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flower something of this to keep, the essence of an hour.
No more to wait the twilight of the moon in this sequestered vale of
star and spire, for one eternal morning of desire passes to time and
earthy afternoon. Here, Heraclitus, did you find in fire and shifting
things the prophecy you hurled down the dead years; this midnight
my desire will see, shadowed among the embers, furled in flame, the
splendor and the sadness of the world.
May, 1917-February, 1919
A letter dated January, 1918, written by Monsignor Darcy to Amory, who
is a second lieutenant in the 171st Infantry, Port of Embarkation, Camp
Mills, Long Island.
MY DEAR BOY:
All you need tell me of yourself is that you still are; for the rest I
merely search back in a restive memory, a thermometer that records only
fevers, and match you with what I was at your age. But men will chatter
and you and I will still shout our futilities to each other across
the stage until the last silly curtain falls _plump!_ upon our bobbing
heads. But you are starting the spluttering magic-lantern show of life
with much the same array of slides as I had, so I need to write you if
only to shriek the colossal stupidity of people....
This is the end of one thing: for better or worse you will never again
be quite the Amory Blaine that I knew, never again will we meet as we
have met, because your generation is growing hard, much harder than mine
ever grew, nourished as they were on the stuff of the nineties.
Amory, lately I reread Aeschylus and there in the divine irony of the
"Agamemnon" I find the only answer to this bitter age--all the world
tumbled about our ears, and the closest parallel ages back in that
hopeless resignation. There are times when I think of the men out there
as Roman legionaries, miles from their corrupt city, stemming back the
hordes... hordes a little more menacing, after all, than the corrupt
city... another blind blow at the race, furies that we passed with
ovations years ago, over whose corpses we bleated triumphantly all
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