Some of that twice-blessed mercy was always with Lydgate in his work at the Hospital or in private houses, serving better than any opiate to quiet and sustain him under his anxieties and his sense of mental degeneracy.
Ruins and basilicas, palaces and colossi, set in the midst of a sordid present, where all that was living and warm-blooded seemed sunk in the deep degeneracy of a superstition divorced from reverence; the dimmer but yet eager Titanic life gazing and struggling on walls and ceilings; the long vistas of white forms whose marble eyes seemed to hold the monotonous light of an alien world: all this vast wreck of ambitious ideals, sensuous and spiritual, mixed confusedly with the signs of…
This was really an argument for not deferring the marriage too long, as he implied to Mr. Farebrother, one day that the Vicar came to his room with some pond-products which he wanted to examine under a better microscope than his own, and, finding Lydgate’s tableful of apparatus and specimens in confusion, said sarcastically— "Eros has degenerated; he began by introducing order and harmony, and now he brings back chaos."
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"If our search degenerates to that level I’ll be sure to call on you," I said without looking in his direction.
Patrick Rothfuss -- The Name of the Wind
By nature I am high-strung and animated, but when frustration confronts me head-on, I degenerate into a demoniac.