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The Human Drift

Short Stories

A Curious Fragment

A Day's lodging

A Nose for the king

A Piece of Steak

A Wicked Woman

All Gold Canyon

Brown Wolf

Created He Them

Four Horses and a Sailor

Just Meat

Love of life

Make Westing

Nam-Bok the Unveracious

Negore, the coward

Nothing That Ever Came to Anything

Semper Idem

Small-Boat Sailing

That Dead Men Rise Up Never

That spot

The "Francis Spaight"

The Apostate

The Chinago

The Heathen

The Hobo and the Fairy

The Human Drift

The story of Keesh

The Sun-Dog Trail

The Unexpected

The white man's way


When God Laughs

Yellow Handkerchief

"The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd
Who rose before us, and as Prophets Burn'd,
Are all but stories, which, awoke from Sleep,
They told their comrades, and to Sleep return'd."

The history of civilisation is a history of wandering, sword in
hand, in search of food. In the misty younger world we catch
glimpses of phantom races, rising, slaying, finding food, building
rude civilisations, decaying, falling under the swords of stronger
hands, and passing utterly away. Man, like any other animal, has
roved over the earth seeking what he might devour; and not romance
and adventure, but the hunger-need, has urged him on his vast
adventures. Whether a bankrupt gentleman sailing to colonise
Virginia or a lean Cantonese contracting to labour on the sugar
plantations of Hawaii, in each case, gentleman and coolie, it is a
desperate attempt to get something to eat, to get more to eat than
he can get at home.

It has always been so, from the time of the first pre-human
anthropoid crossing a mountain-divide in quest of better berry-
bushes beyond, down to the latest Slovak, arriving on our shores
to-day, to go to work in the coal-mines of Pennsylvania. These
migratory movements of peoples have been called drifts, and the
word is apposite. Unplanned, blind, automatic, spurred on by the
pain of hunger, man has literally drifted his way around the
planet. There have been drifts in the past, innumerable and
forgotten, and so remote that no records have been left, or
composed of such low-typed humans or pre-humans that they made no
scratchings on stone or bone and left no monuments to show that
they had been.

These early drifts we conjecture and know must have occurred, just
as we know that the first upright-walking brutes were descended
from some kin of the quadrumana through having developed "a pair
of great toes out of two opposable thumbs." Dominated by fear,
and by their very fear accelerating their development, these early
ancestors of ours, suffering hunger-pangs very like the ones we
experience to-day, drifted on, hunting and being hunted, eating
and being eaten, wandering through thousand-year-long odysseys of
screaming primordial savagery, until they left their skeletons in
glacial gravels, some of them, and their bone-scratchings in cave-
men's lairs.

There have been drifts from east to west and west to east, from
north to south and back again, drifts that have criss-crossed one
another, and drifts colliding and recoiling and caroming off in
new directions. From Central Europe the Aryans have drifted into
Asia, and from Central Asia the Turanians have drifted across
Europe. Asia has thrown forth great waves of hungry humans from
the prehistoric "round-barrow" "broad-heads" who overran Europe
and penetrated to Scandinavia and England, down through the hordes
of Attila and Tamerlane, to the present immigration of Chinese and
Japanese that threatens America. The Phoenicians and the Greeks,
with unremembered drifts behind them, colonised the Mediterranean.
Rome was engulfed in the torrent of Germanic tribes drifting down
from the north before a flood of drifting Asiatics. The Angles,
Saxons, and Jutes, after having drifted whence no man knows,
poured into Britain, and the English have carried this drift on
around the world. Retreating before stronger breeds, hungry and
voracious, the Eskimo has drifted to the inhospitable polar
regions, the Pigmy to the fever-rotten jungles of Africa. And in
this day the drift of the races continues, whether it be of
Chinese into the Philippines and the Malay Peninsula, of Europeans
to the United States or of Americans to the wheat-lands of
Manitoba and the Northwest.

Perhaps most amazing has been the South Sea Drift. Blind,
fortuitous, precarious as no other drift has been, nevertheless
the islands in that waste of ocean have received drift after drift
of the races. Down from the mainland of Asia poured an Aryan
drift that built civilisations in Ceylon, Java, and Sumatra. Only
the monuments of these Aryans remain. They themselves have
perished utterly, though not until after leaving evidences of
their drift clear across the great South Pacific to far Easter
Island. And on that drift they encountered races who had
accomplished the drift before them, and they, the Aryans, passed,
in turn, before the drift of other and subsequent races whom we
to-day call the Polynesian and the Melanesian.

