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terrible language of agonies that had been, and were, and were still to continue to be.
The scene around was desolate ; as far as the eye could reach it was desolate: the bare rocks faced each other, and left a long and wide interval of thin white sand. You might wander on, and look round and round, and peep into the crevices of the rocks and discover nothing that acknowledged the influence of the seasons. There was no spring, no summer, no autumn: and the winter's snow, that would have been lovely, fell not on these hot rocks and scorching sands. Never morning lark had poised himself over this desert; but the huge serpent often hissed there beneath the talons of the vulture, and the vulture screamed, his wings imprisoned within the coils of the serpent. The pointed and shattered summits of the ridges of the rocks made a rude mimicry of human concerns, and seemed to prophesy mutely of things that then were not; steeples, and battlements, and ships with naked masts. As far from the wood as a boy might swing a pebble of the brook, there was one rock by itself at a small distance from the main ridge. It had been precipitated there perhaps by the groan which the Earth uttered when our first father fell.
Before you approached, it appeared to lie flat on the ground, but its base slanted from its point, and between its point and the sands a tall man might stand upright. It was here that Enos had found the pitcher and cake, and to this place he led his father. But ere they had reached the rock they beheld a human Shape; his back was towards them, and they were advancing unperceived, when they heard him smite his breast, and cry aloud, “ Woe is me! woe is me! I
feet of him that was like Abel disturbed not the sands. He greatly outran Cain, and turning short, he wheeled round, and came again to the rock where they had been sitting, and where Enos still stood; and the child caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and he fell upon the ground. And Cain stopped, and beholding him not, said, “He has passed into the dark woods," and he walked slowly back to the rocks; and when he reached it the child told him that he had caught hold of his garment as he passed by, and that the man had fallen
upon the ground : and Cain once more sate beside him; and said, “ Abel, my brother, I would lament for thee, but that the spirit within me is withered, and burnt up with extreme agony. Now, I pray thee, by thy flocks and by thy pastures, and by the quiet rivers which thou lovedst, that thou tell me all that thou knowest. Who is the God of the dead? where doth he make his dwelling ? what sacrifices are acceptable unto him ? for I have offered, but have not been received ; I have prayed ; and have not been heard ; and how can I be afflicted more than I already am ?” The Shape arose and answered, “O that thou had hadst pity on me as I will have pity on thee. Follow me, Son of Adam! and bring thy child with thee!"
And they three passed over the white sands between the rocks, silent as the shadows.
A FEELING of sadness, a peculiar melancholy,
is wont to take possession of me alike in spring and in autumn, But in spring it is the melancholy of hope; in autumn it is the melancholy of resignation. As I was journeying on foot through the Apennine, I fell in with a pilgrim in whom the spring and the autumn and the melancholy of both seemed to have combined. In his discourse there were the freshness and the colors of April :
Qual ramicel a ramo,
In lui germogliava. But as I gazed on his whole form and figure, I bethought me of the not unlovely decays, both of age and of the late season, in the stately elm, after the clusters have been plucked from its entwining vines, and the vines are as bands of dried withies around its trunk and branches. Even so there was a memory on his smooth and ample forehead, which blended with the dedication of his steady eyes, that still looked—I know not, whether upward, or far onward, or rather to the line of meeting where the sky rests upon the distance. But how
may press that dimness of abstraction which lay on the lustre of the pilgrim's eyes like the flitting tarnish from the breath of a sigh on a silver mirror! and which accorded with their slow and reluctant movement, whenever he turned them to any object on the right hand or on the left ? It seemed, methought, as if there lay upon the brightness a shadowy presence of disappointments now unfelt, but never forgotten.
It was at once the melancholy of hope and of resignation.
We had not long been fellow-travellers, ere a sudden tempest of wind and rain forced us to seek protection in the vaulted door-way of a lone chapelry ; and we sate face to face each on the stone bench along-side the low, weather-stained wall, and as close as possible to the massy door.
After a pause of silence: Even thus, said he, like two strangers that have fled to the same shelter from the same storm, not seldom do Despair and Hope meet for the first time in the porch of Death! All extremes meet, I answered ; but yours was a strange and visionary thought. The better then doth it beseem both the place and me, he replied. Visionary wilt thou hear a Vision ? Mark that vivid flash through this torrent of rain! Fire and water. Even here thy adage holds true, and its truth is the moral of my Vision. I entreated him to proceed. Sloping his face toward the arch, and yet averting his eye from it, he seemed to seek and prepare his words: till listening to the wind that echoed within the hollow edifice, and to the rain without,
Which stole on his thoughts with its twofold sound,
he gradually sank away, alike from me and from his own purpose, and amid the gloom of the storm, and in the duskiness of that place, he sate like an emblem on a rich man's sepulchre, or like a mourner on the sodded grave of an only one--an aged mourner, who is watching the waned moon and sorroweth not. Starting at length from his brief trance of abstraction, with courtesy and an atoning smile
he renewed his discourse, and commenced his parable.
During one of those short furloughs from the service of the body, which the soul may sometimes obtain even in this its militant state, I found myself in a vast plain, which I immediately knew to be the Valley of Life. It possessed an astonishing diversity of soils; here was a sunny spot and there a dark one, forming just such a mixture of sunshine and shade, as we may have observed on the mountains' side in an April day, when the thin broken clouds are scattered over heaven. Almost in the trance of the valley stood a large and gloomy pile, into which I seemed constrained to enter. Every part of the building was crowded with tawdry ornaments and fantastic deformity. On every window was portrayed, in glaring and inelegant colors, some horrible tale, or preternatural incident, so that not a ray of light could enter, untinged by the medium through which it passed. The body of the building was full of people, some of them dancing, in and out, in unintelligible figures, with strange ceremonies and antic merriment, while others seemed convulsed with horror, or pining in mad melancholy. Intermingled with these I observed a number of men clothed in ceremonial robes, who appeared now to marshal the various groups, and to direct their movements; and now with menacing countenances, to drag some reluctant victim to a vast idol, framed of iron bars intercrossed, which formed at the same time an immense cage, and the shape of a human Colossus.
I stood for a while lost in wonder what these things might mean ; when lo! one of the directors