From Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870):
“My opinion is formed,” replied Ned Land sharply. “They are rascals.”
“Good! and from what country?”
“From the land of rogues.”
“My brave Ned, that country is not clearly indicated on the map of the world; but I admit that the nationality of the two strangers is hard to determine. Neither English, French, nor German, that is quite certain. However, I am inclined to think that the commander and his companion were born in low latitutdes. There is southern blood in them. But I cannot decide by their appearance whether they are Spaniards, Turks, Arabians, or Indians. As to their language, it is quite incomprehensible.”
“There is the disadvantage of not knowing all languages,” said Conseil, “or the disadvantage of not having one universal language.”
If only one knew all languages, or rather that there were only one for all! Then we should all be saved at last! Then at last there would be no impediment to building our towers 1,001 feet instead of these paltry 1,000-foot towers. Then at last we should be able to reduce absolutely the interval between desire and fulfillment!
Here is an example of the folly of the Enlightenment, when understanding and appreciation of tragedy was lost to Western Civilization, which confined us to the narrow-minded path to the heights of power over the material world, where, unable to breathe the aether, we began to suffocate interiorly, unable to guess why as long as we cling to our faith in the doctrine that matter is all that exists.
Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for helping me to see that “the world is too much with us”.