Venerable Brotherhood, so sacred and so little known, from whose secret and precious archives the materials for this history have been drawn; ye who have retained, from century to century, all that time has spared of the august and venerable science,—thanks to you, if now, for the first time, some record of the thoughts and actions of no false and self-styled luminary of your Order be given, however imperfectly, to the world. Many have called themselves of your band; many spurious pretenders have been so-called by the learned ignorance which still, baffled and perplexed, is driven to confess that it knows nothing of your origin, your ceremonies or doctrines, nor even if you still have local habitation on the earth. Thanks to you if I, the only one of my country, in this age, admitted, with a profane footstep, into your mysterious Academe (The reader will have the goodness to remember that this is said by the author of the original Ms., not by the editor.), have been by you empowered and instructed to adapt to the comprehension of the uninitiated, some few of the starry truths which shone on the great Shemaia of the Chaldean Lore, and gleamed dimly through the darkened knowledge of latter disciples, labouring, like Psellus and Iamblichus, to revive the embers of the fire which burned in the Hamarin of the East. Though not to us of an aged and hoary world is vouchsafed the name which, so say the earliest oracles of the earth, “rushes into the infinite worlds,” yet is it ours to trace the reviving truths, through each new discovery of the philosopher and chemist. The laws of attraction, of electricity, and of the yet more mysterious agency of that great principal of life, which, if drawn from the universe, would leave the universe a grave, were but the code in which the Theurgy of old sought the guides that led it to a legislation and science of its own. To rebuild on words the fragments of this history, it seems to me as if, in a solemn trance, I was led through the ruins of a city whose only remains were tombs. From the sarcophagus and the urn I awake the genius (The Greek Genius of Death.) of the extinguished Torch, and so closely does its shape resemble Eros, that at moments I scarcely know which of ye dictates to me,—O Love! O Death!
And it stirred in the virgin’s heart,—this new, unfathomable, and divine emotion! Was it only the ordinary affection of the pulse and the fancy, of the eye to the Beautiful, of the ear to the Eloquent, or did it not justify the notion she herself conceived of it,—that it was born not of the senses, that it was less of earthly and human love than the effect of some wondrous but not unholy charm? I said that, from that day in which, no longer with awe and trembling, she surrendered herself to the influence of Zanoni, she had sought to put her thoughts into words. Let the thoughts attest their own nature.
The self confessional.
“Is it the daylight that shines on me, or the memory of thy presence? Wherever I look, the world seems full of thee; in every ray that trembles on the water, that smiles upon the leaves, I behold but a likeness to thine eyes. What is this change, that alters not only myself, but the face of the whole universe?