« 前へ次へ »
“It is neither one nor the other. no thought for to - morrow, they It is the land of Suspense, where took their measures. I am not we all are until a day which no sure that those who have passed one knows—a visionary day which, by the Temple in the wood have perhaps, may never come, seeing it the best of it even now; but at has been threatened and delayed least we have not much to comfor all the ages.
Ah! you can
There is no suffering : not imagine the worlds-full there we are left to ourselves : we go are of us! and some of the great where we will, and have great Romans tell you that the tradition facilities : and, as I tell you, the was in their time as now."
best of company. Only make up “The Day of Judgment !” said your mind to the one loss, and the young man, very low.
we have really much to congratu“'Well! tbat is what they say.
late ourselves upon.” But in the meantime, not to dis- The young man made no reply: courage you, it is better here than he began to hate this voice, with life was before. There are few its evenness of speech, the calm pleasures- those things that one and the encouragement of its tone. despised one's self for enjoying, He had known men who spoke when time was. But the mind is so, who were content to live, free — and there are a thousand though life had no hope, with a things to learn. And there is sneer at those who were other society everywhere. We are here than they. And though a moment in multitudes. There are almost ago he had been almost glad to more of us, I believe, than of - turn to another being deprived those others.”
and naked like himself, he felt “ Those others !” repeated the now that if he were but alone, it young man—he looked up where would be more easy to bear. The through the thick foliage there Voice went on talking to him was a glimpse of the towers and with the pleasure of one who has roof-trees of that home which he found a new hearer. And somecould not enter. His companion times he listened, and sometimes spoke as if they were enemies : heard it as though he heard it not. but his own spirit rebelled against Sometimes even it caught him that thought.
with an ingenious word and made “The good people,” said the him laugh; but then his mind voice, as with a sneer. “ What would stiffen into silence, and the made them to differ, do you ask? horror and gloom swept over him Oh, they made their preparations. again like the dark waves over a While we led joyeuse vie and had wreck at sea.
All the night long he sat there lap of a mother who cooled his leaning his head upon his hands, forehead with dewy touches, and sometimes leaning against the subdued his soul into the calm of great trunk of the tree behind inanimate things. And yet there him, which gave him a sensation was nothing inanimate in this of forlorn comfort, the only thing great realm of nature where the that recognised him as still tang- air was fresh and free, like the ible, a thing of flesh and blood. air upon a mountain - top where He sat there amid all the fragrant there is no wind but only a sense breathing of the night as in the of being far above all hindrance
or soil, and near to heaven. heart and current of his blood, The sky above was alive with were calmed by this greater movestars, stars that were something ment and mystery, he gazed abroad
than stars, that had upon the majestic night with a rounded and expanded into orbs hush of reverence and of awe in of light and seemed almost within which there was adoration. He reach, as if there might be means was silent while God passed by, of entering them and knowing and felt the sweep of the great their secrets. The light that came stars following in His train, and from them was enough to make the air upon his face, the breath everything visible in a tender and of their going, and the thrill of soft radiance where every variety that vast procession through illimof shade had its own transparency itable skies. He, a spirit, though and sweetness of lovely meaning, not blessed, yet as a spirit recogsuch a light as never was on sea or nised the great course of innumershore. Through the openings of able worlds and circles of being, the trees he could see far off the following the mighty footsteps of whole course of the valley clear in their King. that mystic glow which was with- Thus one moment of amazed out colour, where all was clear as and trembling revelation gave him in a vision, unlike the brightness rest in the glory of the night, and of the day. The towers and pin- stilled the lesser voices and murnacles rose up on his right hand murs that filled his ears : but as a over the trees as if made of silver: man is after all the centre of all the little floating vapours in the systems to himself, the tide of sky, the great pulsing and move- thought and feeling rolled back, ment of the worlds of light above, and with it the despair which the the air which was as a rapture knowledge of his own condition of purity and freedom, - all con- had brought upon him. When veyed to the young man's bosom his eyes came back to his imthe sensation of boundless space, mediate surroundings, the sudden and a lofty height beyond the sight of the green mound on which thoughts of men. And there was he sat, with all its undergrowth a subdued glow along the edge of moss and starry decoration of of the horizon, as if there it passed minute flowers, vacant under the into pure light as the stars did faint light, as if there was no one round their boundaries, hiding the there, drove his soul almost to life within.
