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Translated by R.D. Boylan Edited by Nathen Haskell Dole - page 43 / 106





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yawned at my feet, and cataracts fell headlong down before me; impetuous rivers rolled through the plain, and rocks and mountains resounded from afar. In the depths of the earth I saw innumerable powers in motion, and multiplying to in- finity; whilst upon its surface, and beneath the heavens, there teemed ten thousand varieties of living creatures. Everything around is alive with an infinite number of forms; while man- kind fly for security to their petty houses, from the shelter of which they rule in their imaginations over the wide-extended universe. Poor fool! in whose petty estimation all things are little. From the inaccessible mountains, across the desert which no mortal foot has trod, far as the confines of the unknown ocean, breathes the spirit of the eternal Creator; and every atom to which he has given existence finds favour in his sight. Ah, how often at that time has the flight of a bird, soaring above my head, inspired me with the desire of being trans- ported to the shores of the immeasurable waters, there to quaff the pleasures of life from the foaming goblet of the Infinite,

and to partake, if but for a moment even, with the confined powers of my soul, the beatitude of that Creator who accom- plishes all things in himself, and through himself!

My dear friend, the bare recollection of those hours still con- soles me. Even this effort to recall those ineffable sensations, and give them utterance, exalts my soul above itself, and makes me doubly feel the intensity of my present anguish.

It is as if a curtain had been drawn from before my eyes, and, instead of prospects of eternal life, the abyss of an ever open grave yawned before me. Can we say of anything that it exists when all passes away, when time, with the speed of a storm, carries all things onward, —and our transitory exist- ence, hurried along by the torrent, is either swallowed up by the waves or dashed against the rocks?There is not a moment but preys upon you, —and upon all around you, not a mo- ment in which you do not yourself become a destroyer. The most innocent walk deprives of life thousands of poor in- sects: one step destroys the fabric of the industrious ant, and converts a little world into chaos. No: it is not the great and rare calamities of the world, the floods which sweep away whole villages, the earthquakes which swallow up our towns, that affect me. My heart is wasted by the thought of that destructive power which lies concealed in every part of uni- versal nature. Nature has formed nothing that does not con-


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