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” Life has borne us from place to place, and the fates convey us from one spot to another, but we see only the obstacles that stand in our way and hear only the voice that terrifies us.

Beauty manifests itself to us on the throne of its splendour, and we draw near to it; in the name of yearning we defile its hem and pull of its diadem of purity. Love passes by us cloaked in a robe of kindness, but we fear it and conceal ourselves in the grottoes of darkness; or we follow it and commit outrages in its name. The wise among us construe it as a heavy yoke, but it is more delicate than the breaths of flowers and more subtle than the breeze of Lebanon. Wisdom stands at the turn in the road and calls upon us publicly, but we consider it false and despise its adherents. Liberty summons us to its table, that we might savour its wine and fare; so we go and make gluttons of ourselves, transforming that table into a stage of vulgarity and a scene of self-abasement. Nature extends to us the hand of loyalty, asking from us that we delight in its comeliness; but we fear its quietude and take refuge in the city, where we crowd in upon another like a flock of sheep that spies a hungry wolf. Truth visits us, led by a smile of a child or the kiss of a beloved, but we slam the door of our emotions, excluding it and abandoning it like a vile criminal. The human heart appeals to us for help and the soul calls out to us, but we are more deaf than a stone, unable to comprehend or understand. And when anyone listens to the cry of his heart and the call to his soul, we say, ‘That one is possessed,’ and we wash our hands of him.

Thus pass the nights, while we remain heedless. The days greet us, but we are frightened of both days and nights. We draw near to the earth, gods join our company; we pass by the bread of life, and the famine feasts on our faculties. How beloved life is to us, and how remote we are from life. ”