Man early discovered death. As soon as his evolution permitted,
he made himself better devices for killing than the old natural
ones of fang and claw. He devoted himself to the invention of
killing devices before he discovered fire or manufactured for
himself religion. And to this day, his finest creative energy and
technical skill are devoted to the same old task of making better
and ever better killing weapons. All his days, down all the past,
have been spent in killing. And from the fear-stricken, jungle-
lurking, cave-haunting creature of long ago, he won to empery over
the whole animal world because he developed into the most terrible
and awful killer of all the animals. He found himself crowded.
He killed to make room, and as he made room ever he increased and
found himself crowded, and ever he went on killing to make more
room. Like a settler clearing land of its weeds and forest bushes
in order to plant corn, so man was compelled to clear all manner
of life away in order to plant himself. And, sword in hand, he
has literally hewn his way through the vast masses of life that
occupied the earth space he coveted for himself. And ever he has
carried the battle wider and wider, until to-day not only is he a
far more capable killer of men and animals than ever before, but
he has pressed the battle home to the infinite and invisible hosts
of menacing lives in the world of micro-organisms.

It is true, that they that rose by the sword perished by the
sword. And yet, not only did they not all perish, but more rose
by the sword than perished by it, else man would not to-day be
over-running the world in such huge swarms. Also, it must not be
forgotten that they who did not rise by the sword did not rise at
all. They were not. In view of this, there is something wrong
with Doctor Jordan's war-theory, which is to the effect that the
best being sent out to war, only the second best, the men who are
left, remain to breed a second-best race, and that, therefore, the
human race deteriorates under war. If this be so, if we have sent
forth the best we bred and gone on breeding from the men who were
left, and since we have done this for ten thousand millenniums and
are what we splendidly are to-day, then what unthinkably splendid
and god-like beings must have been our forebears those ten
thousand millenniums ago! Unfortunately for Doctor Jordan's
theory, those ancient forebears cannot live up to this fine
reputation. We know them for what they were, and before the
monkey cage of any menagerie we catch truer glimpses and hints and
resemblances of what our ancestors really were long and long ago.
And by killing, incessant killing, by making a shambles of the
planet, those ape-like creatures have developed even into you and
me. As Henley has said in "The Song of the Sword":

"The Sword Singing -

Driving the darkness,
Even as the banners
And spear of the Morning;
Sifting the nations,
The Slag from the metal,
The waste and the weak
From the fit and the strong;
Fighting the brute,
The abysmal Fecundity;
Checking the gross
Multitudinous blunders,
The groping, the purblind
Excesses in service
Of the Womb universal,
The absolute drudge."

As time passed and man increased, he drifted ever farther afield
in search of room. He encountered other drifts of men, and the
killing of men became prodigious. The weak and the decadent fell
under the sword. Nations that faltered, that waxed prosperous in
fat valleys and rich river deltas, were swept away by the drifts
of stronger men who were nourished on the hardships of deserts and
mountains and who were more capable with the sword. Unknown and
unnumbered billions of men have been so destroyed in prehistoric
times. Draper says that in the twenty years of the Gothic war,
Italy lost 15,000,000 of her population; "and that the wars,
famines, and pestilences of the reign of Justinian diminished the
human species by the almost incredible number of 100,000,000."
Germany, in the Thirty Years' War, lost 6,000,000 inhabitants.
The record of our own American Civil War need scarcely be

And man has been destroyed in other ways than by the sword.
Flood, famine, pestilence and murder are potent factors in
reducing population--in making room. As Mr. Charles Woodruff, in
his "Expansion of Races," has instanced: In 1886, when the dikes
of the Yellow River burst, 7,000,000 people were drowned. The
failure of crops in Ireland, in 1848, caused 1,000,000 deaths.
The famines in India of 1896-7 and 1899-1900 lessened the
population by 21,000,000. The T'ai'ping rebellion and the
Mohammedan rebellion, combined with the famine of 1877-78,
destroyed scores of millions of Chinese. Europe has been swept
repeatedly by great plagues. In India, for the period of 1903 to
1907, the plague deaths averaged between one and two millions a
year. Mr. Woodruff is responsible for the assertion that
10,000,000 persons now living in the United States are doomed to
die of tuberculosis. And in this same country ten thousand
persons a year are directly murdered. In China, between three and
six millions of infants are annually destroyed, while the total
infanticide record of the whole world is appalling. In Africa,
now, human beings are dying by millions of the sleeping sickness.

