Mary Shelley

20 Mar, 2014 09:44 AM

July 16, 1833. -- This is a memorable anniversary for me; on it I complete
my three hundred and twenty-third year!

The Wandering Jew? -- certainly not. More than eighteen centuries have
passed over his head. In comparison with him, I am a very young Immortal.

Am I, then, immortal? This is a question which I have asked myself, by day
and night, for now three hundred and three years, and yet cannot answer it.
I detected a grey hair amidst my brown locks this very day -- that surely
signifies decay. Yet it may have remained concealed there for three hundred
years -- for some persons have become entirely white-headed before twenty
years of age.

I will tell my story, and my reader shall judge for me. I will tell my
story, and so contrive to pass some few hours of a long eternity, become so
wearisome to me. For ever! Can it be? to live for ever! I have heard of
enchantments, in which the victims were plunged into a deep sleep, to wake,
after a hundred years, as fresh as ever: I have heard of the Seven Sleepers
-- thus to be immortal would not be so burthensome: but, oh! the weight of
never-ending time -- the tedious passage of the still-succeeding hours! How
happy was the fabled Nourjahad! -- But to my task.

All the world has heard of Cornelius Agrippa. His memory is as immortal as
his arts have made me. All the world has also heard of his scholar, who,
unawares, raised the foul fiend during his master's absence, and was
destroyed by him. The report, true or false, of this accident, was attended
with many inconveniences to the renowned philosopher. All his scholars at
once deserted him -- his servants disappeared. He had no one near him to put
coals on his ever-burning fires while he slept, or to attend to the
changeful colours of his medicines while he studied. Experiment after
experiment failed, because one pair of hands was insufficient to complete
them: the dark spirits laughed at him for not being able to retain a single
mortal in his service.

I was then very young -- very poor -- and very much in love. I had been for
about a year the pupil of Cornelius, though I was absent when this accident
took place. On my return, my friends implored me not to return to the
alchymist's abode. I trembled as I listened to the dire tale they told; I
required no second warning; and when Cornelius came and offered me a purse
of gold if I would remain under his roof, I felt as if Satan himself tempted
me. My teeth chattered -- my hair stood on end; -- I ran off as fast as my
trembling knees would permit.

My failing steps were directed whither for two years they had every evening
been attracted, -- a gently bubbling spring of pure living water, beside
which lingered a dark-haired girl, whose beaming eyes were fixed on the path
I was accustomed each night to tread. I cannot remember the hour when I did
not love Bertha; we had been neighbours and playmates from infancy, -- her
parents, like mine were of humble life, yet respectable, -- our attachment
had been a source of pleasure to them. In an evil hour, a malignant fever
carried off both her father and mother, and Bertha became an orphan. She
would have found a home beneath my paternal roof, but, unfortunately, the
old lady of the near castle, rich, childless, and solitary, declared her
intention to adopt her. Henceforth Bertha was clad in silk -- inhabited a
marble palace -- and was looked on as being highly favoured by fortune. But
in her new situation among her new associates, Bertha remained true to the
friend of her humbler days; she often visited the cottage of my father, and
when forbidden to go thither, she would stray towards the neighbouring wood,
and meet me beside its shady fountain.

She often declared that she owed no duty to her new protectress equal in
sanctity to that which bound us. Yet still I was too poor to marry, and she
grew weary of being tormented on my account. She had a haughty but an
impatient spirit, and grew angry at the obstacle that prevented our union.
We met now after an absence, and she had been sorely beset while I was away;
she complained bitterly, and almost reproached me for being poor. I replied
hastily, --

"I am honest, if I am poor! -- were I not, I might soon become rich!"

This exclamation produced a thousand questions. I feared to shock her by
owning the truth, but she drew it from me; and then, casting a look of
disdain on me, she said, --

"You pretend to love, and you fear to face the Devil for my sake!"

I protested that I had only dreaded to offend her; -- while she dwelt on the
magnitude of the reward that I should receive. Thus encouraged -- shamed by
her -- led on by love and hope, laughing at my later fears, with quick steps
and a light heart, I returned to accept the offers of the alchymist, and was
instantly installed in my office.

