a directing minority composed of exceptional men on the one hand, and a majority composed of directed men on the other. But in the minds of many socialistic thinkers the simplicity of the situation is obscured by the vagueness of the ideas which they associate with the phrase "the state." For them these ideas are like a fog, into which private capitalism disappears, and in which the forces represented by it lose all definite character. The state, however, is in reality nothing but a collection of individuals; and if ...
— A Critical Examination of Socialism • William Hurrell Mallock

... left Patesville under extremely painful circumstances, vowing that he would never return; and yet now the barest pretext, by which no one could have been deceived except willingly, was sufficient to turn his footsteps thither again. He explained to his mother—with a vagueness which she found somewhat puzzling, but ascribed to her own feminine obtuseness in matters of business—the reasons that imperatively demanded his presence in Patesville. With an early start he could drive there in one day,—he had an excellent roadster, ...
— The House Behind the Cedars • Charles W. Chesnutt

... outline; that he must struggle if he would hurl back anything—even a broken fragment for men to examine and perchance in it find a germ of some part of truth; conscious at times, of the futility of his effort and its message, conscious of its vagueness, but ever hopeful for it, and confident that its foundation, if not its medium is somewhere near the eventual and "absolute good" the divine truth underlying all life. If Emerson must be dubbed an optimist—then an optimist fighting pessimism, but not wallowing in it; an optimist, who does ...
— Essays Before a Sonata • Charles Ives

... delivering oracles, or an ascetic in a mystic ecstasy. The comparison is a matter of antiquity. The ancient Greeks called the insect [Greek: Mantis], the divine, the prophet. The worker in the fields is never slow in perceiving analogies; he will always generously supplement the vagueness of the facts. He has seen, on the sun-burned herbage of the meadows, an insect of commanding appearance, drawn up in majestic attitude. He has noticed its wide, delicate wings of green, trailing behind it like ...
— Social Life in the Insect World • J. H. Fabre

... questions you might have thought he was examining you through me for a licence to preach. I did not try to deceive him in regard to your views, but my own impression of them is so nebulous that the very vagueness of my replies increased his alarm. Nor did I protest at the abuse he heaped upon your absent head. For I know how wickedly and unscrupulously you acted in the felony of my love, and there was a certain ...
— The Jessica Letters: An Editor's Romance • Paul Elmer More

... being well broken, one's mind becomes more susceptible of homogeneous impressions? I know not. But the higher light, the incense, fills the space above all those black women's heads, over the tapers burning yellow on the carved marble balustrades with the Rovere arms, with a luminous grey vagueness; the blue background of the Last Judgment grows into a kind of deep hyacinthine evening sky, on which twist and writhe like fleshy snakes the group of demons and damned, the naked Christ thundering with His empty ...
— The Spirit of Rome • Vernon Lee

... another way it tries to be the first word of the coming idealistic movement; and because it is under the influence of both, it speaks sometimes the language of the one, and sometimes the language of the other. That brings about a confusion and a disorder which must be detrimental. To transform this vagueness into clear, distinct relations is ...
— Psychotherapy • Hugo Muensterberg

... ineffectual; it will only embitter their minds and add virus to their venom. They can, and will, always be supplied with fresh arms by the enemy. That of seizing the most dangerous will, I apprehend, from the vagueness of the instruction, be attended with some bad consequences, and can answer no good one. It opens so wide a door for partiality and prejudice to the different congresses and committees on the continent, ...
— The Life of George Washington, Vol. 2 (of 5) • John Marshall

... upon her most heavily was her deceitfulness to the aunts. Fifty times that day she was on the edge of speaking and telling them all, but she was held back by the vagueness of her relations to Martin. Were they engaged? Did he even love her? He had only kissed her. He had said nothing. No, she must wait, but with this definite sense of her wickedness weighing upon her—not wickedness to herself, for that she cared nothing, but wickedness to them—she ...
— The Captives • Hugh Walpole

... attractive. It appeared, upon investigation, we had just time to hail a cab and catch one of the fast trains for Fontainebleau. Beyond the clothes we stood in, all were destitute of what is called (with dainty vagueness) personal effects; and it was earnestly mooted, on the other side, whether we had not time to call upon the way and pack a satchel? But the Stennis boys exclaimed upon our effeminacy. They had come from London, it appeared, a week before with nothing but greatcoats and tooth-brushes. No baggage—there ...
— The Wrecker • Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne

