Laurence Sterne. (17131768). A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.
The Harvard Classics Shelf of Fiction. 1917.
67. The Bourbonnois
THERE was nothing from which I had painted out for myself so joyous a riot of the affections, as in this journey in the vintage, through this part of France; but pressing through this gate of sorrow to it, my sufferings have totally unfitted me: in every scene of festivity I saw Maria in the background of the piece, sitting pensive under her poplar; and I had got almost to Lyons before I was able to cast a shade across her.
Dear sensibility! source inexhausted of all thats precious in our joys, or costly in our sorrows! thou chainest thy martyr down upon his bed of strawand t is thou who liftst him up to HEAVENeternal fountain of our feelings!t is here I trace theeand this is thy divinity which stirs within menot that in some sad and sickening moments, my soul shrinks back upon herself, and startles at destructionmere pomp of words!but that I feel some generous joys and generous cares beyond myselfall comes from thee, greatgreat SENSORIUM of the world! which vibrates, if a hair of our heads but falls upon the ground, in the remotest desert of thy creation.Touchd with thee, Eugenius draws my curtain when I languishhears my tale of symptoms,. and blames the weather for the disorder of his nerves. Thou givst a portion of it sometimes to the roughest peasant who traverses the bleakest mountainshe finds the lacerated lamb of anothers flock.This moment I beheld him leaning with his head against his crook, with piteous inclination looking down upon it.Oh! had I come one moment sooner!it bleeds to deathhis gentle heart bleeds with it