Ace. No.... Call No.
3l&eal ana ttye ifteal
PESSIM AND OPTIM
To think! to think and never rest from thinking!
To feel this great globe flying through the sky
And reckon by the rising and the sinking
Of stars how long to live, how soon to die !
This, this is life. Is life, then, worth the living?
This plotting for his freedom by the slave!
This agony of loving and forgiving !
This effort of the coward to be brave !
Our freedom ! We are sin-scourged into being,
And ills of birth enslave us all our days ;
No chance of flying and no way of fleeing,
Until the last chance and the end of ways.
We are walled in by darkness wall behind us,
From whose sprung dungeon -gates Fate dragged us in,
And wall before us, where Fate waits to bind us
And thrust us out through swinging gates of sin.
But what is Fate? It is a mere breath spoken,
To echo clamoring between the walls
Of darkness blind phrase uttered to betoken
This blind Unreason which our life enthralls.
Out through abysmal depths of heaven round us
We think our way past orbs of day and night,
Till skies of empty outer darkness bound us
And place and time are fixed pin-points of light ;
But nowhere from the silent planets wheeling,
And nowhere from the thundering hell of suns,
And nowhere in the darkness comes revealing
Itself a Fate that through all being runs.
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No ghostly presence, no mysterious voices,
The midnight of these infinite spaces thrill ;
And even chaos flies hence and rejoices
To find and feel yon universe s Will.
Thought follows chaos nay, without the places
And times of matter globed and motion whirled,
Thought chaos is, a spread dead wing in space is,
Drifting for wafture somewhere toward a world.
Where shall it reach and touch the Will Universal?
How with its confines bound an Infinite Mind?
One atom of the Allsoul s whole dispersal
Assuming how the whole shall be defined!
Such thinkings are not Thought, they are but dreamings
Of what perchance may be itself but dream ;
Our truths are to the Truth as moonlight s gleamings
In dungeon are to open midiioon s beam.
All worlds of matter, all the world of spirjt,
How these are one, eternal, increate
Soul can not clutch it, sense come never near it;
It is unthinkable, and it is Fate!
This awful riddle, wherewith we have struggled
Since the dim dawn of human consciousness,
With whatsoever dread words we have juggled
Ptah, Zeus, Jove, God we fail, we fail to guess.
Whether there be of all intelligences
A total sum, a comprehending whole
Great sea, wherefrom rise all these mists, the senses,
And back whereto flow all the streams of soul?
Whether this lives, a selfexistent Essence,
With its own passions, wills, imaginings,
Or is but everlasting evanescence,
But perfume of the bloom of living things?
How cosmic spirit can take hold of matter
And give dead elements the living breath?
How gather into selfhoods, and how scatter,
To work the miracles of life and death ?
Poets in grand imagination s trances
Conceive the gods and give them wondrous birth,
And martyrs bleed for Faith s divine romances,
And priests go forth to proselyte the earth ;
But what terrestrial religion reaches
Out into heaven s majesty so far
That it can guess what god strange nature teaches
To the strange dwellers on the nearest star?
Is Buddha known to denizens of Saturn?
Is Jesus preached upon the Jovian moons?
And what are gods of any earthly pattern
To far spheres drifting in the Force-monsoons?
Yon sun s flame, in whose glare our worlds go darkling
To eyes that from another system gaze
Yon flaming sun is but a glimmer sparkling
To like worlds blotted in the Dogstar s blaze.
And, howsoever gravitation labors,
It lets a million suns from vision slip;
While the ten million world-groups are not neighbors
Even by light s fine far swift fellowship.
How these immensities dwarf and obscure us !
What, what are we amid such scenes as these?
Our earth unguessed in planets of Arcturus,
Undreamed in orbs around the Pleiades!
By such infinitudes of distance bounded
(These chasms of darkness that no light can leap),
We seem a dream with glooms of sleep surrounded
Our little life is rounded with a sleep!
Ay, we are dreamed ; and, if ever the Dreamer
Wake from the sleep to remember the dream,
We of His waking shall thrill in the tremor,
Dawn with His memory, mingle and stream.
What though He slumber through eon on eon?
