Page:Essays and phantasies by James Thomson.djvu/329

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317
IN OUR FOREST OF THE PAST.

hood and sisterhood of humanity, freedom and self-reliance; they renounced all the goodness and sweetness of the world, to gain the Heaven in which you see them here: they moan their frustrate lives. And we went onward continually from moaning unto moaning. And we came to a multitude, of whom some frail and languid were reclining on the earth, and others paced to and fro, while all were in profound dejection. And my guide said: Here are the dreamers who made no earnest effort to realise their dreams of goodness, or beauty, or truth; and here are the strong and strenuous minds baffled and vanquished by feeble bodies or adverse fate: they moan their frustrate lives. And we went onward continually from moaning unto moaning. And we came to an innumerable multitude of men and women, dull-eyed, bloated, sluggish, bewildered, moaning uneasily in their semi-torpor. And my guide said: Their lives were narrowed to their homes, they worshipped wealth, they cringed to the dust before rank, they aspired but to comfort and good repute, they were shut in and walled up from Nature and art and thought: they moan their frustrate lives. And we went onward continually from moaning unto moaning. And we came upon a multitude; great lords in rich furred robes, great prelates in purple and crimson; and they were drooping and broken and crushed down as if robed with lead, and coronet and mitre seemed of lead on their brain. And my guide said: They lived superb and luxurious as a race apart and above their kind, trampling on the necks of their fellows; they were fat with the insolence of unearned wealth; their choice wines were the blood of the poor, their choice meats were the flesh of those who toiled for them; they scorned and denied human brotherhood: they moan their worse than frustrate lives. And we went onward continually from moaning unto moaning. And in