A year passed away. I became possessed of no insignificant sum of money.
Custom had banished my fears. In spite of the most painful vigilance, I had
never detected the trace of a cloven foot; nor was the studious silence of
our abode ever disturbed by demoniac howls. I still continued my stolen
interviews with Bertha, and Hope dawned on me -- Hope -- but not perfect
joy: for Bertha fancied that love and security were enemies, and her
pleasure was to divide them in my bosom. Though true of heart, she was
something of a coquette in manner; I was jealous as a Turk. She slighted me
in a thousand ways, yet would never acknowledge herself to be in the wrong.
She would drive me mad with anger, and then force me to beg her pardon.
Sometimes she fancied that I was not sufficiently submissive, and then she
had some story of a rival, favoured by her protectress. She was surrounded
by silk-clad youths -- the rich and gay. What chance had the sad-robed
scholar of Cornelius compared with these?

On one occasion, the philosopher made such large demands upon my time, that
I was unable to meet her as I was wont. He was engaged in some mighty work,
and I was forced to remain, day and night, feeding his furnaces and watching
his chemical preparations. Bertha waited for me in vain at the fountain. Her
haughty spirit fired at this neglect; and when at last I stole out during a
few short minutes allotted to me for slumber, and hoped to be consoled by
her, she received me with disdain, dismissed me in scorn, and vowed that any
man should possess her hand rather than he who could not be in two places at
once for her sake. She would be revenged! And truly she was. In my dingy
retreat I heard that she had been hunting, attended by Albert Hoffer. Albert
Hoffer was favoured by her protectress, and the three passed in cavalcade
before my smoky window. Methought that they mentioned my name; it was
followed by a laugh of derision, as her dark eyes glanced contemptuously
towards my abode.

Jealousy, with all its venom and all its misery, entered my breast. Now I
shed a torrent of tears, to think that I should never call her mine; and,
anon, I imprecated a thousand curses on her inconstancy. Yet, still I must
stir the fires of the alchymist, still attend on the changes of his
unintelligible medicines.

Cornelius had watched for three days and nights, nor closed his eyes. The
progress of his alembics was slower than he expected: in spite of his
anxiety, sleep weighted upon his eyelids. Again and again he threw off
drowsiness with more than human energy; again and again it stole away his
senses. He eyed his crucibles wistfully. "Not ready yet," he murmured; "will
another night pass before the work is accomplished? Winzy, you are vigilant
-- you are faithful -- you have slept, my boy -- you slept last night. Look
at that glass vessel. The liquid it contains is of a soft rose-colour: the
moment it begins to change hue, awaken me -- till then I may close my eyes.
First, it will turn white, and then emit golden flashes; but wait not till
then; when the rose-colour fades, rouse me." I scarcely heard the last
words, muttered, as they were, in sleep. Even then he did not quite yield to
nature. "Winzy, my boy," he again said, "do not touch the vessel -- do not
put it to your lips; it is a philtre -- a philtre to cure love; you would
not cease to love your Bertha -- beware to drink!"

And he slept. His venerable head sunk on his breast, and I scarce heard his
regular breathing. For a few minutes I watched the vessel -- the rosy hue of
the liquid remained unchanged. Then my thoughts wandered -- they visited the
fountain, and dwelt on a thousand charming scenes never to be renewed --
never! Serpents and adders were in my heart as the word "Never!" half formed
itself on my lips. False girl! -- false and cruel! Never more would she
smile on me as that evening she smiled on Albert. Worthless, detested woman!
I would not remain unrevenged -- she should see Albert expire at her feet --
she should die beneath my vengeance. She had smiled in disdain and triumph
-- she knew my wretchedness and her power. Yet what power had she? -- the
power of exciting my hate -- my utter scorn -- my -- oh, all but
indifference! Could I attain that -- could I regard her with careless eyes,
transferring my rejected love to one fairer and more true, that were indeed
a victory!

A bright flash darted before my eyes. I had forgotten the medicine of the
adept; I gazed on it with wonder: flashes of admirable beauty, more bright
than those which the diamond emits when the sun's rays are on it, glanced
from the surface of the liquid; and odour the most fragrant and grateful
stole over my sense; the vessel seemed one globe of living radiance, lovely
to the eye, and most inviting to the taste. The first thought, instinctively
inspired by the grosser sense, was, I will -- I must drink. I raised the
vessel to my lips. "It will cure me of love -- of torture!" Already I had
quaffed half of the most delicious liquor ever tasted by the palate of man,
when the philosopher stirred. I started -- I dropped the glass -- the fluid
flamed and glanced along the floor, while I felt Cornelius's gripe at my
throat, as he shrieked aloud, "Wretch! you have destroyed the labour of my

The philosopher was totally unaware that I had drunk any portion of his
drug. His idea was, and I gave a tacit assent to it, that I had raised the
vessel from curiosity, and that, frightened at its brightness, and the
flashes of intense light it gave forth, I had let it fall. I never
undeceived him. The fire of the medicine was quenched -- the fragrance died
away -- he grew calm, as a philosopher should under the heaviest trials, and
dismissed me to rest.