... mentally an equal compliment to circumstance and to the girl herself. Capacity was there, it could be freely trusted; observation would have but to sow its generous seed. "A superior woman"—the idea had harsh associations, but he watched it imaging itself in the vagueness of the future with a ...
— Roderick Hudson • Henry James

... making up his mind, leaped into the museum, Baxter's suspicions lost their vagueness and became crystallized. Certainty descended on him like a bolt from the skies. On oath, before a notary, the Efficient Baxter would have declared that J. Preston Peters was about to try to purloin ...
— Something New • Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

... from the first applied with a good deal of vagueness. It was probably originally given to the region opposite Cyprus, from Gabala in the north—now Jebili—to Antaradus (Tortosa) and Marathus (Amrith) towards the south, where the palm-tree was first seen growing in rich abundance. The palm is the numismatic emblem of Aradus,[11] ...
— History of Phoenicia • George Rawlinson

... their truth, as sufficient? Will you receive it as the Creed of your Church? Make up your mind, my boy, above all things make up your mind! Have some convictions, some real opinions, some worthy hopes; and be loyal to, and in earnest about, whatever you do pin your faith to, I assure you that vagueness of faith affects people's every-day conduct more than they think. The sort of belief which takes a man to church on Sunday who would be ashamed to look as if he were really praying, or confessing real sins when he gets there, is small help ...
— A Flat Iron for a Farthing - or Some Passages in the Life of an only Son • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... your thought, to test it in advance of verbal expression and to examine it critically. The public speaker should write much in order to form a clear and flowing English style. It is surprising how many of our thoughts which appear to us clear and satisfactory, assume a peculiar vagueness when we attempt to set them down ...
— Talks on Talking • Grenville Kleiser

... pressed to take definite steps in pursuance of this plan, he deprecated haste, and put off and put off, till the Pretender's adherents lost patience. All the time he was making protestations of fidelity to the Court of Hanover. The increasing vagueness of his promises to the Jacobites seems to show that, as time went on, he became convinced that the Hanoverian was the winning cause. No man could better advise him as to the feeling of the English people than Defoe, who was constantly perambulating the country on secret services, ...
— Daniel Defoe • William Minto

... nothing with them is left vague or undetermined. Continuation, resurrection, eternity are hereditary and habitual ideas; they have become almost inseparable and congenital parts of the mental system. This condition renders it nearly as difficult for us to understand the vagueness and mistiness of savage and unwritten creeds, as to penetrate into the modus agendi of animal instinct. And there is yet another obstacle in dealing with such people, their intense and childish sensitiveness and secretiveness. They are not, as some have foolishly ...
— Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo Volume 1 • Richard F. Burton

... irrevelant enquiry, to ask, Are Time and Space finite or infinite? Many philosophers have put the question, and even answered it. They say Time has no beginning and no end, and Space has no boundaries; or, as otherwise expressed,—Time and Space are Infinite: an answer of such vagueness as to mean anything, from a harmless and proper assertion of the limits of our faculties, up to the verge ...
— Practical Essays • Alexander Bain

... woman had gazed vacantly about her with an air of indifference. She seemed scarcely to realize that through the yellow vagueness the eyes of a hundred persons were centered on ...
— A Son of Hagar - A Romance of Our Time • Sir Hall Caine

... mutilated, political considerations may have been responsible, for the subject of the last paragraph is the question of Henry's right to the crown (and not any revelation vouchsafed to him); and I see signs that the tract was written before the accession of Henry VII, in the vagueness of such allusions to the reigning sovereign as are to be found in it. The clause 'propter regnum, ut tunc sperabatur, ab aliis pacifice possidendum' is the most overt of these, and no one can say that it is too explicit. The next sentence speaks of the long series of miracles ...
— Henry the Sixth - A Reprint of John Blacman's Memoir with Translation and Notes • John Blacman

... half poet, half naturalist in his way of looking at Nature, and steers clear of the poetic vagueness in regard to species. A passing description of the brown thrush as "skulking" among the bushes hits that bird to the life. Some remarks on page 119 would seem to be applied by a slip of the pen to the crow blackbird, instead of the cowbird, which ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, October, 1877, Vol. XX. No. 118 • Various

... shell's maternity received visible expression and it became personified as an actual woman, the Great Mother, at first nameless and with ill-defined features. But at a later period, when the dead king Osiris gradually acquired his attributes of divinity, and a god emerged with the form of a man, the vagueness of the Great Mother who had been merely the personified cowry-shell soon disappeared and the amulet assumed, as Hathor, the form of a real woman, or, for reasons to be explained ...
— The Evolution of the Dragon • G. Elliot Smith

