classes ::: author, Philosopher,
children :::
branches ::: Porphyry
see also :::

Instances - Definitions - Quotes - Chapters - Wordnet - Webgen


object:Porphyry
class:author
class:Philosopher
object:Porphyry of Tyre
dob:c.234 c.305 AD
Porphyry was a Neoplatonic philosopher born in Tyre during Roman rule.[a] He edited and published The Enneads, the only collection of the work of Plotinus, his teacher. His commentary on Euclid's Elements was used as a source by Pappus of Alexandria.[1]
He wrote original works on a wide variety of topics, ranging from music to Homer to vegetarianism.[b] His Isagoge, or Introduction, an introduction to logic and philosophy,[c] was the standard textbook on logic throughout the Middle Ages in its Latin and Arabic translations.[2] Through works such as Philosophy from Oracles and Against the Christians (which was banned by Constantine the Great),[3] he was involved in a controversy with early Christians.


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OBJECT INSTANCES [0] - TOPICS - AUTHORS - BOOKS - CHAPTERS - CLASSES - SEE ALSO - SIMILAR TITLES

TOPICS
SEE ALSO


AUTH

BOOKS
Infinite_Library
Plotinus_-_Complete_Works_Vol_01
Plotinus_-_Complete_Works_Vol_02
Plotinus_-_Complete_Works_Vol_03
Plotinus_-_Complete_Works_Vol_04

IN CHAPTERS TITLE
BOOK_X._-_Porphyrys_doctrine_of_redemption

IN CHAPTERS CLASSNAME

IN CHAPTERS TEXT
1.07_-_Incarnate_Human_Gods
1.09_-_The_Worship_of_Trees
1963-08-07
1.ac_-_Lyric_of_Love_to_Leah
1.ac_-_The_Wizard_Way
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Doom_That_Came_to_Sarnath
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Dream-Quest_of_Unknown_Kadath
1f.lovecraft_-_The_White_Ship
1f.lovecraft_-_Under_the_Pyramids
1.pbs_-_Fiordispina
1.rb_-_An_Epistle_Containing_the_Strange_Medical_Experience_of_Kar
1.rb_-_Protus
1.rb_-_Sordello_-_Book_the_First
1.rb_-_Sordello_-_Book_the_Second
BOOK_II._--_PART_II._THE_ARCHAIC_SYMBOLISM_OF_THE_WORLD-RELIGIONS
BOOK_I._--_PART_III._SCIENCE_AND_THE_SECRET_DOCTRINE_CONTRASTED
BOOK_I._--_PART_II._THE_EVOLUTION_OF_SYMBOLISM_IN_ITS_APPROXIMATE_ORDER
BOOK_VIII._-_Some_account_of_the_Socratic_and_Platonic_philosophy,_and_a_refutation_of_the_doctrine_of_Apuleius_that_the_demons_should_be_worshipped_as_mediators_between_gods_and_men
BOOK_VII._-_Of_the_select_gods_of_the_civil_theology,_and_that_eternal_life_is_not_obtained_by_worshipping_them
BOOK_XIII._-_That_death_is_penal,_and_had_its_origin_in_Adam's_sin
BOOK_XII._-_Of_the_creation_of_angels_and_men,_and_of_the_origin_of_evil
BOOK_XIX._-_A_review_of_the_philosophical_opinions_regarding_the_Supreme_Good,_and_a_comparison_of_these_opinions_with_the_Christian_belief_regarding_happiness
BOOK_X._-_Porphyrys_doctrine_of_redemption
BOOK_XXII._-_Of_the_eternal_happiness_of_the_saints,_the_resurrection_of_the_body,_and_the_miracles_of_the_early_Church
BOOK_XX._-_Of_the_last_judgment,_and_the_declarations_regarding_it_in_the_Old_and_New_Testaments
ENNEAD_01.07_-_Of_the_First_Good,_and_of_the_Other_Goods.
ENNEAD_02.09_-_Against_the_Gnostics;_or,_That_the_Creator_and_the_World_are_Not_Evil.
ENNEAD_03.07_-_Of_Time_and_Eternity.
ENNEAD_04.02_-_How_the_Soul_Mediates_Between_Indivisible_and_Divisible_Essence.
ENNEAD_05.05_-_That_Intelligible_Entities_Are_Not_External_to_the_Intelligence_of_the_Good.
ENNEAD_06.05_-_The_One_and_Identical_Being_is_Everywhere_Present_In_Its_Entirety.345
Liber_111_-_The_Book_of_Wisdom_-_LIBER_ALEPH_VEL_CXI
The_Dwellings_of_the_Philosophers
the_Eternal_Wisdom
Timaeus

PRIMARY CLASS

author
Philosopher
SIMILAR TITLES
Porphyry

DEFINITIONS

Porphyry: (c. 232-304 B.C.) A disciple of Plotinus, who adapted Aristotelian logic to Neo-Platonic philosophy. His method of classification by means of dichotomy is known as the "Tree of Porphyry" (q.v.). Cf. Isagoge (tr. by Boethius, q.v.). -- R.B.W.

Porphyry refers to the Magi as the learned men among the Persians who are in the service of the deity (Abst 4:16), while Philo Judaeus describes them as the most wonderful inquirers into the hidden mysteries of nature: holy men who set themselves apart from everything else on this earth, “contemplated the divine virtues and understood the divine nature of the gods and spirits, the more clearly; and so, initiated others into the same mysteries, which consist in one holding an uninterrupted intercourse with these invisible beings during life” (IU 1:94-5). It is likely that the use of the name and the order survived in times when their true dignity was no longer apparent.

porphyry ::: n. --> A term used somewhat loosely to designate a rock consisting of a fine-grained base (usually feldspathic) through which crystals, as of feldspar or quartz, are disseminated. There are red, purple, and green varieties, which are highly esteemed as marbles.



QUOTES [2 / 2 - 48 / 48]


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   7 Porphyry
   5 Alfred Lord Tennyson
   4 Robert Browning
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   2 Edna Ferber
   2 Aleister Crowley

1:The possession of wisdom leadeth to true happiness. ~ Porphyry,
2:To find our real being and know it truly is to acquire wisdom. ~ Porphyry,

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:Only the like knows its like. ~ Porphyry
2:The possession of wisdom leadeth to true happiness. ~ Porphyry
3:The possession of wisdom leadeth to true happiness. ~ Porphyry,
4:To find our real being and know it truly is to acquire wisdom. ~ Porphyry
5:To find our real being and know it truly is to acquire wisdom. ~ Porphyry,
6:The Gods have proclaimed Christ to have been most pious, but the Christians are a confused and vicious sect. ~ Porphyry
7:In the aether I appear in fiery forms, And in the aer I sit in a silvery chariot; earth reigns in my black brood of puppies. ~ Porphyry
8:Honour your parents; worship the gods; hurt not animals. ~ Triptolemus, according to Porphyry (On Abstinence IV.22) From his traditional laws or precepts.
9:The zeal we devote to fulfilling the precept “Know thyself,” leads us to the true happiness whose condition is the knowledge of veritable truths. ~ Porphyry
10:When he chose to take a walk it was with a regular step in the entrance hall with its mosaic flooring, or in the circular gallery with its dome supported by twenty red porphyry Ionic columns, and illumined by blue painted windows. ~ Jules Verne
11:If then we wish to give ourselves to the study of philosophy, let us apply ourselves to self-knowledge and we shall arrive at a right philosophy by elevating ourselves from the conception of ourselves to the contemplation of the universe. ~ Porphyry
12:In it, Porphyry says about Pythagoras: "He himself could hear the harmony of the Universe, and understood the music of the spheres, and the stars which move in concert with them, and which we cannot hear because of the limitations of our weak nature. ~ Mario Livio
13:Do you want to know what I most regret about my youth? That I didn't dream more boldly and demand of myself more impossible things; for all one does in maturity is to carve in granite or porphyry the soap bubble one blew in youth! Oh to have dreamed harder! ~ Lewis Mumford
14:Ignorance of oneself is then an evil in all respects, whether ignoring the greatness and dignity of the inner man one lowers one's divine principle or ignoring the natural baseness of the external man one commits the fault of glorifying oneself. ~ Porphyry, “Treatise on the Precept, Know Thyself”
15:Certainly neo-Platonism, Plotinus and Porphyry and that school are psychedelic philosophers. Their idea of an ascending hierarchy of more and more rarefied states is a sophisticated presentation of the shamanic cosmology, which is the cosmology that one experientially discovers when they involve themselves with psychedelics. ~ Terence McKenna
16:The Body was no longer what it was when Plato and Porphyry and the old mystics had left it for dead. It had hung upon a gibbet. It had risen from a tomb. It was no longer possible for the soul to despise the senses, which had been the organs of something that was more than man. Plato might despise the flesh; but God had not despised it. ~ G K Chesterton
17:[She had] a gay adventuresome spirit that was never to die, though it led her into curious places and she often found, at the end, only a trackless waste from which she had to retrace her steps painfully. But always, to her, red and green cabbages were to be jade and burgundy, chrysoprase and porphyry. Life has no weapons against a woman like that. ~ Edna Ferber
18:Yet for a moment it seemed to him that the men who had dragged marble from Italy and porphyry from Portugal, who had ransacked the jungle for its rarest woods and paid their millions to build this opulent and fantastical theatre, had done so in order that a young girl with loose brown hair should move across its stage, drawing her future from its empty air. ~ Eva Ibbotson
19:The columns of the Cathedral porch were still supported on featureless porphyry lions worn smooth by generations of loungers; and above the octagonal baptistery ran a fantastic basrelief wherein the spirals of the vine framed an allegory of men and monsters symbolising, in their mysterious conflicts, the ever-recurring Manicheism of the middle ages. Fresh from his talk with Crescenti, Odo lingered curiously ~ Edith Wharton
20:For equipment she had youth, curiosity, a steel strong frame...four hundred ninety-seven dollars; and a gay adventuresome spirit that was never to die, though it led her into curious places and she often found, at the end, only a trackless waste from which she had to retrace her steps, painfully. But always, to her, red and green cabbages were to be jade and Burgundy, crysoprase and porphyry. Life has no weapons against a woman like that. ~ Edna Ferber
21:Autumn Day
The raging colour of this cold Friday
Eats up our patience like a fire,
Consumes our willingness to endure,
Here the crumpled maple, a gold fabric,
The beech by beams empurpled, the holy sycamore,
Berries red-hot, the rose's core-The sun emboldens to burn in porphyry and amber.
Pick up the remnants of our resignation
Where we left them, and bring our loving passion,
Before the mist from the dark sea at our feet
Where mushrooms cling like limpets in the grass,
Quenching our fierceness, leaves us in a worse case.
~ Anne Barbara Ridler
22:Demon comes from daimon, which means ‘intelligence’ or ‘individual destiny’, whereas angel means messenger.  Originally daimones were always perceived as being positive entities.  The Greek philosopher Plato introduced the division between kakodaemons and eudaemons, or benevolent and malevolent daimons, in the fourth century BCE.  Seven centuries later in the third century CE, the Neo-Platonic philosopher Porphyry made an interesting distinction, this being essentially that the good daimones were the ones who governed their emotions and being, whereas bad daimones were governed by them.  ~ Stephen Skinner
23:Summer Night
NOW sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.
Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
24:From 'The Princess'
'Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The fire-fly wakens: wake thou with me.
Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now lies the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.'
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
25:Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font;
The firefly wakens, waken thou with me.
Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danae to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts, in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake.
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
26:A Well-Worn Story
In April, in April,
My one love came along,
And I ran the slope of my high hill
To follow a thread of song.
His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.
Together we trod the secret lane
And walked the muttering town.
I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
On the breast of a velvet gown.
In April, in April,
My love went whistling by,
And I stumbled here to my high hill
Along the way of a lie.
Now what should I do in this place
But sit and count the chimes,
And splash cold water on my face
And spoil a page with rhymes?
~ Dorothy Parker
27:The Princess: A Medley: Now Sleeps The Crimson
Petal
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.
Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
28:Entering by a wide gateway, but without gates, into an inner court,
surrounded on all sides by great marble pillars supporting galleries
above, I saw a large fountain of porphyry in the middle, throwing
up a lofty column of water, which fell, with a noise as of the fusion
of all sweet sounds, into a basin beneath; overflowing which, it ran
into a single channel towards the interior of the building. Although
the moon was by this time so low in the west, that not a ray of her
light fell into the court, over the height of the surrounding buildings; yet was the court lighted by a second reflex from the sun of
other lands. For the top of the column of water, just as it spread to
fall, caught the moonbeams, and like a great pale lamp, hung high
in the night air, threw a dim memory of light (as it were) over the
court below. ~ George MacDonald
29:Another precept of Jesus which remains as "a hard saying" to his followers is: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect". [S. Matt., v, 48. ] The ordinary Christian knows that he cannot possibly obey this command; full of ordinary human frailties and weaknesses, how can he become perfect as God is perfect? Seeing the impossibility of the achievement set before him, he quietly puts it aside, and thinks no more about it. But seen as the crowning effort of many lives of steady improvement, as the triumph of the God within us over the lower nature, it comes within calculable distance, and we recall the words of Porphyry, how the man who achieves "the paradigmatic virtues is the Father of the Gods", and that in the Mysteries these virtues were acquired. ~ Annie Besant in Esoteric Christianity (The Lesser Mysteries), Theosophical publishing, (1914)
30:It is impossible to behold these waves without feeling a conviction that an island, though built of the hardest rock, let it be porphyry, granite, or quartz, would ultimately yield and be demolished by such an irresistible power. Yet these low, insignificant coral-islets stand and are victorious: for here another power, as an antagonist, takes part in the contest. The organic forces separate the atoms of carbonate of lime, one by one, from the foaming breakers, and unite them into a symmetrical structure. Let the hurricane tear up its thousand huge fragments; yet what will that tell against the accumulated labour of myriads of architects at work night and day, month after month? […] We feel surprise when travellers tell us of the vast dimensions of the Pyramids and other great ruins, but how utterly insignificant are the greatest of these, when compared to these mountains of stone accumulated by the agency of various minute and tender animals! This is a wonder which does not at first strike the eye of the body, but, after reflection, the eye of reason. ~ Charles Darwin
31:Nor are his purely intellectual merits by any means to be despised. He has, in many respects, clarified Plato's teaching; he has developed, with as much consistency as possible, the type of theory advocated by him in common with many others. His arguments against materialism are good, and his whole conception of the relation of soul and body is clearer than that of Plato or Aristotle. Like Spinoza, he has a certain kind of moral purity and loftiness, which is very impressive. He is always sincere, never shrill or censorious, invariably concerned to tell the reader, as simply as he can, what he believes to be important. Whatever one may think of him as a theoretical philosopher, it is impossible not to love him as a man. The life of Plotinus is known, so far as it is known, through the biography written by his friend and disciple Porphyry, a Semite whose real name was Malchus. There are, however, miraculous elements in this account, which make it difficult to place a complete reliance upon its more credible portions. Plotinus considered his spatio-temporal appearance ~ Bertrand Russell
32:Dimaratos
His subject, 'The Character of Dimaratos',
which Porphyry proposed to him in conversation
was outlined by the young sophist as follows
(he planned to develop it rhetorically later):
'First a courtier of King Dareios,
and after that of King Xerxes,
now with Xerxes and his army,
at last Dimaratos will be vindicated.
He'd been treated very unjustly.
He was definitely Ariston's son, but his enemies
bribed the oracle brazenly.
And it wasn't enough that they deprived him of his kingship,
but when he finally gave in and decided
to live quietly as a private citizen,
they had to insult him even in front of the people,
they had to humiliate him publicly at the festival.
As a result, he serves Xerxes assiduously.
Along with the great Persian army,
he'll make it back to Sparta too;
and once he's king again, how quickly
he'll throw him out, how thoroughly
he'll shame that schemer Leotychidis.
So now he spends his days full of anxiety,
advising the Persians, explaining
what they should do to conquer Greece.
Much worrying, much thinking, and for this reason
Dimaratos finds his days so burdensome;
much worrying, much thinking, and for this reason
Dimaratos can't find a moment's joy
because what he's feeling can't be called joy
(it isn't; he won't admit it;
how can he call it joy? his distress couldn't be greater)
now things make it quite clear to him
that it's the Greeks who are going to win.'
~ Constantine P. Cavafy
33:Are you a god, then?" Sokrates asked.

"What is a god?" Ikaros threw back instantly. They both sat up and leaned forward eagerly. Sokrates looked like, well, a philosopher. Ikaros was, frankly, gorgeous, more gorgeous than even Jathery pretending to be Hermes, because he was more mature. But there was no question he was a philosopher too, with that avidity in his face, twin to Sokrates's own.

"None of my old definitions will work, unless we allow that you and Porphyry and Athene are some other kind of being, and that there are unchanging unseeking perfect gods that are different," Sokrates said.

"The One," Ikaros said. "And I used the word angels in the New Concordance, for those other kinds of being. But perfection is a dynamic attribute."

"How can it be? The nature of perfection--"

"Perfect things can become more perfect, endlessly.""Excellence, yes, but perfection implies completeness."

Porphyry and I looked past them and smiled at each other. There was something satisfying to the soul in the way they so immediately became utterly absorbed in the argument. Sokrates caught the smile as Ikaros becan to explain the nature of dynamic perfection, which was exactly the kind of abstraction Ikarians and Psycheans love. "Wait," he said. "We're arguing with each other when we have an expert here."

"I'm not an expert," Porphyry said, throwing up his hands.

"But you admit you are a god?"

"Yes..." Porphyry admitted, tentatively.

"Then you must know what a god is," Sokrates said, with a brisk nod. "Please enlighten us. ~ Jo Walton
34:Come, my darling, let us dance
To the moon that beckons us
To dissolve our love in trance
Heedless of the hideous
Heat & hate of Sirius-
Shun his baneful brilliance!

Let us dance beneath the palm
Moving in the moonlight, frond
Wooing frond above the calm
Of the ocean diamond
Sparkling to the sky beyond
The enchantment of our psalm.

Let us dance, my mirror of
Perfect passion won to peace,
Let us dance, my treasure trove,
On the marble terraces
Carven in pallid embroideries
For the vestal veil of Love.

Heaven awakes to encompass us,
Hell awakes its jubilance
In our hearts mysterious
Marriage of the azure expanse,
With the scarlet brilliance
Of the Moon with Sirius.

Velvet swatches our lissome limbs
Languid lapped by sky & sea
Soul through sense & spirit swims
Through the pregnant porphyry
Dome of lapiz-lazuli:-
Heart of silence, hush our hymns.

Come my darling; let us dance
Through the golden galaxies
Rhythmic swell of circumstance
Beaming passions argosies:
Ecstasy entwined with ease,
Terrene joy transcending trance!

Thou my scarlet concubine
Draining hearts blood to the lees
To empurple those divine
Lips with living luxuries
Life importunate to appease
Drought insatiable of wine!

Tunis in the tremendous trance
Rests from days incestuous
Traffic with the radiance
Of her sire-& over us
Gleams the intoxicating glance
Of the Moon & Sirius.

Take the ardour of my impearled
Essence that my shoulders seek
To intensify the curled
Candour of the eyes oblique,
Eyes that see the seraphic sleek
Lust bewitch the wanton world.

Come, my love, my dove, & pour
From thy cup the serpent wine
Brimmed & breathless -secret store
Of my crimson concubine
Surfeit spirit in the shrine-
Devil -Goddess -Virgin -Whore.

Afric sands ensorcel us,
Afric seas & skies entrance
Velvet, lewd & luminous
Night surveys our soul askance!
Come my love, & let us dance
To the Moon and Sirius!

~ Aleister Crowley, Lyric of Love to Leah

35:Lyric Of Love To Leah
Come, my darling, let us dance
To the moon that beckons us
To dissolve our love in trance
Heedless of the hideous
Heat & hate of SiriusShun his baneful brilliance!
Let us dance beneath the palm
Moving in the moonlight, frond
Wooing frond above the calm
Of the ocean diamond
Sparkling to the sky beyond
The enchantment of our psalm.
Let us dance, my mirror of
Perfect passion won to peace,
Let us dance, my treasure trove,
On the marble terraces
Carven in pallid embroeideries
For the vestal veil of Love.
Heaven awakes to encompass us,
Hell awakes its jubilance
In our hearts mysterious
Marriage of the azure expanse,
With the scarlet brilliance
Of the Moon with Sirius.
Velvet swatches our lissome limbs
Languid lapped by sky & sea
Soul through sense & spirit swims
Through the pregnant porphyry
Dome of lapiz-lazuli:Heart of silence, hush our hymns.
Come my darling; let us dance
Through the golden galaxies
Rythmic swell of circumstance
Beaming passion’s argosies:
45
Ecstacy entwined with ease,
Terrene joy transcending trance!
Thou my scarlet concubine
Draining heart’s blood to the lees
To empurple those divine
Lips with living luxuries
Life importunate to appease
Drought insatiable of wine!
Tunis in the tremendous trance
Rests from day’s incestuous
Traffic with the radiance
Of her sire-& over us
Gleams the intoxicating glance
Of the Moon & Sirius.
Take the ardour of my impearled
Essence that my shoulders seek
To intensify the curled
Candour of the eyes oblique,
Eyes that see the seraphic sleek
Lust bewitch the wanton world.
Come, my love, my dove, & pour
From thy cup the serpent wine
Brimmed & breathless -secret store
Of my crimson concubine
Surfeit spirit in the shrineDevil -Godess -Virgin -Whore.
Afric sands ensorcel us,
Afric seas & skies entrance
Velvet, lewd & luminous
Night surveys our soul askance!
Come my love, & let us dance
To the Moon and Sirius!
~ Aleister Crowley
36:If Paul brought the first generation of Christians the useful skills of a trained theologian, Origen was the first great philosopher to rethink the new religion from first principles. As his philosophical enemy, the anti-Christian Porphyry, summed it up, he 'introduced Greek ideas to foreign fables' -- that is, gave a barbarous eastern religion the intellectual respectability of a philosophical defense. Origen was also a phenomenon. As Eusebius put it admiringly, 'even the facts from his cradle are worth mentioning'. Origen came from Alexandria, the second city of the empire and then it's intellectual centre; his father's martyrdom left him an orphan at seventeen with six younger brothers. He was a hard working prodigy, at eighteen head of the Catechetical School, and already trained as a literary scholar and teacher. But at this point, probably in 203, he became a religious fanatic and remained one for the next fifty years. He gave up his job and sold his books to concentrate on religion. he slept on the floor, ate no meat, drank no wine, had only one coat and no shoes. He almost certainly castrated himself, in obedience to the notorious text, Matthew 19:12, 'there are some who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake.' Origen's learning was massive and it was of a highly original kind: he always went back to the sources and thought through the whole process himself. This he learned Hebrew and, according to Eusebius, 'got into his possession the original writings extant among the Jews in the actual Hebrew character'. These included the discovery of lost texts; in the case of the psalms, Origen collected not only the four known texts but three others unearthed, including 'one he found at Jericho in a jar'. The result was an enormous tome, the Hexapla, which probably existed in only one manuscript now lost, setting out the seven alternative texts in parallel columns. He applied the same principles of original research to every aspect of Christianity and sacred literature. He seems to have worked all day and though most of the night, and was a compulsive writer. Even the hardy Jerome later complained: 'Has anyone read everything Origen wrote?' ~ Paul Johnson
37:The declining age of learning and of mankind is marked, however, by the rise and rapid progress of the new Platonists. The school of Alexandria silenced those of Athens; and the ancient sects enrolled themselves under the banners of the more fashionable teachers, who recommended their system by the novelty of their method and the austerity of their manners. Several of these masters—Ammonius, Plotinus, Amelius, and Porphyry—were men of profound thought and intense application; but, by mistaking the true object of philosophy, their labors contributed much less to improve than to corrupt human understanding. The knowledge that is suited to our situation and powers, the whole compass of moral, natural and mathematical science, was neglected by the new Platonists; whilst they exhausted their strength in the verbal disputes of metaphysics, attempted to explore the secrets of the invisible world, and studied to reconcile Aristotle with Plato, on subjects of which both of these philosophers were as ignorant as the rest of mankind. Consuming their reason in these deep but unsubstantial meditations, their minds were exposed to illusions of fancy. They flattered themselves that they possessed the secret of disengaging the soul from its corporeal prison, claimed a familiar intercourse withe dæmons and spirits; and, by a very singular revolution, converted the study of philosophy into that of magic. The ancient sages had derided the popular superstition; after disguising its extravagance by the this pretense of allegory, the disciples of Plotinus and Porphyry becomes its most zealous defenders. As they agreed with the Christians in a few mysterious points of faith, they attacked the remainder of their theological system with all the fury of civil war. The new Platonists would scarcely deserve a place in the history of science, but in that of the church the mention of them will very frequently occur. ~ Edward Gibbon
38:All these things and, still more than these, the treasures which had come to the church from personages who to me were almost legendary figures (such as the golden cross wrought, it was said, by Saint Eloi and presented by Dagobert, and the tomb of the sons of Louis the Germanic in porphyry and enamelled copper), because of which I used to go forward into the church when we were making our way to our chairs as into a fairy-haunted valley, where the rustic sees with amazement on a rock, a tree, a marsh, the tangible proofs of the little people’s supernatural passage — all these things made of the church for me something entirely different from the rest of the town; a building which occupied, so to speak, four dimensions of space — the name of the fourth being Time — which had sailed the centuries with that old nave, where bay after bay, chapel after chapel, seemed to stretch across and hold down and conquer not merely a few yards of soil, but each successive epoch from which the whole building had emerged triumphant, hiding the rugged barbarities of the eleventh century in the thickness of its walls, through which nothing could be seen of the heavy arches, long stopped and blinded with coarse blocks of ashlar, except where, near the porch, a deep groove was furrowed into one wall by the tower-stair; and even there the barbarity was veiled by the graceful gothic arcade which pressed coquettishly upon it, like a row of grown-up sisters who, to hide him from the eyes of strangers, arrange themselves smilingly in front of a countrified, unmannerly and ill-dressed younger brother; rearing into the sky above the Square a tower which had looked down upon Saint Louis, and seemed to behold him still; and thrusting down with its crypt into the blackness of a Merovingian night, through which, guiding us with groping finger-tips beneath the shadowy vault, ribbed strongly as an immense bat’s wing of stone, Théodore or his sister would light up for us with a candle the tomb of Sigebert’s little daughter, in which a deep hole, like the bed of a fossil, had been bored, or so it was said, “by a crystal lamp which, on the night when the Frankish princess was murdered, had left, of its own accord, the golden chains by which it was suspended where the apse is to-day and with neither the crystal broken nor the light extinguished had buried itself in the stone, through which it had gently forced its way. ~ Marcel Proust
39:Among these latter busts we count by scores,
Half-emperors and quarter-emperors,
Each with his bay-leaf fillet, loose-thonged vest,
Loricand low-browed Gorgon on the breast,-
One loves a baby face, with violets there,
Violets instead of laurel in the hair,
As those were all the little locks could bear.

Now read here. ``Protus ends a period
``Of empery beginning with a god;
``Born in the porphyry chamber at Byzant,
``Queens by his cradle, proud and ministrant:
``And if he quickened breath there, 'twould like fire
``Pantingly through the dim vast realm transpire.
``A fame that he was missing spread afar:
``The world from its four corners, rose in war,
``Till he was borne out on a balcony
``To pacify the world when it should see.
``The captains ranged before him, one, his hand
``Made baby points at, gained the chief command.
``And day by day more beautiful he grew
``In shape, all said, in feature and in hue,
``While young Greek sculptors, gazing on the child,
``Because with old Greek sculptore reconciled.
``Already sages laboured to condense
``In easy tomes a life's experience:
``And artists took grave counsel to impart
``In one breath and one hand-sweep, all their art-
``To make his graces prompt as blossoming
``Of plentifully-watered palms in spring:
``Since well beseems it, whoso mounts the throne,
``For beauty, knowledge, strength, should stand alone,
``And mortals love the letters of his name.''

-Stop! Have you turned two pages? Still the same.
New reign, same date. The scribe goes on to say
How that same year, on such a month and day,
``John the Pannonian, groundedly believed
``A Blacksmith's ****, whose hard hand reprieved
``The Empire from its fate the year before,-
``Came, had a mind to take the crown, and wore
``The same for six years (during which the Huns
``Kept off their fingers from us), till his sons
``Put something in his liquor''-and so forth.
Then a new reign. Stay-``Take at its just worth''
(Subjoins an annotator) ``what I give
``As hearsay. Some think, John let Protus live
``And slip away. 'Tis said, he reached man's age
``At some blind northern court; made, first a page,
``Then tutor to the children; last, of use
``About the hunting-stables. I deduce
``He wrote the little tract `On worming dogs,'
``Whereof the name in sundry catalogues
``Is extant yet. A Protus of the race
``Is rumoured to have died a monk in Thrace,-
``And if the same, he reached senility.''

Here's John the Smith's rough-hammered head. Great eye,
Gross jaw and griped lips do what granite can
To give you the crown-grasper. What a man!


~ Robert Browning, Protus

40:The season was the childhood of sweet June,
Whose sunny hours from morning until noon
Went creeping through the day with silent feet,
Each with its load of pleasure; slow yet sweet;
Like the long years of blest Eternity
Never to be developed. Joy to thee,
Fiordispina and thy Cosimo,
For thou the wonders of the depth canst know
Of this unfathomable flood of hours,
Sparkling beneath the heaven which embowers--

...

They were two cousins, almost like to twins,
Except that from the catalogue of sins
Nature had rased their lovewhich could not be
But by dissevering their nativity.
And so they grew together like two flowers
Upon one stem, which the same beams and showers
Lull or awaken in their purple prime,
Which the same hand will gatherthe same clime
Shake with decay. This fair day smiles to see
All those who loveand who eer loved like thee,
Fiordispina? Scarcely Cosimo,
Within whose bosom and whose brain now glow
The ardours of a vision which obscure
The very idol of its portraiture.
He faints, dissolved into a sea of love;
But thou art as a planet sphered above;
But thou art Love itselfruling the motion
Of his subjected spirit: such emotion
Must end in sin and sorrow, if sweet May
Had not brought forth this mornyour wedding-day.

...

Lie there; sleep awhile in your own dew,
Ye faint-eyed children of the ... Hours,
Fiordispina said, and threw the flowers
Which she had from the breathing--

...

A table near of polished porphyry.
They seemed to wear a beauty from the eye
That looked on thema fragrance from the touch
Whose warmth ... checked their life; a light such
As sleepers wear, lulled by the voice they love, which did reprove
The childish pity that she felt for them,
And a ... remorse that from their stem
She had divided such fair shapes ... made
A feeling in the ... which was a shade
Of gentle beauty on the flowers: there lay
All gems that make the earths dark bosom gay.
... rods of myrtle-buds and lemon-blooms,
And that leaf tinted lightly which assumes
The livery of unremembered snow--
Violets whose eyes have drunk--

...

Fiordispina and her nurse are now
Upon the steps of the high portico,
Under the withered arm of Media
She flings her glowing arm

...

... step by step and stair by stair,
That withered woman, gray and white and brown--
More like a trunk by lichens overgrown
Than anything which once could have been human.
And ever as she goes the palsied woman

...

