Mayan ruins at Xunantunich near San Ignacio. From planetware.com
San Ignacio Ruins, Misiones, Argentina. Picture posted by Kelly Davico at Panoramio.com
There is a comfort in the strength of love,
Making that pang endurable, which else
Would overset the brain—or break the heart.
The monuments which human art has raised to human pride or power may decay with that power, or survive to mock that pride; but sooner or later they perish—their place knows them not. In the aspect of a ruin, however imposing in itself, and however magnificent or dear the associations connected with it, there is always something sad and humiliating, reminding us how poor and how frail are the works of man, how unstable his hopes, and how limited his capacity compared to his aspirations! But when man has made to himself monuments of the works of God; when the memory of human affections, human intellect, human power, is blended with the immutable features of nature, they consecrate each other, and both endure together to the end. In a state of high civilization, man trusts to the record of brick and marble—the pyramid, the column, the temple, the tomb:
"Then the bust
And altar rise—then sink again to dust."
From: Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad with Tales and Miscellanies Now First Collected Vol. III (of 3)LONDON SAUNDERS AND OTLEY, CONDUIT STREET. 1835.