Филип Джеймс Бэйли (Philip James Bailey)
Текст оригинала на английском языке
Festus - 24
Soul's minor mysteries shown by light of faiths, None wholly false, imperfect all; the true No secrecies hath, no ritual. But not all Who love truth, and are brave to seek, are free To find. Who curiously, else unprepared, Force themselves into her presence, earth not yet Ripe for her glorious advent, perish; fruit Untimely fallen. Death's harvest home begins. Be the first fruits holy, let us hope, to God. One of our fair ones dreadly quits life's field: And he, the enthusiast friendliest, what of him? Precipitate as a comet, when it dips Below the undulant edge of the keen sea, Smoothly serrate as Indian dag, or sword Flame--waved, cherubic, in the ancient east, Far--flashing by the gates of Eden, he ends. How near is utterest failure to success! Ambitious of all excellence, he, no more, Save in his life--work, like the luminous shade Sign, heavenward, of earth's progress 'mong the spheres From the equinoctial towering high, at eve, Lightens our orbital path. Ambition's ends In view, its means being no more needed, love, Nor friendship, but by ceasing, aid. The spirit Of woe foretels, and lo! it comes to pass. A Rocky Promontory, overhanging the Sea. Festus alone. Afterwards Lucifer. Midnight. Moonlight. Festus. O starry harp of heaven, O poet's star! To man, prophetic, since wild earth hath changed Her astral aim, of worlds to will supreme Attuned, and soul from death's numb hand redeemed Godwards; once more, once more in thankful joy Through midnight's mighty silence, the divine Vibrations of thy world--strung chords I hear. Theirs is the strength of ages. Infant time Smote on them playful; and the eternal toy Decks, still, heaven's aery halls. Thou, still, unchecked, And changeless circlest round God's feet; to us Of life triumphant sign o'er sleepful death Eternal, and necessity colleagued In pact resistless save to spirit inspired Of love; whereto our most of joy and grief We owe, soul--testing, sacred both. For here, If fate, our sovran rule, in worlds to come, Necessity shall be thrall to us divine; We homaging her each separately; but oned With God, collectively, her liege. So shown Life's full communion with its lord, let joy By his touch imparted, through thy starry strings Harp of God's hand, thrill; he all creatural strains Ruling and rectifying to his own ends. Perchance, in after times, in some far sun, Less conscious than our serpent--coiled orb, Whose guilty heart, ghost--haunted, leaps with fear At all faith's innocent spectres as they pass, Eyeing, as now, yon sacred shape, the soul With thy predictive legend pleased, shall view All heaven rejoicing in perfection; all Spheres worshipful of God; all liberty, Love's law whereon the world's wide walls are built, In harmonies based, become the law of life, Which all intelligence, passion tamed, shall sue To live consentient with, and mind supreme; God's peace o'erarching nature's strife. But me Bright harp! let gladden in looking on thee, more In this, augurial, that as he of old Legendary, who bare thee upon his breast, By sweet extortion of thy starry strains, The Hadean powers compelled his spouse to yield One moment's glimpse of life regenerate; boon Of gods, disastrous, and of dim record; Man yet, in happier juncture, buried faith, His spiritual bride, by pity of deity, Shall show redeemed to life for aye. Could now Mortal that bright feat emulate! Lucifer. Thou wouldst not Fail, doubtless in intent. But destiny, As here thou hast felt, hath heavy hands, and strong Escapeless grasp. Well, he is sensitive Who can from stars comfort, though cold extract, And out of fables truth. Festus. Each soul his star Of evil or good predominant hath; but me All heavens betoken woe. Lucifer. Deeds before words! I half suspect I know what thou wouldst say: But saying will soothe full oft the soul sore tried. Say on. I have time enough for others' dole, Let be mine own. Festus. Bride of my heart, O woe! One instant see I thee both quick and dead. Oh mystery of most sad bereavement! This It is, racks me to the core. The good, the wise, Why snatched away, when prized, when needed, most? Lucifer. Calm and command thy soul. Festus. I will. Allured By hope fraught promises thy words conveyed, Of revelations of the light occult, I, long, in kind reserve deemed fitlier hid, We with our studious friend, at