Of the twenty or so civilizations known to modern Western historians, all except our own appear to be dead or moribund, and, when we diagnose each case, in extremis or post mortem, we invariably find that the cause of death has been either War or Class or some combination of the two. To date, these two plagues have been deadly enough, in partnership, to kill off nineteen out of twenty representatives of this recently evolved species of human society; but, up to now, the deadliness of these scourges has had a saving limit.
When the sad sun sinks, It shall pierce through the body of wax till it shrinks! No sunset, but the red awakening Of the last day concluding everything Struggles so sadly that time disappears, The redness of apocalypse, whose tears Fall on the child, exiled to her own proud Heart, as the swan makes its plumage a shroud For its eyes, the old swan, and is carried away From the plumage of grief to the eternal highway Of its hopes, where it looks on the diamonds divine Of a moribund star, which never more shall shine!stéphane mallarmé
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