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And so much worse thy latter quest,"
(Added the voice,)" that even on earth
Whenever, in man's soul, had birth
Those intuitions, grasps of guess,
That pull the more into the less,
Making the finite comprehend
Infinity, the bard would spend
Such praise alone upon his craft,
As, when wind-lyres obey the waft,
Goes to the craftsman who arranged

The seven strings, changed them and rechanged -
Knowing it was the South that harped.

He felt his song, in singing, warped;
Distinguished his and God's part: whence
A world of spirit as of sense

Was plain to him, yet not too plain,
Which he could traverse, not remain

A guest in:

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else were permanent

Heaven on earth which its gleams were meant
To sting with hunger for full light,
Made visible in verse, despite

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The veiling weakness, truth by means
Of fable, showing while it screens,

Since highest truth, man e'er supplied,
Was ever fable on outside.

Such gleams made bright the earth an age;
Now, the whole sun's his heritage!

Take up thy world, it is allowed,

Thou who hast entered in the cloud!"

XXIX.

Then I-"Behold, my spirit bleeds,
Catches no more at broken reeds,
But lilies flower those reeds above:
I let the world go, and take love!
Love survives in me, albeit those
I love be henceforth masks and shows,
Not loving men and women: still

I mind how love repaired all ill,

Cured wrong, soothed grief, made earth amends

With parents, brothers, children, friends!

Some semblance of a woman yet

With eyes to help me to forget,

Shall live with me; and I will match

Departed love with love, attach

Its fragments to my whole, nor scorn

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Their spirit's hunger, felt as well, —
Unsated, - not unsatable,

As paradise gives proof. Deride

Their choice now, thou who sit'st outside!"

XXVII.

I cried in anguish: "Mind, the mind,

So miserably cast behind,

To gain what had been wisely lost!
Oh, let me strive to make the most
Of the poor stinted soul, I nipped
Of budding wings, else now equipped
For voyage from summer isle to isle!
And though she needs must reconcile
Ambition to the life on ground,
Still, I can profit by late found

But precious knowledge. Mind is best-
I will seize mind, forego the rest,

And try how far my tethered strength

May crawl in this poor breadth and length. Let me, since I can fly no more,

At least spin dervish-like about

(Till giddy rapture almost doubt I fly) through circling sciences, Philosophies and histories!

Should the whirl slacken there, then verse,

Fining to music, shall asperse

Fresh and fresh fire-dew, till I strain

Intoxicate, half-break my chain !

Not joyless, though more favored feet

Stand calm, where I want wings to beat
The floor. At least earth's bond is broke!"

XXVIII.

Then (sickening even while I spoke) :
"Let me alone! No answer, pray,
To this! I know what thou wilt say!
All still is earth's, - to know, as much
As feel its truths, which if we touch
With sense, or apprehend in soul,
What matter? I have reached the goal
'Whereto does knowledge serve!' will burn
My eyes, too sure, at every turn!

I cannot look back now, nor stake
Bliss on the race, for running's sake.
The goal's a ruin like the rest!

And so much worse thy latter quest,'
(Added the voice,)" that even on earth
Whenever, in man's soul, had birth
Those intuitions, grasps of guess,
That pull the more into the less,
Making the finite comprehend
Infinity, the bard would spend
Such praise alone upon his craft,
As, when wind-lyres obey the waft,
Goes to the craftsman who arranged

[ocr errors]

The seven strings, changed them and rechangedKnowing it was the South that harped.

He felt his song, in singing, warped ;

Distinguished his and God's part: whence
A world of spirit as of sense

Was plain to him, yet not too plain,
Which he could traverse, not remain

A guest in:

else were permanent

[ocr errors]

Heaven on earth which its gleams were meant
To sting with hunger for full light,
Made visible in verse, despite

[blocks in formation]

- truth by means

Of fable, showing while it screens,

Since highest truth, man e'er supplied,
Was ever fable on outside.

Such gleams made bright the earth an age;

Now, the whole sun's his heritage !

Take up thy world, it is allowed,

Thou who hast entered in the cloud!"

XXIX.

Then I-"Behold, my spirit bleeds,
Catches no more at broken reeds,
But lilies flower those reeds above:
I let the world go, and take love!
Love survives in me, albeit those
I love be henceforth masks and shows,
Not loving men and women: still

I mind how love repaired all ill,

Cured wrong, soothed grief, made earth amends

With parents, brothers, children, friends!

Some semblance of a woman yet

With eyes to help me to forget,

Shall live with me; and I will match

Departed love with love, attach

Its fragments to my whole, nor scorn

Their spirit's hunger, felt as well, —
Unsated, not unsatable,

As paradise gives proof. Deride

Their choice now, thou who sit'st outside!"

XXVII.

I cried in anguish: "Mind, the mind,

So miserably cast behind,

To gain what had been wisely lost!
Oh, let me strive to make the most
Of the poor stinted soul, I nipped
Of budding wings, else now equipped
For voyage from summer isle to isle!
And though she needs must reconcile
Ambition to the life on ground,
Still, I can profit by late found

But precious knowledge. Mind is best-
I will seize mind, forego the rest,

And try how far my tethered strength

May crawl in this poor breadth and length.
Let me, since I can fly no more,

At least spin dervish-like about
(Till giddy rapture almost doubt
I fly) through circling sciences,
Philosophies and histories!

Should the whirl slacken there, then verse,
Fining to music, shall asperse

Fresh and fresh fire-dew, till I strain

Intoxicate, half-break my chain !

Not joyless, though more favored feet

Stand calm, where I want wings to beat

The floor. At least earth's bond is broke!"

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XXVIII.

Then (sickening even while I spoke):
"Let me alone! No answer, pray,
To this! I know what thou wilt say!
All still is earth's, to know, as much
As feel its truths, which if we touch
With sense, or apprehend in soul,
What matter? I have reached the goal
'Whereto does knowledge serve!' will burn
My eyes, too sure, at every turn!

I cannot look back now, nor stake
Bliss on the race, for running's sake.
The goal's a ruin like the rest!

--

And so much worse thy latter quest,"
(Added the voice,) " that even on earth
Whenever, in man's soul, had birth
Those intuitions, grasps of guess,
That pull the more into the less,
Making the finite comprehend
Infinity, the bard would spend
Such praise alone upon his craft,
As, when wind-lyres obey the waft,
Goes to the craftsman who arranged

[ocr errors]

The seven strings, changed them and rechanged –
Knowing it was the South that harped.

He felt his song, in singing, warped;
Distinguished his and God's part: whence
A world of spirit as of sense

Was plain to him, yet not too plain,

Which he could traverse, not remain

A guest in: else were permanent

Heaven on earth which its gleams were meant
To sting with hunger for full light,—

Made visible in verse, despite

The veiling weakness,

truth by means

Of fable, showing while it screens,

Since highest truth, man e'er supplied,

Was ever fable on outside.

Such gleams made bright the earth an age;
Now, the whole sun's his heritage!

Take up thy world, it is allowed,

Thou who hast entered in the cloud!"

XXIX.

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Then I-"Behold, my spirit bleeds,
Catches no more at broken reeds,
But lilies flower those reeds above:
I let the world go, and take love!
Love survives in me, albeit those

I love be henceforth masks and shows,
Not loving men and women: still

I mind how love repaired all ill,

Cured wrong, soothed grief, made earth amends

With parents, brothers, children, friends!

Some semblance of a woman yet

With eyes to help me to forget,

Shall live with me; and I will match

Departed love with love, attach

Its fragments to my whole, nor scorn

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