his request Thrice urged, went forth to meet him, named by thee Sun--seer, but whom the desolate end of all Proved rather dread adept of darknesses. It was the hour of stars. Spring's crescent sphere Followed the vanishing footsteps of her lord, For that she loved the light: 'twas eve, I said, As thou wouldst have; I had marked the setting sun Calling all kindred glories of the world, All friendly royalties, earth, sea, and air, To attest his end imperial, for that they Must likewise learn to die, who came and stood Round his orbed bier, death--hallowed; came too, there Nature, as earth's high priestess fain to screen The death--throes of titanic light, and drew High o'er heaven's blood dyed altar, with the fires Flushed of faith's evening sacrifice, a veil Celestial, of all hues, rose, amber, pearl, Lilac, and palest green;--like a faint thought, this, A half reluctant memory interfused With dreams, of earth in paradise;--far round The impurpling sea--flood, fired with opaline gleams, Heaved, as though pondering every wave; below Our feet, rough ruddying crags; the horizon barred With beams of blinding gold shot lancewise forth, In permanent lightnings, levelled as to pierce The dying sun--god; high o'erhead, the while, Heaven's boundless, stainless blue, star--glinting, flecked With crimson featherings shadowing off towards night, Pure, peaceful, prayerful, all consoling. Fell Now round us twilight swift, and as we sped By wild rough windings through a holy land Of solar cult primaeval, solemnized In prehistoric eld, the age of fire, They, heart full of expectancy, and I Faithless in aught that might to us conduce Of wisdom, or of weal,--how fate confirms All saddest premonitions! deep in thought, Mute, save in whispered wordlets, or mere signs, A hill we reached, by moonrise, on whose head Hearselike, a sable grove nodded. We mount; And midway the ascent, descend, and strike A foot--road, forked like a divining rod, One branch whereof we track, until it lead To a stone of worship, sun devote, which us Shrining within its shadow, struck to the heart, A holy chill, while round its base, earth--tombs, Crowd, waves immoveable of a sea of death. Thee wait we long time here; and whiles, this rock,-- As maenhir once by Keltic spouse adored, Babeless, who oft with lank and fawning breasts, Fretted, at midnight cold, its bossy side; Which rustic's eye now shuns, but most abhors By ghostly twilight, deeming fiend transformed;-- This rock, thrice circling we, as type of ours, Sun spiritual, supreme rock, hail, hand--linked. Thence pressing on, breathless, a dell we near Wherein secreted lay, below a tall And rugged precipice, a glassy pool, Like an enchanted mirror, in the breast Hid of a dreadful wizard, of all speech Disdeignful, ere he prove his threatened power; And glowering nigh the foot of the imminent cliff Opposed, a cave but late discoverable, And save to us unknown. The arch--seer here Receiving us, as we advanced, withdrew Inwards; and as we left the outer world, A blast premonitory caused the groves Groan o'er our heads: in vain low thunder--peals Ejaculated just warning. By command We enter, hapless all, head bared and foot Naked; and wade a purifying rill, Which o'er its couch, pale alabaster, veined With glittering purple glode. A strait anon, Jagged and dark, dragged through, we enter crouched, A high--pitched cave where dwelled of old, if sere Tradition err not, and what wiselier shows? The prediluvian giants of the land; Vault upon vault outbranching; not unlike The cave close bordering on the coasts of heaven, Where, in the sub--celestial empire hid The offended sun his head, till wooed by gods, And sued by men prostrate, so feign the bards And bonzes of Zipang--his staff of light He seized, and reassumed his rolling throne: Sceptre and staff of light that ere the stars Were, out of depths chaotic in the hand Of heaven's supreme the rocky scum of fire Stirred, whence arose life's morning land divine;-- An underworld abysmal excavate In masonry divine. His hands here smote The arch--mage, and the thunder of his palms Re--echoed palpably o'erhead. A gush Of blinding lightnings showed us now the roof, A glimmering void, spar--starred, where travelling lights, Like planetary seats of social gods, By craft titanic fulmined into shape, Self--levered, fabrics of artistic fire, Mysterious moved; through whose bright art we read