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Look What They Left Us

106

“Ah, yes. We have entered into ancient history. Look here, friend, look what those of the past have left us. See here, did they not know how to live? Did they not know how to dream? And with those dreams built such wonderful places? Theirs was a culture that lived and ruled for centuries most of the known world, and even the ruins of their culture are monuments to their greatness. Stately, proud, conquerors: they took because they could and cared not if history judged their actions good or ill. They were history. They lived for today. How said the poet so long ago?

    Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
    Before we too into the Dust descend;
    Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
    Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and—sans end
    . ¹

“Ah, yes. Indeed how right he was. And indeed how well they did; for do these walls not still echo with their laughter, and moan with the cries of their tears, and ring with the tromp of their soldiers as they marched off to war? Here, in this honored spot, just at your very feet, there once cavorted kings and queens, princes and princesses, the wealthy and the famous of their ancient culture. But they are gone, gone, and only the peasant remains, the natural successor to all the fallen kingdoms that have even been. The heroes and heroines arise to the stars, the kings and queens descend to their burial chambers—to sleep, to dream, to await the passing of some eternity until they arise again—but the peasant remains.

“Ah, yes, this stalwart guardian of civilization keeps alive the golden past as he sits by his simple hearth, his heart stirring with the desire for romance and adventure as he listens to the sagas being spun out by the bards. It is indeed the lonely peasant who is the final keeper of the glory of the past, with those of heroic events remembered with honor while those drenched in evil thrown by the wayside. We, the poor, are the fortunate ones, and choose who to honor and who to debase into obscurity. We are the monarchs here now; for have not the heroes and kings gone while we visit their halls, revel in their fabled shadows, and drunk from the wells they consecrated?

“Ah, yes, but for that noble . . .”

“Oh, shut up, Darin! Get off your horse and lend her a hand.”

“Ah, yes, my sweet, if but for . . .”

        text copyright © 2013 by mari t.

¹ Fitzgerald, Edward, trans. Rubáiyát by Omar Khayyám. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1996. Print. Page: 25.

photo credits
download site: http://www.oceansbridge.com/oil-paintings/product/78198/architecturalfantasy (08-29-2013; 6:29 pm PT)

artist: Clérisseau, Charles-Louis (1721-1820). French.
work: Architectural Fantasy. original: Oil on Canvas. year: 1784. location: Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

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