— François-René de Chateaubriand, libro Memorie d'oltretomba
Book XLII: Ch. 18: A summary of the changes which have occurred around the globe in my lifetime
Mémoires d'outre-tombe (1848 – 1850)
Contesto: How small man is on this little atom where he dies! But how great his intelligence! He knows when the face of the stars must be masked in darkness, when the comets will return after thousands of years, he who lasts only an instant! A microscopic insect lost in a fold of the heavenly robe, the orbs cannot hide from him a single one of their movements in the depth of space. What destinies will those stars, new to us, light? Is their revelation bound up with some new phase of humanity? You will know, race to be born; I know not, and I am departing.