Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 579 pages of information about Zanoni.

“No,” said the latter; “hadst thou delayed the acceptance of the Arch-gift until thou hadst attained to the years, and passed through all the desolate bereavements that chilled and seared myself ere my researches had made it mine, thou wouldst have escaped the curse of which thou complainest now,—­thou wouldst not have mourned over the brevity of human affection as compared to the duration of thine own existence; for thou wouldst have survived the very desire and dream of the love of woman.  Brightest, and, but for that error, perhaps the loftiest, of the secret and solemn race that fills up the interval in creation between mankind and the children of the Empyreal, age after age wilt thou rue the splendid folly which made thee ask to carry the beauty and the passions of youth into the dreary grandeur of earthly immortality.”

“I do not repent, nor shall I,” answered Zanoni.  “The transport and the sorrow, so wildly blended, which have at intervals diversified my doom, are better than the calm and bloodless tenor of thy solitary way—­thou, who lovest nothing, hatest nothing, feelest nothing, and walkest the world with the noiseless and joyless footsteps of a dream!”

“You mistake,” replied he who had owned the name of Mejnour,—­“though I care not for love, and am dead to every passion that agitates the sons of clay, I am not dead to their more serene enjoyments.  I carry down the stream of the countless years, not the turbulent desires of youth, but the calm and spiritual delights of age.  Wisely and deliberately I abandoned youth forever when I separated my lot from men.  Let us not envy or reproach each other.  I would have saved this Neapolitan, Zanoni (since so it now pleases thee to be called), partly because his grandsire was but divided by the last airy barrier from our own brotherhood, partly because I know that in the man himself lurk the elements of ancestral courage and power, which in earlier life would have fitted him for one of us.  Earth holds but few to whom Nature has given the qualities that can bear the ordeal.  But time and excess, that have quickened his grosser senses, have blunted his imagination.  I relinquish him to his doom.”

“And still, then, Mejnour, you cherish the desire to revive our order, limited now to ourselves alone, by new converts and allies.  Surely—­surely—­thy experience might have taught thee, that scarcely once in a thousand years is born the being who can pass through the horrible gates that lead into the worlds without!  Is not thy path already strewed with thy victims?  Do not their ghastly faces of agony and fear—­the blood-stained suicide, the raving maniac—­rise before thee, and warn what is yet left to thee of human sympathy from thy insane ambition?”

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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