Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
heavens, yet for all anxieties a halcyon calm; a tranquillity that seemed no
product of inertia, but as if resulting from mighty and equal antagonisms; infinite
activities, infinite repose.
Oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for
the wounds that will never heal, and for "the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel,"
bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that with thy potent rhetoric stealest
away the purposes of wrath; and to the guilty man for one night givest back the
hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure from blood; and to the proud man a
brief oblivion for
Wrongs undress'd and insults unavenged;
that summonest to the chancery of dreams, for the triumphs of suffering
innocence, false witnesses; and confoundest perjury, and dost reverse the
sentences of unrighteous judges;--thou buildest upon the bosom of darkness, out
of the fantastic imagery of the brain, cities and temples beyond the art of Phidias
and Praxiteles-- beyond the splendour of Babylon and Hekatompylos, and "from
the anarchy of dreaming sleep" callest into sunny light the faces of long-buried
beauties and the blessed household countenances cleansed from the
"dishonours of the grave." Thou only givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the
keys of Paradise, oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium!