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´╗┐Title: AE in the Irish Theosophist
Author: Russell, George William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcription by M.R.J.



AE In The Irish Theosophist
        --By "AE" (George William Russell)


Contents:

1--A Word Upon the Objects of the Theosophical Society
2--The Twilight Hour
3--The Mask of Apollo
4--The Secret of Power
5--The Priestess of the Woods
6--A Tragedy in the Temple
7--Jagrata, Svapna and Sushupti
8--Concentration
9--Verse by AE in "The Irish Theosophist" (39 verses)
10--The Element Language
11--At the Dawn of the Kali Yuga
12--The Meditation of Parvati
13--A Talk by the Euphrates
14--The Cave of Lilith
15--A Strange Awakening
16--The Midnight Blossom
17--The Story of a Star
18--How Theosophy Affects One's View of Life
19--Comfort
20--The Ascending Cycle
21--The Mystic Night's Entertainment
22--On the Spur of the Moment
23--The Legends of Ancient Eire
24--Review:  Lyrics of Fitzpatrick
25--"Yes, And Hope"
26--Content
27--The Enchantment of Cuchullain
28--Shadow and Substance
29--On the Passing of W.Q. Judge
30--Self-Reliance
31--The Mountains
32--Works and Days
33--The Childhood of Apollo
34--The Awakening of the Fires
35--Our Secret Ties
36--Priest or Hero?
37--The Age of the Spirit
38--A Thought Along the Road
39--The Fountains of Youth



A Word Upon the Objects of the Theosophical Society



1st:--To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity,
without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.

2nd:---To promote the study of Aryan and other Eastern literatures,
religions, philosophies and sciences, and demonstrate the importance
of that study.

3rd:---To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the psychic
powers latent in man.

Started a little under a quarter of a century ago, in an age
grown cold with unbelief and deadened by inexplicable dogmas, the
Theosophical Society has found adherents numerous enough to make
it widely known, and enthusiastic enough to give it momentum and
make it a living force.  The proclamation of its triple objects--
brotherhood, wisdom and power, acted like a trumpet call, and many
came forth to join it, emerging from other conflicts;  and out of
silence and retirement came many who had grown hopeless but who
had still the old feeling at heart.

For the first object no explanation is necessary;  but a word or
two of comment upon the second and third may help to show how they
do not weaken, by turning into other channels, the intellectual
energies and will, which might serve to carry out the first.  In
these old philosophies of the East we find the stimulus to brotherly
action which might not be needed in an ideal state, but which is
a help to the many, who, born into the world with a coldness of
heart as their heritage, still wish to do their duty.  Now out duty
alters according to our conception of nature, and in the East there
has been put forward, by men whom we believe to be the wise and
great of the earth, a noble philosophy, a science of life itself,
and this, not as a hypothesis, but as truth which is certain, truth
which has been verified by eyes which see deeper than ours, and
proclaimed by the voices of those who have become the truth they
speak of;  for as Krishna teaches Arjuna in the Dayanishvari:
"on this Path to whatever place one would go that place one's self
becomes!"  The last word of this wisdom is unity.  Underneath all
phenomena and surviving all changes, a great principle endures
for ever.  At the great white dawn of existence, from this principle
stream spirit and primordial matter;  as they flow away further
from their divine source, they become broken up, the one life into
countless lives, matter into countless forms, which enshrine these
lives;  spirit involves itself into matter and matter evolves,
acted upon by this informing fire.

These lives wander on through many a cycle's ebb and flow, in
separation and sorrow, with sometimes the joy of a momentary meeting.
Only by the recognition of that unity, which spiritually is theirs,
can they obtain freedom.

It is true in the experience of the race that devotion of any life
to universal ends brings to that life a strange subtle richness and
strength;  by our mood we fasten ourselves into the Eternal;  hence
these historic utterances, declarations of permanence and a spiritual
state of consciousness, which have been the foundation of all great
religious movements.  Christ says, "I and my Father are one."
"Before Abraham was I am."  Paul says, "In him we live and move
and have our being."

In the sacred books of India it is the claim of many sages that
they have recognised "the ancient constant and eternal which perishes
not through the body be slain," and there are not wanting to-day
men who speak of a similar expansion of their consciousness, out
of the gross and material, into more tender, wise and beautiful
states of thought and being.  Tennyson, in a famous letter published
some time ago, mentioned that he had at different times experienced
such a mood;  the idea of death was laughable;  it was not thought,
but a state;  "the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest."
It would be easy to do on multiplying instances.

Now in a nature where unity underlies all differences, where soul
is bound to soul more than star to star;  where if one falters or
fails the order of all the rest is changed;  the duty of any man
who perceives this unity is clear, the call for brotherly action
is imperative, selfishness cannot any longer wear the mask of wisdom,
for isolation is folly and shuts us out from the eternal verities.

The third object of the society defined as "the study of the psychic
powers latent in man" is pursued only by a portion of the members;
those who wish to understand more clearly the working of certain
laws of nature and who wish to give themselves up more completely
to that life in which they live and move and have their being;
and the outward expression of the occult life is also brotherhood.

--Nov. 15, 1892



The Hour of Twilight



For the future we intend that at this hour the Mystic shall be at home,
less metaphysical and scientific than is his wont, but more really
himself.  It is customary at this hour, before the lamps are brought in,
to give way a little and dream, letting all the tender fancies day
suppresses rise up in out minds.  Wherever it is spent, whether in
the dusky room or walking home through the blue evening, all things
grow strangely softened and united;  the magic of the old world
reappears.  The commonplace streets take on something of the grandeur
and solemnity of starlit avenues of Egyptian temples the public
squares in the mingled glow and gloom grow beautiful as the Indian
grove where Sakuntala wandered with her maidens;  the children chase
each other through the dusky shrubberies, as they flee past they
look at us with long remembered glances:  lulled by the silence,
we forget a little while the hard edges of the material and remember
that we are spirits.

Now is the hour for memory, the time to call in and make more securely
our own all stray and beautiful ideas that visited us during the day,
and which might otherwise be forgotten.  We should draw them in from
the region of things felt to the region of things understood;  in
a focus burning with beauty and pure with truth we should bind them,
for from the thoughts thus gathered in something accrues to the
consciousness;  on the morrow a change impalpable but real has taken
place in our being, we see beauty and truth through everything.

It is in like manner in Devachan, between the darkness of earth
and the light of spiritual self-consciousness, that the Master in
each of us draws in and absorbs the rarest and best of experiences,
love, self-forgetfulness, aspiration, and out of these distils the
subtle essence of wisdom, so that he who struggles in pain for his
fellows, when he wakens again on earth is endowed with the tradition
of that which we call self-sacrifice, but which is in reality the
proclamation of our own universal nature.  There are yet vaster
correspondences, for so also we are told, when the seven worlds
are withdrawn, the great calm Shepherd of the Ages draws his misty
hordes together in the glimmering twilights of eternity, and as
they are penned within the awful Fold, the rays long separate are
bound into one, and life, and joy, and beauty disappear, to emerge
again after rest unspeakable on the morning of a New Day.

Now if the aim of the mystic be to fuse into one all moods made
separate by time, would not the daily harvesting of wisdom render
unnecessary the long Devachanic years?  No second harvest could be
reaped from fields where the sheaves are already garnered.  Thus
disregarding the fruits of action, we could work like those who
have made the Great Sacrifice, for whom even Nirvana is no resting
place.  Worlds may awaken in nebulous glory, pass through their
phases of self-conscious existence and sink again to sleep, but
these tireless workers continue their age-long task of help.  Their
motive we do not know, but in some secret depth of our being we
feel that there could be nothing nobler, and thinking this we have
devoted the twilight hour to the understanding of their nature.

--February 15, 1893



There are dreams which may be history or may be allegory.  There
is in them nothing grotesque, nothing which could mar the feeling
of authenticity, the sense of the actual occurence of the dream
incident.  The faces and figures perceived have the light shade
and expression which seems quite proper to the wonderworld in
which the eye of the inner man has vision;  and yet the story may
be read as a parable of spiritual truth like some myth of ancient
scripture.  Long ago I had may such dreams, and having lately
become a student of such things, I have felt an interest in recalling
the more curious and memorable of these early vision.

The nebulous mid-region between waking and unconsciousness was the
haunt of many strange figures, reflections perhaps from that true
life led during sleep by the immortal man.  Among these figures
two awoke the strangest feelings of interest.  One was an old man
with long grey hair and beard, whose grey-blue eyes had an expression
of secret and inscrutable wisdom;  I felt an instinctive reverence
for this figure, so expressive of spiritual nobility, and it became
associated in my mind with all aspiration and mystical thought.
The other figure was that of a young girl.  These two appeared again
and again in my visions;  the old man always as instructor, the
girl always as companion.  I have here written down one of these
adventures, leaving it to the reader to judge whether it is purely
symbolical, or whether the incidents related actually took place,
and were out-realized from latency by the power of the Master within.

With the girl as my companion I left an inland valley and walked
towards the sea.  It was evening when we reached it and the tide
was far out.  The sands glimmered away for miles on each side of us;
we walked outwards through the dim coloured twilight, I was silent;
a strange ecstacy slowly took possession of me, as if drop by drop
an unutterable life was falling within;  the fever grew intense,
then unbearable as it communicated itself to the body;  with a wild
cry I began to spin about, whirling round and round in ever increasing
delirium;  Some secretness was in the air;  I was called forth by
the powers of invisible nature and in a swoon I fell.  I rose again
with sudden memory, but my body was lying upon the sands;  with a
curious indifference I saw that the tide was on the turn and the
child was unable to remove the insensible form beyond its reach;
I saw her sit down beside it and place the head upon her lap;
she sat there quietly waiting, while all about her little by little
the wave of the Indian sea began to ripple inwards, and overhead
the early stars began softly to glow.

After this I forgot completely the child and the peril of the waters,
I began to be conscious of the presence of a new world.  All around
me currents were flowing, in whose waves dance innumerable lives;
diaphanous forms glided about, a nebulous sparkle was everywhere
apparent;  faces as of men in dreams glimmered on me, or unconsciously
their forms drifted past, and now and then a face looked sternly
upon me with a questioning glance.  I was not to remain long in
this misty region, again I felt the internal impulse and internally
I was translated into a sphere of more pervading beauty and light;
and here with more majesty and clearness than I had observed before
was the old man of my dreams.

I had though of him as old but there was an indescribable youth
pervading the face with its ancient beauty, and then I knew it was
neither age nor youth, it was eternalness.  The calm light of thought
played over features clear cut as a statue's, and an inner luminousness
shone through the rose of his face and his silver hair.

There were others about but of them I had no distinct vision.

He said, "You who have lived and wandered through our own peculiar
valleys look backwards now and learn the alchemy of thought."  He
touched me with his hand and I became aware of the power of these
strange beings.  I felt how they had waited in patience, how they
had worked and willed in silence;  from them as from a fountain
went forth peace;  to them as to the stars rose up unconsciously
the aspirations of men, the dumb animal cravings, the tendrils of
the flowers.  I saw how in the valley where I lived, where naught
had hindered, their presence had drawn forth in luxuriance all dim
and hidden beauty, a rarer and pure atmosphere recalled the radiant
life of men in the golden dawn of the earth.

With wider vision I saw how far withdrawn from strife they had
stilled the tumults of nations;  I saw how hearing far within the
voices, spiritual, remote, which called, the mighty princes of the
earth descended from their thrones becoming greater than princes;
under this silent influence the terrible chieftains flung open the
doors of their dungeons that they themselves might become free,
and all these joined in that hymn which the quietude of earth makes
to sound in the ears of the gods.--Overpowered I turned round, the
eyes of light were fixed upon me.

"Do you now understand?"

"I do not understand," I replied.  I see that the light and the
beauty and the power that enters the darkness of the world comes
from these high regions;  but I do not know how the light enters,
no how beauty is born, I do not know the secret of power."

"You must become as one of us," he answered.

I bowed my head until it touched his breast;  I felt my life was
being drawn from me, but before consciousness utterly departed and
was swallowed up in that larger life, I learned something of the
secret of their being;  I lived within the minds of men, but their
thoughts were not my thoughts;  I hung like a crown over everything,
yet age was no nearer than childhood to the grasp of my sceptre
and sorrow was far away when it wept for my going, and very far
was joy when it woke at my light;  yet I was the lure that led
them on;  I was at the end of all ways, and I was also in the sweet
voice that cried "return;" and I had learned how spiritual life
is one in all things, when infinite vistas and greater depths
received me, and I went into that darkness out of which no memory
can ever return.

--March 15, 1893



The Mask of Apollo



A tradition rises up within me of quiet, unrumoured years, ages
before the demigods and heroes toiled at the making of Greece,
long ages before the building of the temples and sparkling palaces
of her day of glory.  The land was pastoral, all over its woods
hung a stillness as of dawn and of unawakened beauty deep-breathing
in rest.  Here and there little villages sent up their smoke and
a dreamy people moved about;  they grew up, toiled a little at
their fields, followed their sheep and goats, they wedded and grey
age overtook them, but they never ceased to be children.  They
worshiped the gods with ancient rites in little wooden temples and
knew many things which were forgotten in later years.

Near one of these shrines lived a priest, an old man whose simple
and reverend nature made him loved by all around.  To him, sitting
one summer evening before his hut, came a stranger whom he invited
to share his meal.  The stranger sat down and began to tell him
many wonderful things, stories of the magic of the sun and of the
bright beings who moved at the gates of the day.  The old priest
grew drowsy in the warm sunlight and fell asleep.  Then the stranger
who was Apollo arose and in the guise of the old priest entered
the little temple, and the people came in unto him one after the other.

Agathon, the husbandman.  "Father, as I bend over the fields or
fasten up the vines, I sometimes remember how you said that the
gods can be worshiped by doing these things as by sacrifice.  How
is it, father, that the pouring of cool water over roots, or training
up the branches can nourish Zeus?  How can the sacrifice appear
before his throne when it is not carried up in the fire and vapour."

