Sympathy of nature

From Wikiquote
Jump to: navigation, search

Sympathy of nature: A flood of sunshine (Nathaniel Hawthorne):

"Let us not look back!" answered Hester Prynne [to her lover Arthur Dimmesdale]. "The past is gone! Wherefore should we linger on it now? See! With this symbol, I undo it all, and make it as it had never been!" So speaking, she undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet letter, and, taking it from her bosom, threw it to a distance among the withered leaves. The mystic token alighted on the hither verge of the stream. With a hand's breath further flight it would have fallen into the water, and have given the little brook another woe to carry onward, besides the unintelligible tale which it still kept murmuring about. But there lay the embroidered letter, glittering like a lost jewel, which some ill-fated wanderer might pick up, and thenceforth be haunted by strange phantoms fo guilt, sinkings of the heart, and unaccountable misfortune. The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit. O exquisite relief! She had not known the weight, until she felt the freedom! By another impulse, she took off the formal cap that confined her hair, and down it fell upon her shoulders, dark and rich, with at once a shadow and a light in its abundance, and imparting the charm of softness to her features. There played around her mouth, and beamed from her eyes, a radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood. A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale. Her sex, her youth, and the whole richness of her beauty, came back from what men call the irrevocable past, and clustered themselves, with her maiden hope, and a happiness before unknown, within the magic circle of this hour. And, as if the gloom of the earth and the sky had been but the effluence of these two mortal hearts, it vanished with their sorrow. All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the gray trunks of the solemn trees. The objects that had made a shadow hitherto, embodied the brightness now. The course of the little brook might be traced by its merry gleam afar into the wood's heart of mystery, which had become a mystery of joy. Such was the sympathy of Nature -- that wild heathen Nature of the forest, never subjugated by human law, nor illumined by higher truth -- with the bliss of these two spirits!

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, [Norton Critical Edition, Ed. by Sculley Bradley, second ed., W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London, l978, "A Flood of Sunshine," pp145-146]