The awful wonders of that uneyed sphere. Where, as though nature craved to represent, In forms of time, eternal histories, That she the scions of the wise might teach, In one vast, visible lecture, all to come, All passed, all present, here insculpt were seen Wrought out from primal matter nebulous, As in marmoreal epic, deed by deed, The marvels of the Omnicausal hand, And end of man triumphal. Here we viewed The first essay of force to form in laws The mountain playthings of the infant sun. Here, wrought in stony flames, the age of fire; The earth one vast volcano vomiting forth Her gradual continents and seas of sand; Islands extemporizing in a breath. Grouped there the Preadamic races huge, Of mastodon and mammoth doomed to swell Some second chaos with their wreck sublime. Enormous, and now fabulous, shapes of yore Cross--peopling all the elements; wingèd bulls Star--yoked, that led the morn an endless chase. Sad gryphon eagle--sired and lion--born; Unslumbering gold--ward, jealous of all gems; And those commingled births whom Belus smote Headless, and drowned in gore, his mission here; Mild rokh, simorgh, wise sun--spirit; all these In amiable converse shown, or strife, In lifelike petrifactions crowd the walls. The heavenly age, the age of paradise Here glowed in gold--veined marbles; darkened sole By angel treason and the fall of gods; Wherewith unconscious earth too sympathized. Here symbolled by the thousand--branched tree, From whose broad boughs hung constellated gifts, And every wish delicious of the heart; The tree of life there deathless; but elsewhere Withered too soon; and here, with meteor wave Victorious, o'er the works of God and man Surging, the all--obliterative flood. And there, too, limned in adamantine lines, The age of evil, when to angel hands, To sceptered Sataël, and to Samaël crowned, Chiefs of the original hierarchies of heaven And their base compeers of the mountain oath, Virtue and leave were given to deluge earth With woes all natural, shadow and reverse Of every good gift God had showered on man; Now checked by pain, or nullified by fine On every blessing. Swiftly malignant these, Embittering every element with death, Taught men the lust of war, beasts thirst of blood; Gave reptile, insect, herb, venom; and poured In earth's veins poisons mineral; 'neath the hills The motive powers of earthquakes rooted; sowed Death's seed explosive; angered air with storms. These made the hollow columns of the sea And lofty as the tower of glass that rose Mid ocean, sudden, by the astounded bark Of Partholoin straight--helmed for Ierne's isle; Those watery pillars, death--black, that oft burst, Swollen, nigh ship becalmed on sweltering seas, Beneath the hot line; and, ere now, have quenched The life--light in some fugitive skiff, escaped Like truant cygnet from its parent sail, Stealthy, on lawless quest; in marble here Portrayed with industry malicious, these, To man and angel, foes, the lightnings forged, Which he who owneth all things, after seized, Wrapped in authentic thunders, and by hands Angelic, Usdom wracked, with the grim towns In salt slime sleeping 'neath the sea of death; Those, fell disease, contagious pest and plague; These, guileful, taught the craft of sorceries, Black magic and the daemon--thralling spells; The blood--draught necromantic, and the charms Whereat the shadowy nations of the dead Shudder, and flickering upwards to the light Unfold the soul--sought secret, or convey Foreboding fatal to the wretch death--doomed. These in man's heart all evil passions sowed, And woman's richer and more fertile mould; Such snakelike envyings, wolf like jealousies, As when, for love of fair Khalmanah, Cain Him slew--since feared as Hades, god of death, Whom Eva, unhappy mother of mankind, Beauty of Æden, sinful though revered, Bewept a hundred years; so long the dead, While death was new to earth and life, were mourned; These taught the sword to shape, and those the shield, Bow, poleaxe, spear; these jewels for the fair, Brightly seductive; women were their spoil From the beginning; these, and their spurious brood Gigantic, in whose ears apostate, preached That patriarch who, accredited of God, Ambassador to angels, was in heaven Received, by death untouched, ere Noah as yet, With his majestic consort, great Tidea, Queen--mother of the nations,--deified After as Vesta or Kybelé, all Her offspring kings of earth