Apollo.  "Agathon, the father omnipotent does not live only in the
aether.  He runs invisibly within the sun and stars, and as they
whirl round and round, they break out into woods and flowers and
streams, and the winds are shaken away from them like leaves from
off the roses.  Great, strange and bright, he busies himself within,
and at the end of time his light shall shine through and men shall
see it, moving in a world of flame.

Think then, as you bend over your fields, of what you nourish and
what rises up within them.  Know that every flower as it droops in
the quiet of the woodland feels within and far away the approach
of an unutterable life and is glad, they reflect that life even
as the little pools take up the light of the stars.  Agathon, Agathon,
Zeus is no greater in the aether than he is in the leaf of grass,
and the hymns of men are no sweeter to him than a little water
poured over one of his flowers."

Agathon the husbandman went away and bent tenderly over his fruits
and vines, and he loved each one of them more than before, and he
grew wise in many things as he watched them and he was happy working
for the gods.

Then spake Damon the shepherd, "Father, while the flocks are browsing
dreams rise up within me;  they make the heart sick with longing;
the forests vanish, I hear no more the lamb's bleat or the rustling
of the fleeces;  voices from a thousand depths call me, they whisper,
they beseech me, shadows lovelier than earth's children utter music,
not for me though I faint while I listen.  Father, why do I hear
the things others hear not, voices calling to unknown hunters of
wide fields, or to herdsmen, shepherds of the starry flocks"?

Apollo answered, "Damon, a song stole from the silence while the
gods were not yet, and a thousand ages passed ere they came, called
forth by the music, and a thousand ages they listened then joined
in the song;  then began the worlds to glimmer shadowy about them
and bright beings to bow before them.  These, their children, began
in their turn to sing the song that calls forth and awakens life.
He is master of all things who has learned their music.  Damon,
heed not the shadows, but the voices, the voices have a message
to thee from beyond the gods.  Learn their song and sing it over
again to the people until their hearts too are sick with longing
and they can hear the song within themselves.  Oh, my son, I see
far off how the nations shall join in it as in a chorus, and hearing
it the rushing planets shall cease from their speed and be steadfast;
men shall hold starry sway."  The face of the god shone through
the face of the old man, and filled with awe, it was so full of
secretness.  Damon the herdsman passed from his presence and a
strange fire was kindled in his heart.  Then the two lovers, Dion
and Neaera, came in and stood before Apollo.

Dion spake, "Father, you who are so wise can tell us what love is,
so that we shall never miss it.  Old Tithonius nods his grey head
at us as we pass;  he says, 'only with the changeless gods has
love endurance, for men the loving time is short and its sweetness
is soon over.'"

Neaera added.  "But it is not true, father, for his drowsy eyes
light when he remembers the old days, when he was happy and proud
in love as we are."

Apollo.  "My children, I will tell you the legend how love came
into the world and how it may endure.  It was on high Olympus the
gods held council at the making of man;  each had brought a gift,
they gave to man something of their own nature.  Aphrodite, the
loveliest and sweetest, paused and was about to add a new grace
to his person, but Eros cried, "let them not be so lovely without,
let them be lovelier within.  Put you own soul in, O mother."
The mighty mother smiled, and so it was;  and now whenever love
is like hers, which asks not return but shines on all because it
must, within that love Aphrodite dwells and it becomes immortal
by her presence."

Then Dion and Neaera went out, and as they walked homewards through
the forest, purple and vaporous in the evening light, they drew
closer together;  and Dion looking into her eyes saw there a new gleam,
violet, magical, shining, there was the presence of Aphrodite, there
was her shrine.

Then came in unto Apollo the two grandchildren of old Thithonius
and they cried, "See the flowers we have brought you, we gathered
them for you down in the valley where they grow best."  Then Apollo
said, "What wisdom shall we give to children that they may remember?
Our most beautiful for them!"  As he stood and looked at them the
mask of age and secretness vanished, he stood before them radiant
in light;  they laughed in joy at his beauty;  he bent down and
kissed them each upon the forehead then faded away into the light
which was his home.  As the sun sank down amid the blue hills the
old priest awoke with a sigh and cried out, "Oh that we could talk
wisely as we do in our dreams."

--April 15, 1893



The Secret of Power



It is not merely because it is extraordinary that I wish to tell
you this story.  I think mere weirdness, grotesque or unusual character,
are not sufficient reasons for making public incidents in which
there is an element of the superhuman.  The world, in spite of its
desire to understand the nature of the occult is sick of and refuses
to listen to stories of apparitions which betray no spiritual
character or reveal no spiritual law.  The incident here related is
burned into my mind and life, not because of its dramatic intensity
or personal character, but because it was a revelation of the secret
of power, a secret which the wise in good and the wise in evil alike
have knowledge of.

My friend Felix was strangely disturbed;  not only were his material
affairs unsettled, but he was also passing through a crisis in his
spiritual life.  Two paths were open before him;  On one side lay
the dazzling mystery of passion;  on the other "the small old path"
held out its secret and spiritual allurements.  I had hope that
he would choose the latter, and as I was keenly interested in his
decision.  I invested the struggle going on in his mind with something
of universal significance, seeing in it a symbol of the strife between
"light and darkness which are the world's eternal ways."  He came
in late one evening.  I saw at once by the dim light that there
was something strange in his manner.  I spoke to him in enquiry;
he answered me in a harsh dry voice quite foreign to his usual manner.
"Oh, I am not going to trouble myself any more, I will let things
take their course."  This seemed the one idea in his mind, the one
thing he understood clearly was that things were to take their own
course;  he failed to grasp the significance of any other idea or
its relative importance.  He answered "Aye, indeed," with every
appearance of interest and eagerness to some trivial remark about
the weather, and was quite unconcerned about another and most
important matter which should have interested him deeply.  I soon
saw what had happened;  his mind, in which forces so evenly balanced
had fought so strenuously, had become utterly wearied out and could
work no longer.  A flash of old intuition illumined it at last,--
it was not wise to strive with such bitterness over life,--therefore
he said to me in memory of this intuition, "I am going to let things
take their course."  A larger tribunal would decide;  he had appealed
unto Caesar.  I sent him up to his room and tried to quiet his fever
by magnetization with some success.  He fell asleep, and as I was
rather weary myself I retired soon after.

This was the vision of the night.  It was surely in the room I was
lying and on my bed, and yet space opened on every side with pale,
clear light.  A slight wavering figure caught my eye, a figure that
swayed to and fro;  I was struck with its utter feebleness, yet I
understood it was its own will or some quality of its nature which
determined that palpitating movement towards the poles between which
it swung.  What were they?  I became silent as night and thought
no more.

Two figures awful in their power opposed each other;  the frail
being wavering between them could by putting out its arms have
touched them both.  It alone wavered, for they were silent, resolute
and knit in the conflict of will;  they stirred not a hand nor a foot;
there was only a still quivering now and then as of intense effort,
but they made no other movement.  Their heads were bent forward
slightly, their arms folded, their bodies straight, rigid, and
inclined slightly backwards from each other like two spokes of a
gigantic wheel.  What were they, these figures?  I knew not, and
yet gazing upon them, thought which took no words to clothe itself
mutely read their meaning.  Here were the culminations of the human,
towering images of the good and evil man may aspire to.  I looked
at the face of the evil adept.  His bright red-brown eyes burned
with a strange radiance of power;  I felt an answering emotion of pride,
of personal intoxication, of psychic richness rise up within me gazing
upon him.  His face was archetypal;  the abstract passion which
eluded me in the features of many people I knew, was here declared,
exultant, defiant, giantesque;  it seem to leap like fire, to be free.
In this face I was close to the legendary past, to the hopeless
worlds where men were martyred by stony kings, where prayer was
hopeless, where pity was none.  I traced a resemblance to many of
the great Destroyers in history whose features have been preserved,
Napoleon, Ramses and a hundred others, named and nameless, the long
line of those who were crowned and sceptered in cruelty.  His strength
was in human weakness, I saw this, for space and the hearts of men
were bare before me.  Out of space there flowed to him a stream
half invisible of red;  it nourished that rich radiant energy of
passion;  it flowed from men as they walked and brooded in loneliness,
or as they tossed in sleep.  I withdrew my gaze from this face which
awoke in me a lurid sense accompaniment, and turned it on the other.
An aura of pale soft blue was around this figure through which gleamed
an underlight as of universal gold.  The vision was already dim and
departing, but I caught a glimpse of a face godlike in its calm,
terrible in the beauty of a life we know only in dreams, with strength
which is the end of the hero's toil, which belongs to the many times
martyred soul;  yet not far away not in the past was its power, it
was the might of life which exists eternally.  I understood how
easy it would have been for this one to have ended the conflict,
to have gained a material victory by its power, but this would not
have touched on or furthered its spiritual ends.  Only its real
being had force to attract that real being which was shrouded in
the wavering figure.  This truth the adept of darkness knew also
and therefore he intensified within the sense of pride and passionate
personality.  Therefore they stirred not a hand nor a foot while
under the stimulus of their presence culminated the good and evil
in the life which had appealed to a higher tribunal to decide.
Then this figure wavering between the two moved forward and touched
with its hand the Son of Light.  All at once the scene and actors
vanished, and the eye that saw them was closed, I was alone with
darkness and a hurricane of thoughts.

Strange and powerful figures!  I knew your secret of strength, it
is only to be, nature quickened by your presence leaps up in response.
I knew no less the freedom of that human soul, for your power only
revealed its unmanifest nature, it but precipitated experience.
I knew that although the gods and cosmic powers may war over us
for ever, it is we alone declare them victors or vanquished.

For the rest the vision of that night was prophetic, and the feet
of my friend are now set on that way which was the innermost impulse
of his soul.

--May 15, 1893



The Priestess of the Woods



Here is a legend whispered to me, the land or time I cannot tell,
it may have been in the old Atlantean days.  There were vast woods
and a young priestess ruled them;  she presided at the festivals
and sacrificed at the altar for the people, interceding with the
spirits of fire, water air and earth, that the harvest might not
be burned up, nor drenched with the floods, nor town by storms and
that the blight might not fall upon it, which things the elemental
spirits sometimes brought about.  This woodland sovereignty was
her heritage from her father who was a mighty magician before her.
Around her young days floated the faery presences;  she knew them
as other children know the flowers having neither fear nor wonder
for them.  She saw deeper things also;  as a little child, wrapped
up in her bearskin, she watched with awe her father engaged in mystic
rites;  when around him the airy legions gathered from the populous
elements, the spirits he ruled and the spirits he bowed down before:
fleeting nebulous things white as foam coming forth from the great
deep who fled away at the waving of his hand;  and rarer the great
sons of fire, bright and transparent as glass, who though near
seemed yet far away and were still and swift as the figures that
glance in a crystal.  So the child grew up full of mystery;  her
thoughts were not the thoughts of the people about her, nor their
affections her affections.  It seemed as if the elf-things or beings
carved by the thought of the magician, pushed aside by his strong
will and falling away from him, entering into the child became
part of her, linking her to the elemental beings who live in the
star-soul that glows within the earth.  Her father told her such
things as she asked, but he died while she was yet young and she
knew not his aim, what man is, or what is his destiny;  but she
knew the ways of every order of spirit that goes about clad in a
form, how some were to be dreaded and some to be loved;  By reason
of this knowledge she succeeded as priestess to the shrine, and
held the sway of beauty and youth, of wisdom and mystery over the
people dwelling in the woods.

It was the evening of the autumn festival, the open grassy space
before the altar was crowded with figures, hunters with their
feathered heads;  shepherds, those who toil in the fields, the old
and hoary were gathered around.

The young priestess stood up before them;  she was pale from vigil,
and the sunlight coming through the misty evening air fell upon her
swaying arms and her dress with its curious embroidery of peacock's
feathers;  the dark hollows of her eyes were alight and as she spoke
inspiration came to her;  her voice rose and fell, commanding, warning,
whispering, beseeching;  its strange rich music flooded the woods
and pierced through and through with awe the hearts of those who
listened.  She spoke of the mysteries of that unseen nature;  how
man is watched and ringed round with hosts who war upon him, who
wither up his joys by their breath;  she spoke of the gnomes who
rise up in the woodland paths with damp arms grasping from their
earthy bed.

"Dreadful" she said "are the elementals who live in the hidden waters:
they rule the dreaming heart:  their curse is forgetfulness;  they
lull man to fatal rest, with drowsy fingers feeling to put out his
fire of life.  But the most of all, dread the powers that move in air;
their nature is desire unquenchable;  their destiny is--never to
be fulfilled--never to be at peace:  they roam hither and thither
like the winds they guide;  they usurp dominion over the passionate
and tender soul, but they love not in our way;  where they dwell
the heart is a madness and the feet are filled with a hurrying fever,
and night has no sleep and day holds no joy in its sunlit cup.
Listen not to their whisper;  they wither and burn up the body with
their fire;  the beauty they offer is smitten through and through
with unappeasable anguish."  She paused for a moment;  here terrible
breath had hardly ceased to thrill them, when another voice was
heard singing;  its note was gay and triumphant, it broke the spell
of fear upon the people,

"I never heed by waste or wood
        The cry of fay or faery thing
Who tell of their own solitude;
        Above them all my soul is king.

The royal robe as king I wear
        Trails all along the fields of light;
Its silent blue and silver bear
        For gems the starry dust of night.

The breath of joy unceasingly
        Waves to and fro its fold star-lit,
And far beyond earth's misery
        I live and breathe the joy of it."

