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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 1, page 171, September 27, 1850

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Identifier: DX09630142

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 1, page 171, September 27, 1850

Description: Muses on what it would be like to live in a Pagan world.


night, and there in the big sitting room with [Dillon] Mapother, [William] Martin, traveller [Norton] Butler &c. &c. gazing out o’window at the grandest, most awful storm it hath been my fortune to witness. Broad and constant sheets of violet hued lightnings lighting up each surrounding object most vividly, rain drops sparkling like jewels; driving, drenching sheets of water and howling wind and long loud bellowing thunder reverberations. Talk of electricity, of galvanism, of soul and pineal gland &c. / Our knowledge of the detail of cause and effect vulgarizes and renders common all things, grand though they may be. The Pagan of the old world in a storm saw Zeus incensed, darting his lightning-messengers of anger on impious and ungrateful men below, — now it is but the meeting and combustion of gales. Oh the old Greek world, making poetry of each days detail of life, all beauty and no horror in creed; gods sympathetic and human! — is this Mammon ruled Nineteenth Century after All better? What a life of dollar-hunting is this, striving for that you at once desire and despise. Oh to have been a shepherd on Parnassus, believing that the Great God Apollo haunted its temple and leafy laurelled shade. To have loved, and piped and lain neath trees, and tended sheep, and when boughs stirred knowing some kindly Faun was peeping through them — to have believed and lived, thought and acted poetry! Ah me!

I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed out worn

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn

Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Rights: NoC-US

Place: United States
New York

Dates: 1850-09-27

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Boardinghouses
19th century
Rain and rainfall
Mythology, Greek


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