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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about Recollections of My Youth.
reason and folly, fade into one another by shades as impalpable as those in a dove’s neck.  To feel neither absolute love nor absolute hate becomes therefore wisdom.  If any one society, philosophy, or religion, had possessed absolute truth, this society, philosophy, or religion, would have vanquished all the others and would be the only one now extant.  All those who have hitherto believed themselves to be right were in error, as we see very clearly.  Can we without utter presumption believe that the future will not judge us as we have judged the past?  Such are the blasphemous ideas suggested to me by my corrupt mind.  A literature wholesome in all respects like thine would now be looked upon as wearisome.

“Thou smilest at my simplicity.  Yes, weariness.  We are corrupt; what is to be done?  I will go further, O orthodox Goddess, and confide to you the inmost depravation of my heart.  Reason and common sense are not all-satisfying.  There is poetry in the frozen Strymon and in the intoxication of the Thracian.  The time will come when thy disciples will be regarded as the disciples of ennui.  The world is greater than thou dost suppose.  If thou hadst seen the Polar snows and the mysteries of the austral firmament thy forehead, O Goddess, ever so calm, would be less serene; thy head would be larger and would embrace more varied kinds of beauty.

“Thou art true, pure, perfect; thy marble is spotless; but the temple of Hagia-Sophia, which is at Byzantium, also produces a divine effect with its bricks and its plaster-work.  It is the image of the vault of heaven.  It will crumble, but if thy chapel had to be large enough to hold a large number of worshippers it would crumble also.

“A vast stream called Oblivion hurries us downward towards a nameless abyss.  Thou art the only true God, O Abyss! the tears of all nations are true tears; the dreams of all wise men comprise a parcel of truth; all things here below are mere symbols and dreams.  The Gods pass away like men; and it would not be well for them to be eternal.  The faith which we have felt should never be a chain, and our obligations to it are fully discharged when we have carefully enveloped it in the purple shroud within the folds of which slumber the Gods that are dead.”

[Footnote 1:  [Greek:  ATHAENAS DAEMOKRATIAS], Le Bas.  I. 32nd Inscrip.]

ST. RENAN.

When I come to look at things very closely, I see that I have changed very little; my destiny had practically welded me, from my earliest youth, to the place which I was to hold in the world.  My vocation was thoroughly matured when I came to Paris; before leaving Brittany my life had been mapped out.  By the mere force of things, and despite my conscientious efforts to the contrary, I was predestined to become what I am, a member of the romantic school, protesting against romanticism, a Utopian inculcating the doctrine of

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