The priestess advanced from the altar, her eyes sought for the singer;
when she came to the centre of the opening she paused and waited
silently.  Almost immediately a young man carrying a small lyre
stepped out of the crowd and stood before her;  he did not seem
older than the priestess;  he stood unconcerned though her dark
eyes blazed at the intrusion;  he met her gaze fearlessly;  his
eyes looked into hers--in this way all proud spirits do battle.
Her eyes were black with almost a purple tinge, eyes that had looked
into the dark ways of nature;  his were bronze, and a golden tinge,
a mystic opulence of vitality seemed to dance in their depths;
they dazzled the young priestess with the secrecy of joy;  her eyes
fell for a moment.  He turned round and cried out, "Your priestess
speaks but half truths, her eyes have seen but her heart does not know.
Life is not terrible but is full of joy.  Listen to me.  I passed
by while she spake, and I saw that a fear lay upon every man, and
you shivered thinking of your homeward path, fearful as rabbits of
the unseen things, and forgetful how you have laughed at death facing
the monsters who crush down the forests.   Do you not know that you
are greater than all these spirits before who you bow in dread;
your life springs from a deeper source.  Answer me, priestess, where
go the fire-spirits when winter seizes the world?"

"Into the Fire-King they go, they dream in his heart."  She half
chanted, the passion of her speech not yet fallen away from her.
"And where go the fires of men when they despair"?  She was silent;
then he continued half in scorn,  "Your priestess is the priestess
of ghouls and fays rather than a priestess of men;  her wisdom is
not for you;  the spirits that haunt the elements are hostile because
they see you full of fear;  do not dread them and their hatred will
vanish.  The great heart of the earth is full of laughter;  do not
put yourselves apart from its joy, for its soul is your soul and
its joy is your true being."

He turned and passed through the crowd;  the priestess made a motion
as if she would have stayed him, then she drew herself up proudly
and refrained.  They heard his voice again singing as he passed into
the darkening woods,

"The spirits to the fire-king throng
        Each in the winter of his day:
And all who listen to their song
        Follow them after in that way.

They seek the heart-hold of the king,
        They build within his halls of fire,
Their dreams flash like the peacock's wing,
        They glow with sun-hues of desire.

I follow in no faery ways;
        I heed no voice of fay or elf;
I in the winter of my days
        Rest in the high ancestral self."

The rites interrupted by the stranger did not continue much longer;
the priestess concluded her words of warning;  she did not try to
remove the impression created by the poet's song, she only said,
"His wisdom may be truer.  It is more beautiful than the knowledge
we inherit."

The days passed on;  autumn died into winter, spring came again
and summer, and the seasons which brought change to the earth
brought change to the young priestess.  She sought no longer to
hold sway over the elemental tribes, and her empire over them
departed:  the song of the poet rang for ever in her ears;  its
proud assertion of kingship and joy in the radiance of a deeper
life haunted her like truth;  but such a life seemed unattainable
by her and a deep sadness rested in her heart.  The wood-people
often saw her sitting in the evening where the sunlight fell along
the pool, waving slowly its azure and amethyst, sparkling and
flashing in crystal and gold, melting as if a phantom Bird of
Paradise were fading away;  her dark head was bowed in melancholy
and all the great beauty flamed and died away unheeded.  After a
time she rose up and moved about, she spoke more frequently to the
people who had not dared to question her, she grew into a more
human softness, they feared her less and loved her more;  but she
ceased not from her passionate vigils and her step faltered and
her cheek paled, and her eager spirit took flight when the diamond
glow of winter broke out over the world.  The poet came again in
the summer;  they told him of the change they could not understand,
but he fathomed the depths of this wild nature, and half in gladness,
half in sorrow, he carved an epitaph over her tomb near the altar,

Where is the priestess of this shrine,
        And by what place does she adore?
The woodland haunt below the pine
        Now hears her whisper nevermore.

Ah, wrapped in her own beauty now
        She dreams a dream that shall not cease;
Priestess, to her own soul to bow
        Is hers in everlasting peace.

--July 15, 1893



A Tragedy in the Temple



I have often thought with sadness over the fate of that comrade.
That so ardent and heroic a spirit, so much chivalry and generosity
should meet such a horrible fate, has often made me wonder if there
is any purpose in this tangled being of ours;  I have hated life
and the gods as I thought of it.  What brought him out of those
great deserts where his youth was spent, where his soul grew vast
knowing only of two changes, the blaze of day and night the purifier,
blue, mysterious, ecstatic with starry being?  Were not these enough
for him?  Could the fire of the altar inspire more?  Could he be
initiated deeper in the chambers of the temple than in those great
and lonely places where God and man are alone together?  This was
my doing;  resting in his tent when I crossed the desert, I had
spoken to him of that old wisdom which the priests of the inner
temple keep and hand down from one to the other;  I blew to flame
the mystic fire which already smouldered within him, and filled
with the vast ambition of God, he left his tribe and entered the
priesthood as neophyte in the Temple of Isthar, below Ninevah.

I had sometimes to journey thither bearing messages from our high
priest, and so as time passed my friendship with Asur grew deep.
That last evening when I sat with him on the terrace that roofed
the temple, he was more silent than I had known him before to be;
we had generally so many things to speak of;  for he told me all
his dreams, such vague titanic impulses as the soul has in the
fresh first years of its awakening, when no experience hinders
with memory its flights of aspiration, and no anguish has made
it wise.  But that evening there was, I thought, something missing;
a curious feverishness seemed to have replaced the cool and hardy
purity of manner which was natural to him;  his eyes had a strange
glow, fitful and eager;  I saw by the starlight how restless his
fingers were, they intertwined, twisted, and writhed in and out.

We sat long in the rich night together;  then he drew nearer to me
and leaned his head near my shoulder;  he began to whisper incoherently
a wild and passionate tale;  the man's soul was being tempted.

"Brother" he said, "I am haunted by a vision, by a child of the
stars as lovely as Isthar's self;  she visits my dreaming hours,
she dazzles me with strange graces, she bewilders with unspeakable
longing.  Sometime, I know, I must go to her, though I perish.
When I see her I forget all else and I have will to resist no longer.
The vast and lonely inspiration of the desert departs from my thought,
she and the jewel-light she lives in blot it out.  The thought of
her thrills me like fire.  Brother give me help, ere I go mad or die;
she draws me away from earth and I shall end my days amid strange
things, a starry destiny amid starry races."

I was not then wise in these things, I did not know the terrible
dangers that lurk in the hidden ways in which the soul travels.
"This" I said " is some delusion.  You have brooded over a fancy
until it has become living;  you have filled your creation with
your own passion and it lingers and tempts you;  even if it were
real, it is folly to think of it, we must close our hearts to passion
if we would attain the power and wisdom of Gods."

He shook his head, I could not realize or understand him.  Perhaps
if I had known all and could have warned him, it would have been
in vain;  perhaps the soul must work out its own purification in
experience and learn truth and wisdom through being.  Once more he
became silent and restless.  I had to bid him farewell as I was to
depart on the morrow, but he was present in my thoughts and I could
not sleep because of him;  I felt oppressed with the weight of some
doom about to fall.  To escape from this feeling I rose in adoration
to Hea;  I tried to enter into the light of that Wisdom;  a sudden
heart-throb of warning drew me back;  I thought of Asur instinctively,
and thinking of him his image flashed on me.  He moved as if in
trance through the glassy waves of those cosmic waters which
everywhere lave and permeate the worlds, and in which our earth
is but a subaqueous mound.  His head was bowed, his form dilated
to heroic stature, as if he conceived of himself as some great
thing or as moving to some high destiny;  and this shadow which
was the house of his dreaming soul grew brilliant with the passionate
hues of his thought;  some power beyond him drew him forth.  I felt
the fever and heat of this inner sphere like a delirious breath
blow fiercely about me;  there was a phosphorescence of hot and
lurid colours.  The form of Asur moved towards a light streaming
from a grotto, I could see within it burning gigantic flowers.
On one, as on a throne, a figure of weird and wonderful beauty was
seated.  I was thrilled with a dreadful horror, I thought of the
race of Liliths, and some long forgotten and tragic legends rose
up in my memory of these beings whose soul is but a single and
terrible passion;  whose love too fierce for feebler lives to endure,
brings death or madness to men.  I tried to warn, to awaken him
from the spell;  my will-call aroused him; he turned, recognized
me and hesitated;  then this figure that lured him rose to her
full height;  I saw her in all her plume of a peacock, it was
spotted with gold and green and citron dyes, she raised her arms
upwards, her robe, semi-transparent, purple and starred over with
a jewel lustre, fell in vaporous folds to her feet like the drift
over a waterfall.  She turned her head with a sudden bird-like
movement, her strange eyes looked into mine with a prolonged and
snaky glance;  I saw her move her arms hither and thither, and the
waves of this inner ocean began to darken and gather about me, to
ripple through me with feverish motion.  I fell into a swoon and
remembered nothing more.

I was awakened before dawn, those with whom I was to cross the
desert were about to start and I could remain no longer.  I wrote
hurriedly to Asur a message full of warning and entreaty and set
out on my return journey full of evil forebodings.  Some months
after I had again to visit the temple;  it was evening when I arrived;
after I had delivered the message with which I was charged, I asked
for Asur.  The priest to whom I spoke did not answer me.  He led
me in silence up to the terrace that overlooked the desolate eastern
desert.  The moon was looming white upon the verge, the world was
trembling with heat, the winged bulls along the walls shone with
a dull glow through the sultry air.  The priest pointed to the far
end of the terrace.  A figure was seated looking out over the desert,
his robes were motionless as if their wrinkles were carved of stone,
his hands lay on his knees, I walked up to him;  I called his name;
he did not stir.  I came nearer and put my face close to his, it
was as white as the moon, his eyes only reflected the light.  I
turned away from him sick to the very heart.

--September 15, 1893



Jagrata, Svapna and Sushupti



While the philosophical concepts of ancient India, concerning
religion and cosmogony, are to some extent familiar and appreciated
in these countries, its psychology, intimately related with its
religion and metaphysics, is comparatively unknown.  In Europe the
greatest intellects have been occupied by speculations upon the
laws and aspects of physical nature, while the more spiritual Hindus
were absorbed in investigations as to the nature of life itself;
by continual aspiration, devotion, introspection and self-analysis,
they had acquired vast knowledge of the states of consciousness
possible for man to enter upon;  they had laid bare the anatomy
of the mind, and described the many states that lay between the
normal waking condition of man, and the final state of spiritual
freedom and unity with BRAHMA, which it was the aim alike of religion
and science to bring about.  Most interesting among their ideas,
was their analysis of the states of consciousness upon which we
enter during sleep.  Roughly speaking, they may be divided into two,
which together with the waking state, make a trinity of states
through which every person passes, whether he be aware of it or not.
These states are known as:---Jagrata, waking;  Svapna, dreaming;
and Sushupti, deep sleep.  The English equivalents of these words
give no idea of the states.  Passing our of Jagrata, the Indians
held that, beyond the chaotic borderland, we entered, in Svapna
and Sushupti, upon real states of being.  Sushupti, the highest,
was accounted a spiritual state;  here the soul touches vaster
centres in the great life and has communion with celestial
intelligences.  The unification of these states into one is one
of the results of Raj-Yoga;  in this state the chela keeps memory
of what occurred while his consciousness was in the planes of Svapna
and Sushupti.  Entrance upon these states should not I think be
understood as meaning that the mind has deserted its fleshly
tabernacle in search of such experience.  Departure from the
physical form is no more necessary for this than for clairvoyence,
but a transfer of the consciousness in us from one plane to another
is necessary.

Now as we generate Karma in the dreaming and deep sleep states
which may either help or hinder the soul in its evolution, it is
a matter of importance that we should take steps to promote the
unification of these states, so that the knowledge and wisdom of
any one state may be used to perfect the others.  Our thoughts and
actions in the waking state react upon the dreaming and deep sleep,
and our experiences in the latter influence us in the waking state
by suggestion and other means.  The reason we do not remember what
occurs in Svapna and Sushupti is because the astral matter which
normally surrounds the thinking principle is not subtle enough to
register in its fullness the experience of any one upon the more
spiritual planes of consciousness.  To increase the responsiveness
upon the more spiritual planes of consciousness.  To increase the
responsiveness of this subtle matter we have to practise concentration,
and so heighten the vibrations, or in other words to evolve or perfect
the astral principle.  Modern science is rapidly coming to the
conclusion that the differences perceived in objects around us, are
not differences in substance, but differences of vibration in one
substance.  Take a copper wire;  pass electrical currents through it,
gradually increasing their intensity, and phenomena of sound, heat
and light will be manifest, the prismatic colours appearing one
after the other.  Similarly by an increased intensity in the
performance of every action, the consciousness is gradually
transferred from the lower to the higher planes.  In order to give
a point, or to direct the evolving faculties into their proper channel,
continual aspiration is necessary.  Take some idea--the spiritual
unity of all things, for example--something which can only be
realized by our complete absorption in spiritual nature;  let every
action be performed in the light of this idea, let it be the subject
of reverent thought.  If this is persisted in, we will gradually
begin to become conscious upon the higher planes, the force of
concentration carrying the mind beyond the waking into Svapna and
Sushupti.  The period between retiring to rest and awakening,
formerly a blank, will begin to be spotted with bright lights of
consciousness, or, as we walk about during the day such knowledge
will visit us.  "He who is perfected in devotion findeth spiritual
knowledge springing up spontaneously in himself" say Krishna.
Patanjali recommends dwelling on the knowledge that presents itself
in dreams;  if we think over any such experience, many things
connected with it will be revealed, and so gradually the whole
shadowy region will become familiar and attractive, and we will
gain a knowledge of our own nature which will be invaluable and
which cannot otherwise be acquired.

