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Gave birth to, nourished, and at length matures
This scheme. I will not speak of Einsiedeln,
Where I was born your elder by some years
Only to watch you fully from the first:

In all beside, our mutual tasks were fixed
Even then 'twas mine to have you in my view
As you had your own soul and those intents
Which filled it when, to crown your dearest wish,
With a tumultuous heart, you left with me
Our childhood's home to join the favoured few
Whom, here at Würzburg, Tritheim deigns to teach
A portion of his lore and not the best

Of those so favoured, whom you now despise,
Came earnest as you came; resolved, like you,
To grasp all, and retain all, and deserve
By patient toil a wide renown like his.
And this new ardour which supplants the old,
I watched, too; 'twas significant and strange,
In one matched to his soul's content at length
With rivals in the search for Wisdom's prize.
To see the sudden pause, the total change;
From contest, the transition to repose-
From pressing onward as his fellows pressed,
To a blank idleness; yet most unlike
The dull stagnation of a soul, content,
Once foiled, to leave betimes a thriveless quest.
That careless bearing, free from all pretence
Even of contempt for what it ceased to seek-
Smiling humility, praising much, yet waiving

What it professed to praise-though not so well
Maintained but that rare outbreaks, fierce as brief,
Revealed the hidden scorn, as quickly curbed-
That ostentatious show of past defeat,
That ready acquiescence in contempt,
I deemed no other than the letting go
His shivered sword, of one about to spring
Upon his foe's throat; but it was not thus:
Not that way looked your brooding purpose then.
For after-signs disclosed, what you confirmed,
That you prepared to task to the uttermost
Your strength, in furtherance of a certain aim,
Which-while it bore the name your rivals gave
Their own most puny efforts-was so vast
In scope that it included their best flights,
Combined them, and desired to gain one prize
In place of many,-the secret of the world,
Of man, and man's true purpose, path, and fate:
-That you, not nursing as a mere vague dream
This purpose, with the sages of the Past,
Have struck upon a way to this, if all

You trust be true, which following, heart and soul,
You, if a man may, dare aspire to KNOW:
And that this aim shall differ from a host

Of aims alike in character and kind,
Mostly in this,-to seek its own reward

In itself only, not an alien end

To blend therewith; no hope, nor fear, nor joy,
Nor woe, to elsewhere move you, but this pure

Devotion to sustain you or betray:

Thus you aspire.


You shall not state it thus:

I should not differ from the dreamy crew
You speak of. I profess no other share
In the selection of my lot, than this,
A ready answer to the will of God

Who summons me to be his organ: all

Whose innate strength supports them shall succeed No better than your sages.

Such the aim, then,
God sets before you; and 'tis doubtless need
That he appoint no less the way of praise
Than the desire to praise; for, though I hold
With you, the setting forth such praise to be
The natural end and service of a man,

And think such praise is best attained when man
Attains the general welfare of his kind—
Yet, this, the end, is not the instrument.
Presume not to serve God apart from such
Appointed channel as He wills shall gather
Imperfect tributes-for that sole obedience
Valued, perchance. He seeks not that his altars
Blaze-careless how, so that they do but blaze.
Suppose this, then; that God selected you
TO KNOW (heed well your answers, for my faith
Shall meet implicitly what they affirm)
I cannot think you dare annex to such
Selection aught beyond a steadfast will,

An intense hope, nor let your gifts create
Scorn or neglect of ordinary means

Conducive to success-make destiny

Dispense with man's endeavour. Now, dare you search Your inmost heart, and candidly avow

Whether you have not rather wild desire

For this distinction, than security

Of its existence; whether you discern

The path to the fulfilment of your purpose

Clear as that purpose-and again, that purpose

Clear as your yearning to be singled out

For its pursuer. Dare you answer this?

Par. (After a pause.) No, I have nought to fear! Who

will may know

The secret'st workings of my soul. What though

It be so?-if indeed the strong desire

Eclipse the aim in me ?-if splendour break

Upon the outset of my path alone,

And duskest shade succeed?

What fairer seal

Shall I require to my authentic mission

Than this fierce energy?-this instinct striving
Because its nature is to strive ?—enticed

By the security of no broad course,
With no success forever in its eyes!

How know I else such glorious fate my own,

But in the restless irresistible force

That works within me? Is it for human will
To institute such impulses ?-still less,

To disregard their promptings? What should I

Do, kept among you all; your loves, your cares,

Your life-all to be mine?

Be sure that God

Ne'er dooms to waste the strength he deigns impart !
Ask the gier-eagle why she stoops at once.
Into the vast and unexplored abyss,

What full-grown power informs her from the first,
Why she not marvels, strenuously beating

The silent boundless regions of the sky!

Be sure they sleep not whom God needs! Nor fear
Their holding light his charge, when every hour
That finds that charge delayed, is a new death.
This for the faith in which I trust; and hence
I can abjure so well the idle arts

These pedants strive to learn and teach; Black Arts,
Great Works, the Secret and Sublime, forsooth-
Let others prize: too intimate a tie

Connects me with our God! A sullen fiend
To do my bidding, fallen and hateful sprites
To help me—what are these, at best, beside
God helping, God directing everywhere,
So that the earth shall yield her secrets up,
And every object shall be charged to strike,
Teach, gratify, her master God appoints?
And I am young, my Festus, happy and free!
I can devote myself; I have a life

To give; I, singled out for this, the One!

Think, think; the wide east, where old Wisdom sprung The bright south, where she dwelt; the hopeful north, All are past o'er-it lights on me! 'Tis time

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