“Nay,” answered Mejnour; “have I not had success to counterbalance failure? And can I forego this lofty and august hope, worthy alone of our high condition,—the hope to form a mighty and numerous race with a force and power sufficient to permit them to acknowledge to mankind their majestic conquests and dominion, to become the true lords of this planet, invaders, perchance, of others, masters of the inimical and malignant tribes by which at this moment we are surrounded: a race that may proceed, in their deathless destinies, from stage to stage of celestial glory, and rank at last amongst the nearest ministrants and agents gathered round the Throne of Thrones? What matter a thousand victims for one convert to our band? And you, Zanoni,” continued Mejnour, after a pause,—“you, even you, should this affection for a mortal beauty that you have dared, despite yourself, to cherish, be more than a passing fancy; should it, once admitted into your inmost nature, partake of its bright and enduring essence,—even you may brave all things to raise the beloved one into your equal. Nay, interrupt me not. Can you see sickness menace her; danger hover around; years creep on; the eyes grow dim; the beauty fade, while the heart, youthful still, clings and fastens round your own,—can you see this, and know it is yours to—”
“Cease!” cried Zanoni, fiercely. “What is all other fate as compared to the death of terror? What, when the coldest sage, the most heated enthusiast, the hardiest warrior with his nerves of iron, have been found dead in their beds, with straining eyeballs and horrent hair, at the first step of the Dread Progress,—thinkest thou that this weak woman—from whose cheek a sound at the window, the screech of the night-owl, the sight of a drop of blood on a man’s sword, would start the colour—could brave one glance of—Away! the very thought of such sights for her makes even myself a coward!”
“When you told her you loved her,—when you clasped her to your breast, you renounced all power to foresee her future lot, or protect her from harm. Henceforth to her you are human, and human only. How know you, then, to what you may be tempted; how know you what her curiosity may learn and her courage brave? But enough of this,—you are bent on your pursuit?”
“The fiat has gone forth.”
“To-morrow, at this hour, our bark will be bounding over yonder ocean, and the weight of ages will have fallen from my heart! I compassionate thee, O foolish sage,—thou hast given up thy youth!”
Alch: Thou always
speakest riddles. Tell me if thou art that
fountain of which Bernard Lord Trevizan writ?
Merc: I am not
that fountain, but I am the water. The fountain
compasseth me about.
Sandivogius, “New Light of Alchymy.”