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00.01_-_The_Mother_on_Savitri
It_does_not_matter_if_you_understand_it_-_Savitri,_read_it_always.

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--- DICTIONARIES (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



--- QUOTES [34 / 34 - 74 / 74] (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



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   34 The Mother

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1:My child, every day you are going to read Savitri ~ The Mother, Sweet Mother ,
2:Sweet Mother, how does one do Yoga?Be wholly sincere, never try to deceive others. And try never to deceive yourself. Blessings. ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II ,
3:Sweet Mother, Can you hear me whenever I call you?My dear child, Be sure that I hear you each time you call and my help and force go straight to you. With my blessings. 1 June 1960 ~ The Mother, On Education ,
4:I bow to You, Sweet Mother. Be present in me always and for ever.Yes, I am always with you, but you must never forget to call me, for it is by calling me that the presence becomes effective. 15 December 1934 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother ,
5:Sweet Mother, I feel that something is wrong and you are very displeased with me.It is the very first proposition that is wrong, I am not displeased with you - so all that follows cannot be correct. ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother ,
6:Sweet Mother, I will try to do whatever You wish. Where are You?Cross beyond the ignorance of a mind that judges without knowing, plunge into the depths of a calm and unassuming silence: there you will find me. ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother ,
7:Sweet Mother, how can we find the Divine who is hidden in us? ... This we have explained many, many times. But the first thing is to want it, and know precisely that this comes first, before all other things, that this is the important thing. That is the first condition; all the rest may come later, this is the essential condition. You see, if once in a while, from time to time, when you have nothing to do and all goes well and you are unoccupied, suddenly you tell yourself, Ah, I would like so much to find the Divine! - well, this - it may take a hundred thousand years, in this way. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954 ,
8:Sweet Mother, You have written: So long as you have to renounce anything, you are not on this path. But doesn't all renunciation begin when one is on the path?What I call being on the path is being in a state of consciousness in which only union with the Divine has any value - this union is the only thing worth living, the sole object of aspiration. Everything else has lost all value and is not worth seeking, so there is no longer any question of renouncing it because it is no longer an object of desire. As long as union with the Divine is not the thing for which one lives, one is not yet on the path. 21 April 1965 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother ,
9:Sweet Mother, It is much easier for me to approach You than to approach Sri Aurobindo. Why? You are all that Sri Aurobindo is for us, as well as a divine and loving Mother. So is it necessary to try to establish the same relation with him? You yourself have answered your own question. I am for you a mother who is very close to you, who loves and understands you; that is why it is easy for you to approach me with a loving confidence, without fear and without hesitation. Sri Aurobindo is always there to help you and guide you; but it is natural that you should approach Him with the reverence due to the Master of Yoga. 3 July 1960 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother 243,
10:Sweet Mother,One day in class you said, with your hands wide open, that we should give you everything, even our defects and vices and all the dirt in us. Is this the only way to get rid of them, and how can one do it?One keeps one's defects because one hangs on to them as if they were something precious; one clings to one's vices as one clings to a part of one's body, and pulling out a bad habit hurts as much as pulling out a tooth. That is why one does not progress. Whereas if one generously makes an offering of one's defect, vice or bad habit, then one has the joy of making an offering and one receives in exchange the force to replace what has been given, by a better and truer vibration. 13 June 1960 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother ,
11:Sweet Mother, What exactly is the soul or psychic being? And what is meant by the evolution of the psychic being? What is its relation to the Supreme? The soul and the psychic being are not exactly the same thing, although their essence is the same. The soul is the divine spark that dwells at the centre of each being; it is identical with its Divine Origin; it is the divine in man. The psychic being is formed progressively around this divine centre, the soul, in the course of its innumerable lives in the terrestrial evolution, until the time comes when the psychic being, fully formed and wholly awakened, becomes the conscious sheath of the soul around which it is formed. And thus identified with the Divine, it becomes His perfect instrument in the world. 16 July 1960 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother 244,
12:Sweet Mother, Why has the Divine made His path so difficult? He can make it easier if He wants, can't He?First of all, one should know that the intellect, the mind, can understand nothing of the Divine, neither what He does nor how He does it and still less why He does it. To know something of the Divine, one has to rise above thought and enter into the psychic consciousness, the consciousness of the soul, or into the spiritual consciousness. Those who have had the experience have always said that the difficulties and sufferings of the path are not real, but a creation of human ignorance, and that as soon as one gets out of this ignorance one also gets out of the difficulties, to say nothing of the inalienable state of bliss in which one dwells as soon as one is in conscious contact with the Divine. So according to them, the question has no real basis and cannot be posed. ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother 21 September 1959,
13:Sweet Mother, Sri Aurobindo has said somewhere that if one surrenders to the Divine Grace, it will do everything for us. Therefore, what value has tapasya?If you want to know what Sri Aurobindo has said on a given subject, you must at least read all that he has written on that subject. You will then see that he has apparently said the most contradictory things. But when one has read everything, and understood a little, one perceives that all the contradictions complement each other and are organised and unified into an integral synthesis. Here is another quotation from Sri Aurobindo which will show you that your question is based on ignorance. There are many others which you can read with interest and which will make your intelligence more supple: 'If there is not a complete surrender, then it is not possible to adopt the baby cat attitude; it becomes mere tamasic passivity calling itself surrender. If a complete surrender is not possible in the beginning, it follows that personal effort is necessary.' 16 December 1964 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother 308,
14:My sweet mother, The more I look into myself, the more discouraged I am, and I don't know whether there is any chance of my making any progress. It seems that all the obscurities and falsehoods are rising up on every side, inside and outside, and want to swallow me up. There are times when I cannot distinguish truth from falsehood and I am then on the verge of losing my mind. Still, there is something in me which says very weakly that all will be well; but this voice is so feeble that I cannot rely on it.1 My faults are so numerous and so great that I think I shall fail. On the other hand, I have neither the inclination nor the capacity for the ordinary life. And I know that I shall never be able to leave this life. This is my situation right now. The struggle is getting more and more acute, and worst of all I cannot lie to you. What should I do? Do not torment yourself, my child, and remain as quiet as you can; do not yield to the temptation to give up the struggle and let yourself fall into darkness. Persist, and one day you will realise that I am close to you to console you and help you, and then the hardest part will be over. With all my love and blessings. 25 September 1947 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother ,
15:Sweet Mother, is the physical mind the same as the mechanical mind? Almost. You see, there is just a little difference, but not much. The mechanical mind is still more stupid than the physical mind. The physical mind is what we spoke about one day, that which is never sure of anything. I told you the story of the closed door, you remember. Well, that is the nature of the physical mind. The mechanical mind is at a lower level still, because it doesn't even listen to the possibility of a convincing reason, and this happens to everyone. Usually we don't let it function, but it comes along repeating the same things, absolutely mechanically, without rhyme or reason, just like that. When some craze or other takes hold of it, it goes... For example, you see, if it fancies counting: "One, two, three, four", then it will go on: "One, two, three, four; one, two, three, four." And you may think of all kinds of things, but it goes on: "One, two, three, four", like that... (Mother laughs.) Or it catches hold of three words, four words and repeats them and goes on repeating them; and unless one turns away with a certain violence and punches it soundly, telling it, "Keep quiet!", it continues in this way, indefinitely. ~ The Mother,
16:"Q: What is the right attitude to stick on to this path till the Supramental Truth is realised?"A: There is the psychic condition and sincerity and devotion to the Mother."What is "the psychic condition"?The psychic condition? That means being in relation with one's psychic, I suppose, being governed by one's psychic being.Sweet Mother, I don't understand very clearly the difference between faith, belief and confidence.But Sri Aurobindo has given the full explanation here. If you don't understand, then...He has written "Faith is a feeling in the whole being."The whole being, yes. Faith, that's the whole being at once. He says that belief is something that occurs in the head, that is purely mental; and confidence is quite different. Confidence - one can have confidence in life, trust in the Divine, trust in others, trust in one's own destiny, that is, one has the feeling that everything is going to help him, to do what he wants to do.Faith is a certitude without any proof.Mother, on what does faith depend?Probably on Divine Grace. Some people have it spontaneously. There are others who need to make a great effort to have it. ~ The Mother, Question and Answers Volume-6,
17:Sweet Mother, Is it possible to have control over oneself during sleep? For example, if I want to see you in my dreams, can I do it at will? Control during sleep is entirely possible and it is progressive if you persist in the effort. You begin by remembering your dreams, then gradually you remain more and more conscious during your sleep, and not only can you control your dreams but you can guide and organise your activities during sleep. If you persist in your will and your effort, you are sure to learn how to come and find me at night during your sleep and afterwards to remember what has happened. For this, two things are necessary, which you must develop by aspiration and by calm and persistent effort. (1) Concentrate your thought on the will to come and find me; then pursue this thought, first by an effort of imagination, afterwards in a tangible and increasingly real way, until you are in my presence. (2) Establish a sort of bridge between the waking and the sleeping consciousness, so that when you wake up you remember what has happened.It may be that you succeed immediately, but more often it takes a certain time and you must persist in the effort. 25 September 1959 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother 226,
18:Sweet Mother, Just as there is a methodical progression of exercises for mental and physical education, isn't there a similar method to progress towards Sri Aurobindo's yoga? It should vary with each individual. Could you make a step-by-step programme for me to follow daily?The mechanical regularity of a fixed programme is indispensable for physical, mental and vital development; but this mechanical rigidity has little or no effect on spiritual development where the spontaneity of an absolute sincerity is indispensable. Sri Aurobindo has written very clearly on this subject. And what he has written on it has appeared in The Synthesis Of Yoga. However, as an initial help to set you on the path, I can tell you: (1) that on getting up, before starting the day, it is good to make an offering of this day to the Divine, an offering of all that one thinks, all that one is, all that one will do; (2) and at night, before going to sleep, it is good to review the day, taking note of all the times one has forgotten or neglected to make an offering of one's self or one's action, and to aspire or pray that these lapses do not recur. This is a minimum, a very small beginning - and it should increase with the sincerity of your consecration. 31 March 1965 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother ,
19:Mother, in your symbol the twelve petals signify the twelve inner planes, don't they?It signifies anything one wants, you see. Twelve: that's the number of Aditi, of Mahashakti. So it applies to everything; all her action has twelve aspects. There are also her twelve virtues, her twelve powers, her twelve aspects, and then her twelve planes of manifestation and many other things that are twelve; and the symbol, the number twelve is in itself a symbol. It is the symbol of manifestation, double perfection, in essence and in manifestation, in the creation. What are the twelve aspects, Sweet Mother? Ah, my child, I have described this somewhere, but I don't remember now. For it is always a choice, you see; according to what one wants to say, one can choose these twelve aspects or twelve others, or give them different names. The same aspect can be named in different ways. This does not have the fixity of a mental theory. (Silence) According to the angle from which one sees the creation, one day I may describe twelve aspects to you; and then another day, because I have shifted my centre of observation, I may describe twelve others, and they will be equally true. (To Vishwanath) Is it the wind that's producing this storm? It is very good for a dramatic stage-effect.... The traitor is approaching in the night... yes? We are waiting for some terrible deed.... ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954 395,
20:Sweet Mother, how can we cut the knot of the ego? How to cut it? Take a sword and strike it (laughter), when one becomes conscious of it. For usually one is not; we think it quite normal, what happens to us; and in fact it is very normal but we think it quite good also. So to begin with one must have a great clear-sightedness to become aware that one is enclosed in all these knots which hold one in bondage. And then, when one is aware that there's something altogether tightly closed in there - so tightly that one has tried in vain to move it - then one imagines one's will to be a very sharp sword-blade, and with all one's force one strikes a blow on this knot (imaginary, of course, one doesn't take up a sword in fact), and this produces a result. Of course you can do this work from the psychological point of view, discovering all the elements constituting this knot, the whole set of resistances, habits, preferences, of all that holds you narrowly closed in. So when you grow aware of this, you can concentrate and call the divine Force and the Grace and strike a good blow on this formation, these things so closely held, like that, that nothing can separate them. And at that moment you must resolve that you will no longer listen to these things, that you will listen only to the divine Consciousness and will do no other work except the divine work without worrying about personal results, free from all attachment, free from all preference, free from all wish for success, power, satisfaction, vanity, all this.... All this must disappear and you must see only the divine Will incarnated in your will and making you act. Then, in this way, you are cured. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954 ,
21:Sweet Mother, how can we cut the knot of the ego? How to cut it? Take a sword and strike it (laughter), when one becomes conscious of it. For usually one is not; we think it quite normal, what happens to us; and in fact it is very normal but we think it quite good also. So to begin with one must have a great clear-sightedness to become aware that one is enclosed in all these knots which hold one in bondage. And then, when one is aware that there's something altogether tightly closed in there - so tightly that one has tried in vain to move it - then one imagines one's will to be a very sharp sword-blade, and with all one's force one strikes a blow on this knot (imaginary, of course, one doesn't take up a sword in fact), and this produces a result. Of course you can do this work from the psychological point of view, discovering all the elements constituting this knot, the whole set of resistances, habits, preferences, of all that holds you narrowly closed in. So when you grow aware of this, you can concentrate and call the divine Force and the Grace and strike a good blow on this formation, these things so closely held, like that, that nothing can separate them. And at that moment you must resolve that you will no longer listen to these things, that you will listen only to the divine Consciousness and will do no other work except the divine work without worrying about personal results, free from all attachment, free from all preference, free from all wish for success, power, satisfaction, vanity, all this.... All this must disappear and you must see only the divine Will incarnated in your will and making you act. Then, in this way, you are cured. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954 ,
22:Sweet Mother, You have asked the teachers "to think with ideas instead of with words".4 You have also said that later on you will ask them to think with experiences. Will you throw some light on these three ways of thinking?Our house has a very high tower; at the very top of this tower there is a bright and bare room, the last before we emerge into the open air, into the full light. Sometimes, when we are free to do so, we climb up to this bright room, and there, if we remain very quiet, one or more visitors come to call on us; some are tall, others small, some single, others in groups; all are bright and graceful. Usually, in our joy at their arrival and our haste to welcome them, we lose our tranquillity and come galloping down to rush into the great hall that forms the base of the tower and is the storeroom of words. Here, more or less excited, we select, reject, assemble, combine, disarrange, rearrange all the words in our reach, in an attempt to portray this or that visitor who has come to us. But most often, the picture we succeed in making of our visitor is more like a caricature than a portrait. And yet if we were wiser, we would remain up above, at the summit of the tower, quite calm, in joyful contemplation. Then, after a certain length of time, we would see the visitors themselves slowly, gracefully, calmly descend, without losing anything of their elegance or beauty and, as they cross the storeroom of words, clothe themselves effortlessly, automatically, with the words needed to make themselves perceptible even in the material house. This is what I call thinking with ideas. When this process is no longer mysterious to you, I shall explain what is meant by thinking with experiences. ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother ,
23:Sweet Mother, Sri Aurobindo is speaking about occult endeavour here and says that those who don't have the capacity must wait till it is given to them. Can't they get it through practice? No. That is, if it is latent in someone, it can be developed by practice. But if one doesn't have occult power, he may try for fifty years, he won't get anywhere. Everybody cannot have occult power. It is as though you were asking whether everybody could be a musician, everybody could be a painter, everybody could... Some can, some can't. It is a question of temperament. What is the difference between occultism and mysticism? They are not at all the same thing. Mysticism is a more or less emotive relation with what one senses to be a divine power - that kind of highly emotional, affective, very intense relation with something invisible which is or is taken for the Divine. That is mysticism. Occultism is exactly what he has said: it is the knowledge of invisible forces and the power to handle them. It is a science. It is altogether a science. I always compare occultism with chemistry, for it is the same kind of knowledge as the knowledge of chemistry for material things. It is a knowledge of invisible forces, their different vibrations, their interrelations, the combinations which can be made by bringing them together and the power one can exercise over them. It is absolutely scientific; and it ought to be learnt like a science; that is, one cannot practise occultism as something emotional or something vague and imprecise. You must work at it as you would do at chemistry, and learn all the rules or find them if there is nobody to teach you. But it is at some risk to yourself that you can find them. There are combinations here as explosive as certain chemical combinations. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954 ,
24:Sweet Mother, here it is written: "There is a Yoga-Shakti lying coiled or asleep..." How can it be awakened?I think it awakens quite naturally the moment one takes the resolution to do the yoga. If the resolution is sincere and one has an aspiration, it wakes up by itself. In fact, it is perhaps its awakening which gives the aspiration to do yoga. It is possible that it is a result of the Grace... or after some conversation or reading, something that has suddenly given you the idea and aspiration to know what yoga is and to practise it. Sometimes just a simple conversation with someone is enough or a passage one reads from a book; well, it awakens this Yoga-Shakti and it is this which makes you do your yoga. One is not aware of it at first - except that something has changed in our life, a new decision is taken, a turning. What is it, this Yoga-Shakti, Sweet Mother? It is the energy of progress. It is the energy which makes you do the yoga, precisely, makes you progress - consciously. It is a conscious energy. In fact, the Yoga-Shakti is the power to do yoga. Sweet Mother, isn't it more difficult to draw the divine forces from below? I think it is absolutely useless. Some people think that there are more reserves of energy - I have heard this very often: a great reserve of energy - in the earth, and that if they draw this energy into themselves they will be able to do things; but it is always mixed. The divine Presence is everywhere, that's well understood. And in fact, there is neither above nor below. What is called above and below, I think that is rather the expression of a degree of consciousness or a degree of materiality; there is the more unconscious and the less unconscious, there is what is subconscious and what is superconscious, and so we say above and below for the facility of speech. But in fact, the idea is to draw from the energies of the earth which, when you are standing up, are under your feet, that is, below in relation to you. But these energies are always mixed, and mostly they are terribly dark. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955 ,
25:It is your birthday tomorrow?Yes, Mother.How old will you be?Twenty-six, Mother.I shall see you tomorrow and give you something special. You will see, I am not speaking of anything material- that, I shall give you a card and all that- but of something...You will see, tomorrow, now go home and prepare yourself quietly so that you may be ready to receive it.Yes, Mother.You know, my child, what "Bonne Fete" signifies, that is, the birthday we wish here?Like that, I know what it means, Mother, but not the special significance you want to tell me.Yes, it is truly a special day in one's life. It is one of those days in the year when the Supreme descends into us- or when we are face to face with the Eternal- one of those days when our soul comes in contact with the Eternal and, if we remain a little conscious, we can feel His Presence within us. If we make a little effort on this day, we accomplish the work of many lives as in a lightning flash. That is why I give so much importance to the birthday- because what one gains in one day is truly something incomparable. And it is for this that I also work to open the consciousness a little towards what is above so that one may come before the Eternal. My child, it is a very, very special day, for it is the day of decision, the day one can unite with the Supreme Consciousness. For the Lord lifts us on this day to the highest region possible so that our soul which is a portion of that Eternal Flame, may be united and identified with its Origin.This day is truly an opportunity in life. One is so open and so receptive that one can assimilate all that is given. I can do many things, that is why it is important.It is one of those days when the Lord Himself opens the doors wide for us. It is as though He were inviting us to rekindle more powerfully the flame of aspiration. It is one of those days which He gives us. We too, by our personal effort, could attain to this, but it would be long, hard and not so easy. And this- this is a real chance in life- the day of Grace.It is an occult phenomenon that occurs invariably, without our knowledge, on this particular day of the year. The soul leaves behind the body and journeys up and up till it merges into the Source in order to replenish itself and absorb from the Supreme Its Power, Light and Ananda and comes down charged for a whole year to pass. Then again and again... it continues like this year after year. ~ The Mother, Sweet Mother Mona Sarkar,
26:Sweet Mother, can the psychic express itself without the mind, the vital and the physical?It expresses itself constantly without them. Only, in order that the ordinary human being may perceive it, it has to express itself through them, because the ordinary human being is not in direct contact with the psychic. If it was in direct contact with the psychic it would be psychic in its manifestation - and all would be truly well. But as it is not in contact with the psychic it doesn't even know what it is, it wonders all bewildered what kind of a being it can be; so to reach this ordinary human consciousness it must use ordinary means, that is, go through the mind, the vital and the physical.One of them may be skipped but surely not the last, otherwise one is no longer conscious of anything at all. The ordinary human being is conscious only in his physical being, and only in relatively rare moments is he conscious of his mind, just a little more frequently of his vital, but all this is mixed up in his consciousness, so much so that he would be quite unable to say "This movement comes from the mind, this from the vital, this from the physical." This already asks for a considerable development in order to be able to distinguish within oneself the source of the different movements one has. And it is so mixed that even when one tries, at the beginning it is very difficult to classify and separate one thing from another.It is as when one works with colours, takes three or four or five different colours and puts them in the same water and beats them up together, it makes a grey, indistinct and incomprehensi- ble mixture, you see, and one can't say which is red, which blue, which green, which yellow; it is something dirty, lots of colours mixed. So first of all one must do this little work of separating the red, blue, yellow, green - putting them like this, each in its corner. It is not at all easy.I have met people who used to think themselves extremely intelligent, by the way, who thought they knew a lot, and when I spoke to them about the different parts of the being they looked at me like this (gesture) and asked me, "But what are you speaking about?" They did not understand at all. I am speaking of people who have the reputation of being intelligent. They don't understand at all. For them it is just the consciousness; it is the consciousness-"It is my consciousness" and then there is the neighbour's consciousness; and again there are things which do not have any consciousness. And then I asked them whether animals had a consciousness; so they began to scratch their heads and said, "Perhaps it is we who put our consciousness in the animal when we look at it," like that... ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955 ,
27:Sweet Mother, is there a spiritual being in everybody?That depends on what we call "being". If for "being" we substitute "presence", yes, there is a spiritual presence in everyone. If we call "being" an organised entity, fully conscious of itself, independent, and having the power of asserting itself and ruling the rest of the nature - no! The possibility of this independent and all-powerful being is in everybody, but the realisation is the result of long efforts which sometimes extend over many lives.In everyone, even at the very beginning, this spiritual presence, this inner light is there.... In fact, it is everywhere. I have seen it many a time in certain animals. It is like a shining point which is the basis of a certain control and protection, something which, even in half-consciousness, makes possible a certain harmony with the rest of creation so that irreparable catastrophes may not be constant and general. Without this presence the disorder created by the violences and passions of the vital would be so great that at any moment they could bring about a general catastrophe, a sort of total destruction which would prevent the progress of Nature. That presence, that spiritual light - which could almost be called a spiritual consciousness - is within each being and all things, and because of it, in spite of all discordance, all passion, all violence, there is a minimum of general harmony which allows Nature's work to be accomplished.And this presence becomes quite obvious in the human being, even the most rudimentary. Even in the most monstrous human being, in one who gives the impression of being an incarnation of a devil or a monster, there is something within exercising a sort of irresistible control - even in the worst, some things are impossible. And without this presence, if the being were controlled exclusively by the adverse forces, the forces of the vital, this impossibility would not exist.Each time a wave of these monstrous adverse forces sweeps over the earth, one feels that nothing can ever stop the disorder and horror from spreading, and always, at a certain time, unexpectedly and inexplicably a control intervenes, and the wave is arrested, the catastrophe is not total. And this is because of the Presence, the supreme Presence, in matter.But only in a few exceptional beings and after a long, very long work of preparation extending over many, many lives does this Presence change into a conscious, independent, fully organised being, all-powerful master of his dwelling-place, conscious enough, powerful enough, to be able to control not only this dwelling but what surrounds it and in a field of radiation and action that is more and more extensive... and effective. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1957-1958 339-340,
28:Sweet Mother, there's a flower you have named "The Creative Word".Yes.What does that mean?It is the word which creates.There are all kinds of old traditions, old Hindu traditions, old Chaldean traditions in which the Divine, in the form of the Creator, that is, in His aspect as Creator, pronounces a word which has the power to create. So it is this... And it is the origin of the mantra. The mantra is the spoken word which has a creative power. An invocation is made and there is an answer to the invocation; or one makes a prayer and the prayer is granted. This is the Word, the Word which, in its sound... it is not only the idea, it is in the sound that there's a power of creation. It is the origin, you see, of the mantra.In Indian mythology the creator God is Brahma, and I think that it was precisely his power which has been symbolised by this flower, "The Creative Word". And when one is in contact with it, the words spoken have a power of evocation or creation or formation or transformation; the words... sound always has a power; it has much more power than men think. It may be a good power and it may be a bad power. It creates vibrations which have an undeniable effect. It is not so much the idea as the sound; the idea too has its own power, but in its own domain - whereas the sound has a power in the material world.I think I have explained this to you once; I told you, for example, that words spoken casually, usually without any re- flection and without attaching any importance to them, can be used to do something very good. I think I spoke to you about "Bonjour", "Good Day", didn't I? When people meet and say "Bonjour", they do so mechanically and without thinking. But if you put a will into it, an aspiration to indeed wish someone a good day, well, there is a way of saying "Good Day" which is very effective, much more effective than if simply meeting someone you thought: "Ah! I hope he has a good day", without saying anything. If with this hope in your thought you say to him in a certain way, "Good Day", you make it more concrete and more effective.It's the same thing, by the way, with curses, or when one gets angry and says bad things to people. This can do them as much harm - more harm sometimes - than if you were to give them a slap. With very sensitive people it can put their stomach out of order or give them palpitation, because you put into it an evil force which has a power of destruction.It is not at all ineffective to speak. Naturally it depends a great deal on each one's inner power. People who have no strength and no consciousness can't do very much - unless they employ material means. But to the extent that you are strong, especially when you have a powerful vital, you must have a great control on what you say, otherwise you can do much harm. Without wanting to, without knowing it; through ignorance.Anything? No? Nothing?Another question?... Everything's over? ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955 347-349,
29:Sweet Mother, here it is written: "It is part of the foundation of Yoga to become conscious of the great complexity of our nature, see the different forces that move it and get over it a control of directing knowledge." Are these forces different for each person?Yes. The composition is completely different, otherwise everybody would be the same. There are not two beings with an identical combination; between the different parts of the being and the composition of these parts the proportion is different in each individual. There are people, primitive men, people like the yet undeveloped races or the degenerated ones whose combinations are fairly simple; they are still complicated, but comparatively simple. And there are people absolutely at the top of the human ladder, the e ́lite of humanity; their combinations become so complicated that a very special discernment is needed to find the relations between all these things.There are beings who carry in themselves thousands of different personalities, and then each one has its own rhythm and alternation, and there is a kind of combination; sometimes there are inner conflicts, and there is a play of activities which are rhythmic and with alternations of certain parts which come to the front and then go back and again come to the front. But when one takes all that, it makes such complicated combinations that some people truly find it difficult to understand what is going on in themselves; and yet these are the ones most capable of a complete, coordinated, conscious, organised action; but their organisation is infinitely more complicated than that of primitive or undeveloped men who have two or three impulses and four or five ideas, and who can arrange all this very easily in themselves and seem to be very co-ordinated and logical because there is not very much to organise. But there are people truly like a multitude, and so that gives them a plasticity, a fluidity of action and an extraordinary complexity of perception, and these people are capable of understanding a considerable number of things, as though they had at their disposal a veritable army which they move according to circumstance and need; and all this is inside them. So when these people, with the help of yoga, the discipline of yoga, succeed in centralising all these beings around the central light of the divine Presence, they become powerful entities, precisely because of their complexity. So long as this is not organised they often give the impression of an incoherence, they are almost incomprehensible, one can't manage to understand why they are like that, they are so complex. But when they have organised all these beings, that is, put each one in its place around the divine centre, then truly they are terrific, for they have the capacity of understanding almost everything and doing almost everything because of the multitude of entities they contain, of which they are constituted. And the nearer one is to the top of the ladder, the more it is like that, and consequently the more difficult it is to organise one's being; because when you have about a dozen elements, you can quickly compass and organise them, but when you have thousands of them, it is difficult. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955 215-216,
30:Sweet Mother, how can one feel the divine Presence constantly?Why not? But how can one do it?But I am asking why one should not feel it. Instead of asking the question how to feel it, I ask the question: "What do you do that you don't feel it?" There is no reason not to feel the divine Presence. Once you have felt it, even once, you should be capable of feeling it always, for it is there. It is a fact. It is only our ignorance which makes us unaware of it. But if we become conscious, why should we not always be conscious? Why forget something one has learnt? When one has had the experience, why forget it? It is simply a bad habit, that's all. You see, there is something which is a fact, that's to say, it is. But we are unaware of it and do not know it. But after we become conscious and know it, why should we still forget it? Does it make sense? It's quite simply because we are not convinced that once one has met the Divine one can't forget Him any more. We are, on the contrary, full of stupid ideas which say, "Oh! Yes, it's very well once like that, but the rest of the time it will be as usual." So there is no reason why it may not begin again. But if we know that... we did not know something, we were ignorant, then the moment we have the knowledge... I am sincerely asking how one can manage to forget. One might not know something, that is a fact; there are countless things one doesn't know. But the moment one knows them, the minute one has the experience, how can one manage to forget? Within yourself you have the divine Presence, you know nothing about it - for all kinds of reasons, but still the chief reason is that you are in a state of ignorance. Yet suddenly, by a clicking of circumstances, you become conscious of this divine Presence, that is, you are before a fact - it is not imagination, it is a fact, it's something which exists. Then how do you manage to forget it once you have known it? ... It is because something in us, through cowardice or defeatism, accepts this. If one did not accept it, it wouldn't happen. Even when everything seems to be suddenly darkened, the flame and the Light are always there. And if one doesn't forget them, one has only to put in front of them the part which is dark; there will perhaps be a battle, there will perhaps be a little difficulty, but it will be something quite transitory; never will you lose your footing. That is why it is said - and it is something true - that to sin through ignorance may have fatal consequences, because when one makes mistakes, well, these mistakes have results, that's obvious, and usually external and material results; but that's no great harm, I have already told you this several times. But when one knows what is true, when one has seen and had the experience of the Truth, to accept the sin again, that is, fall back again into ignorance and obscurity - this is indeed an infinitely more serious mistake. It begins to belong to the domain of ill-will. In any case, it is a sign of slackness and weakness. It means that the will is weak. So your question is put the other way round. Instead of asking yourself how to keep it, you must ask yourself: how does one not keep it? Not having it, is a state which everybody is in before the moment of knowing; not knowing - one is in that state before knowing. But once one knows one cannot forget. And if one forgets, it means that there is something which consents to the forgetting, it means there is an assent somewhere; otherwise one would not forget. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955 403,
31:Sometimes while reading a text one has ideas, then Sweet Mother, how can one distinguish between the other person's idea and one's own?Oh! This, this doesn't exist, the other person's idea and one's own idea. Nobody has ideas of his own: it is an immensity from which one draws according to his personal affinity; ideas are a collective possession, a collective wealth. Only, there are different stages. So there is the most common level, the one where all our brains bathe; this indeed swarms here, it is the level of "Mr. Everybody". And then there is a level that's slightly higher for people who are called thinkers. And then there are higher levels still - many - some of them are beyond words but they are still domains of ideas. And then there are those capable of shooting right up, catching something which is like a light and making it come down with all its stock of ideas, all its stock of thoughts. An idea from a higher domain if pulled down organises itself and is crystallised in a large number of thoughts which can express that idea differently; and then if you are a writer or a poet or an artist, when you make it come lower down still, you can have all kinds of expressions, extremely varied and choice around a single little idea but one coming from very high above. And when you know how to do this, it teaches you to distinguish between the pure idea and the way of expressing it. Some people cannot do it in their own head because they have no imagination or faculty for writing, but they can do it through study by reading what others have written. There are, you know, lots of poets, for instance, who have expressed the same idea - the same idea but with such different forms that when one reads many of them it becomes quite interesting to see (for people who love to read and read much). Ah, this idea, that one has said it like this, that other has expressed it like that, another has formulated it in this way, and so on. And so you have a whole stock of expressions which are expressions by different poets of the same single idea up there, above, high above. And you notice that there is an almost essential difference between the pure idea, the typal idea and its formulation in the mental world, even the speculative or artistic mental world. This is a very good thing to do when one loves gymnastics. It is mental gymnastics. Well, if you want to be truly intelligent, you must know how to do mental gymnastics; as, you see, if you want really to have a fairly strong body you must know how to do physical gymnastics. It is the same thing. People who have never done mental gymnastics have a poor little brain, quite over-simple, and all their life they think like children. One must know how to do this - not take it seriously, in the sense that one shouldn't have convictions, saying, "This idea is true and that is false; this formulation is correct and that one is not and this religion is the true one and that religion is false", and so on and so forth... this, if you enter into it, you become absolutely stupid. But if you can see all that and, for example, take all the religions, one after another and see how they have expressed the same aspiration of the human being for some Absolute, it becomes very interesting; and then you begin... yes, you begin to be able to juggle with all that. And then when you have mastered it all, you can rise above it and look at all the eternal human discussions with a smile. So there you are master of the thought and can no longer fly into a rage because someone else does not think as you, something that's unfortunately a very common malady here. Now, there we are. Nobody has any questions, no? That's enough? Finished! ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955 ,
32:Sweet Mother, how can we make our resolution very firm? By wanting it to be very firm! (Laughter) No, this seems like a joke... but it is absolutely true. One does not want it truly. There is always, if you... It is a lack of sincerity. If you look sincerely, you will see that you have decided that it will be like this, and then, beneath there is something which has not decided at all and is waiting for the second of hesitation in order to rush forward. If you are sincere, if you are sincere and get hold of the part which is hiding, waiting, not showing itself, which knows that there will come a second of indecision when it can rush out and make you do the thing you have decided not to do... [] But if you really want it, nothing in the world can prevent you from doing what you want. It is because one doesn't know how to will it. It is because one is divided in one's will. If you are not divided in your will, I say that nothing, nobody in the world can make you change your will. But one doesn't know how to will it. In fact one doesn't even want to. These are velleities: "Well, it is like this.... It would be good if it were like that... yes, it would be better if it were like that... yes, it would be preferable if it were like that." But this is not to will. And always there at the back, hidden somewhere in a corner of the brain, is something which is looking on and saying, "Oh, why should I want that? After all one can as well want the opposite." And to try, you see... Not like that, just wait... But one can always find a thousand excuses to do the opposite. And ah, just a tiny little wavering is enough... pftt... the thing swoops down and there it is. But if one wills, if one really knows that this is the thing, and truly wants this, and if one is oneself entirely concentrated in the will, I say that there is nothing in the world that can prevent one from doing it, from doing it or being obliged to do it. It depends on what it is. One wants. Yes, one wants, like this (gestures). One wants: "Yes, yes, it would be better if it were like that. Yes, it would be finer also, more elegant."... But, eh, eh, after all one is a weak creature, isn't that so? And then one can always put the blame upon something else: "It is the influence coming from outside, it is all kinds of circumstances." A breath has passed, you see. You don't know... something... a moment of unconsciousness... "Oh, I was not conscious." You are not conscious because you do not accept... And all this because you don't know how to will. [] To learn how to will is a very important thing. And to will truly, you must unify your being. In fact, to be a being, one must first unify oneself. If one is pulled by absolutely opposite tendencies, if one spends three-fourths of one's life without being conscious of oneself and the reasons why one does things, is one a real being? One does not exist. One is a mass of influences, movements, forces, actions, reactions, but one is not a being. One begins to become a being when one begins to have a will. And one can't have a will unless one is unified. And when you have a will, you will be able to say, say to the Divine: "I want what You want." But not before that. Because in order to want what the Divine wants, you must have a will, otherwise you can will nothing at all. You would like to. You would like it very much. You would very much like to want what the Divine wants to do. You don't possess a will to give to Him and to put at His service. Something like that, gelatinous, like jelly-fish... there... a mass of good wills - and I am considering the better side of things and forgetting the bad wills - a mass of good wills, half-conscious and fluctuating.... Ah, that's all, my children. That's enough for today. There we are. Only, put this into practice; just a little of what I have said, not all, eh, just a very little. There. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954 ,
33:Mother, when one imagines something, does it not exist?When you imagine something, it means that you make a mental formation which may be close to the truth or far from the truth - it also depends upon the quality of your formation. You make a mental formation and there are people who have such a power of formation that they succeed in making what they imagine real. There are not many of these but there are some. They imagine something and their formation is so well made and so powerful that it succeeds in being realised. These are creators; there are not many of them but there are some. If one thinks of someone who doesn't exist or who is dead?Ah! What do you mean? What have you just said? Someone who doesn't exist or someone who is dead? These are two absolutely different things. I mean someone who is dead.Someone who is dead! If this person has remained in the mental domain, you can find him immediately. Naturally if he is no longer in the mental domain, if he is in the psychic domain, to think of him is not enough. You must know how to go into the psychic domain to find him. But if he has remained in the mental domain and you think of him, you can find him immediately, and not only that, but you can have a mental contact with him and a kind of mental vision of his existence. The mind has a capacity of vision of its own and it is not the same vision as with these eyes, but it is a vision, it is a perception in forms. But this is not imagination. It has nothing to do with imagination. Imagination, for instance, is when you begin to picture to yourself an ideal being to whom you apply all your conceptions, and when you tell yourself, "Why, it should be like this, like that, its form should be like this, its thought like that, its character like that," when you see all the details and build up the being. Now, writers do this all the time because when they write a novel, they imagine. There are those who take things from life but there are those who are imaginative, creators; they create a character, a personage and then put him in their book later. This is to imagine. To imagine, for example, a whole concurrence of circumstances, a set of events, this is what I call telling a story to oneself. But it can be put down on paper, and then one becomes a novelist. There are very different kinds of writers. Some imagine everything, some gather all sorts of observations from life and construct their book with them. There are a hundred ways of writing a book. But indeed some writers imagine everything from beginning to end. It all comes out of their head and they construct even their whole story without any support in things physically observed. This truly is imagination. But as I say, if they are very powerful and have a considerable capacity for creation, it is possible that one day or other there will be a physical human being who realises their creation. This too is true. What do you suppose imagination is, eh? Have you never imagined anything, you? And what happens? All that one imagines.You mean that you imagine something and it happens like that, eh? Or it is in a dream... What is the function, the use of the imagination?If one knows how to use it, as I said, one can create for oneself his own inner and outer life; one can build his own existence with his imagination, if one knows how to use it and has a power. In fact it is an elementary way of creating, of forming things in the world. I have always felt that if one didn't have the capacity of imagination he would not make any progress. Your imagination always goes ahead of your life. When you think of yourself, usually you imagine what you want to be, don't you, and this goes ahead, then you follow, then it continues to go ahead and you follow. Imagination opens for you the path of realisation. People who are not imaginative - it is very difficult to make them move; they see just what is there before their nose, they feel just what they are moment by moment and they cannot go forward because they are clamped by the immediate thing. It depends a good deal on what one calls imagination. However... Men of science must be having imagination!A lot. Otherwise they would never discover anything. In fact, what is called imagination is a capacity to project oneself outside realised things and towards things realisable, and then to draw them by the projection. One can obviously have progressive and regressive imaginations. There are people who always imagine all the catastrophes possible, and unfortunately they also have the power of making them come. It's like the antennae going into a world that's not yet realised, catching something there and drawing it here. Then naturally it is an addition to the earth atmosphere and these things tend towards manifestation. It is an instrument which can be disciplined, can be used at will; one can discipline it, direct it, orientate it. It is one of the faculties one can develop in himself and render serviceable, that is, use it for definite purposes. Sweet Mother, can one imagine the Divine and have the contact?Certainly if you succeed in imagining the Divine you have the contact, and you can have the contact with what you imagine, in any case. In fact it is absolutely impossible to imagine something which doesn't exist somewhere. You cannot imagine anything at all which doesn't exist somewhere. It is possible that it doesn't exist on the earth, it is possible that it's elsewhere, but it is impossible for you to imagine something which is not already contained in principle in the universe; otherwise it could not occur. Then, Sweet Mother, this means that in the created universe nothing new is added?In the created universe? Yes. The universe is progressive; we said that constantly things manifest, more and more. But for your imagination to be able to go and seek beyond the manifestation something which will be manifested, well, it may happen, in fact it does - I was going to tell you that it is in this way that some beings can cause considerable progress to be made in the world, because they have the capacity of imagining something that's not yet manifested. But there are not many. One must first be capable of going beyond the manifested universe to be able to imagine something which is not there. There are already many things which can be imagined. What is our terrestrial world in the universe? A very small thing. Simply to have the capacity of imagining something which does not exist in the terrestrial manifestation is already very difficult, very difficult. For how many billions of years hasn't it existed, this little earth? And there have been no two identical things. That's much. It is very difficult to go out from the earth atmosphere with one's mind; one can, but it is very difficult. And then if one wants to go out, not only from the earth atmosphere but from the universal life! To be able simply to enter into contact with the life of the earth in its totality from the formation of the earth until now, what can this mean? And then to go beyond this and enter into contact with universal life from its beginnings up to now... and then again to be able to bring something new into the universe, one must go still farther beyond. Not easy! That's all? (To the child) Convinced? ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955 ,
34:It does not matter if you do not understand it - Savitri, read it always. You will see that every time you read it, something new will be revealed to you. Each time you will get a new glimpse, each time a new experience; things which were not there, things you did not understand arise and suddenly become clear. Always an unexpected vision comes up through the words and lines. Every time you try to read and understand, you will see that something is added, something which was hidden behind is revealed clearly and vividly. I tell you the very verses you have read once before, will appear to you in a different light each time you re-read them. This is what happens invariably. Always your experience is enriched, it is a revelation at each step. But you must not read it as you read other books or newspapers. You must read with an empty head, a blank and vacant mind, without there being any other thought; you must concentrate much, remain empty, calm and open; then the words, rhythms, vibrations will penetrate directly to this white page, will put their stamp upon the brain, will explain themselves without your making any effort. Savitri alone is sufficient to make you climb to the highest peaks. If truly one knows how to meditate on Savitri, one will receive all the help one needs. For him who wishes to follow this path, it is a concrete help as though the Lord himself were taking you by the hand and leading you to the destined goal. And then, every question, however personal it may be, has its answer here, every difficulty finds its solution herein; indeed there is everything that is necessary for doing the Yoga.*He has crammed the whole universe in a single book.* It is a marvellous work, magnificent and of an incomparable perfection. You know, before writing Savitri Sri Aurobindo said to me, WIKI am impelled to launch on a new adventure; I was hesitant in the beginning, but now I am decided. Still, I do not know how far I shall succeed. I pray for help.* And you know what it was? It was - before beginning, I warn you in advance - it was His way of speaking, so full of divine humility and modesty. He never... *asserted Himself*. And the day He actually began it, He told me: WIKI have launched myself in a rudderless boat upon the vastness of the Infinite.* And once having started, He wrote page after page without intermission, as though it were a thing already complete up there and He had only to transcribe it in ink down here on these pages. In truth, the entire form of Savitri has descended "en masse" from the highest region and Sri Aurobindo with His genius only arranged the lines - in a superb and magnificent style. Sometimes entire lines were revealed and He has left them intact; He worked hard, untiringly, so that the inspiration could come from the highest possible summit. And what a work He has created! Yes, it is a true creation in itself. It is an unequalled work. Everything is there, and it is put in such a simple, such a clear form; verses perfectly harmonious, limpid and eternally true. My child, I have read so many things, but I have never come across anything which could be compared with Savitri. I have studied the best works in Greek, Latin, English and of course French literature, also in German and all the great creations of the West and the East, including the great epics; but I repeat it, I have not found anywhere anything comparable with Savitri. All these literary works seems to me empty, flat, hollow, without any deep reality - apart from a few rare exceptions, and these too represent only a small fraction of what Savitri is. What grandeur, what amplitude, what reality: it is something immortal and eternal He has created. I tell you once again there is nothing like in it the whole world. Even if one puts aside the vision of the reality, that is, the essential substance which is the heart of the inspiration, and considers only the lines in themselves, one will find them unique, of the highest classical kind. What He has created is something man cannot imagine. For, everything is there, everything. It may then be said that Savitri is a revelation, it is a meditation, it is a quest of the Infinite, the Eternal. If it is read with this aspiration for Immortality, the reading itself will serve as a guide to Immortality. To read Savitri is indeed to practice Yoga, spiritual concentration; one can find there all that is needed to realise the Divine. Each step of Yoga is noted here, including the secret of all other Yogas. Surely, if one sincerely follows what is revealed here in each line one will reach finally the transformation of the Supramental Yoga. It is truly the infallible guide who never abandons you; its support is always there for him who wants to follow the path. Each verse of Savitri is like a revealed Mantra which surpasses all that man possessed by way of knowledge, and I repeat this, the words are expressed and arranged in such a way that the sonority of the rhythm leads you to the origin of sound, which is OM. My child, yes, everything is there: mysticism, occultism, philosophy, the history of evolution, the history of man, of the gods, of creation, of Nature. How the universe was created, why, for what purpose, what destiny - all is there. You can find all the answers to all your questions there. Everything is explained, even the future of man and of the evolution, all that nobody yet knows. He has described it all in beautiful and clear words so that spiritual adventurers who wish to solve the mysteries of the world may understand it more easily. But this mystery is well hidden behind the words and lines and one must rise to the required level of true consciousness to discover it. All prophesies, all that is going to come is presented with the precise and wonderful clarity. Sri Aurobindo gives you here the key to find the Truth, to discover the Consciousness, to solve the problem of what the universe is. He has also indicated how to open the door of the Inconscience so that the light may penetrate there and transform it. He has shown the path, the way to liberate oneself from the ignorance and climb up to the superconscience; each stage, each plane of consciousness, how they can be scaled, how one can cross even the barrier of death and attain immortality. You will find the whole journey in detail, and as you go forward you can discover things altogether unknown to man. That is Savitri and much more yet. It is a real experience - reading Savitri. All the secrets that man possessed, He has revealed, - as well as all that awaits him in the future; all this is found in the depth of Savitri. But one must have the knowledge to discover it all, the experience of the planes of consciousness, the experience of the Supermind, even the experience of the conquest of Death. He has noted all the stages, marked each step in order to advance integrally in the integral Yoga. All this is His own experience, and what is most surprising is that it is my own experience also. It is my sadhana which He has worked out. Each object, each event, each realisation, all the descriptions, even the colours are exactly what I saw and the words, phrases are also exactly what I heard. And all this before having read the book. I read Savitri many times afterwards, but earlier, when He was writing He used to read it to me. Every morning I used to hear Him read Savitri. During the night He would write and in the morning read it to me. And I observed something curious, that day after day the experiences He read out to me in the morning were those I had had the previous night, word by word. Yes, all the descriptions, the colours, the pictures I had seen, the words I had heard, all, all, I heard it all, put by Him into poetry, into miraculous poetry. Yes, they were exactly my experiences of the previous night which He read out to me the following morning. And it was not just one day by chance, but for days and days together. And every time I used to compare what He said with my previous experiences and they were always the same. I repeat, it was not that I had told Him my experiences and that He had noted them down afterwards, no, He knew already what I had seen. It is my experiences He has presented at length and they were His experiences also. It is, moreover, the picture of Our joint adventure into the unknown or rather into the Supermind. These are experiences lived by Him, realities, supracosmic truths. He experienced all these as one experiences joy or sorrow, physically. He walked in the darkness of inconscience, even in the neighborhood of death, endured the sufferings of perdition, and emerged from the mud, the world-misery to breathe the sovereign plenitude and enter the supreme Ananda. He crossed all these realms, went through the consequences, suffered and endured physically what one cannot imagine. Nobody till today has suffered like Him. He accepted suffering to transform suffering into the joy of union with the Supreme. It is something unique and incomparable in the history of the world. It is something that has never happened before, He is the first to have traced the path in the Unknown, so that we may be able to walk with certitude towards the Supermind. He has made the work easy for us. Savitri is His whole Yoga of transformation, and this Yoga appears now for the first time in the earth-consciousness. And I think that man is not yet ready to receive it. It is too high and too vast for him. He cannot understand it, grasp it, for it is not by the mind that one can understand Savitri. One needs spiritual experiences in order to understand and assimilate it. The farther one advances on the path of Yoga, the more does one assimilate and the better. No, it is something which will be appreciated only in the future, it is the poetry of tomorrow of which He has spoken in The Future Poetry. It is too subtle, too refined, - it is not in the mind or through the mind, it is in meditation that Savitri is revealed. And men have the audacity to compare it with the work of Virgil or Homer and to find it inferior. They do not understand, they cannot understand. What do they know? Nothing at all. And it is useless to try to make them understand. Men will know what it is, but in a distant future. It is only the new race with a new consciousness which will be able to understand. I assure you there is nothing under the blue sky to compare with Savitri. It is the mystery of mysteries. It is a *super-epic,* it is super-literature, super-poetry, super-vision, it is a super-work even if one considers the number of lines He has written. No, these human words are not adequate to describe Savitri. Yes, one needs superlatives, hyperboles to describe it. It is a hyper-epic. No, words express nothing of what Savitri is, at least I do not find them. It is of immense value - spiritual value and all other values; it is eternal in its subject, and infinite in its appeal, miraculous in its mode and power of execution; it is a unique thing, the more you come into contact with it, the higher will you be uplifted. Ah, truly it is something! It is the most beautiful thing He has left for man, the highest possible. What is it? When will man know it? When is he going to lead a life of truth? When is he going to accept this in his life? This yet remains to be seen. My child, every day you are going to read Savitri; read properly, with the right attitude, concentrating a little before opening the pages and trying to keep the mind as empty as possible, absolutely without a thought. The direct road is through the heart. I tell you, if you try to really concentrate with this aspiration you can light the flame, the psychic flame, the flame of purification in a very short time, perhaps in a few days. What you cannot do normally, you can do with the help of Savitri. Try and you will see how very different it is, how new, if you read with this attitude, with this something at the back of your consciousness; as though it were an offering to Sri Aurobindo. You know it is charged, fully charged with consciousness; as if Savitri were a being, a real guide. I tell you, whoever, wanting to practice Yoga, tries sincerely and feels the necessity for it, will be able to climb with the help of Savitri to the highest rung of the ladder of Yoga, will be able to find the secret that Savitri represents. And this without the help of a Guru. And he will be able to practice it anywhere. For him Savitri alone will be the guide, for all that he needs he will find Savitri. If he remains very quiet when before a difficulty, or when he does not know where to turn to go forward and how to overcome obstacles, for all these hesitations and incertitudes which overwhelm us at every moment, he will have the necessary indications, and the necessary concrete help. If he remains very calm, open, if he aspires sincerely, always he will be as if lead by the hand. If he has faith, the will to give himself and essential sincerity he will reach the final goal. Indeed, Savitri is something concrete, living, it is all replete, packed with consciousness, it is the supreme knowledge above all human philosophies and religions. It is the spiritual path, it is Yoga, Tapasya, Sadhana, in its single body. Savitri has an extraordinary power, it gives out vibrations for him who can receive them, the true vibrations of each stage of consciousness. It is incomparable, it is truth in its plenitude, the Truth Sri Aurobindo brought down on the earth. My child, one must try to find the secret that Savitri represents, the prophetic message Sri Aurobindo reveals there for us. This is the work before you, it is hard but it is worth the trouble. - 5 November 1967 ~ The Mother, Sweet Mother The Mother to Mona Sarkar,

