The Competitiveness of Nations

in a Global Knowledge-Based Economy

Harry Hillman Chartrand

April 2002


(page 3)

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PRELUDE * (pp 3-56)

Descent into Hell

2 {Of the Relativity of Time}

3 {Of theOriginal Text}

Page 2

4 {Of Civilization}

5 {Of the Past Present}

6 {Of the Great Tower}

7 {Of the Location of Paradise

Page 3

8 {Of the First Man}

9 {Of the Fall}

10 {Of Life & Death}

*sub-chapter titling

2-10 by HHC



Translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter




Copyright 1934 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Published June 6, 1934

Reprinted Eight Times

Tenth Printing, January 1945

Originally published as


Der erste Roman:





8 {Of the First Man}

A VERY ancient tradition of human thought, based upon man’s truest knowledge of himself and going back to exceedingly early days whence it has become incorporated into the succession of religions, prophecies and doctrines of the East, into Avesta, Islam, Manichaeanism, Gnosticism and Hellenism, deals with the figure of the first or first completely human man, the Hebraic Adam qadmon; conceived as a youthful being made out of pure light, formed before the beginning of the world as prototype and abstract of humanity.  To this conception others have attached themselves, varying to some extent, yet in essentials the same.  Thus, and accordingly, primitive man was at his very beginning God’s chosen champion in the struggle against that evil which penetrated into the new creation; yet harm befel him, he was fettered by demons, imprisoned in the flesh, estranged from his origins, and only freed from the darkness of earthly and fleshly existence by a second emissary of the deity, who in some mysterious way was the same as himself, his own higher self, and restored to the world of light, leaving behind him, however, some portions of his light, which then were utilized for the creation of the material world and earthly creatures.  Amazing tales, these, wherein the religious element of redemption is faintly visible behind the cosmogonic frame.  For we are told that the original human Son of God contained in His body of light the seven metals to which the seven planets correspond and

38 Index

out of which the world is formed.  Again it is said that this human light-essence, issuing from the paternal primitive source, descended through the seven planetary spheres and the lord of each partook of his essence.  But then looking down he perceived his image mirrored in matter, became enamoured of it, went down unto it and thus fell in bondage to lower nature.  All which explains man’s double self, an indissoluble combination of godlike attributes and free essence with sore enslavement to the baser world.

In this narcissistic picture, so full of tragic charm, the meaning of the tradition begins to clarify itself; the clarification is complete at the point where the descent of the Child of God from His world of light into the world of nature, loses the character of mere obedient pursuance of a higher order, hence guiltless, and becomes an independent and voluntary motion of longing, by that token guilty.  And at the same time we can begin to unravel the meaning of that “second emissary” who, identical in a sense with the light-man, comes to free him from his involvement with the darkness and to lead him home. For the doctrine now proceeds to divide the world into the three personal elements of matter, soul and spirit, among whom and between whom and the Deity there is woven the romance, whose real protagonist is the soul of mankind, adventurous and in adventure creative, a mythus, which complete by reason of its combination of oldest record and newest prophecy, gives us clear leading as true site of Paradise and upon the story of the Fall.

It is stated that the soul, which is to say the primevally human, was, like matter, one of the principles laid down


from the beginning, and that it possessed life but no knowledge.  It had, in fact, so little that, though dwelling in the nearness of God, in a lofty sphere of happiness and peace, it let itself be disturbed and confused by the inclination - in a literal sense, implying direction - towards still formless matter, avid to mingle with this and evoke forms upon which it could compass physical desires.  But the yearning and pain of its passion did not diminish after the soul had let itself be betrayed to a descent from its home; they were heightened even to torment by the circumstance that matter sluggishly and obstinately preferred to remain in its original formless state, would hear nothing of taking on form to please the soul, and set up all imaginable opposition to being so formed.  But now God intervened; seeing nothing for it, probably, in such a posture of affairs, but to come to the aid of the soul, His errant concomitance.  He supported the soul as it wrestled in love with refractory matter.  He created the world; that is to say, by way of assisting the primitive human being He brought forth solid and permanent forms, in order that the soul might gratify physical desires upon these and engender man.  But immediately afterwards, in pursuance of a considered plan, He did something else.  He sent, such literally are the words of the source upon which I am drawing, He sent out of the substance of His divinity spirit to man in this world, that it might rouse from its slumber the soul in the frame of man, and show it, by the Father’s command, that this world was not its place, and that its sensual and passional enterprise had been a sin, as a consequence of which the creation of the world was to be regarded.  What in truth the spirit ever strives to make clear to the human soul


