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Subtlety   /sˈətəlti/   Listen
Subtlety

noun
(pl. subtleties)
1.
A subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude.  Synonyms: nicety, nuance, refinement, shade.  "Don't argue about shades of meaning"
2.
The quality of being difficult to detect or analyze.  Synonym: niceness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Subtlety" Quotes from Famous Books



... and gone from shine to shire, and place to place in great company; and used great, subtle, and crafty means, to deceive the people, bearing them in hand, that they by palmistry could tell men's and yeomen's fortunes; and so, many times by crafte and subtlety have deceived the people of their money; and also have committed many heinous felonies and robberies." Wherefore they are directed to avoid the realm, and not to return under pain of imprisonment, and forfeiture of their good and chattels; ...
— A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits, & Present State of the Gypsies • John Hoyland

... the stage on horseback, and that Banquo's ghost was materially represented (iii. iv. 40 seq.) Like 'Othello,' the play ranks with the noblest tragedies either of the modern or the ancient world. The characters of hero and heroine—Macbeth and his wife—are depicted with the utmost subtlety and insight. In three points 'Macbeth' differs somewhat from other of Shakespeare's productions in the great class of literature to which it belongs. The interweaving with the tragic story of supernatural interludes in which Fate is weirdly personified is not exactly matched in any other ...
— A Life of William Shakespeare - with portraits and facsimiles • Sidney Lee

... his Whores, whom he had abhorr'd and detested in his Youth, as dishonouring that God for whom, and for whose Worship he had finish'd and dedicated the most magnificent Building and Temple in the World: Nothing but the invincible Subtlety of this Arch Devil could ever have brought such a Man as Solomon to such a Degeneracy of Manners, and to such Meannesses; no, not the Devil himself, without the Assistance of his Whores, nor the Whores themselves, without ...
— The History of the Devil - As Well Ancient as Modern: In Two Parts • Daniel Defoe

... has devoted himself to the portraiture of those European and Asiatic races, among whom the refinements of civilization exist without its laws or its energies, and in whom the fierceness, indolence, and subtlety of animal nature are associated with brilliant imagination and strong affections. To this task he has brought not only intense perception of the kind of character, but powers of artistical composition like those of the great Venetians, displaying, at the same time, a refinement ...
— On the Old Road Vol. 1 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... with propriety, say of a straight line, that it may be produced to infinity. In this case the distinction between a progressus in infinitum and a progressus in indefinitum is a mere piece of subtlety. For, although when we say, "Produce a straight line," it is more correct to say in indefinitum than in infinitum; because the former means, "Produce it as far as you please," the second, "You must not cease to produce it"; the expression in ...
— The Critique of Pure Reason • Immanuel Kant

... into his face. It was the shrewd smile of one who approves her own subtlety. "But I divide the catch before I make home. Five-sixths are for me. And I set them aside, and Little One Man helps me cache them. The rest is the catch I hand my step-father. He makes careful tab of it, and then, after a rest, I set out with the dogs over the winter trail for Seal Bay ...
— The Heart of Unaga • Ridgwell Cullum

... presented so strong a contrast to Iago. Look at "mine Ancient" closely, and see, that, with all his subtle craft, he was a coarse-mannered brute, of gross tastes and grovelling nature, without a spark of gallantry, and as destitute of courtesy as of honor. We overrate his very subtlety; for we measure it by its effects, the woful and agonizing results it brings about; forgetting that these, like all results, or resultants, are the product of at least two forces,—the second, in this instance, being the unsuspecting ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 4, No. 24, Oct. 1859 • Various

... only say that it must be reformed, and shorn of its excrescences. Until then we must use the French, which is to-day the language of the world, and in which one can render all the master-works of the Greeks and the Latins, with the same versatility, delicacy, and subtlety, as the original. You pretend that one can well read Tacitus in a German translation, but I do not think the language capable of rendering the Latin authors with the same brevity ...
— Old Fritz and the New Era • Louise Muhlbach

... him, that he used frequently to steal into one of the book-stores, and for hours together sit buried in some rare and erudite volume. And here the original bent of his genius was early developed; subtlety, profoundness, and intense subjectivity of thought were noticed as the distinguishing characteristics of his mind. In a letter from Neumann to Chamisso, bearing date February 11th, 1806, when, of course, he was only seventeen years old, it is said ...
— Gifts of Genius - A Miscellany of Prose and Poetry by American Authors • Various

... toward me with a sullen gravity (as though they could not abide vice by daylight), rudely clothed, for to witness outwardly their contempt of outward things, with books in their hands against glory, whereto they set their names; sophistically speaking against subtlety, and angry with any man in whom they see the foul fault of anger. These men, casting largesses as they go, of definitions, divisions, and distinctions, with a scornful interrogative do soberly ask: Whether it be possible to find any path ...
— A Defence of Poesie and Poems • Philip Sidney

... the company of these gentlemen displayed in dress, bearing and manner alike, less emphasis and more intricacy. Some affected a classical simplicity of robing and subtlety of fold, after the fashion of the First French Empire, and flashed conquering arms and shoulders as Graham passed. Others had closely-fitting dresses without seam or belt at the waist, sometimes with long folds falling ...
— When the Sleeper Wakes • Herbert George Wells

... it was something immensely greater than what we call a star—a kind of monster sun. So with the prodigious birth men call 'Festus.' Our gifted young friend Yendys is more likely than any, if he live and avoid certain tendencies to diffusion and over-subtlety, to write a solid and ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 3, No. 2, May, 1851 • Various

... and her cheeks were burning. She fondled the trinket as if it had been a baby. Jane watched her. She began to understand the bare facts of the mystery of the disappearance of her amethyst comb, but the subtlety of it was forever beyond her. Had the other woman explained what was in her mind, in her heart—how that reckless young man whom she had loved had given her the treasure because he had heard her admire Jane's amethysts, and she, all unconscious of any wrong-doing, had ever regarded it as the ...
— The Copy-Cat and Other Stories • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... been said in his praise that might be truly and properly said, each successive admirer tried to add a little more, till at last, as a matter of course, he was compared to Thucydides, and lauded for the graces of his style, the vigor of his language, the subtlety of his mind, and his worship of the harmonious and the beautiful, in such a manner that the old bluff soldier would have been highly perplexed and disgusted, could he have listened to the praises of his admirers. Well might M. Paulin Paris ...
— Chips From A German Workshop. Vol. III. • F. Max Mueller

... these tools of destruction were baffled by the cunning subtlety or the subtle cunning (which you please) of fortifiers, he lately invented cannons, field-pieces, culverins, bombards, basiliskos, murdering instruments that dart iron, leaden, and brazen balls, some of them outweighing ...
— Gargantua and Pantagruel, Complete. • Francois Rabelais

... as possible. We shall now key in with the public spacecast. Note the texture and color range of the adornments and artifacts. I venture that these items will prove popular among you who can well afford such rare treasures. However, subtlety in acquiring them is suggested. While common clamor for Public ownership is under control, overt provocation is not recommended. Here is ...
— Zero Data • Charles Saphro

