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object:04.04 - The Quest
book class:Savitri
author class:Sri Aurobindo

The world-ways opened before Savitri.
At first a strangeness of new brilliant scenes
Peopled her mind and kept her body's gaze.
But as she moved across the changing earth
A deeper consciousness welled up in her:
A citizen of many scenes and climes,
Each soil and country it had made its home;
It took all clans and peoples for her own,
Till the whole destiny of mankind was hers.
These unfamiliar spaces on her way
Were known and neighbours to a sense within,
Landscapes recurred like lost forgotten fields,
Cities and rivers and plains her vision claimed
Like slow-recurring memories in front,
The stars at night were her past's brilliant friends,
The winds murmured to her of ancient things
And she met nameless comrades loved by her once.
All was a part of old forgotten selves:
Vaguely or with a flash of sudden hints
Her acts recalled a line of bygone power,
Even her motion's purpose was not new:
Traveller to a prefigured high event,
She seemed to her remembering witness soul
To trace again a journey often made.
A guidance turned the dumb revolving wheels
And in the eager body of their speed
The dim-masked hooded godheads rode who move
Assigned to man immutably from his birth,
Receivers of the inner and outer law,
At once the agents of his spirit's will
And witnesses and executors of his fate.

Inexorably faithful to their task,
They hold his nature's sequence in their guard
Carrying the unbroken thread old lives have spun.
Attendants on his destiny's measured walk
Leading to joys he has won and pains he has called,
Even in his casual steps they intervene.
Nothing we think or do is void or vain;
Each is an energy loosed and holds its course.
The shadowy keepers of our deathless past
Have made our fate the child of our own acts,
And from the furrows laboured by our will
We reap the fruit of our forgotten deeds.
But since unseen the tree that bore this fruit
And we live in a present born from an unknown past,
They seem but parts of a mechanic Force
To a mechanic mind tied by earth's laws;
Yet are they instruments of a Will supreme,
Watched by a still all-seeing Eye above.
A prescient architect of Fate and Chance
Who builds our lives on a foreseen design
The meaning knows and consequence of each step
And watches the inferior stumbling powers.
Upon her silent heights she was aware
Of a calm Presence throned above her brows
Who saw the goal and chose each fateful curve;
It used the body for its pedestal;
The eyes that wandered were its searchlight fires,
The hands that held the reins its living tools;
All was the working of an ancient plan,
A way proposed by an unerring Guide.
Across wide noons and glowing afternoons,
She met with Nature and with human forms
And listened to the voices of the world;
Driven from within she followed her long road,
Mute in the luminous cavern of her heart,
Like a bright cloud through the resplendent day.

At first her path ran far through peopled tracts:
Admitted to the lion eye of States
And theatres of the loud act of man,
Her carven chariot with its fretted wheels
Threaded through clamorous marts and sentinel towers
Past figured gates and high dream-sculptured fronts
And gardens hung in the sapphire of the skies,
Pillared assembly halls with armoured guards,
Small fanes where one calm Image watched man's life
And temples hewn as if by exiled gods
To imitate their lost eternity.
Often from gilded dusk to argent dawn,
Where jewel-lamps flickered on frescoed walls
And the stone lattice stared at moonlit boughs,
Half-conscious of the tardy listening night
Dimly she glided between banks of sleep
At rest in the slumbering palaces of kings.
Hamlet and village saw the fate-wain pass,
Homes of a life bent to the soil it ploughs
For sustenance of its short and passing days
That, transient, keep their old repeated course,
Unchanging in the circle of a sky
Which alters not above our mortal toil.
Away from this thinking creature's burdened hours
To free and griefless spaces now she turned
Not yet perturbed by human joys and fears.
Here was the childhood of primaeval earth,
Here timeless musings large and glad and still,
Men had forborne as yet to fill with cares,
Imperial acres of the eternal sower
And wind-stirred grass-lands winking in the sun:
Or mid green musing of woods and rough-browed hills,
In the grove's murmurous bee-air humming wild
Or past the long lapsing voice of silver floods
Like a swift hope journeying among its dreams
Hastened the chariot of the golden bride.

Out of the world's immense unhuman past
Tract-memories and ageless remnants came,
Domains of light enfeoffed to antique calm
Listened to the unaccustomed sound of hooves
And large immune entangled silences
Absorbed her into emerald secrecy
And slow hushed wizard nets of fiery bloom
Environed with their coloured snare her wheels.
The strong importunate feet of Time fell soft
Along these lonely ways, his titan pace
Forgotten and his stark and ruinous rounds.
The inner ear that listens to solitude,
Leaning self-rapt unboundedly could hear
The rhythm of the intenser wordless Thought
That gathers in the silence behind life,
And the low sweet inarticulate voice of earth
In the great passion of her sun-kissed trance
Ascended with its yearning undertone.
Afar from the brute noise of clamorous needs
The quieted all-seeking mind could feel,
At rest from its blind outwardness of will,
The unwearied clasp of her mute patient love
And know for a soul the mother of our forms.
This spirit stumbling in the fields of sense,
This creature bruised in the mortar of the days
Could find in her broad spaces of release.
Not yet was a world all occupied by care.
The bosom of our mother kept for us still
Her austere regions and her musing depths,
Her impersonal reaches lonely and inspired
And the mightinesses of her rapture haunts.
Muse-lipped she nursed her symbol mysteries
And guarded for her pure-eyed sacraments
The valley clefts between her breasts of joy,
Her mountain altars for the fires of dawn
And nuptial beaches where the ocean couched

And the huge chanting of her prophet woods.
Fields had she of her solitary mirth,
Plains hushed and happy in the embrace of light,
Alone with the cry of birds and hue of flowers,
And wildernesses of wonder lit by her moons
And grey seer-evenings kindling with the stars
And dim movement in the night's infinitude.
August, exulting in her Maker's eye,
She felt her nearness to him in earth's breast,
Conversed still with a Light behind the veil,
Still communed with Eternity beyond.
A few and fit inhabitants she called
To share the glad communion of her peace;
The breadth, the summit were their natural home.
The strong king-sages from their labour done,
Freed from the warrior tension of their task,
Came to her serene sessions in these wilds;
The strife was over, the respite lay in front.
Happy they lived with birds and beasts and flowers
And sunlight and the rustle of the leaves,
And heard the wild winds wandering in the night,
Mused with the stars in their mute constant ranks,
And lodged in the mornings as in azure tents,
And with the glory of the noons were one.
Some deeper plunged; from life's external clasp
Beckoned into a fiery privacy
In the soul's unprofaned star-white recess
They sojourned with an everliving Bliss;
A Voice profound in the ecstasy and the hush
They heard, beheld an all-revealing Light.
All time-made difference they overcame;
The world was fibred with their own heart-strings;
Close drawn to the heart that beats in every breast,
They reached the one self in all through boundless love.
Attuned to Silence and to the world-rhyme,
They loosened the knot of the imprisoning mind;

Achieved was the wide untroubled witness gaze,
Unsealed was Nature's great spiritual eye;
To the height of heights rose now their daily climb:
Truth leaned to them from her supernal realm;
Above them blazed eternity's mystic suns.
Nameless the austere ascetics without home
Abandoning speech and motion and desire
Aloof from creatures sat absorbed, alone,
Immaculate in tranquil heights of self
On concentration's luminous voiceless peaks,
World-naked hermits with their matted hair
Immobile as the passionless great hills
Around them grouped like thoughts of some vast mood
Awaiting the Infinite's behest to end.
The seers attuned to the universal Will,
Content in Him who smiles behind earth's forms,
Abode ungrieved by the insistent days.
About them like green trees girdling a hill
Young grave disciples fashioned by their touch,
Trained to the simple act and conscious word,
Greatened within and grew to meet their heights.
Far-wandering seekers on the Eternal's path
Brought to these quiet founts their spirit's thirst
And spent the treasure of a silent hour
Bathed in the purity of the mild gaze
That, uninsistent, ruled them from its peace,
And by its influence found the ways of calm.
The Infants of the monarchy of the worlds,
The heroic leaders of a coming time,
King-children nurtured in that spacious air
Like lions gambolling in sky and sun
Received half-consciously their godlike stamp:
Formed in the type of the high thoughts they sang
They learned the wide magnificence of mood
That makes us comrades of the cosmic urge,
No longer chained to their small separate selves,

Plastic and firm beneath the eternal hand,
Met Nature with a bold and friendly clasp
And served in her the Power that shapes her works.
One-souled to all and free from narrowing bonds,
Large like a continent of warm sunshine
In wide equality's impartial joy,
These sages breathed for God's delight in things.
Assisting the slow entries of the gods,
Sowing in young minds immortal thoughts they lived,
Taught the great Truth to which man's race must rise
Or opened the gates of freedom to a few.
Imparting to our struggling world the Light
They breathed like spirits from Time's dull yoke released,
Comrades and vessels of the cosmic Force,
Using a natural mastery like the sun's:
Their speech, their silence was a help to earth.
A magic happiness flowed from their touch;
Oneness was sovereign in that sylvan peace,
The wild beast joined in friendship with its prey;
Persuading the hatred and the strife to cease
The love that flows from the one Mother s breast
Healed with their hearts the hard and wounded world.
Others escaped from the confines of thought
To where Mind motionless sleeps waiting Light's birth,
And came back quivering with a nameless Force,
Drunk with a wine of lightning in their cells;
Intuitive knowledge leaping into speech,
Seized, vibrant, kindling with the inspired word,
Hearing the subtle voice that clothes the heavens,
Carrying the splendour that has lit the suns,
They sang Infinity's names and deathless powers
In metres that reflect the moving worlds,
Sight's sound-waves breaking from the soul's great deeps.
Some lost to the person and his strip of thought
In a motionless ocean of impersonal Power,
Sat mighty, visioned with the Infinite's light,

Or, comrades of the everlasting Will,
Surveyed the plan of past and future Time.
Some winged like birds out of the cosmic sea
And vanished into a bright and featureless Vast:
Some silent watched the universal dance,
Or helped the world by world-indifference.
Some watched no more merged in a lonely Self,
Absorbed in the trance from which no soul returns,
All the occult world-lines for ever closed,
The chains of birth and person cast away:
Some uncompanioned reached the Ineffable.
   As floats a sunbeam through a shady place,
The golden virgin in her carven car
Came gliding among meditation's seats.
Often in twilight mid returning troops
Of cattle thickening with their dust the shades
When the loud day had slipped below the verge,
Arriving in a peaceful hermit grove
She rested drawing round her like a cloak
Its spirit of patient muse and potent prayer.
Or near to a lion river's tawny mane
And trees that worshipped on a praying shore,
A domed and templed air's serene repose
Beckoned to her hurrying wheels to stay their speed.
In the solemnity of a space that seemed
A mind remembering ancient silences,
Where to the heart great bygone voices called
And the large liberty of brooding seers
Had left the long impress of their soul's scene,
Awake in candid dawn or darkness mooned,
To the still touch inclined the daughter of Flame
Drank in hushed splendour between tranquil lids
And felt the kinship of eternal calm.
But morn broke in reminding her of her quest
And from low rustic couch or mat she rose

And went impelled on her unfinished way
And followed the fateful orbit of her life
Like a desire that questions silent gods
Then passes starlike to some bright Beyond.
Thence to great solitary tracts she came,
Where man was a passer-by towards human scenes
Or sole in Nature's vastness strove to live
And called for help to ensouled invisible Powers,
Overwhelmed by the immensity of his world
And unaware of his own infinity.
The earth multiplied to her a changing brow
And called her with a far and nameless voice.
The mountains in their anchorite solitude,
The forests with their multitudinous chant
Disclosed to her the masked divinity's doors.
On dreaming plains, an indolent expanse,
The death-bed of a pale enchanted eve
Under the glamour of a sunken sky,
Impassive she lay as at an age's end,
Or crossed an eager pack of huddled hills
Lifting their heads to hunt a lairlike sky,
Or travelled in a strange and empty land
Where desolate summits camped in a weird heaven,
Mute sentinels beneath a drifting moon,
Or wandered in some lone tremendous wood
Ringing for ever with the crickets' cry
Or followed a long glistening serpent road
Through fields and pastures lapped in moveless light
Or reached the wild beauty of a desert space
Where never plough was driven nor herd had grazed
And slumbered upon stripped and thirsty sands
Amid the savage wild-beast night's appeal.
Still unaccomplished was the fateful quest;
Still she found not the one predestined face
For which she sought amid the sons of men.
A grandiose silence wrapped the regal day:

The months had fed the passion of the sun
And now his burning breath assailed the soil.
The tiger heats prowled through the fainting earth;
All was licked up as by a lolling tongue.
The spring winds failed; the sky was set like bronze.

End of Canto IV - Book IV

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now begins generated list of local instances, definitions, quotes, instances in chapters, wordnet info if available and instances among weblinks











QUOTES [32 / 32 - 500 / 500]

KEYS (10k)

   24 Sri Aurobindo
   2 Sri Ramana Maharshi
   2 Aleister Crowley
   1 Sidney Jourard
   1 John F Kennedy
   1 Confucius
   1 "Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi


   9 William Shakespeare
   7 Sri Aurobindo
   7 Anonymous
   6 Paulo Coelho
   6 Henry David Thoreau
   5 Albert Einstein
   4 Ralph Waldo Emerson
   4 Rainer Maria Rilke
   4 Jodi Picoult
   3 Stephen King
   3 Sri Ramana Maharshi
   3 Saint Therese of Lisieux
   3 Patrick Rothfuss
   3 Leo Tolstoy
   3 John Green
   3 Jeremy Bentham
   3 Jennifer E Smith
   3 Ilsa Madden Mills
   2 William James
   2 Tucker Max

1:The palace woke to its own emptiness;
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
2:Almighty powers are shut in Nature's cells. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
3:Eternity speaks, none understands its word; ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
4:If that desire did not arise, how could the quest of the Self arise? ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, @RamanaMaharshi,
5:A casual passing phrase can change our life. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
6:The Wise who know see but one half of Truth, ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
7:The moon floated, a luminous waif through heaven ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
8:The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
9:The sage's quest is for himself, the quest of the-ignorant for other than himself. ~ Confucius, "Lun-Yu," II 15.20, the Eternal Wisdom
10:Is it not a wonder of wonders? The quest "Who am I?" is the axe with which to cut off the ego. ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi, @RamanaMaharshi,
11:Nothing we think or do is void or vain;
Each is an energy loosed and holds its course. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
12:Not for a changeless littleness were you meant,
Not for vain repetition were you built ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
13:Authors of earth's high change, to you it is given
To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
14:But like a shining answer from the gods
   Approached through sun-bright spaces Savitri.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest, [T5],
15:Nameless the austere ascetics without home
Abandoning speech and motion and desire
Aloof from creatures sat absorbed, alone. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
16:The morn went up into a smiling sky;
Cast from its sapphire pinnacle of trance
Day sank into the burning gold of eve. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
17:Oneness was sovereign in that sylvan peace,
The wild beast joined in friendship with its prey;
Persuading the hatred and the strife to cease ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
18:These sages breathed for God's delight in things.
Assisting the slow entries of the gods,
Sowing in young minds immortal thoughts they lived, ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
19:They sang Infinity's names and deathless powers
In metres that reflect the moving worlds,
Sight's sound-waves breaking from the soul's great deeps. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
20:Actualization of self cannot be sought as a goal in its own right. . . . Rather, it seems to be a by-product of active commitment of one's talents to some cause, outside the self, such as the quest for beauty, truth, or justice. ~ Sidney Jourard,
21:Deep sleep can e'er be had while wide awake By search for Self. In dream and waking states Pursue the quest for Self without a break So long sleep's ignorance them permeates." ~ "Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi,", (1972, 1997), ed. Arthur Osborne, @aax9,
22:The shadowy keepers of our deathless past
Have made our fate the child of our own acts,
And from the furrows laboured by our will
We reap the fruit of our forgotten deeds. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
23:World-naked hermits with their matted hair
Immobile as the passionless great hills
Around them grouped like thoughts of some vast mood
Awaiting the Infinite's behest to end. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
24:The months had fed the passion of the sun
And now his burning breath assailed the soil.
The tiger heats prowled through the fainting earth;
All was licked up as by a lolling tongue. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
25:He who now stares at the world with ignorant eyes
Hardly from the Inconscient's night aroused,
That look at images and not at Truth,
Can fill those orbs with an immortal's sight. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
26:As when the mantra sinks in Yoga's ear,
Its message enters stirring the blind brain
And keeps in the dim ignorant cells its sound;
The hearer understands a form of words
And, musing on the index thought it holds,
He strives to read it with the l ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
27:The life you lead conceals the light you are.
Immortal Powers sweep flaming past your doors;
Far-off upon your tops the god-chant sounds
While to exceed yourselves thought's trumpets call,
Heard by a few, but fewer dare aspire,
The nympholepts of the ecstasy and the blaze.
~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
28:Bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us...No longer is the quest for disarmament a sign of weakness, (nor) the destruction of arms a dream - it is a practical matter of life or death. The risks inherent in disarmament pale in comparison to the risks inherent in an unlimited arms race. ~ John F Kennedy,
29:But Indra does not turn back from the quest like Agni and Vayu; he pursues his way through the highest ether of the pure mentality and there he approaches the Woman, the manyshining, Uma Haimavati; from her he learns that this Daemon is the Brahman by whom alone the gods of mind and life and body conquer and affirm themselves, and in whom alone they are great. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Kena And Other Upanishads, 83,
30:One does not say to God, Show your love for me first, shower on me the experience of yourself, satisfy my demand, then I will see whether I can love you so long as you deserve it. It is surely the seeker who must seek and love first, follow the quest, become impassioned for the Sought-then only does the veil move aside and the Light be seen and the Face manifest that alone can satisfy the soul after its long sojourn in the desert
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Yoga - II, Sadhana through Love and Devotion,
31:The Quest of the Holy Grail, the Search for the Stone of the Philosophers-by whatever name we choose to call the Great Work-is therefore endless. Success only opens up new avenues of brilliant possibility. Yea, verily, and Amen! the task is tireless and its joys without bounds; for the whole Universe, and all that in it is, what is it but the infinite playground of the Crowned and Conquering Child, of the insatiable, the innocent, the ever-rejoicing Heir of Space and Eternity, whose name is MAN? ~ Aleister Crowley, Little Essays Towards Truth,
32:The Quest
A part, immutable, unseen,
Being, before itself had been,
Became. Like dew a triple queen
Shone as the void uncovered:
The silence of deep height was drawn
A veil across the silver dawn
On holy wings that hovered.
The music of three thoughts became
The beauty, that is one white flame,
The justice that surpasses shame,
The victory, the splendour,
The sacred fountain that is whirled
From depths beyond that older world
A new world to engender.
The kingdom is extended. Night
Dwells, and I contemplate the sight
That is not seeing, but the light
That secretly is kindled,
Though oft-time its most holy fire
Lacks oil, whene'er my own Desire
Before desire has dwindled.
I see the thin web binding me
With thirteen cords of unity
Toward the calm centre of the sea.
(O thou supernal mother!)
The triple light my path divides
To twain and fifty sudden sides
Each perfect as each other.
Now backwards, inwards still my mind
Must track the intangible and blind,
And seeking, shall securely find
Hidden in secret places
Fresh feasts for every soul that strives,
New life for many mystic lives,
And strange new forms and faces.
My mind still searches, and attains
By many days and many pains
To That which Is and Was and reigns
Shadowed in four and ten;
And loses self in sacred lands,
And cries and quickens, and understands
Beyond the first Amen.
~ Aleister Crowley,
1:It is the spirit of the quest which helps ~ kabir, @wisdomtrove
2:Always engage in the quest for life's meaning, which is inner peace. ~ longchenpa, @wisdomtrove
3:The quest for glory can never be satisfied, it must be extinguished. ~ martin-luther, @wisdomtrove
4:The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing ~ viktor-frankl, @wisdomtrove
5:The quest of the absolute leads into the four-dimensional world. ~ sir-arthur-eddington, @wisdomtrove
6:The quest for simplicity has to pervade every part of the process. It really is fundamental. ~ jony-ive, @wisdomtrove
7:Scientists derive satisfaction from figuring out the puzzle. It's about the quest, not the grail. ~ isaac-asimov, @wisdomtrove
8:There can be no greater good than the quest for peace, and no finer purpose than the preservation of freedom. ~ ronald-reagan, @wisdomtrove
9:The quest for peace is the statesman's most exacting duty... Practical progress to lasting peace is his fondest hope. ~ dwight-eisenhower, @wisdomtrove
10:It is your soul's journey to enroll the ego in the quest for the ultimate victory - the evolution of your own individual consciousness. ~ debbie-ford, @wisdomtrove
11:Do not lose heart, even if you must wait a bit before finding the right thing. Be prepared for disappointment also, but do not abandon the quest. ~ albert-schweitzer, @wisdomtrove
12:Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again. ~ anais-nin, @wisdomtrove
13:Pain s the truth of art. Art is not a hobby or a pastime. It is the result of an internal battle royal, one between the quest for safety and the desire to matter. ~ seth-godin, @wisdomtrove
14:All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest. ~ arthur-c-carke, @wisdomtrove
15:There is a canyon of difference between doing your best to glorify God and doing whatever it takes to glorify yourself. The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity. The quest for power is childish. ~ max-lucado, @wisdomtrove
16:A disciple said to him, "I am ready, in the quest for God , to give up anything: wealth, friends, family, country, life itself. What else can a person give up?" The Master calmly replied, "One's beliefs about God. ~ anthony-de-mello, @wisdomtrove
17:The need of reason is not inspired by the quest for truth but by the quest for meaning. And truth and meaning are not the same. The basic fallacy , taking precedence over all specific metaphysical fallacies, is to interpret meaning on the model of truth. ~ hannah-arendt, @wisdomtrove
18:To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. ~ alan-watts, @wisdomtrove
19:But do you remember Gandalf’s words: Even Gollum may have something yet to do? But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us forgive him! For the Quest is achieved, and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam ~ j-r-r-tolkien, @wisdomtrove
20:To my taste, the men in Rome are ridiculously, hurtfully, stupidly beautiful. More beautiful even than Roman women, to be honest. Italian men are beautiful in the same way as French women, which is to say&
21:I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow men. ~ ronald-reagan, @wisdomtrove
22:Living consciously is seeking to be aware of everything that bears on our interests, actions, values, purposes, and goals. It is the willingness to confront facts, pleasant or unpleasant. It is the desire to discover our mistakes and correct them . . . it is the quest to keep expanding our awareness and understanding, both of the world external to self and the world within. ~ nathaniel-branden, @wisdomtrove
23:Bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us... No longer is the quest for disarmament a sign of weakness, (nor) the destruction of arms a dream - it is a practical matter of life or death. The risks inherent in disarmament pale in comparison to the risks inherent in an unlimited arms race. ~ john-f-kennedy, @wisdomtrove
24:One tiny Hobbit against all the evil the world could muster. A sane being would have given up, but Samwise burned with a magnificent madness, a glowing obsession to surmount every obstacle, to find Frodo, destroy the Ring, and cleanse Middle Earth of its festering malignancy. He knew he would try again. Fail, perhaps. And try once more. A thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest. ~ j-r-r-tolkien, @wisdomtrove
25:Most people have come to prefer certain of lifes experiences and deny and reject others, unaware of the value of the hidden things that may come wrapped in plain and even ugly paper. In avoiding all pain and seeking comfort at all costs, we may be left without intimacy or compassion; in rejecting change and risk we often cheat ourselves of the quest; in denying our suffering we may never know our strength or our greatness ~ rachel-naomi-remen, @wisdomtrove
26:I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their alters. ~ ayn-rand, @wisdomtrove
27:There is a relentless search for the factual and this quest often lacks warmth or reverence. At a certain stage in our life we may wake up to the urgency of life, how short it is. Then the quest for truth becomes the ultimate project. We can often forage for years in the empty fields of self-analysis and self-improvement and sacrifice much of our real substance for specks of cold, lonesome factual truth. The wisdom of the tradition reminds us that if we choose to journey on the path of truth, it then becomes a sacred duty to walk hand in hand with beauty. ~ john-odonohue, @wisdomtrove
28:Sovereignty is the term the Bible uses to describe God's perfect control and management of the universe. He preserves and governs every element. He's continually involved with all created things, directing them to act in a way that fulfills his divine purpose. That's why the most stressed-out people are control freaks. They fail at the quest they most pursue. The more they try to control the world, the more they realize they cannot. Life becomes a cycle of anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure. We can't take control, because control is not ours to take. ~ max-lucado, @wisdomtrove

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:It is the spirit of the quest which helps ~ Kabir,
2:The quest for the truth, in and of itself, ~ Carolyn Porco,
3:one man’s quest is the quest of all of humanity, ~ Paulo Coelho,
4:There are no shortcuts in the quest for perfection. ~ Ben Hogan,
5:The quest for Tommy Lee Jones' laugh begins now. ~ Seth MacFarlane,
6:The quest, the fight—never the finding or the victory. ~ Greg Bear,
7:Even then I did not recognise the quest for power. ~ Anthony Powell,
8:Meditation is THE fundamental practice of the Quest. ~ Paul Brunton,
9:The Quest not only begins in the heart but also ends there. ~ Paul Brunton,
10:I'm always on the quest for something delicious and healthful. ~ Joely Fisher,
11:I'm not motivated by vanity, glory or the quest for power. ~ Michele Bachmann,
12:sometimes it’s the quest that holds the meaning, not the reward. ~ Dot Hutchison,
13:Always engage in the quest for life's meaning, which is inner peace. ~ Longchenpa,
14:You didn't get the quest you wanted, you got the one you could do. ~ Lev Grossman,
15:You didn’t get the quest you wanted, you got the one you could do. ~ Lev Grossman,
16:The quest of the absolute leads into the four-dimensional world. ~ Arthur Eddington,
17:I follow up the quest despite of day and night and death and hell. ~ Alfred Tennyson,
18:The quest for glory can never be satisfied, it must be extinguished. ~ Martin Luther,
19:The terrible thing about the quest for truth is that you find it. ~ Remy de Gourmont,
20:The terrible thing about the quest for truth is that you find it. ~ R my de Gourmont,
21:In the quest for power, truth is always the first thing left behind. ~ Sonya Hartnett,
22:In the quest for fortune and fame...don't forget about the simple things. ~ India Arie,
23:More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity. ~ Francois Gautier,
24:[Stephen Cope’s wonderful Yoga and the Quest for the True Self]. ~ Bessel A van der Kolk,
25:The fear of being deceived is the vulgar version of the quest for Truth. ~ Emile M Cioran,
26:The palace woke to its own emptiness;
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
27:The quest for meaning is the key to mental health and human flourishing ~ Viktor E Frankl,
28:If that desire did not arise, how could the quest of the Self arise? ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi,
29:It is by turning the mind away from the world that the quest is made. ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi,
30:The quest for certainty in forecasting outcomes can be the enemy of progress. ~ Nate Silver,
31:Almighty powers are shut in Nature’s cells. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
32:Eternity speaks, none understands its word; ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
33:The quest of Truth involves tapas-self-suffering-sometimes even unto death. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
34:A casual passing phrase can change our life. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
35:The instruments for the quest for Truth are as simple as they are difficult. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
36:The Wise who know see but one half of Truth, ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
37:Freedom lies in the quest for it, and ends where people have stopped asking about it. ~ Anonymous,
38:it was not the objective that made one a hero—it was the journey, the quest itself. ~ Morgan Rice,
39:The moon floated, a luminous waif through heaven ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
40:The earth you tread is a border screened from heaven ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
41:Clarity and consistency are not enough: the quest for truth requires humility and effort. ~ Tariq Ramadan,
42:In the quest for higher education and learning, we must never leave behind... common sense. ~ Jos N Harris,
43:In the quest to be clever, I completely forgot about the people that I love and that love me. ~ John Mayer,
44:Sometimes in the quest for enlightenment the only thing that gets lighter is your wallet. ~ Steve Maraboli,
45:The quest for simplicity has to pervade every part of the process. It really is fundamental. ~ Jonathan Ive,
46:Everyone has the same life purpose, which is the quest of happiness for oneself and for others. ~ Robert Thurman,
47:Scientists derive satisfaction from figuring out the puzzle. It's about the quest, not the grail. ~ Isaac Asimov,
48:Something born from human pride and the quest for pleasure cannot be considered true culture. ~ Masanobu Fukuoka,
49:Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living; author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self ~ Bessel A van der Kolk,
50:The sage's quest is for himself, the quest of the-ignorant for other than himself. ~ Confucius, “Lun-Yu,” II 15.20,
51:Attention! Your characters' lives and your real lives will be endangered while you fulfill the quest. ~ Arthur Stone,
52:I refuse to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be stronger than the quest for freedom. ~ Kailash Satyarthi,
53:Is it not a wonder of wonders? The quest “Who am I?” is the axe with which to cut off the ego. ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi,
54:Savagery in the quest for power is older than the Bible, but some of my opponents really hate my guts. ~ Bill Clinton,
55:The story of one person is the story of everyone, and one man’s quest is the quest of all of humanity, ~ Paulo Coelho,
56:Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives. ~ James Altucher,
57:It's as if, after all these years, the quest itself has become the point for me, and the end is frightening. ~ Stephen King,
58:Uncertainty was a sacrament and the quest for miles meant that we’d never know where or how we’d end the day. ~ Rinker Buck,
59:physics is the ultimate intellectual adventure, the quest to understand the deepest mysteries of our Universe. ~ Max Tegmark,
60:Humanism was not invented by man, but by a snake who suggested that the quest for autonomy might be a good idea. ~ R C Sproul,
61:There can be no greater good than the quest for peace, and no finer purpose than the preservation of freedom. ~ Ronald Reagan,
62:Nothing we think or do is void or vain;
Each is an energy loosed and holds its course. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
63:This life is but a brief tenure, one of many perspectives a spirit must experience in the quest for eternity. ~ Brian Rathbone,
64:it was not the objective that made one a hero—it was the journey, the quest itself. The willingness to accept it. ~ Morgan Rice,
65:The quest for heroic adventure then is a quest for the gospel, although it might not be seen that way by everyone. ~ Alan Hirsch,
66:The quest may be about enkantos -- but in truth. It is a quest of the heart! A quest to know and meet the eternal. ~ Arnold Arre,
67:Maybe this was the only way it could have gone. You didn’t get the quest you wanted, you got the one you could do. ~ Lev Grossman,
68:The might of God's grace and the quest of the Self in the form of 'Who am I?' lead the seeker to the Heart. ~ Sri Ramana Maharshi,
69:The quest for our origin is the sweet fruit's juice which maintains satisfaction in the minds of the philosophers. ~ Luca Pacioli,
70:Every reading is partial, but that does not absolve us from the quest for meaning, which defines us as a species. ~ Camille Paglia,
71:Here is another paradox: We become better people only when we give up the quest to become better people. That ~ Charles Eisenstein,
72:One simply uses the symbol to reveal oneself to other believers, in the hope that they might help one with the Quest ~ J K Rowling,
73:I have found that sometimes in the quest for knowledge, you must go backward before you can move forward" -Abia ~ Chris Grabenstein,
74:In the quest to be a man, you start to learn you need your family. If it wasn't for them, I'd be way closer to insanity. ~ Mac Miller,
75:The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers. ~ Erich Fromm,
76:For the Puritans, the God-centered life meant making the quest for spiritual and moral holiness the great business of life. ~ Leland Ryken,
77:Not for a changeless littleness were you meant,
Not for vain repetition were you built ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
78:The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers. ~ Erich Fromm,
79:The quest for precision is analogous to the quest for certainty and both - precision and certainty are impossible to attain. ~ Karl Popper,
80:The quest for peace is the statesman's most exacting duty... Practical progress to lasting peace is his fondest hope. ~ Dwight D Eisenhower,
81:Italian men are beautiful in the same way as French women, which is to say - no detail spared in the quest for perfection. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert,
82:The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others. ~ Joseph Campbell,
83:Authors of earth’s high change, to you it is given
To cross the dangerous spaces of the soul ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
84:The quest for fire occurred not because anyone knew what the practical uses for fire would be, but because it was fascinating. ~ Joseph Campbell,
85:Violence is the quest for identity. When identity disappears with technological innovation, violence is the natural recourse. ~ Marshall McLuhan,
86:But like a shining answer from the gods
   Approached through sun-bright spaces Savitri.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest, [T5],
87:When we approach the journey acknowledging what we do not know and what we can’t control, we maintain our energy for the quest. ~ Sharon Salzberg,
88:If he thought about the quest too much, or what might happen afterward, he’d panic. The trick was not to think—just get through it. ~ Rick Riordan,
89:the quest-romance is the search of the libido or desiring self for a fulfillment that will deliver it from the anxieties of reality. ~ Northrop Frye,
90:It is your soul's journey to enroll the ego in the quest for the ultimate victory - the evolution of your own individual consciousness. ~ Debbie Ford,
91:I see myself as a journalist reporting neglected stories about our past and trying to bring rigor, reason and intuition to the quest. ~ Graham Hancock,
92:it was the end of something – the quest completed, the curtain drawn – and he didn’t know, couldn’t imagine, what would come afterwards. ~ Lissa Evans,
93:To turn away from the great questions and dilemmas of life is a tragedy, for the quest for meaning and truth makes life worth living. ~ Charles Colson,
94:If the quest was supposed to be easy, they would not have given it to someone who is supposed to be a hero. --A Hero Born, pg 344 ~ Michael A Stackpole,
95:It is almost a guarantee that in the pursuit of security you will become more insecure. Inherent in the quest for security is its undoing. ~ Eve Ensler,
96:Yet, the quest for knowledge will overcome us and we must know. And, at last, we must see where the road ends, even if it be the cliff. ~ Nancy B Brewer,
97:Interpretations and judgments are important to explore. In contrast, the quest to determine who is right and who is wrong is a dead end. In ~ Douglas Stone,
98:The quest for truth must be carried out by each person individually. It is like breathing, something which no one else can do for us. ~ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, many it is not knowledge but the quest for knowledge that gives greater interest to thought-to travel hopefully is better than to arrive. ~ James Jeans,
100:Observing and then letting go is one of the most important skills to acquire in the quest to create positive change, as is knowledge of stillness. ~ Teal Swan,
101:Sala-manda-stron, look out here we come, A thief a warrior and a mole. Though the quest may take its toll, We'll march until we reach our goal. ~ Brian Jacques,
102:People can go very badly awry in this individual quest. But when the quest is fortunate, there comes a lifetime of creative innovative action. ~ Joseph Campbell,
103:You are young, gifted, and Black. We must begin to tell our young, There's a world waiting for you, Yours is the quest that's just begun. ~ James Weldon Johnson,
104:For the modern gentleman, the ability to regulate and control the impulses of thought is truly the last frontier in the quest for a cultivated air. ~ James Allen,
105:Christ said, The Truth shall make you free, but Truth is not found once and forever. Truth is eternal, and the quest for Truth must also be eternal. ~ Max Heindel,
106:It is the rare architect who does not hope in his heart to design a great building and for whom the quest is not a quiet, consuming passion. ~ Ada Louise Huxtable,
107:Some day the quest for friendship will replace the quest for material well-being that sooner or later will have been adequately provided for. Some ~ lis e Reclus,
108:The quest for slowness, which begins as a simple rebellion against the impoverishment of taste in our lives, makes it possible to rediscover taste. ~ Carlo Petrini,
109:First Law of Heroics.” The Monaciello grinned up at a confused September. “Someone has to tell you it’s impossible, or the Quest can’t go on. ~ Catherynne M Valente,
110:That this is the quest; but that it has never been attained; but that Science has acted, ruled, pronounced, and condemned as if it had been attained. ~ Charles Fort,
111:Do not lose heart, even if you must wait a bit before finding the right thing. Be prepared for disappointment also, but do not abandon the quest. ~ Albert Schweitzer,
112:Educators must resist the quest for certainty. If there were certainty there would be no scientific advancement. So it is with morals and patriotism. ~ John Goodlad,
113:However, once you realize the answer to most questions is, “It depends,” you are ready to embark on the quest to figure out what it depends on. ~ Michael J Mauboussin,
114:My death is very near to me, and of this I am glad, for I desire to pursue the quest in other realms, as it has been promised to me that I shall do. ~ H Rider Haggard,
115:Nameless the austere ascetics without home
Abandoning speech and motion and desire
Aloof from creatures sat absorbed, alone. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
116:The morn went up into a smiling sky;
Cast from its sapphire pinnacle of trance
Day sank into the burning gold of eve. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
117:It is my hope that as the Negro plunges deeper into the quest for freedom and justice he will plunge even deeper into the philosophy of non-violence. ~ Martin Luther King Jr,
118:the Sun is the kind of hero we are, but the Ascendant is the quest on which we must embark. The Sun is why we are here; the Ascendant is how we get there. ~ Howard Sasportas,
119:Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again. ~ Anais Nin,
120:Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again. ~ Ana s Nin,
121:Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright's pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace. ~ Maya Angelou,
122:Pain s the truth of art. Art is not a hobby or a pastime. It is the result of an internal battle royal, one between the quest for safety and the desire to matter. ~ Seth Godin,
123:The quest for the grail is equivalent to a call from the unconscious of western man to go in search of his origins. ~ Maria Zelia de Alvarenga, The Grail, Arthurs and his Knights,
124:I am not happy, and the quest for happiness as a principal objective is not part of my world. Of course, ever since I can remember, I have done what I felt like doing. ~ Paulo Coelho,
125:So rest is never found in the quest to understand it all. No, rest is found in trusting the One who understands it all and rules it all for his glory and our good. ~ Paul David Tripp,
126:Oneness was sovereign in that sylvan peace,
The wild beast joined in friendship with its prey;
Persuading the hatred and the strife to cease ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
127:Part of me thinks that your very vulnerability brings you closer to the meaning of life, just as for others, the quest to believe oneself white divides them from it. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates,
128:These sages breathed for God’s delight in things.
Assisting the slow entries of the gods,
Sowing in young minds immortal thoughts they lived, ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
129:To find oneself living in an age of doubt is not such a curse. There is a kind of reverence in undertaking the quest for truth, even before the first scrap has been found. ~ Deepak Chopra,
130:All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest. ~ Arthur C Clarke,
131:Fantasy football is actually an amazing American pastime, because it takes the ultimate team sport, NFL and football, and turns it into the quest for individual achievement. ~ Jeff Schaffer,
132:The instruments for the quest of truth are as simple as they are difficult. They may appear quite impossible to an arrogant person, and quite possible to an innocent child. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
133:We climbed the Sea-End Tower in the lost city of Toronto as the High King and his comrades did on the Quest. It’s still standing, our lake-boat touched there on our way east, ~ S M Stirling,
134:The quest for certainty is the biggest obstacle to becoming risk savvy. While there are things we can know, we must also be able to recognize when we cannot know something. ~ Gerd Gigerenzer,
135:They sang Infinity’s names and deathless powers
In metres that reflect the moving worlds,
Sight’s sound-waves breaking from the soul’s great deeps. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
136:There's a whole form of literature in India which talks about the quest for the perfect man by a woman, where every woman looks for a perfect man but only ends up with half that. ~ Shahrukh Khan,
137:The Typical American? He is sent to school Little or much, where he imbibes the rule Of safety first and comfort; in his youth He joins the church and ends the quest of truth. ~ Edgar Lee Masters,
138:The quest for homeland security is heading ... toward the quasi-militarization of everyday life ... If danger might lurk anywhere, maybe everything must be protected and policed. ~ William Greider,
139:I suppose everyone continues to be interested in the quest for the self, but what you feel when you're older, I think, is that - how to express this - you really must make the self. ~ Mary McCarthy,
140:The quest to sin always knocks at the door of the heart, but behold! You have the right and will to open your door or never to mind the knocks, no matter how intense it is! ~ Ernest Agyemang Yeboah,
141:first build upon a strong core of principles that are not open for continuous change; at the same time, be relentless in the quest for improvement and continuous self-renewal. This ~ Stephen R Covey,
142:In the quest for comparative advantage, investment will flow towards those countries that can offer more output for fewer emissions. Inaction will cost jobs. Action will support jobs. ~ Julia Gillard,
143:Today, whether we are doing algebra or playing with the computer, we are, in effect, benefitting from some inheritance of the quest for a perfect language.

For a Polyglot Federation ~ Umberto Eco,
144:I knew that I wanted to create rich themes, and something that people might really relate to emotionally. That was the quest, authenticity, and then just to make the audience feel something. ~ John Debney,
145:Marcel Proust was denied the chance to decipher the enigma of his life. I believe that the quest for “lost time” in the title of his great novel was the quest for the life he never lived. In ~ Alice Miller,
146:The quest for knowledge may be pursued at higher speeds with smarter tools today, but wisdom is found no more readily than it was three thousand years ago in the court of King Solomon. ~ Arianna Huffington,
147:What was transformative was being at the inauguration, reading my poem, and realizing that the quest for home and identity had always been part of my work, but that I'd been home all along. ~ Richard Blanco,
148:He (The 4th Doctor) concludes, as befits his Bohemian heroism, that the quest itself fulfils the quest - to travel is better than to arrive, and taking part is more triumphant than winning. ~ Philip MacDonald,
149:The quest for Love changes us. There is no seeker among those who search for Love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for Love, you start to change within and without. ~ Shams Tabrizi,
150:Statesmen can strive for the universal values of justice, fairness, and tolerance, but only so far as they do not interfere with the quest for power, which to him is synonymous with survival. ~ Robert D Kaplan,
151:From its place of concealment the Grail still calls seekers to the quest and knights still set out upon the way to the castle that is difficult to find, where the treasure is preserved. ~ Marie Louise von Franz,
152:The only thing we all have in common is that we play tricks in order to force ourselves to abandon the quest. The counter-measure is to persist in spite of all the barriers and disappointments. ~ Carlos Castaneda,
153:Maybe this was the only way it could have gone. You didn’t get the quest you wanted, you got the one you could do. That was the hard part, accepting that you didn’t get to choose which way you went. ~ Lev Grossman,
154:There is a canyon of difference between doing your best to glorify God and doing whatever it takes to glorify yourself. The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity. The quest for power is childish. ~ Max Lucado,
155:Under law the Quest for Ultimate Truth is quite clearly the inalienable prerogative of your working thinkers. Any bloody machine goes and actually finds it and we’re straight out of a job, aren’t we? ~ Douglas Adams,
156:Alvin was an explorer, and all explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest. ~ Arthur C Clarke,
157:The shadowy keepers of our deathless past
Have made our fate the child of our own acts,
And from the furrows laboured by our will
We reap the fruit of our forgotten deeds. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
158:Fire, water, earth, and air,
All meet in the dragon's lair.
Six brave hearts have failed the test;One continues in the quest.
Remember well the words you know
When on to find your fate you go. ~ Emily Rodda,
159:The quest for stability or homeostasis is silly. We should accept that we live on an incredibly dynamic planet in a rapidly changing environment, and do our best to have the most amazing experiences we can. ~ Brad Feld,
160:It’s as if the quest for constant, seamless self-expression has become so deeply embedded that, according to social scientists like Robert Putnam, it is undermining the essential structures of everyday life. ~ Anonymous,
161:World-naked hermits with their matted hair
Immobile as the passionless great hills
Around them grouped like thoughts of some vast mood
Awaiting the Infinite’s behest to end. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
162:Brené is also the New York Times best-selling author of Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. ~ Timothy Ferriss,
163:In a sense the quest for the emancipation of black people in the U.S. has always been a quest for economic liberation which means to a certain extent that the rise of black middle class would be inevitable. ~ Angela Davis,
164:Just as in nature systems of order govern the growth and structure of animate and inanimate matter, so human activity itself has, since the earliest times, been distinguished by the quest for order. ~ Josef Muller Brockmann,
165:The quest for power is strange in that, once the quest has begun, the destination always seems to shift ever further away. What power one has is never enough; whatever happiness one had turns to bitterness. ~ Sonya Hartnett,
166:A knight must throw down his gauntlet to the Devil and fight for right against the servants of sin. Whether you win or lose matters not, only whether you follow the quest. Remember that virtue always prevails. ~ Sandra Worth,
167:The Quest of the Holy Grail, the Search for the Stone of the Philosophers-by whatever name we choose to call the Great Work-is therefore endless. Success only opens up new avenues of brilliant possibility. ~ Aleister Crowley,
168:If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and the failure memorable. ~ T Coraghessan Boyle,
169:The quest for meaning, which is always begun again by every human intellect, is to human consciousness what a fingerprint is to the body: shared by all, and unique to every individual. A universal singularity. ~ Tariq Ramadan,
170:The months had fed the passion of the sun
And now his burning breath assailed the soil.
The tiger heats prowled through the fainting earth;
All was licked up as by a lolling tongue. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Quest,
171:There can be no universal without diversity: the quest for the ultimate commonality would be pointless if we did not recognize the initial differences that explain just why we have to go in search of the universal. ~ Tariq Ramadan,
172:But where can I seize this holy grail of joy? I look back down to the page. Was this the clue to the quest of all most important? Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo—the table of thanksgiving. ~ Ann Voskamp,
173:God’s Bankers cuts through the masses of misinformation to present an unvarnished account of the quest for money and power in the Roman Catholic Church. No embellishment is needed. That real tale is shocking enough. ~ Gerald Posner,
174:Trying relentlessly to make you love me, but I don’t want the love—I quite prefer the quest for it. The challenge. I am always disappointed with someone who loves me—how perfect can he be if he can’t see through me? ~ Carrie Fisher,
175:A disciple said to him, "I am ready, in the quest for God , to give up anything: wealth, friends, family, country, life itself. What else can a person give up?" The Master calmly replied, "One's beliefs about God. ~ Anthony de Mello,
176:My mother had to abandon the quest, but managed to extract from the restriction itself a further refinement of thought, as great poets do when the tyranny of rhyme forces them into the discovery of their finest lines. ~ Marcel Proust,
177:The quest for a lost city erodes your body, damaging you beyond all reason. But it is your mind that bears the heaviest toll. Listen to the doubters, the worriers and the weak, and the vaguest hope of success evaporates. ~ Tahir Shah,
178:Religious tolerance has developed more as a consequence of the impotence of religions to impose their dogmas on each other than as a consequence of spiritual humility in the quest for understanding first and last things. ~ Sidney Hook,
179:This traditionally happens in Russia and in every other undemocratic country as well - the quest for a scapegoat won't be long, either. The easiest way to find a scapegoat is to ascribe that role to former governments. ~ Garry Kasparov,
180:He who now stares at the world with ignorant eyes
Hardly from the Inconscient’s night aroused,
That look at images and not at Truth,
Can fill those orbs with an immortal’s sight. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
181:In response to what he saw as the "emptying" of the world of significance through the rise of the rationalistic reductive view, Rilke, like many other late-Romantic souls, turned inward. ~ Gary Lachman, The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus,
182:I would say that as our struggles mature, they produce new ideas, new issues, and new terrains on which we engage in the quest for freedom. Like Nelson Mandela, we must be willing to embrace the long walk toward freedom. ~ Angela Y Davis,
183:In other searchings it might be the object of the quest that brought satisfaction, or it might be something incidental that one got on the way; but in religion, desire was fulfilment, it was the seeking itself that rewarded. ~ Willa Cather,
184:Rebirth takes away the sense of urgency and the quest for perfection that are the hallmarks of Western thought. The Gita does not speak of changing the world. It speaks of appreciating the world that is always changing. ~ Devdutt Pattanaik,
185:Whatever the intellectual is too certain of, if he is healthily playful, he begins to find unsatisfactory. The meaning of his intellectual life lies not in the possession of truth but in the quest for new uncertainties. ~ Richard Hofstadter,
186:History teaches us that unity is strength, and cautions us to submerge and overcome our differences in the quest for common goals, to strive, with all our combined strength, for the path to true African brotherhood and unity. ~ Haile Selassie,
187:The truth is, balance is bunk. It is an unattainable pipe dream... . The quest for balance between work and life, as we’ve come to think of it, isn’t just a losing proposition; it’s a hurtful, destructive one.” Keith H. Hammonds ~ Gary Keller,
188:Ultimately, the quest for the Elder Wand merely supports an observation I have had occasion to make many times over the course of my long life: that humans have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them. ~ J K Rowling,
189:There is no sense of loss in this transcendence of the quest to satisfy desires that previously seemed so important or of the pleasures that came from their satisfaction, for enlightenment involves detachment from one’s desires. ~ Peter Singer,
190:What is rooted out in the quest of truth is ignorance; it is entirely removed from the heart, and the outlook becomes wide; as wide as the Eye of God; therein is born the divine Spirit, the spirit, which is called Divinity. ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan,
191:Actualization of self cannot be sought as a goal in its own right. . . . Rather, it seems to be a by-product of active commitment of one's talents to some cause, outside the self, such as the quest for beauty, truth, or justice. ~ Sidney Jourard,
192:Actualization of self cannot be sought as a goal in its own right. . . . Rather, it seems to be a by-product of active commitment of one's talents to some cause, outside the self, such as the quest for beauty, truth, or justice. ~ Sidney Jourard,
193:The quest for freedom in the real world is like living in a room with many windows. You can connect with the outside atmosphere whenever you want to, by opening the windows and when you seek privacy or solitude, you can close them. ~ Awdhesh Singh,
194:The quest of the alchemists to turn lead into gold is a metaphor for our attempts to turn the base metal of ourselves, that person hooked on consumerism, filled with angst and ambition, into the gold of what we can be and really are. ~ Chloe Thurlow,
195:The search for justice and security, the struggle for equality of opportunity, the quest for tolerance and harmony, the pursuit of human dignity - these are moral imperatives which we must work towards and think about on a daily basis. ~ Aga Khan IV,
196:Even within monotheist religions themselves, conceptions of divinity vary wildly.  The quest for a single concept that will embrace these diverse conceptions quickly turns to a search for the lowest common denominator of godhood. ~ John Michael Greer,
197:Faith was intended precisely for the simple, but the quest for certainty and simplicity becomes dangerous when it leads to fanaticism and narrow-mindedness. When reason as such becomes suspect, then faith itself becomes falsified. ~ Pope Benedict XVI,
198:If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable. ~ E O Wilson,
199:The pursuit of pretty formulas and neat theorems can no doubt quickly degenerate into a silly vice, but so can the quest for austere generalities which are so very general indeed that they are incapable of application to any particular. ~ Eric Temple Bell,
200:In the end the great truth will have been learned that the quest is greater than what is sought, the effort finer that the prize (or rather, that the effort is the prize), the victory cheap and hollow were it not for the rigor of the game. ~ Benjamin Cardozo,
201:Our life is not given to us like an opera libretto, in which all is written down; but it means going, walking, doing, searching, seeing.... We must enter into the adventure of the quest for meeting God; we must let God search and encounter us. ~ Pope Francis,
202:Our life is not given to us like an opera libretto, in which all is written down; but it means going, walking, doing, searching, seeing. . . . We must enter into the adventure of the quest for meeting God; we must let God search and encounter us. ~ Pope Francis,
203:Just as in habiliments it is a sign of weakness to wish to make oneself noticeable by some peculiar and unaccustomed fashion, so, in language, the quest for new-fangled phrases and little-known words comes from a puerile and pedantic ambition. ~ Michel de Montaigne,
204:The Quest for Prosperity is an important book. Written with verve and clarity, it reflects a deep understanding of global economic issues, and proposes practical solutions that anyone concerned with the plight of the world's poor would be wise to read. ~ Robert Fogel,
205:Contemporary identity politics is driven by the quest for equal recognition by groups that have been marginalized by their societies. But that desire for equal recognition can easily slide over into a demand for recognition of the group’s superiority. ~ Francis Fukuyama,
206:Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion. ~ Paulo Freire,
207:of nightmares to reach, to seize. Joy. But where can I seize this holy grail of joy? I look back down to the page. Was this the clue to the quest of all most important? Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo—the table of thanksgiving. ~ Ann Voskamp,
208:shame is the voice of perfectionism. Whether we’re talking about appearance, work, motherhood, health or family, it’s not the quest for perfection that is so painful; it’s failing to meet the unattainable expectations that lead to the painful wash of shame. ~ Bren Brown,
209:The need of reason is not inspired by the quest for truth but by the quest for meaning. And truth and meaning are not the same. The basic fallacy , taking precedence over all specific metaphysical fallacies, is to interpret meaning on the model of truth. ~ Hannah Arendt,
210:Closing the gate is meant to be a season-long arc, but the questions that come up in the quest, and the series of reveals and discoveries, are meant to start being the under-pinings for questions, secrets and things that will be explored in future seasons. ~ Jeremy Carver,
211:The quest for seizing that amygdala moment, those crushing seconds of unbearable, incapacitating shock, seizing these moments and not letting them go, dragging them out for as long as is operationally necessary, that, said Sid, is the aim of the Bucha effect. ~ Jon Ronson,
212:In any case, perhaps the quest for data to support our actions gets overemphasized. After all, our emotions distinguish us. Art and poetry and music are from and to the human heart, as is, for many, our relationship with the land.' ~ Eric Blehm Randy Morgenson ~ Eric Blehm,
213:Science attempts to analyze how things and people and animals behave; it has no concern whether this behavior is good or bad, is purposeful or not. But religion is precisely the quest for such answers: whether an act is right or wrong, good or bad, and why. ~ Warren Weaver,
214:At heart, science is the quest for awesome - the literal awe that you feel when you understand something profound for the first time. It's a feeling we are all born with, although it often gets lost as we grow up and more mundane concerns take over our lives. ~ Sean Carroll,
215:Skepticism is essential to the quest for knowledge, for it is in the seedbed of puzzlement that genuine inquiry takes root. Without skepticism, we may remain mired in unexamined belief systems that are accepted as sacrosanct yet have no factual basis in reality. ~ Paul Kurtz,
216:We all face things that appear to make little sense and don’t seem to serve any good purpose. So rest is never found in the quest to understand it all. No, rest is found in trusting the One who understands it all and rules it all for his glory and our good. ~ Paul David Tripp,
217:"Bhagavad Gita" is an examination of consciousness and the desire of human beings and the quest that we have as human beings to understand ourselves; that it was a map, you might say, for exploring the territory that leads us to find out things about ourselves. ~ Deepak Chopra,
218:It is one thing when the culture doesn’t “get” adoption. What else could one expect when all of life is seen as the quest of “selfish genes” for survival? It is one thing when the culture doesn’t “get” adoption and so speaks of buying a cat as “adopting” a pet. ~ Russell D Moore,
219:If we take care of the means, we are bound to reach the end sooner or later. When once we have grasped this point, final victory is beyond question. Whatever difficulties we encounter, whatever apparent reverses we sustain, we may not give up the quest for truth. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
220:For analytical psychology neurotic symptom symbolizes the starting point of the quest for meaning. It is in the acceptance on the individual's part of the symptom that he can begin to accept his uniqueness as a suffering individual and to separate from collective values ~ Casement,
221:Physics is the ultimate intellectual adventure, the quest to understand the deepest mysteries of our Universe. Physics doesn’t take something fascinating and make it boring. Rather, it helps us see more clearly, adding to the beauty and wonder of the world around us. ~ Max Tegmark,
222:As Thor walked, he was beginning to realize that it was not the objective that made one a hero—it was the journey, the quest itself. The willingness to accept it. Life was short. He realized that now. It was not about how he ended it. It was about how he lived it. And ~ Morgan Rice,
223:Theism pushes the quest for intelligibility outside the world. If God exists, he is not part of the natural order but a free agent not governed by natural laws. He may act partly by creating a natural order, but whatever he does directly cannot be part of that order. ~ Thomas Nagel,
224:All Hindu rituals end with the chant ‘Shanti, shanti, shanti’ because the quest for peace is the ultimate goal of all existence. This peace is not external but internal. It is not about making the world a peaceful place; it is about us being at peace with the world. ~ Devdutt Pattanaik,
225:It is true that the successful quest for wisdom might lead to the result that wisdom is not the one thing needful. But this result would owe its relevance to the fact that it is the result of the quest for wisdom: the very disavowal of reason must be reasonable disavowal. ~ Leo Strauss,
226:So let the way wind up the hill or down, O’er rough or smooth, the journey will be joy; Still seeking what I sought when but a boy, New friendship, high adventure, and a crown. My heart will keep the courage of the quest, And hope the road’s last turn will be the best. ~ Henry Van Dyke,
227:I think top scientists need to be compensated at a different scale in society. Somebody with experience will tell you that true scientists are not motivated by money - they are motivated by the quest itself. That is true. But I think an additional recognition will not hurt. ~ Yuri Milner,
228:The great Christian theologian Rudolf Bultmann liked to say that the quest for the historical Jesus is ultimately an internal quest. Scholars tend to see the Jesus they want to see. Too often they see themselves—their own reflection—in the image of Jesus they have constructed. ~ Reza Aslan,
229:In Joseph Campbell's popular book of essays Myths to Live By, he described something pertinent to our theme of sacred journeys: “The ultimate aim of the quest, if one is to return, must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and the power to serve others. ~ Phil Cousineau,
230:Hilvar knew better than this; he had sensed it instinctively from the first. Alvin was an explorer, and all explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest. What ~ Arthur C Clarke,
231:It's the fun part 'cause you don't have any of the real heavy-lifting to do. You just come in and shout and chew scenery, and just be awful and say a few jokes, and you don't have to carry the romantic storyline or the quest part of the story. You just pop up, every now and again. ~ Justin Theroux,
232:Parents - and teachers too - are woefully short-sighted when they try to protect the child from his mistakes, when they make the "right answer" more important than the quest for knowledge and good judgment. For what is not learned within one's self cannot be learned from another. ~ Sydney J Harris,
233:It is said that in every Persian carpet there is an error created by the weaver to avoid making a mockery of the belief that only Allah is perfect. Writing a novel is the quest for a perfection every writer knows can never be achieved, but is obliged to "Set out to write a masterpiece. ~ Chloe Thurlow,
234:Self-production: the characteristic of living systems to continuously renew themselves and to regulate this process in such a way that the integrity of their structure is maintained. It is a natural process which supports the quest for structure, process renewal and integrity. ~ Margaret J Wheatley,
235:All that appears and happens about and around us is uncertain transient. But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainty, and one would be blessed if one could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and hitch one's waggon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum bonum of life. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
236:All that appears and happens about and around us is uncertain, transient. But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainly, and one would be blessed if one could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and hitch one’s waggon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum bonum of life. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
237:first build upon a strong core of principles that are not open for continuous change; at the same time, be relentless in the quest for improvement and continuous self-renewal. This dialectic enables an individual to retain a rock-solid foundation and attain sustained growth for a lifetime. ~ Stephen R Covey,
238:Perhaps the most concise summary of enlightenment would be: transcending dualism . ... Dualism is the conceptual division of the world into categories ... human perception is by nature a dualistic phenomenon - which makes the quest for enlightenment an uphill struggle, to say the least. ~ Douglas Hofstadter,
239:The quest for knowledge is the essence of science. The science of biology is a quest to gain a knowledge of living things, the science of physics is an attempt to gain knowledge about physical things, and the science of theology is an attempt to gain a coherent, consistent knowledge of God. All ~ R C Sproul,
240:To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. ~ Alan Watts,
241:As when the mantra sinks in Yoga’s ear,
Its message enters stirring the blind brain
And keeps in the dim ignorant cells its sound;
The hearer understands a form of words
And, musing on the index thought it holds,
He strives to read it with the l ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
242:The more you add to what you have, the less you are. Accumulating more, concentrating all your effort in the quest for things you can have, means losing your being in the process.... Being involves something different than the quest for having. Adding to what you have means losing your being. ~ Jacques Ellul,
243:not prohibit an appropriate quest for literary sources or even oral sources that may be discerned through source criticism, but it draws a line as to the extent to which such critical analysis can go. When the quest for sources produces a dehistoricizing of the Bible, a rejection of its teaching, ~ R C Sproul,
244:To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. ~ Alan W Watts,
245:The quest of power can delude man. Power creates hatred and powerful people often fear for their lives. A man, when in power, can intimidate everyone but becomes scared for himself when out of power. Power is addictive; once you live and learn to wield power, it is difficult to live without it. ~ Awdhesh Singh,
246:Not long ago, two children in Great Park made a quest: a boy who sought a way to talk through the thing he dreaded most and a girl who feared she had lost the One she loved the most. And together they discovered the Kingdom within and without, which all do, who have the courage to make the quest. ~ David R Mains,
247:And when I seek a finer grace in the day, som essence of love and life, the light fades beneath my eyes.

I will not abandon the quest before it has truly begun, however. I will let this grief sharpen my gaze, polish and shape it until it becomes a magnifying lens through which I might yet see. ~ Eowyn Ivey,
248:By the way, it is also good to know that faith isn’t one-sided. As Christ said: ‘I have come to seek and save.’

He is out looking for us, too.

So be brave and let Him do his side of the bargain. I call it the quest to be found.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. ~ Bear Grylls,
249:There is no final truth in palaeontology. Every new observer brings something of his or her own: a new technique, a new intelligence, even new mistakes. The past mutates. The scientist is on a perpetual journey into a past that can never be fully known, and there is no end to the quest for knowledge. ~ Richard Fortey,
250:Faith, not cowardice, takes the step into unknown territory for the sake of Jesus Christ and His church. Love, not self-preserving protectiveness, sacrifices its own life that others might live. Hope of new life, not resignation to inevitable decline, yields itself up in the quest for a better future. ~ Darrin Patrick,
251:We embark on this quest not from a simple desire, but from a mandate of our species to search for our place in the cosmos. The quest is old, not new. And has garnered the attention of thinkers great and small, across time and across culture. What we have discovered, the poets have known all along. ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson,
252:People are hungry for success—that’s nothing new. What’s changed is the definition of that success. Increasingly, the quest for success is not the same as the quest for status and money. The definition has broadened to include contributing something to the world and living and working on one’s own terms. ~ Blake Mycoskie,
253:Dying and giving birth go on inside the one consciousness, but most people misunderstand the pure play of creative energy, how inside that, those are one event. [bk1sm.gif] -- from Holy Fire: Nine Visionary Poets and the Quest for Enlightenment, Edited by Daniel Halpern

~ Lalla, Dying and giving birth go on
254:Leaders encourage others to continue the quest and inspire others through courage and hope. Leaders give heart by visibly recognizing others' contributions to the common vision. With a thank you note, a smile, an award, and public praise, the leader lets others know how much they mean to the organization. ~ James M Kouzes,
255:He found himself looking into many faces for potentional love, and seeing many people as shining vessels of possibility. Perhaps this time there would be that indefinable something that sent hungry hearts roving, longing and searching for something, they knew not what, and yet could not give up the quest. ~ Cassandra Clare,
256:But in that moment, I knew it wasn't just the poison that was killing her. It was her fathers final blow. Zoë had known all along that the Oracle's prophecy was about her: she would die by a parent's hand. And yet she'd taken the quest anyway. She had chosen to save me, and Atlas's fury had broken her inside. ~ Rick Riordan,
257:That’s why the most stressed-out people are control freaks. They fail at the quest they most pursue. The more they try to control the world, the more they realize they cannot. Life becomes a cycle of anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure. We can’t take control, because control is not ours to take. ~ Max Lucado,
258:You see, until then I'd been driven. I'd had a true quest, a purpose beyond my function - and then suddenly, the quest was over.
I felt... drained. Disappointed. Let down.
Does that make sense? I had been sure that as soon as I had everything back I'd feel good. But inside I felt worse than when I stared. ~ Neil Gaiman,
259:Masculinity must be proved, and no sooner is it proved than it is again questioned and must be proved again-constant, relentless, unachievable, and ultimately the quest for proof becomes so meaningless that it takes on the characteristics, as Weber said, of a sport. He who has the most toys when he dies wins. ~ Michael S Kimmel,
260:The Atharva Veda points out that the quest for awareness, the search for answers, the journey towards self-realization, never ceases: How does the wind not cease to blow?
How does the mind take no repose?
Why do the waters, seeking to reach the truth,
Never at any time cease to flow? —Atharva Veda, X.7.3731 ~ Shashi Tharoor,
261:But there’s always going to be someone richer than you, someone who has something you don’t—so can you gain happiness by chasing wealth? Only if you deliberately choose to swim against the flow by saving instead of spending. Otherwise trying to get rich is just another way of burning yourself out on the quest for happiness. ~ Anonymous,
262:In japanese culture, there's a belief that only imperfect objects, like a cracked teacup, can truly be beautiful. This is called wabi sabi.

Try to let go of the quest for perfection, and instead accept the beauty that lies in all of life's imperfections. The result will be extra energy, less stress and a longer life. ~ Blinkist,
263:Productivity-the amount of output delivered per hour of work in the economy-is often viewed as the engine of progress in modern capitalist economies. Output is everything. Time is money. The quest for increased productivity occupies reams of academic literature and haunts the waking hours of C.E.O.s and finance ministers. ~ Tim Jackson,
264:Characters tend to be either for or against the quest. If they assist it, they are idealized as simply gallant or pure; if they obstruct it, they are characterized as simply villainous or cowardly. Hence every typical character...tends to have his moral opposite confronting him, like black and white pieces in a chess game. ~ Northrop Frye,
265:The life you lead conceals the light you are.
Immortal Powers sweep flaming past your doors;
Far-off upon your tops the god-chant sounds
While to exceed yourselves thought's trumpets call,
Heard by a few, but fewer dare aspire,
The nympholepts of the ecstasy and the blaze.
~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Call to the Quest,
266:My life is not only about my strengths and virtues; it is also about my liabilities and my limits, my trespasses and my shadow. An inevitable though often ignored dimension of the quest for "wholeness" is that we must embrace what we dislike or find shameful about ourselves as well as what we are confident
and proud of. ~ Parker J Palmer,
267:One may ask the question as to the extent to which the quest for beauty is an aim in the pursuit of science. . . . It is, indeed, an incredible fact that what the human mind, at its deepest and most profound, perceives as beautiful finds its realization in external nature. What is intelligible is also beautiful. ~ Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar,
268:But do you remember Gandalf’s words: Even Gollum may have something yet to do? But for him, Sam, I could not have destroyed the Ring. The Quest would have been in vain, even at the bitter end. So let us forgive him! For the Quest is achieved, and now all is over. I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam ~ J R R Tolkien,
269:To my taste, the men in Rome are ridiculously, hurtfully, stupidly beautiful. More beautiful even than Roman women, to be honest. Italian men are beautiful in the same way as French women, which is to say-- no detail spared in the quest for perfection. They’re like show poodles. Sometimes they look so good I want to applaud. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert,
270:From the Earl of Hellgate's Memoirs, Chapter the Twenty-Sixth

I realized then that I had mistaken the nature of love. Love has nothing to do with desire; it's the quest for the divine, found on earth. It's finding a woman whose soul preserves a shard of heaven, and worshipping her...worshipping at her feet. I was a new man. ~ Eloisa James,
271:What greatly attracted me - and it was the main line of advance of Cubism - was how to give material expression to this new space of which I had an inkling. So I began to paint chiefly still lifes, because in nature there is a tactile, I would almost say a manual space... that was the earliest Cubist painting - the quest for space. ~ Georges Braque,
272:That’s what I was struggling out of nightmares to reach, to seize. Joy. But where can I seize this holy grail of joy? I look back down to the page. Was this the clue to the quest of all most important? Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo—the table of thanksgiving. I sit there long … wondering … is it that simple? ~ Ann Voskamp,
273:They would never know what she'd done, the quest she'd completed. There would be no songs sung about it, no stories of glory shared. It didn't matter. She knew who she was and the ordeal she'd faced. She was an Amazon. The knowledge burned like a secret flame inside her, a light no one could extinguish, no matter what names they called her. ~ Leigh Bardugo,
274:For the man on the quest, the universe becomes enchanting-an effect that good religion accomplishes. There are no dead ends, no wasted time, no useless characters or meaningless happenings. All has meaning, and God is in all things waiting to speak and to bless. Everything belongs once a man is on his real quest and asking the right questions. ~ Richard Rohr,
275:The Quest
High, hollowed in green
above the rocks of reason
lies the crater lake
whose ice the dreamer breaks
to find a summer season.
'He will plunge like a plummet down
far into hungry tides'
they cry, but as the sea
climbs to a lunar magnet
so the dreamer pursues
the lake where love resides.
~ Denise Levertov,
276:distinguish the mere correlates of consciousness from the genuine signatures of consciousness. Although the quest for the brain mechanisms of conscious experience is often described as a search for neural correlates of consciousness, this phrase is inadequate. Correlation is not causation, and a mere correlate is therefore insufficient. Too ~ Stanislas Dehaene,
277:Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
278:Henry Hudson was in his forties when he stepped into the light of history, a seasoned mariner, a man with a strong and resourceful wife and three sons, a man born and raised not only to the sea but to the quest for a northern passage to Asia, who, weaned from infancy on the legends of his predecessors, probably couldn't help but be obsessed by it. ~ Russell Shorto,
279:I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow men. ~ Ronald Reagan,
280:It is about a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying. Perhaps immortality, too, is part of the quest. To be remembered was the wish, spoken and unspoken, of the heroes and heroines of this book. ~ Studs Terkel,
281:If war stems from unmet needs related to male adolescent ritual, that's something that we need to examine. I'm interested in the possibility of simply getting rid of war. I'd be no more willing to let go of that than to let go of the possibility of eradicating cancer. That's not to say I'm certain we can, but I am willing to use any energy at all in the quest. ~ Jaron Lanier,
282:You can love, and fear, and forbid things to be what they are, and overact. Let it end here then, let the quest end. Is the world any the worse for losing the unicorns, and would it be any better if they were running free again? One good woman more in the world is worth every single unicorn gone. Let it end. Marry the prince and live happily ever after.” The ~ Peter S Beagle,
283:Savagery in the quest for power is older than the Bible, but some of my opponents really hate my guts. They don’t just want to run me out of office. They won’t be satisfied unless I’m sent to prison, drawn and quartered, and erased from the history books. Hell, if they had their way, they’d probably burn down my house in North Carolina and spit on my wife’s grave. ~ Bill Clinton,
284:The question is, how will you handle these challenges as you attempt to complete the quest or mission before you? Will you look at them as opportunities to grow and advance—to prove to yourself that you are capable of leveling up—or will you look at them as brick walls that halt your progress? It all comes down to your attitude and your strategy for attacking the obstacle. ~ Steve Kamb,
285:What it does remind us is that 'God' is not to be separated from the quest for the Kingdom of God and is not and cannot be the object of any detached 'scientific' contemplation. Heidegger's critique of onto-theology is also driving a wedge between speaking of God and the aims of science - not so as to get rid of God but rather to free God from a false objectification. ~ George Pattison,
286:Quests are a huge inconvenience. Don't let anyone tell you differently, even if that person has experience. The problem is that people forget the pain and aggravation as soon as the quest ends successfully, and then they remember only the glorious parts. In this way quests are a bit like childbirth, even to the point of saying that quests often give birth to glory. Maybe. ~ Amy Neftzger,
287:The greatest knight takes the hardest quest of all: the quest to make yourself a better person. Every day, you must strive to be better. Not just better than others—but better than yourself. You must quest to take up the cause of those lesser than yourself. You must defend those who cannot defend themselves. It is not a quest for the light-hearted. It is a quest of heroes. ~ Morgan Rice,
288:I used to take acting so seriously, but after we did the Quest pilot and the show sold, Kurt Russel said, "You know, you work too hard. You'll make yourself sick. You can't work that hard doing a series, because it goes on so long. It's like a baseball season. You've got 162 games. You can't just go all-out the first week or two. You can't maintain that pace." And it's true. ~ Tim Matheson,
289:At its heart, the quest that trans people are on is to have the same thing that straight — and gay — people have: the ability to wake up in the morning and be ourselves, without permission, without apology. Our lives should not be defined by wigs, or surgery, or which bathroom we use. Our lives should be defined by our identities, and the truth we bear in our hearts. ~ Jennifer Finney Boylan,
290:It pains me, my dear,” I said with a distinct emotional warble in my throat, “to be forced to choose between you and the quest for the buzzard’s bellybutton.” I calculated my words to demonstrate the depth of my affection and the full weight of my courage. I hung my head dramatically (but sincerely!) and said, “I choose the crusty navel.” Truly, her heart broke to see me go. ~ Andrew Peterson,
291:Living consciously is seeking to be aware of everything that bears on our interests, actions, values, purposes, and goals. It is the willingness to confront facts, pleasant or unpleasant. It is the desire to discover our mistakes and correct them . . . it is the quest to keep expanding our awareness and understanding, both of the world external to self and the world within. ~ Nathaniel Branden,
292:We started this together, Leo. Seems only right you come along. You find us a ride, you're in." "Yes!" Leo pumped his fist. * * * * * Jason gazed up at the dragon and shook his head in amazement. "Leo, what have you done?" "Found a ride!" Leo beamed. "You said I could go on the quest if I got you a ride. Well, I got you a class-A metallic flying bad boy! Festus can take us anywhere! ~ Rick Riordan,
293:Write every day, line by line, page by page, hour by hour. Do this despite fear. For above all else, beyond imagination and skill, what the world asks of you is courage, courage to risk rejection, ridicule and failure. As you follow the quest for stories told with meaning and beauty, study thoughtfully but write boldly. Then, like the hero of the fable, your dance will dazzle the world. ~ Robert McKee,
294:I work not only for the gathering and assimilation of knowledge, but also to teach the fact that one can be brilliant without being arrogant, that great intellectual capacity brings great responsibility, that the quest for knowledge should never supplant the joy of learning, that one with great capacities must learn to be tolerant and appreciate those with lesser or different absolutes, ~ H G Bissinger,
295:A rational process is a moral process. You may make an error at any step of it, with nothing to protect you but your own severity, or you may try to cheat, to fake the evidence and evade the effort of the quest - but if devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking. ~ Ayn Rand,
296:But Indra does not turn back from the quest like Agni and Vayu; he pursues his way through the highest ether of the pure mentality and there he approaches the Woman, the manyshining, Uma Haimavati; from her he learns that this Daemon is the Brahman by whom alone the gods of mind and life and body conquer and affirm themselves, and in whom alone they are great. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Kena And Other Upanishads, 83,
297:Bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us...No longer is the quest for disarmament a sign of weakness, (nor) the destruction of arms a dream - it is a practical matter of life or death. The risks inherent in disarmament pale in comparison to the risks inherent in an unlimited arms race. ~ John F Kennedy,
298:Bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations. Weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us...No longer is the quest for disarmament a sign of weakness, (nor) the destruction of arms a dream - it is a practical matter of life or death. The risks inherent in disarmament pale in comparison to the risks inherent in an unlimited arms race. ~ John F Kennedy,
299:We started this together, Leo. Seems only right you come along. You find us a ride, you're in."
"Yes!" Leo pumped his fist.
* * * * *
Jason gazed up at the dragon and shook his head in amazement. "Leo, what have you done?"
"Found a ride!" Leo beamed. "You said I could go on the quest if I got you a ride. Well, I got you a class-A metallic flying bad boy! Festus can take us anywhere! ~ Rick Riordan,
300:God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose. ~ John Piper,
301:I suppose everyone continues to be interested in the quest for the self, but what you feel when you're older, I think, is that ... you really must make the self. It is absolutely useless to look for it, you won't find it, but it's possible in some sense to make it. I don't mean in the sense of making a mask, a Yeatsian mask. But you finally begin in some sense to make and choose the self you want. ~ Mary McCarthy,
302:I think it is wrong to expect certainties in this world, where all else but God that is Truth is an uncertainty. All that appears and happens about and around us is uncertain, transient. But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainty, and one would be blessed if one could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and hitch one's waggon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum bonum of life. ~ Mahatma Gandhi,
303:We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer to the varied problems of life. Hence in all we do we always place man first and hence all our action is usually joint community oriented action rather than the individualism. ~ Steven Biko,
304:The challenge of preventing any further proliferation of nuclear weapons is just such a trial in the quest for world peace, one that cannot be achieved if we are defeated by a sense of helplessness. The crucial element is to ensure that any struggle against evil is rooted firmly in a consciousness of the unity of the human family, something only gained through the mastery of our own inner contradictions. ~ Daisaku Ikeda,
305:Lying is essential to humanity. It plays as large a part perhaps as the quest for pleasure, and is moreover governed by that quest. One lies in order to protect one's pleasure, or one's honour if the disclosure of one's pleasure runs counter to one's honour. One lies all one's life long, even, especially, perhaps only, to those who love one. For they alone make us fear for our pleasure and desire their esteem. ~ Marcel Proust,
306:One tiny Hobbit against all the evil the world could muster. A sane being would have given up, but Samwise burned with a magnificent madness, a glowing obsession to surmount every obstacle, to find Frodo, destroy the Ring, and cleanse Middle Earth of its festering malignancy. He knew he would try again. Fail, perhaps. And try once more. A thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest. ~ J R R Tolkien,
307:We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer to the varied problems of life. Hence in all we do we always place man first and hence all our action is usually joint community oriented action rather than the individualism." - Steven Biko ~ Steve Biko,
308:If it’s of any comfort, B. J. Casey and her colleagues speculate that there’s an evolutionary reason why Kirk rather than Spock so often emerges the victor in the quest for control over an adolescent’s mind. Human beings need incentives to leave the family nest. Leaving home is dangerous; leaving home is hard. It requires courage and learning lessons of independence. It may even require a purposeful recklessness. ~ Jennifer Senior,
309:The Talmud is not only an encyclopedia of law but a work of folk art, a hymn to the Lord rising out of many generations of men who spent their lives in the quest for him. This quest for God, the confident search for the holy in every busy detail of life, is its grand single theme. The Talmud recaptures a long golden age of intelligence and insight, and it is to this day the circulating heart's blood of the Jewish religion. ~ Herman Wouk,
310:Open your eyes. Block all escape routes. Eliminate all noise. The common will capture your attention as long as it’s allowed in the room. Whatever you are used to, whether cigarettes, shopping, or Twitter, must be eliminated in the quest to get into the ring. You must make a sacrifice on the altar of greatness and perform acts that others will not. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice your comfort, you don’t have what it takes. ~ Julien Smith,
311:Most people have come to prefer certain of lifes experiences and deny and reject others, unaware of the value of the hidden things that may come wrapped in plain and even ugly paper. In avoiding all pain and seeking comfort at all costs, we may be left without intimacy or compassion; in rejecting change and risk we often cheat ourselves of the quest; in denying our suffering we may never know our strength or our greatness ~ Rachel Naomi Remen,
312:While the quest for adventure that had long plagued him now tempted him to remove his clothes, an even more persuasive force within him prevented him from doing so, mainly because he feared revealing for the first time in front of so many people that unpredictable organ he assumed was everyman’s burden- although, as he was apparent from the number of flaccid phalli he saw around him, no man seemed burdened tonight except himself. ~ Gay Talese,
313:Professor Kimberle Crenshaw saw the dilemma a dozen years ago, but concluded that as long as race consciousness thrives, blacks will have to rely on rights rhetoric to protect their interests.16 There are, though, limited options to those deemed the Other in making specific demands for inclusion and equality. Doing so in the quest for racial justice, though, means that "winning and losing have been part of the same experience. ~ Derrick A Bell,
314:Learning how to access a continuity of common sense can be one of your most efficient accomplishments in this decade. Can you imagine "common sense" surpassing science and technology in the quest to unravel the human stress mess? In time, society will have a new measure for confirming truth. It's inside the people-not at the mercy of current scientific methodology. Let scientists facilitate discovery, but not invent your inner truth. ~ Doc Childre,
315:Physics is the ultimate intellectual adventure, the quest to understand the deepest mysteries of our Universe. Physics doesn’t take something fascinating and make it boring. Rather, it helps us see more clearly, adding to the beauty and wonder of the world around us. When I bike to work in the fall, I see beauty in the trees tinged with red, orange and gold. But seeing these trees through the lens of physics reveals even more beauty. ~ Max Tegmark,
316:You want to check your legal position, you do, mate. Under law the Quest for Ultimate Truth is quite clearly the inalienable prerogative of your working thinkers. Any bloody machine goes and actually finds it and we’re straight out of a job, aren’t we? I mean, what’s the use of our sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if this machine only goes and gives you his bleeding phone number the next morning? ~ Douglas Adams,
317:The book is also about cultivating the desire to live a remarkable life. Strangely, we don’t all set out on the quest to lead remarkable lives when we start our careers. Most of us are content to go with the flow. Our expectations have been lowered for us by the media and by our friends, acquaintances, and family members. So, leading a remarkable life is something you have to discover as even being a reasonable goal. It’s not obvious. ~ Chad Fowler,
318:What say you, Luxa?" said Vikus. "What can I say, Vikus? Can I return to our people and tell them I withdrew from the quest when our survival hangs in the balance?" said Luxa bitterly. "Of course you cannot, Luxa. This is why he times it so," said Henry. "You could choose to - " started Vikus. "I could choose! I could choose!" retorted Luxa. " Do not offer me a choice when you know none exits!" She and Henry turned their backs on Vikus. ~ Suzanne Collins,
319:Perhaps all the fear of man, the pride of knowing, the seduction of acclaim, the quest for control, the depression in the face of hardship, the envy of the ministry of others, the bitterness against detractors, and the anxiety of failure are all about the same thing. Each of these struggles is about the temptation to make your ministry about you. From that first dark moment in the garden, this has been the struggle—to make it all about us. ~ Paul David Tripp,
320:In the United States, our concept of liberty has changed drastically from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first century. The change has much to do with our understanding of autonomy. Modern man considers the quest for autonomy to be a noble and virtuous declaration of human creativity. From the Christian vantage point, however, the
quest for autonomy represents the essence of evil, as it contains within its agenda the assassination of God. ~ R C Sproul,
321:A parade of witnesses offered horrifying testimony. One of the most impressive was Chief Lontulu of Bolima, who had been flogged with the chicotte, held hostage, and sent to work in chains. When his turn came to testify, Lontulu laid 110 twigs on the commission’s table, each representing one of his people killed in the quest for rubber. He divided the twigs into four piles: tribal nobles, men, women, children. Twig by twig, he named the dead. Word ~ Adam Hochschild,
322:What say you, Luxa?" said Vikus.
"What can I say, Vikus? Can I return to our people and tell them I withdrew from the quest when our survival hangs in the balance?" said Luxa bitterly.
"Of course you cannot, Luxa. This is why he times it so," said Henry.
"You could choose to - " started Vikus.
"I could choose! I could choose!" retorted Luxa. " Do not offer me a choice when you know none exits!" She and Henry turned their backs on Vikus. ~ Suzanne Collins,
323:Yet even if their advice were to work, what would be the result afterward in the unlikely event that one did turn into a slim, well-loved, powerful millionaire? Usually what happens is that the person finds himself back at square one, with a new list of wishes, just as dissatisfied as before. What would really satisfy people is not getting slim or rich, but feeling good about their lives. In the quest for happiness, partial solutions don’t work. ~ Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,
324:By cultivating agitation and balkanization almost nothing about the civil society is said to be true, right, or lasting and, therefore, worth preserving and perpetuating. Instead, much uproar is generated in the quest for utopian abstractions and societal transformation—the fundamental cause around which younger people have been encouraged and trained to rally, to their detriment and the jeopardy of subsequent generations, and to the benefit of the statist. ~ Mark R Levin,
325:Well, have your way. The quest is ended. We all return. Get the boat up again.”
“Sire,” said Reepicheep, “we do not all return. I, as I explained before--”
“Silence!” thundered Caspian. “I’ve been lessoned but I’ll not be baited. Will no one silence that Mouse?”
“Your Majesty promised,” said Reepicheep, “to be good lord to the Talking Beasts of Narnia.”
“Talking beasts, yes,” said Caspian. “I said nothing about beasts that never stop talking. ~ C S Lewis,
326:The authority of science promotes and encourages the activity of observing, comparing, measuring and ordering the physical characteristics of human bodies. Cartesian epistemology and classical ideals produced forms of rationality, scientificity and objectivity that, though efficacious in the quest for truth and knowledge, prohibited the intelligibility and legitimacy of black equality. In fact, to "think" such an idea was to be deemed irrational, barbaric or mad. ~ Cornel West,
327:I look to Islamic ethics to find something that can provide the basis for shared values with other traditions, and ultimately universal values. This ties into the point I made in a book, 'The Quest for Meaning', that the only way for values to be universal is if they are shared universal values. My main point is, in this quest for value the aim is not to express your distinctness from others, but about being able to contribute to the discussion of universal value. ~ Tariq Ramadan,
328:Besides, what kind of pilgrimage would it be if it didn't contain some element of hardship and enigma? The quest is essential to the ritual. To orient ourselves at the interface of the visible and invisible worlds - which may be the purpose of all pilgrimages - we must embrace the search as well as its goal. If our journey into the heart (or vagina) of meaning resembles in any appreciable manner our last trip to the shopping mall, we're probably doing something wrong. ~ Tom Robbins,
329:In one form or the other, the quest for human dignity has proved to be one of the most propulsive elements for wars, civil strife and willing sacrifice. Yet the entitlement to dignity, enshrined among the 'human rights', does not aspire to being the most self-evident, essential need for human survival, such as food, or physical health. Compared to that other candidate for the basic impulse of human existence - self-preservation - it may even be deemed self-indulgent. ~ Wole Soyinka,
330:There's a theory, one I find persuasive, that the quest for knowledge is, at bottom, the search for the answer to the question: Where was I before I was born. In the beginning was what? Perhaps, in the beginning, there was a curious room, a room like this one, crammed with wonders; and now the room and all it contains are forbidden you, although it was made just for you, had been prepared for you since time began, and you will spend all your life trying to remember it. ~ Angela Carter,
331:Elsewhere the quest for a robotic lobster had taken a more sinister turn. The U.S. Navy was now considering plans for a beachhead assault that would begin with thousands of biomimetic lobsters dropped offshore from low-flying aircraft. Clambering over rocks and sniffing their way through currents toward shore, the lobster robots would search out mines and blow themselves up on command. Soon the Pentagon was funding robotic-lobster research to the tune of several million dollars. ~ Trevor Corson,
332:What inspires me is anxiety and the quest to try to change things in my life. ...I got addicted to endings and beginnings and to the idea of always moving around. ...Obviously, whenever you're going through something that's the best time to create, if you're going through something amazing, or horrible, or nothing at all you should be creating. Unfortunately the songwriters of today generally torture themselves to make sure they're writing good songs and take it a little too seriously. ~ Kevin Drew,
333:Actually we've had a black bourgeoisie or the makings of a black bourgeoisie for many more decades.In a sense the quest for the emancipation of black people in the US has always been a quest for economic liberation which means to a certain extent that the rise of black middle class would be inevitable. What I think is different today is the lack of political connection between the black middle class and the increasing numbers of black people who are more impoverished than ever before. ~ Angela Davis,
334:It was hard to measure time, but Jason figured his friends slept about four hours. Jason didn’t mind. Now that he was resting, he didn’t really feel the need for more sleep. He’d been conked out long enough on the dragon. Plus, he needed time to think about the quest, his sister Thalia and Hera’s warnings. He also didn’t mind Piper using him for a pillow. She had a cute way of breathing when she slept – inhaling through the nose, exhaling with a little puff through the mouth. He was almost ~ Rick Riordan,
335:One does not say to God, Show your love for me first, shower on me the experience of yourself, satisfy my demand, then I will see whether I can love you so long as you deserve it. It is surely the seeker who must seek and love first, follow the quest, become impassioned for the Sought-then only does the veil move aside and the Light be seen and the Face manifest that alone can satisfy the soul after its long sojourn in the desert
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Letters On Yoga - II, Sadhana through Love and Devotion,
336:What, after all, are the world's deepest problems? They are what they always have been, the individual's problems—the meaning of life and death, the mastery of self, the quest for value and worth-whileness and freedom within, the transcending of loneliness, the longing for love and a sense of significance, and for peace. Society's problems are deep, but the individual's problems go deeper; Solzhenitsyn, Dostoyevsky, or Shakespeare will show us that, if we hesitate to take it from the Bible. ~ J I Packer,
337:We stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf , as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective - a new world order - can emerge: a new era - freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony. ~ George H W Bush,
338:All our surest statements about the nature of the world are mathematical statements, yet we do not know what mathematics "is"... and so we find that we have adapted a religion strikingly similar to many traditional faiths. Change "mathematics" to "God" and little else might seem to change. The problem of human contact with some spiritual realm, of timelessness, of our inability to capture all with language and symbol-all have their counterparts in the quest for the nature of Platonic mathematics. ~ John D Barrow,
339:It is my hope that as the Negro plunges deeper into the quest for freedom and justice he will plunge even deeper into the philosophy of non-violence. The Negro all over the South must come to the point that he can say to his white brother: "We will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. We will not hate you, but we will not obey your evil laws. We will soon wear you down by pure capacity to suffer". ~ Martin Luther King Jr,
340:But if I am to let my life speak things I want to hear, things I would gladly tell others, I must also let it speak things I do not want to hear and would never tell anyone else! My life is not only about my strengths and virtues; it is also about my liabilities and my limits, my trespasses and my shadow. An inevitable though often ignored dimension of the quest for 'wholeness' is that we must embrace what we dislike or find shameful about ourselves as well as what we are confident and proud of. ~ Parker J Palmer,
341:Although Truman and his advisers still hoped to ameliorate gathering tensions, they made only half-hearted efforts to accommodate the Soviets, or even to negotiate seriously with them. In the third phase, clear by February 1947, the administration hit on a more consistent, clearly articulated policy: containment. The essential stance of the United States for the next forty years, the quest for containment entailed high expectations. It was the most important legacy of the Truman administration. ~ James T Patterson,
342:Contemplatives have long taught that mastering the volatile human spirit is the key to serenity. "It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles," the Buddha taught. "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who captures a city," says Proverbs 16:32 NASB. In our increasingly fragmented, chatter-filled world, the quest to live and think deeply requires concerted acts of self-control. Staying grounded means growing some serious roots. ~ Rachel Held Evans,
343:English version by Jane Hirshfield Unbreakable, O Lord, Is the love That binds me to You: Like a diamond, It breaks the hammer that strikes it. My heart goes into You As the polish goes into the gold. As the lotus lives in its water, I live in You. Like the bird That gazes all night At the passing moon, I have lost myself dwelling in You. O my Beloved -- Return. [bk1sm.gif] -- from Holy Fire: Nine Visionary Poets and the Quest for Enlightenment, Edited by Daniel Halpern

