Siberian Plains January 1st, 2020, 2:15 AM Georgy was out for a late night stroll. A drifter, who was close to death, it was difficult to find adequate nutrition, when you were homeless. He didn't have any family, was an orphan raised by a nun in an Omsk church. He didn't believe in a God, which made him a disappointment in the eyes of those who raised him. How could he, when he was abandoned so cruelly? What God would allow that to happen? What God would allow a boy to be tossed away by his parents, left to die on the street? He'd tried to integrate into society, but everyone pissed him off. He tried to work, and was fired for being drunk on the job. He was drunk right now. He might be dying of malnutrition, but he would do it drunk! Georgy heard a strange noise, looked into the night sky, and gasped. There were people flying. He rubbed his eyes, and looked again. People still hovered above him, high up there. Did they already have jet packs invented? Was he that out of the loop? They looked to be wearing something, which billowed as they moved. Some were red, others blue, green, a few yellow. All except the figure in front, who wore one of many different colors, which flapped about. The strange thing was that they all stood upright as they moved forward. How did that work? 'Welcome to death, ' The Man whispered in his ear. Georgy flew, screaming, into the sky. A horrible burn ignited his flesh, as if fire ants burrowed out of his insides. When he looked down he noticed his body, sprawled about on the snowy ground. He felt himself pulled towards the group of flying, robed, masked people. He circled around them, and realized movement was out of his control. He stopped screaming and tried to speak to one of them. Speech was difficult, but he managed after a few false starts of simple sounds. 'Where are we going?' Georgy asked a red-robed individual. 'To kill the unworthy, and bring about the Age of the Shaman, ' the red-robed figure replied. 'Oh, is that all?' Georgy said. 'You will pay for your insolence, ' the red-robed figure warned him. In a second, it felt like his whole being was engulfed in flames. Georgy screamed, the pain unbearable. 'Twenty hours of that should shut you up, ' the red-robed figure said.
Sean M. Thompson
When I think of how much this world has suffered; when I think of how long our fathers were slaves, of how they cringed and crawled at the foot of the throne, and in the dust of the altar, of how they abased themselves, of how abjectly they stood in the presence of superstition robed and crowned, I am amazed.
Robert G. Ingersoll
The celestial brightness of Pride and Prejudice is unequalled even in Jane Austen's other work; after a life of much disappointment and grief, in which some people would have seen nothing but tedium and emptiness, she stepped forth as an author, breathing gaiety and youth, robed in dazzling light.
God knows where every particle of the handful of dust has gone; he has marked in his book the wandering of every one of its atoms. He hath death so open before His view, that He can bring all these together, bone to bone, and clothe them with the very flesh that robed them in the days of yore, and make them live again.
Worship demands the far distances of God; it protests against the little, the near, the material. It must love but it must look up. It cannot live without the note of spirituality and universality, if not mystery. The ascension, the passing of Christ within the veil, answers this need. So does a full-robed Christianity add to definiteness of knowledge the outreach of imagination and home.
Maltbie Davenport Babcock
There is a haunting phantom called Regret, A shadowy creature robed somewhat like woe, But fairer in the face, whom all men know By her said mien, and eyes forever wet. No heart would seek her; but once having met All take her by the hand, and to and fro They wander through those paths of long ago-- Those hallowed ways 'twere wiser to forget.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
All perfect things are saddening in effect. The autumn wood robed in its scarlet clothes, The matchless tinting on the royal rose Whose velvet leaf by no least flaw is flecked. Love's supreme moment, when the soul unchecked Soars high as heaven, and its best rapture knows, These hold a deeper pathos than our woes, Since they leave nothing better to expect.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
By the grey woods, by the swamp, where the toad and newt encamp, by the dismal tarns and pools, where dwell the Gouls. By each spot the most unholy, by each nook most melancholy, there the traveller meets, aghast, sheeted memories of the Past. Shrouded forms that start and sigh, as they pass the wanderer by. White-robed forms of friends long given; In agony, to the Earth - and Heaven.
Edgar Allan Poe
Though this new forest grew mightily, elsewhere the mighty jungles fell. Elsewhere the coastal rain forests that furred the body of the world were torn and riven. Elsewhere the last of the old growth the last of the world's own garment were ripped away. It was in this time, now, that the mother of us all was stripped naked and left to die in shame of her children, she who had been robed in glory like this, adorned like this. I bent my head upon the roots and wept, sorrowing for the trees.
Sheri S. Tepper
Marilla felt more embarrassed than ever. She had intended to teach Anne the childish classic, "Now I lay me down to sleep." But she had, as I have told you, the glimmerings of a sense of humor--which is simply another name for a sense of the fitness of things; and it suddenly occurred to her that simple little prayer, sacred to the white-robed childhood lisping at motherly knees, was entirely unsuited to this freckled witch of a girl who knew and cared nothing about God's love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Constantine, the Emperor, saw something in the religion of Christ's people which awakened his interest, and now we see him uniting religion to the state and marching up the marble steps of the Emperor's palace, with the church robed in purple. Thus and there was begun the most baneful misalliance that ever fettered and cursed a suffering world... When ... Constantine crowned the union of church and state, the church was stamped with the spirit of the Caesars.