... seeing every day many pieces of those red and black vases of Arezzo, made, as may be judged from the manner, about those times, with the most delicate carvings and small figures and scenes in low-relief, and many small round masks wrought with great subtlety by masters of that age, men most experienced, as is shown by the effect, and most excellent in that art. It may be seen, moreover, by reason of the statues found at Viterbo at the beginning of the pontificate of Alexander ...
— Lives of the Most Eminent Painters Sculptors and Architects - Volume 1, Cimabue to Agnolo Gaddi • Giorgio Vasari

... one leg in an apologetic way, and poodle instantly dashes at you with all the vehemence of a charge of his compatriots the Cuirassiers. You shut your eyes and wait for the shedding of blood; but the torturer has all the malignant subtlety of an Apache Indian, and he tantalizes you. Presently the lady of the house appears, and, finding that you are beleaguered by an ubiquitous foe, she says sweetly, "Pray do not mind Moumou; his fun gets the better of him. Go away, naughty Moumou! ...
— The Ethics of Drink and Other Social Questions - Joints In Our Social Armour • James Runciman

... cunning and baseness, than whom Satan himself could have selected no better advocate. During her examination, Fraulein von Rudenskjoeld was most cruelly treated, and the words of the correspondence were distorted, with infamous subtlety, into whatever construction best suited her accusers. Sparre twisted his physiognomy, which in character partook of that of the dog and the serpent, into a thoughtful expression, and regretted that, according to the Swedish laws, the offence of which Miss ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845 • Various

... counteract that of the Press itself; and even to convert this newly-discovered instrument of human freedom into one which might serve to perpetuate that system of passive obedience which had so long enabled modern Rome to dictate her laws to the universe. It was thought possible in the subtlety of Italian astuzia and Spanish monachism, to place a sentinel on the very thoughts as well as on the persons of authors; and in extreme cases, that books might be condemned to the ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. II (of 3) - Edited, With Memoir And Notes, By His Son, The Earl Of Beaconsfield • Isaac D'Israeli

... swarthy features full of fire and animation, bespoke his Gascon blood. His countenance was far from comely,—nay, when in repose, even ugly and repulsive,—but his eyes were magnets that drew men's looks towards him, for in them lay the force of a powerful will and a depth and subtlety of intellect that made men fear, if they could not love him. Yet when he chose—and it was his usual mood—to exercise his blandishments on men, he rarely failed to captivate them, while his pleasant wit, courtly ways, ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby

... she resisted her misfortunes, she would, before now, have been a conquering and a peaceful people; but lulled in the lap of soft tranquillity, she rested on her hopes, and adversity only has convulsed her into action. Whether subtlety or sincerity at the close of the last year induced the enemy to an appearance for peace, is a point not material to know; it is sufficient that we see the effects it has had on our politics, and that we sternly rise ...
— The Writings Of Thomas Paine, Complete - With Index to Volumes I - IV • Thomas Paine

... the street the two friends stood silent a moment in the outer portico, suddenly conscious, after the seclusion of the great house and their evening's talk, of the city life beyond,—hilarious, disordered, without subtlety in desire and regret, rich in the common passions of humanity. At this moment a troop of revelers stumbled past with wagging torches in their drunken hands. Among them, conspicuous in the moonlight, the boy Propertius swayed ...
— Roads from Rome • Anne C. E. Allinson

... which follows at the ford is a real fight, in a sense not at all to be applied to the tournaments and other conventional encounters of the earlier poems. Even where Scott still clung to supernatural devices to help along his story, he handles them with much greater subtlety than he had done in his earlier efforts. The dropping of Douglas's sword from its scabbard when his disguised enemy enters the room, arouses the imagination without burdening it. It has the same imaginative advantage over such an episode ...
— Lady of the Lake • Sir Walter Scott

... hole, the hyaena stretched its tail out to it, but the weasel took the hyaena's tail, fastened a stick, and tied the hyaena's tail to the stick, and then said to the hyaena 'I have tied the meat to thy tail; draw, and pull it out'. The hyaena was a fool, it did not know the weasel surpassed it in subtlety; it thought the meat was tied; but when it tried to draw out its tail, it was fast. When the weasel said again to it 'Pull', it pulled, but could not draw it out; so it became vexed, and on pulling with force, its tail broke. ...
— Popular Tales from the Norse • Sir George Webbe Dasent

... said he, smiling, "you will have a right to criticise the faults that belong to so humble a disciple of it; but you will see that, though I have commenced with the allegorical or the supernatural, I have endeavoured to avoid the subtlety of conceit, and the obscurity of design, which I blame in the wilder of our authors. As to the style, I wished to suit it to the subject; it ought to be, unless I err, rugged and massive,—hewn, as it were, out of the rock of primeval language. But you, madam—doubtless ...
— The Pilgrims Of The Rhine • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... rights of the colonists as descendants of Englishmen; said they "were not to be cheated out of them by any phantom of virtual representation or any other fiction of law or politics." Again: "No such phrase as virtual representation is known in law or constitution. It is altogether a subtlety and illusion, ...
— The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume IV • Various

... Satan, subtlety of, iv. 14; an artifice of, vii. 12, 35; suggests a false humility, xiii. 5; and a carefulness for health, xiii. 9; afraid of learned directors who are humble, xiii. 26; efforts of, to deceive, how thwarted, xv. 16; tempted the Saint to give up prayer, xix. ...
— The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus • Teresa of Avila

... to the writer; since the days of Virgil and Ovid, nothing had been essayed in this region of mental analysis. The author of this extraordinary work proved himself a profound anatomist of feeling by the subtlety with which he dissected a woman's heart." The story is full of exquisite passages, and it exercised a widespread and lasting influence over all the narrative literature that followed it. It is so rich ...
— La Fiammetta • Giovanni Boccaccio

... twenty. The artist, that is to say, dominates his subject, the tall overgrown youth of twenty-two, as grey as a badger. It is very different in "The Bible in Spain," where artist and subject are equally matched, and both mature. In "Lavengro" there is a roundabout method, a painful poring subtlety and minuteness, a marvellous combination of Sterne and Defoe, resulting in something very little like any book written by either man: in "The Bible in Spain" a straightforward, confident, unqualified ...
— George Borrow - The Man and His Books • Edward Thomas

... the subconscious strata, from which it gradually ascends, under the influence of attention and reflection, towards the more conscious levels, gaining, as it ascends, in scope and outlook what it may possibly lose in subtlety and nearness to action. When knowledge, after passing upwards through many subconscious strata, rises to what I may call the surface-level of consciousness, it is ready, on occasion, to give itself off as information. This exhalation from the surface of consciousness ...
— What Is and What Might Be - A Study of Education in General and Elementary Education in Particular • Edmond Holmes

