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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 520 pages of information about The Last Man.

Willingly do I give place to thee, dear Alfred! advance, offspring of tender love, child of our hopes; advance a soldier on the road to which I have been the pioneer!  I will make way for thee.  I have already put off the carelessness of childhood, the unlined brow, and springy gait of early years, that they may adorn thee.  Advance; and I will despoil myself still further for thy advantage.  Time shall rob me of the graces of maturity, shall take the fire from my eyes, and agility from my limbs, shall steal the better part of life, eager expectation and passionate love, and shower them in double portion on thy dear head.  Advance! avail thyself of the gift, thou and thy comrades; and in the drama you are about to act, do not disgrace those who taught you to enter on the stage, and to pronounce becomingly the parts assigned to you!  May your progress be uninterrupted and secure; born during the spring-tide of the hopes of man, may you lead up the summer to which no winter may succeed!

[1] See an ingenious Essay, entitled, “The Mythological Astronomy of the Ancients Demonstrated,” by Mackey, a shoemaker, of Norwich printed in 1822. [2] Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution.

CHAPTER V.

Some disorder had surely crept into the course of the elements, destroying their benignant influence.  The wind, prince of air, raged through his kingdom, lashing the sea into fury, and subduing the rebel earth into some sort of obedience.

  The God sends down his angry plagues from high,
  Famine and pestilence in heaps they die. 
  Again in vengeance of his wrath he falls
  On their great hosts, and breaks their tottering walls;
  Arrests their navies on the ocean’s plain,
  And whelms their strength with mountains of the main.

Their deadly power shook the flourishing countries of the south, and during winter, even, we, in our northern retreat, began to quake under their ill effects.

That fable is unjust, which gives the superiority to the sun over the wind.  Who has not seen the lightsome earth, the balmy atmosphere, and basking nature become dark, cold and ungenial, when the sleeping wind has awoke in the east?  Or, when the dun clouds thickly veil the sky, while exhaustless stores of rain are poured down, until, the dank earth refusing to imbibe the superabundant moisture, it lies in pools on the surface; when the torch of day seems like a meteor, to be quenched; who has not seen the cloud-stirring north arise, the streaked blue appear, and soon an opening made in the vapours in the eye of the wind, through which the bright azure shines?  The clouds become thin; an arch is formed for ever rising upwards, till, the universal cope being unveiled, the sun pours forth its rays, re-animated and fed by the breeze.

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