More destructive of life than war, is industry. In all civilised
countries great masses of people are crowded into slums and
labour-ghettos, where disease festers, vice corrodes, and famine
is chronic, and where they die more swiftly and in greater numbers
than do the soldiers in our modern wars. The very infant
mortality of a slum parish in the East End of London is three
times that of a middle-class parish in the West End. In the
United States, in the last fourteen years, a total of coal-miners,
greater than our entire standing army, has been killed and
injured. The United States Bureau of Labour states that during
the year 1908, there were between 30,000 and 35,000 deaths of
workers by accidents, while 200,000 more were injured. In fact,
the safest place for a working-man is in the army. And even if
that army be at the front, fighting in Cuba or South Africa, the
soldier in the ranks has a better chance for life than the
working-man at home.

And yet, despite this terrible roll of death, despite the enormous
killing of the past and the enormous killing of the present, there
are to-day alive on the planet a billion and three quarters of
human beings. Our immediate conclusion is that man is exceedingly
fecund and very tough. Never before have there been so many
people in the world. In the past centuries the world's population
has been smaller; in the future centuries it is destined to be
larger. And this brings us to that old bugbear that has been so
frequently laughed away and that still persists in raising its
grisly head--namely, the doctrine of Malthus. While man's
increasing efficiency of food-production, combined with
colonisation of whole virgin continents, has for generations given
the apparent lie to Malthus' mathematical statement of the Law of
Population, nevertheless the essential significance of his
doctrine remains and cannot be challenged. Population DOES press
against subsistence. And no matter how rapidly subsistence
increases, population is certain to catch up with it.

When man was in the hunting stage of development, wide areas were
necessary for the maintenance of scant populations. With the
shepherd stages, the means of subsistence being increased, a
larger population was supported on the same territory. The
agricultural stage gave support to a still larger population; and,
to-day, with the increased food-getting efficiency of a machine
civilisation, an even larger population is made possible. Nor is
this theoretical. The population is here, a billion and three
quarters of men, women, and children, and this vast population is
increasing on itself by leaps and bounds.

A heavy European drift to the New World has gone on and is going
on; yet Europe, whose population a century ago was 170,000,000,
has to-day 500,000,000. At this rate of increase, provided that
subsistence is not overtaken, a century from now the population of
Europe will be 1,500,000,000. And be it noted of the present rate
of increase in the United States that only one-third is due to
immigration, while two-thirds is due to excess of births over
deaths. And at this present rate of increase, the population of
the United States will be 500,000,000 in less than a century from

Man, the hungry one, the killer, has always suffered for lack of
room. The world has been chronically overcrowded. Belgium with
her 572 persons to the square mile is no more crowded than was
Denmark when it supported only 500 palaeolithic people. According
to Mr. Woodruff, cultivated land will produce 1600 times as much
food as hunting land. From the time of the Norman Conquest, for
centuries Europe could support no more than 25 to the square mile.
To-day Europe supports 81 to the square mile. The explanation of
this is that for the several centuries after the Norman Conquest
her population was saturated. Then, with the development of
trading and capitalism, of exploration and exploitation of new
lands, and with the invention of labour-saving machinery and the
discovery and application of scientific principles, was brought
about a tremendous increase in Europe's food-getting efficiency.
And immediately her population sprang up.

According to the census of Ireland, of 1659, that country had a
population of 500,000. One hundred and fifty years later, her
population was 8,000,000. For many centuries the population of
Japan was stationary. There seemed no way of increasing her food-
getting efficiency. Then, sixty years ago, came Commodore Perry,
knocking down her doors and letting in the knowledge and machinery
of the superior food-getting efficiency of the Western world.
Immediately upon this rise in subsistence began the rise of
population; and it is only the other day that Japan, finding her
population once again pressing against subsistence, embarked,
sword in hand, on a westward drift in search of more room. And,
sword in hand, killing and being killed, she has carved out for
herself Formosa and Korea, and driven the vanguard of her drift
far into the rich interior of Manchuria.