--January 15, 1893



Concentration



Beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep is Turya.  Here there is a
complete change of condition;  the knowledge formerly sought in
the external world is now present within the consciousness;  the
ideations of universal mind are manifest in spiritual intuitions.
The entrance to this state is through Jagrata, Svapna, and Sushupti,
and here that spiritual unity is realized, the longing for which
draws the soul upwards through the shadowy worlds of dreaming and
deep sleep.  I have thought it necessary to supplement the brief
statement made in the previous number by some further remarks upon
concentration, for the term applied without reference to the Turya
state is liable to be misunderstood and a false impression might
arise that the spiritual is something to be sought for outside
ourselves.  The waking, dreaming and deep sleep states correspond
to objective worlds, while Turya is subjective, including in itself
all ideals.  If this is so, we can never seek for the true beyond
ourselves;  the things we suppose we shall come sometime realize
in spiritual consciousness must be present in it now, for to spirit
all things are eternally present.  Advance to this state is measured
by the realization of moods:  we are on the path when there surges
up in the innermost recesses of our being the cry of the long
imprisoned souls of men;  we are then on our way to unity.

The Bhagavad-Gita which is a treatise on Raj Yoga, gives prominence
to three aspects of concentration.  Liberation is attained by means
of action, by devotion, by spiritual discernment;  these aspects
correspond respectively to three qualities in man and nature, known
as Tamas, Rajas and Satva.  The Tamas is the gross, material or
dark quality;  Rajas is active and passional;  the attributes of
Satva are light, peace, happiness, wisdom.  No one while in the
body can escape from the action of the three qualities, for they
are brought about by nature which is compounded of them.  We have
to recognize this, and to continue action, aspiration and thought,
impersonally or with some universal motive, in the manner nature
accomplishes these things.  Not one of these methods can be laid
aside or ignored, for the Spirit moveth within all, these are its
works, and we have to learn to identify ourselves with the moving
forces of nature.

Having always this idea of brotherhood or unity in mind, by action--
which we may interpret as service in some humanitarian movement--
we purify the Tamas.

By a pure motive, which is the Philosopher's Stone, a potent force
in the alchemy of nature, we change the gross into the subtle, we
initiate that evolution which shall finally make the vesture of
the soul of the rare, long-sought-for, primordial substance.
Devotion is the highest possibility for the Rajas;  that quality
which is ever attracted and seduced by the beautiful mayas of fame,
wealth and power, should be directed to that which it really seeks
for, the eternal universal life;  the channels through which it
must flow outwards are the souls of other men, it reaches the One
Life through the many.  Spiritual discernment should be the aim of
the Satva, "there is not anything, whether animate or inanimate
which is without me," says Krishna, and we should seek for the
traces of THAT in all things, looking upon it as the cause of the
alchemical changes in the Tamas, as that which widens the outflowing
love of the Rajas.  By a continued persistence of this subtle
analytic faculty, we begin gradually to perceive that those things
which we formerly thought were causes, are in reality not causes
at all;  that there is but one cause for everything, "The Atma by
which this universe is pervaded.  By reason of its proximity alone
the body, the organs, Manas and Buddhi apply themselves to their
proper objects as if applied (by some one else)."  (The Crest Jewel
of Wisdom).  By uniting these three moods, action, devotion and
spiritual discernment, into one mood, and keeping it continuously
alight, we are accompanying the movements of spirit to some extent.
This harmonious action of all the qualities of our nature, for
universal purposes without personal motive, is in synchronous
vibration with that higher state spoken of at the beginning of the
paper;  therefore we are at one with it.  "When the wise man
perceiveth that the only agents of action are these qualities,
and comprehends that which is superior to the qualities of goodness,
action and indifference--which are co-existent with the body, it
is released from rebirth and death, old age and pain, and drinketh
of the water of immortality."

--February 15, 1893



Verse by AE in the "Irish Theosophist"



Contents:

1--"While the yellow constellations...." (untitled)
2--Om
3--Krishna
4--Pain
5--Three Councelors
6--Dusk
7--Dawn
8--Desire
9--Deep Sleep
10--Day
11--To A Poet
12--The Place of Rest
13--Comfort
14--H.P.B. (In Memoriam.)
15--By the Margin of the Great Deep
16--The Secret
17--Dust
18--Magic
19--Immortality
20--The Man to the Angel
21--The Robing of the King
22--Brotherhood
23--In the Womb
24--In the Garden of God
25--The Breath of Light
26--The Free
27--The Magi
28--W.Q.J. (?)
29--From the Book of the Eagle
30--The Protest of Love
31--The King Initiate
32--The Dream of the Children
33--The Chiefs of the Air
34--The Palaces of the Sidhe
35--The Voice of the Wise
36--A Dawn Song
37--The Fountain of Shadowy Beauty
38--A New Earth
39--Duality



While the yellow constellations shine with pale and tender glory,
In the lilac-scented stillness, let us listen to Earth's story.
All the flow'rs like moths a-flutter glimmer rich with dusky hues,
Everywhere around us seem to fall from nowhere the sweet dews.
Through the drowsy lull, the murmur, stir of leaf and sleep hum
We can feel a gay heart beating, hear a magic singing come.
Ah, I think that as we linger lighting at Earth's olden fire
Fitful gleams in clay that perish, little sparks that soon expire,
So the mother brims her gladness from a life beyond her own,
From whose darkness as a fountain up the fiery days are thrown
Starry worlds which wheel in splendour, sunny systems, histories,
Vast and nebulous traditions told in the eternities:
And our list'ning mother whispers through her children all the story:
Come, the yellow constellations shine with pale and tender glory!

--October 15, 1892



Om


Faint grew the yellow buds of light
        Far flickering beyond the snows,
As leaning o'er the shadowy white
        Morn glimmered like a pale primrose.

Within an Indian vale below
        A child said "Om" with tender heart,
Watching with loving eyes the glow
        In dayshine fade and night depart.

The word which Brahma at his dawn
        Outbreathes and endeth at his night;
Whose tide of sound so rolling on
        Gives birth to orbs of golden light;

And beauty, wisdom, love, and youth,
        By its enchantment, gathered grow
In age-long wandering to the truth,
        Through many a cycle's ebb and flow.

And here all lower life was stilled,
        The child was lifted to the Wise:
A strange delight his spirit filled,
        And Brahm looked from his shining eyes.

--December 15, 1892



Krishna


The East was crowned with snow-cold bloom
        And hung with veils of pearly fleece;
They died away into the gloom,
        Vistas of peace, and deeper peace.

And earth and air and wave and fire
        In awe and breathless silence stood,
For One who passed into their choir
        Linked them in mystic brotherhood.

Twilight of amethyst, amid
        The few strange stars that lit the heights,
Where was the secret spirit hid,
        Where was Thy place, O Light of Lights?

The flame of Beauty far in space--
        When rose the fire, in Thee? in Me?
Which bowed the elemental race
        To adoration silently.

--February 15, 1893



Pain


Men have made them gods of love,
Sun gods, givers of the rain,
Deities of hill and grove,
I have made a god of Pain.

Of my god I know this much,
And in singing I repeat,
Though there's anguish in his touch
Yet his soul within is sweet.

--March 15, 1893



Three Counselors


It was the fairy of the place
        Moving within a little light,
Who touched with dim and shadowy grace
        The conflict at its fever height.

It seemed to whisper "quietness,"
        Then quietly itself was gone;
Yet echoes of its mute caress
        Still rippled as the years flowed on.

It was the Warrior within
        Who called "Awake! prepare for fight,
"Yet lose not memory in the din;
        "Make of thy gentleness thy might.

"Make of thy silence words to shake
        "The long-enthroned kings of earth;
"Make of thy will the force to break
        "Their towers of wantonness and mirth."

It was the wise all-seeing soul
        Who counseled neither war nor peace
"Only be thou thyself that goal
        "In which the wars of time shall cease."

--April 15, 1893



Dusk


Dusk wraps the village in its dim caress;
Each chimney's vapour, like a thin grey rod,
Mounting aloft through miles of quietness,
        Pillars the skies of God.

Far up they break or seem to break their line,
Mingling their nebulous crests that bow and nod
Under the light of those fierce stars that shine
        Out of the house of God.

Only in clouds and dreams I felt those souls
In the abyss, each fire hid in its clod,
From which in clouds and dreams the spirit rolls
        Into the vast of God.

--May 15, 1893



Dawn


Still as the holy of holies breathes the vast,
Within its crystal depths the stars grow dim,
Fire on the altar of the hills at last
        Burns on the shadowy rim.

Moment that holds all moments, white upon
The verge it trembles;  then like mists of flowers
Break from the fairy fountain of the dawn
        The hues of many hours.

Thrown downward from that high companionship
Of dreaming inmost heart with inmost heart,
Into the common daily ways I slip
        My fire from theirs apart.

--June 15, 1893



Desire


With Thee a moment! then what dreams have play!
Traditions of eternal toil arise,
Search for the high, austere and lonely way,
Where Brahma treads through the eternities.
Ah, in the soul what memories arise!

And with what yearning inexpressible,
Rising from long forgetfulness I turn
To Thee, invisible, unrumoured, still:
White for Thy whiteness all desires burn!
Ah, with what longing once again I turn!

--August 15, 1893



Deep Sleep


Heart-hidden from the outer things I rose,
The spirit woke anew in nightly birth
Into the vastness where forever glows
        The star-soul of the earth.

There all alone in primal ecstasy,
Within her depths where revels never tire,
The olden Beauty shines;  each thought of me
        Is veined through with its fire.

And all my thoughts are throngs of living souls;
They breath in me, heart unto heart allied
With joy undimmed, though when the morning tolls
        The planets may divide.

--September 15, 1893



Day


In day from some titanic past it seems
As if a thread divine of memory runs;
Born ere the Mighty One began his dreams,
        Or yet were stars and suns.

But here an iron will has fixed the bars;
Forgetfulness falls on earth's myriad races,
No image of the proud and morning stars
        Looks at us from their faces.

Yet yearning still to reach to those dim heights,
Each dream remembered is a burning-glass,
Where through to darkness from the light of lights
        Its rays in splendour pass.

--September 15, 1893



To A Poet


        Oh, be not led away.
Lured by the colour of the sun-rich day.
        The gay romances of song
Unto the spirit-life doth not belong.
        Though far-between the hours
In which the Master of Angelic Powers
        Lightens the dusk within
The Holy of Holies;  be it thine to win
        Rare vistas of white light,
Half-parted lips, through which the Infinite
        Murmurs her ancient story;
Hearkening to whom the wandering planets hoary
        Waken primeval fires,
With deeper rapture in celestial choirs
        Breathe, and with fleeter motion
Wheel in their orbits through the surgeless ocean.
        So, hearken thou like these,
Intent on her, mounting by slow degrees,
        Until thy song's elation
Echoes her multitudinous meditation.

--November 15, 1893



The Place of Rest


--The soul is its own witness and its own refuge.

Unto the deep the deep heart goes.
        It lays its sadness nigh the breast:
Only the mighty mother knows
        The wounds that quiver unconfessed.

It seeks a deeper silence still;
        It folds itself around with peace,
Where thoughts alike of good or ill
        In quietness unfostered, cease.

It feels in the unwounding vast
        For comfort for its hopes and fears:
The mighty mother bows at last;
        She listens to her children's tears.

Where the last anguish deepens--there--
        The fire of beauty smites through pain,
A glory moves amid despair,
        The Mother takes her child again.

--December 15, 1893



Comfort


Dark head by the fireside brooding,
        Sad upon your ears
Whirlwinds of the earth intruding
        Sound in wrath and tears:

Tender-hearted, in your lonely
        Sorrow I would fain
Comfort you, and say that only
        Gods could feel such pain.

Only spirits know such longing
        For the far away;
And the fiery fancies thronging
        Rise not out of clay.

Keep the secret sense celestial
        Of the starry birth;
Though about you call the bestial
        Voices of the earth.

If a thousand ages since
        Hurled us from the throne:
Then a thousand ages wins
        Back again our own.

Sad one, dry away your tears:
        Sceptred you shall rise,
Equal mid the crystal spheres
        With seraphs kingly wise.

--February, 1894



H. P. B.
(In Memoriam.)


Though swift the days flow from her day,
        No one has left her day unnamed:
We know what light broke from her ray
        On us, who in the truth proclaimed

Grew brother with the stars and powers
        That stretch away--away to light,
And fade within the primal hours,
        And in the wondrous First unite.

We lose with her the right to scorn
        The voices scornful of her truth:
With her a deeper love was born
        For those who filled her days with ruth.

To her they were not sordid things:
        In them sometimes--her wisdom said--
The Bird of Paradise had wings;
        It only dreams, it is not dead.

We cannot for forgetfulness
        Forego the reverence due to them,
Who wear at times they do not guess
        The sceptre and the diadem.

With wisdom of the olden time
        She made the hearts of dust to flame;
And fired us with the hope sublime
        Our ancient heritage to claim;

That turning from the visible,
        By vastness unappalled nor stayed,
Our wills might rule beside that Will
        By which the tribal stars are swayed;

And entering the heroic strife,
        Tread in the way their feet have trod
Who move within a vaster life,
        Sparks in the Fire--Gods amid God.

--August 15, 1894



By the Margin of the Great Deep


When the breath of twilight blows to flame the misty skies,
        All its vapourous sapphire, violet glow and silver gleam
With their magic flood me through the gateway of the eyes;
        I am one with the twilight's dream.

When the trees and skies and fields are one in dusky mood,
        Every heart of man is rapt within the mother's breast:
Full of peace and sleep and dreams in the vasty quietude,
        I am one with their hearts at rest.

From our immemorial joys of hearth and home and love,
        Strayed away along the margin of the unknown tide,
All its reach of soundless calm can thrill me far above
        Word or touch from the lips beside.

Aye, and deep, and deep, and deeper let me drink and draw
        From the olden Fountain more than light or peace or dream,
Such primeval being as o'erfills the heart with awe,
        Growing one with its silent stream.