I will not attempt to describe the sleep of glory and bliss which bathed my
soul in paradise during the remaining hours of that memorable night. Words
would be faint and shallow types of my enjoyment, or of the gladness that
possessed my bosom when I woke. I trod air -- my thoughts were in heaven.
Earth appeared heaven, and my inheritance upon it was to be one trance of
delight. "This it is to be cured of love," I thought; "I will see Bertha
this day, and she will find her lover cold and regardless; too happy to be
disdainful, yet how utterly indifferent to her!"

The hours danced away. The philosopher, secure that he had once succeeded,
and believing that he might again, began to concoct the same medicine once
more. He was shut up with his books and drugs, and I had a holiday. I
dressed myself with care; I looked in an old but polished shield which
served me for a mirror; methoughts my good looks had wonderfully improved. I
hurried beyond the precincts of the town, joy in my soul, the beauty of
heaven and earth around me. I turned my steps toward the castle -- I could
look on its lofty turrets with lightness of heart, for I was cured of love.
My Bertha saw me afar off, as I came up the avenue. I know not what sudden
impulse animated her bosom, but at the sight, she sprung with a light
fawn-like bound down the marble steps, and was hastening towards me. But I
had been perceived by another person. The old high-born hag, who called
herself her protectress, and was her tyrant, had seen me also; she hobbled,
panting, up the terrace; a page, as ugly as herself, held up her train, and
fanned her as she hurried along, and stopped my fair girl with a "How, now,
my bold mistress? whither so fast? Back to your cage -- hawks are abroad!"

Bertha clasped her hands -- her eyes were still bent on my approaching
figure. I saw the contest. How I abhorred the old crone who checked the kind
impulses of my Bertha's softening heart. Hitherto, respect for her rank had
caused me to avoid the lady of the castle; now I disdained such trivial
considerations. I was cured of love, and lifted above all human fears; I
hastened forwards, and soon reached the terrace. How lovely Bertha looked!
her eyes flashing fire, her cheeks glowing with impatience and anger, she
was a thousand times more graceful and charming than ever. I no longer loved
-- oh no! I adored -- worshipped -- idolized her!

She had that morning been persecuted, with more than usual vehemence, to
consent to an immediate marriage with my rival. She was reproached with the
encouragement that she had shown him -- she was threatened with being turned
out of doors with disgrace and shame. Her proud spirit rose in arms at the
threat; but when she remembered the scorn that she had heaped upon me, and
how, perhaps, she had thus lost one whom she now regarded as her only
friend, she wept with remorse and rage. At that moment I appeared. "Oh,
Winzy!" she exclaimed, "take me to your mother's cot; swiftly let me leave
the detested luxuries and wretchedness of this noble dwelling -- take me to
poverty and happiness."

I clasped her in my arms with transport. The old dame was speechless with
fury, and broke forth into invective only when we were far on the road to my
natal cottage. My mother received the fair fugitive, escaped from a gilt
cage to nature and liberty, with tenderness and joy; my father, who loved
her, welcomed her heartily; it was a day of rejoicing, which did not need
the addition of the celestial potion of the alchymist to steep me in

Soon after this eventful day, I became the husband of Bertha. I ceased to be
the scholar of Cornelius, but I continued his friend. I always felt grateful
to him for having, unaware, procured me that delicious draught of a divine
elixir, which, instead of curing me of love (sad cure! solitary and joyless
remedy for evils which seem blessings to the memory), had inspired me with
courage and resolution, thus winning for me an inestimable treasure in my

I often called to mind that period of trance-like inebriation with wonder.
The drink of Cornelius had not fulfilled the task for which he affirmed that
it had been prepared, but its effects were more potent and blissful than
words can express. They had faded by degrees, yet they lingered long -- and
painted life in hues of splendour. Bertha often wondered at my lightness of
heart and unaccustomed gaiety; for, before, I had been rather serious, or
even sad, in my disposition. She loved me the better for my cheerful temper,
and our days were winged by joy.