~ Mirabai, Unbreakable, O Lord
344:I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of all things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a sacrifice on their alters. ~ Ayn Rand,
345:The old ghostie man,” Finn said. “He was holding a book then, wasn’t he? That last time we saw him. I had to be ninety years old, and I still hadn’t finished reading these books.”
Teagan shook her head. “You just loved them so much you were reading them again. I’m sure of it.”
“I’m glad one of us is.” Finn took back the paper and turned it over in his hands. “He said I couldn’t ask you to marry me until I’d finished the quest. He didn’t say a word about canoodling. Do you want to—”
“Yes. ~ Kersten Hamilton,
346:The Quest of the Holy Grail, the Search for the Stone of the Philosophers - by whatever name we choose to call the Great Work - is therefore endless. Success only opens up new avenues of brilliant possibility. Yea, verily, and Amen! the task is tireless and its joys without bounds; for the whole Universe, and all that in it is, what is it but the infinite playground of the Crowned and Conquering Child, of the insatiable, the innocent, the ever-rejoicing Heir of Space and Eternity, whose name is MAN? ~ Aleister Crowley,
347:Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every human being, as the quest for truth is the true purpose of living. We are given an entire lifetime to collect and assemble truths. Truths are acquired only when we learn to filter all information, including those valuable lessons and insights gained from our own personal experiences, through our conscience. And as we near death, the knowledge in our hearts at the end must match the knowledge which was put in our hearts in the very beginning. All else is irrelevant. ~ Suzy Kassem,
348:To create a low-employment society that flourishes rather than degenerates into self-destructive behavior, we therefore need to understand how to help such well-being-inducing activities thrive. The quest for such an understanding needs to involve not only scientists and economists, but also psychologists, sociologists and educators. If serious efforts are put into creating well-being for all, funded by part of the wealth that future AI generates, then society should be able to flourish like never before. ~ Max Tegmark,
349:I've also been documenting an unsustainable way of life. And you see in peoples' stories that this world of consumerism does not support the moral and spiritual values - of family and community - that people feel are most important. From an environmental perspective, the quest for more and more is not going to be possible on this planet. This is a historical documentation of an unsustainable path, and my hope is that this work allows people to think about their own agency and the potential for change. ~ Lauren Greenfield,
350:Especially when we are afraid, angry, or confused, we may be tempted to give away bits of our freedom—or, less painfully, somebody else’s freedom—in the quest for direction and order. Bill Clinton observed that when people are uncertain, they’d rather have leaders who are strong and wrong than right and weak. Throughout history, demagogues have often outperformed democrats in generating popular fervor, and it is almost always because they are perceived to be more decisive and sure in their judgments. ~ Madeleine K Albright,
351:The advice that I have valued in my own life has never turned on fixed maxims or canned metaphors. More crucially, lists of precepts don't work like targeted advice because lists contain inherently constraining messages. They seem to say that complex matters are knowable, that a given process leads to foreseeable results. It implies a thin and predictable world, whereas the sort of advice that has mattered to me bespeaks a quite tentative optimism, the optimism of the quest whose outcome is finally unknowable. ~ Peter D Kramer,
352:In this poor body, composed of one hundred bones and nine openings, is something called spirit, a flimsy curtain swept this way and that by the slightest breeze. It is spirit, such as it is, which led me to poetry, at first little more than a pastime, then the full business of my life. There have been times when my spirit, so dejected, almost gave up the quest, other times when it was proud, triumphant. So it has been from the very start, never finding peace with itself, always doubting the worth of what it makes. ~ Matsuo Basho,
353:What drove the Bible’s storytellers to recall the past the way they did was the quest to experience God in the present, a sometimes volatile and catastrophic present. What makes the Bible God’s Word isn’t its uncanny historical accuracy, as some insist, but the sacred experiences these stories point to, beyond the words themselves. Watching these ancient pilgrims work through their faith, even wrestling with how they did that, models for us our own journeys of seeking to know God better and commune with him more deeply. ~ Peter Enns,
354:The Quest of the Holy Grail, the Search for the Stone of the Philosophers-by whatever name we choose to call the Great Work-is therefore endless. Success only opens up new avenues of brilliant possibility. Yea, verily, and Amen! the task is tireless and its joys without bounds; for the whole Universe, and all that in it is, what is it but the infinite playground of the Crowned and Conquering Child, of the insatiable, the innocent, the ever-rejoicing Heir of Space and Eternity, whose name is MAN? ~ Aleister Crowley, Little Essays Towards Truth,
355:The soul contains few secrets and longings which cannot be sensibly discussed, analyzed, and polled. Solitude, the very condition which sustained the individual against and beyond his society, has become technically impossible. Logical and linguistic analysis demonstrate that the old metaphysical problems are illusory problems; the quest for the "meaning" of things can be reformulated as the quest for the meaning of words, and the established universe of discourse and behavior can provide perfectly adequate criteria for the answer. ~ Herbert Marcuse,
356:So go marry someone, provided you're equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it's not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God's sake start making some decisions in your life. Don't wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God's will, so just go out and do something. ~ Kevin DeYoung,
357:The feeling of emptiness is usually a sign that we have put our trust in something that can’t sustain us. It reminds us that we were created to trust in our heavenly Father and nothing else. We were created to enjoy the many things God gives without making them the center of our lives. When we confuse the two, our lives feel out of kilter. To feel better, we try again and search for love apart from God, but when we finally realize that it is elusive, we forsake the quest and quietly despair. Keep probing. Life is ultimately about God. ~ Edward T Welch,
358:Keynes believed that “a point may soon be reached, much sooner perhaps than we are all of us aware of, when these [economic] needs are satisfied in the sense that we prefer to devote our further energies to non-economic purposes.”8 He looked expectantly to a future in which machines would produce an abundance of nearly free goods and services, liberating the human race from toil and hardships and freeing the human mind from a preoccupation with strictly pecuniary interests to focus more on the “arts for life” and the quest for transcendence. ~ Jeremy Rifkin,
359:She was like me in lineaments-- her eyes Her hair, her features, all, to the very tone Even of her voice, they said were like to mine; But soften'd all, and temper'd into beauty; She had the same lone thoughts and wanderings, The quest of hidden knowledge, and a mind To comprehend the universe: nor these Alone, but with them gentler powers than mine, Pity, and smiles, and tears-- which I had not; And tenderness-- but that I had for her; Humility-- and that I never had. Her faults were mine-- her virtues were her own-- I loved her, and destroy'd her! ~ Lord Byron,
360:After every abortive escape attempt, he returned to his mother, doing so both after the separation from Verlaine and at the end of his life, when he had finally sacrificed his creative gifts by giving up his writing to become a businessman, thus indirectly fulfilling his mother’s expectations of him. Although Rimbaud spent the last days of his life in a hospital in Marseille, he had gone back to western France immediately before that, where he was looked after by his mother and sister. The quest for his mother’s love ended in the prison of childhood. ~ Alice Miller,
361:Reconnecting with the roots of older civilisations and cultures often lead to renaissance. The early days of the growth of Indian nationalism had also witnessed such renaissance and reconnecting with the glorious past. Something went wrong in Manipur. The quest for the past had arisen out of frustration with the present political, economic and social circumstances. Delhi wasted time in recognising the right prescription for the ills of Manipur, as it did in the cases of all the states in the Northeast and other pockets of imbalance in the rest of the country. ~ Maloy Krishna Dhar,
362:Sovereignty is the term the Bible uses to describe God's perfect control and management of the universe. He preserves and governs every element. He's continually involved with all created things, directing them to act in a way that fulfills his divine purpose. That's why the most stressed-out people are control freaks. They fail at the quest they most pursue. The more they try to control the world, the more they realize they cannot. Life becomes a cycle of anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure; anxiety, failure. We can't take control, because control is not ours to take. ~ Max Lucado,
363:You just let the machines get on with the adding up,” warned Majikthise, “and we’ll take care of the eternal verities, thank you very much. You want to check your legal position, you do, mate. Under law the Quest for Ultimate Truth is quite clearly the inalienable prerogative of your working thinkers. Any bloody machine goes and actually finds it and we’re straight out of a job, aren’t we? I mean, what’s the use of our sitting up half the night arguing that there may or may not be a God if this machine only goes and gives you his bleeding phone number the next morning? ~ Douglas Adams,
364:Like my heart and like my soul, it continues to live every day, because my heart and soul are in it. And my heart and soul is your heart and soul. I am Santiago the shepherd boy in search of my treasure, just as you are Santiago the shepherd boy in search of your own. The story of one person is the story of everyone, and one man's quest is the quest of all of humanity, which is why I believe The Alchemist continues all these years later to resonate with people from different cultures all around the world, touching them emotionally and spiritually, equally, without prejudice. ~ Paulo Coelho,
365:The quest for this unwearied peace is constant and universal. Probe deeply into the teaching of Buddha, Maimonides, or a Kempis, and you will discover that they base their diverse doctrines on the foundation of a large spiritual serenity. Analyze the prayers of troubled, overborne mankind of all creeds, in every age-and their petitions come down to the irreducible common denominators of daily bread and inward peace. Grown men do not pray for vain trifles. When they lift up their hearts and voices in the valley of tears they ask for strength and courage and understanding. ~ Joshua L Liebman,
366:William Goode
To all in the village I seemed, no doubt,
To go this way and that way, aimlessly.
But here by the river you can see at twilight
The soft-winged bats fly zig-zag here and there -They must fly so to catch their food.
And if you have ever lost your way at night,
In the deep wood near Miller's Ford,
And dodged this way and now that,
Wherever the light of the Milky Way shone through,
Trying to find the path,
You should understand I sought the way
With earnest zeal, and all my wanderings
Were wanderings in the quest.
~ Edgar Lee Masters,
367:Part of me thinks that your very vulnerability brings you closer to the meaning of life, just as for others, the quest to believe oneself white divides them from it. The fact is that despite their dreams, their lives are also not inviolable. When their own vulnerability becomes real--when the police decide that tactics intended for the ghetto should enjoy wider usage, when their armed society shoots down their children, when nature sends hurricanes against their cities--they are shocked in a way that those of us who were born and bred to understand cause and effect can never be. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates,
368:Lamenting the vagaries of fate may leave us with a galling sense of helpless frustration, which many escape by transforming the tragedy of the human condition into the specific sins of specific societies. This turns an insoluble problem of cosmic justice into an apparently manageable issue of social justice. Since the sins of human beings are virtually inexhaustible, there is seldom a lack of examples of wrongdoing to which intergroup differences can be attributed, rightly or wrongly. Where the quest for injustice is over-riding, among the things it over-rides are logic and evidence. ~ Thomas Sowell,
369:She was like me in lineaments-- her eyes
Her hair, her features, all, to the very tone
Even of her voice, they said were like to mine;
But soften'd all, and temper'd into beauty;
She had the same lone thoughts and wanderings,
The quest of hidden knowledge, and a mind
To comprehend the universe: nor these
Alone, but with them gentler powers than mine,
Pity, and smiles, and tears-- which I had not;
And tenderness-- but that I had for her;
Humility-- and that I never had.
Her faults were mine-- her virtues were her own--
I loved her, and destroy'd her! ~ Lord Byron,
370:There exists in the world today, and has existed for thousands of years, a body of enlightened humans united in what might be termed, an Order of the Quest. It is composed of those whose intellectual and spiritual perceptions have revealed to them that civilisation has a secret Destiny... The outcome of this 'secret destiny' is a World Order ruled by a king with supernatural powers[the antichrist]. This king was descended of a divine race; that is, he belonged to the Order of the Illumined; for those who come to a state of wisdom then belong to a family of heroes-perfected human beings. ~ Manly Hall,
371:Science tries to answer the question: "How?" How do cells act in the body? How do you design an airplane that will fly faster thansound? How is a molecule of insulin constructed? Religion, by contrast, tries to answer the question: "Why?" Why was man created? Why ought I to tell the truth? Why must there be sorrow or pain or death? Science attempts to analyze how things and people and animals behave; it has no concern whether this behavior is good or bad, is purposeful or not. But religion is precisely the quest for such answers: whether an act is right or wrong, good or bad, and why. ~ Warren Weaver,
372:This is like the Six Sigma approach to quality. Six Sigma refers to the quest for continuous improvement, ultimately leading to 3.4 defects per million units. The problem is that once you’re heading down this road, there’s no room left for amazing improvements and remarkable innovations. Either you rolled ten strikes or you didn’t. Organizations that earn dramatic success always do it in markets where asymptotes don’t exist, or where they can be shattered. If you could figure out how to bowl 320, that would be amazing. Until that happens, pick a different sport if you want to be a linchpin. ~ Seth Godin,
373:Thought Leadership
“Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” Book by Ashlee Vance
“Take risks now and do something bold. You won’t regret it.” - Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla)
#smitanairjain #leadership #womenintech #thoughtleaders #tedxspeaker #technology #tech #success #strategy #startuplife #startupbusiness #startup #mentor #leaders #itmanagement #itleaders #innovation #informationtechnology #influencers #Influencer #hightech #fintechinfluencer #fintech #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurs #economy #economics #development #businessintelligence #business ~ Ashlee Vance,
374:Percy and Reyna occupied matching praeters' chairs on the dais, which made Percy self-conscious. It wasn't easy looking dignified wearing a bedsheet and a purple cape. "The camp is safe," Octavian continued. " I'll be the first to congragulate our heroes for bringing back the legion's eagle and so much Imperial gold! Truly we have been blessed with good fortune. But why do more? Why tempt fate?" "I'm glad you asked." Percy stood, taking the question as an opening. Octavian stammered, " I wasn't--" "--Part of the quest," Percy said. "Yes I know. And your'e wise to let me explain, since I was. ~ Rick Riordan,
375:The temptation for a new generation, however, could be to see Baptist identity as a nuisance in the quest for converts. The effort to minimize an offensive "denominational brand name" will be counterproductive if we produce a generation of "anonymous Baptists," those whom we believe cannot handle the truth about Christ's design for His church. It will be tragic indeed if a future Broadman and Holman catalog includes a book titled, "Why I Am a Community Church (SBC) member."
But it will be equally tragic if the volume is titled, "Why I Want to Be a Presbyterian, but the Bible Won't Let Me. ~ Russell D Moore,
376:I'm just a candy corn farmer. My only part in this play was loving your mother and raising you, and I did both of them as well as I could, but that didn't make me worldly, and it didn't make me wise. It made me a man with a hero for a wife and a daughter who was going to do something great someday, and that all I wanted to be. I never saved the day. I never challenged the gods. I was the person you could come home to when the quest was over, and I'd greet you with a warm fudge pie and a how was your day, and I'd never feel like I was being left out just because I was forever left behind. ~ Seanan McGuire,
377:Percy and Reyna occupied matching praeters' chairs on the dais, which made Percy self-conscious. It wasn't easy looking dignified wearing a bedsheet and a purple cape. "The camp is safe," Octavian continued. " I'll be the first to congragulate our heroes for bringing back the legion's eagle and so much Imperial gold! Truly we have been blessed with good fortune. But why do more? Why tempt fate?"
"I'm glad you asked." Percy stood, taking the question as an opening. Octavian stammered, " I wasn't--"
"--Part of the quest," Percy said. "Yes I know. And your'e wise to let me explain, since I was. ~ Rick Riordan,
378:The fashion today is to place God in court and give Him a trial. We have had such a lust for “debunking” every good and useful man in history that even God cannot escape. It is one of the unfortunate by-products of the quest for truth, plus an unlovely hunger in humanity for scandal. It is a species of jealousy. We dislike to believe that anybody else is quite as good as we are, not even God. As for me, I choose to stop following this current, to stop posing as the judge of the universe. If it brought any good results I might continue, but to date it has carried me out into the desert and left me there. ~ Frank C Laubach,
379:Three years of changes, moves, uncertainties, upheavals; the war, the revolution; scenes of destruction, scenes of death, shelling, blown-up bridges, fires, ruins—all this turned suddenly into a huge, empty, waste space. The first real event since the long interruption was this vertiginous home-coming by train, in the knowledge that his home was still safe, still existing somewhere, with every smallest stone in it dear to him. This was the point of life, this was experience, this was the quest of adventure seekers and what artists had in mind—this coming home to your family, to yourself, this renewal of life. ~ Boris Pasternak,
380:By the way, this tells you why Auto-Tuned vocals on many contemporary records sound so shallow and lifeless. It’s almost as if everything we learned from African American music during the twentieth century was thrown out the window by technologies in the twenty-first century. The goal should not be to sing every note dead center in the middle of the pitch---we escaped from that musical prison a hundred years ago. Why go back? In an odd sort of way, much of contemporary pop music resembles opera, with all the subtle shadings of bent notes and microtonal alterations abandoned in the quest for mathematically pure tones. ~ Ted Gioia,
381:America ... has created a 'civilization' that represents an exact contradiction of the ancient European tradition. It has introduced the religion of praxis and productivity; it has put the quest for profit, great industrial production, and mechanical, visible, and quantitative achievements over any other interest. It has generated a soulless greatness of a purely technological and collective nature, lacking any background of transcendence, inner light, and true spirituality. America has [built a society where] man becomes a mere instrument of production and material productivity within a conformist social conglomerate ~ Julius Evola,
382:Philosophy has to grant that revelation is possible. But to grant that revelation is possible means to grant that the philosophic life is not necessarily, not evidently, the right life. Philosophy, the life devoted to the quest for evident knowledge available to man as man, would rest on an unevident, arbitrary, or blind decision. This would merely confirm the thesis of faith, that there is no possibility of consistency, of a consistent and thoroughly sincere life, without belief in revelation. The mere fact that philosophy and revelation cannot refute each other would constitute the refutation of philosophy by revelation. ~ Leo Strauss,
383:Being satisfied: this is the general model of being and living whose promoters and supporters do not appreciate the fact that it generates discontent. For the quest for satisfaction and the fact of being satisfied presuppose the fragmentation of 'being' into activities, intentions, needs, all of them well-defined, isolated, separable and separated from the Whole. Is this an art of living? A style? No. It is merely the result and the application to daily life of a management technique and a positive knowledge directed by market research. The economic prevails even in a domain that seemed to elude it: it governs lived experience. ~ Henri Lefebvre,
384:Abstractions do us much harm by impelling us to the quest of the absolute in all things. Joy does not exist, but there are joys: and these joys may not be folly felt unless they are detached from neutral or even painful conditions. The idea of continuity is almost self-negating. Nature makes no leaps; but life makes only bounds. It is measured by our heartbeats & these may be counted. That there should be, amid the number of deep pulsations that scan the line of our existence, some grievous ones, does not permit the affirmation that life is therefore evil. Moreover, neither a continuous joy would be perceived by consciousness. ~ R my de Gourmont,
385:In the quest to create “safe schools,” students have become demoralized and criminalized. The presence of metal detectors, surveillance cameras, drug-sniffing dogs, harsh ticketing policies, and prison-inspired architecture has created a generation of students, usually poor and of color, who are always under surveillance and always under suspicion. These modes of controlling spaces and the youth within them normalize expectations of criminality, often fulfilled when everyday violations of school rules lead to ticketing, suspension, or worse, court summons and eventual incarceration—a direct path into the criminal justice system.… ~ Patrisse Khan Cullors,
386:In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call the ‘physics of the quest’, a force in nature governed by the laws of gravity. The rules of quest physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting and set out on a truth seeking journey either internally or externally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared most of all to face and forgive some of the most difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be witheld from you ~ Elizabeth Gilbert,
387:What is worship? Who are this man and this woman bringing flowers? What kinds of flowers should be brought, and what streamwater poured over the images? Real worship is done by the mind (Let that be a man) and by the desire (Let that be a woman). And let those two choose what to sacrifice. There is a liquid that can be released from under the mask of the face, a nectar which when it rushes down gives discipline and strength. Let that be your sacred pouring, Let your worship song be silence. [bk1sm.gif] -- from Holy Fire: Nine Visionary Poets and the Quest for Enlightenment, Edited by Daniel Halpern

~ Lalla, What is worship? Who are this man
388:Writers are taught to “write what you know about.” The same advice applies to the quest for the power of the soul: be good at what you’re good at. Many of us spend time and energy trying to be something that we are not. But this is a move against soul, because individuality rises out of the soul as water rises out of the depths of the earth. We are who we are because of the special mix that makes up our soul. In spite of its archetypal, universal contents, for each individual the soul is highly idiosyncratic. Power begins in knowing this special soul, which may be entirely different from our fantasies about who we are or who we want to be. A ~ Thomas Moore,
389:Conjectures are the products of creative imagination. But the problem with imagination is that it can create fiction much more easily than truth. As I have suggested, historically, virtually all human attempts to explain experience in terms of a wider reality have indeed been fiction, in the form of myths, dogma and mistaken common sense – and the rule of testability is an insufficient check on such mistakes. But the quest for good explanations does the job: inventing falsehoods is easy, and therefore they are easy to vary once found; discovering good explanations is hard, but the harder they are to find, the harder they are to vary once found. ~ David Deutsch,
390:The truth is that there is no such thing as equality. It does not exist in any physical, material, legal, philosophical, or spiritual sense. One might as usefully attempt to direct the entire efforts of a society's people and institutions towards the well-being of unicorns and fairies. As Martin van Creveld writes in Equality: The Impossible Quest, “Equality is a dream. When we keep in mind the costs that dream demands, the contradictions to which it inevitably leads, and the horrendous amounts of blood that are so often shed in its name, we would be wise to ensure that the quest for it does not become a nightmare”. Or better yet, abandon it altogether. ~ Vox Day,
391:Our human nature includes both the self that wants immediate gratification, and the self with a higher purpose. We are born to be tempted, and born to resist. It is just as human to feel stressed, scared, and out of control as it is to find the strength to be calm and in charge of our choices. Self-control is a matter of understanding these different parts of ourselves, not fundamentally changing who we are. In the quest for self control, the usual weapons we wield against ourselves—guilt, stress, and shame—don't work. People who have the greatest self-control aren't waging self-war. They have learned to accept and integrate these competing selves. ~ Kelly McGonigal,
392:The proposed Senate was especially loathsome to Clintonians, who feared it would be an aristocratic conclave. They introduced an amendment allowing state legislatures to recall their senators. This idea touched a live wire in Hamilton, who saw the Senate as a check on fickle popular will and in need of political insulation. The proposal prompted him to make a speech on the dangers of maintaining a continuous revolutionary mentality in America. Hamilton believed that revolutions ended in tyranny because they glorified revolution as a permanent state of mind. A spirit of compromise and a concern with order were needed to balance the quest for liberty. In ~ Ron Chernow,
393:O friend! hope for Him whilst you live, know whilst you live,
understand whilst you live: for in life deliverance abides.
If your bonds be not broken whilst living, what hope of
deliverance in death?
It is but an empty dream, that the soul shall have union with Him
because it has passed from the body:
If He is found now, He is found then,
If not, we do but go to dwell in the City of Death.
If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter.
Bathe in the truth, know the true Guru, have faith in the true
Kabr says: 'It is the Spirit of the quest which helps; I am the slave of this Spirit of the quest.

~ Kabir, Hope For Him
394:They will remain shut away behind a hedge of thorns. The journey in search of soul is difficult and even dangerous because it requires that we relinquish the certainty of what we think we know and what we have been taught for generations to believe. It means surrendering the desire to be in control and opening ourselves to a quest, a path of discovery. Many myths and fairy tales emphasize the need for surrender and trust in the strange non-rational guidance offered by animals or shamans on the quest. As the hero follows their guidance, so the hedge opens, the way unfolds. Following the guidance and wisdom of the instinct is the royal road into the realm of soul. ~ Anne Baring,
395:When one attends a university, he is supposed to be guided in the quest to find unity in diversity—namely, how all the diverse fields of knowledge (the arts, philosophy, the physical sciences, mathematics, etc.) fit together to provide a unified picture of life. A tall task indeed, but one that the modern university has not only abandoned but reversed. Instead of universities, we now have pluraversities, institutions that deem every viewpoint, no matter how ridiculous, just as valid as any other—that is, except the viewpoint that just one religion or worldview could be true. That’s the one viewpoint considered intolerant and bigoted on most college campuses. ~ Norman L Geisler,
396:Gnosticism (Esotery included) is the phenomenon triggered by acquiring knowledge without depending on the shifting routes of Authority to maintain the quest onto the path of reliability. Therefore, the knowledge acquired by such a process is either useless or temporally and spatially non-transcendental. If it hadn't been for God's interventions though, man's reasoning wouldn't have sufficed to do away with all the accumulated nonsense throughout history, for that The Lord insists that it is He who possesses the whole stage and none other. Man has after all no power in determining and self-coordinating his own fate on Earth; he/she is a mere guest and nothing more. ~ Ibrahim Ibrahim,
397:All suffering is a consequence of a constant quest. A quest to follow a mirage, the mirage that is the creation of our mind, the illusion of happiness, the illusion of being loved. That is what it is. Love itself is an illusion. We misuse the word so much we forget what it means. It means nothing, because it simply does not exist. It is the destiny of the mind to seek. When it does not discover what it seeks, it gives birth to hopelessness. And given our undying spirit, from that hopelessness rises hope itself. This hope takes us to the quest all over again, churning us in an endless cycle of suffering. This cycle is called life. Suffer you will, one way or the other... ~ Nilesh Rathod,
398:It was still quiet at the bar, early afternoon, before the happy-hour crowd arrived with their after-work bonhomie, and even as the barkeep kept himself busy wiping bottles and slicing limes, he had no choice but to nod and listen. He liked it busy at the bar, he liked it when the crowd was three deep and the calls for drinks came from all sides like a rising tide of feverish chants, when there wasn’t time to take in the stories and the gripes and he was able to lose himself in the work. That was the quest in everything he did: the work, the meditation, the exercise, the sex. To lose himself. And as the barkeep would be the first to tell you, it was not without reason. ~ William Lashner,
399:We find a model for learning how to live in stories about heroism. The heroic quest is about saying yes to yourself and, in so doing, becoming more fully alive and more effective in the world. For the hero's journey is first about taking a journey to find the treasure of your true self, and then about returning home to give your gift to help transform the kingdom- and, in the process, your own life. The quest itself is replete with dangers and pitfalls, but if offers great rewards: the capacity to be successful in the world, knowledge of the mysteries of the human soul, the opportunity to find and express your unique gifts in the world, and to live in loving community with other people. ~ Carol S Pearson,
400:At Sea
Three are emerald pools in the sea,
And wing-like flashes of light;
The sea is bound with the heavens
In a large delight.
Night comes out of the east
And rushes down on the sun;
The emerald pools and the light pools
Are darkened and done.
Our boat dips and cleaves onward,
Careless of night or of light,
Following the line of her compass
By her engines' might.
Through the desert of air and of water;
Like the lonely soul of man,
Following her fate to the ending,
Unaware of the hidden plan.
Sure only of battle and longing,
Of the pain and the quest,
And beyond in the darkness somewhere
Sure of her rest.
~ Duncan Campbell Scott,
401:It had been some time since Magnus was last in love, and he was beginning to feel the effects. He remembered the glow of love as brighter and the pain of loss as gentler than they had actually been. He found himself looking into many faces for potential love, and seeing many people as shining vessels of possibility. Perhaps this time there would be that indefinable something that sent hungry hearts roving, longing and searching for something, they knew not what, and yet could not give up the quest. Every time a face or a look or a gesture caught Magnus's eye these days, it woke to life a refrain in Magnus's breast, a song in persistent rhythm with his heartbeat. Perhaps this time, perhaps this one. ~ Cassandra Clare,
402:We all love a good story. We all love a tantalizing mystery. We all love the underdog pressing onward against seemingly insurmountable odds. We all, in one form or another, are trying to make sense of the world around us. And all of these elements lie at the core of modern physics. The story is among the grandest -- the unfolding of the entire universe; the mystery is among the toughest -- finding out how the cosmos came to be; the odds are among the most daunting -- bipeds, newly arrived by cosmic time scales trying to reveal the secrets of the ages; and the quest is among the deepest -- the search for fundamental laws to explain all we see and beyond, from the tiniest particles to the most distant galaxies. ~ Brian Greene,
403:The quest for knowledge is what makes humans survive, even if it hurts.” I have trouble imagining that this éminence grise was once a sixteen-year-old Hungarian boy in a death camp. “There’s a troublesome verse from Ecclesiastes about this,” he tells me. “It says that the more we know, the more pain we have. But because we are human beings, this must be. Otherwise we become objects rather than subjects.” He pauses for a moment to let this sink in. “Of course, it hurts when we see pictures of people throwing themselves out of windows, children who are orphaned, the widows,” Wiesel says. “But there is no way out of what we’ve seen.” “And how do we live with what we know?” I ask “How can we live with not knowing? ~ Mark Matousek,
404:But on night duty, alone, he had to face the self he had been afraid to uncover, and he was homesick for the laboratory, for the thrill of uncharted discoveries, the quest below the surface and beyond the moment, the search for fundamental laws which the scientist (however blasphemously and colloquially he may describe it) exalts above temporary healing as the religious exalts the nature and terrible glory of God above pleasant daily virtues. With this sadness there was envy that he should be left out of things, that others should go ahead of him, ever surer in technique, more widely aware of the phenomena of biological chemistry, more deeply daring to explain laws at which the pioneers had but fumbled and hinted. ~ Sinclair Lewis,
405:Although the disappearance of the true wildwood [in the British Isles] occurred in the Neolithic period, before humanity began to record its own history, creation myths in almost all cultures look fabulously back to a forested earth. In the ancient Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh, the quest-story which begins world literature, Gilgamesh sets out on his journey from Uruk to the Cedar Mountains, where he has been charged to slay the Huwawa, the guardian of the forest. The Roman empire also defined itself against the forests in which its capital city was first established, and out of which its founders, the wolf-suckled twins, emerged. It was the Roman Empire which would proceed to destroy the dense forests of the ancient world. ~ Robert Macfarlane,
406:O friend! hope for Him whilst you live
O friend! hope for Him whilst you live,
know whilst you live, understand whilst you live:
for in life deliverance abides.

If your bonds be not broken whilst living,
what hope of deliverance in death ?

It is but an empty dream, that the soul shall have union with Him
because it has passed from the body:

If He is found now, He is found then,
If not, we do but go to dwell in the City of Death.

If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter.

Bathe in the truth, know the true Guru,
have faith in the true Name!

Kabir says : 'It is the spirit of the quest which helps;
I am the slave of this Spirit of the quest.'

~ Kabir, O Friend

Room after room,
I hunt the house through
We inhabit together.
Heart, fear nothing, for, heart, thou shalt find her-
Next time, herself!-not the trouble behind her
Left in the curtain, the couch's perfume!
As she brushed it, the cornice-wreath blossomed anew:
Yon looking-glass gleaned at the wave of her feather.


Yet the day wears,
And door succeeds door;
I try the fresh fortune-
Range the wide house from the wing to the centre.
Still the same chance! She goes out as I enter.
Spend my whole day in the quest,-who cares?
But 'tis twilight, you see,-with such suites to explore,
Such closets to search, such alcoves to importune!

~ Robert Browning, Love In A Life
408:In the detective story, as in its mirror image, the Quest for the Grail, maps (the ritual of space) and timetables (the ritual of time) are desirable. Nature should reflect its human inhabitants, i.e., it should be the Great Good Place; for the more Eden-like it is, the greater the contradiction of murder. The country is preferable to the town, a well-to-do neighborhood (but not too well-to-do-or there will be a suspicion of ill-gotten gains) better than a slum. The corpse must shock not only because it is a corpse but also because, even for a corpse, it is shockingly out of place, as when a dog makes a mess on a drawing room carpet."

(The guilty vicarage: Notes on the detective story, by an addict, Harper's Magazine, May 1948) ~ W H Auden,
409:The classical American pragmatists believed that once the quest for certainty was exposed, once the craving for absolutes was challenged, once we learned that there is no permanent metaphysical comfort and that we must cope intelligently and imaginatively with unexpected contingencies and dangers, then there would be no going back – no return to a world of simplistic binary oppositions of Good and Evil. But the pragmatists underestimated the appeal of the mentality that they opposed – especially in times of perceived crisis, anxiety, and fear. There is always the threat of regression. This is why I believe that it requires passionate commitment and constant endeavor to make pragmatic fallibilism a living reality in people’s everyday lives. ~ Richard J Bernstein,
410:It was a time for reflection. Jebel had regained some of his vitality and was mildly excited to be closing in on Tubaygat. But he was troubled too and often fell to studying Tel Hesani, trying to imagine himself driving a knife into the Um Kheshabah's chest or slitting his throat.
It had been easy in the beginning. Tel Hesani was a slave, fit only for execution. Now Jebel considered him a friend. Could he brutally end the older man's life and send him to the hold of Rakhebt Wadak's boat?
Jebel knew that he must, or the quest would have been for nothing, but he wasn't sure that he could. He prayed to the gods to steady his hand when the time came, but he didn't think they were listening. In a strange sort of way, he almost wished they weren't. ~ Darren Shan,
411:I believe that man must learn to live without those consolations called religious, which is own intelligence must by now have told him belong to the childhood of the race. Philosophy can really give us nothing permanent to believe either; it is too rich in answers, each canceling out the rest. The quest for Meaning is foredoomed. Human life 'means' nothing. But this is not to say that it is not worth living. What does a Debussy Arabesque 'mean,' or a rainbow or a rose? A man delights in all of these, knowing himself to be no more--a wisp of music and a haze of dreams dissolving against the sun. Man has only his own two feet to stand on, his own human trinity to see him through: Reason, Courage, and Grace. And the first plus the second equals the third. ~ Peter De Vries,
412:Our life consists not in the pursuit of material success but in the quest for worthy spiritual growth. Our entire earthly existence is but a transitional stage in the movement toward something higher, and we must not stumble and fall, nor must we linger fruitlessly on one rung of the ladder. Material laws alone do not explain our life or give it direction. The laws of physics and physiology will never reveal the indisputable manner in which the Creator constantly, day in and day out, participates in the life of each of us, unfailingly granting us the energy of existence; when this assistance leaves us, we die. And in the life of our entire planet, the Divine Spirit surely moves with no less force: this we must grasp in our dark and terrible hour. ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
413:For mile after mile the same melodic phrase rose up in my memory. I simply couldn’t get free of it. Each time it had a new fascination for me. Initially imprecise in outline, it seemed to become more and more intricately woven, as if to conceal from the listener how eventually it would end. This weaving and re-weaving became so complicated that one wondered how it could possibly be unravelled; and then suddenly one note would resolve the whole problem, and the solution would seem yet more audacious than the procedures which had preceded, called for, and made possible its arrival; when it was heard, all that had gone before took on a new meaning, and the quest, which had seemed arbitrary, was seen to have prepared the way for this undreamed-of solution. ~ Claude L vi Strauss,
414:his book Choosing the Right Pond, economist Robert Frank exposes just how much of social life is determined by our desire to be big fish in our own ponds. If there were only one pond—if everyone compared his position to the positions of everybody else—virtually all of us would be losers. After all, in the pond containing whales, even sharks are small. So instead of comparing ourselves to everyone, we try to mark off the world in such a way that in our pond, in comparison with our reference group, we are successful. Better to be the third-highest-paid lawyer in a small firm and make $120,000 a year than to be in the middle of the pack in a large firm and make $150,000. The way to be happy—the way to succeed in the quest for status—is to find the right pond and stay in it. ~ Barry Schwartz,
415:I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call "The Physics of The Quest" — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: "If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you." Or so I've come to believe. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert,
416:To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. We look for this security by fortifying and enclosing ourselves in innumerable ways. We want the protection of being “exclusive” and “special,” seeking to belong to the safest church, the best nation, the highest class, the right set, and the “nice” people. These defenses lead to divisions between us, and so to more insecurity demanding more defenses. Of course it is all done in the sincere belief that we are trying to do the right things and live in the best way; but this, too, is a contradiction. ~ Alan W Watts,
417:The misconception about enlightenment stems from, or is at least compounded by, the fact that most of the world’s recognized experts on the subject of enlightenment are not enlightened. Some are great mystics, some are great scholars, some are both, and most are neither, but very few are awake. This core misconception will be a big theme in this book because it’s the primary obstacle in the quest for enlightenment. Nobody’s getting there because nobody knows where there is, and those who are entrusted to point the way are, for a variety of reasons, pointing the wrong way. At the very heart of this confusion lies the belief that abiding non-dual awareness—enlightenment—and the non-abiding experience of cosmic consciousness—mystic union—are synonymous when, in fact, they’re completely unrelated. ~ Jed McKenna,
418:Amy was looking around the sanctum in awe. "It's...beautiful!"
The girl was modest and thoughtful. How bizarre. So rarely did Ian see these qualities in others–especially during the quest for the 39 Clues. Naturally, he had been taught to avoid these behaviors at all costs and never to consort with anyone who possessed them. They were distasteful–FLO, as Papa would say. For Losers Only. And Kabras never lost.
Yet she fascinated him. Her joy in running up Alistair's tiny lawn, her awe at this piddling cubbyhole–it didn't seem possible to gain so much happiness from so little. This gave him a curious feeling he'd never quite experienced. Something like indigestion but quite a bit more pleasant.
Ah well. Blame it on the ripped trousers, he thought. Humiliation softened the soul. ~ Peter Lerangis,
419:returned to his seat. ‘Did it hurt?’ Percy whispered. Frank looked at his forearm, which was still steaming. ‘Yeah. A lot.’ He seemed mystified by the badges in his hand – the centurion’s mark and the Mural Crown – like he wasn’t sure what to do with them. ‘Here.’ Hazel’s eyes shone with pride. ‘Let me.’ She pinned the medals to Frank’s shirt. Percy smiled. He’d only known Frank for a day, but he felt proud of him, too. ‘You deserve it, man,’ he said. ‘What you did last night? Natural leadership.’ Frank scowled. ‘But centurion –’ ‘Centurion Zhang,’ called Octavian. ‘Did you hear the question?’ Frank blinked. ‘Um … sorry. What?’ Octavian turned to the senate and smirked, like, What did I tell you? ‘I was asking,’ Octavian said like he was talking to a three-year-old, ‘if you have a plan for the quest. ~ Rick Riordan,
420:Ideally, the pursuit of truth is said to be at the heart of the intellectual's business, but this credits his business too much and not quite enough. As with the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of truth is itself gratifying whereas consummation often turns out to be elusive. Truth captured loses its glamour; truths long known and widely believed have a way of turning false with time; easy truths are bore and too many of them become half truths. Whatever the intellectual is too certain of, if he is healthily playful, he begins to find unsatisfactory. The meaning of his intellectual life lies not in the possession of truth but in the quest for new uncertainties. Harold Rosenberg summed up this side of the life of the mind supremely well when he said that the intellectual is one who turns answers into questions. ~ Richard Hofstadter,
421:From time to time I try to imagine this world of which he spoke--a culture in whose mythology words might be that precious, in which words were conceived as vessels for communications from the heart; a society in which words are holy, and the challenge of life is based upon the quest for gentle words, holy words, gentle truths, holy truths.

I try to imagine for myself a world in which the words one gives one's children are the shell into which they shall grow, so one chooses one's words carefully, like precious gifts, like magnificent gifts, like magnificent inheritances, for they convey an excess of what we have imagined, they bear gifts beyond imagination, they reveal and revisit the wealth of history.

How carefully, how slowly, and how lovingly we might step into our expectations of each other in such a world. ~ Patricia J Williams,
422:Clearly, we have entered a world very different from the world of modernity as previously described. The subject/object distinction has broken down. In this world, foundationalism is a washout;49 the old distinction between fact and opinion is disappearing from view. The quest for certainty, precision, and ahistorical knowledge of objective truth is judged impossible. “Truth” is not an objective entity; the classic dikes between fact and opinion are springing leaks. Of course, not all the tenets of modernity have been sacrificed. Irrationally, philosophical naturalism (for most advocates of this radical hermeneutics), still holds sway; moreover, I must still say something about the place of science in this new model. But some variation of what once held the status of a minority report advanced only by a few intellectuals is now adopted almost everywhere. ~ D A Carson,
Today I will let the old boat stand
Where the sweep of the harbor tide comes in
To the pulse of a far, deep-steady sway.
And I will rest and dream and sit on the deck
Watching the world go by
And take my pay for many hard days gone I remember.
I will choose what clouds I like
In the great white fleets that wander the blue
As I lie on my back or loaf at the rail.
And I will listen as the veering winds kiss me and fold me
And put on my brow the touch of the world's great will.
Daybreak will hear the heart of the boat beat,
Engine throb and piston play
In the quiver and leap at call of life.
To-morrow we move in the gaps and heights
On changing floors of unlevel seas
And no man shall stop us and no man follow
For ours is the quest of an unknown shore
And we are husky and lusty and shouting-gay.
~ Carl Sandburg,
424:Realism is for lazy-minded, semi-educated people whose atrophied imagination allows them to appreciate only the most limited and convention subject matter. Re-Fi is a repetitive genre written by unimaginative hacks who rely on mere mimesis. If they had any self-respect they'd be writing memoir, but they're too lazy to fact-check. Of course I never read Re-Fi. But the kids keep bringing home these garish realistic novels and talking about them, so I know that it's an incredibly narrow genre, completely centered on one species, full of worn-out cliches and predictable situations--the quest for the father, mother-bashing, obsessive male lust, dysfunctional suburban families, etc., etc. All it's good for is being made into mass-market movies. Given its old-fashioned means and limited subject matter, realism is quite incapable of describing the complexity of contemporary experience. ~ Ursula K Le Guin,
425:Well, have your way. The quest is ended. We all return. Get the boat up again.”
“Sire,” said Reepicheep, “we do not all return. I, as I explained before--”
“Silence!” thundered Caspian. “I’ve been lessoned but I’ll not be baited. Will no one silence that Mouse?”
“Your Majesty promised,” said Reepicheep, “to be good lord to the Talking Beasts of Narnia.”
“Talking beasts, yes,” said Caspian. “I said nothing about beasts that never stop talking.” And he flung down the ladder in a temper and went into the cabin, slamming the door.
But when the others rejoined him a little later they found him changed; he was white and there were tears in his eyes.
“It’s no good,” he said. “I might as well have behaved decently for all the good I did with my temper and swagger. Aslan has spoken to me. No--I don’t mean he was actually here. He wouldn’t fit into the cabin, for one thing. ~ C S Lewis,
426:Among all the modes by which love is brought into being, among all the agents which disseminate that blessed bane, there are few so efficacious as this gust of feverish agitation that sweeps over us from time to time. For then the die is cast, the person whose company we enjoy at that moment is the person we shall henceforward love. It is not even necessary for that person to have attracted us, up till then, more than or even as much as others. All that was needed was that our predilection should become exclusive. And that condition is fulfilled when — in this moment of deprivation — the quest for the pleasures we enjoyed in his or her company is suddenly replaced by an anxious, torturing need, whose object is the person alone, an absurd, irrational need which the laws of this world make it impossible to satisfy and difficult to assuage — the insensate, agonising need to possess exclusively. ~ Marcel Proust,
427:Most people are strongly wired to be intolerant of uncertainty. We experience it as pain, fear, anxiety, and doubt. When faced with the need to coexist or, horror of horrors, act in the face of great uncertainty, we recoil. The primal fear center in the brain, the amygdala, lights up, sending chemicals coursing through our bodies that make us physically uneasy, emotionally uncomfortable, and, in short order, spent. We know the quest to create something from nothing requires us to go to that place. But we’re so poorly equipped to handle it, we begin to make decisions based not on what’s best for the endeavor, but on what will get us out of that painful place of uncertainty the fastest. For some, that means backing down, becoming stalled or paralyzed. For others, it means rushing to just get it over with. Either way, the end result is either nothing or something far below your true potential. ~ Jocelyn K Glei,
428:In many industries, however, what some call hypercompetition is a self-inflicted wound, not the inevitable outcome of a changing paradigm of competition. The root of the problem is the failure to distinguish between operational effectiveness and strategy. The quest for productivity, quality, and speed has spawned a remarkable number of management tools and techniques: total quality management, benchmarking, time-based competition, outsourcing, partnering, reengineering, change management. Although the resulting operational improvements have often been dramatic, many companies have been frustrated by their inability to translate those gains into sustainable profitability. And bit by bit, almost imperceptibly, management tools have taken the place of strategy. As managers push to improve on all fronts, they move farther away from viable competitive positions. Operational effectiveness: necessary ~ Michael E Porter,
429:In this book, you will encounter various interesting geometries that have been thought to hold the keys to the universe. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) suggested that "Nature's great book is written in mathematical symbols." Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) modeled the solar system with Platonic solids such as the dodecahedron. In the 1960s, physicist Eugene Wigner (1902-1995) was impressed with the "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences." Large Lie groups, like E8-which is discussed in the entry "The Quest for Lie Group E8 (2007)"- may someday help us create a unified theory of physics. in 2007, Swedish American cosmologist Max Tegmark published both scientific and popular articles on the mathematical universe hypothesis, which states that our physical reality is a mathematical structure-in other words, our universe in not just described by mathematics-it is mathematics. ~ Clifford A Pickover,
430:Like fear, doubt is not in and of itself a bad thing. God has given us the ability to wonder and the desire to know and understand. He has wired into us the quest to have our questions answered and our confusion cleared up. He created in us an intolerance of irrationality and contradiction. Doubt can cause you to ask profoundly important questions. Doubt will make you think deeply about very important things. Doubt will allow you to expose and reject falsehood. Doubt can ignite a life that is reasoned, wise, and protective. Doubt can keep you from being all too naive or an easy target for deception. Because doubt drives us to know and understand, it has the power to lead you to the One who knows and understands everything. Your capacity to doubt can drive you to God, but not always. This is why we need to talk about doubt, because this God-given capacity, wrongly functioning, can be disastrous. ~ Paul David Tripp,
431:From time to time I try to imagine this world of which he spoke--a culture in whose mythology words might be that precious, in which words were conceived as vessels for communications from the heart; a society in which words are holy, and the challenge of life is based upon the quest for gentle words, holy words, gentle truths, holy truths.

I try to imagine for myself a world in which the words one gives one's children are the shell into which they shall grow, so one chooses one's children are the shell into which they shall grow, so one chooses one's words carefully, like precious gifts, like magnificent gifts, like magnificent inheritances, for they convey an excess of what we have imagined, they bear gifts beyond imagination, they reveal and revisit the wealth of history.

How carefully, how slowly, and how lovingly we might step into our expectations of each other in such a world. ~ Patricia J Williams,
432:One of the four genes used by Yamanaka to reverse cellular fate is called c-myc. Myc, the rejuvenating factor, is no ordinary gene: it is one of the most forceful regulators of cell growth and metabolism known in biology. Activated abnormally, it can certainly coax an adult cell back into an embryo-like state, thereby enabling Yamanaka's cell-fate reversal experiment (this function requires the collaboration of the three other genes found by Yamanaka). But myc is also one of the most potent cancer-causing genes known in biology; it is also activated in leukemias and lymphomas, and in pancreatic, gastric, and uterine cancer. As in some ancient moral fable, the quest for eternal youthfulness appears to come at a terrifying collateral cost. The very genes that enable a cell to peel away mortality and age can also tip its fate toward malignant immortality, perpetual growth, and agelessness-the hallmarks of cancer. ~ Siddhartha Mukherjee,
433:It’s the “If only I could understand this or that, then I’d be secure” way of living. But it never works. In your most brilliant moment, you will still be left with mystery in your life; sometimes even painful mystery. We all face things that appear to make little sense and don’t seem to serve any good purpose. So rest is never found in the quest to understand it all. No, rest is found in trusting the One who understands it all and rules it all for his glory and our good. Few passages capture that rest better than Psalm 62:5–7: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” In moments when you wish you knew what you can’t know, there is rest to be found. There is One who knows. He loves you and rules what you don’t understand with your good in mind. ~ Paul David Tripp,
434:By all accounts mathematics is mankind’s most successful intellectual undertaking. Every problem of mathematics gets solved, sooner or later. Once solved, a mathematical problem is forever finished: no later event will disprove a correct solution. As mathematics progresses, problems that were difficult become easy and can be assigned to schoolchildren.Thus Euclidean geometry is taught in the second year of high school. Similarly, the mathematics learned by my generation in graduate school is now taught at the undergraduate level, and perhaps in the not too distant future, in the high schools. Not only is every mathematical problem solved, but eventually every mathematical problem is proved trivial. The quest for ultimate triviality is characteristic of the mathematical enterprise. ~ Gian-Carlo Rota, "The Pernicious Influence of Mathematics upon Philosophy" 18 Unconventional Essays on the Nature of Mathematics (2006) p. 223, ed. Reuben Hersh.,
435:All Hellenistic schools seem to define [wisdom] in approximately the same terms: first and foremost, as a state of perfect peace of mind. From this viewpoint, philosophy appears as a remedy for human worries, anguish, and misery brought about, for the Cynics, by social constraints and conventions; for the Epicureans, by the quest for false pleasures; for the Stoics, by the pursuit of pleasure and egoistic self-interest; and for the Skeptics, by false opinions. Whether or not they laid claim to the Socratic heritage, all Hellenistic philosophers agreed with Socrates that human beings are plunged in misery, anguish, and evil because they exist in ignorance. Evil is to be found not within things, but in the value judgments with people bring to bear upon things. People can therefore be cured of their ills only if they are persuaded to change their value judgments, and in this sense all these philosophies wanted to be therapeutic. ~ Pierre Hadot,
436:I am sorry that I cannot make it okay. I am sorry that I cannot save you - but not that sorry. Part of me thinks that your very vulnerability brings you closer to the meaning of life, just as for others, the quest to believe oneself white divides them from it. The fact is that despite their dreams, their lives are also not inviolable. When their own vulnerability becomes real - when the police decide that tactics intended for the ghetto should enjoy wider usage, when their armed society shoots down their children, when nature sends hurricanes against their cities - they are shocked in a way that those of us who were born and bred to understand cause and effect can never be. And I would not have you live like them. You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates,
437:I do not like being thwarted, but shall I receive good from the God and not also trouble? The voices that say Recover so you can get back to normal, grossly underestimate the gift of this wrecked life. Why is it a gift? Because I would have no compelling reason to step from my comfortable existence into the quest for what’s next if my present security wasn’t taken from me. It is rare for a man to plan his own journey toward growth and change. Usually these journeys are thrust on us unexpectedly… If my ego tried to plan this journey, it would be limited by the expectations of what I would already hope to find. There would be no element of surprise, wonder, or faith--just a forced march towards a future my present self assumes is what I need. THat would not be a journey of faith but of control--and a fool’s errand. Faith is the conviction to trust that there are good things out beyond what I can see and would never know to pursue--glorious things God himself will bring to pass. I need those glorious things. ~ Russ Ramsey,
438:Mannheim believed that ideologizing influences, while they could not be eradicated completely, could be mitigated by the systematic analysis of as many as possible of the varying socially grounded positions. In other words, the object of thought becomes progressively clearer with this accumulation of different perspectives on it. This is to be the task of the sociology of knowledge, which thus is to become an important aid in the quest for any correct understanding of human events. Mannheim believed that different social groups vary greatly in their capacity thus to transcend their own narrow position. He placed his major hope in the “socially unattached intelligentsia” (freischwebende Intelligenz, a term derived from Alfred Weber), a sort of interstitial stratum that he believed to be relatively free of class interests. Mannheim also stressed the power of “utopian” thought, which (like ideology) produces a distorted image of social reality, but which (unlike ideology) has the dynamism to transform that reality into its image of it. Needless ~ Peter L Berger,
439:Life's greatest philosophy is not handed down in stoic texts and dusty tomes, but lived, in each breath and act of human compassion. For love has always demanded sacrifice, and no greater love is there than that for which our lives are traded. And in this great cause of spiritual evolution we are all called to be martyrs, to die each of us, in the quest of a higher realm and loftier ideals, that we may know God. And what if there is nothing else? What if all life ends in the silent void of death? Then is it all in vain? I think not, for love, for the sake of love, will always be enough. And if our lives are but a single flash in the dark hollow of eternity, then if, but for the briefest of moments, we shine - then how brilliantly our light has burned. And as starlight knows no boundary of space or time, so too, our illumination will shine forth throughout all eternity, for darkness has no power to quell such light. And this is a lesson we must all learn and take to heart - that all light is eternal and all love is light. And it must forever be so. ~ Richard Paul Evans,
440:While I have the floor, here's a question that's been bothering me for some time. Why do so few writers of heroic or epic fantasy ever deal with the fundamental quandary of their novels . . . that so many of them take place in cultures that are rigid, hierarchical, stratified, and in essence oppressive? What is so appealing about feudalism, that so many free citizens of an educated commonwealth like ours love reading about and picturing life under hereditary lords?

Why should the deposed prince or princess in every clichéd tale be chosen to lead the quest against the Dark Lord? Why not elect a new leader by merit, instead of clinging to the inbred scions of a failed royal line? Why not ask the pompous, patronizing, "good" wizard for something useful, such as flush toilets, movable type, or electricity for every home in the kingdom? Given half a chance, the sons and daughters of peasants would rather not grow up to be servants. It seems bizarre for modern folk to pine for a way of life our ancestors rightfully fought desperately to escape. ~ David Brin,
441:With the anthill, the respectable race of ants began and with the anthill they will probably end, which does the greatest credit to their perseverance and staidness. But man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like the chessplayer, loves only the process of the game, not the end of it. And who knows (on cannot swear to it), perhaps the only goal on earth to which mankind is striving lies in this incessant process of attaining, or in other words, in life itself, and not particularly in the goal which of course must always be two times two makes four, that is a formula, and after all, two times two makes four is no longer life, gentlemen, but is the beginning of death. Anyway, man has always been somehow afraid of this two times two makes four, and I am afraid of it even now. Granted that man does nothing but seek that two times two makes four, that he sails the oceans, sacrifices his life in the quest, but to succeed, really to find it -- he is somehow afraid, I assure you. He feels that as soon as he has found it there will be nothing for him to look for. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
442:Today, the world remembers the tragic events of September 11, 2001. We are still shocked and dismayed at the infamy of those cowardly attacks. During the past year, we have come to know the heroic acts of men and women whose courage and selflessness were manifest on that terrible day. So many lost their lives. So many friends and families have been deprived of dear ones. Today we pause to remember and join in tribute to those whose lives were taken and to those who have carried on so bravely in their absence. We know that much good has come of these dreadful circumstances. From the smoke and ashes of New York, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and other areas of the world has arisen a greater sense of unity and purpose in ridding the earth of evil and providing for the freedom and security of all people. We endorse the righteous efforts of God-fearing people everywhere in this important endeavor. May our Father in Heaven smile upon us all, comfort those who continue to mourn, and guide the leaders of nations in the quest for justice and liberty, is our sincere prayer. Thank you. ~ Gordon B Hinckley,
443:in 1991, Dr. L. D. Rue, confronted with the predicament of modern man, boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some “Noble Lie” into thinking that we and the universe still have value. According to Rue, “The lesson of the past two centuries is that intellectual and moral relativism is profoundly the case.” He says that the consequence of this realization is that the quest for self-fulfillment and the quest for social coherence fall apart. This is because on the view of relativism the search for self-fulfillment becomes radically privatized: Each person chooses his own set of values and meaning. So what are we to do? Rue says there is on the one hand “the madhouse option”: We just pursue self-fulfillment regardless of social coherence. On the other hand, there is “the totalitarian option”: The state imposes social coherence at the expense of people’s personal fulfillment. If we’re to avoid these two options, he says, then we have no choice but to embrace some Noble Lie that will inspire us to live beyond selfish interests and so voluntarily achieve social coherence. A ~ William Lane Craig,
444:If top performer are imbued with the belief that their excellence isn’t a personal accomplishment, but a gift belonging to all of mankind as a demonstration of man’s potential, they’ll go strong and remain so through any event.
We celebrate the champion because we recognize that he has overcome personal ambition through sacrifice and dedication to higher principles.
The great become legendary when they teach by example. It isn’t what they have, nor what they do, but what they have become that inspires all of mankind, and that’s what we honor in them.
The Olympic spirit resides within the hearth of every man and woman. Great athletes can, by example, awaken awareness of that principle in all people.
These heroes and their spokesmen have a potentially powerful influence on all of mankind, literally the power to lift the world on their shoulders. The nurturing of excellence and recognition of its value is the responsibility of all men, because the quest for excellence in any area of human endeavor inspires us all toward the actualization of every form of man’s yet unrealized greatness. ~ David R Hawkins,
445:Instead, finding a faith should help you to be freer, more full of life, more filled with joy, peace and love than you would ever imagine. And those qualities, in abundance, will only make you stronger and more capable of living a wild and adventurous life.

And what is even cooler is that Jesus turns out to be so much more than just a guide or a pointer of the way. He is also a backbone, a companion and a friend. When I look at my own heroes, I realize there aren’t many leaders who haven’t at some time quietly bent their knee and looked upwards for strength, resolve and peace.

Great men and women know their own frailty and have the humility to accept help to empower them to greatness. Be among their number.

Pioneers always take bold steps to explore new territory - you never know what you might find.

By the way, it is also good to know that faith isn’t one-sided. As Christ said: ‘I have come to seek and save.’

He is out looking for us, too.

So be brave and let Him do his side of the bargain. I call it the quest to be found.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

¹ I really recommend the book ,
446:Being real takes tremendous courage. We like approval, and we like respect, and to say otherwise is another form of denial. To wish for the admiration of others is normal. The problem is that this admiration can become a drug. Many of you are addicted to this drug, and the destruction to your wealth and financial well-being caused by your addiction is huge. Radical change in the quest for approval, which has involved purchasing stuff with money we don’t have, is required for a money breakthrough. Sara’s breakthrough came with family. Her family was upper-middle-crust and had always given Christmas gifts to every member. With twenty nieces and nephews and six sets of adults to buy for, just on her side, the budget was ridiculous. Sara’s announcement at Thanksgiving that this year Christmas giving was going to be done with the drawing of names, because she and Bob couldn’t afford it, was earth-shattering. Some of you are grinning as if this is no big deal. It was a huge deal in Sara’s family! Gift giving was a tradition! Her mother and two of her sisters-in-law were furious. Very little thanks were given that Thanksgiving, but Sara stood her ground and said, “No more.” Sara ~ Dave Ramsey,
447:These observations bring out the fact that, whenever liberty is regarded merely as the power to do something which it is desired to do, the tyrant need only base himself on the desires of the masses to suppress the liberties cherished by a few. But can anyone fail to see that the very concrete problem here posed is the problem of the sation of satisfactions, and not the problem of liberty at all? How, then, has it come about that we have drifted away from what we were discussing? This is the very definition of liberty which we allowed as our starting-point. Its development makes it clear that the thing discussed does not merit the fair name of liberty.
It is certain that every man desires addition to his power and chafes at the obstacles which stand in his way; it is also certain that the quest for a power which is wider binds him to a growing dependence on other men; it is certain, lastly, that this dependence creates a growing tendency to quarrel about distribution. All that is important, but it is the story not of liberty but of human imperialism. And whoever thinks to see the essence of liberty in the power of man is is utterly lacking in any true feeling for liberty. ~ Bertrand De Jouvenel,
448:All that remains is for me to make a sad observation. Like so many other creatures that once embellished life and brought hope, house spirits have vanished and with them the souls of our houses have fled, never to return. Homes have sunk into anonymity; building rituals have almost entirely disappeared; prefabricated industrial materials have replaced the quest for attentive selection of materials that were wrought with love; the meaning of ornaments are no longer known and the moon, sun, stars and crosses have disappeared from our facades; radiators have replaced the hearth and stove; our corners have become little more than dust collectors; and there is no longer anything concealed beneath our thresholds. We have transformed into rootless wanderers with no fire or place to call our own. The individual no longer has any attachment to a house that has been passed down for generations. In loosing all of this, we have lost a piece of ourselves, one of our most solid anchors, and like dead leaves carried by the wind, we settle one day here, another day there, driven by the whims of our professions, but we no longer bring the embers from our hearths with us, and the surviving spirits weep in abandoned houses. ~ Claude Lecouteux,
449:How the excitement comes upon me to tell it all! In the quest of writing, the heart can speed up with anticipation--as it does, indeed, during the chase itself of whales. I can swear it, having done both, and I will tell YOU though other writers may not. My heart is beating fast; I am in pursuit; I want my victory--that you should see and hear and above all feel the reality behind these words. For they are but a mask. Not the mask that conceals, not a mask that I would have you strike through as mere appearance, or, worse, deceitful appearance. Words need not be that kind of mask, but a mask such as the ancient Greek actors wore, a mask that expresses rather than conceals the inner drama.
(But do you know me? Una? You have shipped long with me in the boat that is this book. Let me assure you and tell you that I know you, even something of your pain and joy, for you are much like me. The contract of writing and reading requires that we know each other. Did you know that I try on your mask from time to time? I become a reader, too, reading over what I have just written. If I am your shipbuilder and captain, from time to time I am also your comrade. Feel me now, standing beside you, just behind your shoulder?) ~ Sena Jeter Naslund,
450:The quest for an ever-whiter shade of bread, which goes all the way back to the Greeks and Romans, is a parable about the folly of human ingenuity -- about how our species can sometimes be too smart for its own good. After figuring out an ingenious system for transforming an all but nutritionally worthless grass into a wholesome food, humanity pushed on intrepidly until it had figured out a way to make that food all but nutritionally worthless yet gain! Here in miniature, I realized, is the whole checkered history of "food processing." Our species' discovery and development of cooking (in the broadest sense of the word) gave us a handful of ingenious technologies for rendering plants and animals more nutritious and unlocking calories unavailable to other creatures. But there eventually came a moment when, propelled by the logic of human desire and technological progress, we began to overprocess certain foods in such a way as to actually render them detrimental to our health and well-being. What had been a highly adaptive set of techniques that contributed substantially to our success as a species turned into a maladaptive one -- contributing to disease and general ill health and now actually threatening to shorten human lives. ~ Michael Pollan,
451:To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet. We look for this security by fortifying and enclosing ourselves in innumerable ways. We want the protection of being “exclusive” and “special,” seeking to belong to the safest church, the best nation, the highest class, the right set, and the “nice” people. These defenses lead to divisions between us, and so to more insecurity demanding more defenses. Of course it is all done in the sincere belief that we are trying to do the right things and live in the best way; but this, too, is a contradiction. I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me.” “I,” who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward “me,” and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently “I” will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make “me” behave so badly. ~ Alan W Watts,
452:According to Q-Jo, the whole tarot deck, or at least the twenty-two trump cards of the Major Arcana, may be read as the Fool's journey. "On one important level," she explained, "the major cards are chapters in the story of a quest. I'm talking the universal human quest for understanding and divine reunion. And it doesn't matter whether the quest starts with the Fool or ends with him, because it's a loop anyhow, a cycle endlessly repeated. When the naive young Fool finally tumbles over the precipice, he falls into the world of experience. Now his journey has really begun. Along the way, he'll meet all the teachers and tempters - the tempters are teachers, too - and challenging situations that a person is likely to meet in the task of his or her growing. The Fool is potentially everybody, but not everybody has the wisdom or the guts to play the fool. A lot of folks don't know what's in that bag they're carrying. And they're all too willing to trade it for cash. Inside the bag, the have every tool they need to facilitate their life's journey, but they won't even open it up and glance inside. Subconsciously, the goal of all of us out-of-control primates is essentially the same, but let me assure you of this: the only ones who'll ever reach that goal are the ones who have the courage to make fools of themselves along the way. ~ Tom Robbins,
Have the blasts of sorrow worn thee,
Have the rocks of danger torn thee,
And thus shifted, wreck-like drifted,
Wouldst thou find a port in time?
Vain the quest! That word sublime—
God’s great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever,
Hast thou done all loving duty,
Hast thou clothed thy soul with beauty,
And wouldst rest then, wholly blest then,
In some sunny lapse of time?
Vain the hope! The word sublime—
God’s great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever,
Hast thou won the heart of glory,
Hast thou charmed the tongue of story,
And wouldst pause then for applause then,
Underneath the stars of time?
Vain the lure! That word sublime—
God’s great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever,
Truth and virtue hast thou wrought for,
Faith and freedom hast thou fought for,
And then shrinkest for thou thinkest
Paid is all thy debt in time?
Vain the thought! That word sublime—
God’s great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever,
From endeavour to endeavour,
Journeying with hours for ever,
Or aspiring, or acquiring
This, O man, is life in time,
Urged by that primal word sublime—
God’s great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever,
~ Charles Harpur,
Under A Tree
UNDER a tree where the breezes blow,
There is the spot that it's good to go
With the children bronzed by the Summer sun,
Bubbling with laughter and wholesome fun;
And I gather them round — all the happy clan,
And forget for a while I'm a grizzled old man.
Marjorie, Florence, and fair Lucille,
Freddy and Denny — and then we steal
An hour or two from the clock of life,
The quest of gold and the constant strife,
The clamor and noise of a city day
For the peace and joy of a bit of play.
Pirate stories for boys we tell,
For there is the place to tell them well;
With treasure islands we build in sand,
And we mark the spot where the pirates land,
And even the place where the gold was hid
By that master of pirates, old Captain Kidd.
Then we leave the pirates and run away
To the wonderful glens where the fairies play;
And under the tree where the breezes are
We summon the fairies with crown and star,
And I tell of the wonderful things they do
When the sun is up and the skies are blue.
And the far off world may call and call,
But I never hear through my little wall
Of innocent youngsters that hem me in.
I finish one tale and a new begin;
And there we sit underneath the tree
Till mother calls all of us in for tea.
~ Edgar Albert Guest,
455:Lefebvre’s concept of heterotopia (radically different from that of Foucault) delineates liminal social spaces of possibility where “something different” is not only possible, but foundational for the defining of revolutionary trajectories. This “something different” does not necessarily arise out of a conscious plan, but more simply out of what people do, feel, sense, and come to articulate as they seek meaning in their daily lives. Such practices create heterotopic spaces all over the place. We do not have to wait upon the grand revolution to constitute such spaces. Lefebvre’s theory of a revolutionary movement is the other way round: the spontaneous coming together in a moment of “irruption,” when disparate heterotopic groups suddenly see, if only for a fleeting moment, the possibilities of collective action to create something radically different. That coming together is symbolized by Lefebvre in the quest for centrality. The traditional centrality of the city has been destroyed. But there is an impulse towards and longing for its restoration which arises again and again to produce far-reaching political effects, as we have recently seen in the central squares of Cairo, Madrid, Athens, Barcelona, and even Madison, Wisconsin and now Zuccotti Park in New York City. How else and where else can we come together to articulate our collective cries and demands? ~ David Harvey,
456:/Farsi When you begin the Valley of the Quest Misfortunes will deprive you of all rest, Each moment some new trouble terrifies, And parrots there are panic-stricken flies. There years must vanish while you strive and grieve; There is the heart of all you will achieve -- Renounce the world, your power and all you own, And in your heart's blood journey on alone. When once your hands are empty, then your heart Must purify itself and move apart From everything that is -- when this is done, The Lord's light blazes brighter than the sun, Your heart is bathed in splendour and the quest Expands a thousandfold within your breast. Though fire flares up across the path, and though A hundred monsters peer out from its glow, The pilgrim driven on by his desire Will like a moth rush gladly on the fire. When love inspires his heart he begs for win, One drop to be vouchsafed him as a sign -- And when he drinks this drop both worlds are gone; Dry-lipped he founders in oblivion. His zeal to know faith's mysteries will make Him fight with dragons for salvation's sake -- Though blasphemy and curses crowd the gate, Until it opens he will calmly wait, And then where is this faith? this blasphemy? Both vanish into strenghless vacancy. [2178.jpg] -- from The Conference of the Birds, Translated by Afkham Darbandi / Translated by Dick Davis

~ Farid ud-Din Attar, The Valley of the Quest
457:For a time, the word Weltpolitik seemed to capture the mood of the German middle classes and the national-minded quality press. The word resonated because it bundled together so many contemporary aspirations. Weltpolitik meant the quest to expand foreign markets (at a time of declining export growth); it meant escaping from the constraints of the continental alliance system to operate on a broader world arena. It expressed the appetite for genuinely national projects that would help knit together the disparate regions of the German Empire and reflected the almost universal conviction that Germany, a late arrival at the imperial feast, would have to play catch-up if it wished to earn the respect of the other great powers. Yet, while it connoted all these things, Weltpolitik never acquired a stable or precise meaning. Even Bernhard von Bulow, widely credited with establishing Weltpolitik as the guiding principle of German foreign policy, never produced a definitive account of what it was. His contradictory utterances on the subject suggest that it was little more than the old policy of the "free hand" with a larger navy and more menacing mood music. "We are supposed to be pursuing Weltpolitik," the former chief of the General Staff General Alfred von Waldersee noted grumpily in his diary in January 1900. "If only I knew what that was supposed to be. ~ Christopher Clark,
458:I keep notations, like my mother. She had notebook after notebook of trials and errors, all written in her perfect penmanship on quad-ruled pages, a square for each letter to nest in. My journal is a thick black hardcover with unlined pages. Like her, I'm a technician, a statistician, copiously documenting slight variations in texture, color, taste. I'm a chemist. A quarter cup of rye flour added to the white wheat gives a sweeter flavor. A half teaspoon more salt and 78 percent hydration of the dough result in those coveted large, irregular rooms in the crumb. Mastering formulas, not recipes, in the quest for the perfect loaf. Xavier tells me not to bother. He doesn't believe in perfection. "Forget the ingredients. Forget the environment. 'You' are different each day. You can't replicate yourself. Your hands are stronger, or weaker. Your mind thinks different thoughts while kneading. Life is all over you, changing you. All that goes into the making comes out in the bread. It won't be the same from one batch to the next. Not ever."
"It'll be close, though."
"Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."
He's the artist. He makes me brave enough to try. With his encouragement, I've focused on the creativity of bread, writing my own recipes, exploring nontraditional flavors and shapes. Not all of them turn out well, but he tastes my failures with me, with layers of warm butter. ~ Christa Parrish,
459:All God seems to be known for is legalism, rules, judgments, commands and wrath. In fact, Jesus calls us to live a life of unimaginable adventure. It begins the moment we choose to follow Him. It is no less than to pass from existence to life. Though we are not taken out of time and space, we are translated into an entirely different dimension of living. Jesus tells us that He is the portal into this life and the quest that follows. Jesus describes Himself as a door, a gate, a portal. In other words, an escape hatch. He has come to free us from a meaningless existence and liberate us to a life filled with adventure. He has come to lead us out of the mundane and into the extraordinary. Strangely enough we find it hard to trust Him, while all the time He has been trying to lead us out of the dark dungeons we have created for ourselves and let us run free in the light of day. When we come to Him, he translates us into an entirely new realm of living. His promise is that in Him we will find the life that our hearts have always longed for. Jesus was crucified as a criminal, but what His accusers didn’t know was that He was planning and fulfilling history’s most extraordinary prison break. When we open our lives to Him, we can live our lives wide open. We are translated from one reality into another. We are now forever in relationship with the One who is the source of love, life, and freedom. Everything ~ Erwin Raphael McManus,
460:1. Those who first set themselves to discover nature’s secrets and designs, fearlessly opposing mankind’s early ignorance, deserve our praise;   2. For they began the quest to measure what once was unmeasurable, to discern its laws, and conquer time itself by understanding.   3. New eyes were needed to see what lay hidden in ignorance, new language to express the unknown,   4. New hope that the world would reveal itself to inquiry and investigation.   5. They sought to unfold the world’s primordial sources, asking how nature yields its abundance and fosters it,   6. And where in its course everything goes when it ends, either to change or cease.   7. The first inquirers named nature’s elements atoms, matter, seeds, primal bodies, and understood that they are coeval with the world;   8. They saw that nothing comes from nothing, so that discovering the elements reveals how the things of nature exist and evolve.   9. Fear holds dominion over people when they understand little, and need simple stories and legends to comfort and explain; 10. But legends and the ignorance that give them birth are a house of limitations and darkness. 11. Knowledge is freedom, freedom from ignorance and its offspring fear; knowledge is light and liberation, 12. Knowledge that the world contains itself, and its origins, and the mind of man, 13. From which comes more know­ledge, and hope of knowledge again. 14. Dare to know: that is the motto of enlightenment.   ~ A C Grayling,
461:The quest for the eternal, all-beautiful, all-true and all-pure, and the quest to be close to the poor and most broken people appear to be so contradictory. And yet, in the broken heart of Christ, these two quests are united. Jesus reveals to us that he loves his Father, and is intimately linked to him; at the same time he is himself in love with each person and in a particular way with the most broken, the most suffering and the most rejected. To manifest this love, Jesus himself became broken and rejected, a man of sorrows and of anguish and of tears; he became the Crucified One.

. . . Within the church, over the ages, one or the other aspect of this double mission has been emphasized, according to the call of God in different times and places, but both are also present. There are those who are called to the desert or the mountain top to see greater union with God through the Crucified One; and their prayer will flow upon the broken and the crucified ones of this world. And there are those called together to give their lives for and with the crucified and broken ones in the world; and they will always seek a personal and mystical union with Jesus so that they may love as he loves.

Every community and every family are called to live both forms of mission, but in different ways: to pray and to be present in a special way to the smallest and the weakest within their own community or outside it, according to their individual call. ~ Jean Vanier,
462:A part, immutable, unseen,
Being, before itself had been,
Became. Like dew a triple queen
Shone as the void uncovered:
The silence of deep height was drawn
A veil across the silver dawn
On holy wings that hovered.

The music of three thoughts became
The beauty, that is one white flame,
The justice that surpasses shame,
The victory, the splendour,
The sacred fountain that is whirled
From depths beyond that older world
A new world to engender.

The kingdom is extended. Night
Dwells, and I contemplate the sight
That is not seeing, but the light
That secretly is kindled,
Though oft-time its most holy fire
Lacks oil, whene'er my own Desire
Before desire has dwindled.

I see the thin web binding me
With thirteen cords of unity
Toward the calm centre of the sea.
(O thou supernal mother!)
The triple light my path divides
To twain and fifty sudden sides
Each perfect as each other.

Now backwards, inwards still my mind
Must track the intangible and blind,
And seeking, shall securely find
Hidden in secret places
Fresh feasts for every soul that strives,
New life for many mystic lives,
And strange new forms and faces.

My mind still searches, and attains
By many days and many pains
To That which Is and Was and reigns
Shadowed in four and ten;
And loses self in sacred lands,
And cries and quickens, and understands
Beyond the first Amen.
~ Aleister Crowley, The Quest
463:The Quest
A part, immutable, unseen,
Being, before itself had been,
Became. Like dew a triple queen
Shone as the void uncovered:
The silence of deep height was drawn
A veil across the silver dawn
On holy wings that hovered.
The music of three thoughts became
The beauty, that is one white flame,
The justice that surpasses shame,
The victory, the splendour,
The sacred fountain that is whirled
From depths beyond that older world
A new world to engender.
The kingdom is extended. Night
Dwells, and I contemplate the sight
That is not seeing, but the light
That secretly is kindled,
Though oft-time its most holy fire
Lacks oil, whene'er my own Desire
Before desire has dwindled.
I see the thin web binding me
With thirteen cords of unity
Toward the calm centre of the sea.
(O thou supernal mother!)
The triple light my path divides
To twain and fifty sudden sides
Each perfect as each other.
Now backwards, inwards still my mind
Must track the intangible and blind,
And seeking, shall securely find
Hidden in secret places
Fresh feasts for every soul that strives,
New life for many mystic lives,
And strange new forms and faces.
My mind still searches, and attains
By many days and many pains
To That which Is and Was and reigns
Shadowed in four and ten;
And loses self in sacred lands,
And cries and quickens, and understands
Beyond the first Amen.
~ Aleister Crowley,
464:The Quest
A part, immutable, unseen,
Being, before itself had been,
Became. Like dew a triple queen
Shone as the void uncovered:
The silence of deep height was drawn
A veil across the silver dawn
On holy wings that hovered.
The music of three thoughts became
The beauty, that is one white flame,
The justice that surpasses shame,
The victory, the splendour,
The sacred fountain that is whirled
From depths beyond that older world
A new world to engender.
The kingdom is extended. Night
Dwells, and I contemplate the sight
That is not seeing, but the light
That secretly is kindled,
Though oft-time its most holy fire
Lacks oil, whene'er my own Desire
Before desire has dwindled.
I see the thin web binding me
With thirteen cords of unity
Toward the calm centre of the sea.
(O thou supernal mother!)
The triple light my path divides
To twain and fifty sudden sides
Each perfect as each other.
Now backwards, inwards still my mind
Must track the intangible and blind,
And seeking, shall securely find
Hidden in secret places
Fresh feasts for every soul that strives,
New life for many mystic lives,
And strange new forms and faces.
My mind still searches, and attains
By many days and many pains
To That which Is and Was and reigns
Shadowed in four and ten;
And loses self in sacred lands,
And cries and quickens, and understands
Beyond the first Amen.
~ Aleister Crowley,
465:The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it. But if you break it, a surprising result will follow. If in your working hours you make the work your end, you will presently find yourself all unawares inside the only circle in your profession that really matters. You will be one of the sound craftsmen, and other sound craftsmen will know it. This group of craftsmen will by no means coincide with the Inner Ring or the Important People or the People in the Know. It will not shape that professional policy or work up that professional influence which fights for the profession as a whole against the public: nor will it lead to those periodic scandals and crises which the Inner Ring produces. But it will do those things which that profession exists to do and will in the long run be responsible for all the respect which that profession in fact enjoys and which the speeches and advertisements cannot maintain. And if in your spare time you consort simply with the people you like, you will again find that you have come unawares to a real inside: that you are indeed snug and safe at the center of something which, seen from without, would look exactly like an Inner Ring. But the difference is that its secrecy is accidental, and its exclusiveness a by-product, and no one was led thither by the lure of the esoteric: for it is only four or five people who like one another meeting to do things that they like. This is friendship. Aristotle placed it among the virtues. It causes perhaps half of all the happiness in the world, and no Inner Ring can ever have it. ~ C S Lewis,
466:We were both quiet for a bit. With my last brilliant idea a failure, the reality that maybe we could never fix this hung like a chain around my neck, cutting off the air. I’d fought so hard to get—really get—Lend. From escaping the Center to stopping Vivian to overcoming my own stupid issues, I’d been fighting for this relationship since the day I first saw water eyes. I couldn’t have come this far just to lose him physically forever. It wasn’t fair. And I was sick and tired of things not being fair.
“So, where’s my present?”
I wiped under my eyes. “Oh, right. You have your laptop in there?”
Smiling, I grabbed my laptop off the coffee table and emailed him the link, then waited.
“Ooh, I’ve got mail.” After a few seconds I heard the video playing, and Lend laughed. “How long did this take you?”
“I had a lot of time on my hands while you were in finals.” I leaned my head against the wall as I heard the soundtrack to the clips. I’d gone through all four seasons of Easton Heights and found every single time any of the characters said “I love you,” then (with copious amounts of help from Arianna) pieced them all together back to back, with one of Lend’s favorite songs as the soundtrack.
“I love you!” “I love you. “I LOVE YOU, idiot!” “You are so—I hate you! I love you!” “Shut up and tell me you love me.” “Te amo!” Ah, yes, the quest arc of the Spanish hottie. That was a good season.
Given the number of relationships that show cycled through, the video lasted several minutes. When it ended, I heard Lend’s laptop closing.
“Well?” I asked.
“I love you,” he answered.
“I love you, too.” I put my palm against the wall, fingers splayed out. ~ Kiersten White,
467:I am sorry that I cannot make it okay. I am sorry that I cannot save you -- but not that sorry. Part of me thinks that your very vulnerability brings you closer to the meaning of life, just as for others, the quest to believe oneself white divides them from it. The fact is that despite their dreams, their lives are also not inviolable. When their own vulnerability becomes real -- when the police decide that tactics for the ghetto should enjoy wider usage, when their armed society shoots down their children, when nature sends hurricanes against their cities -- they are shocked in a way that those of us who were born and bred to understand cause and effect can never be. And I would not have you like them. You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact. I am speaking to you as I always have -- as the sober and serious man I have always wanted you to be, who does not apologize for his human feelings, who does not make excuses for his height, his long arms, his beautiful smile. You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable. None of that can change the math anyway. I never wanted you to be twice as good as them, so much as I have always wanted you to attack every day of your brief bright life in struggle. The people who must believe they are white can never be your measuring stick. I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates,
468:Insight, then. Wisdom. The quest for knowledge, the derivation of theorems, science and technology and all those exclusively human pursuits that must surely rest on a conscious foundation. Maybe that's what sentience would be for— if scientific breakthroughs didn't spring fully-formed from the subconscious mind, manifest themselves in dreams, as full-blown insights after a deep night's sleep. It's the most basic rule of the stymied researcher: stop thinking about the problem. Do something else. It will come to you if you just stop being conscious of it...
Don't even try to talk about the learning curve. Don't bother citing the months of deliberate practice that precede the unconscious performance, or the years of study and experiment leading up to the gift-wrapped Eureka moment. So what if your lessons are all learned consciously? Do you think that proves there's no other way? Heuristic software's been learning from experience for over a hundred years. Machines master chess, cars learn to drive themselves, statistical programs face problems and design the experiments to solve them and you think that the only path to learning leads through sentience? You're Stone-age nomads, eking out some marginal existence on the veldt—denying even the possibility of agriculture, because hunting and gathering was good enough for your parents.
Do you want to know what consciousness is for? Do you want to know the only real purpose it serves? Training wheels. You can't see both aspects of the Necker Cube at once, so it lets you focus on one and dismiss the other. That's a pretty half-assed way to parse reality. You're always better off looking at more than one side of anything. Go on, try. Defocus. It's the next logical step. ~ Peter Watts,
469:But man is a frivolous and incongruous creature, and perhaps, like a chess player, loves the process of the game, not the end of it. And who knows (there is no saying with certainty), perhaps the only goal on earth to which mankind is striving lies in this incessant process of attaining, in other words, in life itself, and not in the thing to be attained, which must always be expressed as a formula, as positive as twice two makes four, and such positiveness is not life, gentlemen, but is the beginning of death. Anyway, man has always been afraid of this mathematical certainty, and I am afraid of it now. Granted that man does nothing but seek that mathematical certainty, he traverses oceans, sacrifices his life in the quest, but to succeed, really to find it, dreads, I assure you. He feels that when he has found it there will be nothing for him to look for. When workmen have finished their work they do at least receive their pay, they go to the tavern, then they are taken to the police-station–and there is occupation for a week. But where can man go? Anyway, one can observe a certain awkwardness about him when he has attained such objects. He loves the process of attaining, but does not quite like to have attained, and that, of course, is very absurd. In fact, man is a comical creature; there seems to be a kind of jest in it all. But yet mathematical certainty is after all, something insufferable. Twice two makes four seems to me simply a piece of insolence. Twice two makes four is a pert coxcomb who stands with arms akimbo barring your path and spitting. I admit that twice two makes four is an excellent thing, but if we are to give everything its due, twice two makes five is sometimes a very charming thing too. ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky,
470:Why didn’t they ask two of the guards to go with them?” Milo asked.
“A soldier’s not a servant,” I told him. “The most loyal Spartan warrior would be insulted if he was asked to be a weapons bearer, even for a prince. It looks like Castor and Polydeuces will have to take care of themselves.”
Milo looked away from me. I was puzzled by this sudden shyness and tried to catch his eye, but he deliberately avoided my gaze. He reeked of guilty secrets.
“You’re the one,” I said. “You’re the scrawn--the boy Castor asked to go with him.” His silence was the same as shouting Yes! I knew it. “You just told me you wanted to join the quest for the fleece. You could have done it: Why didn’t you?”
“I couldn’t,” he mumbled.
“Why not? Because it’s safer to talk about dreams than to try making them real? What are you so afraid of?”
Nothing!” He yelled so fiercely that a pair of oxen grazing in a nearby field snorted and moved farther away from us. It was the first time I ever saw fire in Milo’s eyes. “I’m no coward. That’s not why I wouldn’t go with your brothers. I have to go with you.
“Who said so? You’re free now, Milo. Don’t you know what that means? You can come and go anywhere you like. You ought to appreciate it.”
“I appreciate you, Lady Helen!” Once Milo raised his voice, he couldn’t stop. He shouted so loudly that the two oxen trotted to the far side of the pasture as fast as they could move their massive bodies. “You’re the one who gave me my freedom. If I love to be fifty, I’ll never be able to repay you!”
Milo’s uproar attracted the attention of the two guards, but I waved them back when I saw them coming toward us. “Do you think you could be grateful quietly?” I asked. “This is between us, not us and all Delphi. ~ Esther M Friesner,
471:A Father To His Son
A father sees his son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son?
'Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.'
And this might stand him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum monotony
and guide him among sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
'Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.'
And this too might serve him.
Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
The growth of a frail flower in a path up
has sometimes shattered and split a rock.
A tough will counts. So does desire.
So does a rich soft wanting.
Without rich wanting nothing arrives.
Tell him too much money has killed men
and left them dead years before burial:
the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
has twisted good enough men
sometimes into dry thwarted worms.
Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
Tell him to be a fool every so often
and to have no shame over having been a fool
yet learning something out of every folly
hoping to repeat none of the cheap follies
thus arriving at intimate understanding
of a world numbering many fools.
Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use against other people.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
Bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.
~ Carl Sandburg,
472:The psychological significance of the doctrine of predestination is a twofold one. It expresses and enhances the feeling of individual powerlessness and insignificance. No doctrine could express more strongly than this the worthlessness of human will and effort. The decision over man's fate is taken completely out of his own hands and there is nothing man can do to change this decision. He is a powerless tool in God's hands. The other meaning of this doctrine, like that of Luther's, consists in its function to silence the irrational doubt which was the same in Calvin and his followers as in Luther. At first glance the doctrine of predestination seems to enhance the doubt rather than silence it. Must not the individual be torn by even more torturing doubts than before to learn that he was predestined either to eternal damnation or to salvation before he was born? How can he ever be sure what his lot will be? Although Calvin did not teach that there was any concrete proof of such certainty, he and his followers actually had the conviction that they belonged to the chosen ones. They got this conviction by the same mechanism of self-humiliation which we have analyzed with regard to Luther's doctrine. Having such conviction, the doctrine of predestination implied utmost certainty; one could not do anything which would endanger the state of salvation, since one's salvation did not depend on one's own actions but was decided upon before one was ever born. Again, as with Luther, the fundamental doubt resulted in the quest for absolute certainty, but though the doctrine of predestination gave such certainty, the doubt remained in the background and had to be silenced again and again by an ever-growing fanatic belief that the religious community to which one belonged represented that part of mankind which had been chosen by God. ~ Erich Fromm,
473:It is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian--or "holistic", if you prefer--in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists. Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. They try to use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but they speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend "nontraditional" beliefs. Just as with classical fascism, liberal fascists speak of a "Third Way" between right and left where all good things go together and all hard choices are "false choices".