--March 15, 1894



The Secret


One thing in all things have I seen:
        One thought has haunted earth and air;
Clangour and silence both have been
        Its palace chambers.  Everywhere

I saw the mystic vision flow,
        And live in men, and woods, and streams,
Until I could no longer know
        The dream of life from my own dreams.

Sometimes it rose like fire in me,
        Within the depths of my own mind,
And spreading to infinity,
        It took the voices of the wind.

It scrawled the human mystery,
        Dim heraldry--on light and air;
Wavering along the starry sea,
        I saw the flying vision there.

Each fire that in God's temple lit
        Burns fierce before the inner shrine,
Dimmed as my fire grew near to it,
        And darkened at the light of mine.

At last, at last, the meaning caught:
        When spirit wears its diadem,
It shakes its wondrous plumes of thought,
        And trails the stars along with them.

--April 15, 1894



Dust


I heard them in their sadness say,
        "The earth rebukes the thought of God:
We are but embers wrapt in clay
        A little nobler than the sod."

But I have touched the lips of clay--
        Mother, thy rudest sod to me
Is thrilled with fire of hidden day,
        And haunted by all mystery.

--May 15, 1894



Magic
--After reading the Upanishads


Out of the dusky chamber of the brain
Flows the imperial will through dream on dream;
The fires of life around it tempt and gleam;
The lights of earth behind it fade and wane.

Passed beyond beauty tempting dream on dream,
The pure will seeks the hearthold of the light;
Sounds the deep "OM," the mystic word of might;
Forth from the hearthold breaks the living stream.

Passed out beyond the deep heart music-filled,
The kingly Will sits on the ancient throne,
Wielding the sceptre, fearless, free, alone,
Knowing in Brahma all it dared and willed.

--June 15, 1894



Immortality


We must pass like smoke, or live within the spirits' fire;
        For we can no more than smoke unto the flame return.
If our thought has changed to dream, or will into desire,
        As smoke we vanish o'er the fires that burn.

Lights of infinite pity star the grey dusk of our days;
        Surely here is soul;  with it we have eternal breath;
In the fire of love we live or pass by many ways,
        By unnumbered ways of dream to death.


--July 15, 1894



The Man to the Angel


I have wept a million tears;
        Pure and proud one, where are thine?
What the gain of all your years
        That undimmed in beauty shine?

All your beauty cannot win
        Truth we learn in pain and sighs;
You can never enter in
        To the Circle of the Wise.

They are but the slaves of light
        Who have never known the gloom,
And between the dark and bright
        Willed in freedom their own doom.

Think not in your pureness there
        That our pain but follows sin;
There are fires for those who dare
        Seek the Throne of Might to win.

Pure one, from your pride refrain;
        Dark and lost amid the strife,
I am myriad years of pain
        Nearer to the fount of life.

When defiance fierce is thrown
        At the God to whom you bow,
Rest the lips of the Unknown
        Tenderest upon the brow.

--September 15, 1894



Songs of Olden Magic--II.


The Robing of the King
--"His candle shined upon my head, and by his light I walked
through darkness."--Job, xxix. 3


On the bird of air blue-breasted
        glint the rays of gold,
And a shadowy fleece above us
        waves the forest old,
Far through rumorous leagues of midnight
        stirred by breezes warm.
See the old ascetic yonder,
        Ah, poor withered form!
Where he crouches wrinkled over
        by unnumbered years
Through the leaves the flakes of moonfire
        fall like phantom tears.
At the dawn a kingly hunter
        passed proud disdain,
Like a rainbow-torrent scattered
        flashed his royal train.
Now the lonely one unheeded
        seeks earth's caverns dim,
Never king or princes will robe them
        radiantly as him.
Mid the deep enfolding darkness,
        follow him, oh seer,
While the arrow will is piercing
        fiery sphere on sphere.
Through the blackness leaps and sparkles
        gold and amethyst,
Curling, jetting and dissolving
        in a rainbow mist.
In the jewel glow and lunar
        radiance rise there
One, a morning star in beauty,
        young, immortal, fair.
Sealed in heavy sleep, the spirit
        leaves its faded dress,
Unto fiery youth returning
        out of weariness.
Music as for one departing,
        joy as for a king,
Sound and swell, and hark! above him
        cymbals triumphing.
Fire an aureole encircling
        suns his brow with gold
Like to one who hails the morning
        on the mountains old.
Open mightier vistas changing
        human loves to scorns,
And the spears of glory pierce him
        like a Crown of Thorns.
As the sparry rays dilating
        o'er his forehead climb
Once again he knows the Dragon
        Wisdom of the prime.
High and yet more high to freedom
        as a bird he springs,
And the aureole outbreathing,
        gold and silver wings
Plume the brow and crown the seraph.
        Soon his journey done
He will pass our eyes that follow,
        sped beyond the sun.
None may know the darker radiance,
        King, will there be thine.
Rapt above the Light and hidden
        in the Dark Divine.

--September 15, 1895



Brotherhood


Twilight a blossom grey in shadowy valleys dwells:
Under the radiant dark the deep blue-tinted bells
In quietness reimage heaven within their blooms,
Sapphire and gold and mystery.  What strange perfumes,
Out of what deeps arising, all the flower-bells fling,
Unknowing the enchanted odorous song they sing!
Oh, never was an eve so living yet:  the wood
Stirs not but breathes enraptured quietude.
Here in these shades the Ancient knows itself, the Soul,
And out of slumber waking starts unto the goal.
What bright companions nod and go along with it!
Out of the teeming dark what dusky creatures flit,
That through the long leagues of the island night above
Come wandering by me, whispering and beseeching love,--
As in the twilight children gather close and press
Nigh and more nigh with shadowy tenderness,
Feeling they know not what, with noiseless footsteps glide
Seeking familiar lips or hearts to dream beside.
Oh, voices, I would go with you, with you, away,
Facing once more the radiant gateways of the day;
With you, with you, what memories arise, and nigh
Trampling the crowded figures of the dawn go by;
Dread deities, the giant powers that warred on men
Grow tender brothers and gay children once again;
Fades every hate away before the Mother's breast
Where all the exiles of the heart return to rest.

--July 15, 1895



In the Womb

Still rests the heavy share on the dark soil:
        Upon the dull black mould the dew-damp lies:
The horse waits patient:  from his lonely toil
        The ploughboy to the morning lifts his eyes.

The unbudding hedgerows, dark against day's fires,
        Glitter with gold-lit crystals:  on the rim
Over the unregarding city's spires
        The lonely beauty shines alone for him.

And day by day the dawn or dark enfolds,
        And feeds with beauty eyes that cannot see
How in her womb the Mighty Mother moulds
        The infant spirit for Eternity.

--January 15, 1895



In the Garden of God


Within the iron cities
        One walked unknown for years,
In his heart the pity of pities
        That grew for human tears

When love and grief were ended
        The flower of pity grew;
By unseen hands 'twas tended
        And fed with holy dew.

Though in his heart were barred in
        The blooms of beauty blown;
Yet he who grew the garden
        Could call no flower his own.

For by the hands that watered,
        The blooms that opened fair
Through frost and pain were scattered
        To sweeten the dull air.

--February 15, 1895



The Breath of Light


From the cool and dark-lipped furrows
        breathes a dim delight
Aureoles of joy encircle
        every blade of grass
Where the dew-fed creatures silent
        and enraptured pass:
And the restless ploughman pauses,
        turns, and wondering
Deep beneath his rustic habit
        finds himself a king;
For a fiery moment looking
        with the eyes of God
Over fields a slave at morning
        bowed him to the sod.
Blind and dense with revelation
        every moment flies,
And unto the Mighty Mother
        gay, eternal, rise
All the hopes we hold, the gladness,
        dreams of things to be.
One of all they generations,
        Mother, hails to thee!
Hail! and hail! and hail for ever:
        though I turn again
For they joy unto the human
        vestures of pain.
I, thy child, who went forth radiant
        in the golden prime
Find thee still the mother-hearted
        through my night in time;
Find in thee the old enchantment,
        there behind the veil
Where the Gods my brothers linger,
        Hail! for ever, Hail!

--May 15, 1895



The Free


They bathed in the fire-flooded fountains;
        Life girdled them round and about;
They slept in the clefts of the mountains:
        The stars called them forth with a shout.

They prayed, but their worship was only
        The wonder at nights and at days,
As still as the lips of the lonely
        Though burning with dumbness of praise.

No sadness of earth ever captured
        Their spirits who bowed at the shrine;
They fled to the Lonely enraptured
        And hid in the Darkness Divine.

At twilight as children may gather
        They met at the doorway of death,
The smile of the dark hidden Father
        The Mother with magical breath.

Untold of in song or in story,
        In days long forgotten of men,
Their eyes were yet blind with a glory
        Time will not remember again.

--November 15, 1895



Songs of Olden Magic--IV



The Magi

"The mountain was filled with the hosts of the Tuatha de Dannan."
--Old Celtic Poem


See where the auras from the olden fountain
        Starward aspire;
The sacred sign upon the holy mountain
        Shines in white fire:
Waving and flaming yonder o'er the snows
        The diamond light
Melts into silver or to sapphire glows
        Night beyond night;
And from the heaven of heavens descends on earth
        A dew divine.
Come, let us mingle in the starry mirth
        Around the shrine!
Enchantress, mighty mother, to our home
        In thee we press,
Thrilled by the fiery breath and wrapt in some
        Vast tenderness
The homeward birds uncertain o'er their nest
        Wheel in the dome,
Fraught with dim dreams of more enraptured rest,
        Wheel in the dome,
But gather ye to whose undarkened eyes
        The night is day:
Leap forth, Immortals, Birds of Paradise,
        In bright array
Robed like the shining tresses of the sun;
        And by his name
Call from his haunt divine the ancient one
        Our Father Flame.
Aye, from the wonder-light that wraps the star,
        Come now, come now;
Sun-breathing Dragon, ray thy lights afar,
        Thy children bow;
Hush with more awe the breath;  the bright-browed races
        Are nothing worth
By those dread gods from out whose awful faces
        The earth looks forth
Infinite pity, set in calm;  their vision cast
        Adown the years
Beholds how beauty burns away at last
        Their children's tears.
Now while our hearts the ancient quietness
        Floods with its tide,
The things of air and fire and height no less
        In it abide;
And from their wanderings over sea and shore
        They rise as one
Unto the vastness and with us adore
        The midnight sun;
And enter the innumerable All,
        And shine like gold,
And starlike gleam in the immortals' hall,
        The heavenly fold,
And drink the sun-breaths from the mother's lips
        Awhile--and then
Fail from the light and drop in dark eclipse
        To earth again,
Roaming along by heaven-hid promontory
        And valley dim.
Weaving a phantom image of the glory
        They knew in Him.
Out of the fulness flow the winds, their son
        Is heard no more,
Or hardly breathes a mystic sound along
        The dreamy shore:
Blindly they move unknowing as in trance,
        Their wandering
Is half with us, and half an inner dance
        Led by the King.

--January 15, 1896



W. Q. J.  *


O hero of the iron age,
Upon thy grave we will not weep,
Nor yet consume away in rage
For thee and thy untimely sleep.
Our hearts a burning silence keep.

O martyr, in these iron days
One fate was sure for soul like thine:
Well you foreknew but went your ways.
The crucifixion is the sign,
The meed of all the kingly line.

We may not mourn--though such a night
Has fallen on our earthly spheres
Bereft of love and truth and light
As never since the dawn of years;--
For tears give birth alone to tears.

One wreath upon they grave we lay
(The silence of our bitter thought,
Words that would scorch their hearts of clay),
And turn to learn what thou has taught,
To shape our lives as thine was wrought.

--April 15, 1896

[* This is unsigned but is very possibly G.W. Russell's.  It was a
memoriam to William Quan Judge (W.Q.J), the leader of the American
and European Theosophical Societies at the time, one of the original
founders of the Theosophical Society,  and close co-worker with
H.P. Blavatsky.]



Fron the Book of the Eagle
--[St. John, i. 1-33]


In the mighty Mother's bosom was the Wise
With the mystic Father in aeonian night;
Aye, for ever one with them though it arise
        Going forth to sound its hymn of light.

At its incantation rose the starry fane;
At its magic thronged the myriad race of men;
Life awoke that in the womb so long had lain
        To its cyclic labours once again.

'Tis the soul of fire within the heart of life;
From its fiery fountain spring the will and thought;
All the strength of man for deeds of love or strife,
        Though the darkness comprehend it not.

In the mystery written here
John is but the life, the seer;
Outcast from the life of light,
Inly with reverted sight
Still he scans with eager eyes
The celestial mysteries.
Poet of all far-seen things
At his word the soul has wings,
Revelations, symbols, dreams
Of the inmost light which gleams.

The winds, the stars, and the skies though wrought
By the one Fire-Self still know it not;
And man who moves in the twilight dim
Feels not the love that encircles him,
Though in heart, on bosom, and eyelids press
Lips of an infinite tenderness,
He turns away through the dark to roam
Nor heeds the fire in his hearth and home.

They whose wisdom everywhere
Sees as through a crystal air
The lamp by which the world is lit,
And themselves as one with it;
In whom the eye of vision swells,
Who have in entranced hours
Caught the word whose might compels
All the elemental powers;
They arise as Gods from men
Like the morning stars again.
They who seek the place of rest
Quench the blood-heat of the breast,
Grow ascetic, inward turning
Trample down the lust from burning,
Silence in the self the will
For a power diviner still;
To the fire-born Self alone
The ancestral spheres are known.

Unto the poor dead shadows came
Wisdom mantled about with flame;
We had eyes that could see the light
Born of the mystic Father's might.
Glory radiant with powers untold
And the breath of God around it rolled.

Life that moved in the deeps below
Felt the fire in its bosom glow;
Life awoke with the Light allied,
Grew divinely stirred, and cried:
"This is the Ancient of Days within,
Light that is ere our days begin.

