Zanoni eBook

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


I have just returned from their courts of justice,—­dens where tigers arraign their prey.  I find not whom I would seek.  They are saved as yet; but I recognise in the crimes of mortals the dark wisdom of the Everlasting.  Mejnour, I see here, for the first time, how majestic and beauteous a thing is death!  Of what sublime virtues we robbed ourselves, when, in the thirst for virtue, we attained the art by which we can refuse to die!  When in some happy clime, where to breathe is to enjoy, the charnel-house swallows up the young and fair; when in the noble pursuit of knowledge, Death comes to the student, and shuts out the enchanted land which was opening to his gaze,—­how natural for us to desire to live; how natural to make perpetual life the first object of research!  But here, from my tower of time, looking over the darksome past, and into the starry future, I learn how great hearts feel what sweetness and glory there is to die for the things they love!  I saw a father sacrificing himself for his son; he was subjected to charges which a word of his could dispel,—­he was mistaken for his boy.  With what joy he seized the error, confessed the noble crimes of valour and fidelity which the son had indeed committed, and went to the doom, exulting that his death saved the life he had given, not in vain!  I saw women, young, delicate, in the bloom of their beauty; they had vowed themselves to the cloister.  Hands smeared with the blood of saints opened the gate that had shut them from the world, and bade them go forth, forget their vows, forswear the Divine one these demons would depose, find lovers and helpmates, and be free.  And some of these young hearts had loved, and even, though in struggles, loved yet.  Did they forswear the vow?  Did they abandon the faith?  Did even love allure them?  Mejnour, with one voice, they preferred to die.  And whence comes this courage?—­because such hearts live in some more abstract and holier life than their ownBut to live forever upon this earth is to live in nothing diviner than ourselves.  Yes, even amidst this gory butcherdom, God, the Ever-living, vindicates to man the sanctity of His servant, Death!


Again I have seen thee in spirit; I have seen and blessed thee, my sweet child!  Dost thou not know me also in thy dreams?  Dost thou not feel the beating of my heart through the veil of thy rosy slumbers?  Dost thou not hear the wings of the brighter beings that I yet can conjure around thee, to watch, to nourish, and to save?  And when the spell fades at thy waking, when thine eyes open to the day, will they not look round for me, and ask thy mother, with their mute eloquence, “Why she has robbed thee of a father?”

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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