“Thou art right,” said the melodious Voice. “Thy courage has restored thy power. Once more, in the haunts of earth, thy soul charms me to thy side. Wiser now, in the moment when thou comprehendest Death, than when thy unfettered spirit learned the solemn mystery of Life; the human affections that thralled and humbled thee awhile bring to thee, in these last hours of thy mortality, the sublimest heritage of thy race,—the eternity that commences from the grave.”
“O Adon-Ai,” said the Chaldean, as, circumfused in the splendour of the visitant, a glory more radiant than human beauty settled round his form, and seemed already to belong to the eternity of which the Bright One spoke, “as men, before they die, see and comprehend the enigmas hidden from them before (The greatest poet, and one of the noblest thinkers, of the last age, said, on his deathbed, “Many things obscure to me before, now clear up, and become visible.”—See the ’Life of Schiller.’), “so in this hour, when the sacrifice of self to another brings the course of ages to its goal, I see the littleness of Life, compared to the majesty of Death; but oh, Divine Consoler, even here, even in thy presence, the affections that inspire me, sadden. To leave behind me in this bad world, unaided, unprotected, those for whom I die! the wife! the child!—oh, speak comfort to me in this!”
“And what,” said the visitor, with a slight accent of reproof in the tone of celestial pity,—“what, with all thy wisdom and thy starry secrets, with all thy empire of the past, and thy visions of the future; what art thou to the All-Directing and Omniscient? Canst thou yet imagine that thy presence on earth can give to the hearts thou lovest the shelter which the humblest take from the wings of the Presence that lives in heaven? Fear not thou for their future. Whether thou live or die, their future is the care of the Most High! In the dungeon and on the scaffold looks everlasting the Eye of him, tenderer than thou to love, wiser than thou to guide, mightier than thou to save!”
Zanoni bowed his head; and when he looked up again, the last shadow had left his brow. The visitor was gone; but still the glory of his presence seemed to shine upon the spot, still the solitary air seemed to murmur with tremulous delight. And thus ever shall it be with those who have once, detaching themselves utterly from life, received the visit of the Angel faith. Solitude and space retain the splendour, and it settles like a halo round their graves.
Dann zur Blumenflor
Fass’ ihn freundlich Arm in Arm
Trag’ ihn in die blaue Ferne.
—Uhland, “An den Tod.”
Then towards the Garden
of the Star
Lift up thine aspect warm with love,
And, friendlike link’d through space afar,
Mount with him, arm in arm, above.
—Uhland, “Poem to Death.”