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"Presumptuously on Wisdom's countenance,

"No veil between; and can thy hands which falter "Unguided by thy brain the mighty sight "Continues to absorb, pursue their task

"On earth like these around thee-what their sense
"Which radiance ne'er distracted, clear descries?
"If thou wouldst share their fortune, choose their life.
"Unfed by splendour. Let each task present
"Its petty good to thee. Waste not thy gifts
"In profitless waiting for the gods' descent,
"But have some idol of thine own to dress
"With their array. Know, not for knowing's sake,
"But to become a star to men forever.

"Know, for the gain it gets, the praise it brings,
"The wonder it inspires, the love it breeds.
"Look one step onward, and secure that step."
And I smiled as one never smiles but once;
Then first discovering my own aim's extent,
Which sought to comprehend the works of God,
And God himself, and all God's intercourse
With the human mind; I understood, no less,
My fellow's studies, whose true worth I saw,
But smiled not, well aware who stood by me,
And softer came the voice-" There is a way-
'Tis hard for flesh to tread therein, imbued
"With frailty-hopeless, if indulgence first

Have ripened inborn germs of sin to strength:
"Wilt thou adventure for my sake and man's,
"Apart from all reward?" And last it breathed-

Be happy, my good soldier; I am by thee, 'Be sure, even to the end!"-I answered not, Knowing Him. As He spoke, I was endued With comprehension and a steadfast will; And when He ceased, my brow was sealed His own If there took place no special change in me, How comes it all things wore a different hue Thenceforward?-pregnant with vast consequence— Teeming with grand results-loaded with fate; So that when quailing at the mighty range Of secret truths which yearn for birth, I haste To contemplate undazzled some one truth, Its bearings and effects alone-at once What was a speck expands into a star, Asking a life to pass exploring thus, Till I near craze. I go to prove my soul! I see my way as birds their trackless way-I shall arrive. what time, what circuit first, I ask not: but unless God send his hail Or blinding fire-balls, sleet, or stifling snow, In some time—his good time—I shall arrive : He guides me and the bird. In his good time! Mich. Vex him no further, Festus; it is so! Fest. Just thus you help me ever. Were it the trackless air, and not a path Inviting you, distinct with footprints yet Of many a mighty spirit gone that way. You may have purer views than theirs, perhaps, But they were famous in their day-the proofs Remain. At least accept the light they lend.

This would hold

Par. Their light! the sum of all is briefly this:
They laboured, and grew famous; and the fruits
Are best seen in a dark and groaning earth,
Given over to a blind and endless strife

With evils, which of all your Gods abates?
No; I reject and spurn them utterly,

And all they teach. Shall I still sit beside
Their dry wells, with a white lip and filmed eye,
While in the distance heaven is blue above
Mountains where sleep the unsunned tarns?

As strong delusions have prevailed ere now:
Men have set out as gallantly to seek
Their ruin; I have heard of such-yourself

Avow all hitherto have failed and fallen.

And yet

Mich. Nay, Festus, when but as the pilgrims faint Through the drear way, do you expect to see

Their city dawn afar amid the clouds?

Par. Ay, sounds it not like some old well-known tale For me, I estimate their works and them So rightly, that at times I almost dream

I too have spent a life the sages' way,

And tread once more familiar paths. Perchance

I perished in an arrogant self-reliance

An age ago; and in that act, a prayer

For one more chance went up so earnest, so
Instinct with better light let in by Death,
That life was blotted out-not so completely
But scattered wrecks enough of it remain,

Dim memories; as now, when seems once more
The goal in sight again: all which, indeed,
Is foolish, and only means—the flesh I wear,
The earth I tread, are not more clear to me
Than my belief, explained to you or no.

Fest. And who am I to challenge and dispute
That clear belief? I put away all fear.

Mich. Then Aureole is God's commissary! he shall Be great and grand-and all for us!


No, sweet! Not great and grand. If I can serve mankind 'Tis well-but there our intercourse must end:

I never will be served by those I serve.

Fest. Look well to this; here is a plague-spot, here, Disguise it how you may! 'Tis true, you utter This scorn while by our side and loving us; 'Tis but a spot as yet; but it will break

Into a hideous blotch if overlooked.

How can that course be safe which from the first
Produces carelessness to human love?

It seems you have abjured the helps which men
Who overpass their kind, as you would do,
Have humbly sought-I dare not thoroughly probe
This matter, lest I learn too much let be,
That popular praise would little instigate
Your efforts, nor particular approval
Reward you; put reward aside; alone
You shall go forth upon your arduous task,
None shall assist you, none partake your toil,

None share your triumph-still you must retain
Some one to cast your glory on, to share
Your rapture with. Were I elect like you,

I would encircle me with love, and raise

A rampart of my fellows; it should seem
Impossible for me to fail, so watched

By gentle friends who made my cause their own
They should ward off Fate's envy-the great gift,
Extravagant when claimed by me alone,

Being so a gift to them as well as me.

If danger daunted me or ease seduced,

How calmly their sad eyes should gaze reproach!
Mich. O Aureole, can I sing when all alone,
Without first calling, in my fancy, both

To listen by my side-even I! And you?
Do you not feel this?—say that you feel this!

Par. I feel 'tis pleasant that my aims, at length
Allowed their weight, should be supposed to need
A further strengthening in these goodly helps!
My course allures for its own sake-its sole
Intrinsic worth; and ne'er shall boat of mine
Adventure forth for gold and apes at once.
Your sages say,
"if human, therefore weak :"
If weak, more need to give myself entire
To my pursuit; and by its side, all else
No matter! I deny myself but little
In waiving all assistance save its own—
Would there were some real sacrifice to make
Your friends the sages threw their joys away
While I must be content with keeping mine

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