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Signs Before Death

Signs Before Death
by John Timbs

It is more than probable that an effect has never yet been allowed to exist long without having laid to its charge, by ingenious heralds, a varying ancestry of at least a score of causes, differing in their nature as the people who create them differ, agreed only in their assertions of authenticity. The more marvellous the effect, the more numerous and absurd are these assignments.

Wherever mystery exists, there speculation is sure to abound; and where speculation abounds, there will certainly be found also three conditions of things: (1) many ditches plentifully strewed with blind who have led each other thither, and fallen therein; (2) much beclouded ignorance walking about disguised in all the colours of the rainbow; and (3) a good deal of genius running wild, and increasing the confusion by subtle growths, often very beautiful, but only skin deep.

There is no greater mystery than Death, that brief period of transition, when, behind the veil whose shadow we can see, but which no eye can penetrate, nor any hand rend the future is coupled on to the past, and the present is abolished.

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