This man is not worthy of her,—I know that truth; yet in his nature are the seeds of good and greatness, if the tares and weeds of worldly vanities and fears would suffer them to grow. If she were his, and I had thus transplanted to another soil the passion that obscures my gaze and disarms my power, unseen, unheard, unrecognised, I could watch over his fate, and secretly prompt his deeds, and minister to her welfare through his own. But time rushes on! Through the shadows that encircle me, I see, gathering round her, the darkest dangers. No choice but flight,—no escape save with him or me. With me!—the rapturous thought,—the terrible conviction! With me! Mejnour, canst thou wonder that I would save her from myself? A moment in the life of ages,—a bubble on the shoreless sea. What else to me can be human love? And in this exquisite nature of hers,—more pure, more spiritual, even in its young affections than ever heretofore the countless volumes of the heart, race after race, have given to my gaze: there is yet a deep-buried feeling that warns me of inevitable woe. Thou austere and remorseless Hierophant,—thou who hast sought to convert to our brotherhood every spirit that seemed to thee most high and bold,—even thou knowest, by horrible experience, how vain the hope to banish fear from the heart of woman.
My life would be to her one marvel. Even if, on the other hand, I sought to guide her path through the realms of terror to the light, think of the Haunter of the Threshold, and shudder with me at the awful hazard! I have endeavoured to fill the Englishman’s ambition with the true glory of his art; but the restless spirit of his ancestor still seems to whisper in him, and to attract to the spheres in which it lost its own wandering way. There is a mystery in man’s inheritance from his fathers. Peculiarities of the mind, as diseases of the body, rest dormant for generations, to revive in some distant descendant, baffle all treatment and elude all skill. Come to me from thy solitude amidst the wrecks of Rome! I pant for a living confidant,—for one who in the old time has himself known jealousy and love. I have sought commune with Adon-Ai; but his presence, that once inspired such heavenly content with knowledge, and so serene a confidence in destiny, now only troubles and perplexes me. From the height from which I strive to search into the shadows of things to come, I see confused spectres of menace and wrath. Methinks