The python

How impossible it was for me to live without seeing her! And with each of my actions, even the most trivial, since they had all been steeped beforehand in the blissful atmosphere which was Albertine's presence, I was obliged time after time, at renewed cost, with the same pain, to relive the first experience of separation. Then the competition of other forms of life thrust this new pain into the background, and during those days which were the first days of spring, as I waited until Saint-Loup had managed to see Mme Bontemps, I even enjoyed a few moments of agreeable clam in imagining Venice and beautiful, unknown woman. As soon as I was conscious of this, I felt within me a panic terror. This calm which I had just enjoyed was the first apparition of that great intermittent force which was to wage war in me against grief, against love, and would ultimately get the better of them. This state of which I had just had a foretaste and had received the warning was for a moment only what would in time to come by my permanent state, a life in which I should no longer love her. And my love, which had just seen and recognised the one enemy by whom it could be conquered, forgetfulness, began to tremble, like a lion which in the cage in which it has been confined has suddenly caught sight of the python that will devour it.

(Marcel Proust, Albertine Gone, ed. & tr. Terence Kilmartin, Chatto & Windus, London, 1989, p. 30; also in In Search of Lost Time, The Modern Library edition, Vol. V, p. 603)