madness in the sudden rediscovery. Sometimes this young man had He felt the soft knots of the grass felt even upon the homely earth and cushion of the moss under something of that movement that him, yet when he looked there is in the spheres, the swaying was nothing there. He grasped of the great planet as it ran its it with his hands and found it course in the heavens; but here empty, though the moss seemed to it seemed like a faint stir of life yield and the blades of grass to in everything, a subtle and all- bend under his weight. It was pervading current, a movement like madness rising up into his majestic, almost visible, in rhythm brain, and he felt with a mingling and measure, like God Himself pro- of ideas distraught that he must ceeding onward always in His spring to his feet and rush forth supernal way. After a time, when after God upon His awful way, the beating of the river of life in crying to Him, entreating, blashis own ears, the throbbing of his pheming, forcing His attention,
though it was through that incom- And as he sat there all his life prehensible whirl of space, and rolled out before him like a long threading the unseen path from panorama—his little life with all star to star.
its broken scenes, of which he had But that wild impulse, like never known the meaning. Often others, died away. A man, be he he had thought they had no meanever so rebellious, learns to know ing, as certainly they had no inthat the impossible hedges all his tention, no plan, but only a foolish steps : and he sank back upon his impulse, a touch from some tree, suppressing himself, binding here and there, who had pushed himself into the submission which him unthinking to one side or anhe knew at the bottom of his other—not the straight way. What heart was his only hope. He a succession of accidents it was to felt no fatigue, notwithstanding end in this ! no purpose in it-no his long journey and the dreadful meaning: all a foolish rush here disappointment at the end. None or there haphazard, the affair of a of those imperious needs of the moment, although fate had taken up flesh which fill up so much of the the changeful threads and woven time and distract so many of the it into certainty for ever. He thoughts of earth, moved him at
saw himself a boy, hesitating with all. He was free from everything, one foot on the upper slope, drawn weariness and pain, and food and back by errant fancy, by curiosity, sleep and shelter. No thought of by accident—always by accident ! these things filled his mind. He —then, finding the lower road the did not even remark his exemp- easier, the higher hard to begin, tion, so natural it seemed. He putting off till to-morrow and toknew only the impossibility that morrow_but no meaning in it, oh, girded him round and round. He
no purpose, no settled plan of could not change the condition he rebellion, no intention to offend. had come to. No one could change He went over this again and again, it. Such as it was he had to till he felt himself a deeply injured endure it, to find the reason for
Never had he meant any it, to discover the compensation. harm : he had even tried not to To go mad, and dash his head hurt any one else while he took his against the confines of the world, own pleasure, and he remembered and force a reversal from God of the words that had been in the air his sentence was impossible. Ah! following him wherever he went he fell low again, with his face –nobody's enemy but his own. hidden in the softly rustling grass.
That was true, that was true! The impossible girt him round with He had not tempted any one, nor its circle of iron. Rebel, submit, ever defied God, whom he never content himself, go mad these doubted, for whose name, had there were all things that could be done. been need for that, he felt that he But reverse God's sentence, no! could have died rather than have not if he had the strength of giants, been apostate to it. The tears not if he had the power of the whole came into his
with this world, upon a little sod of whose thought. He had been wrong, surface his wounded spirit lay. very wrong: he had always known
Presently he had controlled him that, and hated it-yet done the self, and was sitting again with his same again : but never with any back against his tree and his head blasphemous meaning, never deleaning on his hands, gazing out fying God, always knowing that upon the night yet seeing nothing. the other way was the best, and
hoping one day when his hour of How many times, in what an pleasure was over And what infinity of time and leisure, did he had he not paid already for his go over these thoughts! The night folly !—of all that he might have stole on, all glorious in quiet and done in the other life, he had done repose—some of the wondrous lights nothing; of all that he might above gliding out of sight as the have attained, nothing. He had world in which he was ascended wrought no deliverance in the and descended, going down into earth. It was all loss, loss, mis- the night, and then with a halferable failure : and hearts break- sensible turn and thrill turning ing, his own as well as the rest. round to the day—and some came But no purpose in it. He had up into sight in the great round of never intended any day of his the firmament that had been undisobedience, from first to last, to seen before.