imprisoned in matter, the constant theme of its admonitions, is precisely this: that the creation of the world came about only by reason of its folly in mingling with matter, at once it parted therefrom the world of form would no longer have any existence.  To rouse the soul to this view is the task of the reasonable spirit; all its hoping and striving are directed to the end that the passionate soul, once aware of the whole situation, will at length reacknowledge its home on high, strike out of its consciousness the lower world and strive to regain once more that lofty sphere of peace and happiness.  In the very moment when that happens the lower world will be absolved; matter will win back her own sluggish will, being released from the bonds of form to rejoice once more, as she ever did and ever shall, in formlessness, and be happy in her own way.

Thus far the doctrine and the romance of the soul.  And here, beyond a doubt, we have come to the very last “backward,” reached the remotest human past, fixed upon Paradise and tracked down the story of the Fall, of knowledge and of death, to its pure and original form.  The original human soul is the oldest thing, more correctly an oldest thing, for it has always been, before time and before form, just as God has always been and likewise matter.  As for the intelligent spirit, in whom we recognize the “second emissary” entrusted with the task of leading the soul back home; although in some undefined way closely related to it, yet it is after all not quite the same, for it is younger: a missionary sent by God for the soul’s instruction and release, and thus for accomplishing the dissolution of the world of form.  If in some of its phases the dogma asserts or allegorically indicates


the higher oneness of soul and spirit, it probably does so on good ground; this, however, does not exclude the conception that the human soul is originally conceived as being God’s champion against the evil in the world, and the role ascribed to it very like the one which falls to the spirit sent to effect its own release.  Certainly the reason why the dogma fails to explain this matter clearly is that it has not achieved a complete portrayal of the role played by the spirit in the romance of the soul; obviously the tradition requires filling out on this point.

In this world of form and death conceived out of the marriage of soul and matter, the task of the spirit is clearly outlined and unequivocal.  Its mission consists in awakening the soul, in its self-forgetful involvement with form and death, to the memory of its higher origin; to convince it that its relation with matter is a mistaken one, and finally to make it yearn for its original source with ever stronger yearning, until one day it frees itself wholly from pain and desire and wings away homewards. And therewith straightway the end of the world is come, death done away and matter restored to her ancient freedom.  But as it will sometimes happen that an ambassador from one kingdom to another and hostile one, if he stay there for long, will fall a prey to corruption, from his own country’s point of view, gliding unconsciously over to the other’s habits of thought and favouring its interests, settling down and adapting himself and taking on colour, until at last he becomes unavailable as a representative of his own world; this or something like it must be the experience of the spirit in its mission.  The longer it stops be1ow, the longer it plies its diplomatic activities, the more they suffer from an inward breach, not


to be concealed from the higher sphere, and in all probability leading to its recall, were the problem of ~ substitute easier to solve than it seems is the case.

There is no doubt that its role as slayer and gravedigger of the world begins to trouble the spirit in the long run.  For its point of view alters, being coloured by its sojourn below; while being, in its own mind, sent to dismiss death out of the world, it finds itself on the contrary regarded as the deathly principle, as that which brings death into the world.  It is, in fact, a matter of the point view, the angle of approach.  One may look at it one or the other.  Only one needs to know one’s own proper attitude, that to which one is obligated from home; otherwise there is bound to occur the phenomenon which I objectively characterized as corruption, and one is alienated from one’s natural duties.  And here appears a certain weakness in the spirit’s character: he does not enjoy his reputation as the principle of death and the destroyer of form - though he did largely bring it upon himself out of his great impulse towards judgment, even directed against himself - and it becomes a point of honour with him to get rid of it.  Not that he would willfully betray his mission.  Rather against his intention, under pressure, out of that impulse and from a stimulus which one might describe as an unsanctioned infatuation for the soul and its passional activities, the words of his own mouth betray him; they speak in favour of the soul and its enterprise, and by a kind of sympathetic refinement upon his own pure motives, utter themselves on the side of life and form.  It is an open question, whether such a traitorous or near-traitorous attitude does the spirit any good, and whether he cannot help serving, even by that


