Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Past and Present
, Book II, Chapter 2 (St. Edmundsbury
mountains of dead ashes, wreck and burnt bones, does assiduous
Pedantry dig up from the Past Time...
Another world, truly: and this present poor distressed world
might get some profit by looking wisely into it, instead of
foolishly. But at lowest, O dilettante friend, let us know
always that it was a world, and not a void infinite of grey haze
with phantasms swimming in it. These old St. Edmundsbury walls, I
say, were not peopled with phantasms; but with men of flesh and
blood, made altogether as we are. Had thou and I then been, who
knows but we ourselves had taken refuge from an evil Time, and
fled to dwell here, and meditate on an Eternity, in such fashion
as we could? Alas, how like an old osseous fragment, a broken
blackened shin-bone of the old dead Ages, this black ruin looks
out, not yet covered by the soil; still indicating what a once
gigantic Life lies buried there! It is dead now, and dumb; but
was alive once, and spake.
How silent now;
all departed, clean gone. The World-Dramaturgist has written:
Exeunt. The devouring Time-Demons have made away with it all:
and in its stead, there is either nothing; or what is worse,
offensive universal dust-clouds, and grey eclipse of Earth and
Heaven, from 'dry rubbish shot here!'