Ambrosio, The Monk

Ambrosio, The Monk

from 'The Monk' by M.G. Lewis with perhaps the greatest death scene in gothic literature:

"...What?” The Fiend cried, darting at him a look of fury: “...Villain, resign your hopes of pardon. Thus I secure my prey!”

As he said this, darting his talons into the monk’s shaven crown, he sprang with him from the rock. The caves and mountains rang with Ambrosio’s shrieks. The dæmon continued to soar aloft, till reaching a dreadful height, He released the sufferer.

Headlong fell the Monk through the airy waste; The sharp point of a rock received him; and He rolled from precipice to precipice, till bruised and mangled He rested on the river’s banks. Life still existed in his miserable frame: He attempted in vain to raise himself; His broken and dislocated limbs refused to perform their office, nor was He able to quit the spot where He had first fallen.

The Sun now rose above the horizon; Its scorching beams darted full upon the head of the expiring Sinner. Myriads of insects were called forth by the warmth; They drank the blood which trickled from Ambrosio’s wounds ... They fastened upon his sores, darted their stings into his body, covered him with their multitudes, and inflicted on him tortures the most exquisite and insupportable.

The Eagles of the rock tore his flesh piecemeal, and dug out his eyeballs with their crooked beaks. ... Blind, maimed, helpless, and despairing, venting his rage in blasphemy and curses, execrating his existence, yet dreading the arrival of death destined to yield him up to greater torments, six miserable days did the Villain languish. On the Seventh a violent storm arose: The winds in fury rent up rocks and forests ...

The rain fell in torrents; It swelled the stream; The waves overflowed their banks; They reached the spot where Ambrosio lay, and when they abated carried with them into the river the corpse of the despairing monk..."