...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



It was a pretty church, remarkable for the restraint of its decoration, a place Father had often stopped to pray.
In accordance with Orthodox tradition, all of us gathered before his coffin and held a lighted candle throughout the Mass. The priest recited the Requiem liturgy, and a deacon walked around and around the open casket, all the time swinging his censer until we could barely make out my father's face through the clouds of smoke, the cowl of his backward cloak pulled down by the priest so he could peer out of the slit in his eye and not miss any of the exequies. Mass over we followed the coffin, without its lid, and Father's face still uncovered, out of the cathedral. To ensure no one fell, boards had been laid over the snow. They formed a long narrow path from the cathedral to the spot the tsarina had chosen for Father to be buried.
from The Enchantments
Kathryn Harrison's novel of the last days of the Romanov dynasty seen through the eyes of Misha Rasputin, daughter of Grigory.

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