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The Last Generation A Story of the Future   By: (1884-1915)

The Last Generation A Story of the Future by James Elroy Flecker

First Page:

THE LAST GENERATION

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

THE BRIDGE OF FIRE

A BOOK OF POEMS CONTAINING THE BALLAD OF HAMPSTEAD HEATH AND THE TWIN SONNETS OF BATHROLAIRE

Price 1s. net

THE LAST GENERATION

A STORY OF THE FUTURE

BY JAMES ELROY FLECKER

El hombre es el rey de la creación ; vive (he lives) en la tierra y cree (he believes) en el cielo

DE ARTEAGA, Spanish Grammar

THE NEW AGE PRESS 140 FLEET STREET, LONDON 1908

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh

TO

FRANK SAVERY

WHO TAUGHT, ENCOURAGED, AND REVEALED

CONTENTS

PAGE INTRODUCTION 9 I. AT BIRMINGHAM TOWN HALL 13 II. THE PROCLAMATION 17 III. THE MUTUAL EXTERMINATION CLUB 23 IV. THE EPISODE OF THE BABY 29 V. THE FLORENTINE LEAGUE 34 VI. OUTSIDE 43 VII. THE LAST MEN 54

THE LAST GENERATION

INTRODUCTION

I had been awake for I know not how many hours that summer dawn while the sun came over the hills and coloured the beautiful roses in my mother's garden. As I lay drowsily gazing through the window, I thought I had never known a morning so sultry, and yet so pleasant. Outside not a leaf stirred; yet the air was fresh, and the madrigal notes of the birds came to me with a peculiar intensity and clearness. I listened intently to the curious sound of trilling, which drew nearer and nearer, until it seemed to merge into a whirring noise that filled the room and crowded at my ears. At first I could see nothing, and lay in deadly fear of the unknown; but soon I thought I saw rims and sparks of spectral fire floating through the pane. Then I heard some one say, "I am the Wind." But the voice was so like that of an old friend whom one sees again after many years that my terror departed, and I asked simply why the Wind had come.

"I have come to you," he replied, "because you are the first man I have discovered who is after my own heart. You whom others call dreamy and capricious, volatile and headstrong, you whom some accuse of weakness, others of unscrupulous abuse of power, you I know to be a true son of Æolus, a fit inhabitant for those caves of boisterous song."

"Are you the North Wind or the East Wind?" said I. "Or do you blow from the Atlantic? Yet if those be your feathers that shine upon the pane like yellow and purple threads, and if it be through your influence that the garden is so hot to day, I should say you were the lazy South Wind, blowing from the countries that I love."

"I blow from no quarter of the Earth," replied the voice. "I am not in the compass. I am a little unknown Wind, and I cross not Space but Time. If you will come with me I will take you not over countries but over centuries, not directly, but waywardly, and you may travel where you will. You shall see Napoleon, Cæsar, Pericles, if you command. You may be anywhere in the world at any period. I will show you some of my friends, the poets...."

"And may I drink red wine with Praxiteles, or with Catullus beside his lake?"

"Certainly, if you know enough Latin and Greek, and can pronounce them intelligently."

"And may I live with Thais or Rhodope, or some wild Assyrian queen?"

"Unless they are otherwise employed, certainly."

"Ah, Wind of Time," I continued with a sigh, "we men of this age are rotten with booklore, and with a yearning for the past. And wherever I asked to go among those ancient days, I should soon get dissatisfied, and weary your bright wings... Continue reading book >>




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