As crabs, goats, scorpions, the balance and the water-pot lose their meanness when hung as signs in the zodiac, so I can see my own vices without heat in . . . distant persons.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
Somber grief of skies uniformly gray,
Sadder for being blue during rare bright intervals,
And which allow the warm tears of a misunderstood sun
To filter down upon the paralyzed plains;
Potter, melancholy mood of the somber plains,
Which stretch out, endless, joyless, colorless;
The trees, the hamlet cast no shadows,
The tiny, meager gardens have no flowers.
A plowman lugs buckets home, and his puny mare
Resigned, anxious, and dreamy,
Uneasily listening to her passive brain,
Inhales in small gulps the strong breath of the wind.
— Marcel Proust, Pleasures and Days