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:Sweet mother of twat tingles. ~ K M Golland
2:Sweet mother of sex, they’re triplets! ~ Michelle Leighton
3:Oh Sweet Jesus. Sweet mother fucking fuckery of fucks. ~ Tara Sivec
4:My child, every day you are going to read Savitri
   ~ The Mother, Sweet Mother, [T0], #index,
5:Sweet mother, I cannot weave –
slender Aphrodite has overcome me
with longing for a girl. ~ Sappho
6:Sweet mother if God thought George, surely this was not going to involve him? "George"? It was. ~ Mark Haddon
7:And he’s big, and hard, and definitely turned on, which I don’t expect. Oh, sweet mother of all that is holy… ~ Ainsley Booth
8:Permit Sweet Mother,that we be, Now & for ever more, Thy simple children, loving Thee More & still more. ~ The Mother
9:Sweet mother of chaos," he breathed. "Rachel, you are indeed one of us. Have your time in the sun. You're worth the extra wait. ~ Kim Harrison
10:Sweet Mother of God, how can you risk your life to save drowning children one day, and plot something so ruthless the next day? ~ Lisa Kleypas
11:Sweet mother Mary, boy, think about what you’re doing! Be cruel or be kind, but don’t be both, because now you’ve made a mess you can’t clean up in a hurry. ~ Ursula Vernon
12:
   Sweet Mother, how does one do Yoga?


Be wholly sincere, never try to deceive others. And try never to deceive yourself. Blessings.
   ~ The Mother, Words Of The Mother II,
13:I will go back to the great sweet mother, Mother and lover of men, the sea. I will go down to her, I and no other, Close with her, kiss her and mix her with me. ~ Algernon Charles Swinburne
14:Sweet mother of crap, what the hell has he done to my house?” Why did you never tell him to stop doing that stupid shit with his facial hair? “It’s his face.” Well, now it’s his house. ~ Stacey Ballis
15:Have you tried to be honest with her about your feelings?" came Devon's voice from behind him.
"Sweet mother of God, can you hear yourself?" West asked without turning around. "I'd get more manly advice from Kathleen. ~ Lisa Kleypas
16:Right then, in that moment, Dex The Dick grinned. Grinned. And sweet mother of God, it was devastating. So completely catastrophic I just stood there and absorbed the nuclear bomb going off in front of me, defenseless. ~ Mariana Zapata
17:
   Sweet Mother, Can you hear me whenever I call you?

My dear child,
   Be sure that I hear you each time you call and my help and force go straight to you.
   With my blessings.
   1 June 1960
   ~ The Mother, On Education, [T1],
18:Sweet Mother in Heaven, please don't let me be dreaming." He raised his hand, stopping Rachel's interruption before she could get it properly started. "Or if this is a dream," he continued, "then don't let me wake up. Amen. ~ Virginia Kantra
19:I bow to You, Sweet Mother. Be present in me always and for ever.
Yes, I am always with you, but you must never forget to call me, for it is by calling me that the presence becomes effective. 15 December 1934 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
20:
   Sweet Mother, I feel that something is wrong and you are very displeased with me.


It is the very first proposition that is wrong, I am not displeased with you - so all that follows cannot be correct.
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
21:You tried to slide his original curse back onto him?” Al said in wonder. “At the restaurant? And I stopped you? Sweet mother pus bucket!” he exclaimed, and I swear, dust sifted from the ceiling. “Rachel, we have to work on this communication thing. ~ Kim Harrison
22:
   Sweet Mother, I will try to do whatever You wish. Where are You?


Cross beyond the ignorance of a mind that judges without knowing, plunge into the depths of a calm and unassuming silence: there you will find me.
   ~ The Mother, More Answers From The Mother,
23:Oh, sweet mother of fuckers. I almost wept at the taste. It was the nirvana of chocolate, the perfect sweetness, the perfect moistness, the perfect richness, and then to reward the eater further, the cake was shot through with raspberry. Literally the best pairing in the world. ~ Deborah Wilde
24:God! ... Isn't the sea what Algy calls it: a great sweet mother? The snotgreen sea. The scrotumtightening sea. Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks! I must teach you. You must read them in the original. Thalatta! Thalatta! She is our great sweet mother. Come and look. ~ James Joyce
25:All of us humans have myriad other species to thank. Without them, we couldn't exist. It's that simple, and we can't afford to ignore them, anymore than I can afford to neglect my precious wife--nor the sweet mother Earth that births and holds us all.

Without us, Earth will abide and endure; without her, however, we could not even be. ~ Alan Weisman
26:How exactly would you stand to benefit?”
“I’ll stipulate that Winerborne settle a large dower on Helen, and name me as the trustee of her finances.”
“And then you’ll use the money as you see fit?” West asked incredulously. “Sweet Mother of God, how can you risk your life to save drowning children one day, and plot something so ruthless the next day? ~ Lisa Kleypas
27:I handed it over, and Jenks stumbled at the weight. His head thunked into the wall of the narrow hallway.

“Bloody hell!” he exclaimed, crashing into the opposite wall when he overcompensated.

“I’m all right!” he said quickly, waving off any help. “I’m all right. Sweet mother of Tink, the damn walls are so close! It’s like walking in a freaking anthill. ~ Kim Harrison
28:Touch her and I’ll kill you,” he snarled.
West stared at him in appalled disbelief. “I knew it. Sweet Mother of God! You want her.”
Devon’s visceral fury appeared to fade a few degrees as he realized he had just been outmaneuvered. He released West abruptly.
“You took Theo’s title and his home,” West continued in appalled disbelief, “and now you want his wife. ~ Lisa Kleypas
29:Touch her and I’ll kill you,” he snarled.
West stared at him in appalled disbelief. “I knew it. Sweet Mother of God! You want her.”
Devon’s visceral fury appeared to fade a few degrees as he realized he had just been outmaneuvered. He released West abruptly.
“You took Theo’s title and his home,” West continued in appalled disbelief, “and now you want his wife.”
“His widow,” Devon muttered.
“Have you seduced her?”
“Not yet. ~ Lisa Kleypas
30:Sweet Mother of God, how can you risk your life to save drowning children one day, and plot something so ruthless the next day?”
Annoyed, Devon gave him a narrow-eyed glance. “There’s no need to carry on as if Helen’s going to be dragged to the altar in chains. She’ll have a choice in the matter.”
“The right words can bind someone more effectively than chains. You’ll manipulate her into doing what you want regardless of how she feels.”
“Enjoy the view from your moral pedestal,” Devon said. “Unfortunately I have to keep my feet on the ground. ~ Lisa Kleypas
31:
   Sweet Mother, how can we find the Divine who is hidden in us?

... This we have explained many, many times. But the first thing is to want it, and know precisely that this comes first, before all other things, that this is the important thing. That is the first condition; all the rest may come later, this is the essential condition. You see, if once in a while, from time to time, when you have nothing to do and all goes well and you are unoccupied, suddenly you tell yourself, Ah, I would like so much to find the Divine! - well, this
   - it may take a hundred thousand years, in this way. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954, [T2],
32:
   Sweet Mother, You have written: So long as you have to renounce anything, you are not on this path. But doesn't all renunciation begin when one is on the path?


What I call being on the path is being in a state of consciousness in which only union with the Divine has any value - this union is the only thing worth living, the sole object of aspiration. Everything else has lost all value and is not worth seeking, so there is no longer any question of renouncing it because it is no longer an object of desire. As long as union with the Divine is not the thing for which one lives, one is not yet on the path. 21 April 1965
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
33:Sweet Mother,
   It is much easier for me to approach You than to approach Sri Aurobindo. Why? You are all that Sri Aurobindo is for us, as well as a divine and loving Mother. So is it necessary to try to establish the same relation with him?
   You yourself have answered your own question. I am for you a mother who is very close to you, who loves and understands you; that is why it is easy for you to approach me with a loving confidence, without fear and without hesitation. Sri Aurobindo is always there to help you and guide you; but it is natural that you should approach Him with the reverence due to the Master of Yoga. 3 July 1960
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother, 243,
34:Sweet Mother,
One day in class you said, with your hands wide open, that we should give you everything, even our defects and vices and all the dirt in us. Is this the only way to get rid of them, and how can one do it?


One keeps one's defects because one hangs on to them as if they were something precious; one clings to one's vices as one clings to a part of one's body, and pulling out a bad habit hurts as much as pulling out a tooth. That is why one does not progress.

   Whereas if one generously makes an offering of one's defect, vice or bad habit, then one has the joy of making an offering and one receives in exchange the force to replace what has been given, by a better and truer vibration. 13 June 1960 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
35:Sweet Mother,
   What exactly is the soul or psychic being? And what is meant by the evolution of the psychic being? What is its relation to the Supreme?


   The soul and the psychic being are not exactly the same thing, although their essence is the same.
   The soul is the divine spark that dwells at the centre of each being; it is identical with its Divine Origin; it is the divine in man.
   The psychic being is formed progressively around this divine centre, the soul, in the course of its innumerable lives in the terrestrial evolution, until the time comes when the psychic being, fully formed and wholly awakened, becomes the conscious sheath of the soul around which it is formed. And thus identified with the Divine, it becomes His perfect instrument in the world. 16 July 1960 ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother, 244,
36:Thunderstruck, West realized what the most likely reason was for all the free-floating hostility and high-riding tension between Devon and Kathleen. He closed his eyes briefly. This was bad. Bad for everyone, bad for the future, just bloody awful compounding badness in all directions. He decided to test his theory in the hope that he was mistaken.
“Although,” West continued, “she is a little beauty, isn’t she? One could find all kinds of entertaining uses for that sweet mouth. I wouldn’t mind catching her in a dark corner and having some fun. She might resist at first, but soon I’d have her writhing like a cat--”
Devon lunged at him in a blur of motion, seizing West by the lapels. “Touch her and I’ll kill you,” he snarled.
West stared at him in appalled disbelief. “I knew it. Sweet Mother of God! You want her. ~ Lisa Kleypas
37:
   Sweet Mother,
   Why has the Divine made His path so difficult? He can make it easier if He wants, can't He?

First of all, one should know that the intellect, the mind, can understand nothing of the Divine, neither what He does nor how He does it and still less why He does it. To know something of the Divine, one has to rise above thought and enter into the psychic consciousness, the consciousness of the soul, or into the spiritual consciousness.
   Those who have had the experience have always said that the difficulties and sufferings of the path are not real, but a creation of human ignorance, and that as soon as one gets out of this ignorance one also gets out of the difficulties, to say nothing of the inalienable state of bliss in which one dwells as soon as one is in conscious contact with the Divine. So according to them, the question has no real basis and cannot be posed. ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother, 21 September 1959,
38:
   Sweet Mother, Sri Aurobindo has said somewhere that if one surrenders to the Divine Grace, it will do everything for us. Therefore, what value has tapasya?

If you want to know what Sri Aurobindo has said on a given subject, you must at least read all that he has written on that subject. You will then see that he has apparently said the most contradictory things. But when one has read everything, and understood a little, one perceives that all the contradictions complement each other and are organised and unified into an integral synthesis. Here is another quotation from Sri Aurobindo which will show you that your question is based on ignorance. There are many others which you can read with interest and which will make your intelligence more supple: 'If there is not a complete surrender, then it is not possible to adopt the baby cat attitude; it becomes mere tamasic passivity calling itself surrender. If a complete surrender is not possible in the beginning, it follows that personal effort is necessary.' 16 December 1964
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother, 308,
39:Zaza, The Female Slave
O, my country, my country!
How long I for thee,
Far over the mountain,
Far over the sea.
Where the sweet Joliba,
Kisses the shore,
Say, shall I wander
By thee never more?
Where the sweet Joliba kisses the shore,
Say, shall I wander by thee never more.
Say, O fond Zurima,
Where dost thou stay?
Say, doth another
List to thy sweet lay?
Say, doth the orange still
Bloom near our cot?
Zurima, Zurima,
Am I forgot?
O, my country, my country, how long I for thee,
Far over the mountain, far over the sea.
Under the baobab
Oft have I slept,
Fanned by sweet breezes
That over me swept.
Often in dreams
Do my weary limbs lay
'Neath the same baobab,
Far, far away.
O, my country, my country, how long I for thee,
Far over the mountain, far over the sea.
O, for the breath
Of our own waving palm,
Here, as I languish,
My spirit to calmO, for a draught
From our own cooling lake,
409
Brought by sweet mother,
My spirit to wake.
O, my country, my country, how long I for thee,
Far over the mountain, far over the sea.
~ Anonymous Americas
40:The Virgin Mother
My little love, my darling,
You were a doorway to me;
You let me out of the confines
Into this strange countrie,
Where people are crowded like thistles,
Yet are shapely and comely to see.
My little love, my dearest
Twice have you issued me,
Once from your womb, sweet mother,
Once from myself, to be
Free of all hearts, my darling,
Of each heart’s home-life free.
And so, my love, my mother,
I shall always be true to you;
Twice I am born, my dearest,
To life, and to death, in you;
And this is the life hereafter
Wherein I am true.
I kiss you good-bye, my darling,
Our ways are different now;
You are a seed in the night-time,
I am a man, to plough
The difficult glebe of the future
For God to endow.
I kiss you good-bye, my dearest,
It is finished between us here.
Oh, if I were calm as you are,
Sweet and still on your bier!
O God, if I had not to leave you
Alone, my dear!
Let the last word be uttered,
Oh grant the farewell is said!
Spare me the strength to leave you
Now you are dead.
157
I must go, but my soul lies helpless
Beside your bed.
~ David Herbert Lawrence
41:My sweet mother, The more I look into myself, the more discouraged I am, and I don't know whether there is any chance of my making any progress. It seems that all the obscurities and falsehoods are rising up on every side, inside and outside, and want to swallow me up. There are times when I cannot distinguish truth from falsehood and I am then on the verge of losing my mind.
   Still, there is something in me which says very weakly that all will be well; but this voice is so feeble that I cannot rely on it.1
   My faults are so numerous and so great that I think I shall fail. On the other hand, I have neither the inclination nor the capacity for the ordinary life. And I know that I shall never be able to leave this life. This is my situation right now. The struggle is getting more and more acute, and worst of all I cannot lie to you. What should I do?

