Prologue For R. R. R.
As you sit in your quiet home, surrounded by peace, comfort and civilization...
Do you, listener, remember those memories...
Grand and tearful, which still, after hundreds of years,
Remain now radiant with the brightness of sunlight,
And now darkening, like indelible bloodstains...
The variegated pages of history.
Can your thoughts, torpid with repose,
Transport themselves back to the horrors and joys of the past...
Not straying indifferently from one thing to another which excites your curiosity,
But taking a warm and vital interest, as if you yourself stood in the midst of those struggles,
Now long since fought out... bled in them, conquered or fell in them,
And felt your heart beat with hope or apprehension according as fortune smiled or betrayed...
Standing on the heights of history, looking far around the wild arena of human destiny,
Can you transfer yourself into the well of the past?
A life physically buried and decayed, but spiritually inmost,
Which constitutes the essence and substance of history...
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart,
Waging all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire,
With a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Therefore, if you have the capacity to suffer or rejoice with the generation that had been...
To hate with them... to love with them... to be transported to admire, to despise,
To curse as they have done - in a word:
To live among them with your whole heart and not alone with your cold, reflecting judgement...
... then follow me.
I will lead you down into the well.
My hand is weak and my sketch humble, but your heart will guide you better than I.
Upon that I rely... and begin.