... What I do mean is 'the unconscious presupposition of space and time as being that within which nature is set.' This is exactly the sort of presupposition which tinges thought in any reaction against the subtlety of philosophical criticism. My theory of the formation of the scientific doctrine of matter is that first philosophy illegitimately transformed the bare entity, which is simply an abstraction necessary for the method of thought, ...
— The Concept of Nature - The Tarner Lectures Delivered in Trinity College, November 1919 • Alfred North Whitehead

... human soul held an unfailing charm for Browning. He analyzes with marked keenness and subtlety the experiences of the soul, its sickening failures, and its eager strivings amid complex, puzzling conditions. In nearly all his poems, whether narrative, lyric, or dramatic, the chief interest centers about some "incidents in the development ...
— Halleck's New English Literature • Reuben P. Halleck

... of fiery ecstasy when aroused, which seemed to link them by blood with the French Turcos, and made them really resemble their natural enemies, the Celts, far more than the Anglo-Saxon temperament. To balance this there were great individual resources when alone,—a sort of Indian wiliness and subtlety of resource. Their gregariousness and love of drill made them more easy to keep in hand than white American troops, who rather like to straggle or go in little squads, looking out for themselves, without being bothered with officers. ...
— Army Life in a Black Regiment • Thomas Wentworth Higginson

... believe it to be an evil and malicious, than a good beneficent Being. To turn this to their Advantage, they made Use of all their Skill and Cunning to magnify the Devil, and cry up his Force and Subtlety, his supernatural Art, his implacable Hatred to Mankind, and great Influence over Human Affairs. All the strange Stories they have spread, the monstrous Fables they have invented, and the gross Lies they have maintain'd, of Spirits, ...
— An Enquiry into the Origin of Honour, and the Usefulness of Christianity in War • Bernard Mandeville

... of speaking to the poor and of avoiding patronage or condescension or childishness (which is the favourite device, many people deeming it quite a subtlety to talk to them like little spelling books) has put him on good terms ...
— Bleak House • Charles Dickens

... strange rising and setting, and the wild orbits of new "weirdmoons" of romance. Before we can make up our minds on Scott, we have to remember, or forget, the scornful patronage of one critic, the over-subtlety and exaggerations of another, the more than papal infallibility of a third. Perhaps the best critic would be an intelligent school-boy, with a generous heart and an unspoiled imagination. As his remarks are ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... him in whose power I was so singularly placed. When I conceived that the keenness of his feelings had in some degree subsided, I answered him as follows:—'I will not—indeed I feel myself incompetent to argue a question of such metaphysical subtlety, as that which involves the limits betwixt free-will and predestination. Let us hope we may live honestly and die hopefully, without being obliged to form a decided opinion upon a point so far beyond ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... belonging to France by right of Charles of Valois' recent conquest. Bitterly mortified at this treachery, Edward took upon himself the title of "governor and administrator of his firstborn, Edward, Duke of Aquitaine, and of his estates". By this technical subtlety, he thought himself entitled to resume the control of the ceded districts and resist the attack which was bound to follow hard upon the new breach. Once more Charles IV. pronounced the sequestration of the duchy, and despite Edward's ...
— The History of England - From the Accession of Henry III. to the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377) • T.F. Tout

... bound by his very creed to suspect evil, and cannot release himself.—His religion has brought evil to light in a way in which it never was before; it has shown its depth, subtlety, ubiquity; and a revelation, full of mercy on the one hand, is terrible in its exposure of the world's real state on the other. The Gospel fastens the sense of evil upon the mind; a Christian is enlightened, ...
— A Lecture on the Study of History • Lord Acton

... crude, rude, ignorant and coarse, and if he did nothing but shock and irritate us, we would quickly cast him aside. But in addition to shocking us the great man fascinates us by his insight, his subtlety, his imagination, his sympathy, his tenderness, his love. Behind the act he sees the cause, and so he excuses and forgives. Knowing the present he is able to forecast the future, for he, of all men, knows that effect follows cause. He does what we dare not and says what we would like ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 9 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Reformers • Elbert Hubbard

... her breast, with her back half turned to her lord, the friend of Caesar, so that he could not see the design that sat behind the mask of her sharp indifference. She rested her chin upon her knees, and let the blankness of her beauty exclaim upon the subtlety of her replies, plainly measuring the power of her provocation against the impoverished quality that camp and grove, court and schools, might leave upon august Roman sensibilities. It was the old, old sophistication, so perfect in its concentration behind the ...
— The Path of a Star • Mrs. Everard Cotes (AKA Sara Jeannette Duncan)

... writer, indeed, Mr. Havelock Ellis, has realised that 'there are few more delightful books in the world,' and he has analysed them in an essay on Casanova, published in Affirmations, with extreme care and remarkable subtlety. But this essay stands alone, at all events in English, as an attempt to take Casanova seriously, to show him in his relation to his time, and in his relation to human problems. And yet these Memoirs are perhaps the most valuable document which we possess on the society of the eighteenth ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... devotion to eclectic philosophy too far to insert your ideas in my book; they would destroy it. Everything in it is based on love, platonic and sensual. God forbid that I should end my book by such social blasphemies! I would rather try to return by some pantagruelian subtlety to my herd of celibates and honest women, with many an attempt to discover some social utility in their passions and follies. Oh! if conjugal peace leads us to arguments so disillusionizing and so gloomy as these, I know ...
— The Physiology of Marriage, Part III. • Honore de Balzac

... indignant, and greatly disappointed that justice had been so eluded; but that such a monster, whose machinations seemed, in their subtlety and secrecy, to prevent all defeat, no longer cumbered Spain, was in itself a relief so great both to monarch and people, as after the first burst of ...
— The Vale of Cedars • Grace Aguilar

... detail or not, explains in part the fascination Daudet exerts upon us and the conviction we cherish that, whatever ravages time may make among his books, the memory of their writer will not fade from the hearts of men. Many Frenchmen have conquered the world's mind by the power or the subtlety of their genius; few have won its heart through the catholicity, the broad sympathy of their genius. Daudet is one of these few; indeed, he is almost if not quite the only European writer who has of late achieved such a triumph, ...
— The Nabob • Alphonse Daudet

... great men must keep their word. When America says something, America means it, whether a treaty or an agreement or a vow made on marble steps. We will always try to speak clearly, for candor is a compliment, but subtlety, too, is good and has its place. While keeping our alliances and friendships around the world strong, ever strong, we will continue the new closeness with the Soviet Union, consistent both with our security and with progress. One might say that our ...
— United States Presidents' Inaugural Speeches - From Washington to George W. Bush • Various

... matter of his second marriage he was seen at his best, generously defiant of social cruelties; but self-knowledge was denied him, and circumstances condemned his life to futility. Clara inherited his temperament; transferred to her more complex nature, it gained in subtlety and in power of self-direction, but lost in its nobler elements. Her mother was a capable and ambitious woman, one in whom active characteristics were more prominent than the emotional. With such parents, every probability told against ...
— The Nether World • George Gissing

