A Man's Life, Manvotionals

Manvotional: Allan Quatermain on Death

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Image from Molly Des Jardin

Editor’s note: The commentary and selection for this manvotional comes from Sam, an AoM Community member.

Nothing quenches my thirst for adventure quite like the books of H. Rider Haggard. This summer I discovered him when I read “King Solomon’s Mines” and its sequel. While the first book is a brilliant epic filled with endearing characters and action-packed adventure, I felt the focus on the two heroines and their “palace intrigue” in the second book really hurt it.

But I’ll keep the gushing to a minimum. The purpose of this blog was to post a quote from “King Solomon’s Mines” that really touched me. The main character, Allan Quatermain, is looking over the sleeping faces of African warriors the night before a massive battle, when he reflects on death:

“Yet man dies not whilst the world, at once his mother and his monument, remains. His name is lost, indeed, but the breath he breathed still stirs the pine-tops on the mountains, the sound of the words he spoke yet echoes on through space; the thoughts his brain gave birth to we have inherited to-day; his passions are our cause of life; the joys and sorrows that he knew are our familiar friends—the end from which he fled aghast will surely overtake us also!

Truly the universe is full of ghosts, not sheeted churchyard spectres, but the inextinguishable elements of individual life, which having once been, can never die, though they blend and change, and change again for ever.”

I find these words a comfort. Whether there is an afterlife or not, I think it’s of the utmost importance that we take care in the impressions we leave on the world and the people we love. Perhaps the heritage of a human life is the way in which it positively touched others, influencing the next in line to do the same.


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