   Do not torment yourself, my child, and remain as quiet as you can; do not yield to the temptation to give up the struggle and let yourself fall into darkness. Persist, and one day you will realise that I am close to you to console you and help you, and then the hardest part will be over. With all my love and blessings. 25 September 1947
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
42:
   Sweet Mother, is the physical mind the same as the mechanical mind?

Almost. You see, there is just a little difference, but not much. The mechanical mind is still more stupid than the physical mind. The physical mind is what we spoke about one day, that which is never sure of anything.

   I told you the story of the closed door, you remember. Well, that is the nature of the physical mind. The mechanical mind is at a lower level still, because it doesn't even listen to the possibility of a convincing reason, and this happens to everyone.

   Usually we don't let it function, but it comes along repeating the same things, absolutely mechanically, without rhyme or reason, just like that. When some craze or other takes hold of it, it goes... For example, you see, if it fancies counting: "One, two, three, four", then it will go on: "One, two, three, four; one, two, three, four." And you may think of all kinds of things, but it goes on: "One, two, three, four", like that... (Mother laughs.) Or it catches hold of three words, four words and repeats them and goes on repeating them; and unless one turns away with a certain violence and punches it soundly, telling it, "Keep quiet!", it continues in this way, indefinitely. ~ The Mother,
43:"Q: What is the right attitude to stick on to this path till the Supramental Truth is realised?

"A: There is the psychic condition and sincerity and devotion to the Mother."

What is "the psychic condition"?

The psychic condition? That means being in relation with one's psychic, I suppose, being governed by one's psychic being.

Sweet Mother, I don't understand very clearly the difference between faith, belief and confidence.

But Sri Aurobindo has given the full explanation here. If you don't understand, then...

He has written "Faith is a feeling in the whole being."

The whole being, yes. Faith, that's the whole being at once. He says that belief is something that occurs in the head, that is purely mental; and confidence is quite different. Confidence - one can have confidence in life, trust in the Divine, trust in others, trust in one's own destiny, that is, one has the feeling that everything is going to help him, to do what he wants to do.

Faith is a certitude without any proof.

Mother, on what does faith depend?

Probably on Divine Grace. Some people have it spontaneously. There are others who need to make a great effort to have it.
~ The Mother, Question and Answers, Volume-6, page no.120,
44:
   Sweet Mother, Is it possible to have control over oneself during sleep? For example, if I want to see you in my dreams, can I do it at will?

Control during sleep is entirely possible and it is progressive if you persist in the effort. You begin by remembering your dreams, then gradually you remain more and more conscious during your sleep, and not only can you control your dreams but you can guide and organise your activities during sleep.

   If you persist in your will and your effort, you are sure to learn how to come and find me at night during your sleep and afterwards to remember what has happened.

   For this, two things are necessary, which you must develop by aspiration and by calm and persistent effort.

   (1) Concentrate your thought on the will to come and find me; then pursue this thought, first by an effort of imagination, afterwards in a tangible and increasingly real way, until you are in my presence.

   (2) Establish a sort of bridge between the waking and the sleeping consciousness, so that when you wake up you remember what has happened.

It may be that you succeed immediately, but more often it takes a certain time and you must persist in the effort. 25 September 1959

   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother, 226,
45:
   Sweet Mother, Just as there is a methodical progression of exercises for mental and physical education, isn't there a similar method to progress towards Sri Aurobindo's yoga?
It should vary with each individual.
Could you make a step-by-step programme for me to follow daily?

The mechanical regularity of a fixed programme is indispensable for physical, mental and vital development; but this mechanical rigidity has little or no effect on spiritual development where the spontaneity of an absolute sincerity is indispensable. Sri Aurobindo has written very clearly on this subject. And what he has written on it has appeared in The Synthesis Of Yoga.
   However, as an initial help to set you on the path, I can tell you: (1) that on getting up, before starting the day, it is good to make an offering of this day to the Divine, an offering of all that one thinks, all that one is, all that one will do; (2) and at night, before going to sleep, it is good to review the day, taking note of all the times one has forgotten or neglected to make an offering of one's self or one's action, and to aspire or pray that these lapses do not recur. This is a minimum, a very small beginning - and it should increase with the sincerity of your consecration. 31 March 1965
   ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother, [T1],
46:I don’t need you to explain her to me.”
“I know her better than you,” West said sharply. “I’ve been living with her, for God’s sake.”
That earned him a chilling glance. “Do you want her?” Devon asked brusquely.
West was baffled by the question, which seemed to have come from nowhere. “Want her? In the biblical sense? Of course not, she’s a widow. Theo’s widow. How could anyone…” His voice faded as he saw that Devon had resumed pacing, his expression murderous.
Thunderstruck, West realized what the most likely reason was for all the free-floating hostility and high-riding tension between Devon and Kathleen. He closed his eyes briefly. This was bad. Bad for everyone, bad for the future, just bloody awful compounding badness in all directions. He decided to test his theory in the hope that he was mistaken.
“Although,” West continued, “she is a little beauty, isn’t she? One could find all kinds of entertaining uses for that sweet mouth. I wouldn’t mind catching her in a dark corner and having some fun. She might resist at first, but soon I’d have her writhing like a cat--”
Devon lunged at him in a blur of motion, seizing West by the lapels. “Touch her and I’ll kill you,” he snarled.
West stared at him in appalled disbelief. “I knew it. Sweet Mother of God! You want her. ~ Lisa Kleypas
47:Thunderstruck, West realized what the most likely reason was for all the free-floating hostility and high-riding tension between Devon and Kathleen. He closed his eyes briefly. This was bad. Bad for everyone, bad for the future, just bloody awful compounding badness in all directions. He decided to test his theory in the hope that he was mistaken.
“Although,” West continued, “she is a little beauty, isn’t she? One could find all kinds of entertaining uses for that sweet mouth. I wouldn’t mind catching her in a dark corner and having some fun. She might resist at first, but soon I’d have her writhing like a cat--”
Devon lunged at him in a blur of motion, seizing West by the lapels. “Touch her and I’ll kill you,” he snarled.
West stared at him in appalled disbelief. “I knew it. Sweet Mother of God! You want her.”
Devon’s visceral fury appeared to fade a few degrees as he realized he had just been outmaneuvered. He released West abruptly.
“You took Theo’s title and his home,” West continued in appalled disbelief, “and now you want his wife.”
“His widow,” Devon muttered.
“Have you seduced her?”
“Not yet.”
West clapped his hand to his forehead. “Christ. Don’t you think she’s suffered enough? Oh, go on and glare. Snap me in pieces like that blasted pencil. It will only confirm that you’re no better than Theo. ~ Lisa Kleypas
48:
   Mother, in your symbol the twelve petals signify the twelve inner planes, don't they?

It signifies anything one wants, you see. Twelve: that's the number of Aditi, of Mahashakti. So it applies to everything; all her action has twelve aspects. There are also her twelve virtues, her twelve powers, her twelve aspects, and then her twelve planes of manifestation and many other things that are twelve; and the symbol, the number twelve is in itself a symbol. It is the symbol of manifestation, double perfection, in essence and in manifestation, in the creation.

   What are the twelve aspects, Sweet Mother?

Ah, my child, I have described this somewhere, but I don't remember now. For it is always a choice, you see; according to what one wants to say, one can choose these twelve aspects or twelve others, or give them different names. The same aspect can be named in different ways. This does not have the fixity of a mental theory. (Silence)
   According to the angle from which one sees the creation, one day I may describe twelve aspects to you; and then another day, because I have shifted my centre of observation, I may describe twelve others, and they will be equally true.
   (To Vishwanath) Is it the wind that's producing this storm? It is very good for a dramatic stage-effect.... The traitor is approaching in the night... yes? We are waiting for some terrible deed....
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954, 395,
49:Will Winterborne regain his sight?”
“The doctor thinks so, but there’s no way of knowing for certain until he’s tested.”
“And the leg?”
“The break was clean--it will heal well. However, Winterborne will be staying with us for quite a bit longer than we’d planned. At least a month.”
“Good. That will give him more time to become acquainted with Helen.”
West’s face went blank. “You’re back to that idea again? Arranging a match between them? What if Winterborne turns out to be lame and blind?”
“He’ll still be rich.”
Looking sardonic, West said, “Evidently a brush with death hasn’t changed your priorities.”
“Why should it? The marriage would benefit everyone.”
“How exactly would you stand to benefit?”
“I’ll stipulate that Winerborne settle a large dower on Helen, and name me as the trustee of her finances.”
“And then you’ll use the money as you see fit?” West asked incredulously. “Sweet Mother of God, how can you risk your life to save drowning children one day, and plot something so ruthless the next day?”
Annoyed, Devon gave him a narrow-eyed glance. “There’s no need to carry on as if Helen’s going to be dragged to the altar in chains. She’ll have a choice in the matter.”
“The right words can bind someone more effectively than chains. You’ll manipulate her into doing what you want regardless of how she feels.”
“Enjoy the view from your moral pedestal,” Devon said. “Unfortunately I have to keep my feet on the ground. ~ Lisa Kleypas
50:Sweet Mother, how can we cut the knot of the ego?
   How to cut it? Take a sword and strike it (laughter), when one becomes conscious of it. For usually one is not; we think it quite normal, what happens to us; and in fact it is very normal but we think it quite good also. So to begin with one must have a great clear-sightedness to become aware that one is enclosed in all these knots which hold one in bondage. And then, when one is aware that there's something altogether tightly closed in there - so tightly that one has tried in vain to move it - then one imagines one's will to be a very sharp sword-blade, and with all one's force one strikes a blow on this knot (imaginary, of course, one doesn't take up a sword in fact), and this produces a result. Of course you can do this work from the psychological point of view, discovering all the elements constituting this knot, the whole set of resistances, habits, preferences, of all that holds you narrowly closed in. So when you grow aware of this, you can concentrate and call the divine Force and the Grace and strike a good blow on this formation, these things so closely held, like that, that nothing can separate them. And at that moment you must resolve that you will no longer listen to these things, that you will listen only to the divine Consciousness and will do no other work except the divine work without worrying about personal results, free from all attachment, free from all preference, free from all wish for success, power, satisfaction, vanity, all this.... All this must disappear and you must see only the divine Will incarnated in your will and making you act. Then, in this way, you are cured.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954,
51:Sweet Mother, how can we cut the knot of the ego?

   How to cut it? Take a sword and strike it (laughter), when one becomes conscious of it. For usually one is not; we think it quite normal, what happens to us; and in fact it is very normal but we think it quite good also. So to begin with one must have a great clear-sightedness to become aware that one is enclosed in all these knots which hold one in bondage. And then, when one is aware that there's something altogether tightly closed in there - so tightly that one has tried in vain to move it - then one imagines one's will to be a very sharp sword-blade, and with all one's force one strikes a blow on this knot (imaginary, of course, one doesn't take up a sword in fact), and this produces a result. Of course you can do this work from the psychological point of view, discovering all the elements constituting this knot, the whole set of resistances, habits, preferences, of all that holds you narrowly closed in. So when you grow aware of this, you can concentrate and call the divine Force and the Grace and strike a good blow on this formation, these things so closely held, like that, that nothing can separate them. And at that moment you must resolve that you will no longer listen to these things, that you will listen only to the divine Consciousness and will do no other work except the divine work without worrying about personal results, free from all attachment, free from all preference, free from all wish for success, power, satisfaction, vanity, all this.... All this must disappear and you must see only the divine Will incarnated in your will and making you act. Then, in this way, you are cured.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954,
52:Touch her and I’ll kill you,” he snarled.
West stared at him in appalled disbelief. “I knew it. Sweet Mother of God! You want her.”
Devon’s visceral fury appeared to fade a few degrees as he realized he had just been outmaneuvered. He released West abruptly.
“You took Theo’s title and his home,” West continued in appalled disbelief, “and now you want his wife.”
“His widow,” Devon muttered.
“Have you seduced her?”
“Not yet.”
West clapped his hand to his forehead. “Christ. Don’t you think she’s suffered enough? Oh, go on and glare. Snap me in pieces like that blasted pencil. It will only confirm that you’re no better than Theo.” Reading the outrage in his brother’s expression, he said, “Your relationships typically last no longer than the contents of the meat larder. You have a devil of a temper, and if the way you just handled her is an example of how you’ll deal with disagreements--”
“That’s enough,” Devon said with dangerous softness.
Rubbing his forehead, West sighed and continued wearily. “Devon, you and I have always overlooked each other’s faults, but that doesn’t mean we’re oblivious to them. This is nothing but blind, stupid lust. Have the decency to leave her alone. Kathleen is a sensitive and compassionate woman who dserves to be loved…and if you have any capacity for that, I’ve never witnessed it. I’ve seen what happens to women who care about you. Nothing cools your lust faster than affection.”
Devon gave him a cold stare. “Are you going to say anything to her?”
“No, I’ll hold my tongue and hope that you’ll come to your senses.”
“There’s no need to worry,” Devon said darkly. “At this point I’ve made her so ill-disposed toward me that it would be a miracle if I ever manage to lure her to my bed. ~ Lisa Kleypas
53:Sweet Mother, You have asked the teachers "to think with ideas instead of with words".4 You have also said that later on you will ask them to think with experiences. Will you throw some light on these three ways of thinking?
Our house has a very high tower; at the very top of this tower there is a bright and bare room, the last before we emerge into the open air, into the full light.

   Sometimes, when we are free to do so, we climb up to this bright room, and there, if we remain very quiet, one or more visitors come to call on us; some are tall, others small, some single, others in groups; all are bright and graceful.

   Usually, in our joy at their arrival and our haste to welcome them, we lose our tranquillity and come galloping down to rush into the great hall that forms the base of the tower and is the storeroom of words. Here, more or less excited, we select, reject, assemble, combine, disarrange, rearrange all the words in our reach, in an attempt to portray this or that visitor who has come to us. But most often, the picture we succeed in making of our visitor is more like a caricature than a portrait.

   And yet if we were wiser, we would remain up above, at the summit of the tower, quite calm, in joyful contemplation.

   Then, after a certain length of time, we would see the visitors themselves slowly, gracefully, calmly descend, without losing anything of their elegance or beauty and, as they cross the storeroom of words, clothe themselves effortlessly, automatically, with the words needed to make themselves perceptible even in the material house.

   This is what I call thinking with ideas.

   When this process is no longer mysterious to you, I shall explain what is meant by thinking with experiences. ~ The Mother, Some Answers From The Mother,
54:Sweet Mother, Sri Aurobindo is speaking about occult endeavour here and says that those who don't have the capacity must wait till it is given to them. Can't they get it through practice?
   No. That is, if it is latent in someone, it can be developed by practice. But if one doesn't have occult power, he may try for fifty years, he won't get anywhere. Everybody cannot have occult power. It is as though you were asking whether everybody could be a musician, everybody could be a painter, everybody could... Some can, some can't. It is a question of temperament.
   What is the difference between occultism and mysticism?
   They are not at all the same thing.
   Mysticism is a more or less emotive relation with what one senses to be a divine power - that kind of highly emotional, affective, very intense relation with something invisible which is or is taken for the Divine. That is mysticism.
   Occultism is exactly what he has said: it is the knowledge of invisible forces and the power to handle them. It is a science. It is altogether a science. I always compare occultism with chemistry, for it is the same kind of knowledge as the knowledge of chemistry for material things. It is a knowledge of invisible forces, their different vibrations, their interrelations, the combinations which can be made by bringing them together and the power one can exercise over them. It is absolutely scientific; and it ought to be learnt like a science; that is, one cannot practise occultism as something emotional or something vague and imprecise. You must work at it as you would do at chemistry, and learn all the rules or find them if there is nobody to teach you. But it is at some risk to yourself that you can find them. There are combinations here as explosive as certain chemical combinations. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954,
55:
   Sweet Mother, here it is written: "There is a Yoga-Shakti lying coiled or asleep..." How can it be awakened?
I think it awakens quite naturally the moment one takes the resolution to do the yoga. If the resolution is sincere and one has an aspiration, it wakes up by itself.

   In fact, it is perhaps its awakening which gives the aspiration to do yoga.

   It is possible that it is a result of the Grace... or after some conversation or reading, something that has suddenly given you the idea and aspiration to know what yoga is and to practise it. Sometimes just a simple conversation with someone is enough or a passage one reads from a book; well, it awakens this Yoga-Shakti and it is this which makes you do your yoga.

   One is not aware of it at first - except that something has changed in our life, a new decision is taken, a turning.

   What is it, this Yoga-Shakti, Sweet Mother?

   It is the energy of progress. It is the energy which makes you do the yoga, precisely, makes you progress - consciously. It is a conscious energy.

   In fact, the Yoga-Shakti is the power to do yoga.

   Sweet Mother, isn't it more difficult to draw the divine forces from below?

   I think it is absolutely useless.

   Some people think that there are more reserves of energy - I have heard this very often: a great reserve of energy - in the earth, and that if they draw this energy into themselves they will be able to do things; but it is always mixed.

   The divine Presence is everywhere, that's well understood. And in fact, there is neither above nor below. What is called above and below, I think that is rather the expression of a degree of consciousness or a degree of materiality; there is the more unconscious and the less unconscious, there is what is subconscious and what is superconscious, and so we say above and below for the facility of speech.

   But in fact, the idea is to draw from the energies of the earth which, when you are standing up, are under your feet, that is, below in relation to you. But these energies are always mixed, and mostly they are terribly dark.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955,
56:I.
The billows on the beach are leaping around it,
The bark is weak and frail,
The sea looks black, and the clouds that bound it
Darkly strew the gale.
Come with me, thou delightful child,
Come with me, though the wave is wild,
And the winds are loose, we must not stay,
Or the slaves of the law may rend thee away.

II.
They have taken thy brother and sister dear,
They have made them unfit for thee;
They have withered the smile and dried the tear
Which should have been sacred to me.
To a blighting faith and a cause of crime
They have bound them slaves in youthly prime,
And they will curse my name and thee
Because we fearless are and free.

III.
Come thou, beloved as thou art;
Another sleepeth still
Near thy sweet mothers anxious heart,
Which thou with joy shalt fill,
With fairest smiles of wonder thrown
On that which is indeed our own,
And which in distant lands will be
The dearest playmate unto thee.

IV.
Fear not the tyrants will rule for ever,
Or the priests of the evil faith;
They stand on the brink of that raging river,
Whose waves they have tainted with death.
It is fed from the depth of a thousand dells,
Around them it foams and rages and swells;
And their swords and their sceptres I floating see,
Like wrecks on the surge of eternity.

V.
Rest, rest, and shriek not, thou gentle child!
The rocking of the boat thou fearest,
And the cold spray and the clamour wild?--
There, sit between us two, thou dearest--
Me and thy mother--well we know
The storm at which thou tremblest so,
With all its dark and hungry graves,
Less cruel than the savage slaves
Who hunt us oer these sheltering waves.

VI.
This hour will in thy memory
Be a dream of days forgotten long.
We soon shall dwell by the azure sea
Of serene and golden Italy,
Or Greece, the Mother of the free;
And I will teach thine infant tongue
To call upon those heroes old
In their own language, and will mould
Thy growing spirit in the flame
Of Grecian lore, that by such name
A patriots birthright thou mayst claim!

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, To William Shelley

57:It is your birthday tomorrow?
Yes, Mother.

How old will you be?
Twenty-six, Mother.

I shall see you tomorrow and give you something special. You will see, I am not speaking of anything material- that, I shall give you a card and all that- but of something...You will see, tomorrow, now go home and prepare yourself quietly so that you may be ready to receive it.
Yes, Mother.

You know, my child, what "Bonne Fete" signifies, that is, the birthday we wish here?
Like that, I know what it means, Mother, but not the special significance you want to tell me.

Yes, it is truly a special day in one's life. It is one of those days in the year when the Supreme descends into us- or when we are face to face with the Eternal- one of those days when our soul comes in contact with the Eternal and, if we remain a little conscious, we can feel His Presence within us. If we make a little effort on this day, we accomplish the work of many lives as in a lightning flash. That is why I give so much importance to the birthday- because what one gains in one day is truly something incomparable. And it is for this that I also work to open the consciousness a little towards what is above so that one may come before the Eternal. My child, it is a very, very special day, for it is the day of decision, the day one can unite with the Supreme Consciousness. For the Lord lifts us on this day to the highest region possible so that our soul which is a portion of that Eternal Flame, may be united and identified with its Origin.

This day is truly an opportunity in life. One is so open and so receptive that one can assimilate all that is given. I can do many things, that is why it is important.

It is one of those days when the Lord Himself opens the doors wide for us. It is as though He were inviting us to rekindle more powerfully the flame of aspiration. It is one of those days which He gives us. We too, by our personal effort, could attain to this, but it would be long, hard and not so easy. And this- this is a real chance in life- the day of Grace.

It is an occult phenomenon that occurs invariably, without our knowledge, on this particular day of the year. The soul leaves behind the body and journeys up and up till it merges into the Source in order to replenish itself and absorb from the Supreme Its Power, Light and Ananda and comes down charged for a whole year to pass. Then again and again... it continues like this year after year. ~ The Mother, Sweet Mother, Mona Sarkar,
58:
   Sweet Mother, can the psychic express itself without the mind, the vital and the physical?

It expresses itself constantly without them. Only, in order that the ordinary human being may perceive it, it has to express itself through them, because the ordinary human being is not in direct contact with the psychic. If it was in direct contact with the psychic it would be psychic in its manifestation - and all would be truly well. But as it is not in contact with the psychic it doesn't even know what it is, it wonders all bewildered what kind of a being it can be; so to reach this ordinary human consciousness it must use ordinary means, that is, go through the mind, the vital and the physical.

One of them may be skipped but surely not the last, otherwise one is no longer conscious of anything at all. The ordinary human being is conscious only in his physical being, and only in relatively rare moments is he conscious of his mind, just a little more frequently of his vital, but all this is mixed up in his consciousness, so much so that he would be quite unable to say "This movement comes from the mind, this from the vital, this from the physical." This already asks for a considerable development in order to be able to distinguish within oneself the source of the different movements one has. And it is so mixed that even when one tries, at the beginning it is very difficult to classify and separate one thing from another.

It is as when one works with colours, takes three or four or five different colours and puts them in the same water and beats them up together, it makes a grey, indistinct and incomprehensi- ble mixture, you see, and one can't say which is red, which blue, which green, which yellow; it is something dirty, lots of colours mixed. So first of all one must do this little work of separating the red, blue, yellow, green - putting them like this, each in its corner. It is not at all easy.

I have met people who used to think themselves extremely intelligent, by the way, who thought they knew a lot, and when I spoke to them about the different parts of the being they looked at me like this (gesture) and asked me, "But what are you speaking about?" They did not understand at all. I am speaking of people who have the reputation of being intelligent. They don't understand at all. For them it is just the consciousness; it is the consciousness-"It is my consciousness" and then there is the neighbour's consciousness; and again there are things which do not have any consciousness. And then I asked them whether animals had a consciousness; so they began to scratch their heads and said, "Perhaps it is we who put our consciousness in the animal when we look at it," like that...
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955,
59:
   Sweet Mother, is there a spiritual being in everybody?

That depends on what we call "being". If for "being" we substitute "presence", yes, there is a spiritual presence in everyone. If we call "being" an organised entity, fully conscious of itself, independent, and having the power of asserting itself and ruling the rest of the nature - no! The possibility of this independent and all-powerful being is in everybody, but the realisation is the result of long efforts which sometimes extend over many lives.

In everyone, even at the very beginning, this spiritual presence, this inner light is there.... In fact, it is everywhere. I have seen it many a time in certain animals. It is like a shining point which is the basis of a certain control and protection, something which, even in half-consciousness, makes possible a certain harmony with the rest of creation so that irreparable catastrophes may not be constant and general. Without this presence the disorder created by the violences and passions of the vital would be so great that at any moment they could bring about a general catastrophe, a sort of total destruction which would prevent the progress of Nature. That presence, that spiritual light - which could almost be called a spiritual consciousness - is within each being and all things, and because of it, in spite of all discordance, all passion, all violence, there is a minimum of general harmony which allows Nature's work to be accomplished.

And this presence becomes quite obvious in the human being, even the most rudimentary. Even in the most monstrous human being, in one who gives the impression of being an incarnation of a devil or a monster, there is something within exercising a sort of irresistible control - even in the worst, some things are impossible. And without this presence, if the being were controlled exclusively by the adverse forces, the forces of the vital, this impossibility would not exist.

Each time a wave of these monstrous adverse forces sweeps over the earth, one feels that nothing can ever stop the disorder and horror from spreading, and always, at a certain time, unexpectedly and inexplicably a control intervenes, and the wave is arrested, the catastrophe is not total. And this is because of the Presence, the supreme Presence, in matter.

But only in a few exceptional beings and after a long, very long work of preparation extending over many, many lives does this Presence change into a conscious, independent, fully organised being, all-powerful master of his dwelling-place, conscious enough, powerful enough, to be able to control not only this dwelling but what surrounds it and in a field of radiation and action that is more and more extensive... and effective.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1957-1958, 339-340,
60:Sweet Mother, there's a flower you have named "The Creative Word".

Yes.

What does that mean?

It is the word which creates.

There are all kinds of old traditions, old Hindu traditions, old Chaldean traditions in which the Divine, in the form of the Creator, that is, in His aspect as Creator, pronounces a word which has the power to create. So it is this... And it is the origin of the mantra. The mantra is the spoken word which has a creative power. An invocation is made and there is an answer to the invocation; or one makes a prayer and the prayer is granted. This is the Word, the Word which, in its sound... it is not only the idea, it is in the sound that there's a power of creation. It is the origin, you see, of the mantra.

In Indian mythology the creator God is Brahma, and I think that it was precisely his power which has been symbolised by this flower, "The Creative Word". And when one is in contact with it, the words spoken have a power of evocation or creation or formation or transformation; the words... sound always has a power; it has much more power than men think. It may be a good power and it may be a bad power. It creates vibrations which have an undeniable effect. It is not so much the idea as the sound; the idea too has its own power, but in its own domain - whereas the sound has a power in the material world.

I think I have explained this to you once; I told you, for example, that words spoken casually, usually without any re- flection and without attaching any importance to them, can be used to do something very good. I think I spoke to you about "Bonjour", "Good Day", didn't I? When people meet and say "Bonjour", they do so mechanically and without thinking. But if you put a will into it, an aspiration to indeed wish someone a good day, well, there is a way of saying "Good Day" which is very effective, much more effective than if simply meeting someone you thought: "Ah! I hope he has a good day", without saying anything. If with this hope in your thought you say to him in a certain way, "Good Day", you make it more concrete and more effective.

It's the same thing, by the way, with curses, or when one gets angry and says bad things to people. This can do them as much harm - more harm sometimes - than if you were to give them a slap. With very sensitive people it can put their stomach out of order or give them palpitation, because you put into it an evil force which has a power of destruction.

It is not at all ineffective to speak. Naturally it depends a great deal on each one's inner power. People who have no strength and no consciousness can't do very much - unless they employ material means. But to the extent that you are strong, especially when you have a powerful vital, you must have a great control on what you say, otherwise you can do much harm. Without wanting to, without knowing it; through ignorance.

Anything? No? Nothing?

Another question?... Everything's over? ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955, 347-349,
61:Sweet Mother, here it is written: "It is part of the foundation of Yoga to become conscious of the great complexity of our nature, see the different forces that move it and get over it a control of directing knowledge." Are these forces different for each person?

Yes. The composition is completely different, otherwise everybody would be the same. There are not two beings with an identical combination; between the different parts of the being and the composition of these parts the proportion is different in each individual. There are people, primitive men, people like the yet undeveloped races or the degenerated ones whose combinations are fairly simple; they are still complicated, but comparatively simple. And there are people absolutely at the top of the human ladder, the e ́lite of humanity; their combinations become so complicated that a very special discernment is needed to find the relations between all these things.

There are beings who carry in themselves thousands of different personalities, and then each one has its own rhythm and alternation, and there is a kind of combination; sometimes there are inner conflicts, and there is a play of activities which are rhythmic and with alternations of certain parts which come to the front and then go back and again come to the front. But when one takes all that, it makes such complicated combinations that some people truly find it difficult to understand what is going on in themselves; and yet these are the ones most capable of a complete, coordinated, conscious, organised action; but their organisation is infinitely more complicated than that of primitive or undeveloped men who have two or three impulses and four or five ideas, and who can arrange all this very easily in themselves and seem to be very co-ordinated and logical because there is not very much to organise. But there are people truly like a multitude, and so that gives them a plasticity, a fluidity of action and an extraordinary complexity of perception, and these people are capable of understanding a considerable number of things, as though they had at their disposal a veritable army which they move according to circumstance and need; and all this is inside them. So when these people, with the help of yoga, the discipline of yoga, succeed in centralising all these beings around the central light of the divine Presence, they become powerful entities, precisely because of their complexity. So long as this is not organised they often give the impression of an incoherence, they are almost incomprehensible, one can't manage to understand why they are like that, they are so complex. But when they have organised all these beings, that is, put each one in its place around the divine centre, then truly they are terrific, for they have the capacity of understanding almost everything and doing almost everything because of the multitude of entities they contain, of which they are constituted. And the nearer one is to the top of the ladder, the more it is like that, and consequently the more difficult it is to organise one's being; because when you have about a dozen elements, you can quickly compass and organise them, but when you have thousands of them, it is difficult. ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955, 215-216,
62:
   Sweet Mother, how can one feel the divine Presence constantly?


Why not?

   But how can one do it?

But I am asking why one should not feel it. Instead of asking the question how to feel it, I ask the question: "What do you do that you don't feel it?" There is no reason not to feel the divine Presence. Once you have felt it, even once, you should be capable of feeling it always, for it is there. It is a fact. It is only our ignorance which makes us unaware of it. But if we become conscious, why should we not always be conscious? Why forget something one has learnt? When one has had the experience, why forget it? It is simply a bad habit, that's all.
   You see, there is something which is a fact, that's to say, it is. But we are unaware of it and do not know it. But after we become conscious and know it, why should we still forget it? Does it make sense? It's quite simply because we are not convinced that once one has met the Divine one can't forget Him any more. We are, on the contrary, full of stupid ideas which say, "Oh! Yes, it's very well once like that, but the rest of the time it will be as usual." So there is no reason why it may not begin again.
   But if we know that... we did not know something, we were ignorant, then the moment we have the knowledge... I am sincerely asking how one can manage to forget. One might not know something, that is a fact; there are countless things one doesn't know. But the moment one knows them, the minute one has the experience, how can one manage to forget? Within yourself you have the divine Presence, you know nothing about it - for all kinds of reasons, but still the chief reason is that you are in a state of ignorance. Yet suddenly, by a clicking of circumstances, you become conscious of this divine Presence, that is, you are before a fact - it is not imagination, it is a fact, it's something which exists. Then how do you manage to forget it once you have known it?
   ...
   It is because something in us, through cowardice or defeatism, accepts this. If one did not accept it, it wouldn't happen.
   Even when everything seems to be suddenly darkened, the flame and the Light are always there. And if one doesn't forget them, one has only to put in front of them the part which is dark; there will perhaps be a battle, there will perhaps be a little difficulty, but it will be something quite transitory; never will you lose your footing. That is why it is said - and it is something true - that to sin through ignorance may have fatal consequences, because when one makes mistakes, well, these mistakes have results, that's obvious, and usually external and material results; but that's no great harm, I have already told you this several times. But when one knows what is true, when one has seen and had the experience of the Truth, to accept the sin again, that is, fall back again into ignorance and obscurity - this is indeed an infinitely more serious mistake. It begins to belong to the domain of ill-will. In any case, it is a sign of slackness and weakness. It means that the will is weak.
   So your question is put the other way round. Instead of asking yourself how to keep it, you must ask yourself: how does one not keep it? Not having it, is a state which everybody is in before the moment of knowing; not knowing - one is in that state before knowing. But once one knows one cannot forget. And if one forgets, it means that there is something which consents to the forgetting, it means there is an assent somewhere; otherwise one would not forget.
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955, 403,405,406,
63:
   Sometimes while reading a text one has ideas, then Sweet Mother, how can one distinguish between the other person's idea and one's own?