'How slow and painfully you seem to walk,
Poor Media! you tire yourself with talk.'
And well it may,
Fiordispina, dearestwell-a-day!
You are hastening to a marriage-bed;
I to the grave!And if my love were dead,
Unless my heart deceives me, I would lie
Beside him in my shroud as willingly
As now in the gay night-dress Lilla wrought.'
'Fie, child! Let that unseasonable thought
Not be remembered till it snows in June;
Such fancies are a music out of tune
With the sweet dance your heart must keep to-night.
What! would you take all beauty and delight
Back to the Paradise from which you sprung,
And leave to grosser mortals?--
And say, sweet lamb, would you not learn the sweet
And subtle mystery by which spirits meet?
Who knows whether the loving game is played,
When, once of mortal [vesture] disarrayed,
The naked soul goes wandering here and there
Through the wide deserts of Elysian air?
The violet dies not till it--

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Fiordispina

41:Roosters
At four o'clock
in the gun-metal blue dark
we hear the first crow of the first cock
just below
the gun-metal blue window
and immediately there is an echo
off in the distance,
then one from the backyard fence,
then one, with horrible insistence,
grates like a wet match
from the broccoli patch,
flares,and all over town begins to catch.
Cries galore
come from the water-closet door,
from the dropping-plastered henhouse floor,
where in the blue blur
their rusting wives admire,
the roosters brace their cruel feet and glare
with stupid eyes
while from their beaks there rise
the uncontrolled, traditional cries.
Deep from protruding chests
in green-gold medals dressed,
planned to command and terrorize the rest,
the many wives
who lead hens' lives
of being courted and despised;
deep from raw throats
a senseless order floats
all over town. A rooster gloats
75
over our beds
from rusty irons sheds
and fences made from old bedsteads,
over our churches
where the tin rooster perches,
over our little wooden northern houses,
making sallies
from all the muddy alleys,
marking out maps like Rand McNally's:
glass-headed pins,
oil-golds and copper greens,
anthracite blues, alizarins,
each one an active
displacement in perspective;
each screaming, "This is where I live!"
Each screaming
"Get up! Stop dreaming!"
Roosters, what are you projecting?
You, whom the Greeks elected
to shoot at on a post, who struggled
when sacrificed, you whom they labeled
"Very combative..."
what right have you to give
commands and tell us how to live,
cry "Here!" and "Here!"
and wake us here where are
unwanted love, conceit and war?
The crown of red
set on your little head
is charged with all your fighting blood
Yes, that excrescence
76
makes a most virile presence,
plus all that vulgar beauty of iridescence
Now in mid-air
by two they fight each other.
Down comes a first flame-feather,
and one is flying,
with raging heroism defying
even the sensation of dying.
And one has fallen
but still above the town
his torn-out, bloodied feathers drift down;
and what he sung
no matter. He is flung
on the gray ash-heap, lies in dung
with his dead wives
with open, bloody eyes,
while those metallic feathers oxidize.
St. Peter's sin
was worse than that of Magdalen
whose sin was of the flesh alone;
of spirit, Peter's,
falling, beneath the flares,
among the "servants and officers."
Old holy sculpture
could set it all together
in one small scene, past and future:
Christ stands amazed,
Peter, two fingers raised
to surprised lips, both as if dazed.
But in between
a little cock is seen
77
carved on a dim column in the travertine,
explained by gallus canit;
flet Petrus underneath it,
There is inescapable hope, the pivot;
yes, and there Peter's tears
run down our chanticleer's
sides and gem his spurs.
Tear-encrusted thick
as a medieval relic
he waits. Poor Peter, heart-sick,
still cannot guess
those cock-a-doodles yet might bless,
his dreadful rooster come to mean forgiveness,
a new weathervane
on basilica and barn,
and that outside the Lateran
there would always be
a bronze cock on a porphyry
pillar so the people and the Pope might see
that event the Prince
of the Apostles long since
had been forgiven, and to convince
all the assembly
that "Deny deny deny"
is not all the roosters cry.
In the morning
a low light is floating
in the backyard, and gilding
from underneath
the broccoli, leaf by leaf;
how could the night have come to grief?
78
gilding the tiny
floating swallow's belly
and lines of pink cloud in the sky,
the day's preamble
like wandering lines in marble,
The cocks are now almost inaudible.
The sun climbs in,
following "to see the end,"
faithful as enemy, or friend.
~ Elizabeth Bishop
42:The Burden Of Nineveh
In our Museum galleries
To-day I lingered o'er the prize
Dead Greece vouchsafes to living eyes,—
Her Art for ever in fresh wise
From hour to hour rejoicing me.
Sighing I turned at last to win
Once more the London dirt and din;
And as I made the swing-door spin
And issued, they were hoisting in
A wingèd beast from Nineveh.
A human face the creature wore,
And hoofs behind and hoofs before,
And flanks with dark runes fretted o'er.
'Twas bull, 'twas mitred Minotaur,
A dead disbowelled mystery:
The mummy of a buried faith
Stark from the charnel without scathe,
Its wings stood for the light to bathe,—
Such fossil cerements as might swathe
The very corpse of Nineveh.
The print of its first rush-wrapping,
Wound ere it dried, still ribbed the thing.
What song did the brown maidens sing,
From purple mouths alternating,
When that was woven languidly?
What vows, what rites, what prayers preferr'd,
What songs has the strange image heard?
In what blind vigil stood interr'd
For ages, till an English word
Broke silence first at Nineveh?
Oh when upon each sculptured court,
Where even the wind might not resort,—
O'er which Time passed, of like import
With the wild Arab boys at sport,—
A living face looked in to see:—
Oh seemed it not—the spell once broke—
As though the carven warriors woke,
As though the shaft the string forsook,
The cymbals clashed, the chariots shook,
400
And there was life in Nineveh?
On London stones our sun anew
The beast's recovered shadow threw.
(No shade that plague of darkness knew,
No light, no shade, while older grew
By ages the old earth and sea.)
Lo thou! could all thy priests have shown
Such proof to make thy godhead known?
From their dead Past thou liv'st alone;
And still thy shadow is thine own,
Even as of yore in Nineveh.
That day whereof we keep record,
When near thy city-gates the Lord
Sheltered His Jonah with a gourd,
This sun, (I said) here present, pour'd
Even thus this shadow that I see.
This shadow has been shed the same
From sun and moon,—from lamps which came
For prayer,—from fifteen days of flame,
The last, while smouldered to a name
Sardanapalus' Nineveh.
Within thy shadow, haply, once
Sennacherib has knelt, whose sons
Smote him between the altar-stones:
Or pale Semiramis her zones
Of gold, her incense brought to thee,
In love for grace, in war for aid: . . .
Ay, and who else? . . . till 'neath thy shade
Within his trenches newly made
Last year the Christian knelt and pray'd—
Not to thy strength—in Nineveh.
Now, thou poor god, within this hall
Where the blank windows blind the wall
From pedestal to pedestal,
The kind of light shall on thee fall
Which London takes the day to be:
While school-foundations in the act
Of holiday, three files compact,
Shall learn to view thee as a fact
Connected with that zealous tract:
“ROME,—Babylon and Nineveh.”
Deemed they of this, those worshippers,
401
When, in some mythic chain of verse
Which man shall not again rehearse,
The faces of thy ministers
Yearned pale with bitter ecstasy?
Greece, Egypt, Rome,—did any god
Before whose feet men knelt unshod
Deem that in this unblest abode
Another scarce more unknown god
Should house with him, from Nineveh?
Ah! in what quarries lay the stone
From which this pillared pile has grown,
Unto man's need how long unknown,
Since those thy temples, court and cone,
Rose far in desert history?
Ah! what is here that does not lie
All strange to thine awakened eye?
Ah! what is here can testify
(Save that dumb presence of the sky)
Unto thy day and Nineveh?
Why, of those mummies in the room
Above, there might indeed have come
One out of Egypt to thy home,
An alien. Nay, but were not some
Of these thine own “antiquity”?
And now,—they and their gods and thou
All relics here together,—now
Whose profit? whether bull or cow,
Isis or Ibis, who or how,
Whether of Thebes or Nineveh?
The consecrated metals found,
And ivory tablets, underground,
Winged teraphim and creatures crown'd.
When air and daylight filled the mound,
Fell into dust immediately.
And even as these, the images
Of awe and worship,—even as these,—
So, smitten with the sun's increase,
Her glory mouldered and did cease
From immemorial Nineveh.
The day her builders made their halt,
Those cities of the lake of salt
Stood firmly 'stablished without fault,
402
Made proud with pillars of basalt,
With sardonyx and porphyry.
The day that Jonah bore abroad
To Nineveh the voice of God,
A brackish lake lay in his road,
Where erst Pride fixed her sure abode,
As then in royal Nineveh.
The day when he, Pride's lord and Man's,
Showed all the kingdoms at a glance
To Him before whose countenance
The years recede, the years advance,
And said, Fall down and worship me:—
'Mid all the pomp beneath that look,
Then stirred there, haply, some rebuke,
Where to the wind the Salt Pools shook,
And in those tracts, of life forsook,
That knew thee not, O Nineveh!
Delicate harlot! On thy throne
Thou with a world beneath thee prone
In state for ages sat'st alone;
And needs were years and lustres flown
Ere strength of man could vanquish thee:
Whom even thy victor foes must bring,
Still royal, among maids that sing
As with doves' voices, taboring
Upon their breasts, unto the King,—
A kingly conquest, Nineveh!
. . . Here woke my thought. The wind's slow sway
Had waxed; and like the human play
Of scorn that smiling spreads away,
The sunshine shivered off the day:
The callous wind, it seemed to me,
Swept up the shadow from the ground:
And pale as whom the Fates astound,
The god forlorn stood winged and crown'd:
Within I knew the cry lay bound
Of the dumb soul of Nineveh.
And as I turned, my sense half shut
Still saw the crowds of kerb and rut
Go past as marshalled to the strut
Of ranks in gypsum quaintly cut.
It seemed in one same pageantry
403
They followed forms which had been erst;
To pass, till on my sight should burst
That future of the best or worst
When some may question which was first,
Of London or of Nineveh.
For as that Bull-god once did stand
And watched the burial-clouds of sand,
Till these at last without a hand
Rose o'er his eyes, another land,
And blinded him with destiny:—
So may he stand again; till now,
In ships of unknown sail and prow,
Some tribe of the Australian plough
Bear him afar,—a relic now
Of London, not of Nineveh!
Or it may chance indeed that when
Man's age is hoary among men,—
His centuries threescore and ten,—
His furthest childhood shall seem then
More clear than later times may be:
Who, finding in this desert place
This form, shall hold us for some race
That walked not in Christ's lowly ways,
But bowed its pride and vowed its praise
Unto the God of Nineveh.
The smile rose first,—anon drew nigh
The thought: . . . Those heavy wings spread high,
So sure of flight, which do not fly;
That set gaze never on the sky;
Those scriptured flanks it cannot see;
Its crown, a brow-contracting load;
Its planted feet which trust the sod: . . .
(So grew the image as I trod
O Nineveh, was this thy God,—
Thine also, mighty Nineveh?
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti
43:
[Dedicated to General J.C.F. Fuller]
Velvet soft the night-star glowed
Over the untrodden road,
Through the giant glades of yew
Where its ray fell light as dew
Lighting up the shimmering veil
Maiden pure and aery frail
That the spiders wove to hide
Blushes of the sylvan bride
Earth, that trembled with delight
At the male caress of Night.

Velvet soft the wizard trod
To the Sabbath of his God.
With his naked feet he made
Starry blossoms in the glade,
Softly, softly, as he went
To the sombre sacrament,
Stealthy stepping to the tryst
In his gown of amethyst.

Earlier yet his soul had come
To the Hill of Martyrdom,
Where the charred and crooked stake
Like a black envenomed snake
By the hangman's hands is thrust
Through the wet and writhing dust,
Never black and never dried
Heart's blood of a suicide.

He had plucked the hazel rod
From the rude and goatish god,
Even as the curved moon's waning ray
Stolen from the King of Day.
He had learnt the elvish sign;
Given the Token of the Nine:
Once to rave, and once to revel,
Once to bow before the devil,
Once to swing the thurible,
Once to kiss the goat of hell,
Once to dance the aspen spring,
Once to croak, and once to sing,
Once to oil the savoury thighs
Of the witch with sea-green eyes
With the unguents magical.
Oh the honey and the gall
Of that black enchanter's lips
As he croons to the eclipse
Mingling that most puissant spell
Of the giant gods of hell
With the four ingredients
Of the evil elements;
Ambergris from golden spar,
Musk of ox from Mongol jar,
Civet from a box of jade,
Mixed with fat of many a maid
Slain by the inchauntments cold
Of the witches wild and old.

He had crucified a toad
In the basilisk abode,
Muttering the Runes averse
Mad with many a mocking curse.

He had traced the serpent sigil
In his ghastly virgin vigil.
Sursum cor! the elfin hill,
Where the wind blows deadly chill
From the world that wails beneath
Death's black throat and lipless teeth.
There he had stood - his bosom bare -
Tracing Life upon the Air
With the crook and with the flail
Lashing forward on the gale,
Till its blade that wavereth
Like the flickering of Death
Sank before his subtle fence
To the starless sea of sense.

Now at last the man is come
Haply to his halidom.
Surely as he waves his rod
In a circle on the sod
Springs the emerald chaste and clean
From the duller paler green.
Surely in the circle millions
Of immaculate pavilions
Flash upon the trembling turf
Like the sea-stars in the surf -
Millions of bejewelled tents
For the warrior sacraments.
Vaster, vaster, vaster, vaster,
Grows the stature of the master;
All the ringed encampment vies
With the infinite galaxies.
In the midst a cubic stone
With the Devil set thereon;
Hath a lamb's virginal throat;
Hath the body of a stoat;
Hath the buttocks of a goat;
Hath the sanguine face and rod
Of a goddess and a god!

Spell by spell and pace by pace!
Mystic flashes swing and trace
Velvet soft the sigils stepped
By the silver-starred adept.
Back and front, and to and fro,
Soul and body sway and flow
In vertiginous caresses
To imponderable recesses,
Till at last the spell is woven,
And the faery veil is cloven
That was Sequence, Space, and Stress
Of the soul-sick consciousness.

"Give thy body to the beasts!
Give thy spirit to the priests!
Break in twain the hazel rod
On the virgin lips of God!
Tear the Rosy Cross asunder!
Shatter the black bolt of thunder!
Suck the swart ensanguine kiss
Of the resolute abyss!"
Wonder-weft the wizard heard
This intolerable word.
Smote the blasting hazel rod
On the scarlet lips of God;
Trampled Cross and rosy core;
Brake the thunder-tool of Thor;
Meek and holy acolyte
Of the priestly hells of spite,
Sleek and shameless catamite
Of the beasts that prowl the night!

Like a star that streams from heaven
Through the virgin airs light-riven,
From the lift there shot and fell
An admirable miracle.
Carved minute and clean, a key
Of purest lapis-lazuli
More blue than the blind sky that aches
(Wreathed with the stars, her torturing snakes),
For the dead god's kiss that never wakes;
Shot with golden specks of fire
Like a virgin with desire.
Look, the levers! fern-frail fronds
Of fantastic diamonds,
Glimmering with ethereal azure
In each exquisite embrasure.
On the shaft the letters laced,
As if dryads lunar-chaste
With the satyrs were embraced,
Spelled the secret of the key:
Sic pervenias. And he
Went his wizard way, inweaving
Dreams of things beyond believing.

When he will, the weary world
Of the senses closely curled
Like a serpent round his heart
Shakes herself and stands apart.
So the heart's blood flames, expanding,
Strenuous, urgent, and commanding;
And the key unlocks the door
Where his love lives evermore.

She is of the faery blood;
All smaragdine flows its flood.
Glowing in the amber sky
To ensorcelled porphyry
She hath eyes of glittering flake
Like a cold grey water-snake.
She hath naked breasts of amber
Jetting wine in her bed-chamber,
Whereof whoso stoops and drinks
Rees the riddle of the Sphinx.

She hath naked limbs of amber
Whereupon her children clamber.
She hath five navels rosy-red
From the five wounds of God that bled;
Each wound that mothered her still bleeding,
And on that blood her babes are feeding.
Oh! like a rose-winged pelican
She hath bred blessed babes to Pan!
Oh! like a lion-hued nightingale
She hath torn her breast on thorns to avail
The barren rose-tree to renew
Her life with that disastrous dew,
Building the rose o' the world alight
With music out of the pale moonlight!
O She is like the river of blood
That broke from the lips of the bastard god,
When he saw the sacred mother smile
On the ibis that flew up the foam of Nile
Bearing the limbs unblessed, unborn,
That the lurking beast of Nile had torn!

So (for the world is weary) I
These dreadful souls of sense lay by.
I sacrifice these impure shoon
To the cold ray of the waning moon.
I take the forked hazel staff,
And the rose of no terrene graff,
And the lamp of no olive oil
With heart's blood that alone may boil.
With naked breast and feet unshod
I follow the wizard way to God.

Wherever he leads my foot shall follow;
Over the height, into the hollow,
Up to the caves of pure cold breath,
Down to the deeps of foul hot death,
Across the seas, through the fires,
Past the palace of desires;
Where he will, whether he will or no,
If I go, I care not whither I go.

For in me is the taint of the faery blood.
Fast, fast its emerald flood
Leaps within me, violent rude
Like a bestial faun's beatitude.
In me the faery blood runs hard:
My sires were a druid, a devil, a bard,
A beast, a wizard, a snake and a satyr;
For - as my mother said - what does it matter?
She was a fay, pure of the faery;
Queen Morgan's daughter by an aery
Demon that came to Orkney once
To pay the Beetle his orisons.

So, it is I that writhe with the twitch
Of the faery blood, and the wizard itch
To attain a matter one may not utter
Rather than sink in the greasy splutter
Of Britons munching their bread and butter;
Ailing boys and coarse-grained girls
Grown to sloppy women and brutal churls.
So, I am off with staff in hand
To the endless light of the nameless land.

Darkness spreads its sombre streams,
Blotting out the elfin dreams.
I might haply be afraid,
Were it not the Feather-maid
Leads me softly by the hand,
Whispers me to understand.
Now (when through the world of weeping
Light at last starrily creeping
Steals upon my babe-new sight,
Light - O light that is not light!)
On my mouth the lips of her
Like a stone on my sepulchre
Seal my speech with ecstasy,
Till a babe is born of me
That is silent more than I;
For its inarticulate cry
Hushes as its mouth is pressed
To the pearl, her honey breast;
While its breath divinely ripples
The rose-petals of her nipples,
And the jetted milk he laps
From the soft delicious paps,
Sweeter than the bee-sweet showers
In the chalice of the flowers,
More intoxicating than
All the purple grapes of Pan.

Ah! my proper lips are stilled.
Only, all the world is filled
With the Echo, that drips over
Like the honey from the clover.
Passion, penitence, and pain
Seek their mother's womb again,
And are born the triple treasure,
Peace and purity and pleasure.

- Hush, my child, and come aloft
Where the stars are velvet soft!

~ Aleister Crowley, The Wizard Way

44:The Princess (Part 7)
So was their sanctuary violated,
So their fair college turned to hospital;
At first with all confusion: by and by
Sweet order lived again with other laws:
A kindlier influence reigned; and everywhere
Low voices with the ministering hand
Hung round the sick: the maidens came, they talked,
They sang, they read: till she not fair began
To gather light, and she that was, became
Her former beauty treble; and to and fro
With books, with flowers, with Angel offices,
Like creatures native unto gracious act,
And in their own clear element, they moved.
But sadness on the soul of Ida fell,
And hatred of her weakness, blent with shame.
Old studies failed; seldom she spoke: but oft
Clomb to the roofs, and gazed alone for hours
On that disastrous leaguer, swarms of men
Darkening her female field: void was her use,
And she as one that climbs a peak to gaze
O'er land and main, and sees a great black cloud
Drag inward from the deeps, a wall of night,
Blot out the slope of sea from verge to shore,
And suck the blinding splendour from the sand,
And quenching lake by lake and tarn by tarn
Expunge the world: so fared she gazing there;
So blackened all her world in secret, blank
And waste it seemed and vain; till down she came,
And found fair peace once more among the sick.
And twilight dawned; and morn by morn the lark
Shot up and shrilled in flickering gyres, but I
Lay silent in the muffled cage of life:
And twilight gloomed; and broader-grown the bowers
Drew the great night into themselves, and Heaven,
Star after Star, arose and fell; but I,
Deeper than those weird doubts could reach me, lay
Quite sundered from the moving Universe,
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Nor knew what eye was on me, nor the hand
That nursed me, more than infants in their sleep.
But Psyche tended Florian: with her oft,
Melissa came; for Blanche had gone, but left
Her child among us, willing she should keep
Court-favour: here and there the small bright head,
A light of healing, glanced about the couch,
Or through the parted silks the tender face
Peeped, shining in upon the wounded man
With blush and smile, a medicine in themselves
To wile the length from languorous hours, and draw
The sting from pain; nor seemed it strange that soon
He rose up whole, and those fair charities
Joined at her side; nor stranger seemed that hears
So gentle, so employed, should close in love,
Than when two dewdrops on the petals shake
To the same sweet air, and tremble deeper down,
And slip at once all-fragrant into one.
Less prosperously the second suit obtained
At first with Psyche. Not though Blanche had sworn
That after that dark night among the fields
She needs must wed him for her own good name;
Not though he built upon the babe restored;
Nor though she liked him, yielded she, but feared
To incense the Head once more; till on a day
When Cyril pleaded, Ida came behind
Seen but of Psyche: on her foot she hung
A moment, and she heard, at which her face
A little flushed, and she past on; but each
Assumed from thence a half-consent involved
In stillness, plighted troth, and were at peace.
Nor only these: Love in the sacred halls
Held carnival at will, and flying struck
With showers of random sweet on maid and man.
Nor did her father cease to press my claim,
Nor did mine own, now reconciled; nor yet
Did those twin-brothers, risen again and whole;
Nor Arac, satiate with his victory.
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But I lay still, and with me oft she sat:
Then came a change; for sometimes I would catch
Her hand in wild delirium, gripe it hard,
And fling it like a viper off, and shriek
'You are not Ida;' clasp it once again,
And call her Ida, though I knew her not,
And call her sweet, as if in irony,
And call her hard and cold which seemed a truth:
And still she feared that I should lose my mind,
And often she believed that I should die:
Till out of long frustration of her care,
And pensive tendance in the all-weary noons,
And watches in the dead, the dark, when clocks
Throbbed thunder through the palace floors, or called
On flying Time from all their silver tongues-And out of memories of her kindlier days,
And sidelong glances at my father's grief,
And at the happy lovers heart in heart-And out of hauntings of my spoken love,
And lonely listenings to my muttered dream,
And often feeling of the helpless hands,
And wordless broodings on the wasted cheek-From all a closer interest flourished up,
Tenderness touch by touch, and last, to these,
Love, like an Alpine harebell hung with tears
By some cold morning glacier; frail at first
And feeble, all unconscious of itself,
But such as gathered colour day by day.
Last I woke sane, but well-nigh close to death
For weakness: it was evening: silent light
Slept on the painted walls, wherein were wrought
Two grand designs; for on one side arose
The women up in wild revolt, and stormed
At the Oppian Law. Titanic shapes, they crammed
The forum, and half-crushed among the rest
A dwarf-like Cato cowered. On the other side
Hortensia spoke against the tax; behind,
A train of dames: by axe and eagle sat,
With all their foreheads drawn in Roman scowls,
And half the wolf's-milk curdled in their veins,
The fierce triumvirs; and before them paused
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Hortensia pleading: angry was her face.
I saw the forms: I knew not where I was:
They did but look like hollow shows; nor more
Sweet Ida: palm to palm she sat: the dew
Dwelt in her eyes, and softer all her shape
And rounder seemed: I moved: I sighed: a touch
Came round my wrist, and tears upon my hand:
Then all for languor and self-pity ran
Mine down my face, and with what life I had,
And like a flower that cannot all unfold,
So drenched it is with tempest, to the sun,
Yet, as it may, turns toward him, I on her
Fixt my faint eyes, and uttered whisperingly:
'If you be, what I think you, some sweet dream,
I would but ask you to fulfil yourself:
But if you be that Ida whom I knew,
I ask you nothing: only, if a dream,
Sweet dream, be perfect. I shall die tonight.
Stoop down and seem to kiss me ere I die.'
I could no more, but lay like one in trance,
That hears his burial talked of by his friends,
And cannot speak, nor move, nor make one sign,
But lies and dreads his doom. She turned; she paused;
She stooped; and out of languor leapt a cry;
Leapt fiery Passion from the brinks of death;
And I believed that in the living world
My spirit closed with Ida's at the lips;
Till back I fell, and from mine arms she rose
Glowing all over noble shame; and all
Her falser self slipt from her like a robe,
And left her woman, lovelier in her mood
Than in her mould that other, when she came
From barren deeps to conquer all with love;
And down the streaming crystal dropt; and she
Far-fleeted by the purple island-sides,
Naked, a double light in air and wave,
To meet her Graces, where they decked her out
For worship without end; nor end of mine,
Stateliest, for thee! but mute she glided forth,
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Nor glanced behind her, and I sank and slept,
Filled through and through with Love, a happy sleep.
Deep in the night I woke: she, near me, held
A volume of the Poets of her land:
There to herself, all in low tones, she read.
'Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The fire-fly wakens: wake thou with me.
Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now lies the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.'
I heard her turn the page; she found a small
Sweet Idyl, and once more, as low, she read:
'Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain height:
What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang)
In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?
But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease
To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine,
To sit a star upon the sparkling spire;
And come, for love is of the valley, come,
For love is of the valley, come thou down
And find him; by the happy threshold, he,
Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize,
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Or red with spirted purple of the vats,
Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk
With Death and Morning on the silver horns,
Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine,
Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice,
That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls
To roll the torrent out of dusky doors:
But follow; let the torrent dance thee down
To find him in the valley; let the wild
Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave
The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill
Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke,
That like a broken purpose waste in air:
So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales
Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth
Arise to thee; the children call, and I
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying through the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.'
So she low-toned; while with shut eyes I lay
Listening; then looked. Pale was the perfect face;
The bosom with long sighs laboured; and meek
Seemed the full lips, and mild the luminous eyes,
And the voice trembled and the hand. She said
Brokenly, that she knew it, she had failed
In sweet humility; had failed in all;
That all her labour was but as a block
Left in the quarry; but she still were loth,
She still were loth to yield herself to one
That wholly scorned to help their equal rights
Against the sons of men, and barbarous laws.
She prayed me not to judge their cause from her
That wronged it, sought far less for truth than power
In knowledge: something wild within her breast,
A greater than all knowledge, beat her down.
And she had nursed me there from week to week:
Much had she learnt in little time. In part
It was ill counsel had misled the girl
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To vex true hearts: yet was she but a girl-'Ah fool, and made myself a Queen of farce!
When comes another such? never, I think,
Till the Sun drop, dead, from the signs.'
Her voice
choked, and her forehead sank upon her hands,
And her great heart through all the faultful Past
Went sorrowing in a pause I dared not break;
Till notice of a change in the dark world
Was lispt about the acacias, and a bird,
That early woke to feed her little ones,
Sent from a dewy breast a cry for light:
She moved, and at her feet the volume fell.
'Blame not thyself too much,' I said, 'nor blame
Too much the sons of men and barbarous laws;
These were the rough ways of the world till now.
Henceforth thou hast a helper, me, that know
The woman's cause is man's: they rise or sink
Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free:
For she that out of Lethe scales with man
The shining steps of Nature, shares with man
His nights, his days, moves with him to one goal,
Stays all the fair young planet in her hands-If she be small, slight-natured, miserable,
How shall men grow? but work no more alone!
Our place is much: as far as in us lies
We two will serve them both in aiding her-Will clear away the parasitic forms
That seem to keep her up but drag her down-Will leave her space to burgeon out of all
Within her--let her make herself her own
To give or keep, to live and learn and be
All that not harms distinctive womanhood.
For woman is not undevelopt man,
But diverse: could we make her as the man,
Sweet Love were slain: his dearest bond is this,
Not like to like, but like in difference.
Yet in the long years liker must they grow;
The man be more of woman, she of man;
He gain in sweetness and in moral height,
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world;
794
She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care,
Nor lose the childlike in the larger mind;
Till at the last she set herself to man,
Like perfect music unto noble words;
And so these twain, upon the skirts of Time,
Sit side by side, full-summed in all their powers,
Dispensing harvest, sowing the To-be,
Self-reverent each and reverencing each,
Distinct in individualities,
But like each other even as those who love.
Then comes the statelier Eden back to men:
Then reign the world's great bridals, chaste and calm:
Then springs the crowning race of humankind.
May these things be!'
Sighing she spoke 'I fear
They will not.'
'Dear, but let us type them now
In our own lives, and this proud watchword rest
Of equal; seeing either sex alone
Is half itself, and in true marriage lies
Nor equal, nor unequal: each fulfils
Defect in each, and always thought in thought,
Purpose in purpose, will in will, they grow,
The single pure and perfect animal,
The two-celled heart beating, with one full stroke,
Life.'
And again sighing she spoke: 'A dream
That once was mind! what woman taught you this?'
'Alone,' I said, 'from earlier than I know,
Immersed in rich foreshadowings of the world,
I loved the woman: he, that doth not, lives
A drowning life, besotted in sweet self,
Or pines in sad experience worse than death,
Or keeps his winged affections clipt with crime:
Yet was there one through whom I loved her, one
Not learnèd, save in gracious household ways,
Not perfect, nay, but full of tender wants,
No Angel, but a dearer being, all dipt
In Angel instincts, breathing Paradise,
Interpreter between the Gods and men,
Who looked all native to her place, and yet
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On tiptoe seemed to touch upon a sphere
Too gross to tread, and all male minds perforce
Swayed to her from their orbits as they moved,
And girdled her with music. Happy he
With such a mother! faith in womankind
Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high
Comes easy to him, and though he trip and fall
He shall not blind his soul with clay.'
'But I,'
Said Ida, tremulously, 'so all unlike-It seems you love to cheat yourself with words:
This mother is your model. I have heard
of your strange doubts: they well might be: I seem
A mockery to my own self. Never, Prince;
You cannot love me.'
'Nay but thee' I said
'From yearlong poring on thy pictured eyes,
Ere seen I loved, and loved thee seen, and saw
Thee woman through the crust of iron moods
That masked thee from men's reverence up, and forced
Sweet love on pranks of saucy boyhood: now,
Given back to life, to life indeed, through thee,
Indeed I love: the new day comes, the light
Dearer for night, as dearer thou for faults
Lived over: lift thine eyes; my doubts are dead,
My haunting sense of hollow shows: the change,
This truthful change in thee has killed it. Dear,
Look up, and let thy nature strike on mine,
Like yonder morning on the blind half-world;
Approach and fear not; breathe upon my brows;
In that fine air I tremble, all the past
Melts mist-like into this bright hour, and this
Is morn to more, and all the rich to-come
Reels, as the golden Autumn woodland reels
Athwart the smoke of burning weeds. Forgive me,
I waste my heart in signs: let be. My bride,
My wife, my life. O we will walk this world,
Yoked in all exercise of noble end,
And so through those dark gates across the wild
That no man knows. Indeed I love thee: come,
Yield thyself up: my hopes and thine are one:
Accomplish thou my manhood and thyself;
796
Lay thy sweet hands in mine and trust to me.'
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
45:Karshish, the picker-up of learning's crumbs,
The not-incurious in God's handiwork
(This man's-flesh he hath admirably made,
Blown like a bubble, kneaded like a paste,
To coop up and keep down on earth a space
That puff of vapour from his mouth, man's soul)
To Abib, all-sagacious in our art,
Breeder in me of what poor skill I boast,
Like me inquisitive how pricks and cracks
Befall the flesh through too much stress and strain,
Whereby the wily vapour fain would slip
Back and rejoin its source before the term,
And aptest in contrivance (under God)
To baffle it by deftly stopping such:
The vagrant Scholar to his Sage at home
Sends greeting (health and knowledge, fame with peace)
Three samples of true snakestonerarer still,
One of the other sort, the melon-shaped,
(But fitter, pounded fine, for charms than drugs)
And writeth now the twenty-second time.

My journeyings were brought to Jericho;
Thus I resume. Who studious in our art
Shall count a little labour unrepaid?
I have shed sweat enough, left flesh and bone
On many a flinty furlong of this land.
Also, the country-side is all on fire
With rumours of a marching hitherward:
Some say Vespasian cometh, some, his son.
A black lynx snarled and pricked a tufted ear;
Lust of my blood inflamed his yellow balls:
I cried and threw my staff and he was gone.
Twice have the robbers stripped and beaten me,
And once a town declared me for a spy;
But at the end, I reach Jerusalem,
Since this poor covert where I pass the night,
This Bethany, lies scarce the distance thence
A man with plague-sores at the third degree
Runs till he drops down dead. Thou laughest here!
'Sooth, it elates me, thus reposed and safe,
To void the stuffing of my travel-scrip
And share with thee whatever Jewry yields
A viscid choler is observable
In tertians, I was nearly bold to say;
And falling-sickness hath a happier cure
Than our school wots of: there's a spider here
Weaves no web, watches on the ledge of tombs,
Sprinkled with mottles on an ash-grey back;
Take five and drop them . . . but who knows his mind,
The Syrian runagate I trust this to?
His service payeth me a sublimate
Blown up his nose to help the ailing eye.
Best wait: I reach Jerusalem at morn,
There set in order my experiences,
Gather what most deserves, and give thee all
Or I might add, Judea's gum-tragacanth
Scales off in purer flakes, shines clearer-grained,
Cracks 'twixt the pestle and the porphyry,
In fine exceeds our produce. Scalp-disease
Confounds me, crossing so with leprosy
Thou hadst admired one sort I gained at Zoar
But zeal outruns discretion. Here I end.

Yet stay: my Syrian blinketh gratefully,
Protesteth his devotion is my price
Suppose I write what harms not, though he steal?
I half resolve to tell thee, yet I blush,
What set me off a-writing first of all.
An itch I had, a sting to write, a tang!
For, be it this town's barrennessor else
The Man had something in the look of him
His case has struck me far more than 'tis worth.
So, pardon if(lest presently I lose
In the great press of novelty at hand
The care and pains this somehow stole from me)
I bid thee take the thing while fresh in mind,
Almost in sightfor, wilt thou have the truth?
The very man is gone from me but now,
Whose ailment is the subject of discourse.
Thus then, and let thy better wit help all!

'Tis but a case of maniasubinduced
By epilepsy, at the turning-point
Of trance prolonged unduly some three days:
When, by the exhibition of some drug
Or spell, exorcization, stroke of art
Unknown to me and which 'twere well to know,
The evil thing out-breaking all at once
Left the man whole and sound of body indeed,
But, flinging (so to speak) life's gates too wide,
Making a clear house of it too suddenly,
The first conceit that entered might inscribe
Whatever it was minded on the wall
So plainly at that vantage, as it were,
(First come, first served) that nothing subsequent
Attaineth to erase those fancy-scrawls
The just-returned and new-established soul
Hath gotten now so thoroughly by heart
That henceforth she will read or these or none.
And firstthe man's own firm conviction rests
That he was dead (in fact they buried him)
That he was dead and then restored to life
By a Nazarene physician of his tribe:
'Sayeth, the same bade "Rise," and he did rise.
"Such cases are diurnal," thou wilt cry.
Not so this figment!not, that such a fume,
Instead of giving way to time and health,
Should eat itself into the life of life,
As saffron tingeth flesh, blood, bones and all!
For see, how he takes up the after-life.
The manit is one Lazarus a Jew,
Sanguine, proportioned, fifty years of age,
The body's habit wholly laudable,
As much, indeed, beyond the common health
As he were made and put aside to show.
Think, could we penetrate by any drug
And bathe the wearied soul and worried flesh,
And bring it clear and fair, by three days' sleep!
Whence has the man the balm that brightens all?
This grown man eyes the world now like a child.
Some elders of his tribe, I should premise,
Led in their friend, obedient as a sheep,
To bear my inquisition. While they spoke,
Now sharply, now with sorrow,told the case,
He listened not except I spoke to him,
But folded his two hands and let them talk,
Watching the flies that buzzed: and yet no fool.
And that's a sample how his years must go.
Look, if a beggar, in fixed middle-life,
Should find a treasure,can he use the same
With straitened habits and with tastes starved small,
And take at once to his impoverished brain
The sudden element that changes things,
That sets the undreamed-of rapture at his hand
And puts the cheap old joy in the scorned dust?
Is he not such an one as moves to mirth
Warily parsimonious, when no need,
Wasteful as drunkenness at undue times?
All prudent counsel as to what befits
The golden mean, is lost on such an one
The man's fantastic will is the man's law.
So herewe call the treasure knowledge, say,
Increased beyond the fleshly faculty
Heaven opened to a soul while yet on earth,
Earth forced on a soul's use while seeing heaven:
The man is witless of the size, the sum,
The value in proportion of all things,
Or whether it be little or be much.
Discourse to him of prodigious armaments
Assembled to besiege his city now,
And of the passing of a mule with gourds
'Tis one! Then take it on the other side,
Speak of some trifling facthe will gaze rapt
With stupor at its very littleness,
(Far as I see) as if in that indeed
He caught prodigious import, whole results;
And so will turn to us the bystanders
In ever the same stupor (note this point)
That we too see not with his opened eyes.
Wonder and doubt come wrongly into play,
Preposterously, at cross purposes.
Should his child sicken unto death,why, look
For scarce abatement of his cheerfulness,
Or pretermission of the daily craft!
While a word, gesture, glance, from that same child
At play or in the school or laid asleep,
Will startle him to an agony of fear,
Exasperation, just as like. Demand
The reason why" `tis but a word," object
"A gesture"he regards thee as our lord
Who lived there in the pyramid alone
Looked at us (dost thou mind?) when, being young,
We both would unadvisedly recite
Some charm's beginning, from that book of his,
Able to bid the sun throb wide and burst
All into stars, as suns grown old are wont.
Thou and the child have each a veil alike
Thrown o'er your heads, from under which ye both
Stretch your blind hands and trifle with a match
Over a mine of Greek fire, did ye know!
He holds on firmly to some thread of life
(It is the life to lead perforcedly)
Which runs across some vast distracting orb
Of glory on either side that meagre thread,
Which, conscious of, he must not enter yet
The spiritual life around the earthly life:
The law of that is known to him as this,
His heart and brain move there, his feet stay here.
So is the man perplext with impulses
Sudden to start off crosswise, not straight on,
Proclaiming what is right and wrong across,
And not along, this black thread through the blaze
"It should be" baulked by "here it cannot be."
And oft the man's soul springs into his face
As if he saw again and heard again
His sage that bade him "Rise" and he did rise.
Something, a word, a tick of the blood within
Admonishes: then back he sinks at once
To ashes, who was very fire before,
In sedulous recurrence to his trade
Whereby he earneth him the daily bread;
And studiously the humbler for that pride,
Professedly the faultier that he knows
God's secret, while he holds the thread of life.
Indeed the especial marking of the man
Is prone submission to the heavenly will
Seeing it, what it is, and why it is.
'Sayeth, he will wait patient to the last
For that same death which must restore his being
To equilibrium, body loosening soul
Divorced even now by premature full growth:
He will live, nay, it pleaseth him to live
So long as God please, and just how God please.
He even seeketh not to please God more
(Which meaneth, otherwise) than as God please.
Hence, I perceive not he affects to preach
The doctrine of his sect whate'er it be,
Make proselytes as madmen thirst to do:
How can he give his neighbour the real ground,
His own conviction? Ardent as he is
Call his great truth a lie, why, still the old
"Be it as God please" reassureth him.
I probed the sore as thy disciple should:
"How, beast," said I, "this stolid carelessness
Sufficeth thee, when Rome is on her march
To stamp out like a little spark thy town,
Thy tribe, thy crazy tale and thee at once?"
He merely looked with his large eyes on me.
The man is apathetic, you deduce?
Contrariwise, he loves both old and young,
Able and weak, affects the very brutes
And birdshow say I? flowers of the field
As a wise workman recognizes tools
In a master's workshop, loving what they make.
Thus is the man as harmless as a lamb:
Only impatient, let him do his best,
At ignorance and carelessness and sin
An indignation which is promptly curbed:
As when in certain travels I have feigned
To be an ignoramus in our art
According to some preconceived design,
And happed to hear the land's practitioners,
Steeped in conceit sublimed by ignorance,
Prattle fantastically on disease,
Its cause and cureand I must hold my peace!

