BOOK II: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
CANTO II: The Kingdom of Subtle Matter
But soon the inert flesh responds no more,
Then sinks the sacred orgy of delight,
The blaze of passion and the tide of power
Are taken from us and, though a glowing form
Abides astonishing earth, imagined supreme,
Too little of what was meant has left a trace.
Earth’s eyes half-see, her forces half-create;
Her rarest works are copies of heaven’s art.
A radiance of a golden artifice,
A masterpiece of inspired device and rule,
Her forms hide what they house and only mime
The unseized miracle of self-born shapes
That live for ever in the Eternal’s gaze.
Here in a difficult half-finished world
Is a slow toiling of unconscious Powers;
Here is man’s ignorant divining mind,
His genius born from an inconscient soil.
To copy on earth’s copies is his art.
For when he strives for things surpassing earth,
Too rude the workman’s tools, too crude his stuff,
And hardly with his heart’s blood he achieves
His transient house of the divine Idea,
His figure of a Time-inn for the Unborn.
Our being thrills with high far memories
And would bring down their dateless meanings here,
But, too divine for earthly Nature’s scheme,
Beyond our reach the eternal marvels blaze.
Absolute they dwell, unborn, immutable,
Immaculate in the Spirit’s deathless air,
Immortal in a world of motionless Time
And an unchanging muse of deep self-space.
Only when we have climbed above ourselves,
A line of the Transcendent meets our road
And joins us to the timeless and the true;
It brings to us the inevitable word,
The godlike act, the thoughts that never die.
A ripple of light and glory wraps the brain,
And travelling down the moment’s vanishing route
The figures of eternity arrive.
As the mind’s visitors or the heart’s guests
They espouse our mortal brevity awhile,
Or seldom in some rare delivering glimpse
Are caught by our vision’s delicate surmise.
Although beginnings only and first attempts,
These glimmerings point to the secret of our birth
And the hidden miracle of our destiny.
What we are there and here on earth shall be
Is imaged in a contact and a call.
As yet earth’s imperfection is our sphere,
Our nature’s glass shows not our real self;
That greatness still abides held back within.
Earth’s doubting future hides our heritage:
The Light now distant shall grow native here,
The Strength that visits us our comrade power;
The Ineffable shall find a secret voice,
The Imperishable burn through Matter’s screen
Making this mortal body godhead’s robe.
The Spirit’s greatness is our timeless source
And it shall be our crown in endless Time.