Five years afterwards I was suddenly summoned to the bedside of the dying
Cornelius. He had sent for me in haste, conjuring my instant presence. I
found him stretched on his pallet, enfeebled even to death; all of life that
yet remained animated his piercing eyes, and they were fixed on a glass
vessel, full of roseate liquid.

"Behold," he said, in a broken and inward voice, "the vanity of human
wishes! a second time my hopes are about to be crowned, a second time they
are destroyed. Look at that liquor -- you may remember five years ago I had
prepared the same, with the same success; -- then, as now, my thirsting lips
expected to taste the immortal elixir -- you dashed it from me! and at
present it is too late."

He spoke with difficulty, and fell back on his pillow. I could not help
saying, --

"How, revered master, can a cure for love restore you to life?"

A faint smile gleamed across his face as I listened earnestly to his
scarcely intelligible answer.

"A cure for love and for all things -- the Elixir of Immortality. Ah! if now
I might drink, I should live for ever!"

As he spoke, a golden flash gleamed from the fluid; a well-remembered
fragrance stole over the air; he raised himself, all weak as he was --
strength seemed miraculously to re-enter his frame -- he stretched forth his
hand -- a loud explosion startled me -- a ray of fire shot up from the
elixir, and the glass vessel which contained it was shivered to atoms! I
turned my eyes towards the philosopher; he had fallen back -- his eyes were
glassy -- his features rigid -- he was dead!

But I lived, and was to live for ever! So said the unfortunate alchymist,
and for a few days I believed his words. I remembered the glorious
intoxication that had followed my stolen draught. I reflected on the change
I had felt in my frame -- in my soul. The bounding elasticity of the one --
the buoyant lightness of the other. I surveyed myself in a mirror, and could
perceive no change in my features during the space of the five years which
had elapsed. I remembered the radiant hues and grateful scent of that
delicious beverage -- worthy the gift it was capable of bestowing -- I was,

A few days after I laughed at my credulity. The old proverb, that "a prophet
is least regarded in his own country," was true with respect to me and my
defunct master. I loved him as a man -- I respected him as a sage -- but I
derided the notion that he could command the powers of darkness, and laughed
at the superstitious fears with which he was regarded by the vulgar. He was
a wise philosopher, but had no acquaintance with any spirits but those clad
in flesh and blood. His science was simply human; and human science, I soon
persuaded myself, could never conquer nature's laws so far as to imprison
the soul for ever within its carnal habitation. Cornelius had brewed a
soul-refreshing drink -- more inebriating than wine -- sweeter and more
fragrant than any fruit: it possessed probably strong medicinal powers,
imparting gladness to the heart and vigour to the limbs; but its effects
would wear out; already they were diminished in my frame. I was a lucky
fellow to have quaffed health and joyous spirits, and perhaps a long life,
at my master's hands; but my good fortune ended there: longevity was far
different from immortality.

I continued to entertain this belief for many years. Sometimes a thought
stole across me -- Was the alchymist indeed deceived? But my habitual
credence was, that I should meet the fate of all the children of Adam at my
appointed time -- a little late, but still at a natural age. Yet it was
certain that I retained a wonderfully youthful look. I was laughed at for my
vanity in consulting the mirror so often, but I consulted it in vain -- my
brow was untrenched -- my cheeks -- my eyes -- my whole person continued as
untarnished as in my twentieth year.

I was troubled. I looked at the faded beauty of Bertha -- I seemed more like
her son. By degrees our neighbors began to make similar observations, and I
found at last that I went by the name of the Scholar bewitched. Bertha
herself grew uneasy. She became jealous and peevish, and at length she began
to question me. We had no children; we were all in all to each other; and
though, as she grew older, her vivacious spirit became a little allied to
ill-temper, and her beauty sadly diminished, I cherished her in my heart as
the mistress I idolized, the wife I had sought and won with such perfect

At last our situation became intolerable: Bertha was fifty -- I twenty years
of age. I had, in very shame, in some measure adopted the habits of advanced
age; I no longer mingled in the dance among the young and gay, but my heart
bounded along with them while I restrained my feet; and a sorry figure I cut
among the Nestors of our village. But before the time I mention, things were
altered -- we were universally shunned; we were -- at least, I was --
reported to have kept up an iniquitous acquaintance with some of my former
master's supposed friends. Poor Bertha was pitied, but deserted. I was
regarded with horror and detestation.