Oh! This, this doesn't exist, the other person's idea and one's own idea.
   Nobody has ideas of his own: it is an immensity from which one draws according to his personal affinity; ideas are a collective possession, a collective wealth.
   Only, there are different stages. So there is the most common level, the one where all our brains bathe; this indeed swarms here, it is the level of "Mr. Everybody". And then there is a level that's slightly higher for people who are called thinkers. And then there are higher levels still - many - some of them are beyond words but they are still domains of ideas. And then there are those capable of shooting right up, catching something which is like a light and making it come down with all its stock of ideas, all its stock of thoughts. An idea from a higher domain if pulled down organises itself and is crystallised in a large number of thoughts which can express that idea differently; and then if you are a writer or a poet or an artist, when you make it come lower down still, you can have all kinds of expressions, extremely varied and choice around a single little idea but one coming from very high above. And when you know how to do this, it teaches you to distinguish between the pure idea and the way of expressing it.
   Some people cannot do it in their own head because they have no imagination or faculty for writing, but they can do it through study by reading what others have written. There are, you know, lots of poets, for instance, who have expressed the same idea - the same idea but with such different forms that when one reads many of them it becomes quite interesting to see (for people who love to read and read much). Ah, this idea, that one has said it like this, that other has expressed it like that, another has formulated it in this way, and so on. And so you have a whole stock of expressions which are expressions by different poets of the same single idea up there, above, high above. And you notice that there is an almost essential difference between the pure idea, the typal idea and its formulation in the mental world, even the speculative or artistic mental world. This is a very good thing to do when one loves gymnastics. It is mental gymnastics.
   Well, if you want to be truly intelligent, you must know how to do mental gymnastics; as, you see, if you want really to have a fairly strong body you must know how to do physical gymnastics. It is the same thing. People who have never done mental gymnastics have a poor little brain, quite over-simple, and all their life they think like children. One must know how to do this - not take it seriously, in the sense that one shouldn't have convictions, saying, "This idea is true and that is false; this formulation is correct and that one is not and this religion is the true one and that religion is false", and so on and so forth... this, if you enter into it, you become absolutely stupid.
   But if you can see all that and, for example, take all the religions, one after another and see how they have expressed the same aspiration of the human being for some Absolute, it becomes very interesting; and then you begin... yes, you begin to be able to juggle with all that. And then when you have mastered it all, you can rise above it and look at all the eternal human discussions with a smile. So there you are master of the thought and can no longer fly into a rage because someone else does not think as you, something that's unfortunately a very common malady here.
   Now, there we are. Nobody has any questions, no?
   That's enough? Finished! ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955,
64:Mariana In The South
With one black shadow at its feet,
The house thro' all the level shines,
Close-latticed to the brooding heat,
And silent in its dusty vines:
A faint-blue ridge upon the right,
An empty river-bed before,
And shallows on a distant shore,
In glaring sand and inlets bright.
But "Aye Mary," made she moan,
And "Aye Mary," night and morn,
And "Ah," she sang, "to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn."
She, as her carol sadder grew,
From brow and bosom slowly down
Thro' rosy taper fingers drew
Her streaming curls of deepest brown
To left and right, and made appear,
Still-lighted in a secret shrine,
Her melancholy eyes divine,
The home of woe without a tear.
And "Aye Mary," was her moan,
"Madonna, sad is night and morn;"
And "Ah," she sang, "to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn."
Till all the crimson changed, and past
Into deep orange o'er the sea,
Low on her knees herself she cast,
Before Our Lady murmur'd she:
Complaining, "Mother, give me grace
To help me of my weary load."
And on the liquid mirror glow'd
The clear perfection of her face.
"Is this the form," she made her moan,
"That won his praises night and morn?"
And "Ah," she said, "but I wake alone,
I sleep forgotten, I wake forlorn."
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Nor bird would sing, nor lamb would bleat,
Nor any cloud would cross the vault,
But day increased from heat to heat,
On stony drought and steaming salt;
Till now at noon she slept again,
And seem'd knee-deep in mountain grass,
And heard her native breezes pass,
And runlets babbling down the glen.
She breathed in sleep a lower moan,
And murmuring, as at night and morn
She thought, "My spirit is here alone,
Walks forgotten, and is forlorn."
Dreaming, she knew it was a dream:
She felt he was and was not there.
She woke: the babble of the stream
Fell, and, without, the steady glare
Shrank one sick willow sere and small.
The river-bed was dusty-white;
And all the furnace of the light
Struck up against the blinding wall.
She whisper'd, with a stifled moan
More inward than at night or morn,
"Sweet Mother, let me not here alone
Live forgotten and die forlorn."
And, rising, from her bosom drew
Old letters, breathing of her worth,
For "Love", they said, "must needs be true,
To what is loveliest upon earth."
An image seem'd to pass the door,
To look at her with slight, and say,
"But now thy beauty flows away,
So be alone for evermore."
"O cruel heart," she changed her tone,
"And cruel love, whose end is scorn,
Is this the end to be left alone,
To live forgotten, and die forlorn?"
But sometimes in the falling day
An image seem'd to pass the door,
To look into her eyes and say,
352
"But thou shalt be alone no more."
And flaming downward over all
From heat to heat the day decreased,
And slowly rounded to the east
The one black shadow from the wall.
"The day to night," she made her moan,
"The day to night, the night to morn,
And day and night I am left alone
To live forgotten, and love forlorn."
At eve a dry cicala sung,
There came a sound as of the sea;
Backward the lattice-blind she flung,
And lean'd upon the balcony.
There all in spaces rosy-bright
Large Hesper glitter'd on her tears,
And deepening thro' the silent spheres
Heaven over Heaven rose the night.
And weeping then she made her moan,
"The night comes on that knows not morn,
When I shall cease to be all alone,
To live forgotten, and love forlorn."
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
65:Sweet Mother, how can we make our resolution very firm?

   By wanting it to be very firm! (Laughter)

   No, this seems like a joke... but it is absolutely true. One does not want it truly. There is always, if you... It is a lack of sincerity. If you look sincerely, you will see that you have decided that it will be like this, and then, beneath there is something which has not decided at all and is waiting for the second of hesitation in order to rush forward. If you are sincere, if you are sincere and get hold of the part which is hiding, waiting, not showing itself, which knows that there will come a second of indecision when it can rush out and make you do the thing you have decided not to do...

   [] But if you really want it, nothing in the world can prevent you from doing what you want. It is because one doesn't know how to will it. It is because one is divided in one's will. If you are not divided in your will, I say that nothing, nobody in the world can make you change your will.

   But one doesn't know how to will it. In fact one doesn't even want to. These are velleities: "Well, it is like this.... It would be good if it were like that... yes, it would be better if it were like that... yes, it would be preferable if it were like that." But this is not to will. And always there at the back, hidden somewhere in a corner of the brain, is something which is looking on and saying, "Oh, why should I want that? After all one can as well want the opposite." And to try, you see... Not like that, just wait... But one can always find a thousand excuses to do the opposite. And ah, just a tiny little wavering is enough... pftt... the thing swoops down and there it is. But if one wills, if one really knows that this is the thing, and truly wants this, and if one is oneself entirely concentrated in the will, I say that there is nothing in the world that can prevent one from doing it, from doing it or being obliged to do it. It depends on what it is.

   One wants. Yes, one wants, like this (gestures). One wants: "Yes, yes, it would be better if it were like that. Yes, it would be finer also, more elegant."... But, eh, eh, after all one is a weak creature, isn't that so? And then one can always put the blame upon something else: "It is the influence coming from outside, it is all kinds of circumstances."

   A breath has passed, you see. You don't know... something... a moment of unconsciousness... "Oh, I was not conscious." You are not conscious because you do not accept... And all this because you don't know how to will.

   [] To learn how to will is a very important thing. And to will truly, you must unify your being. In fact, to be a being, one must first unify oneself. If one is pulled by absolutely opposite tendencies, if one spends three-fourths of one's life without being conscious of oneself and the reasons why one does things, is one a real being? One does not exist. One is a mass of influences, movements, forces, actions, reactions, but one is not a being. One begins to become a being when one begins to have a will. And one can't have a will unless one is unified.

   And when you have a will, you will be able to say, say to the Divine: "I want what You want." But not before that. Because in order to want what the Divine wants, you must have a will, otherwise you can will nothing at all. You would like to. You would like it very much. You would very much like to want what the Divine wants to do. You don't possess a will to give to Him and to put at His service. Something like that, gelatinous, like jelly-fish... there... a mass of good wills - and I am considering the better side of things and forgetting the bad wills - a mass of good wills, half-conscious and fluctuating....

   Ah, that's all, my children. That's enough for today. There we are.

   Only, put this into practice; just a little of what I have said, not all, eh, just a very little. There.

   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1954, #unification,
66:
   Mother, when one imagines something, does it not exist?

When you imagine something, it means that you make a mental formation which may be close to the truth or far from the truth - it also depends upon the quality of your formation. You make a mental formation and there are people who have such a power of formation that they succeed in making what they imagine real. There are not many of these but there are some. They imagine something and their formation is so well made and so powerful that it succeeds in being realised. These are creators; there are not many of them but there are some.

   If one thinks of someone who doesn't exist or who is dead?

Ah! What do you mean? What have you just said? Someone who doesn't exist or someone who is dead? These are two absolutely different things.

   I mean someone who is dead.

Someone who is dead!

   If this person has remained in the mental domain, you can find him immediately. Naturally if he is no longer in the mental domain, if he is in the psychic domain, to think of him is not enough. You must know how to go into the psychic domain to find him. But if he has remained in the mental domain and you think of him, you can find him immediately, and not only that, but you can have a mental contact with him and a kind of mental vision of his existence.

   The mind has a capacity of vision of its own and it is not the same vision as with these eyes, but it is a vision, it is a perception in forms. But this is not imagination. It has nothing to do with imagination.

   Imagination, for instance, is when you begin to picture to yourself an ideal being to whom you apply all your conceptions, and when you tell yourself, "Why, it should be like this, like that, its form should be like this, its thought like that, its character like that," when you see all the details and build up the being. Now, writers do this all the time because when they write a novel, they imagine. There are those who take things from life but there are those who are imaginative, creators; they create a character, a personage and then put him in their book later. This is to imagine. To imagine, for example, a whole concurrence of circumstances, a set of events, this is what I call telling a story to oneself. But it can be put down on paper, and then one becomes a novelist. There are very different kinds of writers. Some imagine everything, some gather all sorts of observations from life and construct their book with them. There are a hundred ways of writing a book. But indeed some writers imagine everything from beginning to end. It all comes out of their head and they construct even their whole story without any support in things physically observed. This truly is imagination. But as I say, if they are very powerful and have a considerable capacity for creation, it is possible that one day or other there will be a physical human being who realises their creation. This too is true.

   What do you suppose imagination is, eh? Have you never imagined anything, you?

   And what happens?

   All that one imagines.


You mean that you imagine something and it happens like that, eh? Or it is in a dream...

   What is the function, the use of the imagination?

If one knows how to use it, as I said, one can create for oneself his own inner and outer life; one can build his own existence with his imagination, if one knows how to use it and has a power. In fact it is an elementary way of creating, of forming things in the world. I have always felt that if one didn't have the capacity of imagination he would not make any progress. Your imagination always goes ahead of your life. When you think of yourself, usually you imagine what you want to be, don't you, and this goes ahead, then you follow, then it continues to go ahead and you follow. Imagination opens for you the path of realisation. People who are not imaginative - it is very difficult to make them move; they see just what is there before their nose, they feel just what they are moment by moment and they cannot go forward because they are clamped by the immediate thing. It depends a good deal on what one calls imagination. However...

   Men of science must be having imagination!


A lot. Otherwise they would never discover anything. In fact, what is called imagination is a capacity to project oneself outside realised things and towards things realisable, and then to draw them by the projection. One can obviously have progressive and regressive imaginations. There are people who always imagine all the catastrophes possible, and unfortunately they also have the power of making them come. It's like the antennae going into a world that's not yet realised, catching something there and drawing it here. Then naturally it is an addition to the earth atmosphere and these things tend towards manifestation. It is an instrument which can be disciplined, can be used at will; one can discipline it, direct it, orientate it. It is one of the faculties one can develop in himself and render serviceable, that is, use it for definite purposes.

   Sweet Mother, can one imagine the Divine and have the contact?

Certainly if you succeed in imagining the Divine you have the contact, and you can have the contact with what you imagine, in any case. In fact it is absolutely impossible to imagine something which doesn't exist somewhere. You cannot imagine anything at all which doesn't exist somewhere. It is possible that it doesn't exist on the earth, it is possible that it's elsewhere, but it is impossible for you to imagine something which is not already contained in principle in the universe; otherwise it could not occur.

   Then, Sweet Mother, this means that in the created universe nothing new is added?

In the created universe? Yes. The universe is progressive; we said that constantly things manifest, more and more. But for your imagination to be able to go and seek beyond the manifestation something which will be manifested, well, it may happen, in fact it does - I was going to tell you that it is in this way that some beings can cause considerable progress to be made in the world, because they have the capacity of imagining something that's not yet manifested. But there are not many. One must first be capable of going beyond the manifested universe to be able to imagine something which is not there. There are already many things which can be imagined.

   What is our terrestrial world in the universe? A very small thing. Simply to have the capacity of imagining something which does not exist in the terrestrial manifestation is already very difficult, very difficult. For how many billions of years hasn't it existed, this little earth? And there have been no two identical things. That's much. It is very difficult to go out from the earth atmosphere with one's mind; one can, but it is very difficult. And then if one wants to go out, not only from the earth atmosphere but from the universal life!

   To be able simply to enter into contact with the life of the earth in its totality from the formation of the earth until now, what can this mean? And then to go beyond this and enter into contact with universal life from its beginnings up to now... and then again to be able to bring something new into the universe, one must go still farther beyond.

   Not easy!
   That's all?
   (To the child) Convinced?
   ~ The Mother, Questions And Answers 1955, [T1],
67:St. George And The Dragon
Of Hector's deeds did Homer sing,
And of the sack of stately Troy,
What griefs fair Helena did bring,
Which was Sir Paris' only joy:
And by my pen I will recite
St. George's deeds, and English knight.
Against the Sarazens so rude
Fought he full long and many a day,
Where many gyants he subdu'd,
In honour of the Christian way;
And after many adventures past,
To Egypt land he came at last.
Now, as the story plain doth tell,
Within that countrey there did rest
A dreadful dragon fierce and fell,
Whereby they were full sore opprest:
Who by his poisonous breath each day
Did many of the city slay.
The grief whereof did grow so great
Throughout the limits of the land,
That they their wise-men did intreat
To shew their cunning out of hand;
What way they might this fiend destroy,
That did the countrey thus annoy.
The wise-men all before the king,
This answer fram'd incontinent:
The dragon none to death might bring
By any means they could invent;
His skin more hard than brass was found,
That sword nor spear could pierce nor wound.
When this the people understood,
They cryed out most piteouslye,
The dragon's breath infects their blood,
That every day in heaps they dye;
642
Among them such a plague it bred,
The living scarce could bury the dead.
No means there were, as they could hear,
For to appease the dragon's rage,
But to present some virgin clear,
Whose blood his fury might asswage;
Each day he would a maiden eat,
For to allay his hunger great.
This thing by art the wise-men found,
Which truly must observed be;
Wherefore, throughout the city round,
A virgin pure of good degree
Was, by the king's commission, still
Taken up to serve the dragon's will.
Thus did the dragon every day
Untimely crop some virgin flowr,
Till all the maids were worn away,
And none were left him to devour;
Saving the king's fair daughter bright,
Her father's only heart's delight.
Then came the officers to the king,
That heavy message to declare,
Which did his heart with sorrow sting;
'She is,' quoth he, 'my kingdom's heir:
O let us all be poisoned here,
Ere she should die, that is my dear.'
Then rose the poeple presently,
And to the king in rage they went;
They said his daughter dear should dye,
The dragon's fury to prevent:
'Our daughters all are dead,' quoth they,
'And have been made the dragon's prey;
And by their blood we rescued were,
And thou hast sav'd thy life thereby;
And now in sooth it is but faire,
For us thy daughter so should die.'
'O save my daughter,' said the king,
643
'And let ME feel the dragon's sting.'
Then fell fair Sabra on her knee,
And to her father dear did say,
'O father, strive not thus for me,
But let me be the dragon's prey;
It may be, for my sake alone
This plague upon the land was thrown.
'Tis better I should dye,' she said,
'Than all your subjects perish quite;
Perhaps the dragon here was laid,
For my offence to work his spite,
And after he hath suckt my gore,
Your land shall feel the grief no more.'
'What hast thou done, my daughter dear,
For to deserve this heavy scourge?
It is my fault, as may appear,
Which makes the gods our state to purge;
Then ought I die, to stint the strife,
And to preserve thy happy life.'
Like mad-men, all the people cried,
'Thy death to us can do no good;
Our safety only doth abide
In making her the dragon's food.'
'Lo! here I am, I come,' quoth she,
'Therefore do what you will with me.'
'Nay stay, dear daughter,' quoth the queen,
'And as thou art a virgin bright,
That hast for vertue famous been,
So let me cloath thee all in white;
And crown thy head with flowers sweet,
An ornament for virgins meet.'
And when she was attired so,
According to her mother's mind,
Unto the stake then did she go,
To which her tender limbs they bind;
And being bound to stake a thrall
644
She bade farewell unto them all.
'Farewell, my father dear,' quoth she,
'And my sweet mother meek and mild;
Take you no thought nor weep for me,
For you may have another child;
Since for ry's good I dye,
Death I receive most willinglye.'
The king and queen and all their train
With weeping eyes went then. their way,
And let their daughter there remain,
To be the hungry dragon's prey:
But as she did there weeping lye,
Behold St. George came riding by.
And seeing there a lady bright
So rudely tyed unto a stake,
As well became a valiant knight,
He straight to her his way did take:
'Tell me, sweet maiden,' then quoth he,
'What caitif thus abuseth thee?
'And, lo! by Christ his cross I vow,
Which here is figured on my breast,
I will revenge it on his brow,
And break my lance upon his chest:'
And speaking thus whereas he stood,
The dragon issued from the wood.
The lady, that did first espy
The dreadful dragon coming so,
Unto St. George aloud did cry,
And willed him away to go;
'Here comes that cursed fiend,' quoth she,
'That soon will make an end of me.'
St. George then looking round about,
The fiery dragon soon espy'd,
And like a knight of courage stout,
Against him did most furiously ride;
And with such blows he did him greet,
645
He fell beneath his horse's feet.
For with his launce that was so strong,
As he came gaping in his face,
In at his mouth he thrust along;
For he could pierce no other place:
And thus within the lady's view
This mighty dragon straight he slew.
The savour of his poisoned breath
Could do this holy knight no harm;
Thus he the lady sav'd from death,
And home he led her by the arm;
Which when King Ptolemy did see,
There was great mirth and melody.
When as that valiant champion there
Had slain the dragon in the field,
To court he brought the lady fair,
Which to their hearts much joy did yield.
He in the court of Egypt staid
Till he most falsely was betray'd.
That lady dearly lov'd the knight,
He counted her his only joy;
But when their love was brought to light,
It turn'd unto their great annoy:
Th' Morocco king was in the court,
Who to the orchard did resort,
Dayly to take the pleasant air,
For pleasure sake he us'd to walk;
Under a wall he oft did hear
St. George with lady Sabra talk;
Their love he shew'd unto the king,
Which to St. George great woe did bring.
Those kings together did devise
To make the Christian knight away:
With letters him in curteous wise
They straightway sent to Persia,
But wrote to the sophy him to kill,
646
And treacherously his blood to spill.
Thus they for good did him reward
With evil, and most subtilly,
By much vile meanes they had regard
To work his death most cruelly;
Who, as through Persia land he rode,
With zeal destroy'd each idol god.
For which offence he straight was thrown
Into a dungeon dark and deep;
Where, when he thought his wrongs upon,
He bitterly did wail and weep:
Yet like a knight of courage stout,
At length his way he digged out.
Three grooms of the King of Persia
By night this valiant champion slew,
Though he had fasted many a day,
And then away from thence he flew
On the best steed the sophy had;
Which when he knew he was full mad.
Towards Christendom he made his flight,
But met a gyant by the way,
With whom in combat he did fight
Most valiantly a summer's day:
Who yet, for all his bats of steel,
Was forc'd the sting of death to feel.
Back o'er the seas with many bands
Of warlike souldiers soon he past,
Vowing upon those heathen lands
To work revenge; which at the last,
Ere thrice three years were gone and spent,
He wrought unto his heart's content.
Save onely Egypt land he spar'd,
For Sabra bright her only sake,
And, ere for her he had regard,
He meant a tryal kind to make:
Mean while the king, o'ercome in field,
647
Unto Saint George did quickly yield.
Then straight Morocco's king he slew,
And took fair Sabra to his wife,
But meant to try if she were true,
Ere with her he would lead his life;
And, tho' he had her in his train,
She did a virgin pure remain.
Toward England then that lovely dame
The brave St. George conducted strait,
An eunuch also with them came,
Who did upon the lady wait.
These three from Egypt went alone:
Now mark St. George's valour shown.
When as they in a forest were,
The lady did desire to rest:
Mean while St. George to kill a deer
For their repast did think it best:
Leaving her with the eunuch there,
Whilst he did go to kill the deer.
But lo! all in his absence came
Two hungry lyons, fierce and fell,
And tore the eunuch on the same
In pieces small, the truth to tell;
Down by the lady then they laid,
Whereby they shew'd she was a maid.
But when he came from hunting back,
And did behold this heavy chance,
Then for his lovely virgin's sake
His courage strait he did advance,
And came into the lions' sight,
Who ran at him with all their might.
Their rage did him no whit dismay,
Who, like a stout and valiant knight,
Did both the hungry lyons slay
Within the lady Sabra's sight:
Who all this while, sad and demure,
648
There stood most like a virgin pure.
Now when St. George did surely know
This lady was a virgin true,
His heart was glad, that erst was woe,
And all his love did soon renew:
He set her on a palfrey steed,
And towards England came with speed.
Where being in short space arriv'd
Unto his native dwelling place,
Therein with his dear love he livd,
And fortune did his nuptials grace:
They many years of joy did see,
And led their lives at Coventry.
~ Anonymous Olde English
68:To E. Fitzgerald: Tiresias
OLD FITZ, who from your suburb grange,
Where once I tarried for a while,
Glance at the wheeling orb of change,
And greet it with a kindly smile;
Whom yet I see as there you sit
Beneath your sheltering garden-tree,
And watch your doves about you flit,
And plant on shoulder, hand, and knee,
Or on your head their rosy feet,
As if they knew your diet spares
Whatever moved in that full sheet
Let down to Peter at his prayers;
Who live on milk and meal and grass;
And once for ten long weeks I tried
Your table of Pythagoras,
- And seem'd at first "a thing enskied,"
As Shakespeare has it, airy-light
To float above the ways of men,
Then fell from that half-spiritual height
Chill'd, till I tasted flesh again
One night when earth was winter-b]ack,
And all the heavens flash'd in frost;
And on me, half-asleep, came back
That wholesome heat the blood had lost,
And set me climbing icy capes
And glaciers, over which there roll'd
To meet me long-arm'd vines with grapes
Of Eshcol hugeness- for the cold
Without, and warmth within me, wrought
To mould the dream; but none can say
That Lenten fare makes Lenten thought
Who reads your golden Eastern lay,
Than which I know no version done
In English more divinely well;
A planet equal to the sun
Which cast it, that large infidel
Your Omar, and your Omar drew
Full-handed plaudits from our best
In modern letters, and from two,
857
Old friends outvaluing all the rest,
Two voices heard on earth no more;
But we old friends are still alive,
And I am nearing seventy-four,
While you have touch'd at seventy-five,
And so I send a birthday line
Of greeting; and my son, who dipt
In some forgotten book of mine
With sallow scraps of manuscript,
And dating many a year ago,
Has hit on this, which you will take,
My Fitz, and welcome, as I know,
Less for its own than for the sake
Of one recalling gracious times,
When, in our younger London days,
You found some merit in my rhymes,
And I more pleasure in your praise.
TIRESIAS
I WISH I were as in the years of old
While yet the blessed daylight made itself
Ruddy thro' both the roofs of sight, and woke
These eyes, now dull, but then so keen to seek
The meanings ambush'd under all they saw,
The flight of birds, the flame of sacrifice,
What omens may foreshadow fate to man
And woman, and the secret of the Gods.
My son, the Gods, despite of human prayer,
Are slower to forgive than human kings.
The great God Ares burns in anger still
Against the guiltless heirs of him from Tyre
Our Cadmus, out of whom thou art, who found
Beside the springs of Dirce, smote, and still'd
Thro' all its folds the multitudinous beast
The dragon, which our trembling fathers call'd
The God's own son.
A tale, that told to me,
When but thine age, by age as winter-white
As mine is now, amazed, but made me yearn
For larger glimpses of that more than man
858
Which rolls the heavens, and lifts and lays the deep,
Yet loves and hates with mortal hates and loves,
And moves unseen among the ways of men.
Then, in my wanderings all the lands that lie
Subjected to the Heliconian ridge
Have heard this footstep fall, altho' my wont
Was more to scale the highest of the heights
With some strange hope to see the nearer God.
One naked peak‹the sister of the Sun
Would climb from out the dark, and linger there
To silver all the valleys with her shafts‹
There once, but long ago, five-fold thy term
Of years, I lay; the winds were dead for heatThe noonday crag made the hand burn; and sick
For shadow‹not one bush was near‹I rose
Following a torrent till its myriad falls
Found silence in the hollows underneath.
There in a secret olive-glade I saw
Pallas Athene climbing from the bath
In anger; yet one glittering foot disturb'd
The lucid well; one snowy knee was prest
Against the margin flowers; a dreadful light
Came from her golden hair, her golden helm
And all her golden armor on the grass,
And from her virgin breast, and virgin eyes
Remaining fixt on mine, till mine grew dark
For ever, and I heard a voice that said
"Henceforth be blind, for thou hast seen too much,
And speak the truth that no man may believe."
Son, in the hidden world of sight that lives
Behind this darkness, I behold her still
Beyond all work of those who carve the stone
Beyond all dreams of Godlike womanhood,
Ineffable beauty, out of whom, at a glance
And as it were, perforce, upon me flash'd
The power of prophesying‹but to me
No power so chain'd and coupled with the curse
Of blindness and their unbelief who heard
And heard not, when I spake of famine, plague
Shrine-shattering earthquake, fire, flood, thunderbolt,
859
And angers of the Gods for evil done
And expiation lack'd‹no power on Fate
Theirs, or mine own! for when the crowd would roar
For blood, for war, whose issue was their doom,
To cast wise words among the multitude
Was fiinging fruit to lions; nor, in hours
Of civil outbreak, when I knew the twain
Would each waste each, and bring on both the yoke
Of stronger states, was mine the voice to curb
The madness of our cities and their kings.
Who ever turn'd upon his heel to hear
My warning that the tyranny of one
Was prelude to the tyranny of all?
My counsel that the tyranny of all
Led backward to the tyranny of one?
This power hath work'd no good to aught that lives
And these blind hands were useless in their wars.
O. therefore, that the unfulfill'd desire,
The grief for ever born from griefs to be
The boundless yearning of the prophet's heart‹
Could that stand forth, and like a statue, rear'd
To some great citizen, wim all praise from all
Who past it, saying, "That was he!"
In vain!
Virtue must shape itself im deed, and those
Whom weakness or necessity have cramp'd
Withm themselves, immerging, each, his urn
In his own well, draws solace as he may.
Menceceus, thou hast eyes, and I can hear
Too plainly what full tides of onset sap
Our seven high gates, and what a weight of war
Rides on those ringing axlesl jingle of bits,
Shouts, arrows, tramp of the horn-footed horse
That grind the glebe to powder! Stony showers
Of that ear-stunning hail of Ares crash
Along the sounding walls. Above, below
Shock after shock, the song-built towers and gates
Reel, bruised and butted with the shuddering
War-thunder of iron rams; and from within
The city comes a murmur void of joy,
Lest she be taken captive‹maidens, wives,
And mothers with their babblers of the dawn,
860
And oldest age in shadow from the night,
Falling about their shrines before their Gods,
And wailing, "Save us."
And they wail to thee!
These eyeless eyes, that cannot see thine own,
See this, that only in thy virtue lies
The saving of our Thebes; for, yesternight,
To me, the great God Ares, whose one bliss
Is war and human sacrifice‹himself
Blood-red from battle, spear and helmet tipt
With stormy light as on a mast at sea,
Stood out before a darkness, crying, "Thebes,
Thy Thebes shall fall and perish, for I loathe
The seed of Cadmus‹yet if one of these
By his own hand‹if one of these‹"
My son, No sound is breathed so potent to coerce,
And to conciliate, as their names who dare
For that sweet mother land which gave them birth
Nobly to do, nobly to die. Their names,
Graven on memorial columns, are a song
Heard in the future; few, but more than wall
And rampart, their examples reach a hand
Far thro' all years, and everywhere they meet
And kindle generous purpose, and the strength
To mould it into action pure as theirs.
Fairer thy fate than mine, if life's best end
Be to end well! and thou refusing this,
Unvenerable will thy memory be
While men shall move the lips; but if thou dare‹
Thou, one of these, the race of Cadmus‹then
No stone is fitted in yon marble girth
Whose echo shall not tongue thy glorious doom,
Nor in this pavement but shall ring thy name
To every hoof that clangs it, and the springs
Of Dirce laving yonder battle-plain,
Heard from the roofs by night, will murmur thee
To thine own Thebes, while Thebes thro' thee shall stand
Firm-based with all her Gods.
The Dragon's cave
Half hid, they tell me, now in flowing vines‹
Where once he dwelt and whence he roll'd himself
861
At dead of night‹thou knowest, and that smooth rock
Before it, altar-fashion'd, where of late
The woman-breasted Sphinx, with wings drawn back
Folded her lion paws, and look'd to Thebes.
There blanch the bones of whom she slew, and these
Mixt with her own, because the fierce beast found
A wiser than herself, and dash'd herself
Dead in her rage; but thou art wise enough
Tho' young, to love thy wiser, blunt the curse
Of Pallas, bear, and tho' I speak the truth
Believe I speak it, let thine own hand strike
Thy youthful pulses into rest and quench
The red God's anger, fearing not to plunge
Thy torch of life in darkness, rather thou
Rejoicing that the sun, the moon, the stars
Send no such light upon the ways of men
As one great deed.
Thither, my son, and there
Thou, that hast never known the embrace of love
Offer thy maiden life.
This useless hand!
I felt one warm tear fall upon it. Gone!
He will achieve his greatness.
But for me I would that I were gather'd to my rest,
And mingled with the famous kings of old
On whom about their ocean-islets flash
The faces of the Gods‹the wise man's word
Here trampled by the populace underfoot
There crown'd with worship and these eyes will find
The men I knew, and watch the chariot whirl
About the goal again, and hunters race
The shadowy lion, and the warrior-kings
In height and prowess more than human, strive
Again for glory, while the golden lyre
Is ever sounding in heroic ears
Heroic hymns, and every way the vales
Wind, clouded with the grateful incense-fume
Of those who mix all odor to the Gods
On one far height in one far-shining fire.
-------------------------
862

"One height and one far-shining fire!"

