Storm's Journal

  In the tides of life, in action's storm, 
  a fluctuant wave, a shuttle free, 
  birth and the grave, an eternal sea. 
  A weaving, flowing life, all-glowing, 
  thus, at time's humming loom 
 'tis my hand prepares the garment of life 
  which the diety wears! 

  And until thou truly hast, 
  this dying and becomming,
  thou are but a troubled guest 
  o'er this dark earth wandering.  (Goethe)

I was dead, and right content 

I was dead, and right content. I lay in my coffin, with my hands
folded in peace. The knight, and the lady I loved, wept over me. Her
tears fell on my face.

"Ah!" said the knight, "I rushed amongst them like a madman. I hewed
them down like brushwood. Their swords battered on me like hail, but
hurt me not. I cut a lane through to my friend. He was dead. But he
had throttled the monster, and I had to cut the handful out of its
throat, before I could disengage and carry off his body. They dared
not molest me as I brought him back."

"He has died well," said the lady.

My spirit rejoiced. They left me to my repose. I felt as if a cool
hand had been laid upon my heart, and had stilled it. My soul was like
a summer evening, after a heavy fall of rain, when the drops are yet
glistening on the trees in the last rays of the down-going sun, and
the wind of the twilight has begun to blow. The hot fever of life had
gone by, and I breathed the clear mountain-air of the land of Death. I
had never dreamed of such blessedness. It was not that I had in any
way ceased to be what I had been. The very fact that anything can die,
implies the existence of something that cannot die; which must either
take to itself another form, as when the seed that is sown dies, and
arises again; or, in conscious existence, may, perhaps, continue to
lead a purely spiritual life. If my passions were dead, the souls of
the passions, those essential mysteries of the spirit which had
imbodied themselves in the passions, and had given to them all their
glory and wonderment, yet lived, yet glowed, with a pure, undying
fire. They rose above their vanishing earthly garments, and disclosed
themselves angels of light. But oh, how beautiful beyond the old form!
I lay thus for a time, and lived as it were an unradiating existence;
my soul a motionless lake, that received all things and gave nothing
back; satisfied in still contemplation, and spiritual consciousness.

Ere long, they bore me to my grave. Never tired child lay down in his
white bed, and heard the sound of his playthings being laid aside for
the night, with a more luxurious satisfaction of repose than I knew,
when I felt the coffin settle on the firm earth, and heard the sound
of the falling mould upon its lid. It has not the same hollow rattle
within the coffin, that it sends up to the edge of the grave. They
buried me in no graveyard. They loved me too much for that, I thank
them; but they laid me in the grounds of their own castle, amid many
trees; where, as it was spring-time, were growing primroses, and
blue-bells, and all the families of the woods.

Now that I lay in her bosom, the whole earth, and each of her many
births, was as a body to me, at my will. I seemed to feel the great
heart of the mother beating into mine, and feeding me with her own
life, her own essential being and nature. I heard the footsteps of my
friends above, and they sent a thrill through my heart. I knew that
the helpers had gone, and that the knight and the lady remained, and
spoke low, gentle, tearful words of him who lay beneath the yet
wounded sod. I rose into a single large primrose that grew by the edge
of the grave, and from the window of its humble, trusting face, looked
full in the countenance of the lady. I felt that I could manifest
myself in the primrose; that it said a part of what I wanted to say;
just as in the old time, I had used to betake myself to a song for the
same end. The flower caught her eye. She stooped and plucked it,
saying, "Oh, you beautiful creature!" and, lightly kissing it, put it
in her bosom. It was the first kiss she had ever given me. But the
flower soon began to wither, and I forsook it.

It was evening. The sun was below the horizon; but his rosy beams yet
illuminated a feathery cloud, that floated high above the world. I
arose, I reached the cloud; and, throwing myself upon it, floated with
it in sight of the sinking sun. He sank, and the cloud grew gray; but
the greyness touched not my heart. It carried its rose-hue within; for
now I could love without needing to be loved again. The moon came
gliding up with all the past in her wan face. She changed my couch
into a ghostly pallour, and threw all the earth below as to the bottom
of a pale sea of dreams. But she could not make me sad. I knew now,
that it is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come
nearest the soul of another; yea, that, where two love, it is the
loving of each other, and not the being loved by each other, that
originates and perfects and assures their blessedness. I knew that
love gives to him that loveth, power over any soul beloved, even if
that soul know him not, bringing him inwardly close to that spirit; a
power that cannot be but for good; for in proportion as selfishness
intrudes, the love ceases, and the power which springs therefrom dies.
Yet all love will, one day, meet with its return. All true love will,
one day, behold its own image in the eyes of the beloved, and be
humbly glad. This is possible in the realms of lofty Death. "Ah! my
friends," thought I, "how I will tend you, and wait upon you, and
haunt you with my love."

My floating chariot bore me over a great city. Its faint dull sound
steamed up into the air -- a sound -- how composed?" How many hopeless
cries," thought I, "and how many mad shouts go to make up the tumult,
here so faint where I float in eternal peace, knowing that they will
one day be stilled in the surrounding calm, and that despair dies into
infinite hope, and the seeming impossible there, is the law here! But,
O pale-faced women, and gloomy-browed men, and forgotten children, how
I will wait on you, and minister to you, and, putting my arms about
you in the dark, think hope into your hearts, when you fancy no one is
near! Soon as my senses have all come back, and have grown accustomed
to this new blessed life, I will be among you with the love that

(George MacDonald, from 'Phantastes', Chapter XXIV, 1895) 

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SUBMIT AN ARTICLE originally posted: july 31, 1999 updated: june 19, 2004