For an immense period of time China's population has remained at
400,000,000--the saturation point. The only reason that the
Yellow River periodically drowns millions of Chinese is that there
is no other land for those millions to farm. And after every such
catastrophe the wave of human life rolls up and now millions flood
out upon that precarious territory. They are driven to it,
because they are pressed remorselessly against subsistence. It is
inevitable that China, sooner or later, like Japan, will learn and
put into application our own superior food-getting efficiency.
And when that time comes, it is likewise inevitable that her
population will increase by unguessed millions until it again
reaches the saturation point. And then, inoculated with Western
ideas, may she not, like Japan, take sword in hand and start forth
colossally on a drift of her own for more room? This is another
reputed bogie--the Yellow Peril; yet the men of China are only
men, like any other race of men, and all men, down all history,
have drifted hungrily, here, there and everywhere over the planet,
seeking for something to eat. What other men do, may not the
Chinese do?

But a change has long been coming in the affairs of man. The more
recent drifts of the stronger races, carving their way through the
lesser breeds to more earth-space, has led to peace, ever to wider
and more lasting peace. The lesser breeds, under penalty of being
killed, have been compelled to lay down their weapons and cease
killing among themselves. The scalp-talking Indian and the head-
hunting Melanesian have been either destroyed or converted to a
belief in the superior efficacy of civil suits and criminal
prosecutions. The planet is being subdued. The wild and the
hurtful are either tamed or eliminated. From the beasts of prey
and the cannibal humans down to the death-dealing microbes, no
quarter is given; and daily, wider and wider areas of hostile
territory, whether of a warring desert-tribe in Africa or a
pestilential fever-hole like Panama, are made peaceable and
habitable for mankind. As for the great mass of stay-at-home
folk, what percentage of the present generation in the United
States, England, or Germany, has seen war or knows anything of war
at first hand? There was never so much peace in the world as
there is to-day.

War itself, the old red anarch, is passing. It is safer to be a
soldier than a working-man. The chance for life is greater in an
active campaign than in a factory or a coal-mine. In the matter
of killing, war is growing impotent, and this in face of the fact
that the machinery of war was never so expensive in the past nor
so dreadful. War-equipment to-day, in time of peace, is more
expensive than of old in time of war. A standing army costs more
to maintain than it used to cost to conquer an empire. It is more
expensive to be ready to kill, than it used to be to do the
killing. The price of a Dreadnought would furnish the whole army
of Xerxes with killing weapons. And, in spite of its magnificent
equipment, war no longer kills as it used to when its methods were
simpler. A bombardment by a modern fleet has been known to result
in the killing of one mule. The casualties of a twentieth century
war between two world-powers are such as to make a worker in an
iron-foundry turn green with envy. War has become a joke. Men
have made for themselves monsters of battle which they cannot face
in battle. Subsistence is generous these days, life is not cheap,
and it is not in the nature of flesh and blood to indulge in the
carnage made possible by present-day machinery. This is not
theoretical, as will be shown by a comparison of deaths in battle
and men involved, in the South African War and the Spanish-
American War on the one hand, and the Civil War or the Napoleonic
Wars on the other.

Not only has war, by its own evolution, rendered itself futile,
but man himself, with greater wisdom and higher ethics, is opposed
to war. He has learned too much. War is repugnant to his common
sense. He conceives it to be wrong, to be absurd, and to be very
expensive. For the damage wrought and the results accomplished,
it is not worth the price. Just as in the disputes of individuals
the arbitration of a civil court instead of a blood feud is more
practical, so, man decides, is arbitration more practical in the
disputes of nations.

War is passing, disease is being conquered, and man's food-getting
efficiency is increasing. It is because of these factors that
there are a billion and three quarters of people alive to-day
instead of a billion, or three-quarters of a billion. And it is
because of these factors that the world's population will very
soon be two billions and climbing rapidly toward three billions.
The lifetime of the generation is increasing steadily. Men live
longer these days. Life is not so precarious. The newborn infant
has a greater chance for survival than at any time in the past.
Surgery and sanitation reduce the fatalities that accompany the
mischances of life and the ravages of disease. Men and women,
with deficiencies and weaknesses that in the past would have
effected their rapid extinction, live to-day and father and mother
a numerous progeny. And high as the food-getting efficiency may
soar, population is bound to soar after it. "The abysmal
fecundity" of life has not altered. Given the food, and life will
increase. A small percentage of the billion and three-quarters
that live to-day may hush the clamour of life to be born, but it
is only a small percentage. In this particular, the life in the
man-animal is very like the life in the other animals.