... shall be no optional matters, no estimate of collateral studies or those of complimentary or superior importance. The student finds no attraction or benefit in studies outside of the programme, and, in this programme he finds only official texts, explained by the bill of fare, one by one, with subtlety, and patched together as well as may be by means of distinctions and interpretations, so as to provide the understood solution in ordinary cases and a plausible solution in disputed cases, in other terms, a ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 6 (of 6) - The Modern Regime, Volume 2 (of 2) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... one another lowers one's pride. Such conceptions are already becoming putrid. To the museum with them! Those are foolish and evil prejudices. May the deuce take me, but it requires a European brain and hysterical subtlety to hesitate to accept money from a human being like yourself when you are in need. Why and to what purpose do you think the human herd unites itself into some form of society? Is it mutually to devour and ...
— The Comedienne • Wladyslaw Reymont

... committed in stealing her jewels, she began to cry and weep, but all in vain. All the neighbours hastened to her, and to them she related her misfortune, which served more to raise laughter and jeers at her expense than to excite pity; though the subtlety of the two she-thieves was universally praised. These latter, as soon as they had got out of the door, knew well how to conceal themselves, for having once reached the mountain it was not possible to find them. So much for their divination, ...
— The Zincali - An Account of the Gypsies of Spain • George Borrow

... sun kindle tinder set opposite them? What is the cause of the prismatic colours of the rainbow, or of the appearance in heaven of two rival images of the sun, with sundry other phenomena treated in a monumental volume by Archimedes of Syracuse, a man who showed extraordinary and unique subtlety in all branches of geometry, but was perhaps particularly remarkable for his frequent and attentive inspection of mirrors. If you had only read this book, Aemilianus, and, instead of devoting yourself ...
— The Apologia and Florida of Apuleius of Madaura • Lucius Apuleius

... ordered as to form one Catholic communion; next, the cause of those persons, or of any others who may be at a distance from their churches, can be specially considered.' If the emperor say, 'You are speaking of Macedonius; I see your subtlety. He is a heretic; he cannot possibly be recalled,' answer, 'Imperial majesty, we name no one personally; we speak rather in favour of your mind and opinion, that inquiry may be made, and, if he is heretical, a juridical sentence ...
— The Formation of Christendom, Volume VI - The Holy See and the Wandering of the Nations, from St. Leo I to St. Gregory I • Thomas W. (Thomas William) Allies

... environment. It was as if the very essence of his soul floated there, a variable and fluid quantity, forever changing form and colour beneath the shallow ripples of his personality. She had seen him in many moods, but never in this one. Did he possess a deeper subtlety than she had imagined or was it the sincerity of his ...
— Life and Gabriella - The Story of a Woman's Courage • Ellen Glasgow

... placing a von Weithoff in the halls of Schonburg as master of that ancient stronghold? The circumstances in which identity was disclosed, although sufficient to convince every one else in the castle, appeared at times to the Count but the stronger evidence of the Outlaw's craft and subtlety. If the young man were actually the son of von Weithoff, then undoubtedly the Outlaw had run great risk of having him hanged forthwith, but on the other hand, the prize to be gained, comprising as it did two notable castles and two wide domains, was a stake worth playing high for, and ...
— The Strong Arm • Robert Barr

... or evil beings whom the hero attacks and eventually destroys, or whom the heroine overcomes by her virtues, her subtlety, or her skill—vary to a considerable extent with the region they occupy, or rather with the people in whose memories they dwell. The Giants by killing whom our own Jack gained his renown, the Norse Trolls, the Ogres ...
— Russian Fairy Tales - A Choice Collection of Muscovite Folk-lore • W. R. S. Ralston

... channel. In his writings we find little that approaches the sublime, but much that implies analytical depth and complexity of thought. His tone bespeaks a settled and civilized period favourable to art and philosophy, in which subtlety was appreciated, while the old feelings of acerbity had ...
— History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2) - With an Introduction upon Ancient Humour • Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

... face—it takes an artist to describe the various faces with their beauty of modelling, their infinite variety of type, their subtlety of expression. You can almost see the flushing of the capillaries under the translucent skin, so fine are the mediums of silk and wool under the magic handling of the talented weavers in brilliant epochs. Not a detail in one of these older canvases ...
— The Tapestry Book • Helen Churchill Candee

... these tints was vivid—all were delicate, half-toned, and poetic. She had very long, loosely plaited, flaxen hair. The new organs, as soon as Maskull had familiarised himself with them, imparted something to her face that was unique and striking. He could not quite define it to himself, but subtlety and inwardness seemed added. The organs did not contradict the love of her eyes or the angelic purity of her features, but nevertheless sounded a deeper note—a note that saved her ...
— A Voyage to Arcturus • David Lindsay

... according to their various interests, and that faction of the White and Red, into which they have been thenceforth divided, till Panurgus, the eighteenth king from the Conquest, was more by their favor than his right advanced to the crown. This King, through his natural subtlety, reflecting at once upon the greatness of their power, and the inconstancy of their favor, began to find another flaw in this kind of government, which is also noted by Machiavel namely, that a throne supported ...
— The Commonwealth of Oceana • James Harrington

... subtlety will laugh, Death will that foolish gardener mock Who does a slight and annual plant engraff, Upon ...
— Cowley's Essays • Abraham Cowley

... sentence they are entitled to pass. They call this 'not sending a child to prison.' It is of course a stupid view on their part. To a little child, whether he is in prison on remand or after conviction is not a subtlety of position he can comprehend. To him the horrible thing is to be there at all. In the eyes of humanity it should be a horrible thing for him to be there ...
— Oscar Wilde, Volume 2 (of 2) - His Life and Confessions • Frank Harris

... Raphael, before Michelangelo, Leonardo reflected the rationalism and the mystery, the subtlety and the philosophical speculation, of the age. To find in his work only the individual thought of genius would be to mistake, perhaps, its most important side; for the expression of his mind, both by ...
— Thoughts on Art and Life • Leonardo da Vinci

... accordingly made up his mind that, if he could only induce these beings to accompany him into the king's presence, he would, after all, have most satisfactorily accomplished his mission; and he forthwith proceeded, with all the craft and subtlety of which he was master, to urge upon them the desirability of an immediate visit to king M'Bongwele, who, averse as he was to the prying visits of strange men, would, he assured them, be highly gratified at the honour of having as his guests ...
— The Log of the Flying Fish - A Story of Aerial and Submarine Peril and Adventure • Harry Collingwood

... poetry than in prose, we single out but a solitary name for the double purpose of preserving brevity and of giving in one embodiment the ideal Afro-American woman of letters. The allusion here can scarcely fail to point to Mrs. S. Harper. This lady's philosophical subtlety of reasoning on grave questions finds effective expression in a prose of singular precision and vigour. But it is as a poet that posterity will hail her in the coming ages of our Race. For pathos, depth of spiritual insight, and magical exercise ...
— West Indian Fables by James Anthony Froude Explained by J. J. Thomas • J. J. (John Jacob) Thomas

... of their claims. She had one thought in life. Anything to do with Jeff Masters, anything of his was good enough for her to gamble on—even with her life. This was the real, all unconscious Nan. It was not in her to give half measure. She had no idea of what she was doing. She had no subtlety or calculation of anything where her love was concerned. She would back Jeff to the limit, and stand or fall by it. It was the simple loyalty and devotion which only ...
— The Forfeit • Ridgwell Cullum

