Opium Jar 1

Excerpts from Chapter 2: The Pleasures of Opium, Confessions of An English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey (1821):

" I was necessarily ignorant of the whole art and mystery of opium-taking; and what I took, I took under every disadvantage. But I took it; and in an hour, -- oh heavens! what a revulsion! what an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! what an apocalypse of the world within me! That my pains had vanished, was now a trifle in my eyes; this negative effect was swallowed up in the immensity of those positive effects which had opened before me, in the abyss of divine enjoyment thus suddenly revealed. Here was a panacea, for all human woes; here was the secret of happiness, about which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered; happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat pocket; portable ecstasies might be had corked up in a pint bottle; and peace of mind could be sent down in gallons by the mail-coach."

"Whereas wine disorders the mental faculties, opium introduces amongst them the most exquisite order, legislation and harmony. Wine robs a man of self-possession; opium greatly invigorates it....Wine constantly leads a man to the brink of absurdity and extravagance; and, beyond a certain point, it is sure to volatilize and disperse the intellectual energies; whereas opium seems to compose what has been agitated, and to concentrate what had been distracted. ...A man who is inebriated...is often...brutal; but the opium eater...feels that the diviner part of his nature is paramount; that is, the moral affections are in a state of cloudless serednity; and over all is the great light of majestic intellect...."

More from Confessions of An English Opium-Eater.

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