"Outspoke the great mother, Beholding his fear;-- At the sound of her accents Cold shuddered the sphere:-- 'Who has drugged my boy's cup? Who, with sadness and madness, Has turned the man-child's head?
'" I heard a poet answer, Aloud and cheerfully, "Say on, sweet Sphinx! Deep love lieth under These pictures of time; They fad in the light of Their meaning sublime.
The breadth of the problem is great, for the poet is representative.
He stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the common wealth.
Nature enhances her beauty, to the eye of loving men, from their belief that the poet is beholding her shows at the same time.
He is isolated among his contemporaries by truth and by his art, but with this consolation in his pursuits, that they will draw all men sooner or later."Profounder, profounder, Man's spirit must dive; To his aye-rolling orbit No goal will arrive; The heavens that now draw him With sweetness untold, Once found,--for new heavens He spurneth the old. "Eterne alternation Now follows, now flied; And under pain, pleasure,-- Under pleasure, pain lies."Pride ruined the angels, Their shame them restores; And the joy that is sweetest Lurks in stings of remorse. Love works at the centre, Heart-heaving alway; Forth speed the strong pulses To the borders of day. Thy sight is growing blear; Rue, myrrh, and cummin for the Sphinx-- Her muddy eyes to clear!For all men live by truth and stand in need of expression.In love, in art, in avarice, in politics, in labor, in games, we study to utter our painful secret."Thou art the unanswered question; Couldst see they proper eye, Alway it asketh, asketh; And each answer is a lie.So take thy quest through nature, It through thousand natures ply; Ask on, thou clothed eternity; Time is the false reply." Uprose the merry Sphinx, And crouched no more in stone; She melted into purple cloud, She silvered in the moon; She spired into a yellow flame; She flowered in blossoms red; She flowed into a foaming wave; She stood Monadnoc's head."-- The old Sphinx bit her thick lip,-- Said, "Who taught thee me to name?I am thy spirit, yoke-fellow, Of thine eye I am eyebeam."The babe by its mother Lies bathed in joy; Glide its hours uncounted,-- The sun is its toy; Shines the peace of all being, Without cloud, in its eyes; And the sum of the world In soft miniature lies."But man crouches and blushes, Absconds and conceals; He creepeth and peepeth, He palters and steals; Infirm, melancholy, Jealous glancing around, An oaf, an accomplice, He poisons the ground.