... was startled at her subtlety. "I assure you," she said, rising, "that I have done nothing to ...
— Sanctuary • Edith Wharton

... inferior to few of those that hear me. My Lords, it was but the other day that they submitted their necks to the axe; but their honor was unwounded. Their enemies, the persons who sentenced them to death, were lawyers full of subtlety, they were enemies full of malice; yet lawyers full of subtlety, and enemies full of malice, as they were, they did not dare to reproach them with having supported the wealthy, the great, and powerful, and of having oppressed the weak and feeble, in any of their judgments, or of having perverted ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XII. (of XII.) • Edmund Burke

... surface fact was not that Hamlet had forsaken her, but that she had repulsed him; and here, with his usual unobtrusive subtlety, Shakespeare shows how Ophelia, even though she may have accepted from her elders the theory that her unkindness has driven Hamlet mad, knows within herself that she is forsaken, and cannot repress the timid ...
— Shakespearean Tragedy - Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth • A. C. Bradley

... which is as opposite in its nature to pleasure as sickness itself is to health, so they hold that health is accompanied with pleasure. And if any should say that sickness is not really pain, but that it only carries pain along with it, they look upon that as a fetch of subtlety that does not much alter the matter. It is all one, in their opinion, whether it be said that health is in itself a pleasure, or that it begets a pleasure, as fire gives heat, so it be granted that all those whose health is entire have a true pleasure in the enjoyment of it. And they reason thus:—'What ...
— Utopia • Thomas More

... clearly playing a sharp game against us; and it is undeniable that, without departing technically from the obligations of the alliance, Jay and Adams—two men as honourable as ever lived—played a very sharp defensive game against him. The traditional French subtlety was no match for Yankee shrewdness. The treaty with England was not concluded until the consent of France had been obtained, and thus the express stipulation was respected; but a thorough and detailed agreement was reached as to what the purport of the ...
— The Critical Period of American History • John Fiske

... for safety. But this was scarcely practicable: I remarked that my enemy was alone; and I believed that, man to man, I might reasonably hope to get the better of him, either by the firmness of my determination, or the subtlety of my invention. ...
— Caleb Williams - Things As They Are • William Godwin

... The delightful subtlety of this remark roused another side-shaking burst of merriment. Dan shook his head as if the mystery were beyond his comprehension, and looked to Morgan for an explanation. The saloon-keeper approached him, struggling with ...
— The Untamed • Max Brand

... unfetter'd, undisguised, Soars like the lark into the empty air; Whose arch exploits by subtlety devised, Have stamped renown on Finsbury's New Square, Great "hero" list! Whilst the sly muse repeats Thy nuptial ode, thy prowess great ...
— The Book-Hunter in London - Historical and Other Studies of Collectors and Collecting • William Roberts

... in a bow around the ankle—such a charming little slipper peeping out from petticoats all bescalloped and belaced! Everything in fact about this dainty old maid, with her trim figure filling out her soft white fichu, still had that subtlety of charm which had played havoc with more than one heart in her day. Only Sallie Horn, who had all the dear woman's secrets, knew where those little feet had stepped and what hopes they had crushed. Only Sallie Horn, too, knew why the delicate ...
— The Fortunes of Oliver Horn • F. Hopkinson Smith

... experience is the tremendously exciting sense of an intense metaphysical illumination. Truth lies open to the view in depth beneath depth of almost blinding evidence. The mind sees all the logical relations of being with an apparent subtlety and instantaneity to which its normal consciousness offers no parallel; only as sobriety returns, the feeling of insight fades, and one is left staring vacantly at a few disjointed words and phrases, as one stares at a cadaverous-looking snow-peak from which the sunset ...
— The Will to Believe - and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy • William James

... not born to be a leader of men. He was born to be, what he was - a misleader of men. Huxley says he could be made to believe that two and two made five. He would try to make others believe it; but would he himself believe it? His friends will plead, 'he might deceive himself by the excessive subtlety of his mind.' This is the charitable view to take. But some who knew him long and well put another construction upon this facile self- deception. There were, and are, honourable men of the highest standing who failed ...
— Tracks of a Rolling Stone • Henry J. Coke

... Meanwhile, Ione was secretly somewhat uneasy at the gallantries which escaped from those lips, which, till lately, had seemed to disdain the common homage we pay to beauty; and with that delicate subtlety, which woman alone possesses, she sought to ward off shafts deliberately aimed, and to laugh or to talk away the meaning from his warming language. Nothing in the world is more pretty than that same species of defence; it is the charm of the African necromancer who professed with a ...
— The Last Days of Pompeii • Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

... the ends of the index and thumb stroking the two sides of the nose from base to point. This means astute, attentive, ready. Sharpness of the nasal organ is popularly associated with subtlety and finesse. The old Romans by homo emunctae naris meant an acute man attentive to his interests. The sign is often used in a bad sense, then signifying too sharp to ...
— Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other Peoples And Deaf-Mutes • Garrick Mallery

... ever making and ever unmade, the very essence of her being—beauty, yet having no form of her own, and yet again manifesting herself in the ceaseless generation of passing forms? If the boat be the daughter of these, the stable child of visible and invisible subtlety, made to live in both, and shape its steady course between their varying and conflicting forces—if her Ideal was modelled between the flap of airy pinions and the long ranging flow of the serpent water, how could the lines of ...
— Alec Forbes of Howglen • George MacDonald

... extreme points. In these, her first and feeblest attempts to animalize organization, it is latent, because undeveloped, and merely potential; while, in the human brain, the last and most consummate of her combined energies, it is again lost or disguised in the subtlety(15) ...
— Hints towards the formation of a more comprehensive theory of life. • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... for Flora Anna pressed herself upon Irby, to the open chagrin of his uncle. So Kincaid cheerfully paired with Flora. But thus both he and Anna unwittingly put the finishing touch upon that change of heart in the General which Flora, by every subtlety of indirection, this hour and more in the carriage, had been ...
— Kincaid's Battery • George W. Cable

... at the apt wit and the subtlety with which these gentlemen formulated their replies, he felt bewildered with epigram and repartee, and, most of all, by their offhand way of talking and their ease of manner. The material luxury of Paris had alarmed him that morning; at night he saw the same lavish expenditure ...
— Lost Illusions • Honore De Balzac

... back upon his suppressed instincts as a poet by the ruin of his political hopes. This chart of Milton's life is at once simple and true. But like all physiological diagrams it falls short of the subtlety and complexity of human character. A study of the pamphlets will show that the poet is all there, indeed only too openly for influence on opinion, and that the blighted hope of the patriot lends a secret pathos to Paradise ...
— Milton • Mark Pattison