The idea that there are no hard choices--that is, choices between competing goods--is religious and totalitarian because it assumes that all good things are fundamentally compatible. The conservatives or classical liberal vision understands that life is unfair, that man is flawed, and that the only perfect society, the only real utopia, waits for us in the next life.

Liberal fascism differs from classical fascism in many ways. I don't deny this. Indeed, it is central to my point. Fascisms differ from each other because they grow out of different soil. What unites them are their emotional or instinctual impulses, such as the quest for community, the urge to "get beyond" politics, a faith in the perfectibility of man and the authority of experts, and an obsession with the aesthetics of youth, the cult of action, and the need for an all powerful state to coordinate society at the national or global level. Most of all, they share the belief--what I call the totalitarian temptation--that with the right amount of tinkering we can realize the utopian dream of "creating a better world". ~ Jonah Goldberg,
474:EDMUND (with alcoholic talkativeness): You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping lookout, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. The peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason! ~ Eugene O Neill,
475: "I'm not going anywhere. I'm joining your little gang of baby heroes on the quest to find Superdad."
Simon and Derek exchanged a look.
"No," Derek said.
"No? Excuse me, it was Rae who betrayed you guys. Not me. I helped Chloe."
"And was it Rae who tormented her at Lyle House?"
A derisive snort. "I didn't—"
"You did everything you could to get Chloe kicked out,"
Simon said. "And when that didn't work, you tried to kill her."
"Kill her?"
Tori's mouth hardened. "I'm not my mother. Don't you dare accuse—"
"You lured her into the crawl space,"
Derek said. "Hit her over the head with a brick, bound and gagged her, and locked her in. Did you even check to make sure she was okay? That you hadn't cracked her skull?"
Tori sputtered a protest, but from the horror in her eyes, I knew the possibility hadn't occurred to her.
"Derek," I said, "I don't think—"
"No she didn't think. She could have killed you with the brick, suffocated you with the gag, given you a heart attack from fright, not to mention what would have happened if you hadn't gotten out of your bindings. It only takes a couple of days to die from dehydration."
"I would never have left Chloe to die. You can't accuse me of that."
Derek said. "Just of wanting hr locked up in a mental hospital. And why? Because you didn't like her. Because she talked to a guy you did like. Maybe you're not your mother, Tori. But what you are..." He fixed her with an icy look. "I don't want around."
The expression on her face...I felt for her, whether she'd welcome my sympathy or not.
"We don't trust you," Simon said, his tone softer than his brother's. "We can't have someone along that we don't trust."
"What if I'm okay with it,"
I cut in. "If i feel safe with her..."
"You don't,"
Derek said. "You won't kick her to the curb, though, because it's not the kind of person you are." He met Tori's gaze. "But it's the kind of person I am. Chloe won't force you to leave because she'd feel horrible if anything happened to you. Me? I don't care. You brought it on yourself." ~ Kelley Armstrong,
476:The Quest Eternal
O west of all that a man holds dear, on the edge of the Kingdom Come,
Where carriage is far too high for beer, and the pubs keep only rum,
On the sunburnt ways of the Outer Back, on the plains of the darkening scrub,
I have followed the wandering teamster's track, and it always led to a pub.
There's always in man some gift to show, some power he can command,
And mine is the Gift that I always know when a pub is close at hand;
I can pick them out on the London streets, though most of their pubs are queer,
Such solid-looking and swell retreats, with never a sign of beer.
In the march of the boys through Palestine when the noontide fervour glowed,
Over the desert in thirsty line our sunburnt squadrons rode.
They looked at the desert lone and drear, stone ridges and stunted scrub,
And said, "We should have had Ginger here, I bet he'd have found a pub!"
We started out in the noonday heat on a trip that was fast and far,
We took in one each side of the street to balance the blooming car,
But then we started a long dry run on a road we did not know,
In the blinding gleam of the noonday sun, with the dust as white as snow.
For twenty minutes without a drink we strove with our dreadful thirst,
But the chauffeur pointed and said, "I think ----," I answered, "I saw it first!"
A pub with a good old-fashioned air, with bottles behind the blind,
And a golden tint in the barmaid's hair -- I could see it all -- in my mind -Ere ever the motor ceased its roar, ere ever the chauffeur knew,
I made a dash for the open door, and madly darted through.
I looked for the barmaid, golden-crowned as they were in the good old time,
And -- shades of Hennessy! -- what I found was a wowser selling "lime!"
And the scoundrel said as he stopped to put on his lime-washed boots a rub,
"The Local Option voted it shut, it ain't no longer a pub!"
'Twas then I rose to my greatest heights in dignified retreat
(The greatest men in the world's great fights are those who are great in defeat).
I shall think with pride till the day I die of my confidence sublime,
For I looked the wowser straight in the eye, and asked for a pint of lime.
~ Banjo Paterson,
477:In his memoirs of the late 1940s and 50s, published after his death following the famous ‘umbrella assassination’ in London in 1978, the Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov told a story that is emblematic of the postwar period – not only in his own country, but in Europe as a whole. It involved a conversation between one of his friends, who had been arrested for challenging a Communist official who had jumped the bread queue, and an officer of the Bulgarian Communist militia: ‘And now tell me who your enemies are?’ the militia chief demanded. K. thought for a while and replied: ‘I don’t really know, I don’t think I have any enemies.’ ‘No enemies!’ The chief raised his voice. ‘Do you mean to say that you hate nobody and nobody hates you?’ ‘As far as I know, nobody.’ ‘You are lying,’ shouted the Lieutenant-Colonel suddenly, rising from his chair. ‘What kind of a man are you not to have any enemies? You clearly do not belong to our youth, you cannot be one of our citizens, if you have no enemies! … And if you really do not know how to hate, we shall teach you! We shall teach you very quickly!’1 In a sense, the militia chief in this story is right – it was virtually impossible to emerge from the Second World War without enemies. There can hardly be a better demonstration than this of the moral and human legacy of the war. After the desolation of entire regions; after the butchery of over 35 million people; after countless massacres in the name of nationality, race, religion, class or personal prejudice, virtually every person on the continent had suffered some kind of loss or injustice. Even countries which had seen little direct fighting, such as Bulgaria, had been subject to political turmoil, violent squabbles with their neighbours, coercion from the Nazis and eventually invasion by one of the world’s new superpowers. Amidst all these events, to hate one’s rivals had become entirely natural. Indeed, the leaders and propagandists of all sides had spent six long years promoting hatred as an essential weapon in the quest for victory. By the time this Bulgarian militia chief was terrorizing young students at Sofia University, hatred was no longer a mere by-product of the war – in the Communist mindset it had been elevated to a duty. ~ Keith Lowe,
478:One can readily imagine in what terms a man of today would speak if called upon to make a pronouncement on the only religion ever to have introduced a radical formula of salvation: "The quest for deliverance can be justified only if one believes in the transmigration, in the endless vagrancy of the self, and if one aspires to halt it. But for us who do not believe in it, what are we to halt? This unique and negligible duration? It is obviously not long enough to deserve the effort an escape would require. For the Buddhist, the prospect of other existences is a nightmare; for us, the nightmare consists in the termination of this one, this nightmare. Give us another one, we would be tempted to clamor, so that our disgraces will not conclude too soon, so that they may, at their leisure, hound us through several lives.

Deliverance answers a necessity only for the person who feels threatened by a surfeit of existence, who fears the burden of dying and redying. For us, condemned not to reincarnate ourselves, what's the use of struggling to set ourselves free from a nonentity? to liberate ourselves from a terror whose end lies in view? Further more, what's the use of pursuing a supreme unreality when everything here-below is already unreal? One simply does not exert oneself to get rid of something so flimsily justified, so precariously grounded.

Each of us, each man unlucky enough not to believe in the eternal cycle of births and deaths, aspires to a superabundance of illusion and torment. We pine for the malediction of being reborn. Buddha took exorbitant pains to achieve what? definitive death - what we, on the contrary, are sure of obtaining without meditations and mortifications, without raising a finger." ...

That's just about how this fallen man would express himself if he consented to lay bare the depths of his thought. Who will dare throw the first stone? Who has not spoken to himself in this way? We are so addicted to our own history that we would like to see it drone on and on, relentlessly. But whether one lives one or a thousand lives, whether one has at one's disposal a single hour or all of time, the problem remains the same: an insect and a god should not differ in their manner of viewing the fact of existence as such, which is so terrifying (as only miracles can be) that, reflecting on it, one understands the will to disappear forever so as not to have to consider it again in other existences. This is what Buddha emphasized, and it seems doubtful he would have altered his conclusion had he ceased to believe in the mechanism of transmigration. ~ Emil M Cioran,
479:The Pakistani film International Gorillay (International guerillas), produced by Sajjad Gul, told the story of a group of local heroes - of the type that would, in the language of a later age, come to be known as jihadis, or terrorists - who vowed to find and kill an author called "Salman Rushdie" . The quest for "Rushdie" formed the main action of the film and "his" death was the film's version of happy ending.

"Rushdie" himself was depicted as a drunk, constantly swigging from a bottle, and a sadist. He lived in what looked very like a palace on what looked very like an island in the Philippines (clearly all novelists had second homes of this kind), being protected by what looked very like the Israeli Army (this presumably being a service offered by Israel to all novelists), and he was plotting the overthrow of Pakistan by the fiendish means of opening chains of discotheques and gambling dens across that pure and virtuous land, a perfidious notion for which, as the British Muslim "leader" Iqbal Sacranie might have said, death was too light a punishment. "Rushdie" was dressed exclusively in a series of hideously coloured safari suits - vermilion safari suits, aubergine safari suits, cerise safari suits - and the camera, whenever it fell upon the figure of this vile personage, invariably started at his feet and then panned [sic] with slow menace up to his face. So the safari suits got a lot of screen time, and when he saw a videotape of the film the fashion insult wounded him deeply. It was, however, oddly satisfying to read that one result of the film's popularity in Pakistan was that the actor playing "Rushdie" became so hated by the film-going public that he had to go into hiding.

At a certain point in the film one of the international gorillay was captured by the Israeli Army and tied to a tree in the garden of the palace in the Philippines so that "Rushdie" could have his evil way with him. Once "Rushdie" had finished drinking form his bottle and lashing the poor terrorist with a whip, once he had slaked his filthy lust for violence upon the young man's body, he handed the innocent would-be murderer over to the Israeli soldiers and uttered the only genuinely funny line in the film. "Take him away," he cried, "and read to him from The Satanic Verses all night!" Well, of course, the poor fellow cracked completely. Not that, anything but that, he blubbered as the Israelis led him away.

At the end of the film "Rushdie" was indeed killed - not by the international gorillay, but by the Word itself, by thunderbolts unleashed by three large Qurans hanging in the sky over his head, which reduced the monster to ash. Personally fried by the Book of the Almighty: there was dignity in that. ~ Salman Rushdie,
480:I wish I'd been accepted sooner and better. When I was younger, not being accepted made me enraged, but now, I am not inclined to dismantle my history. If you banish the dragons, you banish the heroes--and we become attached to the heroic strain in our personal history. We choose our own lives. It is not simply that we decide on the behaviors that construct our experience; when given our druthers, we elect to be ourselves. Most of us would like to be more successful or more beautiful or wealthier, and most people endure episodes of low self-esteem or even self-hatred. We despair a hundred times a day. But we retain the startling evolutionary imperative for the fact of ourselves, and with that splinter of grandiosity we redeem our flaws. These parents have, by and large, chosen to love their children, and many of them have chosen to value their own lives, even though they carry what much of the world considers an intolerable burden. Children with horizontal identities alter your self painfully; they also illuminate it. They are receptacles for rage and joy-even for salvation. When we love them, we achieve above all else the rapture of privileging what exists over what we have merely imagined.

A follower of the Dalai Lama who had been imprisoned by the Chinese for decades was asked if he had ever been afraid in jail, and he said his fear was that he would lose compassion for his captors. Parents often think that they've captured something small and vulnerable, but the parents I've profiled here have been captured, locked up with their children's madness or genius or deformity, and the quest is never to lose compassion. A Buddhist scholar once explained to me that most Westerners mistakenly think that nirvana is what you arrive at when your suffering is over and only an eternity of happiness stretches ahead. But such bliss would always be shadowed by the sorrow of the past and would therefore be imperfect. Nirvana occurs when you not only look forward to rapture, but also gaze back into the times of anguish and find in them the seeds of your joy. You may not have felt that happiness at the time, but in retrospect it is incontrovertible.

For some parents of children with horizontal identities, acceptance reaches its apogee when parents conclude that while they supposed that they were pinioned by a great and catastrophic loss of hope, they were in fact falling in love with someone they didn't yet know enough to want. As such parents look back, they see how every stage of loving their child has enriched them in ways they never would have conceived, ways that ar incalculably precious. Rumi said that light enters you at the bandaged place. This book's conundrum is that most of the families described here have ended up grateful for experiences they would have done anything to avoid. ~ Andrew Solomon,
481:LEGALISM Legalism is the opposite heresy of antinomianism. Whereas antinomianism denies the significance of law, legalism exalts law above grace. The legalists of Jesus’ day were the Pharisees, and Jesus reserved His strongest criticism for them. The fundamental distortion of legalism is the belief that one can earn one’s way into the kingdom of heaven. The Pharisees believed that due to their status as children of Abraham, and to their scrupulous adherence to the law, they were the children of God. At the core, this was a denial of the gospel. A corollary article of legalism is the adherence to the letter of the law to the exclusion of the spirit of the law. In order for the Pharisees to believe that they could keep the law, they first had to reduce it to its most narrow and wooden interpretation. The story of the rich young ruler illustrates this point. The rich young ruler asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus told him to “keep the commandments.” The young man believed that he had kept them all. But Jesus decisively revealed the one “god” that he served before the true God—riches. “Go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). The rich young ruler went on his way saddened. The Pharisees were guilty of another form of legalism. They added their own laws to the law of God. Their “traditions” were raised to a status equal to the law of God. They robbed people of their liberty and put chains on them where God had left them free. That kind of legalism did not end with the Pharisees. It has also plagued the church in every generation. Legalism often arises as an overreaction against antinomianism. To make sure we do not allow ourselves or others to slip into the moral laxity of antinomianism, we tend to make rules more strict than God Himself does. When this occurs, legalism introduces a tyranny over the people of God. Likewise, forms of antinomianism often arise as an overreaction to legalism. Its rallying cry is usually one of freedom from all oppression. It is the quest for moral liberty run amok. Christians, in guarding their liberty, must be careful not to confuse liberty with libertinism. Another form of legalism is majoring on the minors. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for omitting the weightier matters of the law while they were scrupulous in obeying minor points (Matthew 23:23-24). This tendency remains a constant threat to the church. We have a tendency to exalt to the supreme level of godliness whatever virtues we possess and downplay our vices as insignificant points. For example, I may view refraining from dancing as a great spiritual strength while considering my covetousness a minor matter. The only antidote to either legalism or antinomianism is a serious study of the Word of God. Only then will we be properly instructed in what is pleasing and displeasing to God. ~ Anonymous,
482:Themes of descent often turn on the struggle between the titanic and the demonic within the same person or group. In Moby Dick, Ahab’s quest for the whale may be mad and “monomaniacal,” as it is frequently called, or even evil so far as he sacrifices his crew and ship to it, but evil or revenge are not the point of the quest. The whale itself may be only a “dumb brute,” as the mate says, and even if it were malignantly determined to kill Ahab, such an attitude, in a whale hunted to the death, would certainly be understandable if it were there. What obsesses Ahab is in a dimension of reality much further down than any whale, in an amoral and alienating world that nothing normal in the human psyche can directly confront.
The professed quest is to kill Moby Dick, but as the portents of disaster pile up it becomes clear that a will to identify with (not adjust to) what Conrad calls the destructive element is what is really driving Ahab. Ahab has, Melville says, become a “Prometheus” with a vulture feeding on him. The axis image appears in the maelstrom or descending spiral (“vortex”) of the last few pages, and perhaps in a remark by one of Ahab’s crew: “The skewer seems loosening out of the middle of the world.” But the descent is not purely demonic, or simply destructive: like other creative descents, it is partly a quest for wisdom, however fatal the attaining of such wisdom may be. A relation reminiscent of Lear and the fool develops at the end between Ahab and the little black cabin boy Pip, who has been left so long to swim in the sea that he has gone insane. Of him it is said that he has been “carried down alive to wondrous depths, where strange shapes of the unwarped primal world glided to and fro . . . and the miser-merman, Wisdom, revealed his hoarded heaps.”
Moby Dick is as profound a treatment as modern literature affords of the leviathan symbolism of the Bible, the titanic-demonic force that raises Egypt and Babylon to greatness and then hurls them into nothingness; that is both an enemy of God outside the creation, and, as notably in Job, a creature within it of whom God is rather proud. The leviathan is revealed to Job as the ultimate mystery of God’s ways, the “king over all the children of pride” (41:34), of whom Satan himself is merely an instrument. What this power looks like depends on how it is approached. Approached by Conrad’s Kurtz through his Antichrist psychosis, it is an unimaginable horror: but it may also be a source of energy that man can put to his own use. There are naturally considerable risks in trying to do so: risks that Rimbaud spoke of in his celebrated lettre du voyant as a “dérèglement de tous les sens.” The phrase indicates the close connection between the titanic and the demonic that Verlaine expressed in his phrase poète maudit, the attitude of poets who feel, like Ahab, that the right worship of the powers they invoke is defiance. ~ Northrop Frye,
483:But Eugene was untroubled by thought of a goal. He was mad with such ecstasy as he had never known. He was a centaur, moon-eyed and wild of name, torn apart with hunger for the golden world. He became at times almost incapable of coherent speech. While talking with people, he would whinny suddenly into their startled faces, and leap away, his face contorted with an idiot joy. He would hurl himself squealing through the streets and along the paths, touched with the ecstasy of a thousand unspoken desires. The world lay before him for his picking—full of opulent cities, golden vintages, glorious triumphs, lovely women, full of a thousand unmet and magnificent possibilities. Nothing was dull or tarnished. The strange enchanted coasts were unvisited. He was young and he could never die. He went back to Pulpit Hill for two or three days of delightful loneliness in the deserted college. He prowled through the empty campus at midnight under the great moons of the late rich Spring; he breathed the thousand rich odours of tree and grass and flower, of the opulent and seductive South; and he felt a delicious sadness when he thought of his departure, and saw there in the moon the thousand phantom shapes of the boys he had known who would come no more. He still loitered, although his baggage had been packed for days. With a desperate pain, he faced departure from that Arcadian wilderness where he had known so much joy. At night he roamed the deserted campus, talking quietly until morning with a handful of students who lingered strangely, as he did, among the ghostly buildings, among the phantoms of lost boys. He could not face a final departure. He said he would return early in autumn for a few days, and at least once a year thereafter. Then one hot morning, on sudden impulse, he left. As the car that was taking him to Exeter roared down the winding street, under the hot green leafiness of June, he heard, as from the sea-depth of a dream, far-faint, the mellow booming of the campus bell. And suddenly it seemed to him that all the beaten walks were thudding with the footfalls of lost boys, himself among them, running for their class. Then, as he listened, the far bell died away, and the phantom runners thudded into oblivion. The car roared up across the lip of the hill, and drove steeply down into the hot parched countryside below. As the lost world faded from his sight, Eugene gave a great cry of pain and sadness, for he knew that the elfin door had closed behind him, and that he would never come back again. He saw the vast rich body of the hills, lush with billowing greenery, ripe-bosomed, dappled by far-floating cloudshadows. But it was, he knew, the end.
Far-forested, the horn-note wound. He was wild with the hunger for release: the vast champaign of earth stretched out for him its limitless seduction.
It was the end, the end. It was the beginning of the voyage, the quest of new lands. Gant was dead. Gant was living, death-in-life. In ~ Thomas Wolfe,
*Then with alcoholic talkativeness
You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and signing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping looking, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. the peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like a veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!
*He grins wryly.
It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a sea gull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a a little in love with death!

*Stares at him -- impressed.
Yes, there's the makings of a poet in you all right.
*Then protesting uneasily.
But that's morbid craziness about not being wanted and loving death.

The *makings of a poet. No, I'm afraid I'm like the guy who is always panhandling for a smoke. He hasn't even got the makings. He's got only the habit. I couldn't touch what I tried to tell you just now. I just stammered. That's the best I'll ever do, I mean, if I live. Well, it will be faithful realism, at least. Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people. ~ Eugene O Neill,
485:What are you so afraid of?”
Nothing!” He yelled so fiercely that a pair of oxen grazing in a nearby field snorted and moved farther away from us. It was the first time I ever saw fire in Milo’s eyes. “I’m no coward. That’s not why I wouldn’t go with your brothers. I have to go with you.
“Who said so? You’re free now, Milo. Don’t you know what that means? You can come and go anywhere you like. You ought to appreciate it.”
“I appreciate you, Lady Helen!” Once Milo raised his voice, he couldn’t stop. He shouted so loudly that the two oxen trotted to the far side of the pasture as fast as they could move their massive bodies. “You’re the one who gave me my freedom. If I love to be fifty, I’ll never be able to repay you!”
Milo’s uproar attracted the attention of the two guards, but I waved them back when I saw them coming toward us. “Do you think you could be grateful quietly?” I asked. “This is between us, not us and all Delphi. You owe me nothing. Listen, if you leave now, you might still be able to catch up to my brothers. I’ll ask the Pythia for help. There must be at least one of Apollo’s pilgrims heading north today, one who’s going on horseback. If she tells him to carry you with him, you’ll overtake Prince Jason’s party in no time! I’ll give you whatever you’ll need for the road and--”
“Then I will be in your debt,” Milo encountered. “If you say I’m free, why aren’t I free to stay with you, if that’s what I want?”
“Because it’s stupid!” I forgot my own caution about keeping our voices low. I’d decided that if I couldn’t win our argument with facts, I’d do it with volume. “Don’t you see, Milo? This is a better opportunity than anything that’s waiting for you in Sparta! What could you become if you went there? A potter, a tanner, a metalsmith, maybe a farmer’s boy or a shepherd. But if you sail to Colchis with my brothers, you could be--”
“Seasick,” Milo finished for me.
I raised my eyebrows. “Is that why you won’t go? Not even if it means passing up a once-in-a-lifetime chance for adventures? For a real future? I’m disappointed.”
Milo folded his arms. “Why don’t you just command me not to be seasick? Command me to go away and leave you, while you’re at it. Command me to join your brothers. It’s not what I want, but I guess that doesn’t matter after all.”
I was about to launch into another list of reasons why he should rush after my brothers when his words stopped me. Lord Oeneus was open-handed with commands, I thought. And it was worse for Milo when his hand closed into a fist. I shouldn’t bully Milo into joining the quest for the fleece just because I wish I could do it myself.
In that instant, a happy inspiration struck me with the force of one of Zeus’s own thunderbolts: Why can’t I? I found an unripe acorn lying on the ground beside me and flicked it at Milo.
“All right,” I told him. “You win. You can stay with me.” A look of utter relief spread across his face until I added, “But I win too. You’re going to go with my brothers.”
“But how can I do that if--?”
“And so am I. ~ Esther M Friesner,
486:The Island Hawk
Hushed are the whimpering winds on the hill,
Dumb is the shrinking plain,
And the songs that enchanted the woods are still
As I shoot to the skies again!
Does the blood grow black on my fierce bent beak,
Does the down still cling to my claw?
Who brightened these eyes for the prey they seek?
Life, I follow thy law!
For I am the hawk, the hawk, the hawk!
Who knoweth my pitiless breast?
Who watcheth me sway in the wild wind's way?
Flee – flee – for I quest, I quest.
As I glide and glide with my peering head,
Or swerve at a puff of smoke,
Who watcheth my wings on the wind outspread,
Here – gone – with an instant stroke?
Who toucheth the glory of life I feel
As I buffet this great glad gale,
Spire and spire to the cloud-world, wheel,
Loosen my wings and sail?
For I am the hawk, the island hawk,
Who knoweth my pitiless breast?
Who watcheth me sway in the sun's bright way?
Flee – flee – for I quest, I quest.
My mate in the nest on the high bright tree
Blazing with dawn and dew,
She knoweth the gleam of the world and the glee
As I drop like a bolt from the blue.
She knoweth the fire of the level flight
As I skim, close, close to the ground,
With the long grass lashing my breast and the bright
Dew-drops flashing around.
She watcheth the hawk, the hawk, the hawk
(Oh, the red-blotched eggs in the nest!)
Watcheth him sway in the sun's bright way.
Flee – flee – for I quest, I quest.
She builded her nest on the high bright wold,
She was taught in a world afar
The lore that is only an April old
Yet old as the evening star.
Life of a far off ancient day
In an hour unhooded her eyes.
In the time of the budding of one green spray
She was wise as the stars are wise.
An eyas in eyry, a yellow-eyed hawk,
On the old elm's burgeoning breast,
She watcheth me sway in the wild wind's way.
Flee – flee – for I quest, I quest.
She hath ridden on white Arabian steeds
Thro' the ringing English dells,
For the joy of a great queen, hunting in state,
To the music of golden bells.
A queen's fair fingers have drawn the hood
And tossed her aloft in the blue,
A white hand eager for needless blood.
I hunt for the needs of two.
A haggard in yarak, a hawk, a hawk!
Who knoweth my pitiless breast?
Who watcheth me sway in the sun's bright way?
Flee – flee – for I quest, I quest.
Who fashioned her wide and splendid eyes
That have stared in the eyes of kings?
With a silken twist she was looped to their wrist:
She has clawed at their jewelled rings!
Who flung her first thro' the crimson dawn
To pluck him a prey from the skies,
When the love-light shone upon lake and lawn
In the valleys of Paradise?
Who fashioned the hawk, the hawk, the hawk,
Bent beak and pitiless breast?
Who watcheth him sway in the wild wind's way?
Flee – flee – for I quest, I quest.
Is there ever a song in all the world
Shall say how the quest began
With the beak and the wings that have made us kings
And cruel – almost – as man?
The wild wind whimpers across the heath
Where the sad little tufts of blue
And the red-stained grey little feathers of death
Flutter! Who fashioned us? Who?
Who fashioned the scimitar wings of the hawk,
Bent beak and arrowy breast?
Who watcheth him sway in the sun's bright way?
Flee – flee – for I quest, I quest.
~ Alfred Noyes,
487:The Night
Watchman, what of the night?
See you a streak of light?
Whither, O Captain of the quest,
The course we steer for Port of Rest?
How shall he answer - he
Who never put to sea?
Within his tabernacle wall
He cannot even hear us call.
Behind the jealous door
That he must pass no more,
And whence he scarcely dares to look,
He keeps his eyes upon his book.
The little candles, lit
Where the disciples sit,
Light their small refuge round about,
But show no gleam to those without Spirits that cannot dwell
In such an airless cell,
Sniffing the sea-winds from afar,
Glimpsing the light of moon and star.
We must fare forth, unsped,
From homely board and bed;
We must set sail for port unknown,
On an uncharted course, alone.
Push off. We have to go,
Whether we choose or no.
The Call, though faint and far away,
Has reached us, and we must obey.
O but the night is dark
Beyond that only ark!
The salt sea-winds blow keen and cold
Outside the shelter of the fold!
Boom of the deep-sea swell,
Solemn as funeral bell Silence transcending sound, to make
High courage falter and heart quake . . . . .
What will the voyage cost?
We are already lost
Who turn from land and love, to face
This blank immensity of space.
Push out. We have to go,
Whether we fear or no.
And why stand shivering and appalled?
We go because the Voice has called.
Noah's inspired dove
Took wing to find her love.
The sea is His - safe as the land
Within the hollow of His hand.
Here are the breakers - pull
Before the boat is full!
'Ware the sharp reefs that line the shore!
Row for the open evermore!
O but the night is dark!
Never the faintest spark
Where surf and shore and cities were!
And not a whisper in the air.
The open - heart of grace,
It is a lonely place!
No light on any onward track!
Too far - too late - for turning back!
Where is that little ark Those candles in the dark The Rock of Ages cleft for me The Cross uprising in the sea -
Whereto the drowning grope
With yearning faith and hope,
And cling as to their mother's breast,
And find safe shelter and sweet rest?
Gone, gone - for ever gone!
And still we must press on.
Steady, true soul, too brave to fret!
Press on - we are not drowning yet.
The night is soft and still
That was so wild and chill;
The bosom of the mighty deep
Breathes like a tired child asleep.
So peaceful, so profound,
The silence spread around!
The very breakers of the shore
Moan to the listening ear no more.
Night - but the stars are out.
Darkness of dread and doubt,
The way so lonely and so rough,
Have cleared a little, but enough.
We know not where we areLight cannot reach so far,
But shows us we have lost and gained
As the compelling Voice ordained.
Gone, gone beyond recall,
Candle and prisoning wall,
Last echo of the hue and cry,
Last glint of an accusing eye.
Too late for looking back
Over the darkening track.
How should the life-taught soul return
That cannot unlive or unlearn?
Changed, changed, for ever changed,
Since hitherward we ranged,
To vision in a space so vast,
All the perspectives of the past.
How infinitely small
The once so broad and tall The aims, the pursuit and the strife
Shut in the sheltered grooves of life!
Those terrifying laws,
The wrangles and the wars
Of church with church and state with state The things men love, the things men hate Money and gauds and fame,
And neighbours' scorn and blame The passion of desire and haste
To gather, to possess, to waste . . . . . .
How infinitely high,
Broad as the sea and sky,
The loyalty of man to man,
Once almost missing from the plan The elemental law
That codes and creeds ignore,
Of duty to the trust we hold
For heirs unborn and years untold . . . . . .
Night - and the drifting soul
Still without path or goal.
Yet was the voyage worth the cost.
We are not drowned. We are not lost.
'T'is I. Be not afraid.
Moonlight and stars may fade.
One walks the ocean and the night.
We have no further need of light.
What matters where we go?
We do not ask to know.
He called us, and we came. The quest
For us is ended, and we rest.
~ Ada Cambridge,

I said-Then, dearest, since 'tis so,
Since now at length my fate I know,
Since nothing all my love avails,
Since all, my life seemed meant for, fails,
Since this was written and needs must be-
My whole heart rises up to bless
Your name in pride and thankfulness!
Take back the hope you gave,-I claim
-Only a memory of the same,
-And this beside, if you will not blame,
Your leave for one more last ride with me.


My mistress bent that brow of hers;
Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs
When pity would be softening through,
Fixed me, a breathing-while or two,
With life or death in the balance: right!
The blood replenished me again;
My last thought was at least not vain:
I and my mistress, side by side
Shall be together, breathe and ride,
So, one day more am I deified.
Who knows but the world may end tonight?


Hush! if you saw some western cloud
All billowy-bosomed, over-bowed
By many benedictions-sun's
And moon's and evening-star's at once-
And so, you, looking and loving best,
Conscious grew, your passion drew
Cloud, sunset, moonrise, star-shine too,
Down on you, near and yet more near,
Till flesh must fade for heaven was here!-
Thus leant she and lingered-joy and fear!
Thus lay she a moment on my breast.


Then we began to ride. My soul
Smoothed itself out, a long-cramped scroll
Freshening and fluttering in the wind.
Past hopes already lay behind.
What need to strive with a life awry?
Had I said that, had I done this,
So might I gain, so might I miss.
Might she have loved me? just as well
She might have hated, who can tell!
Where had I been now if the worst befell?
And here we are riding, she and I.


Fail I alone, in words and deeds?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds?
We rode; it seemed my spirit flew,
Saw other regions, cities new,
As the world rushed by on either side.
I thought,-All labour, yet no less
Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the undone vast,
This present of theirs with the hopeful past!
I hoped she would love me; here we ride.


What hand and brain went ever paired?
What heart alike conceived and dared?
What act proved all its thought had been?
What will but felt the fleshly screen?
We ride and I see her bosom heave.
There's many a crown for who can reach,
Ten lines, a statesman's life in each!
The flag stuck on a heap of bones,
A soldier's doing! what atones?
They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.
My riding is better, by their leave.


What does it all mean, poet? Well,
Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
What we felt only; you expressed
You hold things beautiful the best,
And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.
'Tis something, nay 'tis much: but then,
Have you yourself what's best for men?
Are you-poor, sick, old ere your time-
Nearer one whit your own sublime
Than we who never have turned a rhyme?
Sing, riding's a joy! For me, I ride.


And you, great sculptor-so, you gave
A score of years to Art, her slave,
And that's your Venus, whence we turn
To yonder girl that fords the burn!
You acquiesce, and shall I repine?
What, man of music, you grown grey
With notes and nothing else to say,
Is this your sole praise from a friend,
``Greatly his opera's strains intend,
``Put in music we know how fashions end!''
I gave my youth; but we ride, in fine.


Who knows what's fit for us? Had fate
Proposed bliss here should sublimate
My being-had I signed the bond-
Still one must lead some life beyond,
Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried.
This foot once planted on the goal,
This glory-garland round my soul,
Could I descry such? Try and test!
I sink back shuddering from the quest.
Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?
Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.


And yet-she has not spoke so long!
What if heaven be that, fair and strong
At life's best, with our eyes upturned
Whither life's flower is first discerned,
We, fixed so, ever should so abide?
What if we still ride on, we two
With life for ever old yet new,
Changed not in kind but in degree,
The instant made eternity,-
And heaven just prove that I and she
Ride, ride together, for ever ride?

~ Robert Browning, The Last Ride Together
489:An Island
Take it away, and swallow it yourself.
Ha! Look you, there’s a rat.
Last night there were a dozen on that shelf,
And two of them were living in my hat.
Look! Now he goes, but he’ll come back—
Ha? But he will, I say …
Il reviendra-z-à Pâques,
Ou à la Trinité …

Be very sure that he’ll return again;
For said the Lord: Imprimis, we have rats,
And having rats, we have rain.—
So on the seventh day
He rested, and made Pain.
—Man, if you love the Lord, and if the Lord
Love liars, I will have you at your word
And swallow it. Voilà. Bah!
Where do I say it is
That I have lain so long?
Where do I count myself among the dead,
As once above the living and the strong?
And what is this that comes and goes,
Fades and swells and overflows,
Like music underneath and overhead?
What is it in me now that rings and roars
Like fever-laden wine?
What ruinous tavern-shine
Is this that lights me far from worlds and wars
And women that were mine?
Where do I say it is
That Time has made my bed?
What lowering outland hostelry is this
For one the stars have disinherited?
An island, I have said:
A peak, where fiery dreams and far desires
Are rained on, like old fires:
A vermin region by the stars abhorred,
Where falls the flaming word
By which I consecrate with unsuccess
An acreage of God’s forgetfulness,
Left here above the foam and long ago
Made right for my duress;
Where soon the sea,
My foaming and long-clamoring enemy,
Will have within the cryptic, old embrace
Of her triumphant arms—a memory.
Why then, the place?
What forage of the sky or of the shore
Will make it any more,
To me, than my award of what was left
Of number, time, and space?
And what is on me now that I should heed
The durance or the silence or the scorn?
I was the gardener who had the seed
Which holds within its heart the food and fire
That gives to man a glimpse of his desire;
And I have tilled, indeed,
Much land, where men may say that I have planted
Unsparingly my corn—
For a world harvest-haunted
And for a world unborn.
Meanwhile, am I to view, as at a play,
Through smoke the funeral flames of yesterday
And think them far away?
Am I to doubt and yet be given to know
That where my demon guides me, there I go?
An island? Be it so.
For islands, after all is said and done,
Tell but a wilder game that was begun,
When Fate, the mistress of iniquities,
The mad Queen-spinner of all discrepancies,
Beguiled the dyers of the dawn that day,
And even in such a curst and sodden way
Made my three colors one.
—So be it, and the way be as of old:
So be the weary truth again retold
Of great kings overthrown
Because they would be kings, and lastly kings alone.
Fling to each dog his bone.
Flags that are vanished, flags that are soiled and furled,
Say what will be the word when I am gone:
What learned little acrid archive men
Will burrow to find me out and burrow again,—
But all for naught, unless
To find there was another Island.… Yes,
There are too many islands in this world,
There are too many rats, and there is too much rain.
So three things are made plain
Between the sea and sky:
Three separate parts of one thing, which is Pain …
Bah, what a way to die!—
To leave my Queen still spinning there on high,
Still wondering, I dare say,
To see me in this way …
Madame à sa tour monte
Si haut qu’elle peut monter—

Like one of our Commissioners… ai! ai!
Prometheus and the women have to cry,
But no, not I …
Faugh, what a way to die!
But who are these that come and go
Before me, shaking laurel as they pass?
Laurel, to make me know
For certain what they mean:
That now my Fate, my Queen,
Having found that she, by way of right reward,
Will after madness go remembering,
And laurel be as grass,—
Remembers the one thing
That she has left to bring.
The floor about me now is like a sward
Grown royally. Now it is like a sea
That heaves with laurel heavily,
Surrendering an outworn enmity
For what has come to be.
But not for you, returning with your curled
And haggish lips. And why are you alone?
Why do you stay when all the rest are gone?
Why do you bring those treacherous eyes that reek
With venom and hate the while you seek
To make me understand?—
Laurel from every land,
Laurel, but not the world?

Fury, or perjured Fate, or whatsoever,
Tell me the bloodshot word that is your name
And I will pledge remembrance of the same
That shall be crossed out never;
Whereby posterity
May know, being told, that you have come to me,
You and your tongueless train without a sound,
With covetous hands and eyes and laurel all around,
Foreshowing your endeavor
To mirror me the demon of my days,
To make me doubt him, loathe him, face to face.
Bowed with unwilling glory from the quest
That was ordained and manifest,
You shake it off and wish me joy of it?
Laurel from every place,
Laurel, but not the rest?

Such are the words in you that I divine,
Such are the words of men.
So be it, and what then?
Poor, tottering counterfeit,
Are you a thing to tell me what is mine?
Grant we the demon sees
An inch beyond the line,
What comes of mine and thine?
A thousand here and there may shriek and freeze,
Or they may starve in fine.
The Old Physician has a crimson cure
For such as these,
And ages after ages will endure
The minims of it that are victories.
The wreath may go from brow to brow,
The state may flourish, flame, and cease;
But through the fury and the flood somehow
The demons are acquainted and at ease,
And somewhat hard to please.
Mine, I believe, is laughing at me now
In his primordial way,
Quite as he laughed of old at Hannibal,
Or rather at Alexander, let us say.
Therefore, be what you may,
Time has no further need
Of you, or of your breed.
My demon, irretrievably astray,
Has ruined the last chorus of a play
That will, so he avers, be played again some day;
And you, poor glowering ghost,
Have staggered under laurel here to boast
Above me, dying, while you lean
In triumph awkward and unclean,
About some words of his that you have read?
Thing, do I not know them all?
He tells me how the storied leaves that fall
Are tramped on, being dead?
They are sometimes: with a storm foul enough
They are seized alive and they are blown far off
To mould on islands.—What else have you read?
He tells me that great kings look very small
When they are put to bed;
And this being said,
He tells me that the battles I have won
Are not my own,
But his—howbeit fame will yet atone
For all defect, and sheave the mystery:
The follies and the slaughters I have done
Are mine alone,
And so far History.
So be the tale again retold
And leaf by clinging leaf unrolled
Where I have written in the dawn,
With ink that fades anon,
Like Cæsar’s, and the way be as of old.
Ho, is it you? I thought you were a ghost.
Is it time for you to poison me again?
Well, here’s our friend the rain,—
Mironton, mironton, mirontaine...
Man, I could murder you almost,
You with your pills and toast.
Take it away and eat it, and shoot rats.
Ha! there he comes. Your rat will never fail,
My punctual assassin, to prevail—
While he has power to crawl,
Or teeth to gnaw withal—
Where kings are caged. Why has a king no cats?
You say that I’ll achieve it if I try?
Swallow it?—No, not I …
God, what a way to die!
~ Edwin Arlington Robinson,

The cloud my bed is tinged with blood and foam.
The vault yet blazes with the sun
Writhing above the West, brave hippodrome
Whose gladiators shock and shun
As the blue night devours them, crested comb
Of sleep's dead sea
That eats the shores of life, rings round eternity!


So, he is gone whose giant sword shed flame
Into my bowels; my blood's bewitched;
My brain's afloat with ecstasy of shame.
That tearing pain is gone, enriched
By his life-spasm; but he being gone, the same
Myself is gone
Sucked by the dragon down below death's horizon.

I woke from this. I lay upon the lawn;
They had thrown roses on the moss
With all their thorns; we came there at the dawn,
My lord and I; God sailed across
The sky in's galleon of amber, drawn
By singing winds
While we wove garlands of the flowers of our minds.


All day my lover deigned to murder me,
Linking his kisses in a chain
About my neck; demon-embroidery!
Bruises like far-ff mountains stain
The valley of my body of ivory!
Then last came sleep.
I wake, and he is gone; what should I do but weep?


Nay, for I wept enough --- more sacred tears! ---
When first he pinned me, gripped

My flesh, and as a stallion that rears,
Sprang, hero-thewed and satyr-lipped;
Crushed, as a grape between his teeth, my fears;
Sucked out my life
And stamped me with the shame, the monstrous word of


I will not weep; nay, I will follow him
Perchance he is not far,
Bathing his limbs in some delicious dim
Depth, where the evening star
May kiss his mouth, or by the black sky's rim
He makes his prayer
To the great serpent that is coiled in rapture there.


I rose to seek him. First my footsteps faint
Pressed the starred moss; but soon
I wandered, like some sweet sequestered saint,
Into the wood, my mind. The moon
Was staggered by the trees; with fierce constraint
Hardly one ray
Pierced to the ragged earth about their roots that lay.


I wandered, crying on my Lord. I wandered
Eagerly seeking everywhere.
The stories of life that on my lips he squandered
Grew into shrill cries of despair,
Until the dryads frightened and dumfoundered
Fled into space ---
Like to a demon-king's was grown my maiden face!


At last I came unto the well, my soul
In that still glass, I saw no sign
Of him, and yet --- what visions there uproll
To cloud that mirror-soul of mine?
Above my head there screams a flying scroll
Whose word burnt through
My being as when stars drop in black disastrous dew.


For in that scroll was written how the globe
Of space became; of how the light
Broke in that space and wrapped it in a robe
Of glory; of how One most white
Withdrew that Whole, and hid it in the lobe
Of his right Ear,
So that the Universe one dewdrop did appear.


Yea! and the end revealed a word, a spell,
An incantation, a device
Whereby the Eye of the Most Terrible
Wakes from its wilderness of ice
To flame, whereby the very core of hell
Bursts from its rind,
Sweeping the world away into the blank of mind.


So then I saw my fault; I plunged within
The well, and brake the images
That I had made, as I must make - Men spin
The webs that snare them - while the knee
Bend to the tyrant God - or unto Sin
The lecher sunder!
Ah! came that undulant light from over or from under?


It matters not. Come, change! come, Woe! Come, mask!
Drive Light, Life, Love into the deep!
In vain we labour at the loathsome task
Not knowing if we wake or sleep;
But in the end we lift the plumed casque
Of the dead warrior;
Find no chaste corpse therein, but a soft-smiling whore.


Then I returned into myself, and took
All in my arms, God's universe:
Crushed its black juice out, while His anger shook
His dumbness pregnant with a curse.
I made me ink, and in a little book
I wrote one word
That God himself, the adder of Thought, had never heard.


It detonated. Nature, God, mankind
Like sulphur, nitre, charcoal, once
Blended, in one annihilation blind
Were rent into a myriad of suns.
Yea! all the mighty fabric of a Mind
Stood in the abyss,
Belching a Law for "That" more awful than for "This."


Vain was the toil. So then I left the wood
And came unto the still black sea,
That oily monster of beatitude!
('Hath "Thee" for "Me," and "Me" for "Thee!")
There as I stood, a mask of solitude
Hiding a face
Wried as a satyr's, rolled that ocean into space.


Then did I build an altar on the shore
Of oyster-shells, and ringed it round
With star-fish. Thither a green flame I bore
Of phosphor foam, and strewed the ground
With dew-drops, children of my wand, whose core
Was trembling steel
Electric that made spin the universal Wheel.


With that a goat came running from the cave
That lurked below the tall white cliff.
Thy name! cried I. The answer that gave
Was but one tempest-whisper - "If!"
Ah, then! his tongue to his black palate clave;
For on soul's curtain
Is written this one certainty that naught is certain!


So then I caught that goat up in a kiss.
And cried Io Pan! Io Pan! Io Pan!
Then all this body's wealth of ambergris,
(Narcissus-scented flesh of man!)
I burnt before him in the sacrifice;
For he was sure -
Being the Doubt of Things, the one thing to endure!


Wherefore, when madness took him at the end,
He, doubt-goat, slew the goat of doubt;
And that which inward did for ever tend
Came at the last to have come out;
And I who had the World and God to friend
Found all three foes!
Drowned in that sea of changes, vacancies, and woes!


Yet all that Sea was swallowed up therein;
So they were not, and it was not.
As who should sweat his soul out through the skin
And find (sad fool!) he had begot
All that without him that he had left in,
And in himself
All he had taken out thereof, a mocking elf!


But now that all was gone, great Pan appeared.
Him then I strove to woo, to win,
Kissing his curled lips, playing with his beard,
Setting his brain a-shake, a-spin,
By that strong wand, and muttering of the weird
That only I
Knew of all souls alive or dead beneath the sky.


So still I conquered, and the vision passed.
Yet still was beaten, for I knew
Myself was He, Himself, the first and last;
And as an unicorn drinks dew
From under oak-leaves, so my strength was cast
Into the mire;
For all I did was dream, and all I dreamt desire.


More; in this journey I had clean forgotten
The quest, my lover. But the tomb
Of all these thoughts, the rancid and the rotten,
Proved in the end to be my womb
Wherein my Lord and lover had begotten
A little child
To drive me, laughing lion, into the wanton wild!


This child hath not one hair upon his head,
But he hath wings instead of ears.
No eyes hath he, but all his light is shed
Within him on the ordered sphere
Of nature that he hideth; and in stead
Of mouth he hath
One minute point of jet; silence, the lightning path!


Also his nostrils are shut up; for he
Hath not the need of any breath;
Nor can the curtain of eternity
Cover that head with life or death.
So all his body, a slim almond-tree,
Knoweth no bough
Nor branch nor twig nor bud, from never until now.


This thought I bred within my bowels, I am.
I am in him, as he in me;
And like a satyr ravishing a lamb
So either seems, or as the sea
Swallows the whale that swallows it, the ram
Beats its own head
Upon the city walls, that fall as it falls dead.


Come, let me back unto the lilied lawn!
Pile me the roses and the thorns,
Upon this bed from which he hath withdrawn!
He may return. A million morns
May follow that first dire daemonic dawn
When he did split
My spirit with his lightnings and enveloped it!


So I am stretched out naked to the knife,
My whole soul twitching with the stress
Of the expected yet surprising strife,
A martyrdom of blessedness.
Though Death came, I could kiss him into life;
Though Life came, I
Could kiss him into death, and yet nor live nor die!


Yet I that am the babe, the sire, the dam,
Am also none of these at all;
For now that cosmic chaos of I AM
Bursts like a bubble. Mystical
The night comes down, a soaring wedge of flame
Woven therein
To be a sign to them who yet have never been.


The universe I measured with my rod.
The blacks were balanced with the whites;
Satan dropped down even as up soared God;
Whores prayed and danced with anchorites.
So in my book the even matched the odd:
No word I wrote
Therein, but sealed it with the signet of the goat.


This also I seal up. Read thou herein
Whose eyes are blind! Thou may'st behold
Within the wheel (that alway seems to spin
All ways) a point of static gold.
Then may'st thou out therewith, and fit it in
That extreme spher
Whose boundless farness makes it infinitely near.
~ Aleister Crowley, The Garden of Janus
491:Love Sonnets
HOW beautiful doth the morning rise
O’er the hills, as from her bower a bride
Comes brightened—blushing with the shame-faced pride
Of love that now consummated supplies
All her full heart can wish, and to the eyes
Dear are the flowers then, in their green haunts spied,
Glist ning with dew: pleasant at noon the side
Of shadowy mountains ridging to the skies:
At eve ’tis sweet to hear the breeze advance
Through the responding forest dense and tall;
And sweeter in the moonlight is the dance
And natural music of the waterfall:
And yet we feel not the full charm of all,
Till love be near us with his magic glance.

WHY tower my spirits, and what means this wild

Commotion at my heart—this dreamy chase

Of possible joys that glow like stars in space?

Now feel I even to all things reconciled,

As all were one in spirit. Rudely up-piled

Brown hills grow beautiful; a novel grace

Exalts the moorland’s once unmeaning face;

The river that, like a pure mind beguiled,

Grows purer for its errors, and the trees

That fringe its margin with a dusky shade,

Seem robed in fairy wonder; and are these

Exalted thus because with me surveyed

By one sweet sould whom well they seem to please

Here at my side—an almost stranger maid?



NOW sunny, as the noontide heavens, are

The eyes of my sweet friend, and now serene

And chastely shadowy in their maiden mien;

Or dream-power, sparkling like a brilliant star

Fills all their blue depths, taking me afar

To where, in the rich past, through song is seen

Some sovereign beauty, knighthood’s mystic queen,

Pluming with love the iron brows of war!

Bright eyes before, with subtle lightning glance

Have kindled all my being into one

Wild tumult; but a charm thus to enhance

My heart’s love-loyalty till now had none!

And can this witchery be the work of chance?

I know not—I but know my rest is gone.


A VAST and shadowy hope breaks up my rest

Unspoken; nor dares even my pen to write

How my pent spirit pineth day and night

For one fair love with whom I might be blest!

And ever with vague jealousies possessed

The more I languish, feeling these may so

Oppress affection that for very woe

She longs at last to die deep buried in my breast!

O for a beaker of the wine of love,

Or a deep draught of the Lethèan wave!

The power a mutual passion to emove,

Or that repose which sealeth up the grave!

Yet these my bonds are blameless; one more wise

Had dreamt away his freedom, dreaming of her eyes.



HER image haunts me! Lo! I muse at even,

And straight it gathers from the gloom, to make

My soul its mirror; which (as some still lake

Holds pictured in its depths the face of heaven)

Through the hushed night retains it: when ’tis given

To take a warmer presence and incline

A glowing cheek burning with love to mine,

Saying—“The heart for which thou long hast stiven

With looks so fancy-pale, I grant thee now;

And if for ruth, yet more for love’s sweet sake,

My lips shall seal this promise on thy brow. ”

Thus blest in sleep—oh! Who would care to wake,

When the cold real from his belief must shake

Such vows, like blossoms from a shattered bough?


SHE loves me! From her own bliss-breathing lips

The live confession came, like rich perfume

From crimson petals bursting into bloom!

And still my heart at the remembrance skips

Like a young lion, and my tongue too trips

As drunk with joy! While very object seen

In life’s diurnal round wears in its mien

A clear assurance that no doubts eclipse.

And if the common things of nature now

Are like old faces flushed with new delight,

Much more the consciousness of that rich vow

Deepens the beauteous, and refines the bright,

While throned I seem on love’s divinest height

Mid all the glories glowing round its brow.


FAIR as the day—a genial day serene

Of early summer, when the vital air


Breathes as ’twere God’s own breath, and blossoms rare

Fill many a bush, or nestle in between

The heapy folds of nature’s mantle green,

As they were happier for the joint joy there

Of birds and bees;—so genial, and so fair

And rich in pleasure, is my life’s sole queen.

My spirit in the sunshine of her grace

Glows with intenser being, and my veins

Fill as with nectar! In your pride of place

Ye mighty, boast! Ye rich, heap gold space!

I envy nor your grandeur nor your gains,

Thus gazing at the heaven of her face!


FAIR as the night—when all the astral fires

Of heaven are burning in the clear expanse,

My love is, and her eyes like star-depths glance

Lustrous with glowing thoughts and pure desires,

And that mysterious pathos which inspires

All moods divine in mortal passion’s trance—

All that its earthly music doth enhance

As with the rapture of seraphic lyres!

I gaze upon her till the atmosphere

Sweetens intensely, and to my charmed sight

All fair associated forms appear

Swimming in joy, as swim yon orbs in light—

And all sweet sounds, though common, to mine ear

Chime up like silver-winged dreams in flight.


TO-DAY we part! I far away to dwell

From this the scene that saw our bud of love

Bloom into rosehood. The blue heavens above—

These hills and valleys, with each rocky dell,


Echo’s dim hold,—shall these retain no spell

Of foregone passion? Shall they speak no tale

Of grief they shrouded in this shaded vale?

Shall they of all our joy the story tell?

To-morrow—and the sun shall climb yon hill

Bright as before; all winged things shall wake

To song as glad as if we listened still;

The stream as mirthfully its wild way make.

But I, pursuing fortune’s wandering star,

Shall see and hear them not—from thee and them afar.



NIGHTLY I watch the moon with silvery sheen

Flaking the city house-tops—till I feel

Thy memory, dear one, like a presence steal

Down in her light; for always in her mien

Thy soul’s similitude my soul hath seen!

And as she seemeth now—a guardian seal

On heaven’s far bliss, upon my future weal

Even such thy truth is—radiantly serene.

But long my fancy may not entertain

These bright resemblances—for lo! A cloud

Blots her away! And in my breast the pain

Of absent love recurring pines aloud!

When shall I look in thy bright eyes again?

O my beloved with like sadness bowed!


THERE is a trying spirit in the drift

Of human life, apportioning the prize

(In that true quality wherein it lies)

That each one seeketh, to that seeker’s gift.

Hence must he suffer many a perilous shift


Who unto fame by martial deeds would rise;

Hence look at liberty with lion-eyes

Must he who’d make the march of man more swift:

Hence heaven’s best crown, more glorious than the sun,

Is only gained by dying for our kind;

And hence, too, true love’s highest meed is won

Only through agonies of heart and mind.

Such, dear one, is the fate (and therefore ours)

Of all whom love would crown with faith’s divinest flowers.


THE VOYAGE to that haven of true love

Was ever stormy since the world began,

Or story from its earliest fountain ran;

Teaching us truly that the gods approve,

In the superior destinies of man,

Only what most the noblest hearts shall move:

Hence was Leander’s life so brief a span,

Who, weltering a mortal while above

The bursting wave, sent on his soul to where

The Maid of Sestos from her watch-tower’s height

Looked for his coming through the troubled air,

Nor knew that he had died for her that night!

Hence Sappho’s fatal leap! (The cause the same)

Hence too was Petrarch’s heart the martyr of his flame!


LOSS follows gain, and sadness waits on mirth,

And much is wasted where too much is given;

We cannot fully have our joy on earth

Without diminishing our joy in heaven.

Envy dogs merit; madness neighbours wit;

Stale is their gladness who were never sad;

And Dives in this fleshly life, ’tis writ,


Received his good things, Lazarus his bad.

Thus, dearest, o’er the waves of many things

My troubled mind, even like a ship, is tossed,

And from the quest this only inference brings:

That true love in its earthly course is crossed,

Lest by dull worldly usage it should be

Too worldly cramped to soar in large eternity.

