Miserable humanity was clamouring from the depths of its abyss of suffering, and the clamour swept along, sending a shudder down every spine, for one and all were plunged in agony, refusing to die, longing to compel God to grant them eternal life. Ah ! life, life!
That was what all those unfortunates, who had come from so far, amid so many obstacles, wanted – that was the one boon they asked for, in their wild desire to live it over again, to live it always!
O Lord, whatever our misery, whatever the torment of our life may be, cure us, grant that we may begin to live again and suffer once more what we have suffered already.
However unhappy we may be, to be is what we wish. It is not heaven that we ask Thee for, it is earth; and grant that we may leave it at the latest possible moment, never leave it indeed, if such be Thy good pleasure.
And even when we no longer implore a physical cure, but a moral favour, it is still happiness that we ask for; happiness, the thirst for which alone consumes us.
Oh Lord, grant that we may be happy and healthy; let us live, ay, let us live forever!
Émile Zola (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was a French novelist, playwright, journalist, the best-known practitioner of the literary school of naturalism, and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism.
He was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J’Accuse…!
Zola was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.
Zola died on 29 September 1902 of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by an improperly ventilated chimney. Rumours were rife that Zola had been murdered.