When He has dreamed all the infinite full,
Dreamed all the worlds and the lives there to be on,
Out to dreamed gravity s uttermost pull;
Dreamed forth of matter and force interblended
(Storm-drifts of matter and torrents of force)
Cyclones of flame, globed, exploded, and rended
Wide wild beginnings of Time s endless course ;
Dreamed out of chaos the suns in the spaces,
Dreamed down the suns to their white molten cores,
Dreamed off the worlds in their systemal places,
Over them dreaming the continent-floors
Out of their pulps of fire dreaming the oceans
Out of the rain from their heavens of steam,
And of their mad elemental commotions
Molding the motions of life in His dream ;
Dreaming the marvelous atoms together
Into the miracles feeling and thought,
Hitching, with matter s mysterious tether,
Selfhoods of sense to insensible naught;
Dreaming the span of the measureless chasm
Yawning between the alive and the dead
Wonder of dreams in the organless plasm
Crawling to soul from the sea s oozy bed
Feeling to soul in the sea s vital foment,
Feeling to form and to faculties dim,
Till, at the touch of a consummate moment,
Loosed into freedom to rise and to swim
Swimming of dreams in the nightmare of waters!
Hydras, chimeras, and gorgons of sleep,
That by transitions of mutual slaughters
Play the dream-tragedy Life in the deep;
When His long dream through the spawning and swarming
Sea-generations has passed into things
Creeping aland, and has risen transforming
Into the slow apparition of wings ;
When from the budding of nerves in the banded
Spirals of earth-crawling pleasure and pain
Upward has issued His dream and expanded
Into the glorified blooming of brain
Flower of all the world s forces and ages,
Top-bloom of matter exhaling the soul,
Opening volume whose unopened pages
Yet of God s being shall utter the wholo,
Here from His dream shall He start into waking
Dream of the universe waking in Me
Me as a shore where the great billows breaking
Leap out of silence in sounds of the sea !
Here, in the self of Me, here wakes the Dreamer,
Wakes and shall wake as the brain shall unfold;
Here is the Christ of God, here the Redeemer,
Spirit incarnate that Faith has foretold.
Growth of the brain shall be God manifested
Here in the flesh, when the dead shall arise,
By an inherited memory vested
With the immortal life dreamed of the skies.
When, through heredity raised and perfected,
Faculties now in the germ shall have bloomed,
All the forgotten shall be recollected,
All that is buried shall be disentombed.
Whatso has ever with being been gifted,
Since the first givings of being began,
Living again shall be gathered and lifted
Into the sovereign consciousness, Man.
He shall remember all living and dying,
He shall think back to life s origin here
Nay, shall recall when he hither came flying,
Seed of life ripened in some other sphere
Brought by some inter-world wind accidental,
Or by some gravity s fated monsoon,
Hence to be traced by that form rudi mental
Haply through all forms of life on the moon.
So shall he read the soul s mystery-story,
Turning the pages from star back to star,
Now in the gloom and again in the glory,
Till he shall come where the last secrets are.
Then, thus with insight illumined to seeing
All that has been, he shall see all that is
Thrill with the pulses of all the world s being,
Make all the God of the universe his.
Yet shall he, ere that divine consummation,
All the career of existence have run,
World after world, to his last habitation
Seraph of light on the ultimate sun;
Sun, of the globes of all systems compacted,
Orb, of all motion the center and rest
(Time to a moment eternal contracted),
Goal of all spirits immortal and blest.
They shall be one, though their number be legion,
And with one consciousness they shall revive
Into the bliss of that radiant region
All of the past that was ever alive.
Thus we shall share in the last resurrection;
So shall the mind of the angels recall
Us and all creatures, and that recollection
Be the salvation in heaven for all.
But this longing to live!
This tragical strife
Of us mortals to give
Our lives more of life!
Give us new! give us more!
We hunger, we thirst,
We aspire, we implore
Give most, best or worst!
We inherit the ages
Of human desire ;
Ay, within us yet rages
The older brute-fire.
All that is we have been,
Of air, earth, or sea ;
Whether wing, foot, or fin,
One kindred are we.
In our blood flowing down
From primitive man,
Savage, saint, sage, and clown
Have blent as it ran.
All their lives are our life,
Their lusts are our lust;
And we strive with their strife,
Then dust to their dust!
Dust to dust? No, that doom
We will not endure!
Us the prisoning tomb
Shall never immure!
When the star-stuff of heaven
From God was outwhirled
It was stirred with the leaven
Of life of the world.
God? And where then was man?
Lo, God and man one
Ere the fire-mist began
To swirl in to sun !
For man s wills and desires
Repeat and rehearse
Those which motived the gyres
Of this universe.