And still another change is coming in human affairs. Though
politicians gnash their teeth and cry anathema, and man, whose
superficial book-learning is vitiated by crystallised prejudice,
assures us that civilisation will go to smash, the trend of
society, to-day, the world over, is toward socialism. The old
individualism is passing. The state interferes more and more in
affairs that hitherto have been considered sacredly private. And
socialism, when the last word is said, is merely a new economic
and political system whereby more men can get food to eat. In
short, socialism is an improved food-getting efficiency.

Furthermore, not only will socialism get food more easily and in
greater quantity, but it will achieve a more equitable
distribution of that food. Socialism promises, for a time, to
give all men, women, and children all they want to eat, and to
enable them to eat all they want as often as they want.
Subsistence will be pushed back, temporarily, an exceedingly long
way. In consequence, the flood of life will rise like a tidal
wave. There will be more marriages and more children born. The
enforced sterility that obtains to-day for many millions, will no
longer obtain. Nor will the fecund millions in the slums and
labour-ghettos, who to-day die of all the ills due to chronic
underfeeding and overcrowding, and who die with their fecundity
largely unrealised, die in that future day when the increased
food-getting efficiency of socialism will give them all they want
to eat.

It is undeniable that population will increase prodigiously-just
as it has increased prodigiously during the last few centuries,
following upon the increase in food-getting efficiency. The
magnitude of population in that future day is well nigh
unthinkable. But there is only so much land and water on the
surface of the earth. Man, despite his marvellous
accomplishments, will never be able to increase the diameter of
the planet. The old days of virgin continents will be gone. The
habitable planet, from ice-cap to ice-cap, will be inhabited. And
in the matter of food-getting, as in everything else, man is only
finite. Undreamed-of efficiencies in food-getting may be
achieved, but, soon or late, man will find himself face to face
with Malthus' grim law. Not only will population catch up with
subsistence, but it will press against subsistence, and the
pressure will be pitiless and savage. Somewhere in the future is
a date when man will face, consciously, the bitter fact that there
is not food enough for all of him to eat.

When this day comes, what then? Will there be a recrudescence of
old obsolete war? In a saturated population life is always cheap,
as it is cheap in China, in India, to-day. Will new human drifts
take place, questing for room, carving earth-space out of crowded
life. Will the Sword again sing:

"Follow, O follow, then,
Heroes, my harvesters!
Where the tall grain is ripe
Thrust in your sickles!
Stripped and adust
In a stubble of empire
Scything and binding
The full sheaves of sovereignty."

Even if, as of old, man should wander hungrily, sword in hand,
slaying and being slain, the relief would be only temporary. Even
if one race alone should hew down the last survivor of all the
other races, that one race, drifting the world around, would
saturate the planet with its own life and again press against
subsistence. And in that day, the death rate and the birth rate
will have to balance. Men will have to die, or be prevented from
being born. Undoubtedly a higher quality of life will obtain, and
also a slowly decreasing fecundity. But this decrease will be so
slow that the pressure against subsistence will remain. The
control of progeny will be one of the most important problems of
man and one of the most important functions of the state. Men
will simply be not permitted to be born.

Disease, from time to time, will ease the pressure. Diseases are
parasites, and it must not be forgotten that just as there are
drifts in the world of man, so are there drifts in the world of
micro-organisms--hunger-quests for food. Little is known of the
micro-organic world, but that little is appalling; and no census
of it will ever be taken, for there is the true, literal "abysmal
fecundity." Multitudinous as man is, all his totality of
individuals is as nothing in comparison with the inconceivable
vastness of numbers of the micro-organisms. In your body, or in
mine, right now, are swarming more individual entities than there
are human beings in the world to-day. It is to us an invisible
world. We only guess its nearest confines. With our powerful
microscopes and ultramicroscopes, enlarging diameters twenty
thousand times, we catch but the slightest glimpses of that
profundity of infinitesimal life.

Little is known of that world, save in a general way. We know
that out of it arise diseases, new to us, that afflict and destroy
man. We do not know whether these diseases are merely the drifts,
in a fresh direction, of already-existing breeds of micro-
organisms, or whether they are new, absolutely new, breeds
themselves just spontaneously generated. The latter hypothesis is
tenable, for we theorise that if spontaneous generation still
occurs on the earth, it is far more likely to occur in the form of
simple organisms than of complicated organisms.

