He would have preferred a more congenial spot, but, as usually happens, in place of a romantic field or solemn aisle for his tale, it was told while they walked up and down over a floor littered with rotten cabbage-leaves, and amid all the usual squalors of decayed vegetable matter and unsaleable refuse.
Several guns were fired, supposing she might be hid from our view by the land; but as she did not appear Captain Davidson, having remained two hours, deemed further delay inexpedient and bore up to keep the advantage of the fair wind. The outline of this island is rugged; the hummock on its northern extremity appeared to me to resemble a decayed martello tower more than a saddle.
Tombs and temples, overthrown and prostrate; small fragments of columns, friezes, pediments; great blocks of granite and marble; moldering arches grass-grown and decayed; ruin enough to build a spacious city from; lay strewn about us.
Furthermore, because it is distributed along the lower portion of the range, which was the first to be left bare on the breaking up of the ice-sheet at the close of the glacial winter, the soil it is growing upon has been longer exposed to post-glacial weathering, and consequently is in a more crumbling, decayed condition than the fresher soils farther up the range, and therefore offers a less secure anchorage for the roots.
I saw only rattling weed stalks feeding on the decayed skeleton of what had been a fence-line before the days of abandonment, and a basin choked with volunteer timber, around which the hill-sides rose like a spite-fence, cutting off whatever lay beyond. A small front porch had graced the cabin in earlier times, but of that there now remained only one upright, and a few broken planks.
The fine old abbey church of Princhester, which was the cathedral of the new diocese, looked when first he saw it like a lady Abbess who had taken to drink and slept in a coal truck. She minced apologetically upon the market-place; the parvenu Town Hall patronized and protected her as if she were a poor relation.... The old aristocracy of the countryside was unpicturesquely decayed.
A sour, nasty mess it always was, and not fit to give any creature. Sometimes, when he had not many "peelings," he would go to town and get a load of decayed vegetables, that grocers were glad to have him take off their hands. This food, together with poor hay, made the cows give very poor milk, and Jenkins used to put some white powder in it, to give it "body," as he said.
The Aristotelian view of Nature as an energetic process failed to impress itself upon his successors. Greek Philosophy soon after Aristotle's death decayed or was deprived of its early vigour, and the doctrine which survived the wreck was essentially derived, however imperfectly, from the Platonic theory.
He is this day bringing in an account where he makes the King debtor to him L10,000 already on the garrison of Tangier account; but yet demands not ready money to pay it, but offers such ways of paying it out of the sale of old decayed provisions as will enrich him finely.
This notwithstanding, how often, O good God, in the meanwhile, and how horribly was the same Church darkened and decayed! Where was that Church then, when "all flesh upon earth had denied their own way?" Of a truth, the Church, even as a corn-field, except it be eared, manured, tilled, and trimmed, instead of wheat it will bring forth thistles, darnel, and nettles.