Thou wilt objectwhy have I not ere this
Sought out the sage himself, the Nazarene
Who wrought this cure, inquiring at the source,
Conferring with the frankness that befits?
Alas! it grieveth me, the learned leech
Perished in a tumult many years ago,
Accused,our learning's fate,of wizardry,
Rebellion, to the setting up a rule
And creed prodigious as described to me.
His death, which happened when the earthquake fell
(Prefiguring, as soon appeared, the loss
To occult learning in our lord the sage
Who lived there in the pyramid alone)
Was wrought by the mad peoplethat's their wont!
On vain recourse, as I conjecture it,    
To his tried virtue, for miraculous help
How could he stop the earthquake? That's their way!
The other imputations must be lies:
But take one, though I loathe to give it thee,
In mere respect for any good man's fame.
(And after all, our patient Lazarus
Is stark mad; should we count on what he says?
Perhaps not: though in writing to a leech
'Tis well to keep back nothing of a case.)
This man so cured regards the curer, then
AsGod forgive me! who but God himself,
Creator and sustainer of the world,
That came and dwelt in flesh on 't awhile!
'Sayeth that such an one was born and lived,
Taught, healed the sick, broke bread at his own house,
Then died, with Lazarus by, for aught I know,
And yet was . . . what I said nor choose repeat,
And must have so avouched himself, in fact,
In hearing of this very Lazarus
Who saithbut why all this of what he saith?
Why write of trivial matters, things of price
Calling at every moment for remark?
I noticed on the margin of a pool
Blue-flowering borage, the Aleppo sort,
Aboundeth, very nitrous. It is strange!

Thy pardon for this long and tedious case,
Which, now that I review it, needs must seem
Unduly dwelt on, prolixly set forth!
Nor I myself discern in what is writ
Good cause for the peculiar interest
And awe indeed this man has touched me with.
Perhaps the journey's end, the weariness
Had wrought upon me first. I met him thus:
I crossed a ridge of short sharp broken hills
Like an old lion's cheek teeth. Out there came
A moon made like a face with certain spots
Multiform, manifold, and menacing:
Then a wind rose behind me. So we met
In this old sleepy town at unaware,
The man and I. I send thee what is writ.
Regard it as a chance, a matter risked
To this ambiguous Syrianhe may lose,
Or steal, or give it thee with equal good.
Jerusalem's repose shall make amends
For time this letter wastes, thy time and mine;
Till when, once more thy pardon and farewell!

The very God! think, Abib; dost thou think?
So, the All-Great, were the All-Loving too
So, through the thunder comes a human voice
Saying, "O heart I made, a heart beats here!
Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself!
Thou hast no power nor mayst conceive of mine,
But love I gave thee, with myself to love,
And thou must love me who have died for thee!"
The madman saith He said so: it is strange.
NOTES



Form:
unrhyming

1.
Karshish, the Arab physician, and his friend
Abib are the creatures of the poet's imagination\; the time
is some forty years after the raising of Lazarus (see note
on line 28 below). For the story of Lazarus, see John 11: 1--44.

The meaning of Karshish's name in Arabic is paraphrased
in "picker-up of learning's crumbs."

20-1.
Karshish numbers his regular letters to Abib to provide
a check on their arrival. This letter is the twenty-second\; in the
twenty-first he had brought the account of his journeyings up
to his arrival at Jericho.

28.
It was Titus who besieged and captured Jernsalem in
A.D. 70\; he was emperor, 79-81\; Vespasian, his father, was
emperor, 70-79 A.D.

36.
Bethany: "Bethany, the town of Mary and his sister Martha"
(John 11: 1).

42.
choler: in its original sense, bile. Browning has Karshish
think in terms of the old physiology of "humours." Karshish
hopes that he may have found a way of diagnosing fever from
the consistency of the blood when he phlebotomises the patient.

43.
tertians: fevers which recur every other day\; i.e. on every third
day in the inclusive Roman way of counting.

50.
sublimate: in old-fashioned chemistry, the name for compounds
made by heating bodies to a vapour and then allowing this to condense.

55.
gum-tragacanth: a gum produced by certain thorny shrubs in
Asia Minor and Persia.

57.
Porphyry: a sort of stone used for the manufacture of vases, etc.\;
here used by metonymy for the mortar made out of it.

58.
scalp-disease: undoubtedly alopicia (from which Chaucer's
Pardoner suffered), which has a connection with leprosy.

82.
Exhibition is the old term for "administration" of a remedy.

89.
conceit: here used in the early sense of "idea, concept, fancy."

96.
The whole passage from line 79 is Karshish's attempt to find an
explanation in terms of a mechanist psychology for the fixed idea in Lazarus' mind.

100.
Nazarene: Christ: see Matthew 2: 23.

103.
fume: used here as a derogatory term for Lazarus' idea that he has
been restored to life.

106.
saffron: a drug derived from a plant of the same name (Crocus
sativus), formerly much used both as a medicine and as a dye.

109.
sanguine: again part of the terminology of humours. The "sanguine"
type was not, like the "melancholic," given to delusions and attacks of
fancy--this makes Lazarus' case still more strange.

110.
laudable: another technical medical term here, suggesting perfect health.

146-47.
See lines 26-28 above and note.

177.
Greek fire: an explosive compound, the nearest approach to
gunpowder known to the ancients.

184.
To Lazarus, who now sees with a knowledge far beyond the human,
the spiritual or moral law is as clear and certain as the physical.
Compare A Death in the Desert, 251-298.

228.
affects: in the sense of "shows affection for."

251.
Karshish uses "prodigious" here in a derogatory sense.

252.
when the earthquake fell. "And behold the veil of the temple was
rent in twain from the top to the bottom\; and the earth did quake, and
the rocks were rent" (Matthew 27: 51).

265.
leech: old-fashioned word for physician.

304-11.
Compare the passage in Saul, 300-12.



~ Robert Browning, An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Kar

46:Ruins Of Rome, By Bellay
Ye heavenly spirits, whose ashy cinders lie
Under deep ruins, with huge walls opprest,
But not your praise, the which shall never die
Through your fair verses, ne in ashes rest;
If so be shrilling voice of wight alive
May reach from hence to depth of darkest hell,
Then let those deep Abysses open rive,
That ye may understand my shreiking yell.
Thrice having seen under the heavens' vail
Your tomb's devoted compass over all,
Thrice unto you with loud voice I appeal,
And for your antique fury here do call,
The whiles that I with sacred horror sing,
Your glory, fairest of all earthly thing.
Great Babylon her haughty walls will praise,
And sharpèd steeples high shot up in air;
Greece will the old Ephesian buildings blaze;
And Nylus' nurslings their Pyramids fair;
The same yet vaunting Greece will tell the story
Of Jove's great image in Olympus placed,
Mausolus' work will be the Carian's glory,
And Crete will boast the Labybrinth, now 'rased;
The antique Rhodian will likewise set forth
The great Colosse, erect to Memory;
And what else in the world is of like worth,
Some greater learnèd wit will magnify.
But I will sing above all monuments
Seven Roman Hills, the world's seven wonderments.
Thou stranger, which for Rome in Rome here seekest,
170
And nought of Rome in Rome perceiv'st at all,
These same old walls, old arches, which thou seest,
Old Palaces, is that which Rome men call.
Behold what wreak, what ruin, and what waste,
And how that she, which with her mighty power
Tam'd all the world, hath tam'd herself at last,
The prey of time, which all things doth devour.
Rome now of Rome is th' only funeral,
And only Rome of Rome hath victory;
Ne ought save Tyber hastening to his fall
Remains of all: O world's inconstancy.
That which is firm doth flit and fall away,
And that is flitting, doth abide and stay.
She, whose high top above the stars did soar,
One foot on Thetis, th' other on the Morning,
One hand on Scythia, th' other on the Moor,
Both heaven and earth in roundness compassing,
Jove fearing, lest if she should greater grow,
The old Giants should once again uprise,
Her whelm'd with hills, these seven hills, which be now
Tombs of her greatness, which did threat the skies:
Upon her head he heaped Mount Saturnal,
Upon her belly th' antique Palatine,
Upon her stomach laid Mount Quirinal,
On her left hand the noisome Esquiline,
And Cælian on the right; but both her feet
Mount Viminall and Aventine do meet.
Who lists to see, what ever nature, art,
And heaven could do, O Rome, thee let him see,
In case thy greatness he can guess in heart,
By that which but the picture is of thee.
Rome is no more: but if the shade of Rome
May of the body yield a seeming sight,
It's like a corse drawn forth out of the tomb
171
By Magick skill out of eternal night:
The corpse of Rome in ashes is entombed,
And her great sprite rejoinèd to the sprite
Of this great mass, is in the same enwombed;
But her brave writings, which her famous merit
In spite of time, out of the dust doth rear,
Do make her idol through the world appear.
Such as the Berecynthian Goddess bright
In her swift chariot with high turrets crowned,
Proud that so many Gods she brought to light;
Such was this City in her good days found:
This city, more than the great Phrygian mother
Renowned for fruit of famous progeny,
Whose greatness by the greatness of none other,
But by herself her equal match could see:
Rome only might to Rome comparèd be,
And only Rome could make great Rome to tremble:
So did the Gods by heavenly doom decree,
That other deathly power should not resemble
Her that did match the whole earth's puissaunce,
And did her courage to the heavens advance.
Ye sacred ruins, and ye tragic sights,
Which only do the name of Rome retain,
Old monuments, which of so famous sprites
The honour yet in ashes do maintain:
Triumphant arcs, spires neighbors to the sky,
That you to see doth th' heaven itself appall,
Alas, by little ye to nothing fly,
The people's fable, and the spoil of all:
And though your frames do for a time make war
'Gainst time, yet time in time shall ruinate
Your works and names, and your last relics mar.
My sad desires, rest therefore moderate:
For if that time make ends of things so sure,
172
It also will end the pain, which I endure.
Through arms and vassals Rome the world subdued,
That one would ween, that one sole City's strength
Both land and sea in roundess had surview'd,
To be the measure of her breadth and length:
This people's virtue yet so fruitful was
Of virtuous nephews that posterity
Striving in power their grandfathers to pass,
The lowest earth join'd to the heaven high;
To th' end that having all parts in their power
Nought from the Roman Empire might be 'quite,
And that though time doth Commonwealths devour,
Yet no time should so low embase their height,
That her head earth'd in her foundations deep,
Should not her name and endless honour keep.
Ye cruel stars, and eke ye Gods unkind,
Heaven envious, and bitter stepdame Nature,
Be it by fortune, or by course of kind
That ye do weld th' affairs of earthly creature:
Why have your hands long sithence troubled
To frame this world, that doth endure so long?
Or why were not these Roman palaces
Made of some matter no less firm and strong?
I say not, as the common voice doth say,
That all things which beneath the moon have being
Are temporal, and subject to decay:
But I say rather, though not all agreeing
With some, that ween the contrary in thought:
That all this whole shall one day come to nought.
10
As that brave son of Aeson, which by charms
173
Achieved the golden fleece in Colchid land,
Out of the earth engendered men of arms
Of Dragons' teetch, sown in the sacred sand;
So this brave town, that in her youthly days
An Hydra was of warriors glorious,
Did fill with her renownéd nurslings praise
The firey sun's both one and other house:
But they at last, there being then not living
An Hercules, so rank seed to repress,;
Amongst themselves with cruel fury striving,
Mow'd down themselves with slaughter merciless;
Renewing in themselves that rage unkind,
Which whilom did those searthborn brethren blind.
11
Mars shaming to have given so great head
To his off-spring, that mortal puissance
Puffed up with pride of Roman hardy head,
Seem'd above heaven's power itself to advance;
Cooling again his former kindled heat,
With which he had those Roman spirits filled;
Did blow new fire, and with enflaméd breath,
Into the Gothic cold hot rage instill'd:
Then 'gan that Nation, th' earth's new Giant brood,
To dart abroad the thunder bolts of war,
And beating down these walls with furious mood
Into her mother's bosom, all did mar;
To th' end that none, all were if Jove his sire
Should boast himself of the Roman Empire.
12
Like as whilome the children of the earth
Heaped hills on hills, to scale the starry sky,
And fight against the Gods of heavenly birth,
Whilst Jove at them his thunderbolts let fly;
All suddenly with lightning overthrown,
The furious squadrons down the ground did fall,
That th' earth under her children's weight did groan,
174
And th' heavens in glory triumphed over all:
So did that haughty front which heapéd was
On these seven Roman hills, itself uprear
Over the world, and lift her lofty face
Against the heaven, that 'gan her force to fear.
But now these scorned fields bemoan her fall,
And Gods secure fear not her force at all.
13
Nor the swift fury of the flames aspiring,
Nor the deep wounds of victor's raging blade,
Nor ruthless spoil of soldiers blood-desiring,
The which so oft thee, Rome, their conquest made;
Ne stroke on stroke of fortune variable,
Ne rust of age hating continuance,
Nor wrath of Gods, nor spite of men unstable,
Nor thou oppos'd against thine own puissance;
Nor th' horrible uproar of winds high blowing,
Nor swelling streams of that God snaky-paced,
Which hath so often with his overflowing
Thee drenched, have thy pride so much abased;
But that this nothing, which they have thee left,
Makes the world wonder, what they from thee reft.
14
As men in summer fearless pass the ford,
Which is in winter lord of all the plain,
And with his tumbling streams doth bear aboard
The plowman's hope, and shepherd's labor vain;
And as the coward beasts use to despise
The noble lion after his life's end
Whetting their teeth, and with vain foolhardise
Daring the foe, that cannot him defend:
And as at Troy most dastards of the Greeks
Did brave about the corpse of Hector cold;
So those which whilome wont with pallid cheeks
The Roman triumphs glory to behold,
Now on these ashy tombs show boldness vain,
175
And conquer'd dare the Conqueror disdain.
15
Ye pallid spirits, and ye ashy ghosts,
Which joying in the brightness of your day,
Brought forth those signs of your premptuous boasts
Which now their dusty relics do bewray;
Tell me ye spirits (sith the darksome river
Of Styx not passable to souls returning,
Enclosing you in thrice three wards forever,
Do not restrain your images still mourning)
Tell me then (for perhaps some one of you
Yet here above him secretly doth hide)
Do ye not feel your torments to accrue,
When ye sometimes behold the ruin'd pride
Of these old Roman works built with your hands,
Now to become nought else, but heaped sands?
16
Like as ye see the wrathful sea from far,
In a great mountain heap'd with hideous noise,
Eftsoons of thousand bilows shouldered narre,
Against a rock to break with dreadful poise;
Like as ye see fell Boreas with sharp blast,
Tossing huge tempests through the troubled sky,
Eftsoons having his wide wings spent in vast,
To stop his wearie carrier suddenly;
And as ye see huge flames spread diversly,
Gathered in one up to the heavens to spire,
Eftsoons consum'd to fall down feebily:
So whilom did this Monarchy aspire
As waves, as wind, as fire spread over all,
Till it by fatal doom adown did fall.
17
So long as Jove's great bird did make his flight,
176
Bearing the fire with which heaven doth us fray,
Heaven had not fear of that presumptuous might,
With which the Giants did the Gods assay.
But all so soon, as scorching Sun had brent
His wings, which wont to the earth to overspread,
The earth out of her massy womb forth sent
That antique horror, which made heaven adread.
Then was the German raven in disguise
That Roman eagle seen to cleave asunder,
And towards heaven freshly to arise
Out of these mountains, not consum'd to powder.
In which the fowl that serves to bear the lightning,
Is now no more seen flying, nor alighting.
18
These heaps of stones, these old walls which ye see,
Were first enclosures but of savage soil;
And these brave palaces which mastered be
Of time, were shepherds cottages somewhile.
Then took the shepherd kingly ornamnets
And the stout hynde arm'd his right hand with steel:
Eftsoones their rule of yearly presidents
Grew great, and six months greater a great deal;
Which made perpetual, rose to so great might,
That thence th' imperial Eagle rooting took,
Till th' heaven itself opposing 'gainst her might,
Her power to Peter's successor betook;
Who shepherdlike, (as fates the same forseeing)
Doth show, that all things turn to their first being.
19
All that is perfect, which th' heaven beautifies;
All that's imperfect, born below the moon;
All that doth feed our spriits and our eyes;
And all that doth consume our pleasures soon;
All the mishap, the which our days outwears,
All the good hap of th' oldest times afore,
Rome in the time of her great ancesters,
177
Like a Pandora, locked long in store.
But destiny this huge Chaos turmoiling,
In which all good and evil was enclosed,
Their heavenly virtues from these woes absolving,
Carried to heaven, from sinful bondage loosed:
But their great sins, the causers of their pain,
Under these antique ruins yet remain.
20
No otherwise than rainy cloud, first fed
With earthly vapors gathered in the air,
Eftsoones in compass arch'd, to steep his head,
Doth plunge himself in Tethys' bosom fair;
And mounting up again, from whence he came,
With his great belly spreads the dimmed world,
Till at last the last dissolving his moist frame,
In rain, or snow, or hail he forth is hurl'd;
This City, which was first but shepherds' shade,
Uprising by degrees, grew to such height,
That queen of land and sea herself she made.
At last not able to bear so great weight.
Her power dispers'd, through all the world did vade;
To show that all in th' end to nought shall fade.
21
The same which Pyrrhus, and the puissance
Of Afric could not tame, that same brave city,
Which with stout courage arm'd against mischance,
Sustain'd the shock of common enmity;
Long as her ship tossed with so many freaks,
Had all the world in arms against her bent,
Was never seen, that any fortune's wreaks
Could break her course begun with brave intent.
But when the object of her virtue failed,
Her power itself agains itself did arm;
As he that having long in tempest sailed,
Fain would arrive, but cannot for the storm,
If too great wind against the port him drive,
178
Doth in the port itself his vessel rive.
22
When that brave honour of the Latin name,
Which bound her rule with Africa, and Byze,
With Thames' inhabitants of noble fame,
And they which see the dawning day arise;
Her nurslings did with mutinous uproar
Hearten against herself, her conquer'd spoil,
Which she had won from all the world afore,
Of all the world was spoil'd within a while.
So when the compass'd course of the universe
In six and thirty thousand years is run,
The bands of th' elements shall back reverse
To their first discord, and be quite undone:
The seeds, of which all things at first were bred,
Shall in great Chaos' womb again be hid.
23
O wary wisdom of the man, that would
That Carthage towers from spoil should be forborn,
To th' end that his victorious people should
With cankering leisure not be overworn;
He well foresaw, how that the Roman courage,
Impatient of pleasure's faint desires,
Through idleness would turn to civil rage,
And be herself the matter of her fires.
For in a people given all to ease,
Ambition is engend'red easily;
As in a vicious body, gross disease
Soon grows through humours' superfluity.
That came to pass, when swoll'n with plentious pride,
Nor prince, nor peer, nor kin they would abide.
24
If the blind fury, which wars breedeth oft,
179
Wonts not t' enrage the hearts of equal beasts,
Whether they fare on foot, or fly aloft,
Or arméd be with claws, or scaly crests;
What fell Erynnis with hot burning tongs,
Did grip your hearts, with noisome rage imbew'd,
That each to other working cruel wrongs,
You blades in your own bowels you embrew'd?
Was this (ye Romans) your hard destiny?
Or some old sin, whose unappeased guilt
Power'd vengeance forth on you eternally?
Or brother's blood, the which at first was spilt
Upon your walls, that God might not endure,
Upon the same to set foundation sure?
25
O that I had the Thracian Poet's harp,
For to awake out of th' infernal shade
Those antique Cæsars, sleeping long in dark,
The which this ancient City whilome made:
Or that I had Amphion's instrument,
To quicken with his vital note's accord,
The stony joints of these old walls now rent,
By which th' Ausonian light might be restor'd:
Or that at least I could with pencil fine,
Fashion the portraits of these palaces,
By pattern of great Virgil's spirit divine;
I would assay with that which in me is,
To build with level of my lofty style,
That which no hands can evermore compile.
26
Who list the Roman greatness forth to figure,
Him needeth not to seek for usage right
Of line, or lead, or rule, or square, to measure
Her length, her breadth, her deepness, or her height:
But him behooves to view in compass round
All that the ocean grasps in his long arms;
Be it where the yearly star doth scorch the ground,
180
Or where cold Boreas blows his bitter storms.
Rome was th' whole world, and all the world was Rome,
And if things nam'd their names do equalize,
When land and sea ye name, then name ye Rome;
And naming Rome ye land and sea comprise:
For th' ancient plot of Rome displayéd plain,
The map of all the wide world doth contain.
27
Thou that at Rome astonish'd dost behold
The antique pride, which menaced the sky,
These haughty heaps, these palaces of old,
These walls, these arcs, these baths, these temples hie;
Judge by these ample ruins' view, the rest
The which injurious time hath quite outworne,
Since of all workmen held in reck'ning best,
Yet these old fragments are for patterns born:
Then also mark, how Rome from day to day,
Repairing her decayéd fashion,
Renews herself with buildings rich and gay;
That one would judge, that the Roman dæmon
Doth yet himself with fatal hand enforce,
Again on foot to rear her pouldred corse.
28
He that hath seen a great oak dry and dead,
Yet clad with relics of some trophies old,
Lifting to heaven her agéd hoary head,
Whose foot in ground hath left but feeble hold;
But half disbowel'd lies above the ground,
Showing her wreathéd roots, and naked arms,
And on her trunk all rotten and unsound
Only supports herself for meat of worms;
And though she owe her fall to the first wind,
Yet of the devout people is ador'd,
And many young plants spring out of her rind;
Who such an oak hath seen let him record
That such this city's honor was of yore,
181
And 'mongst all cities flourishéd much more.
29
All that which Egypt whilome did devise,
All that which Greece their temples to embrave,
After th' Ionic, Attic, Doric guise,
Or Corinth skill'd in curious works to 'grave;
All that Lysippus' practick art could form,
Appeles' wit, or Phidias his skill,
Was wont this ancient city to adorn,
And the heaven itself with her wide wonders fill;
All that which Athens ever brought forth wise,
All that which Africa ever brought forth strange,
All that which Asia ever had of prize,
Was here to see. O marvelous great change:
Rome living, was the world's sole ornament,
And dead, is now the world's sole monument.
30
Like as the seeded field green grass first shows,
Then from green grass into a stalk doth spring,
And from a stalk into an ear forth grows,
Which ear the fruitfull grain doth shortly bring;
And as in season due the husband mows
The waving locks of those fair yellow hairs,
Which bound in sheaves, and laid in comely rows,
Upon the naked fields in stacks he rears:
So grew the Roman Empire by degree,
Till that barbarian hands it quite did spill,
And left of it but these old marks to see,
Of which all passersby do somewhat pill:
As they which glean, the relics use to gather,
Which th' husbandman behind him chanced to scatter.
31
That same is now nought but a campion wide,
182
Where all this world's pride once was situate.
No blame to thee, whosoever dost abide
By Nile, or Ganges, or Tigris, or Euphrate,
Ne Africa thereof guilty is, nor Spain,
Nor the bold people by the Thame's brinks,
Nor the brave, warlike brood of Alemagne,
Nor the born soldier which Rhine running drinks;
Thou only cause, O civil fury, art
Which sowing in the Aemathian fields thy spite,
Didst arm thy hand against thy proper heart;
To th' end that when thou wast in greatest height
To greatness grown, through long prosperity,
Thou then adown might'st fall more horribly.
32
Hope ye, my verses, that posterity
Of age ensuing shall you ever read?
Hope ye that ever immortality
So mean harp's work may challenge for her mead?
If under heaven any endurance were,
These monuments, which not in paper writ,
Put in porphyry and marble do appear,
Might well have hop'd to have obtained it.
Na th' less my lute, whom Phoebus deigned to give,
Cease not to sound these old antiquities:
For if that time do let thy glory live,
Well mayst thou boast, how ever base thou be,
That thou art first, which of thy Nation sung
Th' old nonor of the people gowné long.
L' Envoi
Bellay, first garland of free Poesy
That France brought forth, though fruitful of brave wits,
Well worthy thou of immorality,
That long hast travail'd by thy learned writs,
Old Rome out of her ashes to revive,
And give a second life to dead decays:
Needs must he all eternity survive,
183
That can to other give eternal days.
Thy days therefore are endless, and thy praise
Excelling all, that ever went before;
And after thee, 'gins Bartas high to raise
His heavenly Muse, th' Almighty to adore.
Live, happy spirits, th' honour of your name,
And fill the world with never dying fame.
~ Edmund Spenser
47:TO J. MILSAND, OF DIJON.

1840.

