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Dicebant mihi sodales, si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum forelevatas.
- Ebn Zaiat.
MISERY is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of that arch - as distinct too, yet as intimately blended. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow! How is it that from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? - from the covenant of peace, a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies which are, have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been.
My baptismal name is Egaeus; that of my family I will not mention. Yet there are no towers in the land more time-honored than my gloomy, gray, hereditary halls. Our line has been called a race of visionaries; and in many striking particulars - in the character of the family mansion - in the frescos of the chief saloon - in the tapestries of the dormitories - in the chiselling of some buttresses in the armory - but more especially in the gallery of antique paintings - in the fashion of the library chamber - and, lastly, in the very peculiar nature of the library's contents - there is more than sufficient evidence to warrant the belief.
The recollections of my earliest years are connected with that chamber, and with its volumes - of which latter I will say no more. Here died my mother. Herein was I born. But it is mere idleness to say that I had not lived before - that the soul has no previous existence. You deny it? - let us not argue the matter. Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of aerial forms - of spiritual and meaning eyes - of sounds, musical yet sad - a remembrance which will not be excluded; a memory like a shadow - vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a shadow, too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight of my reason shall exist.
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