Ay, and not only his,
But those of the whole
Life that was and that is
Of God, the One Soul.
Life eternally must
Be motion of Him
From dull worms in the dust
To keen seraphim.
Every pleasure and pain,
Of stir in the clod
Or of thrill in the brain,
Is living of God.
Life shall vanish away
And finish its course
When He ceases to play
With matter and force.
Will He cease?
No, He never,
Till matter is hurled
Into naught, can dissever
Himself from the world.
All delights and all doles
Thought, passion, and strife
Are the Infinite Soul s
Large living of life.
Then, on whom Faith has leaned
Lives not; for it seems
We are whims of some Fiend
That slumbers and dreams!
Unimaginable Demon !
With cosmic fire-storms
In His crazed sleep to dream on
And dream into forms!
Lo, a huge fancy runs
Athwart His vast sleep,
And ten millions of suns
Blaze out in the deep.
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His deliriums dim
In meteors flock,
And with whimseys of Him
Wild stars intershock.
All the rocks are one tomb
Of moods of His mind,
Cast away to make room
For us living kind;
Phantoms! dancing and hymning,
While here where we dwell
Is but film overswimming
An ocean of hell !
Smoking peaks burst in thunder
And shower down death,
And the plains gape asunder
With doom in a breath.
Commerce rises and dips
With east and west sun,
As her shuttles, the ships,
Weave states into one;
But the sea, the brute sea,
That swings round the sphere,
Never heeds the wild plea
Of man in his fear :
Him and his its rude surges
Toss, buffet, and drown,
As it yawns in its gurges
And ravens them down.
And the beasts of the deep,
Like phantoms that form
In the nightmares of sleep
Grim monsters that swarm
In the darkness of waters,
And gorge mouth and maw
With their mutual slaughters
By snout, tooth, and jaw
How the swift silent beasts
In combat partake
Of the fattening feasts
The mad billows make!
Lord of life and of death,
Have mercy on me !
Cry that squanders the breath
On storm, night, and sea.
Cry for God s mercy where,
In maniac bout
With the powers of the air,
The great waters shout?
AVhere from mountains pent hollows
Hell bursts out on men?
Where earth opens and swallows
And closes again?
Cry for mercy where thunder
Drops death from the clouds?
Where the ghosts rise from under
And mix with the crowds
Of the living, unheard,
Unseen, and unknown,
Till with mortal plague stirred
The scared cities groan ?
Mercy ! No, there is none
In whatever force
Wherewithal the Lord Sun
Gives life and death source.
Fire ! A cry in the night
One cry, and no more
Ere the streets fill with fright
And clamor and roar.
To the flames all the city!
Stop not now to call
That Almighty have pity
The water has all.
O my husband! my child!
A mother and wife
In the first terror wild
Has fled for her life
From the room where she kept
Love s wake by dead love,
And her innocent slept
Dead ! dear love ! Off she flings
Her mad purpose, and springs
Back into the blaze.
Through the flame and the smoke,
Past him lying dead,
Up the stair, scorch and choke,
To find the babe s bed!
Scarce a moment to speak
One vain phrase of prayer
Ere the woman s death-shriek,
And, framed in the glare
Through the window revealed,
A picture that robbed
Men of breath, and down kneeled
The women and sobbed;
Picture, flashed upon flame,
Of two forms in white !
Then picture and frame
One red blur of night !
Was it rage, was it ire
Of some god above?
Or, mad hunger of fire
For woman s mad love?
Woman s love! Love belongs
To Force, and is part
Of the rights and the wrongs
Of dull Nature s heart.
How is Force when it burns
And flares out its breath
Worse than Force when it yearns
And dares unto death?
What is better or worse,
Where all only seems?
What is blessing or curse,
In drama of dreams ?
What is saintship or sin?
To climb or to fall,
Or to lose or to win?
The One lives it all.
All delights and all doles-
Thought, passion, and strife
Are the Infinite Soul s
Large living of life !
Is it living of thought
Or living of trance ?
And is purpose out wrought
From chance upon chance?
What purpose in killing
My darling, my boy?
What demoniac thrilling
Of infinite joy
From the little life lying
In fever s hot flame
And in last anguish crying
The mother s fond name?
Stricken wife of my youth!
O, how from that day
Didst thou pine for what truth
Death s morrow might say!