George W Truett
You want sanity, democracy, community, an intact Earth? We can't get there, obeying Constitutional theory and law crafted by slave masters, imperialists, corporate masters, and Nature destroyers. We can't get there, kneeling before robed lawyers stockpiling class plunder precedent up their venerable sleeves. So isn't disobedience the challenge of our age? Principled, inventive, escalating disobedience to liberate our souls, to transfigure our work as humans on this Earth.
I was an infant when my mother went To see an atheist burned. She took me there. The dark-robed priests were met around the pile; The multitude was gazing silently; And as the culprit passed with dauntless mien, Tempered disdain in his unaltering eye, Mixed with a quiet smile, shone calmly forth; The thirsty fire crept round his manly limbs; His resolute eyes were scorched to blindness soon; His death-pang rent my heart! the insensate mob Uttered a cry of triumph, and I wept. Weep not, child! cried my mother, for that man Has said, 'There is no God.'
Percy Bysshe Shelley
For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.
George S. Patton
He took his hands off the oars and pulled in the mooring rope. If I make a couple of loops, he thought, I can strap the axe on to my back. He had a mental picture of what could happen to a man who plunged into the cauldron below a waterfall with a sharp piece of metal attached to his body. GOOD MORNING. Vimes blinked. A tall dark robed figure was now sitting in the boat. 'Are you Death?' IT'S THE SCYTHE, ISN'T IT? PEOPLE ALWAYS NOTICE THE SCYTHE. 'I'm going to die?' POSSIBLY. 'Possibly? You turn up when people are possibly going to die?' OH, YES. IT'S QUITE THE NEW THING. IT'S BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE. 'What's that?' I'M NOT SURE. 'That's very helpful.
Teddy was reminded of Paterson, but that polyglot population had appeared healthier, more hopeful, the American mood more fertile then in its promises, and the streets of Silk City with their little yards holding a fuchsia bush or a blue-robed plaster statue of the Virgin more livable than these stacked, stinking, ill-lit dens. He had been a part of the population then, a schoolboy immersed in its details of competition and expectation and childish collusion and hierarchy, alive in its struggle and too absorbed to judge or pity, whereas now he came upon it from outside, from above, as an agent of power and ownership, an enforcer and avenger, the representative of the system which squeezed the lowly by the same iron laws whereby it generation profits for the lucky and strong.
Then, O King! the God, so saying, Stood, to Pritha's Son displaying All the splendour, wonder, dread Of His vast Almighty-head. Out of countless eyes beholding, Out of countless mouths commanding, Countless mystic forms enfolding In one Form: supremely standing Countless radiant glories wearing, Countless heavenly weapons bearing, Crowned with garlands of star-clusters, Robed in garb of woven lustres, Breathing from His perfect Presence Breaths of every subtle essence Of all heavenly odours; shedding Blinding brilliance; overspreading- Boundless, beautiful- all spaces With His all-regarding faces; So He showed! If there should rise Suddenly within the skies Sunburst of a thousand suns Flooding earth with beams undeemed-of, Then might be that Holy One's Majesty and radiance dreamed of!
Down through this verdant land Carter walked at evening, and saw twilight float up from the river to the marvelous golden spires of Thran. And just at the hour of dusk he came to the southern gate, and was stopped by a red-robed sentry till he had told three dreams beyond belief, and proved himself a dreamer worthy to walk up Thran's steep mysterious streets and linger in the bazaars where the wares of the ornate galleons were sold. Then into that incredible city he walked; through a wall so thick that the gate was a tunnel, and thereafter amidst curved and undulant ways winding deep and narrow between the heavenward towers. Lights shone through grated and balconied windows, and, the sound of lutes and pipes stole timid from inner courts where marble fountains bubbled. Carter knew his way, and edged down through darker streets to the river, where at an old sea tavern he found the captains and seamen he had known in myriad other dreams. There he bought his passage to Celephais on a great green galleon, and there he stopped for the night after speaking gravely to the venerable cat of that inn, who blinked dozing before an enormous hearth and dreamed of old wars and forgotten gods.
