Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Men of Flesh and Blood

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Past and Present, Book II, Chapter 2 (St. Edmundsbury):
Alas, what 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!'

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