tripartite,--sought God--warned, the ark, with all their living train. Instructed by our guide in all we viewed, Though seen but darkling, and in briefest speech, Out of the hall of elements slow we passed Into the fane of life. Here graven the great And holy war which raged 'twixt earth and heaven, Betwixt the pious race and impious tribes, And microcosmically still in man, In craggy frieze glared round the orbed dome. Here hundred--handed vices, titan sins, And giant crimes, seek from the mountain--heart Of heaven, the high--throned Thunderer to tear; But he, with fiery hail, hurls all to hell; Sulphureous remedies there to underlie, Asbestine; purifying, blanching woes. Aurmazd and Ahriman there, in balanced strife, The doubtful sphere contest; and here, in stone Prophetically white, the conquest glad Of the beneficent power. Young Orus there, His sire the sun, his mother mild the moon; O sacred night--sun, soul of heaven, which through The starry welkin wanderest, in divine And radiant sorrow seeking for thy lord, Him living ne'er thou wilt find; but lo! thy son The evil godhead Typhon slays, and reigns Wise, silent child of light. Here next, the god, Incarnate ninefold, crushed with sole divine To death, and strangled with resistless hand The snake--god; holy fiction! The Asoors there, In armied millions by the deities Vanquished, draw off their whole malignant host, Destined some day to perish, fiendish sprites; But first the tale of their defeat bequeath In scroll perpetual to these cliff--like walls. Here, Izdubar's descent, love--led, to hell; The ascent of Psyche, there, love--led, to heaven; Insculpt exemplary; virtue's pilgrimage, Self--guided through all earth, more arduous task. Towards the opposing side our feet we turned. Here the divine and human wrestled; there, Where faith's bright orbit reason's intersects, The human and angelic; there, in chair Of starry state, sate the proud queen, condemned The everlasting sacrifice to see Of her pure daughter, like humanity Waiting with outstretched arms to be redeemed By some divine deliverer; there, with head Hurled downwards from the topmost height of heaven, The righteous but self--glorifying king Who thought mere merit enough to earn a throne In God's eternal kingdom; fatal fault! Wherefore, as clutching at, with either hand A world, but grasping nought, serene reproof He gives to all immortal. Here, hosts terrene, Celestial, and infernal, armed with faith, Or infidel fury fought; these sworn to rase In ruin, cities reared by hands divine, Or for like ends; such even as holy Rome, City of cities, earth's crownèd capital: Or sacred Troy; fount, fig--tree, temple and all Sites of that holiest legend, which began By discord's apple with one all--conquering steed, Huge, rampant, ends; or that gold builded erst, On sceptre tridentine of Indian god, Men's sins degraded into stone, and now Debased to clay, but still no whit cognate To common earth, but of time's earliest heaven, One unadulterate section; those to defend Their starry battlements; their walls inlaid With purest virtues, and their streets and squares Paved with celestial wisdom. Here the north, Icy but strong; and there the burning south Led by its passionate queen, contending stood In fierce and fateful fray; death looking on, Well pleased; he alway won, whoever lost. Here nation after nation fought the world For universal dominance, fought in vain; One sole elect of creatures hath that gift. Before all, at the end a female form Gigantic kneeled, dread guardian of the sphere, Now interceding for its life; but she, The fatal sign once given, ordaining death, Relentless tears the solid universe Asunder: and on either side, behind, The final field so feared of old to be Between the mundane gods and giants fought, Ere comes the reign of darkness, when with deaths Commutual, all shall perish. We, our eyes Edged on the growing blacknesses which now Mute lightnings lit in mock of light, and now Blind thunder groped round. Ever and anon, What spectres seemed, flitted athwart the dark, But dimly eyeable. Locked hand in hand, Our fair heroic trembling 'tween her guards, But firm in spirit as the patriot queen In golden chains bound Romewards, so to grace Her victor's triumph, each step doomed to move Time's ruth, and wrong's eternal recompense; We through a long laborious road, rock--arched, Creep speechless, whence emerging