BOOK THE FIRST.
Who will, may hear Sordello's story told:
His story? Who believes me shall behold
The man, pursue his fortunes to the end,
Like me: for as the friendless-people's friend
Spied from his hill-top once, despite the din
And dust of multitudes, Pentapolin
Named o' the Naked Arm, I single out
Sordello, compassed murkily about
With ravage of six long sad hundred years.
Only believe me. Ye believe?
               Appears
Verona . . . Never,I should warn you first,
Of my own choice had this, if not the worst
Yet not the best expedient, served to tell
A story I could body forth so well
By making speak, myself kept out of view,
The very man as he was wont to do,
And leaving you to say the rest for him.
Since, though I might be proud to see the dim
Abysmal past divide its hateful surge,
Letting of all men this one man emerge
Because it pleased me, yet, that moment past,
I should delight in watching first to last
His progress as you watch it, not a whit
More in the secret than yourselves who sit
Fresh-chapleted to listen. But it seems
Your setters-forth of unexampled themes,
Makers of quite new men, producing them,
Would best chalk broadly on each vesture's hem
The wearer's quality; or take their stand,
Motley on back and pointing-pole in hand,
Beside him. So, for once I face ye, friends,
Summoned together from the world's four ends,
Dropped down from heaven or cast up from hell,
To hear the story I propose to tell.
Confess now, poets know the dragnet's trick,
Catching the dead, if fate denies the quick,
And shaming her; 't is not for fate to choose
Silence or song because she can refuse
Real eyes to glisten more, real hearts to ache
Less oft, real brows turn smoother for our sake:
I have experienced something of her spite;
But there 's a realm wherein she has no right
And I have many lovers. Say; but few
Friends fate accords me? Here they are: now view
The host I muster! Many a lighted face
Foul with no vestige of the grave's disgrace;
What else should tempt them back to taste our air
Except to see how their successors fare?
My audience! and they sit, each ghostly man
Striving to look as living as he can,
Brother by breathing brother; thou art set,
Clear-witted critic, by . . . but I 'll not fret
A wondrous soul of them, nor move death's spleen
Who loves not to unlock them. Friends! I mean
The living in good earnestye elect
Chiefly for lovesuppose not I reject
Judicious praise, who contrary shall peep,
Some fit occasion, forth, for fear ye sleep,
To glean your bland approvals. Then, appear,
Verona! staythou, spirit, come not near
Nownot this time desert thy cloudy place
To scare me, thus employed, with that pure face!
I need not fear this audience, I make free
With them, but then this is no place for thee!
The thunder-phrase of the Athenian, grown
Up out of memories of Marathon,
Would echo like his own sword's griding screech
Braying a Persian shield,the silver speech
Of Sidney's self, the starry paladin,
Turn intense as a trumpet sounding in
The knights to tilt,wert thou to hear! What heart
Have I to play my puppets, bear my part
Before these worthies?
           Lo, the past is hurled
In twain: up-thrust, out-staggering on the world,
Subsiding into shape, a darkness rears
Its outline, kindles at the core, appears
Verona. 'T is six hundred years and more
Since an event. The Second Friedrich wore
The purple, and the Third Honorius filled
The holy chair. That autumn eve was stilled:
A last remains of sunset dimly burned
O'er the far forests, like a torch-flame turned
By the wind back upon its bearer's hand
In one long flare of crimson; as a brand,
The woods beneath lay black. A single eye
From all Verona cared for the soft sky.
But, gathering in its ancient market-place,
Talked group with restless group; and not a face
But wrath made livid, for among them were
Death's staunch purveyors, such as have in care
To feast him. Fear had long since taken root
In every breast, and now these crushed its fruit,
The ripe hate, like a wine: to note the way
It worked while each grew drunk! Men grave and grey
Stood, with shut eyelids, rocking to and fro,
Letting the silent luxury trickle slow
About the hollows where a heart should be;
But the young gulped with a delirious glee
Some foretaste of their first debauch in blood
At the fierce news: for, be it understood,
Envoys apprised Verona that her prince
Count Richard of Saint Boniface, joined since
A year with Azzo, Este's Lord, to thrust
Taurello Salinguerra, prime in trust
With Ecelin Romano, from his seat
Ferrara,over zealous in the feat
And stumbling on a peril unaware,
Was captive, trammelled in his proper snare,
They phrase it, taken by his own intrigue.
Immediate succour from the Lombard League
Of fifteen cities that affect the Pope,
For Azzo, therefore, and his fellow-hope
Of the Guelf cause, a glory overcast!
Men's faces, late agape, are now aghast.
"Prone is the purple pavis; Este makes
"Mirth for the devil when he undertakes
"To play the Ecelin; as if it cost
"Merely your pushing-by to gain a post
"Like his! The patron tells ye, once for all,
"There be sound reasons that preferment fall
"On our beloved" . . .
           "Duke o' the Rood, why not?"
Shouted an Estian, "grudge ye such a lot?
"The hill-cat boasts some cunning of her own,
"Some stealthy trick to better beasts unknown,
"That quick with prey enough her hunger blunts,
"And feeds her fat while gaunt the lion hunts."
"Taurello," quoth an envoy, "as in wane
"Dwelt at Ferrara. Like an osprey fain
"To fly but forced the earth his couch to make
"Far inland, till his friend the tempest wake,
"Waits he the Kaiser's coming; and as yet
"That fast friend sleeps, and he too sleeps: but let
"Only the billow freshen, and he snuffs
"The aroused hurricane ere it enroughs
"The sea it means to cross because of him.
"Sinketh the breeze? His hope-sick eye grows dim;
"Creep closer on the creature! Every day
"Strengthens the Pontiff; Ecelin, they say,
"Dozes now at Oliero, with dry lips
"Telling upon his perished finger-tips
"How many ancestors are to depose
"Ere he be Satan's Viceroy when the doze
"Deposits him in hell. So, Guelfs rebuilt
"Their houses; not a drop of blood was spilt
"When Cino Bocchimpane chanced to meet
"Buccio VirtGod's wafer, and the street
"Is narrow! Tutti Santi, think, a-swarm
"With Ghibellins, and yet he took no harm!
"This could not last. Off Salinguerra went
"To Padua, Podest, 'with pure intent,'
"Said he, 'my presence, judged the single bar
"'To permanent tranquillity, may jar
"'No longer'so! his back is fairly turned?
"The pair of goodly palaces are burned,
"The gardens ravaged, and our Guelfs laugh, drunk
"A week with joy. The next, their laughter sunk
"In sobs of blood, for they found, some strange way,
"Old Salinguerra back againI say,
"Old Salinguerra in the town once more
"Uprooting, overturning, flame before,
"Blood fetlock-high beneath him. Azzo fled;
"Who 'scaped the carnage followed; then the dead
"Were pushed aside from Salinguerra's throne,
"He ruled once more Ferrara, all alone,
"Till Azzo, stunned awhile, revived, would pounce
"Coupled with Boniface, like lynx and ounce,
"On the gorged bird. The burghers ground their teeth
"To see troop after troop encamp beneath
"I' the standing corn thick o'er the scanty patch
"It took so many patient months to snatch
"Out of the marsh; while just within their walls
"Men fed on men. At length Taurello calls
"A parley: 'let the Count wind up the war!'
"Richard, light-hearted as a plunging star,
"Agrees to enter for the kindest ends
"Ferrara, flanked with fifty chosen friends,
"No horse-boy more, for fear your timid sort
"Should fly Ferrara at the bare report.
"Quietly through the town they rode, jog-jog;
"'Ten, twenty, thirty,curse the catalogue
"'Of burnt Guelf houses! Strange, Taurello shows
"'Not the least sign of life'whereat arose
"A general growl: 'How? With his victors by?
"'I and my Veronese? My troops and I?
"'Receive us, was your word?' So jogged they on,
"Nor laughed their host too openly: once gone
"Into the trap!"
         Six hundred years ago!
Such the time's aspect and peculiar woe
(Yourselves may spell it yet in chronicles,
Albeit the worm, our busy brother, drills
His sprawling path through letters anciently
Made fine and large to suit some abbot's eye)
When the new Hohenstauffen dropped the mask,
Flung John of Brienne's favour from his casque,
Forswore crusading, had no mind to leave
Saint Peter's proxy leisure to retrieve
Losses to Otho and to Barbaross,
Or make the Alps less easy to recross;
And, thus confirming Pope Honorius' fear,
Was excommunicate that very year.
"The triple-bearded Teuton come to life!"
Groaned the Great League; and, arming for the strife,
Wide Lombardy, on tiptoe to begin,
Took up, as it was Guelf or Ghibellin,
Its cry: what cry?
         "The Emperor to come!"
His crowd of feudatories, all and some,
That leapt down with a crash of swords, spears, shields,
One fighter on his fellow, to our fields,
Scattered anon, took station here and there,
And carried it, till now, with little care
Cannot but cry for him; how else rebut
Us longer?cliffs, an earthquake suffered jut
In the mid-sea, each domineering crest
Which nought save such another throe can wrest
From out (conceive) a certain chokeweed grown
Since o'er the waters, twine and tangle thrown
Too thick, too fast accumulating round,
Too sure to over-riot and confound
Ere long each brilliant islet with itself,
Unless a second shock save shoal and shelf,
Whirling the sea-drift wide: alas, the bruised
And sullen wreck! Sunlight to be diffused
For that!sunlight, 'neath which, a scum at first,
The million fibres of our chokeweed nurst
Dispread themselves, mantling the troubled main,
And, shattered by those rocks, took hold again,
So kindly blazed itthat same blaze to brood
O'er every cluster of the multitude
Still hazarding new clasps, ties, filaments,
An emulous exchange of pulses, vents
Of nature into nature; till some growth
Unfancied yet, exuberantly clothe
A surface solid now, continuous, one:
"The Pope, for us the People, who begun
"The People, carries on the People thus,
"To keep that Kaiser off and dwell with us!"
See you?
    Or say, Two Principles that live
Each fitly by its Representative.
"Hill-cat"who called him so?the gracefullest
Adventurer, the ambiguous stranger-guest
Of Lombardy (sleek but that ruffling fur,
Those talons to their sheath!) whose velvet purr
Soothes jealous neighbours when a Saxon scout
Arpo or Yoland, is it?one without
A country or a name, presumes to couch
Beside their noblest; until men avouch
That, of all Houses in the Trevisan,
Conrad descries no fitter, rear or van,
Than Ecelo! They laughed as they enrolled
That name at Milan on the page of gold,
Godego's lord,Ramon, Marostica,
Cartiglion, Bassano, Loria,
And every sheep cote on the Suabian's fief!
No laughter when his son, "the Lombard Chief"
Forsooth, as Barbarossa's path was bent
To Italy along the Vale of Trent,
Welcomed him at Roncaglia! Sadness now
The hamlets nested on the Tyrol's brow,
The Asolan and Euganean hills,
The Rhetian and the Julian, sadness fills
Them all, for Ecelin vouchsafes to stay
Among and care about them; day by day
Choosing this pinnacle, the other spot,
A castle building to defend a cot,
A cot built for a castle to defend,
Nothing but castles, castles, nor an end
To boasts how mountain ridge may join with ridge
By sunken gallery and soaring bridge.
He takes, in brief, a figure that beseems
The griesliest nightmare of the Church's dreams,
A Signory firm-rooted, unestranged
From its old interests, and nowise changed
By its new neighbourhood: perchance the vaunt
Of Otho, "my own Este shall supplant
"Your Este," come to pass. The sire led in
A son as cruel; and this Ecelin
Had sons, in turn, and daughters sly and tall
And curling and compliant; but for all
Romano (so they styled him) throve, that neck
Of his so pinched and white, that hungry cheek
Proved 't was some fiend, not him, the man's-flesh went
To feed: whereas Romano's instrument,
Famous Taurello Salinguerra, sole
I' the world, a tree whose boughs were slipt the bole
Successively, why should not he shed blood
To further a design? Men understood
Living was pleasant to him as he wore
His careless surcoat, glanced some missive o'er,
Propped on his truncheon in the public way,
While his lord lifted writhen hands to pray,
Lost at Oliero's convent.
             Hill-cats, face
Our Azzo, our Guelf Lion! Why disgrace
A worthiness conspicuous near and far
(Atii at Rome while free and consular,
Este at Padua who repulsed the Hun)
By trumpeting the Church's princely son?
Styled Patron of Rovigo's Polesine,
Ancona's march, Ferrara's . . . ask, in fine,
Our chronicles, commenced when some old monk
Found it intolerable to be sunk
(Vexed to the quick by his revolting cell)
Quite out of summer while alive and well:
Ended when by his mat the Prior stood,
'Mid busy promptings of the brotherhood,
Striving to coax from his decrepit brains
The reason Father Porphyry took pains
To blot those ten lines out which used to stand
First on their charter drawn by Hildebrand.
The same night wears. Verona's rule of yore
Was vested in a certain Twenty-four;
And while within his palace these debate
Concerning Richard and Ferrara's fate,
Glide we by clapping doors, with sudden glare
Of cressets vented on the dark, nor care
For aught that 's seen or heard until we shut
The smother in, the lights, all noises but
The carroch's booming: safe at last! Why strange
Such a recess should lurk behind a range
Of banquet-rooms? Your fingerthusyou push
A spring, and the wall opens, would you rush
Upon the banqueters, select your prey,
Waiting (the slaughter-weapons in the way
Strewing this very bench) with sharpened ear
A preconcerted signal to appear;
Or if you simply crouch with beating heart,
Bearing in some voluptuous pageant part
To startle them. Nor mutes nor masquers now;
Nor any . . . does that one man sleep whose brow
The dying lamp-flame sinks and rises o'er?
What woman stood beside him? not the more
Is he unfastened from the earnest eyes
Because that arras fell between! Her wise
And lulling words are yet about the room,
Her presence wholly poured upon the gloom
Down even to her vesture's creeping stir.
And so reclines he, saturate with her,
Until an outcry from the square beneath
Pierces the charm: he springs up, glad to breathe,
Above the cunning element, and shakes
The stupor off as (look you) morning breaks
On the gay dress, and, near concealed by it,
The lean frame like a half-burnt taper, lit
Erst at some marriage-feast, then laid away
Till the Armenian bridegroom's dying day,
In his wool wedding-robe.
             For hefor he,
Gate-vein of this hearts' blood of Lombardy,
(If I should falter now)for he is thine!
Sordello, thy forerunner, Florentine!
A herald-star I know thou didst absorb
Relentless into the consummate orb
That scared it from its right to roll along
A sempiternal path with dance and song
Fulfilling its allotted period,
Serenest of the progeny of God
Who yet resigns it not! His darling stoops
With no quenched lights, desponds with no blank troops
Of disenfranchised brilliances, for, blent
Utterly with thee, its shy element
Like thine upburneth prosperous and clear.
Still, what if I approach the august sphere
Named now with only one name, disentwine
That under-current soft and argentine
From its fierce mate in the majestic mass
Leavened as the sea whose fire was mixt with glass
In John's transcendent vision,launch once more
That lustre? Dante, pacer of the shore
Where glutted hell disgorgeth filthiest gloom,
Unbitten by its whirring sulphur-spume
Or whence the grieved and obscure waters slope
Into a darkness quieted by hope;
Plucker of amaranths grown beneath God's eye
In gracious twilights where his chosen lie,
I would do this! If I should falter now!
In Mantua territory half is slough,
Half pine-tree forest; maples, scarlet oaks
Breed o'er the river-beds; even Mincio chokes
With sand the summer through: but 't is morass
In winter up to Mantua walls. There was,
Some thirty years before this evening's coil,
One spot reclaimed from the surrounding spoil,
Goito; just a castle built amid
A few low mountains; firs and larches hid
Their main defiles, and rings of vineyard bound
The rest. Some captured creature in a pound,
Whose artless wonder quite precludes distress,
Secure beside in its own loveliness,
So peered with airy head, below, above,
The castle at its toils, the lapwings love
To glean among at grape-time. Pass within.
A maze of corridors contrived for sin,
Dusk winding-stairs, dim galleries got past,
You gain the inmost chambers, gain at last
A maple-panelled room: that haze which seems
Floating about the panel, if there gleams
A sunbeam over it, will turn to gold
And in light-graven characters unfold
The Arab's wisdom everywhere; what shade
Marred them a moment, those slim pillars made,
Cut like a company of palms to prop
The roof, each kissing top entwined with top,
Leaning together; in the carver's mind
Some knot of bacchanals, flushed cheek combined
With straining forehead, shoulders purpled, hair
Diffused between, who in a goat-skin bear
A vintage; graceful sister-palms! But quick
To the main wonder, now. A vault, see; thick
Black shade about the ceiling, though fine slits
Across the buttress suffer light by fits
Upon a marvel in the midst. Nay, stoop
A dullish grey-streaked cumbrous font, a group
Round it,each side of it, where'er one sees,
Upholds it; shrinking Caryatides
Of just-tinged marble like Eve's lilied flesh
Beneath her maker's finger when the fresh
First pulse of life shot brightening the snow.
The font's edge burthens every shoulder, so
They muse upon the ground, eyelids half closed;
Some, with meek arms behind their backs disposed,
Some, crossed above their bosoms, some, to veil
Their eyes, some, propping chin and cheek so pale,
Some, hanging slack an utter helpless length
Dead as a buried vestal whose whole strength
Goes when the grate above shuts heavily.
So dwell these noiseless girls, patient to see,
Like priestesses because of sin impure
Penanced for ever, who resigned endure,
Having that once drunk sweetness to the dregs.
And every eve, Sordello's visit begs
Pardon for them: constant as eve he came
To sit beside each in her turn, the same
As one of them, a certain space: and awe
Made a great indistinctness till he saw
Sunset slant cheerful through the buttress-chinks,
Gold seven times globed; surely our maiden shrinks
And a smile stirs her as if one faint grain
Her load were lightened, one shade less the stain
Obscured her forehead, yet one more bead slipt
From off the rosary whereby the crypt
Keeps count of the contritions of its charge?
Then with a step more light, a heart more large,
He may depart, leave her and every one
To linger out the penance in mute stone.
Ah, but Sordello? 'T is the tale I mean
To tell you.
      In this castle may be seen,
On the hill tops, or underneath the vines,
Or eastward by the mound of firs and pines
That shuts out Mantua, still in loneliness,
A slender boy in a loose page's dress,
Sordello: do but look on him awhile
Watching ('t is autumn) with an earnest smile
The noisy flock of thievish birds at work
Among the yellowing vineyards; see him lurk
('T is winter with its sullenest of storms)
Beside that arras-length of broidered forms,
On tiptoe, lifting in both hands a light
Which makes yon warrior's visage flutter bright
Ecelo, dismal father of the brood,
And Ecelin, close to the girl he wooed,
Auria, and their Child, with all his wives
From Agnes to the Tuscan that survives,
Lady of the castle, Adelaide. His face
Look, now he turns away! Yourselves shall trace
(The delicate nostril swerving wide and fine,
A sharp and restless lip, so well combine
With that calm brow) a soul fit to receive
Delight at every sense; you can believe
Sordello foremost in the regal class
Nature has broadly severed from her mass
Of men, and framed for pleasure, as she frames
Some happy lands, that have luxurious names,
For loose fertility; a footfall there
Suffices to upturn to the warm air
Half-germinating spices; mere decay
Produces richer life; and day by day
New pollen on the lily-petal grows,
And still more labyrinthine buds the rose.
You recognise at once the finer dress
Of flesh that amply lets in loveliness
At eye and ear, while round the rest is furled
(As though she would not trust them with her world)
A veil that shows a sky not near so blue,
And lets but half the sun look fervid through.
How can such love?like souls on each full-fraught
Discovery brooding, blind at first to aught
Beyond its beauty, till exceeding love
Becomes an aching weight; and, to remove
A curse that haunts such naturesto preclude
Their finding out themselves can work no good
To what they love nor make it very blest
By their endeavour,they are fain invest
The lifeless thing with life from their own soul,
Availing it to purpose, to control,
To dwell distinct and have peculiar joy
And separate interests that may employ
That beauty fitly, for its proper sake.
Nor rest they here; fresh births of beauty wake
Fresh homage, every grade of love is past,
With every mode of loveliness: then cast
Inferior idols off their borrowed crown
Before a coming glory. Up and down
Runs arrowy fire, while earthly forms combine
To throb the secret forth; a touch divine
And the scaled eyeball owns the mystic rod;
Visibly through his garden walketh God.
So fare they. Now revert. One character
Denotes them through the progress and the stir,
A need to blend with each external charm,
Bury themselves, the whole heart wide and warm,
In something not themselves; they would belong
To what they worshipstronger and more strong
Thus prodigally fedwhich gathers shape
And feature, soon imprisons past escape
The votary framed to love and to submit
Nor ask, as passionate he kneels to it,
Whence grew the idol's empery. So runs
A legend; light had birth ere moons and suns,
Flowing through space a river and alone,
Till chaos burst and blank the spheres were strown
Hither and thither, foundering and blind:
When into each of them rushed lightto find
Itself no place, foiled of its radiant chance.
Let such forego their just inheritance!
For there 's a class that eagerly looks, too,
On beauty, but, unlike the gentler crew,
Proclaims each new revealment born a twin
With a distinctest consciousness within,
Referring still the quality, now first
Revealed, to their own soulits instinct nursed
In silence, now remembered better, shown
More thoroughly, but not the less their own;
A dream come true; the special exercise
Of any special function that implies
The being fair, or good, or wise, or strong,
Dormant within their nature all along
Whose fault? So, homage, other souls direct
Without, turns inward. "How should this deject
"Thee, soul?" they murmur; "wherefore strength be quelled
"Because, its trivial accidents withheld,
"Organs are missed that clog the world, inert,
"Wanting a will, to quicken and exert,
"Like thineexistence cannot satiate,
"Cannot surprise? Laugh thou at envious fate,
"Who, from earth's simplest combination stampt
"With individualityuncrampt
"By living its faint elemental life,
"Dost soar to heaven's complexest essence, rife
"With grandeurs, unaffronted to the last,
"Equal to being all!"
           In truth? Thou hast
Life, thenwilt challenge life for us: our race
Is vindicated so, obtains its place
In thy ascent, the first of us; whom we
May follow, to the meanest, finally,
With our more bounded wills?
               Ah, but to find
A certain mood enervate such a mind,
Counsel it slumber in the solitude
Thus reached nor, stooping, task for mankind's good
Its nature just as life and time accord
"Too narrow an arena to reward
"Emprizethe world's occasion worthless since
"Not absolutely fitted to evince
"Its mastery!" Or if yet worse befall,
And a desire possess it to put all
That nature forth, forcing our straitened sphere
Contain it,to display completely here
The mastery another life should learn,
Thrusting in time eternity's concern,
So that Sordello. . . .
            Fool, who spied the mark
Of leprosy upon him, violet-dark
Already as he loiters? Born just now,
With the new century, beside the glow
And efflorescence out of barbarism;
Witness a Greek or two from the abysm
That stray through Florence-town with studious air,
Calming the chisel of that Pisan pair:
If Nicolo should carve a Christus yet!
While at Siena is Guidone set,
Forehead on hand; a painful birth must be
Matured ere Saint Eufemia's sacristy
Or transept gather fruits of one great gaze
At the moon: look you! The same orange haze,
The same blue stripe round thatand, in the midst,
Thy spectral whiteness, Mother-maid, who didst
Pursue the dizzy painter!
             Woe, then, worth
Any officious babble letting forth
The leprosy confirmed and ruinous
To spirit lodged in a contracted house!
Go back to the beginning, rather; blend
It gently with Sordello's life; the end
Is piteous, you may see, but much between
Pleasant enough. Meantime, some pyx to screen
The full-grown pest, some lid to shut upon
The goblin! So they found at Babylon,
(Colleagues, mad Lucius and sage Antonine)
Sacking the city, by Apollo's shrine,
In rummaging among the rarities,
A certain coffer; he who made the prize
Opened it greedily; and out there curled
Just such another plague, for half the world
Was stung. Crawl in then, hag, and couch asquat,
Keeping that blotchy bosom thick in spot
Until your time is ripe! The coffer-lid
Is fastened, and the coffer safely hid
Under the Loxian's choicest gifts of gold.
Who will may hear Sordello's story told,
And how he never could remember when
He dwelt not at Goito. Calmly, then,
About this secret lodge of Adelaide's
Glided his youth away; beyond the glades
On the fir-forest border, and the rim
Of the low range of mountain, was for him
No other world: but this appeared his own
To wander through at pleasure and alone.
The castle too seemed empty; far and wide
Might he disport; only the northern side
Lay under a mysterious interdict
Slight, just enough remembered to restrict
His roaming to the corridors, the vault
Where those font-bearers expiate their fault,
The maple-chamber, and the little nooks
And nests, and breezy parapet that looks
Over the woods to Mantua: there he strolled.
Some foreign women-servants, very old,
Tended and crept about himall his clue
To the world's business and embroiled ado
Distant a dozen hill-tops at the most.
And first a simple sense of life engrossed
Sordello in his drowsy Paradise;
The day's adventures for the day suffice
Its constant tribute of perceptions strange,
With sleep and stir in healthy interchange,
Suffice, and leave him for the next at ease
Like the great palmer-worm that strips the trees,
Eats the life out of every luscious plant,
And, when September finds them sere or scant,
Puts forth two wondrous winglets, alters quite,
And hies him after unforeseen delight.
So fed Sordello, not a shard dissheathed;
As ever, round each new discovery, wreathed
Luxuriantly the fancies infantine
His admiration, bent on making fine
Its novel friend at any risk, would fling
In gay profusion forth: a ficklest king,
Confessed those minions!eager to dispense
So much from his own stock of thought and sense
As might enable each to stand alone
And serve him for a fellow; with his own,
Joining the qualities that just before
Had graced some older favourite. Thus they wore
A fluctuating halo, yesterday
Set flicker and to-morrow filched away,
Those upland objects each of separate name,
Each with an aspect never twice the same,
Waxing and waning as the new-born host
Of fancies, like a single night's hoar-frost,
Gave to familiar things a face grotesque;
Only, preserving through the mad burlesque
A grave regard. Conceive! the orpine patch
Blossoming earliest on the log-house thatch
The day those archers wound along the vines
Related to the Chief that left their lines
To climb with clinking step the northern stair
Up to the solitary chambers where
Sordello never came. Thus thrall reached thrall;
He o'er-festooning every interval,
As the adventurous spider, making light
Of distance, shoots her threads from depth to height,
From barbican to battlement: so flung
Fantasies forth and in their centre swung
Our architect,the breezy morning fresh
Above, and merry,all his waving mesh
Laughing with lucid dew-drops rainbow-edged.
This world of ours by tacit pact is pledged
To laying such a spangled fabric low
Whether by gradual brush or gallant blow.
But its abundant will was baulked here: doubt
Rose tardily in one so fenced about
From most that nurtures judgment,care and pain:
Judgment, that dull expedient we are fain,
Less favoured, to adopt betimes and force
Stead us, diverted from our natural course
Of joyscontrive some yet amid the dearth,
Vary and render them, it may be, worth
Most we forego. Suppose Sordello hence
Selfish enough, without a moral sense
However feeble; what informed the boy
Others desired a portion in his joy?
Or say a ruthful chance broke woof and warp
A heron's nest beat down by March winds sharp,
A fawn breathless beneath the precipice,
A bird with unsoiled breast and unfilmed eyes
Warm in the brakecould these undo the trance
Lapping Sordello? Not a circumstance
That makes for you, friend Naddo! Eat fern-seed
And peer beside us and report indeed
If (your word) "genius" dawned with throes and stings
And the whole fiery catalogue, while springs,
Summers, and winters quietly came and went.
Time put at length that period to content,
By right the world should have imposed: bereft
Of its good offices, Sordello, left
To study his companions, managed rip
Their fringe off, learn the true relationship,
Core with its crust, their nature with his own:
Amid his wild-wood sights he lived alone.
As if the poppy felt with him! Though he
Partook the poppy's red effrontery
Till Autumn spoiled their fleering quite with rain,
And, turbanless, a coarse brown rattling crane
Lay bare. That 's gone: yet why renounce, for that,
His disenchanted tributariesflat
Perhaps, but scarce so utterly forlorn,
Their simple presence might not well be borne
Whose parley was a transport once: recall
The poppy's gifts, it flaunts you, after all,
A poppy:why distrust the evidence
Of each soon satisfied and healthy sense?
The new-born judgment answered, "little boots
"Beholding other creatures' attributes
"And having none!" or, say that it sufficed,
"Yet, could one but possess, oneself," (enticed
Judgment) "some special office!" Nought beside
Serves you? "Well then, be somehow justified
"For this ignoble wish to circumscribe
"And concentrate, rather than swell, the tribe
"Of actual pleasures: what, now, from without
"Effects it?proves, despite a lurking doubt,
"Mere sympathy sufficient, trouble spared?
"That, tasting joys by proxy thus, you fared
"The better for them?" Thus much craved his soul,
Alas, from the beginning love is whole
And true; if sure of nought beside, most sure
Of its own truth at least; nor may endure
A crowd to see its face, that cannot know
How hot the pulses throb its heart below.
While its own helplessness and utter want
Of means to worthily be ministrant
To what it worships, do but fan the more
Its flame, exalt the idol far before
Itself as it would have it ever be.
Souls like Sordello, on the contrary,
Coerced and put to shame, retaining will,
Care little, take mysterious comfort still,
But look forth tremblingly to ascertain
If others judge their claims not urged in vain,
And say for them their stifled thoughts aloud.
So, they must ever live before a crowd:
"Vanity," Naddo tells you.
               Whence contrive
A crowd, now? From these women just alive,
That archer-troop? Forth glidednot alone
Each painted warrior, every girl of stone,
Nor Adelaide (bent double o'er a scroll,
One maiden at her knees, that eve, his soul
Shook as he stumbled through the arras'd glooms
On them, for, 'mid quaint robes and weird perfumes,
Started the meagre Tuscan up,her eyes,
The maiden's, also, bluer with surprise)
But the entire out-world: whatever, scraps
And snatches, song and story, dreams perhaps,
Conceited the world's offices, and he
Had hitherto transferred to flower or tree,
Not counted a befitting heritage
Each, of its own right, singly to engage
Some man, no other,such now dared to stand
Alone. Strength, wisdom, grace on every hand
Soon disengaged themselves, and he discerned
A sort of human life: at least, was turned
A stream of lifelike figures through his brain.
Lord, liegeman, valvassor and suzerain,
Ere he could choose, surrounded him; a stuff
To work his pleasure on; there, sure enough:
But as for gazing, what shall fix that gaze?
Are they to simply testify the ways
He who convoked them sends his soul along
With the cloud's thunder or a dove's brood-song?
While they live each his life, boast each his own
Peculiar dower of bliss, stand each alone
In some one point where something dearest loved
Is easiest gainedfar worthier to be proved
Than aught he envies in the forest-wights!
No simple and self-evident delights,
But mixed desires of unimagined range,
Contrasts or combinations, new and strange,
Irksome perhaps, yet plainly recognized
By this, the sudden companyloves prized
By those who are to prize his own amount
Of loves. Once care because such make account,
Allow that foreign recognitions stamp
The current value, and his crowd shall vamp
Him counterfeits enough; and so their print
Be on the piece, 't is gold, attests the mint,
And "good," pronounce they whom his new appeal
Is made to: if their casual print conceal
This arbitrary good of theirs o'ergloss
What he has lived without, nor felt the loss
Qualities strange, ungainly, wearisome,
What matter? So must speech expand the dumb
Part-sigh, part-smile with which Sordello, late
Whom no poor woodland-sights could satiate,
Betakes himself to study hungrily
Just what the puppets his crude phantasy
Supposes notablest,popes, kings, priests, knights,
May please to promulgate for appetites;
Accepting all their artificial joys
Not as he views them, but as he employs
Each shape to estimate the other's stock
Of attributes, whereona marshalled flock
Of authorized enjoymentshe may spend
Himself, be men, now, as he used to blend
With tree and flowernay more entirely, else
'T were mockery: for instance, "How excels
"My life that chieftain's?" (who apprised the youth
Ecelin, here, becomes this month, in truth,
Imperial Vicar?) "Turns he in his tent
"Remissly? Be it somy head is bent
"Deliciously amid my girls to sleep.
"What if he stalks the Trentine-pass? Yon steep
"I climbed an hour ago with little toil:
"We are alike there. But can I, too, foil
"The Guelf's paid stabber, carelessly afford
"Saint Mark's a spectacle, the sleight o' the sword
"Baffling the treason in a moment?" Here
No rescue! Poppy he is none, but peer
To Ecelin, assuredly: his hand,
Fashioned no otherwise, should wield a brand
With Ecelin's successtry, now! He soon
Was satisfied, returned as to the moon
From earth; left each abortive boy's-attempt
For feats, from failure happily exempt,
In fancy at his beck. "One day I will
"Accomplish it! Are they not older still
"Not grown-up men and women? 'T is beside
"Only a dream; and though I must abide
"With dreams now, I may find a thorough vent
"For all myself, acquire an instrument
"For acting what these people act; my soul
"Hunting a body out may gain its whole
"Desire some day!" How else express chagrin
And resignation, show the hope steal in
With which he let sink from an aching wrist
The rough-hewn ash-bow? Straight, a gold shaft hissed
Into the Syrian air, struck Malek down
Superbly! "Crosses to the breach! God's Town
"Is gained him back!" Why bend rough ash-bows more?
Thus lives he: if not careless as before,
Comforted: for one may anticipate,
Rehearse the future, be prepared when fate
Shall have prepared in turn real men whose names
Startle, real places of enormous fames,
Este abroad and Ecelin at home
To worship him,Mantua, Verona, Rome
To witness it. Who grudges time so spent?
Rather test qualities to heart's content
Summon them, thrice selected, near and far
Compress the starriest into one star,
And grasp the whole at once!
               The pageant thinned
Accordingly; from rank to rank, like wind
His spirit passed to winnow and divide;
Back fell the simpler phantasms; every side
The strong clave to the wise; with either classed
The beauteous; so, till two or three amassed
Mankind's beseemingnesses, and reduced
Themselves eventually,graces loosed,
Strengths lavished,all to heighten up One Shape
Whose potency no creature should escape.
Can it be Friedrich of the bowmen's talk?
Surely that grape-juice, bubbling at the stalk,
Is some grey scorching Saracenic wine
The Kaiser quaffs with the Miramoline
Those swarthy hazel-clusters, seamed and chapped,
Or filberts russet-sheathed and velvet-capped,
Are dates plucked from the bough John Brienne sent
To keep in mind his sluggish armament
Of Canaan:Friedrich's, all the pomp and fierce
Demeanour! But harsh sounds and sights transpierce
So rarely the serene cloud where he dwells
Whose looks enjoin, whose lightest words are spells
On the obdurate! That right arm indeed
Has thunder for its slave; but where 's the need
Of thunder if the stricken multitude
Hearkens, arrested in its angriest mood,
While songs go up exulting, then dispread,
Dispart, disperse, lingering overhead
Like an escape of angels? 'T is the tune,
Nor much unlike the words his women croon
Smilingly, colourless and faint-designed
Each, as a worn-out queen's face some remind
Of her extreme youth's love-tales. "Eglamor
"Made that!" Half minstrel and half emperor,
What but ill objects vexed him? Such he slew.
The kinder sort were easy to subdue
By those ambrosial glances, dulcet tones;
And these a gracious hand advanced to thrones
Beneath him. Wherefore twist and torture this,
Striving to name afresh the antique bliss,
Instead of saying, neither less nor more,
He had discovered, as our world before,
Apollo? That shall be the name; nor bid
Me rag by rag expose how patchwork hid
The youthwhat thefts of every clime and day
Contributed to purfle the array
He climbed with (June at deep) some close ravine
Mid clatter of its million pebbles sheen,
Over which, singing soft, the runnel slipped
Elate with rains: into whose streamlet dipped
He foot, yet trod, you thought, with unwet sock
Though really on the stubs of living rock
Ages ago it crenelled; vines for roof,
Lindens for wall; before him, aye aloof,
Flittered in the cool some azure damsel-fly,
Born of the simmering quiet, there to die.
Emerging whence, Apollo still, he spied
Mighty descents of forest; multiplied
Tuft on tuft, here, the frolic myrtle-trees,
There gendered the grave maple stocks at ease.
And, proud of its observer, straight the wood
Tried old surprises on him; black it stood
A sudden barrier ('twas a cloud passed o'er)
So dead and dense, the tiniest brute no more
Must pass; yet presently (the cloud dispatched)
Each clump, behold, was glistering detached
A shrub, oak-boles shrunk into ilex-stems!
Yet could not he denounce the stratagems
He saw thro', till, hours thence, aloft would hang
White summer-lightnings; as it sank and sprang
To measure, that whole palpitating breast
Of heaven, 't was Apollo, nature prest
At eve to worship.
         Time stole: by degrees
The Pythons perish off; his votaries
Sink to respectful distance; songs redeem
Their pains, but briefer; their dismissals seem
Emphatic; only girls are very slow
To disappearhis Delians! Some that glow
O' the instant, more with earlier loves to wrench
Away, reserves to quell, disdains to quench;
Alike in one material circumstance
All soon or late adore Apollo! Glance
The bevy through, divine Apollo's choice,
His Daphne! "We secure Count Richard's voice
"In Este's counsels, good for Este's ends
"As our Taurello," say his faded friends,
"By granting him our Palma!"the sole child,
They mean, of Agnes Este who beguiled
Ecelin, years before this Adelaide
Wedded and turned him wicked: "but the maid
"Rejects his suit," those sleepy women boast.
She, scorning all beside, deserves the most
Sordello: so, conspicuous in his world
Of dreams sat Palma. How the tresses curled
Into a sumptuous swell of gold and wound
About her like a glory! even the ground
Was bright as with spilt sunbeams; breathe not, breathe
Not!poised, see, one leg doubled underneath,
Its small foot buried in the dimpling snow,
Rests, but the other, listlessly below,
O'er the couch-side swings feeling for cool air,
The vein-streaks swollen a richer violet where
The languid blood lies heavily; yet calm
On her slight prop, each flat and outspread palm,
As but suspended in the act to rise
By consciousness of beauty, whence her eyes
Turn with so frank a triumph, for she meets
Apollo's gaze in the pine glooms.
                 Time fleets:
That 's worst! Because the pre-appointed age
Approaches. Fate is tardy with the stage
And crowd she promised. Lean he grows and pale,
Though restlessly at rest. Hardly avail
Fancies to soothe him. Time steals, yet alone
He tarries here! The earnest smile is gone.
How long this might continue matters not;
For ever, possibly; since to the spot
None come: our lingering Taurello quits
Mantua at last, and light our lady flits
Back to her place disburthened of a care.
Strangeto be constant here if he is there!
Is it distrust? Oh, never! for they both
Goad Ecelin alike, Romano's growth
Is daily manifest, with Azzo dumb
And Richard wavering: let but Friedrich come,
Find matter for the minstrelsy's report
Lured from the Isle and its young Kaiser's court
To sing us a Messina morning up,
And, double rillet of a drinking cup,
Sparkle along to ease the land of drouth,
Northward to Provence that, and thus far south
The other! What a method to apprise
Neighbours of births, espousals, obsequies,
Which in their very tongue the Troubadour
Records! and his performance makes a tour,
For Trouveres bear the miracle about,
Explain its cunning to the vulgar rout,
Until the Formidable House is famed
Over the countryas Taurello aimed,
Who introduced, although the rest adopt,
The novelty. Such games, her absence stopped,
Begin afresh now Adelaide, recluse
No longer, in the light of day pursues
Her plans at Mantua: whence an accident
Which, breaking on Sordello's mixed content
Opened, like any flash that cures the blind,
The veritable business of mankind.