very conduct, the purpose for which he was sent, namely the dissolution of the material world by the releasing of the soul from it; or whether he does not know all this, and only thus conducts himself because he is at bottom certain that he may permit himself so much.  At all events, this shrewd, self-denying identification of his own will with that of the soul explains the allegorical tendency of the tale, according to which the “second emissary” is another self of that light-man who was sent out to do battle with evil.  Yes, it is possible that this part of the tale conceals a prophetic allusion to certain mysterious decrees of God, which were considered by the teachers and preachers as too holy and inscrutable to be uttered.


9 {Of the Fall} Index

WE can, objectively considered, speak of a “Fall” of the soul of the primeval light-man, only by over-emphasizing the moral factor.  The soul, certainly, has sinned against itself, frivolously sacrificing its original blissful and peaceful state - but not against God in the sense of offending any prohibition of His in its passional .enterprise, for such a prohibition, at least according to the doctrine we have received, was not issued.  True, pious tradition has handed down to us the command of God to the first man, not to eat of the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil”; but we must remember that we are here dealing with a secondary and already earthly event, and with human beings who had with God’s own creative aid been generated out of the knowledge of matter by the soul; if God really set them this test, He undoubtedly knew beforehand how it would turn out, and the only obscurity lies in


the question,  why He did not refrain from issuing a prohibition-which, being disobeyed, would simply add to the malicious joy of His angelic host, whose attitude towards man was already most unfavourable.  But the expression “good and evil” is a recognized and admitted gloss upon the text, and what we are really dealing with is knowledge, which has as its consequence not the ability to distinguish between good and evil, but rather death itself; so that we need scarcely doubt that the “prohibition” too is a well-meant but not very pertinent addition of the same kind.

Everything speaks for such an explanation; but principally the fact that God was not incensed at the yearning behaviour of the soul, did not expel it nor add any punishment to the measure of suffering which it voluntarily drew upon itself and which indeed was outweighed might of its desire.  It is even clear that He was seized if not by understanding at least by pity, when He saw the passion of the soul.  Unsummoned and straightway He came to its aid, and took a hand personally in the stuggles of the soul to know matter in love, by making the world of form and death issue from it, that the soul might take its pleasure thereupon; and certainly this was an attitude of God in which pity and understanding are scarcely to be distinguished from one another.

Of sin in the sense of an offence to God and His expressed will we can scarcely speak in this connection, especially when we consider the peculiar immediacy of God’s relation with the being which sprang from this mingling of soul and matter: this human being of whom the angels were unmistakably and with good reason jealous from the very first.  It made a profound impression on


Joseph, when old Eliezer told him of these matters, speaking of them just as we read them to-day in the Hebrew commentaries upon early history.  Had not God, they say, held His tongue and wisely kept silence upon the fact that not only righteous but also evil things would proceed from man, the creation of man would certainly not have been permitted by the “kingdom of the stern.”  The words give us an extraordinary insight into the situation.  They show, above all, that “sternness” was not so much the property of God Himself as of His entourage, upon whom He seems to have been dependent, in a certain, if of course not decisive way, for He preferred not to tell them what was going on, out of fear lest they make Him difficulties, and only revealed some things and kept others to Himself.  But does not this indicate that He was interested in the creation of the world, rather than that He opposed it?  So that if the soul was not directly provoked and encouraged by God to its enterprise, at least it did not act against His will, but only against the angels’ - and their somewhat less than friendly attitude towards man is clear from the beginning.  The creation by God of that living world of good and evil, the interest He displayed in it, appeared to them in the light of a majestic caprice; it piqued them, indeed, for they saw in it, probably with some justice, a certain disgust with their own psalm-chanting purity.  Astonished and reproachful questions, such as: “What is man, O Lord, that Thou art mindful of him?” are forever on their lips; and God answers indulgently, benevolently, evasively, sometimes with irritation and in a sense distinctly mortifying~ to their pride.  The fall of Shemmael, a very great prince among the angels, having twelve pairs of