What was to be done? we sat by our winter fire -- poverty had made itself
felt, for none would buy the produce of my farm; and often I had been forced
to journey twenty miles to some place where I was not known, to dispose of
our property. It is true, we had saved something for an evil day -- that day
was come.

We sat by our lone fireside -- the old-hearted youth and his antiquated
wife. Again Bertha insisted on knowing the truth; she recapitulated all she
had ever heard said about me, and added her own observations. She conjured
me to cast off the spell; she described how much more comely grey hairs were
than my chestnut locks; she descanted on the reverence and respect due to
age -- how preferable to the slight regard paid to mere children: could I
imagine that the despicable gifts of youth and good looks outweighed
disgrace, hatred and scorn? Nay, in the end I should be burnt as a dealer in
the black art, while she, to whom I had not deigned to communicate any
portion of my good fortune, might be stoned as my accomplice. At length she
insinuated that I must share my secret with her, and bestow on her like
benefits to those I myself enjoyed, or she would denounce me -- and then she
burst into tears.

Thus beset, methought it was the best way to tell the truth. I reveled it as
tenderly as I could, and spoke only of a very long life, not of immortality
-- which representation, indeed, coincided best with my own ideas. When I
ended I rose and said,--

"And now, my Bertha, will you denounce the lover of your youth? -- You will
not, I know. But it is too hard, my poor wife, that you should suffer for my
ill-luck and the accursed arts of Cornelius. I will leave you -- you have
wealth enough, and friends will return in my absence. I will go; young as I
seem and strong as I am, I can work and gain my bread among strangers,
unsuspected and unknown. I loved you in youth; God is my witness that I
would not desert you in age, but that your safety and happiness require it."

I took my cap and moved toward the door; in a moment Bertha's arms were
round my neck, and her lips were pressed to mine. "No, my husband, my
Winzy," she said, "you shall not go alone -- take me with you; we will
remove from this place, and, as you say, among strangers we shall be
unsuspected and safe. I am not so old as quite to shame you, my Winzy; and I
daresay the charm will soon wear off, and, with the blessing of God, you
will become more elderly-looking, as is fitting; you shall not leave me."

I returned the good soul's embrace heartily. "I will not, my Bertha; but for
your sake I had not thought of such a thing. I will be your true, faithful
husband while you are spared to me, and do my duty by you to the last."

The next day we prepared secretly for our emigration. We were obliged to
make great pecuniary sacrifices -- it could not be helped. We realized a sum
sufficient, at least, to maintain us while Bertha lived; and, without saying
adieu to any one, quitted our native country to take refuge in a remote part
of western France.

It was a cruel thing to transport poor Bertha from her native village, and
the friends of her youth, to a new country, new language, new customs. The
strange secret of my destiny rendered this removal immaterial to me; but I
compassionated her deeply, and was glad to perceive that she found
compensation for her misfortunes in a variety of little ridiculous
circumstances. Away from all tell-tale chroniclers, she sought to decrease
the apparent disparity of our ages by a thousand feminine arts -- rouge,
youthful dress, and assumed juvenility of manner. I could not be angry. Did
I not myself wear a mask? Why quarrel with hers, because it was less
successful? I grieved deeply when I remembered that this was my Bertha, whom
I had loved so fondly and won with such transport -- the dark-eyed,
dark-haired girl, with smiles of enchanting archness and a step like a fawn
-- this mincing, simpering, jealous old woman. I should have revered her
grey locks and withered cheeks; but thus! -- It was my work, I knew; but I
did not the less deplore this type of human weakness.

Her jealously never slept. Her chief occupation was to discover that, in
spite of outward appearances, I was myself growing old. I verily believe
that the poor soul loved me truly in her heart, but never had woman so
tormenting a mode of displaying fondness. She would discern wrinkles in my
face and decrepitude in my walk, while I bounded along in youthful vigour,
the youngest looking of twenty youths. I never dared address another woman.
On one occasion, fancying that the belle of the village regarded me with
favouring eyes, she brought me a grey wig. Her constant discourse among her
acquaintances was, that though I looked so young, there was ruin at work
within my frame; and she affirmed that the worst symptom about me was my
apparent health. My youth was a disease, she said, and I ought at all times
to prepare, if not for a sudden and awful death, at least to awake some
morning white-headed and bowed down with all the marks of advanced years. I
let her talk -- I often joined in her conjectures. Her warnings chimed in
with my never-ceasing speculations concerning my state, and I took an
earnest, though painful, interest in listening to all that her quick wit and
excited imagination could say on the subject.