... said, "it is all sordid. Leander, a restlessness has come upon me. I come back night after night out of the vagueness in which I have lain so long, and for what? To stand here in this mean chamber and proffer my favour, only to find it repulsed, disdained. I am tired ...
— The Tinted Venus - A Farcical Romance • F. Anstey

... including the constitutional limitations on Congress's spending clause power, the unconstitutional conditions doctrine, and subsidiary to these issues, the First Amendment doctrines of prior restraint, vagueness, and overbreadth. There are a number of potential entry points into the analysis, but the most logical is the spending clause jurisprudence in which the seminal case is South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203 (1987). Dole outlines four categories of constraints on ...
— Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Ruling • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

... are given to protecting their sensitiveness by cynical gossip, by whining, by high-church and new-thought religions, or by a fog of vagueness. Carol had hidden in none of these refuges from reality, but she, who was tender and merry, had been made timorous by Gopher Prairie. Even her flight had been but the temporary courage of panic. The thing she gained in Washington was not information about ...
— Main Street • Sinclair Lewis

... it must now be made to work, and Washington wrote earnestly to the leaders in the various States, urging them to see to it that "Federalists," stanch friends of the Constitution, were elected to Congress. There was no vagueness about his notions on this point. A party had carried the Constitution and secured its ratification, and to that party he wished the administration and establishment of the new system to be intrusted. He did not take the view that, because the fight ...
— George Washington, Vol. II • Henry Cabot Lodge

... associated object, together with its feeling tone, are sufficiently common to the experience of all men to account for the universality of the emotion, and the isolation of the stimulus—abstract line—from its usual context of color and bulk accounts for the vagueness. Sometimes, on the other hand, expressiveness seems to be due to a direct psychological relation between the sense-stimulus and the emotion. This is almost certainly the case with rhythms, and, as I shall argue in the chapters on painting and music, ...
— The Principles Of Aesthetics • Dewitt H. Parker

... inadequate conception of sin is as detrimental to Ethics as it is to Dogmatics; and upon our doctrine of evil depends very largely our interpretation of life in regard to its difficulties and purposes, its trials and triumphs. In the meantime it is enough to remark that considerable vagueness of idea and looseness of ...
— Christianity and Ethics - A Handbook of Christian Ethics • Archibald B. C. Alexander

... prominent supporters declared that such was by no means the case: although, at a certain moment, he was ready to participate in the Gallipoli enterprise, circumstances had changed, and his future course would depend on the situation which he would find on returning to {51} power. This vagueness, though not very helpful to the voters, doubtless helped the voting; for there was hardly any pro-war feeling among the masses. The noble ideals emblazoned upon the Entente banners produced little impression on their minds. The experience of two thousand ...
— Greece and the Allies 1914-1922 • G. F. Abbott

... kept a profound secret for the present, since events mature with such a rapidity at this day that it is impossible to keep track of them." The stranger paused and cast a scrutinizing glance at the general, who was surprised and astounded at the vagueness of his speech. Indeed, he began to have a suspicion that the stranger was on an errand of evil, or, perhaps, had come to engage his services in some unholy enterprise, such as poisoning an heir or giving ...
— The Life and Adventures of Maj. Roger Sherman Potter • "Pheleg Van Trusedale"

... themselves, and trying to manage their own undertakings, instead of falling into harmony with God, and through Him, with all that is. What wears the soul out is not the work of life itself—it is its drudgery, its monotony, its blind vagueness, its apparent purposelessness. We do not wish to scatter our lives and spend our ...
— The Warriors • Lindsay, Anna Robertson Brown

... we yet know of the life-history of Animals is illustrated by the vagueness of our information as to the age to which they live. Professor Lankester[18] tells us that "the paucity and uncertainty of observations on this class of facts is extreme." The Rabbit is said to reach 10 years, the Dog and Sheep 10-12, the Pig 20, the Horse 30, the Camel 100, ...
— The Beauties of Nature - and the Wonders of the World We Live In • Sir John Lubbock