~ Robert Browning, Sordello - Book the First

48:The woods were long austere with snow: at last
Pink leaflets budded on the beech, and fast
Larches, scattered through pine-tree solitudes,
Brightened, "as in the slumbrous heart o' the woods
"Our buried year, a witch, grew young again
"To placid incantations, and that stain
"About were from her cauldron, green smoke blent
"With those black pines"so Eglamor gave vent
To a chance fancy. Whence a just rebuke
From his companion; brother Naddo shook
The solemnest of brows: "Beware," he said,
"Of setting up conceits in nature's stead!"
Forth wandered our Sordello. Nought so sure
As that to-day's adventure will secure
Palma, the visioned ladyonly pass
O'er you damp mound and its exhausted grass,
Under that brake where sundawn feeds the stalks
Of withered fern with gold, into those walks
Of pine and take her! Buoyantly he went.
Again his stooping forehead was besprent
With dew-drops from the skirting ferns. Then wide
Opened the great morass, shot every side
With flashing water through and through; a-shine,
Thick-steaming, all-alive. Whose shape divine,
Quivered i' the farthest rainbow-vapour, glanced
Athwart the flying herons? He advanced,
But warily; though Mincio leaped no more,
Each foot-fall burst up in the marish-floor
A diamond jet: and if he stopped to pick
Rose-lichen, or molest the leeches quick,
And circling blood-worms, minnow, newt or loach,
A sudden pond would silently encroach
This way and that. On Palma passed. The verge
Of a new wood was gained. She will emerge
Flushed, now, and panting,crowds to see,will own
She loves himBoniface to hear, to groan,
To leave his suit! One screen of pine-trees still
Opposes: butthe startling spectacle
Mantua, this time! Under the wallsa crowd
Indeed, real men and women, gay and loud
Round a pavilion. How he stood!
                 In truth
No prophecy had come to pass: his youth
In its prime nowand where was homage poured
Upon Sordello?born to be adored,
And suddenly discovered weak, scarce made
To cope with any, cast into the shade
By this and this. Yet something seemed to prick
And tingle in his blood; a sleighta trick
And much would be explained. It went for nought
The best of their endowments were ill bought
With his identity: nay, the conceit,
That this day's roving led to Palma's feet
Was not so vainlist! The word, "Palma!" Steal
Aside, and die, Sordello; this is real,
And thisabjure!
         What next? The curtains see
Dividing! She is there; and presently
He will be therethe proper You, at length
In your own cherished dress of grace and strength:
Most like, the very Boniface!
               Not so.
It was a showy man advanced; but though
A glad cry welcomed him, then every sound
Sank and the crowd disposed themselves around,
"This is not he," Sordello felt; while, "Place
"For the best Troubadour of Boniface!"
Hollaed the Jongleurs,"Eglamor, whose lay
"Concludes his patron's Court of Love to-day!"
Obsequious Naddo strung the master's lute
With the new lute-string, "Elys," named to suit
The song: he stealthily at watch, the while,
Biting his lip to keep down a great smile
Of pride: then up he struck. Sordello's brain
Swam; for he knew a sometime deed again;
So, could supply each foolish gap and chasm
The minstrel left in his enthusiasm,
Mistaking its true versionwas the tale
Not of Apollo? Only, what avail
Luring her down, that Elys an he pleased,
If the man dared no further? Has he ceased
And, lo, the people's frank applause half done,
Sordello was beside him, had begun
(Spite of indignant twitchings from his friend
The Trouvere) the true lay with the true end,
Taking the other's names and time and place
For his. On flew the song, a giddy race,
After the flying story; word made leap
Out word, rhymerhyme; the lay could barely keep
Pace with the action visibly rushing past:
Both ended. Back fell Naddo more aghast
Than some Egyptian from the harassed bull
That wheeled abrupt and, bellowing, fronted full
His plague, who spied a scarab 'neath the tongue,
And found 't was Apis' flank his hasty prong
Insulted. But the peoplebut the cries,
The crowding round, and proffering the prize!
For he had gained some prize. He seemed to shrink
Into a sleepy cloud, just at whose brink
One sight withheld him. There sat Adelaide,
Silent; but at her knees the very maid
Of the North Chamber, her red lips as rich,
The same pure fleecy hair; one weft of which,
Golden and great, quite touched his cheek as o'er
She leant, speaking some six words and no more.
He answered something, anything; and she
Unbound a scarf and laid it heavily
Upon him, her neck's warmth and all. Again
Moved the arrested magic; in his brain
Noises grew, and a light that turned to glare,
And greater glare, until the intense flare
Engulfed him, shut the whole scene from his sense.
And when he woke 't was many a furlong thence,
At home; the sun shining his ruddy wont;
The customary birds'-chirp; but his front
Was crownedwas crowned! Her scented scarf around
His neck! Whose gorgeous vesture heaps the ground?
A prize? He turned, and peeringly on him
Brooded the women-faces, kind and dim,
Ready to talk"The Jongleurs in a troop
"Had brought him back, Naddo and Squarcialupe
"And Tagliafer; how strange! a childhood spent
"In taking, well for him, so brave a bent!
"Since Eglamor," they heard, "was dead with spite,
"And Palma chose him for her minstrel."
                     Light
Sordello roseto think, now; hitherto
He had perceived. Sure, a discovery grew
Out of it all! Best live from first to last
The transport o'er again. A week he passed,
Sucking the sweet out of each circumstance,
From the bard's outbreak to the luscious trance
Bounding his own achievement. Strange! A man
Recounted an adventure, but began
Imperfectly; his own task was to fill
The frame-work up, sing well what he sung ill,
Supply the necessary points, set loose
As many incidents of little use
More imbecile the other, not to see
Their relative importance clear as he!
But, for a special pleasure in the act
Of singinghad he ever turned, in fact,
From Elys, to sing Elys?from each fit
Of rapture to contrive a song of it?
True, this snatch or the other seemed to wind
Into a treasure, helped himself to find
A beauty in himself; for, see, he soared
By means of that mere snatch, to many a hoard
Of fancies; as some falling cone bears soft
The eye along the fir-tree-spire, aloft
To a dove's nest. Then, how divine the cause
Why such performance should exact applause
From men, if they had fancies too? Did fate
Decree they found a beauty separate
In the poor snatch itself?"Take Elys, there,
"'Her head that 's sharp and perfect like a pear,
"'So close and smooth are laid the few fine locks
"'Coloured like honey oozed from topmost rocks
"'Sun-blanched the livelong summer'if they heard
"Just those two rhymes, assented at my word,
"And loved them as I love them who have run
"These fingers through those pale locks, let the sun
"Into the white cool skinwho first could clutch,
"Then praiseI needs must be a god to such.
"Or what if some, above themselves, and yet
"Beneath me, like their Eglamor, have set
"An impress on our gift? So, men believe
"And worship what they know not, nor receive
"Delight from. Have they fanciesslow, perchance,
"Not at their beck, which indistinctly glance
"Until, by song, each floating part be linked
"To each, and all grow palpable, distinct?"
He pondered this.
         Meanwhile, sounds low and drear
Stole on him, and a noise of footsteps, near
And nearer, while the underwood was pushed
Aside, the larches grazed, the dead leaves crushed
At the approach of men. The wind seemed laid;
Only, the trees shrunk slightly and a shade
Came o'er the sky although 't was midday yet:
You saw each half-shut downcast floweret
Flutter"a Roman bride, when they 'd dispart
"Her unbound tresses with the Sabine dart,
"Holding that famous rape in memory still,
"Felt creep into her curls the iron chill,
"And looked thus," Eglamor would sayindeed
'T is Eglamor, no other, these precede
Home hither in the woods. "'T were surely sweet
"Far from the scene of one's forlorn defeat
"To sleep!" judged Naddo, who in person led
Jongleurs and Trouveres, chanting at their head,
A scanty company; for, sooth to say,
Our beaten Troubadour had seen his day.
Old worshippers were something shamed, old friends
Nigh weary; still the death proposed amends.
"Let us but get them safely through my song
"And home again!" quoth Naddo.
                All along,
This man (they rest the bier upon the sand)
This calm corpse with the loose flowers in his hand,
Eglamor, lived Sordello's opposite.
For him indeed was Naddo's notion right,
And verse a temple-worship vague and vast,
A ceremony that withdrew the last
Opposing bolt, looped back the lingering veil
Which hid the holy place: should one so frail
Stand there without such effort? or repine
If much was blank, uncertain at the shrine
He knelt before, till, soothed by many a rite,
The power responded, and some sound or sight
Grew up, his own forever, to be fixed,
In rhyme, the beautiful, forever!mixed
With his own life, unloosed when he should please,
Having it safe at hand, ready to ease
All pain, remove all trouble; every time
He loosed that fancy from its bonds of rhyme,
(Like Perseus when he loosed his naked love)
Faltering; so distinct and far above
Himself, these fancies! He, no genius rare,
Transfiguring in fire or wave or air
At will, but a poor gnome that, cloistered up
In some rock-chamber with his agate cup,
His topaz rod, his seed-pearl, in these few
And their arrangement finds enough to do
For his best art. Then, how he loved that art!
The calling marking him a man apart
From menone not to care, take counsel for
Cold hearts, comfortless faces(Eglamor
Was neediest of his tribe)since verse, the gift,
Was his, and men, the whole of them, must shift
Without it, e'en content themselves with wealth
And pomp and power, snatching a life by stealth.
So, Eglamor was not without his pride!
The sorriest bat which cowers throughout noontide
While other birds are jocund, has one time
When moon and stars are blinded, and the prime
Of earth is his to claim, nor find a peer;
And Eglamor was noblest poet here
He well knew, 'mid those April woods he cast
Conceits upon in plenty as he passed,
That Naddo might suppose him not to think
Entirely on the coming triumph: wink
At the one weakness! 'T was a fervid child,
That song of his; no brother of the guild
Had e'er conceived its like. The rest you know,
The exaltation and the overthrow:
Our poet lost his purpose, lost his rank,
His lifeto that it came. Yet envy sank
Within him, as he heard Sordello out,
And, for the first time, shoutedtried to shout
Like others, not from any zeal to show
Pleasure that way: the common sort did so,
What else was Eglamor? who, bending down
As they, placed his beneath Sordello's crown,
Printed a kiss on his successor's hand,
Left one great tear on it, then joined his band
In time; for some were watching at the door:
Who knows what envy may effect? "Give o'er,
"Nor charm his lips, nor craze him!" (here one spied
And disengaged the withered crown)"Beside
"His crown? How prompt and clear those verses rang
"To answer yours! nay, sing them!" And he sang
Them calmly. Home he went; friends used to wait
His coming, zealous to congratulate;
But, to a manso quickly runs report
Could do no less than leave him, and escort
His rival. That eve, then, bred many a thought:
What must his future life be? was he brought
So low, who stood so lofty this Spring morn?
At length he said, "Best sleep now with my scorn,
"And by to-morrow I devise some plain
"Expedient!" So, he slept, nor woke again.
They found as much, those friends, when they returned
O'erflowing with the marvels they had learned
About Sordello's paradise, his roves
Among the hills and vales and plains and groves,
Wherein, no doubt, this lay was roughly cast,
Polished by slow degrees, completed last
To Eglamor's discomfiture and death.
Such form the chanters now, and, out of breath,
They lay the beaten man in his abode,
Naddo reciting that same luckless ode,
Doleful to hear. Sordello could explore
By means of it, however, one step more
In joy; and, mastering the round at length,
Learnt how to live in weakness as in strength,
When from his covert forth he stood, addressed
Eglamor, bade the tender ferns invest,
Primval pines o'ercanopy his couch,
And, most of all, his fame(shall I avouch
Eglamor heard it, dead though he might look,
And laughed as from his brow Sordello took
The crown, and laid on the bard's breast, and said
It was a crown, now, fit for poet's head?)
Continue. Nor the prayer quite fruitless fell.
A plant they have, yielding a three-leaved bell
Which whitens at the heart ere noon, and ails
Till evening; evening gives it to her gales
To clear away with such forgotten things
As are an eyesore to the morn: this brings
Him to their mind, and bears his very name.
So much for Eglamor. My own month came;
'T was a sunrise of blossoming and May.
Beneath a flowering laurel thicket lay
Sordello; each new sprinkle of white stars
That smell fainter of wine than Massic jars
Dug up at Bai, when the south wind shed
The ripest, made him happier; filleted
And robed the same, only a lute beside
Lay on the turf. Before him far and wide
The country stretched: Goito slept behind
The castle and its covert, which confined
Him with his hopes and fears; so fain of old
To leave the story of his birth untold.
At intervals, 'spite the fantastic glow
Of his Apollo-life, a certain low
And wretched whisper, winding through the bliss,
Admonished, no such fortune could be his,
All was quite false and sure to fade one day:
The closelier drew he round him his array
Of brilliance to expel the truth. But when
A reason for his difference from men
Surprised him at the grave, he took no rest
While aught of that old life, superbly dressed
Down to its meanest incident, remained
A mystery: alas, they soon explained
Away Apollo! and the tale amounts
To this: when at Vicenza both her counts
Banished the Vivaresi kith and kin,
Those Maltraversi hung on Ecelin,
Reviled him as he followed; he for spite
Must fire their quarter, though that self-same night
Among the flames young Ecelin was born
Of Adelaide, there too, and barely torn
From the roused populace hard on the rear,
By a poor archer when his chieftain's fear
Grew high; into the thick Elcorte leapt,
Saved her, and died; no creature left except
His child to thank. And when the full escape
Was knownhow men impaled from chine to nape
Unlucky Prata, all to pieces spurned
Bishop Pistore's concubines, and burned
Taurello's entire household, flesh and fell,
Missing the sweeter preysuch courage well
Might claim reward. The orphan, ever since,
Sordello, had been nurtured by his prince
Within a blind retreat where Adelaide
(For, once this notable discovery made,
The past at every point was understood)
Might harbour easily when times were rude,
When Azzo schemed for Palma, to retrieve
That pledge of Agnes Esteloth to leave
Mantua unguarded with a vigilant eye,
While there Taurello bode ambiguously
He who could have no motive now to moil
For his own fortunes since their utter spoil
As it were worth while yet (went the report)
To disengage himself from her. In short,
Apollo vanished; a mean youth, just named
His lady's minstrel, was to be proclaimed
How shall I phrase it?Monarch of the World!
For, on the day when that array was furled
Forever, and in place of one a slave
To longings, wild indeed, but longings save
In dreams as wild, suppressedone daring not
Assume the mastery such dreams allot,
Until a magical equipment, strength,
Grace, wisdom, decked him too,he chose at length,
Content with unproved wits and failing frame,
In virtue of his simple will, to claim
That mastery, no lessto do his best
With means so limited, and let the rest
Go by,the seal was set: never again
Sordello could in his own sight remain
One of the many, one with hopes and cares
And interests nowise distinct from theirs,
Only peculiar in a thriveless store
Of fancies, which were fancies and no more;
Never again for him and for the crowd
A common law was challenged and allowed
If calmly reasoned of, howe'er denied
By a mad impulse nothing justified
Short of Apollo's presence. The divorce
Is clear: why needs Sordello square his course
By any known example? Men no more
Compete with him than tree and flower before.
Himself, inactive, yet is greater far
Than such as act, each stooping to his star,
Acquiring thence his function; he has gained
The same result with meaner mortals trained
To strength or beauty, moulded to express
Each the idea that rules him; since no less
He comprehends that function, but can still
Embrace the others, take of might his fill
With Richard as of grace with Palma, mix
Their qualities, or for a moment fix
On one; abiding free meantime, uncramped
By any partial organ, never stamped
Strong, and to strength turning all energies
Wise, and restricted to becoming wise
That is, he loves not, nor possesses One
Idea that, star-like over, lures him on
To its exclusive purpose. "Fortunate!
"This flesh of mine ne'er strove to emulate
"A soul so varioustook no casual mould
"Of the first fancy and, contracted, cold,
"Clogged her foreversoul averse to change
"As flesh: whereas flesh leaves soul free to range,
"Remains itself a blank, cast into shade,
"Encumbers little, if it cannot aid.
"So, range, free soul!who, by self-consciousness,
"The last drop of all beauty dost express
"The grace of seeing grace, a quintessence
"For thee: while for the world, that can dispense
"Wonder on men who, themselves, wondermake
"A shift to love at second-hand, and take
"For idols those who do but idolize,
"Themselves,the world that counts men strong or wise,
"Who, themselves, court strength, wisdom,it shall bow
"Surely in unexampled worship now,
"Discerning me!"
         (Dear monarch, I beseech,
Notice how lamentably wide a breach
Is here: discovering this, discover too
What our poor world has possibly to do
With it! As pigmy natures as you please
So much the better for you; take your ease,
Look on, and laugh; style yourself God alone;
Strangle some day with a cross olive-stone!
All that is right enough: but why want us
To know that you yourself know thus and thus?)
"The world shall bow to me conceiving all
"Man's life, who see its blisses, great and small,
"Afarnot tasting any; no machine
"To exercise my utmost will is mine:
"Be mine mere consciousness! Let men perceive
"What I could do, a mastery believe,
"Asserted and established to the throng
"By their selected evidence of song
"Which now shall prove, whate'er they are, or seek
"To be, I amwhose words, not actions speak,
"Who change no standards of perfection, vex
"With no strange forms created to perplex,
"But just perform their bidding and no more,
"At their own satiating-point give o'er,
"While each shall love in me the love that leads
"His soul to power's perfection." Song, not deeds,
(For we get tired) was chosen. Fate would brook
Mankind no other organ; he would look
For not another channel to dispense
His own volition by, receive men's sense
Of its supremacywould live content,
Obstructed else, with merely verse for vent.
Nor should, for instance, strength an outlet seek
And, striving, be admired: nor grace bespeak
Wonder, displayed in gracious attitudes:
Nor wisdom, poured forth, change unseemly moods;
But he would give and take on song's one point.
Like some huge throbbing stone that, poised a-joint,
Sounds, to affect on its basaltic bed,
Must sue in just one accent; tempests shed
Thunder, and raves the windstorm: only let
That key by any little noise be set
The far benighted hunter's halloo pitch
On that, the hungry curlew chance to scritch
Or serpent hiss it, rustling through the rift,
However loud, however lowall lift
The groaning monster, stricken to the heart.
Lo ye, the world's concernment, for its part,
And this, for his, will hardly interfere!
Its businesses in blood and blaze this year
But wile the hour awaya pastime slight
Till he shall step upon the platform: right!
And, now thus much is settled, cast in rough,
Proved feasible, be counselled! thought enough,
Slumber, Sordello! any day will serve:
Were it a less digested plan! how swerve
To-morrow? Meanwhile eat these sun-dried grapes,
And watch the soaring hawk there! Life escapes
Merrily thus.
       He thoroughly read o'er
His truchman Naddo's missive six times more,
Praying him visit Mantua and supply
A famished world.
         The evening star was high
When he reached Mantua, but his fame arrived
Before him: friends applauded, foes connived,
And Naddo looked an angel, and the rest
Angels, and all these angels would be blest
Supremely by a songthe thrice-renowned
Goito-manufacture. Then he found
(Casting about to satisfy the crowd)
That happy vehicle, so late allowed,
A sore annoyance; 't was the song's effect
He cared for, scarce the song itself: reflect!
In the past life, what might be singing's use?
Just to delight his Delians, whose profuse
Praise, not the toilsome process which procured
That praise, enticed Apollo: dreams abjured,
No overleaping means for endstake both
For granted or take neither! I am loth
To say the rhymes at last were Eglamor's;
But Naddo, chuckling, bade competitors
Go pine; "the master certes meant to waste
"No effort, cautiously had probed the taste
"He 'd please anon: true bard, in short,disturb
"His title if they could; nor spur nor curb,
"Fancy nor reason, wanting in him; whence
"The staple of his verses, common sense:
"He built on man's broad naturegift of gifts,
"That power to build! The world contented shifts
"With counterfeits enough, a dreary sort
"Of warriors, statesmen, ere it can extort
"Its poet-soulthat 's, after all, a freak
"(The having eyes to see and tongue to speak)
"With our herd's stupid sterling happiness
"So plainly incompatible thatyes
"Yesshould a son of his improve the breed
"And turn out poet, he were cursed indeed!"
"Well, there 's Goito and its woods anon,
"If the worst happen; best go stoutly on
"Now!" thought Sordello.
             Ay, and goes on yet!
You pother with your glossaries to get
A notion of the Troubadour's intent
In rondel, tenzon, virlai or sirvent
Much as you study arras how to twirl
His angelot, plaything of page and girl
Once; but you surely reach, at last,or, no!
Never quite reach what struck the people so,
As from the welter of their time he drew
Its elements successively to view,
Followed all actions backward on their course,
And catching up, unmingled at the source,
Such a strength, such a weakness, added then
A touch or two, and turned them into men.
Virtue took form, nor vice refused a shape;
Here heaven opened, there was hell agape,
As Saint this simpered past in sanctity,
Sinner the other flared portentous by
A greedy people. Then why stop, surprised
At his success? The scheme was realized
Too suddenly in one respect: a crowd
Praising, eyes quick to see, and lips as loud
To speak, delicious homage to receive,
The woman's breath to feel upon his sleeve,
Who said, "But Anafestwhy asks he less
"Than Lucio, in your verses? how confess,
"It seemed too much but yestereve!"the youth,
Who bade him earnestly, "Avow the truth!
"You love Bianca, surely, from your song;
"I knew I was unworthy!"soft or strong,
In poured such tributes ere he had arranged
Ethereal ways to take them, sorted, changed,
Digested. Courted thus at unawares,
In spite of his pretensions and his cares,
He caught himself shamefully hankering
After the obvious petty joys that spring
From true life, fain relinquish pedestal
And condescend with pleasuresone and all
To be renounced, no doubt; for, thus to chain
Himself to single joys and so refrain
From tasting their quintessence, frustrates, sure,
His prime design; each joy must he abjure
Even for love of it.
           He laughed: what sage
But perishes if from his magic page
He look because, at the first line, a proof
'T was heard salutes him from the cavern roof?
"On! Give yourself, excluding aught beside,
"To the day's task; compel your slave provide
"Its utmost at the soonest; turn the leaf
"Thoroughly conned. These lays of yours, in brief
"Cannot men bear, now, something better?fly
"A pitch beyond this unreal pageantry
"Of essences? the period sure has ceased
"For such: present us with ourselves, at least,
"Not portions of ourselves, mere loves and hates
"Made flesh: wait not!"
            Awhile the poet waits
However. The first trial was enough:
He left imagining, to try the stuff
That held the imaged thing, and, let it writhe
Never so fiercely, scarce allowed a tithe
To reach the lighthis Language. How he sought
The cause, conceived a cure, and slow re-wrought
That Language,welding words into the crude
Mass from the new speech round him, till a rude
Armour was hammered out, in time to be
Approved beyond the Roman panoply
Melted to make it,boots not. This obtained
With some ado, no obstacle remained
To using it; accordingly he took
An action with its actors, quite forsook
Himself to live in each, returned anon
With the resulta creature, and, by one
And one, proceeded leisurely to equip
Its limbs in harness of his workmanship.
"Accomplished! Listen, Mantuans!" Fond essay!
Piece after piece that armour broke away,
Because perceptions whole, like that he sought
To clothe, reject so pure a work of thought
As language: thought may take perception's place
But hardly co-exist in any case,
Being its mere presentmentof the whole
By parts, the simultaneous and the sole
By the successive and the many. Lacks
The crowd perception? painfully it tacks
Thought to thought, which Sordello, needing such,
Has rent perception into: it's to clutch
And reconstructhis office to diffuse,
Destroy: as hard, then, to obtain a Muse
As to become Apollo. "For the rest,
"E'en if some wondrous vehicle expressed
"The whole dream, what impertinence in me
"So to express it, who myself can be
"The dream! nor, on the other hand, are those
"I sing to, over-likely to suppose
"A higher than the highest I present
"Now, which they praise already: be content
"Both parties, ratherthey with the old verse,
"And I with the old praisefar go, fare worse!"
A few adhering rivets loosed, upsprings
The angel, sparkles off his mail, which rings
Whirled from each delicatest limb it warps;
So might Apollo from the sudden corpse
Of Hyacinth have cast his luckless quoits.
He set to celebrating the exploits
Of Montfort o'er the Mountaineers.
                  Then came
The world's revenge: their pleasure, now his aim
Merely,what was it? "Not to play the fool
"So much as learn our lesson in your school!"
Replied the world. He found that, every time
He gained applause by any ballad-rhyme,
His auditory recognized no jot
As he intended, and, mistaking not
Him for his meanest hero, ne'er was dunce
Sufficient to believe himall, at once.
His will . . . conceive it caring for his will!
Mantuans, the main of them, admiring still
How a mere singer, ugly, stunted, weak,
Had Montfort at completely (so to speak)
His fingers' ends; while past the praise-tide swept
To Montfort, either's share distinctly kept:
The true meed for true merit!his abates
Into a sort he most repudiates,
And on them angrily he turns. Who were
The Mantuans, after all, that he should care
About their recognition, ay or no?
In spite of the convention months ago,
(Why blink the truth?) was not he forced to help
This same ungrateful audience, every whelp
Of Naddo's litter, make them pass for peers
With the bright band of old Goito years,
As erst he toiled for flower or tree? Why, there
Sat Palma! Adelaide's funereal hair
Ennobled the next corner. Ay, he strewed
A fairy dust upon that multitude,
Although he feigned to take them by themselves;
His giants dignified those puny elves,
Sublimed their faint applause. In short, he found
Himself still footing a delusive round,
Remote as ever from the self-display
He meant to compass, hampered every way
By what he hoped assistance. Wherefore then
Continue, make believe to find in men
A use he found not?
          Weeks, months, years went by
And lo, Sordello vanished utterly,
Sundered in twain; each spectral part at strife
With each; one jarred against another life;
The Poet thwarting hopelessly the Man
Who, fooled no longer, free in fancy ran
Here, there: let slip no opportunities
As pitiful, forsooth, beside the prize
To drop on him some no-time and acquit
His constant faith (the Poet-half's to wit
That waiving any compromise between
No joy and all joy kept the hunger keen
Beyond most methods)of incurring scoff
From the Man-portionnot to be put off
With self-reflectings by the Poet's scheme,
Though ne'er so bright. Who sauntered forth in dream,
Dressed any how, nor waited mystic frames,
Immeasurable gifts, astounding claims,
But just his sorry self?who yet might be
Sorrier for aught he in reality
Achieved, so pinioned Man's the Poet-part,
Fondling, in turn of fancy, verse; the Art
Developing his soul a thousand ways
Potent, by its assistance, to amaze
The multitude with majesties, convince
Each sort of nature that the nature's prince
Accosted it. Language, the makeshift, grew
Into a bravest of expedients, too;
Apollo, seemed it now, perverse had thrown
Quiver and bow away, the lyre alone
Sufficed. While, out of dream, his day's work went
To tune a crazy tenzon or sirvent
So hampered him the Man-part, thrust to judge
Between the bard and the bard's audience, grudge
A minute's toil that missed its due reward!
But the complete Sordello, Man and Bard,
John's cloud-girt angel, this foot on the land,
That on the sea, with, open in his hand,
A bitter-sweetling of a bookwas gone.
Then, if internal struggles to be one,
Which frittered him incessantly piecemeal,
Referred, ne'er so obliquely, to the real
Intruding Mantuans! ever with some call
To action while he pondered, once for all,
Which looked the easier effortto pursue
This course, still leap o'er paltry joys, yearn through
The present ill-appreciated stage
Of self-revealment, and compel the age
Know himor else, forswearing bard-craft, wake
From out his lethargy and nobly shake
Off timid habits of denial, mix
With men, enjoy like men. Ere he could fix
On aught, in rushed the Mantuans; much they cared
For his perplexity! Thus unprepared,
The obvious if not only shelter lay
In deeds, the dull conventions of his day
Prescribed the like of him: why not be glad
'T is settled Palma's minstrel, good or bad,
Submits to this and that established rule?
Let Vidal change, or any other fool,
His murrey-coloured robe for filamot,
And crop his hair; too skin-deep, is it not,
Such vigour? Then, a sorrow to the heart,
His talk! Whatever topics they might start
Had to be groped for in his consciousness
Straight, and as straight delivered them by guess.
Only obliged to ask himself, "What was,"
A speedy answer followed; but, alas,
One of God's large ones, tardy to condense
Itself into a period; answers whence
A tangle of conclusions must be stripped
At any risk ere, trim to pattern clipped,
They matched rare specimens the Mantuan flock
Regaled him with, each talker from his stock
Of sorted-o'er opinions, every stage,
Juicy in youth or desiccate with age,
Fruits like the fig-tree's, rathe-ripe, rotten-rich,
Sweet-sour, all tastes to take: a practice which
He too had not impossibly attained,
Once either of those fancy-flights restrained;
(For, at conjecture how might words appear
To others, playing there what happened here,
And occupied abroad by what he spurned
At home, 't was slipped, the occasion he returned
To seize he 'd strike that lyre adroitlyspeech,
Would but a twenty-cubit plectre reach;
A clever hand, consummate instrument,
Were both brought close; each excellency went
For nothing, else. The question Naddo asked,
Had just a lifetime moderately tasked
To answer, Naddo's fashion. More disgust
And more: why move his soul, since move it must
At minute's notice or as good it failed
To move at all? The end was, he retailed
Some ready-made opinion, put to use
This quip, that maxim, ventured reproduce
Gestures and tonesat any folly caught
Serving to finish with, nor too much sought
If false or true 't was spoken; praise and blame
Of what he said grew pretty nigh the same
Meantime awards to meantime acts: his soul,
Unequal to the compassing a whole,
Saw, in a tenth part, less and less to strive
About. And as for men in turn . . . contrive
Who could to take eternal interest
In them, so hate the worst, so love the best,
Though, in pursuance of his passive plan,
He hailed, decried, the proper way.
                   As Man
So figured he; and how as Poet? Verse
Came only not to a stand-still. The worse,
That his poor piece of daily work to do
Wasnot sink under any rivals; who
Loudly and long enough, without these qualms,
Turned, from Bocafoli's stark-naked psalms,
To Plara's sonnets spoilt by toying with,
"As knops that stud some almug to the pith
"Prickd for gum, wry thence, and crinkld worse
"Than pursd eyelids of a river-horse
"Sunning himself o' the slime when whirrs the breese"
Gad-fly, that is. He might compete with these!
Butbut
     "Observe a pompion-twine afloat;
"Pluck me one cup from off the castle-moat!
"Along with cup you raise leaf, stalk and root,
"The entire surface of the pool to boot.
"So could I pluck a cup, put in one song
"A single sight, did not my hand, too strong,
"Twitch in the least the root-strings of the whole.
"How should externals satisfy my soul?"
"Why that's precise the error Squarcialupe"
(Hazarded Naddo) "finds; 'the man can't stoop
"'To sing us out,' quoth he, 'a mere romance;
"'He'd fain do better than the best, enhance
"'The subjects' rarity, work problems out
"'Therewith.' Now, you 're a bard, a bard past doubt,
"And no philosopher; why introduce
"Crotchets like these? fine, surely, but no use
"In poetrywhich still must be, to strike,
"Based upon common sense; there's nothing like
"Appealing to our nature! what beside
"Was your first poetry? No tricks were tried
"In that, no hollow thrills, affected throes!
"'The man,' said we, 'tells his own joys and woes:
"'We'll trust him.' Would you have your songs endure?
"Build on the human heart!why, to be sure
"Yours is one sort of heartbut I mean theirs,
"Ours, every one's, the healthy heart one cares
"To build on! Central peace, mother of strength,
"That's father of . . . nay, go yourself that length,
"Ask those calm-hearted doers what they do
"When they have got their calm! And is it true,
"Fire rankles at the heart of every globe?
"Perhaps. But these are matters one may probe
"Too deeply for poetic purposes:
"Rather select a theory that . . . yes,
"Laugh! what does that prove?stations you midway
"And saves some little o'er-refining. Nay,
"That's rank injustice done me! I restrict
"The poet? Don't I hold the poet picked
"Out of a host of warriors, statesmen . . . did
"I tell you? Very like! As well you hid
"That sense of power, you have! True bards believe
"All able to achieve what they achieve
"That is, just nothingin one point abide
"Profounder simpletons than all beside.
"Oh, ay! The knowledge that you are a bard
"Must constitute your prime, nay sole, reward!"
So prattled Naddo, busiest of the tribe
Of genius-hauntershow shall I describe
What grubs or nips or rubs or ripsyour louse
For love, your flea for hate, magnanimous,
Malignant, Pappacoda, Tagliafer,
Picking a sustenance from wear and tear
By implements it sedulous employs
To undertake, lay down, mete out, o'er-toise
Sordello? Fifty creepers to elude
At once! They settled staunchly; shame ensued:
Behold the monarch of mankind succumb
To the last fool who turned him round his thumb,
As Naddo styled it! 'T was not worth oppose
The matter of a moment, gainsay those
He aimed at getting rid of; better think
Their thoughts and speak their speech, secure to slink
Back expeditiously to his safe place,
And chew the cudwhat he and what his race
Were really, each of them. Yet even this
Conformity was partial. He would miss
Some point, brought into contact with them ere
Assured in what small segment of the sphere
Of his existence they attended him;
Whence blunders, falsehoods rectifieda grim
Listslur it over! How? If dreams were tried,
His will swayed sicklily from side to side,
Nor merely neutralized his waking act
But tended e'en in fancy to distract
The intermediate will, the choice of means.
He lost the art of dreaming: Mantuan scenes
Supplied a baron, say, he sang before,
Handsomely reckless, full to running-o'er
Of gallantries; "abjure the soul, content
"With body, therefore!" Scarcely had he bent
Himself in dream thus low, when matter fast
Cried out, he found, for spirit to contrast
And task it duly; by advances slight,
The simple stuff becoming composite,
Count Lori grew Apollo: best recall
His fancy! Then would some rough peasant-Paul,
Like those old Ecelin confers with, glance
His gay apparel o'er; that countenance
Gathered his shattered fancies into one,
And, body clean abolished, soul alone
Sufficed the grey Paulician: by and by,
To balance the ethereality,
Passions were needed; foiled he sank again.
Meanwhile the world rejoiced ('t is time explain)
Because a sudden sickness set it free
From Adelaide. Missing the mother-bee,
Her mountain-hive Romano swarmed; at once
A rustle-forth of daughters and of sons
Blackened the valley. "I am sick too, old,
"Half-crazed I think; what good's the Kaiser's gold
"To such an one? God help me! for I catch
"My children's greedy sparkling eyes at watch
"'He bears that double breastplate on,' they say,
"'So many minutes less than yesterday!'
"Beside, Monk Hilary is on his knees
"Now, sworn to kneel and pray till God shall please
"Exact a punishment for many things
"You know, and some you never knew; which brings
"To memory, Azzo's sister Beatrix
"And Richard's Giglia are my Alberic's
"And Ecelin's betrothed; the Count himself
"Must get my Palma: Ghibellin and Guelf
"Mean to embrace each other." So began
Romano's missive to his fighting man
Taurelloon the Tuscan's death, away
With Friedrich sworn to sail from Naples' bay
Next month for Syria. Never thunder-clap
Out of Vesuvius' throat, like this mishap
Startled him. "That accursed Vicenza! I
"Absent, and she selects this time to die!
"Ho, fellows, for Vicenza!" Half a score
Of horses ridden dead, he stood before
Romano in his reeking spurs: too late
"Boniface urged me, Este could not wait,"
The chieftain stammered; "let me die in peace
"Forget me! Was it I who craved increase
"Of rule? Do you and Friedrich plot your worst
"Against the Father: as you found me first
"So leave me now. Forgive me! Palma, sure,
"Is at Goito still. Retain that lure
"Only be pacified!"
          The country rung
With such a piece of news: on every tongue,
How Ecelin's great servant, congeed off,
Had done a long day's service, so, might doff
The green and yellow, and recover breath
At Mantua, whither,since Retrude's death,
(The girlish slip of a Sicilian bride
From Otho's house, he carried to reside
At Mantua till the Ferrarese should pile
A structure worthy her imperial style,
The gardens raise, the statues there enshrine,
She never lived to see)although his line
Was ancient in her archives and she took
A pride in him, that city, nor forsook
Her child when he forsook himself and spent
A prowess on Romano surely meant
For his own growthwhither he ne'er resorts
If wholly satisfied (to trust reports)
With Ecelin. So, forward in a trice
Were shows to greet him. "Take a friend's advice,"
Quoth Naddo to Sordello, "nor be rash
"Because your rivals (nothing can abash
"Some folks) demur that we pronounced you best
"To sound the great man's welcome; 't is a test,
"Remember! Strojavacca looks asquint,
"The rough fat sloven; and there 's plenty hint
"Your pinions have received of late a shock
"Outsoar them, cobswan of the silver flock!
"Sing well!" A signal wonder, song 's no whit
Facilitated.
      Fast the minutes flit;
Another day, Sordello finds, will bring
The soldier, and he cannot choose but sing;
So, a last shift, quits Mantuaslow, alone:
Out of that aching brain, a very stone,
Song must be struck. What occupies that front?
Just how he was more awkward than his wont
The night before, when Naddo, who had seen
Taurello on his progress, praised the mien
For dignity no crosses could affect
Such was a joy, and might not he detect
A satisfaction if established joys
Were proved imposture? Poetry annoys
Its utmost: wherefore fret? Verses may come
Or keep away! And thus he wandered, dumb
Till evening, when he paused, thoroughly spent,
On a blind hill-top: down the gorge he went,
Yielding himself up as to an embrace.
The moon came out; like features of a face,
A querulous fraternity of pines,
Sad blackthorn clumps, leafless and grovelling vines
Also came out, made gradually up
The picture; 't was Goito's mountain-cup
And castle. He had dropped through one defile
He never dared explore, the Chief erewhile
Had vanished by. Back rushed the dream, enwrapped
Him wholly. 'T was Apollo now they lapped,
Those mountains, not a pettish minstrel meant
To wear his soul away in discontent,
Brooding on fortune's malice. Heart and brain
Swelled; he expanded to himself again,
As some thin seedling spice-tree starved and frail,
Pushing between cat's head and ibis' tail
Crusted into the porphyry pavement smooth,
Suffered remain just as it sprung, to soothe
The Soldan's pining daughter, never yet
Well in her chilly green-glazed minaret,
When rooted up, the sunny day she died,
And flung into the common court beside
Its parent tree. Come home, Sordello! Soon
Was he low muttering, beneath the moon,
Of sorrow saved, of quiet evermore,
Since from the purpose, he maintained before,
Only resulted wailing and hot tears.
Ah, the slim castle! dwindled of late years,
But more mysterious; gone to ruintrails
Of vine through every loop-hole. Nought avails
The night as, torch in hand, he must explore
The maple chamber: did I say, its floor
Was made of intersecting cedar beams?
Worn now with gaps so large, there blew cold streams
Of air quite from the dungeon; lay your ear
Close and 't is like, one after one, you hear
In the blind darkness water drop. The nests
And nooks retain their long ranged vesture-chests
Empty and smelling of the iris root
The Tuscan grated o'er them to recruit
Her wasted wits. Palma was gone that day,
Said the remaining women. Last, he lay
Beside the Carian group reserved and still.
The Body, the Machine for Acting Will,
Had been at the commencement proved unfit;
That for Demonstrating, Reflecting it,
Mankindno fitter: was the Will Itself
In fault?
     His forehead pressed the moonlit shelf
Beside the youngest marble maid awhile;
Then, raising it, he thought, with a long smile,
"I shall be king again!" as he withdrew
The envied scarf; into the font he threw
His crown
     Next day, no poet! "Wherefore?" asked
Taurello, when the dance of Jongleurs, masked
As devils, ended; "don't a song come next?"
The master of the pageant looked perplexed
Till Naddo's whisper came to his relief.
"His Highness knew what poets were: in brief,
"Had not the tetchy race prescriptive right
"To peevishness, caprice? or, call it spite,
"One must receive their nature in its length
"And breadth, expect the weakness with the strength!"
So phrasing, till, his stock of phrases spent,
The easy-natured soldier smiled assent,
Settled his portly person, smoothed his chin,
And nodded that the bull-bait might begin.


~ Robert Browning, Sordello - Book the Second


IN CHAPTERS



   14 Christianity
   7 Poetry
   7 Philosophy
   5 Fiction
   2 Occultism
   1 Integral Yoga
   1 Alchemy


   8 Saint Augustine of Hippo
   6 Plotinus
   4 Robert Browning
   4 H P Lovecraft
   2 Aleister Crowley


   8 City of God
   4 Lovecraft - Poems
   4 Browning - Poems
   2 Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 04
   2 Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 02
   2 Crowley - Poems


1963-08-07, #Agenda Vol 04, #unset, #Poetry
  
   Its giving me the same kind of nights again. But its odd, I dont know what it means, last night there were buildings made of a kind of red granite, and many Japanese. Japanese women sewing and making ladies dresses and fabrics; Japanese youths climbing up and down the buildings with great agility; and everybody was very nice. But it was always the same thing (gesture of a collapse or a fall into a hole): you know, a path opens up, you walk on it, and after a while, plop! it all collapses. And there was a young Japanese man who was climbing up and down the place absolutely like a monkey, with extraordinary ease: Oh, I thought, but thats what I should do! But when I approached the spot, the things he used to climb up and down vanished! Finally, after a while, I made a decision: I will go just the same, and found myself downstairs. There I met some people and all sorts of things took place. But what I found interesting was that all the buildings (there were a great many of them, countless buildings!) were made of a kind of red Porphyry. It was very beautiful, Granite or Porphyry, there were both. Wide stairs, big halls, large gardenseven in the gardens there were constructions.
  

