Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. V. Nineteenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. V. Nineteenth Century
 
Teufelsdröckh: the Everlasting Yea
By Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)
 
From Sartor Resartus

BEAUTIFUL it was to sit there, as in my skyey Tent, musing and meditating; on the high table-land, in front of the Mountains; over me, as roof, the azure Dome, and around me, for walls, four azure-flowing curtains,—namely, of the Four azure Winds, on whose bottom fringes also I have seen gilding. And then to fancy the fair Castles that stood sheltered in these Mountain hollows; with their green flower-lawns and white dames and damosels lovely enough: or better still, the straw-roofed Cottages, wherein stood many a Mother baking bread, with her children round her:—all hidden and protectingly folded-up in the valley folds; yet there and alive, as sure as if I beheld them. Or to see, as well as fancy, the nine Towns and Villages, that lay round my mountain-seat, which, in still weather, were wont to speak to me, by their steeple bells, with metal tongue; and, in almost all weather, proclaimed their vitality by repeated Smoke clouds; whereon, as on a culinary horologe, I might read the hour of the day. For it was the smoke of cookery, as kind housewives at morning, midday, eventide, were boiling their husbands’ kettles; and ever a blue pillar rose up into the air, successively or simultaneously, from each of the nine, saying, as plainly as smoke could say: Such and such a meal is getting ready here. Not uninteresting! For you have the whole Borough, with all its love-makings and scandal-mongeries, contentions and contentments, as in miniature, and could cover it all with your hat.—If, in my wide Wayfarings, I had learned to look into the business of the World in its details, here perhaps was the place for combining it into general propositions, and deducing inferences therefrom.
  1
  Often also could I see the black Tempest marching in anger through the Distance: round some Schreckhorn, as yet grim-blue, would the eddying vapour gather, and there tumultuously eddy, and flow down like a mad witch’s hair; till, after a space it vanished, and in the clear sunbeam, your Schreckhorn stood smiling grim-white, for the vapour has held snow. How thou fermentest and elaboratest, in thy great fermenting-vat and laboratory of an Atmosphere, of a World, O Nature!—Or what is Nature? Ha! why do I not name thee God? Art not thou the “Living Garment of God”? O Heavens, is it in very deed, He, then, that ever speaks through thee; that lives and loves in thee, that lives and loves in me?  2
  Fore-shadows, call them rather fore-splendours, of that Truth, and Beginning of Truths, fell mysteriously over my soul. Sweeter than Dayspring to the Shipwrecked in Nova Zembla; ah, like the mother’s voice to her little child that strays bewildered, weeping, in unknown tumults; like soft streamings of celestial music to my too exasperated heart, came that Evangel. The Universe is not dead and demoniacal, a charnel house with spectres; but godlike and my Father’s!  3
  With other eyes, too, could I now look upon my fellow man; with an infinite Love, with an infinite Pity. Poor, wandering, wayward man! Art thou not tired, and beaten with stripes, even as I am? Ever, whether thou bear the royal mantle or the beggar’s gabardine, art thou not so weary, so heavy-laden; and thy Bed of Rest is but a Grave. O my Brother, my Brother, why cannot I shelter thee in my bosom, and wipe away all tears from thy eyes! Truly, the din of many-voiced Life, which, in this solitude, with the mind’s organ, I could hear, was no longer a maddening discord, but a melting one; like inarticulate cries, and sobbings of a dumb creature, which in the ear of Heaven are prayers. The poor Earth, with her poor joys, was now my Needy Mother, not my cruel Stepdame; Man, with his so mad Wants and his so mean Endeavours, had become the dearest to me; and even for his sufferings and his sins, I now first named him Brother. Thus was I standing in the porch of that “Sanctuary of Sorrow”; by strange, steep ways had I too been guided thither; and ere long its sacred gates would open, and the “Divine Depth of Sorrow” lie disclosed to me.  4
 
 
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