“Then John saw that there was a stone wall beside the road . . . but it had . . . a window . . . . Through it he saw a green wood full of primroses . . . . It seemed to him that a mist which hung at the far end of the woods had parted for a moment, and through the mist he had seen a calm sea, and in the sea an island . . . . He had no inclination yet to go into the wood: and presently he went home, with a sad excitement upon him, repeating to himself a thousand times, ‘I know now what I want.’”
C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933), chap. 2.
“‘Then it is really true that all men, all nations, have had this vision of an island?’
‘It does not always come in the form of an island: and to some men, if they inherit particular diseases, it may not come at all.’”
C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933), chap. 8
“It does not aways take the form of an island, as I have said. The Landlord sends pictures of many different kinds. What is universal is not the particular picture, but the arrival of some message, not perfectly intelligible, which wakes this desire and sets men longing for something East or West of the world; something possessed, if at all, only in the act of desiring it . . . yet which is able, if any man live through the dialectic of its successive births and deaths, to lead him at last where true joy is found.”
C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933), chap. 9
“The island is nothing else than that perfection and immortality which I possess as Spirit eternal and vainly crave as mortal soul. Its voices sound at my very ear and are further than the stars; it is under my hand and never will be mine: I have it and lo! the very having is the losing: because at every moment I, as Spirit, am indeed abandoning my rich estate to become that perishing and imperfect creature in whose repeated deaths and births stands my eternity.”
C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress (1933), chap. 12.
“To the sun’s eternal light
Ah, how sweet it were to flee!
And the air on yonder height,
How refreshing must it be!
But a torrent bars my way,
Angrily its billows roll,
And the menace of its spray
With a shudder fills my soul.
Lo! a boat reels to and from
But, alas, the pilot fails!
Bold and fearless in it go!
Life breaths on its swelling sails.
God’s ne’re give a pledge to man,
Strong in faith then thou must dare;
Thee nought but a wonder can
To the Land of Wonders bear.
Friedrich Schiller, “Sehnsucht” (1802)
et pervenit ad id, quod est in ictu trepidantis aspectus. Tunc vero invisibilia tua per ea quae facta sunt intellecta conspexi And, thus, in the flash of a trembling glance, it arrived at that which is. And then I saw Thy invisible things understood by the things that are made” (St Augustine, Confess XIII 17)