in a cave Like the green grot where Zeus in secret grew To stripling godhood, hid from cruel time; Or stalactital palace, subterrene In Hellas, where the Nine kept secret court, And crownless ruled o'er kingly servitors; We meet with for the first time othersome Ourselves beside, all silent; to the voice Hearkening, of one, in face and form like him Who first the name of wisdom's lover claimed; Heard first of men, heaven's spheral harmonies; At Metapontum wrote upon the moon; And at Olympia bared the golden thigh, In sign of solar lineage; proof supreme. Listening we stood, charmed; reassured in faith, Heartlightened, on we fared; and following close The echoes of our guide's feet, in the heart Of a dim dome we stood, of sightless bounds, And named of immortality; nor far Our haughty leader found, whose steps we had tracked, Though deigning commune with us scarcely none, High on an arch 'neath which a torrent foamed, Red with its torch's glare, bloodlike. Beyond, A mount of awe there loomed which seemed inspired With palpitating light, that came and went Wilderingly; and thither pointing, `lo! the end Of our emprise;' with these words cut our guide, As with a sword, the silence; then, `who truth Would win, as she awaits us, in yon shrine Yearning the victor soul to satiate With wisdom, and to crown with life divine, Earthlife, and her embrace deific give, Know that to arms untested, hearts untried, She trusteth nought. Let not yon seething stream One therefore who would gain such priceless prize Affright; but let the wight content with less, Smile colder, and, more conventional embrace, Tread, after me, the arch.' Here quailed she first, Of the end too emulative, the mean untried, Who finally,--but stay. Our student feere Bolder than I, because incredulous, rid Not solely of superstition, but mere faith, As God would have, plunged with me in that tide And struggled nigh to safety. Once, a prow, More like a raft, adrift from upper bank, Help promised falsely; till, at last, a rock Grasping, this, loose at base betrayed his trust And crushing, soon that death--flood hurried off Into earth's caverned darkness, and the abyss Reverberant always with its watery roar And funeral wail perpetual; but to me Now wading, floating now, safe transit vouched, Though sickening to the sense; nor wist I this, Till, scaped, and scantly, from the perilous arch Which crumbled as she crossed, nor left retreat, My love I met, who saw, and fainting told; Told, shuddering, like the tree whose sense of sin, Howbeit involuntary, the ages fail To calm, as weighted yet with the pendent power. I meanwhile shore who had reached heard, heard dismayed, Thrice called his name aloud, which, to no end, Unanswering silence sadly learned, thenceforth Wasted, like time upon unquickened stars. Scant leisure ours was for lament; for now, Fiercer and far more urgent grew the mien Of our mysterious leader, who aloof Held him, and hailed as careless of our loss, Or witless, for his countenance saw we not. And now, all light snatched from us, hie we on, We twain, I bearing up her slackening steps Amid darknesses successive, each more deep Than other, and far thunders whence we opined, Day, egress nearer than they seemed; to us A time of torture, but determined soon. And now, the light from out that fane of fire We seemed unskilled to escape from, and within Whose slowly quivering bosom, half distent By smothered splendour, like the sacred side Of Athyr, when in travail of the sun, Blew, flowerlike, open, and with arrowy glance Showed us one only feat to consummate. From out that lofty shrine of roseate glow, And 'twixt the stops of stormy thunders now Voices and harps and far, faint harmonies We list ecstatic, as though deadliest fate Would masque it, faëry wise. Here, each one's foot Instinct with caution, easy seemed ascent Nor either paused, until the brink we touch Unseen till lighted on of a horrent chasm, Sacred in use, defensive of the fane, Forbidding access uninvited. There But on the thither side, our sun--seer stood Who gazed that orb nor blinked; for on his side New risen upon the summer's narrow night, Sheer through a mountain fissure shone the sun, The fane within lightening. That rocky rift,-- Sheer as the ghastly vein, shale blue, earth's heart Explosive once, through granate shot, league--long, Now seas persistent have well breathed, and left Hollow, as tube twixt