Why dwell on these minute circumstances? We lived on for many long years.
Bertha became bedrid and paralytic; I nursed her as a mother might a child.
She grew peevish, and still harped upon one string -- of how long I should
survive her. It has ever been a source of consolation to me, that I
performed my duty scrupulously towards her. She had been mine in youth, she
was mine in age; and at last, when I heaped the sod over her corpse, I wept
to feel that I had lost all that really bound me to humanity.

Since then how many have been my cares and woes, how few and empty my
enjoyments! I pause here in my history -- I will pursue it no further. A
sailor without rudder or compass, tossed on a stormy sea -- a traveller lost
on a widespread heath, without landmark or stone to guide him -- such I have
been: more lost, more hopeless than either. A nearing ship, a gleam from
some far cot, may save them; but I have no beacon except the hope of death.

Death! mysterious, ill-visaged friend of weak humanity! Why alone of all
mortals have you cast me from your sheltering fold? Oh, for the peace of the
grave! the deep silence of the iron-bound tomb! that thought would cease to
work in my brain, and my heart beat no more with emotions varied only by new
forms of sadness!

Am I immortal? I return to my first question. In the first place, is it not
more probably that the beverage of the alchymist was fraught rather with
longevity than eternal life? Such is my hope. And then be it remembered,
that I only drank half of the potion prepared by him. Was not the whole
necessary to complete the charm? To have drained half the Elixir of
Immortality is but to be half-immortal -- my For-ever is thus truncated and

But again, who shall number the years of the half of eternity? I often try
to imagine by what rule the infinite may be divided. Sometimes I fancy age
advancing upon me. One grey hair I have found. Fool! do I lament? Yes, the
fear of age and death often creeps coldly into my heart; and the more I
live, the more I dread death, even while I abhor life. Such an enigma is man
-- born to perish -- when he wars, as I do, against the established laws of
his nature.

But for this anomaly of feeling surely I might die: the medicine of the
alchymist would not be proof against fire -- sword -- and the strangling
waters. I have gazed upon the blue depths of many a placid lake, and the
tumultuous rushing of many a mighty river, and have said, peace inhabits
those waters; yet I have turned my steps away, to live yet another day. I
have asked myself, whether suicide would be a crime in one to whom thus only
the portals of the other world could be opened. I have done all, except
presenting myself as a soldier or duelist, an objection of destruction to my
-- no, not my fellow mortals, and therefore I have shrunk away. They are not
my fellows. The inextinguishable power of life in my frame, and their
ephemeral existence, places us wide as the poles asunder. I could not raise
a hand against the meanest or the most powerful among them.

Thus have I lived on for many a year -- alone, and weary of myself --
desirous of death, yet never dying -- a mortal immortal. Neither ambition
nor avarice can enter my mind, and the ardent love that gnaws at my heart,
never to be returned -- never to find an equal on which to expend itself --
lives there only to torment me.

This very day I conceived a design by which I may end all -- without
self-slaughter, without making another man a Cain -- an expedition, which
mortal frame can never survive, even endued with the youth and strength that
inhabits mine. Thus I shall put my immortality to the test, and rest for
ever -- or return, the wonder and benefactor of the human species.

Before I go, a miserable vanity has caused me to pen these pages. I would
not die, and leave no name behind. Three centuries have passed since I
quaffed the fatal beverage; another year shall not elapse before,
encountering gigantic dangers -- warring with the powers of frost in their
home -- beset by famine, toil, and tempest -- I yield this body, too
tenacious a cage for a soul which thirsts for freedom, to the destructive
elements of air and water; or, if I survive, my name shall be recorded as
one of the most famous among the sons of men; and, my task achieved, I shall
adopt more resolute means, and, by scattering and annihilating the atoms
that compose my frame, set at liberty the life imprisoned within, and so
cruelly prevented from soaring from this dim earth to a sphere more
congenial to its immortal essence.

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