- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
209

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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allocution said that God in His inscrutable
wisdom had willed it, that this young life so full
of promise and joy should be cut short by cruel
death. It was at least a comfort to those who
stood mourning around his premature grave that
he had come back to rest among his own people
in the land of his birth. They would at least
know where to lay their flowers of loving memory,
where to pray. A choir of undergraduates from
Upsala sang the traditional:

“Integer vitae scelerisque purus.”

I have hated this beautiful Ode of Horace ever
since that day.

Supported by her aged father the mother of
the boy advanced to the open grave and lowered
a wreath of lilies of the valley on the coffin.

“It was his favourite flower,” she sobbed.

One by one the other mourners came forth
with their bunches of flowers and looked down
into the grave with tear-filled eyes for the last
farewell. The choir sang the customary old
hymn:

“Rest in peace, the strife is ended.”

The grave-diggers began to shovel the earth
over the coffin, the ceremony was over.

When they had all gone I looked down in the
half-filled grave in my turn.

“Yes, rest in peace, grim old fighter, the strife
is ended! Rest in peace! Do not haunt me
any longer with those wide-open eyes of yours
or I shall go crazy! Why did you stare so
angrily at me when I uncovered your face last
night in the vault under the chapel? Do you
think I was more pleased to see you than you

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