~ Charles Harpur,
492:Ii. The Quest Of Silence
Secreta Silvarum: Prelude
Oh yon, when Holda leaves her hill
of winter, on the quest of June,
black oaks with emerald lamplets thrill
that flicker forth to her magic tune.
At dawn the forest shivers whist
and all the hidden glades awake;
then sunshine gems the milk-white mist
and the soft-swaying branches make
along its edge a woven sound
of legends that allure and flit
and horns wound towards the enchanted ground
where, in the light moon-vapours lit,
all night, while the black woods in mass,
serried, forbid with goblin fear,
fay-revels gleam o'er the pale grass
till shrill-throats ring the matins near.
Oh there, oh there in the sweet o' the year,
adventurous in the witching green,
last feal of the errant spear,
to seek the eyes of lost Undine
clear blue above the blue cold stream
that lingers till her plaint be done,
oh, and perchance from that sad dream
to woo her, laughing, to the sun
and that glad blue that seems to flow
far up, where dipping branches lift
sidelong their soft-throng'd frondage slow
and slow the thin cloud-fleecelets drift.
Oh, there to drowse the summer thro'
deep in some odorous twilit lair,
swoon'd in delight of golden dew
within the sylvan witches hair;
the while on half-veil'd eyes to feel
the yellow sunshafts broken dim,
and seldom waftures moth-like steal
and settle, on the bare-flung limb:
or under royal autumn, pall'd
in smouldering magnificence,
to feel the olden heart enthrall'd
in wisdoms of forgotten sense,
and mad desire and pain that fill'd
red August's heart of throbbing bloom
in one grave hour of knowledge still'd
where glory ponders o'er its doom:
and, when the boughs are sombre lace
and silence chisels silver rime,
o'er some old hearth, with dim-lit face,
to dream the vanish'd forest prime,
the springtime's sweet and June's delight,
more precious now that hard winds chill
the dews that made their mornings bright,
and Holda sleeps beneath her hill.
What tho' the outer day be brazen rude
not here the innocence of morn is fled:
this green unbroken dusk attests it wed
with freshness, where the shadowy breasts are nude,
hers guess'd, whose looks, felt dewy-cool, elude —
save this reproach that smiles on foolish dread:
wood-word, grave gladness in its heart, unsaid,
knoweth the guarded name of Quietude.
Nor start, if satyr-shapes across the path
tumble; it is but children: lo, the wrath
couchant, heraldic, of her beasts that pierce
with ivory single horn whate'er misplaced
outrageous nears, or whinny of the fierce
Centaur, or mailed miscreant unchaste.
O friendly shades, where anciently I grew!
me entering at dawn a child ye knew,
all little welcoming leaves, and jealous wove
your roof of lucid emerald above,
that scarce therethro' the envious sun might stray,
save smiling dusk or, lure for idle play,
such glancing finger your chance whim allows,
all that long forenoon of the tuneful boughs;
which growing on, the myriad small noise
and flitting of the wood-life's busy joys,
thro' tenuous weft of sound, had left, divined,
the impending threat of silence, clear, behind:
and, noon now past, that hush descended large
in the wood's heart, and caught me in its marge
of luminous foreboding widely flung;
so hourlong I have stray'd, and tho' among
the glimpsing lures of all green aisles delays
that revelation of its wondrous gaze,
yet am I glad to wander, glad to seek
and find not, so the gather'd tufts bespeak,
naked, reclined, its friendly neighbourhood —
as in this hollow of the rarer wood
where, listening, in the cool glen-shade, with me,
white-bloom'd and quiet, stands a single tree;
rich spilth of gold is on the eastward rise;
westward the violet gloom eludes mine eyes.
This is the house of Pan, not whom blind craze
and babbling wood-wits tell, where bare flints blaze,
noon-tide terrific with the single shout,
but whom behind each bole sly-peering out
the traveller knows, but turning, disappear'd
with chuckle of laughter in his thicket-beard,
and rustle of scurrying faun-feet where the ground
each autumn deeper feels its yellow mound.
Onward: and lo, at length, the secret glade,
soft-gleaming grey, what time the grey trunks fade
in the white vapours o'er its further rim.
'Tis no more time to linger: now more dim
the woods are throng'd to ward the haunted spot
where, as I turn my homeward face, I wot
the nymphs of twilight have resumed, unheard,
their glimmering dance upon the glimmering sward.
The point of noon is past, outside: light is asleep;
brooding upon its perfect hour: the woods are deep
and solemn, fill'd with unseen presences of light
that glint, allure, and hide them; ever yet more bright
(it seems) the turn of a path will show them: nay, but rest;
seek not, and think not; dream, and know not; this is best:
the hour is full; be lost: whispering, the woods are bent,
This is the only revelation; be content.
The forest has its horrors, as the sea:
and ye that enter from the staling lea
into the early freshness kept around
the waiting trunks that watch its rarer bound,
after the glistening song that, sprinkled, leaves
an innocence upon the glancing leaves;
O ye that dream to find the morning yet
secret and chaste, beside her mirror set,
some glimmering source o'ershadow'd, where the light
is coolness felt, whom filter'd glints invite
thro' the slow-shifting green transparency;
O ye that hearken towards pale mystery
a rustle of hidden pinions, and obey
the beckoning of each little leaf asway:
return, return, or e'er to warn you back
the shadow bend along your rearward track
longer and longer from the brooding west;
return, and evening shall bosom your rest
in the warm gloom that wraps the blazing hearth:
there hear from wither'd lips long wean'd of mirth
the tale that lulls old watches; — How they rode,
brave-glittering once, where the brave morning glow'd
along the forest-edges, and were lost
for ever, where the crossing trunks are most;
and, far beyond the dim arcades of song,
where moon-mist weaves a dancing elfin throng,
and far beyond the luring glades that brood
around a maiden thought of Quietude,
the savage realm begins, of lonely dread,
black branches from the fetid marish bred
that lurks to trap the loyal careless foot,
and gaping trunks protrude a snaky root
o'er slinking paths that centre, where beneath
a sudden rock on the short blasted heath,
bare-set, a cavern lurks and holds within
its womb, obscene with some corroding sin,
coil'd on itself and stirring, a squat shade
before the entrance rusts a broken blade.
The forest hides its horrors, as the sea.
No emerald spring, no royal autumn-red,
no glint of morn or sullen vanquish'd day
might venture against this obscene horror's sway
blackly from the witch-blasted branches shed.
No silver bells around the bridle-head
ripple, and on no quest the pennons play:
the path's romance is shuddering disarray,
or eaten by the marsh: the knights are dead.
The Lady of the Forest was a tale:
of the white unicorns that round her sleep
gamboll'd, no turf retains a print; and man,
rare traveller, feels, athwart the knitted bale
watching, now lord of loathly deaths that creep,
maliciously the senile leer of Pan.
Fire in the heavens, and fire along the hills,
and fire made solid in the flinty stone,
thick-mass'd or scatter'd pebble, fire that fills
the breathless hour that lives in fire alone.
This valley, long ago the patient bed
of floods that carv'd its antient amplitude,
in stillness of the Egyptian crypt outspread,
endures to drown in noon-days tyrant mood.
Behind the veil of burning silence bound,
vast life's innumerous busy littleness
is hush'd in vague-conjectured blur of sound
that dulls the brain with slumbrous weight, unless
some dazzling puncture let the stridence throng
in the cicada's torture-point of song.
Peace dwells in blessing o'er a place
folded within the hills to keep
and under dark boughs seawind-frayd:
and the kind slopes where soothings creep,
in the gold light or the green shade,
wear evermore the ancient face
of silence, and the eyes of sleep;
because they are listening evermore
unto the seawinds what they tell
to the wise, nodding, indifferent trees
high on the ridge that guard the dell,
of wars on many a far grey shore
and how the shores decay and fade
before the obstinate old seas:
and all their triumphing is made
a tale that dwindles with the eves,
while the soft dusk lingers, delay'd,
and drifts between the indolent leaves.
A gray and dusty daylight flows
athwart the shatter'd traceries,
pale absence of the ruin'd rose.
Here once, on labour-harden'd knees,
beneath the kindly vaulted gloom
that gather'd them in quickening ease,
they saw the rose of heaven bloom,
alone, in heights of musky air,
with many an angel's painted plume.
So, shadowing forth their dim-felt prayer,
the daedal glass compell'd to grace
the outer days indifferent stare,
where now its disenhallow'd face
beholds the petal-ribs enclose
nought, in their web of shatter'd lace,
save this pale absence of the rose.
Breaking the desert's tawny level ring
three columns, an oasis; but no shade
falls from the curl'd acanthus-leaves; no spring
bubbles soft laughter for its leaning maid.
The cell is waste: where once the god abode
a burning desolation furls its wing:
enter, and lo! once more, the hopeless road
world-wide, the tawny desert's level ring.
Before she pass'd behind the glacier wall
that hides her white eternal sorceries
the northern witch, in clinging ermine pall,
cast one last look along the shallow seas,
a look that held them in its numbing thrall
and melted onward to the sandy leas
where our lorn city lives its lingering fall
and wistful summer shrinks in scant-clad trees.
Hence came one greyness over grass and stone:
the silent-lapping waters fade and tone
into the air and into them the land;
and all along our stagnant waterways
a drown'd and dusky gleaming sleeps, unbann'd,
the lurking twilight of her vanish'd gaze.
Out of no quarter of the charted sky
flung in the bitter wind intolerably,
abrupt, the trump that sings behind the end
exults alone. Here grass is none to bend:
the stony plain blackens with rapid night
that best reveals the land's inflicted blight
since in the smitten hero-hand the sword
broke, and the hope the long-dumb folk adored,
and over all the north a tragic flare
told Valhall perish'd and the void's despair
to dwell as erst, all disinhabited,
a vault above the heart its hungering led.
The strident clangour cuts; but space is whole,
inert, absorb'd in dead regret. Here, sole,
on the bare uplands, stands, vast thro' the gloom
staring, to mark an irretrievable doom,
the stranger stone, sphinx-couchant, thunder-hurl'd
from red star-ruin o'er the elder world.
This night is not of gentle draperies
or cluster'd banners where the star-breaths roam,
nor hangs above the torch a lurching dome
of purple shade that slips with phantom ease;
but, on our apathy encroaching, these,
stable, whose smooth defiance none hath clomb,
basalt and jade, a patience of the gnome,
polish'd and shadow-brimm'd transparencies.
Far, where our oubliette is shut, above,
we guess the ample lids that never move
beneath her brows, each massive arch inert
hung high-contemptuous o'er the blatant wars
we deem'd well waged for her, who may avert
some Janus-face that smiles on hidden stars.
Lightning: and, momently, the silhouette,
flat on the far horizon, comes and goes
of that night-haunting city; minaret,
dome, spire, all sharp while yet the levin glows.
Day knows it not; whether fierce noon-tide fuse
earth's rim with sky in throbbing haze, or clear
gray softness tinge afresh the enamell'd hues
of mead and stream, it shows no tipping spear.
Night builds it: now upon the marbled plain
a blur, discern'd lurking, ever more nigh;
now close against the walls that hem my reign
a leaguer-town, threatening my scope of sky.
So late I saw it; in a misty moon
it bulk'd, all dusky and transparent, dumb
as ever, fast in some prodigious swoon:
its battlements deserted — who might come?
— ay, one! his eyes, 'neath the high turban's plume,
watch'd mine, intent, behind the breast-high stone:
his face drew mine across the milky gloom:
a sudden moonbeam show'd it me, my own!
ONE! an iron core, shock'd and dispers'd
in throbs of sound that ebb across the bay:
I shudder: the one clang smites disarray
thro' all my sense, that starts awake, inhears'd
in the whole lifeless world: and some accurs'd
miasma steals, resumed from all decay,
where the dead tide lies flat round the green quay,
hinting what self-fordone despairs it nurs'd.
The corpse of time is stark upon the night:
my soul is coffin'd, staring, grave-bedight,
upon some dance of death that reels and feasts
around its living tomb, with vampire grin,
inverted sacraments of Satan's priests —
and, mask'd no more, the maniac face of sin.
There is a far-off thrill that troubles me:
a faint thin ripple of shadow, momently,
dies out across my lucid icy cell.
I am betrayed by winter to the spell
of morbid sleep, that somewhere rolls its waves
insidiously, gather'd from unblest graves,
to creep above each distant crumbled mole.
When that assault is full against my soul,
I must go down, thro' chapels black with mould,
past ruin'd doors, whose arches, ridged with gold,
catch, in their grooves, a gloom more blackly dript,
some stairway winding hours-long towards the crypt
where panic night lies stricken 'neath the curse
exuding from the dense enormous hearse
of some old vampire-god, whose bulk, within,
lies gross and festering in his shroud of sin.
~ Christopher John Brennan,
493:Ballad Of Jesus Of Nazareth
It matters not what place he drew
At first life's mortal breath,
Some say it was in Bethlehem,
And some in Nazareth.
But shame and sorrow were his lot
And shameful was his death.
The angels sang, and o'er the barn
Wherein the infant lay,
They hung a star, for they foresaw
The sad world's better day,
But well God knew what thyme and rue
Were planted by his way.
The children of the Pharisees
In hymn and orison
Worshipped the prophets, whom their sires
To cruel death had done,
And said, 'had we been there their death
We had not looked upon.'
While the star shone the angels saw
The tombs these children built
For those the world had driven out,
And smitten to the hilt,
God knew these wretched sons would bear
The self-same bloody guilt.
Always had he who strives for men
But done some other thing,
If he had not led a hermit life,
Or had not had his fling,
We would have followed him, they say,
And made him lord and King.
For John was clothed in camel's hair
And lived among the brutes;
But Jesus fared where the feast was spread
To the sound of shawms and lutes,
Where gathered knaves and publicans
And hapless prostitutes.
Like children in the market place
Who sullen sat and heard,
With John they would not mourn, nor yet
Rejoice at Jesus' word;
Had Jesus mourned, or John rejoiced,
He had been King and lord.
From Bethlehem until the day
He came up to the feast
We hear no word, we only know
In wisdom he increased,
We know the marvelous boy did awe
The Pharisee and priest.
For wearied men wake to admire
A genius in the bud;
Before the passion of the world
Flows through him like a flood;
Ere he becomes a scourge to those
Who drink of mankind's blood.
Perhaps in him they saw an arm
To keep the people still;
And fool the meek and slay the weak
And give the King his will;
And put a wall for armZd men
'Round every pleasant hill.
And this is why in after years
The Galilean wept;
The cup of youth was sweet with truth
But a green worm in it crept;
And that was dullness clothed in power,
And hate which never slept.
Through twenty years he drove the plane,
And shaped with ax and saw;
And dreamed upon the Hebrew writ
Unto a day of awe,
When he felt the world fit to his grasp
As by a mighty law.
He looked upon the sunny sky,
And 'round the flowering earth;
He heard the poor man's groan of woe,
And the prince's song of mirth;
Then Jesus vowed the life of man
Should have another birth.
And this is why the Son of Man
Wept when he knew the loss,
The toil and sacrifice to cleanse
A little earthly dross;
And that a god to save twelve men
Must die upon the cross.
'Twas on a pleasant day in June
Beneath an azure sky
That 'round him stood the multitude
And saw within his eye
The light that from nor sun nor star
Ever was known to fly.
And some came out to scoff and laugh,
And some to lay a snare;
The rhetorician gaped to see:
The learnZd carpenter.
The money changer, judge and priest,
And statesman all were there.
Some thought the Galilean mad;
Some asked, is he sincere?
Some said he played the demagogue
To gain the people's ear,
And raise a foe against the law
That lawful men should fear.
But all the while did C¾sar's might
Grow big with blood and lust;
And no one brooked his tyrant arm,
For the statesman said the crust
That paupers gnaw is by the law,
And that the law is just.
From hunger's hovel, from the streets;
From horror's blackened niche
Earth's mourners came and hands were stretched
To touch him from the ditch.
Then rose a Scribe and said he turned
The poor against the rich.
And those who hated C¾sar's rule,
Albeit sowed the lie
That Jesus stirred sedition up
That he might profit by
A revolution, which should clothe
Himself in monarchy.
Through twice a thousand years the world
Has missed the words he taught;
To forms and creeds and empty show
Christ never gave a thought,
But wrongs that men do unto men
They were the wrongs he fought.
He did not eat with washen hands,
Nor keep the Sabbath day;
He did not to the Synagogue
Repair to sing and pray.
Nor for to-morrow take a thought,
To mar life's pleasant way.
He saw that all of human woe
Takes root in hate and greed;
He saw until men love their kind
The human heart must bleed.
And that nor hymn nor sacrifice
Meets any human need.
And this is why he scourged the rich
And lashed the Pharisee,
And stripped from every pious face
The mask hypocrisy;
And so laced Mary Magdalene,
Caught in adultery.
And this is why with grievous fire
He smote the lawyer's lore.
And every wile of cunning guile
Which made the burden more
Upon the backs of wretched men,
Who heavy burdens bore.
Therefore when that the hour was come
For him to die, they blent
Of many things a lying charge,
But at last the argument
They killed him with was that he stirred
The people's discontent.
From thence the world has gone its way
Of this truth, deaf and blind,
And every man who struck the law
Has felt the halter bind,
Until his words were choked in death
Uttered for human kind.
Now did the dreams of Galilee
Awake as from a sleep,
Fly up from earth, and Life unmasked
Life's promise did not keep,
And Jesus saw the face of Life,
And all who see it weep.
God's spirit fled the damnZd earth
And left the earth forlorn.
No more did Jesus walk the fields,
And pluck the ripened corn;
Nor muse beside the silent sea,
Upon a summer's morn.
Before the heart of Christ was pierced
With agony divine,
He sat him down in a merry mood
With loving friends to dine.
And once in Cana he did turn
The water into wine.
Now put from shore, swept far to sea
His shallop caught the tide,
Arched o'er him was eternity
'Twixt starless wastes and wide.
God's spirit seemed withdrawn that once
Walked hourly at his side.
Gladly the common people heard
And called upon his name.
But yet he knew what they would do,
Christ Jesus knew their frame,
And that he should be left alone
Upon a day of shame.
Sharper than thorns upon the brow,
Or nails spiked through the hand
Is when the people fly for fear
And cannot understand;
And let their saviors die the death
As creatures contraband.
For wrongs that flourish by a lie
Are hard enough to bear;
But wrongs that take their root in truth
Shade every brow with care;
And this is why Gethsemane
Was shadowed with despair.
In dark and drear Gethsemane
Hell's devils laughed and raved,
When Jesus torn by fear and doubt
Reprieve from sorrow craved;
For who would lose his life, unless
Another's life he saved?
In youth when all the world appeared
As fresh as any flower,
Satan besought the Son of Man,
New-clothed in godly power,
And took him to behold the world
Upon a lofty tower.
To every man of god-like might
Comes Satan once to give
The crown, the crosier and the sword
And bid him laugh and live,
While Hope hides in the wilderness,
A hunted fugitive.
But neither gold nor kingly crown
Tempted the Son of Man
He hoped as many souls have hoped,
Ever since time began,
That love itself can overcome,
Hate's foul leviathan
Some fix their faith to heaven's grace,
And some to saintly bones;
Some think that water doth contain
A virtue which atones;
And some believe that men are saved
By penitential groans.
But of all faith that ever fired
A spirit with its glow
That is supreme which thinks that truth
No power can overthrow;
And he believes who takes and cleaves
To the thorny way of woe!
For life is sweet, and sweet it is
With jeweled sandals shod
To trip where happy blossoms shoot
Up from the fragrant sod;
And what sustains the souls that pass
Alway beneath the rod?
The book of worldly lore he closed
And bound it with a hasp;
And in the hour of danger came
No king with friendly clasp.
It was the hand of love against
The anger of the asp.
Since Jesus died the lust of kings
Has linked the cross and crown;
And slaughtered millions whom to save
From heaven he came down;
And all to tame the mind of man
To his divine renown.
But whether he were man or god
This thing at least is true;
He hated with a lordly hate
The Gentile and the Jew,
Who robbed the poor and wronged the weak,
And kept the widow's due.
And those all clothed in raiment soft,
Who in kings' houses dwell;
And those who compass sea and land
Their proselytes to swell;
And when they make one he is made
Two-fold the child of hell.
And those who tithe of anise give,
But sharpen beak and claw;
And those who plait the web of hate
The heart of man to flaw;
And hungry lawyers who pile up
The burdens of the law.
I wonder not they slew the Christ
And put upon his brow
The cruel crown of thorns, I know
The world would do it now;
And none shall live who on himself
Shall take the self-same vow.
And none shall live who tries to balk
The heavy hand of greed;
And he who hopes for human help
Against his hour of need
Will find the souls he tried to save
Ready to make him bleed.
For he who flays the hypocrite,
And scourges with a thong
The money changer, soon will find
The money changer strong;
And even the people will incline
To think his mission wrong.
And pious souls will say he is
At best a castaway;
Some will remember he blasphemed
And broke the Sabbath day.
And the coward friend will fool his heart
And then he will betray.
At last the Scribe and Pharisee
No longer could abide
The tumult which his words stirred up
In every country side;
And so they made a sign, which meant
He must be crucified.
For him no sword was raised, no king
Came forward for his sake;
And every son of mammon laughed
To see death overtake
The fool who fastened to the truth
And made his life the stake.
Upon a day when Jesus' soul
Like an angel's voice did quire,
The heart of all the people burned
With a white and holy fire;
And they did sweep to make him king
Over the world's empire.
His kingdom was not of this world,
But this they would not own;
And he to save themselves did go
To a mountain place alone,
And there did pray that holy Truth
Might find somewhere a throne.
When Henry was by Francis sought
To make him emperor,
They walked upon a cloth of gold,
As sovereign lords of war.
And trumpets blew and banners flew
About the royal car.
When Caesar back to Rome returned
With all the world subdued,
The soldiers and the priests did shout,
And cried the multitude;
For he had slain his country's foes,
And drenched their land with blood.
But all the triumph of the Christ
That ever came to pass
Was when he rode amidst a mob
Upon a borrowed ass;
And this is all the worldly pomp
A genius ever has.
His cloth of gold were branches cut
And strewn upon the ground;
And every money-changer laughed,
And the judges looked and frowned;
But no one saw a flag unfurled,
Or heard a bugle sound.
To-day whene'er a coxcomb king
Visits a foreign shore,
The simple people deck themselves
And all the cannon roar.
But it would not do such grace to show
To a soul of lordly lore.
Of all sad suppers ever spread
For broken hearts to eat,
That was the saddest where the Christ
Did serve the bread and meat;
And, ere he served them, washed with care
Each worn disciple's feet.
And who would hold in memory
That supper, let him call
His loved friends about his board
And serve them one and all;
And with a loving spirit crown
The simple festival.
For this I hold to be the truth,
And Jesus said the same;
That men who meet as brothers, they
Are gathered in his name;
And only for its evil deeds
A soul he will disclaim.
Through climes of sun and climes of snow
Full many a wretched knight,
The holy grail, without avail
Did make his life's delight,
And lo! the thing it symbolized
Was ever in their sight.
The cup whereof Christ Jesus drank
Was wholly without grace;
And whether made of stone or wood
Was lost or broke apace.
And no one thought to keep a cup
While looking in his face.
They kept no cup, their only thought
Was for the morrow morn.
And as he passed the wine and bread
With pallid hands and worn,
Peter did swear he would not leave
His stricken lord forlorn.
John, the beloved, on his breast,
Wept while the hour did pass.
Judas did groan when Jesus struck
Behind his soul's arras.
All trembled for the bitter hate,
And power of Caiaphas.
But for that simple, farewell feast
In Holland, France and Spain,
Ten million men as true as John
Were racked and burnt and slain,
As if they held remembrance of
The farewell feast of Cain.
Had Jesus known what fratricide
Over his words would fall
I think he would have gone straightway
Up to the judgment hall,
And never broken bread or drunk
The cup his friends withal.
Though a good tree brings forth good fruit,
What good bears naught but good?
What sum of saintly life contains
No grain of devil's food?
What purest truth when past its youth
Is not its own falsehood?
And every rod wherewith the wise
Have cleft each barrier sea,
That men might walk across and reach
The land of liberty,
In hands of kings were snakes whose stings
Were worse than slavery.
The rulers thought it best to wait
Till Jesus were alone;
They had forgot the coward crowd
Never protects its own,
But leaves its leaders to the whim
Of wrong upon a throne.
Had malcontents for Pilate sought
To do a treasonous thing,
Ten thousand loyal fishermen
Had made the traitors swing;
For they are taught they cannot live
Unless they have a king.
But soldiers came with swords and staves
To sieze one helpless man.
And only Peter had a sword
To smite the craven clan
And only Peter stood his ground,
And all the people ran.
I wish, since Jesus by the world
Is held to be divine,
That he had lived to give to men
A perfect anodyne,
And raise to human liberty
A world compelling shrine.
A shrine 'round which should lie to-day
The world's discarded crowns,
And swords and guns and gilded gawds
And monkish beads and gowns;
But, as it is, upon these things,
They say, he never frowns.
And only by an argument
Can any being show
That Jesus would chop out and burn
These monstrous roots of woe.
And so these roots are living yet,
And still the roots do grow.
Unto this day in divers lands
Pilate is singled out
For curses that he did not save
Christ from the rabble's shout;
But they forget he was a judge,
And had a judge's doubt.
The sickly fear of the rulers' sneer
Clutches the judge's heart.
And to hide behind a hoary lie
Is the judge's highest art;
And the judgment hall has a door that leads
To the room of the money mart.
The laws wherewith men murder men
Are dark with skeptic slime;
They are not stars that point the way
To truth in every clime.
Wherefore was Jesus crucified,
For what was not a crime.
When Pilate questioned what is truth
He did not mean to jest;
He meant to show when life's at stake
How difficult the quest
Through hollow rules and empty forms
To truth's ingenuous test.
And Pilate might have pardoned him
Had not the lawyers said,
The Galilean strove to put
A crown upon his head.
And how could Jesus be a king,
Who blood had never shed?
The trial of Jesus long ago
Was cursed in solemn rhyme;
For the judgment hall was but farcical
And the trial a pantomime.
Save that it led to a felon's death
For what was not a crime.
The common people on that day
Had enough black-bread to eat.
And what to them was another's woe
Before the judgment seat?
They were content that day to keep
From pit-falls their own feet.
Had Herod stood, whate'er the charge,
Before the people's bar
The sophists would have cut it down
With reason's scimitar,
And called the peasants to enforce
The judgment near and far.
And had they failed to save their king
From every foul mischance
The banded Anarchs of the world
Had held them in durance,
As afterward the crownZd heads
Did punish recreant France.
So it fell out amid the rout
Of captain, lord and priest,
They bound his hands with felon bands
And they flogged him like a beast.
And Pilate washed his hands, and then
For them a thief released.
And only women solaced him,
And one mad courtesan,
'Save thou thyself,' the elders cried,
'Who came to rescue man.'
Where were the common people then?
The common people ran.
Between two thieves upon a hill
The terror to proclaim
They racked his body on a cross
Till his thirst was like a flame;
And they mocked his woe and they wagged their heads,
And they spat upon his name.
God thought a picture like to this,
Fire-limned against the sky,
Once seen, would never fade away
From the world's careless eye;
And that the lesson that it taught
No soul could wander by.
God thought the shadow of this cross,
Athwart the mad world's ken,
Would stay with shame the hands that kill
The men who die for men,
And that no soul for love of truth
Need ever die again.
Many a man the valley of death
With fearless step hath trod;
The prophet is a phoenix soul,
And the wretch is a sullen clod.
But Jesus in his death became
Liker unto a god
Liker unto a god he grew
Who walked through heaven and hell;
He died as he forgave the mob
That 'round the cross did yell.
They knew not what they did, and this
Jesus, the god, knew well.
For hate is spawned of ignorance
And ignorance of hate.
And all the fangZd shapes that creep
From their incestuous state
Enter the gardens of the world,
And cursZd keep their fate.
Near Gadara did Jesus drive
By an occult power and sign
The unclean devils from a loon
Into a herd of swine.
But the swinish devils entered the Scribes,
And slew a soul divine.
Christ healed the blind, but could not ope
The eyes of ignorance,
Nor turn to wands of peace and love
Hate's bloody sword and lance;
But the swinish fiends who took his life
Received a pardoning glance.
And Jesus raised the dead to life,
And he cured the lame and halt
But he could not heal a hateful soul,
And keep it free from fault;
Nor bring the savour back again
To the world's trampled salt.
After his death the rulers slept,
And the judges were at ease;
For they had killed a rebel soul
And strewed his devotees;
But the imp of time is a thing perverse,
And laughs at men's decrees.
For it is vain to kill a man,
His life to stigmatize;
Herein the wisdom of the world
Is folly to the wise;
For those the world doth kill, the world
Will surely canonize.
To look upon a lovZd face
By the Gorgon Death made stone,
Will make the heart leap up with fear
And the soul with sorrow groan;
Alas! who knows what thing he knew
Ere the light of life was flown?
Who knows what tears did start to well,
But were frozen at their source?
Who knows his ashen grief who felt
That iron hand of force?
Or what black thing he saw before
He grew a lifeless corse?
And, much of hope, but more of woe
Falls with the chastening rod,
As the living think of an orphan soul
That the spectral ways may trod,
And how that orphan soul must cry
In its new world after God.
So the fisherman did sigh at night,
For a dream-face haunted them.
By day they hid as branded men
Within Jerusalem.
And the common people, safe at home,
Did breathe a requiem.
But where he lay, one fearless soul,
Mad Magdalene, from whom
Christ cast the seven devils out,
Came in the morning's gloom,
And thence arose the burning faith
That Christ rose from the tomb
But all do know the mind of man
Mixes the false and true,
And deifies each Son of God
That ever hatred slew;
And weaves him magic tales to tell
Of what the man could do.
The legends grow, as grow they must
The wonder to equip.
And ere they write the legends out,
They pass from lip to lip,
Till a simple life becomes a theme
For studied scholarship.
But this I know that after Christ
Did die on Calvary,
He never more did preach to men,
Nor scourge the Pharisee;
Else it was vain to still his voice
And nail him to a tree.
Nor scribe nor priest were ever more
By him disquieted.
And little did it mean to them
That he rose from the dead.
For greed can sleep when it has killed
The thing that it did dread.
And never a king or satrap knew
That Christ the tomb had rent;
He might have lived a second life,
With every lord's consent,
If never more he sought to stir
The people's discontent.
He might have risen from the dead
And gone to Galilee;
And there paced out a hundred years
In a sorrowed revery,
If he but never preached again
The creed humanity.
To distant lands did Jesus' words,
Like sparks that burst in flame,
Fly forth to light the ways of dole,
And blind the eyes of shame,
Till subtle kings, to staunch their wounds,
Did conjure with his name.
When kings did pilfer Jesus' might,
His words of love were turned
To swords and goads and heavy loads,
And rods and brands that burned;
And never had the world before
So piteously mourned.
Of peasant Mary they did make
A statue all of gold;
And placed a crown upon her head
With jewels manifold.
And Jesus' words were strained and drawn
This horror to uphold.
They robed a rebel royally,
And placed within his hand
A scepter, that himself should be
One of their murderous band.
And it is tragical that men
Can never understand.
For Herod crowned the carpenter
With woven thorns of hate.
And put a reed within his hand
A king to imitate.
Now kings have made a rebel soul
The patron of the state.
And kingcraft never hatched a lie,
This falsehood to surpass.
For Jesus' only hour of pomp
Was what a genius has;
He rode amidst a howling mob
Upon a borrowed ass.
Though his cloth of gold were branches cut
And strewed upon the ground;
And though the money-changers laughed,
While the judges looked and frowned;
To-day for him the flag is flown,
And all the bugles sound.
To-day where'er the treacherous sword
Takes lord-ship in the world,
The bloody rag they call the flag,
In his name is unfurled.
And round the standard of the cross
Is greed, the python, curled.
For wrongs that have the show of truth
Are hard enough to bear,
But wrongs that flourish by a lie,
Shade wisdom's brow with care.
And still in dark Gethsemane
There lurks the fiend Despair.
And still in drear Gethsemane,
Hell's devils laugh and rave,
Because the Prince of Peace hath failed
The wayward world to save.
For every word he spoke is made
A shackle to enslave.
Man's wingd hopes are white at dawn,
But the hand of malice smuts.
O, angel voices drowned and lost
Amid the growl of guts!
O spirit hands that strain to draw
A dead world from the ruts!
God made a stage of Palestine,
And the drama played was Life;
And the Eye of Heaven sat and watched
The true and false at strife;
While a masque o' the World did play the pimp,
And take a whore to wife.
I wonder not they slew the Christ,
And put upon his brow
A mocking crown of thorns, I know
The world would do it now;
And none shall live who on himself
Shall take the self-same vow.
And none shall live who tries to balk
The heavy hand of greed.
And who betakes him to the task,
That heart will surely bleed.
But a little truth, somehow is saved
Out of each dead man's creed.
Out of the life of him who scourged
The Scribe and Pharisee,
A willing world can take to heart
The creed humanity;
And all the wonder tales of Christ
Are naught to you and me.
And it matters not what place he drew,
At first life's mortal breath,
Nor how it was his spirit rose
And triumphed over death,
But good it is to hear and do
The word that Jesus saith.
Until the perfect truth shall lie
Treasured and set apart;
One whole, harmonious truth to set
A seal upon each heart;
And none may ever from that truth
In any wise depart.
~ Edgar Lee Masters,
494:Balin And Balan
Pellam the King, who held and lost with Lot
In that first war, and had his realm restored
But rendered tributary, failed of late
To send his tribute; wherefore Arthur called
His treasurer, one of many years, and spake,
'Go thou with him and him and bring it to us,
Lest we should set one truer on his throne.
Man's word is God in man.'
His Baron said
'We go but harken: there be two strange knights
Who sit near Camelot at a fountain-side,
A mile beneath the forest, challenging
And overthrowing every knight who comes.
Wilt thou I undertake them as we pass,
And send them to thee?'
Arthur laughed upon him.
'Old friend, too old to be so young, depart,
Delay not thou for aught, but let them sit,
Until they find a lustier than themselves.'
So these departed. Early, one fair dawn,
The light-winged spirit of his youth returned
On Arthur's heart; he armed himself and went,
So coming to the fountain-side beheld
Balin and Balan sitting statuelike,
Brethren, to right and left the spring, that down,
From underneath a plume of lady-fern,
Sang, and the sand danced at the bottom of it.
And on the right of Balin Balin's horse
Was fast beside an alder, on the left
Of Balan Balan's near a poplartree.
'Fair Sirs,' said Arthur, 'wherefore sit ye here?'
Balin and Balan answered 'For the sake
Of glory; we be mightier men than all
In Arthur's court; that also have we proved;
For whatsoever knight against us came
Or I or he have easily overthrown.'
'I too,' said Arthur, 'am of Arthur's hall,
But rather proven in his Paynim wars
Than famous jousts; but see, or proven or not,
Whether me likewise ye can overthrow.'
And Arthur lightly smote the brethren down,
And lightly so returned, and no man knew.
Then Balin rose, and Balan, and beside
The carolling water set themselves again,
And spake no word until the shadow turned;
When from the fringe of coppice round them burst
A spangled pursuivant, and crying 'Sirs,
Rise, follow! ye be sent for by the King,'
They followed; whom when Arthur seeing asked
'Tell me your names; why sat ye by the well?'
Balin the stillness of a minute broke
Saying 'An unmelodious name to thee,
Balin, "the Savage"--that addition thine-My brother and my better, this man here,
Balan. I smote upon the naked skull
A thrall of thine in open hall, my hand
Was gauntleted, half slew him; for I heard
He had spoken evil of me; thy just wrath
Sent me a three-years' exile from thine eyes.
I have not lived my life delightsomely:
For I that did that violence to thy thrall,
Had often wrought some fury on myself,
Saving for Balan: those three kingless years
Have past--were wormwood-bitter to me. King,
Methought that if we sat beside the well,
And hurled to ground what knight soever spurred
Against us, thou would'st take me gladlier back,
And make, as ten-times worthier to be thine
Than twenty Balins, Balan knight. I have said.
Not so--not all. A man of thine today
Abashed us both, and brake my boast. Thy will?'
Said Arthur 'Thou hast ever spoken truth;
Thy too fierce manhood would not let thee lie.
Rise, my true knight. As children learn, be thou
Wiser for falling! walk with me, and move
To music with thine Order and the King.
Thy chair, a grief to all the brethren, stands
Vacant, but thou retake it, mine again!'
Thereafter, when Sir Balin entered hall,
The Lost one Found was greeted as in Heaven
With joy that blazed itself in woodland wealth
Of leaf, and gayest garlandage of flowers,
Along the walls and down the board; they sat,
And cup clashed cup; they drank and some one sang,
Sweet-voiced, a song of welcome, whereupon
Their common shout in chorus, mounting, made
Those banners of twelve battles overhead
Stir, as they stirred of old, when Arthur's host
Proclaimed him Victor, and the day was won.
Then Balan added to their Order lived
A wealthier life than heretofore with these
And Balin, till their embassage returned.
'Sir King' they brought report 'we hardly found,
So bushed about it is with gloom, the hall
Of him to whom ye sent us, Pellam, once
A Christless foe of thine as ever dashed
Horse against horse; but seeing that thy realm
Hath prospered in the name of Christ, the King
Took, as in rival heat, to holy things;
And finds himself descended from the Saint
Arimathan Joseph; him who first
Brought the great faith to Britain over seas;
He boasts his life as purer than thine own;
Eats scarce enow to keep his pulse abeat;
Hath pushed aside his faithful wife, nor lets
Or dame or damsel enter at his gates
Lest he should be polluted. This gray King
Showed us a shrine wherein were wonders--yea-Rich arks with priceless bones of martyrdom,
Thorns of the crown and shivers of the cross,
And therewithal (for thus he told us) brought
By holy Joseph thither, that same spear
Wherewith the Roman pierced the side of Christ.
He much amazed us; after, when we sought
The tribute, answered "I have quite foregone
All matters of this world: Garlon, mine heir,
Of him demand it," which this Garlon gave
With much ado, railing at thine and thee.
'But when we left, in those deep woods we found
A knight of thine spear-stricken from behind,
Dead, whom we buried; more than one of us
Cried out on Garlon, but a woodman there
Reported of some demon in the woods
Was once a man, who driven by evil tongues
From all his fellows, lived alone, and came
To learn black magic, and to hate his kind
With such a hate, that when he died, his soul
Became a Fiend, which, as the man in life
Was wounded by blind tongues he saw not whence,
Strikes from behind. This woodman showed the cave
From which he sallies, and wherein he dwelt.
We saw the hoof-print of a horse, no more.'
Then Arthur, 'Let who goes before me, see
He do not fall behind me: foully slain
And villainously! who will hunt for me
This demon of the woods?' Said Balan, 'I'!
So claimed the quest and rode away, but first,
Embracing Balin, 'Good my brother, hear!
Let not thy moods prevail, when I am gone
Who used to lay them! hold them outer fiends,
Who leap at thee to tear thee; shake them aside,
Dreams ruling when wit sleeps! yea, but to dream
That any of these would wrong thee, wrongs thyself.
Witness their flowery welcome. Bound are they
To speak no evil. Truly save for fears,
My fears for thee, so rich a fellowship
Would make me wholly blest: thou one of them,
Be one indeed: consider them, and all
Their bearing in their common bond of love,
No more of hatred than in Heaven itself,
No more of jealousy than in Paradise.'
So Balan warned, and went; Balin remained:
Who--for but three brief moons had glanced away
From being knighted till he smote the thrall,
And faded from the presence into years
Of exile--now would strictlier set himself
To learn what Arthur meant by courtesy,
Manhood, and knighthood; wherefore hovered round
Lancelot, but when he marked his high sweet smile
In passing, and a transitory word
Make knight or churl or child or damsel seem
From being smiled at happier in themselves-Sighed, as a boy lame-born beneath a height,
That glooms his valley, sighs to see the peak
Sun-flushed, or touch at night the northern star;
For one from out his village lately climed
And brought report of azure lands and fair,
Far seen to left and right; and he himself
Hath hardly scaled with help a hundred feet
Up from the base: so Balin marvelling oft
How far beyond him Lancelot seemed to move,
Groaned, and at times would mutter, 'These be gifts,
Born with the blood, not learnable, divine,
Beyond MY reach. Well had I foughten--well-In those fierce wars, struck hard--and had I crowned
With my slain self the heaps of whom I slew-So--better!--But this worship of the Queen,
That honour too wherein she holds him--this,
This was the sunshine that hath given the man
A growth, a name that branches o'er the rest,
And strength against all odds, and what the King
So prizes--overprizes--gentleness.
Her likewise would I worship an I might.
I never can be close with her, as he
That brought her hither. Shall I pray the King
To let me bear some token of his Queen
Whereon to gaze, remembering her--forget
My heats and violences? live afresh?
What, if the Queen disdained to grant it! nay
Being so stately-gentle, would she make
My darkness blackness? and with how sweet grace
She greeted my return! Bold will I be-Some goodly cognizance of Guinevere,
In lieu of this rough beast upon my shield,
Langued gules, and toothed with grinning savagery.'
And Arthur, when Sir Balin sought him, said
'What wilt thou bear?' Balin was bold, and asked
To bear her own crown-royal upon shield,
Whereat she smiled and turned her to the King,
Who answered 'Thou shalt put the crown to use.
The crown is but the shadow of the King,
And this a shadow's shadow, let him have it,
So this will help him of his violences!'
'No shadow' said Sir Balin 'O my Queen,
But light to me! no shadow, O my King,
But golden earnest of a gentler life!'
So Balin bare the crown, and all the knights
Approved him, and the Queen, and all the world
Made music, and he felt his being move
In music with his Order, and the King.
The nightingale, full-toned in middle May,
Hath ever and anon a note so thin
It seems another voice in other groves;
Thus, after some quick burst of sudden wrath,
The music in him seemed to change, and grow
Faint and far-off.
And once he saw the thrall
His passion half had gauntleted to death,
That causer of his banishment and shame,
Smile at him, as he deemed, presumptuously:
His arm half rose to strike again, but fell:
The memory of that cognizance on shield
Weighted it down, but in himself he moaned:
'Too high this mount of Camelot for me:
These high-set courtesies are not for me.
Shall I not rather prove the worse for these?
Fierier and stormier from restraining, break
Into some madness even before the Queen?'
Thus, as a hearth lit in a mountain home,
And glancing on the window, when the gloom
Of twilight deepens round it, seems a flame
That rages in the woodland far below,
So when his moods were darkened, court and King
And all the kindly warmth of Arthur's hall
Shadowed an angry distance: yet he strove
To learn the graces of their Table, fought
Hard with himself, and seemed at length in peace.
Then chanced, one morning, that Sir Balin sat
Close-bowered in that garden nigh the hall.
A walk of roses ran from door to door;
A walk of lilies crost it to the bower:
And down that range of roses the great Queen
Came with slow steps, the morning on her face;
And all in shadow from the counter door
Sir Lancelot as to meet her, then at once,
As if he saw not, glanced aside, and paced
The long white walk of lilies toward the bower.
Followed the Queen; Sir Balin heard her 'Prince,
Art thou so little loyal to thy Queen,
As pass without good morrow to thy Queen?'
To whom Sir Lancelot with his eyes on earth,
'Fain would I still be loyal to the Queen.'
'Yea so' she said 'but so to pass me by-So loyal scarce is loyal to thyself,
Whom all men rate the king of courtesy.
Let be: ye stand, fair lord, as in a dream.'
Then Lancelot with his hand among the flowers
'Yea--for a dream. Last night methought I saw
That maiden Saint who stands with lily in hand
In yonder shrine. All round her prest the dark,
And all the light upon her silver face
Flowed from the spiritual lily that she held.
Lo! these her emblems drew mine eyes--away:
For see, how perfect-pure! As light a flush
As hardly tints the blossom of the quince
Would mar their charm of stainless maidenhood.'
'Sweeter to me' she said 'this garden rose
Deep-hued and many-folded! sweeter still
The wild-wood hyacinth and the bloom of May.
Prince, we have ridden before among the flowers
In those fair days--not all as cool as these,
Though season-earlier. Art thou sad? or sick?
Our noble King will send thee his own leech-Sick? or for any matter angered at me?'
Then Lancelot lifted his large eyes; they dwelt
Deep-tranced on hers, and could not fall: her hue
Changed at his gaze: so turning side by side
They past, and Balin started from his bower.
'Queen? subject? but I see not what I see.
Damsel and lover? hear not what I hear.
My father hath begotten me in his wrath.
I suffer from the things before me, know,
Learn nothing; am not worthy to be knight;
A churl, a clown!' and in him gloom on gloom
Deepened: he sharply caught his lance and shield,
Nor stayed to crave permission of the King,
But, mad for strange adventure, dashed away.
He took the selfsame track as Balan, saw
The fountain where they sat together, sighed
'Was I not better there with him?' and rode
The skyless woods, but under open blue
Came on the hoarhead woodman at a bough
Wearily hewing. 'Churl, thine axe!' he cried,
Descended, and disjointed it at a blow:
To whom the woodman uttered wonderingly
'Lord, thou couldst lay the Devil of these woods
If arm of flesh could lay him.' Balin cried
'Him, or the viler devil who plays his part,
To lay that devil would lay the Devil in me.'
'Nay' said the churl, 'our devil is a truth,
I saw the flash of him but yestereven.
And some DO say that our Sir Garlon too
Hath learned black magic, and to ride unseen.
Look to the cave.' But Balin answered him
'Old fabler, these be fancies of the churl,
Look to thy woodcraft,' and so leaving him,
Now with slack rein and careless of himself,
Now with dug spur and raving at himself,
Now with droopt brow down the long glades he rode;
So marked not on his right a cavern-chasm
Yawn over darkness, where, nor far within,
The whole day died, but, dying, gleamed on rocks
Roof-pendent, sharp; and others from the floor,
Tusklike, arising, made that mouth of night
Whereout the Demon issued up from Hell.
He marked not this, but blind and deaf to all
Save that chained rage, which ever yelpt within,
Past eastward from the falling sun. At once
He felt the hollow-beaten mosses thud
And tremble, and then the shadow of a spear,
Shot from behind him, ran along the ground.
Sideways he started from the path, and saw,
With pointed lance as if to pierce, a shape,
A light of armour by him flash, and pass
And vanish in the woods; and followed this,
But all so blind in rage that unawares
He burst his lance against a forest bough,
Dishorsed himself, and rose again, and fled
Far, till the castle of a King, the hall
Of Pellam, lichen-bearded, grayly draped
With streaming grass, appeared, low-built but strong;
The ruinous donjon as a knoll of moss,
The battlement overtopt with ivytods,
A home of bats, in every tower an owl.
Then spake the men of Pellam crying 'Lord,
Why wear ye this crown-royal upon shield?'
Said Balin 'For the fairest and the best
Of ladies living gave me this to bear.'
So stalled his horse, and strode across the court,
But found the greetings both of knight and King
Faint in the low dark hall of banquet: leaves
Laid their green faces flat against the panes,
Sprays grated, and the cankered boughs without
Whined in the wood; for all was hushed within,
Till when at feast Sir Garlon likewise asked
'Why wear ye that crown-royal?' Balin said
'The Queen we worship, Lancelot, I, and all,
As fairest, best and purest, granted me
To bear it!' Such a sound (for Arthur's knights
Were hated strangers in the hall) as makes
The white swan-mother, sitting, when she hears
A strange knee rustle through her secret reeds,
Made Garlon, hissing; then he sourly smiled.
'Fairest I grant her: I have seen; but best,
Best, purest? THOU from Arthur's hall, and yet
So simple! hast thou eyes, or if, are these
So far besotted that they fail to see
This fair wife-worship cloaks a secret shame?
Truly, ye men of Arthur be but babes.'
A goblet on the board by Balin, bossed
With holy Joseph's legend, on his right
Stood, all of massiest bronze: one side had sea
And ship and sail and angels blowing on it:
And one was rough with wattling, and the walls
Of that low church he built at Glastonbury.
This Balin graspt, but while in act to hurl,
Through memory of that token on the shield
Relaxed his hold: 'I will be gentle' he thought
'And passing gentle' caught his hand away,
Then fiercely to Sir Garlon 'Eyes have I
That saw today the shadow of a spear,
Shot from behind me, run along the ground;
Eyes too that long have watched how Lancelot draws
From homage to the best and purest, might,
Name, manhood, and a grace, but scantly thine,
Who, sitting in thine own hall, canst endure
To mouth so huge a foulness--to thy guest,
Me, me of Arthur's Table. Felon talk!
Let be! no more!'
But not the less by night
The scorn of Garlon, poisoning all his rest,
Stung him in dreams. At length, and dim through leaves
Blinkt the white morn, sprays grated, and old boughs
Whined in the wood. He rose, descended, met
The scorner in the castle court, and fain,
For hate and loathing, would have past him by;
But when Sir Garlon uttered mocking-wise;
'What, wear ye still that same crown-scandalous?'
His countenance blackened, and his forehead veins
Bloated, and branched; and tearing out of sheath
The brand, Sir Balin with a fiery 'Ha!
So thou be shadow, here I make thee ghost,'
Hard upon helm smote him, and the blade flew
Splintering in six, and clinkt upon the stones.
Then Garlon, reeling slowly backward, fell,
And Balin by the banneret of his helm
Dragged him, and struck, but from the castle a cry
Sounded across the court, and--men-at-arms,
A score with pointed lances, making at him-He dashed the pummel at the foremost face,
Beneath a low door dipt, and made his feet
Wings through a glimmering gallery, till he marked
The portal of King Pellam's chapel wide
And inward to the wall; he stept behind;
Thence in a moment heard them pass like wolves
Howling; but while he stared about the shrine,
In which he scarce could spy the Christ for Saints,
Beheld before a golden altar lie
The longest lance his eyes had ever seen,
Point-painted red; and seizing thereupon
Pushed through an open casement down, leaned on it,
Leapt in a semicircle, and lit on earth;
Then hand at ear, and harkening from what side
The blindfold rummage buried in the walls
Might echo, ran the counter path, and found
His charger, mounted on him and away.
An arrow whizzed to the right, one to the left,
One overhead; and Pellam's feeble cry
'Stay, stay him! he defileth heavenly things
With earthly uses'--made him quickly dive
Beneath the boughs, and race through many a mile
Of dense and open, till his goodly horse,
Arising wearily at a fallen oak,
Stumbled headlong, and cast him face to ground.
Half-wroth he had not ended, but all glad,
Knightlike, to find his charger yet unlamed,
Sir Balin drew the shield from off his neck,
Stared at the priceless cognizance, and thought
'I have shamed thee so that now thou shamest me,
Thee will I bear no more,' high on a branch
Hung it, and turned aside into the woods,
And there in gloom cast himself all along,
Moaning 'My violences, my violences!'
But now the wholesome music of the wood
Was dumbed by one from out the hall of Mark,
A damsel-errant, warbling, as she rode
The woodland alleys, Vivien, with her Squire.
'The fire of Heaven has killed the barren cold,
And kindled all the plain and all the wold.
The new leaf ever pushes off the old.
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell.
'Old priest, who mumble worship in your quire-Old monk and nun, ye scorn the world's desire,
Yet in your frosty cells ye feel the fire!
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell.
'The fire of Heaven is on the dusty ways.
The wayside blossoms open to the blaze.
The whole wood-world is one full peal of praise.
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell.
'The fire of Heaven is lord of all things good,
And starve not thou this fire within thy blood,
But follow Vivien through the fiery flood!
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell!'
Then turning to her Squire 'This fire of Heaven,
This old sun-worship, boy, will rise again,
And beat the cross to earth, and break the King
And all his Table.'
Then they reached a glade,
Where under one long lane of cloudless air
Before another wood, the royal crown
Sparkled, and swaying upon a restless elm
Drew the vague glance of Vivien, and her Squire;
Amazed were these; 'Lo there' she cried--'a crown-Borne by some high lord-prince of Arthur's hall,
And there a horse! the rider? where is he?
See, yonder lies one dead within the wood.
Not dead; he stirs!--but sleeping. I will speak.
Hail, royal knight, we break on thy sweet rest,
Not, doubtless, all unearned by noble deeds.
But bounden art thou, if from Arthur's hall,
To help the weak. Behold, I fly from shame,
A lustful King, who sought to win my love
Through evil ways: the knight, with whom I rode,
Hath suffered misadventure, and my squire
Hath in him small defence; but thou, Sir Prince,
Wilt surely guide me to the warrior King,
Arthur the blameless, pure as any maid,
To get me shelter for my maidenhood.
I charge thee by that crown upon thy shield,
And by the great Queen's name, arise and hence.'
And Balin rose, 'Thither no more! nor Prince
Nor knight am I, but one that hath defamed
The cognizance she gave me: here I dwell
Savage among the savage woods, here die-Die: let the wolves' black maws ensepulchre
Their brother beast, whose anger was his lord.
O me, that such a name as Guinevere's,
Which our high Lancelot hath so lifted up,
And been thereby uplifted, should through me,
My violence, and my villainy, come to shame.'
Thereat she suddenly laughed and shrill, anon
Sighed all as suddenly. Said Balin to her
'Is this thy courtesy--to mock me, ha?
Hence, for I will not with thee.' Again she sighed
'Pardon, sweet lord! we maidens often laugh
When sick at heart, when rather we should weep.
I knew thee wronged. I brake upon thy rest,
And now full loth am I to break thy dream,
But thou art man, and canst abide a truth,
Though bitter. Hither, boy--and mark me well.
Dost thou remember at Caerleon once-A year ago--nay, then I love thee not-Ay, thou rememberest well--one summer dawn-By the great tower--Caerleon upon Usk-Nay, truly we were hidden: this fair lord,
The flower of all their vestal knighthood, knelt
In amorous homage--knelt--what else?--O ay
Knelt, and drew down from out his night-black hair
And mumbled that white hand whose ringed caress
Had wandered from her own King's golden head,
And lost itself in darkness, till she cried-I thought the great tower would crash down on both-"Rise, my sweet King, and kiss me on the lips,
Thou art my King." This lad, whose lightest word
Is mere white truth in simple nakedness,
Saw them embrace: he reddens, cannot speak,
So bashful, he! but all the maiden Saints,
The deathless mother-maidenhood of Heaven,
Cry out upon her. Up then, ride with me!
Talk not of shame! thou canst not, an thou would'st,
Do these more shame than these have done themselves.'
She lied with ease; but horror-stricken he,
Remembering that dark bower at Camelot,
Breathed in a dismal whisper 'It is truth.'
Sunnily she smiled 'And even in this lone wood,
Sweet lord, ye do right well to whisper this.
Fools prate, and perish traitors. Woods have tongues,
As walls have ears: but thou shalt go with me,
And we will speak at first exceeding low.
Meet is it the good King be not deceived.
See now, I set thee high on vantage ground,
From whence to watch the time, and eagle-like
Stoop at thy will on Lancelot and the Queen.'
She ceased; his evil spirit upon him leapt,
He ground his teeth together, sprang with a yell,
Tore from the branch, and cast on earth, the shield,
Drove his mailed heel athwart the royal crown,
Stampt all into defacement, hurled it from him
Among the forest weeds, and cursed the tale,
The told-of, and the teller.
That weird yell,
Unearthlier than all shriek of bird or beast,
Thrilled through the woods; and Balan lurking there
(His quest was unaccomplished) heard and thought
'The scream of that Wood-devil I came to quell!'
Then nearing 'Lo! he hath slain some brother-knight,
And tramples on the goodly shield to show
His loathing of our Order and the Queen.
My quest, meseems, is here. Or devil or man
Guard thou thine head.' Sir Balin spake not word,
But snatched a sudden buckler from the Squire,
And vaulted on his horse, and so they crashed
In onset, and King Pellam's holy spear,
Reputed to be red with sinless blood,
Redded at once with sinful, for the point
Across the maiden shield of Balan pricked
The hauberk to the flesh; and Balin's horse
Was wearied to the death, and, when they clashed,
Rolling back upon Balin, crushed the man
Inward, and either fell, and swooned away.
Then to her Squire muttered the damsel 'Fools!
This fellow hath wrought some foulness with his Queen:
Else never had he borne her crown, nor raved
And thus foamed over at a rival name:
But thou, Sir Chick, that scarce hast broken shell,
Art yet half-yolk, not even come to down-Who never sawest Caerleon upon Usk-And yet hast often pleaded for my love-See what I see, be thou where I have been,
Or else Sir Chick--dismount and loose their casques
I fain would know what manner of men they be.'
And when the Squire had loosed them, 'Goodly!--look!
They might have cropt the myriad flower of May,
And butt each other here, like brainless bulls,
Dead for one heifer!
Then the gentle Squire
'I hold them happy, so they died for love:
And, Vivien, though ye beat me like your dog,
I too could die, as now I live, for thee.'
'Live on, Sir Boy,' she cried. 'I better prize
The living dog than the dead lion: away!
I cannot brook to gaze upon the dead.'
Then leapt her palfrey o'er the fallen oak,
And bounding forward 'Leave them to the wolves.'
But when their foreheads felt the cooling air,
Balin first woke, and seeing that true face,
Familiar up from cradle-time, so wan,
Crawled slowly with low moans to where he lay,
And on his dying brother cast himself
Dying; and HE lifted faint eyes; he felt
One near him; all at once they found the world,
Staring wild-wide; then with a childlike wail
And drawing down the dim disastrous brow
That o'er him hung, he kissed it, moaned and spake;
'O Balin, Balin, I that fain had died
To save thy life, have brought thee to thy death.
Why had ye not the shield I knew? and why
Trampled ye thus on that which bare the Crown?'
Then Balin told him brokenly, and in gasps,
All that had chanced, and Balan moaned again.
'Brother, I dwelt a day in Pellam's hall:
This Garlon mocked me, but I heeded not.
And one said "Eat in peace! a liar is he,
And hates thee for the tribute!" this good knight
Told me, that twice a wanton damsel came,
And sought for Garlon at the castle-gates,
Whom Pellam drove away with holy heat.
I well believe this damsel, and the one
Who stood beside thee even now, the same.
"She dwells among the woods" he said "and meets
And dallies with him in the Mouth of Hell."
Foul are their lives; foul are their lips; they lied.
Pure as our own true Mother is our Queen."
'O brother' answered Balin 'woe is me!
My madness all thy life has been thy doom,
Thy curse, and darkened all thy day; and now
The night has come. I scarce can see thee now.
Goodnight! for we shall never bid again
Goodmorrow--Dark my doom was here, and dark
It will be there. I see thee now no more.
I would not mine again should darken thine,
Goodnight, true brother.
Balan answered low
'Goodnight, true brother here! goodmorrow there!
We two were born together, and we die
Together by one doom:' and while he spoke
Closed his death-drowsing eyes, and slept the sleep
With Balin, either locked in either's arm.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
495: Ahana

(Ahana, the Dawn of God, descends on the world where amid the strife and trouble of mortality the Hunters of Joy, the
Seekers after Knowledge, the Climbers in the quest of Power are toiling up the slopes or waiting in the valleys. As she stands on the mountains of the East, voices of the Hunters of Joy are the first to greet her.)
Vision delightful alone on the hills whom the silences cover,
Closer yet lean to mortality; human, stoop to thy lover.

Wonderful, gold like a moon in the square of the sun where thou strayest
Glimmers thy face amid crystal purities; mighty thou playest
Sole on the peaks of the world, unafraid of thy loneliness. Glances
Leap from thee down to us, dream-seas and light-falls and magical trances;
Sun-drops flake from thy eyes and the heart's caverns packed are with pleasure
Strange like a song without words or the dance of a measureless measure.

Tread through the edges of dawn, over twilight's grey-lidded margin;
Heal earth's unease with thy feet, O heaven-born delicate virgin.

Children of Time whose spirits came down from eternity, seizing
Joys that escape us, yoked by our hearts to a labour unceasing,
Earth-bound, torn with our longings, our life is a brief incompleteness.

Thou hast the stars to sport with, the winds run like bees to thy sweetness.

Art thou not heaven-bound even as I with the earth? Hast thou ended
All desirable things in a stillness lone and unfriended?
Only is calm so sweet? is our close tranquillity only?
Cold are the rivers of peace and their banks are leafless and lonely.

Heavy is godhead to bear with its mighty sun-burden of lustre.

Art thou not weary of only the stars in their solemn muster,
Sky-hung the chill bare plateaus and peaks where the eagle rejoices
In the inhuman height of his nesting, solitude's voices
Making the heart of the silence lonelier? strong and untiring,
Deaf with the cry of the waterfall, lonely the pine lives aspiring.

Two are the ends of existence, two are the dreams of the Mother:


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Heaven unchanging, earth with her time-beats yearn to each other, -
Earth-souls needing the touch of the heavens peace to recapture,
Heaven needing earth's passion to quiver its peace into rapture.

Marry, O lightning eternal, the passion of a moment-born fire!
Out of thy greatness draw close to the breast of our mortal desire!
Is he thy master, Rudra the mighty, Shiva ascetic?
Has he denied thee his world? In his dance that they tell of, ecstatic,
Slaying, creating, calm in the midst of the movement and madness,
Stole there no rhythm of an earthly joy and a mortal sadness?
Wast thou not made in the shape of a woman? Sweetness and beauty
Move like a song of the gods in thy limbs and to love is thy duty
Graved in thy heart as on tablets of fate; joy's delicate blossom
Sleeps in thy lids of delight; all Nature hides in thy bosom
Claiming her children unborn and the food of her love and her laughter.

Is he the first? was there none then before him? shall none come after?
He who denies and his blows beat down on our hearts like a hammer's,
He whose calm is the silent reply to our passion and clamours!
Is not there deity greater here new-born in a noble
Labour and sorrow and struggle than stilled into rapture immobile?
Earth has beatitudes warmer than heaven's that are bare and undying,
Marvels of Time on the crest of the moments to Infinity flying.

Earth has her godheads; the Tritons sway on the toss of the billows,
Emerald locks of the Nereids stream on their foam-crested pillows,
Dryads peer out from the branches, Naiads glance up from the waters;
High are her flame-points of joy and the gods are ensnared by her daughters.

Artemis calls as she flees through the glades and the breezes pursue her;
Cypris laughs in her isles where the ocean-winds linger to woo her.

Here thou shalt meet amid beauty forgotten the dance of the Graces;
Night shall be haunted for ever with strange and delicate faces.

Music is here of the fife and the flute and the lyre and the timbal,
Wind in the forests, bees in the grove, - spring's ardent cymbal
Thrilling, the cry of the cuckoo; the nightingale sings in the branches,
Human laughter is heard and the cattle low in the ranches.

Frankly and sweetly she gives to her children the bliss of her body,
Breath of her lips and the green of her garments, rain-pourings heady
Tossed from her cloud-carried beaker of tempest, oceans and streamlets,
Dawn and the mountain-air, corn-fields and vineyards, pastures and hamlets,



Tangles of sunbeams asleep, mooned dream-depths, twilight's shadows,
Taste and scent and the fruits of her trees and the flowers of her meadows,
Life with her wine-cup of longing under the purple of her tenture,
Death as her gate of escape and rebirth and renewal of venture.

Still must they mutter that all here is vision and passing appearance,
Magic of Maya with falsehood and pain for its only inherence.

One is there only, apart in his greatness, the End and Beginning, -
He who has sent through his soul's wide spaces the universe spinning.

One eternal, Time an illusion, life a brief error!
One eternal, Master of heaven - and of hell and its terror!
Spirit of silence and purity rapt and aloof from creation, -
Dreaming through aeons unreal his splendid and empty formation!
Spirit all-wise in omnipotence shaping a world but to break it, -
Pushed by what mood of a moment, the breath of what fancy to make it?
None is there great but the eternal and lonely, the unique and unmated,
Bliss lives alone with the self-pure, the single, the forever-uncreated.

Truths? or thought's structures bridging the vacancy mute and unsounded
Facing the soul when it turns from the stress of the figures around it?
Solely we see here a world self-made by some indwelling Glory
Building with forms and events its strange and magnificent story.

Yet at the last has not all been solved and unwisdom demolished,
Myth cast out and all dreams of the soul, and all worship abolished?
All now is changed, the reverse of the coin has been shown to us; Reason
Waking, detecting the hoax of the spirit, at last has arisen,
Captured the Truth and built round her its bars that she may not skedaddle,
Gallop again with the bit in her teeth and with Fancy in the saddle.

Now have the wise men discovered that all is the craft of a superMagic of Chance and a movement of Void and inconscient Stupor.

Chance by a wonderful accident ever her ripples expanding
Out of a gaseous circle of Nothingness, implacably extending
Freak upon freak, repeating rigidly marvels on marvels,
Making a world out of Nothing, started on the arc of her travels.

Nothingness born into feeling and action dies back to Nothing.

Sea of a vague electricity, romping through space-curves and clothing
Strangely the Void with a semblance of Matter, painfully flowered
Into this giant phenomenon universe. Man who has towered
Out of the plasm and struggled by thought to Divinity's level,


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Man, this miniature second creator of good and of evil,
He too was only a compost of Matter made living, organic,
Forged as her thinking tool by an Energy blind and mechanic.

Once by an accident queer but quite natural, provable, simple,
Out of blind Space-Nought lashed into life, wearing Mind as its wimple,
Dupe of a figment of consciousness, doped with behaviour and feature,
Matter deluded claimed to be spirit and sentient creature.

All the high dreams man has dreamed and his hopes and his deeds, his soul's greatness
Are but a food-seeking animal's acts with the mind for their witness, -
Mind a machine for the flickers of thought, Matter's logic unpremissed, -
Are but a singular fireworks, chemistry lacking the chemist,
Matter's nervous display; the heart's passion, the sorrow and burning
Fire of delight and sweet ecstasy, love and its fathomless yearning,
Boundless spiritual impulses making us one with world-being,
Outbursts of vision opening doors to a limitless seeing,
Gases and glands and the genes and the nerves and the brain-cells have done it,
Brooded out drama and epic, structured the climb of the sonnet,
Studied the stars and discovered the brain and the laws of its thinking,
Sculptured the cave-temple, reared the cathedral, infinity drinking
Wrought manufacturing God and the soul for the uplift of Nature, -
Science, philosophy, head of his mystical chemical stature,
Music and painting revealing the godhead in sound and in colour,
Acts of the hero, thoughts of the thinker, search of the scholar,
All the magnificent planning, all the inquiry and wonder
Only a trick of the atom, its marvellous magical blunder.

Who can believe it? Something or someone, a Force or a Spirit
Conscious, creative, wonderful shaped out a world to inherit
Here for the beings born from its vast universal existence, -
Fields of surprise and adventure, vistas of light-haunted distance,
Play-routes of wisdom and vision and struggle and rapture and sorrow,
Sailing in Time through the straits of today to the sea of tomorrow.

Worlds and their wonders, suns and their flamings, earth and her nations,
Voyages endless of Mind through the surge of its fate-tossed creations,
Star upon star throbbing out in the silence of infinite spaces,
Species on species, bodies on bodies, faces on faces,



Souls without number crossing through Time towards eternity, aeons
Crowding on aeons, loving and battle, dirges and paeans,
Thoughts ever leaping, hopes ever yearning, lives ever streaming,
Millions and millions on trek through the days with their doings and dreaming,
Herds of the Sun who move on at the cry of the radiant drover, -
Countless, surviving the death of the centuries, lost to recover,
Finished, but only to begin again, who is its tireless creator,
Cause or the force of its driving, its thinker or formless dictator?
Surely no senseless Vacancy made it, surely 'twas fashioned
By an almighty One million-ecstasied, thousand-passioned.

Self-made? then by what self from which thought could arise and emotion,
Waves that well up to the surface, born from what mysteried ocean?
Nature alone is the fountain. But what is she? Is she not only
Figure and name for what none understands, though all feel, or a lonely
Word in which all finds expression, spirit-heights, dumb work of Matter, -
Vague designation filling the gaps of our thought with its clatter?
Power without vision that blunders in man into thinking and sinning?
Rigid, too vast inexhaustible mystery void of a meaning?
Energy blindly devising, unconsciously ranging in order?
Chance in the march of a cosmic Insanity crossing the border
Out of the eternal silence to thought and its strangeness and splendour?
Consciousness born by an accident until an accident end her?
Nought else is she but the power of the Spirit who dwells in her ever,
Witness and cause of her workings, lord of her pauseless endeavour.

All things she knows, though she seems here unseeing; even in her slumber
Wondrous her works are, design and its magic and magic of number,
Plan of her mighty cosmic geometry, balance of forces,
Universe flung beyond universe, law of the stars and their courses,
Cosmos atomic stretched to the scale of the Infinite's measure.

Mute in the trance of the Eternal she sleeps with the stone and the azure.

Now she awakes; for life has just stirred in her, stretching first blindly
Outward for sense and its pleasure and pain and the gifts of the kindly
Mother of all, for her light and her air and the sap from her flowing,
Pleasure of bloom and inconscient beauty, pleasure of growing.

Then into mind she arises; heart's yearning awakes and reflection
Looks out on struggle and harmony, - conscious, her will of selection


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Studies her works and illumines the choice of her way; last, slowly
Inward she turns and stares at the Spirit within her. Holy
Silences brood in her heart and she feels in her ardent recesses
Passions too great for her frame, on her body immortal caresses.

Into the calm of the Greatness beyond her she enters, burning
Now with a light beyond thought's, towards Self and Infinity turning,
Turned to beatitude, turned to eternity, spiritual grandeur,
Power without limit, ecstasy imperishable, shadowless splendour.

Then to her mortals come, flashing, thoughts that are wisdom's fire-kernel;
Leaping her flame-sweeps of might and delight and of vision supernal
Kindle the word and the act, the Divine and humanity fusing,
Illuminations, trance-seeds of silence, flowers of musing, -
Light of our being that yet has to be, its glory and glimmer
Smiting with sunrise the soul of the sage and the heart of the dreamer.

Or is it all but a vain expectation and effort ungrounded,
Wings without body, sight without object, waters unsounded,
Hue of a shimmer that steals through some secret celestial portal,
Glory of a gleam or a dream in an animal brief-lived and mortal?
Are they not radiances native to heaven's more fortunate ether,
Won when we part from this body, this temporal house of a nether
Mystery of life lived in vain? Upon earth is the glory forbidden,
Nature for ever accursed, frustrated, grief-vexed, fate-ridden?
Half of the glory she dreamed of forgotten or lost in earth's darkness,
Half of it mangled and missed as the death-wheels whirl in their starkness,
Cast out from heaven a goddess rebellious with mind for her mirror,
Cursed with desire and self-will and doomed to self-torture and error,
Came she to birth then with God for her enemy? Were we created
He unwilling or sleeping? did someone transgress the fated
Limits he set, outwitting God? In the too hasty vision
Marred of some demiurge filmed there the blur of a fatal misprision,
Making a world that revolves on itself in a circuit of failure,
Aeons of striving, death for a recompense, Time for our tenure?
Out of him rather she came and for him are her cry and her labour;
Deep are her roots in him; topless she climbs, to his greatness a neighbour.

All is himself in her, brooding in darkness, mounting the sun-ways;
Air-flight to him is man's journey with heaven and earth for the runways.

He is the witness and doer, he is the loved and the lover,



He the eternal Truth that we look in ourselves to discover.

All is his travel in Time; it is he who turns history's pages,
Act and event and result are the trail that he leaves through the ages;
Form and idea are his signs and number and sound are his symbols,
Music and singing, the word and its rhythm are Divinity's cymbals,
Thunder and surge are the drums of his marching. Through us, with urges
Self-ward, form-bound, mute, motionless, slowly inevitably emerges
Vast as the cosmos, minute as the atom, the Spirit eternal.

Often the gusts of his force illumining moments diurnal
Flame into speech and idea; transcendences splendid and subtle
Suddenly shoot through the weft of our lives from a magical shuttle;
Hid in our hearts is his glory; the Spirit works in our members.

Silence is he, with our voices he speaks, in our thoughts he remembers.

Deep in our being inhabits the voiceless invisible Teacher;
Powers of his godhead we live; the Creator dwells in the creature.

Out of his Void we arise to a mighty and shining existence,
Out of Inconscience, tearing the black Mask's giant resistance;
Waves of his consciousness well from him into these bodies in Nature,
Forms are put round him; his oneness, divided by mind's nomenclature,
High on the summits of being ponders immobile and single,
Penetrates atom and cell as the tide drenches sand-grain and shingle.

Oneness unknown to us dwells in these millions of figures and faces,
Wars with itself in our battles, loves in our clinging embraces,
Inly the self and the substance of things and their cause and their mover
Veiled in the depths which the foam of our thoughts and our life's billows cover,
Heaves like the sea in its waves; like heaven with its star-fires it gazes
Watching the world and its works. Interned in the finite's mazes,
Still shall he rise to his vast superconscience, we with him climbing;
Truth of man's thought with the truth of God's spirit faultlessly timing,
That which was mortal shall enter immortality's golden precincts,
Hushed breath of ecstasy, honey of lotus depths where the bee sinks,
Timeless expanses too still for the voice of the hours to inveigle,
Spaces of spirit too vast for the flight of the God-bearing eagle, -
Enter the Splendour that broods now unseen on us, deity invading,
Sight without error, light without shadow, beauty unfading,
Infinite largeness, rapture eternal, love none can sever,


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Life, not this death-play, but a power God-driven and blissful for ever.

"No," cry the wise, "for a circle was traced, there was pyloned a limit
Only we escape through dream's thin passages. None can disclaim it;
All things created are made by their borders, sketched out and coded;
Vain is the passion to divinise manhood, humanise godhead.

None can exceed himself; even to find oneself hard for our search is:
Only we see as in night by a lustre of flickering torches.

To be content with our measure, our space is the law of our living.

All of thyself to thy manhood and Nature and Circumstance giving,
Be what thou must be or be what thou canst be, one hour in an era.

Knowing the truth of thy days, shun the light of ideal and chimera:
Curb heart's impatience, bind thy desires down, pause from self-vexing."
Who is the nomad then? who is the seeker, the gambler risking
All for a dream in a dream, the old and the sure and the stable
Flung as a stake for a prize that was never yet laid on the table?
Always the world is expanding and growing from minute to minute;
Playing the march of the adventure of Time with our lives for her spinet
Maya or Nature, the wonderful Mother, strikes out surprising
Strains of the spirit disprisoned; creation heavenward rising
Wrestles with Time and Space and the Unknown to give form to the Formless.

Bliss is her goal, but her road is through whirlwind and death-blast and storm-race.

All is a wager and danger, all is a chase and a battle.

Vainly man, crouched in his corner of safety, shrinks from the fatal
Lure of the Infinite. Guided by Powers that surround and precede us
Fearful and faltering steps are our perishing efforts that lead us
On through the rooms of the finite till open the limitless spaces
And we can look into all-seeing eyes and imperishable faces.

But we must pass through the aeons; Space is a bar twixt our ankles,
Time is a weight that we drag and the scar of the centuries rankles:
Caught by the moments, held back from the spirit's timelessness, slowly
Wading in shallows we take not the sea-plunge vastly and wholly.

Hard is the way to the Eternal for the mind-born will of the mortal
Bound by the body and life to the gait of the house-burdened turtle.

Here in this world that knows not its morrow, this reason that stumbles
Onward from error to truth and from truth back to error while crumbles
All that it fashioned, after the passion and travail are ended,



After the sacrifice offered when the will and the strength are expended,
Nothing is done but to have laid down one stone of a road without issue,
Added our quota of evil and good to an ambiguous tissue.

Destiny's lasso, its slip-knot tied by delight and repining,
Draws us through tangles of failure and victory's inextricable twining.

In the hard reckoning made by the grey-robed accountant at even
Pain is the ransom we pay for the smallest foretaste of heaven.

Ignorance darkens, death and inconscience gape to absorb us;
Thick and persistent the Night confronts us, its hunger enormous
Swallowing our work and our lives. Our love and our knowledge squandered
Lie like a treasure refused and trod down on the ways where we wandered;
All we have done is effaced by the thousands behind us arriving.

Trapped in a round fixed for ever circles our thought and our living.

Fiercely the gods in their jealousy strike down the heads that have neighboured
Even for a moment their skies; in the sands our achievements are gravured.

Yet survives bliss in the rhythm of our heart-beats, yet is there wonder,
Beauty's immortal delight, and the seals of the mystery sunder.

Honied a thousand whispers come, in the birds, in the breezes,
Moonlight, the voices of streams; with a hundred marvellous faces
Always he lures us to love him, always he draws us to pleasure
Leaving remembrance and anguish behind for our only treasure.

Passionate we seek for him everywhere, yearn for some sign of him, calling,
Scanning the dust for his footprints, praying and stumbling and falling;
Nothing is found and no answer comes from the masks that are passing.

Memories linger, lines from the past like a half-faded tracing.

He has passed on into silence wearing his luminous mantle.

Out of the melodied distance a laugh rings pure-toned, infantile,
Sole reminder that he is, last signal recalling his presence.

There is a joy behind suffering; pain digs our road to his pleasance.

All things have bliss for their secret; only our consciousness falters
Fearing to offer itself as a victim on ecstasy's altars.

Is not the world his disguise? when that cloak is tossed back from his shoulders,
Beauty looks out like a sun on the hearts of the ravished beholders.

Mortals, your end is beatitude, rapture eternal his meaning:
Joy, which he most now denies, is his purpose: the hedges, the screening


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Were but the rules of his play; his denials came to lure farther.

These too were magic of Maya, smiles of the marvellous Mother.

Oh, but the cruelty! oh, but the empty pain we go rueing!
Edges of opposite sweetness, calls to a closer pursuing.

All that we meet is a symbol and gateway; cryptic intention
Lurks in a common appearance, smiles from a casual mention:
Opposites hide in each other; in the laughter of Nature is danger,
Glory and greatness their embryos form in the womb of her anger.

Why are we terrified? wherefore cry out and draw back from the smiting -
Blows from the hands of a lover to direr exactions exciting,
Fiery points of his play! Was he Rudra only the mighty?
Whose were the whispers of sweetness, whose were the murmurs of pity?
Something opposes our grasp on the light and the sweetness and power,
Something within us, something without us, trap-door or tower,
Nature's gap in our being - or hinge! That device could we vanquish,
Once could we clasp him and hold, his joy we could never relinquish.

Then we could not be denied, for our might would be single and flawless.

Sons of the Eternal, sovereigns of Nature absolute and lawless,
Termlessly our souls would possess as he now enjoys and possesses,
Termlessly probe the delight of his laughter's lurking recesses,
Chasing its trail to the apex of sweetness and secrecy. Treasured
Close to the beats of Eternity's heart in a greatness unmeasured,
Locked into a miracle and mystery of Light we would live in him, - seated
Deep in his core of beatitude ceaselessly by Nature repeated,
Careless of Time, with no fear of an end, with no need for endeavour
Caught by his ecstasy dwell in a rapture enduring for ever.

What was the garden he built when the stars were first set in their places,
Soul and Nature together mid streams and in cloudless spaces
Naked and innocent? Someone offered a fruit of derision,
Knowledge of good and of evil, cleaving in God a division.

Though He who made all said, "It is good; I have fashioned perfection,"
"No, there is evil," someone whispered, "'tis screened from detection."
Wisest he of the beasts of the field, one cunning and creeping;
"See it," he said, "be wise; you shall be as the gods are, unsleeping,
They who know all." And they ate. The roots of our being were shaken;
Hatred and weeping and wrath at once trampled a world overtaken,
Terror and fleeing and anguish and shame and desires unsated;



Cruelty stalked like a lion; Revenge and her brood were created.

Out to the desert he drove the rebellious. Flaming behind them
Streamed out the sword of his wrath and it followed leaping to find them,
Stabbing at random. The pure and the evil, the strong and the tempted,
All are confounded in punishment; justly is no one exempted.

Virtuous? yes, there are many, but who is there innocent? Toiling
Therefore we seek, but find not that Eden. Planting and spoiling,
"This is the garden," we say, "lo, the trees and this is the river."
Vainly redeemers came, not one has availed to deliver.

Never can Nature go back to her careless and childlike beginning,
Laugh of the babe and the song of the wheel in its delicate spinning,
Smile of the sun upon flowers and earth's beauty, life without labour
Plucking the fruits of the soil and rejoicing in cottage and arbour.

Once we have chosen to be as the gods, we must follow that motion.

Knowledge must grow in us, might like a Titan's, bliss like an ocean,
Calmness and purity born of the spirit's gaze on the Real,
Rapture of his oneness embracing the soul in a clasp hymeneal.

Was it not he once in Brindavan? Woods divine to our yearning,
Memorable always! O flowers, O delight on the tree-tops burning,
Grasses his herds have grazed and crushed by his feet in the dancing,
Yamuna flowing with song, through the greenness always advancing,
You unforgotten remind; for his flute with its sweetness ensnaring
Sounds in our ears in the night and our souls of their teguments baring
Hales us out naked and absolute, out to his woodlands eternal,
Out to his moonlit dances, his dalliance sweet and supernal,
And we go stumbling, maddened and thrilled to his dreadful embraces,
Slaves of his rapture to Brindavan crowded with amorous faces,
Luminous kine in the green glades seated, soft-eyed gazing,
Flowers on the branches distressing us, moonbeams unearthly amazing,
Yamuna flowing before us, laughing low with her voices,
Brindavan arching o'er us where Shyama sports and rejoices.

Inly the miracle trembles repeated; mist-walls are broken
Hiding that country of God and we look on the wonderful token,
Clasp the beautiful body of the Eternal; his flute-call of yearning
Cries in our breast with its blissful anguish for ever returning;
Life flows past us with passionate voices, a heavenly river,
All our being goes back as a bride of his bliss to the Giver.

Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Even an hour of the soul can unveil the Unborn, the Everlasting,
Gaze on its mighty Companion; the load of mortality casting,
Mind hushes stilled in eternity; waves of the Infinite wander
Thrilling body and soul and its endless felicity squander;
All world-sorrow is finished, the cry of the parting is over;
Ecstasy laughs in our veins, in our heart is the heart of the Lover.

As when a stream from a highl and plateau green mid the mountains
Draws through broad lakes of delight the gracious sweep of its fountains,
Life from its heaven of desire comes down to the toil of the earth-ways;
Streaming through mire it pours still the mystical joy of its birthplace,
Green of its banks and the green of its trees and the hues of the flower.

Something of child-heart beauty, something of greatness and power,
Dwell with it still in its early torrent laughter and brightness,
Call in the youth of its floods and the voice of the wideness and whiteness.

But in its course are set darkness and fall and the spirit's ordeal.

Hating its narrowness, forced by an ardour to see all and be all,
Dashed on the inconscient rocks and straining through mud, over gravel,
Flows, like an ardent prisoner bound to the scenes of his travail,
Life, the river of the Spirit, consenting to anguish and sorrow
If by her heart's toil a loan-light of joy from the heavens she can borrow.

Out of the sun-rays and moon-rays, the winds' wing-glimmer and revel,
Out of the star-fields of wonder, down to earth's danger and evil
Headlong cast with a stridulant thunder, the doom-ways descending,
Shuddering below into sunless depths, across chasms unending,
Baulked of the might of its waters, a thread in a mountainous vastness,
Parcelled and scanted it hurries as if storming a Titan fastness,
Carving the hills with a sullen and lonely gigantic labour.

Hurled into strangling ravines it escapes with a leap and a quaver,
Breaks from the channels of hiding it grooves out and chisels and twistens,
Angry, afraid, white, foaming. A stony and monstrous resistance
Meets it piling up stubborn limits. Afflicted the river
Treasures a scattered sunbeam, moans for a god to deliver,
Longing to lapse through the plain's green felicity, yearning to widen
Joined to the ocean's shoreless eternity far-off and hidden.

High on the cliffs the Great Ones are watching, the Mighty and Deathless,
Soaring and plunging the roadway of the Gods climbs uplifted and breathless;



Ever we hear in the heart of the peril a flute go before us,
Luminous beckoning hands in the distance invite and implore us.

Ignorant, circled with death and the abyss, we have dreamed of a human
Paradise made from the mind of a man, from the heart of a woman,
Dreamed of the Isles of the Blest in a light of perpetual summer,
Dreamed of the joy of an earthly life with no pain for incomer.

Never, we said, can these waters from heaven be lost in the marshes,
Cease in the sands of the desert, die where the simoom parches;
Plains are beyond, there are hamlets and fields where the river rejoices
Pacing once more with a quiet step and with amical voices:
Bright amid woodlands red with the berries and cool with the breezes
Glimmer the leaves; all night long the heart of the nightingale eases
Sweetly its burden of pity and sorrow. There amid flowers
We shall take pleasure in arbours delightful, leng thening the hours,
Time for our servitor waiting our fancy through moments unhasting,
Under the cloudless blue of those skies of tranquillity resting,
Lying on beds of lilies, hearing the bells of the cattle
Tinkle, and drink red wine of life and go forth to the battle,
Fight and unwounded return to our beautiful home by the waters,
Fruit of our joy rear tall strong sons and radiant daughters.

Then shall the Virgins of Light come down to us clad in clear raiment
Woven from sunbeam and moonbeam and lightnings, limitless payment
Bring of our toil and our sorrow, carrying life-giving garlands
Plucked by the fountains of Paradise, bring from imperishable star-lands
Hymn-words of wisdom, visions of beauty, heaven-fruit ruddy,
Wine-cups of ecstasy sending the soul like a stream through the body.

Fate shall not know; if her spies come down to our beautiful valley,
They shall grow drunk with its grapes and wander in woodl and and alley.

There leaps the anger of Rudra? there will his lightnings immortal
Circle around with their red eye of cruelty stabbing the portal?
Fearless is there life's play; I shall sport with my dove from his highlands,
Drinking her laughter of bliss like a god in my Grecian islands.

Life in my limbs shall grow deathless, flesh with the God-glory tingle,
Lustre of Paradise, light of the earth-ways marry and mingle.

These are but dreams and the truth shall be greater. Heaven made woman!
Flower of beatitude! living shape of the bliss of the Brahman!
Art thou not she who shall bring into life and time the Eternal?


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Body of the summer of the Gods, a sweetness virginal, vernal,
Breathes from thy soul into Nature; Love sits dreaming in thy bosom,
Wisdom gazes from thy eyes, thy breasts of God-rapture are the blossom.

If but the joy of thy feet once could touch our spaces smiting
Earth with a ray from the Unknown, on the world's heart heaven's script writing,
All then would change into harmony and beauty, Time's doors shudder
Swinging wide on their hinges into Eternity, other
Voices than earth's would be fire in our speech and make deathless our thinking.

One who is hidden in Light would grow visible, multitudes linking,
Lyres of a single ecstasy, throbs of the one heart beating,
Wonderful bodies and souls in the spirit's identity meeting
Even as stars in sky-vastness know their kindred in grandeur.

Yet may it be that although in the hands of our destiny stands sure
Fixed to its hour the Decree of the Advent, still it is fated
Only when kindling earth's bodies a mightier Soul is created.

Far-off the gold and the greatness, the rapture too splendid and dire.

Are not the ages too young? too low in our hearts burns the fire.

Bringest thou only a gleam on the summits, a cry in the distance,
Seen by the eyes that are wakened, heard by a spirit that listens?
Form of the formless All-Beautiful, lodestar of Nature's aspirance,
Music of prelude giving a voice to the ineffable Silence,
First white dawn of the God-Light cast on these creatures that perish,
Word-key of a divine and eternal truth for mortals to cherish,
Come! let thy sweetness and force be a breath in the breast of the future
Making the god-ways alive, immortality's golden-red suture:
Deep in our lives there shall work out a honeyed celestial leaven,
Bliss shall grow native to being and earth be a kin-soil to heaven.

Open the barriers of Time, the world with thy beauty enamour.

Trailing behind thee the purple of thy soul and the dawn-moment's glamour,
Forcing the heart of the Midnight where slumber and secrecy linger,
Guardians of Mystery, touching her bosom with thy luminous finger,
Daughter of Heaven, break through to me moonlike, mystic and gleaming;
Tread through the margins of twilight, cross over borders of dreaming.

Vision delightful alone on the peaks whom the silences cover,
Vision of bliss, stoop down to mortality, lean to thy lover.


Voice of the sensuous mortal, heart of eternal longing,
Thou who hast lived as in walls, thy soul with thy senses wronging!
But I descend at last. Fickle and terrible, sweet and deceiving,
Poison and nectar one has dispensed to thee, luring thee, leaving.

We two together shall capture the flute and the player relentless.

Son of man, thou hast crowned thy life with the flowers that are scentless,
Chased the delights that wound. But I come and midnight shall sunder.

Lo, I come, and behind me Knowledge descends and with thunder
Filling the spaces Strength, the Angel, bears on his bosom
Joy to thy arms. Thou shalt look on her face like a child's or a blossom,
Innocent, free as in Eden of old, not afraid of her playing,
When thy desires I have seized and devoured like a lioness preying.

Thou shalt not suffer always nor cry to me lured and forsaken:
I have a snare for his footsteps, I have a chain for him taken.

Come then to Brindavan, soul of the joyous; faster and faster
Follow the dance I shall teach thee with Shyama for slave and for master.

Follow the notes of the flute with a soul aware and exulting;
Trample Delight that submits and crouch to a sweetness insulting.