isle and isle that swings Echoing; clean, evident, as the iron gash Helmwise, that 'compts on battle--fields for one,-- I, only bidden o'ervault, one comforting sign To her, so left, expressed, clear; and clear death. Enter, to me, he cried; and enter alone; Soul that would learn truth's sum must learn it sole. To her who had me companioned then a seat In the immarbled rock assigning, he In common silence, all, beside her stood, Each thenceforth mute. I entering, solitary, View first mid many an arched recess, star--circled In order ranged, and from grade to grade of all Perfection, each mysterious symbol truth Hath hallowed, every teeming sign faith holds In old and orient imagery, devote To sacred use, with mightiest meanings lined, Which wisdom worthful makes but to those wise, Lords of best learning, creed--skilled; here conjoined In secret state emblazoned, rayed with words Divine, unutterable; each charm by turns Opening in awful gradual, till achieved The one sole truth which crowns all creeds and sums. The thought of God is simple enough; it is man Makes the world's mystery, who self--warned of powers Unlimited but for sense, cloud--lifed, conceives Beyond the impermanent skies the eternal soul Of all existence transitory or fixed; Perfect though infinite; knows through virtue truth, And as an educable divinity schooled Through Being's grand gradations loves the law, Of all intelligent life, just, bettering soul, Soul--freeing, joining whole with God; yet lives Doubt's thrall and fool. This, one long instant, next Prostrate within the sanctuary,--and still My mind the effect sublime of joy retains, Cleared, elevated, and sanctified by sight Of all faith's passed perplexities, to one Key yielding, in result the one same truth. My spirit grew great with gladness, there, as might Of old, some riverine god upon his side Leaning complacent, on his long career Reflective; foamy fall, still, sunny reach, Shoal, and bend troublous, ere the bar which bounds His wave from ocean's, he o'ersurge; so, I, Shrining within the spirit all faiths, all creeds, Knew at the last truth's oneness; full content Of being and satisfaction with all life. Thus gladdening to have reached that shrine of shrines, Where light intelligible,--henceforth the sun's But a shadow shown,--all life illumes, I kneel In silent worship; and thence rising, saw On the wrought altar--rock laid gleaming, midst The fragrant death of flowers all hued, and where Life, more than flower--life sensitive, ne'er was ta'en A volume, vamped in ore of Auphir, vast, On either side with solemn gems, that seemed Of their own value thoughtful, outwardly Embossed, which starred the points of some device Symmetric, shield of God's own bard, or seal Of wisdom's lord; within, on azure leaves, Arrowy, constellate, luminous, like night's spheres, Ranged linearly, at large the law divine, Life's universal law, the tract of God, Transcribed from skiey archives; in my mind This fragmentary sum of truth being all. Sole, simple, pure, the personal Infinite, Of necessary essence, perfect, free, All--present, good, is wise and just; life, love; Not as space passive, powerless, nor as time Subject of mere relation between deed And doer; but of duration source and sum And of all causes; founder of the skies; Author of all the elements of the world; Quickener of tides, of the heart's first beat; as sire Of natural life, the life of bud, bulb, root; Of act instinctive in all animate tribes The kind instructor; in man's kinglier race Teacher of social law; of sacred rites; Of family sanctities, and the holy round Of virtues our humanity attests As unitive with the heavenly state, and proof Of our derived divinity; guardian he To us his kindred though remote, and yet On the great stem regraftable; who man With nature guides, exacting righteous fines And satisfactions from the temporal due When erring, to the eternal aequity shown In just proportions verified by love. Here, turning o'er these mighty leaves, I learned His primal essence; cause, mean, end of all. The circular path of worlds in beauty traced; The total scope of things, viewed thus, heaven taught; The fruitful round of seasons--as on earth So in man's life--kind nature's loveliness All witness made to love and love's deep laws,-- God--laws, not written only on stone, nor graven Once on a time in granate; but for aye And everywhere in all things