"Every power in the spirit's ken
Springs anew in our lives again.
We had but dreams of the heart's desire
Beauty thrilled with the mystic fire.
The white-fire breath whence springs the power
Flows alone in the spirit's hour."

Man arose the earth he trod,
Grew divine as he gazed on God:
Light in a fiery whirlwind broke
Out of the dark divine and spoke:
Man went forth through the vast to tread
By the spirit of wisdom charioted.

There came the learned of the schools
Who measure heavenly things by rules,
The sceptic, doubter, the logician,
Who in all sacred things precision,
Would mark the limit, fix the scope,
"Art thou the Christ for whom we hope?
Art thou a magian, or in thee
Has the divine eye power to see?"
He answered low to those who came,
"Not this, nor this, nor this I claim.
More than the yearning of the heart
I have no wisdom to impart.
I am the voice that cries in him
Whose heart is dead, whose eyes are dim,
'Make pure the paths where through may run
The light-streams from that golden one,
The Self who lives within the sun.'
As spake the seer of ancient days."
The voices from the earthly ways
Questioned him still:  "What dost thou here,
If neither prophet, king nor seer?
What power is kindled by they might?"
"I flow before the feet of Light:
I am the purifying stream.
But One of whom ye have no dream,
Whose footsteps move among you still,
Though dark, divine, invisible.
Impelled by Him, before His ways
I journey, though I dare not raise
Even from the ground these eyes so dim
Or look upon the feet of Him."

When the dead or dreamy hours
        Like a mantle fall away,
Wakes the eye of gnostic powers
        To the light of hidden day,

And the yearning heart within
        Seeks the true, the only friend,
He who burdened with our sin
        Loves and loves unto the end.

Ah, the martyr of the world,
        With a face of steadfast peace
Round whose brow the light is curled:
        'Tis the Lamb with golden fleece.

So they called of old the shining,
        Such a face the sons of men
See, and all its life divining
        Wake primeval fires again.

Such a face and such a glory
        Passed before the eyes of John,
With a breath of olden story
        Blown from ages long agone

Who would know the God in man.
Deeper still must be his glance.
Veil on veil his eye must scan
For the mystic signs which tell
If the fire electric fell
On the seer in his trance:
As his way he upward wings
From all time-encircled things,
Flames the glory round his head
Like a bird with wings outspread.
Gold and silver plumes at rest:
Such a shadowy shining crest
Round the hero's head reveals him
To the soul that would adore,
As the master-power that heals him
And the fount of secret lore.
Nature such a diadem
Places on her royal line,
Every eye that looks on them
Knows the Sons of the Divine.

--April 15, 1896



The Protest of Love
        "Those who there take refuge nevermore return."--Bhagavad Gita


Ere I lose myself in the vastness and drowse myself with the peace,
While I gaze on the light and beauty afar from the dim homes of men,
May I still feel the heart-pang and pity, love-ties that I would
        not release,
May the voices of sorrow appealing call me back to their succour again.

Ere I storm with the tempest of power the thrones and dominions
        of old,
Ere the ancient enchantment allures me to roam through the star-
        misty skies,
I would go forth as one who has reaped well what harvest the earth
        may unfold:
May my heart be o'erbrimmed with compassion, on my brow be the
        crown of the wise.

I would go as the dove from the ark sent forth with wishes and prayers
To return with the paradise-blossoms that bloom in the eden of light:
When the deep star-chant of the seraphs I hear in the mystical airs
May I capture one tone of their joy for the sad ones discrowned
        in the night.

Not alone, not alone would I go to my rest in the Heart of the Love:
Were I tranced in the innermost beauty, the flame of its tenderest breath,
I would still hear the plaint of the fallen recalling me back from above
To go down to the side of the mourners who weep in the shadow of death.

--May 15, 1896



The King Initiate
        "They took Iesous and scourged him."--St. John

Age after age the world has wept
        A joy supreme--I saw the hands
Whose fiery radiations swept
        And burned away his earthly bands:
And where they smote the living dyes
Flashed like the plumes of paradise.

Their joys the heavy nations hush--
        A form of purple glory rose
Crowned with such rays of light as flush
        The white peaks on their towering snows:
It held the magic wand that gave
Rule over earth, air, fire and wave.

What sorrow makes the white cheeks wet:
        The mystic cross looms shadowy dim--
There where the fourfold powers have met
        And poured their living tides through him,
The Son who hides his radiant crest
To the dark Father's bosom pressed.

--June 15, 1896



The Dream of the Children


The children awoke in their dreaming
        While earth lay dewy and still:
They followed the rill in its gleaming
        To the heart-light of the hill.

Its sounds and sights were forsaking
        The world as they faded in sleep,
When they heard a music breaking
        Out from the heart-light deep.

It ran where the rill in its flowing
        Under the star-light gay
With wonderful colour was glowing
        Like the bubbles they blew in their play.

From the misty mountain under
        Shot gleams of an opal star:
Its pathways of rainbow wonder
        Rayed to their feet from afar.

From their feet as they strayed in the meadow
        It led through caverned aisles,
Filled with purple and green light and shadow
        For mystic miles on miles.

The children were glad;  it was lonely
        To play on the hill-side by day.
"But now," they said, "we have only
        To go where the good people stray."

For all the hill-side was haunted
        By the faery folk come again;
And down in the heart-light enchanted
        Were opal-coloured men.

They moved like kings unattended
        Without a squire or dame,
But they wore tiaras splendid
        With feathers of starlight flame.

They laughed at the children over
        And called them into the heart:
"Come down here, each sleepless rover:
        We will show you some of our art."

And down through the cool of the mountain
        The children sank at the call,
And stood in a blazing fountain
        And never a mountain at all.

The lights were coming and going
        In many a shining strand,
For the opal fire-kings were blowing
        The darkness out of the land.

This golden breath was a madness
        To set a poet on fire,
And this was a cure for sadness,
        And that the ease of desire.

And all night long over Eri
        They fought with the wand of light
And love that never grew weary
        The evil things of night.

They said, as dawn glimmered hoary,
        "We will show yourselves for an hour;"
And the children were changed to a glory
        By the beautiful magic of power.

The fire-kings smiled on their faces
        And called them by olden names,
Till they towered like the starry races
        All plumed with the twilight flames.

They talked for a while together,
        How the toil of ages oppressed;
And of how they best could weather
        The ship of the world to its rest.

The dawn in the room was straying:
        The children began to blink,
When they heard a far voice saying,
        "You can grow like that if you think!"

The sun came in yellow and gay light:
        They tumbled out of the cot,
And half of the dream went with daylight
        And half was never forgot.

--July 15, 1896



The Chiefs of the Air


Their wise little heads with scorning
        They laid the covers between:
"Do they think we stay here till morning?"
        Said Rory and Aileen.

When out their bright eyes came peeping
        The room was no longer there,
And they fled from the dark world creeping
        Up a twilight cave of air.

They wore each one a gay dress,
        In sleep, if you understand,
When earth puts off its grey dress
        To robe it in faeryland.

Then loud o'erhead was a humming
        As clear as the wood wind rings;
And here were the air-boats coming
        And here the airy kings.

The magic barks were gleaming
        And swift as the feathered throng:
With wonder-lights out-streaming
        They blew themselves along.

And up on the night-wind swimming,
        With pose and dart and rise,
Away went the air fleet skimming
        Through a haze of jewel skies.

One boat above them drifted
        Apart from the flying bands,
And an air-chief bent and lifted
        The children with mighty hands.

The children wondered greatly,
        Three air-chiefs met them there,
They were tall and grave and stately
        With bodies of purple air.

A pearl light with misty shimmer
        Went dancing about them all,
As the dyes of the moonbow glimmer
        On a trembling waterfall.

The trail of the fleet to the far lands
        Was wavy along the night,
And on through the sapphire starlands
        They followed the wake of light.

"Look down, Aileen," said Rory,
        "The earth's as thin as a dream."
It was lit by a sun-fire glory
        Outraying gleam on gleam.

They saw through the dream-world under
        Its heart of rainbow flame
Where the starry people wander;
        Like gods they went and came.

The children looked without talking
        Till Roray spoke again,
"Are those our folk who are walking
        Like little shadow men?

"They don't see what is about them,
        They look like pigmies small,
The world would be full without them
        And they think themselves so tall!"

The magic bark went fleeting
        Like an eagle on and on;
Till over its prow came beating
        The foam-light of the dawn.

The children's dream grew fainter,
        Three air-chiefs still were there,
But the sun the shadow painter
        Drew five on the misty air.

The dream-light whirled bewild'ring,
        An air-chief said, "You know.
You are living now, my children,
        Ten thousand years ago."

They looked at themselves in the old light,
        And mourned the days of the new
Where naught is but darkness or cold light,
        Till a bell came striking through.

"We must go," said the wise young sages:
        It was five at dawn by the chimes,
And they ran through a thousand ages
        From the old De Danaan Times.

--August 15, 1896



The Palaces of the Sidhe


Two small sweet lives together
        From dawn till the dew falls down,
They danced over rock and heather
        Away from the dusty town.

Dark eyes like stars set in pansies,
        Blue eyes like a hero's bold--
Their thoughts were all pearl-light fancies,
        Their hearts in the age of gold.

They crooned o'er many a fable
        And longed for the bright-capped elves,
The faery folk who are able
        To make us faery ourselves.

A hush on the children stealing
        They stood there hand in hand,
For the elfin chimes were pealing
        Aloud in the underland.

And over the grey rock sliding,
        A fiery colour ran,
And out of its thickness gliding
        The twinkling mist of a man--

To-day for the children had fled to
        An ancient yesterday,
And the rill from its tunnelled bed too
        Had turned another way.

Then down through an open hollow
        The old man led with a smile:
"Come, star-hearts, my children, follow
        To the elfin land awhile."

The bells above them were hanging,
        Whenever the earth-breath blew
It made them go clanging, clanging,
        The vasty mountain through.

But louder yet than the ringing
        Came the chant of the elfin choir,
Till the mountain was mad with singing
        And dense with the forms of fire.

The kings of the faery races
        Sat high on the thrones of might,
And infinite years from their faces
        Looked out through eyes of light.

And one in a diamond splendour
        Shone brightest of all that hour,
More lofty and pure and tender,
        They called him the Flower of Power.

The palace walls were glowing
        Like stars together drawn,
And a fountain of air was flowing
        The primrose colour of dawn.

"Ah, see!" said Aileen sighing,
        With a bend of her saddened head
Where a mighty hero was lying,
        He looked like one who was dead.

"He will wake," said their guide, "'tis but seeming,
        And, oh, what his eyes shall see
I will know of only in dreaming
        Till I lie there still as he."

They chanted the song of waking,
        They breathed on him with fire,
Till the hero-spirit outbreaking,
        Shot radiant above the choir.

Like a pillar of opal glory
        Lit through with many a gem--
"Why, look at him now," said Rory,
        "He has turned to a faery like them!"

The elfin kings ascending
        Leaped up from the thrones of might,
And one with another blending
        They vanished in air and light.

The rill to its bed came splashing
        With rocks on the top of that:
The children awoke with a flashing
        Of wonder, "What were we at?"

They groped through the reeds and clover--
        "What funny old markings:  look here,
They have scrawled the rocks all over:
        It's just where the door was:  how queer!"

--September 15, 1896



The Voice of the Wise


They sat with hearts untroubled,
        The clear sky sparkled above,
And an ancient wisdom bubbled
        From the lips of a youthful love.

They read in a coloured history
        Of Egypt and of the Nile,
And half it seemed a mystery,
        Familiar, half, the while.

Till living out of the story
        Grew old Egyptian men,
And a shadow looked forth Rory
        And said, "We meet again!"

And over Aileen a maiden
        Looked back through the ages dim:
She laughed, and her eyes were laden
        With an old-time love for him.

In a mist came temples thronging
        With sphinxes seen in a row,
And the rest of the day was a longing
        For their homes of long ago.

"We'd go there if they'd let us,"
        They said with wounded pride:
"They never think when they pet us
        We are old like that inside."

There was some one round them straying
        The whole of the long day through,
Who seemed to say, "I am playing
        At hide-and-seek with you."

And one thing after another
        Was whispered out of the air,
How God was a big kind brother
        Whose home was in everywhere.

His light like a smile come glancing
        From the cool, cool winds as they pass;
From the flowers in heaven dancing
        And the stars that shine in the grass,

And the clouds in deep blue wreathing,
        And most from the mountains tall,
But God like a wind goes breathing
        A heart-light of gold in all.

It grows like a tree and pushes
        Its way through the inner gloom,
And flowers in quick little rushes
        Of love to a magic bloom.

And no one need sigh now or sorrow
        Whenever the heart-light flies,
For it comes again on some morrow
        And nobody ever dies.

The heart of the Wise was beating
        In the children's heart that day,
And many a thought came fleeting,
        And fancies solemn and gay.

They were grave in a way divining
        How childhood was taking wings,
And the wonder world was shining
        With vast eternal things.

The solemn twilight fluttered
        Like the plumes of seraphim,
And they felt what things were uttered
        In the sunset voice of Him.

They lingered long, for dearer
        Than home were the mountain places
Where God from the stars dropt nearer
        Their pale, dreamy faces.

Their very hearts from beating
        They stilled in awed delight.
For Spirit and children were meeting
        In the purple, ample night.

Dusk its ash-grey blossoms sheds on violet skies
Over twilight mountains where the heart-songs rise,
Rise and fall and fade again from earth to air:
Earth renews the music sweeter.  Oh, come there.
Come, ma cushla, come, as in ancient times
Rings aloud and the underland with faery chimes.
Down the unseen ways as strays each tinkling fleece
Winding ever onward to a fold of peace,
So my dreams go straying in a land more fair;
Half I tread the dew-wet grasses, half wander there.
Fade your glimmering eyes in a world grown cold:
Come, ma cushla, with me to the mountain's fold,
Where the bright ones call us waving to and fro:
Come, my children, with me to the Ancient go.