Then shalt thou know what the dance meant, fathom the song and the singer,
Hear behind thunder its rhymes, touched by lightning thrill to his finger,
Brindavan's rustle shalt understand and Yamuna's laughter,
Take thy place in the Ras1 and thy share of the ecstasy after.
1 The dance-round of Krishna with the cowherdesses in the moonlit groves of Brindavan, type of the dance of Divine Delight with the souls of men liberated in the world of
Bliss secret within us.
Poems from Manuscripts
Circa 1912 - 1913
~ Sri Aurobindo, - Ahana
496:The Holy Grail
From noiseful arms, and acts of prowess done
In tournament or tilt, Sir Percivale,
Whom Arthur and his knighthood called The Pure,
Had passed into the silent life of prayer,
Praise, fast, and alms; and leaving for the cowl
The helmet in an abbey far away
From Camelot, there, and not long after, died.
And one, a fellow-monk among the rest,
Ambrosius, loved him much beyond the rest,
And honoured him, and wrought into his heart
A way by love that wakened love within,
To answer that which came: and as they sat
Beneath a world-old yew-tree, darkening half
The cloisters, on a gustful April morn
That puffed the swaying branches into smoke
Above them, ere the summer when he died
The monk Ambrosius questioned Percivale:
`O brother, I have seen this yew-tree smoke,
Spring after spring, for half a hundred years:
For never have I known the world without,
Nor ever strayed beyond the pale: but thee,
When first thou camest--such a courtesy
Spake through the limbs and in the voice--I knew
For one of those who eat in Arthur's hall;
For good ye are and bad, and like to coins,
Some true, some light, but every one of you
Stamped with the image of the King; and now
Tell me, what drove thee from the Table Round,
My brother? was it earthly passion crost?'
`Nay,' said the knight; `for no such passion mine.
But the sweet vision of the Holy Grail
Drove me from all vainglories, rivalries,
And earthly heats that spring and sparkle out
Among us in the jousts, while women watch
Who wins, who falls; and waste the spiritual strength
Within us, better offered up to Heaven.'
To whom the monk: `The Holy Grail!--I trust
We are green in Heaven's eyes; but here too much
We moulder--as to things without I mean-Yet one of your own knights, a guest of ours,
Told us of this in our refectory,
But spake with such a sadness and so low
We heard not half of what he said. What is it?
The phantom of a cup that comes and goes?'
`Nay, monk! what phantom?' answered Percivale.
`The cup, the cup itself, from which our Lord
Drank at the last sad supper with his own.
This, from the blessd land of Aromat-After the day of darkness, when the dead
Went wandering o'er Moriah--the good saint
Arimathan Joseph, journeying brought
To Glastonbury, where the winter thorn
Blossoms at Christmas, mindful of our Lord.
And there awhile it bode; and if a man
Could touch or see it, he was healed at once,
By faith, of all his ills. But then the times
Grew to such evil that the holy cup
Was caught away to Heaven, and disappeared.'
To whom the monk: `From our old books I know
That Joseph came of old to Glastonbury,
And there the heathen Prince, Arviragus,
Gave him an isle of marsh whereon to build;
And there he built with wattles from the marsh
A little lonely church in days of yore,
For so they say, these books of ours, but seem
Mute of this miracle, far as I have read.
But who first saw the holy thing today?'
`A woman,' answered Percivale, `a nun,
And one no further off in blood from me
Than sister; and if ever holy maid
With knees of adoration wore the stone,
A holy maid; though never maiden glowed,
But that was in her earlier maidenhood,
With such a fervent flame of human love,
Which being rudely blunted, glanced and shot
Only to holy things; to prayer and praise
She gave herself, to fast and alms. And yet,
Nun as she was, the scandal of the Court,
Sin against Arthur and the Table Round,
And the strange sound of an adulterous race,
Across the iron grating of her cell
Beat, and she prayed and fasted all the more.
`And he to whom she told her sins, or what
Her all but utter whiteness held for sin,
A man wellnigh a hundred winters old,
Spake often with her of the Holy Grail,
A legend handed down through five or six,
And each of these a hundred winters old,
From our Lord's time. And when King Arthur made
His Table Round, and all men's hearts became
Clean for a season, surely he had thought
That now the Holy Grail would come again;
But sin broke out. Ah, Christ, that it would come,
And heal the world of all their wickedness!
"O Father!" asked the maiden, "might it come
To me by prayer and fasting?" "Nay," said he,
"I know not, for thy heart is pure as snow."
And so she prayed and fasted, till the sun
Shone, and the wind blew, through her, and I thought
She might have risen and floated when I saw her.
`For on a day she sent to speak with me.
And when she came to speak, behold her eyes
Beyond my knowing of them, beautiful,
Beyond all knowing of them, wonderful,
Beautiful in the light of holiness.
And "O my brother Percivale," she said,
"Sweet brother, I have seen the Holy Grail:
For, waked at dead of night, I heard a sound
As of a silver horn from o'er the hills
Blown, and I thought, `It is not Arthur's use
To hunt by moonlight;' and the slender sound
As from a distance beyond distance grew
Coming upon me--O never harp nor horn,
Nor aught we blow with breath, or touch with hand,
Was like that music as it came; and then
Streamed through my cell a cold and silver beam,
And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail,
Rose-red with beatings in it, as if alive,
Till all the white walls of my cell were dyed
With rosy colours leaping on the wall;
And then the music faded, and the Grail
Past, and the beam decayed, and from the walls
The rosy quiverings died into the night.
So now the Holy Thing is here again
Among us, brother, fast thou too and pray,
And tell thy brother knights to fast and pray,
That so perchance the vision may be seen
By thee and those, and all the world be healed."
`Then leaving the pale nun, I spake of this
To all men; and myself fasted and prayed
Always, and many among us many a week
Fasted and prayed even to the uttermost,
Expectant of the wonder that would be.
`And one there was among us, ever moved
Among us in white armour, Galahad.
"God make thee good as thou art beautiful,"
Said Arthur, when he dubbed him knight; and none,
In so young youth, was ever made a knight
Till Galahad; and this Galahad, when he heard
My sister's vision, filled me with amaze;
His eyes became so like her own, they seemed
Hers, and himself her brother more than I.
`Sister or brother none had he; but some
Called him a son of Lancelot, and some said
Begotten by enchantment--chatterers they,
Like birds of passage piping up and down,
That gape for flies--we know not whence they come;
For when was Lancelot wanderingly lewd?
`But she, the wan sweet maiden, shore away
Clean from her forehead all that wealth of hair
Which made a silken mat-work for her feet;
And out of this she plaited broad and long
A strong sword-belt, and wove with silver thread
And crimson in the belt a strange device,
A crimson grail within a silver beam;
And saw the bright boy-knight, and bound it on him,
Saying, "My knight, my love, my knight of heaven,
O thou, my love, whose love is one with mine,
I, maiden, round thee, maiden, bind my belt.
Go forth, for thou shalt see what I have seen,
And break through all, till one will crown thee king
Far in the spiritual city:" and as she spake
She sent the deathless passion in her eyes
Through him, and made him hers, and laid her mind
On him, and he believed in her belief.
`Then came a year of miracle: O brother,
In our great hall there stood a vacant chair,
Fashioned by Merlin ere he past away,
And carven with strange figures; and in and out
The figures, like a serpent, ran a scroll
Of letters in a tongue no man could read.
And Merlin called it "The Siege perilous,"
Perilous for good and ill; "for there," he said,
"No man could sit but he should lose himself:"
And once by misadvertence Merlin sat
In his own chair, and so was lost; but he,
Galahad, when he heard of Merlin's doom,
Cried, "If I lose myself, I save myself!"
`Then on a summer night it came to pass,
While the great banquet lay along the hall,
That Galahad would sit down in Merlin's chair.
`And all at once, as there we sat, we heard
A cracking and a riving of the roofs,
And rending, and a blast, and overhead
Thunder, and in the thunder was a cry.
And in the blast there smote along the hall
A beam of light seven times more clear than day:
And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail
All over covered with a luminous cloud.
And none might see who bare it, and it past.
But every knight beheld his fellow's face
As in a glory, and all the knights arose,
And staring each at other like dumb men
Stood, till I found a voice and sware a vow.
`I sware a vow before them all, that I,
Because I had not seen the Grail, would ride
A twelvemonth and a day in quest of it,
Until I found and saw it, as the nun
My sister saw it; and Galahad sware the vow,
And good Sir Bors, our Lancelot's cousin, sware,
And Lancelot sware, and many among the knights,
And Gawain sware, and louder than the rest.'
Then spake the monk Ambrosius, asking him,
`What said the King? Did Arthur take the vow?'
`Nay, for my lord,' said Percivale, `the King,
Was not in hall: for early that same day,
Scaped through a cavern from a bandit hold,
An outraged maiden sprang into the hall
Crying on help: for all her shining hair
Was smeared with earth, and either milky arm
Red-rent with hooks of bramble, and all she wore
Torn as a sail that leaves the rope is torn
In tempest: so the King arose and went
To smoke the scandalous hive of those wild bees
That made such honey in his realm. Howbeit
Some little of this marvel he too saw,
Returning o'er the plain that then began
To darken under Camelot; whence the King
Looked up, calling aloud, "Lo, there! the roofs
Of our great hall are rolled in thunder-smoke!
Pray Heaven, they be not smitten by the bolt."
For dear to Arthur was that hall of ours,
As having there so oft with all his knights
Feasted, and as the stateliest under heaven.
`O brother, had you known our mighty hall,
Which Merlin built for Arthur long ago!
For all the sacred mount of Camelot,
And all the dim rich city, roof by roof,
Tower after tower, spire beyond spire,
By grove, and garden-lawn, and rushing brook,
Climbs to the mighty hall that Merlin built.
And four great zones of sculpture, set betwixt
With many a mystic symbol, gird the hall:
And in the lowest beasts are slaying men,
And in the second men are slaying beasts,
And on the third are warriors, perfect men,
And on the fourth are men with growing wings,
And over all one statue in the mould
Of Arthur, made by Merlin, with a crown,
And peaked wings pointed to the Northern Star.
And eastward fronts the statue, and the crown
And both the wings are made of gold, and flame
At sunrise till the people in far fields,
Wasted so often by the heathen hordes,
Behold it, crying, "We have still a King."
`And, brother, had you known our hall within,
Broader and higher than any in all the lands!
Where twelve great windows blazon Arthur's wars,
And all the light that falls upon the board
Streams through the twelve great battles of our King.
Nay, one there is, and at the eastern end,
Wealthy with wandering lines of mount and mere,
Where Arthur finds the brand Excalibur.
And also one to the west, and counter to it,
And blank: and who shall blazon it? when and how?-O there, perchance, when all our wars are done,
The brand Excalibur will be cast away.
`So to this hall full quickly rode the King,
In horror lest the work by Merlin wrought,
Dreamlike, should on the sudden vanish, wrapt
In unremorseful folds of rolling fire.
And in he rode, and up I glanced, and saw
The golden dragon sparkling over all:
And many of those who burnt the hold, their arms
Hacked, and their foreheads grimed with smoke, and seared,
Followed, and in among bright faces, ours,
Full of the vision, prest: and then the King
Spake to me, being nearest, "Percivale,"
(Because the hall was all in tumult--some
Vowing, and some protesting), "what is this?"
`O brother, when I told him what had chanced,
My sister's vision, and the rest, his face
Darkened, as I have seen it more than once,
When some brave deed seemed to be done in vain,
Darken; and "Woe is me, my knights," he cried,
"Had I been here, ye had not sworn the vow."
Bold was mine answer, "Had thyself been here,
My King, thou wouldst have sworn." "Yea, yea," said he,
"Art thou so bold and hast not seen the Grail?"
`"Nay, lord, I heard the sound, I saw the light,
But since I did not see the Holy Thing,
I sware a vow to follow it till I saw."
`Then when he asked us, knight by knight, if any
Had seen it, all their answers were as one:
"Nay, lord, and therefore have we sworn our vows."
`"Lo now," said Arthur, "have ye seen a cloud?
What go ye into the wilderness to see?"
`Then Galahad on the sudden, and in a voice
Shrilling along the hall to Arthur, called,
"But I, Sir Arthur, saw the Holy Grail,
I saw the Holy Grail and heard a cry-`O Galahad, and O Galahad, follow me.'"
`"Ah, Galahad, Galahad," said the King, "for such
As thou art is the vision, not for these.
Thy holy nun and thou have seen a sign-Holier is none, my Percivale, than she-A sign to maim this Order which I made.
But ye, that follow but the leader's bell"
(Brother, the King was hard upon his knights)
"Taliessin is our fullest throat of song,
And one hath sung and all the dumb will sing.
Lancelot is Lancelot, and hath overborne
Five knights at once, and every younger knight,
Unproven, holds himself as Lancelot,
Till overborne by one, he learns--and ye,
What are ye? Galahads?--no, nor Percivales"
(For thus it pleased the King to range me close
After Sir Galahad); "nay," said he, "but men
With strength and will to right the wronged, of power
To lay the sudden heads of violence flat,
Knights that in twelve great battles splashed and dyed
The strong White Horse in his own heathen blood-But one hath seen, and all the blind will see.
Go, since your vows are sacred, being made:
Yet--for ye know the cries of all my realm
Pass through this hall--how often, O my knights,
Your places being vacant at my side,
This chance of noble deeds will come and go
Unchallenged, while ye follow wandering fires
Lost in the quagmire! Many of you, yea most,
Return no more: ye think I show myself
Too dark a prophet: come now, let us meet
The morrow morn once more in one full field
Of gracious pastime, that once more the King,
Before ye leave him for this Quest, may count
The yet-unbroken strength of all his knights,
Rejoicing in that Order which he made."
`So when the sun broke next from under ground,
All the great table of our Arthur closed
And clashed in such a tourney and so full,
So many lances broken--never yet
Had Camelot seen the like, since Arthur came;
And I myself and Galahad, for a strength
Was in us from this vision, overthrew
So many knights that all the people cried,
And almost burst the barriers in their heat,
Shouting, "Sir Galahad and Sir Percivale!"
`But when the next day brake from under ground-O brother, had you known our Camelot,
Built by old kings, age after age, so old
The King himself had fears that it would fall,
So strange, and rich, and dim; for where the roofs
Tottered toward each other in the sky,
Met foreheads all along the street of those
Who watched us pass; and lower, and where the long
Rich galleries, lady-laden, weighed the necks
Of dragons clinging to the crazy walls,
Thicker than drops from thunder, showers of flowers
Fell as we past; and men and boys astride
On wyvern, lion, dragon, griffin, swan,
At all the corners, named us each by name,
Calling, "God speed!" but in the ways below
The knights and ladies wept, and rich and poor
Wept, and the King himself could hardly speak
For grief, and all in middle street the Queen,
Who rode by Lancelot, wailed and shrieked aloud,
"This madness has come on us for our sins."
So to the Gate of the three Queens we came,
Where Arthur's wars are rendered mystically,
And thence departed every one his way.
`And I was lifted up in heart, and thought
Of all my late-shown prowess in the lists,
How my strong lance had beaten down the knights,
So many and famous names; and never yet
Had heaven appeared so blue, nor earth so green,
For all my blood danced in me, and I knew
That I should light upon the Holy Grail.
`Thereafter, the dark warning of our King,
That most of us would follow wandering fires,
Came like a driving gloom across my mind.
Then every evil word I had spoken once,
And every evil thought I had thought of old,
And every evil deed I ever did,
Awoke and cried, "This Quest is not for thee."
And lifting up mine eyes, I found myself
Alone, and in a land of sand and thorns,
And I was thirsty even unto death;
And I, too, cried, "This Quest is not for thee."
`And on I rode, and when I thought my thirst
Would slay me, saw deep lawns, and then a brook,
With one sharp rapid, where the crisping white
Played ever back upon the sloping wave,
And took both ear and eye; and o'er the brook
Were apple-trees, and apples by the brook
Fallen, and on the lawns. "I will rest here,"
I said, "I am not worthy of the Quest;"
But even while I drank the brook, and ate
The goodly apples, all these things at once
Fell into dust, and I was left alone,
And thirsting, in a land of sand and thorns.
`And then behold a woman at a door
Spinning; and fair the house whereby she sat,
And kind the woman's eyes and innocent,
And all her bearing gracious; and she rose
Opening her arms to meet me, as who should say,
"Rest here;" but when I touched her, lo! she, too,
Fell into dust and nothing, and the house
Became no better than a broken shed,
And in it a dead babe; and also this
Fell into dust, and I was left alone.
`And on I rode, and greater was my thirst.
Then flashed a yellow gleam across the world,
And where it smote the plowshare in the field,
The plowman left his plowing, and fell down
Before it; where it glittered on her pail,
The milkmaid left her milking, and fell down
Before it, and I knew not why, but thought
"The sun is rising," though the sun had risen.
Then was I ware of one that on me moved
In golden armour with a crown of gold
About a casque all jewels; and his horse
In golden armour jewelled everywhere:
And on the splendour came, flashing me blind;
And seemed to me the Lord of all the world,
Being so huge. But when I thought he meant
To crush me, moving on me, lo! he, too,
Opened his arms to embrace me as he came,
And up I went and touched him, and he, too,
Fell into dust, and I was left alone
And wearying in a land of sand and thorns.
`And I rode on and found a mighty hill,
And on the top, a city walled: the spires
Pricked with incredible pinnacles into heaven.
And by the gateway stirred a crowd; and these
Cried to me climbing, "Welcome, Percivale!
Thou mightiest and thou purest among men!"
And glad was I and clomb, but found at top
No man, nor any voice. And thence I past
Far through a ruinous city, and I saw
That man had once dwelt there; but there I found
Only one man of an exceeding age.
"Where is that goodly company," said I,
"That so cried out upon me?" and he had
Scarce any voice to answer, and yet gasped,
"Whence and what art thou?" and even as he spoke
Fell into dust, and disappeared, and I
Was left alone once more, and cried in grief,
"Lo, if I find the Holy Grail itself
And touch it, it will crumble into dust."
`And thence I dropt into a lowly vale,
Low as the hill was high, and where the vale
Was lowest, found a chapel, and thereby
A holy hermit in a hermitage,
To whom I told my phantoms, and he said:
`"O son, thou hast not true humility,
The highest virtue, mother of them all;
For when the Lord of all things made Himself
Naked of glory for His mortal change,
`Take thou my robe,' she said, `for all is thine,'
And all her form shone forth with sudden light
So that the angels were amazed, and she
Followed Him down, and like a flying star
Led on the gray-haired wisdom of the east;
But her thou hast not known: for what is this
Thou thoughtest of thy prowess and thy sins?
Thou hast not lost thyself to save thyself
As Galahad." When the hermit made an end,
In silver armour suddenly Galahad shone
Before us, and against the chapel door
Laid lance, and entered, and we knelt in prayer.
And there the hermit slaked my burning thirst,
And at the sacring of the mass I saw
The holy elements alone; but he,
"Saw ye no more? I, Galahad, saw the Grail,
The Holy Grail, descend upon the shrine:
I saw the fiery face as of a child
That smote itself into the bread, and went;
And hither am I come; and never yet
Hath what thy sister taught me first to see,
This Holy Thing, failed from my side, nor come
Covered, but moving with me night and day,
Fainter by day, but always in the night
Blood-red, and sliding down the blackened marsh
Blood-red, and on the naked mountain top
Blood-red, and in the sleeping mere below
Blood-red. And in the strength of this I rode,
Shattering all evil customs everywhere,
And past through Pagan realms, and made them mine,
And clashed with Pagan hordes, and bore them down,
And broke through all, and in the strength of this
Come victor. But my time is hard at hand,
And hence I go; and one will crown me king
Far in the spiritual city; and come thou, too,
For thou shalt see the vision when I go."
`While thus he spake, his eye, dwelling on mine,
Drew me, with power upon me, till I grew
One with him, to believe as he believed.
Then, when the day began to wane, we went.
`There rose a hill that none but man could climb,
Scarred with a hundred wintry water-courses-Storm at the top, and when we gained it, storm
Round us and death; for every moment glanced
His silver arms and gloomed: so quick and thick
The lightnings here and there to left and right
Struck, till the dry old trunks about us, dead,
Yea, rotten with a hundred years of death,
Sprang into fire: and at the base we found
On either hand, as far as eye could see,
A great black swamp and of an evil smell,
Part black, part whitened with the bones of men,
Not to be crost, save that some ancient king
Had built a way, where, linked with many a bridge,
A thousand piers ran into the great Sea.
And Galahad fled along them bridge by bridge,
And every bridge as quickly as he crost
Sprang into fire and vanished, though I yearned
To follow; and thrice above him all the heavens
Opened and blazed with thunder such as seemed
Shoutings of all the sons of God: and first
At once I saw him far on the great Sea,
In silver-shining armour starry-clear;
And o'er his head the Holy Vessel hung
Clothed in white samite or a luminous cloud.
And with exceeding swiftness ran the boat,
If boat it were--I saw not whence it came.
And when the heavens opened and blazed again
Roaring, I saw him like a silver star-And had he set the sail, or had the boat
Become a living creature clad with wings?
And o'er his head the Holy Vessel hung
Redder than any rose, a joy to me,
For now I knew the veil had been withdrawn.
Then in a moment when they blazed again
Opening, I saw the least of little stars
Down on the waste, and straight beyond the star
I saw the spiritual city and all her spires
And gateways in a glory like one pearl-No larger, though the goal of all the saints-Strike from the sea; and from the star there shot
A rose-red sparkle to the city, and there
Dwelt, and I knew it was the Holy Grail,
Which never eyes on earth again shall see.
Then fell the floods of heaven drowning the deep.
And how my feet recrost the deathful ridge
No memory in me lives; but that I touched
The chapel-doors at dawn I know; and thence
Taking my war-horse from the holy man,
Glad that no phantom vext me more, returned
To whence I came, the gate of Arthur's wars.'
`O brother,' asked Ambrosius,--`for in sooth
These ancient books--and they would win thee--teem,
Only I find not there this Holy Grail,
With miracles and marvels like to these,
Not all unlike; which oftentime I read,
Who read but on my breviary with ease,
Till my head swims; and then go forth and pass
Down to the little thorpe that lies so close,
And almost plastered like a martin's nest
To these old walls--and mingle with our folk;
And knowing every honest face of theirs
As well as ever shepherd knew his sheep,
And every homely secret in their hearts,
Delight myself with gossip and old wives,
And ills and aches, and teethings, lyings-in,
And mirthful sayings, children of the place,
That have no meaning half a league away:
Or lulling random squabbles when they rise,
Chafferings and chatterings at the market-cross,
Rejoice, small man, in this small world of mine,
Yea, even in their hens and in their eggs-O brother, saving this Sir Galahad,
Came ye on none but phantoms in your quest,
No man, no woman?'
Then Sir Percivale:
`All men, to one so bound by such a vow,
And women were as phantoms. O, my brother,
Why wilt thou shame me to confess to thee
How far I faltered from my quest and vow?
For after I had lain so many nights
A bedmate of the snail and eft and snake,
In grass and burdock, I was changed to wan
And meagre, and the vision had not come;
And then I chanced upon a goodly town
With one great dwelling in the middle of it;
Thither I made, and there was I disarmed
By maidens each as fair as any flower:
But when they led me into hall, behold,
The Princess of that castle was the one,
Brother, and that one only, who had ever
Made my heart leap; for when I moved of old
A slender page about her father's hall,
And she a slender maiden, all my heart
Went after her with longing: yet we twain
Had never kissed a kiss, or vowed a vow.
And now I came upon her once again,
And one had wedded her, and he was dead,
And all his land and wealth and state were hers.
And while I tarried, every day she set
A banquet richer than the day before
By me; for all her longing and her will
Was toward me as of old; till one fair morn,
I walking to and fro beside a stream
That flashed across her orchard underneath
Her castle-walls, she stole upon my walk,
And calling me the greatest of all knights,
Embraced me, and so kissed me the first time,
And gave herself and all her wealth to me.
Then I remembered Arthur's warning word,
That most of us would follow wandering fires,
And the Quest faded in my heart. Anon,
The heads of all her people drew to me,
With supplication both of knees and tongue:
"We have heard of thee: thou art our greatest knight,
Our Lady says it, and we well believe:
Wed thou our Lady, and rule over us,
And thou shalt be as Arthur in our land."
O me, my brother! but one night my vow
Burnt me within, so that I rose and fled,
But wailed and wept, and hated mine own self,
And even the Holy Quest, and all but her;
Then after I was joined with Galahad
Cared not for her, nor anything upon earth.'
Then said the monk, `Poor men, when yule is cold,
Must be content to sit by little fires.
And this am I, so that ye care for me
Ever so little; yea, and blest be Heaven
That brought thee here to this poor house of ours
Where all the brethren are so hard, to warm
My cold heart with a friend: but O the pity
To find thine own first love once more--to hold,
Hold her a wealthy bride within thine arms,
Or all but hold, and then--cast her aside,
Foregoing all her sweetness, like a weed.
For we that want the warmth of double life,
We that are plagued with dreams of something sweet
Beyond all sweetness in a life so rich,--
Ah, blessd Lord, I speak too earthlywise,
Seeing I never strayed beyond the cell,
But live like an old badger in his earth,
With earth about him everywhere, despite
All fast and penance. Saw ye none beside,
None of your knights?'
`Yea so,' said Percivale:
`One night my pathway swerving east, I saw
The pelican on the casque of our Sir Bors
All in the middle of the rising moon:
And toward him spurred, and hailed him, and he me,
And each made joy of either; then he asked,
"Where is he? hast thou seen him--Lancelot?--Once,"
Said good Sir Bors, "he dashed across me--mad,
And maddening what he rode: and when I cried,
`Ridest thou then so hotly on a quest
So holy,' Lancelot shouted, `Stay me not!
I have been the sluggard, and I ride apace,
For now there is a lion in the way.'
So vanished."
`Then Sir Bors had ridden on
Softly, and sorrowing for our Lancelot,
Because his former madness, once the talk
And scandal of our table, had returned;
For Lancelot's kith and kin so worship him
That ill to him is ill to them; to Bors
Beyond the rest: he well had been content
Not to have seen, so Lancelot might have seen,
The Holy Cup of healing; and, indeed,
Being so clouded with his grief and love,
Small heart was his after the Holy Quest:
If God would send the vision, well: if not,
The Quest and he were in the hands of Heaven.
`And then, with small adventure met, Sir Bors
Rode to the lonest tract of all the realm,
And found a people there among their crags,
Our race and blood, a remnant that were left
Paynim amid their circles, and the stones
They pitch up straight to heaven: and their wise men
Were strong in that old magic which can trace
The wandering of the stars, and scoffed at him
And this high Quest as at a simple thing:
Told him he followed--almost Arthur's words-A mocking fire: "what other fire than he,
Whereby the blood beats, and the blossom blows,
And the sea rolls, and all the world is warmed?"
And when his answer chafed them, the rough crowd,
Hearing he had a difference with their priests,
Seized him, and bound and plunged him into a cell
Of great piled stones; and lying bounden there
In darkness through innumerable hours
He heard the hollow-ringing heavens sweep
Over him till by miracle--what else?-Heavy as it was, a great stone slipt and fell,
Such as no wind could move: and through the gap
Glimmered the streaming scud: then came a night
Still as the day was loud; and through the gap
The seven clear stars of Arthur's Table Round-For, brother, so one night, because they roll
Through such a round in heaven, we named the stars,
Rejoicing in ourselves and in our King-And these, like bright eyes of familiar friends,
In on him shone: "And then to me, to me,"
Said good Sir Bors, "beyond all hopes of mine,
Who scarce had prayed or asked it for myself-Across the seven clear stars--O grace to me-In colour like the fingers of a hand
Before a burning taper, the sweet Grail
Glided and past, and close upon it pealed
A sharp quick thunder." Afterwards, a maid,
Who kept our holy faith among her kin
In secret, entering, loosed and let him go.'
To whom the monk: `And I remember now
That pelican on the casque: Sir Bors it was
Who spake so low and sadly at our board;
And mighty reverent at our grace was he:
A square-set man and honest; and his eyes,
An out-door sign of all the warmth within,
Smiled with his lips--a smile beneath a cloud,
But heaven had meant it for a sunny one:
Ay, ay, Sir Bors, who else? But when ye reached
The city, found ye all your knights returned,
Or was there sooth in Arthur's prophecy,
Tell me, and what said each, and what the King?'
Then answered Percivale: `And that can I,
Brother, and truly; since the living words
Of so great men as Lancelot and our King
Pass not from door to door and out again,
But sit within the house. O, when we reached
The city, our horses stumbling as they trode
On heaps of ruin, hornless unicorns,
Cracked basilisks, and splintered cockatrices,
And shattered talbots, which had left the stones
Raw, that they fell from, brought us to the hall.
`And there sat Arthur on the das-throne,
And those that had gone out upon the Quest,
Wasted and worn, and but a tithe of them,
And those that had not, stood before the King,
Who, when he saw me, rose, and bad me hail,
Saying, "A welfare in thine eye reproves
Our fear of some disastrous chance for thee
On hill, or plain, at sea, or flooding ford.
So fierce a gale made havoc here of late
Among the strange devices of our kings;
Yea, shook this newer, stronger hall of ours,
And from the statue Merlin moulded for us
Half-wrenched a golden wing; but now--the Quest,
This vision--hast thou seen the Holy Cup,
That Joseph brought of old to Glastonbury?"
`So when I told him all thyself hast heard,
Ambrosius, and my fresh but fixt resolve
To pass away into the quiet life,
He answered not, but, sharply turning, asked
Of Gawain, "Gawain, was this Quest for thee?"
`"Nay, lord," said Gawain, "not for such as I.
Therefore I communed with a saintly man,
Who made me sure the Quest was not for me;
For I was much awearied of the Quest:
But found a silk pavilion in a field,
And merry maidens in it; and then this gale
Tore my pavilion from the tenting-pin,
And blew my merry maidens all about
With all discomfort; yea, and but for this,
My twelvemonth and a day were pleasant to me."
`He ceased; and Arthur turned to whom at first
He saw not, for Sir Bors, on entering, pushed
Athwart the throng to Lancelot, caught his hand,
Held it, and there, half-hidden by him, stood,
Until the King espied him, saying to him,
"Hail, Bors! if ever loyal man and true
Could see it, thou hast seen the Grail;" and Bors,
"Ask me not, for I may not speak of it:
I saw it;" and the tears were in his eyes.
`Then there remained but Lancelot, for the rest
Spake but of sundry perils in the storm;
Perhaps, like him of Cana in Holy Writ,
Our Arthur kept his best until the last;
"Thou, too, my Lancelot," asked the king, "my friend,
Our mightiest, hath this Quest availed for thee?"
`"Our mightiest!" answered Lancelot, with a groan;
"O King!"--and when he paused, methought I spied
A dying fire of madness in his eyes-"O King, my friend, if friend of thine I be,
Happier are those that welter in their sin,
Swine in the mud, that cannot see for slime,
Slime of the ditch: but in me lived a sin
So strange, of such a kind, that all of pure,
Noble, and knightly in me twined and clung
Round that one sin, until the wholesome flower
And poisonous grew together, each as each,
Not to be plucked asunder; and when thy knights
Sware, I sware with them only in the hope
That could I touch or see the Holy Grail
They might be plucked asunder. Then I spake
To one most holy saint, who wept and said,
That save they could be plucked asunder, all
My quest were but in vain; to whom I vowed
That I would work according as he willed.
And forth I went, and while I yearned and strove
To tear the twain asunder in my heart,
My madness came upon me as of old,
And whipt me into waste fields far away;
There was I beaten down by little men,
Mean knights, to whom the moving of my sword
And shadow of my spear had been enow
To scare them from me once; and then I came
All in my folly to the naked shore,
Wide flats, where nothing but coarse grasses grew;
But such a blast, my King, began to blow,
So loud a blast along the shore and sea,
Ye could not hear the waters for the blast,
Though heapt in mounds and ridges all the sea
Drove like a cataract, and all the sand
Swept like a river, and the clouded heavens
Were shaken with the motion and the sound.
And blackening in the sea-foam swayed a boat,
Half-swallowed in it, anchored with a chain;
And in my madness to myself I said,
`I will embark and I will lose myself,
And in the great sea wash away my sin.'
I burst the chain, I sprang into the boat.
Seven days I drove along the dreary deep,
And with me drove the moon and all the stars;
And the wind fell, and on the seventh night
I heard the shingle grinding in the surge,
And felt the boat shock earth, and looking up,
Behold, the enchanted towers of Carbonek,
A castle like a rock upon a rock,
With chasm-like portals open to the sea,
And steps that met the breaker! there was none
Stood near it but a lion on each side
That kept the entry, and the moon was full.
Then from the boat I leapt, and up the stairs.
There drew my sword. With sudden-flaring manes
Those two great beasts rose upright like a man,
Each gript a shoulder, and I stood between;
And, when I would have smitten them, heard a voice,
`Doubt not, go forward; if thou doubt, the beasts
Will tear thee piecemeal.' Then with violence
The sword was dashed from out my hand, and fell.
And up into the sounding hall I past;
But nothing in the sounding hall I saw,
No bench nor table, painting on the wall
Or shield of knight; only the rounded moon
Through the tall oriel on the rolling sea.
But always in the quiet house I heard,
Clear as a lark, high o'er me as a lark,
A sweet voice singing in the topmost tower
To the eastward: up I climbed a thousand steps
With pain: as in a dream I seemed to climb
For ever: at the last I reached a door,
A light was in the crannies, and I heard,
`Glory and joy and honour to our Lord
And to the Holy Vessel of the Grail.'
Then in my madness I essayed the door;
It gave; and through a stormy glare, a heat
As from a seventimes-heated furnace, I,
Blasted and burnt, and blinded as I was,
With such a fierceness that I swooned away-O, yet methought I saw the Holy Grail,
All palled in crimson samite, and around
Great angels, awful shapes, and wings and eyes.
And but for all my madness and my sin,
And then my swooning, I had sworn I saw
That which I saw; but what I saw was veiled
And covered; and this Quest was not for me."
`So speaking, and here ceasing, Lancelot left
The hall long silent, till Sir Gawain--nay,
Brother, I need not tell thee foolish words,-A reckless and irreverent knight was he,
Now boldened by the silence of his King,-Well, I will tell thee: "O King, my liege," he said,
"Hath Gawain failed in any quest of thine?
When have I stinted stroke in foughten field?
But as for thine, my good friend Percivale,
Thy holy nun and thou have driven men mad,
Yea, made our mightiest madder than our least.
But by mine eyes and by mine ears I swear,
I will be deafer than the blue-eyed cat,
And thrice as blind as any noonday owl,
To holy virgins in their ecstasies,
`"Deafer," said the blameless King,
"Gawain, and blinder unto holy things
Hope not to make thyself by idle vows,
Being too blind to have desire to see.
But if indeed there came a sign from heaven,
Blessd are Bors, Lancelot and Percivale,
For these have seen according to their sight.
For every fiery prophet in old times,
And all the sacred madness of the bard,
When God made music through them, could but speak
His music by the framework and the chord;
And as ye saw it ye have spoken truth.
`"Nay--but thou errest, Lancelot: never yet
Could all of true and noble in knight and man
Twine round one sin, whatever it might be,
With such a closeness, but apart there grew,
Save that he were the swine thou spakest of,
Some root of knighthood and pure nobleness;
Whereto see thou, that it may bear its flower.
`"And spake I not too truly, O my knights?
Was I too dark a prophet when I said
To those who went upon the Holy Quest,
That most of them would follow wandering fires,
Lost in the quagmire?--lost to me and gone,
And left me gazing at a barren board,
And a lean Order--scarce returned a tithe-And out of those to whom the vision came
My greatest hardly will believe he saw;
Another hath beheld it afar off,
And leaving human wrongs to right themselves,
Cares but to pass into the silent life.
And one hath had the vision face to face,
And now his chair desires him here in vain,
However they may crown him otherwhere.
`"And some among you held, that if the King
Had seen the sight he would have sworn the vow:
Not easily, seeing that the King must guard
That which he rules, and is but as the hind
To whom a space of land is given to plow.
Who may not wander from the allotted field
Before his work be done; but, being done,
Let visions of the night or of the day
Come, as they will; and many a time they come,
Until this earth he walks on seems not earth,
This light that strikes his eyeball is not light,
This air that smites his forehead is not air
But vision--yea, his very hand and foot-In moments when he feels he cannot die,
And knows himself no vision to himself,
Nor the high God a vision, nor that One
Who rose again: ye have seen what ye have seen."
`So spake the King: I knew not all he meant.'
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
The Tale Of Gamelyn
Fitt 1
Lithes and listneth and harkeneth aright,
And ye shul here of a doughty knyght;
Sire John of Boundes was his name,
He coude of norture and of mochel game.
Thre sones the knyght had and with his body he wan,
The eldest was a moche schrewe and sone bygan.
His brether loved wel her fader and of hym were agast,
The eldest deserved his faders curs and had it atte last.
The good knight his fadere lyved so yore,
That deth was comen hym to and handled hym ful sore.
The good knyght cared sore sik ther he lay,
How his children shuld lyven after his day.
He had bene wide where but non husbonde he was,
Al the londe that he had it was purchas.
Fayn he wold it were dressed amonge hem alle,
That eche of hem had his parte as it myght falle.
Thoo sente he in to contrey after wise knyghtes
To helpen delen his londes and dressen hem to-rightes.
He sent hem word by letters thei shul hie blyve,
If thei wolle speke with hym whilst he was alyve.
Whan the knyghtes harden sik that he lay,
Had thei no rest neither nyght ne day,
Til thei come to hym ther he lay stille
On his dethes bedde to abide goddys wille.
Than seide the good knyght seke ther he lay,
'Lordes, I you warne for soth, without nay,
I may no lenger lyven here in this stounde;
For thorgh goddis wille deth droueth me to grounde.'
Ther nas noon of hem alle that herd hym aright,
That thei ne had routh of that ilk knyght,
And seide, 'Sir, for goddes love dismay you nought;
God may don boote of bale that is now ywrought.'
Than speke the good knyght sik ther he lay,
'Boote of bale God may sende I wote it is no nay;
But I beseche you knyghtes for the love of me,
Goth and dresseth my londes amonge my sones thre.
And for the love of God deleth not amyss,
And forgeteth not Gamelyne my yonge sone that is.
Taketh hede to that oon as wel as to that other;
Seelde ye seen eny hier helpen his brother.'
Thoo lete thei the knyght lyen that was not in hele,
And wenten into counselle his londes for to dele;
For to delen hem alle to on that was her thought.
And for Gamelyn was yongest he shuld have nought.
All the londe that ther was thei dalten it in two,
And lete Gamelyne the yonge without londe goo,
And eche of hem seide to other ful loude,
His bretheren myght yeve him londe whan he good cowde.
And whan thei had deled the londe at her wille,
They commen to the knyght ther he lay stille,
And tolde him anoon how thei had wrought;
And the knight ther he lay liked it right nought.
Than seide the knyght, 'Be Seint Martyne,
For al that ye han done yit is the londe myne;
For Goddis love, neighbours stondeth alle stille,
And I wil delen my londe after myn owne wille.
John, myne eldest sone shal have plowes fyve,
That was my faders heritage whan he was alyve;
And my myddelest sone fyve plowes of londe,
That I halpe forto gete with my right honde;
And al myn other purchace of londes and ledes
That I biquethe Gamelyne and alle my good stedes.
And I biseche you, good men that lawe conne of londe,
For Gamelynes love that my quest stonde.'
Thus dalt the knyght his londe by his day,
Right on his deth bed sik ther he lay;
And sone afterward he lay stoon stille,
And deide whan tyme come as it was Cristes wille.
Anoon as he was dede and under gras grave,
Sone the elder brother giled the yonge knave;
He toke into his honde his londe and his lede,
And Gamelyne him selven to clothe and to fede.
He clothed him and fedde him evell and eke wroth,
And lete his londes forfare and his houses bothe,
His parkes and his wodes and did no thing welle;
And sithen he it abought on his owne felle.
So longe was Gamelyne in his brothers halle,
For the strengest, of good will they douted hym alle;
Ther was noon therinne neither yonge ne olde,
That wolde wroth Gamelyne were he never so bolde.
Gamelyne stood on a day in his brotheres yerde,
And byganne with his hond to handel his berde;
He thought on his landes that lay unsowe,
And his fare okes that doune were ydrawe;
His parkes were broken and his deer reved;
Of alle his good stedes noon was hym byleved;
His hous were unhilled and ful evell dight;
Tho thought Gamelyne it went not aright.
Afterward come his brother walking thare,
And seide to Gamelyne, 'Is our mete yare?'
Tho wrathed him Gamelyne and swore by Goddys boke,
'Thow schalt go bake thi self I wil not be thi coke!'
'What? brother Gamelyne howe answerst thou nowe?
Thou spekest nevere such a worde as thou dost nowe.'
'By feithe,' seide Gamelyne 'now me thenketh nede;
Of al the harmes that I have I toke never yit hede.
My parkes bene broken and my dere reved,
Of myn armes ne my stedes nought is byleved;
Alle that my fader me byquathe al goth to shame,
And therfor have thou Goddes curs brother be thi name!'
Than spake his brother that rape was and rees,
'Stond stille, gadlynge and holde thi pees;
Thou shalt be fayn to have thi mete and thi wede;
What spekest thow, gadelinge of londe or of lede?'
Than seide Gamelyne the child so yinge,
'Cristes curs mote he have that me clepeth gadelinge!
I am no wors gadeling ne no wors wight,
But born of a lady and gete of a knyght.'
Ne dorst he not to Gamelyn never a foot goo,
But cleped to hym his men and seide to hem thoo,
'Goth and beteth this boye and reveth hym his witte,
And lat him lerne another tyme to answere me bette.'
Than seide the childe yonge Gamelyne,
'Cristes curs mote thou have brother art thou myne!
And if I shal algates be beten anoon,
Cristes curs mote thou have but thou be that oon!'
And anon his brother in that grete hete
Made his men to fette staves Gamelyn to bete.
Whan every of hem had a staf ynomen,
Gamelyn was werre whan he segh hem comen;
Whan Gamelyne segh hem comen he loked overall,
And was ware of a pestel stode under the wall;
Gamelyn was light and thider gan he lepe,
And droof alle his brotheres men right sone on an hepe
And loked as a wilde lyon and leide on good wone;
And whan his brother segh that he byganne to gon;
He fley up into a loft and shette the door fast;
Thus Gamelyn with his pestel made hem al agast.
Some for Gamelyns love and some for eye,
Alle they droughen hem to halves whan he gan to pleye.
'What now!' seyde Gamelyne 'evel mot ye the!
Wil ye bygynne contecte and so sone flee?'
Gamelyn sought his brother whider he was flowe,
And seghe where he loked out a wyndowe.
'Brother,' sayde Gamelyne 'com a litel nere,
And I wil teche thee a play at the bokelere.'
His brother him answerde and seide by Seint Richere,
'The while that pestel is in thine honde I wil come no nere;
Brother, I will make thi pees I swer by Cristes oore;
Cast away the pestel and wrethe the no more.'
'I most nede,' seide Gamelyn, 'wreth me at onys,
For thou wold make thi men to breke my bonys,
Ne had I hadde mayn and myght in myn armes,
To han hem fro me thei wold have done me harmes.'
'Gamelyn,' seide his brother, 'be thou not wroth,
For to sene the han harme me were right loth;
I ne did it not, brother, but for a fondinge,
For to loken wher thou art stronge and art so yenge.'
'Come adoune than to me and graunt me my bone
Of oon thing I wil the axe and we shal saught sone.'
Doune than come his brother that fikel was and felle,
And was swith sore afeerd of the pestelle.
He seide, 'Brother Gamelyn axe me thi bone,
And loke thou me blame but I it graunte sone.'
Than seide Gamelyn 'Brother, iwys,
And we shul be at one thou most graunte me this:
Alle that my fader me byquath whilst he was alyve,
Thow most do me it have if we shul not strive.'
'That shalt thou have, Gamelyn I swere be Cristes oore!
Al that thi fadere the byquathe, though thou wolde have more;
Thy londe that lith ley wel it shal be sawe,
And thine houses reised up that bene leide ful lawe.'
Thus seide the knyght to Gamelyn with mouthe,
And thought on falsnes as he wel couthe.
The knyght thought on tresoun and Gamelyn on noon,
And wente and kissed his brother and whan thei were at oon
Alas, yonge Gamelyne no thinge he ne wist
With such false tresoun his brother him kist!
Fitt 2
Lytheneth, and listeneth, and holdeth your tonge,
And ye shul here talking of Gamelyn the yonge.
Ther was there bisiden cride a wrastelinge,
And therfore ther was sette a ramme and a ringe;
And Gamelyn was in wille to wende therto,
Forto preven his myght what he coude doo.
'Brothere,' seide Gamelyn, 'by Seint Richere,
Thow most lene me tonyght a litel coursere
That is fresshe for the spore on forto ride;
I moste on an erande a litel here beside.'
'By god!' seide his brothere 'of stedes in my stalle
Goo and chese the the best spare noon of hem alle
Of stedes and of coursers that stoden hem byside;
And telle me, good brother, whider thou wilt ride.'
'Here beside, brother is cried a wrastelinge,
And therfore shal be sette a ram and a ringe;
Moche worschip it were brother to us alle,
Might I the ram and the ringe bringe home to this halle.'
A stede ther was sadeled smertly and skete;
Gamelyn did a peire spores fast on his fete.
He sette his foote in the stirop the stede he bistrode,
And towardes the wrastelinge the yonge childe rode.
Whan Gamelyn the yonge was riden out atte gate,
The fals knyght his brother loked yit after thate,
And bysought Jesu Crist that is hevene kinge,
He myghte breke his necke in the wrestelinge.
As sone as Gamelyn come ther the place was,
He lighte doune of his stede and stood on the gras,
And ther he herde a frankeleyn 'weiloway' singe,
And bygonne bitterly his hondes forto wringe.
'Good man,' seide Gamelyn, 'whi mast thou this fare?
Is ther no man that may you helpen out of care?'
'Allas!' seide this frankeleyn, 'that ever was I bore!
For twey stalworth sones I wene that I have lore;
A champion is in the place that hath wrought me sorowe,
For he hath sclayn my two sones but if God hem borowe.
I will yeve ten pound by Jesu Christ! and more,
With the nones I fonde a man wolde handel hym sore.'
'Good man,' seide Gamelyn, 'wilt thou wele doon,
Holde my hors the whiles my man drowe of my shoon,
And helpe my man to kepe my clothes and my stede,
And I wil to place gon to loke if I may spede.'
'By God!' seide the frankleyn, 'it shal be doon;
I wil myself be thi man to drowe of thi shoon,
And wende thou into place, Jesu Crist the spede,
And drede not of thi clothes ne of thi good stede.'
Barefoot and ungirt Gamelyn inne came,
Alle that were in the place hede of him nam,
Howe he durst aventure him to doon his myght
That was so doghty a champion in wrasteling and in fight.
Up stert the champioun rapely anon,
And toward yonge Gamelyn byganne to gon,
And seide, 'Who is thi fadere and who is thi sire?
For sothe thou art a grete fool that thou come hire!'
Gamelyn answerde the champioun tho,
'Thowe knewe wel my fadere while he myght goo,
The whiles he was alyve, by seynt Martyn!
Sir John of Boundes was his name, and I am Gamelyne.'
'Felawe,' sayde the champion, 'so mot I thrive,
I knewe wel thi fadere the whiles he was alyve;
And thi silf, Gamelyn, I wil that thou it here,
While thou were a yonge boy a moche shrewe thou were.'
Than seide Gamelyn and swore by Cristes ore,
'Now I am older wexe thou shalt finde me a more!'
'By God!' seide the champion 'welcome mote thou be!
Come thow onys in myn honde thou shalt nevere the.'
It was wel within the nyght and the mone shone,
Whan Gamelyn and the champioun togider gon gone.
The champion cast turnes to Gamelyne that was prest,
And Gamelyn stode and bad hym doon his best.
Than seide Gamelyn to the champioun,
'Thowe art fast aboute to bringe me adoun;
Now I have proved mony tornes of thine,
Thow most,' he seide, 'oon or two of myne.'
Gamelyn to the champioun yede smertely anoon,
Of all the turnes that he couthe he shewed him but oon,
And cast him on the lift side that thre ribbes to-brake,
And therto his owne arme that yaf a grete crake.
Than seide Gamelyn smertly anon,
'Shal it bi hold for a cast or ellis for non?'
'By God!' seide the champion, 'whedere it be,
He that cometh ones in thi honde shal he never the!'
Than seide the frankeleyn that had the sones there,
'Blessed be thou, Gamelyn, that ever thou bore were!'
The frankleyn seide to the champioun on hym stode hym noon eye,
'This is yonge Gamelyne that taught the this pleye.'
Agein answerd the champioun that liketh no thing wel,
'He is alther maister and his pley is right felle;
Sithen I wrasteled first it is goon yore,
But I was nevere in my lif handeled so sore.'
Gamelyn stode in the place anon without serk,
And seide, 'Yif ther be moo lat hem come to werk;
The champion that pyned him to worch sore,
It semeth by his countenance that he wil no more.'
Gamelyn in the place stode stille as stone,
For to abide wrastelinge but ther come none;
Ther was noon with Gamelyn that wold wrastel more,
For he handeled the champioun so wonderly sore.
Two gentile men that yemed the place,
Come to Gamelyn -- God yeve him goode grace! --
And seide to him, 'Do on thi hosen and thi shoon,
For soth at this tyme this fare is doon.'
And than seide Gamelyn, 'So mot I wel fare,
I have not yete halvendele sold my ware.'
Thoo seide the champioun, 'So broke I my swere,
He is a fool that therof bieth thou selleth it so dere.'
Tho seide the frankeleyne that was in moche care,
'Felawe,' he saide 'whi lackest thou this ware?
By seynt Jame of Gales that mony man hath sought,
Yit is it to good chepe that thou hast bought.'
Thoo that wardeynes were of that wrastelinge
Come and brought Gamelyn the ramme and the rynge,
And Gamelyn bithought him it was a faire thinge,
And wente with moche joye home in the mornynge.
His brother see wher he came with the grete route,
And bad shitt the gate and holde hym withoute.
The porter of his lord was soor agaast,
And stert anoon to the gate and lokked it fast.
Fitt 3
Now lithenes and listneth both yonge and olde,
And ye schul here gamen of Gamelyn the bolde.
Gamelyn come to the gate forto have come inne,
And it was shette faste with a stronge pynne;
Than seide Gamelyn, 'Porter, undo the yate,
For good menys sones stonden ther ate.'
Than answerd the porter and swore by Goddys berd,
'Thow ne shalt, Gamelyne, come into this yerde.'
'Thow lixt,' seide Gamelyne 'so broke I my chyne!'
He smote the wikett with his foote and breke awaie the pyne.
The porter seie thoo it myght no better be,
He sette foote on erth and bygan to flee.
'By my feye,' seide Gamelyn 'that travaile is ylore,
For I am of fote as light as thou if thou haddest it swore.' 1
Gamelyn overtoke the porter and his tene wrake,
And girt him in the nek that the boon to-brake,
And toke hym by that oon arme and threwe hym in a welle,
Seven fadme it was depe as I have herde telle.
Whan Gamelyn the yonge thus had plaied his playe,
Alle that in the yerde were drowen hem awaye;
Thei dredden him ful sore for werk that he wrought,
And for the faire company that he thider brought.
Gamelyn yede to the gate and lete it up wide;
He lete inne alle that gone wolde or ride,
And seide, 'Ye be welcome without eny greve,
For we wil be maisters here and axe no man leve.
Yusterday I lefte,' seide yonge Gamelyne,
'In my brothers seler fyve tonne of wyne;
I wil not this company partyn atwynne,
And ye wil done after me while sope is therinne;
And if my brother gruche or make foule chere,
Either for spence of mete and drink that we spende here,
I am oure catour and bere oure alther purs,
He shal have for his grucchinge Seint Maries curs.
My brother is a nigon, I swere be Cristes oore,
And we wil spende largely that he hath spared yore;
And who that make grucchinge that we here dwelle,
He shal to the porter into the drowe-welle.'
Seven daies and seven nyghtes Gamelyn helde his feest,
With moche solace was ther noon cheest;
In a litel torret his brother lay steke,
And see hem waast his good and dorst no worde speke.
Erly on a mornynge on the eight day,
The gestes come to Gamelyn and wolde gone her way.
'Lordes,' seide Gamelyn, 'will ye so hie?
Al the wyne is not yit dronke so brouke I myn ye.'
Gamelyn in his herte was ful woo,
Whan his gestes toke her leve fro hym for to go;
He wolde thei had dwelled lenger and thei seide nay,
But bytaught Gamelyn, 'God and good day.'
Thus made Gamelyn his feest and brought wel to ende,
And after his gestes toke leve to wende.
Fitt 4
Lithen and listen and holde your tunge,
And ye shal here game of Gamelyn the yonge;
Harkeneth, lordingges and listeneth aright,
Whan alle gestis were goon how Gamelyn was dight.
Alle the while that Gamelyn heeld his mangerye,
His brothere thought on hym be wroke with his trecherye.
Whan Gamylyns gestes were riden and goon,
Gamelyn stood anon allone frend had he noon;
Tho aftere felle sone within a litel stounde,
Gamelyn was taken and ful hard ybounde.
Forth come the fals knyght out of the solere,
To Gamelyn his brother he yede ful nere,
And saide to Gamelyn, 'Who made the so bold
For to stroien the stoor of myn household?'
'Brother,' seide Gamelyn, 'wreth the right nought,
For it is many day gon sith it was bought;
For, brother, thou hast had by Seint Richere,
Of fiftene plowes of londe this sixtene yere,
And of alle the beestes thou hast forth bredde,
That my fader me byquath on his dethes bedde;
Of al this sixtene yere I yeve the the prowe,
For the mete and the drink that we han spended nowe.'
Than seide the fals knyght (evel mote he thee!)
'Harken, brothere Gamelyn what I wil yeve the;
For of my body, brother here geten have I none,
I wil make the myn here I swere by Seint John.'
'Par fay!' seide Gamelyn 'and if it so be,
And thou thenk as thou seist God yeelde it the!'
Nothinge wiste Gamelyn of his brother gile;
Therfore he hym bygiled in a litel while.
'Gamelyn,' seyde he, 'oon thing I the telle;
Thoo thou threwe my porter in the drowe-welle,
I swore in that wrethe and in that grete moote,
That thou shuldest be bounde bothe honde and fote;
This most be fulfilled my men to dote,
For to holden myn avowe as I the bihote.'
'Brother,' seide Gamelyn, 'as mote I thee!
Thou shalt not be forswore for the love of me.'
Tho maden thei Gamelyn to sitte and not stonde,
To thei had hym bounde both fote and honde.
The fals knyght his brother of Gamelyn was agast,
And sente efter fetters to fetter hym fast.
His brother made lesingges on him ther he stode,
And tolde hem that commen inne that Gamelyn was wode.
Gamelyn stode to a post bounden in the halle,
Thoo that commen inne loked on hym alle.
Ever stode Gamelyn even upright!
But mete and drink had he noon neither day ne nyght.
Than seide Gamelyn, 'Brother, be myn hals,
Now have I aspied thou art a party fals;
Had I wist the tresoun that thou hast yfounde,
I wold have yeve strokes or I had be bounde!'
Gamelyn stode bounde stille as eny stone;
Two daies and two nyghtes mete had he none.
Than seide Gamelyn that stood ybounde stronge,
'Adam Spencere me thenketh I faste to longe;
Adam Spencere now I biseche the,
For the moche love my fadere loved the,
If thou may come to the keys lese me out of bonde,
And I wil part with the of my free londe.'
Than seide Adam that was the spencere,
'I have served thi brother this sixtene yere,
Yif I lete the gone out of his boure,
He wold saye afterwardes I were a traitour.'
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'so brouke I myn hals!
Thow schalt finde my brother at the last fals;
Therfore brother Adam lose me out of bondes,
And I wil parte with the of my free londes.'
'Up such forward,' seide Adam, 'ywis,
I wil do therto al that in me is.'
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn 'as mote I the,
I wil holde the covenaunt and thou wil me.'
Anoon as Adams lord to bed was goon,
Adam toke the kayes and lete Gamelyn out anoon;
He unlocked Gamelyn both hondes and fete,
In hope of avauncement that he hym byhete.
Than seide Gamelyn, 'Thonked be Goddis sonde!
Nowe I am lose both fote and honde;
Had I nowe eten and dronken aright,
Ther is noon in this hous shuld bynde me this nyght.'
Adam toke Gamelyn as stille as eny stone,
And ladde him into the spence raply anon,
And sette him to sopere right in a privey styde,
He bad him do gladly and so he dide.
Anoon as Gamelyn had eten wel and fyne,
And therto y-dronken wel of the rede wyne,
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'what is nowe thi rede?
Or I go to my brother and gerd of his heed?'
'Gamelyn,' seide Adam, 'it shal not be so.
I can teche the a rede that is worth the twoo.
I wote wel for soth that this is no nay,
We shul have a mangerye right on Sonday;
Abbotes and priours mony here shul be,
And other men of holy chirch as I telle the;
Thou shal stonde up by the post as thou were bounde fast,
And I shal leve hem unloke that away thou may hem cast.
Whan that thei han eten and wasshen her handes,
Thow shalt biseche hem alle to bringe the oute of bondes;
And if thei willen borowe the that were good game,
Than were thou out of prisoun and out of blame;
And if ecche of hem saye to us nay,
I shal do another I swere by this day!
Thow shalt have a good staf and I wil have another,
And Cristes curs haf that on that failleth that other!'
'Ye for God,' seide Gamelyn 'I say it for me,
If I faille on my side evel mot I thee!
If we shul algate assoile hem of her synne,
Warne me, brother Adam, whan we shul bygynne.'
'Gamelyn,' seid Adam, 'by Seinte Charité,
I wil warne the biforn whan it shal be;
Whan I winke on the loke for to gone,
And caste away thi fetters and come to me anone.'
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'blessed be thi bonys!
That is a good counseill yeven for the nonys;
Yif thei warne the me to bringe out of bendes,
I wil sette good strokes right on her lendes.'
Whan the Sonday was comen and folk to the feest,
Faire thei were welcomed both leest and mest;
And ever as thei at the haldore come inne,
They casten her yen on yonge Gamelyn.
The fals knyght his brother ful of trecherye,
Al the gestes that ther were at the mangerye,
Of Gamelyn his brother he tolde hem with mouthe
Al the harme and the shame that he telle couthe.
Whan they were yserved of messes two or thre,
Than seide Gamelyn, 'How serve ye me?
It is not wel served by God that alle made!
That I sitte fastinge and other men make glade.'
The fals knyght his brother ther as he stode,
Told to all the gestes that Gamelyn was wode;
And Gamelyn stode stille and answerde nought,
But Adames wordes he helde in his thought.
Thoo Gamelyn gan speke doolfully withalle
To the grete lordes that seton in the halle:
'Lordes,' he seide 'for Cristes passioun,
Helpe to bringe Gamelyn out of prisoun.'
Than seide an abbot, sorowe on his cheke,
'He shal have Cristes curs and Seinte Maries eke,
That the out of prison beggeth or borowe,
And ever worth him wel that doth the moche sorowe.'
After that abbot than speke another,
'I wold thine hede were of though thou were my brother!
Alle that the borowe foule mot hem falle!'
Thus thei seiden alle that were in the halle.
Than seide a priour, evel mote he threve!
'It is grete sorwe and care boy that thou art alyve.'
'Ow!' seide Gamelyn, 'so brouke I my bone!
Now have I spied that frendes have I none
Cursed mote he worth both flesshe and blood,
That ever doth priour or abbot eny good!'
Adam the spencere took up the clothe,
And loked on Gamelyn and segh that he was wrothe;
Adam on the pantry litel he thought,
And two good staves to the halle door he brought,
Adam loked on Gamelyn and he was warre anoon,
And cast away the fetters and bygan to goon;
Whan he come to Adam he took that on staf,
And bygan to worch and good strokes yaf.
Gamelyn come into the halle and the spencer bothe,
And loked hem aboute as thei hadden be wrothe;
Gamelyn spreyeth holy watere with an oken spire,
That some that stode upright felle in the fire.
Ther was no lewe man that in the halle stode,
That wolde do Gamelyn enything but goode,
But stoden bisides and lete hem both wirche,
For thei had no rewthe of men of holy chirche;
Abbot or priour, monk or chanoun,
That Gamelyn overtoke anoon they yeden doun
Ther was noon of alle that with his staf mette,
That he ne made hem overthrowe to quyte hem his dette.
'Gamelyn,' seide Adam, 'for Seinte Charité,
Pay good lyveré for the love of me,
And I wil kepe the door so ever here I masse!
Er they bene assoilled ther shal non passe.'
'Doute the not,' seide Gamelyn 'whil we ben ifere,
Kepe thow wel the door and I wil wirche here;
Bystere the, good Adam, and lete none fle,
And we shul telle largely how mony that ther be.'
'Gamelyn,' seide Adam, 'do hem but goode;
Thei bene men of holy churche drowe of hem no blode
Save wel the crownes and do hem no harmes,
But breke both her legges and sithen her armes.'
Thus Gamelyn and Adam wroughte ryght faste,
And pleide with the monkes and made hem agaste.
Thidere thei come ridinge joly with swaynes,
And home ayein thei were ladde in cartes and waynes.
Tho thei hadden al ydo than seide a grey frere,
'Allas! sire abbot what did we nowe here?
Whan that we comen hidere it was a colde rede,
Us had be bet at home with water and breed.'
While Gamelyn made orders of monke and frere,
Evere stood his brother and made foule chere;
Gamelyn up with his staf that he wel knewe,
And girt him in the nek that he overthrewe;
A litel above the girdel the rigge-boon he barst;
And sette him in the fetters theras he sat arst.
'Sitte ther, brother,' seide Gamelyn,
'For to colen thi body as I did myn.'
As swith as thei had wroken hem on her foon,
Thei asked water and wasshen anon,
What some for her love and some for her awe,
Alle the servantes served hem on the beste lawe.
The sherreve was thennes but fyve myle,
And alle was tolde him in a lytel while,
Howe Gamelyn and Adam had ydo a sorye rees,
Boundon and wounded men ayeinst the kingges pees;
Tho bygan sone strif for to wake,
And the shereff about Gamelyn forto take.
Fitt 5
Now lithen and listen so God geve you good fyne!
And ye shul here good game of yonge Gamelyne.
Four and twenty yonge men that helde hem ful bolde,
Come to the shiref and seide that thei wolde
Gamelyn and Adam fette by her fay;
The sheref gave hem leve soth for to say;
Thei hiden fast wold thei not lynne,
To thei come to the gate there Gamelyn was inne.
They knocked on the gate the porter was nyghe,
And loked out atte an hool as man that was scleghe.
The porter hadde bihold hem a litel while,
He loved wel Gamelyn and was dradde of gyle,
And lete the wikett stonde ful stille,
And asked hem without what was her wille.
For all the grete company speke but oon,
'Undo the gate, porter and lat us in goon.'
Than seide the porter 'So brouke I my chyn,
Ye shul saie youre erand er ye come inne.'
'Sey to Gamelyn and Adam if theire wil be,
We wil speke with hem two wordes or thre.'
'Felawe,' seide the porter 'stonde ther stille,
And I wil wende to Gamelyn to wete his wille.'
Inne went the porter to Gamelyn anoon,
And saide, 'Sir, I warne you here ben comen youre foon;
The shireves men bene at the gate,
Forto take you both ye shul not scape.'
'Porter,' seide Gamelyn, 'so mote I the!
I wil alowe thi wordes whan I my tyme se.
Go ageyn to the gate and dwelle with hem a while,
And thou shalt se right sone porter, a gile.'
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'hast the to goon;
We han foo men mony and frendes never oon;
It bene the shireves men that hider bene comen,
Thei ben swore togidere that we shal be nomen.'
'Gamelyn,' seide Adam, 'hye the right blyve,
And if I faile the this day evel mot I thrive!
And we shul so welcome the shyreves men,
That some of hem shal make her beddes in the fenne.'
At a postern gate Gamelyn out went,
And a good cartstaf in his hondes hent;
Adam hent sone another grete staff
For to helpen Gamelyne and good strokes yaf.
Adam felled tweyn and Gamelyn thre,
The other sette fete on erthe and bygan to flee.
'What' seide Adam, 'so evere here I masse!
I have right good wyne drynk er ye passe!'
'Nay, by God!' seide thei, 'thi drink is not goode,
It wolde make a mannys brayn to lyen on his hode.'
Gamelyn stode stille and loked hym aboute,
And seide 'The shyref cometh with a grete route.'
'Adam,' seyde Gamelyn 'what bene now thi redes?
Here cometh the sheref and wil have our hedes.'
Adam seide to Gamelyn 'My rede is now this,
Abide we no lenger lest we fare amys:
I rede we to wode gon er we be founde,
Better is ther louse than in the toune bounde.'
Adam toke by the honde yonge Gamelyn;
And every of hem dronk a draught of wyn,
And after token her cours and wenten her way;
Tho fonde the scherreve nyst but non aye.
The shirrive light doune and went into halle,
And fonde the lord fetred faste withalle.
The shirreve unfetred hym right sone anoon,
And sente aftere a leche to hele his rigge boon.
Lat we now the fals knyght lye in hys care,
And talke we of Gamelyn and of his fare.
Gamelyn into the wode stalked stille,
And Adam Spensere liked right ille;
Adam swore to Gamelyn, 'By Seint Richere,
Now I see it is mery to be a spencere,
Yit lever me were kayes to bere,
Than walken in this wilde wode my clothes to tere.'
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'dismay the right nought;
Mony good mannys child in care is brought.'
As thei stode talkinge bothen in fere,
Adam herd talking of men and right nyghe hem thei were.
Tho Gamelyn under wode loked aright,
Sevene score of yonge men he seye wel ydight;
Alle satte at the mete compas aboute.
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'now have I no doute,
Aftere bale cometh bote thorgh Goddis myght;
Me think of mete and drynk I have a sight.'
Adam loked thoo under wode bough,
And whan he segh mete was glad ynogh;
For he hoped to God to have his dele,
And he was sore alonged after a mele.
As he seide that worde the mayster outlawe
Saugh Adam and Gamelyn under the wode shawe.
'Yonge men,' seide the maistere 'by the good Rode,
I am ware of gestes God send us goode;
Yond ben twoo yonge men wel ydight,
And parenture ther ben mo whoso loked right.
Ariseth up, yonge men and fette hem to me;
It is good that we weten what men thei be.'
Up ther sterten sevene from the dynere,
And metten with Gamelyn and Adam Spencere.
Whan thei were nyghe hem than seide that oon,
'Yeeldeth up, yonge men your bowes and your floon.'
Than seide Gamelyn that yong was of elde,
'Moche sorwe mote thei have that to you hem yelde!
I curs noon other but right mysilve;
Thoo ye fette to you fyve than be ye twelve!'
Whan they harde by his word that myght was in his arme,
Ther was noon of hem that wolde do hym harme,
But seide to Gamelyn myldely and stille,
'Cometh afore our maister and seith to hym your wille.'
'Yong men,' seide Gamelyn, 'be your lewté,
What man is youre maister that ye with be?'
Alle thei answerd without lesing,
'Our maister is crowned of outlawe king.'
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'go we in Cristes name;
He may neither mete ne drink warne us for shame.
If that he be hende and come of gentil blood,
He wil yeve us mete and drink and do us som gode.'
'By Seint Jame!' seide Adam, 'what harme that I gete,
I wil aventure me that I had mete.'
Gamelyn and Adam went forth in fere,
And thei grette the maister that thei fond there.
Than seide the maister king of outlawes,
'What seche ye, yonge men, under the wode shawes?'
Gamelyn answerde the king with his croune,
'He most nedes walk in feeld that may not in toune.
Sire, we walk not here no harme to doo,
But yif we mete a deer to shete therto,
As men that bene hungry and mow no mete fynde,
And bene harde bystad under wode lynde.'
Of Gamelyns wordes the maister had reuthe,
And seide, 'Ye shul have ynow have God my trouth!'
He bad hem sitte doun for to take rest;
And bad hem ete and drink and that of the best.
As they eten and dronken wel and fyne,
Than seide on to another, 'This is Gamelyne.'
Tho was the maistere outlaw into counseile nome,
And tolde howe it was Gamelyn that thider was come.
Anon as he herd how it was byfalle,
He made him maister under hym over hem alle.
Withinne the thridde weke hym come tydinge,
To the maistere outlawe that was her kinge,
That he shuld come home his pees was made;
And of that good tydinge he was ful glade.
Thoo seide he to his yonge men soth forto telle,
'Me bene comen tydinges I may no lenger dwelle.'
Tho was Gamelyn anoon withoute taryinge,
Made maister outlawe and crowned her kinge.
Whan Gamelyn was crowned king of outlawes,
And walked had a while under the wode shawes,
The fals knyght his brother was sherif and sire,
And lete his brother endite for hate and for ire.
Thoo were his boond men sory and no thing glade,
Whan Gamelyn her lord wolfeshede was made;
And sente out of his men wher thei might hym fynde,
For to go seke Gamelyne under the wode lynde,
To telle hym tydinge the wynde was wente,
And al his good reved and al his men shente.
Whan thei had hym founden on knees thei hem setten,
And adoune with here hodes and her lord gretten;
'Sire, wreth you not for the good Rode,
For we han brought you tyddyngges but thei be not gode.
Now is thi brother sherreve and hath the bayly,
And hath endited the and wolfesheed doth the crye.'
'Allas!' seide Gamelyn, 'that ever I was so sclak
That I ne had broke his nek whan I his rigge brak!
Goth, greteth wel myn husbondes and wif,
I wil be at the nexte shyre have God my lif!'
Gamelyn come redy to the nexte shire,
And ther was his brother both lord and sire.
Gamelyn boldely come into the mote halle,
And putte adoun his hode amonge tho lordes alle;
'God save you, lordinggs that here be!
But broke bak sherreve evel mote thou thee!
Whi hast thou don me that shame and vilenye,
For to lat endite me and wolfeshede do me crye?'
Thoo thoghte the fals knyght forto bene awreke,
And lette Gamelyn most he no thinge speke;
Might ther be no grace but Gamelyn atte last
Was cast in prison and fettred faste.
Gamelyn hath a brothere that highte Sir Ote,
Als good an knyght and hende as might gon on foote.
Anoon yede a massager to that good knyght
And tolde him altogidere how Gamelyn was dight.
Anoon whan Sire Ote herd howe Gamelyn was dight,
He was right sory and no thing light,
And lete sadel a stede and the way name,
And to his tweyne bretheren right sone he came.
'Sire,' seide Sire Ote to the sherreve thoo,
'We bene but three bretheren shul we never be mo;
And thou hast prisoned the best of us alle;
Such another brother evel mote hym byfalle!'
'Sire Ote,' seide the fals knyght, 'lat be thi cors;
By God, for thi wordes he shal fare the wors;
To the kingges prisoun he is ynome,
And ther he shal abide to the justice come.'
'Par de!' seide Sir Ote, 'better it shal be;
I bid hym to maynprise that thou graunte me
To the next sitting of delyveraunce,
And lat than Gamelyn stonde to his chaunce.'
'Brother, in such a forward I take him to the;
And by thine fader soule that the bigate and me,
But he be redy whan the justice sitte,
Thou shalt bere the juggement for al thi grete witte.'
'I graunte wel,' seide Sir Ote, 'that it so be.
Lat delyver him anoon and take hym to me.'
Tho was Gamelyn delyvered to Sire Ote, his brother;
And that nyght dwelled the oon with the other.
On the morowe seide Gamelyn to Sire Ote the hende,
'Brother,' he seide, 'I mote forsoth from you wende
To loke howe my yonge men leden her liff,
Whedere thei lyven in joie or ellis in striff.'
'By God' seyde Sire Ote, 'that is a colde rede,
Nowe I se that alle the carke schal fal on my hede;
For whan the justice sitte and thou be not yfounde,
I shal anoon be take and in thi stede ibounde.'
'Brother,' seide Gamelyn, 'dismay you nought,
For by saint Jame in Gales that mony men hath sought,
Yif that God almyghty holde my lif and witte,
I wil be redy whan the justice sitte.'
Than seide Sir Ote to Gamelyn, 'God shilde the fro shame;
Come whan thou seest tyme and bringe us out of blame.'
Fitt 6
Litheneth, and listeneth and holde you stille,
And ye shul here how Gamelyn had al his wille.
Gamelyn went under the wode-ris,
And fonde ther pleying yenge men of pris.
Tho was yonge Gamelyn right glad ynoughe,
Whan he fonde his men under wode boughe.
Gamelyn and his men talkeden in fere,
And thei hadde good game her maister to here;
His men tolde him of aventures that they had founde,
And Gamelyn tolde hem agein howe he was fast bounde.
While Gamelyn was outlawe had he no cors;
There was no man that for him ferde the wors,
But abbots and priours, monk and chanoun;
On hem left he nought whan he myghte hem nome.
While Gamelyn and his men made merthes ryve,
The fals knyght his brother evel mot he thryve!
For he was fast aboute both day and other,
For to hiren the quest to hongen his brother.
Gamelyn stode on a day and byheeld
The wodes and the shawes and the wild feeld,
He thoughte on his brothere how he hym byhette
That he wolde be redy whan the justice sette;
He thought wel he wold without delay,
Come tofore the justice to kepen his day,
And saide to his yonge men, 'Dighteth you yare,
For whan the justice sitte we most be thare,
For I am under borowe til that I come,
And my brother for me to prison shal be nome.'
'By Seint Jame!' seide his yonge men, 'and thou rede therto,
Ordeyn how it shal be and it shal be do.'
While Gamelyn was comyng ther the justice satte,
The fals knyght his brother forgate he not that,
To hire the men of the quest to hangen his brother;
Thoughe thei had not that oon thei wolde have that other
Tho come Gamelyn from under the wode-ris,
And brought with hym yonge men of pris
'I see wel,' seide Gamelyn, 'the justice is sette;
Go aforn, Adam, and loke how it spette.'
Adam went into the halle and loked al aboute,
He segh there stonde lordes grete and stoute,
And Sir Ote his brother fetred ful fast;
Thoo went Adam out of halle as he were agast.
Adam seide to Gamelyn and to his felawes alle,
'Sir Ote stont fetered in the mote halle.'
'Yonge men,' seide Gamelyn, 'this ye heeren alle:
Sir Ote stont fetered in the mote halle.
If God geve us grace well forto doo,
He shal it abigge that it broughte therto.'
Than seide Adam that lockes had hore,
'Cristes curs mote he have that hym bonde so sore!
And thou wilt, Gamelyn, do after my rede,
Ther is noon in the halle shal bere awey his hede.'
'Adam,' seide Gamelyn, 'we wil not do soo,
We wil slee the giltif and lat the other go.
I wil into the halle and with the justice speke;
Of hem that bene giltif I wil ben awreke.
Lat no skape at the door take, yonge men, yeme;
For I wil be justice this day domes to deme.
God spede me this day at my newe werk!
Adam, com with me for thou shalt be my clerk.'
His men answereden hym and bad don his best,
'And if thou to us have nede thou shalt finde us prest;
We wil stonde with the while that we may dure;
And but we worchen manly pay us none hure.'
'Yonge men,' seid Gamelyn, 'so mot I wel the!
A trusty maister ye shal fynde me.'
Right there the justice satte in the halle,
Inne went Gamelyn amonges hem alle.
Gamelyn lete unfetter his brother out of bende.
Than seide Sire Ote his brother that was hende,
'Thow haddest almost, Gamelyn, dwelled to longe,
For the quest is out on me that I shulde honge.'
'Brother,' seide Gamelyn, 'so God yeve me good rest!
This day shul thei be honged that ben on the quest;
And the justice both that is the juge man,
And the sherreve also thorgh hym it bigan.
Than seide Gamelyn to the justise,
'Now is thi power don, the most nedes rise;
Thow hast yeven domes that bene evel dight,
I will sitten in thi sete and dressen hem aright.'
The justice satte stille and roos not anon;
And Gamelyn cleved his chekebon;
Gamelyn toke him in his armes and no more spake,
But threwe hym over the barre and his arme brake.
Dorst noon to Gamelyn seie but goode,
Forfeerd of the company that without stoode.
Gamelyn sette him doun in the justise sete,
And Sire Ote his brother by him and Adam at his fete.
Whan Gamelyn was sette in the justise stede,
Herken of a bourde that Gamelyn dede.
He lete fetter the justise and his fals brother,
And did hem com to the barre that on with that other.
Whan Gamelyn had thus ydon had he no rest,
Til he had enquered who was on his quest
Forto demen his brother Sir Ote for to honge;
Er he wist what thei were hym thought ful longe.
But as sone as Gamelyn wist where thei were,
He did hem everechon fetter in fere,
And bringgen hem to the barre and setten in rewe;
'By my feith!' seide the justise, 'the sherrive is a shrewe!'
Than seide Gamelyn to the justise,
'Thou hast yove domes of the worst assise;
And the twelve sesoures that weren on the quest,
Thei shul be honged this day so have I good rest!'
Than seide the sheref to yonge Gamelyn,
'Lord, I crie thee mercie brother art thou myn.'
'Therfor,' seide Gamelyn, 'have thou Cristes curs,
For and thow were maister I shuld have wors.'
For to make shorte tale and not to longe,
He ordeyned hym a quest of his men stronge;
The justice and the shirreve both honged hie,
To weyven with the ropes and the winde drye;
And the twelve sisours (sorwe have that rekke!)
Alle thei were honged fast by the nekke.
Thus endeth the fals knyght with his trecherye,
That ever had lad his lif in falsenesse and folye.
He was honged by the nek and not by the purs,
That was the mede that he had for his faders curs.
Sire Ote was eldest and Gamelyn was yenge,
Wenten to her frendes and passed to the kinge;
Thei maden pees with the king of the best sise.
The king loved wel Sir Ote and made hym justise.
And after, the king made Gamelyn in est and in west,
The cheef justice of his free forest;
Alle his wight yonge men the king foryaf her gilt,
And sithen in good office the king hath hem pilt,
Thus wane Gamelyn his land and his lede,
And wreke him on his enemyes and quytte hem her mede;
And Sire Ote his brother made him his heire,
And sithen wedded Gamelyn a wif good and faire;
They lyved togidere the while that Crist wolde,
And sithen was Gamelyn graven under molde.
And so shull we alle may ther no man fle:
God bring us to that joye that ever shal be!
~ Anonymous Olde English,
498:Avon's Harvest
Fear, like a living fire that only death
Might one day cool, had now in Avon’s eyes
Been witness for so long of an invasion
That made of a gay friend whom we had known
Almost a memory, wore no other name
As yet for us than fear. Another man
Than Avon might have given to us at least
A futile opportunity for words
We might regret. But Avon, since it happened,
Fed with his unrevealing reticence
The fire of death we saw that horribly
Consumed him while he crumbled and said nothing.
So many a time had I been on the edge,
And off again, of a foremeasured fall
Into the darkness and discomfiture
Of his oblique rebuff, that finally
My silence honored his, holding itself
Away from a gratuitous intrusion
That likely would have widened a new distance
Already wide enough, if not so new.
But there are seeming parallels in space
That may converge in time; and so it was
I walked with Avon, fought and pondered with him,
While he made out a case for So-and-so,
Or slaughtered What’s-his-name in his old way,
With a new difference. Nothing in Avon lately
Was, or was ever again to be for us,
Like him that we remembered; and all the while
We saw that fire at work within his eyes
And had no glimpse of what was burning there.
So for a year it went; and so it went
For half another year—when, all at once,
At someone’s tinkling afternoon at home
I saw that in the eyes of Avon’s wife
The fire that I had met the day before
In his had found another living fuel.
To look at her and then to think of him,
And thereupon to contemplate the fall
Of a dim curtain over the dark end
Of a dark play, required of me no more
Clairvoyance than a man who cannot swim
Will exercise in seeing that his friend
Off shore will drown except he save himself.
To her I could say nothing, and to him
No more than tallied with a long belief
That I should only have it back again
For my chagrin to ruminate upon,
Ingloriously, for the still time it starved;
And that would be for me as long a time
As I remembered Avon—who is yet
Not quite forgotten. On the other hand,
For saying nothing I might have with me always
An injured and recriminating ghost
Of a dead friend. The more I pondered it
The more I knew there was not much to lose,
Albeit for one whose delving hitherto
Had been a forage of his own affairs,
The quest, however golden the reward,
Was irksome—and as Avon suddenly
And soon was driven to let me see, was needless.
It seemed an age ago that we were there
One evening in the room that in the days
When they could laugh he called the Library.
“He calls it that, you understand,” she said,
“Because the dictionary always lives here.
He’s not a man of books, yet he can read,
And write. He learned it all at school.”—He smiled,
And answered with a fervor that rang then
Superfluous: “Had I learned a little more
At school, it might have been as well for me.”
And I remember now that he paused then,
Leaving a silence that one had to break.
But this was long ago, and there was now
No laughing in that house. We were alone
This time, and it was Avon’s time to talk.
I waited, and anon became aware
That I was looking less at Avon’s eyes
Than at the dictionary, like one asking
Already why we make so much of words
That have so little weight in the true balance.
“Your name is Resignation for an hour,”
He said; “and I’m a little sorry for you.
So be resigned. I shall not praise your work,
Or strive in any way to make you happy.
My purpose only is to make you know
How clearly I have known that you have known
There was a reason waited on your coming,
And, if it’s in me to see clear enough,
To fish the reason out of a black well
Where you see only a dim sort of glimmer
That has for you no light.”
“I see the well,”
I said, “but there’s a doubt about the glimmer—
Say nothing of the light. I’m at your service;
And though you say that I shall not be happy,
I shall be if in some way I may serve.
To tell you fairly now that I know nothing
Is nothing more than fair.”—“You know as much
As any man alive—save only one man,
If he’s alive. Whether he lives or not
Is rather for time to answer than for me;
And that’s a reason, or a part of one,
For your appearance here. You do not know him,
And even if you should pass him in the street
He might go by without your feeling him
Between you and the world. I cannot say
Whether he would, but I suppose he might.”
“And I suppose you might, if urged,” I said,
“Say in what water it is that we are fishing.
You that have reasons hidden in a well,
Not mentioning all your nameless friends that walk
The streets and are not either dead or living
For company, are surely, one would say
To be forgiven if you may seem distraught—
I mean distrait. I don’t know what I mean.
I only know that I am at your service,
Always, yet with a special reservation
That you may deem eccentric. All the same
Unless your living dead man comes to life,
Or is less indiscriminately dead,
I shall go home.”
“No, you will not go home,”
Said Avon; “or I beg that you will not.”
So saying, he went slowly to the door
And turned the key. “Forgive me and my manners,
But I would be alone with you this evening.
The key, as you observe, is in the lock;
And you may sit between me and the door,
Or where you will. You have my word of honor
That I would spare you the least injury
That might attend your presence here this evening.”
“I thank you for your soothing introduction,
Avon,” I said. “Go on. The Lord giveth,
The Lord taketh away. I trust myself
Always to you and to your courtesy.
Only remember that I cling somewhat
Affectionately to the old tradition.”—
“I understand you and your part,” said Avon;
“And I dare say it’s well enough, tonight,
We play around the circumstance a little.
I’ve read of men that half way to the stake
Would have their little joke. It’s well enough;
Rather a waste of time, but well enough.”
I listened as I waited, and heard steps
Outside of one who paused and then went on;
And, having heard, I might as well have seen
The fear in his wife’s eyes. He gazed away,
As I could see, in helpless thought of her,
And said to me: “Well, then, it was like this.
Some tales will have a deal of going back .
In them before they are begun. But this one
Begins in the beginning—when he came.
I was a boy at school, sixteen years old,
And on my way, in all appearances,
To mark an even-tempered average
Among the major mediocrities
Who serve and earn with no especial noise
Or vast reward. I saw myself, even then,
A light for no high shining; and I feared
No boy or man—having, in truth, no cause.
I was enough a leader to be free,
And not enough a hero to be jealous.
Having eyes and ears, I knew that I was envied,
And as a proper sort of compensation
Had envy of my own for two or three—
But never felt, and surely never gave,
The wound of any more malevolence
Than decent youth, defeated for a day,
May take to bed with him and kill with sleep.
So, and so far, my days were going well,
And would have gone so, but for the black tiger
That many of us fancy is in waiting,
But waits for most of us in fancy only.
For me there was no fancy in his coming,
Though God knows I had never summoned him,
Or thought of him. To this day I’m adrift
And in the dark, out of all reckoning,
To find a reason why he ever was,
Or what was ailing Fate when he was born
On this alleged God-ordered earth of ours.
Now and again there comes one of his kind—
By chance, we say. I leave all that to you.
Whether it was an evil chance alone,
Or some invidious juggling of the stars,
Or some accrued arrears of ancestors
Who throve on debts that I was here to pay,
Or sins within me that I knew not of,
Or just a foretaste of what waits in hell
For those of us who cannot love a worm,—
Whatever it was, or whence or why it was,
One day there came a stranger to the school.
And having had one mordacious glimpse of him
That filled my eyes and was to fill my life,
I have known Peace only as one more word
Among the many others we say over
That have an airy credit of no meaning.
One of these days, if I were seeing many
To live, I might erect a cenotaph
To Job’s wife. I assume that you remember;
If you forget, she’s extant in your Bible.”
Now this was not the language of a man
Whom I had known as Avon, and I winced
Hearing it—though I knew that in my heart
There was no visitation of surprise.
Unwelcome as it was, and off the key
Calamitously, it overlived a silence
That was itself a story and affirmed
A savage emphasis of honesty
That I would only gladly have attuned
If possible, to vinous innovation.
But his indifferent wassailing was always
Too far within the measure of excess
For that; and then there were those eyes of his.
Avon indeed had kept his word with me,
And there was not much yet to make me happy.
“So there we were,” he said, “we two together,
Breathing one air. And how shall I go on
To say by what machinery the slow net
Of my fantastic and increasing hate
Was ever woven as it was around us?
I cannot answer; and you need not ask
What undulating reptile he was like,
For such a worm as I discerned in him
Was never yet on earth or in the ocean,
Or anywhere else than in my sense of him.
Had all I made of him been tangible,
The Lord must have invented long ago
Some private and unspeakable new monster
Equipped for such a thing’s extermination;
Whereon the monster, seeing no other monster
Worth biting, would have died with his work done.
There’s a humiliation in it now,
As there was then, and worse than there was then;
For then there was the boy to shoulder it
Without the sickening weight of added years
Galling him to the grave. Beware of hate
That has no other boundary than the grave
Made for it, or for ourselves. Beware, I say;
And I’m a sorry one, I fear, to say it,
Though for the moment we may let that go
And while I’m interrupting my own story
I’ll ask of you the favor of a look
Into the street. I like it when it’s empty.
There’s only one man walking? Let him walk.
I wish to God that all men might walk always,
And so, being busy, love one another more.”
“Avon,” I said, now in my chair again,
“Although I may not be here to be happy,
If you are careless, I may have to laugh.
I have disliked a few men in my life,
But never to the scope of wishing them
To this particular pedestrian hell
Of your affection. I should not like that.
Forgive me, for this time it was your fault.”
He drummed with all his fingers on his chair,
And, after a made smile of acquiescence,
Took up again the theme of his aversion,
Which now had flown along with him alone
For twenty years, like Io’s evil insect,
To sting him when it would. The decencies
Forbade that I should look at him for ever,
Yet many a time I found myself ashamed
Of a long staring at him, and as often
Essayed the dictionary on the table,
Wondering if in its interior
There was an uncompanionable word
To say just what was creeping in my hair,
At which my scalp would shrink,—at which, again,
I would arouse myself with a vain scorn,
Remembering that all this was in New York—
As if that were somehow the banishing
For ever of all unseemly presences—
And listen to the story of my friend,
Who, as I feared, was not for me to save,
And, as I knew, knew also that I feared it.
“Humiliation,” he began again,
“May be or not the best of all bad names
I might employ; and if you scent remorse,
There may be growing such a flower as that
In the unsightly garden where I planted,
Not knowing the seed or what was coming of it.
I’ve done much wondering if I planted it;
But our poor wonder, when it comes too late,
Fights with a lath, and one that solid fact
Breaks while it yawns and looks another way
For a less negligible adversary.
Away with wonder, then; though I’m at odds
With conscience, even tonight, for good assurance
That it was I, or chance and I together,
Did all that sowing. If I seem to you
To be a little bitten by the question,
Without a miracle it might be true;
The miracle is to me that I’m not eaten
Long since to death of it, and that you sit
With nothing more agreeable than a ghost.
If you had thought a while of that, you might,
Unhappily, not have come; and your not coming
Would have been desolation—not for you,
God save the mark!—for I would have you here.
I shall not be alone with you to listen;
And I should be far less alone tonight
With you away, make what you will of that.
“I said that we were going back to school,
And we may say that we are there—with him.
This fellow had no friend, and, as for that,
No sign of an apparent need of one,
Save always and alone—myself. He fixed
His heart and eyes on me, insufferably,—
And in a sort of Nemesis-like way,
Invincibly. Others who might have given
A welcome even to him, or I’ll suppose so—
Adorning an unfortified assumption
With gold that might come off with afterthought—
Got never, if anything, more out of him
Than a word flung like refuse in their faces,
And rarely that. For God knows what good reason,
He lavished his whole altered arrogance
On me; and with an overweening skill,
Which had sometimes almost a cringing in it,
Found a few flaws in my tight mail of hate
And slowly pricked a poison into me
In which at first I failed at recognizing
An unfamiliar subtle sort of pity.
But so it was, and I believe he knew it;
Though even to dream it would have been absurd—
Until I knew it, and there was no need
Of dreaming. For the fellow’s indolence,
And his malignant oily swarthiness
Housing a reptile blood that I could see
Beneath it, like hereditary venom
Out of old human swamps, hardly revealed
Itself the proper spawning-ground of pity.
But so it was. Pity, or something like it,
Was in the poison of his proximity;
For nothing else that I have any name for
Could have invaded and so mastered me
With a slow tolerance that eventually
Assumed a blind ascendency of custom
That saw not even itself. When I came in,
Often I’d find him strewn along my couch
Like an amorphous lizard with its clothes on,
Reading a book and waiting for its dinner.
His clothes were always odiously in order,
Yet I should not have thought of him as clean—
Not even if he had washed himself to death
Proving it. There was nothing right about him.
Then he would search, never quite satisfied,
Though always in a measure confident,
My eyes to find a welcome waiting in them,
Unwilling, as I see him now, to know
That it would never be there. Looking back,
I am not sure that he would not have died
For me, if I were drowning or on fire,
Or that I would not rather have let myself
Die twice than owe the debt of my survival
To him, though he had lost not even his clothes.
No, there was nothing right about that fellow;
And after twenty years to think of him
I should be quite as helpless now to serve him
As I was then. I mean—without my story.
Be patient, and you’ll see just what I mean—
Which is to say, you won’t. But you can listen,
And that’s itself a large accomplishment
Uncrowned; and may be, at a time like this,
A mighty charity. It was in January
This evil genius came into our school,
And it was June when he went out of it—
If I may say that he was wholly out
Of any place that I was in thereafter.
But he was not yet gone. When we are told
By Fate to bear what we may never bear,
Fate waits a little while to see what happens;
And this time it was only for the season
Between the swift midwinter holidays
And the long progress into weeks and months
Of all the days that followed—with him there
To make them longer. I would have given an eye,
Before the summer came, to know for certain
That I should never be condemned again
To see him with the other; and all the while
There was a battle going on within me
Of hate that fought remorse—if you must have it—
Never to win,… never to win but once,
And having won, to lose disastrously,
And as it was to prove, interminably—
Or till an end of living may annul,
If so it be, the nameless obligation
That I have not the Christian revenue
In me to pay. A man who has no gold,
Or an equivalent, shall pay no gold
Until by chance or labor or contrivance
He makes it his to pay; and he that has
No kindlier commodity than hate,
Glossed with a pity that belies itself
In its negation and lacks alchemy
To fuse itself to—love, would you have me say?
I don’t believe it. No, there is no such word.
If I say tolerance, there’s no more to say.
And he who sickens even in saying that—
What coin of God has he to pay the toll
To peace on earth? Good will to men—oh, yes!
That’s easy; and it means no more than sap,
Until we boil the water out of it
Over the fire of sacrifice. I’ll do it;
And in a measurable way I’ve done it—
But not for him. What are you smiling at?
Well, so it went until a day in June.
We were together under an old elm,
Which now, I hope, is gone—though it’s a crime
In me that I should have to wish the death
Of such a tree as that. There were no trees
Like those that grew at school—until he came.
We stood together under it that day,
When he, by some ungovernable chance,
All foreign to the former crafty care
That he had used never to cross my favor,
Told of a lie that stained a friend of mine
With a false blot that a few days washed off.
A trifle now, but a boy’s honor then—
Which then was everything. There were some words
Between us, but I don’t remember them.
All I remember is a bursting flood
Of half a year’s accumulated hate,
And his incredulous eyes before I struck him.
He had gone once too far; and when he knew it,
He knew it was all over; and I struck him.
Pound for pound, he was the better brute;
But bulking in the way then of my fist
And all there was alive in me to drive it,
Three of him misbegotten into one
Would have gone down like him—and being larger,
Might have bled more, if that were necessary.
He came up soon; and if I live for ever,
The vengeance in his eyes, and a weird gleam
Of desolation—it I make you see it—
Will be before me as it is tonight.
I shall not ever know how long it was
I waited his attack that never came;
It might have been an instant or an hour
That I stood ready there, watching his eyes,
And the tears running out of them. They made
Me sick, those tears; for I knew, miserably,
They were not there for any pain he felt.
I do not think he felt the pain at all.
He felt the blow.… Oh, the whole thing was bad—
So bad that even the bleaching suns and rains
Of years that wash away to faded lines,
Or blot out wholly, the sharp wrongs and ills
Of youth, have had no cleansing agent in them
To dim the picture. I still see him going
Away from where I stood; and I shall see him
Longer, sometime, than I shall see the face
Of whosoever watches by the bed
On which I die—given I die that way.
I doubt if he could reason his advantage
In living any longer after that
Among the rest of us. The lad he slandered,
Or gave a negative immunity
No better than a stone he might have thrown
Behind him at his head, was of the few
I might have envied; and for that being known,
My fury became sudden history,
And I a sudden hero. But the crown
I wore was hot; and I would happily
Have hurled it, if I could, so far away
That over my last hissing glimpse of it
There might have closed an ocean. He went home
The next day, and the same unhappy chance
That first had fettered me and my aversion
To his unprofitable need of me
Brought us abruptly face to face again
Beside the carriage that had come for him.
We met, and for a moment we were still—
Together. But I was reading in his eyes
More than I read at college or at law
In years that followed. There was blankly nothing
For me to say, if not that I was sorry;
And that was more than hate would let me say—
Whatever the truth might be. At last he spoke,
And I could see the vengeance in his eyes,
And a cold sorrow—which, if I had seen
Much more of it, might yet have mastered me.
But I would see no more of it. ‘Well, then,’
He said, ‘have you thought yet of anything
Worth saying? If so, there’s time. If you are silent,
I shall know where you are until you die.’
I can still hear him saying those words to me
Again, without a loss or an addition;
I know, for I have heard them ever since.
And there was in me not an answer for them
Save a new roiling silence. Once again
I met his look, and on his face I saw
There was a twisting in the swarthiness
That I had often sworn to be the cast
Of his ophidian mind. He had no soul.
There was to be no more of him—not then.
The carriage rolled away with him inside,
Leaving the two of us alive together
In the same hemisphere to hate each other.
I don’t know now whether he’s here alive,
Or whether he’s here dead. But that, of course,
As you would say, is only a tired man’s fancy.
You know that I have driven the wheels too fast
Of late, and all for gold I do not need.
When are we mortals to be sensible,
Paying no more for life than life is worth?
Better for us, no doubt, we do not know
How much we pay or what it is we buy.”
He waited, gazing at me as if asking
The worth of what the universe had for sale
For one confessed remorse. Avon, I knew,
Had driven the wheels too fast, and not for gold.
“If you had given him then your hand,” I said,
“And spoken, though it strangled you, the truth,
I should not have the melancholy honor
Of sitting here alone with you this evening.
If only you had shaken hands with him,
And said the truth, he would have gone his way.
And you your way. He might have wished you dead,
But he would not have made you miserable.
At least,” I added, indefensibly,
“That’s what I hope is true.”
He pitied me,
But had the magnanimity not to say so.
“If only we had shaken hands,” he said,
“And I had said the truth, we might have been
In half a moment rolling on the gravel.
If I had said the truth, I should have said
That never at any moment on the clock
Above us in the tower since his arrival
Had I been in a more proficient mood
To throttle him. If you had seen his eyes
As I did, and if you had seen his face
At work as I did, you might understand.
I was ashamed of it, as I am now,
But that’s the prelude to another theme;
For now I’m saying only what had happened
If I had taken his hand and said the truth.
The wise have cautioned us that where there’s hate
There’s also fear. The wise are right sometimes.
There may be now, but there was no fear then.
There was just hatred, hauled up out of hell
For me to writhe in; and I writhed in it.”
I saw that he was writhing in it still;
But having a magnanimity myself,
I waited. There was nothing else to do
But wait, and to remember that his tale,
Though well along, as I divined it was,
Yet hovered among shadows and regrets
Of twenty years ago. When he began
Again to speak, I felt them coming nearer.
“Whenever your poet or your philosopher
Has nothing richer for us,” he resumed,
“He burrows among remnants, like a mouse
In a waste-basket, and with much dry noise
Comes up again, having found Time at the bottom
And filled himself with its futility.
‘Time is at once,’ he says, to startle us,
‘A poison for us, if we make it so,
And, if we make it so, an antidote
For the same poison that afflicted us.’
I’m witness to the poison, but the cure
Of my complaint is not, for me, in Time.
There may be doctors in eternity
To deal with it, but they are not here now.
There’s no specific for my three diseases
That I could swallow, even if I should find it,
And I shall never find it here on earth.”
“Mightn’t it be as well, my friend,” I said,
“For you to contemplate the uncompleted
With not such an infernal certainty?”
“And mightn’t it be as well for you, my friend,”
Said Avon, “to be quiet while I go on?
When I am done, then you may talk all night—
Like a physician who can do no good,
But knows how soon another would have his fee
Were he to tell the truth. Your fee for this
Is in my gratitude and my affection;
And I’m not eager to be calling in
Another to take yours away from you,
Whatever it’s worth. I like to think I know.
Well then, again. The carriage rolled away
With him inside; and so it might have gone
For ten years rolling on, with him still in it,
For all it was I saw of him. Sometimes
I heard of him, but only as one hears
Of leprosy in Boston or New York
And wishes it were somewhere else. He faded
Out of my scene—yet never quite out of it:
‘I shall know where you are until you die,’
Were his last words; and they are the same words
That I received thereafter once a year,
Infallibly on my birthday, with no name;
Only a card, and the words printed on it.
No, I was never rid of him—not quite;
Although on shipboard, on my way from here
To Hamburg, I believe that I forgot him.
But once ashore, I should have been half ready
To meet him there, risen up out of the ground,
With hoofs and horns and tail and everything.
Believe me, there was nothing right about him,
Though it was not in Hamburg that I found him.
Later, in Rome, it was we found each other,
For the first time since we had been at school.
There was the same slow vengeance in his eyes
When he saw mine, and there was a vicious twist
On his amphibious face that might have been
On anything else a smile—rather like one
We look for on the stage than in the street.
I must have been a yard away from him
Yet as we passed I felt the touch of him
Like that of something soft in a dark room.
There’s hardly need of saying that we said nothing,
Or that we gave each other an occasion
For more than our eyes uttered. He was gone
Before I knew it, like a solid phantom;
And his reality was for me some time
In its achievement—given that one’s to be
Convinced that such an incubus at large
Was ever quite real. The season was upon us
When there are fitter regions in the world—
Though God knows he would have been safe enough—
Than Rome for strayed Americans to live in,
And when the whips of their itineraries
Hurry them north again. I took my time,
Since I was paying for it, and leisurely
Went where I would—though never again to move
Without him at my elbow or behind me.
My shadow of him, wherever I found myself,
Might horribly as well have been the man—
Although I should have been afraid of him
No more than of a large worm in a salad.
I should omit the salad, certainly,
And wish the worm elsewhere. And so he was,
In fact; yet as I go on to grow older,
I question if there’s anywhere a fact
That isn’t the malevolent existence
Of one man who is dead, or is not dead,
Or what the devil it is that he may be.
There must be, I suppose, a fact somewhere,
But I don’t know it. I can only tell you
That later, when to all appearances
I stood outside a music-hall in London,
I felt him and then saw that he was there.
Yes, he was there, and had with him a woman
Who looked as if she didn’t know. I’m sorry
To this day for that woman—who, no doubt,
Is doing well. Yes, there he was again;
There were his eyes and the same vengeance in them
That I had seen in Rome and twice before—
Not mentioning all the time, or most of it,
Between the day I struck him and that evening.
That was the worst show that I ever saw,
But you had better see it for yourself
Before you say so too. I went away,
Though not for any fear that I could feel
Of him or of his worst manipulations,
But only to be out of the same air
That made him stay alive in the same world
With all the gentlemen that were in irons
For uncommendable extravagances
That I should reckon slight compared with his
Offence of being. Distance would have made him
A moving fly-speck on the map of life,—
But he would not be distant, though his flesh
And bone might have been climbing Fujiyama
Or Chimborazo—with me there in London,
Or sitting here. My doom it was to see him,
Be where I might. That was ten years ago;
And having waited season after season
His always imminent evil recrudescence,
And all for nothing, I was waiting still,
When the Titanic touched a piece of ice
And we were for a moment where we are,
With nature laughing at us. When the noise
Had spent itself to names, his was among them;
And I will not insult you or myself
With a vain perjury. I was far from cold.
It seemed as for the first time in my life
I knew the blessedness of being warm;
And I remember that I had a drink,
Having assuredly no need of it.
Pity a fool for his credulity,
If so you must. But when I found his name
Among the dead, I trusted once the news;
And after that there were no messages
In ambush waiting for me on my birthday.
There was no vestige yet of any fear,
You understand—if that’s why you are smiling.”
I said that I had not so much as whispered
The name aloud of any fear soever,
And that I smiled at his unwonted plunge
Into the perilous pool of Dionysus.
“Well, if you are so easily diverted
As that,” he said, drumming his chair again,
“You will be pleased, I think, with what is coming;
And though there be divisions and departures,
Imminent from now on, for your diversion
I’ll do the best I can. More to the point,
I know a man who if his friends were like him
Would live in the woods all summer and all winter,
Leaving the town and its iniquities
To die of their own dust. But having his wits,
Henceforth he may conceivably avoid
The adventure unattended. Last October
He took me with him into the Maine woods,
Where, by the shore of a primeval lake,
With woods all round it, and a voyage away
From anything wearing clothes, he had reared somehow
A lodge, or camp, with a stone chimney in it,
And a wide fireplace to make men forget
Their sins who sat before it in the evening,
Hearing the wind outside among the trees
And the black water washing on the shore.
I never knew the meaning of October
Until I went with Asher to that place,
Which I shall not investigate again
Till I be taken there by other forces
Than are innate in my economy.
‘You may not like it,’ Asher said, ‘but Asher
Knows what is good. So put your faith in Asher,
And come along with him. He’s an odd bird,
Yet I could wish for the world’s decency
There might be more of him. And so it was
I found myself, at first incredulous,
Down there with Asher in the wilderness,
Alive at last with a new liberty
And with no sore to fester. He perceived
In me an altered favor of God’s works,
And promptly took upon himself the credit,
Which, in a fashion, was as accurate
As one’s interpretation of another
Is like to be. So for a frosty fortnight
We had the sunlight with us on the lake,
And the moon with us when the sun was down.
‘God gave his adjutants a holiday,’
Asher assured me, ‘when He made this place’;
And I agreed with him that it was heaven,—
Till it was hell for me for then and after.
“There was a village miles away from us
Where now and then we paddled for the mail
And incidental small commodities
That perfect exile might require, and stayed
The night after the voyage with an antique
Survival of a broader world than ours
Whom Asher called The Admiral. This time,
A little out of sorts and out of tune
With paddling, I let Asher go alone,
Sure that his heart was happy. Then it was
That hell came. I sat gazing over there
Across the water, watching the sun’s last fire
Above those gloomy and indifferent trees
That might have been a wall around the world,
When suddenly, like faces over the lake,
Out of the silence of that other shore
I was aware of hidden presences
That soon, no matter how many of them there were,
Would all be one. I could not look behind me,
Where I could hear that one of them was breathing,
For, if I did, those others over there
Might all see that at last I was afraid;
And I might hear them without seeing them,
Seeing that other one. You were not there;
And it is well for you that you don’t know
What they are like when they should not be there.
And there were chilly doubts of whether or not
I should be seeing the rest that I should see
With eyes, or otherwise. I could not be sure;
And as for going over to find out,
All I may tell you now is that my fear
Was not the fear of dying, though I knew soon
That all the gold in all the sunken ships
That have gone down since Tyre would not have paid
For me the ferriage of myself alone
To that infernal shore. I was in hell,
Remember; and if you have never been there
You may as well not say how easy it is
To find the best way out. There may not be one.
Well, I was there; and I was there alone—
Alone for the first time since I was born;
And I was not alone. That’s what it is
To be in hell. I hope you will not go there.
All through that slow, long, desolating twilight
Of incoherent certainties, I waited;
Never alone—never to be alone;
And while the night grew down upon me there,
I thought of old Prometheus in the story
That I had read at school, and saw mankind
All huddled into clusters in the dark,
Calling to God for light. There was a light
Coming for them, but there was none for me
Until a shapeless remnant of a moon
Rose after midnight over the black trees
Behind me. I should hardly have confessed
The heritage then of my identity
To my own shadow; for I was powerless there,
As I am here. Say what you like to say
To silence, but say none of it to me
Tonight. To say it now would do no good,
And you are here to listen. Beware of hate,
And listen. Beware of hate, remorse, and fear,
And listen. You are staring at the damned,
But yet you are no more the one than he
To say that it was he alone who planted
The flower of death now growing in his garden.
Was it enough, I wonder, that I struck him?
I shall say nothing. I shall have to wait
Until I see what’s coming, if it comes,
When I’m a delver in another garden—
If such an one there be. If there be none,
All’s well—and over. Rather a vain expense,
One might affirm—yet there is nothing lost.
Science be praised that there is nothing lost.”
I’m glad the venom that was on his tongue
May not go down on paper; and I’m glad
No friend of mine alive, far as I know,
Has a tale waiting for me with an end
Like Avon’s. There was here an interruption,
Though not a long one—only while we heard,
As we had heard before, the ghost of steps
Faintly outside. We knew that she was there
Again; and though it was a kindly folly,
I wished that Avon’s wife would go to sleep.
“I was afraid, this time, but not of man—
Or man as you may figure him,” he said.
“It was not anything my eyes had seen
That I could feel around me in the night,
There by that lake. If I had been alone,
There would have been the joy of being free,
Which in imagination I had won
With unimaginable expiation—
But I was not alone. If you had seen me,
Waiting there for the dark and looking off
Over the gloom of that relentless water,
Which had the stillness of the end of things
That evening on it, I might well have made
For you the picture of the last man left
Where God, in his extinction of the rest,
Had overlooked him and forgotten him.
Yet I was not alone. Interminably
The minutes crawled along and over me,
Slow, cold, intangible, and invisible,
As if they had come up out of that water.
How long I sat there I shall never know,
For time was hidden out there in the black lake,
Which now I could see only as a glimpse
Of black light by the shore. There were no stars
To mention, and the moon was hours away
Behind me. There was nothing but myself,
And what was coming. On my breast I felt
The touch of death, and I should have died then.
I ruined good Asher’s autumn as it was,
For he will never again go there alone,
If ever he goes at all. Nature did ill
To darken such a faith in her as his,
Though he will have it that I had the worst
Of her defection, and will hear no more
Apologies. If it had to be for someone,
I think it well for me it was for Asher.
I dwell on him, meaning that you may know him
Before your last horn blows. He has a name
That’s like a tree, and therefore like himself—
By which I mean you find him where you leave him.
I saw him and The Admiral together
While I was in the dark, but they were far—
Far as around the world from where I was;
And they knew nothing of what I saw not
While I knew only I was not alone.
I made a fire to make the place alive,
And locked the door. But even the fire was dead,
And all the life there was was in the shadow
It made of me. My shadow was all of me;
The rest had had its day, and there was night
Remaining—only night, that’s made for shadows,
Shadows and sleep and dreams, or dreams without it.
The fire went slowly down, and now the moon,
Or that late wreck of it, was coming up;
And though it was a martyr’s work to move,
I must obey my shadow, and I did.
There were two beds built low against the wall,
And down on one of them, with all my clothes on,
Like a man getting into his own grave,
I lay—and waited. As the firelight sank,
The moonlight, which had partly been consumed
By the black trees, framed on the other wall
A glimmering window not far from the ground.
The coals were going, and only a few sparks
Were there to tell of them; and as they died
The window lightened, and I saw the trees.
They moved a little, but I could not move,
More than to turn my face the other way;
And then, if you must have it so, I slept.
We’ll call it so—if sleep is your best name
For a sort of conscious, frozen catalepsy
Wherein a man sees all there is around him
As if it were not real, and he were not
Alive. You may call it anything you please
That made me powerless to move hand or foot,
Or to make any other living motion
Than after a long horror, without hope,
To turn my face again the other way.
Some force that was not mine opened my eyes,
And, as I knew it must be,—it was there.”
Avon covered his eyes—whether to shut
The memory and the sight of it away,
Or to be sure that mine were for the moment
Not searching his with pity, is now no matter.
My glance at him was brief, turning itself
To the familiar pattern of his rug,
Wherein I may have sought a consolation—
As one may gaze in sorrow on a shell,
Or a small apple. So it had come, I thought;
And heard, no longer with a wonderment,
The faint recurring footsteps of his wife,
Who, knowing less than I knew, yet knew more.
Now I could read, I fancied, through the fear
That latterly was living in her eyes,
To the sure source of its authority.
But he went on, and I was there to listen:
“And though I saw it only as a blot
Between me and my life, it was enough
To make me know that he was watching there—
Waiting for me to move, or not to move,
Before he moved. Sick as I was with hate
Reborn, and chained with fear that was more than fear,
I would have gambled all there was to gain
Or lose in rising there from where I lay
And going out after it. ‘Before the dawn,’
I reasoned, ‘there will be a difference here.
Therefore it may as well be done outside.’
And then I found I was immovable,
As I had been before; and a dead sweat
Rolled out of me as I remembered him
When I had seen him leaving me at school.
‘I shall know where you are until you die,’
Were the last words that I had heard him say;
And there he was. Now I could see his face,
And all the sad, malignant desperation
That was drawn on it after I had struck him,
And on my memory since that afternoon.
But all there was left now for me to do
Was to lie there and see him while he squeezed
His unclean outlines into the dim room,
And half erect inside, like a still beast
With a face partly man’s, came slowly on
Along the floor to the bed where I lay,
And waited. There had been so much of waiting,
Through all those evil years before my respite—
Which now I knew and recognized at last
As only his more venomous preparation
For the vile end of a deceiving peace—
That I began to fancy there was on me
The stupor that explorers have alleged
As evidence of nature’s final mercy
When tigers have them down upon the earth
And wild hot breath is heavy on their faces.
I could not feel his breath, but I could hear it;
Though fear had made an anvil of my heart
Where demons, for the joy of doing it,
Were sledging death down on it. And I saw
His eyes now, as they were, for the first time—
Aflame as they had never been before
With all their gathered vengeance gleaming in them,
And always that unconscionable sorrow
That would not die behind it. Then I caught
The shadowy glimpse of an uplifted arm,
And a moon-flash of metal. That was all.…
“When I believed I was alive again
I was with Asher and The Admiral,
Whom Asher had brought with him for a day
With nature. They had found me when they came;
And there was not much left of me to find.
I had not moved or known that I was there
Since I had seen his eyes and felt his breath;
And it was not for some uncertain hours
After they came that either would say how long
That might have been. It should have been much longer.
All you may add will be your own invention,
For I have told you all there is to tell.
Tomorrow I shall have another birthday,
And with it there may come another message—
Although I cannot see the need of it,
Or much more need of drowning, if that’s all
Men drown for—when they drown. You know as much
As I know about that, though I’ve a right,
If not a reason, to be on my guard;
And only God knows what good that will do.
Now you may get some air. Good night!—and thank you.”
He smiled, but I would rather he had not.
I wished that Avon’s wife would go to sleep,
But whether she found sleep that night or not
I do not know. I was awake for hours,
Toiling in vain to let myself believe
That Avon’s apparition was a dream,
And that he might have added, for romance,
The part that I had taken home with me
For reasons not in Avon’s dictionary.
But each recurrent memory of his eyes,
And of the man himself that I had known
So long and well, made soon of all my toil
An evanescent and a vain evasion;
And it was half as in expectancy
That I obeyed the summons of his wife
A little before dawn, and was again
With Avon in the room where I had left him,
But not with the same Avon I had left.
The doctor, an august authority,
With eminence abroad as well as here,
Looked hard at me as if I were the doctor
And he the friend. “I have had eyes on Avon
For more than half a year,” he said to me,
“And I have wondered often what it was
That I could see that I was not to see.
Though he was in the chair where you are looking,
I told his wife—I had to tell her something—
It was a nightmare and an aneurism;
And so, or partly so, I’ll say it was.
The last without the first will be enough
For the newspapers and the undertaker;
Yet if we doctors were not all immune
From death, disease, and curiosity,
My diagnosis would be sorry for me.
He died, you know, because he was afraid—
And he had been afraid for a long time;
And we who knew him well would all agree
To fancy there was rather more than fear.
The door was locked inside—they broke it in
To find him—but she heard him when it came.
There are no signs of any visitors,
