One of the finest phrases in Chinese is zhi yin, which means ‘knower of your music’, used to describe someone who understands you deeply, and by implication, a soul-mate. In a similar vein, Eliot uses musical range and vibration to convey the limits of some souls and the boundlessness of others.
‘We must learn to accommodate ourselves to the discovery that some of those cunningly-fashioned instruments called human souls have only a very limited range of music, and will not vibrate in the least under the touch that fills others with tremulous rapture or quivering agony.’
Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 141
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