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wings whereas the seraphim and sacred beasts had only six apiece, is not very easy to explain, but its immediate cause must have been these dissensions; so old Eliezer taught - the lad drank it in with strained attention.  It had always been Shemmael who stirred up the other angels against man, or rather against God’s sympathy for him, and when one day God commanded the heavenly hosts to fall down before Adam, on account of his understanding and because he could call all things by their names they did indeed comply with the order, some scowling, others with ill-concealed smiles - all but Shemmael, who did not do it.  He declared, with a candour born of his wrathfulness, that it was ridiculous for beings created of the effulgence of glory to bow down before those made out of the dust of the earth.  And thereupon took place his fall - Eliezer described it by saying that it looked from a distance like a falling star:  The angels must have been well frightened by this event, which caused them to behave ever afterwards with great discretion on the subject of man; but it is plain that whenever sinfulness got the upper hand on earth, as in Sodom and Gomorrah and at the time of the flood, there was rejoicing among the angels and corresponding embarrassment to the Creator, who found His hand forced tp scourge the offenders, though less of His own desire than under moral pressure from the heavenly host.  But let us now consider once more, in the light of the foregoing the matter of the “second emissary”of the spirit, and whether he is really sent to effect the dissolution of the material world by setting free the soul and bringing it back home.

It is possible to argue that this is not God’s meaning


and that the spirit was not, in fact, sent down expressly after the soul in order to act the part of grave-digger to the world of forms created by it with God’s connivance.  The mystery is perhaps a different one, residing in that part of the doctrine which says that the “second emissary “ was no other than the first light-man sent out anew against evil.  We have long known that these mysteries deal very freely with the tenses, and may quite readily use the past with reference to the future.  It is possible that the saying, soul and spirit were one, really means that they are sometime to become one.  This seems the more tenable in that the spirit is of its nature and essentially the principle of the future, and represents the It will be, It is to be; whereas the goodness of the form-bound soul has reference to the past and the holy It was.  It -remains controversial, which is life and which death; since both, the soul involved with nature and the spirit detached from the world, the principle of the past and the principle of the future, claim, each in its own way, to be the water of life, and each accuses the other of dealings with death.  Neither quite wrongly, since neither nature without spirit nor spirit without nature can truly be called life.  But the mystery, and the unexpressed hope of God, lie in their union, in the genuine penetration of the spirit into the world of the soul, in the inter-penetration of both principles, in a hallowing of the one through the other which should bring about a present humanity blessed with blessing from heaven above and from the depths beneath.

Such then might be considered the ultimate meaning and hidden potentiality of the doctrine - though even so there must linger a strong element of doubt whether the


bearing of the spirit, self-betraying and subservient as we have described it to be, out of all too sensitive reluctance to be considered the principle of death, is calculated to lead to the goal in view.  Let him lend all his wit to the dumb passion of the soul; let him celebrate the grave, hail the past as life’s unique source, and confess himself the malicious zealot and murderously life-enslaving will; whatever he says he remains that which he is, the warning emissary, the principle of contradiction, umbrage and dispersal, which stirs up emotions of disquiet and exceptional wretchedness in the breast of one single man among the blithely agreeing and accepting host, drives him forth out of the gates of the past and the known into the uncertain and the adventurous, and makes him like unto the stone which, by detaching itself and rolling, is destined to set up an ever increasing rolling and sequence of events, of which no man can see the end.


10 {Life & Death} Index

In such wise are formed those beginnings, those time-coulisses of the past, where memory may pause and find a hold whereon to base its personal history - as Joseph did on Ur, the city, and his forefather’s exodus therefrom.  It was a tradition of spiritual unrest, he had it in his blood, the world about him and his own life were conditioned by it, and he paid it the tribute of recognition when he recited aloud those verses from the tablets which ran:

Why ordainest thou unrest to my son Gilgamesh,

Gavest him a heart that knoweth not repose?


