Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology
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Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
 
From Gösta Berling’s Saga

Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940)
 
WE 1 thought of that inquisitive spirit of self-criticism, who had made his entry even into our inner chamber.  1
  We thought of him, with his eyes of ice and long bent fingers, he, who sits within in the darkest corner of the soul and tears our being to pieces, as old women shred up bits of silk and wool.  2
  Bit by bit the long, hard, bent fingers had torn away, until our whole self lay there like a heap of rags, and our best feelings, our deepest thoughts, all that we had done and said, had been searched, explored, taken to pieces, gazed at by the icy eyes; and the toothless mouth had sneered and whispered—‘Behold, it is rags, only rags.’  3
 
Note 1. Selma Lagerlöf. Gösta Berling’s Saga. Translation by M. B. [back]
 
 
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