Then thrill deny his Maker or insult Him. through the wood, and voices began Never, never ! It was the one to awaken in the trees — little thing he was certain of amid all tongues of birds twittering, the doubts and changes, all the wakest thou, sleepest thou ?— confusions in his life.
among the branches, before all And, perhaps, this was how it their little world roused happened, that when he had set and the great hymn began. The out on his journey that morning, young man had not been prewas it still the same morning, not pared for that hymn, and it took twenty-four hours off, the morning him strangely in a surprise and of yesterday ?—his heart had been passion of sympathy: he said to so light. He had anticipated himself that he had not known nothing but good. He had made there were birds here, and the sure that all the links of his old moisture came to his eyes. Then habits would be broken, that he he tried to join with a note of his would be lifted without effort of man's voice and startled them all, his to a better sphere. He had till he saw his mistake and tried not said this to himself in words, instead a low and soft whistle, nor, indeed, was he clear in his which they took for the note of a mind that he expected anything new comrade and burst forth again. definite, or what it was he ex- The young man felt his spirit all pected—but only something good, subdued by that morning hymn, and happiness that would bring back tried to say his prayers in a great all that he had missed in the confusion, stammering, not knowtime that was past. Of one thing ing what words to use. The old he had been very sure, that he prayers seemed so out of place. would not err again : he had And then he remembered what thought of the ways of men, so all the people had said to vain and melancholy, with a great him God save you ! — and rerelief in being done with them. peated it with a faltering and a And too glad and thankful he trembling — God save me! God would have been to be done with save me ! Not “give me this day them ! to take his place in the my daily bread.” Was that oldhome where he believed he was fashioned ? out of date? He going, and his share of all the duty trembled, and all his strength there, whatever it might be. But seemed to melt like water, and he now—no home, no duty, no life said only, God save me! God save for him. He was nothing — no me! not knowing what he said. man, a Voice, and no more. All these strange emotions filled
the time and the world about him, ing how he should ever have been yet was his mind free to note the so weary. Then he had been a growth of the morning, coming man, but now was nothing, a Voice fresh as it seemed out of the hand only, no more. And when he reof God: the great valley came membered how, in the smallest slowly to life and to the light, and thing as in the greatest, he had the silence filled with sound as chosen and taken his own way, water wells up in a fountain. As and had pleasure in his will and for himself, he did not stir, but independence, and had done this
, , watched, not now despairing, nor and that because he pleased, with even questioning, but still : a spec- no other reason for it, and that tator wondering and looking on, now there was nothing for him to hushed to the bottom of his heart, choose, nothing to do — himself to see what all things did, having nothing, and all his ways nothing, for himself no duty, no work; and a straw blown upon the wind ! In feeling, so far as he felt at all, a the other life there had been nothingness, as if he were part of threatenings of punishment and the mound on which he lay, where torture, but never of this—and he he fancied vaguely the grasses had thought to himself, though with a begun already to grow over him. shiver, that the fire and the burnWhat would they do, they who ing would have been more easy to were other than he, they to whom bear, and perhaps a fierce everything belonged, though to counter with the devils who torhim nothing belonged ? He mented lost souls — à rising up watched what they would do, what against them, and call for justice the morning would bring to them, out of the pit. To fight, to with much eagerness in his heart; struggle, to resist, these fierce joys
, but the thickness of the trees and seemed to attract him, to revive the brushwood, which was very his heart. But here there was close in that direction, shut out his nothing - neither good nor evil, view. And perhaps his curiosity neither use nor destruction. The
. was not so great as he thought, for Power which he had offended dehis mind filled with many thoughts spised him, would not lay a finger which revolved about himself, and on him, left him to rot and perish. presently he forgot all that was No! worse by far than that, to around him, and became, still a go on in nothingness for ever and spectator indeed, but a spectator ever, to be and not to be, at one of his own being, and of those and the same timethings which were going on in As these thoughts began to it. And it seemed now that the quicken and whirl through his thing most natural to him, who now brain — for though he began in possessed nothing of his own, was quiet they gradually gained velo- . to go
the time when he city and strength, till the rush was possessed so much, love and com- like the blazing of fire or the sweep panionship, and hope and the of water in a flood, consuming and power of doing, and pleasure of carrying him away - he became every kind. His heart had grown
aware of an external sound which sick of that life before he left it, drove them away at once like a and he had often felt it empty of flight of birds careering out of everything, and that all was sight. And looking up whence the vanity. But now his heart re- sound came, he saw a movement turned to it, longing and wonder- as of some one searching amid the
VOL. CLXI.--NO. DCCCCLXXV.