Disquiet, questioning, hearkening and seeking, wrestling for God, a bitterly sceptical labouring over the true and the just, the whence and the whither, his own name, his own nature, the true meaning of the Highest - how all that, bequeathed down the generations from the man from Ur, found expression in Jacob’s look, in his lofty brow and the peering, careworn gaze of his brown eyes; and how confidingly Joseph loved this nature, of which his own was aware as a nobility and a distinction and which, precisely as a consciousness of higher concerns and anxieties, lent to his father’s person all the dignity, reserve and solemnity which made it so impressive.  Unrest and dignity - that is the sign of the spirit; and with childishly unabashed fondness Joseph recognized the seal of tradition upon his father’s brow, so different from that upon his own, which was so much blither and freer, coming as it chiefly did from his lovely mother’s side, and making him the conversable, social, communicable being he pre-eminently was.  But why should he have felt abashed before that brooding and careworn father, knowing himself so greatly beloved?  The habitual knowledge that he was loved and preferred conditioned and coloured his being; it was decisive likewise for his attitude towards the Highest, to Whom, in his fancy, he ascribed a form, so far as was permissible, precisely like Jacob’s.  A higher replica of his father, by Whom, Joseph was na´vely convinced, he was beloved even as he was beloved of his father.  For the moment, and still afar off, I should like to characterize as “bridelike” his relation to Adon the heavenly.  For Joseph knew that there were Babylonian women, sacred to Ishtar or to Mylitta, unwedded but consecrated to pious devotion, who dwelt in cells within


the temple, and were called “pure” or “holy,” also “brides of God,” “enitu.”  Something of this feeling was in Joseph’s own nature: a sense of consecration, an austere bond, and with it a flow of fantasy which may have been the decisive ingredient in his mental inheritance, and which will give us to think when we are down yin the depths beside him.

On the other hand, despite all his own devotion, he did not quite follow or accept the form it had taken in his father’s case: the care, the anxiousness, the unrest, which were expressed in Jacob’s unconquerable dislike of a settled existence, such as would have befitted his dignity, and in his temporary, improvised, half-nomad mode of life.  He too, without any doubt, was beloved, cherished and preferred of God - for if Joseph was that, surely it was on his father’s account!  The God Shaddai had made his father rich, in Mesopotamia, rich in cattle and mu1tifarious possessions; moving among his troop of sons, his train of women, his servants and his flocks, he might have been a prince among the princes of the land and that he was, not only in outward seeming but also by the power of the spirit, as “nabi,” which is: the prophesier; as a wise man, full of knowledge of God, “exceeding wise,” as one of the spiritual leaders and elders upon whom the inheritance of the Chaldaean had come and who had at times been thought of as his lineal descendants.  No one approached Jacob save in the most respectful and ceremonious way; in dealings and trade one called him “my lord” and spoke of oneself in humble and contemptuous terms.  Why did he not live with his family, as a property-owner in one of the cities, in Hebron itself, Urusalim or Shechem, in a house built of

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stone and wood, beneath which he could bury his dead?  Why did he live like an Ishmaelite or Bedouin, in tents outside the town, in the open country, not even in sight of the citadel of Kirjath Arba; beside the well, the caves, the oaks and the terebinths, in a camp which might be struck at any time - as though he might not stop and take root with the others, as though from hour to hour he must be awaiting the word which should make him take down huts and stalls, load poles, blankets and skins on the pack-camels, and be off?  Joseph knew why, of course.  Thus it must be, because one served a God whose nature was not repose and abiding comfort, but a God of designs for the future, in whose will inscrutable, great, far-reaching things were in process of becoming, who, with His brooding will and His world-planning, was Himself only in process of becoming, and thus was a God of unrest, a God of cares, who must be sought for, for whom one must at all times keep oneself free, mobile and in readiness.

In a word, it was the spirit, he that dignified and then again he that debased, who forbade Jacob to live a settled life in towns; and if little Joseph sometimes regretted the fact, having a taste for pomp and worldly circumstance, we must accept this trait of his character and let others make up for it.  As for me, who now draw my narrative to a close, to plunge, voluntarily, into limitless adventure (the word “plunge” being used advisedly), I will not conceal my native and comprehensive understanding of the old man’s restless unease and dislike of any fixed habitation.  For do I not know the feeling?  To me too has not unrest been ordained, have not I too been endowed with a heart which knoweth not repose?  The


story-teller’s star - is it not the moon, lord of the road, the wanderer, who moves in his stations, one after another, freeing himself from each?  For the story-teller makes many a station, roving and relating, but pauses tentwise, awaiting further directions, and soon feels his heart beating high, partly with desire, partly too from fear and anguish of the flesh, but in any case as a sign that he must take the road, towards fresh adventures which are to he painstakingly lived through, down to their remotest details, according to the restless spirit’s will.