And while I fancied that my friend

For this brief idyll would require

A less diffuse and opulent end,

And would defend his judgment well,

If I should deem it over nice‹

The tolling of his funeral bell
Broke on my Pagan Paradise,
And mixt the dream of classic times,
And all the phantoms of the dream,
With present grief, and made the rhymes,
That miss'd his living welcome, seem
Like would-be guests an hour too late,
Who down the highway moving on
With easy laughter find the gate
Is bolted, and the master gone.
Gone onto darkness, that full light
Of friendship! past, in sleep, away
By night, into the deeper night!
The deeper night? A clearer day
Than our poor twilight dawn on earth‹
If night, what barren toil to be!
What life, so maim'd by night, were worth
Our living out? Not mine to me
Remembering all the golden hours
Now silent, and so many dead,
And him the last; and laying flowers,
This wreath, above his honor'd head,
And praying that, when I from hence
Shall fade with him into the unknown,
My close of earth's experience
May prove as peaceful as his own.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
69:1026
The Nut-Brown Maid
it right or wrong, these men among
On women do complain;
Affirming this, how that it is
A labour spent in vain
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man again:
For let a man do what he can
Their favour to attain,
Yet if a new to them pursue,
Their first true lover than
Laboureth for naught; for from her thought
He is a banished man.
She.I say not nay, but that all day
It is both written and said
That woman's faith is, as who saith,
All utterly decayd:
But nevertheless, right good witnèss
In this case might be laid
That they love true and continue:
Record the Nut-brown Maid,
Which, when her love came her to prove,
To her to make his moan,
Would not depart; for in her heart
She loved but him alone.
between us let us discuss
What was all the manere
Between them two: we will also
Tell all the pain in fere
That she was in. Now I begin,
So that ye me answere:
Wherefore all ye that present be,
I pray you, give an ear.
I am the Knight. I come by night,
As secret as I can,
Saying, Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banished man.
1027
I your will for to fulfil
In this will not refuse;
Trusting to show, in wordes few,
That men have an ill use—
To their own shame—women to blame,
And causeless them accuse.
Therefore to you I answer now,
All women to excuse—
Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer?
I pray you, tell anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He.It standeth so: a deed is do
Whereof great harm shall grow:
My destiny is for to die
A shameful death, I trow;
Or else to flee. The t' one must be.
None other way I know
But to withdraw as an outlàw,
And take me to my bow.
Wherefore adieu, mine own heart true!
None other rede I can:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She.O Lord, what is this worldis bliss,
That changeth as the moon!
My summer's day in lusty May
Is darked before the noon.
I hear you say, farewell: Nay, nay,
We dèpart not so soon.
Why say ye so? whither will ye go?
Alas! what have ye done?
All my welfàre to sorrow and care
Should change, if ye were gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He.I can believe it shall you grieve,
And somewhat you distrain;
But afterward, your paines hard
1028
Within a day or twain
Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take
Comfort to you again.
Why should ye ought? for, to make thought,
Your labour were in vain.
And thus I do; and pray you to,
As hartely as I can:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
, sith that ye have showed to me
The secret of your mind,
I shall be plain to you again,
Like as ye shall me find.
Sith it is so that ye will go,
I will not live behind.
Shall never be said the Nut-brown Maid
Was to her love unkind.
Make you ready, for so am I,
Although it were anone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
I you rede to take good heed
What men will think and say:
Of young, of old, it shall be told
That ye be gone away
Your wanton will for to fulfil,
In green-wood you to play;
And that ye might for your delight
No longer make delay
Rather than ye should thus for me
Be called an ill womàn
Yet would I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
h it be sung of old and young
That I should be to blame,
Theirs be the charge that speak so large
In hurting of my name:
For I will prove that faithful love
It is devoid of shame;
1029
In your distress and heaviness
To part with you the same:
And sure all tho that do not so
True lovers are they none:
For in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He.I counsel you, Remember how
It is no maiden's law
Nothing to doubt, but to run out
To wood with an outlàw.
For ye must there in your hand bear
A bow ready to draw;
And as a thief thus must you live
Ever in dread and awe;
Whereby to you great harm might grow:
Yet had I liever than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She.I think not nay but as ye say;
It is no maiden's lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
As I have said before,
To come on foot, to hunt and shoot,
To get us meat and store;
For so that I your company
May have, I ask no more.
From which to part it maketh my heart
As cold as any stone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
an outlàw this is the law,
That men him take and bind:
Without pitie, hangèd to be,
And waver with the wind.
If I had need (as God forbede!)
What socours could ye find?
Forsooth I trow, you and your bow
For fear would draw behind.
And no mervail; for little avail
1030
Were in your counsel than:
Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
well know ye that women be
But feeble for to fight;
No womanhede it is, indeed,
To be bold as a knight:
Yet in such fear if that ye were
With enemies day and night,
I would withstand, with bow in hand,
To grieve them as I might,
And you to save; as women have
From death men many one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
take good hede; for ever I drede
That ye could not sustain
The thorny ways, the deep vallèys,
The snow, the frost, the rain,
The cold, the heat; for dry or wete,
We must lodge on the plain;
And, us above, no other roof
But a brake bush or twain:
Which soon should grieve you, I believe;
And ye would gladly than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
I have here been partynere
With you of joy and bliss,
I must alsò part of your woe
Endure, as reason is:
Yet I am sure of one pleasùre,
And shortly it is this—
That where ye be, me seemeth, pardé,
I could not fare amiss.
Without more speech I you beseech
That we were shortly gone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
1031
He.If ye go thyder, ye must consider,
When ye have lust to dine,
There shall no meat be for to gete,
Nether bere, ale, ne wine,
Ne shetès clean, to lie between,
Made of thread and twine;
None other house, but leaves and boughs,
To cover your head and mine.
Lo, mine heart sweet, this ill diète
Should make you pale and wan:
Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
the wild deer such an archère,
As men say that ye be,
Ne may not fail of good vitayle
Where is so great plentè:
And water clear of the rivere
Shall be full sweet to me;
With which in hele I shall right wele
Endure, as ye shall see;
And, or we go, a bed or two
I can provide anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
yet, before, ye must do more,
If ye will go with me:
As, cut your hair up by your ear,
Your kirtle by the knee;
With bow in hand for to withstand
Your enemies, if need be:
And this same night, before daylight,
To woodward will I flee.
If that ye will all this fulfil,
Do it shortly as ye can:
Else will I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She.I shall as now do more for you
Than 'longeth to womanhede;
1032
To short my hair, a bow to bear,
To shoot in time of need.
O my sweet mother! before all other
For you I have most drede!
But now, adieu! I must ensue
Where fortune doth me lead.
All this make ye: Now let us flee;
The day cometh fast upon:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
, nay, not so; ye shall not go,
And I shall tell you why—
Your appetite is to be light
Of love, I well espy:
For, right as ye have said to me,
In likewise hardily
Ye would answere whosoever it were,
In way of company:
It is said of old, Soon hot, soon cold;
And so is a womàn:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.
She.If ye take heed, it is no need
Such words to say to me;
For oft ye prayed, and long assayed,
Or I loved you, pardè:
And though that I of ancestry
A baron's daughter be,
Yet have you proved how I you loved,
A squire of low degree;
And ever shall, whatso befall
To die therefore anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He.A baron's child to be beguiled,
It were a cursèd deed!
To be felàw with an outlaw—
Almighty God forbede!
Yet better were the poor squyere
1033
Alone to forest yede
Than ye shall say another day
That by my cursèd rede
Ye were betrayed. Wherefore, good maid,
The best rede that I can,
Is, that I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
ver befall, I never shall
Of this thing be upbraid:
But if ye go, and leave me so,
Then have ye me betrayed.
Remember you wele, how that ye dele;
For if ye, as ye said,
Be so unkind to leave behind
Your love, the Nut-brown Maid,
Trust me truly that I shall die
Soon after ye be gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He.If that ye went, ye should repent;
For in the forest now
I have purveyed me of a maid
Whom I love more than you:
Another more fair than ever ye were
I dare it well avow;
And of you both each should be wroth
With other, as I trow:
It were mine ease to live in peace;
So will I, if I can:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.
h in the wood I understood
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I will be your':
And she shall find me soft and kind
And courteis every hour;
Glad to fulfil all that she will
Command me, to my power:
1034
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,
Yet would I be that one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
own dear love, I see the prove
That ye be kind and true;
Of maid, of wife, in all my life,
The best that ever I knew.
Be merry and glad; be no more sad;
The case is changèd new;
For it were ruth that for your truth
Ye should have cause to rue.
Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said
To you when I began:
I will not to the green-wood go;
I am no banished man.
tidings be more glad to me
Than to be made a queen,
If I were sure they should endure;
But it is often seen
When men will break promise they speak
The wordis on the splene.
Ye shape some wile me to beguile,
And steal from me, I ween:
Then were the case worse than it was,
And I more wo-begone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
shall not nede further to drede:
I will not disparàge
You (God defend), sith you descend
Of so great a linàge.
Now understand: to Westmoreland,
Which is my heritage,
I will you bring; and with a ring,
By way of marriàge
I will you take, and lady make,
As shortly as I can:
Thus have you won an Earles son,
1035
And not a banished man.
Here may ye see that women be
In love meek, kind, and stable;
Let never man reprove them than,
Or call them variable;
But rather pray God that we may
To them be comfortable;
Which sometime proveth such as He loveth,
If they be charitable.
For sith men would that women should
Be meek to them each one;
Much more ought they to God obey,
And serve but Him alone
~ Anonymous Olde English
70:The Nut-Brown Maid
He. BE it right or wrong, these men among
On women do complain;
Affirming this, how that it is
A labour spent in vain
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man again:
For let a man do what he can
Their favour to attain,
Yet if a new to them pursue,
Their first true lover than
Laboureth for naught; for from her thought
He is a banished man.
She. I say not nay, but that all day
It is both written and said
That woman's faith is, as who saith,
All utterly decayd:
But nevertheless, right good witness
In this case might be laid
That they love true and continue:
Record the Nut-brown Maid,
Which, when her love came her to prove,
To her to make his moan,
Would not depart; for in her heart
She loved but him alone.
He. Then between us let us discuss
What was all the manere
Between them two: we will also
Tell all the pain in fere
That she was in. Now I begin,
So that ye me answere:
Wherefore all ye that present be,
I pray you, give an ear.
I am the Knight. I come by night,
As secret as I can,
Saying, Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banished man.
288
She. And I your will for to fulfil
In this will not refuse;
Trusting to show, in wordes few,
That men have an ill use-To their own shame--women to blame,
And causeless them accuse.
Therefore to you I answer now,
All women to excuse-Mine own heart dear, with you what cheer?
I pray you, tell anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. It standeth so: a deed is do
Whereof great harm shall grow:
My destiny is for to die
A shameful death, I trow;
Or else to flee. The t' one must be.
None other way I know
But to withdraw as an outlaw,
And take me to my bow.
Wherefore adieu, mine own heart true!
None other rede I can:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. O Lord, what is this worldis bliss,
That changeth as the moon!
My summer's day in lusty May
Is darked before the noon.
I hear you say, farewell: Nay, nay,
We depart not so soon.
Why say ye so? whither will ye go?
Alas! what have ye done?
All my welfare to sorrow and care
Should change, if ye were gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. I can believe it shall you grieve,
And somewhat you distrain;
But afterward, your paines hard
289
Within a day or twain
Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take
Comfort to you again.
Why should ye ought? for, to make thought,
Your labour were in vain.
And thus I do; and pray you to,
As hartely as I can:
For I must to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. Now, sith that ye have showed to me
The secret of your mind,
I shall be plain to you again,
Like as ye shall me find.
Sith it is so that ye will go,
I will not live behind.
Shall never be said the Nut-brown Maid
Was to her love unkind.
Make you ready, for so am I,
Although it were anone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. Yet I you rede to take good heed
What men will think and say:
Of young, of old, it shall be told
That ye be gone away
Your wanton will for to fulfil,
In green-wood you to play;
And that ye might for your delight
No longer make delay
Rather than ye should thus for me
Be called an ill woman
Yet would I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. Though it be sung of old and young
That I should be to blame,
Theirs be the charge that speak so large
In hurting of my name:
For I will prove that faithful love
It is devoid of shame;
290
In your distress and heaviness
To part with you the same:
And sure all tho that do not so
True lovers are they none:
For in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. I counsel you, Remember how
It is no maiden's law
Nothing to doubt, but to run out
To wood with an outlaw.
For ye must there in your hand bear
A bow ready to draw;
And as a thief thus must you live
Ever in dread and awe;
Whereby to you great harm might grow:
Yet had I liever than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. I think not nay but as ye say;
It is no maiden's lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
As I have said before,
To come on foot, to hunt and shoot,
To get us meat and store;
For so that I your company
May have, I ask no more.
From which to part it maketh my heart
As cold as any stone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. For an outlaw this is the law,
That men him take and bind:
Without pitie, hanged to be,
And waver with the wind.
If I had need (as God forbede!)
What socours could ye find?
Forsooth I trow, you and your bow
For fear would draw behind.
And no mervail; for little avail
291
Were in your counsel than:
Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. Right well know ye that women be
But feeble for to fight;
No womanhede it is, indeed,
To be bold as a knight:
Yet in such fear if that ye were
With enemies day and night,
I would withstand, with bow in hand,
To grieve them as I might,
And you to save; as women have
From death men many one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. Yet take good hede; for ever I drede
That ye could not sustain
The thorny ways, the deep valleys,
The snow, the frost, the rain,
The cold, the heat; for dry or wete,
We must lodge on the plain;
And, us above, no other roof
But a brake bush or twain:
Which soon should grieve you, I believe;
And ye would gladly than
That I had to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. Sith I have here been partynere
With you of joy and bliss,
I must alsò part of your woe
Endure, as reason is:
Yet I am sure of one pleasure,
And shortly it is this-That where ye be, me seemeth, parde,
I could not fare amiss.
Without more speech I you beseech
That we were shortly gone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
292
He. If ye go thyder, ye must consider,
When ye have lust to dine,
There shall no meat be for to gete,
Nether bere, ale, ne wine,
Ne shetes clean, to lie between,
Made of thread and twine;
None other house, but leaves and boughs,
To cover your head and mine.
Lo, mine heart sweet, this ill diete
Should make you pale and wan:
Wherefore I'll to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. Among the wild deer such an archere,
As men say that ye be,
Ne may not fail of good vitayle
Where is so great plentè 559948
Shall be full sweet to me;
With which in hele I shall right wele
Endure, as ye shall see;
And, or we go, a bed or two
I can provide anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. Lo yet, before, ye must do more,
If ye will go with me:
As, cut your hair up by your ear,
Your kirtle by the knee;
With bow in hand for to withstand
Your enemies, if need be:
And this same night, before daylight,
To woodward will I flee.
If that ye will all this fulfil,
Do it shortly as ye can:
Else will I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. I shall as now do more for you
Than 'longeth to womanhede;
To short my hair, a bow to bear,
293
To shoot in time of need.
O my sweet mother! before all other
For you I have most drede!
But now, adieu! I must ensue
Where fortune doth me lead.
All this make ye: Now let us flee;
The day cometh fast upon:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. Nay, nay, not so; ye shall not go,
And I shall tell you why-Your appetite is to be light
Of love, I well espy:
For, right as ye have said to me,
In likewise hardily
Ye would answere whosoever it were,
In way of company:
It is said of old, Soon hot, soon cold;
And so is a woman:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. If ye take heed, it is no need
Such words to say to me;
For oft ye prayed, and long assayed,
Or I loved you, parde:
And though that I of ancestry
A baron's daughter be,
Yet have you proved how I you loved,
A squire of low degree;
And ever shall, whatso befall
To die therefore anone;
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. A baron's child to be beguiled,
It were a cursed deed!
To be felaw with an outlaw-Almighty God forbede!
Yet better were the poor squyere
Alone to forest yede
294
Than ye shall say another day
That by my cursed rede
Ye were betrayed. Wherefore, good maid,
The best rede that I can,
Is, that I to the green-wood go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. Whatever befall, I never shall
Of this thing be upbraid:
But if ye go, and leave me so,
Then have ye me betrayed.
Remember you wele, how that ye dele;
For if ye, as ye said,
Be so unkind to leave behind
Your love, the Nut-brown Maid,
Trust me truly that I shall die
Soon after ye be gone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. If that ye went, ye should repent;
For in the forest now
I have purveyed me of a maid
Whom I love more than you:
Another more fair than ever ye were
I dare it well avow;
And of you both each should be wroth
With other, as I trow:
It were mine ease to live in peace;
So will I, if I can:
Wherefore I to the wood will go,
Alone, a banished man.
She. Though in the wood I understood
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I will be your':
And she shall find me soft and kind
And courteis every hour;
Glad to fulfil all that she will
Command me, to my power:
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,
295
Yet would I be that one:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. Mine own dear love, I see the prove
That ye be kind and true;
Of maid, of wife, in all my life,
The best that ever I knew.
Be merry and glad; be no more sad;
The case is changed new;
For it were ruth that for your truth
Ye should have cause to rue.
Be not dismayed, whatsoever I said
To you when I began:
I will not to the green-wood go;
I am no banished man.
She. These tidings be more glad to me
Than to be made a queen,
If I were sure they should endure;
But it is often seen
When men will break promise they speak
The wordis on the splene.
Ye shape some wile me to beguile,
And steal from me, I ween:
Then were the case worse than it was,
And I more wo-begone:
For, in my mind, of all mankind
I love but you alone.
He. Ye shall not nede further to drede:
I will not disparage
You (God defend), sith you descend
Of so great a linage.
Now understand: to Westmoreland,
Which is my heritage,
I will you bring; and with a ring,
By way of marriage
I will you take, and lady make,
As shortly as I can:
Thus have you won an Earles son,
And not a banished man.
296
Here may ye see that women be
In love meek, kind, and stable;
Let never man reprove them than,
Or call them variable;
But rather pray God that we may
To them be comfortable;
Which sometime proveth such as He loveth,
If they be charitable.
For sith men would that women should
Be meek to them each one;
Much more ought they to God obey,
And serve but Him alone.
~ Anonymous
71:1014
The Not-Browne Mayd
'Be it ryght or wrong, these men among
On women do complayne;
Affyrmynge this, how that it is
A labour spent in vayne
To love them wele; for never a dele
They love a man agayne:
For late a man do what he can
Theyr favour to attayne,
Yet yf a newe do them persue,
Theyr furst true lover than
Laboureth for nought; for from her thought
He is a banyshed man.'
'I say nat nay, but that all day
It is bothe writ and sayd,
That woman's faith is as who sayth,
All utterly decayd;
But neverthelesse, ryght good wytnesse
In this case might be layd,
That they love true, and continue:
Recorde the Not-Brown Mayde;
Which, when her love came, her to prove,
To her to make his mone,
Wolde nat depart, for in her hart
She loved but hym alone.'
'Than betwaine us late us dyscus,
What was all the manere
Betwayne them two; we wyll also
Telle all the payne and fere
That she was in. Nowe I begyn,
So that ye me answere:
Wherefore all ye that present be,
I pray you gyve an eare.
I am the knyght, I come by nyght
As secret as I can,
Sayinge, 'Alas! thus standeth the case,
I am a banyshed man.''
1015
She.
And I your wyll, for to fulfyll
In this wyll nat refuse,
Trustyng to shewe, in wordes fewe,
That men have an yll use,
(To theyr own shame) women to blame,
And causelesse them accuse:
Therfore to you I answere nowe,
All women to excuse, 'Myn own hart dere, with you what chere?
I pray you telle anone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde,
I love but you alone.'
He.
'It standeth so: a dede is do,
Whereof grete harme shall growe.
My destiny is for to dy
A shamefull deth, I trowe,
Or elles to fle: the one must be:
None other way I knowe,
But to withdrawe, as an outlawe,
And take me to my bowe.
Wherefore, adue, my owne hart true,
None other rede I can;
For I must to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'O Lord, what is thys worldys blysse,
That changeth as the mone!
My somers day in lusty May
Is derked before the none.
I here you saye farewell: Nay, nay,
We depart nat so sone.
Why say ye so? wheder wyll ye go?
1016
Alas, what have ye done?
All my welfare to sorrowe and care
Sholde chaunge, yf ye were gone:
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'I can beleve it shall you greve,
And somewhat you dystrayne;
But aftyrwarde your paynes harde,
Within a day or twayne,
Shall sone aslake, and ye shall take
Comfort to you agayne.
Why sholde ye ought? for, to make thought
Your labur were in vayne:
And thus I do, and pray you to,
As hartely as I can:
For I must to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Now syth that ye have shewed to me
The secret of your mynde,
I shall be playne to you agayne,
Lyke as ye shall me fynde:
Syth it is so that ye wyll go,
I wolle not leve behynde;
Shall never be sayd the Not-browne Mayd
Was to her love unkynde.
Make you redy, for so am I,
Although it were anone;
For in my mynd, of all mankynde,
I love but you alone.'
He.
'Yet I you rede to take good hede
1017
What men wyll thynke, and say;
Of yonge and olde it shall be tolde,
That ye be gone away
Your wanton wyll for to fulfill,
In grene wode you to play;
And that ye myght from your delyght
No lenger make delay.
Rather than ye sholde thus for me
Be called an yll woman,
Yet wolde I to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Though it be songe of olde and yonge
That I sholde be to blame,
Theyrs be the charge that speke so large
In hurtynge of my name.
For I wyll prove that faythfulle love
It is devoyd of shame,
In your dystresse and hevynesse,
To part with you the same;
And sure all tho that do not so,
True lovers are they none;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'I counceyle you remember howe
It is no maydens lawe,
Nothynge to dout, but to renne out
To wode with an outlawe.
For ye must there in your hand bere
A bowe, redy to drawe,
And as a thefe thus must ye lyve,
Ever in drede and awe;
Whereby to you grete harme myght growe;
Yet I had lever than
That I had to the grene wode go
1018
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'I thinke nat nay; but as ye say,
It is no maydens lore;
But love may make me for your sake,
To come on fote to hunt and shote,
To gete us mete in store;
For so that I your company
May have, I aske no more;
From which to part, it maketh my hart
As colde as ony stone:
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'For an outlawe this is the lawe,
That men hym take and bynde,
Without pyte hanged to be,
And waver with the wynde.
If I had nede, (as God forbede!
What rescous could ye finde?
Forsoth, I trowe, ye and your bowe
For fere wolde drawe behynde:
And no merveyle; for lytel avayle
Were in your counceyle than;
Wherefore I wyll to the grene wode goe
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Ryght wele knowe ye that women be
But feble for to fyght;
No womanhede it is indede
To be bolde as a knyght.
Yet in suche fere yf that ye were,
With enemyes day and nyght,
1019
I wolde withstande wyth bowe in hande,
To greve them as I myght;
And you to save, as women have,
From dethe 'men' many one:
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'Yet take gude hede; for ever I drede
That ye coude nat sustayne
The thornie wayes, the depe valeies,
The snowe, the frost, the rayne,
The colde, the hete; for, dry or wete,
We must lodge on the playne;
And us above none other rofe
But a brake bush or twayne,
Which sone sholde greve you, I beleve;
And ye wolde gladly than
That I had to the grene wode goe
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Syth I have here bene partynere
With you of joy and blysse,
I must also parte of your wo
Endure, as reson is;
Yet am I sure of one pleasure,
And shortely, it is this:
That where ye be, me seemeth, parde,
I coude nat fare amysse.
Without more speche, I you beseche
That we were soon agone;
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
1020
'If ye goo thyder, ye must consyder
When ye have lust to dyne,
There shal no mete be for you gete,
Nor drinke, bere, ale, ne wyne;
Ne shetes clene to lye betwene,
Made of threde and twyne;
None other house but leves and bowes
To cover your hed and myne.
O myne harte swete, this evyll dyete
Sholde make you pale and wan:
Wherefore I wyll to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Among the wylde dere, such an archere
As men say that ye be
Ne may nat fayle of good vitayle,
Where is so grete plente;
And water clere of the ryvere
Shall be full swete to me,
With which in hele I shall ryght wele
Endure, as ye shal see;
And or we go, a bedde or two
I can provyde anone;
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'Lo, yet before, ye must do more
Yf ye wyll go with me,
As cut your here up by your ere,
Your kyrtel by the kne;
With bowe in hande, for to withstande
Your enemyes, yf nede be;
And this same nyght, before daylyght,
To wode-warde wyll I fle;
Yf ye wyll all this fulfill,
Do it shortely as ye can:
1021
Els wyll I to the grene wode goe
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'I shall as nowe do more for you
Than longeth to womanhede,
To shorte my here, a bow to bere,
To shote in tyme of nede.
O my sweet mother, before all other,
For you have I most drede!
But now, adue! I must ensue
Where Fortune doth me lede.
All this make ye; and let us fle;
The day cometh fast upon;
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'Nay, nay, nat so: ye shall nat go;
And I shall tell ye why; -Your appetyght is to be lyght
Of love, I wele espie:
For lyke as ye have sayed to me,
In lyke wyse, hardely,
Ye wolde answere, whosoever it were,
In way of company.
It is sayd of olde, Sone hote, sone colde,
And so is a woman;
Wherefore I to the wode wyll goe,
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Yf ye take hede, it is no nede
Such wordes to say be me;
For oft ye prayed, and longe assayed,
Or I you loved, parde;
1022
And though that I of auncestry
A barons daughter be,
Yet have you proved howe I you loved,
A squyer of lowe degre;
And ever shall, whatso befall,
To dy therfore anone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'A baron's chylde to be begyled,
It were a cursed dede!
To be felawe with an outlawe,
Almighty God forbede!
Yet beter were the pore squyere
Alone to forest yede,
Than ye sholde saye another day,
That by my cursed dede
Ye were betrayed; wherefore, good mayd,
The best rede that I can
Is that I to the grene wode go,
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Whatever befall, I never shall
Of this thyng you upbrayd;
But yf ye go, and leve me so,
Then have ye me betrayd.
Remember ye wele, howe that ye dele,
For yf ye, as ye sayd,
Be so unkynde to leve behynde
Your love, the Not-Browne Mayd,
Trust me truly, that I shall dy,
Some after ye be gone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'
1023
He.
'Yf that ye went, ye sholde repent,
For in the forest nowe
I have purvayed me of a mayd,
Whom I love more than you:
Another fayrere than e'er ye were,
I dare it wele avowe;
And of you bothe eche sholde be worthe
With other, as I trowe.
It were myne ese to lyve in pese;
So wyll I, yf I can;
Wherefore I to the wode wyll go
Alone, a banyshed man.'
She.
'Though in the wode I undyrstode
Ye had a paramour,
All this may nought remove my thought,
But that I wyll be your;
And she shall fynde me soft and kynde,
And courteys every hour,
Glad to fulfyll all that she wylle
Commaunde me, to my power;
For had ye, lo, an hundred mo,
'Of them I wolde be one.'
For in my mynde, of all mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'Myne own dere love, I see the prove
That ye be kynde and true;
Of mayde and wyfe, in all my lyfe
The best that ever I knewe.
Be mery and glad, be no more sad,
The case is chaunged newe;
For it were ruthe, that for your truthe
Ye sholde have cause to rewe.
1024
Be nat dismayed: whatsoever I sayd
To you, whan I began,
I wyll nat to the grene wode goe;
I am no banishyd man.'
She.
'These tydings be more gladd to me
Than to be made a quene,
Yf I were sure they sholde endure;
But is often sene,
Whan men wyll breke promyse, they speke
The wordes on the splene.
Ye shape some wyle me to begyle,
And stele from me, I wene;
Than were the case worse than it was,
And I more wo-begone;
For in my mynde, of al mankynde
I love but you alone.'
He.
'Ye shal nat nede further to drede:
I wyll nat dysparage
You, (God defend!) syth ye descend
Of so grete a lynage.
Now undyrstande, to Westmarlande,
Which is myne herytage,
I wyll you brynge, and with a rynge,
By way of maryage,
I wyll you take, and lady make,
As shortely as I can:
Thus have you won an erlys son,
And not a banyshed man.'
Author.
Here may ye se, that women be
In love meke, kynde, and stable:
1025
Late never man reprove them than,
Or call them variable;
But rather pray God that we may
To them be comfortable,
Which sometyme proveth such as he loveth,
Yf they be charytable.
For syth men wolde that women sholde
Be meke to them each one,
Moche more ought they to God obey,
And serve but hym alone.
~ Anonymous Olde English
72:It does not matter if you do not understand it - Savitri, read it always. You will see that every time you read it, something new will be revealed to you. Each time you will get a new glimpse, each time a new experience; things which were not there, things you did not understand arise and suddenly become clear. Always an unexpected vision comes up through the words and lines. Every time you try to read and understand, you will see that something is added, something which was hidden behind is revealed clearly and vividly. I tell you the very verses you have read once before, will appear to you in a different light each time you re-read them. This is what happens invariably. Always your experience is enriched, it is a revelation at each step.

But you must not read it as you read other books or newspapers. You must read with an empty head, a blank and vacant mind, without there being any other thought; you must concentrate much, remain empty, calm and open; then the words, rhythms, vibrations will penetrate directly to this white page, will put their stamp upon the brain, will explain themselves without your making any effort.

Savitri alone is sufficient to make you climb to the highest peaks. If truly one knows how to meditate on Savitri, one will receive all the help one needs. For him who wishes to follow this path, it is a concrete help as though the Lord himself were taking you by the hand and leading you to the destined goal. And then, every question, however personal it may be, has its answer here, every difficulty finds its solution herein; indeed there is everything that is necessary for doing the Yoga.

*He has crammed the whole universe in a single book.* It is a marvellous work, magnificent and of an incomparable perfection.

You know, before writing Savitri Sri Aurobindo said to me, *I am impelled to launch on a new adventure; I was hesitant in the beginning, but now I am decided. Still, I do not know how far I shall succeed. I pray for help.* And you know what it was? It was - before beginning, I warn you in advance - it was His way of speaking, so full of divine humility and modesty. He never... *asserted Himself*. And the day He actually began it, He told me: *I have launched myself in a rudderless boat upon the vastness of the Infinite.* And once having started, He wrote page after page without intermission, as though it were a thing already complete up there and He had only to transcribe it in ink down here on these pages.

In truth, the entire form of Savitri has descended "en masse" from the highest region and Sri Aurobindo with His genius only arranged the lines - in a superb and magnificent style. Sometimes entire lines were revealed and He has left them intact; He worked hard, untiringly, so that the inspiration could come from the highest possible summit. And what a work He has created! Yes, it is a true creation in itself. It is an unequalled work. Everything is there, and it is put in such a simple, such a clear form; verses perfectly harmonious, limpid and eternally true. My child, I have read so many things, but I have never come across anything which could be compared with Savitri. I have studied the best works in Greek, Latin, English and of course French literature, also in German and all the great creations of the West and the East, including the great epics; but I repeat it, I have not found anywhere anything comparable with Savitri. All these literary works seems to me empty, flat, hollow, without any deep reality - apart from a few rare exceptions, and these too represent only a small fraction of what Savitri is. What grandeur, what amplitude, what reality: it is something immortal and eternal He has created. I tell you once again there is nothing like in it the whole world. Even if one puts aside the vision of the reality, that is, the essential substance which is the heart of the inspiration, and considers only the lines in themselves, one will find them unique, of the highest classical kind. What He has created is something man cannot imagine. For, everything is there, everything.

It may then be said that Savitri is a revelation, it is a meditation, it is a quest of the Infinite, the Eternal. If it is read with this aspiration for Immortality, the reading itself will serve as a guide to Immortality. To read Savitri is indeed to practice Yoga, spiritual concentration; one can find there all that is needed to realise the Divine. Each step of Yoga is noted here, including the secret of all other Yogas. Surely, if one sincerely follows what is revealed here in each line one will reach finally the transformation of the Supramental Yoga. It is truly the infallible guide who never abandons you; its support is always there for him who wants to follow the path. Each verse of Savitri is like a revealed Mantra which surpasses all that man possessed by way of knowledge, and I repeat this, the words are expressed and arranged in such a way that the sonority of the rhythm leads you to the origin of sound, which is OM.