In the hope of that morrow,
Thou, patient and brave
With thy burden of sorrow,
Soon went to the grave
In the travail of mother
Of that little-one
Who should follow the brother
Ere one year were done.
O, the faint pulses warning!
O, loving last words !
In the spring, in the morning,
With songs of the birds!
I explore all the dark,
I search sleep for her;
But there comes not a spark,
Or whisper, or stir
From all hearing, all seeing,
All feeling of Force,
Hinting whether her being
Holds conscious its course,
So that still might be shown
Her dear form and face
And herself still be known
In time and in space.
As the rose, as the lily,
Yield up scent and hue,
Yield their ghosts to the chilly
White death of the dew,
Did my home s living flowers
So fade and exhale?
And have these lives of ours
No other avail
Than to feel, love, and think
One moment of light,
And then suddenly sink
In morningless night?
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Is existence too rife
In earth s human hives,
That the Life of all life
Should so lavish lives?
Lives of men, lives of brutes,
They crowd to their tombs,
Like the leaves, like the fruits,
Which fall for new blooms.
Famine, pestilence, flood,
Fire, thunder, and quakes
Of the earth, and the blood
Volcanic that breaks
From the hot veins of mountains,
And tempests that plow
The great deep to its fountains
Does God, thinkest thou,
Heed of thee in thy plaint
That these never choose
Between sinner and saint
Where life is to lose?
Holy Jews, ye that priced
God s life, and decried
The immaculate Christ,
And him crucified ;
Ye, with credos for charters
vTo hunt and to slay,
That re-sainted with martyrs
Bartholomew s day;
Ye that bloodied the ages
With myriad lives loss
In religion s blind rages
Of Crescent and Cross ;
Ye that fire martial leaders
With adulant breath,
Making mothers proud breeders
Of doers of death-
All the civilizations
Of man standing armed,
Nation fronting each nation s
How would dare ye appeal
To God that He make
The brute elements feel
For your human sake?
God is you and in you,
As they and in them ;
And shall one of His two
The other condemn?
Where is fault, then, or sin
In them or in us
We and all we are in
Unpurposed as thus?
For be all forms and motions
Divine, and they seem
But the miscreate notions
Of God in a dream.
No! the seeming is thine;
For, could all the mass
Of the universe shine
Through thy little glass;
Could the Allbeing flow
Entire into thee,
So that Substance might show
And Essence might see ;
Couldst thou know what beginning
To what end belongs;
Couldst thou witness Fate spinning
The Right out of wrongs,
Thou wouldst rise from the dark
Wherein flesh is born,
And with song like the lark
Soar into the morn.
No! the dreaming is ours;
God s life is not trance,
But the sum of the powers
Of all lives advance.
How we struggle to live!
God urges the strife
Of all beings to give
Their lives more of life.
From the instinct that lurked
In plasm of old seas
He and we have upworked
Through myriad degrees,
Climbing higher and higher,
With gain upon gain,
Till at last the soul s fire
Is lit in the brain.
In this upward progression,
Humanity s birth
Is the highest expression
Of God on the earth.
Yet the heavens are swarmed
With worlds older far;
And what lives, angel-formed,
May people a star,
Neither spectroscope s feel
Nor telescope s ken
Shall avail to reveal
To senses of men.
But these five senses grew,
As others may grow
Senses so searching-through,
Brain facultied so,
Seized of force by such arts,
That mind may embrace
Other mind in far parts
Of infinite space.
Other mind may be there
With powers so strange
That our own would not dare
Imagine their range.
Can these pinholes of sight
Of ours comprehend
With what uses of light
High beings may send
The quick soul through the dense
Vast darkness of naught,
And by some inner sense
See us and our thought?
And to what fuller blowth
This flesh shall unfold,
What the grandeur of growth
Its energies hold,
Man can now no more dream
Than through his life dim
In the worm there could stream
A prescience of him.
But we know that we climb;
We see that we rise
See how time unto time
We widen the skies.
From the ten fingers* count
Of numbers, begun
In the savage, we mount
And measure the sun.
Fabled Jupiter s nods,
That Nature obeyed,
And those gorgonish gods,
Her forces, which played
Chiefest part in mankind s
Last dream before day
All the myths from all minds
Have faded away,
Where the Self-Kevelator
As the human creator
By human love s hands.
God is with us and in us
(Within is above),
And our lives work to win us
His life by our love.
Whether I will or whether
Will not as He would,
All with all things together
Work only for good.
