BLTC Press Titles

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The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

After death: the disembodiment of man

by Paschal Beverly Randolph


There is but little thought among the world of men. The great stream rushes on, in murmuring rivulets here, in roaring torrents there, or like the ocean billows breaking upon the barren shore in deafening thunders, devoid of thought. The thunders, the roaring, the murmuring of men, Is not of thought, but of money. In every age of the world the genuine thiuker has stood alone, like a solitary tree in the vast desert. His thought hath seemed to shroud him from other men, as with the pall of sges. There is another class, however, who are called thinkers, and are lauded to the skies as geniuses, who stand in a different relationship to the mass of men. These are poets and philosophers, who fashion »ud mould thought for their own time. Such cull the flowers of existence, and, having arrayed them in garbs angelically lovely, In their view, present them for the acceptance and adoration of the non-thinkers. But the real thinker exhumes the primitive rocks of man's existence, and basic nature, and lays bare the native granite of his nature, wonderful and kaleidoscopic, which he exposes to the softening influences of storm and sunshine. It matters not to him, if the excavation be deep, or the rocks be rough and ill-shapen; it is his mission to bring them to the surface. He is not unlike the insect which, in the bottom of old ocean, rears its domes of rocks, whose only -music is the roar of the rushing waves and the dashing of spray agatnst his edifice; for he hath builded a temple of unhewn rocks, of Infinite Thought, wherein he dwells alone; and which, like the cities of pearl in the deeps of the sea, shall yet be the foundations of a new continent of thought; shall yet be engrafted in the temples wherein the teeming myriads of remote ages shall worship. His thought hath not been of his own seeking. It comes upon him, as comes the hurricane upon the landscape, or over the calm breast of the slumber- Ing sea. It sometimes lays him low and desolate, in the filth and debris of isolation, misapprehension, misery, and decay; and at other times it carries him upon the lightning's wing, beyond the topmost clouds of th« thinker's world.

Foremost among the real and genuine thinkers of the age, stands onet P. B. Randolph, the author of this astounding and magnificent volume

Among them, but not of them. A mystic, in the true sense of the word,
and a mystic of the very loftiest order. Alfred Tennyson, Britain's
laurelled poet, in his beautiful description of the Wakeful Dreamer, had,
most undoubtedly, this man before his mental vision when the musical
lines flowed out from his soul. He says, — and, applied to the subject of
this sketch, how truly : —

" Angels have talked with him, and showed him thrones;
Ye knew him not; he was not one of ye; —
Ye scorned him with an undiscerning scorn;
Ye could not read the marvel in his eye,
The still, soreue abstraction: he hath felt
The vanities of after and before;
Albeit, hii spirit and his secret heart
The stern experiences of converse lives,
The linked woes of many a fiery charge
Had purified, and chastened, and made free.
Always there stood before him night and day,
Of wayward, vari-colored circumstance,
Tho imperishable presences serene,
Colossal, without form, or sense, or sound,
Dim shadows, but unwaning presences,
Four faced to four corners of the sky:
And yet again, three shadows, fronting one,
One forward, one rcspeetant, three but one;
And yet again, again and evermore,
For the two first were not, but only seemed
One shadow in the midst of a great light,
One reflex from eternity or time,
One mighty countenance of perfect calm,
Awful with most invariable eyes.
For him the silent congregated hours,
Daughters of time, divinely tall, beneath
Severe and youthful brows, with shining eyes
Smiling a godlike smile (the innocent light
Of earliest youth, pierced through and through with nil
Keen knowledges of low-embowed eld)
Upheld, and ever hold aloft the cloud
Which droops, low-hung, on either gate of life,
Both birth and death: he in the centre fixed,
Saw far on each side through the grated gates
Most pale and clear and lovely distances.

He often lying broad awake, and yet \

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