that uphold The uses and the harmonies of the world, And the stability of the universe:-- In ocean's trenchèd waves, in earth's broad vales; In air's wide wind--streams; in birth, growth, and death; Bloom, fruitage, seed regenerative, decay, The wholesome waste of storms, the torrent's wrack; The brooklet's smiling prattle; in love, truth, Divine fear, provident virtue, hope of peace; In the heart's aspiration after God's Just sanctity and approval; for the rule Of righteousness, a rightlier balanced life To come; and all the general good that aids: Even evil, but a less degree of good Made needful for progression. Separate soul Struggling against the imperfect and default, Back to the intelligent Light must needs advance, By conquered ills to attain the good supreme. While issuant thus from God's breast, spirit fares Variously through schooling spheres, and many a turn Calamitous, to death's nadir; its return, All progress naturally, and intense delight, And conscious pressure towards the infinite shows. For evil, moral and natural, though the proofs Of imperfection necessary to all Created things, are, this, annulled by man's Perfectibleness; by God's foredooming word That; both concurrent; frames the crucial test Each soul must pass; and stand thereby, or fall. The fall hath fatal force, and in all spheres, As though with gravity's irresistible spell, Charms to deteriorate, and with low aims For loftier, cheats the inquisitive spirit. But who Can love's all saving faithfulness divine, That hath not erred? nor separated the seeds Of good and evil, painful task, nor felt All evil hath temporal origin, and so ends; But good, identical with God, endures To all eternity, and subtends the base Celestial of his universal life? Thus all things from him, to him witness bear Assentient, as their source, their good. There's not An angel relegate to the outmost spheres, But vaunts his birth divine; no creatural soul, No animate form that foots the soil, or creeps, Or ocean nether--tided wanders; nay, There's not the tiniest lifelet flecks the air With wing invisible, who through his sires Preadamite ruled earth, but strange lineage boasts, And high and azure blood; nor heaven itself From his proud pedigree spares; but in his coat Quarters the arms of God. Man only,--skilled To anticipate the divine as virtue's meed The ultimate scope of spirit and nature's end; To know each holy element source and mean Of spiritual refinement; God to trace In ocean's rock commuting force, in earth's Life flowing breast; in air's inspiring breath, His spirit renovative; in natural fire And flamy light of sun or star the strength Annihilant of the whole; in gentlest heat His recreant force; and in e'er during space Boundless, of all save deity void, to acquire Science supreme--in all things God;--so learns To graduate in heaven's mysteries, and in earth's, Creation's, holiest orgies as to see In the great disseverance of the essential One Sole mean of self--diffusion through freed soul, And spiritual commune with deity here; Whereby in all, the One confessing he His secret of reunion apprehends, Not to be reached save by adventurous spirit, On arduous path, man's elevative fall, Soul richening fine; punition covetable; Heart clarified through troubles; and final rise Of meditative perfection to the mind Of joy deific; to the spirit elect Made righteous, hallowed, glorified with God, In essence one, in nature myriadfold. From every massive page I turned, there came The spirit of consolation. Ending thus The book I closed; rejoiced, 'twas mine to know The truth transformative of life, that God The conscious Infinite wills by rendering soul Wistful of his divinity, man to make Free, blessed; and, striving towards perfection, crown,-- So loves he those that to him turn,--with life Immortal, his congenerate gift. And now, Words heard I, whispering me to call within The beauteous brave who had dared so much and earned As to her it seemed, albeit I knew, and feared The attempt to achieve more. Opening, then, intent Again to approach her I so loved, and seek Some sign to assure her present entrance, lo! The chasm which yawned betwixt us, and at first Scarce pace--wide, now showed fathomless, and broad, As 'tween two waves, mid sea, rood--wide is stretched Their tempest cradling hollow, hurricane rocked. Desperate, I called; but now behold the ground, As though on rolling