Or need of them. If I were not a child
Of science, I should say it was the devil.
I don’t believe it was another woman,
And surely it was not another man.”
~ Edwin Arlington Robinson,
499:Gareth And Lynette
The last tall son of Lot and Bellicent,
And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful spring
Stared at the spate. A slender-shafted Pine
Lost footing, fell, and so was whirled away.
'How he went down,' said Gareth, 'as a false knight
Or evil king before my lance if lance
Were mine to use--O senseless cataract,
Bearing all down in thy precipitancy-And yet thou art but swollen with cold snows
And mine is living blood: thou dost His will,
The Maker's, and not knowest, and I that know,
Have strength and wit, in my good mother's hall
Linger with vacillating obedience,
Prisoned, and kept and coaxed and whistled to-Since the good mother holds me still a child!
Good mother is bad mother unto me!
A worse were better; yet no worse would I.
Heaven yield her for it, but in me put force
To weary her ears with one continuous prayer,
Until she let me fly discaged to sweep
In ever-highering eagle-circles up
To the great Sun of Glory, and thence swoop
Down upon all things base, and dash them dead,
A knight of Arthur, working out his will,
To cleanse the world. Why, Gawain, when he came
With Modred hither in the summertime,
Asked me to tilt with him, the proven knight.
Modred for want of worthier was the judge.
Then I so shook him in the saddle, he said,
"Thou hast half prevailed against me," said so--he-Though Modred biting his thin lips was mute,
For he is alway sullen: what care I?'
And Gareth went, and hovering round her chair
Asked, 'Mother, though ye count me still the child,
Sweet mother, do ye love the child?' She laughed,
'Thou art but a wild-goose to question it.'
'Then, mother, an ye love the child,' he said,
'Being a goose and rather tame than wild,
Hear the child's story.' 'Yea, my well-beloved,
An 'twere but of the goose and golden eggs.'
And Gareth answered her with kindling eyes,
'Nay, nay, good mother, but this egg of mine
Was finer gold than any goose can lay;
For this an Eagle, a royal Eagle, laid
Almost beyond eye-reach, on such a palm
As glitters gilded in thy Book of Hours.
And there was ever haunting round the palm
A lusty youth, but poor, who often saw
The splendour sparkling from aloft, and thought
"An I could climb and lay my hand upon it,
Then were I wealthier than a leash of kings."
But ever when he reached a hand to climb,
One, that had loved him from his childhood, caught
And stayed him, "Climb not lest thou break thy neck,
I charge thee by my love," and so the boy,
Sweet mother, neither clomb, nor brake his neck,
But brake his very heart in pining for it,
And past away.'
To whom the mother said,
'True love, sweet son, had risked himself and climbed,
And handed down the golden treasure to him.'
And Gareth answered her with kindling eyes,
'Gold?' said I gold?--ay then, why he, or she,
Or whosoe'er it was, or half the world
Had ventured--HAD the thing I spake of been
Mere gold--but this was all of that true steel,
Whereof they forged the brand Excalibur,
And lightnings played about it in the storm,
And all the little fowl were flurried at it,
And there were cries and clashings in the nest,
That sent him from his senses: let me go.'
Then Bellicent bemoaned herself and said,
'Hast thou no pity upon my loneliness?
Lo, where thy father Lot beside the hearth
Lies like a log, and all but smouldered out!
For ever since when traitor to the King
He fought against him in the Barons' war,
And Arthur gave him back his territory,
His age hath slowly droopt, and now lies there
A yet-warm corpse, and yet unburiable,
No more; nor sees, nor hears, nor speaks, nor knows.
And both thy brethren are in Arthur's hall,
Albeit neither loved with that full love
I feel for thee, nor worthy such a love:
Stay therefore thou; red berries charm the bird,
And thee, mine innocent, the jousts, the wars,
Who never knewest finger-ache, nor pang
Of wrenched or broken limb--an often chance
In those brain-stunning shocks, and tourney-falls,
Frights to my heart; but stay: follow the deer
By these tall firs and our fast-falling burns;
So make thy manhood mightier day by day;
Sweet is the chase: and I will seek thee out
Some comfortable bride and fair, to grace
Thy climbing life, and cherish my prone year,
Till falling into Lot's forgetfulness
I know not thee, myself, nor anything.
Stay, my best son! ye are yet more boy than man.'
Then Gareth, 'An ye hold me yet for child,
Hear yet once more the story of the child.
For, mother, there was once a King, like ours.
The prince his heir, when tall and marriageable,
Asked for a bride; and thereupon the King
Set two before him. One was fair, strong, armed-But to be won by force--and many men
Desired her; one good lack, no man desired.
And these were the conditions of the King:
That save he won the first by force, he needs
Must wed that other, whom no man desired,
A red-faced bride who knew herself so vile,
That evermore she longed to hide herself,
Nor fronted man or woman, eye to eye-Yea--some she cleaved to, but they died of her.
And one--they called her Fame; and one,--O Mother,
How can ye keep me tethered to you--Shame.
Man am I grown, a man's work must I do.
Follow the deer? follow the Christ, the King,
Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King-Else, wherefore born?'
To whom the mother said
'Sweet son, for there be many who deem him not,
Or will not deem him, wholly proven King-Albeit in mine own heart I knew him King,
When I was frequent with him in my youth,
And heard him Kingly speak, and doubted him
No more than he, himself; but felt him mine,
Of closest kin to me: yet--wilt thou leave
Thine easeful biding here, and risk thine all,
Life, limbs, for one that is not proven King?
Stay, till the cloud that settles round his birth
Hath lifted but a little. Stay, sweet son.'
And Gareth answered quickly, 'Not an hour,
So that ye yield me--I will walk through fire,
Mother, to gain it--your full leave to go.
Not proven, who swept the dust of ruined Rome
From off the threshold of the realm, and crushed
The Idolaters, and made the people free?
Who should be King save him who makes us free?'
So when the Queen, who long had sought in vain
To break him from the intent to which he grew,
Found her son's will unwaveringly one,
She answered craftily, 'Will ye walk through fire?
Who walks through fire will hardly heed the smoke.
Ay, go then, an ye must: only one proof,
Before thou ask the King to make thee knight,
Of thine obedience and thy love to me,
Thy mother,--I demand.
And Gareth cried,
'A hard one, or a hundred, so I go.
Nay--quick! the proof to prove me to the quick!'
But slowly spake the mother looking at him,
'Prince, thou shalt go disguised to Arthur's hall,
And hire thyself to serve for meats and drinks
Among the scullions and the kitchen-knaves,
And those that hand the dish across the bar.
Nor shalt thou tell thy name to anyone.
And thou shalt serve a twelvemonth and a day.'
For so the Queen believed that when her son
Beheld his only way to glory lead
Low down through villain kitchen-vassalage,
Her own true Gareth was too princely-proud
To pass thereby; so should he rest with her,
Closed in her castle from the sound of arms.
Silent awhile was Gareth, then replied,
'The thrall in person may be free in soul,
And I shall see the jousts. Thy son am I,
And since thou art my mother, must obey.
I therefore yield me freely to thy will;
For hence will I, disguised, and hire myself
To serve with scullions and with kitchen-knaves;
Nor tell my name to any--no, not the King.'
Gareth awhile lingered. The mother's eye
Full of the wistful fear that he would go,
And turning toward him wheresoe'er he turned,
Perplext his outward purpose, till an hour,
When wakened by the wind which with full voice
Swept bellowing through the darkness on to dawn,
He rose, and out of slumber calling two
That still had tended on him from his birth,
Before the wakeful mother heard him, went.
The three were clad like tillers of the soil.
Southward they set their faces. The birds made
Melody on branch, and melody in mid air.
The damp hill-slopes were quickened into green,
And the live green had kindled into flowers,
For it was past the time of Easterday.
So, when their feet were planted on the plain
That broadened toward the base of Camelot,
Far off they saw the silver-misty morn
Rolling her smoke about the Royal mount,
That rose between the forest and the field.
At times the summit of the high city flashed;
At times the spires and turrets half-way down
Pricked through the mist; at times the great gate shone
Only, that opened on the field below:
Anon, the whole fair city had disappeared.
Then those who went with Gareth were amazed,
One crying, 'Let us go no further, lord.
Here is a city of Enchanters, built
By fairy Kings.' The second echoed him,
'Lord, we have heard from our wise man at home
To Northward, that this King is not the King,
But only changeling out of Fairyland,
Who drave the heathen hence by sorcery
And Merlin's glamour.' Then the first again,
'Lord, there is no such city anywhere,
But all a vision.'
Gareth answered them
With laughter, swearing he had glamour enow
In his own blood, his princedom, youth and hopes,
To plunge old Merlin in the Arabian sea;
So pushed them all unwilling toward the gate.
And there was no gate like it under heaven.
For barefoot on the keystone, which was lined
And rippled like an ever-fleeting wave,
The Lady of the Lake stood: all her dress
Wept from her sides as water flowing away;
But like the cross her great and goodly arms
Stretched under the cornice and upheld:
And drops of water fell from either hand;
And down from one a sword was hung, from one
A censer, either worn with wind and storm;
And o'er her breast floated the sacred fish;
And in the space to left of her, and right,
Were Arthur's wars in weird devices done,
New things and old co-twisted, as if Time
Were nothing, so inveterately, that men
Were giddy gazing there; and over all
High on the top were those three Queens, the friends
Of Arthur, who should help him at his need.
Then those with Gareth for so long a space
Stared at the figures, that at last it seemed
The dragon-boughts and elvish emblemings
Began to move, seethe, twine and curl: they called
To Gareth, 'Lord, the gateway is alive.'
And Gareth likewise on them fixt his eyes
So long, that even to him they seemed to move.
Out of the city a blast of music pealed.
Back from the gate started the three, to whom
From out thereunder came an ancient man,
Long-bearded, saying, 'Who be ye, my sons?'
Then Gareth, 'We be tillers of the soil,
Who leaving share in furrow come to see
The glories of our King: but these, my men,
(Your city moved so weirdly in the mist)
Doubt if the King be King at all, or come
From Fairyland; and whether this be built
By magic, and by fairy Kings and Queens;
Or whether there be any city at all,
Or all a vision: and this music now
Hath scared them both, but tell thou these the truth.'
Then that old Seer made answer playing on him
And saying, 'Son, I have seen the good ship sail
Keel upward, and mast downward, in the heavens,
And solid turrets topsy-turvy in air:
And here is truth; but an it please thee not,
Take thou the truth as thou hast told it me.
For truly as thou sayest, a Fairy King
And Fairy Queens have built the city, son;
They came from out a sacred mountain-cleft
Toward the sunrise, each with harp in hand,
And built it to the music of their harps.
And, as thou sayest, it is enchanted, son,
For there is nothing in it as it seems
Saving the King; though some there be that hold
The King a shadow, and the city real:
Yet take thou heed of him, for, so thou pass
Beneath this archway, then wilt thou become
A thrall to his enchantments, for the King
Will bind thee by such vows, as is a shame
A man should not be bound by, yet the which
No man can keep; but, so thou dread to swear,
Pass not beneath this gateway, but abide
Without, among the cattle of the field.
For an ye heard a music, like enow
They are building still, seeing the city is built
To music, therefore never built at all,
And therefore built for ever.'
Gareth spake
Angered, 'Old master, reverence thine own beard
That looks as white as utter truth, and seems
Wellnigh as long as thou art statured tall!
Why mockest thou the stranger that hath been
To thee fair-spoken?'
But the Seer replied,
'Know ye not then the Riddling of the Bards?
"Confusion, and illusion, and relation,
Elusion, and occasion, and evasion"?
I mock thee not but as thou mockest me,
And all that see thee, for thou art not who
Thou seemest, but I know thee who thou art.
And now thou goest up to mock the King,
Who cannot brook the shadow of any lie.'
Unmockingly the mocker ending here
Turned to the right, and past along the plain;
Whom Gareth looking after said, 'My men,
Our one white lie sits like a little ghost
Here on the threshold of our enterprise.
Let love be blamed for it, not she, nor I:
Well, we will make amends.'
With all good cheer
He spake and laughed, then entered with his twain
Camelot, a city of shadowy palaces
And stately, rich in emblem and the work
Of ancient kings who did their days in stone;
Which Merlin's hand, the Mage at Arthur's court,
Knowing all arts, had touched, and everywhere
At Arthur's ordinance, tipt with lessening peak
And pinnacle, and had made it spire to heaven.
And ever and anon a knight would pass
Outward, or inward to the hall: his arms
Clashed; and the sound was good to Gareth's ear.
And out of bower and casement shyly glanced
Eyes of pure women, wholesome stars of love;
And all about a healthful people stept
As in the presence of a gracious king.
Then into hall Gareth ascending heard
A voice, the voice of Arthur, and beheld
Far over heads in that long-vaulted hall
The splendour of the presence of the King
Throned, and delivering doom--and looked no more-But felt his young heart hammering in his ears,
And thought, 'For this half-shadow of a lie
The truthful King will doom me when I speak.'
Yet pressing on, though all in fear to find
Sir Gawain or Sir Modred, saw nor one
Nor other, but in all the listening eyes
Of those tall knights, that ranged about the throne,
Clear honour shining like the dewy star
Of dawn, and faith in their great King, with pure
Affection, and the light of victory,
And glory gained, and evermore to gain.
Then came a widow crying to the King,
'A boon, Sir King! Thy father, Uther, reft
From my dead lord a field with violence:
For howsoe'er at first he proffered gold,
Yet, for the field was pleasant in our eyes,
We yielded not; and then he reft us of it
Perforce, and left us neither gold nor field.'
Said Arthur, 'Whether would ye? gold or field?'
To whom the woman weeping, 'Nay, my lord,
The field was pleasant in my husband's eye.'
And Arthur, 'Have thy pleasant field again,
And thrice the gold for Uther's use thereof,
According to the years. No boon is here,
But justice, so thy say be proven true.
Accursed, who from the wrongs his father did
Would shape himself a right!'
And while she past,
Came yet another widow crying to him,
'A boon, Sir King! Thine enemy, King, am I.
With thine own hand thou slewest my dear lord,
A knight of Uther in the Barons' war,
When Lot and many another rose and fought
Against thee, saying thou wert basely born.
I held with these, and loathe to ask thee aught.
Yet lo! my husband's brother had my son
Thralled in his castle, and hath starved him dead;
And standeth seized of that inheritance
Which thou that slewest the sire hast left the son.
So though I scarce can ask it thee for hate,
Grant me some knight to do the battle for me,
Kill the foul thief, and wreak me for my son.'
Then strode a good knight forward, crying to him,
'A boon, Sir King! I am her kinsman, I.
Give me to right her wrong, and slay the man.'
Then came Sir Kay, the seneschal, and cried,
'A boon, Sir King! even that thou grant her none,
This railer, that hath mocked thee in full hall-None; or the wholesome boon of gyve and gag.'
But Arthur, 'We sit King, to help the wronged
Through all our realm. The woman loves her lord.
Peace to thee, woman, with thy loves and hates!
The kings of old had doomed thee to the flames,
Aurelius Emrys would have scourged thee dead,
And Uther slit thy tongue: but get thee hence-Lest that rough humour of the kings of old
Return upon me! Thou that art her kin,
Go likewise; lay him low and slay him not,
But bring him here, that I may judge the right,
According to the justice of the King:
Then, be he guilty, by that deathless King
Who lived and died for men, the man shall die.'
Then came in hall the messenger of Mark,
A name of evil savour in the land,
The Cornish king. In either hand he bore
What dazzled all, and shone far-off as shines
A field of charlock in the sudden sun
Between two showers, a cloth of palest gold,
Which down he laid before the throne, and knelt,
Delivering, that his lord, the vassal king,
Was even upon his way to Camelot;
For having heard that Arthur of his grace
Had made his goodly cousin, Tristram, knight,
And, for himself was of the greater state,
Being a king, he trusted his liege-lord
Would yield him this large honour all the more;
So prayed him well to accept this cloth of gold,
In token of true heart and felty.
Then Arthur cried to rend the cloth, to rend
In pieces, and so cast it on the hearth.
An oak-tree smouldered there. 'The goodly knight!
What! shall the shield of Mark stand among these?'
For, midway down the side of that long hall
A stately pile,--whereof along the front,
Some blazoned, some but carven, and some blank,
There ran a treble range of stony shields,-Rose, and high-arching overbrowed the hearth.
And under every shield a knight was named:
For this was Arthur's custom in his hall;
When some good knight had done one noble deed,
His arms were carven only; but if twain
His arms were blazoned also; but if none,
The shield was blank and bare without a sign
Saving the name beneath; and Gareth saw
The shield of Gawain blazoned rich and bright,
And Modred's blank as death; and Arthur cried
To rend the cloth and cast it on the hearth.
'More like are we to reave him of his crown
Than make him knight because men call him king.
The kings we found, ye know we stayed their hands
From war among themselves, but left them kings;
Of whom were any bounteous, merciful,
Truth-speaking, brave, good livers, them we enrolled
Among us, and they sit within our hall.
But as Mark hath tarnished the great name of king,
As Mark would sully the low state of churl:
And, seeing he hath sent us cloth of gold,
Return, and meet, and hold him from our eyes,
Lest we should lap him up in cloth of lead,
Silenced for ever--craven--a man of plots,
Craft, poisonous counsels, wayside ambushings-No fault of thine: let Kay the seneschal
Look to thy wants, and send thee satisfied-Accursed, who strikes nor lets the hand be seen!'
And many another suppliant crying came
With noise of ravage wrought by beast and man,
And evermore a knight would ride away.
Last, Gareth leaning both hands heavily
Down on the shoulders of the twain, his men,
Approached between them toward the King, and asked,
'A boon, Sir King (his voice was all ashamed),
For see ye not how weak and hungerworn
I seem--leaning on these? grant me to serve
For meat and drink among thy kitchen-knaves
A twelvemonth and a day, nor seek my name.
Hereafter I will fight.'
To him the King,
'A goodly youth and worth a goodlier boon!
But so thou wilt no goodlier, then must Kay,
The master of the meats and drinks, be thine.'
He rose and past; then Kay, a man of mien
Wan-sallow as the plant that feels itself
Root-bitten by white lichen,
'Lo ye now!
This fellow hath broken from some Abbey, where,
God wot, he had not beef and brewis enow,
However that might chance! but an he work,
Like any pigeon will I cram his crop,
And sleeker shall he shine than any hog.'
Then Lancelot standing near, 'Sir Seneschal,
Sleuth-hound thou knowest, and gray, and all the hounds;
A horse thou knowest, a man thou dost not know:
Broad brows and fair, a fluent hair and fine,
High nose, a nostril large and fine, and hands
Large, fair and fine!--Some young lad's mystery-But, or from sheepcot or king's hall, the boy
Is noble-natured. Treat him with all grace,
Lest he should come to shame thy judging of him.'
Then Kay, 'What murmurest thou of mystery?
Think ye this fellow will poison the King's dish?
Nay, for he spake too fool-like: mystery!
Tut, an the lad were noble, he had asked
For horse and armour: fair and fine, forsooth!
Sir Fine-face, Sir Fair-hands? but see thou to it
That thine own fineness, Lancelot, some fine day
Undo thee not--and leave my man to me.'
So Gareth all for glory underwent
The sooty yoke of kitchen-vassalage;
Ate with young lads his portion by the door,
And couched at night with grimy kitchen-knaves.
And Lancelot ever spake him pleasantly,
But Kay the seneschal, who loved him not,
Would hustle and harry him, and labour him
Beyond his comrade of the hearth, and set
To turn the broach, draw water, or hew wood,
Or grosser tasks; and Gareth bowed himself
With all obedience to the King, and wrought
All kind of service with a noble ease
That graced the lowliest act in doing it.
And when the thralls had talk among themselves,
And one would praise the love that linkt the King
And Lancelot--how the King had saved his life
In battle twice, and Lancelot once the King's-For Lancelot was the first in Tournament,
But Arthur mightiest on the battle-field-Gareth was glad. Or if some other told,
How once the wandering forester at dawn,
Far over the blue tarns and hazy seas,
On Caer-Eryri's highest found the King,
A naked babe, of whom the Prophet spake,
'He passes to the Isle Avilion,
He passes and is healed and cannot die'-Gareth was glad. But if their talk were foul,
Then would he whistle rapid as any lark,
Or carol some old roundelay, and so loud
That first they mocked, but, after, reverenced him.
Or Gareth telling some prodigious tale
Of knights, who sliced a red life-bubbling way
Through twenty folds of twisted dragon, held
All in a gap-mouthed circle his good mates
Lying or sitting round him, idle hands,
Charmed; till Sir Kay, the seneschal, would come
Blustering upon them, like a sudden wind
Among dead leaves, and drive them all apart.
Or when the thralls had sport among themselves,
So there were any trial of mastery,
He, by two yards in casting bar or stone
Was counted best; and if there chanced a joust,
So that Sir Kay nodded him leave to go,
Would hurry thither, and when he saw the knights
Clash like the coming and retiring wave,
And the spear spring, and good horse reel, the boy
Was half beyond himself for ecstasy.
So for a month he wrought among the thralls;
But in the weeks that followed, the good Queen,
Repentant of the word she made him swear,
And saddening in her childless castle, sent,
Between the in-crescent and de-crescent moon,
Arms for her son, and loosed him from his vow.
This, Gareth hearing from a squire of Lot
With whom he used to play at tourney once,
When both were children, and in lonely haunts
Would scratch a ragged oval on the sand,
And each at either dash from either end-Shame never made girl redder than Gareth joy.
He laughed; he sprang. 'Out of the smoke, at once
I leap from Satan's foot to Peter's knee-These news be mine, none other's--nay, the King's--
Descend into the city:' whereon he sought
The King alone, and found, and told him all.
'I have staggered thy strong Gawain in a tilt
For pastime; yea, he said it: joust can I.
Make me thy knight--in secret! let my name
Be hidden, and give me the first quest, I spring
Like flame from ashes.'
Here the King's calm eye
Fell on, and checked, and made him flush, and bow
Lowly, to kiss his hand, who answered him,
'Son, the good mother let me know thee here,
And sent her wish that I would yield thee thine.
Make thee my knight? my knights are sworn to vows
Of utter hardihood, utter gentleness,
And, loving, utter faithfulness in love,
And uttermost obedience to the King.'
Then Gareth, lightly springing from his knees,
'My King, for hardihood I can promise thee.
For uttermost obedience make demand
Of whom ye gave me to, the Seneschal,
No mellow master of the meats and drinks!
And as for love, God wot, I love not yet,
But love I shall, God willing.'
And the King
'Make thee my knight in secret? yea, but he,
Our noblest brother, and our truest man,
And one with me in all, he needs must know.'
'Let Lancelot know, my King, let Lancelot know,
Thy noblest and thy truest!'
And the King-'But wherefore would ye men should wonder at you?
Nay, rather for the sake of me, their King,
And the deed's sake my knighthood do the deed,
Than to be noised of.'
Merrily Gareth asked,
'Have I not earned my cake in baking of it?
Let be my name until I make my name!
My deeds will speak: it is but for a day.'
So with a kindly hand on Gareth's arm
Smiled the great King, and half-unwillingly
Loving his lusty youthhood yielded to him.
Then, after summoning Lancelot privily,
'I have given him the first quest: he is not proven.
Look therefore when he calls for this in hall,
Thou get to horse and follow him far away.
Cover the lions on thy shield, and see
Far as thou mayest, he be nor ta'en nor slain.'
Then that same day there past into the hall
A damsel of high lineage, and a brow
May-blossom, and a cheek of apple-blossom,
Hawk-eyes; and lightly was her slender nose
Tip-tilted like the petal of a flower;
She into hall past with her page and cried,
'O King, for thou hast driven the foe without,
See to the foe within! bridge, ford, beset
By bandits, everyone that owns a tower
The Lord for half a league. Why sit ye there?
Rest would I not, Sir King, an I were king,
Till even the lonest hold were all as free
From cursd bloodshed, as thine altar-cloth
From that best blood it is a sin to spill.'
'Comfort thyself,' said Arthur. 'I nor mine
Rest: so my knighthood keep the vows they swore,
The wastest moorland of our realm shall be
Safe, damsel, as the centre of this hall.
What is thy name? thy need?'
'My name?' she said-'Lynette my name; noble; my need, a knight
To combat for my sister, Lyonors,
A lady of high lineage, of great lands,
And comely, yea, and comelier than myself.
She lives in Castle Perilous: a river
Runs in three loops about her living-place;
And o'er it are three passings, and three knights
Defend the passings, brethren, and a fourth
And of that four the mightiest, holds her stayed
In her own castle, and so besieges her
To break her will, and make her wed with him:
And but delays his purport till thou send
To do the battle with him, thy chief man
Sir Lancelot whom he trusts to overthrow,
Then wed, with glory: but she will not wed
Save whom she loveth, or a holy life.
Now therefore have I come for Lancelot.'
Then Arthur mindful of Sir Gareth asked,
'Damsel, ye know this Order lives to crush
All wrongers of the Realm. But say, these four,
Who be they? What the fashion of the men?'
'They be of foolish fashion, O Sir King,
The fashion of that old knight-errantry
Who ride abroad, and do but what they will;
Courteous or bestial from the moment, such
As have nor law nor king; and three of these
Proud in their fantasy call themselves the Day,
Morning-Star, and Noon-Sun, and Evening-Star,
Being strong fools; and never a whit more wise
The fourth, who alway rideth armed in black,
A huge man-beast of boundless savagery.
He names himself the Night and oftener Death,
And wears a helmet mounted with a skull,
And bears a skeleton figured on his arms,
To show that who may slay or scape the three,
Slain by himself, shall enter endless night.
And all these four be fools, but mighty men,
And therefore am I come for Lancelot.'
Hereat Sir Gareth called from where he rose,
A head with kindling eyes above the throng,
'A boon, Sir King--this quest!' then--for he marked
Kay near him groaning like a wounded bull-'Yea, King, thou knowest thy kitchen-knave am I,
And mighty through thy meats and drinks am I,
And I can topple over a hundred such.
Thy promise, King,' and Arthur glancing at him,
Brought down a momentary brow. 'Rough, sudden,
And pardonable, worthy to be knight-Go therefore,' and all hearers were amazed.
But on the damsel's forehead shame, pride, wrath
Slew the May-white: she lifted either arm,
'Fie on thee, King! I asked for thy chief knight,
And thou hast given me but a kitchen-knave.'
Then ere a man in hall could stay her, turned,
Fled down the lane of access to the King,
Took horse, descended the slope street, and past
The weird white gate, and paused without, beside
The field of tourney, murmuring 'kitchen-knave.'
Now two great entries opened from the hall,
At one end one, that gave upon a range
Of level pavement where the King would pace
At sunrise, gazing over plain and wood;
And down from this a lordly stairway sloped
Till lost in blowing trees and tops of towers;
And out by this main doorway past the King.
But one was counter to the hearth, and rose
High that the highest-crested helm could ride
Therethrough nor graze: and by this entry fled
The damsel in her wrath, and on to this
Sir Gareth strode, and saw without the door
King Arthur's gift, the worth of half a town,
A warhorse of the best, and near it stood
The two that out of north had followed him:
This bare a maiden shield, a casque; that held
The horse, the spear; whereat Sir Gareth loosed
A cloak that dropt from collar-bone to heel,
A cloth of roughest web, and cast it down,
And from it like a fuel-smothered fire,
That lookt half-dead, brake bright, and flashed as those
Dull-coated things, that making slide apart
Their dusk wing-cases, all beneath there burns
A jewelled harness, ere they pass and fly.
So Gareth ere he parted flashed in arms.
Then as he donned the helm, and took the shield
And mounted horse and graspt a spear, of grain
Storm-strengthened on a windy site, and tipt
With trenchant steel, around him slowly prest
The people, while from out of kitchen came
The thralls in throng, and seeing who had worked
Lustier than any, and whom they could but love,
Mounted in arms, threw up their caps and cried,
'God bless the King, and all his fellowship!'
And on through lanes of shouting Gareth rode
Down the slope street, and past without the gate.
So Gareth past with joy; but as the cur
Pluckt from the cur he fights with, ere his cause
Be cooled by fighting, follows, being named,
His owner, but remembers all, and growls
Remembering, so Sir Kay beside the door
Muttered in scorn of Gareth whom he used
To harry and hustle.
'Bound upon a quest
With horse and arms--the King hath past his time-My scullion knave! Thralls to your work again,
For an your fire be low ye kindle mine!
Will there be dawn in West and eve in East?
Begone!--my knave!--belike and like enow
Some old head-blow not heeded in his youth
So shook his wits they wander in his prime-Crazed! How the villain lifted up his voice,
Nor shamed to bawl himself a kitchen-knave.
Tut: he was tame and meek enow with me,
Till peacocked up with Lancelot's noticing.
Well--I will after my loud knave, and learn
Whether he know me for his master yet.
Out of the smoke he came, and so my lance
Hold, by God's grace, he shall into the mire-Thence, if the King awaken from his craze,
Into the smoke again.'
But Lancelot said,
'Kay, wherefore wilt thou go against the King,
For that did never he whereon ye rail,
But ever meekly served the King in thee?
Abide: take counsel; for this lad is great
And lusty, and knowing both of lance and sword.'
'Tut, tell not me,' said Kay, 'ye are overfine
To mar stout knaves with foolish courtesies:'
Then mounted, on through silent faces rode
Down the slope city, and out beyond the gate.
But by the field of tourney lingering yet
Muttered the damsel, 'Wherefore did the King
Scorn me? for, were Sir Lancelot lackt, at least
He might have yielded to me one of those
Who tilt for lady's love and glory here,
Rather than--O sweet heaven! O fie upon him-His kitchen-knave.'
To whom Sir Gareth drew
(And there were none but few goodlier than he)
Shining in arms, 'Damsel, the quest is mine.
Lead, and I follow.' She thereat, as one
That smells a foul-fleshed agaric in the holt,
And deems it carrion of some woodland thing,
Or shrew, or weasel, nipt her slender nose
With petulant thumb and finger, shrilling, 'Hence!
Avoid, thou smellest all of kitchen-grease.
And look who comes behind,' for there was Kay.
'Knowest thou not me? thy master? I am Kay.
We lack thee by the hearth.'
And Gareth to him,
'Master no more! too well I know thee, ay-The most ungentle knight in Arthur's hall.'
'Have at thee then,' said Kay: they shocked, and Kay
Fell shoulder-slipt, and Gareth cried again,
'Lead, and I follow,' and fast away she fled.
But after sod and shingle ceased to fly
Behind her, and the heart of her good horse
Was nigh to burst with violence of the beat,
Perforce she stayed, and overtaken spoke.
'What doest thou, scullion, in my fellowship?
Deem'st thou that I accept thee aught the more
Or love thee better, that by some device
Full cowardly, or by mere unhappiness,
Thou hast overthrown and slain thy master--thou!-Dish-washer and broach-turner, loon!--to me
Thou smellest all of kitchen as before.'
'Damsel,' Sir Gareth answered gently, 'say
Whate'er ye will, but whatsoe'er ye say,
I leave not till I finish this fair quest,
Or die therefore.'
'Ay, wilt thou finish it?
Sweet lord, how like a noble knight he talks!
The listening rogue hath caught the manner of it.
But, knave, anon thou shalt be met with, knave,
And then by such a one that thou for all
The kitchen brewis that was ever supt
Shalt not once dare to look him in the face.'
'I shall assay,' said Gareth with a smile
That maddened her, and away she flashed again
Down the long avenues of a boundless wood,
And Gareth following was again beknaved.
'Sir Kitchen-knave, I have missed the only way
Where Arthur's men are set along the wood;
The wood is nigh as full of thieves as leaves:
If both be slain, I am rid of thee; but yet,
Sir Scullion, canst thou use that spit of thine?
Fight, an thou canst: I have missed the only way.'
So till the dusk that followed evensong
Rode on the two, reviler and reviled;
Then after one long slope was mounted, saw,
Bowl-shaped, through tops of many thousand pines
A gloomy-gladed hollow slowly sink
To westward--in the deeps whereof a mere,
Round as the red eye of an Eagle-owl,
Under the half-dead sunset glared; and shouts
Ascended, and there brake a servingman
Flying from out of the black wood, and crying,
'They have bound my lord to cast him in the mere.'
Then Gareth, 'Bound am I to right the wronged,
But straitlier bound am I to bide with thee.'
And when the damsel spake contemptuously,
'Lead, and I follow,' Gareth cried again,
'Follow, I lead!' so down among the pines
He plunged; and there, blackshadowed nigh the mere,
And mid-thigh-deep in bulrushes and reed,
Saw six tall men haling a seventh along,
A stone about his neck to drown him in it.
Three with good blows he quieted, but three
Fled through the pines; and Gareth loosed the stone
From off his neck, then in the mere beside
Tumbled it; oilily bubbled up the mere.
Last, Gareth loosed his bonds and on free feet
Set him, a stalwart Baron, Arthur's friend.
'Well that ye came, or else these caitiff rogues
Had wreaked themselves on me; good cause is theirs
To hate me, for my wont hath ever been
To catch my thief, and then like vermin here
Drown him, and with a stone about his neck;
And under this wan water many of them
Lie rotting, but at night let go the stone,
And rise, and flickering in a grimly light
Dance on the mere. Good now, ye have saved a life
Worth somewhat as the cleanser of this wood.
And fain would I reward thee worshipfully.
What guerdon will ye?'
Gareth sharply spake,
'None! for the deed's sake have I done the deed,
In uttermost obedience to the King.
But wilt thou yield this damsel harbourage?'
Whereat the Baron saying, 'I well believe
You be of Arthur's Table,' a light laugh
Broke from Lynette, 'Ay, truly of a truth,
And in a sort, being Arthur's kitchen-knave!-But deem not I accept thee aught the more,
Scullion, for running sharply with thy spit
Down on a rout of craven foresters.
A thresher with his flail had scattered them.
Nay--for thou smellest of the kitchen still.
But an this lord will yield us harbourage,
So she spake. A league beyond the wood,
All in a full-fair manor and a rich,
His towers where that day a feast had been
Held in high hall, and many a viand left,
And many a costly cate, received the three.
And there they placed a peacock in his pride
Before the damsel, and the Baron set
Gareth beside her, but at once she rose.
'Meseems, that here is much discourtesy,
Setting this knave, Lord Baron, at my side.
Hear me--this morn I stood in Arthur's hall,
And prayed the King would grant me Lancelot
To fight the brotherhood of Day and Night-The last a monster unsubduable
Of any save of him for whom I called-Suddenly bawls this frontless kitchen-knave,
"The quest is mine; thy kitchen-knave am I,
And mighty through thy meats and drinks am I."
Then Arthur all at once gone mad replies,
"Go therefore," and so gives the quest to him-Him--here--a villain fitter to stick swine
Than ride abroad redressing women's wrong,
Or sit beside a noble gentlewoman.'
Then half-ashamed and part-amazed, the lord
Now looked at one and now at other, left
The damsel by the peacock in his pride,
And, seating Gareth at another board,
Sat down beside him, ate and then began.
'Friend, whether thou be kitchen-knave, or not,
Or whether it be the maiden's fantasy,
And whether she be mad, or else the King,
Or both or neither, or thyself be mad,
I ask not: but thou strikest a strong stroke,
For strong thou art and goodly therewithal,
And saver of my life; and therefore now,
For here be mighty men to joust with, weigh
Whether thou wilt not with thy damsel back
To crave again Sir Lancelot of the King.
Thy pardon; I but speak for thine avail,
The saver of my life.'
And Gareth said,
'Full pardon, but I follow up the quest,
Despite of Day and Night and Death and Hell.'
So when, next morn, the lord whose life he saved
Had, some brief space, conveyed them on their way
And left them with God-speed, Sir Gareth spake,
'Lead, and I follow.' Haughtily she replied.
'I fly no more: I allow thee for an hour.
Lion and stout have isled together, knave,
In time of flood. Nay, furthermore, methinks
Some ruth is mine for thee. Back wilt thou, fool?
For hard by here is one will overthrow
And slay thee: then will I to court again,
And shame the King for only yielding me
My champion from the ashes of his hearth.'
To whom Sir Gareth answered courteously,
'Say thou thy say, and I will do my deed.
Allow me for mine hour, and thou wilt find
My fortunes all as fair as hers who lay
Among the ashes and wedded the King's son.'
Then to the shore of one of those long loops
Wherethrough the serpent river coiled, they came.
Rough-thicketed were the banks and steep; the stream
Full, narrow; this a bridge of single arc
Took at a leap; and on the further side
Arose a silk pavilion, gay with gold
In streaks and rays, and all Lent-lily in hue,
Save that the dome was purple, and above,
Crimson, a slender banneret fluttering.
And therebefore the lawless warrior paced
Unarmed, and calling, 'Damsel, is this he,
The champion thou hast brought from Arthur's hall?
For whom we let thee pass.' 'Nay, nay,' she said,
'Sir Morning-Star. The King in utter scorn
Of thee and thy much folly hath sent thee here
His kitchen-knave: and look thou to thyself:
See that he fall not on thee suddenly,
And slay thee unarmed: he is not knight but knave.'
Then at his call, 'O daughters of the Dawn,
And servants of the Morning-Star, approach,
Arm me,' from out the silken curtain-folds
Bare-footed and bare-headed three fair girls
In gilt and rosy raiment came: their feet
In dewy grasses glistened; and the hair
All over glanced with dewdrop or with gem
Like sparkles in the stone Avanturine.
These armed him in blue arms, and gave a shield
Blue also, and thereon the morning star.
And Gareth silent gazed upon the knight,
Who stood a moment, ere his horse was brought,
Glorying; and in the stream beneath him, shone
Immingled with Heaven's azure waveringly,
The gay pavilion and the naked feet,
His arms, the rosy raiment, and the star.
Then she that watched him, 'Wherefore stare ye so?
Thou shakest in thy fear: there yet is time:
Flee down the valley before he get to horse.
Who will cry shame? Thou art not knight but knave.'
Said Gareth, 'Damsel, whether knave or knight,
Far liefer had I fight a score of times
Than hear thee so missay me and revile.
Fair words were best for him who fights for thee;
But truly foul are better, for they send
That strength of anger through mine arms, I know
That I shall overthrow him.'
And he that bore
The star, when mounted, cried from o'er the bridge,
'A kitchen-knave, and sent in scorn of me!
Such fight not I, but answer scorn with scorn.
For this were shame to do him further wrong
Than set him on his feet, and take his horse
And arms, and so return him to the King.
Come, therefore, leave thy lady lightly, knave.
Avoid: for it beseemeth not a knave
To ride with such a lady.'
'Dog, thou liest.
I spring from loftier lineage than thine own.'
He spake; and all at fiery speed the two
Shocked on the central bridge, and either spear
Bent but not brake, and either knight at once,
Hurled as a stone from out of a catapult
Beyond his horse's crupper and the bridge,
Fell, as if dead; but quickly rose and drew,
And Gareth lashed so fiercely with his brand
He drave his enemy backward down the bridge,
The damsel crying, 'Well-stricken, kitchen-knave!'
Till Gareth's shield was cloven; but one stroke
Laid him that clove it grovelling on the ground.
Then cried the fallen, 'Take not my life: I yield.'
And Gareth, 'So this damsel ask it of me
Good--I accord it easily as a grace.'
She reddening, 'Insolent scullion: I of thee?
I bound to thee for any favour asked!'
'Then he shall die.' And Gareth there unlaced
His helmet as to slay him, but she shrieked,
'Be not so hardy, scullion, as to slay
One nobler than thyself.' 'Damsel, thy charge
Is an abounding pleasure to me. Knight,
Thy life is thine at her command. Arise
And quickly pass to Arthur's hall, and say
His kitchen-knave hath sent thee. See thou crave
His pardon for thy breaking of his laws.
Myself, when I return, will plead for thee.
Thy shield is mine--farewell; and, damsel, thou,
Lead, and I follow.'
And fast away she fled.
Then when he came upon her, spake, 'Methought,
Knave, when I watched thee striking on the bridge
The savour of thy kitchen came upon me
A little faintlier: but the wind hath changed:
I scent it twenty-fold.' And then she sang,
'"O morning star" (not that tall felon there
Whom thou by sorcery or unhappiness
Or some device, hast foully overthrown),
"O morning star that smilest in the blue,
O star, my morning dream hath proven true,
Smile sweetly, thou! my love hath smiled on me."
'But thou begone, take counsel, and away,
For hard by here is one that guards a ford-The second brother in their fool's parable-Will pay thee all thy wages, and to boot.
Care not for shame: thou art not knight but knave.'
To whom Sir Gareth answered, laughingly,
'Parables? Hear a parable of the knave.
When I was kitchen-knave among the rest
Fierce was the hearth, and one of my co-mates
Owned a rough dog, to whom he cast his coat,
"Guard it," and there was none to meddle with it.
And such a coat art thou, and thee the King
Gave me to guard, and such a dog am I,
To worry, and not to flee--and--knight or knave-The knave that doth thee service as full knight
Is all as good, meseems, as any knight
Toward thy sister's freeing.'
'Ay, Sir Knave!
Ay, knave, because thou strikest as a knight,
Being but knave, I hate thee all the more.'
'Fair damsel, you should worship me the more,
That, being but knave, I throw thine enemies.'
'Ay, ay,' she said, 'but thou shalt meet thy match.'
So when they touched the second river-loop,
Huge on a huge red horse, and all in mail
Burnished to blinding, shone the Noonday Sun
Beyond a raging shallow. As if the flower,
That blows a globe of after arrowlets,
Ten thousand-fold had grown, flashed the fierce shield,
All sun; and Gareth's eyes had flying blots
Before them when he turned from watching him.
He from beyond the roaring shallow roared,
'What doest thou, brother, in my marches here?'
And she athwart the shallow shrilled again,
'Here is a kitchen-knave from Arthur's hall
Hath overthrown thy brother, and hath his arms.'
'Ugh!' cried the Sun, and vizoring up a red
And cipher face of rounded foolishness,
Pushed horse across the foamings of the ford,
Whom Gareth met midstream: no room was there
For lance or tourney-skill: four strokes they struck
With sword, and these were mighty; the new knight
Had fear he might be shamed; but as the Sun
Heaved up a ponderous arm to strike the fifth,
The hoof of his horse slipt in the stream, the stream
Descended, and the Sun was washed away.
Then Gareth laid his lance athwart the ford;
So drew him home; but he that fought no more,
As being all bone-battered on the rock,
Yielded; and Gareth sent him to the King,
'Myself when I return will plead for thee.'
'Lead, and I follow.' Quietly she led.
'Hath not the good wind, damsel, changed again?'
'Nay, not a point: nor art thou victor here.
There lies a ridge of slate across the ford;
His horse thereon stumbled--ay, for I saw it.
'"O Sun" (not this strong fool whom thou, Sir Knave,
Hast overthrown through mere unhappiness),
"O Sun, that wakenest all to bliss or pain,
O moon, that layest all to sleep again,
Shine sweetly: twice my love hath smiled on me."
What knowest thou of lovesong or of love?
Nay, nay, God wot, so thou wert nobly born,
Thou hast a pleasant presence. Yea, perchance,-'"O dewy flowers that open to the sun,
O dewy flowers that close when day is done,
Blow sweetly: twice my love hath smiled on me."
'What knowest thou of flowers, except, belike,
To garnish meats with? hath not our good King
Who lent me thee, the flower of kitchendom,
A foolish love for flowers? what stick ye round
The pasty? wherewithal deck the boar's head?
Flowers? nay, the boar hath rosemaries and bay.
'"O birds, that warble to the morning sky,
O birds that warble as the day goes by,
Sing sweetly: twice my love hath smiled on me."
'What knowest thou of birds, lark, mavis, merle,
Linnet? what dream ye when they utter forth
May-music growing with the growing light,
Their sweet sun-worship? these be for the snare
(So runs thy fancy) these be for the spit,
Larding and basting. See thou have not now
Larded thy last, except thou turn and fly.
There stands the third fool of their allegory.'
For there beyond a bridge of treble bow,
All in a rose-red from the west, and all
Naked it seemed, and glowing in the broad
Deep-dimpled current underneath, the knight,
That named himself the Star of Evening, stood.
And Gareth, 'Wherefore waits the madman there
Naked in open dayshine?' 'Nay,' she cried,
'Not naked, only wrapt in hardened skins
That fit him like his own; and so ye cleave
His armour off him, these will turn the blade.'
Then the third brother shouted o'er the bridge,
'O brother-star, why shine ye here so low?
Thy ward is higher up: but have ye slain
The damsel's champion?' and the damsel cried,
'No star of thine, but shot from Arthur's heaven
With all disaster unto thine and thee!
For both thy younger brethren have gone down
Before this youth; and so wilt thou, Sir Star;
Art thou not old?'
'Old, damsel, old and hard,
Old, with the might and breath of twenty boys.'
Said Gareth, 'Old, and over-bold in brag!
But that same strength which threw the Morning Star
Can throw the Evening.'
Then that other blew
A hard and deadly note upon the horn.
'Approach and arm me!' With slow steps from out
An old storm-beaten, russet, many-stained
Pavilion, forth a grizzled damsel came,
And armed him in old arms, and brought a helm
With but a drying evergreen for crest,
And gave a shield whereon the Star of Even
Half-tarnished and half-bright, his emblem, shone.
But when it glittered o'er the saddle-bow,
They madly hurled together on the bridge;
And Gareth overthrew him, lighted, drew,
There met him drawn, and overthrew him again,
But up like fire he started: and as oft
As Gareth brought him grovelling on his knees,
So many a time he vaulted up again;
Till Gareth panted hard, and his great heart,
Foredooming all his trouble was in vain,
Laboured within him, for he seemed as one
That all in later, sadder age begins
To war against ill uses of a life,
But these from all his life arise, and cry,
'Thou hast made us lords, and canst not put us down!'
He half despairs; so Gareth seemed to strike
Vainly, the damsel clamouring all the while,
'Well done, knave-knight, well-stricken, O good knight-knave-O knave, as noble as any of all the knights-Shame me not, shame me not. I have prophesied-Strike, thou art worthy of the Table Round-His arms are old, he trusts the hardened skin-Strike--strike--the wind will never change again.'
And Gareth hearing ever stronglier smote,
And hewed great pieces of his armour off him,
But lashed in vain against the hardened skin,
And could not wholly bring him under, more
Than loud Southwesterns, rolling ridge on ridge,
The buoy that rides at sea, and dips and springs
For ever; till at length Sir Gareth's brand
Clashed his, and brake it utterly to the hilt.
'I have thee now;' but forth that other sprang,
And, all unknightlike, writhed his wiry arms
Around him, till he felt, despite his mail,
Strangled, but straining even his uttermost
Cast, and so hurled him headlong o'er the bridge
Down to the river, sink or swim, and cried,
'Lead, and I follow.'
But the damsel said,
'I lead no longer; ride thou at my side;
Thou art the kingliest of all kitchen-knaves.
'"O trefoil, sparkling on the rainy plain,
O rainbow with three colours after rain,
Shine sweetly: thrice my love hath smiled on me."
'Sir,--and, good faith, I fain had added--Knight,
But that I heard thee call thyself a knave,-Shamed am I that I so rebuked, reviled,
Missaid thee; noble I am; and thought the King
Scorned me and mine; and now thy pardon, friend,
For thou hast ever answered courteously,
And wholly bold thou art, and meek withal
As any of Arthur's best, but, being knave,
Hast mazed my wit: I marvel what thou art.'
'Damsel,' he said, 'you be not all to blame,
Saving that you mistrusted our good King
Would handle scorn, or yield you, asking, one
Not fit to cope your quest. You said your say;
Mine answer was my deed. Good sooth! I hold
He scarce is knight, yea but half-man, nor meet
To fight for gentle damsel, he, who lets
His heart be stirred with any foolish heat
At any gentle damsel's waywardness.
Shamed? care not! thy foul sayings fought for me:
And seeing now thy words are fair, methinks
There rides no knight, not Lancelot, his great self,
Hath force to quell me.'
Nigh upon that hour
When the lone hern forgets his melancholy,
Lets down his other leg, and stretching, dreams
Of goodly supper in the distant pool,
Then turned the noble damsel smiling at him,
And told him of a cavern hard at hand,
Where bread and baken meats and good red wine
Of Southland, which the Lady Lyonors
Had sent her coming champion, waited him.
Anon they past a narrow comb wherein
Where slabs of rock with figures, knights on horse
Sculptured, and deckt in slowly-waning hues.
'Sir Knave, my knight, a hermit once was here,
Whose holy hand hath fashioned on the rock
The war of Time against the soul of man.
And yon four fools have sucked their allegory
From these damp walls, and taken but the form.
Know ye not these?' and Gareth lookt and read-In letters like to those the vexillary
Hath left crag-carven o'er the streaming Gelt-'PHOSPHORUS,' then 'MERIDIES'--'HESPERUS'-'NOX'--'MORS,' beneath five figures, armd men,
Slab after slab, their faces forward all,
And running down the Soul, a Shape that fled
With broken wings, torn raiment and loose hair,
For help and shelter to the hermit's cave.
'Follow the faces, and we find it. Look,
Who comes behind?'
For one--delayed at first
Through helping back the dislocated Kay
To Camelot, then by what thereafter chanced,
The damsel's headlong error through the wood-Sir Lancelot, having swum the river-loops-His blue shield-lions covered--softly drew
Behind the twain, and when he saw the star
Gleam, on Sir Gareth's turning to him, cried,
'Stay, felon knight, I avenge me for my friend.'
And Gareth crying pricked against the cry;
But when they closed--in a moment--at one touch
Of that skilled spear, the wonder of the world--
Went sliding down so easily, and fell,
That when he found the grass within his hands
He laughed; the laughter jarred upon Lynette:
Harshly she asked him, 'Shamed and overthrown,
And tumbled back into the kitchen-knave,
Why laugh ye? that ye blew your boast in vain?'
'Nay, noble damsel, but that I, the son
Of old King Lot and good Queen Bellicent,
And victor of the bridges and the ford,
And knight of Arthur, here lie thrown by whom
I know not, all through mere unhappiness-Device and sorcery and unhappiness-Out, sword; we are thrown!' And Lancelot answered, 'Prince,
O Gareth--through the mere unhappiness
Of one who came to help thee, not to harm,
Lancelot, and all as glad to find thee whole,
As on the day when Arthur knighted him.'
Then Gareth, 'Thou--Lancelot!--thine the hand
That threw me? An some chance to mar the boast
Thy brethren of thee make--which could not chance-Had sent thee down before a lesser spear,
Shamed had I been, and sad--O Lancelot--thou!'
Whereat the maiden, petulant, 'Lancelot,
Why came ye not, when called? and wherefore now
Come ye, not called? I gloried in my knave,
Who being still rebuked, would answer still
Courteous as any knight--but now, if knight,
The marvel dies, and leaves me fooled and tricked,
And only wondering wherefore played upon:
And doubtful whether I and mine be scorned.
Where should be truth if not in Arthur's hall,
In Arthur's presence? Knight, knave, prince and fool,
I hate thee and for ever.'
And Lancelot said,
'Blessd be thou, Sir Gareth! knight art thou
To the King's best wish. O damsel, be you wise
To call him shamed, who is but overthrown?
Thrown have I been, nor once, but many a time.
Victor from vanquished issues at the last,
And overthrower from being overthrown.
With sword we have not striven; and thy good horse
And thou are weary; yet not less I felt
Thy manhood through that wearied lance of thine.
Well hast thou done; for all the stream is freed,
And thou hast wreaked his justice on his foes,
And when reviled, hast answered graciously,
And makest merry when overthrown. Prince, Knight
Hail, Knight and Prince, and of our Table Round!'
And then when turning to Lynette he told
The tale of Gareth, petulantly she said,
'Ay well--ay well--for worse than being fooled
Of others, is to fool one's self. A cave,
Sir Lancelot, is hard by, with meats and drinks
And forage for the horse, and flint for fire.
But all about it flies a honeysuckle.
Seek, till we find.' And when they sought and found,
Sir Gareth drank and ate, and all his life
Past into sleep; on whom the maiden gazed.
'Sound sleep be thine! sound cause to sleep hast thou.
Wake lusty! Seem I not as tender to him
As any mother? Ay, but such a one
As all day long hath rated at her child,
And vext his day, but blesses him asleep-Good lord, how sweetly smells the honeysuckle
In the hushed night, as if the world were one
Of utter peace, and love, and gentleness!
O Lancelot, Lancelot'--and she clapt her hands-'Full merry am I to find my goodly knave
Is knight and noble. See now, sworn have I,
Else yon black felon had not let me pass,
To bring thee back to do the battle with him.
Thus an thou goest, he will fight thee first;
Who doubts thee victor? so will my knight-knave
Miss the full flower of this accomplishment.'
Said Lancelot, 'Peradventure he, you name,
May know my shield. Let Gareth, an he will,
Change his for mine, and take my charger, fresh,
Not to be spurred, loving the battle as well
As he that rides him.' 'Lancelot-like,' she said,
'Courteous in this, Lord Lancelot, as in all.'
And Gareth, wakening, fiercely clutched the shield;
'Ramp ye lance-splintering lions, on whom all spears
Are rotten sticks! ye seem agape to roar!
Yea, ramp and roar at leaving of your lord!-Care not, good beasts, so well I care for you.
O noble Lancelot, from my hold on these
Streams virtue--fire--through one that will not shame
Even the shadow of Lancelot under shield.
Hence: let us go.'
Silent the silent field
They traversed. Arthur's harp though summer-wan,
In counter motion to the clouds, allured
The glance of Gareth dreaming on his liege.
A star shot: 'Lo,' said Gareth, 'the foe falls!'
An owl whoopt: 'Hark the victor pealing there!'
Suddenly she that rode upon his left
Clung to the shield that Lancelot lent him, crying,
'Yield, yield him this again: 'tis he must fight:
I curse the tongue that all through yesterday
Reviled thee, and hath wrought on Lancelot now
To lend thee horse and shield: wonders ye have done;
Miracles ye cannot: here is glory enow
In having flung the three: I see thee maimed,
Mangled: I swear thou canst not fling the fourth.'
'And wherefore, damsel? tell me all ye know.
You cannot scare me; nor rough face, or voice,
Brute bulk of limb, or boundless savagery
Appal me from the quest.'
'Nay, Prince,' she cried,
'God wot, I never looked upon the face,
Seeing he never rides abroad by day;
But watched him have I like a phantom pass
Chilling the night: nor have I heard the voice.
Always he made his mouthpiece of a page
Who came and went, and still reported him
As closing in himself the strength of ten,
And when his anger tare him, massacring
Man, woman, lad and girl--yea, the soft babe!
Some hold that he hath swallowed infant flesh,
Monster! O Prince, I went for Lancelot first,
The quest is Lancelot's: give him back the shield.'
Said Gareth laughing, 'An he fight for this,
Belike he wins it as the better man:
Thus--and not else!'
But Lancelot on him urged
All the devisings of their chivalry
When one might meet a mightier than himself;
How best to manage horse, lance, sword and shield,
And so fill up the gap where force might fail
With skill and fineness. Instant were his words.
Then Gareth, 'Here be rules. I know but one-To dash against mine enemy and win.
Yet have I seen thee victor in the joust,
And seen thy way.' 'Heaven help thee,' sighed Lynette.
Then for a space, and under cloud that grew
To thunder-gloom palling all stars, they rode
In converse till she made her palfrey halt,
Lifted an arm, and softly whispered, 'There.'
And all the three were silent seeing, pitched
Beside the Castle Perilous on flat field,
A huge pavilion like a mountain peak
Sunder the glooming crimson on the marge,
Black, with black banner, and a long black horn
Beside it hanging; which Sir Gareth graspt,
And so, before the two could hinder him,
Sent all his heart and breath through all the horn.
Echoed the walls; a light twinkled; anon
Came lights and lights, and once again he blew;
Whereon were hollow tramplings up and down
And muffled voices heard, and shadows past;
Till high above him, circled with her maids,
The Lady Lyonors at a window stood,
Beautiful among lights, and waving to him
White hands, and courtesy; but when the Prince
Three times had blown--after long hush--at last--
The huge pavilion slowly yielded up,
Through those black foldings, that which housed therein.
High on a nightblack horse, in nightblack arms,
With white breast-bone, and barren ribs of Death,
And crowned with fleshless laughter--some ten steps-In the half-light--through the dim dawn--advanced
The monster, and then paused, and spake no word.
But Gareth spake and all indignantly,
'Fool, for thou hast, men say, the strength of ten,
Canst thou not trust the limbs thy God hath given,
But must, to make the terror of thee more,
Trick thyself out in ghastly imageries
Of that which Life hath done with, and the clod,
Less dull than thou, will hide with mantling flowers
As if for pity?' But he spake no word;
Which set the horror higher: a maiden swooned;
The Lady Lyonors wrung her hands and wept,
As doomed to be the bride of Night and Death;
Sir Gareth's head prickled beneath his helm;
And even Sir Lancelot through his warm blood felt
Ice strike, and all that marked him were aghast.
At once Sir Lancelot's charger fiercely neighed,
And Death's dark war-horse bounded forward with him.
Then those that did not blink the terror, saw
That Death was cast to ground, and slowly rose.
But with one stroke Sir Gareth split the skull.
Half fell to right and half to left and lay.
Then with a stronger buffet he clove the helm
As throughly as the skull; and out from this
Issued the bright face of a blooming boy
Fresh as a flower new-born, and crying, 'Knight,
Slay me not: my three brethren bad me do it,
To make a horror all about the house,
And stay the world from Lady Lyonors.
They never dreamed the passes would be past.'
Answered Sir Gareth graciously to one
Not many a moon his younger, 'My fair child,
What madness made thee challenge the chief knight
Of Arthur's hall?' 'Fair Sir, they bad me do it.
They hate the King, and Lancelot, the King's friend,
They hoped to slay him somewhere on the stream,
They never dreamed the passes could be past.'
Then sprang the happier day from underground;
And Lady Lyonors and her house, with dance
And revel and song, made merry over Death,
As being after all their foolish fears
And horrors only proven a blooming boy.
So large mirth lived and Gareth won the quest.
And he that told the tale in older times
Says that Sir Gareth wedded Lyonors,
But he, that told it later, says Lynette.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
500:Lancelot And Elaine
Elaine the fair, Elaine the loveable,
Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat,
High in her chamber up a tower to the east
Guarded the sacred shield of Lancelot;
Which first she placed where the morning's earliest ray
Might strike it, and awake her with the gleam;
Then fearing rust or soilure fashioned for it
A case of silk, and braided thereupon
All the devices blazoned on the shield
In their own tinct, and added, of her wit,
A border fantasy of branch and flower,
And yellow-throated nestling in the nest.
Nor rested thus content, but day by day,
Leaving her household and good father, climbed
That eastern tower, and entering barred her door,
Stript off the case, and read the naked shield,
Now guessed a hidden meaning in his arms,
Now made a pretty history to herself
Of every dint a sword had beaten in it,
And every scratch a lance had made upon it,
Conjecturing when and where: this cut is fresh;
That ten years back; this dealt him at Caerlyle;
That at Caerleon; this at Camelot:
And ah God's mercy, what a stroke was there!
And here a thrust that might have killed, but God
Broke the strong lance, and rolled his enemy down,
And saved him: so she lived in fantasy.
How came the lily maid by that good shield
Of Lancelot, she that knew not even his name?
He left it with her, when he rode to tilt
For the great diamond in the diamond jousts,
Which Arthur had ordained, and by that name
Had named them, since a diamond was the prize.
For Arthur, long before they crowned him King,
Roving the trackless realms of Lyonnesse,
Had found a glen, gray boulder and black tarn.
A horror lived about the tarn, and clave
Like its own mists to all the mountain side:
For here two brothers, one a king, had met
And fought together; but their names were lost;
And each had slain his brother at a blow;
And down they fell and made the glen abhorred:
And there they lay till all their bones were bleached,
And lichened into colour with the crags:
And he, that once was king, had on a crown
Of diamonds, one in front, and four aside.
And Arthur came, and labouring up the pass,
All in a misty moonshine, unawares
Had trodden that crowned skeleton, and the skull
Brake from the nape, and from the skull the crown
Rolled into light, and turning on its rims
Fled like a glittering rivulet to the tarn:
And down the shingly scaur he plunged, and caught,
And set it on his head, and in his heart
Heard murmurs, 'Lo, thou likewise shalt be King.'
Thereafter, when a King, he had the gems
Plucked from the crown, and showed them to his knights,
Saying, 'These jewels, whereupon I chanced
Divinely, are the kingdom's, not the King's-For public use: henceforward let there be,
Once every year, a joust for one of these:
For so by nine years' proof we needs must learn
Which is our mightiest, and ourselves shall grow
In use of arms and manhood, till we drive
The heathen, who, some say, shall rule the land
Hereafter, which God hinder.' Thus he spoke:
And eight years past, eight jousts had been, and still
Had Lancelot won the diamond of the year,
With purpose to present them to the Queen,
When all were won; but meaning all at once
To snare her royal fancy with a boon
Worth half her realm, had never spoken word.
Now for the central diamond and the last
And largest, Arthur, holding then his court
Hard on the river nigh the place which now
Is this world's hugest, let proclaim a joust
At Camelot, and when the time drew nigh
Spake (for she had been sick) to Guinevere,
'Are you so sick, my Queen, you cannot move
To these fair jousts?' 'Yea, lord,' she said, 'ye know it.'
'Then will ye miss,' he answered, 'the great deeds
Of Lancelot, and his prowess in the lists,
A sight ye love to look on.' And the Queen
Lifted her eyes, and they dwelt languidly
On Lancelot, where he stood beside the King.
He thinking that he read her meaning there,
'Stay with me, I am sick; my love is more
Than many diamonds,' yielded; and a heart
Love-loyal to the least wish of the Queen
(However much he yearned to make complete
The tale of diamonds for his destined boon)
Urged him to speak against the truth, and say,
'Sir King, mine ancient wound is hardly whole,
And lets me from the saddle;' and the King
Glanced first at him, then her, and went his way.
No sooner gone than suddenly she began:
'To blame, my lord Sir Lancelot, much to blame!
Why go ye not to these fair jousts? the knights
Are half of them our enemies, and the crowd
Will murmur, "Lo the shameless ones, who take
Their pastime now the trustful King is gone!"'
Then Lancelot vext at having lied in vain:
'Are ye so wise? ye were not once so wise,
My Queen, that summer, when ye loved me first.
Then of the crowd ye took no more account
Than of the myriad cricket of the mead,
When its own voice clings to each blade of grass,
And every voice is nothing. As to knights,
Them surely can I silence with all ease.
But now my loyal worship is allowed
Of all men: many a bard, without offence,
Has linked our names together in his lay,
Lancelot, the flower of bravery, Guinevere,
The pearl of beauty: and our knights at feast
Have pledged us in this union, while the King
Would listen smiling. How then? is there more?
Has Arthur spoken aught? or would yourself,
Now weary of my service and devoir,
Henceforth be truer to your faultless lord?'
She broke into a little scornful laugh:
'Arthur, my lord, Arthur, the faultless King,
That passionate perfection, my good lord-But who can gaze upon the Sun in heaven?
He never spake word of reproach to me,
He never had a glimpse of mine untruth,
He cares not for me: only here today
There gleamed a vague suspicion in his eyes:
Some meddling rogue has tampered with him--else
Rapt in this fancy of his Table Round,
And swearing men to vows impossible,
To make them like himself: but, friend, to me
He is all fault who hath no fault at all:
For who loves me must have a touch of earth;
The low sun makes the colour: I am yours,
Not Arthur's, as ye know, save by the bond.
And therefore hear my words: go to the jousts:
The tiny-trumpeting gnat can break our dream
When sweetest; and the vermin voices here
May buzz so loud--we scorn them, but they sting.'
Then answered Lancelot, the chief of knights:
'And with what face, after my pretext made,
Shall I appear, O Queen, at Camelot, I
Before a King who honours his own word,
As if it were his God's?'
'Yea,' said the Queen,
'A moral child without the craft to rule,
Else had he not lost me: but listen to me,
If I must find you wit: we hear it said
That men go down before your spear at a touch,
But knowing you are Lancelot; your great name,
This conquers: hide it therefore; go unknown:
Win! by this kiss you will: and our true King
Will then allow your pretext, O my knight,
As all for glory; for to speak him true,
Ye know right well, how meek soe'er he seem,
No keener hunter after glory breathes.
He loves it in his knights more than himself:
They prove to him his work: win and return.'
Then got Sir Lancelot suddenly to horse,
Wroth at himself. Not willing to be known,
He left the barren-beaten thoroughfare,
Chose the green path that showed the rarer foot,
And there among the solitary downs,
Full often lost in fancy, lost his way;
Till as he traced a faintly-shadowed track,
That all in loops and links among the dales
Ran to the Castle of Astolat, he saw
Fired from the west, far on a hill, the towers.
Thither he made, and blew the gateway horn.
Then came an old, dumb, myriad-wrinkled man,
Who let him into lodging and disarmed.
And Lancelot marvelled at the wordless man;
And issuing found the Lord of Astolat
With two strong sons, Sir Torre and Sir Lavaine,
Moving to meet him in the castle court;
And close behind them stept the lily maid
Elaine, his daughter: mother of the house
There was not: some light jest among them rose
With laughter dying down as the great knight
Approached them: then the Lord of Astolat:
'Whence comes thou, my guest, and by what name
Livest thou between the lips? for by thy state
And presence I might guess thee chief of those,
After the King, who eat in Arthur's halls.
Him have I seen: the rest, his Table Round,
Known as they are, to me they are unknown.'
Then answered Sir Lancelot, the chief of knights:
'Known am I, and of Arthur's hall, and known,
What I by mere mischance have brought, my shield.
But since I go to joust as one unknown
At Camelot for the diamond, ask me not,
Hereafter ye shall know me--and the shield-I pray you lend me one, if such you have,
Blank, or at least with some device not mine.'
Then said the Lord of Astolat, 'Here is Torre's:
Hurt in his first tilt was my son, Sir Torre.
And so, God wot, his shield is blank enough.
His ye can have.' Then added plain Sir Torre,
'Yea, since I cannot use it, ye may have it.'
Here laughed the father saying, 'Fie, Sir Churl,
Is that answer for a noble knight?
Allow him! but Lavaine, my younger here,
He is so full of lustihood, he will ride,
Joust for it, and win, and bring it in an hour,
And set it in this damsel's golden hair,
To make her thrice as wilful as before.'
'Nay, father, nay good father, shame me not
Before this noble knight,' said young Lavaine,
'For nothing. Surely I but played on Torre:
He seemed so sullen, vext he could not go:
A jest, no more! for, knight, the maiden dreamt
That some one put this diamond in her hand,
And that it was too slippery to be held,
And slipt and fell into some pool or stream,
The castle-well, belike; and then I said
That IF I went and IF I fought and won it
(But all was jest and joke among ourselves)
Then must she keep it safelier. All was jest.
But, father, give me leave, an if he will,
To ride to Camelot with this noble knight:
Win shall I not, but do my best to win:
Young as I am, yet would I do my best.'
'So will ye grace me,' answered Lancelot,
Smiling a moment, 'with your fellowship
O'er these waste downs whereon I lost myself,
Then were I glad of you as guide and friend:
And you shall win this diamond,--as I hear
It is a fair large diamond,--if ye may,
And yield it to this maiden, if ye will.'
'A fair large diamond,' added plain Sir Torre,
'Such be for queens, and not for simple maids.'
Then she, who held her eyes upon the ground,
Elaine, and heard her name so tost about,
Flushed slightly at the slight disparagement
Before the stranger knight, who, looking at her,
Full courtly, yet not falsely, thus returned:
'If what is fair be but for what is fair,
And only queens are to be counted so,
Rash were my judgment then, who deem this maid
Might wear as fair a jewel as is on earth,
Not violating the bond of like to like.'
He spoke and ceased: the lily maid Elaine,
Won by the mellow voice before she looked,
Lifted her eyes, and read his lineaments.
The great and guilty love he bare the Queen,
In battle with the love he bare his lord,
Had marred his face, and marked it ere his time.
Another sinning on such heights with one,
The flower of all the west and all the world,
Had been the sleeker for it: but in him
His mood was often like a fiend, and rose
And drove him into wastes and solitudes
For agony, who was yet a living soul.
Marred as he was, he seemed the goodliest man
That ever among ladies ate in hall,
And noblest, when she lifted up her eyes.
However marred, of more than twice her years,
Seamed with an ancient swordcut on the cheek,
And bruised and bronzed, she lifted up her eyes
And loved him, with that love which was her doom.
Then the great knight, the darling of the court,
Loved of the loveliest, into that rude hall
Stept with all grace, and not with half disdain
Hid under grace, as in a smaller time,
But kindly man moving among his kind:
Whom they with meats and vintage of their best
And talk and minstrel melody entertained.
And much they asked of court and Table Round,
And ever well and readily answered he:
But Lancelot, when they glanced at Guinevere,
Suddenly speaking of the wordless man,
Heard from the Baron that, ten years before,
The heathen caught and reft him of his tongue.
'He learnt and warned me of their fierce design
Against my house, and him they caught and maimed;
But I, my sons, and little daughter fled
From bonds or death, and dwelt among the woods
By the great river in a boatman's hut.
Dull days were those, till our good Arthur broke
The Pagan yet once more on Badon hill.'
'O there, great lord, doubtless,' Lavaine said, rapt
By all the sweet and sudden passion of youth
Toward greatness in its elder, 'you have fought.
O tell us--for we live apart--you know
Of Arthur's glorious wars.' And Lancelot spoke
And answered him at full, as having been
With Arthur in the fight which all day long
Rang by the white mouth of the violent Glem;
And in the four loud battles by the shore
Of Duglas; that on Bassa; then the war
That thundered in and out the gloomy skirts
Of Celidon the forest; and again
By castle Gurnion, where the glorious King
Had on his cuirass worn our Lady's Head,
Carved of one emerald centered in a sun
Of silver rays, that lightened as he breathed;
And at Caerleon had he helped his lord,
When the strong neighings of the wild white Horse
Set every gilded parapet shuddering;
And up in Agned-Cathregonion too,
And down the waste sand-shores of Trath Treroit,
Where many a heathen fell; 'and on the mount
Of Badon I myself beheld the King
Charge at the head of all his Table Round,
And all his legions crying Christ and him,
And break them; and I saw him, after, stand
High on a heap of slain, from spur to plume
Red as the rising sun with heathen blood,
And seeing me, with a great voice he cried,
"They are broken, they are broken!" for the King,
However mild he seems at home, nor cares
For triumph in our mimic wars, the jousts-For if his own knight cast him down, he laughs
Saying, his knights are better men than he-Yet in this heathen war the fire of God
Fills him: I never saw his like: there lives
No greater leader.'
While he uttered this,
Low to her own heart said the lily maid,
'Save your own great self, fair lord;' and when he fell
From talk of war to traits of pleasantry-Being mirthful he, but in a stately kind-She still took note that when the living smile
Died from his lips, across him came a cloud
Of melancholy severe, from which again,
Whenever in her hovering to and fro
The lily maid had striven to make him cheer,
There brake a sudden-beaming tenderness
Of manners and of nature: and she thought
That all was nature, all, perchance, for her.
And all night long his face before her lived,
As when a painter, poring on a face,
Divinely through all hindrance finds the man
Behind it, and so paints him that his face,
The shape and colour of a mind and life,
Lives for his children, ever at its best
And fullest; so the face before her lived,
Dark-splendid, speaking in the silence, full
Of noble things, and held her from her sleep.
Till rathe she rose, half-cheated in the thought
She needs must bid farewell to sweet Lavaine.
First in fear, step after step, she stole
Down the long tower-stairs, hesitating:
Anon, she heard Sir Lancelot cry in the court,
'This shield, my friend, where is it?' and Lavaine
Past inward, as she came from out the tower.
There to his proud horse Lancelot turned, and smoothed
The glossy shoulder, humming to himself.
Half-envious of the flattering hand, she drew
Nearer and stood. He looked, and more amazed
Than if seven men had set upon him, saw
The maiden standing in the dewy light.
He had not dreamed she was so beautiful.
Then came on him a sort of sacred fear,
For silent, though he greeted her, she stood
Rapt on his face as if it were a God's.
Suddenly flashed on her a wild desire,
That he should wear her favour at the tilt.
She braved a riotous heart in asking for it.
'Fair lord, whose name I know not--noble it is,
I well believe, the noblest--will you wear
My favour at this tourney?' 'Nay,' said he,
'Fair lady, since I never yet have worn
Favour of any lady in the lists.
Such is my wont, as those, who know me, know.'
'Yea, so,' she answered; 'then in wearing mine
Needs must be lesser likelihood, noble lord,
That those who know should know you.' And he turned
Her counsel up and down within his mind,
And found it true, and answered, 'True, my child.
Well, I will wear it: fetch it out to me:
What is it?' and she told him 'A red sleeve
Broidered with pearls,' and brought it: then he bound
Her token on his helmet, with a smile
Saying, 'I never yet have done so much
For any maiden living,' and the blood
Sprang to her face and filled her with delight;
But left her all the paler, when Lavaine
Returning brought the yet-unblazoned shield,
His brother's; which he gave to Lancelot,
Who parted with his own to fair Elaine:
'Do me this grace, my child, to have my shield
In keeping till I come.' 'A grace to me,'
She answered, 'twice today. I am your squire!'
Whereat Lavaine said, laughing, 'Lily maid,
For fear our people call you lily maid
In earnest, let me bring your colour back;
Once, twice, and thrice: now get you hence to bed:'
So kissed her, and Sir Lancelot his own hand,
And thus they moved away: she stayed a minute,
Then made a sudden step to the gate, and there-Her bright hair blown about the serious face
Yet rosy-kindled with her brother's kiss-Paused by the gateway, standing near the shield
In silence, while she watched their arms far-off
Sparkle, until they dipt below the downs.
Then to her tower she climbed, and took the shield,
There kept it, and so lived in fantasy.
Meanwhile the new companions past away
Far o'er the long backs of the bushless downs,
To where Sir Lancelot knew there lived a knight
Not far from Camelot, now for forty years
A hermit, who had prayed, laboured and prayed,
And ever labouring had scooped himself
In the white rock a chapel and a hall
On massive columns, like a shorecliff cave,
And cells and chambers: all were fair and dry;
The green light from the meadows underneath
Struck up and lived along the milky roofs;
And in the meadows tremulous aspen-trees
And poplars made a noise of falling showers.
And thither wending there that night they bode.
But when the next day broke from underground,
And shot red fire and shadows through the cave,
They rose, heard mass, broke fast, and rode away:
Then Lancelot saying, 'Hear, but hold my name
Hidden, you ride with Lancelot of the Lake,'
Abashed young Lavaine, whose instant reverence,
Dearer to true young hearts than their own praise,
But left him leave to stammer, 'Is it indeed?'
And after muttering 'The great Lancelot,
At last he got his breath and answered, 'One,
One have I seen--that other, our liege lord,
The dread Pendragon, Britain's King of kings,
Of whom the people talk mysteriously,
He will be there--then were I stricken blind
That minute, I might say that I had seen.'
So spake Lavaine, and when they reached the lists
By Camelot in the meadow, let his eyes
Run through the peopled gallery which half round
Lay like a rainbow fallen upon the grass,
Until they found the clear-faced King, who sat
Robed in red samite, easily to be known,
Since to his crown the golden dragon clung,
And down his robe the dragon writhed in gold,
And from the carven-work behind him crept
Two dragons gilded, sloping down to make
Arms for his chair, while all the rest of them
Through knots and loops and folds innumerable
Fled ever through the woodwork, till they found
The new design wherein they lost themselves,
Yet with all ease, so tender was the work:
And, in the costly canopy o'er him set,
Blazed the last diamond of the nameless king.
Then Lancelot answered young Lavaine and said,
'Me you call great: mine is the firmer seat,
The truer lance: but there is many a youth
Now crescent, who will come to all I am
And overcome it; and in me there dwells
No greatness, save it be some far-off touch
Of greatness to know well I am not great:
There is the man.' And Lavaine gaped upon him
As on a thing miraculous, and anon
The trumpets blew; and then did either side,
They that assailed, and they that held the lists,
Set lance in rest, strike spur, suddenly move,
Meet in the midst, and there so furiously
Shock, that a man far-off might well perceive,
If any man that day were left afield,
The hard earth shake, and a low thunder of arms.
And Lancelot bode a little, till he saw
Which were the weaker; then he hurled into it
Against the stronger: little need to speak
Of Lancelot in his glory! King, duke, earl,
Count, baron--whom he smote, he overthrew.
But in the field were Lancelot's kith and kin,
Ranged with the Table Round that held the lists,
Strong men, and wrathful that a stranger knight
Should do and almost overdo the deeds
Of Lancelot; and one said to the other, 'Lo!
What is he? I do not mean the force alone-The grace and versatility of the man!
Is it not Lancelot?' 'When has Lancelot worn
Favour of any lady in the lists?
Not such his wont, as we, that know him, know.'
'How then? who then?' a fury seized them all,
A fiery family passion for the name
Of Lancelot, and a glory one with theirs.
They couched their spears and pricked their steeds, and thus,
Their plumes driven backward by the wind they made
In moving, all together down upon him
Bare, as a wild wave in the wide North-sea,
Green-glimmering toward the summit, bears, with all
Its stormy crests that smoke against the skies,
Down on a bark, and overbears the bark,
And him that helms it, so they overbore
Sir Lancelot and his charger, and a spear
Down-glancing lamed the charger, and a spear
Pricked sharply his own cuirass, and the head
Pierced through his side, and there snapt, and remained.
Then Sir Lavaine did well and worshipfully;
He bore a knight of old repute to the earth,
And brought his horse to Lancelot where he lay.
He up the side, sweating with agony, got,
But thought to do while he might yet endure,
And being lustily holpen by the rest,
His party,--though it seemed half-miracle
To those he fought with,--drave his kith and kin,
And all the Table Round that held the lists,
Back to the barrier; then the trumpets blew
Proclaiming his the prize, who wore the sleeve
Of scarlet, and the pearls; and all the knights,
His party, cried 'Advance and take thy prize
The diamond;' but he answered, 'Diamond me
No diamonds! for God's love, a little air!
Prize me no prizes, for my prize is death!
Hence will I, and I charge you, follow me not.'
He spoke, and vanished suddenly from the field
With young Lavaine into the poplar grove.
There from his charger down he slid, and sat,
Gasping to Sir Lavaine, 'Draw the lance-head:'
'Ah my sweet lord Sir Lancelot,' said Lavaine,
'I dread me, if I draw it, you will die.'
But he, 'I die already with it: draw-Draw,'--and Lavaine drew, and Sir Lancelot gave
A marvellous great shriek and ghastly groan,
And half his blood burst forth, and down he sank
For the pure pain, and wholly swooned away.
Then came the hermit out and bare him in,
There stanched his wound; and there, in daily doubt
Whether to live or die, for many a week
Hid from the wide world's rumour by the grove
Of poplars with their noise of falling showers,
And ever-tremulous aspen-trees, he lay.
But on that day when Lancelot fled the lists,
His party, knights of utmost North and West,
Lords of waste marches, kings of desolate isles,
Came round their great Pendragon, saying to him,
'Lo, Sire, our knight, through whom we won the day,
Hath gone sore wounded, and hath left his prize
Untaken, crying that his prize is death.'
'Heaven hinder,' said the King, 'that such an one,
So great a knight as we have seen today-He seemed to me another Lancelot-Yea, twenty times I thought him Lancelot-He must not pass uncared for. Wherefore, rise,
O Gawain, and ride forth and find the knight.
Wounded and wearied needs must he be near.
I charge you that you get at once to horse.
And, knights and kings, there breathes not one of you
Will deem this prize of ours is rashly given:
His prowess was too wondrous. We will do him
No customary honour: since the knight
Came not to us, of us to claim the prize,
Ourselves will send it after. Rise and take
This diamond, and deliver it, and return,
And bring us where he is, and how he fares,
And cease not from your quest until ye find.'
So saying, from the carven flower above,
To which it made a restless heart, he took,
And gave, the diamond: then from where he sat
At Arthur's right, with smiling face arose,
With smiling face and frowning heart, a Prince
In the mid might and flourish of his May,
Gawain, surnamed The Courteous, fair and strong,
And after Lancelot, Tristram, and Geraint
And Gareth, a good knight, but therewithal
Sir Modred's brother, and the child of Lot,
Nor often loyal to his word, and now
Wroth that the King's command to sally forth
In quest of whom he knew not, made him leave
The banquet, and concourse of knights and kings.
So all in wrath he got to horse and went;
While Arthur to the banquet, dark in mood,
Past, thinking 'Is it Lancelot who hath come
Despite the wound he spake of, all for gain
Of glory, and hath added wound to wound,
And ridden away to die?' So feared the King,
And, after two days' tarriance there, returned.
Then when he saw the Queen, embracing asked,
'Love, are you yet so sick?' 'Nay, lord,' she said.
'And where is Lancelot?' Then the Queen amazed,
'Was he not with you? won he not your prize?'
'Nay, but one like him.' 'Why that like was he.'
And when the King demanded how she knew,
Said, 'Lord, no sooner had ye parted from us,
Than Lancelot told me of a common talk
That men went down before his spear at a touch,
But knowing he was Lancelot; his great name
Conquered; and therefore would he hide his name
From all men, even the King, and to this end
Had made a pretext of a hindering wound,
That he might joust unknown of all, and learn
If his old prowess were in aught decayed;
And added, "Our true Arthur, when he learns,
Will well allow me pretext, as for gain
Of purer glory."'
Then replied the King:
'Far lovelier in our Lancelot had it been,
In lieu of idly dallying with the truth,
To have trusted me as he hath trusted thee.
Surely his King and most familiar friend
Might well have kept his secret. True, indeed,
Albeit I know my knights fantastical,
So fine a fear in our large Lancelot
Must needs have moved my laughter: now remains
But little cause for laughter: his own kin-Ill news, my Queen, for all who love him, this!-His kith and kin, not knowing, set upon him;
So that he went sore wounded from the field:
Yet good news too: for goodly hopes are mine
That Lancelot is no more a lonely heart.
He wore, against his wont, upon his helm
A sleeve of scarlet, broidered with great pearls,
Some gentle maiden's gift.'
'Yea, lord,' she said,
'Thy hopes are mine,' and saying that, she choked,
And sharply turned about to hide her face,
Past to her chamber, and there flung herself
Down on the great King's couch, and writhed upon it,
And clenched her fingers till they bit the palm,
And shrieked out 'Traitor' to the unhearing wall,
Then flashed into wild tears, and rose again,
And moved about her palace, proud and pale.
Gawain the while through all the region round
Rode with his diamond, wearied of the quest,
Touched at all points, except the poplar grove,
And came at last, though late, to Astolat:
Whom glittering in enamelled arms the maid
Glanced at, and cried, 'What news from Camelot, lord?
What of the knight with the red sleeve?' 'He won.'
'I knew it,' she said. 'But parted from the jousts
Hurt in the side,' whereat she caught her breath;
Through her own side she felt the sharp lance go;
Thereon she smote her hand: wellnigh she swooned:
And, while he gazed wonderingly at her, came
The Lord of Astolat out, to whom the Prince
Reported who he was, and on what quest
Sent, that he bore the prize and could not find
The victor, but had ridden a random round
To seek him, and had wearied of the search.
To whom the Lord of Astolat, 'Bide with us,
And ride no more at random, noble Prince!
Here was the knight, and here he left a shield;
This will he send or come for: furthermore
Our son is with him; we shall hear anon,
Needs must hear.' To this the courteous Prince
Accorded with his wonted courtesy,
Courtesy with a touch of traitor in it,
And stayed; and cast his eyes on fair Elaine:
Where could be found face daintier? then her shape
From forehead down to foot, perfect--again
From foot to forehead exquisitely turned:
'Well--if I bide, lo! this wild flower for me!'
And oft they met among the garden yews,
And there he set himself to play upon her
With sallying wit, free flashes from a height
Above her, graces of the court, and songs,
Sighs, and slow smiles, and golden eloquence
And amorous adulation, till the maid
Rebelled against it, saying to him, 'Prince,
O loyal nephew of our noble King,
Why ask you not to see the shield he left,
Whence you might learn his name? Why slight your King,
And lose the quest he sent you on, and prove
No surer than our falcon yesterday,
Who lost the hern we slipt her at, and went
To all the winds?' 'Nay, by mine head,' said he,
'I lose it, as we lose the lark in heaven,
O damsel, in the light of your blue eyes;
But an ye will it let me see the shield.'
And when the shield was brought, and Gawain saw
Sir Lancelot's azure lions, crowned with gold,
Ramp in the field, he smote his thigh, and mocked:
'Right was the King! our Lancelot! that true man!'
'And right was I,' she answered merrily, 'I,
Who dreamed my knight the greatest knight of all.'
'And if I dreamed,' said Gawain, 'that you love
This greatest knight, your pardon! lo, ye know it!
Speak therefore: shall I waste myself in vain?'
Full simple was her answer, 'What know I?
My brethren have been all my fellowship;
And I, when often they have talked of love,
Wished it had been my mother, for they talked,
Meseemed, of what they knew not; so myself-I know not if I know what true love is,
But if I know, then, if I love not him,
I know there is none other I can love.'
'Yea, by God's death,' said he, 'ye love him well,
But would not, knew ye what all others know,
And whom he loves.' 'So be it,' cried Elaine,
And lifted her fair face and moved away:
But he pursued her, calling, 'Stay a little!
One golden minute's grace! he wore your sleeve:
Would he break faith with one I may not name?
Must our true man change like a leaf at last?
Nay--like enow: why then, far be it from me
To cross our mighty Lancelot in his loves!
And, damsel, for I deem you know full well
Where your great knight is hidden, let me leave
My quest with you; the diamond also: here!
For if you love, it will be sweet to give it;
And if he love, it will be sweet to have it
From your own hand; and whether he love or not,
A diamond is a diamond. Fare you well
A thousand times!--a thousand times farewell!
Yet, if he love, and his love hold, we two
May meet at court hereafter: there, I think,
So ye will learn the courtesies of the court,
We two shall know each other.'
Then he gave,
And slightly kissed the hand to which he gave,
The diamond, and all wearied of the quest
Leapt on his horse, and carolling as he went
A true-love ballad, lightly rode away.
Thence to the court he past; there told the King
What the King knew, 'Sir Lancelot is the knight.'
And added, 'Sire, my liege, so much I learnt;
But failed to find him, though I rode all round
The region: but I lighted on the maid
Whose sleeve he wore; she loves him; and to her,
Deeming our courtesy is the truest law,
I gave the diamond: she will render it;
For by mine head she knows his hiding-place.'
The seldom-frowning King frowned, and replied,
'Too courteous truly! ye shall go no more
On quest of mine, seeing that ye forget
Obedience is the courtesy due to kings.'
He spake and parted. Wroth, but all in awe,
For twenty strokes of the blood, without a word,
Lingered that other, staring after him;
Then shook his hair, strode off, and buzzed abroad
About the maid of Astolat, and her love.
All ears were pricked at once, all tongues were loosed:
'The maid of Astolat loves Sir Lancelot,
Sir Lancelot loves the maid of Astolat.'
Some read the King's face, some the Queen's, and all
Had marvel what the maid might be, but most
Predoomed her as unworthy. One old dame
Came suddenly on the Queen with the sharp news.
She, that had heard the noise of it before,
But sorrowing Lancelot should have stooped so low,
Marred her friend's aim with pale tranquillity.
So ran the tale like fire about the court,
Fire in dry stubble a nine-days' wonder flared:
Till even the knights at banquet twice or thrice
Forgot to drink to Lancelot and the Queen,
And pledging Lancelot and the lily maid
Smiled at each other, while the Queen, who sat
With lips severely placid, felt the knot
Climb in her throat, and with her feet unseen
Crushed the wild passion out against the floor
Beneath the banquet, where all the meats became
As wormwood, and she hated all who pledged.
But far away the maid in Astolat,
Her guiltless rival, she that ever kept
The one-day-seen Sir Lancelot in her heart,
Crept to her father, while he mused alone,
Sat on his knee, stroked his gray face and said,
'Father, you call me wilful, and the fault
Is yours who let me have my will, and now,
Sweet father, will you let me lose my wits?'
'Nay,' said he, 'surely.' 'Wherefore, let me hence,'
She answered, 'and find out our dear Lavaine.'
'Ye will not lose your wits for dear Lavaine:
Bide,' answered he: 'we needs must hear anon
Of him, and of that other.' 'Ay,' she said,
'And of that other, for I needs must hence
And find that other, wheresoe'er he be,
And with mine own hand give his diamond to him,
Lest I be found as faithless in the quest
As yon proud Prince who left the quest to me.
Sweet father, I behold him in my dreams
Gaunt as it were the skeleton of himself,
Death-pale, for lack of gentle maiden's aid.
The gentler-born the maiden, the more bound,
My father, to be sweet and serviceable
To noble knights in sickness, as ye know
When these have worn their tokens: let me hence
I pray you.' Then her father nodding said,
'Ay, ay, the diamond: wit ye well, my child,
Right fain were I to learn this knight were whole,
Being our greatest: yea, and you must give it-And sure I think this fruit is hung too high
For any mouth to gape for save a queen's-Nay, I mean nothing: so then, get you gone,
Being so very wilful you must go.'
Lightly, her suit allowed, she slipt away,
And while she made her ready for her ride,
Her father's latest word hummed in her ear,
'Being so very wilful you must go,'
And changed itself and echoed in her heart,
'Being so very wilful you must die.'
But she was happy enough and shook it off,
As we shake off the bee that buzzes at us;
And in her heart she answered it and said,
'What matter, so I help him back to life?'
Then far away with good Sir Torre for guide
Rode o'er the long backs of the bushless downs
To Camelot, and before the city-gates
Came on her brother with a happy face
Making a roan horse caper and curvet
For pleasure all about a field of flowers:
Whom when she saw, 'Lavaine,' she cried, 'Lavaine,
How fares my lord Sir Lancelot?' He amazed,
'Torre and Elaine! why here? Sir Lancelot!
How know ye my lord's name is Lancelot?'
But when the maid had told him all her tale,
Then turned Sir Torre, and being in his moods
Left them, and under the strange-statued gate,
Where Arthur's wars were rendered mystically,
Past up the still rich city to his kin,
His own far blood, which dwelt at Camelot;
And her, Lavaine across the poplar grove
Led to the caves: there first she saw the casque
Of Lancelot on the wall: her scarlet sleeve,
Though carved and cut, and half the pearls away,
Streamed from it still; and in her heart she laughed,
Because he had not loosed it from his helm,
But meant once more perchance to tourney in it.
And when they gained the cell wherein he slept,
His battle-writhen arms and mighty hands
Lay naked on the wolfskin, and a dream
Of dragging down his enemy made them move.
Then she that saw him lying unsleek, unshorn,
Gaunt as it were the skeleton of himself,
Uttered a little tender dolorous cry.
The sound not wonted in a place so still
Woke the sick knight, and while he rolled his eyes
Yet blank from sleep, she started to him, saying,
'Your prize the diamond sent you by the King:'
His eyes glistened: she fancied 'Is it for me?'
And when the maid had told him all the tale
Of King and Prince, the diamond sent, the quest
Assigned to her not worthy of it, she knelt
Full lowly by the corners of his bed,
And laid the diamond in his open hand.
Her face was near, and as we kiss the child
That does the task assigned, he kissed her face.
At once she slipt like water to the floor.
'Alas,' he said, 'your ride hath wearied you.
Rest must you have.' 'No rest for me,' she said;
'Nay, for near you, fair lord, I am at rest.'
What might she mean by that? his large black eyes,
Yet larger through his leanness, dwelt upon her,
Till all her heart's sad secret blazed itself
In the heart's colours on her simple face;
And Lancelot looked and was perplext in mind,
And being weak in body said no more;
But did not love the colour; woman's love,
Save one, he not regarded, and so turned
Sighing, and feigned a sleep until he slept.
Then rose Elaine and glided through the fields,
And past beneath the weirdly-sculptured gates
Far up the dim rich city to her kin;
There bode the night: but woke with dawn, and past
Down through the dim rich city to the fields,
Thence to the cave: so day by day she past
In either twilight ghost-like to and fro
Gliding, and every day she tended him,
And likewise many a night: and Lancelot
Would, though he called his wound a little hurt
Whereof he should be quickly whole, at times
Brain-feverous in his heat and agony, seem
Uncourteous, even he: but the meek maid
Sweetly forbore him ever, being to him
Meeker than any child to a rough nurse,
Milder than any mother to a sick child,
And never woman yet, since man's first fall,
Did kindlier unto man, but her deep love
Upbore her; till the hermit, skilled in all
The simples and the science of that time,
Told him that her fine care had saved his life.
And the sick man forgot her simple blush,
Would call her friend and sister, sweet Elaine,
Would listen for her coming and regret
Her parting step, and held her tenderly,
And loved her with all love except the love
Of man and woman when they love their best,
Closest and sweetest, and had died the death
In any knightly fashion for her sake.
And peradventure had he seen her first
She might have made this and that other world
Another world for the sick man; but now
The shackles of an old love straitened him,
His honour rooted in dishonour stood,
And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.
Yet the great knight in his mid-sickness made
Full many a holy vow and pure resolve.
These, as but born of sickness, could not live:
For when the blood ran lustier in him again,
Full often the bright image of one face,
Making a treacherous quiet in his heart,
Dispersed his resolution like a cloud.
Then if the maiden, while that ghostly grace
Beamed on his fancy, spoke, he answered not,
Or short and coldly, and she knew right well
What the rough sickness meant, but what this meant
She knew not, and the sorrow dimmed her sight,
And drave her ere her time across the fields
Far into the rich city, where alone
She murmured, 'Vain, in vain: it cannot be.
He will not love me: how then? must I die?'
Then as a little helpless innocent bird,
That has but one plain passage of few notes,
Will sing the simple passage o'er and o'er
For all an April morning, till the ear
Wearies to hear it, so the simple maid
Went half the night repeating, 'Must I die?'
And now to right she turned, and now to left,
And found no ease in turning or in rest;
And 'Him or death,' she muttered, 'death or him,'
Again and like a burthen, 'Him or death.'
But when Sir Lancelot's deadly hurt was whole,
To Astolat returning rode the three.
There morn by morn, arraying her sweet self
In that wherein she deemed she looked her best,
She came before Sir Lancelot, for she thought
'If I be loved, these are my festal robes,
If not, the victim's flowers before he fall.'
And Lancelot ever prest upon the maid
That she should ask some goodly gift of him
For her own self or hers; 'and do not shun
To speak the wish most near to your true heart;
Such service have ye done me, that I make
My will of yours, and Prince and Lord am I
In mine own land, and what I will I can.'
Then like a ghost she lifted up her face,
But like a ghost without the power to speak.
And Lancelot saw that she withheld her wish,
And bode among them yet a little space
Till he should learn it; and one morn it chanced
He found her in among the garden yews,
And said, 'Delay no longer, speak your wish,
Seeing I go today:' then out she brake:
'Going? and we shall never see you more.
And I must die for want of one bold word.'
'Speak: that I live to hear,' he said, 'is yours.'
Then suddenly and passionately she spoke:
'I have gone mad. I love you: let me die.'
'Ah, sister,' answered Lancelot, 'what is this?'
And innocently extending her white arms,
'Your love,' she said, 'your love--to be your wife.'
And Lancelot answered, 'Had I chosen to wed,
I had been wedded earlier, sweet Elaine:
But now there never will be wife of mine.'
'No, no,' she cried, 'I care not to be wife,
But to be with you still, to see your face,
To serve you, and to follow you through the world.'
And Lancelot answered, 'Nay, the world, the world,
All ear and eye, with such a stupid heart
To interpret ear and eye, and such a tongue
To blare its own interpretation--nay,
Full ill then should I quit your brother's love,
And your good father's kindness.' And she said,
'Not to be with you, not to see your face-Alas for me then, my good days are done.'
'Nay, noble maid,' he answered, 'ten times nay!
This is not love: but love's first flash in youth,
Most common: yea, I know it of mine own self:
And you yourself will smile at your own self
Hereafter, when you yield your flower of life
To one more fitly yours, not thrice your age:
And then will I, for true you are and sweet
Beyond mine old belief in womanhood,
More specially should your good knight be poor,
Endow you with broad land and territory
Even to the half my realm beyond the seas,
So that would make you happy: furthermore,
Even to the death, as though ye were my blood,
In all your quarrels will I be your knight.
This I will do, dear damsel, for your sake,
And more than this I cannot.'
While he spoke
She neither blushed nor shook, but deathly-pale
Stood grasping what was nearest, then replied:
'Of all this will I nothing;' and so fell,
And thus they bore her swooning to her tower.
Then spake, to whom through those black walls of yew
Their talk had pierced, her father: 'Ay, a flash,
I fear me, that will strike my blossom dead.
Too courteous are ye, fair Lord Lancelot.
I pray you, use some rough discourtesy
To blunt or break her passion.'
Lancelot said,
'That were against me: what I can I will;'
And there that day remained, and toward even
Sent for his shield: full meekly rose the maid,
Stript off the case, and gave the naked shield;
Then, when she heard his horse upon the stones,
Unclasping flung the casement back, and looked
Down on his helm, from which her sleeve had gone.
And Lancelot knew the little clinking sound;
And she by tact of love was well aware
That Lancelot knew that she was looking at him.
And yet he glanced not up, nor waved his hand,
Nor bad farewell, but sadly rode away.
This was the one discourtesy that he used.
So in her tower alone the maiden sat:
His very shield was gone; only the case,
Her own poor work, her empty labour, left.
But still she heard him, still his picture formed
And grew between her and the pictured wall.
Then came her father, saying in low tones,
'Have comfort,' whom she greeted quietly.
Then came her brethren saying, 'Peace to thee,
Sweet sister,' whom she answered with all calm.
But when they left her to herself again,
Death, like a friend's voice from a distant field
Approaching through the darkness, called; the owls
Wailing had power upon her, and she mixt
Her fancies with the sallow-rifted glooms
Of evening, and the moanings of the wind.
And in those days she made a little song,
And called her song 'The Song of Love and Death,'
And sang it: sweetly could she make and sing.
'Sweet is true love though given in vain, in vain;
And sweet is death who puts an end to pain:
I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.
'Love, art thou sweet? then bitter death must be:
Love, thou art bitter; sweet is death to me.
O Love, if death be sweeter, let me die.
'Sweet love, that seems not made to fade away,
Sweet death, that seems to make us loveless clay,
I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.
'I fain would follow love, if that could be;
I needs must follow death, who calls for me;
Call and I follow, I follow! let me die.'
High with the last line scaled her voice, and this,
All in a fiery dawning wild with wind
That shook her tower, the brothers heard, and thought
With shuddering, 'Hark the Phantom of the house
That ever shrieks before a death,' and called
The father, and all three in hurry and fear
Ran to her, and lo! the blood-red light of dawn
Flared on her face, she shrilling, 'Let me die!'
As when we dwell upon a word we know,
Repeating, till the word we know so well
Becomes a wonder, and we know not why,
So dwelt the father on her face, and thought
'Is this Elaine?' till back the maiden fell,
Then gave a languid hand to each, and lay,
Speaking a still good-morrow with her eyes.
At last she said, 'Sweet brothers, yesternight
I seemed a curious little maid again,
As happy as when we dwelt among the woods,
And when ye used to take me with the flood
Up the great river in the boatman's boat.
Only ye would not pass beyond the cape
That has the poplar on it: there ye fixt
Your limit, oft returning with the tide.
And yet I cried because ye would not pass
Beyond it, and far up the shining flood
Until we found the palace of the King.
And yet ye would not; but this night I dreamed
That I was all alone upon the flood,
And then I said, "Now shall I have my will:"
And there I woke, but still the wish remained.
So let me hence that I may pass at last
Beyond the poplar and far up the flood,
Until I find the palace of the King.
There will I enter in among them all,
And no man there will dare to mock at me;
But there the fine Gawain will wonder at me,
And there the great Sir Lancelot muse at me;
Gawain, who bad a thousand farewells to me,
Lancelot, who coldly went, nor bad me one:
And there the King will know me and my love,
And there the Queen herself will pity me,
And all the gentle court will welcome me,
And after my long voyage I shall rest!'
'Peace,' said her father, 'O my child, ye seem
Light-headed, for what force is yours to go
So far, being sick? and wherefore would ye look
On this proud fellow again, who scorns us all?'
Then the rough Torre began to heave and move,
And bluster into stormy sobs and say,
'I never loved him: an I meet with him,
I care not howsoever great he be,
Then will I strike at him and strike him down,
Give me good fortune, I will strike him dead,
For this discomfort he hath done the house.'
To whom the gentle sister made reply,
'Fret not yourself, dear brother, nor be wroth,
Seeing it is no more Sir Lancelot's fault
Not to love me, than it is mine to love
Him of all men who seems to me the highest.'
'Highest?' the father answered, echoing 'highest?'
(He meant to break the passion in her) 'nay,
Daughter, I know not what you call the highest;
But this I know, for all the people know it,
He loves the Queen, and in an open shame:
And she returns his love in open shame;
If this be high, what is it to be low?'
Then spake the lily maid of Astolat:
'Sweet father, all too faint and sick am I
For anger: these are slanders: never yet
Was noble man but made ignoble talk.
He makes no friend who never made a foe.
But now it is my glory to have loved
One peerless, without stain: so let me pass,
My father, howsoe'er I seem to you,
Not all unhappy, having loved God's best
And greatest, though my love had no return:
Yet, seeing you desire your child to live,
Thanks, but you work against your own desire;
For if I could believe the things you say
I should but die the sooner; wherefore cease,
Sweet father, and bid call the ghostly man
Hither, and let me shrive me clean, and die.'
So when the ghostly man had come and gone,
She with a face, bright as for sin forgiven,
Besought Lavaine to write as she devised
A letter, word for word; and when he asked
'Is it for Lancelot, is it for my dear lord?
Then will I bear it gladly;' she replied,
'For Lancelot and the Queen and all the world,
But I myself must bear it.' Then he wrote
The letter she devised; which being writ
And folded, 'O sweet father, tender and true,
Deny me not,' she said--'ye never yet
Denied my fancies--this, however strange,
My latest: lay the letter in my hand
A little ere I die, and close the hand
Upon it; I shall guard it even in death.
And when the heat is gone from out my heart,
Then take the little bed on which I died
For Lancelot's love, and deck it like the Queen's
For richness, and me also like the Queen
In all I have of rich, and lay me on it.
And let there be prepared a chariot-bier
To take me to the river, and a barge
Be ready on the river, clothed in black.
I go in state to court, to meet the Queen.
There surely I shall speak for mine own self,
And none of you can speak for me so well.
And therefore let our dumb old man alone
Go with me, he can steer and row, and he
Will guide me to that palace, to the doors.'
She ceased: her father promised; whereupon
She grew so cheerful that they deemed her death
Was rather in the fantasy than the blood.
But ten slow mornings past, and on the eleventh
Her father laid the letter in her hand,
And closed the hand upon it, and she died.
So that day there was dole in Astolat.
But when the next sun brake from underground,
Then, those two brethren slowly with bent brows
Accompanying, the sad chariot-bier
Past like a shadow through the field, that shone
Full-summer, to that stream whereon the barge,
Palled all its length in blackest samite, lay.
There sat the lifelong creature of the house,
Loyal, the dumb old servitor, on deck,
Winking his eyes, and twisted all his face.
So those two brethren from the chariot took
And on the black decks laid her in her bed,
Set in her hand a lily, o'er her hung
The silken case with braided blazonings,
And kissed her quiet brows, and saying to her
'Sister, farewell for ever,' and again
'Farewell, sweet sister,' parted all in tears.
Then rose the dumb old servitor, and the dead,
Oared by the dumb, went upward with the flood-In her right hand the lily, in her left
The letter--all her bright hair streaming down-And all the coverlid was cloth of gold
Drawn to her waist, and she herself in white
All but her face, and that clear-featured face
Was lovely, for she did not seem as dead,
But fast asleep, and lay as though she smiled.
That day Sir Lancelot at the palace craved
Audience of Guinevere, to give at last,
The price of half a realm, his costly gift,
Hard-won and hardly won with bruise and blow,
With deaths of others, and almost his own,
The nine-years-fought-for diamonds: for he saw
One of her house, and sent him to the Queen
Bearing his wish, whereto the Queen agreed
With such and so unmoved a majesty
She might have seemed her statue, but that he,
Low-drooping till he wellnigh kissed her feet
For loyal awe, saw with a sidelong eye
The shadow of some piece of pointed lace,
In the Queen's shadow, vibrate on the walls,
And parted, laughing in his courtly heart.
All in an oriel on the summer side,
Vine-clad, of Arthur's palace toward the stream,
They met, and Lancelot kneeling uttered, 'Queen,
Lady, my liege, in whom I have my joy,
Take, what I had not won except for you,
These jewels, and make me happy, making them
An armlet for the roundest arm on earth,
Or necklace for a neck to which the swan's
Is tawnier than her cygnet's: these are words:
Your beauty is your beauty, and I sin
In speaking, yet O grant my worship of it
Words, as we grant grief tears. Such sin in words
Perchance, we both can pardon: but, my Queen,
I hear of rumours flying through your court.
Our bond, as not the bond of man and wife,
Should have in it an absoluter trust
To make up that defect: let rumours be:
When did not rumours fly? these, as I trust
That you trust me in your own nobleness,
I may not well believe that you believe.'
While thus he spoke, half turned away, the Queen
Brake from the vast oriel-embowering vine
Leaf after leaf, and tore, and cast them off,
Till all the place whereon she stood was green;
Then, when he ceased, in one cold passive hand
Received at once and laid aside the gems
There on a table near her, and replied:
'It may be, I am quicker of belief
Than you believe me, Lancelot of the Lake.
Our bond is not the bond of man and wife.
This good is in it, whatsoe'er of ill,
It can be broken easier. I for you
This many a year have done despite and wrong
To one whom ever in my heart of hearts
I did acknowledge nobler. What are these?
Diamonds for me! they had been thrice their worth
Being your gift, had you not lost your own.
To loyal hearts the value of all gifts
Must vary as the giver's. Not for me!
For her! for your new fancy. Only this
Grant me, I pray you: have your joys apart.
I doubt not that however changed, you keep
So much of what is graceful: and myself
Would shun to break those bounds of courtesy
In which as Arthur's Queen I move and rule:
So cannot speak my mind. An end to this!
A strange one! yet I take it with Amen.
So pray you, add my diamonds to her pearls;
Deck her with these; tell her, she shines me down:
An armlet for an arm to which the Queen's
Is haggard, or a necklace for a neck
O as much fairer--as a faith once fair
Was richer than these diamonds--hers not mine-Nay, by the mother of our Lord himself,
Or hers or mine, mine now to work my will-She shall not have them.'
Saying which
she seized,
And, through the casement standing wide for heat,
Flung them, and down they flashed, and smote the stream.
Then from the smitten surface flashed, as it were,
Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.
Then while Sir Lancelot leant, in half disdain
At love, life, all things, on the window ledge,
Close underneath his eyes, and right across
Where these had fallen, slowly past the barge.
Whereon the lily maid of Astolat
Lay smiling, like a star in blackest night.
But the wild Queen, who saw not, burst away
To weep and wail in secret; and the barge,
On to the palace-doorway sliding, paused.
There two stood armed, and kept the door; to whom,
All up the marble stair, tier over tier,
Were added mouths that gaped, and eyes that asked
'What is it?' but that oarsman's haggard face,
As hard and still as is the face that men
Shape to their fancy's eye from broken rocks
On some cliff-side, appalled them, and they said
'He is enchanted, cannot speak--and she,
Look how she sleeps--the Fairy Queen, so fair!
Yea, but how pale! what are they? flesh and blood?
Or come to take the King to Fairyland?
For some do hold our Arthur cannot die,
But that he passes into Fairyland.'
While thus they babbled of the King, the King
Came girt with knights: then turned the tongueless man
From the half-face to the full eye, and rose
And pointed to the damsel, and the doors.
So Arthur bad the meek Sir Percivale
And pure Sir Galahad to uplift the maid;
And reverently they bore her into hall.
Then came the fine Gawain and wondered at her,
And Lancelot later came and mused at her,
And last the Queen herself, and pitied her:
But Arthur spied the letter in her hand,
Stoopt, took, brake seal, and read it; this was all:
'Most noble lord, Sir Lancelot of the Lake,
I, sometime called the maid of Astolat,
Come, for you left me taking no farewell,
Hither, to take my last farewell of you.
I loved you, and my love had no return,
And therefore my true love has been my death.
And therefore to our Lady Guinevere,
And to all other ladies, I make moan:
Pray for my soul, and yield me burial.
Pray for my soul thou too, Sir Lancelot,
As thou art a knight peerless.'
Thus he read;
And ever in the reading, lords and dames
Wept, looking often from his face who read
To hers which lay so silent, and at times,
So touched were they, half-thinking that her lips,
Who had devised the letter, moved again.
Then freely spoke Sir Lancelot to them all:
'My lord liege Arthur, and all ye that hear,
Know that for this most gentle maiden's death
Right heavy am I; for good she was and true,
But loved me with a love beyond all love
In women, whomsoever I have known.
Yet to be loved makes not to love again;
Not at my years, however it hold in youth.
I swear by truth and knighthood that I gave
No cause, not willingly, for such a love:
To this I call my friends in testimony,
Her brethren, and her father, who himself
Besought me to be plain and blunt, and use,
To break her passion, some discourtesy
Against my nature: what I could, I did.
I left her and I bad her no farewell;
Though, had I dreamt the damsel would have died,
I might have put my wits to some rough use,
And helped her from herself.'
Then said the Queen
(Sea was her wrath, yet working after storm)
'Ye might at least have done her so much grace,
Fair lord, as would have helped her from her death.'
He raised his head, their eyes met and hers fell,
He adding,
'Queen, she would not be content
Save that I wedded her, which could not be.
Then might she follow me through the world, she asked;
It could not be. I told her that her love
Was but the flash of youth, would darken down
To rise hereafter in a stiller flame
Toward one more worthy of her--then would I,
More specially were he, she wedded, poor,
Estate them with large land and territory
In mine own realm beyond the narrow seas,
To keep them in all joyance: more than this
I could not; this she would not, and she died.'
He pausing, Arthur answered, 'O my knight,
It will be to thy worship, as my knight,
And mine, as head of all our Table Round,
To see that she be buried worshipfully.'
So toward that shrine which then in all the realm
Was richest, Arthur leading, slowly went
The marshalled Order of their Table Round,
And Lancelot sad beyond his wont, to see
The maiden buried, not as one unknown,
Nor meanly, but with gorgeous obsequies,
And mass, and rolling music, like a queen.
And when the knights had laid her comely head
Low in the dust of half-forgotten kings,
Then Arthur spake among them, 'Let her tomb
Be costly, and her image thereupon,
And let the shield of Lancelot at her feet
Be carven, and her lily in her hand.
And let the story of her dolorous voyage
For all true hearts be blazoned on her tomb
In letters gold and azure!' which was wrought
Thereafter; but when now the lords and dames
And people, from the high door streaming, brake
Disorderly, as homeward each, the Queen,
Who marked Sir Lancelot where he moved apart,
Drew near, and sighed in passing, 'Lancelot,
Forgive me; mine was jealousy in love.'
He answered with his eyes upon the ground,
'That is love's curse; pass on, my Queen, forgiven.'
But Arthur, who beheld his cloudy brows,
Approached him, and with full affection said,
'Lancelot, my Lancelot, thou in whom I have
Most joy and most affiance, for I know
What thou hast been in battle by my side,
And many a time have watched thee at the tilt
Strike down the lusty and long practised knight,
And let the younger and unskilled go by
To win his honour and to make his name,
And loved thy courtesies and thee, a man
Made to be loved; but now I would to God,
Seeing the homeless trouble in thine eyes,
Thou couldst have loved this maiden, shaped, it seems,
By God for thee alone, and from her face,
If one may judge the living by the dead,
Delicately pure and marvellously fair,
Who might have brought thee, now a lonely man
Wifeless and heirless, noble issue, sons
Born to the glory of thine name and fame,
My knight, the great Sir Lancelot of the Lake.'
Then answered Lancelot, 'Fair she was, my King,
Pure, as you ever wish your knights to be.
To doubt her fairness were to want an eye,
To doubt her pureness were to want a heart-Yea, to be loved, if what is worthy love
Could bind him, but free love will not be bound.'
'Free love, so bound, were fre st,' said the King.
'Let love be free; free love is for the best:
And, after heaven, on our dull side of death,
What should be best, if not so pure a love
Clothed in so pure a loveliness? yet thee
She failed to bind, though being, as I think,
Unbound as yet, and gentle, as I know.'
And Lancelot answered nothing, but he went,
And at the inrunning of a little brook
Sat by the river in a cove, and watched
The high reed wave, and lifted up his eyes
And saw the barge that brought her moving down,
Far-off, a blot upon the stream, and said
Low in himself, 'Ah simple heart and sweet,
Ye loved me, damsel, surely with a love
Far tenderer than my Queen's. Pray for thy soul?
Ay, that will I. Farewell too--now at last-Farewell, fair lily. "Jealousy in love?"
Not rather dead love's harsh heir, jealous pride?
Queen, if I grant the jealousy as of love,
May not your crescent fear for name and fame
Speak, as it waxes, of a love that wanes?
Why did the King dwell on my name to me?
Mine own name shames me, seeming a reproach,
Lancelot, whom the Lady of the Lake
Caught from his mother's arms--the wondrous one
Who passes through the vision of the night-She chanted snatches of mysterious hymns
Heard on the winding waters, eve and morn
She kissed me saying, "Thou art fair, my child,
As a king's son," and often in her arms
She bare me, pacing on the dusky mere.
Would she had drowned me in it, where'er it be!
For what am I? what profits me my name
Of greatest knight? I fought for it, and have it:
Pleasure to have it, none; to lose it, pain;
Now grown a part of me: but what use in it?
To make men worse by making my sin known?
Or sin seem less, the sinner seeming great?
Alas for Arthur's greatest knight, a man
Not after Arthur's heart! I needs must break
These bonds that so defame me: not without
She wills it: would I, if she willed it? nay,
Who knows? but if I would not, then may God,
I pray him, send a sudden Angel down
To seize me by the hair and bear me far,
And fling me deep in that forgotten mere,
Among the tumbled fragments of the hills.'
So groaned Sir Lancelot in remorseful pain,
Not knowing he should die a holy man.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,