... things, which, being dowered neither with imagination nor any appetite or inclination contrary to nature, ever continue in the one path which nature has prescribed for them, as if they were tied and bound. But in brutes the gentleness of mood inspired by reason, the subtlety, the love of freedom, are not qualities found in excess, but they have unreasonable appetites and desires, and act in a roundabout way within certain limits, riding, as it were, at the anchor of nature, and only going straight under bit and bridle. ...
— Plutarch's Morals • Plutarch

... Thomas Gourlay writhed within him like a wounded serpent, at the calm but noble truth contained in this apophthegm. He was not, however, to be caught; the subtlety of his invention enabled him to escape on that ...
— The Black Baronet; or, The Chronicles Of Ballytrain - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One • William Carleton

... grasp of simple truths that elude cleverer men, and a desperate obstinacy which is reluctant to admit defeat. But it is the fashion of youth to glory in what it lacks, and I flattered myself that I had a natural gift for finesse and subtlety, and was a born deviser of wars. Again and again I told myself how I and Lawrence's Virginians—grown under my hand to a potent army—should roll back the invaders to the hills and beyond, while the Sioux of the Carolinas guarded one flank and the streams of ...
— Salute to Adventurers • John Buchan

... fermentation that the question of the final stamp, the pressure that fixes the value, must wait for comparative coolness. And it was a mark of his interesting mixture that if he was irritable it was by a law of considerable subtlety—a law that, in intercourse with him, it might be of profit, though not easy, to master. One of the effects of it was that he had for you surprises of tolerance as ...
— The Wings of the Dove, Volume 1 of 2 • Henry James

... well noted the desirableness and opposition to brutal types, (p. 59, third edition;) only this he has not sufficiently observed, that there are certain virtues of the intellect in measure inconsistent with each other, as perhaps great subtlety with great comprehensiveness, and high analytical with high imaginative power, or that at least, if consistent and compatible, their signs upon the features are not the same, so that the outward form cannot express both, without ...
— Modern Painters Volume II (of V) • John Ruskin

... converts, the doubtful, and the open scoffers, troop up to the veranda. You must be infinitely kind and patient, and, above all, clear-sighted, for you deal with the simplicity of childhood, the experience of man, and the subtlety of the savage. Your congregation have a hundred material wants to be considered; and it is for you, as you believe in your personal responsibility to your Maker, to pick out of the clamouring crowd any grain of spirituality that may lie therein. If to the cure of souls you add ...
— Soldiers Three • Rudyard Kipling

... "that every one is like you, who would use one slander for the patching of another; but there is danger lest the patch impair what it patches and the foundation be so overladen that all be destroyed. However, if you think that the subtlety, of which all believe you to be fully possessed, is greater than that found in women, I yield place to you to tell the seventh story; and, if you bring yourself forward as the hero, I doubt not that ...
— The Tales Of The Heptameron, Vol. I. (of V.) • Margaret, Queen Of Navarre

... strove in vain to draw the strange one. O valiant Amleth, and worthy of immortal fame, who being shrewdly armed with a feint of folly, covered a wisdom too high for human wit under a marvellous disguise of silliness! And not only found in his subtlety means to protect his own safety, but also by its guidance found opportunity to avenge his father. By this skilful defence of himself, and strenuous revenge for his parent, he has left it doubtful whether we are to think more of his ...
— The Danish History, Books I-IX • Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")

... seduc'd me into sin. And how and wherefore listen while I tell. Long as this spirit mov'd the bones and pulp My mother gave me, less my deeds bespake The nature of the lion than the fox. All ways of winding subtlety I knew, And with such art conducted, that the sound Reach'd the world's limit. Soon as to that part Of life I found me come, when each behoves To lower sails and gather in the lines; That which before had pleased me then ...
— The Divine Comedy • Dante

... of a religion whose leading characteristics are its subtlety and thin abstractions, it may naturally be inferred that argument and casuistry held prominent place in the curriculum of instruction. In the story of Mahindo, and the conversion of the island to Buddhism, the following display of logical acumen is ostentatiously ...
— Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and • James Emerson Tennent

... without reason, have many, after they had fallen into such a calamitous accident, esteemed this indignity less supportable than the loss of their own lives, in such sort that, if they have not been able by force of arms nor any other means, by reach of wit or subtlety, to stop them in their course and restrain their fury, they have fallen into desperation, and utterly deprived themselves of this light. It is therefore no wonder if King Grangousier, my master, be full of high displeasure and much ...
— Gargantua and Pantagruel, Complete. • Francois Rabelais

... resigned an honorable profession, that of medicine, to adopt a very contrary one, that of becoming an author by profession for a party. As a Tory writer he dared every extremity of the law, while he evaded it by every subtlety of artifice; he sent a masked lady with his MSS. to the printer, who was never discovered; and was once saved by a flaw in the indictment, from the simple change of an r for a t, or nor for not, one of those shameful ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 206, October 8, 1853 • Various

... races, will continue to produce fine and generous human types, not wholly Italian. Italians will continue to show a shining example to the world by reason of their gaiety and charm of character, their mental subtlety, which with time will grow less involved and more lucid in expression, by their art of life, even now not much inferior to the French, by their sensitiveness to beauty, by their capacity for enthusiastic appreciation, and by their technical ...
— With British Guns in Italy - A Tribute to Italian Achievement • Hugh Dalton

... wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden ..." I decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might be collected, and I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end. ...
— Prufrock and Other Observations • T. S. Eliot

... explain. Perhaps instinctively he felt that her natural subtlety could not be in accord with his natural sincerity, felt that in discussing certain subjects they talked in different languages. She put her arms round ...
— In the Wilderness • Robert Hichens

... thinking) the place is a centre of diabolical rather than of divine activities. To the best of my judgment, your Pastor, and by consequence all that are about him devote all their zeal and ingenuity and subtlety to devise how best and most speedily they may bring the Christian religion to nought and banish it from the world. And because I see that what they so zealously endeavour does not come to pass, but that on the contrary your religion continually grows, and shines more and more clear, ...
— The Decameron, Volume I • Giovanni Boccaccio

... tragedy which does not present some terrible or touching picture, which is not full of brave and robust thought, which has not also great dramatic power. But I am obliged to curtail the proof of this, and I feel that, after all, I shall not give a complete idea of the tragedy's grandeur, its subtlety, its vast scope ...
— Modern Italian Poets • W. D. Howells

... Dean succeeded, with some difficulty, in obtaining a private interview with Mr Spivin's servant Martha, he proceeded with much politeness and subtlety to pump and ...
— The Garret and the Garden • R.M. Ballantyne

... "The Romany Rye" he is an intruder with a design of turning these books into tracts. He is treated far more elaborately than any other character except the author's, and with a massive man's striving after subtlety. Moreover, Borrow has made it impossible to ignore him or to cut him out, by interlacing him with every other character in these two books. With sad persistency and naive ingenuity he brings it about that every one shall see, or have ...
— George Borrow - The Man and His Books • Edward Thomas

