BOOK TWO: The Book of the Traveller of the Worlds
CANTO X: The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind
This powerful bondslave of his instruments
Thinks his low station Nature’s highest top,
Oblivious of his share in all things made
And haughtily humble in his own conceit
Believes himself a spawn of Matter’s mud
And takes his own creations for his cause.
To eternal light and knowledge meant to rise,
Up from man’s bare beginning is our climb;
Out of earth’s heavy smallness we must break,
We must search our nature with spiritual fire:
An insect crawl preludes our glorious flight;
Our human state cradles the future god,
Our mortal frailty an immortal force.
At the glow-worm top of these pale glimmer-realms
Where dawn-sheen gambolled with the native dusk
And helped the Day to grow and Night to fail,
Escaping over a wide and shimmering bridge,
He came into a realm of early Light
And the regency of a half-risen sun.
Out of its rays our mind’s full orb was born.
Appointed by the Spirit of the Worlds
To mediate with the unknowing depths,
A prototypal deft Intelligence
Half-poised on equal wings of thought and doubt
Toiled ceaselessly twixt being’s hidden ends.
A Secrecy breathed in life’s moving act;
A covert nurse of Nature’s miracles,
It shaped life’s wonders out of Matter’s mud:
It cut the pattern of the shapes of things,
It pitched mind’s tent in the vague ignorant Vast.
A master Magician of measure and device
Has made an eternity from recurring forms
And to the wandering spectator thought
Assigned a seat on the inconscient stage.
On earth by the will of this Arch-Intelligence
A bodiless energy put on Matter’s robe;
Proton and photon served the imager Eye
To change things subtle into a physical world
And the invisible appeared as shape
And the impalpable was felt as mass:
Magic of percept joined with concept’s art
And lent to each object an interpreting name:
Idea was disguised in a body’s artistry,
And by a strange atomic law’s mystique
A frame was made in which the sense could put
Its symbol picture of the universe.