Already we are well under way, we have left far behind us the station where we briefly paused, we have forgotten it, and as is the fashion of travellers have begun to look across the distance at the world we are now to enter, in order that we may not feel too strange and awkward when we arrive.  Has the journey already lasted too long?  No wonder, for this time it is a descent into hell!  Deep, deep down it goes, we pale as we leave the light of day and descend into the unsounded depths of the past.

Why do I turn pale, why does my heart beat high – not only since I set out, but even since the first command to do so - and not only with eagerness but still more with physical fear?  Is not the past the story-teller’s element and native air, does he not take to it as a fish to water?  Agreed.  But reasoning like this will not avail to make my heart cease throbbing with fear and curiosity, probably because the past by which I am well accustomed to let myself be carried far and far away is quite another from the past into which I now shudderingly descend: the past of life, the dead-and-gone world, to which my own life shall more and more profoundly belong, of which its beginnings are already a fairly deep

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part.  To die: that means actually to lose sight of time, to travel beyond it, to exchange for it eternity and presentness and therewith for the first time, life.  For the essence of life is presentness, and only in a mythical sense does its mystery appear in the time-forms of past and future.  They are the way, so to speak, in which life reveals itself to the folk; the mystery belongs to the initiate.  Let the folk be taught that the soul wanders.  But the wise know that this teaching is only the garment of the mystery of the eternal presentness of the soul, and that all life belongs to it, so soon as death shall have broken its solitary prison cell.  I taste of death and knowledge when, as story-teller, I adventure into the past; hence my eagerness, hence my fear and pallor.  But eagerness has the upper hand, and I do not deny that it is of the flesh, for its theme is the first and last of all our questioning and speaking and all our necessity; the nature of man.  That it is which we shall seek out in the underworld and death, as Ishtar there sought Tammuz and Isis Osiris, to find it where it lies and is, in the past.

For it is, always is, however much we may say It was.  Thus speaks the myth, which is only the garment of the mystery.  But the holiday garment of the mystery is the feast, the recurrent feast which bestrides the, tenses and makes the has-been and the to-be present to the popular sense.  What wonder then, that on the day of the feast humanity is in a ferment and conducts itself with licensed abandon?  For in it life and death meet and know each other.  Feast of story-telling, thou art the festal garment of life’s mystery, for thou conjurest up timelessness in the mind of the folk, and invokest the myth that it may be relived in the actual present.  Feast of death, descent


into hell, thou art verily a feast and a revelling of the soul of the flesh, which not for nothing clings to the past and the graves and the solemn It was.  But may the spirit too be with thee and enter into thee, that thou mayest be with a blessing from heaven above and from the depths beneath.

Down, then, and no quaking!  But are we going at one fell swoop into the bottomlessness of the well?  No, not•at all.  Not much more than three thousand years deep – and what is that, compared with the bottom?  At that stage men not wear horn armour and eyes in their foreheads and do battle with flying newts.  They are men like ourselves - aside from that measure of dreamy indefiniteness in their habits of thought which we have agreed to consider pardonable.  So the homekeeping man talks to himself when he sets out on a journey, and then, when the matter becomes serious, gets fever and palpitations none the less.  Am I really, he asks himself, going to the ends of the earth and away from the realms of the everyday?  No, not at all: I am only going there and thither, where many people have been before, only a day or so away home.  And thus we too speak, with reference to the country which awaits us.  Is it the land of nowhere, the country of the moon, so different from aught that ever was on sea or land that we clutch our heads in sheer bewilderment?  No, it is a country such as we have often seen, a Mediterranean land, not exactly like home, rather and stony, but certainly not fantastic, and above it move the familiar stars.  There it lies, mountain and valley, cities and roads and vineclad slopes, with a turbid darting arrowy among the green thickets; there it lies stretched out in the past, like meadows and streams

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in a fairy tale.  Perhaps you closed your eyes, on the journey down; open them now!  We have arrived.  See how the moonlight-sharpened shadows lie across the peaceful, rolling landscape!  Feel the mild spring freshness of the summer-starry night!




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