... introduced. Of course, much depends upon the selection of a spot with capabilities. What is said in respect to the 'detecting and bringing into practice those nice relations of size, proportion and color,' is a mere vagueness of speech, which may mean much, or little, or nothing, and which guides in no degree. That the true 'result of the natural style of gardening is seen rather in the absence of all defects and incongruities, than in the creation of any special wonders or miracles,' is a proposition better suited ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... The vagueness which hangs over the places in which Tom Jones was written, the certainty that in all of them poverty was constantly present, is in perfect accord with the power of detachment manifested in this book from circumstances that would surely have tinged, if not over-whelmed, a weaker genius. Sickness ...
— Henry Fielding: A Memoir • G. M. Godden

... newly flowering heliotrope. I don't know why I should mention this, except that some scenes impress themselves, for no particular reason, on the memory, while others associated with more important incidents fade into vagueness. I picked a bunch of heliotrope which she ...
— Simon the Jester • William J. Locke

... Price, who were all present. There is much interesting matter aside from the treaty; Simon Girty makes depositions as to Braddock's defeat and Bouquet's fight; Lewis, Croghan, and others show the utter vagueness and conflict of the Indian titles to Kentucky, etc., etc. Though the Cherokees spoke of the land as a "dark" or "bloody" place or ground, it does not seem that by either of these terms they referred to the actual meaning of the name Kentucky. One or two of the ...
— The Winning of the West, Volume One - From the Alleghanies to the Mississippi, 1769-1776 • Theodore Roosevelt

... unwonted sense of comfort and well-being filled his body, while his mind was in its happiest vein. His thoughts mingled with the rings of smoke in the subdued light in which all forms and colours assume a pleasing vagueness. ...
— The Child of Pleasure • Gabriele D'Annunzio

... twisted curiously—'I suppose if I shot things and chased them, you'd like me better. But I can't—not even for that, but perhaps, some day—' He seemed to lose himself in the vagueness of his thoughts. ...
— THE MISSES MALLETT • E. H. YOUNG

... imagination to the enthusiasm of hell, which lends him all its forces; Paris crowned him, Sodom would have banished him.[3] Locke, again, did not understand himself. His distinguishing characteristics are feebleness and precipitancy of judgment. Vagueness and irresolution reign in his expressions as they do in his thoughts. He constantly exhibits that most decisive sign of mediocrity—he passes close by the greatest questions without perceiving them. In the ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Essay 4: Joseph de Maistre • John Morley

... about myself, however strange it may appear. I don't pretend to be able to analyze my own motives; I don't pretend even to guess how other women might have acted in my place. It is true of me, that my husband's terrible warning—all the more terrible in its mystery and its vagueness—produced no deterrent effect on my mind: it only stimulated my resolution to discover what he was hiding from me. He had not been gone two minutes before I rang the bell and ordered the carriage, to take me to Major Fitz-David's house ...
— The Law and the Lady • Wilkie Collins

... or split up a binary compound, as HCl, into its two elements, Hydrogen and Chlorine, then we can do it by electricity—that is, by the decomposing action of these electric waves. In all these experiments and results we know definitely what we are doing, and what the effect will be. There is no vagueness about the terms used. When we speak of chemical action we look to a definite source for that action, and we do not say that such action is produced by chemical waves, but rather by electricity. So that all experience teaches us, and all experiments made by ...
— Aether and Gravitation • William George Hooper

... great industry and great acuteness. His knowledge is extensive, various, and profound. His mind is equally distinguished by the amplitude of its grasp, and by the delicacy of its tact. His speculations have none of that vagueness which is the common fault of political philosophy. On the contrary, they are strikingly practical, and teach us not only the general rule, but the mode of applying it to solve particular cases. In this respect they often remind us of the ...
— Critical and Historical Essays Volume 1 • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... of contemplation. I say with deliberateness an 'ecstasy.' He had seen houses go up before; he knew that houses were constructed brick by brick, beam by beam, lath by lath, tile by tile; he knew that they did not build themselves. And yet, in the vagueness of his mind, he had never imaginatively realised that a house was made with hands, and hands that could err. With its exact perpendiculars and horizontals, its geometric regularities, and its Chinese preciseness ...
— Clayhanger • Arnold Bennett

... prescribed our somehow profiting by the fact. This kindled in us the spirit of exploration, but with results of which I here attempt to record, so utterly does the whole impression swoon away, for present memory, into vagueness, confusion and intolerable heat, Our self-respect was of the common order, but the blaze of the July sun was, even for Tuscany, of the uncommon; so that the project of a trudging quest for Etruscan tombs in shadeless wastes yielded to its own temerity. There comes back to me ...
— Italian Hours • Henry James