... for? Was something going on, some inquiry being made in the background of things, of which he knew and would not tell me? And—this, I think, was what was chiefly in my thoughts—was Crone playing some game of his own and designing to use me as a puppet in it? For there was a general atmosphere of subtlety and slyness about the man that forced itself upon me, young as I was; and the way he kept eyeing me as we talked made me feel that I had to do with one that would be hard to circumvent if it came to a matter of craftiness. And at last, after ...
— Dead Men's Money • J. S. Fletcher

... would expect to meet her there. When he asked for a part of that week, in which to give him the opportunity to prove to her that her duty to Horace, as well as to herself, demanded the rupture of this mistaken engagement, she was sufficiently influenced by the subtlety of this appeal ...
— A Manifest Destiny • Julia Magruder

... that is lavish to excess. Yet beauty lies somewhat coyly hid—as though suffocated by over-abundance of crowding wonder. I detect, indeed, almost a touch of the monstrous in it all, a super-expression, as it were, that bewilders, and occasionally even may alarm. Delicacy, subtlety, suggestion in any form, have no part in it. During the five years of my exile amid this tropical extravagance I can recall no single instance of beauty "hinting" anywhere. Nature seems, rather, ...
— The Garden of Survival • Algernon Blackwood

... prelate portrayed in "Bishop Blougram's Apology," with all his bland subtlety, complex culture, and ripened perceptions, distant as the nineteenth century from the sixteenth, very different at bottom from his Renaissance brother, in respect to his native hankering for the pleasure of estimation above his fellows? Gigadibs is his Gandolf, ...
— Men and Women • Robert Browning

... eyes and voice profoundly affected Haney, who was without subtlety in affairs of the heart. The women he had known had been mainly coarse-fibred or of brutish directness of passion and purpose, and this woman's words and tone at once confused and appalled him. All ...
— Money Magic - A Novel • Hamlin Garland

... theme of nearly all great novels; but its setting narrowed this appeal, and Hawthorne's treatment of his theme, symbolical rather than simple and concrete, narrowed it still further. Yet with all that, it possesses that individual charm and subtlety which is apparent, in greater or less degree, in ...
— American Men of Mind • Burton E. Stevenson

... surprise by the majority. Indeed, many considered it "characteristic"—"so like Bob Rushbrook," and a few enthusiastic friends looked upon it as a crowning and intentional stroke of humor. It remained, however, for the gentleman from Siskyou to give the incident a subtlety that struck Miss Nevil's fancy. "It reminds me," he said in her hearing, "of ole Kernel Frisbee, of Robertson County, one of the purlitest men I ever struck. When he knew a feller was very dry, he'd jest set the decanter afore him, and managed ...
— A Sappho of Green Springs • Bret Harte

... principal point. So agreeing, let us examine, if you will, the actual cause of fermentation;—this is a second question, quite distinct from the first. Science is built up of successive solutions given to questions of ever increasing subtlety, approaching nearer and nearer towards the very essence of phenomena. If we proceed to discuss together the question of how living, organized beings act in decomposing fermentable substances, we will be found to fall out once more on your hypothesis of ...
— The Harvard Classics Volume 38 - Scientific Papers (Physiology, Medicine, Surgery, Geology) • Various

... sort of moral," said Drusilla. "And they are every one of them devoid of humour, except of the most obvious kind—no subtlety." ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, September 15, 1920 • Various

... portrait of Isabel. The nose was a little longer, that was all; but the rest of the face—particularly the eyes and mouth—was all but exact, and the general correspondence between the two faces in subtlety, strangeness, and, so to say, determined refinement, ...
— The Romance of Zion Chapel [3d ed.] • Richard Le Gallienne

... would explain the invasion of butterflies, and their difficulty at the very last in immediately finding the object of their search. Are there effluvia analogous to what we call odour: effluvia of extreme subtlety, absolutely imperceptible to us, yet capable of stimulating a sense-organ far more sensitive than our own? A simple experiment suggested itself. I would mask these effluvia, stifle them under a powerful, tenacious odour, which would take complete possession ...
— Social Life in the Insect World • J. H. Fabre

... forty years ago. With his lamented friend Judge B.F. Thomas, he believes that a man cannot be a great lawyer who is nothing else,—that exclusive devotion to the study and practice of the law tends to acumen rather than to breadth, to subtlety rather than to strength. "The air is thin among the apices of the law, as on the granite needles of the Alps. Men must find refreshment and strength in the quiet valleys at ...
— The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 6 • Various

... will, I think, at once strike you by what we moderns should call its 'vigor of character.' You may observe also that the features are finished with great care and subtlety, but at the cost of simplicity and breadth. But the essential difference between it and the central art, is its disorder in design—you see the locks of hair cannot be counted any longer—they are entirely disheveled and irregular. Now the individual character may, or may not, be a sign of decline; ...
— Aratra Pentelici, Seven Lectures on the Elements of Sculpture - Given before the University of Oxford in Michaelmas Term, 1870 • John Ruskin

... simple-minded person, wholly devoid of subtlety of intellect, so that I willingly admit that there may be depths of alternative meaning in these propositions out of all soundings attainable by my poor plummet. Still there are a good many people who suffer under a like intellectual limitation; and, ...
— Mr. Gladstone and Genesis - Essay #5 from "Science and Hebrew Tradition" • Thomas Henry Huxley

... products, whether natural or the result of labor, of serving to maintain man, is called distinctively value in use; their capacity of purchasing each other, value in exchange. At bottom this is the same thing, since the second case only adds to the first the idea of substitution, which may seem an idle subtlety; practically, the consequences are surprising, and beneficial or ...
— The Philosophy of Misery • Joseph-Pierre Proudhon

... intellectual faculties any more than it strengthened them. We have heard poor creatures consoling themselves for their inferiority by saying, "Coleridge would not have written so well but for opium." "No thanks to De Quincey for his subtlety—he owes it to opium." Let such persons swallow the drug, and try to write the "Suspiria," ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 2, July, 1850. • Various

... of dialogue. In fact, we are hampered by no restrictions except the restrictions of English grammar and literary composition. Although we have sought simplicity of expression before, we may now strive for subtlety and for effect; we may write suggestively and even obscurely. We are dealing with the only part of the newspaper that makes any effort toward literary excellence and only our originality and cleverness ...
— Newspaper Reporting and Correspondence - A Manual for Reporters, Correspondents, and Students of - Newspaper Writing • Grant Milnor Hyde

... romance, and one detects in it the miraculous power ... of seeing things steadily and seeing them wholly, with relentless humor and pitiless pathos. The book is crowded with types, and they are all etched in with masterly fidelity of vision and sureness of touch, with feminine subtlety as well as virile audacity."—James Douglas ...
— A Certain Rich Man • William Allen White

... though the heir general of Katherine, he was not so of her elder sister Philippa; and that if he had been, the law which would have made these two sisters heiresses presumptive had been altered while they were children. Beyond this piece of subtlety, Philip allied himself with the Duke of Parma in Italy, and the Duke of Guise [Note 1] in France; the plot being that the Duke of Medina Sidonia, Commander-in-chief of the Armada, was to sail first for Flanders, and take his orders from ...
— Clare Avery - A Story of the Spanish Armada • Emily Sarah Holt