1.ac - Lyric of Love to Leah, #Crowley - Poems, #Aleister Crowley, #Philosophy
  Soul through sense & spirit swims
  Through the pregnant Porphyry
  Dome of lapiz-lazuli:-

1.ac - The Wizard Way, #Crowley - Poems, #Aleister Crowley, #Philosophy
  Glowing in the amber sky
  To ensorcelled Porphyry
  She hath eyes of glittering flake

1f.lovecraft - The Doom That Came to Sarnath, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Poetry
   green banks, adorned here and there with bowers of vines and sweet
   blossoms, and seats and benches of marble and Porphyry. And there were
   many small shrines and temples where one might rest or pray to small

1f.lovecraft - The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Poetry
   distance. Oriab is a very great isle, and its port of Baharna a mighty
   city. The wharves of Baharna are of Porphyry, and the city rises in
   great stone terraces behind them, having streets of steps that are
  --
   ivory statues in gleaming rows. And when night comes they climb tall
   terraces in the dew, and sit on carved benches of Porphyry scanning the
   stars, or lean over pale balustrades to gaze at the towns steep

1f.lovecraft - The White Ship, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Poetry
   Cathuria are all palaces, each built over a fragrant canal bearing the
   waters of the sacred Narg. Of marble and Porphyry are the houses, and
   roofed with glittering gold that reflects the rays of the sun and

1f.lovecraft - Under the Pyramids, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Poetry
   impious objects of nourishment they had flung on the pavement before
   it. Though the staircase was huge and steep, fashioned of vast Porphyry
   blocks as if for the feet of a giant, the ascent seemed virtually

1.pbs - Fiordispina, #Shelley - Poems, #Percy Bysshe Shelley, #Fiction
  
  A table near of polished Porphyry.
  They seemed to wear a beauty from the eye

1.rb - An Epistle Containing the Strange Medical Experience of Kar, #Browning - Poems, #Robert Browning, #Poetry
   Scales off in purer flakes, shines clearer-grained,
   Cracks 'twixt the pestle and the Porphyry,
   In fine exceeds our produce. Scalp-disease

1.rb - Protus, #Browning - Poems, #Robert Browning, #Poetry
  ``Of empery beginning with a god;
  ``Born in the Porphyry chamber at Byzant,
  ``Queens by his cradle, proud and ministrant:

1.rb - Sordello - Book the First, #Browning - Poems, #Robert Browning, #Poetry
  Striving to coax from his decrepit brains
  The reason Father Porphyry took pains
  To blot those ten lines out which used to stand

1.rb - Sordello - Book the Second, #Browning - Poems, #Robert Browning, #Poetry
  Pushing between cat's head and ibis' tail
  Crusted into the Porphyry pavement smooth,
  Suffered remain just as it sprung, to soothe

BOOK I. -- PART II. THE EVOLUTION OF SYMBOLISM IN ITS APPROXIMATE ORDER, #The Secret Doctrine, #H P Blavatsky, #Theosophy
  "the Unknown DARKNESS." The Babylonians passed over this principle in silence: "To that god,"
  says Porphyry, in [[Peri apoches empsuchon]], "who is above all things, neither external speech ought
  to be addressed, nor yet that which is inward. . . . ." Hesiod begins his theogony with: "Chaos of all
  --
  as the point itself stood to the circumference of the Circle, which cannot be defined, according to
  Hermes Trismegistus. Porphyry shows that the Monad and the Duad of Pythagoras are identical with
  Plato's infinite and finite in "Philebus" -- or what Plato calls the [[apeiron]] and [[peras]]. It is the latter

BOOK VIII. - Some account of the Socratic and Platonic philosophy, and a refutation of the doctrine of Apuleius that the demons should be worshipped as mediators between gods and men, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  
  But we need not determine from what source he learned these things,whether it was from the books of the ancients who preceded him, or, as is more likely, from the words of the apostle: "Because that which is known of God has been manifested among them, for God hath manifested it to them. For His invisible things from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by those things which have been made, also His eternal power and Godhead."[306] From whatever source he may have derived this knowledge, then, I think I have made it sufficiently plain that I have not chosen the Platonic philosophers undeservedly as the parties with whom to discuss; because the question we have just taken up concerns the natural theology,the question, namely, whether sacred rites are to be performed to one God, or to many, for the sake of the happiness which is to be after death. I have specially chosen them because their juster thoughts concerning the one God who made heaven and earth, have made them illustrious among philosophers. This has given them such superiority to all others in the judgment of posterity, that, though Aristotle, the disciple of Plato, a man of eminent abilities, inferior in eloquence to Plato, yet far superior to many in that respect, had founded the Peripatetic sect,so called because they were in the habit of walking about during their disputations, and though he had, through the greatness of his fame, gathered very many disciples into his school, even during the life of his master; and though Plato at his death[Pg 324] was succeeded in his school, which was called the Academy, by Speusippus, his sister's son, and Xenocrates, his beloved disciple, who, together with their successors, were called from this name of the school, Academics; nevertheless the most illustrious recent philosophers, who have chosen to follow Plato, have been unwilling to be called Peripatetics, or Academics, but have preferred the name of Platonists. Among these were the renowned Plotinus, Iamblichus, and Porphyry, who were Greeks, and the African Apuleius, who was learned both in the Greek and Latin tongues. All these, however, and the rest who were of the same school, and also Plato himself, thought that sacred rites ought to be performed in honour of many gods.
  

BOOK VII. - Of the select gods of the civil theology, and that eternal life is not obtained by worshipping them, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  
  Varro has not spoken of that Atys, nor sought out any interpretation for him, in memory of whose being loved by Ceres the Gallus is mutilated. But the learned and wise Greeks have by no means been silent about an interpretation so holy and so illustrious. The celebrated philosopher Porphyry has said that Atys signifies the flowers of spring, which is the most beautiful season, and therefore was mutilated because the flower falls before the fruit appears.[281] They have not, then, compared the man himself, or rather that semblance of a man they called Atys, to the flower, but his male organs,these, indeed, fell whilst he was living. Did I say fell? nay, truly they did not fall, nor were they plucked off, but torn away. Nor when that flower was lost did any fruit follow, but rather sterility. What, then, do they say is signified by the castrated Atys himself, and whatever remained[Pg 292] to him after his castration? To what do they refer that? What interpretation does that give rise to? Do they, after vain endeavours to discover an interpretation, seek to persuade men that that is rather to be believed which report has made public, and which has also been written concerning his having been a mutilated man? Our Varro has very properly opposed this, and has been unwilling to state it; for it certainly was not unknown to that most learned man.
  

BOOK XIII. - That death is penal, and had its origin in Adam's sin, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  
  At present let us go on, as we have begun, to give some explanation regarding the bodies of our first parents. I say then, that, except as the just consequence of sin, they would not have been subjected even to this death, which is good to the good,this death, which is not exclusively known and believed in by a few, but is known to all, by which soul and body are separated, and by which the body of an animal which was but now visibly living is now visibly dead. For though there can be no manner of doubt that the souls of the just and holy dead live in peaceful rest, yet so much better would it be for them to be alive in healthy, well-conditioned bodies, that even those who hold the tenet that it is most blessed to be quit of every kind of body, condemn this opinion in spite of themselves. For no one will dare to set wise men, whether yet to die or already dead,in other words, whether already quit of the body, or shortly to be so,above the immortal gods, to whom the Supreme, in Plato, promises as a munificent gift life indissoluble, or in eternal union with their bodies. But this same Plato thinks that nothing better can happen to men than that they pass through life piously and justly, and, being separated from their bodies, be received into the bosom of the gods, who never abandon theirs; "that, oblivious of the past, they may revisit the upper air, and conceive the longing to return again to the body."[597] Virgil[Pg 543] is applauded for borrowing this from the Platonic system. Assuredly Plato thinks that the souls of mortals cannot always be in their bodies, but must necessarily be dismissed by death; and, on the other hand, he thinks that without bodies they cannot endure for ever, but with ceaseless alternation pass from life to death, and from death to life. This difference, however, he sets between wise men and the rest, that they are carried after death to the stars, that each man may repose for a while in a star suitable for him, and may thence return to the labours and miseries of mortals when he has become oblivious of his former misery, and possessed with the desire of being embodied. Those, again, who have lived foolishly transmigrate into bodies fit for them, whether human or bestial. Thus he has appointed even the good and wise souls to a very hard lot indeed, since they do not receive such bodies as they might always and even immortally inhabit, but such only as they can neither permanently retain nor enjoy eternal purity without. Of this notion of Plato's, we have in a former book already said[598] that Porphyry was ashamed in the light of these Christian times, so that he not only emancipated human souls from a destiny in the bodies of beasts, but also contended for the liberation of the souls of the wise from all bodily ties, so that, escaping from all flesh, they might, as bare and blessed souls, dwell with the Father time without end. And that he might not seem to be outbid by Christ's promise of life everlasting to His saints, he also established purified souls in endless felicity, without return to their former woes; but, that he might contradict Christ, he denies the resurrection of incorruptible bodies, and maintains that these souls will live eternally, not only without earthly bodies, but without any bodies at all. And yet, whatever he meant by this teaching, he at least did not teach that these souls should offer no religious observance to the gods who dwelt in bodies. And why did he not, unless because he did not believe that the souls, even though separate from the body, were superior to those gods? Wherefore, if these philosophers will not dare (as I think they will not) to set human souls above the gods who are most blessed, and yet are tied eternally[Pg 544] to their bodies, why do they find that absurd which the Christian faith preaches,[599] namely, that our first parents were so created that, if they had not sinned, they would not have been dismissed from their bodies by any death, but would have been endowed with immortality as the reward of their obedience, and would have lived eternally with their bodies; and further, that the saints will in the resurrection inhabit those very bodies in which they have here toiled, but in such sort that neither shall any corruption or unwieldiness be suffered to attach to their flesh, nor any grief or trouble to cloud their felicity?
  
  --
  
  [7] "Hitherto the Apologies had been framed to meet particular exigencies: they were either brief and pregnant statements of the Christian doctrines; refutations of prevalent calumnies; invectives against the follies and crimes of Paganism; or confutations of anti-Christian works like those of Celsus, Porphyry, or Julian, closely following their course of argument, and rarely expanding into general and comprehensive views of the great conflict."Milman, History of Christianity, iii. c. 10. We are not acquainted with any more complete preface to the City of God than is contained in the two or three pages which Milman has devoted to this subject.
  
  --
  
  [412] The Platonists of the Alexandrian and Athenian schools, from Plotinus to Proclus, are at one in recognising in God three principles or hypostases: 1st, the One or the Good, which is the Father; 2d, the Intelligence or Word, which is the Son; 3d, the Soul, which is the universal principle of life. But as to the nature and order of these hypostases, the Alexandrians are no longer at one with the school of Athens. On the very subtle differences between the Trinity of Plotinus and that of Porphyry, consult M. Jules Simon, ii. 110, and M. Vacherot, ii. 37.Saisset.
  

BOOK XII. - Of the creation of angels and men, and of the origin of evil, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  
  But these things are declared to be false by the loud testimony of religion and truth; for religion truthfully promises a true blessedness, of which we shall be eternally assured, and which cannot be interrupted by any disaster. Let us therefore keep to the straight path, which is Christ, and, with Him as our Guide and Saviour, let us turn away in heart and mind from the unreal and futile cycles of the godless. Porphyry, Platonist though he was, abjured the opinion of his school, that in these cycles souls are ceaselessly passing away and returning, either being struck with the extravagance of the idea, or sobered by his knowledge of Christianity. As I mentioned in the tenth book,[559] he preferred saying that the soul, as it had been sent into the world that it might know evil, and be purged and delivered from it, was never again exposed to such an experience after it had once returned to[Pg 512] the Father. And if he abjured the tenets of his school, how much more ought we Christians to abominate and avoid an opinion so unfounded and hostile to our faith? But having disposed of these cycles and escaped out of them, no necessity compels us to suppose that the human race had no beginning in time, on the ground that there is nothing new in nature which, by I know not what cycles, has not at some previous period existed, and is not hereafter to exist again. For if the soul, once delivered, as it never was before, is never to return to misery, then there happens in its experience something which never happened before; and this, indeed, something of the greatest consequence, to wit, the secure entrance into eternal felicity. And if in an immortal nature there can occur a novelty, which never has been, nor ever shall be, reproduced by any cycle, why is it disputed that the same may occur in mortal natures? If they maintain that blessedness is no new experience to the soul, but only a return to that state in which it has been eternally, then at least its deliverance from misery is something new, since, by their own showing, the misery from which it is delivered is itself, too, a new experience. And if this new experience fell out by accident, and was not embraced in the order of things appointed by Divine Providence, then where are those determinate and measured cycles in which no new thing happens, but all things are reproduced as they were before? If, however, this new experience was embraced in that providential order of nature (whether the soul was exposed to the evil of this world for the sake of discipline, or fell into it by sin), then it is possible for new things to happen which never happened before, and which yet are not extraneous to the order of nature. And if the soul is able by its own imprudence to create for itself a new misery, which was not unforeseen by the Divine Providence, but was provided for in the order of nature along with the deliverance from it, how can we, even with all the rashness of human vanity, presume to deny that God can create new thingsnew to the world, but not to Himwhich He never before created, but yet foresaw from all eternity? If they say that it is indeed true that ransomed souls return no more to misery, but that even so no new thing[Pg 513] happens, since there always have been, now are, and ever shall be a succession of ransomed souls, they must at least grant that in this case there are new souls to whom the misery and the deliverance from it are new. For if they maintain that those souls out of which new men are daily being made (from whose bodies, if they have lived wisely, they are so delivered that they never return to misery) are not new, but have existed from eternity, they must logically admit that they are infinite. For however great a finite number of souls there were, that would not have sufficed to make perpetually new men from eternity,men whose souls were to be eternally freed from this mortal state, and never afterwards to return to it. And our philosophers will find it hard to explain how there is an infinite number of souls in an order of nature which they require shall be finite, that it may be known by God.
  
  --
  
  It is obvious, that in attri buting the creation of the other animals to those inferior gods who were made by the Supreme, he meant it to be understood that the immortal part was taken from God Himself, and that these minor creators added the mortal part; that is to say, he meant them to be considered the creators of our bodies, but not of our souls. But since Porphyry maintains that if the soul is to be purified, all entanglement with a body must be escaped from; and at the same time agrees with Plato and the Platonists in[Pg 519] thinking that those who have not spent a temperate and honourable life return to mortal bodies as their punishment (to bodies of brutes in Plato's opinion, to human bodies in Porphyry's); it follows that those whom they would have us worship as our parents and authors, that they may plausibly call them gods, are, after all, but the forgers of our fetters and chains,not our creators, but our jailers and turnkeys, who lock us up in the most bitter and melancholy house of correction. Let the Platonists, then, either cease menacing us with our bodies as the punishment of our souls, or preaching that we are to worship as gods those whose work upon us they exhort us by all means in our power to avoid and escape from. But, indeed, both opinions are quite false. It is false that souls return again to this life to be punished; and it is false that there is any other creator of anything in heaven or earth, than He who made the heaven and the earth. For if we live in a body only to expiate our sins, how says Plato in another place, that the world could not have been the most beautiful and good, had it not been filled with all kinds of creatures, mortal and immortal?[570] But if our creation even as mortals be a divine benefit, how is it a punishment to be restored to a body, that is, to a divine benefit? And if God, as Plato continually maintains, embraced in His eternal intelligence the ideas both of the universe and of all the animals, how, then, should He not with His own hand make them all? Could He be unwilling to be the constructor of works, the idea and plan of which called for His ineffable and ineffably to be praised intelligence?
  

BOOK XIX. - A review of the philosophical opinions regarding the Supreme Good, and a comparison of these opinions with the Christian belief regarding happiness, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  
  But it may be replied, Who is this God, or what proof is there that He alone is worthy to receive sacrifice from the Romans? One must be very blind to be still asking who this God is. He is the God whose prophets predicted the things we see accomplished. He is the God from whom Abraham received the assurance, "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed."[658] That this was fulfilled in Christ, who according to the flesh sprang from that seed, is recognised, whether they will or no, even by those who have continued to be the enemies of this name. He is the God whose divine Spirit spake by the men whose predictions I cited in the preceding books, and which are fulfilled in the Church which has extended over all the world. This is the God whom Varro, the most learned of the Romans, supposed to be Jupiter, though he knows not what he says; yet I think it right to note the circumstance that a man of such learning was unable to suppose that this God had no existence or was contemptible, but believed Him to be the same as the supreme God. In fine, He is the God whom Porphyry, the most learned of the philosophers, though the bitterest enemy of the Christians, confesses to be a great God, even according to the oracles of those whom he esteems gods.
  
  --
  
  23. Porphyry's account of the responses given by the oracles of the gods concerning Christ.
  
  For in his book called , in which he collects and comments upon the responses which he pretends were uttered by the gods concerning divine things, he says I give his own words as they have been translated from the Greek: "To one who inquired what god he should propitiate in order to recall his wife from Christianity, Apollo replied in the following verses." Then the following words are given as those of Apollo: "You will probably find it easier to write lasting characters on the water, or lightly fly like a bird through the air, than to restore right feeling in your impious wife once she has polluted herself. Let her remain as she pleases in her foolish deception, and sing false laments to her dead God, who was condemned by right-minded judges, and perished ignominiously by a violent death." Then after these verses of Apollo (which we have given in a Latin version that does not preserve the metrical form), he goes on to say: "In these verses Apollo exposed the incurable corruption of the Christians, saying that the Jews, rather than the Christians, recognised God." See how he misrepresents Christ, giving the Jews the preference to the Christians in the recognition of God. This was his explanation of Apollo's verses, in which he says that Christ was put to death by right-minded or just judges,in other words, that He deserved to die. I leave the responsibility of this oracle regarding Christ on the lying interpreter of Apollo, or on this philosopher who believed it or possibly himself invented it; as to its agreement with Porphyry's opinions or with other oracles, we shall in a little have something to say. In this passage, however, he says that the Jews, as the interpreters of God, judged justly in pronouncing Christ to be worthy of the most shameful death. He should have listened, then, to this God of the Jews to whom he bears this testimony, when that God says, "He that sacrificeth to any other god save to the Lord alone shall be utterly destroyed." But let us come to still plainer expressions, and hear how great a God Porphyry thinks the God of the Jews is. Apollo, he says, when asked whether word, i.e. reason, or law is the better thing, replied in the following verses. Then[Pg 335] he gives the verses of Apollo, from which I select the following as sufficient: "God, the Generator, and the King prior to all things, before whom heaven and earth, and the sea, and the hidden places of hell tremble, and the deities themselves are afraid, for their law is the Father whom the holy Hebrews honour." In this oracle of his god Apollo, Porphyry avowed that the God of the Hebrews is so great that the deities themselves are afraid before Him. I am surprised, therefore, that when God said, He that sacrificeth to other gods shall be utterly destroyed, Porphyry himself was not afraid lest he should be destroyed for sacrificing to other gods.
  
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  When Porphyry or Hecate praises Christ, and adds that He gave Himself to the Christians as a fatal gift, that they might be involved in error, he exposes, as he thinks, the causes of this error. But before I cite his words to that purpose, I would ask, If Christ did thus give Himself to the Christians to involve them in error, did He do so willingly, or against His will? If willingly, how is He righteous? If against His will, how is He blessed? However, let us hear the causes of this error. "There are," he says, "in a certain place very small earthly spirits, subject to the power of evil demons. The wise men of the Hebrews, among whom was this Jesus, as you have heard from the oracles of Apollo cited above, turned religious persons from these very wicked demons and minor spirits, and taught them rather to worship the celestial gods, and especially to adore God the Father. This," he said, "the gods enjoin; and we have already shown how they admonish the soul to turn to God, and comm and it to worship Him. But the ignorant and the ungodly, who are not destined to receive favours from the gods, nor to know the immortal Jupiter, not listening to the gods and their messages, have turned away from all gods, and have not only refused to hate, but have venerated the prohibited demons. Professing to worship God, they refuse to do those things by which alone God is worshipped. For God, indeed, being the Father of all, is in need of nothing; but for us it is good to adore Him by means of justice, chastity, and other virtues, and thus to make life itself a prayer to Him, by inquiring into and imitating His nature. For inquiry," says he, "purifies and imitation deifies us, by moving us nearer to Him." He is right in so far as he proclaims God the Father, and the conduct by which we should worship Him. Of such precepts the prophetic books of the Hebrews are full, when they praise or blame the life of the saints. But in speaking of the Christians he is in error,[Pg 338] and calumniates them as much as is desired by the demons whom he takes for gods, as if it were difficult for any man to recollect the disgraceful and shameful actions which used to be done in the theatres and temples to please the gods, and to compare with these things what is heard in our churches, and what is offered to the true God, and from this comparison to conclude where character is edified, and where it is ruined. But who but a diabolical spirit has told or suggested to this man so manifest and vain a lie, as that the Christians reverenced rather than hated the demons, whose worship the Hebrews prohibited? But that God, whom the Hebrew sages worshipped, forbids sacrifice to be offered even to the holy angels of heaven and divine powers, whom we, in this our pilgrimage, venerate and love as our most blessed fellow-citizens. For in the law which God gave to His Hebrew people He utters this menace, as in a voice of thunder: "He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed."[659] And that no one might suppose that this prohibition extends only to the very wicked demons and earthly spirits, whom this philosopher calls very small and inferior,for even these are in the Scripture called gods, not of the Hebrews, but of the nations, as the Septuagint translators have shown in the psalm where it is said, "For all the gods of the nations are demons,"[660]that no one might suppose, I say, that sacrifice to these demons was prohibited, but that sacrifice might be offered to all or some of the celestials, it was immediately added, "save unto the Lord alone."[661] The God of the Hebrews, then, to whom this renowned philosopher bears this signal testimony, gave to His Hebrew people a law, composed in the Hebrew language, and not obscure and unknown, but published now in every nation, and in this law it is written, "He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord alone, he shall be utterly destroyed." What need is there to seek further proofs in the law or the prophets of this same thing? Seek, we need not say, for the passages are neither few nor difficult to find; but what need to collect[Pg 339] and apply to my argument the proofs which are thickly sown and obvious, and by which it appears clear as day that sacrifice may be paid to none but the supreme and true God? Here is one brief but decided, even menacing, and certainly true utterance of that God whom the wisest of our adversaries so highly extol. Let this be listened to, feared, fulfilled, that there may be no disobedient soul cut off. "He that sacrifices," He says, not because He needs anything, but because it behoves us to be His possession. Hence the Psalmist in the Hebrew Scriptures sings, "I have said to the Lord, Thou art my God, for Thou needest not my good."[662] For we ourselves, who are His own city, are His most noble and worthy sacrifice, and it is this mystery we celebrate in our sacrifices, which are well known to the faithful, as we have explained in the preceding books. For through the prophets the oracles of God declared that the sacrifices which the Jews offered as a shadow of that which was to be would cease, and that the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun, would offer one sacrifice. From these oracles, which we now see accomplished, we have made such selections as seemed suitable to our purpose in this work. And therefore, where there is not this righteousness whereby the one supreme God rules the obedient city according to His grace, so that it sacrifices to none but Him, and whereby, in all the citizens of this obedient city, the soul consequently rules the body and reason the vices in the rightful order, so that, as the individual just man, so also the community and people of the just, live by faith, which works by love, that love whereby man loves God as He ought to be loved, and his neighbour as himself,there, I say, there is not an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of right, and by a community of interests. But if there is not this, there is not a people, if our definition be true, and therefore there is no republic; for where there is no people there can be no republic.
  

BOOK X. - Porphyrys doctrine of redemption, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  object:BOOK X. - Porphyrys doctrine of redemption
  author class:Saint Augustine of Hippo
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    IN THIS BOOK AUGUSTINE TEACHES THAT THE GOOD ANGELS WISH GOD ALONE, WHOM THEY THEMSELVES SERVE, TO RECEIVE THAT DIVINE HONOUR WHICH IS RENDERED BY SACRIFICE, AND WHICH IS CALLED "LATREIA." HE THEN GOES ON TO DISPUTE AGAINST Porphyry ABOUT THE PRINCIPLE AND WAY OF THE SOUL'S CLEANSING AND DELIVERANCE.
  
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  9. Of the illicit arts connected with demonolatry, and of which the Platonist Porphyry adopts some, and discards others.
  
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  For even Porphyry promises some kind of purgation of the soul by the help of theurgy, though he does so with some hesitation and shame, and denies that this art can secure to any one a return to God; so that you can detect his opinion vacillating between the profession of philosophy and an art which he feels to be presumptuous and sacrilegious. For at[Pg 395] one time he warns us to avoid it as deceitful, and prohibited by law, and dangerous to those who practise it; then again, as if in deference to its advocates, he declares it useful for cleansing one part of the soul, not, indeed, the intellectual part, by which the truth of things intelligible, which have no sensible images, is recognised, but the spiritual part, which takes cognizance of the images of things material. This part, he says, is prepared and fitted for intercourse with spirits and angels, and for the vision of the gods, by the help of certain theurgic consecrations, or, as they call them, mysteries. He acknowledges, however, that these theurgic mysteries impart to the intellectual soul no such purity as fits it to see its God, and recognise the things that truly exist. And from this acknowledgment we may infer what kind of gods these are, and what kind of vision of them is imparted by theurgic consecrations, if by it one cannot see the things which truly exist. He says, further, that the rational, or, as he prefers calling it, the intellectual soul, can pass into the heavens without the spiritual part being cleansed by theurgic art, and that this art cannot so purify the spiritual part as to give it entrance to immortality and eternity. And therefore, although he distinguishes angels from demons, asserting that the habitation of the latter is in the air, while the former dwell in the ether and empyrean, and although he advises us to cultivate the friendship of some demon, who may be able after our death to assist us, and elevate us at least a little above the earth,for he owns that it is by another way we must reach the heavenly society of the angels,he at the same time distinctly warns us to avoid the society of demons, saying that the soul, expiating its sin after death, execrates the worship of demons by whom it was entangled. And of theurgy itself, though he recommends it as reconciling angels and demons, he cannot deny that it treats with powers which either themselves envy the soul its purity, or serve the arts of those who do envy it. He complains of this through the mouth of some Chaldan or other: "A good man in Chalda complains," he says, "that his most strenuous efforts to cleanse his soul were frustrated, because another man, who had influence in these matters, and who envied him purity, had prayed to the powers, and bound them by his conjuring[Pg 396] not to listen to his request. Therefore," adds Porphyry, "what the one man bound, the other could not loose." And from this he concludes that theurgy is a craft which accomplishes not only good but evil among gods and men; and that the gods also have passions, and are perturbed and agitated by the emotions which Apuleius attri buted to demons and men, but from which he preserved the gods by that sublimity of residence, which, in common with Plato, he accorded to them.
  
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  But here we have another and a much more learned Platonist than Apuleius, Porphyry, to wit, asserting that, by I know not what theurgy, even the gods themselves are subjected to passions and perturbations; for by adjurations they were so bound and terrified that they could not confer purity of soul,were so terrified by him who imposed on them a wicked command, that they could not by the same theurgy be freed from that terror, and fulfil the righteous behest of him who prayed to them, or do the good he sought. Who does not see that all these things are fictions of deceiving demons, unless he be a wretched slave of theirs, and an alien from the grace of the true Liberator? For if the Chaldan had been dealing with good gods, certainly a well-disposed man, who sought to purify his own soul, would have had more influence with them than an evil-disposed man seeking to hinder him. Or, if the gods were just, and considered the man unworthy of the purification he sought, at all events they should not have been terrified by an envious person, nor hindered, as Porphyry avows, by the fear of a stronger deity, but should have simply denied the boon on their own free judgment. And it is surprising that that well-disposed Chaldan, who desired to purify his soul by theurgical rites, found no superior deity who could either terrify the frightened gods still more, and force them to confer the boon, or compose their fears, and so enable them to do good without compulsion,even supposing that the good theurgist had no rites by which he himself might purge away the taint of fear from the gods whom he invoked for the purification of his own soul. And why is it that there is a god who has power to terrify the inferior gods, and none who has[Pg 397] power to free them from fear? Is there found a god who listens to the envious man, and frightens the gods from doing good? and is there not found a god who listens to the well-disposed man, and removes the fear of the gods that they may do him good? O excellent theurgy! O admirable purification of the soul!a theurgy in which the violence of an impure envy has more influence than the entreaty of purity and holiness. Rather let us abominate and avoid the deceit of such wicked spirits, and listen to sound doctrine. As to those who perform these filthy cleansings by sacrilegious rites, and see in their initiated state (as he further tells us, though we may question this vision) certain wonderfully lovely appearances of angels or gods, this is what the apostle refers to when he speaks of "Satan transforming himself into an angel of light."[399] For these are the delusive appearances of that spirit who longs to entangle wretched souls in the deceptive worship of many and false gods, and to turn them aside from the true worship of the true God, by whom alone they are cleansed and healed, and who, as was said of Proteus, "turns himself into all shapes,"[400] equally hurtful, whether he assaults us as an enemy, or assumes the disguise of a friend.
  
  11. Of Porphyry's epistle to Anebo, in which he asks for information about the differences among demons.
  
  It was a better tone which Porphyry adopted in his letter to Anebo the Egyptian, in which, assuming the character of an inquirer consulting him, he unmasks and explodes these sacrilegious arts. In that letter, indeed, he repudiates all demons, whom he maintains to be so foolish as to be attracted by the sacrificial vapours, and therefore residing not in the ether, but in the air beneath the moon, and indeed in the moon itself. Yet he has not the boldness to attri bute to all the demons all the deceptions and malicious and foolish practices which justly move his indignation. For, though he acknowledges that as a race demons are foolish, he so far accommodates himself to popular ideas as to call some of them benignant demons. He expresses surprise that sacrifices not only incline the gods, but also compel and force them to do what men wish; and he is at a loss to understand how the[Pg 398] sun and moon, and other visible celestial bodies,for bodies he does not doubt that they are,are considered gods, if the gods are distinguished from the demons by their incorporeality; also, if they are gods, how some are called beneficent and others hurtful, and how they, being corporeal, are numbered with the gods, who are incorporeal. He inquires further, and still as one in doubt, whether diviners and wonderworkers are men of unusually powerful souls, or whether the power to do these things is communicated by spirits from without. He inclines to the latter opinion, on the ground that it is by the use of stones and herbs that they lay spells on people, and open closed doors, and do similar wonders. And on this account, he says, some suppose that there is a race of beings whose property it is to listen to men,a race deceitful, full of contrivances, capable of assuming all forms, simulating gods, demons, and dead men, and that it is this race which brings about all these things which have the appearance of good or evil, but that what is really good they never help us in, and are indeed unacquainted with, for they make wickedness easy, but throw obstacles in the path of those who eagerly follow virtue; and that they are filled with pride and rashness, delight in sacrificial odours, are taken with flattery. These and the other characteristics of this race of deceitful and malicious spirits, who come into the souls of men and delude their senses, both in sleep and waking, he describes not as things of which he is himself convinced, but only with so much suspicion and doubt as to cause him to speak of them as commonly received opinions. We should sympathize with this great philosopher in the difficulty he experienced in acquainting himself with and confidently assailing the whole fraternity of devils, which any Christian old woman would unhesitatingly describe and most unreservedly detest. Perhaps, however, he shrank from offending Anebo, to whom he was writing, himself the most eminent patron of these mysteries, or the others who marvelled at these magical feats as divine works, and closely allied to the worship of the gods.
  
  However, he pursues this subject, and, still in the character of an inquirer, mentions some things which no sober judgment could attri bute to any but malicious and deceitful powers.[Pg 399] He asks why, after the better class of spirits have been invoked, the worse should be commanded to perform the wicked desires of men; why they do not hear a man who has just left a woman's embrace, while they themselves make no scruple of tempting men to incest and adultery; why their priests are commanded to abstain from animal food for fear of being polluted by the corporeal exhalations, while they themselves are attracted by the fumes of sacrifices and other exhalations; why the initiated are forbidden to touch a dead body, while their mysteries are celebrated almost entirely by means of dead bodies; why it is that a man addicted to any vice should utter threats, not to a demon or to the soul of a dead man, but to the sun and moon, or some of the heavenly bodies, which he intimidates by imaginary terrors, that he may wring from them a real boon,for he threatens that he will demolish the sky, and such like impossibilities,that those gods, being alarmed, like silly children, with imaginary and absurd threats, may do what they are ordered. Porphyry further relates that a man Chremon, profoundly versed in these sacred or rather sacrilegious mysteries, had written that the famous Egyptian mysteries of Isis and her husb and Osiris had very great influence with the gods to compel them to do what they were ordered, when he who used the spells threatened to divulge or do away with these mysteries, and cried with a threatening voice that he would scatter the members of Osiris if they neglected his orders. Not without reason is Porphyry surprised that a man should utter such wild and empty threats against the gods,not against gods of no account, but against the heavenly gods, and those that shine with sidereal light, and that these threats should be effectual to constrain them with resistless power, and alarm them so that they fulfil his wishes. Not without reason does he, in the character of an inquirer into the reasons of these surprising things, give it to be understood that they are done by that race of spirits which he previously described as if quoting other people's opinions,spirits who deceive not, as he said, by nature, but by their own corruption, and who simulate gods and dead men, but not, as he said, demons, for demons they really are. As to his idea that by means of herbs, and stones, and animals, and[Pg 400] certain incantations and noises, and drawings, sometimes fanciful, and sometimes copied from the motions of the heavenly bodies, men create upon earth powers capable of bringing about various results, all that is only the mystification which these demons practise on those who are subject to them, for the sake of furnishing themselves with merriment at the expense of their dupes. Either, then, Porphyry was sincere in his doubts and inquiries, and mentioned these things to demonstrate and put beyond question that they were the work, not of powers which aid us in obtaining life, but of deceitful demons; or, to take a more favourable view of the philosopher, he adopted this method with the Egyptian who was wedded to these errors, and was proud of them, that he might not offend him by assuming the attitude of a teacher, nor discompose his mind by the altercation of a professed assailant, but, by assuming the character of an inquirer, and the humble attitude of one who was anxious to learn, might turn his attention to these matters, and show how worthy they are to be despised and relinquished. Towards the conclusion of his letter, he requests Anebo to inform him what the Egyptian wisdom indicates as the way to blessedness. But as to those who hold intercourse with the gods, and pester them only for the sake of finding a runaway slave, or acquiring property, or making a bargain of a marriage, or such things, he declares that their pretensions to wisdom are vain. He adds that these same gods, even granting that on other points their utterances were true, were yet so ill-advised and unsatisfactory in their disclosures about blessedness, that they cannot be either gods or good demons, but are either that spirit who is called the deceiver, or mere fictions of the imagination.
  
