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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Lord, What is Man ?              23

of the signer. Death robs these people of even that little
strength which they appeared to have and gives them nothing
but repose.

On others, again, death confers a more living kind of
life than they can ever possibly have enjoyed while to those
about them they seemed to be alive. Look at Shakespeare;
can he be properly said to have lived in anything like his
real life till a hundred years or so after his death ? His
physical life was but as a dawn preceding the sunrise of that
life of the world to come which he was to enjoy hereafter.
True, there was a little stir—a little abiding of shepherds
in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night—a
little buzzing in knots of men waiting to be hired before
the daybreak—a little stealthy movement as of a burglar or
two here and there—an indication of life. But the true
life of the man was after death and not before it.

Death is not more the end of some than it is the beginning
of others. So he that loses his soul may find it, and he that
finds may lose it.