IN CHAPTERS [150/974]

  492 Integral Yoga
   84 Occultism
   61 Christianity
   55 Philosophy
   39 Psychology
   37 Poetry
   21 Fiction
   18 Yoga
   13 Science
   7 Education
   6 Mysticism
   6 Hinduism
   5 Integral Theory
   3 Sufism
   2 Theosophy
   2 Mythology
   2 Cybernetics
   1 Zen
   1 Alchemy

  266 The Mother
  177 Sri Aurobindo
  173 Satprem
  118 Nolini Kanta Gupta
   42 Aleister Crowley
   37 Carl Jung
   23 A B Purani
   22 Plotinus
   21 Saint Augustine of Hippo
   19 H P Lovecraft
   18 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
   12 James George Frazer
   11 Plato
   10 Swami Krishnananda
   8 Swami Vivekananda
   8 Friedrich Nietzsche
   8 Aldous Huxley
   7 Sri Ramana Maharshi
   7 Rudolf Steiner
   7 Nirodbaran
   6 Jordan Peterson
   6 George Van Vrekhem
   5 Saint John of Climacus
   5 Robert Browning
   4 Walt Whitman
   4 Sri Ramakrishna
   4 Franz Bardon
   3 William Wordsworth
   3 Vyasa
   3 Rabindranath Tagore
   3 Percy Bysshe Shelley
   3 Paul Richard
   3 Patanjali
   3 Jorge Luis Borges
   2 Norbert Wiener
   2 Lewis Carroll
   2 Lalla
   2 Ken Wilber
   2 Kabir
   2 Joseph Campbell
   2 Farid ud-Din Attar
   2 Edgar Allan Poe

   46 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01
   28 Magick Without Tears
   24 The Synthesis Of Yoga
   23 Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo
   23 Essays In Philosophy And Yoga
   20 The Life Divine
   20 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 07
   20 City of God
   19 Questions And Answers 1956
   19 Lovecraft - Poems
   18 Questions And Answers 1957-1958
   18 Agenda Vol 10
   18 Agenda Vol 08
   18 Agenda Vol 04
   16 Letters On Yoga II
   15 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04
   15 Agenda Vol 07
   14 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03
   13 On Thoughts And Aphorisms
   13 Liber ABA
   13 Agenda Vol 11
   13 Agenda Vol 09
   12 The Golden Bough
   12 The Future of Man
   12 Talks
   12 Letters On Yoga IV
   11 Questions And Answers 1953
   11 Mysterium Coniunctionis
   11 Agenda Vol 02
   10 The Study and Practice of Yoga
   10 The Practice of Psycho therapy
   10 The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
   10 Record of Yoga
   10 Questions And Answers 1955
   10 Agenda Vol 13
   10 Agenda Vol 06
   10 Agenda Vol 05
   10 Agenda Vol 01
   9 Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness
   9 Questions And Answers 1954
   9 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02
   8 Twilight of the Idols
   8 The Perennial Philosophy
   8 Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 02
   8 Essays Divine And Human
   7 Twelve Years With Sri Aurobindo
   7 The Problems of Philosophy
   7 Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 03
   7 Agenda Vol 03
   6 The Secret Doctrine
   6 The Human Cycle
   6 Some Answers From The Mother
   6 Questions And Answers 1950-1951
   6 Preparing for the Miraculous
   6 Maps of Meaning
   6 Essays On The Gita
   6 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 05
   6 Aion
   6 Agenda Vol 12
   5 Vedic and Philological Studies
   5 The Phenomenon of Man
   5 The Ladder of Divine Ascent
   5 Questions And Answers 1929-1931
   5 On the Way to Supermanhood
   5 On Education
   5 Letters On Yoga III
   5 Letters On Yoga I
   5 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 08
   5 Browning - Poems
   5 A Garden of Pomegranates - An Outline of the Qabalah
   4 Words Of Long Ago
   4 The Secret Of The Veda
   4 The Mother With Letters On The Mother
   4 The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
   4 Savitri
   4 Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 04
   4 Letters On Poetry And Art
   4 Knowledge of the Higher Worlds
   3 Wordsworth - Poems
   3 Whitman - Poems
   3 Vishnu Purana
   3 The Practice of Magical Evocation
   3 The Blue Cliff Records
   3 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
   3 Tagore - Poems
   3 Shelley - Poems
   3 Raja-Yoga
   3 Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 01
   3 Patanjali Yoga Sutras
   3 Isha Upanishad
   2 Words Of The Mother II
   2 The Hero with a Thousand Faces
   2 The Essentials of Education
   2 The Bible
   2 Symposium
   2 Songs of Kabir
   2 Sex Ecology Spirituality
   2 Prayers And Meditations
   2 Hymns to the Mystic Fire
   2 Cybernetics
   2 Crowley - Poems
   2 Bhakti-Yoga
   2 Alice in Wonderland
   2 Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2E

00.03 - Upanishadic Symbolism, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Apart from The Question whether the biological phenomenon described is really a symbol and a cloak for another order of reality, and even taking it at its face value, what is to be noted here is the idea of a cosmic cycle, and a cosmic cycle that proceeds through the principle of sacrifice. If it is asked what there is wonderful or particularly spiritual in this rather naf description of a very commonplace happening that gives it an honoured place in the Upanishads, the answer is that it is wonderful to see how the Upanishadic Rishi takes from an event its local, temporal and personal colour and incorporates it in a global movement, a cosmic cycle, as a limb of the Universal Brahman. The Upanishads contain passages which a puritanical mentality may perhaps describe as 'pornographic'; these have in fact been put by some on the Index expurgatorius. But the ancients saw these matters with other eyes and through another consciousness.
   We have, in modern times, a movement towards a more conscious and courageous, knowledge of things that were taboo to puritan ages. Not to shut one's eyes to the lower, darker and hidden strands of our nature, but to bring them out into the light of day and to face them is the best way of dealing with such elements, which otherwise, if they are repressed, exert an unhealthy influence on the mind and nature. The Upanishadic view runs on the same lines, but, with the unveiling and the natural and not merely naturalisticdelineation of these under-worlds (concerning sex and food), it endows them with a perspective sub specie aeternitatis. The sexual function, for example, is easily equated to the double movement of ascent and descent that is secreted in nature, or to the combined action of Purusha and Prakriti in the cosmic Play, or again to the hidden fount of Delight that holds and moves the universe. In this view there is nothing merely secular and profane, but all is woven into the cosmic spiritual whole; and man is taught to consider and to mould all his movementsof soul and mind and bodyin the light and rhythm of that integral Reality.11
   The third boon is the secret of secrets, for it is the knowledge and realisation of Transcendence that is sought here. Beyond the individual lies the universal; is there anything beyond the universal? The release of the individual into the cosmic existence gives him the griefless life eternal: can the cosmos be rolled up and flung into something beyond? What would be the nature of that thing? What is there outside creation, outside manifestation, outside Maya, to use a latter day term? Is there existence or non-existence (utter dissolution or extinctionDeath in his supreme and absolute status)? King Yama did not choose to answer immediately and even endeavoured to dissuade Nachiketas from pursuing The Question over which people were confounded, as he said. Evidently it was a much discussed problem in those days. Buddha was asked the same question and he evaded it, saying that the pragmatic man should attend to practical and immediate realities and not, waste time and energy in discussing things ultimate and beyond that have hardly any relation to the present and the actual.
   But Yama did answer and unveil the mystery and impart the supreme secret knowledge the knowledge of the Transcendent Brahman: it is out of the transcendent reality that the immanent deity takes his birth. Hence the Divine Fire, the Lord of creation and the Inner Mastersarvabhtntartm, antarymis called brahmajam, born of the Brahman. Yama teaches the process of transcendence. Apart from the knowledge and experience first of the individual and then of the cosmic Brahman, there is a definite line along which the human consciousness (or unconsciousness, as it is at present) is to ascend and evolve. The first step is to learn to distinguish between the Good and the Pleasurable (reya and preya). The line of pleasure leads to the external, the superficial, the false: while the other path leads towards the inner and the higher truth. So the second step is the gradual withdrawal of the consciousness from the physical and the sensual and even the mental preoccupation and focussing it upon what is certain and permanent. In the midst of the death-ridden consciousness in the heart of all that is unstable and fleetingone has to look for Agni, the eternal godhead, the Immortal in mortality, the Timeless in time through whom lies the passage to Immortality beyond Time.

0.01 - I - Sri Aurobindos personality, his outer retirement - outside contacts after 1910 - spiritual personalities- Vibhutis and Avatars - transformtion of human personality, #Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo, #unset, #Hinduism
   The Question which Arjuna asks Sri Krishna in the Gita (second chapter) occurs pertinently to many about all spiritual personalities: "What is the language of one whose understanding is poised? How does he speak, how sit, how walk?" Men want to know the outer signs of the inner attainment, the way in which a spiritual person differs outwardly from other men. But all the tests which the Gita enumerates are inner and therefore invisible to the outer view. It is true also that the inner or the spiritual is the essential and the outer derives its value and form from the inner. But the transformation about which Sri Aurobindo writes in his books has to take place in nature, because according to him the divine Reality has to manifest itself in nature. So, all the parts of nature including the physical and the external are to be transformed. In his own case the very physical became the transparent mould of the Spirit as a result of his intense Sadhana. This is borne out by the impression created on the minds of sensitive outsiders like Sj. K. M. Munshi who was deeply impressed by his radiating presence when he met him after nearly forty years.
   The Evening Talks collected here may afford to the outside world a glimpse of his external personality and give the seeker some idea of its richness, its many-sidedness, its uniqueness. One can also form some notion of Sri Aurobindo's personality from the books in which the height, the universal sweep and clear vision of his integral ideal and thought can be seen. His writings are, in a sense, the best representative of his mental personality. The versatile nature of his genius, the penetrating power of his intellect, his extraordinary power of expression, his intense sincerity, his utter singleness of purpose all these can be easily felt by any earnest student of his works. He may discover even in the realm of mind that Sri Aurobindo brings the unlimited into the limited. Another side of his dynamic personality is represented by the Ashram as an institution. But the outer, if one may use the phrase, the human side of his personality, is unknown to the outside world because from 1910 to 1950 a span of forty years he led a life of outer retirement. No doubt, many knew about his staying at Pondicherry and practising some kind of very special Yoga to the mystery of which they had no access. To some, perhaps, he was living a life of enviable solitude enjoying the luxury of a spiritual endeavour. Many regretted his retirement as a great loss to the world because they could not see any external activity on his part which could be regarded as 'public', 'altruistic' or 'beneficial'. Even some of his admirers thought that he was after some kind of personal salvation which would have very little significance for mankind in general. His outward non-participation in public life was construed by many as lack of love for humanity.

0.01 - Letters from the Mother to Her Son, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  true that in my answers many aspects of The Question have been
  neglected which could have been examined with interest - that

0.02 - II - The Home of the Guru, #Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo, #unset, #Hinduism
   Guru-griha-vsa staying in the home of the Guru is a very old Indian ideal maintained by seekers through the ages. The Aranyakas the ancient teachings in the forest-groves are perhaps the oldest records of the institution. It was not for education in the modern sense of the term that men went to live with the Guru; for the Guru is not a 'teacher'. The Guru is one who is 'enlightened', who is a seer, a Rishi, one who has the vision of and has lived the Truth. He has, thus, the knowledge of the goal of human life and has learnt true values in life by living the Truth. He can impart both these to the willing seeker. In ancient times seekers went to the Guru with many questions, difficulties and doubts but also with earnestness. Their questions were preliminary to The Quest.
   The Master, the Guru, set at rest the puzzled human mind by his illuminating answers, perhaps even more by his silent consciousness, so that it might be able to pursue unhampered the path of realisation of the Truth. Those ancient discourses answer the mind of man today even across the ages. They have rightly acquired as everything of the past does a certain sanctity. But sometimes that very reverence prevents men from properly evaluating, and living in, the present. This happens when the mind instead of seeking the Spirit looks at the form. For instance, it is not necessary for such discourses that they take place in forest-groves in order to be highly spiritual. Wherever the Master is, there is Light. And guru-griha the house of the Master can be his private dwelling place. So much was this feeling a part of Sri Aurobindo's nature and so particular was he to maintain the personal character of his work that during the first few years after 1923 he did not like his house to be called an 'Ashram', as the word had acquired the sense of a public institution to the modern mind. But there was no doubt that the flower of Divinity had blossomed in him; and disciples, like bees seeking honey, came to him. It is no exaggeration to say that these Evening Talks were to the small company of disciples what the Aranyakas were to the ancient seekers. Seeking the Light, they came to the dwelling place of their Guru, the greatest seer of the age, and found it their spiritual home the home of their parents, for the Mother, his companion in the great mission, had come. And these spiritual parents bestowed upon the disciples freely of their Light, their Consciousness, their Power and their Grace. The modern reader may find that the form of these discourses differs from those of the past but it was bound to be so for the simple reason that the times have changed and the problems that puzzle the modern mind are so different. Even though the disciples may be very imperfect representations of what he aimed at in them, still they are his creations. It is in order to repay, in however infinitesimal a degree, the debt which we owe to him that the effort is made to partake of the joy of his company the Evening Talks with a larger public.

0.02 - Letters to a Sadhak, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  I have nothing else to add except this. When The Question
  of distempering X's rooms arose, I looked very carefully several
  I know that I was not obliged to give Y an explanation for my decision. In his expression, The Question was
  there, but I could easily have ignored it. Why did I show

0.02 - The Three Steps of Nature, #The Synthesis Of Yoga, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  But what then constitutes this higher or highest existence to which our evolution is tending? In order to answer The Question we have to deal with a class of supreme experiences, a class of unusual conceptions which it is difficult to represent accurately in any other language than the ancient Sanskrit tongue in which alone they have been to some extent systematised.
  The only approximate terms in the English language have other associations and their use may lead to many and even serious inaccuracies. The terminology of Yoga recognises besides the status of our physical and vital being, termed the gross body and doubly composed of the food sheath and the vital vehicle, besides the status of our mental being, termed the subtle body and singly composed of the mind sheath or mental vehicle,5 a third, supreme and divine status of supra-mental being, termed the causal body and composed of a fourth and a fifth vehicle6 which are described as those of knowledge and bliss. But this knowledge is not a systematised result of mental questionings and reasonings, not a temporary arrangement of conclusions and opinions in the terms of the highest probability, but rather a pure self-existent and self-luminous Truth. And this bliss is not a supreme pleasure of the heart and sensations with the experience of pain and sorrow as its background, but a delight also selfexistent and independent of objects and particular experiences, a self-delight which is the very nature, the very stuff, as it were, of a transcendent and infinite existence.

0.03 - Letters to My little smile, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  smile which was a pleasure to see? I don't ask The Question in
  order to get an answer from you, for I think that I know it; it

0.08 - Letters to a Young Captain, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  So according to them, The Question has no real basis and
  cannot be posed.

01.01 - The New Humanity, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The breath and the surge of the new creation cannot be mistaken. The Question that confronts us today is no longer whether the New Man, the Super-humanity, will come or if at all, when; but The Question we have to answer is who among us are ready to be its receptacle, its instrument and embodiment.

01.03 - Rationalism, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Now The Question is, does Reason never fail? Is it such a perfect instrument as intellectualists think it to be? There is ground for serious misgivings. Reason says, for example, that the earth revolves round the sun: and reason, it is argued, is right, for we see that all the facts are conformableto it, even facts that were hitherto unknown and are now coming into our ken. But the difficulty is that Reason did not say that always in the past and may not say that always in the future. The old astronomers could explain the universe by holding quite a contrary theory and could fit into it all their astronomical data. A future scientist may come and explain the matter in quite a different way from either. It is only a choice of workable theories that Reason seems to offer; we do not know the fact itself, apart perhaps from exactly the amount that immediate sense-perception gives to each of us. Or again, if we take an example of another category, we may ask, does God exist? A candid Rationalist would say that he does not know although he has his own opinion about the matter. Evidently, Reason cannot solve all the problems that it meets; it can judge only truths that are of a certain type.
   It may be answered that Reason is a faculty which gives us progressive knowledge of the reality, but as a knowing instrument it is perfect, at least it is the only instrument at our disposal; even if it gives a false, incomplete or blurred image of the reality, it has the means and capacity of correcting and completing itself. It offers theories, no doubt; but what are theories? They are simply the gradually increasing adaptation of the knowing subject to the object to be known, the evolving revelation of reality to our perception of it. Reason is the power which carries on that process of adaptation and revelation; we can safely rely upon Reason and trust It to carry on its work with increasing success.

01.03 - Sri Aurobindo and his School, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   This much as regards what Sri Aurobindo is not doing; let us now turn and try to understand what he is doing. The distinguished man of action speaks of conquering Nature and fighting her. Adopting this war-like imagery, we can affirm that Sri Aurobindo's work is just such a battle and conquest. But The Question is, what is nature and what is the kind of conquest that is sought, how are we to fight and what are the required arms and implements? A good general should foresee all this, frame his plan of campaign accordingly and then only take the field. The above-mentioned leader proposes ceaseless and unselfish action as the way to fight and conquer Nature. He who speaks thus does not know and cannot mean what he says.
   European science is conquering Nature in a way. It has attained to a certain kind and measure, in some fields a great measure, of control and conquest; but however great or striking it may be in its own province, it does not touch man in his more intimate reality and does not bring about any true change in his destiny or his being. For the most vital part of nature is the region of the life-forces, the powers of disease and age and death, of strife and greed and lustall the instincts of the brute in man, all the dark aboriginal forces, the forces of ignorance that form the very groundwork of man's nature and his society. And then, as we rise next to the world of the mind, we find a twilight region where falsehood masquerades as truth, where prejudices move as realities, where notions rule as ideals.

01.04 - The Intuition of the Age, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Now, The Question is, what is the insufficiency of Reason? How does it limit man? And what is the Superman into which man is asked or is being impelled to grow?
   Reason is insufficient and unsatisfactory because, as Bergson explains, it does not and cannot embrace life as a whole, seize man and the world in an integral realisation. The greater part of the vast mystery of existence escapes its envergure. Reason is that faculty which is for analysing, defining, classifying and fixing things. It is a power that has grown in man in order that he may best manipulate the things of the world. It is utilitarian, practical in its nature and outlook. And as practical dealing requires that things should be stable and separate entities, therefore Reason cannot but see things in solid and in the fragments of a solid. It cuts up existence into distinct parts and diverse elements; and these again it seeks to relate and aggregate, in accordance with what it calls "laws". Such a process has been necessary for man in conducting life and action successfully. Originally a bye-product of active life, Reason gradually separated itself and came finally to have an independent status and function, became or sought to become the instrument of knowledge, of Truth.
   And the faculty of Intuition said to be the characteristic of the New Man does not mean all that it should, if we confine ourselves to Bergson's definition of it. Bergson says that Intuition is a sort of sympathy, a community of feeling or sensibility with the urge of the life-reality. The difference between the sympathy of Instinct and the sympathy of Intuition being that while the former is an unconscious or semi-conscious power, the latter is illumined and self-conscious. Now this view emphasises only the feeling-tone of Intuition, the vital sensibility that attends the direct communion with the life movement. But Intuition is not only purified feeling and sensibility, it is also purified vision and knowledge. It unites us not only with the movement of life, but also opens out to our sight the Truths, the fundamental realities behind that movement. Bergson does not, of course, point to any existence behind the continuous flux of life-power the elan vital. He seems to deny any static truth or truths to be seen and seized in any scheme of knowledge. To him the dynamic flow the Heraclitian panta reei is the ultimate reality. It is precisely to this view of things that Bergson owes his conception of Intuition. Since existence is a continuum of Mind-Energy, the only way to know it is to be in harmony or unison with it, to move along its current. The conception of knowledge as a fixing and delimiting of things is necessarily an anomaly in this scheme. But The Question is, is matter the only static and separative reality? Is the flux of vital Mind-Energy the ultimate truth?
   Matter forms the lowest level of reality. Above it is the elan vital. Above the elan vital there is yet the domain of the Spirit. And the Spirit is a static substance and at the same a dynamic creative power. It is Being (Sat) that realises or expresses itself through certain typal nuclei or nodi of consciousness (chit) in a continuous becoming, in a flow of creative activity (ananda). The dynamism of the vital energy is only a refraction or precipitation of the dynamism of the spirit; and so also static matter is only the substance of the spirit concretised and solidified. It is in an uplift both of matter and vital force to their prototypesswarupa and swabhavain the Spirit that lies the real transformation and transfiguration of the humanity of man.

01.04 - The Poetry in the Making, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   But the Yogi is a wholly conscious being; a perfect Yogi is he who possesses a conscious and willed control over his instruments, he silences them, as and when he likes, and makes them convey and express with as little deviation as possible truths and realities from the Beyond. Now The Question is, is it possible for the poet also to do something like that, to consciously create and not to be a mere unconscious or helpless channel? Conscious artistry, as we have said, means to be conscious on two levels of consciousness at the same time, to be at home in both equally and simultaneously. The general experience, however, is that of "one at a time": if the artist dwells more in the one, the other retires into the background to the same measure. If he is in the over-consciousness, he is only half-conscious in his brain consciousness, or even not conscious at allhe does not know how he has created, the sources or process of his creative activity, he is quite oblivious of them" gone through them all as if per saltum. Such seems to have been the case with the primitives, as they are called, the elemental poetsShakespeare and Homer and Valmiki. In some others, who come very near to them in poetic genius, yet not quite on a par, the instrumental intelligence is strong and active, it helps in its own way but in helping circumscribes and limits the original impulsion. The art here becomes consciously artistic, but loses something of the initial freshness and spontaneity: it gains in correctness, polish and elegance and has now a style in lieu of Nature's own naturalness. I am thinking of Virgil and Milton and Kalidasa. Dante's place is perhaps somewhere in between. Lower in the rung where the mental medium occupies a still more preponderant place we have intellectual poetry, poetry of the later classical age whose representatives are Pope and Dryden. We can go farther down and land in the domain of versificationalthough here, too, there can be a good amount of beauty in shape of ingenuity, cleverness and conceit: Voltaire and Delille are of this order in French poetry.
   The three or four major orders I speak of in reference to conscious artistry are exampled characteristically in the history of the evolution of Greek poetry. It must be remembered, however, at the very outset that the Greeks as a race were nothing if not rational and intellectual. It was an element of strong self-consciousness that they brought into human culture that was their special gift. Leaving out of account Homer who was, as I said, a primitive, their classical age began with Aeschylus who was the first and the most spontaneous and intuitive of the Great Three. Sophocles, who comes next, is more balanced and self-controlled and pregnant with a reasoned thought-content clothed in polished phrasing. We feel here that the artist knew what he was about and was exercising a conscious control over his instruments and materials, unlike his predecessor who seemed to be completely carried away by the onrush of the poetic enthousiasmos. Sophocles, in spite of his artistic perfection or perhaps because of it, appears to be just a little, one remove, away from the purity of the central inspiration there is a veil, although a thin transparent veil, yet a veil between which intervenes. With the third of the Brotherhood, Euripides, we slide lower downwe arrive at a predominantly mental transcription of an experience or inner conception; but something of the major breath continues, an aura, a rhythm that maintains the inner contact and thus saves the poetry. In a subsequent age, in Theocritus, for example, poetry became truly very much 'sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought', so much of virtuosity and precocity entered into it; in other words, the poet then was an excessively self-conscious artist. That seems to be the general trend of all literature.

01.08 - A Theory of Yoga, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   What is the reason of this elaboration, this check and constraint upon the natural and direct outflow of the animal instincts in man? It has been said that the social life of man, the fact that he has to live and move as member of a group or aggregate has imposed upon him these restrictions. The free and unbridled indulgence of one's bare aboriginal impulses may be possible to creatures that live a separate, solitary and individual life but is disruptive of all bonds necessary for a corporate and group life. It is even a biological necessity again which has evolved in man a third and collateral primary instinct that of the herd. And it is this herd-instinct which naturally and spontaneously restrains, diverts and even metamorphoses the other instincts of the mere animal life. However, leaving aside for the moment The Question whether man's ethical and spiritual ideals are a mere dissimulation of his animal instincts or whether they correspond to certain actual realities apart from and co-existent with these latter, we will recognise the simple fact of control and try to have a glimpse into its mechanism.
   There are three lines, as the Psycho-analysts point out along which this control or censuring of the primary instincts acts. First, there is the line of Defence Reaction. That is to say, the mind automatically takes up an attitude directly contrary to the impulse, tries to shut it out and deny altogether its existence and the measure of the insistence of the impulse is also the measure of the vehemence of the denial. It is the case of the lady protesting too much. So it happens that where subconsciously there is a strong current of a particular impulse, consciously the mind is obliged to take up a counteracting opposite impulse. Thus in presence of a strong sexual craving the mind as if to guard and save itself engenders by a reflex movement an ascetic and puritanic mood. Similarly a strong unthinking physical attraction translates itself on the conscious plane as an equally strong repulsion.
   Yet even here the process of control and transformation does not end. And we now come to the Fifth Line, the real and intimate path of yoga. Conscious control gives us a natural mastery over the instinctive impulses which are relieved of their dark tamas and attain a purified rhythm. We do not seek to hide or repress or combat them, but surpass them and play with them as the artist does with his material. Something of this katharsis, this aestheticism of the primitive impulses was achieved by the ancient Greeks. Even then the primitive impulses remain primitive all the same; they fulfil, no doubt, a real and healthy function in the scheme of life, but still in their fundamental nature they continue the animal in man. And even when Conscious Control means the utter elimination and annihilation of the primal instinctswhich, however, does not seem to be a probable eventualityeven then, we say, the basic problem remains unsolved; for the urge of nature towards the release and a transformation of the instincts does not find satisfaction, The Question is merely put aside.
   Yoga, then, comes at this stage and offers the solution in its power of what we may call Transubstantiation. That is to say, here the mere form is not changed, nor the functions restrained, regulated and purified, but the very substance of the instincts is transmuted. The power of conscious control is a power of the human will, i.e. of an individual personal will and therefore necessarily limited both in intent and extent. It is a power complementary to the power of Nature, it may guide and fashion the latter according to a new pattern, but cannot change the basic substance, the stuff of Nature. To that end yoga seeks a power that transcends the human will, brings into play the supernal puissance of a Divine Will.

0.10 - Letters to a Young Captain, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  The Question is admirable - and if the sculptor had been witty,
  he would have replied: "Because I saw it inside."
  the law of aging; consequently The Question of age will not arise
  for them.
  is that You are not very pleased with The Questions I ask
  You every Wednesday. Is this true?

01.12 - Three Degrees of Social Organisation, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Here is the crux of The Question. The dictum of utilitarian philosophers is a golden rule which is easy to formulate but not so to execute. For the line of demarcation between one's own rights and the equal rights of others is so undefinable and variable that a title suit is inevitable in each case. In asserting and establishing and even maintaining one's rights there is always the possibilityalmost the certaintyof encroaching upon others' rights.
   What is required is not therefore an external delimitation of frontiers between unit and unit, but an inner outlook of nature and a poise of character. And this can be cultivated and brought into action by learning to live by the sense of duty. Even then, even the sense of duty, we have to admit, is not enough. For if it leads or is capable of leading into an aberration, we must have something else to check and control it, some other higher and more potent principle. Indeed, both the conceptions of Duty and Right belong to the domain of mental ideal, although one is usually more aggressive and militant (Rajasic) and the other tends to be more tolerant and considerate (sattwic): neither can give an absolute certainty of poise, a clear guarantee of perfect harmony.

0.13 - Letters to a Student, #Some Answers From The Mother, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  one cannot even ask The Question anymore; for the vibration
  of aspiration, luminous and calm, has nothing to do with the
  I have never discussed with my friends The Question
  of knowing why we are here on earth, but I have thought

02.01 - Our Ideal, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   To begin with, we refuse to admit or recognise that there is or is bound to be a contradiction or opposition between Matter and Spirit, between body and soul or between the human and the divine. We start with an experience, a realisation which declares the essential unity and identity of the duality. That is the thing that has to be posited first clear and nett. The Question next arises how the two are one and identical; this demands some clarification. For, is it meant that they are one and the same in the sense that Zeus and Jupiter are the same or that water and H2O are the same? Apart from any barren theorising, is it not a universal and eternal and invariable experience that to attain to the Divine one must leave behind the human, to become the immortal one must cease to be a mortal and to live in the Spirit one has to deny Matter? The real answer, however, is that it is so and it is not so. The dilemma is not so trenchant as it has been made out to be.
   To the regard of one line of experience, Matter seems opposed to Spirit only so far as the actual and outer formulation of Matter is concerned: even then the opposition is only apparent and relative. This is the very crux of the problem. For, to such a regard Spirit becomes Matter also, it is also Matterannam brahma eva. Spirit is consciousness, cit; and Matter, it is said, is unconsciousness, acit. But unconsciousness need not be and is not, in our view, the absolute negation or utter absence of consciousness, it is only an involved or involute consciousness. If consciousness is wakefulness, unconsciousness is nothing more than forgetfulness: it is only an abeyance or suspension of consciousness, not annihilation.

02.01 - The World War, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   As we see it we believe that the whole future of mankind, the entire value of earthly life depends upon the issue of the present deadly combat. The path that man has followed so long tended steadily towards progress and evolutionhow-ever slow his steps, however burdened with doubt and faintness his mind and heart in the ascent. But now the crucial parting of the ways looms before him. The Question is, will the path of progress be closed to him for ever, will he be compelled to revert to a former unregenerate state or even something worse I than that? Or will he remain free to follow that path, rise gradually and infallibly towards perfection, towards a purer, I fuller, higher and vaster luminous life? Will man come down' to live the life of a blind helpless slave under the clutches of I the Asura or even altogether lose his soul and become the legendary demon who carries no head but only a decapitated trunk?
   We believe that the war of today is a war between the Asura and men, human instruments of the gods. Man certainly is a weaker vessel in comparison with the Asuraon this material plane of ours; but in man dwells the Divine and against the divine force and might, no asuric power can ultimately prevail. The human being who has stood against the Asura has by that very act sided with the gods and received the support and benediction of the Divine. The more we become conscious about the nature of this war and consciously take the side of the progressive force, of the divine force supporting it, the more will the Asura be driven to retire, his power diminished, his hold relaxed. But if through ignorance and blind passion, through narrow vision and obscurant prejudice we fail to distinguish the right from the wrong side, the dexter from the sinister, surely we shall invite upon mankind utter misery and desolation. It will be nothing less than a betrayal of the Divine Cause.
   This war is a great menace; it is also a great opportunity. It can land humanity into a catastrophe; it can also raise it to levels which would not have been within its reach but for the occasion. The Forces of Darkness have precipitated themselves with all their might upon the world, but by their very downrush have called upon the higher Forces of Light also to descend. The true' use of the opportunity offered to man would be to bring about a change, better still, a reversal, in his consciousness, that is to say, it will be of highest utility if it forces upon him by the pressure of inexorable circumstancessince normally he is so unwilling and incapable to do it through a spontaneous inner awakening the inescapable decision that he must change and shall change; and the change is to be for or towards the birth of a spiritual consciousness in earthly life. Indeed the war might be viewed" as the birth-pangs of such a spiritual consciousness. Whether the labour would be sublimely fruitful here and how or end in barrenness is The Question the Fates and the gods are asking of man the mortal beingtoday.

02.02 - Rishi Dirghatama, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Here are some more of his aspirations, The Questions that trouble him, the riddles whose solution he needs most. He calls upon the world and asks:
   Tell me where is the end of this earth? Tell me where is the nodus of this universe? Tell me what is the meaning of the energy-flow from the energetic steed?
   As are The Questions so are the answers, equally enigmatic and obscure.
   About the Word, the mystery which Dirghatama unveils is an extraordinary revelationso curious, so illuminating. In later times many lines of spiritual discipline have adopted his scheme and spread it far and wide. Dirghatama himself was an uncommon wizard of words. The truths he saw and clothed in mantras have attained, as I have already said, general celebrity. He says: "The Word is off our categories. It has four stations or levels or gradations." The Rishi continues: "Three of them are unmanifested, unbodied; only the fourth one is manifest and bodied, on the tongue of man." This terminology embodying a fundamental principle has had many commentaries and explanations. Of these the most well-known is that given by the Tantras. They have named the fourfold words as (1) par, supreme; (2) payant, the seeing one; (3) madhyam, the middle one or the one within and (4) vaikhar, the articulate word. In modern language we may say that the first one is the self-vibration of the Supreme Being or Consciousness; the second is the vibration of the higher-mind or the pure intelligence; the third is the vibration of the inner heart; and the fourth the vibration of physical sound, of voice. In philosophical terms of current English we may name these as (1) revelatory, (2) intuitive, (3) inspirational and (4) vocal.

02.03 - An Aspect of Emergent Evolution, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The fact is admitted, on the whole, unless one is a Fundamentalist and prefers still to live in the consciousness of a bygone century. Difference comes in when The Question of explanations and of viewpoints regarding them is raised. A materialist like Professor Broad would consider Mind and Life as fundamentally formations of Matter, however different they might seem from each other and from the latter. Water, the so-called miracle product of Oxygen and Hydrogen, according to him, is as material as these two; even so Life and Mind, however miraculously produced, being born of Matter, are nothing but the same single reality, only in different forms. Others, who are more or less idealists, Alexander and Lloyd Morgan, for example (some of them call themselves neo-realists, however), would not view the phenomenon in the same way. Alexander says that Matter and Life and Mind are very different from each other; they are truly emergents, that is to say, novelties; but how the thing has been possible, one need not inquire; one should accept the fact with natural piety.
   Morgan proffers an explanation. He says that whatever there is, exists in God who is the all-continent. In fact, everything that is or was or shall be is in Him. And the evolutionary gradation expresses or puts in front, one by one, all the principles or types of existence that God holds in Himself. The explanation hardly explains. It simply posits the existence of Matter and Life and Mind and whatever is to come hereafter in the infinity of God, but the passage from one to another, the connecting link between two succeeding terms, and the necessity of the link, are left as obscure as before. Life is tagged on to Matter and Mind is tagged on to Life in the name of the Lord God.
   This, however, is an aspect of the problem with which we are not immediately concerned. There is one question with which we have omitted to deal but which is nearer to us and touches present actualities. We spoke of the emergence of the Deity and of the Supreme Deityafter Mind. The Question is, how long after? I do not refer to the duration of time needed, but to the steps or the stages that have to be passed. For between Mind and Deity, certainly between Mind and the Supreme Deity (Purushottama, as we would say), there may presumably still lie a course of graded emergence. In fact, Sri Aurobindo speaks of the Overmind and the Supermind, as farther steps of the evolutionary progress coming after Mind. He says that Mind closes the interior hemisphere of man's nature and consciousness; with Overmind man enters into the higher sphere of the Spirit. In this view, the religious feeling or perception or conduct would be but an intermediary stage between Mind and Overmind. They are not really emergent properties, but reflections, faint echoes and promises of what is to come, mixed up with attri butes of the present mentality. The Overmind brings in a true emergence.
   Still Overmindwhose characteristic is a cosmic consciousness and a transcendence of all ego-senseis not the firm basis on which a new terrestrial organisation can stand and endure. It is still a basis of unstable equilibrium. For it is not the supernal light and, although it transcends all ignorance, yet does not possess that absolute synthetic unity, that transcendent power of consciousness which is at once the cosmic and the individual. That is the domain of the Supermind.

02.05 - Federated Humanity, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The organization of this greater and larger unit is the order of the day. It does not seem possible at this stage to go straight to the whole of humanity at large and make of it one single indivisible entity, obliterating all barriers of race and nation. An intermediate step is still necessary even if that remains the final end. Nationhood has been a helper in that direction; it is now a bar. And yet an indiscriminate internationalism cannot meet the situation today, it overshoots the mark. The march of events and circumstances prescribe that nations should combine to form groups or, as they say in French, societies of nations. The combination, however, must be freely determined, as voluntary partnership in a common labour organisation for common profit and achievement. This problem has to be solved first, then only can The Question of nationalism or other allied knots be unravelled. Nature the Sphinx has set the problem before us and we have to answer it here and now, if humanity is to be saved and welded together into a harmonious whole for a divine purpose.

02.13 - In the Self of Mind, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Must answer to The Questioning of his soul.
  For here was no firm clue and no sure road;

02.13 - On Social Reconstruction, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The Question now is to devise ways and means of materialising this ideal. Circumstanced as man is, in doubt and darkness with regard to his inner nature, one most often does not know one's true vocation; those who do know their minds and are sure of their "mission in life" are the fortunate few, and very few indeed they are. Of the vast majority, some discover themselves only at the fag-end of their life or when they are already far too committed and in harness in alien fields and among alien faces; others do not discover themselves at all, they need no such revelation: these form the general mass in which the individuals have not developed so far as to come out into any bold relief, they are cast into the stereotype mould, moved more or less by the same general forces of nature and are indistinguishable from each other. It is upon this mass of uniformity that the totalitarian regimentation bases itself easily and naturally.
   Still even if human nature in the mass is like this, what the totalitarian system does is to fix and eternise the mould. To admit Nature as it is and leave it at that, to arrange and organize things within that given framework, is, to say the least, only another form of the old laissez-faire system. Take Nature as it is, but go farther and beyond. That is the problem of all human endeavour.

03.02 - The Philosopher as an Artist and Philosophy as an Art, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   In the face of established opinion and tradition (and in the wake of the prophetic poet) I propose to demonstrate that Philosophy has as much claim to be called an art, as any other orthodox art, painting or sculpture or music or architecture. I do not refer to the element of philosophyperhaps the very large element of philosophy that is imbedded and ingrained in every Art; I speak of Philosophy by itself as a distinct type of au thentic art. I mean that Philosophy is composed or created in the same way as any other art and the philosopher is moved and driven by the inspiration and impulsion of a genuine artist. Now, what is Art? Please do not be perturbed by The Question. I am not trying to enter into the philosophy the metaphysicsof it, but only into the science the physicsof it. Whatever else it may be, the sine qua non, the minimum requisite of art is that it must be a thing of beauty, that is to say, it must possess a beautiful form. Even the Vedic Rishi says that the poet by his poetic power created a heavenly formkavi kavitva divi rpam asajat. As a matter of fact, a supreme beauty of form has often marked the very apex of artistic creation. Now, what does the Philosopher do? The sculptor hews beautiful forms out of marble, the poet fashions beautiful forms out of words, the musician shapes beautiful forms out of sounds. And the philosopher? The philosopher, I submit, builds beautiful forms out of thoughts and concepts. Thoughts and concepts are the raw materials out of which the artist philosopher creates mosaics and patterns and designs architectonic edifices. For what else are philosophic systems? A system means, above all, a form of beauty, symmetrical and harmonious, a unified whole, rounded and polished and firmly holding together. Even as in Art, truth, bare sheer truth is not the object of philosophical inquiry either. Has it not been considered sufficient for a truth to be philosophically true, if it is consistent, if it does not involve self-contradiction? The equation runs: Truth=Self-consistency; Error=Self-contradiction. To discover the absolute truth is not the philosopher's taskit is an ambitious enterprise as futile and as much of a my as the pursuit of absolute space, absolute time or absolute motion in Science. Philosophy has nothing more to doand nothing lessthan to evolve or build up a system, in other words, a self-consistent whole (of concepts, in this case). Art also does exactly the same thing. Self-contradiction means at bottom, want of harmony, balance, symmetry, unity, and self-consistency means the contrary of these things the two terms used by philosophy are only the logical formulation of an essentially aesthetic value.
   Take, for example, the philosophical system of Kant or of Hegel or of our own Shankara. What a beautiful edifice of thought each one has reared! How cogent and compact, organised and poised and finely modelled! Shankara's reminds me of a tower, strong and slender, mounting straight and tapering into a vanishing point among the clouds; it has the characteristic linear movement of Indian melody. On the otherhand, the march of the Kantian Critiques or of the Hegelian Dialectic has a broader base and involves a composite strain, a balancing of contraries, a blending of diverse notes: thereis something here of the amplitude and comprehensiveness of harmonic architecture (without perhaps a corresponding degree of altitude).

03.02 - Yogic Initiation and Aptitude, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The Question, however, can be raised the moderns do raise it and naturally in the present age of science and universal educationwhy should not all men equally have the right to spiritual sadhana? If spirituality is the highest truth for man, his greatest good, his supreme ideal, then to deny it to anyone on the ground, for example, of his not being of the right caste, class, creed, or sex, to keep anyone at a distance on such or similar grounds is unreasonable, unjust, reprehensible. These notions, however, are born of a sentimental or idealistic or charitable disposition, but unfortunately they do not stand the impact of the realities of life. If you simply claim a thing or even if you possess a lawful right to a worthy object, you do not acquire thereby the capacity to enjoy it. Were it so, there would be no such thing as mal-assimilation. In the domain of spiritual sadhana there are any number of cases of defective metabolism. Those that have fallen, strayed from the Path, become deranged or even have had to leave the body, make up a casualty list that is not small. They were misfits, they came by their fate, because they encroached upon a thing they were not actually entitled to, they were dragged into a secret, a mystery to which their being was insensible.
   In a general way we may perhaps say, without gross error, that every man has the right to become a poet, a scientist or a politician. But when The Question rises in respect of a particular person, then it has to be seen whether that person has a natural ability, an inherent tendency or aptitude for the special training so necessary for the end in view. One cannot, at will, develop into a poet by sheer effort or culture. He alone can be a poet who is to the manner born. The same is true also of the spiritual life. But in this case, there is something more to take into account. If you enter the spiritual path, often, whether you will or not, you come in touch with hidden powers, supra-sensible forces, beings of other worlds and you do not know how to deal with them. You raise ghosts and spirits, demons and godsFrankenstein monsters that are easily called up but not so easily laid. You break down under their impact, unless your adhr has already been prepared, purified and streng thened. Now, in secular matters, when, for example, you have the ambition to be a poet, you can try and fail, fail with impunity. But if you undertake the spiritual life and fail, then you lose both here and hereafter. That is why the Vedic Rishis used to say that the ear then vessel meant to hold the Soma must be properly baked and made perfectly sound. It was for this reason again that among the ancients, in all climes and in all disciplines, definite rules and regulations were laid down to test the aptitude or fitness of an aspirant. These tests were of different kinds, varying according to the age, the country and the Path followedfrom the capacity for gross physical labour to that for subtle perception. A familiar instance of such a test is found in the story of the aspirant who was asked again and again, for years together, by his Teacher to go and graze cows. A modern mind stares at the irrelevancy of the procedure; for what on earth, he would question, has spiritual sadhana to do with cow-grazing? In defence we need not go into any esoteric significance, but simply suggest that this was perhaps a test for obedience and endurance. These two are fundamental and indispensable conditions in sadhana; without them there is no spiritual practice, one cannot advance a step. It is absolutely necessary that one should carry out the directions of the Guru without question or complaint, with full happiness and alacrity: even if there comes no immediate gain one must continue with the same zeal, not giving way to impatience or depression. In ancient Egypt among certain religious orders there was another kind of test. The aspirant was kept confined in a solitary room, sitting in front of a design or diagram, a mystic symbol (cakra) drawn on the wall. He had to concentrate and meditate on that figure hour after hour, day after day till he could discover its meaning. If he failed he was declared unfit.
   Needless to say that these tests and ordeals are mere externals; at any rate, they have no place in our sadhana. Such or similar virtues many people possess or may possess, but that is no indication that they have an opening to the true spiritual life, to the life divine that we seek. Just as accomplishments on the mental plane,keen intellect, wide studies, profound scholarship even in the scriptures do not entitle a man to the possession of the spirit, even so capacities on the vital plane,mere self-control, patience and forbearance or endurance and perseverance do not create a claim to spiritual realisation, let alone physical austerities. In conformity with the Upanishadic standard, one may not be an unworthy son or an unworthy disciple, one may be strong, courageous, patient, calm, self-possessed, one may even be a consummate master of the senses and be endowed with other great virtues. Yet all this is no assurance of one's success in spiritual sadhana. Even one may be, after Shankara, a mumuksu, that is to say, have an ardent yearning for liberation. Still it is doubtful if that alone can give him liberation into the divine life.

03.03 - A Stainless Steel Frame, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   What is needed then is an army of souls: individuals, either separately or in groups, who have contacted their inmost reality, their divinity, in some way or othermen with a new consciousness and aspiration, a new life and realisation. They will live in the midst of the general degeneration and disintegration, not aloof and immured in their privacy of purity, but take part in the normal activities of everyday life, still acting from the height and depth of the pure consciousness prove by their very living that one can be in the world and yet not of it, doing what is necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of life and yet not stooping to The Questionable ways that are supposed to be necessary and inevitable. In other words, they will disprove that safety and success and prosperity in life can be had only if one follows the lead of Evil, if one sells one's soul. On the contrary, by living out one's divine essence one will have conquered the worldihaiva tairjitam. At every moment, in all circumstances one follows the voice of the highest in oneself. If it is that and no other inferior echo, then one becomes fearless and immortal and all-conquering.
   Such souls living and moving among men with little faith and in circumstances adverse and obscure will forge precisely the new steel frame, the stainless-steel frame upon which the new society will be securely based.

03.04 - The Vision and the Boon, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  And heard The Questioning of the unsatisfied flood
  And toiled with the form-maker, measuring Mind.

03.06 - Here or Otherwhere, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   It can, however, be asked, what then is meant by being in the world? If it means merely sitting quiet, suffering and observing nonchalantly the impacts of the world something in the manner described by Matthew Arnold in his famous lines on the East, well, that stoic way, the way of indifference is a way of being in the world which is not very much unlike not being in the world; for it means simply erecting a wall of separation or isolation within one's consciousness without moving away physically. It is a psychological escapism. But if by living in the world we should mean participating in the movements of the worldnot only being but becoming, not merely standing as a witness but moving out as a doer then the problem becomes different. For The Question we have to ask in that case is what happens to our dutieslife in the world being a series of duties, duty to oneself (self-preservation), duty to the family (race-preservation), duty to the country, to humanity and, finally, duty to God (which last belongs properly to the life in Yoga). Now, can all these duties dwell and flourish together? The Christ is categorical on the point. He says, in effect: Leave aside all else and follow Me and look not back. Christ's God seems to be a jealous God who does not tolerate any other god to share in his sovereign exclusiveness. You have to give up, if you wish to gain. They who lose life shall find it and they who stick to life shall as surely lose it.
   But is not The Gita's solution somewhat different? Sri Krishna urges Arjuna to be in the very thick of a deadly fight, not a theoretical or abstract combat, but take a hand in the direst man-slaughter, to do the deed (even like Macbeth) but yogically. Yes, The Gita's position seems to be thatto accept all life integrally, to undertake all necessary work (kartavyam karma) and turn them Godward. The Gita seeks to do it in its own way which consists of two major principles: (1) to do the work, whatever it may be, unattachedwithout any desire for the fruit, simply as a thing that has to be done, and (2) to do it as a sacrifice, as an offering to the supreme Master of works.
   The Question naturally turns upon the nature and the kind of workwhe ther there is a choice and selection in it. Gita speaks indeed of all works, ktsna-karmakt, but does that really mean any and every work that an ignorant man, an ordinary man steeped in the three Gunas does or can do? It cannot be so. For, although all activity, all energy has its source and impetus in the higher consciousness of the Divine, it assumes on the lower ranges indirect, diverted or even perverted formulations and expressions, not because of the inherent falsity of these so-called inferior strata, the instruments, but because of their temporary impurity and obscurity. There are evidently activities and impulsions born exclusively of desire, of attachment and egoism. There are habits of the body, urges of the vital, notions of the mind, there are individual and social functions that have no place in the spiritual scheme, they have to be rigorously eschewed and eliminated. Has not the Gita said, this is desire, this is passion born of the quality of Rajas? . . . There is not much meaning in trying to do these works unattached or to turn them towards the Divine. When you are unattached, when you turn to the Divine, these 'Simply drop away of themselves. Yes, there are social duties and activities and relations that inevitably dissolve and disappear as you move into the life divine. Some are perhaps tolerated for a period, some are occasions for the consciousness to battle and surmount, grow strong and pass beyond. You have to learn to go beyond and new-create your environment.
   It was Danton who said, one carries not his country with him at the sole of his shoe. Even so you cannot hope to shift bodily your present social ensemble, place it wholesale in the divine life on the plea that it will be purified and transformed in the process. Purification is there indeed, but one must remember purification literally means burning and not a little of the past and present has to be burnt down to ashes.

03.06 - The Pact and its Sanction, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The whole difficulty centres upon The Question: who rouses whom, and what is the principle that is meant to rouse. There is a slogan that incited the Red Terror of the French Revolution; there is the other one which inspired the Nazis; there is still another one rampant that had the seal and sanction of Stalin and his politburo. These have spread their dark wings and covered the saviour light. On the other hand, the voice of the Vedic Rishi that hymned the community of faith and speech and act, the kindly light that Buddha carried to suffering humanity, the love and sacrifice of Christ showing and embleming the way of redemption, the saints and sages in our own epoch who have visioned the ideal of human unity in a divine humanity, even secular leaders who labour for "one world", "a brave new world"all point to the other line of growth and development that man can follow and must and shall follow. The choice has to be made and the right direction given. In India today, there are these two voices put against each other and clear in their call: one asks for unity and harmony, wideness and truth, the other its contrary working for separativeness, disintegration, narrowness, and make-believe and falsehood. One must have the courage and the sagacity to fix one's loyalty and adhesion.
   A true covenant there can be only between parties that work for the light, are inspired by the same divine purpose. Otherwise if there is a fundamental difference in the motive, in the soul-impulse, then it is no longer a pact between comrades, but a patchwork of irreconcilable elements. I have spoken of the threefold sanction of the covenant. The sanction from the top initiates, plans and supports, the sanction from the bottom establishes and furnishes the field, but it is the sanction from the mid-region that inspires, executes, makes a living reality of what is no more than an idea, a possibility. On one side are the Elders, the seasoned statesmen, the wise ones; on the other, the general body of mankind waiting to be moved and guided; in between is the army of young enthusiasts, enlightened or illumined (not necessarily young in age) who form the pra, the vital sheath of the body politic. Allby far the largest part of itdepends upon the dreams that the Prana has been initiated and trained to dream.
   This life principle of a body politic seems in Pakistan to be represented by the Ansars. The Question then to be determined is whether they have accepted the Pact or not. If they have, is it merely a political expedient or do they find in it a real moral value? We have to weigh and judge the ideal and motive that inspire this organisation which seeks to be the steel frame supporting or supported by the Government. We ask: is this a nucleus, a seed bed for the new life to take birth and grow, the new life that would go to the making of the new world and humanity? And we have to ask India too, has she found her nucleus or nuclei, on her side, that would generate and foster the power of her soul and spirit? The high policy of a government remains a dead law or is misconstrued and misapplied through local agents: they are in fact the local growths that feed the national life and are fed by it and they need careful nurture and education, for upon them depends ultimately the weal or the woe of the race.

03.07 - Brahmacharya, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   This new approach has rectified much of the wrong handling of the problem of education to which we have been accustomed. Even this new orientation, however, is not sufficient: along with freedom and autonomy, the element of discipline and order has also to be brought in, if not quite in the old way at least in a new manner. It will not do to say simply that it must be self-discipline and self-order, but The Question is how it is to be practically carried out. In ancient times it was done by living the life of an aspirant, not merely by studying and going to school, being only a student but living in the hours of the teacher, in the atmosphere of his direct presence and influence: the teacher too was not a machine issuing mechanical instruction, but a Person who loved and whom one loved, a warm embodiment of the ideal.
   In our days there has been this unhappy division between the student and the aspirant. In the student life, life and study are things apart. One may be a good student, study very seriously and attain considerable eminence in intellectual achievement, and yet in life one may remain quite the ordinary man with very normal reactions. Along with the brain we do not endeavour to educate the life instincts and body impulses. This portion of our nature we leave all alone and do not dare or care to handle it consciously. Sometimes we call that freedom; but it is more slavery than freedom, slavery to our commonplace animal nature. Because one follows one's impulses and instincts freely, without let or hindrance one feels as if he were free. Far from it.

03.08 - The Democracy of Tomorrow, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   In this connection we can recall Plato's famous serial of social types from aristocracy to tyranny, the last coming out of democracy the type that precedes it, (almost exactly as we have experienced it in our own days). But the most interesting point to which we can look with profit is Plato's view that the types are as men are, that is to say, the character and nature of man in a given period determines the kind of government or social system he is going to have. There has been this cyclic rotation of types, because men themselves were rotating types, because, in other words, the individuals composing human society had not found their true reality, their abiding status. Plato's aristocracy was the ideal society, it was composed of and ruled by the best of men (aristas, srestha) the wisest. And The Question was put by many and not answered by Plato himself, what brought about the decline in a perfect system. We have attempted to give our answer.

03.08 - The Standpoint of Indian Art, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   All art is based upon this peculiar virtue of the mind that naturally and spontaneously transforms or distorts the objective world presented to its purview. The Question, then, is only of the degree to which the metamorphosis has been carried. At the one end, there is the art of photography, in which the degree of metamorphosis is at its minimum; at the other, there seems to be no limit, for the mind's capacity to dissolve and recreate the world of sense-perception is infinite and many modern schools of European art have gone even beyond the limit that the "unnatural" Indian art did not consider it necessary to transgress. Now, the classical artist selects a position as close as he can to the photographer, tries to give the mind's view of Nature and creation, as far as possible, in the style and norm of the sense-perceptions. He takes his stand upon these and from there reaches out towards whatever imaginative reconstructions are justified within the bounds laid out by them. The general ground-plan is, almost rigorously, the form given by the physical eye. The art of the East, and even, to a large extent, the art of mediaeval Europe, followed a different line. Here the scheme of the sense-perceptions was rejected, the artist sought to build on other foundations. His procedure was, first, to get a focus within the mind, to discover a psychological standpoint, and from there and in accordance with the subtler laws and conventions of an inner vision create a world that is unique and stands by itself. The aim was always to build from within, at the most, from within outwards, but not from without, not even from without inwards. This inner world has its own laws and they differ from the laws of optics which govern the physical sight; but there is no reason why it should be called unnatural. It is unnatural only in the sense that it does not copy physical Nature; it is quite natural in the 1 sense that it is a faithful reproduction of another, a psychological Nature.
   Indian art is pre-eminently and par excellence the art of this inner re-formation and revaluation. It has thrown down completely and clearly the rigid scaffolding of the physical vision. We take here a sudden leap, as it were, into another world, and sometimes the feeling is that everything is reversed; it is not exactly that we feel ourselves standing on our heads, but it is, as if, in the Vedic phrase, the foundations were above and all the rest branched out from them downwards. The artist sees with an eye, and constructs upon a plan that conveys the merest excuse of an actual visible world. There are other schools in the East which have also moved very far away from the naturalistic view; yet they have kept, if not the form, at least, the feeling of actuality in their composition. Thus a Chinese, a Japanese, or a Persian masterpiece cannot be said to be "natural" in the sense in which a Tintoretto, or even a Raphael is natural; yet a sense of naturalness persists, though the appearance is not naturalistic. What Indian art gives is not the feeling of actuality or this sense of naturalness, but a feeling of truth, a sense of realityof the deepest reality.

03.11 - Modernist Poetry, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Well, The Question is, has it succeeded? For here, as in everything else, nothing succeeds like success. Any theory may be as good as any other, but its test is only in the fait accompli. Neither Pound nor Eliot has that touch of finality and certainty, the definitiveness and au thenticity beyond doubt, the Q.E.D. that a major and supreme creator imposes.
   Bottrall, a modernist poet himself, says in effect the same thing. His poetic credo runs in this wise:

03.11 - The Language Problem and India, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 02, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   French and English being given the place of honour, now The Question is with regard to the vernacular of those who do not speak either of these languages. We have to distinguish two categories of languages: national and international. French and English being considered international languages par excellence, the others remain as national languages, but their importance need not be minimised thereby. First of all, along with the two major international languages, there may be a few others that can be called secondary or subsidiary international languages according as they grow and acquire a higher status. Thus Russian, or an Asiatic, even an Indian language may attain that position, because of wide extension or inherent value of popularity or for some other reason. Indeed, a national language cultivated and enriched by its nationals can force itself on the world's attention and fairly become a world language. Tagore was able to give that kind of world importance to the Bengali language.
   It may be questioned whether too many languages are not imposed on us in this way and whether it will not mean in the end a Babel and inefficiency. It need not be so and it is not going to be so. We must remember the age we are in, its composite structure, its polyphonic nature. In the ancient and mediaeval ages, the ages of separatism and exclusiveness of clans and tribes and regions, even in the later age of the states and nations, the individual group-consciousness was strong and sedulously fostered. Languages and literature grew and developed more or less independently and with equal vigour, although always through some kind of give and take. But the modern world has been made so inextricably one, ease of communication and free interchange have obliterated the separating boundaries, not only geographical but psychological. The modern consciousness has so developed and is so circumstanced that one can very easily be bi-lingual or even trilingual: indeed one has to be so, speaking and writing with equal felicity not only one's mother tongue but one or more adopted tongues. Modern culture means that.

