Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Comfort of Friends

127. They that love beyond the World, cannot be separated by it.
128. Death cannot kill, what never dies.
129. Nor can Spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their Friendship.
130. If Absence be not death, neither is theirs.
131. Death is but Crossing the World, as Friends do the Seas; They live in one another still.
132. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is Omnipresent.
133. In this Divine Glass, they see Face to Face; and their Converse is Free, as well as Pure.
134. This is the Comfort of Friends, that though they may be said to Die, yet their Friendship and Society are, in the best Sense, ever present, because Immortal.

This passage, from William Penn's Fruits of Solitude (Part II: Union of Friends) has suddenly jumped into prominence almost overnight, because J. K. Rowling places part of this section (131-134) at the beginning of her work, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, along with a passage from Aeschylus's The Libation Bearers. The astute reader will note the thematic links between this epigraph and two allusions in the important King's Cross chapter to 1 Corinthians 15:26 and Matthew 16:21. Incidentally, Matthew 6:19-21 is as neat and clear a summary of the book as you could want; it captures the whole contrast between Voldemort and those who oppose him.

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