All the wrong I commit,
Mankind so unite
To exterminate it
They strengthen all right.
So, we grow by our sins:
And the Nazarene wins
Through all after days.
Lo, the Wrong that hath died
To Hades is hurled.
While the Right, crucified,
Redeemeth the world.
But redemption to come!
What boots that to thee,
Thou for eons then dumb,
Deaf, dead soul of me?
What is this we have dreamed?
Whereto have we raved?
When the world is redeemed
Shall my soul be saved?
Timid soul ! thou art fleeing
False danger : fear not ;
For thy sweet self of being
Shall ne er be forgot.
Man inherits the ages,
And shall, with the whole
Of his grand heritages,
Inherit the soul.
There are times when far places,
Where strangers we roam,
Flash familiar with traces
Of some former home.
There are hours when such trances
Efface all that is
That we dream circumstances
Of past centuries.
There are moments we hear
A dead father s tone
In our voices, so clear
It startles our own.
We are writ in as books
By hands from the skies,
And ghost-ancestry looks
Oft out of our eyes.
These are half-resurrections
Of souls that are gone
Dim and fitful projections
Of that coming dawn
Of all-consciousness, when
In Man there shall stand
The whole lives of past men,
So livingly scanned,
So remembered, so real,
That, no longer ideal,
They truly shall live.
Why is this a hard saying?
And the part it is playing
Shall never have close.
As the form and the feature,
The tone and the trait,
The whole self of each creature,
Are so destinate
From the procreant mold,
Shall mind not progress
Till by heirship it hold
All past consciousness?
And, if far-future man
Remember so me,
From the hour I began
Till ceasing to be
So revive me, so live me,
So breathe my soul s breath-
What is that but to give me
Sure triumph o er death?
O immortal my soul!
To live and to know
And flow on with the whole
Divine Being s flow!
O my soul! from the dark
Wherein flesh is born
Soar and sing like the lark!
For here is the morn !
Husband What! have I been sleeping? Have I dreamed? Was he not here?
Dead ? Should I not know that ? Murdered ! start not, all my brain is clear :
Listen, Agnes, to the secret I have kept so many a year.
For I must not keep it longer ; no, when I am lying dead,
When the next year s grass is growing green above my dreamless head,
I would have you tell my darling what her dying mother said.
Tell her I was madly jealous could not bear that there should be
Any shadow of a turning in her precious love for me ;
But the lapse from love to pity ! this I dared not live to see.
So I charge you, so I swear you, wait until the grass above
Him and me has thrown one mantle and the cooing turtledove
Mourned for me there all the summer, ere you rob my grave of love.
For my sleep must be beside him keeper, you will promise this?
Close beside him, in some semblance of the old remembered bliss
When I lay in those arms folded and all heaven was his kiss.
That sweet love of me was first love, and it wrought in him like pain,
Earnest so, and sad, and tender O ! the thought burns through my brain-
Fear not, Agnes ! I am dying dying, and I will be sane.
Heavens, how that dear heart loved me ! But I was a favored child,
Whom the fondness of weak parents had to selfishness beguiled
Had made willful, proud, exacting, and with wayward passions wild.
Yet I loved him all my nature; and with tears mine eyes would swim
Oft in thinking, were there needed such a sacrifice for him,
I would gladly give my body to be rended limb from limb.
But right soon I felt the distance of his thought from thought of mine
Felt his purpose to uplift me (true, it gave no outward sign),
And my selflove flashed resentful toward that love so all benign.
To my mother I was angel ; to my father I was queen ;
Why to husband should there failing, fault, or flaw in me be seen ?
Why to him was I not perfect, with this perfect love between ?
With such questions in my bosom rose my anger and my pride ;
All my will I set against him, all his will for me defied,
And disdained to live his living, though for him I would have died.
I would be my self-creator, not a creature of his own,
In the fashion of his fancy made by him for him alone ;
He should have me as he took me, crowned and set upon a throne !
deeper, think what secret devil must have whispered in my heart !
I conceived he did not love me, deemed his fondness was but art
To conceal from me his feeling that we were so far apart.
I was jealous of his silence made him swear it o er and o er
That he loved me, loved me, loved me, and would love me evermore ;
Then with taunting tears I chid him that so lovelessly he swore.
He grew sad, and I grew sullen : some strange fury in me stirred
When we tried to speak together and he pleaded to be heard,