After dinner Natasha went to the clavichord, at Prince Andrey's request, and began singing. Prince Andrey stood at the window, talking to the ladies, and listened to her. In the middle of a phrase, Prince Andrey ceased speaking, and felt suddenly a lump in his throat from tears, the possibility of which he had never dreamed of in himself. He looked at Natasha singing, and something new and blissful stirred in his soul. He was happy, and at the same time he was sad. He certainly had nothing to weep about, but he was ready to weep. For what? For his past love? For the little princess? For his lost illusions? For his hopes for the future? Yes, and no. The chief thing which made him ready to weep was a sudden, vivid sense of the fearful contrast between something infinitely great and illimitable existing in him, and something limited and material, which he himself was, and even she was. This contrast made his heart ache, and rejoiced him while she was singing.
When a man sees a dying animal, horror comes over him: that which he himself is, his essence, is obviously being annihilated before his eyes--is ceasing to be. But when the dying one is a person, and a beloved person, then, besides a sense of horror at the annihilation of life, there is a feeling of severance and a spiritual wound which, like a physical wound, sometimes kills and sometimes heals, but always hurts and fears any external, irritating touch.