The iron tongue of Time has told the surrounding darkness that midnight is upon the earth. I am in my room alone. A burning taper is before me, but its light is too feeble to affect the distant objects…. I turn my face from the light, and looking into some dark corner, my mind is led to wander in that mysterious world created by the genius of Dante. Soon, this little taper will flicker in the socket, and leave behind it a world of gloom.—Is it not so with life? ~Charles Lanman, “Musings,” 1840

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