Orchis flower and cowslip - I cannot number
them all - I hear, as it were, the patter of their feet - flower and bud
and the beautiful clouds that go over, with the sweet rush of rain and
burst of sun glory among the leafy trees.
They go on, and I am no more
than the least of the empty shells that strewed the sward of the hill.
Nature sets no value upon life, neither of mine nor of the larks that
sang years ago. The earth is all in all to me, but I am nothing to the
earth: it is bitter to know this before you are dead. These delicious
violets are sweet for themselves; they were not shaped and coloured and
gifted with that exquisite proportion and adjustment of odour and hue for
me. High up against the grey cloud I hear the lark through the window
singing, and each note falls into my heart like a knife.
Now this to me speaks as the roll of thunder that cannot be denied - you
must hear it; and how can you shut your ears to what this lark sings,
this violet tells, this little grey shell writes in the curl of its
spire? The bitter truth that human life is no more to the universe than
that of the unnoticed hill-snail in the grass should make us think more
and more highly of ourselves as human - as men - living things that think.
We must look to ourselves to help ourselves.
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Words from 1650 to 1905