... obvious. And now, you see, I had narrowed the field down considerably. The possession of a grey garment was a third point which, granting the son's statement to be correct, was a certainty. We have come now out of mere vagueness to the definite conception of an Australian from Ballarat ...
— The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

... he been a civil engineer we could have sent him out at once;" and I called on a chap here, a C.E., called Bantry, who asked me if I knew anything about surveying; I said I did, rejoicing inwardly at the vagueness of the question, but he soon stopped generalizing, and asked had I ever done any practical surveying—in fact, could I take charge of a survey-staff, to go out west or elsewhere. I said I felt certain I could do so, but to his direct question was obliged to admit that ...
— Canada for Gentlemen • James Seton Cockburn

... of it; modern painters have not the lightness of touch necessary; they are used to masses of colour, and they use the palette knife as a mason the trowel. The art, too, like the literature of our time, is all detail; the grand suggestive vagueness of the Greek drama and of the Umbrian frescoes are lost to us under a crowd of elaborated trivialities; perhaps it is because art has ceased to be spiritual or tragic, and is merely domestic or melodramatic; the Greeks knew neither domesticity ...
— Wisdom, Wit, and Pathos of Ouida - Selected from the Works of Ouida • Ouida

... coherence in a composition is to have it written in a clearly defined tonality, especially at the outset. This definite tonality is the "centre of gravity," so to speak, about which the whole composition revolves. If this tonal centre were uncertain or wandering, we should have a feeling of vagueness and perplexity which, except for special dramatic effect, is never found in works of the great composers. Thus we speak of a Symphony in C minor, of a Quartet in F major and of a Sonata in B-flat minor;[46] this foundation key ...
— Music: An Art and a Language • Walter Raymond Spalding

... Every "thing" must be interpreted as a "configuration," every "event" as a change of configuration, every predicate ascribed must be of a geometrical sort. Measured by these requirements of mechanics Spencer's attempt has lamentably failed. His terms are vagueness and ambiguity incarnate, and he seems incapable of keeping the mechanical point of view in mind for ...
— Memories and Studies • William James

... dog!" It is, indeed, a miracle of impressionist art. It is not like the dogs that bite. It offers itself alluringly to the biter,—or rather to one who would leisurely absorb it. Even now there is a vagueness of outline that suggests the still vaguer outlines it will have when it comes into the possession of ...
— By the Christmas Fire • Samuel McChord Crothers

... I am sleeping beside her dear mother and that we are together in the Better Land. She has been separated considerably from me of late,—I have had to be journeying about on business,—therefore it will not come so hard to her, and though children do not forget, the sorrow softens and has a tender vagueness from ...
— A Little Girl in Old Salem • Amanda Minnie Douglas

... these to itself as truly as it is conformed to them. There is mutual adaptation. Undoubtedly this is implied in the definition, and the petty employment of it which I have been attacking would be rejected also by its wiser defenders. But when its meaning is thus filled out, its vagueness rendered clear, and the mutual influence which is implied becomes clearly announced, the definition turns into the one which I have offered. Goodness is the expression of the largest organization. Its aim is everywhere to bring object and environment into fullest cooperation. We ...
— The Nature of Goodness • George Herbert Palmer

... real claims of science to public patronage and protection. True it is that to differentiate between art and science is like drawing distinctions between black and white; and in excuse I must plead the ordinary vagueness and weakness of the public mind, its inability very often to differentiate between things the most opposed, and a very general tendency to attempt to justify the existence of art on the grounds of utility—that is to say, educational influences and the ...
— Modern Painting • George Moore

... reaches the pinnacle of tragic power. Cassandra advances to the palace, but starts back in horror as a series of visions of growing vividness comes before her eyes. These find utterance in language of blended sanity and madness, creating a terror whose very vagueness increases its intensity. First she sees Atreus' cruel murder of his brother's children; then follows the sight of Clytemnestra's treacherous smile and of Agamemnon in the bath, hand after hand reaching at him; quickly she sees the net cast about him, ...
— Authors of Greece • T. W. Lumb

... similar answers. We say not that the answers were always satisfactory, nor are now inquiring whether any of them were so; we merely maintain that the objections in question are not the novelties they affect to be. We say this to obviate an advantage which the very vagueness of much modern opposition to Christianity would obtain, from the notion that some prodigious arguments have been discovered which the intellect of a Pascal or a Butler was not comprehensive enough to anticipate, ...
— Reason and Faith; Their Claims and Conflicts • Henry Rogers