... he had force. Yet she did not think him clever; she had met men whose mental powers were much more obvious, but when she tried to contrast them with him, he came out best. After all, character took one further than intellectual subtlety. ...
— The Lure of the North • Harold Bindloss

... place, Budaeus), who had visited Geneva with him, and heard the disputations of their most learned doctors, which both he and Budaeus disliked for their hard judgments both of God and man, as much as they admired them for their subtlety, being themselves, as became Italian students, Platonists of the school of Ficinus and Picus Mirandolensis. So wrote Master Frank, in a long sententious letter, full of Latin quotations: but the letter never reached the eyes of him for whose delight it had been penned: and the widow ...
— Westward Ho! • Charles Kingsley

... gaudy pennons in the air, glitters in the sun, but we wait in vain to hear of its arrival in the destined harbour. Mr. Godwin, with less variety and vividness, with less subtlety and susceptibility both of thought and feeling, has had firmer nerves, a more determined purpose, a more comprehensive grasp of his subject, and the results are as we find them. Each has met with his reward: ...
— The Spirit of the Age - Contemporary Portraits • William Hazlitt

... with those varied outside influences which set vibrating the harmonic notes of her nature stirring in the air about her, and what has social life to compare with one of those vital interchanges of thought and feeling with her that make an hour memorable? What can equal her tact, her delicacy, her subtlety of apprehension, her quickness to feel the changes of temperature as the warm and cool currents of talk blow by turns? At one moment she is microscopically intellectual, critical, scrupulous in judgment as an analyst's ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... "How-de-do!" at the end of the first stanza, and quit. Whereupon Bulliwinkle, for the first time sensing the fact that something was wrong, in the goodness of his heart began singing, Dot's How Poor Yacob Found It Oudt, in seeming compliment to the nationality of the professor; but, owing to the subtlety of the reasoning, the professor failed to take it as such. He took mortal umbrage instead, and hurled his card down on the table with a bang, at which Bulliwinkle slipped under ...
— Double Trouble - Or, Every Hero His Own Villain • Herbert Quick

... is not a healthy state of things. The advantages of living in society are proportionate, not to the freedom of the individual from a code, but to the complexity and subtlety of the code he is prepared not only to accept but to uphold as a matter of such vital importance that a lawbreaker at large is hardly to be tolerated on any plea. Such an attitude becomes impossible ...
— Bernard Shaw's Preface to Major Barbara • George Bernard Shaw

... could ever prevail upon her to play at any game, where chance entered into the composition, for nothing. Chance, she would argue—and here again, admire the subtlety of her conclusion!—chance is nothing, but where something else depends upon it. It is obvious, that cannot be glory. What rational cause of exultation could it give to a man to turn up size ace a hundred times together by himself? or before ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume 2 • Charles Lamb

... opposite direction: and often, the two states would follow each other in the same exercise, as described by him in his Diary:[2]—"Was ever man more tempted than the miserable Mather? Should I tell in how many forms the Devil has assaulted me, and with what subtlety and energy his assaults have been carried on, it would strike my friends with horror. Sometimes, temptations to vice, to blasphemy, and atheism, and the abandonment of all religion as a mere delusion, and sometimes to self-destruction itself. ...
— Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather - A Reply • Charles W. Upham

... his long fingers, a man whose scholastic training had been disassociated from religious traditions, now stood face to face with mediaevalism, with two elderly men in dark habiliments, as greatly superior to himself in that subtlety which finds its highest expression in the ecclesiastical type as he was superior to them in the acquisition ...
— The Mayor of Warwick • Herbert M. Hopkins

... of: First course—Brawn and mustard, dedells in burneaux, frument with balien, pike in erbage (pike stuffed with herbs), lamprey powdered, trout, codling, fried plaice and marling, crabs, leche lumbard flourished, and tarts. Then came a subtlety representing a pelican sitting on her nest with her young and an image of St. Katherine bearing a book and disputing with the doctors, bearing a reason (motto) in her right hand, saying, in the French apparently of Stratford-at-the-Bow, ...
— Christmas: Its Origin and Associations - Together with Its Historical Events and Festive Celebrations During Nineteen Centuries • William Francis Dawson

... prompted her to interpose and, in this fateful hour, to do her friend such service as she once, like a coward, had shrank from. So with eager emotion, her eyes flashing, she interrupted the negro "Stop!" she cried, "you are wasting words and trouble. What you are trying to prove by subtlety I am proud and glad to declare. Hear it, all of you. The son of the Mukaukas is ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... cried, his voice hoarse with emotion. "Do you think I am a statue, or a table, or chair—or inanimate like that tiger there? I am not, I tell you!" and he seized her in his arms, raining kisses upon her which, whatever they lacked in subtlety, made up for in their passion and strength. "Some day some man will kill you, I suppose, but I shall be ...
— Three Weeks • Elinor Glyn

... lowly condition and poor circumstances, who had to earn his living during the formative period of his life by the simplest and hardest labour of the hand. The qualities that made him what he was were of a very simple kind, and his character owed its strength, not to any complexity or subtlety of training and education, but rather to that very bareness and simplicity of circumstance that made him a man of single rather than manifold ideas. He was not capable of seeing both sides of a question; he saw only one side. But he came of ...
— Christopher Columbus, Complete • Filson Young

... calls for a fine distinction of tones—the utmost subtlety of perception of values. To paint a picture in which the highest light may not be white nor the lowest dark black, and yet give a great range and variety to the values all through the picture, the values must be close; must be studied so closely ...
— The Painter in Oil - A complete treatise on the principles and technique - necessary to the painting of pictures in oil colors • Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst

... these men, "John Eglinton" is the one who has thrown his greatest energy into the essay, almost all his energy, and in it, in the chapters of "Two Essays on the Remnant" (1896), "Pebbles from a Brook" (1901), and "Bards and Saints" (1906), he has written with subtlety and illumination. ...
— Irish Plays and Playwrights • Cornelius Weygandt

... Karl had not the subtlety to retort, "Ay, but does it say what we like?" He subsided again, merely giving a meek assent to the proposition, and ...
— The First Violin - A Novel • Jessie Fothergill

... have been made to classify the emotions which are, in ordinary experience, infinitely subtle and complex. The subtlety and variety of emotion James explains as the result of the subtle and imperceptible differences in the complex of sensations which occur in any given situation. In general, it has been recognized that the emotions are very closely connected ...
— Human Traits and their Social Significance • Irwin Edman

... work; the daring of the conception, its vast size and strength, and the utility of its purpose, are alike admirable. We do these things and die; we ride upon the air and water, we guide the lightning and we bridle the sea, we borrow the swiftness of the wind and the fine subtlety of the fire; we lord it in this universe of ours for a day, and then our bodies are devoured by these material slaves we have controlled, and helplessly mingle their dust with the elements that have obeyed our will, who reabsorb the garment of our soul ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble



Words linked to "Subtlety" :   shade, significance, meaning, signification, niceness, difficulty, difficultness, import, nuance



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