My child, yes, everything is there: mysticism, occultism, philosophy, the history of evolution, the history of man, of the gods, of creation, of Nature. How the universe was created, why, for what purpose, what destiny - all is there. You can find all the answers to all your questions there. Everything is explained, even the future of man and of the evolution, all that nobody yet knows. He has described it all in beautiful and clear words so that spiritual adventurers who wish to solve the mysteries of the world may understand it more easily. But this mystery is well hidden behind the words and lines and one must rise to the required level of true consciousness to discover it. All prophesies, all that is going to come is presented with the precise and wonderful clarity. Sri Aurobindo gives you here the key to find the Truth, to discover the Consciousness, to solve the problem of what the universe is. He has also indicated how to open the door of the Inconscience so that the light may penetrate there and transform it. He has shown the path, the way to liberate oneself from the ignorance and climb up to the superconscience; each stage, each plane of consciousness, how they can be scaled, how one can cross even the barrier of death and attain immortality. You will find the whole journey in detail, and as you go forward you can discover things altogether unknown to man. That is Savitri and much more yet. It is a real experience - reading Savitri. All the secrets that man possessed, He has revealed, - as well as all that awaits him in the future; all this is found in the depth of Savitri. But one must have the knowledge to discover it all, the experience of the planes of consciousness, the experience of the Supermind, even the experience of the conquest of Death. He has noted all the stages, marked each step in order to advance integrally in the integral Yoga.

All this is His own experience, and what is most surprising is that it is my own experience also. It is my sadhana which He has worked out. Each object, each event, each realisation, all the descriptions, even the colours are exactly what I saw and the words, phrases are also exactly what I heard. And all this before having read the book. I read Savitri many times afterwards, but earlier, when He was writing He used to read it to me. Every morning I used to hear Him read Savitri. During the night He would write and in the morning read it to me. And I observed something curious, that day after day the experiences He read out to me in the morning were those I had had the previous night, word by word. Yes, all the descriptions, the colours, the pictures I had seen, the words I had heard, all, all, I heard it all, put by Him into poetry, into miraculous poetry. Yes, they were exactly my experiences of the previous night which He read out to me the following morning. And it was not just one day by chance, but for days and days together. And every time I used to compare what He said with my previous experiences and they were always the same. I repeat, it was not that I had told Him my experiences and that He had noted them down afterwards, no, He knew already what I had seen. It is my experiences He has presented at length and they were His experiences also. It is, moreover, the picture of Our joint adventure into the unknown or rather into the Supermind.

These are experiences lived by Him, realities, supracosmic truths. He experienced all these as one experiences joy or sorrow, physically. He walked in the darkness of inconscience, even in the neighborhood of death, endured the sufferings of perdition, and emerged from the mud, the world-misery to breathe the sovereign plenitude and enter the supreme Ananda. He crossed all these realms, went through the consequences, suffered and endured physically what one cannot imagine. Nobody till today has suffered like Him. He accepted suffering to transform suffering into the joy of union with the Supreme. It is something unique and incomparable in the history of the world. It is something that has never happened before, He is the first to have traced the path in the Unknown, so that we may be able to walk with certitude towards the Supermind. He has made the work easy for us. Savitri is His whole Yoga of transformation, and this Yoga appears now for the first time in the earth-consciousness.

And I think that man is not yet ready to receive it. It is too high and too vast for him. He cannot understand it, grasp it, for it is not by the mind that one can understand Savitri. One needs spiritual experiences in order to understand and assimilate it. The farther one advances on the path of Yoga, the more does one assimilate and the better. No, it is something which will be appreciated only in the future, it is the poetry of tomorrow of which He has spoken in The Future Poetry. It is too subtle, too refined, - it is not in the mind or through the mind, it is in meditation that Savitri is revealed.

And men have the audacity to compare it with the work of Virgil or Homer and to find it inferior. They do not understand, they cannot understand. What do they know? Nothing at all. And it is useless to try to make them understand. Men will know what it is, but in a distant future. It is only the new race with a new consciousness which will be able to understand. I assure you there is nothing under the blue sky to compare with Savitri. It is the mystery of mysteries. It is a *super-epic,* it is super-literature, super-poetry, super-vision, it is a super-work even if one considers the number of lines He has written. No, these human words are not adequate to describe Savitri. Yes, one needs superlatives, hyperboles to describe it. It is a hyper-epic. No, words express nothing of what Savitri is, at least I do not find them. It is of immense value - spiritual value and all other values; it is eternal in its subject, and infinite in its appeal, miraculous in its mode and power of execution; it is a unique thing, the more you come into contact with it, the higher will you be uplifted. Ah, truly it is something! It is the most beautiful thing He has left for man, the highest possible. What is it? When will man know it? When is he going to lead a life of truth? When is he going to accept this in his life? This yet remains to be seen.

My child, every day you are going to read Savitri; read properly, with the right attitude, concentrating a little before opening the pages and trying to keep the mind as empty as possible, absolutely without a thought. The direct road is through the heart. I tell you, if you try to really concentrate with this aspiration you can light the flame, the psychic flame, the flame of purification in a very short time, perhaps in a few days. What you cannot do normally, you can do with the help of Savitri. Try and you will see how very different it is, how new, if you read with this attitude, with this something at the back of your consciousness; as though it were an offering to Sri Aurobindo. You know it is charged, fully charged with consciousness; as if Savitri were a being, a real guide. I tell you, whoever, wanting to practice Yoga, tries sincerely and feels the necessity for it, will be able to climb with the help of Savitri to the highest rung of the ladder of Yoga, will be able to find the secret that Savitri represents. And this without the help of a Guru. And he will be able to practice it anywhere. For him Savitri alone will be the guide, for all that he needs he will find Savitri. If he remains very quiet when before a difficulty, or when he does not know where to turn to go forward and how to overcome obstacles, for all these hesitations and incertitudes which overwhelm us at every moment, he will have the necessary indications, and the necessary concrete help. If he remains very calm, open, if he aspires sincerely, always he will be as if lead by the hand. If he has faith, the will to give himself and essential sincerity he will reach the final goal.

Indeed, Savitri is something concrete, living, it is all replete, packed with consciousness, it is the supreme knowledge above all human philosophies and religions. It is the spiritual path, it is Yoga, Tapasya, Sadhana, in its single body. Savitri has an extraordinary power, it gives out vibrations for him who can receive them, the true vibrations of each stage of consciousness. It is incomparable, it is truth in its plenitude, the Truth Sri Aurobindo brought down on the earth. My child, one must try to find the secret that Savitri represents, the prophetic message Sri Aurobindo reveals there for us. This is the work before you, it is hard but it is worth the trouble. - 5 November 1967

~ The Mother, Sweet Mother, The Mother to Mona Sarkar, [T0],
73:TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK OF HOMER.

I.
Sing, Muse, the son of Maia and of Jove,
The Herald-child, king of Arcadia
And all its pastoral hills, whom in sweet love
Having been interwoven, modest May
Bore Heavens dread Supreme. An antique grove
Shadowed the cavern where the lovers lay
In the deep night, unseen by Gods or Men,
And white-armed Juno slumbered sweetly then.

II.
Now, when the joy of Jove had its fulfilling,
And Heavens tenth moon chronicled her relief,
She gave to light a babe all babes excelling,
A schemer subtle beyond all belief;
A shepherd of thin dreams, a cow-stealing,
A night-watching, and door-waylaying thief,
Who mongst the Gods was soon about to thieve,
And other glorious actions to achieve.

III.
The babe was born at the first peep of day;
He began playing on the lyre at noon,
And the same evening did he steal away
Apollos herds;the fourth day of the moon
On which him bore the venerable May,
From her immortal limbs he leaped full soon,
Nor long could in the sacred cradle keep,
But out to seek Apollos herds would creep.

IV.
Out of the lofty cavern wandering
He found a tortoise, and cried out--'A treasure!'
(For Mercury first made the tortoise sing)
The beast before the portal at his leisure
The flowery herbage was depasturing,
Moving his feet in a deliberate measure
Over the turf. Joves profitable son
Eying him laughed, and laughing thus begun:--

V.
A useful godsend are you to me now,
King of the dance, companion of the feast,
Lovely in all your nature! Welcome, you
Excellent plaything! Where, sweet mountain-beast,
Got you that speckled shell? Thus much I know,
You must come home with me and be my guest;
You will give joy to me, and I will do
All that is in my power to honour you.

VI.
Better to be at home than out of door,
So come with me; and though it has been said
That you alive defend from magic power,
I know you will sing sweetly when youre dead.
Thus having spoken, the quaint infant bore,
Lifting it from the grass on which it fed
And grasping it in his delighted hold,
His treasured prize into the cavern old.

VII.
Then scooping with a chisel of gray steel,
He bored the life and soul out of the beast.--
Not swifter a swift thought of woe or weal
Darts through the tumult of a human breast
Which thronging cares annoynot swifter wheel
The flashes of its torture and unrest
Out of the dizzy eyesthan Maias son
All that he did devise hath featly done.

VIII.
...
And through the tortoises hard stony skin
At proper distances small holes he made,
And fastened the cut stems of reeds within,
And with a piece of leather overlaid
The open space and fixed the cubits in,
Fitting the bridge to both, and stretched oer all
Symphonious cords of sheep-gut rhythmical.

IX.
When he had wrought the lovely instrument,
He tried the chords, and made division meet,
Preluding with the plectrum, and there went
Up from beneath his hand a tumult sweet
Of mighty sounds, and from his lips he sent
A strain of unpremeditated wit
Joyous and wild and wanton--such you may
Hear among revellers on a holiday.

X.
He sung how Jove and May of the bright sandal
Dallied in love not quite legitimate;
And his own birth, still scoffing at the scandal,
And naming his own name, did celebrate;
His mothers cave and servant maids he planned all
In plastic verse, her household stuff and state,
Perennial pot, trippet, and brazen pan,--
But singing, he conceived another plan.

XI.
...
Seized with a sudden fancy for fresh meat,
He in his sacred crib deposited
The hollow lyre, and from the cavern sweet
Rushed with great leaps up to the mountains head,
Revolving in his mind some subtle feat
Of thievish craft, such as a swindler might
Devise in the lone season of dun night.

XII.
Lo! the great Sun under the oceans bed has
Driven steeds and chariot--the child meanwhile strode
Oer the Pierian mountains clothed in shadows,
Where the immortal oxen of the God
Are pastured in the flowering unmown meadows,
And safely stalled in a remote abode.--
The archer Argicide, elate and proud,
Drove fifty from the herd, lowing aloud.

XIII.
He drove them wandering oer the sandy way,
But, being ever mindful of his craft,
Backward and forward drove he them astray,
So that the tracks which seemed before, were aft;
His sandals then he threw to the ocean spray,
And for each foot he wrought a kind of raft
Of tamarisk, and tamarisk-like sprigs,
And bound them in a lump with withy twigs.

XIV.
And on his feet he tied these sandals light,
The trail of whose wide leaves might not betray
His track; and then, a self-sufficing wight,
Like a man hastening on some distant way,
He from Pierias mountain bent his flight;
But an old man perceived the infant pass
Down green Onchestus heaped like beds with grass.

XV.
The old man stood dressing his sunny vine:
Halloo! old fellow with the crooked shoulder!
You grub those stumps? before they will bear wine
Methinks even you must grow a little older:
Attend, I pray, to this advice of mine,
As you would scape what might appal a bolder--
Seeing, see not--and hearing, hear not--and--
If you have understanding--understand.

XVI.
So saying, Hermes roused the oxen vast;
Oer shadowy mountain and resounding dell,
And flower-paven plains, great Hermes passed;
Till the black night divine, which favouring fell
Around his steps, grew gray, and morning fast
Wakened the world to work, and from her cell
Sea-strewn, the Pallantean Moon sublime
Into her watch-tower just began to climb.

XVII.
Now to Alpheus he had driven all
The broad-foreheaded oxen of the Sun;
They came unwearied to the lofty stall
And to the water-troughs which ever run
Through the fresh fields--and when with rushgrass tall,
Lotus and all sweet herbage, every one
Had pastured been, the great God made them move
Towards the stall in a collected drove.

XVIII.
A mighty pile of wood the God then heaped,
And having soon conceived the mystery
Of fire, from two smooth laurel branches stripped
The bark, and rubbed them in his palms;--on high
Suddenly forth the burning vapour leaped
And the divine child saw delightedly.--
Mercury first found out for human weal
Tinder-box, matches, fire-irons, flint and steel.

XIX.
And fine dry logs and roots innumerous
He gathered in a delve upon the ground--
And kindled themand instantaneous
The strength of the fierce flame was breathed around:
And whilst the might of glorious Vulcan thus
Wrapped the great pile with glare and roaring sound,
Hermes dragged forth two heifers, lowing loud,
Close to the firesuch might was in the God.

XX.
And on the earth upon their backs he threw
The panting beasts, and rolled them oer and oer,
And bored their lives out. Without more ado
He cut up fat and flesh, and down before
The fire, on spits of wood he placed the two,
Toasting their flesh and ribs, and all the gore
Pursed in the bowels; and while this was done
He stretched their hides over a craggy stone.

XXI.
We mortals let an ox grow old, and then
Cut it up after long consideration,--
But joyous-minded Hermes from the glen
Drew the fat spoils to the more open station
Of a flat smooth space, and portioned them; and when
He had by lot assigned to each a ration
Of the twelve Gods, his mind became aware
Of all the joys which in religion are.

XXII.
For the sweet savour of the roasted meat
Tempted him though immortal. Natheless
He checked his haughty will and did not eat,
Though what it cost him words can scarce express,
And every wish to put such morsels sweet
Down his most sacred throat, he did repress;
But soon within the lofty portalled stall
He placed the fat and flesh and bones and all.

XXIII.
And every trace of the fresh butchery
And cooking, the God soon made disappear,
As if it all had vanished through the sky;
He burned the hoofs and horns and head and hair,--
The insatiate fire devoured them hungrily;--
And when he saw that everything was clear,
He quenched the coal, and trampled the black dust,
And in the stream his bloody sandals tossed.

XXIV.
All night he worked in the serene moonshine--
But when the light of day was spread abroad
He sought his natal mountain-peaks divine.
On his long wandering, neither Man nor God
Had met him, since he killed Apollos kine,
Nor house-dog had barked at him on his road;
Now he obliquely through the keyhole passed,
Like a thin mist, or an autumnal blast.

XXV.
Right through the temple of the spacious cave
He went with soft light feetas if his tread
Fell not on earth; no sound their falling gave;
Then to his cradle he crept quick, and spread
The swaddling-clothes about him; and the knave
Lay playing with the covering of the bed
With his left hand about his knees--the right
Held his beloved tortoise-lyre tight.

XXVI.
There he lay innocent as a new-born child,
As gossips say; but though he was a God,
The Goddess, his fair mother, unbeguiled,
Knew all that he had done being abroad:
Whence come you, and from what adventure wild,
You cunning rogue, and where have you abode
All the long night, clothed in your impudence?
What have you done since you departed hence?

XXVII.
Apollo soon will pass within this gate
And bind your tender body in a chain
Inextricably tight, and fast as fate,
Unless you can delude the God again,
Even when within his arms--ah, runagate!
A pretty torment both for Gods and Men
Your father made when he made you!--Dear mother,
Replied sly Hermes, wherefore scold and bother?

XXVIII.
As if I were like other babes as old,
And understood nothing of what is what;
And cared at all to hear my mother scold.
I in my subtle brain a scheme have got,
Which whilst the sacred stars round Heaven are rolled
Will profit you and me--nor shall our lot
Be as you counsel, without gifts or food,
To spend our lives in this obscure abode.

XXIX.
But we will leave this shadow-peopled cave
And live among the Gods, and pass each day
In high communion, sharing what they have
Of profuse wealth and unexhausted prey;
And from the portion which my father gave
To Phoebus, I will snatch my share away,
Which if my father will not--natheless I,
Who am the king of robbers, can but try.

XXX.
And, if Latonas son should find me out,
Ill countermine him by a deeper plan;
Ill pierce the Pythian temple-walls, though stout,
And sack the fane of everything I can--
Caldrons and tripods of great worth no doubt,
Each golden cup and polished brazen pan, 235
All the wrought tapestries and garments gay.--
So they together talked;--meanwhile the Day

XXXI.
Aethereal born arose out of the flood
Of flowing Ocean, bearing light to men.
Apollo passed toward the sacred wood,
Which from the inmost depths of its green glen
Echoes the voice of Neptune,--and there stood
On the same spot in green Onchestus then
That same old animal, the vine-dresser,
Who was employed hedging his vineyard there.

XXXII.
Latonas glorious Son began:--I pray
Tell, ancient hedger of Onchestus green,
Whether a drove of kine has passed this way,
All heifers with crooked horns? for they have been
Stolen from the herd in high Pieria,
Where a black bull was fed apart, between
Two woody mountains in a neighbouring glen,
And four fierce dogs watched there, unanimous as men.

XXXIII.
And what is strange, the author of this theft
Has stolen the fatted heifers every one,
But the four dogs and the black bull are left:--
Stolen they were last night at set of sun,
Of their soft beds and their sweet food bereft.--
Now tell me, man born ere the world begun,
Have you seen any one pass with the cows?--
To whom the man of overhanging brows:

XXXIV.
My friend, it would require no common skill
Justly to speak of everything I see:
On various purposes of good or ill
Many pass by my vineyard,--and to me
Tis difficult to know the invisible
Thoughts, which in all those many minds may be:--
Thus much alone I certainly can say,
I tilled these vines till the decline of day,

XXXV.
And then I thought I saw, but dare not speak
With certainty of such a wondrous thing,
A child, who could not have been born a week,
Those fair-horned cattle closely following,
And in his hand he held a polished stick:
And, as on purpose, he walked wavering
From one side to the other of the road,
And with his face opposed the steps he trod.

XXXVI.
Apollo hearing this, passed quickly on--
No winged omen could have shown more clear
That the deceiver was his fathers son.
So the God wraps a purple atmosphere
Around his shoulders, and like fire is gone
To famous Pylos, seeking his kine there,
And found their track and his, yet hardly cold,
And criedWhat wonder do mine eyes behold!

XXXVII.
Here are the footsteps of the horned herd
Turned back towards their fields of asphodel;--
But THESE are not the tracks of beast or bird,
Gray wolf, or bear, or lion of the dell,
Or maned Centaur--sand was never stirred
By man or woman thus! Inexplicable!
Who with unwearied feet could eer impress
The sand with such enormous vestiges?

XXXVIII.
That was most strange--but this is stranger still!
Thus having said, Phoebus impetuously
Sought high Cyllenes forest-cinctured hill,
And the deep cavern where dark shadows lie,
And where the ambrosial nymph with happy will
Bore the Saturnians love-child, Mercury--
And a delightful odour from the dew
Of the hill pastures, at his coming, flew.

XXXIX.
And Phoebus stooped under the craggy roof
Arched over the dark cavern:--Maias child
Perceived that he came angry, far aloof,
About the cows of which he had been beguiled;
And over him the fine and fragrant woof
Of his ambrosial swaddling-clothes he piled--
As among fire-brands lies a burning spark
Covered, beneath the ashes cold and dark.

XL.
There, like an infant who had sucked his fill
And now was newly washed and put to bed,
Awake, but courting sleep with weary will,
And gathered in a lump, hands, feet, and head,
He lay, and his beloved tortoise still
He grasped and held under his shoulder-blade.
Phoebus the lovely mountain-goddess knew,
Not less her subtle, swindling baby, who

XLI.
Lay swathed in his sly wiles. Round every crook
Of the ample cavern, for his kine, Apollo
Looked sharp; and when he saw them not, he took
The glittering key, and opened three great hollow
Recesses in the rock--where many a nook
Was filled with the sweet food immortals swallow,
And mighty heaps of silver and of gold
Were piled within--a wonder to behold!

XLII.
And white and silver robes, all overwrought
With cunning workmanship of tracery sweet--
Except among the Gods there can be nought
In the wide world to be compared with it.
Latonas offspring, after having sought
His herds in every corner, thus did greet
Great Hermes:--Little cradled rogue, declare
Of my illustrious heifers, where they are!

XLIII.
Speak quickly! or a quarrel between us
Must rise, and the event will be, that I
Shall hurl you into dismal Tartarus,
In fiery gloom to dwell eternally;
Nor shall your father nor your mother loose
The bars of that black dungeonutterly
You shall be cast out from the light of day,
To rule the ghosts of men, unblessed as they.

XLIV.
To whom thus Hermes slily answered:--Son
Of great Latona, what a speech is this!
Why come you here to ask me what is done
With the wild oxen which it seems you miss?
I have not seen them, nor from any one
Have heard a word of the whole business;
If you should promise an immense reward,
I could not tell more than you now have heard.

XLV.
An ox-stealer should be both tall and strong,
And I am but a little new-born thing,
Who, yet at least, can think of nothing wrong:--
My business is to suck, and sleep, and fling
The cradle-clothes about me all day long,--
Or half asleep, hear my sweet mother sing,
And to be washed in water clean and warm,
And hushed and kissed and kept secure from harm.

XLVI.
O, let not eer this quarrel be averred!
The astounded Gods would laugh at you, if eer
You should allege a story so absurd
As that a new-born infant forth could fare
Out of his home after a savage herd.
I was born yesterday--my small feet are
Too tender for the roads so hard and rough:--
And if you think that this is not enough,

XLVII.
I swear a great oath, by my fathers head,
That I stole not your cows, and that I know
Of no one else, who might, or could, or did.--
Whatever things cows are, I do not know,
For I have only heard the name.--This said
He winked as fast as could be, and his brow
Was wrinkled, and a whistle loud gave he,
Like one who hears some strange absurdity.

XLVIII.
Apollo gently smiled and said:--Ay, ay,--
You cunning little rascal, you will bore
Many a rich mans house, and your array
Of thieves will lay their siege before his door,
Silent as night, in night; and many a day
In the wild glens rough shepherds will deplore
That you or yours, having an appetite,
Met with their cattle, comrade of the night!

XLIX.
And this among the Gods shall be your gift,
To be considered as the lord of those
Who swindle, house-break, sheep-steal, and shop-lift;--
But now if you would not your last sleep doze;
Crawl out!--Thus saying, Phoebus did uplift
The subtle infant in his swaddling clothes,
And in his arms, according to his wont,
A scheme devised the illustrious Argiphont.

L.
...
...
And sneezed and shuddered--Phoebus on the grass
Him threw, and whilst all that he had designed
He did perform--eager although to pass,
Apollo darted from his mighty mind
Towards the subtle babe the following scoff:--
Do not imagine this will get you off,

LI.
You little swaddled child of Jove and May!
And seized him:--By this omen I shall trace
My noble herds, and you shall lead the way.--
Cyllenian Hermes from the grassy place,
Like one in earnest haste to get away,
Rose, and with hands lifted towards his face
Round both his ears up from his shoulders drew
His swaddling clothes, andWhat mean you to do

LII.
With me, you unkind God?--said Mercury:
Is it about these cows you tease me so?
I wish the race of cows were perished!--I
Stole not your cows--I do not even know
What things cows are. Alas! I well may sigh
That since I came into this world of woe,
I should have ever heard the name of one--
But I appeal to the Saturnians throne.

LIII.
Thus Phoebus and the vagrant Mercury
Talked without coming to an explanation,
With adverse purpose. As for Phoebus, he
Sought not revenge, but only information,
And Hermes tried with lies and roguery
To cheat Apollo.--But when no evasion
Served--for the cunning one his match had found--
He paced on first over the sandy ground.

LIV.
...
He of the Silver Bow the child of Jove
Followed behind, till to their heavenly Sire
Came both his children, beautiful as Love,
And from his equal balance did require
A judgement in the cause wherein they strove.
Oer odorous Olympus and its snows
A murmuring tumult as they came arose,--

LV.
And from the folded depths of the great Hill,
While Hermes and Apollo reverent stood
Before Joves throne, the indestructible
Immortals rushed in mighty multitude;
And whilst their seats in order due they fill,
The lofty Thunderer in a careless mood
To Phoebus said:Whence drive you this sweet prey,
This herald-baby, born but yesterday?--

LVI.
A most important subject, trifler, this
To lay before the Gods!--Nay, Father, nay,
When you have understood the business,
Say not that I alone am fond of prey.
I found this little boy in a recess
Under Cyllenes mountains far away--
A manifest and most apparent thief,
A scandalmonger beyond all belief.

LVII.
I never saw his like either in Heaven
Or upon earth for knavery or craft:--
Out of the field my cattle yester-even,
By the low shore on which the loud sea laughed,
He right down to the river-ford had driven;
And mere astonishment would make you daft
To see the double kind of footsteps strange
He has impressed wherever he did range.

LVIII.
The cattles track on the black dust, full well
Is evident, as if they went towards
The place from which they came--that asphodel
Meadow, in which I feed my many herds,--
HIS steps were most incomprehensible--
I know not how I can describe in words
Those trackshe could have gone along the sands
Neither upon his feet nor on his hands;--

LIX.
He must have had some other stranger mode
Of moving on: those vestiges immense,
Far as I traced them on the sandy road,
Seemed like the trail of oak-toppings:--but thence
No mark nor track denoting where they trod
The hard ground gave:but, working at his fence,
A mortal hedger saw him as he passed
To Pylos, with the cows, in fiery haste.

LX.
I found that in the dark he quietly
Had sacrificed some cows, and before light
Had thrown the ashes all dispersedly
About the roadthen, still as gloomy night,
Had crept into his cradle, either eye
Rubbing, and cogitating some new sleight.
No eagle could have seen him as he lay
Hid in his cavern from the peering day.

LXI.
I taxed him with the fact, when he averred
Most solemnly that he did neither see
Nor even had in any manner heard
Of my lost cows, whatever things cows be;
Nor could he tell, though offered a reward,
Not even who could tell of them to me.
So speaking, Phoebus sate; and Hermes then
Addressed the Supreme Lord of Gods and Men:--

LXII.
Great Father, you know clearly beforehand
That all which I shall say to you is sooth;
I am a most veracious person, and
Totally unacquainted with untruth.
At sunrise Phoebus came, but with no band
Of Gods to bear him witness, in great wrath,
To my abode, seeking his heifers there,
And saying that I must show him where they are,

LXIII.
Or he would hurl me down the dark abyss.
I know that every Apollonian limb
Is clothed with speed and might and manliness,
As a green bank with flowersbut unlike him
I was born yesterday, and you may guess
He well knew this when he indulged the whim
Of bullying a poor little new-born thing
That slept, and never thought of cow-driving.

LXIV.
Am I like a strong fellow who steals kine?
Believe me, dearest Father--such you are--
This driving of the herds is none of mine;
Across my threshold did I wander neer,
So may I thrive! I reverence the divine
Sun and the Gods, and I love you, and care
Even for this hard accuser--who must know
I am as innocent as they or you.

LXV.
I swear by these most gloriously-wrought portals
(It is, you will allow, an oath of might)
Through which the multitude of the Immortals
Pass and repass forever, day and night,
Devising schemes for the affairs of mortals--
I am guiltless; and I will requite,
Although mine enemy be great and strong,
His cruel threat--do thou defend the young!

LXVI.
So speaking, the Cyllenian Argiphont
Winked, as if now his adversary was fitted:
And Jupiter, according to his wont,
Laughed heartily to hear the subtle-witted
Infant give such a plausible account,
And every word a lie. But he remitted
Judgement at presentand his exhortation
Was, to compose the affair by arbitration.

LXVII.
And they by mighty Jupiter were bidden
To go forth with a single purpose both,
Neither the other chiding nor yet chidden:
And Mercury with innocence and truth
To lead the way, and show where he had hidden
The mighty heifers.--Hermes, nothing loth,
Obeyed the Aegis-bearers willfor he
Is able to persuade all easily.

LXVIII.
These lovely children of Heavens highest Lord
Hastened to Pylos and the pastures wide
And lofty stalls by the Alphean ford,
Where wealth in the mute night is multiplied
With silent growth. Whilst Hermes drove the herd
Out of the stony cavern, Phoebus spied
The hides of those the little babe had slain,
Stretched on the precipice above the plain.

LXIX.
How was it possible, then Phoebus said,
That you, a little child, born yesterday,
A thing on mothers milk and kisses fed,
Could two prodigious heifers ever flay?
Even I myself may well hereafter dread
Your prowess, offspring of Cyllenian May,
When you grow strong and tall.--He spoke, and bound
Stiff withy bands the infants wrists around.

LXX.
He might as well have bound the oxen wild;
The withy bands, though starkly interknit,
Fell at the feet of the immortal child,
Loosened by some device of his quick wit.
Phoebus perceived himself again beguiled,
And staredwhile Hermes sought some hole or pit,
Looking askance and winking fast as thought,
Where he might hide himself and not be caught.

LXXI.
Sudden he changed his plan, and with strange skill
Subdued the strong Latonian, by the might
Of winning music, to his mightier will;
His left hand held the lyre, and in his right
The plectrum struck the chordsunconquerable
Up from beneath his hand in circling flight
The gathering music roseand sweet as Love
The penetrating notes did live and move

LXXII.
Within the heart of great Apollo--he
Listened with all his soul, and laughed for pleasure.
Close to his side stood harping fearlessly
The unabashed boy; and to the measure
Of the sweet lyre, there followed loud and free
His joyous voice; for he unlocked the treasure
Of his deep song, illustrating the birth
Of the bright Gods, and the dark desert Earth:

LXXIII.
And how to the Immortals every one
A portion was assigned of all that is;
But chief Mnemosyne did Maias son
Clothe in the light of his loud melodies;--
And, as each God was born or had begun,
He in their order due and fit degrees
Sung of his birth and beingand did move
Apollo to unutterable love.

LXXIV.
These words were winged with his swift delight:
You heifer-stealing schemer, well do you
Deserve that fifty oxen should requite
Such minstrelsies as I have heard even now.
Comrade of feasts, little contriving wight,
One of your secrets I would gladly know,
Whether the glorious power you now show forth
Was folded up within you at your birth,

LXXV.
Or whether mortal taught or God inspired
The power of unpremeditated song?
Many divinest sounds have I admired,
The Olympian Gods and mortal men among;
But such a strain of wondrous, strange, untired,
And soul-awakening music, sweet and strong,
Yet did I never hear except from thee,
Offspring of May, impostor Mercury!

LXXVI.
What Muse, what skill, what unimagined use,
What exercise of subtlest art, has given
Thy songs such power?--for those who hear may choose
From three, the choicest of the gifts of Heaven,
Delight, and love, and sleep,--sweet sleep, whose dews
Are sweeter than the balmy tears of even:--
And I, who speak this praise, am that Apollo
Whom the Olympian Muses ever follow:

LXXVII.
And their delight is dance, and the blithe noise
Of song and overflowing poesy;
And sweet, even as desire, the liquid voice
Of pipes, that fills the clear air thrillingly;
But never did my inmost soul rejoice
In this dear work of youthful revelry
As now. I wonder at thee, son of Jove;
Thy harpings and thy song are soft as love.

LXXVIII.
Now since thou hast, although so very small,
Science of arts so glorious, thus I swear,--
And let this cornel javelin, keen and tall,
Witness between us what I promise here,--
That I will lead thee to the Olympian Hall,
Honoured and mighty, with thy mother dear,
And many glorious gifts in joy will give thee,
And even at the end will neer deceive thee.

LXXIX.
To whom thus Mercury with prudent speech:--
Wisely hast thou inquired of my skill:
I envy thee no thing I know to teach
Even this day:for both in word and will
I would be gentle with thee; thou canst reach
All things in thy wise spirit, and thy sill
Is highest in Heaven among the sons of Jove,
Who loves thee in the fulness of his love.

LXXX.
The Counsellor Supreme has given to thee
Divinest gifts, out of the amplitude
Of his profuse exhaustless treasury;
By thee, tis said, the depths are understood
Of his far voice; by thee the mystery
Of all oracular fates,and the dread mood
Of the diviner is breathed up; even I--
A childperceive thy might and majesty.

LXXXI.
Thou canst seek out and compass all that wit
Can find or teach;--yet since thou wilt, come take
The lyre--be mine the glory giving it--
Strike the sweet chords, and sing aloud, and wake
Thy joyous pleasure out of many a fit
Of tranced sound--and with fleet fingers make
Thy liquid-voiced comrade talk with thee,--
It can talk measured music eloquently.

LXXXII.
Then bear it boldly to the revel loud,
Love-wakening dance, or feast of solemn state,
A joy by night or day--for those endowed
With art and wisdom who interrogate
It teaches, babbling in delightful mood
All things which make the spirit most elate,
Soothing the mind with sweet familiar play,
Chasing the heavy shadows of dismay.