... for the type, better for the immortality of the world's soul. This to me is a vital thought, therefore life or death is in the issue. For the rest I know not. By the glimmer of light lent me, I can but guess greatness and descry vagueness. You go further and would touch the phantasmagorial veil. "Right!" I say, and I pray, "Godspeed." But there must be intensity. Are you thrilled? Do you stretch out your arms and dream the beauty? It is only when you gaze into a reality empty of the voices of ...
— The Kempton-Wace Letters • Jack London

... been invisible began to show white against a rising cloud. This cloud had not the definition of sudden conquering storms, proper to the summer, and leaving a blessing behind their fury. The edge of it against the misty and brooding sky had all the vagueness of smoke, and as it rose up out of the sea its growth was so methodical and regular as to disconnect it wholly in one's mind from the little fainting breeze that still blew, from rain, or from any daily ...
— Hills and the Sea • H. Belloc

... the streets again the next morning, and ere long saw a slender figure ahead of him walking with decision and purpose. Despite the distance and the vagueness of her form he knew that it was Miss Grayson, and he followed more briskly, drawn by curiosity and a ...
— Before the Dawn - A Story of the Fall of Richmond • Joseph Alexander Altsheler

... my present definite, positive belief based on this evidence, than to be floundering on doubts and uncertainties. There is no doubt that the profession believe that intermittents have a cause; but this belief has a vagueness which cannot be represented by drawings or photograph. Since I have photographed the Gemiasma, and studied their biology, I feel like holding on to your dicta until upset by something ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 385, May 19, 1883 • Various

... obtained a popularity equal to those of Alexander Smith; for they give even more musical utterance to the loves, hopes, exultations, regrets, and despairs of youth, and indicate the same hot blood. They are also characterized by similar vagueness of thought and vividness of fancy, in those passages where sensibility turns theorist and philosophizes on its gratified or battled sensations,—while they generally evince wider culture, larger superficial experience of life, a more controlling sense of the beautiful, and an ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 3, No. 20, June, 1859 • Various

... the corner, a little—you are right, it gives a softness, a vagueness, a—it is very funny, that little pot of blue. How ugly it must be! How things lead on one to another! Once one's hair is powdered, one must have a little pearl powder on one's face in order not to look as yellow as an orange; and one's ...
— Monsieur, Madame and Bebe, Complete • Gustave Droz

... imagination, the bugle calls and fading echoes, and enjoy the rare and appropriate music. In the second case, the teacher should call attention to the artistic suggestions of loneliness, distance, antiquity, sadness, and vagueness that are suggested by "old, unhappy, far-off things, and battles long ago", and by such possible situations of English travellers in remote parts of the world, and should show that these elements are suitable for the circumstances ...
— Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Literature • Ontario Ministry of Education

... him a little at first from its vagueness, though I think my translation hit off its sense very well, but at last he ...
— She • H. Rider Haggard

... Belmont. How their hardihood had been rewarded with "cold steel"; how they had quailed before it; how they had fled before the conquering Methuen: these and other details, in all their charming vagueness, were received with rapture. It was fine news; and wounded men in the hospital, about to die, changed their minds and lived when ...
— The Siege of Kimberley • T. Phelan

... been the guardians and patrons of art. And who more worthy of patronage than William Shakespear? Also she said that men of such enormous wealth as his owed something to their national tradition. "You have to pay your footing, Sir Isaac," she said with impressive vagueness. ...
— The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman • H. G. (Herbert George) Wells

... a brusque movement, the lively little boat being unsteady under his feet, and she spoke slowly, absently, as if her thought had been lost in the vagueness ...
— The Rescue • Joseph Conrad

... passing at that moment before the jesuit house in Gardiner Street and wondered vaguely which window would be his if he ever joined the order. Then he wondered at the vagueness of his wonder, at the remoteness of his own soul from what he had hitherto imagined her sanctuary, at the frail hold which so many years of order and obedience had of him when once a definite and irrevocable act ...
— A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man • James Joyce

... The strongest natures receive the strongest impressions, and the most marked individuality pervades the character which is yet the clearest and best defined type of its own age. The decline of religious faith, the vagueness of the prevailing religious philosophy, and the approach of the Reformation, are all to be predicated from the "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel; the impending fall of Art is to be read in the form of the "Moses" of San Pietro in Vincoli; the luxury and pomp of the Papal ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 4, February, 1858 • Various



Words linked to "Vagueness" :   softness, indistinctness, blurriness, unclearness, vague



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