Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Narrative and Miscellaneous Papers   By: (1785-1859)

Book cover

First Page:

NARRATIVE AND MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS.

BY THOMAS DE QUINCEY.

CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.

THE HOUSEHOLD WRECK THE SPANISH NUN FLIGHT OF A TARTAR TRIBE

CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.

SYSTEM OF THE HEAVENS AS REVEALED BY LORD ROSSE'S TELESCOPES MODERN SUPERSTITION COLERIDGE AND OPIUM EATING TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT ON WAR THE LAST DAYS OF IMMANUEL KANT

THE HOUSEHOLD WRECK.

'To be weak,' we need not the great archangel's voice to tell us, ' is to be miserable .' All weakness is suffering and humiliation, no matter for its mode or its subject. Beyond all other weakness, therefore, and by a sad prerogative, as more miserable than what is most miserable in all, that capital weakness of man which regards the tenure of his enjoyments and his power to protect, even for a moment, the crown of flowers flowers, at the best, how frail and few! which sometimes settles upon his haughty brow. There is no end, there never will be an end, of the lamentations which ascend from earth and the rebellious heart of her children, upon this huge opprobrium of human pride the everlasting mutabilities of all which man can grasp by his power or by his aspirations, the fragility of all which he inherits, and the hollowness visible amid the very raptures of enjoyment to every eye which looks for a moment underneath the draperies of the shadowy present , the hollowness, the blank treachery of hollowness, upon which all the pomps and vanities of life ultimately repose. This trite but unwearying theme, this impassioned common place of humanity, is the subject in every age of variation without end, from the poet, the rhetorician, the fabulist, the moralist, the divine, and the philosopher. All, amidst the sad vanity of their sighs and groans, labor to put on record and to establish this monotonous complaint, which needs not other record or evidence than those very sighs and groans. What is life? Darkness and formless vacancy for a beginning, or something beyond all beginning then next a dim lotos of human consciousness, finding itself afloat upon the bosom of waters without a shore then a few sunny smiles and many tears a little love and infinite strife whisperings from paradise and fierce mockeries from the anarchy of chaos dust and ashes and once more darkness circling round, as if from the beginning, and in this way rounding or making an island of our fantastic existence, that is human life; that the inevitable amount of man's laughter and his tears of what he suffers and he does of his motions this way and that way to the right or to the left backwards or forwards of all his seeming realities and all his absolute negations his shadowy pomps and his pompous shadows of whatsoever he thinks, finds, makes or mars, creates or animates, loves, hates, or in dread hope anticipates; so it is, so it has been, so it will be, for ever and ever.

Yet in the lowest deep there still yawns a lower deep; and in the vast halls of man's frailty, there are separate and more gloomy chambers of a frailty more exquisite and consummate. We account it frailty that threescore years and ten make the upshot of man's pleasurable existence, and that, far before that time is reached, his beauty and his power have fallen among weeds and forgetfulness. But there is a frailty, by comparison with which this ordinary flux of the human race seems to have a vast duration. Cases there are, and those not rare, in which a single week, a day, an hour sweeps away all vestiges and landmarks of a memorable felicity; in which the ruin travels faster than the flying showers upon the mountain side, faster 'than a musician scatters sounds;' in which 'it was' and 'it is not' are words of the self same tongue, in the self same minute; in which the sun that at noon beheld all sound and prosperous, long before its setting hour looks out upon a total wreck, and sometimes upon the total abolition of any fugitive memorial that there ever had been a vessel to be wrecked, or a wreck to be obliterated... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books