--October 15, 1896



A Dawn Song


While the earth is dark and grey
        How I laugh within:  I know
In my breast what ardours gay
        From the morning overflow.

Though the cheek be white and wet
        In my heart no fear may fall:
There my chieftain leads, and yet
        Ancient battle-trumpets call.

Bend on me no hasty frown
        If my spirit slight your cares:
Sunlike still my joy looks down
        Changing tears to beamy airs.

Think me not of fickle heart
        If with joy my bosom swells
Though your ways from mine depart:
        In the true are no farewells.

What I love in you I find
        Everywhere.  A friend I greet
In each flower and tree and wind--
        Oh, but life is sweet, is sweet.

What to you are bolts and bars
        Are to me the hands that guide
To the freedom of the stars
        Where my golden kinsmen bide.

From my mountain top I view:
        Twilight's purple flower is gone,
And I send my song to you
        On the level light of dawn.

--November 15, 1896



--An Ancient Eden

Our legends tell of aery fountains upspringing in Eri, and
how the people of long ago saw them not but only the Tuatha de Danaan.
Some deem it was the natural outflow of water at these places which
was held to be sacred;  but above fountain, rill and river rose up
the enchanted froth and foam of invisible rills and rivers breaking
forth from Tir-na-noge, the soul of the island, and glittering in
the sunlight of its mystic day.  What we see here is imaged forth
from that invisible soul and is a path thereto.  In the heroic
Epic of Cuculain Standish O'Grady writes of such a fountain, and
prefixes his chapter with the verse from Genesis, "And four rivers
went forth from Eden to water the garden," and what follows in
reference thereto.


The Fountain of Shadowy Beauty
--A Dream

I would I could weave in
        The colour, the wonder,
The song I conceive in
        My heart while I ponder,

And show how it came like
        The magi of old
Whose chant was a flame like
        The dawn's voice of gold;

Who dreams followed near them
        A murmur of birds,
And ear still could hear them
        Unchanted in words.

In words I can only
        Reveal thee my heart,
Oh, Light of the Lonely,
        The shining impart.

Between the twilight and the dark
The lights danced up before my eyes:
I found no sleep or peace or rest,
But dreams of stars and burning skies.

I knew the faces of the day--
Dream faces, pale, with cloudy hair,
I know you not nor yet your home,
The Fount of Shadowy Beauty, where?

I passed a dream of gloomy ways
Where ne'er did human feet intrude:
It was the border of a wood,
A dreadful forest solitude.

With wondrous red and fairy gold
The clouds were woven o'er the ocean;
The stars in fiery aether swung
And danced with gay and glittering motion.

A fire leaped up within my heart
When first I saw the old sea shine;
As if a god were there revealed
I bowed my head in awe divine;

And long beside the dim sea marge
I mused until the gathering haze
Veiled from me where the silver tide
Ran in its thousand shadowy ways.

The black night dropped upon the sea:
The silent awe came down with it:
I saw fantastic vapours flit
As o'er the darkness of the pit.

When, lo! from out the furthest night
A speck of rose and silver light
Above a boat shaped wondrously
Came floating swiftly o'er the sea.

It was no human will that bore
The boat so fleetly to the shore
Without a sail spread or an oar.

The Pilot stood erect thereon
And lifted up his ancient face,
(Ancient with glad eternal youth
Like one who was of starry race.)

His face was rich with dusky bloom;
His eyes a bronze and golden fire;
His hair in streams of silver light
Hung flamelike on his strange attire

Which starred with many a mystic sign,
Fell as o'er sunlit ruby glowing:
His light flew o'er the waves afar
In ruddy ripples on each bar
Along the spiral pathways flowing.

It was a crystal boat that chased
The light along the watery waste,
Till caught amid the surges hoary
The Pilot stayed its jewelled glory.

Oh, never such a glory was:
The pale moon shot it through and through
With light of lilac, white and blue:
And there mid many a fairy hue
Of pearl and pink and amethyst,
Like lightning ran the rainbow gleams
And wove around a wonder-mist.

The Pilot lifted beckoning hands;
Silent I went with deep amaze
To know why came this Beam of Light
So far along the ocean ways
Out of the vast and shadowy night.

"Make haste, make haste!" he cried. "Away!
A thousand ages now are gone.
Yet thou and I ere night be sped
Will reck no more of eve or dawn."

Swift as the swallow to its nest
I leaped:  my body dropt right down:
A silver star I rose and flew.
A flame burned golden at his breast:
I entered at the heart and knew
My Brother-Self who roams the deep,
Bird of the wonder-world of sleep.

The ruby body wrapped us round
As twain in one:  we left behind
The league-long murmur of the shore
And fleeted swifter than the wind.

The distance rushed upon the bark:
We neared unto the mystic isles:
The heavenly city we could mark,
Its mountain light, its jewel dark,
Its pinnacles and starry piles.

The glory brightened:  "Do not fear;
For we are real, though what seems
So proudly built above the waves
Is but one mighty spirit's dreams.

"Our Father's house hath many fanes;
Yet enter not and worship not,
For thought but follows after thought
Till last consuming self it wanes.

"The Fount of Shadowy Beauty flings
Its glamour o'er the light of day:
A music in the sunlight sings
To call the dreamy hearts away
Their mighty hopes to ease awhile:
We will not go the way of them:
The chant makes drowsy those who seek
The sceptre and the diadem.

"The Fount of Shadowy Beauty throws
Its magic round us all the night;
What things the heart would be, it sees
And chases them in endless flight.
Or coiled in phantom visions there
It builds within the halls of fire;
Its dreams flash like the peacock's wing
And glow with sun-hues of desire.
We will not follow in their ways
Nor heed the lure of fay or elf,
But in the ending of our days
Rest in the high Ancestral Self."

The boat of crystal touched the shore,
Then melted flamelike from our eyes,
As in the twilight drops the sun
Withdrawing rays of paradise.

We hurried under arched aisles
That far above in heaven withdrawn
With cloudy pillars stormed the night,
Rich as the opal shafts of dawn.

I would have lingered then--but he--
"Oh, let us haste:  the dream grows dim,
Another night, another day,
A thousand years will part from him

"Who is that Ancient One divine
From whom our phantom being born
Rolled with the wonder-light around
Had started in the fairy morn.

"A thousand of our years to him
Are but the night, are but the day,
Wherein he rests from cyclic toil
Or chants the song of starry sway.

"He falls asleep:  the Shadowy Fount
Fills all our heart with dreams of light:
He wakes to ancient spheres, and we
Through iron ages mourn the night.
We will not wander in the night
But in a darkness more divine
Shall join the Father Light of Lights
And rule the long-descended line."

Even then a vasty twilight fell:
Wavered in air the shadowy towers:
The city like a gleaming shell,
Its azures, opals, silvers, blues,
Were melting in more dreamy hues.
We feared the falling of the night
And hurried more our headlong flight.
In one long line the towers went by;
The trembling radiance dropt behind,
As when some swift and radiant one
Flits by and flings upon the wind
The rainbow tresses of the sun.

And then they vanished from our gaze
Faded the magic lights, and all
Into a Starry Radiance fell
As waters in their fountain fall.

We knew our time-long journey o'er
And knew the end of all desire,
And saw within the emerald glow
Our Father like the white sun-fire.

We could not say if age or youth
Were on his face:  we only burned
To pass the gateways of the Day,
The exiles to the heart returned.

He rose to greet us and his breath,
The tempest music of the spheres,
Dissolved the memory of earth,
The cyclic labour and our tears.
In him our dream of sorrow passed,
The spirit once again was free
And heard the song the Morning-Stars
Chant in eternal revelry.

This was the close of human story;
We saw the deep unmeasured shine,
And sank within the mystic glory
They called of old the Dark Divine.

Well it is gone now,
        The dream that I chanted:
On this side the dawn now
        I sit fate-implanted.

But though of my dreaming
        The dawn has bereft me,
It all was not seeming
        For something has left me.

I fell in some other
        World far from this cold light
The Dream Bird, my brother,
        Is rayed with the gold light.

I too in the Father
        Would hide me, and so,
Bright Bird, to foregather
        With thee now I go.

--December 15, 1896



A New Earth


        "Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
        When a new planet swims within his ken."

I who had sought afar from earth
        The faery land to greet,
Now find content within its girth,
        And wonder nigh my feet.

To-day a nearer love I choose
        And seek no distant sphere,
For aureoled by faery dews
        The dear brown breasts appear.

With rainbow radiance come and go
        The airy breaths of day,
And eve is all a pearly glow
        With moonlit winds a-play.

The lips of twilight burn my brow,
        The arms of night caress:
Glimmer her white eyes drooping now
        With grave old tenderness.

I close mine eyes from dream to be
        The diamond-rayed again,
As in the ancient hours ere we
        Forgot ourselves to men.

And all I thought of heaven before
        I find in earth below,
A sunlight in the hidden core
        To dim the noon-day glow.

And with the Earth my heart is glad,
        I move as one of old,
With mists of silver I am clad
        And bright with burning gold.

--February 1896



Duality


        "From me spring good and evil."
Who gave thee such a ruby flaming heart,
And such a pure cold spirit?   Side by side
I know these must eternally abide
In intimate war, and each to each impart
Life from their pain, with every joy a dart
To wound with grief or death the self-allied.
Red life within the spirit crucified,
The eyes eternal pity thee, thou art
Fated with deathless powers at war to be,
Not less the martyr of the world than he
Whose thorn-crowned brow usurps the due of tears
We would pay to thee, ever ruddy life,
Whose passionate peace is still to be at strife,
O'erthrown but in the unconflicting spheres.

--March 15, 1896  (This is unsigned, but in AE's "Collected Poems")



The Element Language



In a chapter in the Secret Doctrine dealing with the origin of
language, H.P. Blavatsky makes some statements which are quoted
here and which should be borne well in mind in considering what
follows.  "The Second Race had a 'Sound Language,' to wit, chant-like
sounds composed of vowels alone."  From this developed "monosyllabic
speech which was the vowel parent, so to speak, of the monosyllabic
languages mixed with hard consonants still in use among the yellow
races which are known to the anthropologist.  The linguistic
characteristics developed into the agglutinative languages....
The inflectional speech, the root of the Sanskrit, was the first
language (now the mystery tongue of the Initiates) of the Fifth Race."

The nature of that language has not been disclosed along with other
teaching concerning the evolution of the race, but like many other
secrets the details of which are still preserved by the Initiates,
it is implied in what has already been revealed.  The application
to speech of the abstract formula of evolution which they have put
forward should result in its discovery, for the clue lies in
correspondences;  know the nature of any one thing perfectly, learn
its genesis, development and consummation, and you have the key to
all the mysteries of nature.  The microcosm mirrors the macrocosm.
But, before applying this key, it is well to glean whatever hints
have been given, so that there may be less chance of going astray
in our application.  First, we gather from the Secret Doctrine that
the sounds of the human voice are correlated with the forces, colours,
numbers and forms.  "Every letter has its occult meaning, the vowels
especially contain the most occult and formidable potencies."
(S.D., I, 94) and again it is said "The magic of the ancient priests
consisted in those days in addressing their gods in their own language.
The speech of the men of earth cannot reach the Lords, each must
be addressed in the language of his respective element"---is a
sentence which will be shown pregnant with meaning.  "The book of
rules" cited adds as an explanation of the nature of that element-
language:  "It is composed of Sounds, not words;  of sounds, numbers
and figures.  He who knows how to blend the three, will call forth
the response of the superintending Power"  (the regent-god of the
specific element needed).  Thus this "language is that of incantations
or of Mantras, as they are called in India, sound being the most
potent and effectual magic agent, and the first of the keys which
opens the door of communication between mortals and immortals."
(S.D. I, 464)

From these quotations it will be seen that the occult teachings
as to speech are directly at variance with the theories of many
philologists and evolutionists.  A first speech which was like song--
another and more developed speech which is held sacred--an esoteric
side to speech in which the elements of our conventional languages
(i.e. the letters) are so arranged that speech becomes potent enough
to guide the elements, and human speech becomes the speech of the
gods--there is no kinship between this ideal language and the
ejaculations and mimicry which so many hold to be the root and
beginning of it.  Yet those who wish to defend their right to hold
the occult teaching have little to fear from the champions of these
theories;  they need not at all possess any deep scholarship or
linguistic attainment;  the most cursory view of the roots of
primitive speech, so far as they have been collected, will show
that they contain few or no sounds of a character which would bear
out either the onomatopoetic or interjectional theories.  The vast
majority of the roots of the Aryan language express abstract ideas,
they rarely indicate the particular actions which would be capable
of being suggested by any mimicry possible to the human voice.
I have selected at random from a list of roots their English
equivalents, in order to show the character of the roots and to
make clearer the difficulty of holding such views.  The abstract
nature of the ideas, relating to actions and things which often
have no attendant sound in nature, will indicate what I mean.
What possible sounds could mimic the sense of "to move, to shine,
to gain, to flow, to burn, to blow, to live, to possess, to cover,
to fall, to praise, to think"?  In fact the most abstract of all
seem the most primitive for we find them most fruitful in combination
to for other words.  I hope to show this clearly later on.  It is
unnecessary to discuss the claims of the interjectional theory,
as it is only a theory, and there are few roots for which we could
infer even a remote origin of this nature.  The great objection
to the theory that speech was originally a matter of convention
and mutual agreement, is the scarcity of words among the roots
which express the wants of primitive man.  As it is, a wisdom
within or beyond the Aryan led him to construct in these roots
with their abstract significance an ideal foundation from which a
great language could be developed.  However as the exponents of
rival theories have demolished each other's arguments, without
anyone having established a clear case for himself, it is not
necessary here to do more than indicate these theories and how
they may be met.