LXXXIII.
To those who are unskilled in its sweet tongue,
Though they should question most impetuously
Its hidden soul, it gossips something wrong--
Some senseless and impertinent reply.
But thou who art as wise as thou art strong
Canst compass all that thou desirest. I
Present thee with this music-flowing shell,
Knowing thou canst interrogate it well.

LXXXIV.
And let us two henceforth together feed,
On this green mountain-slope and pastoral plain,
The herds in litigation -- they will breed
Quickly enough to recompense our pain,
If to the bulls and cows we take good heed;--
And thou, though somewhat over fond of gain,
Grudge me not half the profit.Having spoke,
The shell he proffered, and Apollo took;

LXXXV.
And gave him in return the glittering lash,
Installing him as herdsman;--from the look
Of Mercury then laughed a joyous flash.
And then Apollo with the plectrum strook
The chords, and from beneath his hands a crash
Of mighty sounds rushed up, whose music shook
The soul with sweetness, and like an adept
His sweeter voice a just accordance kept.

LXXXVI.
The herd went wandering oer the divine mead,
Whilst these most beautiful Sons of Jupiter
Won their swift way up to the snowy head
Of white Olympus, with the joyous lyre
Soothing their journey; and their father dread
Gathered them both into familiar
Affection sweet,and then, and now, and ever,
Hermes must love Him of the Golden Quiver,

LXXXVII.
To whom he gave the lyre that sweetly sounded,
Which skilfully he held and played thereon.
He piped the while, and far and wide rebounded
The echo of his pipings; every one
Of the Olympians sat with joy astounded;
While he conceived another piece of fun,
One of his old trickswhich the God of Day
Perceiving, said:I fear thee, Son of May;--

LXXXVIII.
I fear thee and thy sly chameleon spirit,
Lest thou should steal my lyre and crooked bow;
This glory and power thou dost from Jove inherit,
To teach all craft upon the earth below;
Thieves love and worship theeit is thy merit
To make all mortal business ebb and flow
By roguery:now, Hermes, if you dare
By sacred Styx a mighty oath to swear

LXXXIX.
That you will never rob me, you will do
A thing extremely pleasing to my heart.
Then Mercury swore by the Stygian dew,
That he would never steal his bow or dart,
Or lay his hands on what to him was due,
Or ever would employ his powerful art
Against his Pythian fane. Then Phoebus swore
There was no God or Man whom he loved more.

XC.
And I will give thee as a good-will token,
The beautiful wand of wealth and happiness;
A perfect three-leaved rod of gold unbroken,
Whose magic will thy footsteps ever bless;
And whatsoever by Joves voice is spoken
Of earthly or divine from its recess,
It, like a loving soul, to thee will speak,
And more than this, do thou forbear to seek.

XCI.
For, dearest child, the divinations high
Which thou requirest, tis unlawful ever
That thou, or any other deity
Should understandand vain were the endeavour;
For they are hidden in Joves mind, and I,
In trust of them, have sworn that I would never
Betray the counsels of Joves inmost will
To any Godthe oath was terrible.

XCII.
Then, golden-wanded brother, ask me not
To speak the fates by Jupiter designed;
But be it mine to tell their various lot
To the unnumbered tribes of human-kind.
Let good to these, and ill to those be wrought
As I dispensebut he who comes consigned
By voice and wings of perfect augury
To my great shrine, shall find avail in me.

XCIII.
Him will I not deceive, but will assist;
But he who comes relying on such birds
As chatter vainly, who would strain and twist
The purpose of the Gods with idle words,
And deems their knowledge light, he shall have missed
His roadwhilst I among my other hoards
His gifts deposit. Yet, O son of May,
I have another wondrous thing to say.

XCIV.
There are three Fates, three virgin Sisters, who
Rejoicing in their wind-outspeeding wings,
Their heads with flour snowed over white and new,
Sit in a vale round which Parnassus flings
Its circling skirtsfrom these I have learned true
Vaticinations of remotest things.
My father cared not. Whilst they search out dooms,
They sit apart and feed on honeycombs.

XCV.
They, having eaten the fresh honey, grow
Drunk with divine enthusiasm, and utter
With earnest willingness the truth they know;
But if deprived of that sweet food, they mutter
All plausible delusions;--these to you
I give;--if you inquire, they will not stutter;
Delight your own soul with them:--any man
You would instruct may profit if he can.

XCVI.
Take these and the fierce oxen, Maias child--
Oer many a horse and toil-enduring mule,
Oer jagged-jawed lions, and the wild
White-tusked boars, oer all, by field or pool,
Of cattle which the mighty Mother mild
Nourishes in her bosom, thou shalt rule--
Thou dost alone the veil from death uplift--
Thou givest notyet this is a great gift.

XCVII.
Thus King Apollo loved the child of May
In truth, and Jove covered their love with joy.
Hermes with Gods and Men even from that day
Mingled, and wrought the latter much annoy,
And little profit, going far astray
Through the dun night. Farewell, delightful Boy,
Of Jove and Maia sprung,never by me,
Nor thou, nor other songs, shall unremembered be
Published by Mrs. Shelley, Posthumous Poems, 1824. This alone of the Translations is included in the Harvard manuscript book. Fragments of the drafts of this and the other Hymns of Homer exist among the Boscombe manuscripts (Forman).
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hymn To Mercury

