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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Zanoni.
world to the spirit’s infinite home, as a disease which the leech must extirpate with pharmacy and drugs, and know not even that it is from this condition of their being, in its most imperfect and infant form, that poetry, music, art—­all that belong to an Idea of Beauty to which neither sleeping nor waking can furnish archetype and actual semblance—­take their immortal birth.  When we, O Mejnour in the far time, were ourselves the neophytes and aspirants, we were of a class to which the actual world was shut and barred.  Our forefathers had no object in life but knowledge.  From the cradle we were predestined and reared to wisdom as to a priesthood.  We commenced research where modern Conjecture closes its faithless wings.  And with us, those were common elements of science which the sages of to-day disdain as wild chimeras, or despair of as unfathomable mysteries.  Even the fundamental principles, the large yet simple theories of electricity and magnetism, rest obscure and dim in the disputes of their blinded schools; yet, even in our youth, how few ever attained to the first circle of the brotherhood, and, after wearily enjoying the sublime privileges they sought, they voluntarily abandoned the light of the sun, and sunk, without effort, to the grave, like pilgrims in a trackless desert, overawed by the stillness of their solitude, and appalled by the absence of a goal.  Thou, in whom nothing seems to live but the desire to know; thou, who, indifferent whether it leads to weal or to woe, lendest thyself to all who would tread the path of mysterious science, a human book, insensate to the precepts it enounces,—­thou hast ever sought, and often made additions to our number.  But to these have only been vouchsafed partial secrets; vanity and passion unfitted them for the rest; and now, without other interest than that of an experiment in science, without love, and without pity, thou exposest this new soul to the hazards of the tremendous ordeal!  Thou thinkest that a zeal so inquisitive, a courage so absolute and dauntless, may suffice to conquer, where austerer intellect and purer virtue have so often failed.  Thou thinkest, too, that the germ of art that lies in the painter’s mind, as it comprehends in itself the entire embryo of power and beauty, may be expanded into the stately flower of the Golden Science.  It is a new experiment to thee.  Be gentle with thy neophyte, and if his nature disappoint thee in the first stages of the process, dismiss him back to the Real while it is yet time to enjoy the brief and outward life which dwells in the senses, and closes with the tomb.  And as I thus admonish thee, O Mejnour, wilt thou smile at my inconsistent hopes?  I, who have so invariably refused to initiate others into our mysteries,—­I begin at last to comprehend why the great law, which binds man to his kind, even when seeking most to set himself aloof from their condition, has made thy cold and bloodless science the link between thyself and
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