A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 253 pages of information about A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Her image had passed into his soul for ever and no word had broken the holy silence of his ecstasy.  Her eyes had called him and his soul had leaped at the call.  To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life!  A wild angel had appeared to him, the angel of mortal youth and beauty, an envoy from the fair courts of life, to throw open before him in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory.  On and on and on and on!

He halted suddenly and heard his heart in the silence.  How far had he walked?  What hour was it?

There was no human figure near him nor any sound borne to him over the air.  But the tide was near the turn and already the day was on the wane.  He turned landward and ran towards the shore and, running up the sloping beach, reckless of the sharp shingle, found a sandy nook amid a ring of tufted sandknolls and lay down there that the peace and silence of the evening might still the riot of his blood.

He felt above him the vast indifferent dome and the calm processes of the heavenly bodies; and the earth beneath him, the earth that had borne him, had taken him to her breast.

He closed his eyes in the languor of sleep.  His eyelids trembled as if they felt the vast cyclic movement of the earth and her watchers, trembled as if they felt the strange light of some new world.  His soul was swooning into some new world, fantastic, dim, uncertain as under sea, traversed by cloudy shapes and beings.  A world, a glimmer or a flower?  Glimmering and trembling, trembling and unfolding, a breaking light, an opening flower, it spread in endless succession to itself, breaking in full crimson and unfolding and fading to palest rose, leaf by leaf and wave of light by wave of light, flooding all the heavens with its soft flushes, every flush deeper than the other.

Evening had fallen when he woke and the sand and arid grasses of his bed glowed no longer.  He rose slowly and, recalling the rapture of his sleep, sighed at its joy.

He climbed to the crest of the sandhill and gazed about him.  Evening had fallen.  A rim of the young moon cleft the pale waste of skyline, the rim of a silver hoop embedded in grey sand; and the tide was flowing in fast to the land with a low whisper of her waves, islanding a few last figures in distant pools.

Chapter 5

He drained his third cup of watery tea to the dregs and set to chewing the crusts of fried bread that were scattered near him, staring into the dark pool of the jar.  The yellow dripping had been scooped out like a boghole and the pool under it brought back to his memory the dark turf-coloured water of the bath in Clongowes.  The box of pawn tickets at his elbow had just been rifled and he took up idly one after another in his greasy fingers the blue and white dockets, scrawled and sanded and creased and bearing the name of the pledger as Daly or MacEvoy.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.