74:Gareth And Lynette
The last tall son of Lot and Bellicent,
And tallest, Gareth, in a showerful spring
Stared at the spate. A slender-shafted Pine
Lost footing, fell, and so was whirled away.
'How he went down,' said Gareth, 'as a false knight
Or evil king before my lance if lance
Were mine to use--O senseless cataract,
Bearing all down in thy precipitancy-And yet thou art but swollen with cold snows
And mine is living blood: thou dost His will,
The Maker's, and not knowest, and I that know,
Have strength and wit, in my good mother's hall
Linger with vacillating obedience,
Prisoned, and kept and coaxed and whistled to-Since the good mother holds me still a child!
Good mother is bad mother unto me!
A worse were better; yet no worse would I.
Heaven yield her for it, but in me put force
To weary her ears with one continuous prayer,
Until she let me fly discaged to sweep
In ever-highering eagle-circles up
To the great Sun of Glory, and thence swoop
Down upon all things base, and dash them dead,
A knight of Arthur, working out his will,
To cleanse the world. Why, Gawain, when he came
With Modred hither in the summertime,
Asked me to tilt with him, the proven knight.
Modred for want of worthier was the judge.
Then I so shook him in the saddle, he said,
"Thou hast half prevailed against me," said so--he-Though Modred biting his thin lips was mute,
For he is alway sullen: what care I?'
And Gareth went, and hovering round her chair
Asked, 'Mother, though ye count me still the child,
Sweet mother, do ye love the child?' She laughed,
'Thou art but a wild-goose to question it.'
'Then, mother, an ye love the child,' he said,
'Being a goose and rather tame than wild,
107
Hear the child's story.' 'Yea, my well-beloved,
An 'twere but of the goose and golden eggs.'
And Gareth answered her with kindling eyes,
'Nay, nay, good mother, but this egg of mine
Was finer gold than any goose can lay;
For this an Eagle, a royal Eagle, laid
Almost beyond eye-reach, on such a palm
As glitters gilded in thy Book of Hours.
And there was ever haunting round the palm
A lusty youth, but poor, who often saw
The splendour sparkling from aloft, and thought
"An I could climb and lay my hand upon it,
Then were I wealthier than a leash of kings."
But ever when he reached a hand to climb,
One, that had loved him from his childhood, caught
And stayed him, "Climb not lest thou break thy neck,
I charge thee by my love," and so the boy,
Sweet mother, neither clomb, nor brake his neck,
But brake his very heart in pining for it,
And past away.'
To whom the mother said,
'True love, sweet son, had risked himself and climbed,
And handed down the golden treasure to him.'
And Gareth answered her with kindling eyes,
'Gold?' said I gold?--ay then, why he, or she,
Or whosoe'er it was, or half the world
Had ventured--HAD the thing I spake of been
Mere gold--but this was all of that true steel,
Whereof they forged the brand Excalibur,
And lightnings played about it in the storm,
And all the little fowl were flurried at it,
And there were cries and clashings in the nest,
That sent him from his senses: let me go.'
Then Bellicent bemoaned herself and said,
'Hast thou no pity upon my loneliness?
Lo, where thy father Lot beside the hearth
Lies like a log, and all but smouldered out!
For ever since when traitor to the King
108
He fought against him in the Barons' war,
And Arthur gave him back his territory,
His age hath slowly droopt, and now lies there
A yet-warm corpse, and yet unburiable,
No more; nor sees, nor hears, nor speaks, nor knows.
And both thy brethren are in Arthur's hall,
Albeit neither loved with that full love
I feel for thee, nor worthy such a love:
Stay therefore thou; red berries charm the bird,
And thee, mine innocent, the jousts, the wars,
Who never knewest finger-ache, nor pang
Of wrenched or broken limb--an often chance
In those brain-stunning shocks, and tourney-falls,
Frights to my heart; but stay: follow the deer
By these tall firs and our fast-falling burns;
So make thy manhood mightier day by day;
Sweet is the chase: and I will seek thee out
Some comfortable bride and fair, to grace
Thy climbing life, and cherish my prone year,
Till falling into Lot's forgetfulness
I know not thee, myself, nor anything.
Stay, my best son! ye are yet more boy than man.'
Then Gareth, 'An ye hold me yet for child,
Hear yet once more the story of the child.
For, mother, there was once a King, like ours.
The prince his heir, when tall and marriageable,
Asked for a bride; and thereupon the King
Set two before him. One was fair, strong, armed-But to be won by force--and many men
Desired her; one good lack, no man desired.
And these were the conditions of the King:
That save he won the first by force, he needs
Must wed that other, whom no man desired,
A red-faced bride who knew herself so vile,
That evermore she longed to hide herself,
Nor fronted man or woman, eye to eye-Yea--some she cleaved to, but they died of her.
And one--they called her Fame; and one,--O Mother,
How can ye keep me tethered to you--Shame.
Man am I grown, a man's work must I do.
Follow the deer? follow the Christ, the King,
109
Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the King-Else, wherefore born?'
To whom the mother said
'Sweet son, for there be many who deem him not,
Or will not deem him, wholly proven King-Albeit in mine own heart I knew him King,
When I was frequent with him in my youth,
And heard him Kingly speak, and doubted him
No more than he, himself; but felt him mine,
Of closest kin to me: yet--wilt thou leave
Thine easeful biding here, and risk thine all,
Life, limbs, for one that is not proven King?
Stay, till the cloud that settles round his birth
Hath lifted but a little. Stay, sweet son.'
And Gareth answered quickly, 'Not an hour,
So that ye yield me--I will walk through fire,
Mother, to gain it--your full leave to go.
Not proven, who swept the dust of ruined Rome
From off the threshold of the realm, and crushed
The Idolaters, and made the people free?
Who should be King save him who makes us free?'
So when the Queen, who long had sought in vain
To break him from the intent to which he grew,
Found her son's will unwaveringly one,
She answered craftily, 'Will ye walk through fire?
Who walks through fire will hardly heed the smoke.
Ay, go then, an ye must: only one proof,
Before thou ask the King to make thee knight,
Of thine obedience and thy love to me,
Thy mother,--I demand.
And Gareth cried,
'A hard one, or a hundred, so I go.
Nay--quick! the proof to prove me to the quick!'
But slowly spake the mother looking at him,
'Prince, thou shalt go disguised to Arthur's hall,
And hire thyself to serve for meats and drinks
Among the scullions and the kitchen-knaves,
110
And those that hand the dish across the bar.
Nor shalt thou tell thy name to anyone.
And thou shalt serve a twelvemonth and a day.'
For so the Queen believed that when her son
Beheld his only way to glory lead
Low down through villain kitchen-vassalage,
Her own true Gareth was too princely-proud
To pass thereby; so should he rest with her,
Closed in her castle from the sound of arms.
Silent awhile was Gareth, then replied,
'The thrall in person may be free in soul,
And I shall see the jousts. Thy son am I,
And since thou art my mother, must obey.
I therefore yield me freely to thy will;
For hence will I, disguised, and hire myself
To serve with scullions and with kitchen-knaves;
Nor tell my name to any--no, not the King.'
Gareth awhile lingered. The mother's eye
Full of the wistful fear that he would go,
And turning toward him wheresoe'er he turned,
Perplext his outward purpose, till an hour,
When wakened by the wind which with full voice
Swept bellowing through the darkness on to dawn,
He rose, and out of slumber calling two
That still had tended on him from his birth,
Before the wakeful mother heard him, went.
The three were clad like tillers of the soil.
Southward they set their faces. The birds made
Melody on branch, and melody in mid air.
The damp hill-slopes were quickened into green,
And the live green had kindled into flowers,
For it was past the time of Easterday.
So, when their feet were planted on the plain
That broadened toward the base of Camelot,
Far off they saw the silver-misty morn
Rolling her smoke about the Royal mount,
That rose between the forest and the field.
111
At times the summit of the high city flashed;
At times the spires and turrets half-way down
Pricked through the mist; at times the great gate shone
Only, that opened on the field below:
Anon, the whole fair city had disappeared.
Then those who went with Gareth were amazed,
One crying, 'Let us go no further, lord.
Here is a city of Enchanters, built
By fairy Kings.' The second echoed him,
'Lord, we have heard from our wise man at home
To Northward, that this King is not the King,
But only changeling out of Fairyland,
Who drave the heathen hence by sorcery
And Merlin's glamour.' Then the first again,
'Lord, there is no such city anywhere,
But all a vision.'
Gareth answered them
With laughter, swearing he had glamour enow
In his own blood, his princedom, youth and hopes,
To plunge old Merlin in the Arabian sea;
So pushed them all unwilling toward the gate.
And there was no gate like it under heaven.
For barefoot on the keystone, which was lined
And rippled like an ever-fleeting wave,
The Lady of the Lake stood: all her dress
Wept from her sides as water flowing away;
But like the cross her great and goodly arms
Stretched under the cornice and upheld:
And drops of water fell from either hand;
And down from one a sword was hung, from one
A censer, either worn with wind and storm;
And o'er her breast floated the sacred fish;
And in the space to left of her, and right,
Were Arthur's wars in weird devices done,
New things and old co-twisted, as if Time
Were nothing, so inveterately, that men
Were giddy gazing there; and over all
High on the top were those three Queens, the friends
Of Arthur, who should help him at his need.
112
Then those with Gareth for so long a space
Stared at the figures, that at last it seemed
The dragon-boughts and elvish emblemings
Began to move, seethe, twine and curl: they called
To Gareth, 'Lord, the gateway is alive.'
And Gareth likewise on them fixt his eyes
So long, that even to him they seemed to move.
Out of the city a blast of music pealed.
Back from the gate started the three, to whom
From out thereunder came an ancient man,
Long-bearded, saying, 'Who be ye, my sons?'
Then Gareth, 'We be tillers of the soil,
Who leaving share in furrow come to see
The glories of our King: but these, my men,
(Your city moved so weirdly in the mist)
Doubt if the King be King at all, or come
From Fairyland; and whether this be built
By magic, and by fairy Kings and Queens;
Or whether there be any city at all,
Or all a vision: and this music now
Hath scared them both, but tell thou these the truth.'
Then that old Seer made answer playing on him
And saying, 'Son, I have seen the good ship sail
Keel upward, and mast downward, in the heavens,
And solid turrets topsy-turvy in air:
And here is truth; but an it please thee not,
Take thou the truth as thou hast told it me.
For truly as thou sayest, a Fairy King
And Fairy Queens have built the city, son;
They came from out a sacred mountain-cleft
Toward the sunrise, each with harp in hand,
And built it to the music of their harps.
And, as thou sayest, it is enchanted, son,
For there is nothing in it as it seems
Saving the King; though some there be that hold
The King a shadow, and the city real:
Yet take thou heed of him, for, so thou pass
Beneath this archway, then wilt thou become
A thrall to his enchantments, for the King
113
Will bind thee by such vows, as is a shame
A man should not be bound by, yet the which
No man can keep; but, so thou dread to swear,
Pass not beneath this gateway, but abide
Without, among the cattle of the field.
For an ye heard a music, like enow
They are building still, seeing the city is built
To music, therefore never built at all,
And therefore built for ever.'
Gareth spake
Angered, 'Old master, reverence thine own beard
That looks as white as utter truth, and seems
Wellnigh as long as thou art statured tall!
Why mockest thou the stranger that hath been
To thee fair-spoken?'
But the Seer replied,
'Know ye not then the Riddling of the Bards?
"Confusion, and illusion, and relation,
Elusion, and occasion, and evasion"?
I mock thee not but as thou mockest me,
And all that see thee, for thou art not who
Thou seemest, but I know thee who thou art.
And now thou goest up to mock the King,
Who cannot brook the shadow of any lie.'
Unmockingly the mocker ending here
Turned to the right, and past along the plain;
Whom Gareth looking after said, 'My men,
Our one white lie sits like a little ghost
Here on the threshold of our enterprise.
Let love be blamed for it, not she, nor I:
Well, we will make amends.'
With all good cheer
He spake and laughed, then entered with his twain
Camelot, a city of shadowy palaces
And stately, rich in emblem and the work
Of ancient kings who did their days in stone;
Which Merlin's hand, the Mage at Arthur's court,
Knowing all arts, had touched, and everywhere
114
At Arthur's ordinance, tipt with lessening peak
And pinnacle, and had made it spire to heaven.
And ever and anon a knight would pass
Outward, or inward to the hall: his arms
Clashed; and the sound was good to Gareth's ear.
And out of bower and casement shyly glanced
Eyes of pure women, wholesome stars of love;
And all about a healthful people stept
As in the presence of a gracious king.
Then into hall Gareth ascending heard
A voice, the voice of Arthur, and beheld
Far over heads in that long-vaulted hall
The splendour of the presence of the King
Throned, and delivering doom--and looked no more-But felt his young heart hammering in his ears,
And thought, 'For this half-shadow of a lie
The truthful King will doom me when I speak.'
Yet pressing on, though all in fear to find
Sir Gawain or Sir Modred, saw nor one
Nor other, but in all the listening eyes
Of those tall knights, that ranged about the throne,
Clear honour shining like the dewy star
Of dawn, and faith in their great King, with pure
Affection, and the light of victory,
And glory gained, and evermore to gain.
Then came a widow crying to the King,
'A boon, Sir King! Thy father, Uther, reft
From my dead lord a field with violence:
For howsoe'er at first he proffered gold,
Yet, for the field was pleasant in our eyes,
We yielded not; and then he reft us of it
Perforce, and left us neither gold nor field.'
Said Arthur, 'Whether would ye? gold or field?'
To whom the woman weeping, 'Nay, my lord,
The field was pleasant in my husband's eye.'
And Arthur, 'Have thy pleasant field again,
And thrice the gold for Uther's use thereof,
According to the years. No boon is here,
But justice, so thy say be proven true.
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Accursed, who from the wrongs his father did
Would shape himself a right!'
And while she past,
Came yet another widow crying to him,
'A boon, Sir King! Thine enemy, King, am I.
With thine own hand thou slewest my dear lord,
A knight of Uther in the Barons' war,
When Lot and many another rose and fought
Against thee, saying thou wert basely born.
I held with these, and loathe to ask thee aught.
Yet lo! my husband's brother had my son
Thralled in his castle, and hath starved him dead;
And standeth seized of that inheritance
Which thou that slewest the sire hast left the son.
So though I scarce can ask it thee for hate,
Grant me some knight to do the battle for me,
Kill the foul thief, and wreak me for my son.'
Then strode a good knight forward, crying to him,
'A boon, Sir King! I am her kinsman, I.
Give me to right her wrong, and slay the man.'
Then came Sir Kay, the seneschal, and cried,
'A boon, Sir King! even that thou grant her none,
This railer, that hath mocked thee in full hall-None; or the wholesome boon of gyve and gag.'
But Arthur, 'We sit King, to help the wronged
Through all our realm. The woman loves her lord.
Peace to thee, woman, with thy loves and hates!
The kings of old had doomed thee to the flames,
Aurelius Emrys would have scourged thee dead,
And Uther slit thy tongue: but get thee hence-Lest that rough humour of the kings of old
Return upon me! Thou that art her kin,
Go likewise; lay him low and slay him not,
But bring him here, that I may judge the right,
According to the justice of the King:
Then, be he guilty, by that deathless King
Who lived and died for men, the man shall die.'
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Then came in hall the messenger of Mark,
A name of evil savour in the land,
The Cornish king. In either hand he bore
What dazzled all, and shone far-off as shines
A field of charlock in the sudden sun
Between two showers, a cloth of palest gold,
Which down he laid before the throne, and knelt,
Delivering, that his lord, the vassal king,
Was even upon his way to Camelot;
For having heard that Arthur of his grace
Had made his goodly cousin, Tristram, knight,
And, for himself was of the greater state,
Being a king, he trusted his liege-lord
Would yield him this large honour all the more;
So prayed him well to accept this cloth of gold,
In token of true heart and felty.
Then Arthur cried to rend the cloth, to rend
In pieces, and so cast it on the hearth.
An oak-tree smouldered there. 'The goodly knight!
What! shall the shield of Mark stand among these?'
For, midway down the side of that long hall
A stately pile,--whereof along the front,
Some blazoned, some but carven, and some blank,
There ran a treble range of stony shields,-Rose, and high-arching overbrowed the hearth.
And under every shield a knight was named:
For this was Arthur's custom in his hall;
When some good knight had done one noble deed,
His arms were carven only; but if twain
His arms were blazoned also; but if none,
The shield was blank and bare without a sign
Saving the name beneath; and Gareth saw
The shield of Gawain blazoned rich and bright,
And Modred's blank as death; and Arthur cried
To rend the cloth and cast it on the hearth.
'More like are we to reave him of his crown
Than make him knight because men call him king.
The kings we found, ye know we stayed their hands
From war among themselves, but left them kings;
Of whom were any bounteous, merciful,
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Truth-speaking, brave, good livers, them we enrolled
Among us, and they sit within our hall.
But as Mark hath tarnished the great name of king,
As Mark would sully the low state of churl:
And, seeing he hath sent us cloth of gold,
Return, and meet, and hold him from our eyes,
Lest we should lap him up in cloth of lead,
Silenced for ever--craven--a man of plots,
Craft, poisonous counsels, wayside ambushings-No fault of thine: let Kay the seneschal
Look to thy wants, and send thee satisfied-Accursed, who strikes nor lets the hand be seen!'
And many another suppliant crying came
With noise of ravage wrought by beast and man,
And evermore a knight would ride away.
Last, Gareth leaning both hands heavily
Down on the shoulders of the twain, his men,
Approached between them toward the King, and asked,
'A boon, Sir King (his voice was all ashamed),
For see ye not how weak and hungerworn
I seem--leaning on these? grant me to serve
For meat and drink among thy kitchen-knaves
A twelvemonth and a day, nor seek my name.
Hereafter I will fight.'
To him the King,
'A goodly youth and worth a goodlier boon!
But so thou wilt no goodlier, then must Kay,
The master of the meats and drinks, be thine.'
He rose and past; then Kay, a man of mien
Wan-sallow as the plant that feels itself
Root-bitten by white lichen,
'Lo ye now!
This fellow hath broken from some Abbey, where,
God wot, he had not beef and brewis enow,
However that might chance! but an he work,
Like any pigeon will I cram his crop,
And sleeker shall he shine than any hog.'
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Then Lancelot standing near, 'Sir Seneschal,
Sleuth-hound thou knowest, and gray, and all the hounds;
A horse thou knowest, a man thou dost not know:
Broad brows and fair, a fluent hair and fine,
High nose, a nostril large and fine, and hands
Large, fair and fine!--Some young lad's mystery-But, or from sheepcot or king's hall, the boy
Is noble-natured. Treat him with all grace,
Lest he should come to shame thy judging of him.'
Then Kay, 'What murmurest thou of mystery?
Think ye this fellow will poison the King's dish?
Nay, for he spake too fool-like: mystery!
Tut, an the lad were noble, he had asked
For horse and armour: fair and fine, forsooth!
Sir Fine-face, Sir Fair-hands? but see thou to it
That thine own fineness, Lancelot, some fine day
Undo thee not--and leave my man to me.'
So Gareth all for glory underwent
The sooty yoke of kitchen-vassalage;
Ate with young lads his portion by the door,
And couched at night with grimy kitchen-knaves.
And Lancelot ever spake him pleasantly,
But Kay the seneschal, who loved him not,
Would hustle and harry him, and labour him
Beyond his comrade of the hearth, and set
To turn the broach, draw water, or hew wood,
Or grosser tasks; and Gareth bowed himself
With all obedience to the King, and wrought
All kind of service with a noble ease
That graced the lowliest act in doing it.
And when the thralls had talk among themselves,
And one would praise the love that linkt the King
And Lancelot--how the King had saved his life
In battle twice, and Lancelot once the King's-For Lancelot was the first in Tournament,
But Arthur mightiest on the battle-field-Gareth was glad. Or if some other told,
How once the wandering forester at dawn,
Far over the blue tarns and hazy seas,
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On Caer-Eryri's highest found the King,
A naked babe, of whom the Prophet spake,
'He passes to the Isle Avilion,
He passes and is healed and cannot die'-Gareth was glad. But if their talk were foul,
Then would he whistle rapid as any lark,
Or carol some old roundelay, and so loud
That first they mocked, but, after, reverenced him.
Or Gareth telling some prodigious tale
Of knights, who sliced a red life-bubbling way
Through twenty folds of twisted dragon, held
All in a gap-mouthed circle his good mates
Lying or sitting round him, idle hands,
Charmed; till Sir Kay, the seneschal, would come
Blustering upon them, like a sudden wind
Among dead leaves, and drive them all apart.
Or when the thralls had sport among themselves,
So there were any trial of mastery,
He, by two yards in casting bar or stone
Was counted best; and if there chanced a joust,
So that Sir Kay nodded him leave to go,
Would hurry thither, and when he saw the knights
Clash like the coming and retiring wave,
And the spear spring, and good horse reel, the boy
Was half beyond himself for ecstasy.
So for a month he wrought among the thralls;
But in the weeks that followed, the good Queen,
Repentant of the word she made him swear,
And saddening in her childless castle, sent,
Between the in-crescent and de-crescent moon,
Arms for her son, and loosed him from his vow.
This, Gareth hearing from a squire of Lot
With whom he used to play at tourney once,
When both were children, and in lonely haunts
Would scratch a ragged oval on the sand,
And each at either dash from either end-Shame never made girl redder than Gareth joy.
He laughed; he sprang. 'Out of the smoke, at once
I leap from Satan's foot to Peter's knee-These news be mine, none other's--nay, the King's--
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Descend into the city:' whereon he sought
The King alone, and found, and told him all.
'I have staggered thy strong Gawain in a tilt
For pastime; yea, he said it: joust can I.
Make me thy knight--in secret! let my name
Be hidden, and give me the first quest, I spring
Like flame from ashes.'
Here the King's calm eye
Fell on, and checked, and made him flush, and bow
Lowly, to kiss his hand, who answered him,
'Son, the good mother let me know thee here,
And sent her wish that I would yield thee thine.
Make thee my knight? my knights are sworn to vows
Of utter hardihood, utter gentleness,
And, loving, utter faithfulness in love,
And uttermost obedience to the King.'
Then Gareth, lightly springing from his knees,
'My King, for hardihood I can promise thee.
For uttermost obedience make demand
Of whom ye gave me to, the Seneschal,
No mellow master of the meats and drinks!
And as for love, God wot, I love not yet,
But love I shall, God willing.'
And the King
'Make thee my knight in secret? yea, but he,
Our noblest brother, and our truest man,
And one with me in all, he needs must know.'
'Let Lancelot know, my King, let Lancelot know,
Thy noblest and thy truest!'
And the King-'But wherefore would ye men should wonder at you?
Nay, rather for the sake of me, their King,
And the deed's sake my knighthood do the deed,
Than to be noised of.'
Merrily Gareth asked,
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'Have I not earned my cake in baking of it?
Let be my name until I make my name!
My deeds will speak: it is but for a day.'
So with a kindly hand on Gareth's arm
Smiled the great King, and half-unwillingly
Loving his lusty youthhood yielded to him.
Then, after summoning Lancelot privily,
'I have given him the first quest: he is not proven.
Look therefore when he calls for this in hall,
Thou get to horse and follow him far away.
Cover the lions on thy shield, and see
Far as thou mayest, he be nor ta'en nor slain.'
Then that same day there past into the hall
A damsel of high lineage, and a brow
May-blossom, and a cheek of apple-blossom,
Hawk-eyes; and lightly was her slender nose
Tip-tilted like the petal of a flower;
She into hall past with her page and cried,
'O King, for thou hast driven the foe without,
See to the foe within! bridge, ford, beset
By bandits, everyone that owns a tower
The Lord for half a league. Why sit ye there?
Rest would I not, Sir King, an I were king,
Till even the lonest hold were all as free
From cursd bloodshed, as thine altar-cloth
From that best blood it is a sin to spill.'
'Comfort thyself,' said Arthur. 'I nor mine
Rest: so my knighthood keep the vows they swore,
The wastest moorland of our realm shall be
Safe, damsel, as the centre of this hall.
What is thy name? thy need?'
'My name?' she said-'Lynette my name; noble; my need, a knight
To combat for my sister, Lyonors,
A lady of high lineage, of great lands,
And comely, yea, and comelier than myself.
She lives in Castle Perilous: a river
Runs in three loops about her living-place;
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And o'er it are three passings, and three knights
Defend the passings, brethren, and a fourth
And of that four the mightiest, holds her stayed
In her own castle, and so besieges her
To break her will, and make her wed with him:
And but delays his purport till thou send
To do the battle with him, thy chief man
Sir Lancelot whom he trusts to overthrow,
Then wed, with glory: but she will not wed
Save whom she loveth, or a holy life.
Now therefore have I come for Lancelot.'
Then Arthur mindful of Sir Gareth asked,
'Damsel, ye know this Order lives to crush
All wrongers of the Realm. But say, these four,
Who be they? What the fashion of the men?'
'They be of foolish fashion, O Sir King,
The fashion of that old knight-errantry
Who ride abroad, and do but what they will;
Courteous or bestial from the moment, such
As have nor law nor king; and three of these
Proud in their fantasy call themselves the Day,
Morning-Star, and Noon-Sun, and Evening-Star,
Being strong fools; and never a whit more wise
The fourth, who alway rideth armed in black,
A huge man-beast of boundless savagery.
He names himself the Night and oftener Death,
And wears a helmet mounted with a skull,
And bears a skeleton figured on his arms,
To show that who may slay or scape the three,
Slain by himself, shall enter endless night.
And all these four be fools, but mighty men,
And therefore am I come for Lancelot.'
Hereat Sir Gareth called from where he rose,
A head with kindling eyes above the throng,
'A boon, Sir King--this quest!' then--for he marked
Kay near him groaning like a wounded bull-'Yea, King, thou knowest thy kitchen-knave am I,
And mighty through thy meats and drinks am I,
And I can topple over a hundred such.
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Thy promise, King,' and Arthur glancing at him,
Brought down a momentary brow. 'Rough, sudden,
And pardonable, worthy to be knight-Go therefore,' and all hearers were amazed.
But on the damsel's forehead shame, pride, wrath
Slew the May-white: she lifted either arm,
'Fie on thee, King! I asked for thy chief knight,
And thou hast given me but a kitchen-knave.'
Then ere a man in hall could stay her, turned,
Fled down the lane of access to the King,
Took horse, descended the slope street, and past
The weird white gate, and paused without, beside
The field of tourney, murmuring 'kitchen-knave.'
Now two great entries opened from the hall,
At one end one, that gave upon a range
Of level pavement where the King would pace
At sunrise, gazing over plain and wood;
And down from this a lordly stairway sloped
Till lost in blowing trees and tops of towers;
And out by this main doorway past the King.
But one was counter to the hearth, and rose
High that the highest-crested helm could ride
Therethrough nor graze: and by this entry fled
The damsel in her wrath, and on to this
Sir Gareth strode, and saw without the door
King Arthur's gift, the worth of half a town,
A warhorse of the best, and near it stood
The two that out of north had followed him:
This bare a maiden shield, a casque; that held
The horse, the spear; whereat Sir Gareth loosed
A cloak that dropt from collar-bone to heel,
A cloth of roughest web, and cast it down,
And from it like a fuel-smothered fire,
That lookt half-dead, brake bright, and flashed as those
Dull-coated things, that making slide apart
Their dusk wing-cases, all beneath there burns
A jewelled harness, ere they pass and fly.
So Gareth ere he parted flashed in arms.
Then as he donned the helm, and took the shield
And mounted horse and graspt a spear, of grain
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Storm-strengthened on a windy site, and tipt
With trenchant steel, around him slowly prest
The people, while from out of kitchen came
The thralls in throng, and seeing who had worked
Lustier than any, and whom they could but love,
Mounted in arms, threw up their caps and cried,
'God bless the King, and all his fellowship!'
And on through lanes of shouting Gareth rode
Down the slope street, and past without the gate.
So Gareth past with joy; but as the cur
Pluckt from the cur he fights with, ere his cause
Be cooled by fighting, follows, being named,
His owner, but remembers all, and growls
Remembering, so Sir Kay beside the door
Muttered in scorn of Gareth whom he used
To harry and hustle.
'Bound upon a quest
With horse and arms--the King hath past his time-My scullion knave! Thralls to your work again,
For an your fire be low ye kindle mine!
Will there be dawn in West and eve in East?
Begone!--my knave!--belike and like enow
Some old head-blow not heeded in his youth
So shook his wits they wander in his prime-Crazed! How the villain lifted up his voice,
Nor shamed to bawl himself a kitchen-knave.
Tut: he was tame and meek enow with me,
Till peacocked up with Lancelot's noticing.
Well--I will after my loud knave, and learn
Whether he know me for his master yet.
Out of the smoke he came, and so my lance
Hold, by God's grace, he shall into the mire-Thence, if the King awaken from his craze,
Into the smoke again.'
But Lancelot said,
'Kay, wherefore wilt thou go against the King,
For that did never he whereon ye rail,
But ever meekly served the King in thee?
Abide: take counsel; for this lad is great
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And lusty, and knowing both of lance and sword.'
'Tut, tell not me,' said Kay, 'ye are overfine
To mar stout knaves with foolish courtesies:'
Then mounted, on through silent faces rode
Down the slope city, and out beyond the gate.
But by the field of tourney lingering yet
Muttered the damsel, 'Wherefore did the King
Scorn me? for, were Sir Lancelot lackt, at least
He might have yielded to me one of those
Who tilt for lady's love and glory here,
Rather than--O sweet heaven! O fie upon him-His kitchen-knave.'
To whom Sir Gareth drew
(And there were none but few goodlier than he)
Shining in arms, 'Damsel, the quest is mine.
Lead, and I follow.' She thereat, as one
That smells a foul-fleshed agaric in the holt,
And deems it carrion of some woodland thing,
Or shrew, or weasel, nipt her slender nose
With petulant thumb and finger, shrilling, 'Hence!
Avoid, thou smellest all of kitchen-grease.
And look who comes behind,' for there was Kay.
'Knowest thou not me? thy master? I am Kay.
We lack thee by the hearth.'
And Gareth to him,
'Master no more! too well I know thee, ay-The most ungentle knight in Arthur's hall.'
'Have at thee then,' said Kay: they shocked, and Kay
Fell shoulder-slipt, and Gareth cried again,
'Lead, and I follow,' and fast away she fled.
But after sod and shingle ceased to fly
Behind her, and the heart of her good horse
Was nigh to burst with violence of the beat,
Perforce she stayed, and overtaken spoke.
'What doest thou, scullion, in my fellowship?
Deem'st thou that I accept thee aught the more
Or love thee better, that by some device
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Full cowardly, or by mere unhappiness,
Thou hast overthrown and slain thy master--thou!-Dish-washer and broach-turner, loon!--to me
Thou smellest all of kitchen as before.'
'Damsel,' Sir Gareth answered gently, 'say
Whate'er ye will, but whatsoe'er ye say,
I leave not till I finish this fair quest,
Or die therefore.'
'Ay, wilt thou finish it?
Sweet lord, how like a noble knight he talks!
The listening rogue hath caught the manner of it.
But, knave, anon thou shalt be met with, knave,
And then by such a one that thou for all
The kitchen brewis that was ever supt
Shalt not once dare to look him in the face.'
'I shall assay,' said Gareth with a smile
That maddened her, and away she flashed again
Down the long avenues of a boundless wood,
And Gareth following was again beknaved.
'Sir Kitchen-knave, I have missed the only way
Where Arthur's men are set along the wood;
The wood is nigh as full of thieves as leaves:
If both be slain, I am rid of thee; but yet,
Sir Scullion, canst thou use that spit of thine?
Fight, an thou canst: I have missed the only way.'
So till the dusk that followed evensong
Rode on the two, reviler and reviled;
Then after one long slope was mounted, saw,
Bowl-shaped, through tops of many thousand pines
A gloomy-gladed hollow slowly sink
To westward--in the deeps whereof a mere,
Round as the red eye of an Eagle-owl,
Under the half-dead sunset glared; and shouts
Ascended, and there brake a servingman
Flying from out of the black wood, and crying,
'They have bound my lord to cast him in the mere.'
Then Gareth, 'Bound am I to right the wronged,
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But straitlier bound am I to bide with thee.'
And when the damsel spake contemptuously,
'Lead, and I follow,' Gareth cried again,
'Follow, I lead!' so down among the pines
He plunged; and there, blackshadowed nigh the mere,
And mid-thigh-deep in bulrushes and reed,
Saw six tall men haling a seventh along,
A stone about his neck to drown him in it.
Three with good blows he quieted, but three
Fled through the pines; and Gareth loosed the stone
From off his neck, then in the mere beside
Tumbled it; oilily bubbled up the mere.
Last, Gareth loosed his bonds and on free feet
Set him, a stalwart Baron, Arthur's friend.
'Well that ye came, or else these caitiff rogues
Had wreaked themselves on me; good cause is theirs
To hate me, for my wont hath ever been
To catch my thief, and then like vermin here
Drown him, and with a stone about his neck;
And under this wan water many of them
Lie rotting, but at night let go the stone,
And rise, and flickering in a grimly light
Dance on the mere. Good now, ye have saved a life
Worth somewhat as the cleanser of this wood.
And fain would I reward thee worshipfully.
What guerdon will ye?'
Gareth sharply spake,
'None! for the deed's sake have I done the deed,
In uttermost obedience to the King.
But wilt thou yield this damsel harbourage?'
Whereat the Baron saying, 'I well believe
You be of Arthur's Table,' a light laugh
Broke from Lynette, 'Ay, truly of a truth,
And in a sort, being Arthur's kitchen-knave!-But deem not I accept thee aught the more,
Scullion, for running sharply with thy spit
Down on a rout of craven foresters.
A thresher with his flail had scattered them.
Nay--for thou smellest of the kitchen still.
But an this lord will yield us harbourage,
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Well.'
So she spake. A league beyond the wood,
All in a full-fair manor and a rich,
His towers where that day a feast had been
Held in high hall, and many a viand left,
And many a costly cate, received the three.
And there they placed a peacock in his pride
Before the damsel, and the Baron set
Gareth beside her, but at once she rose.
'Meseems, that here is much discourtesy,
Setting this knave, Lord Baron, at my side.
Hear me--this morn I stood in Arthur's hall,
And prayed the King would grant me Lancelot
To fight the brotherhood of Day and Night-The last a monster unsubduable
Of any save of him for whom I called-Suddenly bawls this frontless kitchen-knave,
"The quest is mine; thy kitchen-knave am I,
And mighty through thy meats and drinks am I."
Then Arthur all at once gone mad replies,
"Go therefore," and so gives the quest to him-Him--here--a villain fitter to stick swine
Than ride abroad redressing women's wrong,
Or sit beside a noble gentlewoman.'
Then half-ashamed and part-amazed, the lord
Now looked at one and now at other, left
The damsel by the peacock in his pride,
And, seating Gareth at another board,
Sat down beside him, ate and then began.
'Friend, whether thou be kitchen-knave, or not,
Or whether it be the maiden's fantasy,
And whether she be mad, or else the King,
Or both or neither, or thyself be mad,
I ask not: but thou strikest a strong stroke,
For strong thou art and goodly therewithal,
And saver of my life; and therefore now,
For here be mighty men to joust with, weigh
Whether thou wilt not with thy damsel back
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To crave again Sir Lancelot of the King.
Thy pardon; I but speak for thine avail,
The saver of my life.'
And Gareth said,
'Full pardon, but I follow up the quest,
Despite of Day and Night and Death and Hell.'
So when, next morn, the lord whose life he saved
Had, some brief space, conveyed them on their way
And left them with God-speed, Sir Gareth spake,
'Lead, and I follow.' Haughtily she replied.
'I fly no more: I allow thee for an hour.
Lion and stout have isled together, knave,
In time of flood. Nay, furthermore, methinks
Some ruth is mine for thee. Back wilt thou, fool?
For hard by here is one will overthrow
And slay thee: then will I to court again,
And shame the King for only yielding me
My champion from the ashes of his hearth.'
To whom Sir Gareth answered courteously,
'Say thou thy say, and I will do my deed.
Allow me for mine hour, and thou wilt find
My fortunes all as fair as hers who lay
Among the ashes and wedded the King's son.'
Then to the shore of one of those long loops
Wherethrough the serpent river coiled, they came.
Rough-thicketed were the banks and steep; the stream
Full, narrow; this a bridge of single arc
Took at a leap; and on the further side
Arose a silk pavilion, gay with gold
In streaks and rays, and all Lent-lily in hue,
Save that the dome was purple, and above,
Crimson, a slender banneret fluttering.
And therebefore the lawless warrior paced
Unarmed, and calling, 'Damsel, is this he,
The champion thou hast brought from Arthur's hall?
For whom we let thee pass.' 'Nay, nay,' she said,
'Sir Morning-Star. The King in utter scorn
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Of thee and thy much folly hath sent thee here
His kitchen-knave: and look thou to thyself:
See that he fall not on thee suddenly,
And slay thee unarmed: he is not knight but knave.'
Then at his call, 'O daughters of the Dawn,
And servants of the Morning-Star, approach,
Arm me,' from out the silken curtain-folds
Bare-footed and bare-headed three fair girls
In gilt and rosy raiment came: their feet
In dewy grasses glistened; and the hair
All over glanced with dewdrop or with gem
Like sparkles in the stone Avanturine.
These armed him in blue arms, and gave a shield
Blue also, and thereon the morning star.
And Gareth silent gazed upon the knight,
Who stood a moment, ere his horse was brought,
Glorying; and in the stream beneath him, shone
Immingled with Heaven's azure waveringly,
The gay pavilion and the naked feet,
His arms, the rosy raiment, and the star.
Then she that watched him, 'Wherefore stare ye so?
Thou shakest in thy fear: there yet is time:
Flee down the valley before he get to horse.
Who will cry shame? Thou art not knight but knave.'
Said Gareth, 'Damsel, whether knave or knight,
Far liefer had I fight a score of times
Than hear thee so missay me and revile.
Fair words were best for him who fights for thee;
But truly foul are better, for they send
That strength of anger through mine arms, I know
That I shall overthrow him.'
And he that bore
The star, when mounted, cried from o'er the bridge,
'A kitchen-knave, and sent in scorn of me!
Such fight not I, but answer scorn with scorn.
For this were shame to do him further wrong
Than set him on his feet, and take his horse
And arms, and so return him to the King.
131
Come, therefore, leave thy lady lightly, knave.
Avoid: for it beseemeth not a knave
To ride with such a lady.'
'Dog, thou liest.
I spring from loftier lineage than thine own.'
He spake; and all at fiery speed the two
Shocked on the central bridge, and either spear
Bent but not brake, and either knight at once,
Hurled as a stone from out of a catapult
Beyond his horse's crupper and the bridge,
Fell, as if dead; but quickly rose and drew,
And Gareth lashed so fiercely with his brand
He drave his enemy backward down the bridge,
The damsel crying, 'Well-stricken, kitchen-knave!'
Till Gareth's shield was cloven; but one stroke
Laid him that clove it grovelling on the ground.
Then cried the fallen, 'Take not my life: I yield.'
And Gareth, 'So this damsel ask it of me
Good--I accord it easily as a grace.'
She reddening, 'Insolent scullion: I of thee?
I bound to thee for any favour asked!'
'Then he shall die.' And Gareth there unlaced
His helmet as to slay him, but she shrieked,
'Be not so hardy, scullion, as to slay
One nobler than thyself.' 'Damsel, thy charge
Is an abounding pleasure to me. Knight,
Thy life is thine at her command. Arise
And quickly pass to Arthur's hall, and say
His kitchen-knave hath sent thee. See thou crave
His pardon for thy breaking of his laws.
Myself, when I return, will plead for thee.
Thy shield is mine--farewell; and, damsel, thou,
Lead, and I follow.'
And fast away she fled.
Then when he came upon her, spake, 'Methought,
Knave, when I watched thee striking on the bridge
The savour of thy kitchen came upon me
A little faintlier: but the wind hath changed:
I scent it twenty-fold.' And then she sang,
132
'"O morning star" (not that tall felon there
Whom thou by sorcery or unhappiness
Or some device, hast foully overthrown),
"O morning star that smilest in the blue,
O star, my morning dream hath proven true,
Smile sweetly, thou! my love hath smiled on me."
'But thou begone, take counsel, and away,
For hard by here is one that guards a ford-The second brother in their fool's parable-Will pay thee all thy wages, and to boot.
Care not for shame: thou art not knight but knave.'
To whom Sir Gareth answered, laughingly,
'Parables? Hear a parable of the knave.
When I was kitchen-knave among the rest
Fierce was the hearth, and one of my co-mates
Owned a rough dog, to whom he cast his coat,
"Guard it," and there was none to meddle with it.
And such a coat art thou, and thee the King
Gave me to guard, and such a dog am I,
To worry, and not to flee--and--knight or knave-The knave that doth thee service as full knight
Is all as good, meseems, as any knight
Toward thy sister's freeing.'
'Ay, Sir Knave!
Ay, knave, because thou strikest as a knight,
Being but knave, I hate thee all the more.'
'Fair damsel, you should worship me the more,
That, being but knave, I throw thine enemies.'
'Ay, ay,' she said, 'but thou shalt meet thy match.'
So when they touched the second river-loop,
Huge on a huge red horse, and all in mail
Burnished to blinding, shone the Noonday Sun
Beyond a raging shallow. As if the flower,
That blows a globe of after arrowlets,
Ten thousand-fold had grown, flashed the fierce shield,
All sun; and Gareth's eyes had flying blots
133
Before them when he turned from watching him.
He from beyond the roaring shallow roared,
'What doest thou, brother, in my marches here?'
And she athwart the shallow shrilled again,
'Here is a kitchen-knave from Arthur's hall
Hath overthrown thy brother, and hath his arms.'
'Ugh!' cried the Sun, and vizoring up a red
And cipher face of rounded foolishness,
Pushed horse across the foamings of the ford,
Whom Gareth met midstream: no room was there
For lance or tourney-skill: four strokes they struck
With sword, and these were mighty; the new knight
Had fear he might be shamed; but as the Sun
Heaved up a ponderous arm to strike the fifth,
The hoof of his horse slipt in the stream, the stream
Descended, and the Sun was washed away.
Then Gareth laid his lance athwart the ford;
So drew him home; but he that fought no more,
As being all bone-battered on the rock,
Yielded; and Gareth sent him to the King,
'Myself when I return will plead for thee.'
'Lead, and I follow.' Quietly she led.
'Hath not the good wind, damsel, changed again?'
'Nay, not a point: nor art thou victor here.
There lies a ridge of slate across the ford;
His horse thereon stumbled--ay, for I saw it.
'"O Sun" (not this strong fool whom thou, Sir Knave,
Hast overthrown through mere unhappiness),
"O Sun, that wakenest all to bliss or pain,
O moon, that layest all to sleep again,
Shine sweetly: twice my love hath smiled on me."
What knowest thou of lovesong or of love?
Nay, nay, God wot, so thou wert nobly born,
Thou hast a pleasant presence. Yea, perchance,-'"O dewy flowers that open to the sun,
O dewy flowers that close when day is done,
Blow sweetly: twice my love hath smiled on me."
134
'What knowest thou of flowers, except, belike,
To garnish meats with? hath not our good King
Who lent me thee, the flower of kitchendom,
A foolish love for flowers? what stick ye round
The pasty? wherewithal deck the boar's head?
Flowers? nay, the boar hath rosemaries and bay.
'"O birds, that warble to the morning sky,
O birds that warble as the day goes by,
Sing sweetly: twice my love hath smiled on me."
'What knowest thou of birds, lark, mavis, merle,
Linnet? what dream ye when they utter forth
May-music growing with the growing light,
Their sweet sun-worship? these be for the snare
(So runs thy fancy) these be for the spit,
Larding and basting. See thou have not now
Larded thy last, except thou turn and fly.
There stands the third fool of their allegory.'
For there beyond a bridge of treble bow,
All in a rose-red from the west, and all
Naked it seemed, and glowing in the broad
Deep-dimpled current underneath, the knight,
That named himself the Star of Evening, stood.
And Gareth, 'Wherefore waits the madman there
Naked in open dayshine?' 'Nay,' she cried,
'Not naked, only wrapt in hardened skins
That fit him like his own; and so ye cleave
His armour off him, these will turn the blade.'
Then the third brother shouted o'er the bridge,
'O brother-star, why shine ye here so low?
Thy ward is higher up: but have ye slain
The damsel's champion?' and the damsel cried,
'No star of thine, but shot from Arthur's heaven
With all disaster unto thine and thee!
For both thy younger brethren have gone down
Before this youth; and so wilt thou, Sir Star;
Art thou not old?'
135
'Old, damsel, old and hard,
Old, with the might and breath of twenty boys.'
Said Gareth, 'Old, and over-bold in brag!
But that same strength which threw the Morning Star
Can throw the Evening.'
Then that other blew
A hard and deadly note upon the horn.
'Approach and arm me!' With slow steps from out
An old storm-beaten, russet, many-stained
Pavilion, forth a grizzled damsel came,
And armed him in old arms, and brought a helm
With but a drying evergreen for crest,
And gave a shield whereon the Star of Even
Half-tarnished and half-bright, his emblem, shone.
But when it glittered o'er the saddle-bow,
They madly hurled together on the bridge;
And Gareth overthrew him, lighted, drew,
There met him drawn, and overthrew him again,
But up like fire he started: and as oft
As Gareth brought him grovelling on his knees,
So many a time he vaulted up again;
Till Gareth panted hard, and his great heart,
Foredooming all his trouble was in vain,
Laboured within him, for he seemed as one
That all in later, sadder age begins
To war against ill uses of a life,
But these from all his life arise, and cry,
'Thou hast made us lords, and canst not put us down!'
He half despairs; so Gareth seemed to strike
Vainly, the damsel clamouring all the while,
'Well done, knave-knight, well-stricken, O good knight-knave-O knave, as noble as any of all the knights-Shame me not, shame me not. I have prophesied-Strike, thou art worthy of the Table Round-His arms are old, he trusts the hardened skin-Strike--strike--the wind will never change again.'
And Gareth hearing ever stronglier smote,
And hewed great pieces of his armour off him,
But lashed in vain against the hardened skin,
And could not wholly bring him under, more
Than loud Southwesterns, rolling ridge on ridge,
136
The buoy that rides at sea, and dips and springs
For ever; till at length Sir Gareth's brand
Clashed his, and brake it utterly to the hilt.
'I have thee now;' but forth that other sprang,
And, all unknightlike, writhed his wiry arms
Around him, till he felt, despite his mail,
Strangled, but straining even his uttermost
Cast, and so hurled him headlong o'er the bridge
Down to the river, sink or swim, and cried,
'Lead, and I follow.'
But the damsel said,
'I lead no longer; ride thou at my side;
Thou art the kingliest of all kitchen-knaves.
'"O trefoil, sparkling on the rainy plain,
O rainbow with three colours after rain,
Shine sweetly: thrice my love hath smiled on me."
'Sir,--and, good faith, I fain had added--Knight,
But that I heard thee call thyself a knave,-Shamed am I that I so rebuked, reviled,
Missaid thee; noble I am; and thought the King
Scorned me and mine; and now thy pardon, friend,
For thou hast ever answered courteously,
And wholly bold thou art, and meek withal
As any of Arthur's best, but, being knave,
Hast mazed my wit: I marvel what thou art.'
'Damsel,' he said, 'you be not all to blame,
Saving that you mistrusted our good King
Would handle scorn, or yield you, asking, one
Not fit to cope your quest. You said your say;
Mine answer was my deed. Good sooth! I hold
He scarce is knight, yea but half-man, nor meet
To fight for gentle damsel, he, who lets
His heart be stirred with any foolish heat
At any gentle damsel's waywardness.
Shamed? care not! thy foul sayings fought for me:
And seeing now thy words are fair, methinks
There rides no knight, not Lancelot, his great self,
Hath force to quell me.'
137
Nigh upon that hour
When the lone hern forgets his melancholy,
Lets down his other leg, and stretching, dreams
Of goodly supper in the distant pool,
Then turned the noble damsel smiling at him,
And told him of a cavern hard at hand,
Where bread and baken meats and good red wine
Of Southland, which the Lady Lyonors
Had sent her coming champion, waited him.
Anon they past a narrow comb wherein
Where slabs of rock with figures, knights on horse
Sculptured, and deckt in slowly-waning hues.
'Sir Knave, my knight, a hermit once was here,
Whose holy hand hath fashioned on the rock
The war of Time against the soul of man.
And yon four fools have sucked their allegory
From these damp walls, and taken but the form.
Know ye not these?' and Gareth lookt and read-In letters like to those the vexillary
Hath left crag-carven o'er the streaming Gelt-'PHOSPHORUS,' then 'MERIDIES'--'HESPERUS'-'NOX'--'MORS,' beneath five figures, armd men,
Slab after slab, their faces forward all,
And running down the Soul, a Shape that fled
With broken wings, torn raiment and loose hair,
For help and shelter to the hermit's cave.
'Follow the faces, and we find it. Look,
Who comes behind?'
For one--delayed at first
Through helping back the dislocated Kay
To Camelot, then by what thereafter chanced,
The damsel's headlong error through the wood-Sir Lancelot, having swum the river-loops-His blue shield-lions covered--softly drew
Behind the twain, and when he saw the star
Gleam, on Sir Gareth's turning to him, cried,
'Stay, felon knight, I avenge me for my friend.'
And Gareth crying pricked against the cry;
But when they closed--in a moment--at one touch
Of that skilled spear, the wonder of the world--
138
Went sliding down so easily, and fell,
That when he found the grass within his hands
He laughed; the laughter jarred upon Lynette:
Harshly she asked him, 'Shamed and overthrown,
And tumbled back into the kitchen-knave,
Why laugh ye? that ye blew your boast in vain?'
'Nay, noble damsel, but that I, the son
Of old King Lot and good Queen Bellicent,
And victor of the bridges and the ford,
And knight of Arthur, here lie thrown by whom
I know not, all through mere unhappiness-Device and sorcery and unhappiness-Out, sword; we are thrown!' And Lancelot answered, 'Prince,
O Gareth--through the mere unhappiness
Of one who came to help thee, not to harm,
Lancelot, and all as glad to find thee whole,
As on the day when Arthur knighted him.'
Then Gareth, 'Thou--Lancelot!--thine the hand
That threw me? An some chance to mar the boast
Thy brethren of thee make--which could not chance-Had sent thee down before a lesser spear,
Shamed had I been, and sad--O Lancelot--thou!'
Whereat the maiden, petulant, 'Lancelot,
Why came ye not, when called? and wherefore now
Come ye, not called? I gloried in my knave,
Who being still rebuked, would answer still
Courteous as any knight--but now, if knight,
The marvel dies, and leaves me fooled and tricked,
And only wondering wherefore played upon:
And doubtful whether I and mine be scorned.
Where should be truth if not in Arthur's hall,
In Arthur's presence? Knight, knave, prince and fool,
I hate thee and for ever.'
And Lancelot said,
'Blessd be thou, Sir Gareth! knight art thou
To the King's best wish. O damsel, be you wise
To call him shamed, who is but overthrown?
Thrown have I been, nor once, but many a time.
Victor from vanquished issues at the last,
139
And overthrower from being overthrown.
With sword we have not striven; and thy good horse
And thou are weary; yet not less I felt
Thy manhood through that wearied lance of thine.
Well hast thou done; for all the stream is freed,
And thou hast wreaked his justice on his foes,
And when reviled, hast answered graciously,
And makest merry when overthrown. Prince, Knight
Hail, Knight and Prince, and of our Table Round!'
And then when turning to Lynette he told
The tale of Gareth, petulantly she said,
'Ay well--ay well--for worse than being fooled
Of others, is to fool one's self. A cave,
Sir Lancelot, is hard by, with meats and drinks
And forage for the horse, and flint for fire.
But all about it flies a honeysuckle.
Seek, till we find.' And when they sought and found,
Sir Gareth drank and ate, and all his life
Past into sleep; on whom the maiden gazed.
'Sound sleep be thine! sound cause to sleep hast thou.
Wake lusty! Seem I not as tender to him
As any mother? Ay, but such a one
As all day long hath rated at her child,
And vext his day, but blesses him asleep-Good lord, how sweetly smells the honeysuckle
In the hushed night, as if the world were one
Of utter peace, and love, and gentleness!
O Lancelot, Lancelot'--and she clapt her hands-'Full merry am I to find my goodly knave
Is knight and noble. See now, sworn have I,
Else yon black felon had not let me pass,
To bring thee back to do the battle with him.
Thus an thou goest, he will fight thee first;
Who doubts thee victor? so will my knight-knave
Miss the full flower of this accomplishment.'
Said Lancelot, 'Peradventure he, you name,
May know my shield. Let Gareth, an he will,
Change his for mine, and take my charger, fresh,
Not to be spurred, loving the battle as well
As he that rides him.' 'Lancelot-like,' she said,
140
'Courteous in this, Lord Lancelot, as in all.'
And Gareth, wakening, fiercely clutched the shield;
'Ramp ye lance-splintering lions, on whom all spears
Are rotten sticks! ye seem agape to roar!
Yea, ramp and roar at leaving of your lord!-Care not, good beasts, so well I care for you.
O noble Lancelot, from my hold on these
Streams virtue--fire--through one that will not shame
Even the shadow of Lancelot under shield.
Hence: let us go.'
Silent the silent field
They traversed. Arthur's harp though summer-wan,
In counter motion to the clouds, allured
The glance of Gareth dreaming on his liege.
A star shot: 'Lo,' said Gareth, 'the foe falls!'
An owl whoopt: 'Hark the victor pealing there!'
Suddenly she that rode upon his left
Clung to the shield that Lancelot lent him, crying,
'Yield, yield him this again: 'tis he must fight:
I curse the tongue that all through yesterday
Reviled thee, and hath wrought on Lancelot now
To lend thee horse and shield: wonders ye have done;
Miracles ye cannot: here is glory enow
In having flung the three: I see thee maimed,
Mangled: I swear thou canst not fling the fourth.'
'And wherefore, damsel? tell me all ye know.
You cannot scare me; nor rough face, or voice,
Brute bulk of limb, or boundless savagery
Appal me from the quest.'
'Nay, Prince,' she cried,
'God wot, I never looked upon the face,
Seeing he never rides abroad by day;
But watched him have I like a phantom pass
Chilling the night: nor have I heard the voice.
Always he made his mouthpiece of a page
Who came and went, and still reported him
As closing in himself the strength of ten,
And when his anger tare him, massacring
141
Man, woman, lad and girl--yea, the soft babe!
Some hold that he hath swallowed infant flesh,
Monster! O Prince, I went for Lancelot first,
The quest is Lancelot's: give him back the shield.'
Said Gareth laughing, 'An he fight for this,
Belike he wins it as the better man:
Thus--and not else!'
But Lancelot on him urged
All the devisings of their chivalry
When one might meet a mightier than himself;
How best to manage horse, lance, sword and shield,
And so fill up the gap where force might fail
With skill and fineness. Instant were his words.
Then Gareth, 'Here be rules. I know but one-To dash against mine enemy and win.
Yet have I seen thee victor in the joust,
And seen thy way.' 'Heaven help thee,' sighed Lynette.
Then for a space, and under cloud that grew
To thunder-gloom palling all stars, they rode
In converse till she made her palfrey halt,
Lifted an arm, and softly whispered, 'There.'
And all the three were silent seeing, pitched
Beside the Castle Perilous on flat field,
A huge pavilion like a mountain peak
Sunder the glooming crimson on the marge,
Black, with black banner, and a long black horn
Beside it hanging; which Sir Gareth graspt,
And so, before the two could hinder him,
Sent all his heart and breath through all the horn.
Echoed the walls; a light twinkled; anon
Came lights and lights, and once again he blew;
Whereon were hollow tramplings up and down
And muffled voices heard, and shadows past;
Till high above him, circled with her maids,
The Lady Lyonors at a window stood,
Beautiful among lights, and waving to him
White hands, and courtesy; but when the Prince
Three times had blown--after long hush--at last--
142
The huge pavilion slowly yielded up,
Through those black foldings, that which housed therein.
High on a nightblack horse, in nightblack arms,
With white breast-bone, and barren ribs of Death,
And crowned with fleshless laughter--some ten steps-In the half-light--through the dim dawn--advanced
The monster, and then paused, and spake no word.
But Gareth spake and all indignantly,
'Fool, for thou hast, men say, the strength of ten,
Canst thou not trust the limbs thy God hath given,
But must, to make the terror of thee more,
Trick thyself out in ghastly imageries
Of that which Life hath done with, and the clod,
Less dull than thou, will hide with mantling flowers
As if for pity?' But he spake no word;
Which set the horror higher: a maiden swooned;
The Lady Lyonors wrung her hands and wept,
As doomed to be the bride of Night and Death;
Sir Gareth's head prickled beneath his helm;
And even Sir Lancelot through his warm blood felt
Ice strike, and all that marked him were aghast.
At once Sir Lancelot's charger fiercely neighed,
And Death's dark war-horse bounded forward with him.
Then those that did not blink the terror, saw
That Death was cast to ground, and slowly rose.
But with one stroke Sir Gareth split the skull.
Half fell to right and half to left and lay.
Then with a stronger buffet he clove the helm
As throughly as the skull; and out from this
Issued the bright face of a blooming boy
Fresh as a flower new-born, and crying, 'Knight,
Slay me not: my three brethren bad me do it,
To make a horror all about the house,
And stay the world from Lady Lyonors.
They never dreamed the passes would be past.'
Answered Sir Gareth graciously to one
Not many a moon his younger, 'My fair child,
What madness made thee challenge the chief knight
Of Arthur's hall?' 'Fair Sir, they bad me do it.
They hate the King, and Lancelot, the King's friend,
143
They hoped to slay him somewhere on the stream,
They never dreamed the passes could be past.'
Then sprang the happier day from underground;
And Lady Lyonors and her house, with dance
And revel and song, made merry over Death,
As being after all their foolish fears
And horrors only proven a blooming boy.
So large mirth lived and Gareth won the quest.
And he that told the tale in older times
Says that Sir Gareth wedded Lyonors,
But he, that told it later, says Lynette.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

--- IN CHAPTERS (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



0

  163 Integral Yoga
   2 Poetry
   2 Fiction
   2 Education


  149 The Mother
   80 Satprem
   16 Nolini Kanta Gupta
   2 Percy Bysshe Shelley


   48 Agenda Vol 01
   19 Questions And Answers 1956
   19 Questions And Answers 1954
   10 Questions And Answers 1957-1958
   10 Questions And Answers 1955
   10 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 05
   10 Agenda Vol 08
   6 Agenda Vol 09
   5 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 06
   4 Questions And Answers 1953
   4 Prayers And Meditations
   4 Agenda Vol 10
   3 Agenda Vol 04
   3 Agenda Vol 02
   2 The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
   2 Shelley - Poems
   2 On Education
   2 Agenda Vol 11


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