He stood upon the lofty balcony that overlooked the quiet city. Though afar, the fiercest passions of men were at work on the web of strife and doom, all that gave itself to his view was calm and still in the rays of the summer moon, for his soul was wrapped from man and man’s narrow sphere, and only the serener glories of creation were present to the vision of the seer. There he stood, alone and thoughtful, to take the last farewell of the wondrous life that he had known.
Coursing through the fields of space, he beheld the gossamer shapes, whose choral joys his spirit had so often shared. There, group upon group, they circled in the starry silence multiform in the unimaginable beauty of a being fed by ambrosial dews and serenest light. In his trance, all the universe stretched visible beyond; in the green valleys afar, he saw the dances of the fairies; in the bowels of the mountains, he beheld the race that breathe the lurid air of the volcanoes, and hide from the light of heaven; on every leaf in the numberless forests, in every drop of the unmeasured seas, he surveyed its separate and swarming world; far up, in the farthest blue, he saw orb upon orb ripening into shape, and planets starting from the central fire, to run their day of ten thousand years. For everywhere in creation is the breath of the Creator, and in every spot where the breath breathes is life! And alone, in the distance, the lonely man beheld his Magian brother. There, at work with his numbers and his Cabala, amidst the wrecks of Rome, passionless and calm, sat in his cell the mystic Mejnour,—living on, living ever while the world lasts, indifferent whether his knowledge produces weal or woe; a mechanical agent of a more tender and a wiser will, that guides every spring to its inscrutable designs. Living on,—living ever,—as science that cares alone for knowledge, and halts not to consider how knowledge advances happiness; how Human Improvement, rushing through civilisation, crushes in its march all who cannot grapple to its wheels ("You colonise the lands of the savage with the Anglo-Saxon,—you civilise that portion of the earth; but is the savage civilised? He is exterminated! You accumulate machinery,—you increase the total of wealth; but what becomes of the labour you displace? One generation is sacrificed to the next. You diffuse knowledge,—and the world seems to grow brighter; but Discontent at Poverty replaces Ignorance, happy with its crust. Every improvement, every advancement in civilisation, injures some, to benefit others, and either cherishes the want of to-day, or prepares the revolution of to-morrow.”—Stephen Montague.); ever, with its Cabala and its number, lives on to change, in its bloodless movements, the face of the habitable world!