Friday, May 21, 2004

The Great God Pan

"Clarke heard the words quite distinctly, and knew that
Raymond was speaking to him, but for the life of him he could
not rouse himself from his lethargy. He could only think of the
lonely walk he had taken fifteen years ago; it was his last look
at the fields and woods he had known since he was a child, and
now it all stood out in brilliant light, as a picture, before
him. Above all there came to his nostrils the scent of summer,
the smell of flowers mingled, and the odour of the woods, of
cool shaded places, deep in the green depths, drawn forth by the
sun's heat; and the scent of the good earth, lying as it were
with arms stretched forth, and smiling lips, overpowered all.
His fancies made him wander, as he had wandered long ago, from
the fields into the wood, tracking a little path between the
shining undergrowth of beech-trees; and the trickle of water
dropping from the limestone rock sounded as a clear melody in
the dream. Thoughts began to go astray and to mingle with other
thoughts; the beech alley was transformed to a path between
ilex-trees, and here and there a vine climbed from bough to
bough, and sent up waving tendrils and drooped with purple
grapes, and the sparse grey-green leaves of a wild olive-tree
stood out against the dark shadows of the ilex. Clarke, in the
deep folds of dream, was conscious that the path from his
father's house had led him into an undiscovered country, and he
was wondering at the strangeness of it all, when suddenly, in
place of the hum and murmur of the summer, an infinite silence
seemed to fall on all things, and the wood was hushed, and for a
moment in time he stood face to face there with a presence, that
was neither man nor beast, neither the living nor the dead, but
all things mingled, the form of all things but devoid of all
form. And in that moment, the sacrament of body and soul was
dissolved, and a voice seemed to cry "Let us go hence," and
then the darkness of darkness beyond the stars, the darkness of
everlasting."

"The Great God Pan" by Arthur Machen
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