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The Temptation of St. Antony or A Revelation of the Soul   By: (1821-1880)

Book cover

First Page:

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY

OR,

A REVELATION OF THE SOUL

BY GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

VOLUME VII.

SIMON P. MAGEE PUBLISHER CHICAGO, ILL.

COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY M. WALTER DUNNE

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London

CONTENTS

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. ANTONY

CHAPTER I. PAGE

A HOLY SAINT 1

CHAPTER II.

THE TEMPTATION OF LOVE AND POWER 16

CHAPTER III.

THE DISCIPLE, HILARION 40

CHAPTER IV.

THE FIERY TRIAL 48

CHAPTER V.

ALL GODS, ALL RELIGIONS 99

CHAPTER VI.

THE MYSTERY OF SPACE 143

CHAPTER VII.

THE CHIMERA AND THE SPHINX 151

ILLUSTRATIONS

TEMPTATION OF SAINT ANTONY

FACING PAGE

"DO NOT RESIST, I AM OMNIPOTENT!" (See page 157) Frontispiece

HE LETS GO THE TORCH IN ORDER TO EMBRACE THE HEAP 26

The Temptation of Saint Antony

[Illustration]

CHAPTER I.

A HOLY SAINT.

It is in the Thebaïd, on the heights of a mountain, where a platform, shaped like a crescent, is surrounded by huge stones.

The Hermit's cell occupies the background. It is built of mud and reeds, flat roofed and doorless. Inside are seen a pitcher and a loaf of black bread; in the centre, on a wooden support, a large book; on the ground, here and there, bits of rush work, a mat or two, a basket and a knife.

Some ten paces or so from the cell a tall cross is planted in the ground; and, at the other end of the platform, a gnarled old palm tree leans over the abyss, for the side of the mountain is scarped; and at the bottom of the cliff the Nile swells, as it were, into a lake.

To right and left, the view is bounded by the enclosing rocks; but, on the side of the desert, immense undulations of a yellowish ash colour rise, one above and one beyond the other, like the lines of a sea coast; while, far off, beyond the sands, the mountains of the Libyan range form a wall of chalk like whiteness faintly shaded with violet haze. In front, the sun is going down. Towards the north, the sky has a pearl grey tint; while, at the zenith, purple clouds, like the tufts of a gigantic mane, stretch over the blue vault. These purple streaks grow browner; the patches of blue assume the paleness of mother of pearl. The bushes, the pebbles, the earth, now wear the hard colour of bronze, and through space floats a golden dust so fine that it is scarcely distinguishable from the vibrations of light.

Saint Antony, who has a long beard, unshorn locks, and a tunic of goatskin, is seated, cross legged, engaged in making mats. No sooner has the sun disappeared than he heaves a deep sigh, and gazing towards the horizon:

"Another day! Another day gone! I was not so miserable in former times as I am now! Before the night was over, I used to begin my prayers; then I would go down to the river to fetch water, and would reascend the rough mountain pathway, singing a hymn, with the water bottle on my shoulder. After that, I used to amuse myself by arranging everything in my cell. I used to take up my tools, and examine the mats, to see whether they were evenly cut, and the baskets, to see whether they were light; for it seemed to me then that even my most trifling acts were duties which I performed with ease. At regulated hours I left off my work and prayed, with my two arms extended. I felt as if a fountain of mercy were flowing from Heaven above into my heart. But now it is dried up. Why is this? ... Continue reading book >>




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