Very well, but - who are you?' again asked Gil Gil, in whom curiosity was beginning to get the better of every other feeling. 'I told you that when I first spoke to you - I am your friend. And bear in mind that you are the only being on the face of the earth to whom I accord the title of friend. I am bound to you by remorse! I am the cause of all your misfortunes.' 'I do not know you, ' replied the shoemaker. 'And yet I have entered your house many times! Through me you were left motherless at your birth; I was the cause of the apoplectic stroke that killed Juan Gil; it was I who turned you out of the palace of Rionuevo; I assassinated your old house-mate, and, finally, it was I who placed in your pocket the vial of sulfuric acid.' Gil Gil trembled like a leaf; he felt his hair stand on end, and it seemed to him as if his contracted muscles must burst asunder. 'You are the devil!' he exclaimed, with indescribable terror. 'Child!' responded the black-robed figure in accents of amiable censure, 'what has put that idea into your head? I am something greater and better than the wretched being you have named.' 'Who are you, then?' 'Let us go into the inn and you shall learn.' Gil hastily entered, drew the Unknown before the modest lantern that lighted the apartment, and looked at him with intense curiosity. He was a person about thirty-three years old; tall, handsome, pale, dressed in a long black tunic and a black mantle, and his long locks were covered by a Phrygian cap, also black. He had not the slightest sign of a beard, yet he did not look like a woman. Neither did he look like a man... ("The Friend of Death")
Pedro Antonio de Alarcon
Jess Pepper's review of the Avalon Strings: 'In a land so very civilized and modern as ours, it is unpopular to suggest that the mystical isle of Avalon ever truly existed. But I believe I have found proof of it right here in Manhattan. To understand my reasoning, you must recall first that enchanting tale of a mist-enshrouded isle where medieval women-descended from the gods-spawned heroic men. Most notable among these was the young King Arthur. In their most secret confessions, these mystic heroes acknowledged Avalon, and particularly the music of its maidens, as the source of their power. Many a school boy has wept reading of Young King Arthur standing silent on the shore as the magical isle disappears from view, shrouded in mist. The boy longs as Arthur did to leap the bank and pilot his canoe to the distant, singing atoll. To rejoin nymphs who guard in the depths of their water caves the meaning of life. To feel again the power that burns within. But knowledge fades and memory dims, and schoolboys grow up. As the legend goes, the way became unknown to mortal man. Only woman could navigate the treacherous blanket of white that dipped and swirled at the surface of the water. And with its fading went also the music of the fabled isle. Harps and strings that heralded the dawn and incited robed maidens to dance evaporated into the mists of time, and silence ruled. But I tell you, Kind Reader, that the music of Avalon lives. The spirit that enchanted knights in chain mail long eons ago is reborn in our fair city, in our own small band of fair maids who tap that legendary spirit to make music as the Avalon Strings. Theirs is no common gift. Theirs is no ordinary sound. It is driven by a fire from within, borne on fingers bloodied by repetition. Minds tormented by a thirst for perfection. And most startling of all is the voice that rises above, the stunning virtuoso whose example leads her small company to higher planes. Could any other collection of musicians achieve the heights of this illustrious few? I think not. I believe, Friends of the City, that when we witnes their performance, as we may almost nightly at the Warwick Hotel, we witness history's gift to this moment in time. And for a few brief moments in the presence of these maids, we witness the fiery spirit that endured and escaped the obliterating mists of Avalon.
Exoneration of Jesus Christ If Christ was in fact God, he knew all the future. Before Him like a panorama moved the history yet to be. He knew how his words would be interpreted. He knew what crimes, what horrors, what infamies, would be committed in his name. He knew that the hungry flames of persecution would climb around the limbs of countless martyrs. He knew that thousands and thousands of brave men and women would languish in dungeons in darkness, filled with pain. He knew that his church would invent and use instruments of torture; that his followers would appeal to whip and fagot, to chain and rack. He saw the horizon of the future lurid with the flames of the auto da fe. He knew what creeds would spring like poisonous fungi from every text. He saw the ignorant sects waging war against each other. He saw thousands of men, under the orders of priests, building prisons for their fellow-men. He saw thousands of scaffolds dripping with the best and bravest blood. He saw his followers using the instruments of pain. He heard the groans-saw the faces white with agony. He heard the shrieks and sobs and cries of all the moaning, martyred multitudes. He knew that commentaries would be written on his words with swords, to be read by the light of fagots. He knew that the Inquisition would be born of the teachings attributed to him. He saw the interpolations and falsehoods that hypocrisy would write and tell. He saw all wars that would be waged, and-he knew that above these fields of death, these dungeons, these rackings, these burnings, these executions, for a thousand years would float the dripping banner of the cross. He knew that hypocrisy would be robed and crowned-that cruelty and credulity would rule the world; knew that liberty would perish from the earth; knew that popes and kings in his name would enslave the souls and bodies of men; knew that they would persecute and destroy the discoverers, thinkers and inventors; knew that his church would extinguish reason's holy light and leave the world without a star. He saw his disciples extinguishing the eyes of men, flaying them alive, cutting out their tongues, searching for all the nerves of pain. He knew that in his name his followers would trade in human flesh; that cradles would be robbed and women's breasts unbabed for gold. And yet he died with voiceless lips. Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not tell his disciples, and through them the world: 'You shall not burn, imprison and torture in my name. You shall not persecute your fellow-men.' Why did he not plainly say: 'I am the Son of God, ' or, 'I am God'? Why did he not explain the Trinity? Why did he not tell the mode of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not write a creed? Why did he not break the chains of slaves? Why did he not say that the Old Testament was or was not the inspired word of God? Why did he not write the New Testament himself? Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain? Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt? I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know.
Robert G. Ingersoll