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  As to those who think that these visible sacrifices are suitably offered to other gods, but that invisible sacrifices, the graces of purity of mind and holiness of will, should be offered, as greater and better, to the invisible God, Himself greater and better than all others, they must be oblivious that these visible sacrifices are signs of the invisible, as the words we[Pg 410] utter are the signs of things. And therefore, as in prayer or praise we direct intelligible words to Him to whom in our heart we offer the very feelings we are expressing, so we are to understand that in sacrifice we offer visible sacrifice only to Him to whom in our heart we ought to present ourselves an invisible sacrifice. It is then that the angels, and all those superior powers who are mighty by their goodness and piety, regard us with pleasure, and rejoice with us and assist us to the utmost of their power. But if we offer such worship to them, they decline it; and when on any mission to men they become visible to the senses, they positively forbid it. Examples of this occur in holy writ. Some fancied they should, by adoration or sacrifice, pay the same honour to angels as is due to God, and were prevented from doing so by the angels themselves, and ordered to render it to Him to whom alone they know it to be due. And the holy angels have in this been imitated by holy men of God. For Paul and Barnabas, when they had wrought a miracle of healing in Lycaonia, were thought to be gods, and the Lycaonians desired to sacrifice to them, and they humbly and piously declined this honour, and announced to them the God in whom they should believe. And those deceitful and proud spirits, who exact worship, do so simply because they know it to be due to the true God. For that which they take pleasure in is not, as Porphyry says and some fancy, the smell of the victims, but divine honours. They have, in fact, plenty odours on all hands, and if they wished more, they could provide them for themselves. But the spirits who arrogate to themselves divinity are delighted not with the smoke of carcases, but with the suppliant spirit which they deceive and hold in subjection, and hinder from drawing near to God, preventing him from offering himself in sacrifice to God by inducing him to sacrifice to others.
  
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  In conformity with this opinion, Porphyryexpressing, however, not so much his own views as other people'ssays that a good god or genius cannot come to a man unless the evil genius has been first of all propitiated, implying that the evil deities had greater power than the good; for, until they have been appeased and give place, the good can give no assistance; and if the evil deities oppose, the good can give no help; whereas the evil can do injury without the good being able to prevent them. This is not the way of the true and truly holy religion; not thus do our martyrs conquer Juno, that is to say, the powers of the air, who envy the virtues of the pious. Our heroes, if we could so call them, overcome Hr, not by suppliant gifts, but by divine virtues. As Scipio, who conquered Africa by his valour, is more suitably styled Africanus than if he had appeased his enemies by gifts, and so won their mercy.
  
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  Even Porphyry asserts that it was revealed by divine oracles that we are not purified by any sacrifices[411] to sun or moon, meaning it to be inferred that we are not purified by sacrificing to any gods. For what mysteries can purify, if those of the sun and moon, which are esteemed the chief of the celestial gods, do not purify? He says, too, in the same place, that "principles" can purify, lest it should be supposed, from his saying that sacrificing to the sun and moon cannot purify, that sacrificing to some other of the host of gods might do so. And what he as a Platonist means by "principles," we know.[412] For he speaks of God the Father and God the Son, whom he calls (writing in Greek) the intellect or mind of the Father;[413] but of the Holy Spirit he says either nothing, or nothing plainly, for I do not understand what other he speaks of as holding the middle place between these two.[Pg 414] For if, like Plotinus in his discussion regarding the three principal substances,[414] he wished us to understand by this third the soul of nature, he would certainly not have given it the middle place between these two, that is, between the Father and the Son. For Plotinus places the soul of nature after the intellect of the Father, while Porphyry, making it the mean, does not place it after, but between the others. No doubt he spoke according to his light, or as he thought expedient; but we assert that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit not of the Father only, nor of the Son only, but of both. For philosophers speak as they have a mind to, and in the most difficult matters do not scruple to offend religious ears; but we are bound to speak according to a certain rule, lest freedom of speech beget impiety of opinion about the matters themselves of which we speak.
  
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  Accordingly, when we speak of God, we do not affirm two or three principles, no more than we are at liberty to affirm two or three gods; although, speaking of each, of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Ghost, we confess that each is God: and yet we do not say, as the Sabellian heretics say, that the Father is the same as the Son, and the Holy Spirit the same as the Father and the Son; but we say that the Father is the Father of the Son, and the Son the Son of the Father, and that the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son is neither the Father nor the Son. It was therefore truly said that man is cleansed only by a Principle, although the Platonists erred in speaking in the plural of principles. But Porphyry, being under the dominion of these envious powers, whose influence he was at once ashamed of and afraid to throw off, refused to recognise that Christ is the Principle by whose incarnation we are purified. Indeed he despised Him, because of the flesh itself which He assumed, that He might offer a sacrifice for our purification,a great mystery, unintelligible to Porphyry's pride, which that true and benignant Redeemer brought low by His humility, manifesting Himself to mortals by the mortality which He assumed, and which[Pg 415] the malignant and deceitful mediators are proud of wanting, promising, as the boon of immortals, a deceptive assistance to wretched men. Thus the good and true Mediator showed that it is sin which is evil, and not the substance or nature of flesh; for this, together with the human soul, could without sin be both assumed and retained, and laid down in death, and changed to something better by resurrection. He showed also that death itself, although the punishment of sin, was submitted to by Him for our sakes without sin, and must not be evaded by sin on our part, but rather, if opportunity serves, be borne for righteousness' sake. For he was able to expiate sins by dying, because He both died, and not for sin of His own. But He has not been recognised by Porphyry as the Principle, otherwise he would have recognised Him as the Purifier. The Principle is neither the flesh nor the human soul in Christ, but the Word by which all things were made. The flesh, therefore, does not by its own virtue purify, but by virtue of the Word by which it was assumed, when "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."[415] For, speaking mystically of eating His flesh, when those who did not understand Him were offended and went away, saying, "This is an hard saying, who can hear it?" He answered to the rest who remained, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing."[416] The Principle, therefore, having assumed a human soul and flesh, cleanses the soul and flesh of believers. Therefore, when the Jews asked Him who He was, He answered that He was the Principle.[417] And this we carnal and feeble men, liable to sin, and involved in the darkness of ignorance, could not possibly understand, unless we were cleansed and healed by Him, both by means of what we were, and of what we were not. For we were men, but we were not righteous; whereas in His incarnation there was a human nature, but it was righteous, and not sinful. This is the mediation whereby a hand is stretched to the lapsed and fallen; this is the seed "ordained by angels," by whose ministry the law also was given enjoining the worship of one God, and promising that this Mediator should come.
  
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  26. Of Porphyry's weakness in wavering between the confession of the true God and the worship of demons.
  
  I know not how it is so, but it seems to me that Porphyry blushed for his friends the theurgists; for he knew all that I have adduced, but did not frankly condemn polytheistic worship. He said, in fact, that there are some angels who visit earth, and reveal divine truth to theurgists, and others who publish on earth the things that belong to the Father, His height and depth. Can we believe, then, that the angels whose office it is to declare the will of the Father, wish us to be subject to any but Him whose will they declare? And hence, even this Platonist himself judiciously observes that we should rather imitate than invoke them. We ought not, then, to fear that we may offend these immortal and happy subjects[Pg 419] of the one God by not sacrificing to them; for this they know to be due only to the one true God, in allegiance to whom they themselves find their blessedness, and therefore they will not have it given to them, either in figure or in the reality, which the mysteries of sacrifice symbolized. Such arrogance belongs to proud and wretched demons, whose disposition is diametrically opposite to the piety of those who are subject to God, and whose blessedness consists in attachment to Him. And, that we also may attain to this bliss, they aid us, as is fit, with sincere kindliness, and usurp over us no dominion, but declare to us Him under whose rule we are then fellow-subjects. Why, then, O philosopher, do you still fear to speak freely against the powers which are inimical both to true virtue and to the gifts of the true God? Already you have discriminated between the angels who proclaim God's will, and those who visit theurgists, drawn down by I know not what art. Why do you still ascribe to these latter the honour of declaring divine truth? If they do not declare the will of the Father, what divine revelations can they make? Are not these the evil spirits who were bound over by the incantations of an envious man,[422] that they should not grant purity of soul to another, and could not, as you say, be set free from these bonds by a good man anxious for purity, and recover power over their own actions? Do you still doubt whether these are wicked demons; or do you, perhaps, feign ignorance, that you may not give offence to the theurgists, who have allured you by their secret rites, and have taught you, as a mighty boon, these insane and pernicious devilries? Do you dare to elevate above the air, and even to heaven, these envious powers, or pests, let me rather call them, less worthy of the name of sovereign than of slaves, as you yourself own; and are you not ashamed to place them even among your sidereal gods, and so put a slight upon the stars themselves?
  
  27. Of the impiety of Porphyry, which is worse than even the mistake of Apuleius.
  
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  28. How it is that Porphyry has been so blind as not to recognise the true wisdomChrist.
  
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  But in order to your acquiescence in this truth, it is lowliness that is requisite, and to this it is extremely difficult to bend you. For what is there incredible, especially to men like you, accustomed to speculation, which might have predisposed you to believe in this,what is there incredible, I say, in the assertion that God assumed a human soul and body? You yourselves ascribe such excellence to the intellectual soul, which is, after all, the human soul, that you maintain that it can become consubstantial with that intelligence of the Father whom you believe in as the Son of God. What incredible thing is it, then, if some one soul be assumed by Him in an ineffable and unique manner for the salvation of many?[Pg 425] Moreover, our nature itself testifies that a man is incomplete unless a body be united with the soul. This certainly would be more incredible, were it not of all things the most common; for we should more easily believe in a union between spirit and spirit, or, to use your own terminology, between the incorporeal and the incorporeal, even though the one were human, the other divine, the one changeable and the other unchangeable, than in a union between the corporeal and the incorporeal. But perhaps it is the unprecedented birth of a body from a virgin that staggers you? But, so far from this being a difficulty, it ought rather to assist you to receive our religion, that a miraculous person was born miraculously. Or, do you find a difficulty in the fact that, after His body had been given up to death, and had been changed into a higher kind of body by resurrection, and was now no longer mortal but incorruptible, He carried it up into heavenly places? Perhaps you refuse to believe this, because you remember that Porphyry, in these very books from which I have cited so much, and which treat of the return of the soul, so frequently teaches that a body of every kind is to be escaped from, in order that the soul may dwell in blessedness with God. But here, in place of following Porphyry, you ought rather to have corrected him, especially since you agree with him in believing such incredible things about the soul of this visible world and huge material frame. For, as scholars of Plato, you hold that the world is an animal, and a very happy animal, which you wish to be also everlasting. How, then, is it never to be loosed from a body, and yet never lose its happiness, if, in order to the happiness of the soul, the body must be left behind? The sun, too, and the other stars, you not only acknowledge to be bodies, in which you have the cordial assent of all seeing men, but also, in obedience to what you reckon a profounder insight, you declare that they are very blessed animals, and eternal, together with their bodies. Why is it, then, that when the Christian faith is pressed upon you, you forget, or pretend to ignore, what you habitually discuss or teach? Why is it that you refuse to be Christians, on the ground that you hold opinions which, in fact, you yourselves demolish? Is it not because Christ came in lowliness, and ye are proud? The[Pg 426] precise nature of the resurrection bodies of the saints may sometimes occasion discussion among those who are best read in the Christian Scriptures; yet there is not among us the smallest doubt that they shall be everlasting, and of a nature exemplified in the instance of Christ's risen body. But whatever be their nature, since we maintain that they shall be absolutely incorruptible and immortal, and shall offer no hindrance to the soul's contemplation by which it is fixed in God, and as you say that among the celestials the bodies of the eternally blessed are eternal, why do you maintain that, in order to blessedness, every body must be escaped from? Why do you thus seek such a plausible reason for escaping from the Christian faith, if not because, as I again say, Christ is humble and ye proud? Are ye ashamed to be corrected? This is the vice of the proud. It is, forsooth, a degradation for learned men to pass from the school of Plato to the discipleship of Christ, who by His Spirit taught a fisherman to think and to say, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."[427] The old saint Simplicianus, afterwards bishop of Milan, used to tell me that a certain Platonist was in the habit of saying that this opening passage of the holy gospel, entitled "According to John," should be written in letters of gold, and hung up in all churches in the most conspicuous place. But the proud scorn to take God for their Master, because "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."[428] So that, with these miserable creatures, it is not enough that they are sick, but they boast of their sickness, and are ashamed of the medicine which could heal them. And, doing so, they secure not elevation, but a more disastrous fall.
  
  30. Porphyry's emendations and modifications of Platonism.
  
  If it is considered unseemly to emend anything which Plato has touched, why did Porphyry himself make emendations,[Pg 427] and these not a few? for it is very certain that Plato wrote that the souls of men return after death to the bodies of beasts.[429] Plotinus also, Porphyry's teacher, held this opinion;[430] yet Porphyry justly rejected it. He was of opinion that human souls return indeed into human bodies, but not into the bodies they had left, but other new bodies. He shrank from the other opinion, lest a woman who had returned into a mule might possibly carry her own son on her back. He did not shrink, however, from a theory which admitted the possibility of a mother coming back into a girl and marrying her own son. How much more honourable a creed is that which was taught by the holy and truthful angels, uttered by the prophets who were moved by God's Spirit, preached by Him who was foretold as the coming Saviour by His forerunning heralds, and by the apostles whom He sent forth, and who filled the whole world with the gospel,how much more honourable, I say, is the belief that souls return once for all to their own bodies, than that they return again and again to divers bodies? Nevertheless Porphyry, as I have said, did considerably improve upon this opinion, in so far, at least, as he maintained that human souls could transmigrate only into human bodies, and made no scruple about demolishing the bestial prisons into which Plato had wished to cast them. He says, too, that God put the soul into the world that it might recognise the evils of matter, and return to the Father, and be for ever emancipated from the polluting contact of matter. And although here is some inappropriate thinking (for the soul is rather given to the body that it may do good; for it would not learn evil unless it did it), yet he corrects the opinion of other Platonists, and that on a point of no small importance, inasmuch as he avows that the soul, which is purged from all evil and received to the Father's presence, shall never again suffer the ills of this life. By this opinion he quite subverted the favourite Platonic dogma, that as dead men are made out of living ones, so living men are made out of dead ones; and he exploded the idea which Virgil seems to have adopted from Plato, that the purified souls which have been sent into the Elysian fields (the poetic[Pg 428] name for the joys of the blessed) are summoned to the river Lethe, that is, to the oblivion of the past,
  "That earthward they may pass once more, Remembering not the things before, And with a blind propension yearn To fleshly bodies to return."[431]
  
  This found no favour with Porphyry, and very justly; for it is indeed foolish to believe that souls should desire to return from that life, which cannot be very blessed unless by the assurance of its permanence, and to come back into this life, and to the pollution of corruptible bodies, as if the result of perfect purification were only to make defilement desirable. For if perfect purification effects the oblivion of all evils, and the oblivion of evils creates a desire for a body in which the soul may again be entangled with evils, then the supreme felicity will be the cause of infelicity, and the perfection of wisdom the cause of foolishness, and the purest cleansing the cause of defilement. And, however long the blessedness of the soul last, it cannot be founded on truth, if, in order to be blessed, it must be deceived. For it cannot be blessed unless it be free from fear. But, to be free from fear, it must be under the false impression that it shall be always blessed,the false impression, for it is destined to be also at some time miserable. How, then, shall the soul rejoice in truth, whose joy is founded on falsehood? Porphyry saw this, and therefore said that the purified soul returns to the Father, that it may never more be entangled in the polluting contact with evil. The opinion, therefore, of some Platonists, that there is a necessary revolution carrying souls away and bringing them round again to the same things, is false. But, were it true, what were the advantage of knowing it? Would the Platonists presume to allege their superiority to us, because we were in this life ignorant of what they themselves were doomed to be ignorant of when perfected in purity and wisdom in another and better life, and which they must be ignorant of if they are to be blessed? If it were most absurd and foolish to say so, then certainly we must prefer Porphyry's opinion to the idea of a circulation of souls through constantly alternating[Pg 429] happiness and misery. And if this is just, here is a Platonist emending Plato, here is a man who saw what Plato did not see, and who did not shrink from correcting so illustrious a master, but preferred truth to Plato.
  
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    32. Of the universal way of the soul's deliverance, which Porphyry did not find because he did not rightly seek it, and which the grace of Christ has alone thrown open.
  
  This is the religion which possesses the universal way for delivering the soul; for, except by this way, none can be delivered. This is a kind of royal way, which alone leads to a kingdom which does not totter like all temporal dignities, but stands firm on eternal foundations. And when Porphyry says, towards the end of the first book De Regressu Anim, that no system of doctrine which furnishes the universal way for delivering the soul has as yet been received, either from the truest philosophy, or from the ideas and practices of the Indians, or from the reasoning[432] of the Chaldans, or from any source whatever, and that no historical reading had made him acquainted with that way, he manifestly acknowledges that there is such a way, but that as yet he was not acquainted with it. Nothing of all that he had so laboriously learned concerning the deliverance of the soul, nothing of all that he seemed to others, if not to himself, to know and believe, satisfied him. For he perceived that there was still wanting a commanding authority which it might be right to follow in a matter of such importance. And when he says that he had not learned from any truest philosophy a system which possessed the universal way of the soul's deliverance, he shows plainly enough, as it seems to me, either that the philosophy of which he was a disciple was not the truest, or that it did not comprehend such a way. And how can that be the truest philosophy which does not possess this way? For what else is the universal way of the soul's deliverance than that by[Pg 431] which all souls universally are delivered, and without which, therefore, no soul is delivered? And when he says, in addition, "or from the ideas and practices of the Indians, or from the reasoning of the Chaldans, or from any source whatever," he declares in the most unequivocal language that this universal way of the soul's deliverance was not embraced in what he had learned either from the Indians or the Chaldans; and yet he could not forbear stating that it was from the Chaldans he had derived these divine oracles of which he makes such frequent mention. What, therefore, does he mean by this universal way of the soul's deliverance, which had not yet been made known by any truest philosophy, or by the doctrinal systems of those nations which were considered to have great insight in things divine, because they indulged more freely in a curious and fanciful science and worship of angels? What is this universal way of which he acknowledges his ignorance, if not a way which does not belong to one nation as its special property, but is common to all, and divinely bestowed? Porphyry, a man of no mediocre abilities, does not question that such a way exists; for he believes that Divine Providence could not have left men destitute of this universal way of delivering the soul. For he does not say that this way does not exist, but that this great boon and assistance has not yet been discovered, and has not come to his knowledge. And no wonder; for Porphyry lived in an age when this universal way of the soul's deliverance,in other words, the Christian religion,was exposed to the persecutions of idolaters and demon-worshippers, and earthly rulers,[433] that the number of martyrs or witnesses for the truth might be completed and consecrated, and that by them proof might be given that we must endure all bodily sufferings in the cause of the holy faith, and for the commendation of the truth. Porphyry, being a witness of these persecutions, concluded that this way was destined to a speedy extinction, and that it, therefore, was not the universal way of the soul's deliverance, and did not see that the very thing that thus moved him, and deterred him from becoming a Christian, contri buted to the confirmation and more effectual commendation of our religion.
  
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  This, then, is the universal way of the soul's deliverance, the way that is granted by the divine compassion to the nations universally. And no nation to which the knowledge of it has already come, or may hereafter come, ought to demand, Why so soon? or, Why so late?for the design of Him who sends it is impenetrable by human capacity. This was felt by Porphyry when he confined himself to saying that this gift of God was not yet received, and had not yet come to his knowledge. For, though this was so, he did not on that account pronounce that the way itself had no existence. This, I say, is the universal way for the deliverance of believers, concerning which the faithful Abraham received the divine assurance, "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed."[434] He, indeed, was by birth a Chaldan; but, that he might receive these great promises, and that there might be propagated from him a seed "disposed by angels in the hand of a Mediator,"[435] in whom this universal way, thrown open to all nations for the deliverance of the soul, might be found, he was ordered to leave his country, and kindred, and father's house. Then was he himself, first of all, delivered from the Chaldan superstitions, and by his obedience worshipped the one true God, whose promises he faithfully trusted. This is the universal way, of which it is said in holy prophecy, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us; that Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations."[436] And hence, when our Saviour, so long after, had taken flesh of the seed of Abraham, He says of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."[437] This is the universal way, of which so long before it had been predicted, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Sion shall go forth the law, and the[Pg 433] word of the Lord from Jerusalem."[438] This way, therefore, is not the property of one, but of all nations. The law and the word of the Lord did not remain in Zion and Jerusalem, but issued thence to be universally diffused. And therefore the Mediator Himself, after His resurrection, says to His alarmed disciples, "These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened He their understandings that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."[439] This is the universal way of the soul's deliverance, which the holy angels and the holy prophets formerly disclosed where they could among the few men who found the grace of God, and especially in the Hebrew nation, whose commonwealth was, as it were, consecrated to prefigure and fore-announce the city of God which was to be gathered from all nations, by their tabernacle, and temple, and priesthood, and sacrifices. In some explicit statements, and in many obscure foreshadowings, this way was declared; but latterly came the Mediator Himself in the flesh, and His blessed apostles, revealing how the grace of the New Testament more openly explained what had been obscurely hinted to preceding generations, in conformity with the relation of the ages of the human race, and as it pleased God in His wisdom to appoint, who also bore them witness with signs and miracles, some of which I have cited above. For not only were there visions of angels, and words heard from those heavenly ministrants, but also men of God, armed with the word of simple piety, cast out unclean spirits from the bodies and senses of men, and healed deformities and sicknesses; the wild beasts of earth and sea, the birds of air, inanimate things, the elements, the stars, obeyed their divine commands; the powers of hell gave way before them, the dead were restored to life. I say nothing of the miracles peculiar and proper to the Saviour's own person, especially the nativity[Pg 434] and the resurrection; in the one of which He wrought only the mystery of a virgin maternity, while in the other He furnished an instance of the resurrection which all shall at last experience. This way purifies the whole man, and prepares the mortal in all his parts for immortality. For, to prevent us from seeking for one purgation for the part which Porphyry calls intellectual, and another for the part he calls spiritual, and another for the body itself, our most mighty and truthful Purifier and Saviour assumed the whole human nature. Except by this way, which has been present among men both during the period of the promises and of the proclamation of their fulfilment, no man has been delivered, no man is delivered, no man shall be delivered.
  
  As to Porphyry's statement that the universal way of the soul's deliverance had not yet come to his knowledge by any acquaintance he had with history, I would ask, what more remarkable history can be found than that which has taken possession of the whole world by its authoritative voice? or what more trustworthy than that which narrates past events, and predicts the future with equal clearness, and in the unfulfilled predictions of which we are constrained to believe by those that are already fulfilled? For neither Porphyry nor any Platonists can despise divination and prediction, even of things that pertain to this life and earthly matters, though they justly despise ordinary soothsaying and the divination that is connected with magical arts. They deny that these are the predictions of great men, or are to be considered important, and they are right; for they are founded, either on the foresight of subsidiary causes, as to a professional eye much of the course of a disease is foreseen by certain premonitory symptoms, or the unclean demons predict what they have resolved to do, that they may thus work upon the thoughts and desires of the wicked with an appearance of authority, and incline human frailty to imitate their impure actions. It is not such things that the saints who walk in the universal way care to predict as important, although, for the purpose of commending the faith, they knew and often predicted even such things as could not be detected by human observation, nor be readily verified by experience. But there[Pg 435] were other truly important and divine events which they predicted, in so far as it was given them to know the will of God. For the incarnation of Christ, and all those important marvels that were accomplished in Him, and done in His name; the repentance of men and the conversion of their wills to God; the remission of sins, the grace of righteousness, the faith of the pious, and the multitudes in all parts of the world who believe in the true divinity; the overthrow of idolatry and demon worship, and the testing of the faithful by trials; the purification of those who persevered, and their deliverance from all evil; the day of judgment, the resurrection of the dead, the eternal damnation of the community of the ungodly, and the eternal kingdom of the most glorious city of God, ever-blessed in the enjoyment of the vision of God,these things were predicted and promised in the Scriptures of this way; and of these we see so many fulfilled, that we justly and piously trust that the rest will also come to pass. As for those who do not believe, and consequently do not understand, that this is the way which leads straight to the vision of God and to eternal fellowship with Him, according to the true predictions and statements of the Holy Scriptures, they may storm at our position, but they cannot storm it.
  

BOOK XXII. - Of the eternal happiness of the saints, the resurrection of the body, and the miracles of the early Church, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  
  Wherefore, not to mention many other instances besides, as we now see in Christ the fulfilment of that which God promised to Abraham when He said, "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed,"[966] so this also shall be fulfilled which He promised to the same race, when He said by the prophet, "They that are in their sepulchres shall rise again;"[967] and also, "There shall be a new heaven and a new earth: and the former shall not be mentioned, nor come into mind; but they shall find joy and rejoicing in it: for I will make Jerusalem a rejoicing, and my people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall[Pg 476] be no more heard in her."[968] And by another prophet He uttered the same prediction: "At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust" (or, as some interpret it, "in the mound") "of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."[969] And in another place by the same prophet: "The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and shall possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever."[970] And a little after he says, "His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom."[971] Other prophecies referring to the same subject I have advanced in the twentieth book, and others still which I have not advanced are found written in the same Scriptures; and these predictions shall be fulfilled, as those also have been which unbelieving men supposed would be frustrate. For it is the same God who promised both, and predicted that both would come to pass,the God whom the pagan deities tremble before, as even Porphyry, the noblest of pagan philosophers, testifies.
  
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  The difficulties, too, about the corruption and dissolution[Pg 506] of dead bodies,that one is turned into dust, while another evaporates into the air; that some are devoured by beasts, some by fire, while some perish by shipwreck or by drowning in one shape or other, so that their bodies decay into liquid,these difficulties give them immoderate alarm, and they believe that all those dissolved elements cannot be gathered again and reconstructed into a body. They also make eager use of all the deformities and blemishes which either accident or birth has produced, and accordingly, with horror and derision, cite monstrous births, and ask if every deformity will be preserved in the resurrection. For if we say that no such thing shall be reproduced in the body of a man, they suppose that they confute us by citing the marks of the wounds which we assert were found in the risen body of the Lord Christ. But of all these, the most difficult question is, into whose body that flesh shall return which has been eaten and assimilated by another man constrained by hunger to use it so; for it has been converted into the flesh of the man who used it as his nutriment, and it filled up those losses of flesh which famine had produced. For the sake, then, of ridiculing the resurrection, they ask, Shall this return to the man whose flesh it first was, or to him whose flesh it afterwards became? And thus, too, they seek to give promise to the human soul of alternations of true misery and false happiness, in accordance with Plato's theory; or, in accordance with Porphyry's, that, after many transmigrations into different bodies, it ends its miseries, and never more returns to them, not, however, by obtaining an immortal body, but by escaping from every kind of body.
  
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  The foremost of the philosophers agree with us about the spiritual felicity enjoyed by the blessed in the life to come; it is only the resurrection of the flesh they call in question, and with all their might deny. But the mass of men, learned and unlearned, the world's wise men and its fools, have believed, and have left in meagre isolation the unbelievers, and have turned to Christ, who in His own resurrection demonstrated the reality of that which seems to our adversaries absurd. For the world has believed this which God predicted, as it was also predicted that the world would believe,a prediction[Pg 530] not due to the sorceries of Peter,[1024] since it was uttered so long before. He who has predicted these things, as I have already said, and am not ashamed to repeat, is the God before whom all other divinities tremble, as Porphyry himself owns, and seeks to prove, by testimonies from the oracles of these gods, and goes so far as to call Him God the Father and King. Far be it from us to interpret these predictions as they do who have not believed, along with the whole world, in that which it was predicted the world would believe in. For why should we not rather understand them as the world does, whose belief was predicted, and leave that handful of unbelievers to their idle talk and obstinate and solitary infidelity? For if they maintain that they interpret them differently only to avoid charging Scripture with folly, and so doing an injury to that God to whom they bear so notable a testimony, is it not a much greater injury they do Him when they say that His predictions must be understood otherwise than the world believed them, though He Himself praised, promised, accomplished this belief on the world's part? And why cannot He cause the body to rise again, and live for ever? or is it not to be believed that He will do this, because it is an undesirable thing, and unworthy of God? Of His omnipotence, which effects so many great miracles, we have already said enough. If they wish to know what the Almighty cannot do, I shall tell them He cannot lie. Let us therefore believe what He can do, by refusing to believe what He cannot do. Refusing to believe that He can lie, let them believe that He will do what He has promised to do; and let them believe it as the world has believed it, whose faith He predicted, whose faith He praised, whose faith He promised, whose faith He now points to. But how do they prove that the resurrection is an undesirable thing? There shall then be no corruption, which is the only evil thing about the body. I have already said enough about the order of the elements, and the other fanciful objections men raise; and in the thirteenth book I have, in my own judgment, sufficiently illustrated the facility of movement which the incorruptible body shall enjoy, judging from the ease and vigour we experience even now, when the body[Pg 531] is in good health. Those who have either not read the former books, or wish to refresh their memory, may read them for themselves.
  
    26. That the opinion of Porphyry, that the soul, in order to be blessed, must be separated from every kind of body, is demolished by Plato, who says that the supreme God promised the gods that they should never be ousted from their bodies.
  
  But, say they, Porphyry tells us that the soul, in order to be blessed, must escape connection with every kind of body. It does not avail, therefore, to say that the future body shall be incorruptible, if the soul cannot be blessed till delivered from every kind of body. But in the book above mentioned I have already sufficiently discussed this. This one thing only will I repeat,let Plato, their master, correct his writings, and say that their gods, in order to be blessed, must quit their bodies, or, in other words, die; for he said that they were shut up in celestial bodies, and that, nevertheless, the God who made them promised them immortality,that is to say, an eternal tenure of these same bodies, such as was not provided for them naturally, but only by the further intervention of His will, that thus they might be assured of felicity. In this he obviously overturns their assertion that the resurrection of the body cannot be believed because it is impossible; for, according to him, when the uncreated God promised immortality to the created gods, He expressly said that He would do what was impossible. For Plato tells us that He said, "As ye have had a beginning, so you cannot be immortal and incorruptible; yet ye shall not decay, nor shall any fate destroy you or prove stronger than my will, which more effectually binds you to immortality than the bond of your nature keeps you from it." If they who hear these words have, we do not say understanding, but ears, they cannot doubt that Plato believed that God promised to the gods He had made that He would effect an impossibility. For He who says, "Ye cannot be immortal, but by my will ye shall be immortal," what else does He say than this, "I shall make you what ye cannot be?" The body, therefore, shall be raised incorruptible, immortal, spiritual, by Him who, according to Plato, has promised to do that which is impossible. Why[Pg 532] then do they still exclaim that this which God has promised, which the world has believed on God's promise as was predicted, is an impossibility? For what we say is, that the God who, even according to Plato, does impossible things, will do this. It is not, then, necessary to the blessedness of the soul that it be detached from a body of any kind whatever, but that it receive an incorruptible body. And in what incorruptible body will they more suitably rejoice than in that in which they groaned when it was corruptible? For thus they shall not feel that dire craving which Virgil, in imitation of Plato, has ascribed to them when he says that they wish to return again to their bodies.[1025] They shall not, I say, feel this desire to return to their bodies, since they shall have those bodies to which a return was desired, and shall, indeed, be in such thorough possession of them, that they shall never lose them even for the briefest moment, nor ever lay them down in death.
  
    27. Of the apparently conflicting opinions of Plato and Porphyry, which would have conducted them both to the truth if they could have yielded to one another.
  
  Statements were made by Plato and Porphyry singly, which if they could have seen their way to hold in common, they might possibly have become Christians. Plato said that souls could not exist eternally without bodies; for it was on this account, he said, that the souls even of wise men must some time or other return to their bodies. Porphyry, again, said that the purified soul, when it has returned to the Father, shall never return to the ills of this world. Consequently, if Plato had communicated to Porphyry that which he saw to be true, that souls, though perfectly purified, and belonging to the wise and righteous, must return to human bodies; and if Porphyry, again, had imparted to Plato the truth which he saw, that holy souls shall never return to the miseries of a corruptible body, so that they should not have each held only his own opinion, but should both have held both truths, I think they would have seen that it follows that the souls return to their bodies, and also that these bodies shall be such as to afford them a blessed and immortal life. For, according to Plato, even holy[Pg 533] souls shall return to the body; according to Porphyry, holy souls shall not return to the ills of this world. Let Porphyry then say with Plato, they shall return to the body; let Plato say with Porphyry, they shall not return to their old misery: and they will agree that they return to bodies in which they shall suffer no more. And this is nothing else than what God has promised,that He will give eternal felicity to souls joined to their own bodies. For this, I presume, both of them would readily concede, that if the souls of the saints are to be reunited to bodies, it shall be to their own bodies, in which they have endured the miseries of this life, and in which, to escape these miseries, they served God with piety and fidelity.
  
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  Some Christians, who have a liking for Plato on account of his magnificent style and the truths which he now and then uttered, say that he even held an opinion similar to our own regarding the resurrection of the dead. Cicero, however, alluding to this in his Republic, asserts that Plato meant it rather as a playful fancy than as a reality; for he introduces a man[1026] who had come to life again, and gave a narrative of his experience in corroboration of the doctrines of Plato. Labeo, too, says that two men died on one day, and met at a cross-road, and that, being afterwards ordered to return to their bodies, they agreed to be friends for life, and were so till they died again. But the resurrection which these writers instance resembles that of those persons whom we have ourselves known to rise again, and who came back indeed to this life, but not so as never to die again. Marcus Varro, however, in his work On the Origin of the Roman People, records something more remarkable; I think his own words should be given. "Certain astrologers," he says, "have written that men are destined to a new birth, which the Greeks call palingenesy. This will take place after four hundred and forty years have elapsed; and then the same soul and the same body, which were formerly united in the person, shall again be reunited." This Varro, indeed, or those nameless astrologers,for he does not give us the names[Pg 534] of the men whose statement he cites,have affirmed what is indeed not altoge ther true; for once the souls have returned to the bodies they wore, they shall never afterwards leave them. Yet what they say upsets and demolishes much of that idle talk of our adversaries about the impossibility of the resurrection. For those who have been or are of this opinion, have not thought it possible that bodies which have dissolved into air, or dust, or ashes, or water, or into the bodies of the beasts or even of the men that fed on them, should be restored again to that which they formerly were. And therefore, if Plato and Porphyry, or rather, if their disciples now living, agree with us that holy souls shall return to the body, as Plato says, and that, nevertheless, they shall not return to misery, as Porphyry maintains,if they accept the consequence of these two propositions which is taught by the Christian faith, that they shall receive bodies in which they may live eternally without suffering any misery,let them also adopt from Varro the opinion that they shall return to the same bodies as they were formerly in, and thus the whole question of the eternal resurrection of the body shall be resolved out of their own mouths.
  