03.13 - Dynamic Fatalism, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   If it is so, then what is the necessity at all of work and labour and travailthis difficult process of sadhana? The Question is rather naive, but it is very often asked. The answer also could be very simple. The change decreed is precisely worked out through the travail: one is the end, the other is the means; the goal and the process, both are decreed and inevitable. If it is argued, supposing none made the effort, even then would the change come about, in spite of man's inaction? Well, first of all, this is an impossible supposition. Man cannot remain idle even for a moment: not only the inferior Nature, but the higher Nature too is always active in himremember the words of the Gita though behind the veil, in the inner consciousness. Secondly, if it is really so, if man is not labouring and working and making the attempt, then it must be understood that the time has not yet come for him to undergo the change; he has still to wait: one of the signs of the imminence of the change is this very intensity and extensiveness of the labour among mankind. If, however, a particular person chooses to do nothing, prefers to wait and seehopes in the end to jump at the fruit all at once and possess it or hopes the fruit to drop quietly into his mouthwell, this does not seem to be a likely happening. If one wishes to enjoy the fruit, one must share in the effort to sow and grow. Indeed, the process itself of reaching the higher consciousness involves a gradual heightening of the consciousness. The means is really part of the end. The joy of victory is the consummation of the joy of battle.
   Man can help or retard the process of Nature, in a sense. If his force of consciousness acts in line with Nature's secret movement, then that movement is accelerated: through the soul or self that is man, it is the Divine, Nature's lord and master who drives and helps Nature forward. If, on the contrary, man follows his lesser self, his lower ego, rajasic and tamasic, then he throws up obstacles and barriers which hamper and slow down Nature's march.

03.15 - Origin and Nature of Suffering, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   True, but even this is an intermediate state. For there is another in which suffering is not merely suppressed but sublimated, wholly transmuted: there is then nothing else but delight, pure and entire. That is the soul state, the state of permanent dwelling in the Spirit. Now, we come back to The Question why or how does the soul, being all delight, become in life the very opposite of its essential nature, a thing of misery, why does the spirit descend or condescend to take the form of matter: it is an old-world and eternal problem that has been asked and faced and answered in various ways through the ages.
   Here is, briefly, how we view The Question. The soul accepts a mortal life of pain and suffering, welcomes an apparent denial of its essential nature for two reasons: (1) to grow and increase in consciousness through such experiences,pain and suffering being one variety of the fuel that tends the Fire that is our soul; and (2) to transfer its inalienable purity into Matter, by its secret pressure and influence gradually transform earthly life into a movement of its own divine state, the state of inviolable Bliss.
   All experiences, all contacts with the forms and forces of Life and Matter act indeed as fuel to the flame of the soul's consciousness, whether they are good, bad or indifferent according to some outward view or standard. And in response to the nature and degree of the growth and increase demanded, does the soul choose its fuel, its external mode of life and surroundings. If suffering and misery help to kindle and increase the flame, the soul has no jugups, repulsion for them. Indeed, it accepts the forms of misery in order to cure them, transform them, to bring out of them their original norms of beauty and bliss of which they are a degradation and an aberration.

04.02 - Human Progress, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Creation has evolved. That is to say, there has been a growth and unfoldment and progress. From nebulae to humanity the march cannot but be called an advance, a progress, in more senses than one. But The Question is about man. Has man advanced, progressed since his advent upon earth? If so, in what manner, to what extent? Man has been upon earth for the last two million years, they say. From what has happened before him in the course of Nature's evolution, it is legitimate to infer that man too, in his turn, has moved forward in the line towards growth and development. In fact, if we admit that man started life as a savage or jungle-man or ape-man, and look at him as he is today, we have perforce to acknowledge that he has not merely changed but progressed too. The Question to be answered is in what sense this progress has been made.
   Modern knowledge has taught us that what marks the growth of man is his use of tools. An animal has nothing else than its own limbs as its all-serving tool. Man emerged as man the day he knew how to use tools as an extension of his limbs. And the cycles of human growth have, in consequence, been marked off by the type of tools used. As we all know, anthropologists tell us, there have been four such cycles or ages: (1) the Old Stone Age, (2) the New Stone Age, (3) the Bronze Age and (4) the Iron Age.
   The Question is now asked how far this self-consciousness given to man by his progress from stone to steelhas advanced and what is its future. The crucial problem is whether man has progressed in historical times. Granted that man with an iron tool is a more advanced type of humanity than man with a chipped stone tool, it may still be enquired whether he has made any real advance since the day he learnt to manipulate metal. If by advance or progress we mean efficiency and multiplication of tools, then surely there can be no doubt that Germany of today (perhaps now we have to say Germany of yesterday and America of today) is the most advanced type of humanityindeed they do make the claim in that country.
   So it is argued that man may have built up more and more efficient organisation in his outer life, he may have learnt to wield a greater variety and wealth of tools and instruments in an increasing degree of refinement and power; but this does not mean that his character, his nature or even the broad mould of his intelligence has changed or progressed. The records and remains of Pre-dynastic Egypt or of Proto-Aryan Indus valley go to show that those were creations of civilised men, as civilised as any modern people. The mind that produced the Rig Veda or the Book of the Dead or conceived the first pyramid is, in essential power of intelligence, no whit inferior to any modern scientific brain. Hence a distinction is sometimes made between culture and civilisation; what the moderns have achieved is progress with regard to civilisation, that is to say, the outer paraphernalia; but as regards culture a Plato, a Lao-tse, a Yajnavalkya are names to which we still bow down.
   We propose, however, to reopen The Question and enquire if there has not been some kind of radical change or progress in the make-up of human nature and civilisation even within the span of historical times. This reminds us of the remarkable conclusion or discovery made by the much maligned and much adulated Psycho-analysts.
   Jung speaks of two kinds or grades of thinking: (1) the directed thinking and (2) the wishful thinking; one conscious and objective, the other automatic and subjective. The first is the modern or scientific thinking, the second the old-world mythopoeic thinking. These two lines of mental movement mark off two definite stages in the cultural history of man. Down to the Middle Ages man's mental life was moved and coloured by his libidodesire soul; it is with the Renascence that he began to free his mind from, the libido and transfer and transform the libido into non-egoistic and realistic thinking. In simpler psychological terms we can say that man's mentality was coloured and modulated by his biological make-up out of which it had emerged; the age of modernism and scientism began with the development of a rigorous rationalism which means a severance and transcendence of the biological antecedent.

04.03 - The Call to the Quest, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object:04.03 - The Call to The Quest
  author class:Sri Aurobindo

04.04 - Evolution of the Spiritual Consciousness, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   As we say, there are not only aspects of the Divine, but there are also levels in him. The spiritual consciousness rises tier upon tier and each spur has its own view and outlook, rhythm and character. Now, as long as man was chiefly preoccupied with his physico-vital or mentalised physico-vital activities, as long as the burden of his body and life and even mind lay heavy on him and their gravitational pull was normally very strong, almost irresistible, the spiritual impulse in him acted generally and fundamentally as a movement of escape from them into some thing beyond. It was a negative movement on the whole and it was enough to dissociate, reject, sublimate the lower status and somehow rise into something which is not that (neti): The Question was not important at that stage of the human consciousness about a scientific scrutiny of the Beyond, its precise constitution and composition.
   But once there is the possibility gained of a more normalised, familiar and wider reconnaissance of the Beyond, when the human being has been mentalised to a degree and in a manner that makes it inevitable for him to overpass to a higher status and live there habitually, then it becomes an urgent matter of concern to know and find out where one goes exactly, on which level and in what domain, once one is beyond. The Question, it is true, engaged the attention of the ancients too; but it was more or less an interesting inquiry, a good part speculative and theoretical; it had not the reality and insistence of the need of the hour. We have today chalked out an almost exhaustive science of the inferior consciousness, of the lower hemisphereof course, so far as it is possible for such a science to be exhaustive moving in the light of the partial and inferior consciousness. In the same way we need at the present hour a complete and precise science of the Divine Consciousness. As there is a logic of the finite, there is also a logic of the infinite, not merely its magic, and that too has to be discovered and laid out.
   Thus, the highest and most comprehensive description of the Divine is perhaps the formula Sat-chit-ananda. But even so, it is a very general and, after all, an inadequate description. It has to be filled in and supplemented by other categories as well, if one may say so. For Sat-chit-ananda presents to us the Sat Brahman. There is also the Asat Brahman. And again we must accept a reality which is neither Sat nor Asatnsadsnno sadst, says the Veda. And as for the filling up of the details in an otherwise almost blank and featureless infinity, Sri Aurobindo's charting of that vast unknownwith the categories of the Supermind and its various levels, of the Overmind and its levels too, all forming the Divine Status and Consciousness is a new, almost a revolutionary revelation, just the required science which the present world needs and demands and for which it has been prepared through all the cycles of evolution.

04.04 - The Quest, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  object:04.04 - The Quest
  author class:Sri Aurobindo

04.06 - Evolution of the Spiritual Consciousness, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   As we say, there are not only aspects of the Divine, but there are also levels in him. The spiritual consciousness rises tier upon tier and each spur has its own view and outlook, rhythm and character. Now, as long as man was chiefly preoccupied with his physico-vital or mentalised physico-vital activities, as long as the burden of his body and life and even mind lay heavy on him and their gravitational pull was normally very strong, almost irresistible, the spiritual impulse in him acted generally and fundamentally as a movement of escape, from them into something beyond. It was a negative movement on the whole and it was enough to dissociate, reject, sublimate the lower status and somehow rise into something which is not that (neti): The Question was not important at that stage of the human consciousness about a scientific scrutiny of the Beyond, its precise constitution and composition.
   But once there is the possibility gained of a more normalised, familiar and wider reconnaissance of the Beyond, when the human being has been mentalised to a degree and in a manner that makes it inevitable for him to overpass to a higher status and live there habitually, then it becomes an urgent matter of concern to know and find out where one goes exactly, on which level and in what domain, once one is beyond. The Question, it is true, engaged the attention of the ancients too; but it was more or less an interesting enquiry, a good part speculative and theoretical; it had not the reality and insistence of the need of the hour. We have today chalked out an almost exhaustive science of the inferior consciousness, of the lower hemisphereof course, so far as it is possible for such a science to be exhaustive moving in the light of the partial and inferior consciousness. In the same way we need at the present hour a complete and precise science of the Divine Consciousness. As there is a logic of the finite, there is also a logic of the infinite, not merely its magic, and that too has to be discovered and laid out.
   Thus, the highest and most comprehensive description of the Divine is perhaps the formula Sat-chit-ananda. But even so, it is a very general and, after all, an inadequate description. It has to be filled in and supplemented by other categories as well, if one may say so. For Sat-chit-ananda presents to us the Sat Brahman. There is also the Asat Brahman. And again we must accept a reality which is neither Sat nor Asatnsadsnno sadst, says the Veda. And as for the filling up of the details in an otherwise almost blank and featureless infinity, Sri Aurobindo's charting of that vast unknownwith the categories of the Supermind and its various levels, of the Overmind and its levels too, all forming the Divine Status and Consciousness is a new, almost a revolutionary revelation, just the required science which the present world needs and demands and for which it has been prepared through all the cycles of evolution.

04.07 - Matter Aspires, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   It is asked now if the machine is capable of so much mathematics, may it not be capable also of poetic creation? The possibility has been discussed in a very lively and interesting manner in The Hibbert Journal (October, '49 and January, '50). The writer Sir Robert Watson-Watt thinks it is not impossible, indeed quite possible, for a machine to write, for example, a sonnet. Only The Question will be with regard to the kind the quality and standardof the poetic creation. What will come out of the machine will depend upon what has been put into it, that is to say, what the brain that constructed it succeeded in transplanting into it. The writer after weighing the pros and cons arrives at the remarkable and amusing conclusion that a machine built by a second class brain may succeed in producing a poem of third class merit, but it can never produce anything first class. To produce a first class poem through a machine at least a first class brain' must work at it. But the pity is that a Shakespeare or a Milton would prefer to write straight away a poem himself instead of trying to work it out through a machine which may give out in the end only a second class or worse production.
   I said it is an amusing discussion. But what is apt to be forgotten in such "scientific" discussions is, as has been pointed out by Rev. Trethowan in his criticism of Sir Robert, that all genuine creation is a freak, that is to say, it is a movement of freedom, of incalculable spontaneity. A machine is exactly the sum of its component parts; it can give that work (both as regards quantity and quality) which is confined within the frame and function of the parts. Man's creative power is precisely this that it can make two and two not merely four but infinity. There is a force of intervention in him whichupsets the rule of the parallelogram of forces that normally governs Matter and even his own physical brain and mind. There is in him truly a deus ex machine. Poetry, art, all creative act is a revelation, an intrusion of a truth, a reality from another plane, of quite a different order, into the rigid actuality and factual determinism.. Man's secret person is a sovereignly free will. A machine is wholly composed of actualities-the given-and brings out only a resultant of the permutation and combination of the data: it is a pure deduction.

05.01 - Man and the Gods, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalMan and the Gods
   Man and the Gods

05.02 - Gods Labour, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalGods Labour
   Gods Labour

05.03 - Bypaths of Souls Journey, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalBypaths of Souls Journey
   Bypaths of Souls Journey

05.04 - The Immortal Person, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Immortal Person
   The Immortal Person

05.05 - In Quest of Reality, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the Goal In Quest of Reality
   In Quest of Reality
   Creation as a movement or expression of consciousness need not be dubbed a metaphysical jargon; it can be assumed as a scientific working hypothesis and seen how it affects our view, meets our problems and difficulties, whether it can give a satisfactory clue to some of the riddles of physical and psychical phenomena. A scientific supposition (or intuition) is held to be true if it can be applied invariably to facts of life and experience and if it can open up to our vision and perception new facts. The trend of scientific discoveries today is towards the positing of a background reality in Nature of which energy (radiant and electrical) is the first and overt form. We discarded ether, only to replace it by field and disposition. We have arrived at a point where The Question is whether we cannot take courage" in both hands and declare, as some have already done, that the substratum in Nature is consciousness-energy and on that hypothesis better explain certain movements of Matter and Life and Mind in a global unity. Orthodox and die-hard views will always protest and cry that it is a misalliance, a misjoinder to couple together Matter and Consciousness or even Life and Consciousness. But since the light has touched the higher mind even among a few of the positivist type, the few may very well be the precursor of the order of the day.
   After all, only one bold step is needed: to affirm unequivocally what is being suggested and implied and pointed to in a thousand indirect ways. And Science will be transformed. The scientist too, like the famous Saltimbanque (clown) of a French poet, may one day in turning a somersault, suddenly leap up and find himself rolling into the bosom of the stars.

05.06 - Physics or philosophy, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalPhysics or philosophy
   Physics or philosophy
   So the scientists of today are waking up to this disconcerting fact. And some have put The Question very boldly and frankly: do not all laws of Nature contain this original sin of the observer's interference, indeed may not the laws be nothing else but that? Thus Science has landed into the very heart the bog and quagmire, if you likeof abstruse metaphysics. Eddington says, there is no other go for Science today but to admit and delcare that its scheme and pattern of things, as described by what is called laws of Nature, is only a mental construct of the Scientist. The "wonderful" discoveries are nothing but jugglery and legerdemain of the mindwhat it puts out of itself unconsciously into the outside world, it recovers again and is astonished at the miracle. A scientific law is a pure deduction from the mind's own disposition. Eddington goes so far as to say that if a scientist is sufficiently introspective he can trace out from within his brain each and every law of Nature which he took so much pains to fish out from Nature by observation and experiment. Eddington gives an analogy to explain the nature of scientific law and scientific discovery. Suppose you have a fishing net of a particular size and with interstices of a particular dimension; you throw it into the sea and pull out with fishes in it. Now you count and assort the fishes, and according to the data thus obtained, you declare that the entire sea consists of so many varieties of fish and of such sizes. The only error is that you could not take into account the smaller fishes that escaped through the interstices and the bigger ones that did not at all fall into the net. Scientific statistics is something of this kind. Our mind is the net, and the pattern of Nature is determined by the mind's own pattern.
   Eddington gives us absolutely no hope for any knowledge of an objective world apart from the objectification of mind's own constructs. This is a position which a scientist, quascientist, finds it difficult to maintain. Remedies and loop-holes have been suggested with what result we shall presently see.
   Apart from the standpoint of theoretical physics developed by Einstein, the more practical aspect as brought out in Wave Mechanics leads us into no less an abstract and theoretical domain. The Newtonian particle-picture, it is true, has been maintained in the first phase of modern physics which specialised in what is called Quantum Mechanics. But waves or particlesalthough The Question as to their relative validity and verity still remains opendo not make much difference in the fundamental outlook. For in either view, the individual unit is beyond the ken of the scientist. A wave is not a wave but just the probability of a wave: it is not even a probable wave but a probability wave. Thus the pattern that Wave Mechanics weaves to show the texture of the ultimate reality is nothing more than a calculus of probabilities. By whichever way we proceed we seem to arrive always at the same inevitable conclusion.
   So it is frankly admitted that what Science gives is not a faithful description of actuality, not a representation of material existence, but certain conventions or convenient signs to put together, to make a mental picture of our sensations and experiences. That does not give any clue to what the objective reality mayor may not be like. Scientific laws are mental rules imposed upon Nature. It may be asked why does Nature yield to such imposition? There must be then some sort of parallelism or commensurability between Nature and the observing Mind, between the pattern of Nature and the Mind's scheme or replica of it. If we successfully read into Nature things of the Mind, that means that there must be something very common between the two. Mind's readings are not mere figments, hanging in the air; for they are justified by their applicability, by their factual translation. This is arguing in a circle, a thorough-going mentalist like Eddington would say. What are facts? What is life? Anything more than what the senses and the mind have built up for us?
   Jeans himself is on the horns of a dilemma.2 Being a scientist, and not primarily a mathematician like Eddington, he cannot very well acquiesce in the liquidation of the material world; nor can he refute successfully the facts and arguments that Science itself has brought forward in favour of mentalism. He wishes to keep The Question open for further light and surer grounds. In the meanwhile, however, he is reconciled to a modified form of mentalism. The laws of Nature, he says, are surely subjective in the sense that astronomical or geographical concepts, for example, such as the system of latitudes, longitudes, equator and axis, ellipse and quadrant and sextant, are subjective. These lines and figures are' not drawn physically upon the earth or in space: they are mental constructs, they are pointers or notations, but they note and point to the existence and the manner of existence of real objects in a real world.
   In other words, one tries to come back more or less to the common-sense view of things. One does not argue about what is naturally given as objective reality; whatever the mental gloss over it, it is there all the same. One accepts it, takes it on trust, if you likeone can admit even that it is an act of faith, as Russell and the Neo-Realists would maintain.

05.07 - The Observer and the Observed, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Observer and the Observed
   The Observer and the Observed

05.08 - An Age of Revolution, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalAn Age of Revolution
   An Age of Revolution

05.09 - The Changed Scientific Outlook, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Changed Scientific Outlook
   The Changed Scientific Outlook

05.10 - Knowledge by Identity, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalKnowledge by Identity
   Knowledge by Identity

05.11 - The Place of Reason, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Place of Reason
   The Place of Reason

05.12 - The Revealer and the Revelation, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Revealer and the Revelation
   The Revealer and the Revelation

05.13 - Darshana and Philosophy, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalDarshana and Philosophy
   Darshana and Philosophy

05.14 - The Sanctity of the Individual, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Sanctity of the Individual
   The Sanctity of the Individual

05.15 - Sartrian Freedom, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalSartrian Freedom
   Sartrian Freedom

05.16 - A Modernist Mentality, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalA Modernist Mentality
   A Modernist Mentality

05.17 - Evolution or Special Creation, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalEvolution or Special Creation
   Evolution or Special Creation

05.18 - Man to be Surpassed, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalMan to be Surpassed
   Man to be Surpassed

05.19 - Lone to the Lone, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalLone to the Lone
   Lone to the Lone

05.20 - The Urge for Progression, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Urge for Progression
   The Urge for Progression

05.21 - Being or Becoming and Having, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalBeing or Becoming and Having
   Being or Becoming and Having

05.22 - Success and its Conditions, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalSuccess and its Conditions
   Success and its Conditions

05.23 - The Base of Sincerity, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Base of Sincerity
   The Base of Sincerity

05.24 - Process of Purification, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalProcess of Purification
   Process of Purification

05.25 - Sweet Adversity, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalSweet Adversity
   Sweet Adversity

05.26 - The Soul in Anguish, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Soul in Anguish
   The Soul in Anguish

05.27 - The Nature of Perfection, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalThe Nature of Perfection
   The Nature of Perfection

05.28 - God Protects, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalGod Protects
   God Protects

05.29 - Vengeance is Mine, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalVengeance is Mine
   Vengeance is Mine
   The right attitude, then, for a sadhak who has to live dangerously in the world of today is to rise above the turmoils that surge around, to lift the consciousness to a serener height and aspire wholly towards the help and guidance from above, not to be moved by the blast that passes but hold himself firmly anchored upon the rock of ages, the Divine Grace. It is only then that The Question can come of actually taking part in the battle of life for it is then that you can act as God's agent or instrument. If you have to take to the field of actual battle you must first receive God's commission (chaprashas Ramakrishna called it), even as Arjuna did.

05.30 - Theres a Divinity, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalTheres a Divinity
   Theres a Divinity

05.31 - Divine Intervention, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalDivine Intervention
   Divine Intervention

05.32 - Yoga as Pragmatic Power, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalYoga as Pragmatic Power
   Yoga as Pragmatic Power

05.33 - Caesar versus the Divine, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalCaesar versus the Divine
   Caesar versus the Divine

05.34 - Light, more Light, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 01, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Other Authors Nolini Kanta Gupta The Quest and the GoalLight, more Light
   Light, more Light
   The Question of false light or of wrong perception need not trouble you too much. If you are sincere, if you have the correct attitude, things will come always right to you. The trouble is for him who is not himself true or does not propose to be true.
   This spontaneous recognition of the light in you is also called, in the Yogic language, openness. It means you are ready, at least, something in you is ready, to accept and admit the light when it presents itself before you. If you have any hesitation to receive it for its own sake, if you wish to corroborate your initial perception you can look for its sign manual: the peace, the freedom, the elevation, the quiet certitude, the exquisite sweetness or gladness it brings, its own luminosity which is found neither here nor elsewhere but in its own body of self.

06.10 - Fatigue and Work, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The Question is not about your scope and capacity. All depends upon your attitude, the consciousness with which you approach a work, especially when you are a sadhak. When a work comes to you or when you have to do a work, you must take it up as a thing worth doing. Whatever the value given to it normally or you often put upon it, you should not neglect or merely tolerate it, but welcome it and set about it with the utmost conscientiousness possible. Even if it were a trifling insignificant thing, a menial affair, for example, do not consider it as mean or beneath your dignity. Directly you begin to do a thing in the right spirit, you will find it becoming miraculously interesting. Try to bring perfection even in that bit of insignificance. Do it with a goodwill, even if it is scrubbing the floor, telling yourself: I must do it as best I can, that is to say, this too I shall do even better than a servant, I shall make the floor look really neat and clean and beautiful. That is the crux of the matter. You should try to bring out the best in you and put it into your work. In other words, the work becomes an instrument of progress. The goodwill, attention, concentration, self-forgetfulness and the control over yourself, over your organs and nerves the smaller the work the more detailed is the control gainedall which are involved in doing a work perfectly, with as much perfection as it is possible for you to command, are elements called forth in you and help to make you a better man. Indeed a work for which you have no preferential bias, to which you are not emotionally attached, even indifferent normally, may be of especial help, for you will be able to do it with less nervous disturbance, with a large amount of detachment and disinterestedness.
   Man usually chooses his work or is made to choose a work because of a vital preference, a prejudice or notion that it is the kind in which he can shine or succeed. This egoistic vanity or opportunism may be necessary or unavoidable in ordinary life; but when one wishes to go beyond the ordinary life and aspires for the true life, this attachment or personal choice is more an impediment than a help to progress, towards finding the way to the true life. The Yogic attitude to work therefore is that of absolute detachment, not to have any choice, but to accept and do whatever is given to you, whatever comes to you in your normal course of life and do it with the utmost perfection possible. It is in that way and that way alone that all work becomes supremely interesting, and all life a miracle of delight.

06.35 - Second Sight, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The animal acts by instinct, we say; that is to say, it goes straight to the thing to be done: in order to do a thing it does not make a choice between possibilities, there is no selective process in its consciousness. It is the human consciousness alone that says, this is not to be done, but that to be done, not this but that or puts The Question, which one, to be or not to be? This is what we mean by discrimination or deliberation. Normally, this faculty is absent in the animal. We have said of refined feelings in man; refined here need not mean always ennobled or morally elevated; it may mean also more subtle, more complicated and be applied to some baseracutely perversefeelings which are perhaps peculiarly human. Domestic animals sometimes contract them from men: jealousy, spitefulness, vengeance, vindictiveness of an extreme degree are likely to be found more among animals living with men than those that are in the wild state. We have heard of elephants brooding over a hurt or even an insult for long months and taking revenge when occasion presents itself. And we have heard of a cat jumping out of a window into the street below and killing itself simply because it thought its mistress showed more love towards another cat.
   The humanising of animals living with men, through its good and bad effects, has an evolutionary value: that is to say, some animals in that way attain almost to a human status in their soul. And occultists state that souls do pass in this manner from the animal to the human incarnation.

06.36 - The Mother on Herself, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The truth I bring will manifest itself and will be embodied upon earth; for, it is the earth's and world's inevitable destiny. The Question of time is not relevant. In one respect the truth which I say will be made manifest is already fully manifest, is already realised and established: there is no question of time there. It is in a consciousness timeless or eternally present. There is a process, a play of translation between that timeless poise and the poise in time that we know here below. The measure of that hiatus is very relative, relative to the consciousness that measures, long or short according to the yardstick each one brings. But that is not the essence of the problem: the essence is that the truth is there active, in the process of materialisation, only one should have the eye to see it and the soul to greet it.

07.11 - The Problem of Evil, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   As to The Question why this deviation, this evil at all, I can say, first of all, what you call evil may be only what is not convenient to you, but from the standpoint of universal arrangement that may be the most convenient. Secondly, the thing might have been just an accident, so to say, in the beginning. And what we are concerned with is not so much its why or even how but with the remedy to be found for the evil that is there. Viewing philosophically, however, we may note that the universe in which we live is evidently one movement out of many (actual and possible), that it follows its own law which is not the same elsewhere, that if the principle on which this universe has been created is that of free will, then you cannot prevent the disorderly movement from taking place until a knowledge comes and illumines the choice. If one is free to choose, one may choose the wrong thing, not necessarily the right thing, for if it were decided beforeh and that the choice must be always good and in the right direction, then the choice would no longer be free.
   But in reality these questions cannot be adequately answered in that way. It is a problem to which mental answersof which the mental formulations evenonly serve to diminish the dimensions of the problem; The Question itself reduces the problem to a more or less elementary formula corresponding only vaguely and superficially and incompletely to the reality of things.
   To be able to understand you must become. If you want to understand the why and the how of the universe you must identify yourself with the universe. And that is not easy.
   In truth, The Question itself is wrong. It is childish. It presupposes things that are themselves questionable. There are certain ideas about creation which have been almost universally current, more or less permanently accepted by human thought during ages; they are of an astounding simplicity. There is a world here, it is said, and up there somewhere there is a being called God; This person one day thought of creating some kind of thing, a visible form. The world was the result. Evidently we see a lot of mistakes in his work. We conclude the creator perhaps is a well-meaning benevolent person, but not all-powerful; some other thing or being there is that contradicts him. Or perhaps he is all-powerful but then has no heart and must be cruelty itselfviewing the condition of his creation which is a story of sorrow and trouble and misery. Such an idea, I say, is simplicity itself, the simplicity of a child brain. When one speaks of God the creator as a potter making a pot, one thinks of him as a human being, only in bigger proportions. Truly, it is not God who has made man in his image, it is man who has made God in his image.
   As I say, The Question is wrongly put. The very form of The Question already assumes a certain notion about God and creation. Your postulates or axioms themselves are vitiated.
   The universe and its creator are not separate things, they are one and identical in their origin. The universe is God himself projected into Space (and Time). So the universe is the Divine in one aspect or another. You cannot divide the two, making one the creator and the other, his work, the watch-maker and his watch. You put your idea of the Divine upon him and ask, why he has created such a nasty world. If the Divine were to answer, It is not I, it is yourself. Become myself again, you will no longer feel and see as you do now you are not yourself, therefore your question and your problem! Indeed, when you unite your consciousness with the divine consciousness there is no longer any problem. Everything appears then natural and simple, and correct and as it should be. It is when you cut yourself from your origin and stand outside, in front of him and against him that all the trouble begins. Of course you may ask, how is it that the Divine has tolerated a part of himself going out and separating itself and creating all this disorder? I would reply on behalf of the Divine, If you want to know, you had better unite yourself with the Divine, for that is the only way of knowing why he has done so. It is not by questioning him by your mind that you will get the answer. The mind cannot know. And repeat, when you come to this identification, all problems are solved. The feeling, one can explain, that things are not all right, that they should be otherwise comes precisely from the fact that there is a divine will unfolding itself in a continuous progression, that things that were and are have to give place to things that shall be and shall be better and better than they have been. The world that was good yesterday will no longer be so tomorrow. The universe might have appeared quite harmonious in some other age but now appears quite discordant: it is because we see the possibility of a better universe. If we found it as it should be, we would not do what we have to do, we would not try to make it better. Even so, we would conceive the Divine in a very human way; for we remain imprisoned within ourselves, confined to this consciousness of ours which is like a grain of sand in the infinite immensity. You want to understand the immensity? That is not possible. It is possible only under one condition; be one with the immensity. The drop of water cannot very well ask how the ocean is: it has to lose itself into the ocean.

07.19 - Bad Thought-Formation, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   There are many things in the world you do not approve of. Some people who, as they put it, wish to have the knowledge, want to find out why it is so. It is a line of knowledge. But I say it is much more important to find out how to make things otherwise than they are at present. That is exactly the problem Buddha set before himself. He sat under a tree and continued till he found the solution. The solution, however, is not very satisfactory: You say, the world is bad, let us then do away with the world; but to whose profit, as Sri Aurobindo asks very pertinently? The world will no longer be bad, since it will exist no more. The world will have to be rolled back into its origin, the original pure existence or non-existence. Then man will be, in Sri Aurobindo's words, the all-powerful master of something that does not exist, an emperor without an empire, a king without a kingdom. It is a solution. But there are others, which are better. We consider ours to be the best. There are some who say, like the Buddha, evil comes from ignorance, remove the ignorance and evil will disappear. Others say that evil comes from division, from separation; if the universe were not separated from its origin, there would be no evil. Others again declare that it is an evil will that is the cause of all, of separation and ignorance. Then The Question is, where does this bad will come from? If it were at the origin of things, it must have been in the origin itself. And then some question the bad will itself,there is no such thing, essentially, fundamentally, it is pure illusion.
   Do animals have a bad will?

08.16 - Perfection and Progress, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The Question still remains whether the thing can happen and will happen individually before it happens collectively. But no individual realisation even can be complete or approach perfection, unless and until it is in harmony with a group consciousness representing a new world. There is always an interdependence between the individual and the collective so much so that an individual realisation is bound to be restricted and diminished in an unresponsive atmosphere. Earth life as a whole has to follow a certain curve of progress in order that a new world and a new consciousness may appear in it.
   So the future realisation does depend, partially at least, upon you, individually and collectively. Have you ever tried to conceive what the new consciousness might mean, what the new race and the new world would look like?

08.21 - Human Birth, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Now, a fully formed conscious soul wanting to take birth looks generally from its psychic domain for a corresponding psychic light upon some place on earth. In its previous birth, before leaving the earthly atmosphere, it chose, as the result of its total experience in that life, the conditions of its future life, not in details, but more or less in a general way. Such cases are very exceptional. We here perhaps can speak of it, but for the majority of the human population, even among the most well-educated, The Question does not arise.
   Normally we are dealing with a soul that is growing, which is in the process of its growth. Now, there are all the stages of growth, from the tiniest spark that is becoming a little flame of light up to the fully conscious and fully formed being. This ascent of the soul in order to become a mature conscious being, having its own will and deciding its own destiny, takes thousands of years.

08.25 - Meat-Eating, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   But if you wish to move from the ordinary life to a higher life, the problem acquires an interest. And again, for a higher life if you wish to move up still farther and prepare yourself for transformation, then the problem becomes very important. For there are certain foods that help the body to become more refined and others that keep it down to the level of animalhood. But it is only then that The Question acquires an importance, not before. Before you come to that point, you have a lot of other things to do. It is certainly better to purify your mind, purify your vital before you think of purifying your body. For even if you take all possible precautions and live physically with every care to eat only the things that help to refine the body, but the mind and the vital remain full of desire and inconscience and obscurity and all the rest, your care will serve no purpose. Your body will become perhaps weak, disharmonious with your inner life and drop off one day.
   You must begin from within. I have said a hundred times, you must begin from above. You must purify first the higher regions and then purify the lower ones. I do not mean by this that you should give yourself up to all the licences that degrade the body. I do not mean that at all. I am not advising you not to control your desires. What I mean is this: do not try to be an angel in the body before you are already something of the kind in your mind and in your vital. For that will bring about a dislocation, a lack of balance. And I have always said that to maintain the balance, all the parts must progress together. In trying to bring light into one part you must not leave another part in darkness. You must not leave any obscure corner anywhere.

08.26 - Faith and Progress, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   One must aspire, it is indispensable; but there are people who aspire and yet with so much conflict within them, between faith and want of faith, trust and distrust, between optimism that is sure of victory and pessimism that is just waiting for the catastrophe to come etc., etc. If such is the state of your being, you may aspire but nothing will come out of it. You say, "I aspire and I get nothing"; that is because you are demolishing your aspiration all the while by your want of trust. But if truly you have the trust, things would be different. Children, for example, when they are left to themselves, when they have not been deformed by elderly people, have a great confidence that everything will be all right. When they have an accident they never think that it will be anything serious. They have the spontaneous conviction that it will be set right soon and that helps things to get right soon. When you aspire for the Force, ask for the Divine's help, if you do it with an unshakable certitude that the thing will come, in that case, it is impossible for it not to come. In fact, as I say, such a conviction is in itself an inner opening. There are people who are naturally and automatically in this condition. Whenever or wherever there occurs an opportunity to receive something from above they are there present. And there are others who always fail to be on the spot when there is an occasion for the descent: they close themselves at the right moment. But they who have the childlike reliance they never miss an opportunity. It is a very curious phenomenon. Apparently there may not be much difference between the two types. Both may have the same goodwill, the same aspiration, the same desire to do one's best, but he who has a happy confidence in him, who does not question, who does not ask if he will have the thing or not, whether the Divine will answer or notfor, to him that is not The Question, it is understood and taken for granted: "The thing I need I shall be given," he says, "if I pray my prayer will be granted, in am in difficulty and I ask for help, the help will come, it will not only come but settle everything"I say, the person who has such a spontaneous, candid, unquestioning reliance gets the best conditions under which an effective descent can take place; its action then is marvellous.
   It is with your mental contradictions and doubts that you spoil everything, with this kind of ideas that enter into you when you are in difficulty: "It is impossible, I shall never come to the end of it, supposing the situation gets worse, supposing I am to roll down etc., etc... " In this way you build up a wall between yourself and the Force that you want to receive.

08.33 - Opening to the Divine, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   You are to open yourself to the Divine and receive Him. Usually you open yourself in all directions to everything and everybody in the world. You open your surface being and receive there all sorts of influences from all quarters. So inside you there-comes about what we can call a hotch-potch of all contrary and contradictory movements: and that creates difficulties without number. Now instead of that, live away from the surface, from the outside and open up to the Divine and receive nothing hut the Divine force. If you can do that all difficulties practically disappear. But, of course, the trouble is there. Unless one is alchemically conditioned, it is an impossibility to have relations with people, to talk to them, to deal with them, have interchanges with them and yet not absorb something out of them. If one can surround oneself with an atmosphere that acts as a filter, then all that come from outside are checked and sifted before they reach you or touch you. That needs a good training and a large experience. That is why people in ancient days who wanted an easier path took to solitude, into the depths of the forest, on the top of a hill or under a cave so that they might not have to deal with people for that naturally reduces undesirable interchanges. Only, it has also been found that such people begin to take an enormous interest in the life of animals and plants instead of men: for it is indeed difficult to do without interchange with something or other. So the best thing would be to face the problem squarely, to clo the yourself with an atmosphere totally concentrated on the Divine so that whatever passes across is filtered in its passage. And further, there is The Question of food. The body is obliged to take in foreign matter in order to subsist, it would therefore absorb at the same time a fair quantity of inert and unconscious forces or that of some not very desirable consciousness. I once spoke to you of the consciousness that one absorbs with food, there is also unconsciousness that one absorbs in the same way. That is why in many systems of Yoga you are advised to offer first to the Divine your food and then eat it: it means calling down the Divine into your food before absorbing it. Offering means putting in contact: the food is put in contact with type Divine, i.e. put under His influence. This is a very good, a very useful procedure; if you knew how to do it, it would diminish very much the labour of the inner transformation that one has to do. For in the world we live in solidarity with all others. You cannot take in a single breath of air without absorbing the vibrations, the numberless vibrations that come from all kinds of movements and all kinds of people. So if you want to keep yourself intact, you must, as I have said, maintain yourself in the condition of a filter allowing nothing undesirable to enter. Or put on a mask as one does when crossing an infected and poisoned locality, or do something similar.
   One must have around oneself an atmosphere so condensed, condensed in a spirit of total surrender, that nothing can enter without being automatically filtered. There are wicked thoughts, evil will about you, harmful formations sent out by bad people. The air pullulates with these: dark noisome bacilli. It is so troublesome to be always on the look-out, at every step to be on one's guard, to move slowly with care and caution and precautions; even then one is not sure. But if you cover yourself with the cloak of light, the light of a happy, sincere surrender, and aspiration, that is a wonderful filter, that gives you automatic protection. The undesirable forces not only cannot enter, they are thrown back upon their originator, the attackers themselves become their own victims.

09.05 - The Story of Love, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Besides, it is sure and certain that as soon as you are truly in love, you do not put The Question any more. It is so childish, ridiculous and insignificant to put The Question. As soon as you are truly in love, you have the entire plenitude of delight and realisation. You do not need any kind of response. You are the Love. That is all. You have the full satisfaction of love. And there is no need of reciprocity.

09.12 - The True Teaching, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   On other occasions, The Question posed and the subject chosen are conveyed by the mind to the higher Consciousness. The mind receives a response from that Consciousness and conveys it through the word. This is what generally happens in all teachings, provided that the one who teaches has the capacity to pass The Question on to the higher Consciousnessa capacity not always present.
   I should tell you that the second method does not interest me much. Very often, when The Question or the subject fails to give me the possibility of entering into a state of consciousness that interests me, I far prefer to keep silent. And it is, as it were, a sense of duty that makes me talk.
   I am informing you in advance, because in the past I have cut short the conversation and passed abruptly into meditation.

09.13 - On Teachers and Teaching, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   If you have passed through that discipline and succeeded, then you will not have wasted your time here. I ask everyone who accepts the work of giving lessons to accept it in that spirit. It is all very nice to be obliging, to give service, to be useful; it is a very good thing, certainly. But it is only one side, perhaps the most unimportant side of The Question. The much greater, more important side is this, that you have been given the Grace so that you may arrive at mastering yourself, at an understanding of your subject and of other persons which you could not have done but for this opportunity. And if you have not profited during all these years that you have been teaching, well, it means you have wasted at least half of your time.
   What about the organisation of studies at the Ashram school? If the students are given full freedom, as it is supposed you have given them, that is to say, if they are permitted to come to the classes or go away from them as they like or learn or not learn their lessons according to their choice, then how can a system or organisation work?

09.14 - Education of Girls, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   The Question is about our physical education and, in a general way, the psychological basis of our activities here. These things have, of course, been written about and spoken of by me and by Sri Aurobindo very often, but evidently the idea does not seem to have entered your consciousness.
   I do not wish to wage a war against what you feel and do, but I would like you at least to understand why things are done here in the way they are being done instead of letting yourself go thoughtlessly in a retrograde movement towards all that is done elsewhere, under the plea that that is how your fathers and grandfa thers and great grandfa thers and all the ancestors of yourself and of all your friends and relatives did in the past and considered it as the normal and natural way of doing things.

09.16 - Goal of Evolution, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   You say it is obvious that evolution has a goal and that it cannot stop here or now. It seems to you obvious because you have read Sri Aurobindo's books. But if you take anybody you meet in the street and ask him what is the purpose of the universe or of the evolution, you will see that he will answer by saying that he knows nothing about it. Even here there are many, perhaps hundreds, if you ask them individually not to repeat what they have read but to say what they feel and think by themselves about The Question, what is the intention behind the universal evolution or whether there is any intention at all, they will not be able to give a better answer. I do not think that there are many who will be able to tell you in all sincerity, "It is like this, it is like that, it is evident, etc., etc." A good number may be able to quote passages from Sri Aurobindo; otherwise, if you cease thinking, thinking with what you have read or heard, if you try to express your own personal experience, would you have any certitude to declare? I do not speak of the result of what you have learnt, what you have read or heard about, I speak of your own personal experience, exclusively genuinely your own, something that is evident because it is your life and realisation. Are you capable of anything of that kind?
   If you have an experience of the kind, I shall be glad to congratulate you and say that you have not wasted your time here.

1.00a - Introduction, #Magick Without Tears, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  Like a perfect lady, I have kept the tit bit to the last. It is absolutely essential to begin a magical diary, and keep it up daily. You begin by an account of your life, going back even before your birth to your ancestry. In conformity with the practice which you may perhaps choose to adopt later, given in Liber Thisarb, sub figura CMXIII, paragraphs 27-28, Magick, pp. 420-422, you must find an answer to The Question: "How did I come to be in this place at this time, engaged in this particular work?" As you will see from the book, this will start you on the discovery of who you really are, and eventually lead you to your recovering the memory of previous incarnations.
  As it is difficult for you to come to Town except at rare and irregular intervals, may I suggest a plan which has previously proved very useful, and that is a weekly letter. Eliphas Lvi did this with the Baron Spedalieri, and the correspondence is one of the most interesting of his works. You ask such questions as you wish to have answered, and I answer them to the best of my ability. I, of course, add spontaneous remarks which may be elicited by my observations on your progress and the perusal of your magical diary. This, of course, should be written on one side of the paper only, so that the opposite page is free for comments, and an arrangement should be made for it to be inspected at regular intervals.
  The Question about money does not arise. This old and very good rule (which I have always kept) was really pertinent to the time when there were actual secrets. But I have published openly all the secrets. All I can do is to train you in a perfectly exoteric way. My suggestion about the weekly letter was intended to exclude this question, as you would be getting full commercial value for anything paid.
  Your questions about the Spirit of the Sun, and so on, are to be answered by experience. Intellectual satisfaction is worthless. I have to bring you to a state of mind completely superior to the mechanism of the normal mind.
  It occurs to me that so far we have done nothing about the astral plane and this path of Tau of which you speak. Have you had any experience of travelling in the astral? If not, do you think that you can begin by yourself on the lines laid down in Liber O, sections 5 and 6? (See Magick, pp. 387-9). If not you had better let me take you through the first gates. The Question of noise instantly arises; I think we should have to do it not earlier than nine o'clock at night, and I don't know whether you can manage this.
  Love is the law, love under will.

1.00c - DIVISION C - THE ETHERIC BODY AND PRANA, #A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, #Alice Bailey, #Occultism
  Science, as we know, is fast reaching the point where it will be forced to admit the fact of the etheric body, because the difficulties of refusing to acknowledge it, will be far more insuperable than an admission of its existence. Scientists admit already the fact of etheric matter; the success of photographic endeavor has demonstrated the reality of that which has hitherto been considered unreal, because (from the standpoint of the physical) intangible. Phenomena are occurring all the time which remain in the domain of the supernatural unless accounted for through the medium of etheric matter, and in their anxiety to prove the spiritualists wrong, scientists have aided the cause of the true and higher spiritism by falling back on reality, and on the fact of the etheric body, even though they consider it a body of [89] emanative radiationbeing concerned with the effect and not having yet ascertained the cause. Medical men are beginning to study (blindly as yet) The Question of vitality, the effect of solar rays upon the physical organism, and the underlying laws of inherent and radiatory heat. They are beginning to ascribe to the spleen functions hitherto not recognised, to study the effect of the action of the glands, and their relation to the assimilation of the vital essences by the bodily frame. They are on the right road, and before long (perhaps within this century) the FACT of the etheric body and its basic function will be established past all controversy, and the whole aim of preventive and curative medicine will shift to a higher level. All we can do here is to give simply, and in a condensed form, a few facts which may hasten the day of recognition, and further the interest of the true investigator. Let me, therefore, briefly state what will be dealt with in our remaining three points:
  The functions of the etheric body.

1.00c - INTRODUCTION, #Patanjali Yoga Sutras, #Swami Vivekananda, #Hinduism
  again to that absolute. This being granted, The Question is,
  which is better, the absolute or this state? There are not
  Now The Question arises, is going back to God the higher state,
  or is it not? The philosophers of the Yoga school answer

1.00 - Gospel Preface, #The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, #Sri Ramakrishna, #Hinduism
  He was an educationist all his life both in a spiritual and in a secular sense. After he passed out of College, he took up work as headmaster in a number of schools in succession Narail High School, City School, Ripon College School, Metropolitan School, Aryan School, Oriental School, Oriental Seminary and Model School. The causes of his migration from school to school were that he could not get on with some of the managements on grounds of principles and that often his spiritual mood drew him away to places of pilgrimage for long periods. He worked with some of the most noted public men of the time like Iswar Chandra Vidysgar and Surendranath Banerjee. The latter appointed him as a professor in the City and Ripon Colleges where he taught subjects like English, philosophy, history and economics. In his later days he took over the Morton School, and he spent his time in the staircase room of the third floor of it, administering the school and preaching the message of the Master. He was much respected in educational circles where he was usually referred to as Rector Mahashay. A teacher who had worked under him writes thus in warm appreciation of his teaching methods: "Only when I worked with him in school could I appreciate what a great educationist he was. He would come down to the level of his students when teaching, though he himself was so learned, so talented. Ordinarily teachers confine their instruction to what is given in books without much thought as to whether the student can accept it or not. But M., would first of all gauge how much the student could take in and by what means. He would employ aids to teaching like maps, pictures and diagrams, so that his students could learn by seeing. Thirty years ago (from 1953) when The Question of imparting education through the medium of the mother tongue was being discussed, M. had already employed Bengali as the medium of instruction in the Morton School." (M The Apostle and the Evangelist by Swami Nityatmananda Part I. P. 15.)
  Imparting secular education was, however, only his profession ; his main concern was with the spiritual regeneration of man a calling for which Destiny seems to have chosen him. From his childhood he was deeply pious, and he used to be moved very much by Sdhus, temples and Durga Puja celebrations. The piety and eloquence of the great Brahmo leader of the times, Keshab Chander Sen, elicited a powerful response from the impressionable mind of Mahendra Nath, as it did in the case of many an idealistic young man of Calcutta, and prepared him to receive the great Light that was to dawn on him with the coming of Sri Ramakrishna into his life.

1.00 - Preface, #A Garden of Pomegranates - An Outline of the Qabalah, #Israel Regardie, #Occultism
  Since The Question of Magick has been slightly dealt with in the last chapter of this book, it is perhaps advisable here to state that the interpretations given to certain doctrines and to some of the Hebrew letters border very closely on magical formulae. I have purposely refrained, however, from entering into a deeper consideration of the Practical Qabalah, although several hints of value may be discovered in the explanation of the Tetragrammaton, for example, which may prove of no inconsiderable service. As I have previously remarked, this book is primarily intended as an elementary textbook of the Qabalah, interpreted as a new system for philosophical classification. This must consti- tute my sole excuse for what may appear to be a refusal to deal more adequately with methods of Attainment.
  - Israel Regardie.

1.00 - PREFACE - DESCENSUS AD INFERNOS, #Maps of Meaning, #Jordan Peterson, #Psychology
  further reason to exist. The impulse had only occurred, because of The Question I was attempting to
  answer: how can men do terrible things to one another? I meant other men, of course bad men but I
  had still asked The Question. There was no reason for me to assume that I would receive a predictable or
  personally meaningless answer.

1.00 - Preliminary Remarks, #Liber ABA, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  Being more or less bankrupt, the best thing we can do is to attack the problem afresh without preconceived ideas. Let us begin by doubting every statement. Let us find a way of subjecting every statement to the test of experiment. Is there any truth at all in the claims of various religions? Let us examine The Question.
  Our original difficulty will be due to the enormous wealth of our material. To enter into a critical examination of all systems would be an unending task; the cloud of witnesses is too great. Now each religion is equally positive; and each demands faith. This we refuse in the absence of positive proof. But we may usefully inquire whether there is not any one thing upon which all religions have agreed: for, if so, it seems possible that it may be worthy of really thorough consideration.
  This is the object of the usual monastic vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. If you have no property, you have no care, nothing to be anxious about; with chastity no other person to be anxious about, and to distract your attention; while if you are vowed to obedience The Question of what you are to do no longer frets: you simply obey.
  There are a great many other obstacles which you will discover as you go on,and it is proposed to deal with each in turn. But let us pass by for the moment to the point where you are nearing success.

1.00 - The way of what is to come, #The Red Book Liber Novus, #unset, #Hinduism
  40. In 1913, Jung called this process the introversion of the libido (On The Question of psychological types, CW 6).
  41. In 1912, Jung had written, "It is a common error to judge longing in terms of the quality of the object... Nature is only beautiful on account of the longing and love accorded to it by man. The aesthetic attri butes emanating therefrom apply first and foremost to the libido, which alone accounts for the beauty of nature" (Transformations and Symbols of the Libido, CW B, 147).

1.012 - Sublimation - A Way to Reshuffle Thought, #The Study and Practice of Yoga, #Swami Krishnananda, #Yoga
  But vairagya is not an abandonment of things in the world. It is an abandonment of false values, the wrong interpretation of things, and a misconstruing of one's relationship with everything around oneself. It is this erroneous notion about things around oneself that is the reason for attachments, aversions, likes, dislikes, and what not. So also is the principle of self-control. A rejection of an existent value is impossible. This is very important to remember. Anything that is real cannot be rejected. If we think that the world is real, we cannot abandon it - The Question of abandoning it does not arise. Anything which has already been declared to be real cannot be abandoned. How can we abandon real things? So, also, if self-control or self-restraint implies a withdrawal of consciousness from those things or values which are real and external to oneself, then it is impossible, because the consciousness or the mind which is expected to withdraw itself from externals will insist that abandonment of real values is impracticable and unadvisable.
  Here we have not merely an effort of the will, but an educative process of the understanding. Understanding plays a very serious role in every walk of life. When the understanding is clear, the will can be applied in its implementation. But, the will is not to be applied bereft of understanding. Otherwise, that which the understanding has not accepted as correct will react upon us it will have a deleterious effect upon the entire system. That which the understanding or the reason cannot accept, our whole personality will not accept, and that which we cannot accept cannot become part of our nature; and thus, a new difficulty will be created.
  Consciousness does not move in a direction without a purpose; and if the purpose is meaningful, at least from its own point of view, nobody can resist it. It sees a meaning in the way in which it moves towards the object, and when the meaning is there, then naturally nobody can control it. "I see significance in it. There is a purpose behind it and there is a reason a very good reason for my action in that direction," says consciousness. So The Question of controlling the movement of consciousness does not arise. If the movement is meaningless, we may control it; but if it is meaningful, how can we control it? So, the resisting of the vehemence of consciousness in the direction of an object is possible only if the meaning that it reads into the object is sublimated.
  As long as we see a meaning in a thing, there is no doubt about it, and nobody else can influence us. No law, no order will work against a meaning that is seen by a person with open eyes. If I tell you that it is midnight, you will not believe it. "Why are you saying it is midnight? You can see it is daylight." We have faith that it is daytime on account of our clear perception of daylight. We are seeing it directly, and why is someone saying it is something else? So when consciousness sees a peculiar and definite meaning or significance in an object in front of it which it regards as valuable, worthwhile and necessary for its happiness, then no law or order will operate against it. It breaks all laws, be they social, personal, or moral any law, whatever it is because it is the law of reality, and the law of reality is more powerful than any other law that is made by man. Why is it called the law of reality? It is called the law of reality because it is seen physically as an indubitable something about which there is no doubt in the mind, and we cannot frame a law contrary to what we see physically and palpably as something real.
  Perceptions need not always be correct, though perceptions may insist that as long as they are there, the object is real. As long as the perceptions are there, their objects certainly will look real. Otherwise, it would not be a perception. But is the perception correct? This is The Question. Here we raise a very fundamental question which is philosophical, and even deeper than philosophical. When the emotion, the consciousness, directs itself towards an object for the achievement of its purpose, is it being motivated by a correct perception of values, or is it blundering in its attitude towards things due to certain other factors? Perhaps it is mistaken. Yet it will not accept the mistake as long as it sees things by an identification of itself with the object in front of it.
  Here, we feel that the withdrawal of consciousness from its object would be something like tearing off our own skin from our body. How can we tear off our own skin? It would be terrible, but this is what is happening when we practise self-control. We are tearing off our flesh, and it is so painful. But the pain is lessened if the consciousness is properly educated and made to reasonably accept the background of its attitudes and the incorrectness of its perceptions, for reasons which are superior to the one that it is adopting at the present moment.

1.01 - A NOTE ON PROGRESS, #The Future of Man, #Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, #Christianity
  If we are to find a definitive answer to The Question of the en-
  titative progress of the Universe we must do so by adopting the
  man soul The Question of whether the Universe is still developing
  then becomes a matter of deciding whether the human spirit is still

1.01 - Appearance and Reality, #The Problems of Philosophy, #Bertrand Russell, #Philosophy
  'appearance' and 'reality', between what things seem to be and what they are. The painter wants to know what things seem to be, the practical man and the philosopher want to know what they are; but the philosopher's wish to know this is stronger than the practical man's, and is more troubled by knowledge as to the difficulties of answering The Question.
  To return to the table. It is evident from what we have found, that there is no colour which pre-eminently appears to be _the_ colour of the table, or even of any one particular part of the table--it appears to be of different colours from different points of view, and there is no reason for regarding some of these as more really its colour than others. And we know that even from a given point of view the colour will seem different by artificial light, or to a colour-blind man, or to a man wearing blue spectacles, while in the dark there will be no colour at all, though to touch and hearing the table will be unchanged. This colour is not something which is inherent in the table, but something depending upon the table and the spectator and the way the light falls on the table. When, in ordinary life, we speak of _the_ colour of the table, we only mean the sort of colour which it will seem to have to a normal spectator from an ordinary point of view under usual conditions of light. But the other colours which appear under other conditions have just as good a right to be considered real; and therefore, to avoid favouritism, we are compelled to deny that, in itself, the table has any one particular colour.

1.01 - Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, #The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, #Carl Jung, #Psychology
  "ascent." They have to speak of it so often that The Question naturally arises as to
  what they are doing about their own spiritual ascent.
  of forest, field, and stream long before The Question of moral
  conscience ever existed. What is more, these beings were as

1.01 - Economy, #Walden, and On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience, #Henry David Thoreau, #Philosophy
  Clothing, to come at once to the practical part of The Question, perhaps we are led oftener by the love of novelty, and a regard for the opinions of men, in procuring it, than by a true utility. Let him who has work to do recollect that the object of clothing is, first, to retain the vital heat, and secondly, in this state of society, to cover nakedness, and he may judge how much of any necessary or important work may be accomplished without adding to his wardrobe. Kings and queens who wear a suit but once, though made by some tailor or dressmaker to their majesties, cannot know the comfort of wearing a suit that fits.
  They are no better than wooden horses to hang the clean clothes on.

1.01 - How is Knowledge Of The Higher Worlds Attained?, #Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, #Rudolf Steiner, #Occultism
   possessing these higher faculties gave instruction to others who were in search of them. Such a training is called occult (esoteric) training, and the instruction received therefrom is called occult (esoteric) teaching, or spiritual science. This designation naturally awakens misunderstanding. The one who hears it may very easily be misled into the belief that this training is the concern of a special, privileged class, withholding its knowledge arbitrarily from its fellow-creatures. He may even think that nothing of real importance lies behind such knowledge, for if it were a true knowledge-he is tempted to think-there would be no need of making a secret of it; it might be publicly imparted and its advantages made accessible to all. Those who have been initiated into the nature of this higher knowledge are not in the least surprised that the uninitiated should so think, for the secret of initiation can only be understood by those who have to a certain degree experienced this initiation into the higher knowledge of existence. The Question may be raised: how, then, under these circumstances, are the uninitiated to develop any human interest in this so-called esoteric knowledge?
   p. 3
  When, by means of meditation, a man rises to union with the spirit, he brings to life the eternal in him, which is limited by neither birth nor death. The existence of this eternal being can only be doubted by those who have not themselves experienced it. Thus meditation is the way which also leads man to the knowledge, to the contemplation of his eternal, indestructible, essential being; and it is only through meditation that man can attain to such knowledge. Gnosis and Spiritual Science tell of the eternal nature of this being and of its reincarnation. The Question is often asked: Why does a man know nothing of his experiences beyond the borders of life and death? Not thus should we ask, but rather: How can we attain such knowledge? In right meditation the path is opened. This alone can
   p. 34

1.01 - Introduction, #unset, #Vyasa, #Hinduism
  Now, among all the inquiries possible to the human spirit, those which are concerned with the very origin of being and of the universe are surely the most disinterested. What profit comparable to the results of our utilitarian Sciences can we reap from the discovery, even if that discovery be possible, of the first reasons of things? Among all The Questions that the mind can present to itself, this is, in appearance, the least useful; for that very reason it is in reality the most fertile. It is the most transcendent, the most daring of all, and for that reason we choose it in preference to all others.
  For the boldest, the highest Wisdom! For the pioneers of action and thought, the heroic march through the paths of the unknown!

1.01 - MAPS OF EXPERIENCE - OBJECT AND MEANING, #Maps of Meaning, #Jordan Peterson, #Psychology
  things, to the modern mind. The Question of the nature of the substance of sol the sun (to take a single
  example) occupied the minds of those who practiced the pre-experimental science of alchemy for many
  believe that The Question of how to act could even be reasonably asked, let alone answered:
  Just because our moral philosophers knew the facts of morality only very approximately in arbitrary
  desirability of the place travelled to depends on the valence of the place vacated. The Question of what
  should be? (what line should be travelled?) therefore has contained within it, so to speak, three
  We answer The Question what should be? by formulating an image of the desired future.
  interpretation of the emotional acceptability of the present that comprises our answer to The Question what
  is? [what is the nature (meaning, the significance) of the current state of experience?].
  We answer The Question how then should we act? by determining the most efficient and self-consistent
  strategy, all things considered, for bringing the preferred future into being.

1.01 - Meeting the Master - Authors first meeting, December 1918, #Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo, #unset, #Hinduism
   But The Question: "Why did I order the Arya?" remained. On trying to find an answer I found that I had known him before the appearance of the Arya.
   The Congress broke up at Surat in 1907. Sri Aurobindo had played a prominent part in that historic session. From Surat he came to Baroda, and at Vankaner Theatre and at Prof. Manik Rao's old gymnasium in Dandia Bazar he delivered several speeches which not only took the audience by storm but changed entirely the course of many lives. I also heard him without understanding everything that was spoken. But ever since I had seen him I had got the constant feeling that he was one known to me, and so my mind could not fix the exact time-moment when I knew him. It is certain that the connection seemed to begin with the great tidal wave of the national movement in the political life of India; but I think it was only the apparent beginning. The years between 1903 and 1910 were those of unprecedented awakening and revolution. The generations that followed also witnessed two or three powerful floods of the national movement. But the very first onrush of the newly awakened national consciousness of India was unique. That tidal wave in its initial onrush defined the goal of India's political ideal an independent republic. Alternating movements of ebb and flow in the national movement followed till in 1947 the goal was reached. The lives of leaders and workers, who rode, willingly and with delight on the dangerous crest of the tidal wave, underwent great transformations. Our small group in Gujarat got its goal fixed the winning of undiluted freedom for India.
   But, though I had seen him from a distance and felt an unaccountable familiarity with him, still I had not yet met him personally. When The Question of putting into execution the revolutionary plan which Sri Aurobindo had given to my brother, the late C. B. Purani, at Baroda in 1907, arose, I thought it better to obtain Sri Aurobindo's consent to it. Barindra, his brother, had given the formula for preparing bombs to my brother, and I was also very impatient to begin the work. But still we thought it necessary to consult the great leader who had given us the inspiration, as the lives of many young men were involved in the plan.
   I had an introduction to Sj. V. V. S. Aiyar who was then staying at Pondicherry. It was in December 1918 that I reached Pondicherry. I did not stay long with Mr. Aiyar. I took up my bundle of books mainly the Arya and went to No. 41, Rue Franois Martin, the Arya office, which was also Sri Aurobindo's residence. The house looked a little queer, on the right side, as one entered, were a few plantain trees and by their side a heap of broken tiles. On the left, at the edge of the open courtyard, four doors giving entrance to four rooms were seen. The verandah outside was wide. It was about eight in the morning. The time for meeting Sri Aurobindo was fixed at three o'clock in the afternoon. I waited all the time in the house, occasionally chatting with the two inmates who were there.
   I paused for a moment, considered The Question with myself and said: "If you give the assurance, I can accept it."
   "Then I give you the assurance that India will be free," he said in a serious tone.
   It was time for me to leave. The Question of Indian freedom again arose in my mind, and at the time of taking leave, after I had got up to depart, I could not repress The Question it was a question of my very life for me: "Are you quite sure that India will be free?"
   I did not, at that time, realise the full import of my query. I wanted a guarantee, and though the assurance was given my doubts had not completely disappeared.

1.01 - Necessity for knowledge of the whole human being for a genuine education., #The Essentials of Education, #unset, #Hinduism
  Dear friends! Our assignment for this educational conference is to answer The Question: What is the role of education and teaching to be for the future in terms of both the individual and society? Anyone who looks with an unbiased eye at modern civilization and its various institutions can hardly question the importance of this theme today (by today I mean the current decade in history). This theme touches on questions deep in the souls and hearts of a great many people.
  Knowledge of the Whole Human Being
  Rather than groping about in abstractions, lets just look at specifics; we shall examine one particular characteristic in human nature the temperament. Lets begin by looking not at a childs temperament, which of course offers us no choicewe have to educate each human being regardless of temperament (and well speak later about the childrens temperaments)but lets begin rather by looking at the teachers temperament. The teacher enters the school and meets the child with a very specific tem- peramentcholeric, sanguine, melancholic, or phlegmatic. The Question is: As educators, what can we do to control our own temperaments; how can we perhaps educate ourselves in relation to our own temperament? To answer this question we must first look directly at the fundamental question: How does a teachers temperament affect the child, just by being what it is?
  The Choleric Temperament
  Thus, we see that a fundamental issue in teaching and educa- tion is The Question of who the teacher is. What must really live in the children, what must vibrate and well up into their very hearts, wills, and eventually into their intellect, lives initially in the teach- ers. It arises simply through who they are, through their unique nature, character, and attitude of soul, and through what they bring the children out of their own self-development. So we can see how it is only a true knowledge of human nature, cultivated comprehensively, that can serve as the foundation for a true art of teaching and fulfill the living needs of education. Im eager to pursue these matters further in the lectures that follow.

1.01 - SAMADHI PADA, #Patanjali Yoga Sutras, #Swami Vivekananda, #Hinduism
  Yogis and Sankhyas both avoid The Question of creation. The
  Yogis want to establish a God, but carefully avoid this

1.01 - The Unexpected, #Twelve Years With Sri Aurobindo, #Nirodbaran, #Integral Yoga
  The morning meal however was stopped very soon, since it was too early for his appetite. Here I must mention a minor but interesting episode about tea. It was a well-known fact that Sri Aurobindo was fond of a daily cup of tea. The accident had upset that long standing habit. Now The Question was taken up. Dr. Manilal proposed that Sri Aurobindo should take a cup of marmite during the day as well as tea. Sri Aurobindo would not take both. I do not remember whether he took marmite at all, but I distinctly remember that he was taking tea. I also had a personal reason for this recollection, for I was, and even now am, a lover of tea, if not a mild addict. But Sri Aurobindo's way of drinking tea was rather odd; he had to drink it from a feeding cup! Could anyone relish a fine beverage taken out of a feeding cup, I wondered! Before the accident whenever we heard the tinkling sound of his spoon at midnight from his corner room, we used to say, "Sri Aurobindo is having tea!" One day he suddenly declared, "I won't take tea any more!" Thus a life-long habit was given up in an instant! This incident recalls another which took place many years earlier. It concerns his early habit of smoking cigars. A cigar was almost always between his lips. Once Devdas Gandhi, son of Mahatma Gandhi, visited him and saw the inevitable cigar. He shot The Question, "Why are you attached to smoking?" At once came the retort, "Why are you so attached to nonsmoking?" This gives us a hint that Sri Aurobindo smoked, but without any real attachment and the proof came a few years later when the Mother began to take charge of household affairs and smoking was indulged in by all the inmates. She favoured non-smoking. Without the slightest hesitation Sri Aurobindo put aside his cigar. There was an end to an inveterate habit without the least fuss.
  To resume our story. When everything had settled down and our work had fallen into a regular pattern, the "famous" talks started, in the evening. At the beginning Sri Aurobindo, lying on his back, used to speak in a low voice to the group crowded near the bed. Naturally on that occasion all of us, except Purani who stood at a distance, would rally round to listen to his finely cadenced voice and his utterances on various topics made in an intimate tone. He would rarely look at anybody while talking.

1.01 - What is Magick?, #Magick Without Tears, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
    (Illustration: Two generations ago it was supposed theoretically impossible that man should ever know the chemical composition of the fixed stars. It is known that our senses are adapted to receive only an infinitesimal fraction of the possible rates of vibration. Modern instruments have enabled us to detect some of these suprasensibles by indirect methods, and even to use their peculiar qualities in the service of man, as in the case of the rays of Hertz and Rntgen. As Tyndall said, man might at any moment learn to perceive and utilize vibrations of all conceivable and inconceivable kinds. The Question of Magick is a question of discovering and employing hitherto unknown forces in nature. We know that they exist, and we cannot doubt the possibility of mental or physical instruments capable of bringing us in relation with them.)
    13. Every man is more or less aware that his individuality comprises several orders of existence, even when he maintains that his subtler principles are merely symptomatic of the changes in his gross vehicle. A similar order may be assumed to extend throughout nature.

1.020 - The World and Our World, #The Study and Practice of Yoga, #Swami Krishnananda, #Yoga
  The subject of our discussion is the mental cognition of objects. In the experience of an object, does the mind influence the object, or does the object influence the mind? This is the central issue in all philosophical schools, which has led to various divergent doctrines such as idealism, realism, materialism, subjectivism, etc. There has been very little progress towards an answer to this query because, just as we cannot know whether the beauty that we see in an object is in our own mind or if it is really in the object, so there is The Question is the mind influencing the object, or is the object influencing the mind? The difficulty arises on account of the position of the perceiving subject itself. To hold that the mind entirely influences the object, that it determines it in every manner, would be another way of saying that we have created the world and everything is in our hands which does not seem to be the truth of things.
  Everything does not seem to be in our hands. We cannot change the pattern of things. We cannot make the sun rise in the west merely because we think that it should be so. So there seems to be something which is outside the jurisdiction of mental operations, to which the operations of the mind should accord, and whose law the mind has to follow. We cannot suddenly imagine that a cup of milk is identical with a stone. The stone and the milk are not identical, and the mind cannot change one into the other by any amount of thought. So, the hard reality, in the form of an external something which the world presents before the mind, has led many to conclude that the mind cannot determine the objects. On the other hand, the objects have a reality of their own and they influence the mind, so that the mind subjects itself to the conditions of the object, rather than conditions the object by its own laws.
  So, the birth or death, the life or the extinction of a person, is not the real cause of the joy or sorrow of a person. It is the reaction that the mind sets up in respect of a particular event as it is conveyed to it subjectively which is considered as being the cause of its joy and sorrow. This is another interpretation. With all our thinking, we cannot come to a definite conclusion about the nature of things. We cannot say whether our mind is largely responsible for our joys and sorrows, or whether objects also have some say in this matter. The difficulty arises on account of a relativity of action and reaction between subject and object, and no one has answered this question properly. Similar to this is The Question of the perception of beauty in things. No one can say, even today, whether the beauty is present in the object outside, or present in the mind inside. Somehow we reconcile ourselves by saying that both factors coincide, and there is some truth in this side and some truth in that side.
  The difficulty is simply because the mind cannot think both ways, and the truth lies neither on this side nor on that side. The isolation of the individual from its relationship with the pattern of things is the cause of its difficulty in understanding anything. The whole universe is an organic structure in which the percipient is included as a vital part. For instance, we cannot study the nature of the heart of a human being by removing it from the body. Though it is a fleshy substance and can be examined pathologically, medically, etc., studying it like this would be meaningless because the moment the heart is removed from the body it ceases to be a heart and becomes only a lump of flesh. The heart has to be studied in its connection with the body in its working condition, and not by isolating it from the organic relationship it has with the body.
  If unity is the whole truth there would be no need of perception, and The Question of attraction would not arise, because the subject has basically become one with the object, and is one with it. Where there is an utter unity of the subject and the object, neither perception would be there, nor any kind of love or hatred. If there is utter isolation, even then there would be no perception. If we are really disconnected from all things, we can neither see anything, nor can we have love and hatred towards things.
  If we are really one with things, then also it is the same thing. So either way, whether we emphasise the unity aspect or the diversity aspect exclusively, we find that there is no perception, and no love and hatred. Perception and love and hatred are hybrids born out of a mixed-up attitude that has arisen on account of a transference of values, by which what is meant is, a little of the unity aspect is transferred to the diversity aspect, and a little of the diversity aspect is transferred to the unity aspect, so that we live in a very utterly false world of created counterfeit circumstances. Neither do we live in unity, nor do we live in diversity. Then, where are we living.
  For all practical purposes, we can agree with the author of the Panchadasi and conclude that we need not interfere with the scheme of things from the point of view of Ishvara's creation. People can be there, and things can be there they have to be there. We have to change our attitude, which means to say we have to reorganise the method of the working of our own mind inside, in respect of existent objects outside. This is only a tentative answer, and not the final answer, because we have not yet finally given the judgement as to the nature of things. We have temporarily accepted the existence of a world outside us, just as we temporarily accept the meaning of an 'x' in an equation in algebra. Though the 'x' itself may have no meaning ultimately, it is a necessary assumption which solves The Question, and afterwards it cancels itself.
  So, in the end, we will find that while the acceptance of the existence of things independent of the mind by way of what is known as Ishvara srishti may be necessary for the solution of our problem, the world also will modify itself accordingly when the individual advances further, because all spiritual advance is a parallel advance both from the side of the subject and the object. It is not only one side that is evolving. The evolution of the individual is, at the same time, a corresponding evolution of all conditions in which the individual is involved, including society and the world.

1.024 - Affiliation With Larger Wholes, #The Study and Practice of Yoga, #Swami Krishnananda, #Yoga
  The Question may be asked, what is the higher real and what is the lower real? Here again, we have the analogy of the comparative reality between dream and waking. A beggar who has very little to eat in his waking state will not be sorry that he has missed his beautiful dinner in dream. Let us suppose a beggar was dreaming that he was an emperor, and a delicious meal was served to him in his dream palace, and suddenly he awakens to the discovery that he is a beggar on the street. Will he feel sorry and cry, "Oh, what has happened to me? I was an emperor. I was enjoying my life, but now I have become a beggar. It would be better to go back to that condition of emperorship." The beggar will not be grieved over his waking from dream. He will not think that he has lost something valuable, though it is true that he has lost a great thing that he has lost his kingdom, wealth and joys and is now sitting on the street like a beggar. From a certain viewpoint, it is a loss. But the beggar would rather be on the street with a crumb of bread in the waking condition than to be rejoicing in emperorship in dream. This is because a higher degree of reality is experienced by his consciousness during waking.
  What satisfies us is not dinner, or lunch, or a kingdom, but the degree of consciousness that is experienced. This is a very subtle point which we should not miss in our analysis. If a kingdom, retinue, army, dinner, lunch and what not can satisfy a person, then a dream kingdom would be much better than a waking state beggarship it would be better to go on sleeping and dreaming about emperorship than to live as a beggar in the waking state. But he would rather be a beggar in the waking state than be sleeping and dreaming of emperorship. The penury and hardship of the beggar in the waking condition does not in any way make that condition inferior to the dreaming state, notwithstanding the fact that in dream he had an imaginary kingdom to experience and enjoy.

10.24 - Savitri, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
   Here seems to be the end of The Quest, and one would fain stay there ever and ever in that status
   . . occult, impenetrable,

1.025 - Sadhana - Intensifying a Lighted Flame, #The Study and Practice of Yoga, #Swami Krishnananda, #Yoga
  This peculiar feature of spiritual practice, sadhana, being so difficult to understand intellectually, cannot be regarded as merely an individual's affair. Sadhana is God's affair, ultimately. Spiritual sadhana is God's grace working. Though it appears that is individual effort, it only seems to be so, but really it is something else. Not even the greatest of philosophical thinkers, such as Shankara, could logically answer The Question, "How does knowledge arise in the jiva?" How can it be said that individual effort produces knowledge of God? Knowledge of God cannot rise by individual effort, because individual effort is so puny, so inadequate to the purpose, to the task, that we cannot expect such an infinite result to follow from the finite cause. The concept of God is an inscrutable event that takes place in the human mind. Can we imagine an ass thinking about God? However much it may put forth effort and go on trying its best throughout its life, the concept of God will never arise in an ass's mind or in a buffalo's mind. How it arises is a mystery. Suddenly, it comes.
  It has been said that all great things are mysteries. They are not calculated effects produced logically by imagined causes, but are mysteries, which is another way of saying that all of this is unthinkable by the human mind. Knowledge somehow arises. One fine morning we get up and find that we are fired with a love for God. What has happened to us? Why is it that we suddenly we say, "Oh, today I am something different." Why we are something different today? From where has this inspiration come? Nobody knows what has happened. If we read the lives of great masters, sages and saints, we will find that they were all suddenly fired with a longing which they could not explain, and no one can explain ordinarily. That knowledge, that aspiration, that love of God has not come from books. It has not come from any imaginable source. It has simply come that is all. How? Nobody knows.

1.02 - Groups and Statistical Mechanics, #Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, #Norbert Wiener, #Cybernetics
  It is simpler to repel The Question posed by the Maxwell
  demon than to answer it. Nothing is easier than to deny the pos-

1.02 - MAPS OF MEANING - THREE LEVELS OF ANALYSIS, #Maps of Meaning, #Jordan Peterson, #Psychology
  least not primarily). The right hemisphere remains concerned with answering The Questions: what is this
  new thing like? and this means what should be done in the presence of this unexpected occurrence?
  The Question might be asked: upon what databank, so to speak, does a child draw, when he or she learns
  to talk (read, write)? The child listens to those around her. She is not explicitly taught how to talk,
  To ask The Question what is it that two or more discriminable beings or things or situations might
  share? is really to ask at what levels of analysis might two or more things be considered the same? and
  affect. The Question of the proper ordering of those forces (who, or what, should rule?) comprises the
  central problem of morality and the primary problem facing human individuals and social organizations.
  The old King is dying for lack of water. He has two elder sons, who could rescue him, but they are narrowminded, traditional, materialistic, selfish and rigid. They lack proper spirit for The Quest. The youngest
  son a proper hero pays attention to what the sensible ignore, makes a voyage into the unknown, and

1.02 - Meeting the Master - Authors second meeting, March 1921, #Evening Talks With Sri Aurobindo, #unset, #Hinduism
   Instead of giving a direct reply he parried The Question, as I had grown a beard: "And what has happened to you?"
   But afterwards in the course of the conversation he explained to me that when the Higher Consciousness, after descending to the mental level, comes down to the vital and even below the vital, then a transformation takes place in the nervous and even in the physical being. He asked me to join the meditation in the afternoon and also the evening sittings.
   On the last day of my stay of eleven days I met Sri Aurobindo between three and four in the afternoon. The main topic was Sadhana.When I got up to take leave I asked him: "What are you waiting for?" I put The Question because it was clear to me that he had been constantly living in the Higher Consciousness.
   "It is true," he said, "that the Divine Consciousness has descended but it has not yet descended into the physical being. So long as that is not done the work cannot be said to be accomplished."

1.02 - Prana, #Liber ABA, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  This opens to us the door to almost unlimited power. Suppose, for instance, a man understood the Prana perfectly, and could control it, what power on earth would not be his? He would be able to move the sun and stars out of their places, to control everything in the universe, from the atoms to the biggest suns, because he would control the Prana. This is the end and aim of Pranayama. When the Yogi becomes perfect, there will be nothing in nature not under his control. If he orders the gods or the souls of the departed to come, they will come at his bidding. All the forces of nature will obey him as slaves. When the ignorant see these powers of the Yogi, they call them the miracles. One peculiarity of the Hindu mind is that it always inquires for the last possible generalisation, leaving the details to be worked out afterwards. The Question is raised in the Vedas, "What is that, knowing which, we shall know everything?" Thus, all books, and all philosophies that have been written, have been only to prove that by knowing which everything is known. If a man wants to know this universe bit by bit he must know every individual grain of sand, which means infinite time; he cannot know all of them. Then how can knowledge be? How is it possible for a man to be all-knowing through particulars? The Yogis say that behind this particular manifestation there is a generalisation. Behind all particular ideas stands a generalised, an abstract principle; grasp it, and you have grasped everything. Just as this whole universe has been generalised in the Vedas into that One Absolute Existence, and he who has grasped that Existence has grasped the whole universe, so all forces have been generalised into this Prana, and he who has grasped the Prana has grasped all the forces of the universe, mental or physical. He who has controlled the Prana has controlled his own mind, and all the minds that exist. He who has controlled the Prana has controlled his body, and all the bodies that exist, because the Prana is the generalised manifestation of force.
  How to control the Prana is the one idea of Pranayama. All the trainings and exercises in this regard are for that one end. Each man must begin where he stands, must learn how to control the things that are nearest to him. This body is very near to us, nearer than anything in the external universe, and this mind is the nearest of all. The Prana which is working this mind and body is the nearest to us of all the Prana in this universe. This little wave of the Prana which represents our own energies, mental and physical, is the nearest to us of all the waves of the infinite ocean of Prana. If we can succeed in controlling that little wave, then alone we can hope to control the whole of Prana. The Yogi who has done this gains perfection; no longer is he under any power. He becomes almost almighty, almost all-knowing. We see sects in every country who have attempted this control of Prana. In this country there are Mind-healers, Faith-healers, Spiritualists, Christian Scientists, Hypnotists, etc., and if we examine these different bodies, we shall find at the back of each this control of the Prana, whether they know it or not. If you boil all their theories down, the residuum will be that. It is the one and the same force they are manipulating, only unknowingly. They have stumbled on the discovery of a force and are using it unconsciously without knowing its nature, but it is the same as the Yogi uses, and which comes from Prana.

1.02 - Prayer of Parashara to Vishnu, #Vishnu Purana, #Vyasa, #Hinduism
  Having glorified him who is the support of all things; who is the smallest of the small[4]; who is in all created things; the unchanged, imperishable[5] Puruṣottama[6]; who is one with true wisdom, as truly known[7]; eternal and incorrupt; and who is known through false appearances by the nature of visible objects[8]: having bowed to Viṣṇu, the destroyer, and lord of creation and preservation; the ruler of the world; unborn, imperishable, undecaying: I will relate to you that which was originally imparted by the great father of all (Brahmā), in answer to The Questions of Dakṣa and other venerable sages, and repeated by them to Purukutsa, a king who reigned on the banks of the Narmadā. It was next related by him to Sāraswata, and by Sāraswata to me[9]. Who can describe him who is not to be apprehended by the senses: who is the best of all things; the supreme soul, self-existent: who is devoid of all the distinguishing characteristics of complexion, caste, or the like; and is exempt front birth, vicissitude, death, or decay: who is always, and alone: who exists every where, and in whom all things here exist; and who is thence named Vāsudeva[10]? He is Brahma[11], supreme, lord, eternal, unborn, imperishable, undecaying; of one essence; ever pure as free from defects. He, that Brahma, was all things; comprehending in his own nature the indiscrete and discrete. He then existed in the forms of Puruṣa and of Kāla. Puruṣa (spirit) is the first form, of the supreme; next proceeded two other forms, the discrete and indiscrete; and Kāla (time) was the last. These four-Pradhāna (primary or crude matter), Puruṣa (spirit), Vyakta (visible substance), and Kāla (time)-the wise consider to be the pure and supreme condition of Viṣṇu[12]. These four forms, in their due proportions, are the causes of the production of the phenomena of creation, preservation, and destruction. Viṣṇu being thus discrete and indiscrete substance, spirit, and time, sports like a playful boy, as you shall learn by listening to his frolics[13].
  That chief principle (Pradhāna), which is the indiscrete cause, is called by the sages also Prakriti (nature): it is subtile, uniform, and comprehends what is and what is not (or both causes and effects); is durable, self-sustained, illimitable, undecaying, and stable; devoid of sound or touch, and possessing neither colour nor form; endowed with the three qualities (in equilibrium); the mother of the world; without beginning; and that into which all that is produced is resolved[14]. By that principle all things were invested in the period subsequent to the last dissolution of the universe, and prior to creation[15]. For Brahmans learned in the Vedas, and teaching truly their doctrines, explain such passages as the following as intending the production of the chief principle (Pradhāna). "There was neither day nor night, nor sky nor earth, nor darkness nor light, nor any other thing, save only One, unapprehensible by intellect, or That which is Brahma and Pumān (spirit) and Pradhāna (matter)[16]." The two forms which are other than the essence of unmodified Viṣṇu, are Pradhāna (matter) and Puruṣa (spirit); and his other form, by which those two are connected or separated, is called Kāla (time)[17]. When discrete substance is aggregated in crude nature, as in a foregone dissolution, that dissolution is termed elemental (Prākrita). The deity as Time is without beginning, and his end is not known; and from him the revolutions of creation, continuance, and dissolution unintermittingly succeed: for when, in the latter season, the equilibrium of the qualities (Pradhāna) exists, and spirit (Pumān) is detached from matter, then the form of Viṣṇu which is Time abides[18]. Then the supreme Brahma, the supreme soul, the substance of the world, the lord of all creatures, the universal soul, the supreme ruler, Hari, of his own will having entered into matter and spirit, agitated the mutable and immutable principles, the season of creation being arrived, in the same manner as fragrance affects the mind from its proximity merely, and not from any immediate operation upon mind itself: so the Supreme influenced the elements of creation[19]. Puruṣottama is both the agitator and the thing to be agitated; being present in the essence of matter, both when it is contracted and expanded[20]. Viṣṇu, supreme over the supreme, is of the nature of discrete forms in the atomic productions, Brahmā and the rest (gods, men, &c.)

1.02 - Priestly Kings, #The Golden Bough, #James George Frazer, #Occultism
  The Questions which we have set ourselves to answer are mainly two:
  first, why had Diana's priest at Nemi, the King of the Wood, to slay

1.02 - SADHANA PADA, #Patanjali Yoga Sutras, #Swami Vivekananda, #Hinduism
  experience. Then The Question is whether that experience
  belongs to a particular soul, or to the body simply, whether
  infinite series A B A B A B, etc. The Question is
  which is first, A or B. If you take the series as A , you will

1.02 - SOCIAL HEREDITY AND PROGRESS, #The Future of Man, #Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, #Christianity
  transformism, The Question of the germinal transmission to the
  children of characteristics acquired by the parents has become one

1.02 - The Child as growing being and the childs experience of encountering the teacher., #The Essentials of Education, #unset, #Hinduism
  Of course, Maeterlinck has a right to think this way, and nobody wants to dispute that. The Question is, however, whether such an attitude isnt really absurd. Indeed, it does become absurd when you consider this: I have, unfortunately, written a great many books in my life (as you can see from the unusual appearance of the book table here). No sooner have I finished writing one, than I begin another. When Maurice Maeterlinck reads the new book, hell discover once again that in the first chapters I am shrewd, levelheaded and scientific, and then I lose my mind later on. Then I begin to write a third book; the first chapters again are reasonable and so forth. Consequently, if nothing else, I seem to have mastered the art of becoming at will a completely reasonable human being in the early part of a book andequally by choicea lunatic later, only to return to reason when I write the next book. In this way, I take turns being reasonable and a lunatic. Naturally, Maeterlinck has every right to find this; but he misses the absurdity of such an idea. A modern man of his importance thus falls into absurdities; but this, as I say, is only a little parenthetical remark.
  4 . Maurice Maeterlinck (18621949), Belgian poet, dramatist, and essayist. In Paris he gained a reputation through Symbolist verse and became a leading Symbolist playwright. He was awarded a Nobel prize for literature in 1911.

1.02 - The Concept of the Collective Unconscious, #The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, #Carl Jung, #Psychology
  95 Now it is absolutely out of The Question that all the individ-
  uals who believe in a dual descent have in reality always had
  100 We must now turn to The Question of how the existence of
  archetypes can be proved. Since archetypes are supposed to
  10 9 Now it is quite out of The Question that the patient could
  have had any knowledge whatever of a Greek papyrus published

1.02 - The Eternal Law, #Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness, #Satprem, #Integral Yoga
  Nor does an Indian ever ask: "Do you believe in God?" The Question would seem to him as childish as: "Do you believe in CO2?"
  He simply says: "Have the experience yourself; if you do this, you'll get that result; if you do that, you'll get another result." All the ingenuity, the skill and precision we have expended for the last century or two in the study of physical phenomena, the Indian has brought, with equal exactness for the last four or five millennia, to the observation of inner phenomena. For a people of "dreamers," they have some surprises in store for us. And if we are a little honest, we will soon admit that our own "inner" studies, i.e., our psychology and psychoanalysis, or our knowledge of man, demands an ascesis as methodical and patient, and sometimes as tedious, as the long studies required to master nuclear physics. If we want to take up this path, it is not enough to read books or to collect clinical studies on all the 14
  Indeed, if we brought as much sincerity, meticulousness, and perseverance to the study of the inner world as we do to the study of our books, we would go fast and far the West also has surprises in store for us but it must first get rid of its preconceptions (Columbus did not draw the map of America before leaving Palos). These simple truths may be worth repeating, for the West seems to be caught between two falsehoods: the overly serious falsehood of the spiritualists, who have already settled The Question of God in a few infallible paragraphs, and the not-serious-enough falsehood of the rudimentary occultists and psychics, who have reduced the invisible to a sort of freak-show of the imagination. India, wisely, refers us to our own direct experience and to experimental methods. Sri Aurobindo