The Heart asks Pleasure - first -
And then - excuse from Pain -
And then - those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering -
And then - to go to sleep -
And then - if it should be
The will of it’s Inquisitor
The privelege to die -
“You have no feeling of illness, have you?” I asked.
“No, Nelly, I have not,” he answered.
“Then you are not afraid of death?” I pursued.
“Afraid? No!” he replied. “I have neither a fear, nor a presentiment, nor a hope of death. Why should I? With my hard constitution and temperate mode of living and unperilous occupations, I ought to, and probably shall remain above ground til there is scarcely a black hair on my head. And yet I cannot continue in this condition! I have to remind myself to breathe—almost to remind my heart to beat! And it is like bending back a stiff sprig: it is by compulsion that I do the slightest act not prompted by one thought; and by compulsion that I notice anything alive or dead, which is not associated with one universal idea. I have a single wish, and my whole being and faculties are yearning to attain it. They have yearned towards it so long, and so unwaveringly, that I’m convinced it will be reached—and soon—because it has devoured my existence: I am swallowed up in anticipation of its fulfillment. My confessions have not relieved me; but they may account for some now otherwise unaccountable phases of humour which I show. O God! It is a long fight; I wish it were over!”
‘You were very wicked, Mr. Heathcliff!’ I exclaimed; ‘were you not ashamed to disturb the dead?’
‘I disturbed nobody, Nelly,’ he replied; ‘and I gave some ease to myself. I shall be a great deal more comfortable now; and you’ll have a better chance of keeping me underground, when I get there. Disturbed her? No! she has disturbed me, night and day, through eighteen years—incessantly—remorselessly—till yesternight; and yesternight I was tranquil. I dreamt I was sleeping the last sleep by that sleeper, with my heart stopped and my cheek frozen against hers.’
‘And if she had been dissolved into earth, or worse, what would you have dreamt of then?’ I said.
‘Of dissolving with her, and being more happy still!’
All was composed, however: Catherine’s despair was as silent as her father’s joy. She supported him calmly, in appearance; and he fixed on her features his raised eyes that seemed dilating with ecstacy. He died blissfully, Mr. Lockwood: he died so.
Kissing her cheek, he murmured,—‘I am going to her; and you, darling child, shall come to us!’ and never stirred or spoke again; but continually that rapt, radiant gaze, till his pulse imperceptibly stopped and his soul departed. None could have noticed the exact minute of his death, it was so entirely without struggle.
Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
You said, “Through glory and ecstasy we pass;
Wind, sun, and earth remain, the birds sing still,
When we are old, are old…” “And when we die
All’s over that is ours; and life burns on
Through other lovers, other lips,” said I,
“Heart of my heart, our heaven is now, is won!”
“We are Earth’s best, that learnt her lesson here.
Life is our cry. We have kept the faith!” we said;
“We shall go down with unreluctant tread
Rose-crowned into the darkness!…” Proud we were,
And laughed, that had such brave true things to say.
And then you suddenly cried, and turned away.