hinges nether--hidden, Slode crabwise; and methought,--nay, could it be? The temple against whose wall our leader leaned Tottered, as though deliberant or to stand Or fall. One moment more than sated sight. For ah! a shriek I heard; and turning, viewed, Slow sinking with the slab whereon she stood, Down, irrecoverably down the abyss, My loved one, like a sacrifice to night. Glory and joy of life, creation's crown, Now lost; already do I feel the weight Of woes perspective. Therefore time's broad stream Flows o'er thine end in silence: hides thy doom. To heaven she raised her finger, and was gone. Nor saw I, nor aught knew, distinctly, more. Save that in springing upwards for mere life, That vast substructure, all, meseemed, was blent With earth's interior chaos, and I passed, The mysteries now in mystery all inwombed, For aye, and ne'er to be by me resought,-- Clear through the death--rift, into heavenly day; For spirits are e'er born upwards, while in time, As by Caesarean birth. The orient sun, Head of the house of heaven, the sire of days, The manifestive light, the lord of joy, Saluting prostrate, I beheld: and lo! As when, in sight the axe, some wrongous wretch Fear urged, confesseth, but one murtherous deed, Still unsuspect, keeps back; and with a groan, And grinding shudder, locks it in his breast; Nor leaves his lips scarce room to vaunt of breath; So earth that fatal fissure with a crash Closing, beheld I hide her deathful deed; While I, from shutting as from opening death, Doubly escaped, seem scarce convinced of life. Thou speakest not. Lucifer. I have nothing to observe. The quest of knowledge is man's deadliest pride; And me nor pride, nor death, surpriseth now. Festus. Twain of my best supports, as though the earth Should miss twin elements, my heart hath lost. Lucifer. This spirit inquisitive which all things would learn, Learns all things nothing may be. Festus. Ah! Let be! Life's intransmissive secret now she knows, Knows but too well. Lucifer. Go to. Have done with these, Whose fates were doubtless fixed before all time; Coaeval with the atoms. Festus. Mystery, say, Accounts for mystery. Meanwhile this to know Of nature, God, man, truth, of all creeds core, Outworths all gain beside, annuls all loss, Pain, suffering; close as to God's feet we have been. What men believe beside nought helps, nor harms; Their primal faith this, Godwards. Thus it is A great deliverance,--like mine own just passed, Slipped through death's fingers, solemnizes life Nay, sanctifies. One seems to hold the trust More straight from God. No earthly mean we need, No graduated conception of the gift, To prove its worth, through fellow--creaturehood, Or test our reasoning; soul, rehomed, restalled, Renewed, confirms spontaneously its vows, Ta'en first when scarce intelligible. Lucifer. And now, Time threatens to forestall our course. Wilt do A message for me? Festus. Aught I will that may Ease and divert my mind. Lucifer. True, I had forgot. Seek then the fair Elissa: and with her From time to time confer; sometime 'twill need-- Upon thy coming ends, long hoped, which she May sanction, perchance aid. Go; waste no words. Improve thy welcome. Festus. I want something new. Lucifer. Hence! I assure thee pleasant company; More so than thine; bright future, and-- Festus. I go. Guardian Angel. Yes, go. But I unseen attend thee, yet To warn 'gainst cruel sin; mayhap to save. Not even he doth know that I am here. Lucifer. Thus to dissemble suits me: me reminds Of whilome triumphs. Well wots the world ere now, That I have starred it on an ampler stage. Meantime I get impatient for the end. I trust this fair one so to assume, that she In spirit commanding may the man's excite As fitmost for such eminence. Then,--at last,-- Festus. Now though I do what I desire, or fail, Each were not less an evil. Lucifer. Nature, friend, Is given to man to conquer. Festus. But alas! Not yet can we o'ercome our nature, here, Would we. Lucifer. If therefore passion strike the heart Let it have length of line and plenteous play; The safety of superior principles Lies in exhaustion of the lower ones However vast or violent. Festus. Such a thought Stands in the way of nothing; not even man. But hesitancy is ominous. Lucifer. Men and angels Obey the order of existence. Festus. Fate! Who seeks thee everywhere, will find thee there.
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