Another thing we know, and that is that it is in crowded
populations that new diseases arise. They have done so in the
past. They do so to-day. And no matter how wise are our
physicians and bacteriologists, no matter how successfully they
cope with these invaders, new invaders continue to arise--new
drifts of hungry life seeking to devour us. And so we are
justified in believing that in the saturated populations of the
future, when life is suffocating in the pressure against
subsistence, that new, and ever new, hosts of destroying micro-
organisms will continue to arise and fling themselves upon earth-
crowded man to give him room. There may even be plagues of
unprecedented ferocity that will depopulate great areas before the
wit of man can overcome them. And this we know: that no matter
how often these invisible hosts may be overcome by man's becoming
immune to them through a cruel and terrible selection, new hosts
will ever arise of these micro-organisms that were in the world
before he came and that will be here after he is gone.

After he is gone? Will he then some day be gone, and this planet
know him no more? Is it thither that the human drift in all its
totality is trending? God Himself is silent on this point, though
some of His prophets have given us vivid representations of that
last day when the earth shall pass into nothingness. Nor does
science, despite its radium speculations and its attempted
analyses of the ultimate nature of matter, give us any other word
than that man will pass. So far as man's knowledge goes, law is
universal. Elements react under certain unchangeable conditions.
One of these conditions is temperature. Whether it be in the test
tube of the laboratory or the workshop of nature, all organic
chemical reactions take place only within a restricted range of
heat. Man, the latest of the ephemera, is pitifully a creature of
temperature, strutting his brief day on the thermometer. Behind
him is a past wherein it was too warm for him to exist. Ahead of
him is a future wherein it will be too cold for him to exist. He
cannot adjust himself to that future, because he cannot alter
universal law, because he cannot alter his own construction nor
the molecules that compose him.

It would be well to ponder these lines of Herbert Spencer's which
follow, and which embody, possibly, the wildest vision the
scientific mind has ever achieved:

"Motion as well as Matter being fixed in quantity, it would seem
that the change in the distribution of Matter which Motion
effects, coming to a limit in whichever direction it is carried,
the indestructible Motion thereupon necessitates a reverse
distribution. Apparently, the universally-co-existent forces of
attraction and repulsion, which, as we have seen, necessitate
rhythm in all minor changes throughout the Universe, also
necessitate rhythm in the totality of its changes--produce now an
immeasurable period during which the attractive forces
predominating, cause universal concentration, and then an
immeasurable period during which the repulsive forces
predominating, cause universal diffusion--alternate eras of
Evolution and Dissolution. AND THUS THERE IS SUGGESTED THE

That is it--the most we know--alternate eras of evolution and
dissolution. In the past there have been other evolutions similar
to that one in which we live, and in the future there may be other
similar evolutions--that is all. The principle of all these
evolutions remains, but the concrete results are never twice
alike. Man was not; he was; and again he will not be. In
eternity which is beyond our comprehension, the particular
evolution of that solar satellite we call the "Earth" occupied but
a slight fraction of time. And of that fraction of time man
occupies but a small portion. All the whole human drift, from the
first ape-man to the last savant, is but a phantom, a flash of
light and a flutter of movement across the infinite face of the
starry night.

When the thermometer drops, man ceases--with all his lusts and
wrestlings and achievements; with all his race-adventures and
race-tragedies; and with all his red killings, billions upon
billions of human lives multiplied by as many billions more. This
is the last word of Science, unless there be some further,
unguessed word which Science will some day find and utter. In the
meantime it sees no farther than the starry void, where the
"fleeting systems lapse like foam." Of what ledger-account is the
tiny life of man in a vastness where stars snuff out like candles
and great suns blaze for a time-tick of eternity and are gone?

And for us who live, no worse can happen than has happened to the
earliest drifts of man, marked to-day by ruined cities of
forgotten civilisation--ruined cities, which, on excavation, are
found to rest on ruins of earlier cities, city upon city, and
fourteen cities, down to a stratum where, still earlier, wandering
herdsmen drove their flocks, and where, even preceding them, wild
hunters chased their prey long after the cave-man and the man of
the squatting-place cracked the knuckle-bones of wild animals and
vanished from the earth. There is nothing terrible about it.
With Richard Hovey, when he faced his death, we can say: "Behold!
I have lived!" And with another and greater one, we can lay
ourselves down with a will. The one drop of living, the one taste
of being, has been good; and perhaps our greatest achievement will
be that we dreamed immortality, even though we failed to realise

© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary