“You do not want it, after all,” he said. “You want heartsease, I suppose? That is a different flower—it grows upon men’s graves.”
“No,” I cried out petulantly, like a child. “I do not want heartsease! That is for those who are tired, and I am not tired!”
He smiled at me and stooped again, raised the plant and gave it to me. It had a fresh sharp fragrance of the woodland and blowing winds, but the thorns pricked my hands. . . .
The dream was gone, and I awoke; lying there, trying to recover the thing which I had seen, I heard the first faint piping of the birds begin in the ivy round my windows, as they woke drowsily and contentedly to life and work. The truth flashed upon me, in one of those sudden lightning-blazes that seem to obliterate even thought.
“Yes,” I cried to myself, “that is the secret! It is that life does not end; it goes on. To find what I am in search of, to understand, to interpret, to see clearly, to sum it up, that would be an end, a soft closing of the book, the shutting of the door—and that is just what I do not want. I want to live, and endure, and suffer, and experience, and love, and not to understand. It is life continuous, unfolding, expanding, developing, with new delights, new sorrows, new pains, new losses, that I need: and whether we know that we need it, or think we need something else, it is all the same; for we cannot escape from life, however reluctant or sick or crushed or despairing we may be. It waits for us until we have done groaning and bleeding, and we must rise up again and live. Even if we die, even if we seek death for ourselves, it is useless. The eye may close, the tide of unconsciousness may flow in, the huddled limbs may tumble prone; a moment, and then life begins again; we have but flown like the bird from one tree to another. There is no end and no release; it is our destiny to live; the darkness is all about us, but we are the light, enlacing it with struggling beams, piercing it with fiery spears. The darkness cannot quench it, and wherever the light goes, there it is light. The herb Moly is but the patience to endure, whether we like it or no. It delivers us, not from ourselves, not from our pains or our delights, but only from our fears. They are the only unreal things, because we are of the indomitable essence of light and movement, and we cannot be overcome nor extinguished—we can but suffer, we cannot die; we leap across the nether night; we pass resistless on our way from star to star.”
BEHOLD, THIS DREAMER COMETH