BOOK XX. - Of the last judgment, and the declarations regarding it in the Old and New Testaments, #City of God, #Saint Augustine of Hippo, #Christianity
  
  There are many allusions to the last judgment in the Psalms, but for the most part only casual and slight. I cannot, however, omit to mention what is said there in express terms of the end of this world: "In the beginning hast Thou laid the foundations of the earth, O Lord; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; and as a vesture Thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail."[799] Why is it that Porphyry, while he lauds the piety of the Hebrews in worshipping a God great and true, and terrible to the gods themselves, follows the oracles of these gods in accusing the Christians of extreme folly because they say that this world shall perish? For here we find it said in the sacred books of the Hebrews, to that God whom this great philosopher acknowledges to be terrible even to the gods themselves, "The heavens are the work of Thy hands: they shall perish." When the heavens, the higher and more secure part of the world, perish, shall the world itself be preserved? If this idea is not relished by Jupiter, whose oracle is quoted by this philosopher as an unquestionable authority in rebuke of the credulity of the Christians, why does he not similarly rebuke the wisdom of the Hebrews as folly, seeing that the[Pg 396] prediction is found in their most holy books? But if this Hebrew wisdom, with which Porphyry is so captivated that he extols it through the utterances of his own gods, proclaims that the heavens are to perish, how is he so infatuated as to detest the faith of the Christians partly, if not chiefly, on this account, that they believe the world is to perish?though how the heavens are to perish if the world does not is not easy to see. And, indeed, in the sacred writings which are peculiar to ourselves, and not common to the Hebrews and us,I mean the evangelic and apostolic books,the following expressions are used: "The figure of this world passeth away;"[800] "The world passeth away;"[801] "Heaven and earth shall pass away,"[802]expressions which are, I fancy, somewhat milder than "They shall perish." In the Epistle of the Apostle Peter, too, where the world which then was is said to have perished, being overflowed with water, it is sufficiently obvious what part of the world is signified by the whole, and in what sense the word perished is to be taken, and what heavens were kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.[803] And when he says a little afterwards, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great rush, and the elements shall melt with burning heat, and the earth and the works which are in it shall be burned up;" and then adds, "Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?"[804]these heavens which are to perish may be understood to be the same which he said were kept in store reserved for fire; and the elements which are to be burned are those which are full of storm and disturbance in this lowest part of the world in which he said that these heavens were kept in store; for the higher heavens in whose firmament are set the stars are safe, and remain in their integrity. For even the expression of Scripture, that "the stars shall fall from heaven,"[805] not to mention that a different interpretation is much preferable, rather shows that the heavens themselves shall remain, if the stars are to fall from them. This expression, then, is either figurative, as[Pg 397] is more credible, or this phenomenon will take place in this lowest heaven, like that mentioned by Virgil,
  "A meteor with a train of light Athwart the sky gleamed dazzling bright, Then in Idan woods was lost."[806]

ENNEAD 01.07 - Of the First Good, and of the Other Goods., #Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 04, #Plotinus, #Christianity
  
  PSYCHOLOGICAL FRAGMENTS BY Porphyry, JAMBLICHUS, NEMESIUS, AND AMMONIUS SACCAS.
  
  --
  
  The order of Bouillet has been left, because the other orders differ anyway, and because this is the one that Porphyry introduced into the works of Plotinos. It must, therefore, have been of most significance to him.
  
  1215
  PRINCIPLES OF THE THEORY OF THE INTELLIGIBLES, BY Porphyry.321
  

ENNEAD 02.09 - Against the Gnostics; or, That the Creator and the World are Not Evil., #Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 02, #Plotinus, #Christianity
  
  177 This book sounds more Numenian or Amelian, than the former three, which seem to have been written to answer questions of Porphyry's.
  
  --
  
  243 See Life of Plotinos, 18. Notice how well the chronological order works out. The former book (31) and the next (33) treat of the Gnostics, while this book treats of the philosophical principle of their practical aspect. Besides, it explains the Amelio-Porphyrian quarrel. Like all other difficulties of the time, it was about Gnosticism, and Amelius's dismissal meant that Plotinos rejected Egyptian Gnosticism, and Numenius's true position as a dualist stands revealed; but after Porphyry's departure, Plotinos harked back to it.
  
  --
  
  246 The Kantian "thing-in-itself." See Porphyry, Principles of Intelligibles, 33.
  

ENNEAD 03.07 - Of Time and Eternity., #Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 03, #Plotinus, #Christianity
  
  20 Olympiodorus, Comm. I Alcibiades, x. p. 95; Arist. Met., i. 5; Sextus Emp., H. P., iii. 152; Porphyry; Vit. Pyth., 48.
  
  --
  
  49 Evidently Porphyry had advanced new objections that demanded an addition to the former book on the theory of vision; see iv. 5.
  
  --
  
  53 These ten disjointed reflections on happiness remind us of Porphyry's questioning habit, without which, Plotinos said, he might have had nothing to write; see Biography, 13.
  
  --
  
  65 Bouillet explains that in this book Plotinos summated all that Plato had to say of the Ideas and of their dependence on the Good, in the Timaeus, Philebus, Phaedrus, the Republic, the Banquet, and the Alcibiades; correcting this summary by the reflections of Aristotle, in Met. xii. But Plotinos advances beyond both Plato and Aristotle in going beyond Intelligence to the supreme Good. (See Sec. 37.) This treatise might well have been written at the instigation of Porphyry, who desired to understand Plotinos's views on this great subject.
  
  --
  
  79 Porphyry, Of the Faculties of the Soul, fr. 5.
  
  --
  
  230 Porphyry, Principles, 24.
  
  --
  
  232 Porphyry, Principles, 25.
  
  --
  
  234 Porphyry, Treatise, Psych.
  
  --
  
  448 Porphyry, Principles, 32, end.
  
  --
  
  462 Porphyry, Principles, 32.
  

ENNEAD 04.02 - How the Soul Mediates Between Indivisible and Divisible Essence., #Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 01, #Plotinus, #Christianity
  
  9 Often quoted by Porphyry in his Cave of the Nymphs.
  
  --
  
  15 This suggests that Suidas was right in claiming that Amelius was the teacher of Porphyry.
  
  --
  
  20 Mentioned in Porphyry's Life of Pythagoras, 48, living under Nero.
  
  --
  
  28 The fragments of all this are probably the Principles of the Theory of the Intelligibles, by Porphyry.
  
  --
  
  95 Such as Porphyry's "Philosophy derived from Oracles."
  

ENNEAD 05.05 - That Intelligible Entities Are Not External to the Intelligence of the Good., #Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 02, #Plotinus, #Christianity
  
  (The subject of the quarrel between Amelius and Porphyry.243)
  KNOWLEDGE OF THE INTELLIGIBLE ENTITIES IMPLIES THEIR PRESENCE.

ENNEAD 06.05 - The One and Identical Being is Everywhere Present In Its Entirety.345, #Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 04, #Plotinus, #Christianity
  PSYCHOLOGICAL FRAGMENTS.
  A. On the Faculties of the Soul, by Porphyry.356
  OBJECT OF THE BOOK.
  --
  
  The Platonists hold different opinions. Some, like Plotinos and Porphyry, reduce to a single order and idea the different functions and faculties of life; others, like Numenius, imagine them to be opposed, as if in a struggle; while others, like Atticus and Plutarch, bring harmony out of the struggle.
  E. Ammonius Saccas.
  --
  
  For example: in ii. 4 we find Plotinos discussing the doctrine of two matters, the physical and the intelligible. In the very next book, of the same Ennead, in ii. 5.3, we find him discrediting this same intelligible matter. Moreover, in i. 8.7, he approves of the world as mixture; in ii. 4.7 he disapproves of it. What do these contradictions mean? That Plotinos was unreliable? That he was mentally incoherent? No, something much simpler. By consulting the tables of Porphyry, we discover of the first two, that the first statement was made during the Amelian period, and the latter during the Porphyrian. Another case of such contradiction is his assertion of positive evil (i. 8) and his denial thereof (ii. 9). The latter assertion is of the Porphyrian period, the former is Eustochian; while of the latter two, the first was Eustochian; and the second Amelian. It is simply a case of development of doctrines at different periods of his life.
  *****
  --
  
  When we try to study the periods in Plotinos's thought, as shown in his books, we are met with great1278 difficulties, which are chiefly due to Porphyry. Exactly following the contemporary methods of the compilers of the Bible, he undiscerningly confused the writings of the various periods, so as to make up an anthology, grouped by six groups of nine books each, according to subjects, consisting first of ethical disquisitions; second, of physical questions; third, of cosmic considerations; fourth, of psychological discussions; fifth, of transcendental lucubrations; and sixth, of metaphysics and theology.440 As the reader might guess from the oversymmetrical grouping, and this pretty classification, the apparent order is only illusory, as he may have concluded from the fact that the discussions of matter analyzed above are scattered throughout the whole range of this anthology. The result of this Procrustean arrangement was the same as with the Bible: a confusion of mosaic, out of which pretty nearly anything could be proved, and into which almost everything has been read. Compare the outlines of the doctrines of Plotinos by Ritter, Zeller, Ueberweg, Chaignet, Mead, Guthrie, and Drews, and it will be seen that there is very little agreement between them, while none of them allow for the difference between the various parts of the Enneads.
  
  How fearful the confusion is, will best be realized from the following two tables, made up from the indications given in Porphyry's Life of Plotinos.
  
  --
  
  Having thus achieved internal proof of development of doctrines in Plotinos, by examination of his views about Matter, we may with some confidence state that the externally known facts of the life of no philosopher lend themselves to such a progress of opinions more readily than that of Plotinos. His biographer, Porphyry, as we have seen, had already given us a list of the works of three easily characterized periods in Plotinos's life: the period before Porphyry came to him, the period while Porphyry staid with him, and the later period when Plotinos was alone, and Porphyry was in retirement (or banishment?) in Sicily.
  
  --
  
  1280 In the first place, the reader will ask himself, how does it come about that Plotinos is so dependent on Porphyry, and before him, on Amelius? The answer is that Plotinos himself was evidently somewhat deficient in the details of elementary education, however much proficiency in more general philosophical studies, and in independent thought, and personal magnetic touch with pupils he may have achieved. His pronunciation was defective, and in writing he was careless, so much so that he usually failed to affix proper headings or notice of definite authorship.441 These peculiarities would to some extent put him in the power, and under the influence of his editors, and this explains why he was dependent on Porphyry later, and Amelius earlier.442 These editors might easily have exerted potent, even if unconscious or merely suggestive influence; but we know that Porphyry did not scruple to add glosses of his own,443 not to speak of hidden Stoic and Aristotelian pieces,444 for he relied on Aristotle's "Metaphysics." Besides, Plotinos was so generally accused of pluming himself on writings of Numenius, falsely passed off as his own, that it became necessary for Amelius to write a book on the differences between Numenius and Plotinos, and for Porphyry to defend his master, as well as to quote a letter of Longinus on the subject;445 but Porphyry does not deny that among the writings of the Platonists Kronius, Caius, and Attikus, and the Peripatetics Aspasius, Alexander and Adrastus, the writings of Numenius also were used as texts in the school of Plotinos (14).
  
  --
  
  His last period was Stoic practise, for so zealously did he practise austerities that his death was, at1281 least, hastened thereby.446 It is unlikely that he would have followed Stoic precepts without some sympathy for, or acquaintance with their philosophical doctrines; and as we saw above, Porphyry acknowledges Plotinos's writings contain hidden Stoic pieces.447 Then, Plotinos spent the last period of his life in Rome, where ruled, in philosophical circles, the traditions of Cicero, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.
  
  That these Stoic practices became fatal to him is significant when we remember that this occurred during the final absence of Porphyry, who may, during his presence, have exerted a friendly restraint on the zealous master. At any rate, it was during Porphyry's regime that the chief works of Plotinos were written, including a bitter diatribe against the Gnostics, who remained the chief protagonists of dualism and belief in positive evil. Prophyry's work, "De Abstinentia," proves clearly enough his Stoic sympathies.
  
  Such aggressive enmity is too positive to be accounted for by the mere removal to Rome from Alexandria, and suggests a break of some sort with former friends. Indications of such a break do exist, namely, the permanent departure to his earlier home, Apamea, of his former editor, Amelius. We hear448 of an incident in which Amelius invited Plotinos to come and take part in the New Moon celebrations449 of the mysteries. Plotinos, however, refused, on the grounds that "They must come to me, not I go to them." Then we hear450 of bad blood between this Amelius and Porphyry, a long, bitter controversy, patched up, indeed, but which cannot have failed to leave its mark. Then this Amelius writes a book on the Differences between Plotinos and Numenius, which, in a long letter, he inscribes to Porphyry,451 as if the latter were the chief one interested in these distinctions. Later, Amelius, who before this seems to have been the chief disciple and editor of Plotinos, departs, never to return,1282 his place being taken by Porphyry. It is not necessary to possess a vivid imagination to read between the lines, especially when Plotinos, in the last work of this period, against the Gnostics, section 10, seems to refer to friends of his who still held to other doctrines.
  
  Now in order to understand the nature of the period when Amelius was the chief disciple of Plotinos, we must recall who Amelius was. In the first place, he hailed from the home-town of Numenius, Apamea in Syria. He had adopted as son Hostilianus-Hesychius, who also hailed from Apamea. And it was to Apamea that Amelius withdrew, after he left Plotinos. We are therefore not surprised to learn that he had written out almost all the books of Numenius, that he had gathered them together, and learned most of them by heart.452 Then we learn from Proclus (see Zeller's account) that Amelius taught the trine division of the divine creator, exactly as did Numenius. Is it any wonder, then, that he wrote a book on the differences between Plotinos and Numenius at a later date, when Porphyry had started a polemic with him? During his period as disciple of Plotinos, twenty-four years in duration, Plotinos would naturally have been under Numenian influence of some kind, and we cannot be very far wrong in thinking that this change of editors must have left some sort of impress on the dreamy thinker, Plotinos, ever seeking to experience an ecstasy.
  *****
  
  In this account of the matter we have restrained ourselves from mentioning one of the strangest coincidences in literature, which would have emphasized the nature of the break of Amelius with Plotinos, for the reason that it may be no more than a chance pun; but that even as such it must have been present to the actors in that drama, there is no doubt. We read above that Amelius invited Plotinos to accompany him1283 to attend personally the mystery-celebrations at the "noumnia," a time sacred to such celebrations.453 But this was practically the name of Numenius, and the text might well have been translated that Amelius invited him to visit the celebrations as Numenius would have done; and indeed, from all we know of Numenius, with his initiation at Eleusis and in Egypt, that is just of what we might have supposed he would have approved. In other words, we would discover Amelius in the painful act of choice between the two great influences of his life, Numenius, and Plotinos. Moreover, that the incident was important is revealed by Porphyry's calling Plotinos's answer a "great word," which was much commented on, and long remembered.
  *****
  
  In thus dividing the career of Plotinos in the Amelian, the Porphyrian, and Eustochian (98) we meet however one very interesting difficulty. The Plotinic writings by Porphyry assigned to the last or Eustochian period are those which internal criticism would lead us to assign to his very earliest philosophising; and in our study of the development of the Plotinic views about Matter, we have taken the liberty of considering them as the earliest. We are however consoled in our regret at having to be so radical, by noticing that Porphyry, to whom we are indebted for our knowledge of the periods of the works, has done the same thing. He says that he has assigned the earliest place in each Ennead to the easier and simpler discussions;454 yet these latest-issued works of Plotinos are assigned to the very beginning of each Ennead, four going to the First Ennead, one to the Second, three to the Third, and one only to the Fifth. If these had been the crowning works of the Master's life, especially the treatise on the First God and Happiness, it would have been by him placed at the very end of all, and not at1284 the beginning. Porphyry must therefore have possessed some external knowledge which would agree with the conclusions of our internal criticism, which follows.
  
  --
  
  Moreover, when we examine these Eustochian works in detail, they hardly seem to be such as would be the expressions of the last years of an ecstatic, suffering intense agony at times, his interest already directed heavenwards. The discussion of astrology must date from the earliest association with Gnostics, in Alexandria, who also might have inspired or demanded a special treatment of the nature of evil, which later he consistently denied. Then there is an amateurish treatment of anthropology in general, which the cumulatively-arranging Porphyry puts at the very beginning of the First Book. The treatise on the First Good and Happiness, is not unlike a beginner's first attempt at writing out his body of divinity, as George Herbert said, and Porphyry also puts it at the beginning. The Eros-article is only an amplification of Platonic myths, indeed making subtler distinctions, still not rising to the heights of pure, subjective speculation.
  
  --
  
  We are therefore driven to the following, very human and natural conclusion. Plotinos's first attempts at philosophical writing had consisted of chiefly Numenian disquisitions, which would be natural in Alexandria, where Numenius had probably resided, and had left friends and successors among the Gnostics. When Plotinos went to Rome, he took these writings with him, but was too absorbed in new original Amelian treatises to resurrect his youthful Numenian attempts, which he probably did not value highly, as being the least original, and because they taught doctrines he had left behind in his Aristotelian and Stoic progress. He laid them aside. Only when Porphyry had left him, and he felt the increasing feebleness due to old age and Stoic austerities, did his attendant Eustochius urge him to preserve these early works. Plotinos was willing, and sent them to Sicily where Porphyry had retired. And so it happened with Plotinos, as it has happened with many another writer, that the last things became first, and the first became last.
  *****
  
  The idea of classifying the works of Plotinos chronologically, therefore, has so much external proof, as well as internal indications, to support it, that, no doubt, in the future no reference will be made to Plotinos without specifying to which period it refers; and we may expect that future editions of his works1287 will undo the grievous confusion introduced by Porphyry, and thus render Plotinos's works comparatively accessible to rational study.
  
  There are besides many other minor proofs of the chronological order of the writings of Plotinos, most of which are noticed at the heading of each succeeding book; but the most startling human references are those to Amelius's departure as a false friend;466 to Porphyry's desire to suicide at his departure,467 and to his own impending dissolution,468 each of these occurring at the exact time of the event chronologically, but certainly not according to the traditional order.
  
  --
  
  It was however by Amelius that philosophy is drawn into the maelstrom of the world-city. Plotinos, in his early periods a Numenian Platonist, will later go over to Stoicism, and conduct a polemic with the Gnostics, the Alexandrian heirs of Platonic dualism, under the influence of the Stoic Porphyry. However, Plotinos will not publicly abandon Platonism; he will fuse the two streams of thought, and interpret in Stoic terms the fundamentals of Platonism, producing something which, when translated into Latin, he will leave as inheritance to all the ages. Not in vain, therefore, did Amelius transport the torch of philosophy to the Capital.
  *****
  --
  
  Plotinos was no religious leader; he was before everything else a philosopher, even if he centred his efforts on the practical aspects of the ecstatic union with God. Indeed, Porphyry relates to us the incident in which this matter was objectively exemplified. At the New Moon, Amelius invited him to join in a visit to the mystery celebrations. Plotinos refused, saying that "they would have to come to him, not he go over to them." This then is the chief difference between Numenius and Plotinos, and the result would be a recrudescence of pure philosophic contentions, as those of Plotinos against the Gnostics.
  
  As to the general significance of Plotinos, we must here resume what we have elsewhere detailed: that with the change of editors, from Amelius to Porphyry, Plotinos changed from Numenian or Pythagorean dualism1293 to Stoic monism, in which the philosophic feud was no longer with the Stoics, but with the Alexandrian descendants of Numenian dualism, the Gnostics. Even though Plotinos showed practical religious aspects in his studying and experiencing the ecstasy, there is no record of any of his pupils being encouraged to do so, and therefore Plotinos remains chiefly a philosopher.
  
  The successors of Plotinos could not remain on this purely philosophic standpoint. Instead of practising the ecstasy, they followed the Gnostics in theorizing about practical religious reality in their cosmology and theology, which took on, more or less, the shape of magic, not inconsiderably aided by Stoic allegoric interpretations of myths, as in Porphyry's "Cave of the Nymphs."
  
  --
  
  In order to understand the attitude of Plotinos on the subject, we must try to put ourselves in his position. In the first place, on Porphyry's own admission, he had added to Platonism Peripatetic and Stoic views. From Aristotle his chief borrowings were the categories of form and matter, and the distinction between potentiality and actuality,488 as well as the Aristotelian psychology of various souls. To the Stoics he was drawn by their monism, which led him to drop the traditional Academico-Stoic feud, or rather to take the side of the Stoics against Numenius the Platonist dualist and the dualistic successors, the Gnostics. But there was a difference between the Stoics and Plotinos. The Stoics assimilated spirit to matter, while Plotinos, reminiscent of Plato, preferred to assimilate matter to spirit. Still, he used their terminology, and categories, including the conception of a hypostasis, or form of existence. With this equipment, he held to the traditional Platonic trinity of the "Letters," the King, the intellect, and the soul. Philosophically, however, he had received from Numenius the inheritance of a double name of the Divinity, Being and Essence. As a thinker, he was therefore forced to accommodate Numenius to Plato, and by adding to Numenius's name of the divinity, to complete Numenius's theology by Numenius's own1303 cosmology. This then he did by adding as third hypostasis the Aristotelian dynamic energy.
  
  --
  
  We have, elsewhere, pointed out the historic connections between Numenius and Plotinos. Here, it may be sufficient to recall that Amelius, native of Numenius's home-town of Apamea, and who had copied and learned by heart all the works of Numenius, and who later returned to Apamea to spend his declining days, bequeathing his copy of Numenius's works to his adopted son Gentilianus Hesychius, was the companion and friend of Plotinos during his earliest period, editing all Plotinos's books, until displaced by Porphyry. We remember also that Porphyry was Amelius's disciple, before his spectacular quarrel with Amelius, later supplanting him as editor of the works of Plotinos. Plotinos also came from Alexandria, where Numenius had been carefully studied and quoted by Origen and Clement of Alexandria. Further, Porphyry records twice that accusations were popularly made against Plotinos, that he had plagiarized from Numenius. In view of all this historical background, we have the prima-facie right to consider Plotinos chiefly as a later re-stater of the views of Numenius, at least during his earlier or Amelian period. Such a conception of the state of affairs must have been in the mind of that monk who, in the Escoreal manuscript, substituted the name of Numenius for that of Plotinos on that fragment573 about matter, which begins directly1314 with Numenius's name of the divinity, "being and essence."574
  2. NUMENIUS AS FATHER OF NEO-PLATONISM.
  --
  
  Of course we shall admit that there are differences between Plotinos and Numenius, at least during his Porphyrian period; this was inevitable while dismissing his Numenian secretary Amelius,575 a friend "who had become imbued with" such doctrines before becoming the friend of Plotinos, who persevered in them, and wrote in justification thereof. We find that the book chronologically preceding this one is v. 5, on the very subject at issue between Amelius and Porphyry. Plotinos took his stand with the latter, and therefore against the former, and through him, against Numenius;1315 and indeed we find him opposing several Gnostic opinions which can be substantiated in Numenius: the creation by illumination or emanation,576 the threefoldness of the creator,577 and the pilot's forgetting himself in his work.578
  
  --
  
  Further, as we shall show, during his last or Eustochian period after Porphyry had taken a trip to Sicily to avoid suicide, he himself was to return to Numenian standpoints. This may be shown in a general way as follows. Of the nine Eustochian essays582 only two583 betray no similarities to Numenian ideas, while seven584 do. On the contrary, in the Amelio-Porphyrian period,585 written immediately on Amelius's dismissal, only six586 are Numenian, and six587 are non-Numenian. In the succeeding wholly Porphyrian period,588 we have the same equal number of Numenian589 and non-Numenian590 books. An explanation of this reversion to Numenian ideas has been attempted in the study of the development in Plotinos's views. On the whole, therefore, Plotinos's opposition to Numenius may be considered no more than episodic.
  4. DIRECT INDEBTEDNESS OF PLOTINOS TO NUMENIUS.
  
  As Plotinos was in the habit of not even putting his name to his own notes; as even in the times of Porphyry the actual authorship of much that he wrote was already disputed; as even Porphyry acknowledges principles and quotations were borrowed, we must discover1316 Numenian passages by their content, rather than by any external indications. As the great majority of Numenius's works are irretrievably lost, we may never hope to arrive at a final solution of the matter; and we shall have to restrict ourselves to that which, in Plotinos, may be identified by what Numenian fragments remain. What little we can thus trace definitely will give us a right to draw the conclusion to much more, and to the opinion that, especially in his Amelian period, Plotinos was chiefly indebted to Numenian inspiration. We can consider591 the mention of Pythagoreans who had treated of the intelligible as applying to Numenius, whose chief work was "On the Good," and on the "Immateriality of the Soul."
  
  --
  
  There are many other unclassifiable Numenian traces in Plotinos. Two of them, however, are comparatively important. First, is a reaffirmation of the ancient Greek connection between generation, fertility of birth of souls and wetness,730 which is later reaffirmed by Porphyry in his "Cave of the Nymphs." Plotinos, however, later denies this.731 Then we come to a genuine innovation of Numenius's; his theory of divine or intelligible giving. Plato had, of course, in his genial, casual way, sketched out a whole organic system of divine creation and administration of this world. The conceptions he needed he had cheerfully borrowed from earlier Greek philosophy without any rigid systematization, so that he never noticed that the hinge on which all was supposed to turn was merely the makeshift of an assumption. This capital error was noticed by Numenius, who sought to supply it by a psychological observation, namely, that knowledge may be imparted without diminution. Plotinos, with his winning way of dispensing with quotation-marks, appropriated this,732 as also the idea that life streams out upon the world in the glance of the divinity, and as quickly leaves it, when the Divinity turns away His glance.733
  
  --
  
  We must focus our observations on Plotinos as a philosopher. To begin with, we should review his successors, Porphyry, Jamblichus, Sallust, Proclus, Hierocles, Simplicius;738 Macrobius;739 Priscus; Olympicdorus and John Philoponus.740
  
  --
  
  Summarizing, he formed a bridge between the pagan world, with its Greco-Roman civilization, and the modern world, in three departments: Christianity, philosophy, and mysticism. So long as the traditional Platonico-Stoical feud persisted there was no hope of progress; because it kept apart two elements that were to fuse into the Christian philosophy. Numenius was the last Platonist, as Posidonius was the last Stoic combatant. However, if reports are to be trusted, Ammonius was an eclecticist, who prided himself on combining Plato with Aristotle. If Plotinos was indeed his disciple, it was the theory eclecticism that he took from his reputed teacher. Practically he was to accomplish it by his dependence on the Numenian Amelius, the Stoic Porphyry, and the negative Eustochius. It will be seen therefore that his chief importance was not in spite of his weakness, but most because of it. By repeatedly "boxing the compass" he thoroughly assimilated the best of the conflicting schools, and became of interest to a sufficiency of different groups (Christian, philosophical and mystical) to insure preservation, study and quotation. His habit of omitting credit to any but ancient thinkers left his own work, to the uninformedwho constituted all but a minimal numberas a body of original thought. Thus he remains to us the last light of Greece, speaking a language with which we are familiar, and leaving us quotations that are imperishable.
  
  --
  
  His epilepsy naturally created an opportunity for, and need of a doctrine of ecstasy; which for normal people should be no more than a doctrine, or at least be limited to conscious experiences. Even his admirer, Porphyry, acknowledges that he spelled and pronounced incorrectly.750 He acknowledged that without Porphyry's objections he would have nothing to say. He refrained from quoting his authorities, and1330 Porphyry acknowledged that his writings contained many Stoic and Aristotelian doctrines. It was generally bruited around that his doctrines were borrowed from Numenius,751 to the extent that his disciples held controversies, and wrote books on the subject. His style is enigmatic, and the difficulty of understanding him was discussed even in his own day. He was dependent on secretaries or editors; first on Amelius, later on Porphyry, who does not scruple to acknowledge he added many explanations.752 Later, Plotinos sent his books to Porphyry in Sicily to edit. No doubt the defectiveness of his eyesight made both reading and writing difficult, and explains his failure to put titles to his works; though, as in the case of Virgil, such hesitation may have been the result of a secret consciousness of his indebtedness to others.
  RELIANCE ON PUNNING.
  --
  
  1 It is significant that the subject of the first treatise of Plotinos, after the departure of Porphyry, should treat of happiness as the object of life. These may have been the arguments he advanced to persuade Porphyry to abstain from suicide (to which he refers in sections 8, 16), and, rather, to take a trip to Sicily, the land of natural beauty. He also speaks of losing friends, in section 8. The next book, on Providence, may also have been inspired by reflections on this untoward and unexpected circumstance. We see also a change from abstract speculation to his more youthful fancy and comparative learning and culture.
  
  --
  
  20 A Stoic confutation of Epicurus and the Gnostics. As soon as Porphyry has left him, Plotinos harks back to Amelius, on whose leaving he had written against the Gnostics. He also returns to Numenian thoughts. Bouillet notices that here Plotinos founded himself on Chrysippus, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus, and was followed by Nemesius. This new foundation enabled him to assume a rather independent attitude. Against Plato, he taught that matter derived existence from God, and that the union of the soul and body is not necessarily evil. Against Aristotle, he taught that God is not only the final, but also the efficient cause of the universe. Against the Stoics, he taught that the human soul is free, and is a cause, independent of the World Soul from which she proceeded. Against the Gnostics, he insisted that the creator is good, the world is the best possible, and Providence extends to mundane affairs. Against the Manicheans, he taught that the evil is not positive, but negative, and is no efficient cause, so that there is no dualism.
  
  --
  
  97 In this book we no longer find detailed study of Plato, Aristotle and the Epicureans, as we did in the works of the Porphyrian period. Well indeed did Plotinos say that without Porphyry's objections he might have had little to say.
  
  98 Porphyry, Principles of the theory of the Intelligibles, 31.
  
  --
  
  106 Porphyry, Principles, 32.
  
  --
  
  111 Porphyry, Principles, 26.
  
  --
  
  114 In this book Plotinos harks back to the first book he had written, i. 6, to Plato's Banquet and Cratylos. Porphyry later agreed with some of it. Like St. John, Plotinos returns to God as love, in his old age. His former book had also been a re-statement of earlier thoughts.
  
  --
  
  120 Porphyry, Biography of Plotinos, 15.
  
  --
  
  135 Plato, Banquet, p. 202, Cary, 27, 28; Porphyry, de Abst. ii. 37, sqq.
  
  --
  
  137 Plato, Epinomis, p. 984, Cary, 8; Porphyry, de Abst. ii. 3742.
  
  --
  
  198 We notice how these latter studies of Plotinos do not take up any new problems, chiefly reviewing subjects touched on before. This accounts for Porphyry's attempt to group the Plotinic writings, systematically. This reminds us of the suggestion in the Biography, that except for the objections of Porphyry, Plotinos would have nothing to write. Notice also the system of the last Porphyrian treatises, contrasted with the more literary treatment of the later. All this supports Porphyry's table of chronological arrangement of the studies of Plotinos. This book is closely connected with the preceding studies of Fate and Providence, iii. 13; for he is here really opposing not the Gnostics he antagonized when dismissing Amelius, but the Stoic theories on Providence and Fate.
  
  --
  
  261 Plotinos is here harking back to his very earliest writing, 1.6, where, before his monistic adventure with Porphyry, he had, under the Numenian influence of Amelius, constructed his system out of a combination of the doctrines of Plato (about the ideas), Aristotle (the distinctions of form and matter and of potentiality and actualization), and the Stoic (the "reasons," "seminal reasons," action and passions, and "hexis," or "habit," the inorganic informing principle). Of these, Numenius seems to have lacked the Aristotelian doctrines, although he left Plato's single triple-functioned soul for Aristotle's combination of souls of various degrees (fr. 53). Plotinos, therefore, seems to have distinguished in every object two elements, matter and form (ii. 4.1; ii. 5.2). Matter inheres potentially in all beings (ii. 5.3, 4) and therefore is non-being, ugliness, and evil (i. 6.6). Form is the actualization (K. Steinhart's Melemata Plotiniana, p. 31; ii. 5.2); that is, the essence and power (vi. 4.9), which are inseparable. Form alone possesses real existence, beauty and goodness. Form has four degrees: idea, reason, nature and habit; which degrees are the same as those of thought and life ( Porphyry, Principles 12, 13, 14). The idea is distinguished into "idea" or intelligible Form, or "eidos," principle of human intellectual life. Reason is 1, divine (theios logos, i. 6, 2; the reason that comes from the universal Soul, iv. 3.10), 2, human (principle of the rational life, see Ficinus on ii. 6.2); 3, the seminal or generative reason (principle of the life of sensation, which imparts to the body the sense-form, "morph," 3.12-end; Bouillet, i. 365). Now reasons reside in the soul (ii. 4.12), and are simultaneously essences and powers (vi. 4.9), and as powers produce the nature, and as essences, the habits. Now nature ("physis") is the principle of the vegetative life, and habit, "hexis," Numenius, fr. 55, see ii. 4.16, is the principle of unity of inorganic things.
  
  --
  
  279 See Porphyry, Faculties of the Soul, and Ficinus, commentary on this book.
  
  --
  
  296 Porphyry and Ammonius in Bouillet, i. Intr. p. 60, 63, 64, 75, 79, 93, 96, 98, and note on p. 362 to 377.
  
  --
  
  317 Bouillet observes that this book is only a feeble outline of some of the ideas developed in vi. 7, 8, and 9. The biographical significance of this might be as follows. As in the immediately preceding books Plotinos was harking back to Numenius's doctrines, he may have wished to reconcile the two divergent periods, the Porphyrian monism of vi. 7 and 8, with the earlier Amelian dualism of vi. 9. This was nothing derogatory to him; for it is well known that there was a difference between the eclectic monism of the young Plato of the Republic, and the more logical dualism of the older Plato of the Laws. This latter was represented by Numenius and Amelius; the formercombined with Aristotelian and Stoic elementsby Porphyry. Where Plato could not decide, why should we expect Plotinos to do so? And, as a matter of fact, the world also has never been able to decide, so long as it remained sincere, and did not deceive itself with sophistries, as did Hegel. Kant also had his "thing-in-itself"indeed, he did little more than to develop the work of Plotinos.
  
  --
  
  367 See Plotinos, ii. 7.1; Porphyry, Principles, 17, 18, 21, 22, 36, 38.
  
  --
  
  469 Porphyry, Biography 2.
  

Liber 111 - The Book of Wisdom - LIBER ALEPH VEL CXI, #unset, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
   Light fashioned by the True Will. And this is called by the Qabalists
   the Sleep of Shiloam, and of this doeth also Porphyry make mention, and
   Cicero, with many other Wise Men of Old Time.

The Dwellings of the Philosophers, #unset, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  "It is built in a square fashion, eight feet wide and 14 feet long: all made using fine Italian
  black and white marble, Porphyry and alabaster. The main part of the Word is raised by 6 feet
  from the ground with 6 niches, each 2 feet high, with their back parts made of finely carved

the Eternal Wisdom, #unset, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  12) The possession of wisdom leadeth to true happiness. ~ Porphyry
  
  --
  
  31) To find our real being and know it truly is to acquire wisdom. ~ Porphyry
  
  --
  
  1) Only the like knows its like. ~ Porphyry
  
  --
  
  9) Ignorance of oneself is then an evil in all respects, whether ignoring the greatness and dignity of the inner man one lowers one's divine principle or ignoring the natural baseness of the external man one commits the fault of glorifying oneself. ~ Porphyry, "Treatise on the Precept, Know Thyself"
  
  --
  
  11) If then we wish to give ourselves to the study of philosophy, let us apply ourselves to self-knowledge and we shall arrive at a right philosophy by elevating ourselves from the conception of ourselves to the contemplation of the universe. ~ Porphyry
  
  --
  
  27) The zeal we devote to fulfilling the precept "Know thyself," leads us to the true happiness whose condition is the knowledge of veritable truths. ~ Porphyry
  

WORDNET



--- Overview of noun porphyry

The noun porphyry has 1 sense (no senses from tagged texts)
                  
1. porphyry, porphyritic rock ::: (any igneous rock with crystals embedded in a finer groundmass of minerals)




--- Synonyms/Hypernyms (Ordered by Estimated Frequency) of noun porphyry

1 sense of porphyry                          

Sense 1
porphyry, porphyritic rock
   => igneous rock
     => rock, stone
       => material, stuff
         => substance
           => matter
             => physical entity
               => entity
           => part, portion, component part, component, constituent
             => relation
               => abstraction, abstract entity
                 => entity




--- Hyponyms of noun porphyry
                                    




--- Synonyms/Hypernyms (Ordered by Estimated Frequency) of noun porphyry

1 sense of porphyry                          

Sense 1
porphyry, porphyritic rock
   => igneous rock










--- Coordinate Terms (sisters) of noun porphyry

1 sense of porphyry                          

Sense 1
porphyry, porphyritic rock
  -> igneous rock
   => andesite
   => aplite
   => groundmass
   => adesite
   => batholith, batholite, pluton, plutonic rock
   => diorite
   => gabbro
   => pegmatite
   => peridotite
   => rhyolite
   => volcanic rock
   => porphyry, porphyritic rock










--- Grep of noun porphyry
porphyry





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