May 6, 2012

As Old Cheops Has Done, 1843

As Old Cheops Has Done, 1843
Countess Hahn-Hahn

Old Cheops Pyramid
Dear Brother, If any one had said to me up there, between the foundation of this pyramid and that of the railroad at Vienna there were as many thousand years as there are thousands of miles from the planet Earth to the planet Syrius, I should have answered at once, “Of course there are!” I seemed to be standing on an island in the midst of the ether, without the slightest connection with all that hearts are throbbing with below. Time seemed to have rent a cleft around me deeper than the deepest ravine in the highest mountain of the Alps. Then one’s very view below becomes so utterly what shall I say? so utterly lifeless.

In the whole immense plain beneath you there is not one prominent feature. It is merely a geographical map with coloured spaces blue-green, yellow-green, sap-green just as the culture may be. Among them palm-woods and gardens like dark spots, canals like silver stripes, and banks like black bars. Far and faint the brownish, formless masses of the city, wrapt in its own exhalations. And last of all, but seemingly quite near, the Desert here no longer horrible. If in time itself there be such enormous deserts, where hundreds of years lie bare and waste, and only here and there some intellectual building, together with the builder, appear in the midst, like an oasis for the mind, why should not a few hundred miles lie barren here upon earth? But even if Fairyland itself lay smiling round, it would make no difference.

The pyramid is everything. Like a great mind, it overpowers all in its vicinity. Even the Nile becomes insignificant. As the mountains attract the clouds, so does the pyramid attract the thoughts, and make them revolve perpetually round it. Dear Brother, it is a wonderful sight when man gets up his creations in a kind of rivalship with Eternity, as this old Cheops has done.

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