In putting forward a hypothesis more in accord with the doctrine
of the spiritual origin of man, and in harmony with those occult
ideas concerning speech already quoted, I stand in a rather unusual
position, as I have to confess my ignorance of any of these primitive
languages.  I am rather inclined however, to regard this on the
whole as an advantage for the following reasons.  I think primitive
man (the early Aryan) chose his words by a certain intuition which
recognised an innate correspondence between the thought and the symbol.
Para passu with the growing complexity of civilization language lost
it spiritual character, "it fell into matter," to use H.P. Blavatsky's
expression;  as the conventional words necessary to define artificial
products grew in number, in the memory of these words the spontaneity
of speech was lost, and that faculty became atrophied which enable
man to arrange with psychic rapidity ever new combinations of sounds
to express emotion and thought.  Believing then that speech was
originally intuitive, and that it only need introspection and a
careful analysis of the sounds of the human voice, to recover the
faculty and correspondences between these sounds and forces, colours,
forms, etc., it will be seen why I do not regard my ignorance of
these languages as altogether a drawback.  The correspondences
necessarily had to be evolved out of my inner consciousness, and
in doing this no aid could be derived from the Aryan roots as they
now stand.  In the meaning attached to each letter is to be found
the key to the meaning and origin of roots;  but the value of each
sound separately could never be discovered by an examination of
them in their combinations, though their value and purpose in
combination to form words might be evident enough once the
significance of the letters is shewn.  Any lack of knowledge then
is only a disadvantage in this, that it limits the area from which
to choose illustrations.  I have felt it necessary to preface what
I have to say with this confession, to show exactly the position
in which I stand.  The correspondences between sounds and forces
were first evolved, and an examination of the Aryan roots proved
the key capable of application.

--------
Note:--In an article which appeared in the Theosophist, Dec. 1887,
I had attempted, with the assistance of my friend Mr. Chas. Johnston,
to put forward some of the ideas which form the subject matter of
this paper.  Owing to the numerous misprints which rendered it
unintelligible I have felt it necessary to altogether re-write it.
---G.W.R.
--------

It is advisable at this point to consider how correspondences arose
between things seeming so diverse as sounds, forms, colors and forces.
It is evident that they could only come about through the existence
of a common and primal cause reflecting itself everywhere in different
elements and various forms of life.  This primal unity lies at the
root of all occult philosophy and science;  the One becomes Many;  the
ideas latent in Universal Mind are thrown outwards into manifestation.
In the Bhagavad-Gita (chap. IV) Krishna declares:  "even though myself
unborn, of changeless essence, and the lord of all existence, yet
in presiding over nature--which is mine--I am born but through my
own maya, the mystic power of self-ideation, the eternal thought
in the eternal mind."  "I establish the universe with a single
portion of myself and remain separate;"  he says later on, and in
so presiding he becomes the cause of the appearance of the different
qualities.  "I am in the taste in water, the light in the sun and moon,
the mystic syllable OM in all the Vedas, sound in space, the masculine
essence in men, the sweet smell in the earth, the brightness in the
fire" etc.  Pouring forth then from one fountain we should expect
to find correspondences running everywhere throughout nature;  we
should expect to find all these things capable of correlation.
Coexistent with manifestation arise the ideas of time and space,
and these qualities, attributes or forces, which are latent and
unified in the germinal thought, undergo a dual transformation;
they appear successively in time, and what we call evolution
progresses through Kalpa after Kalpa and Manvantara after Manvantara:
the moods which dominate these periods incarnate in matter, which
undergoes endless transformations and takes upon itself all forms
in embodying these sates of consciousness.

The order in which these powers manifest is declared in the Puranas,
Upanishads and Tantric works.  It is that abstract formula of
evolution which we can apply alike to the great and little things
in nature.  This may be stated in many ways, but to put it briefly,
there is at first one divine Substance-Principle, Flame, Motion or
the Great Breath;  from this emanate the elements Akasa, ether, fire,
air, water and earth;  the spiritual quality becoming gradually
lessened in these as they are further removed from their divine
source;  this is the descent into matter, the lowest rung of
manifestation.  "Having consolidated itself in its last principle
as gross matter, it revolves around itself and informs with the
seventh emanation of the last, the first and lowest element."
(S.D. I, p. 297)  This involution of the higher into the lower
urges life upwards through the mineral, vegetable, animal and human
kingdoms, until it culminates in spiritually and self consciousness.
It is not necessary here to go more into detail, it is enough to
say that the elements in nature begin as passive qualities, their
ethereal nature becomes gross, then positive and finally spiritual,
and this abstract formula holds good for everything in nature.
These changes which take place in the universe are repeated in man
its microcosm, the cosmic force which acts upon matter and builds
up systems of suns and planets, working in him repeats itself and
builds up a complex organism which corresponds and is correlated
with its cosmic counterpart.  The individual spirit Purusha dwells
in the heart of every creature, its powers ray forth everywhere;
they pervade the different principles or vehicles;  they act through
the organs of sense;  they play upon the different plexuses;
every principle and organ being specialised as the vehicle for a
particular force or state of consciousness.  All the sounds we can
utter have their significance;  they express moods;  they create forms;
they arouse to active life within ourselves spiritual and psychic
forces which are centered in various parts of the body.  Hence the
whole organism of man is woven through and through with such
correspondences;  our thoughts, emotions, sensations, the forces
we use, colours and sounds acting on different planes are all
correlated among themselves, and are also connected with the forces
evolving present about us, in which we live and move.  We find
such correspondences form the subject matter of many Upanishads
and other occult treatises;  for example in Yajnavalkyasamhita,
a treatise on Yoga philosophy, we find the sound "Ra" associated
with the element of fire, Tejas Tatwa, with the God Rudra, with a
centre in the body just below the heart.  Other books add, as
correspondences of Tejas Tatwa, that its colour is red, its taste
is hot, its form is a triangle and its force is expansion.  The
correspondences given in different treatises often vary;  but what
we can gather with certainty is that there must have existed a
complete science of the subject;  the correlation of sound with
such things, once understood, is the key which explains, not only
the magic potency of sound, but also the constuction of those roots
which remain as relics of the primitive Aryan speech.

The thinking principle in man, having experiences of nature through
its vehicles, the subtle, astral and gross physical bodies, translates
these sensations into its own set of correspondences:  this principle
in man, called the Manas, is associated with the element of akasa,
whose property is sound;  the Manas moves about in akasa, and so
all ideas which enter into the mind awaken their correspondences
and are immediately mirrored in sound.  Let us take as an instance
the perception of the colour red;  this communicated to the mind
would set up a vibration, causing a sound to be thrown outwards in
mental manifestation, and in this way the impulse would arise to
utter the letter R, the correspondence of this colour.  This Manasic
principle in man, the real Ego, is eternal in its nature;  it exists
before and after the body, something accruing to it from each
incarnation;  and so, because there is present in the body of man
this long-traveled soul, bearing with it traces of its eternal past,
these letters which are the elements of its speech have impressed
on them a correspondence, not only with the forces natural to its
transitory surroundings, but also with that vaster evolution of
nature in which it has taken part.  These correspondences next
claim our attention.

The correspondences here suggested do not I think at all exhaust
the possible significance of any of the letters.  Every sound ought
to have a septenary relation to the planes of consciousness, and
the differentiations of life, force and matter on each.  Complete
mastery of these would enable the knower to guide the various
currents of force, and to control the elemental knower to guide
the various currents of force, and to control the elemental beings
who live on the astral planes, for these respond, we are told,
"when the exact scale of being to which they belong is vibrated,
whether it be that of colour, form, sound or whatever else,"
(Path, May, 1886)  These higher interpretations I am unable to give;
it requires the deeper being to know the deeper meaning.  Those
here appended may prove suggestive;  I do not claim any finality
or authority for them, but they may be interesting to students of
the occult Upanishads where the mystic power of sound is continually
dwelt upon.

The best method of arranging the letters is to begin with A and
conclude with M or OO:  between these lie all the other letters,
and their successive order is determined by their spiritual or
material quality.  Following A we get letters with an ethereal or
liquid sound, such as R, H, L or Y;  they become gradually harsher
as they pass from the A, following the order of nature in this.
Half way we get letters like K, J, TCHAY, S, or ISH;  then they
become softer, and the labials, like F, B and M, have something
of the musical quality of the earlier sounds.  If we arrange them
in this manner, it will be found to approximate very closely to the
actual order in which the sounds arise in the process of formation.
We begin then with

A--This represents God, creative force, the Self, the I, the
beginning or first cause.  "Among letters I am the vowel A," says
Krishna in the Bagavad.  It is without colour, number or form.

R--This is motion, air, breath or spirit;  it is also abstract desire,
and here we find the teaching of the Rig-Veda in harmony.  "Desire
first arose in It which was the primal germ of mind, and which sages,
searching with their intellect, have discovered in their hearts to
be the bond which connects Entity with non-Entity."  The corresponding
colour of this letter is Red.

H (hay) and L--Motion awakens Heat and Light which correspond
respectively to H and L.  That primordial ocean of being, says the
book of Dzyan, was "fire and heat and motion:"  which are explained
as the noumenal essences of these material manifestations.  The
colour of H is Orange, of L yellow.  L also conveys the sense
of radiation.

Y (yea)--This letter signifies condensation, drawing together, the
force of attraction, affinity.  Matter at the stage of evolution
to which this refers is gaseous, nebulous, or ethereal:  the fire-
mists in space gather together to become worlds.  The colour Y
is green.

W (way)--Water is the next element in manifestation:  in cosmic
evolution it is spoken of as chaos, the great Deep;  its colour,
I think, is indigo.  After this stage the elements no longer manifest
singly, but in pairs, or with a dual aspect.

G (gay) and K--Reflection and Hardness;  matter becomes crystalline
or metalic:  the corresponding colour is blue.

S and Z--A further differentiation;  matter is atomic:  the abstract
significance of number or seed is attached to these letters:  their
colour is violet.

J and Tchay--Earth and gross Substance:  this is the lowest point
in evolution;  the worlds have now condensed into solid matter.
The colour of these letters is orange.

N and Ng--Some new forces begin to work here;  the corresponding
sounds have, I think, the meaning of continuation and transformation
or change:  these new forces propel evolution in the upward or
ascending arc:  their colour is yellow.

D and T--The colour of these letters is red.  The involution of
the higher forces into the lower forms alluded to before now begins.
D represents this infusion of life into matter;  it is descent and
involution, death or forgetfulness, perhaps, for a time to the
incarnating power.  T is evolution, the upward movement generating
life;  the imprisoned energies surge outwards and vegetation begins.

Ith and Ish--These correspond respectively to growth or expansion
and vegetation;  the earth, as Genesis puts it, "puts forth grass
and herbs and trees yielding fruit."  The colour of these letters
is green.

B and P--After the flora the fauna.  B is Life or Being, animal and
human.  Humanity appears;  B is masculine, P feminine.  P has also
a meaning of division, differentiation or production, which may
refer to maternity.  The colour here is blue.

F and V--The colour is violet.  Evolution moves still upwards,
entering the ethereal planes once more.  Lightness and vastness
are the characteristics of this stage:  we begin to permeate with
part of our nature the higher spheres of being and reach the
consummation in the last stage, represented by

M--which has many meanings;  it is thought, it is the end or death
to the personality, it is the Receiver into which all flows, it
is also the Symbol of maternity in a universal sense, it has this
meaning when the life impulse (which is always represented by a
vowel) follows it, as in "ma."  It is the Pralaya of the worlds;
the lips close as it is uttered.  Its colour is indigo.

O--The last vowel sound symbolizes abstract space, the spirit
assumes once more the garment of primordial matter;  it is the
Nirvana of eastern philosophy.

I will now try to show how the abstract significance of these sound
reveals a deeper meaning in the roots of Aryan language than
philologists generally allow.  Prof. Max Muller says in the
introduction to Biographies of Words.  "Of ultimates in the sense
of primary elements of language, we can never hope to know anything,"
and he also asserts that the roots are incapable of further analysis.
I will endeavour now to show that this further analysis can be made.

I should not be understood to say that all the so-called roots can
be made to yield a secret meaning when analysed.  Philologists are
not all agreed as to what constitutes a root, or what words are roots,
and in this general uncertainty it should not be expected that these
correspondences, which as I have said are not complete, will apply
in every instance.  There are many other things which add to the
difficulty;  a root is often found to have very many different meanings;
some of these may have arisen in the manner I suggest, and many
more are derived from the primary meanings and are therefore not
intuitive at all.  The intuition will have to be exercised to discover
what sensations would likely be awakened by the perception of an
action or object;  or if the root has an abstract significance,
the thought must be analysed in order to discover its essential
elements.  I described previously the manner in which I thought a
single sensation, the perception of the colour Red, would suggest
its correspondence in sound, the letter R.  Where the idea is more
complex, a combination of two, tree or four sounds are necessary
to express it, but they all originate in the same way.  The reader
who desires to prove the truth of the theory here put forward can
adopt either of two methods;  he can apply the correspondences to
the roots, or he may try for himself to create words expressing
simple, elemental ideas by combining the necessary letters;  and
then, if he turns to the roots, he will probably find that many
of the words he has created in this way were actually used long ago,
and this pratice will enable him more easily to understand in what
sense, or on what plane, any particular letter should be taken.
I think it probably that in the Sacred Language before mentioned,
this could at once have been recognized by a difference in the
intonation of the voice.  This may have been a survival to some
extent of the chanting which was the distinguishing characteristic
of the speech of the Second Race.  (Secret Doctrine, vol. II, p. 198)
In the written language it is not easily possible to discover this
without much thought, unless endeavour has previously been made to
re-awaken the faculty of intuitive speech, which we formerly possessed
and which became atrophied.

It is not possible here to go into the analysis of the roots at
much length:  I can only illustrate the method which will be found to
apply more surely where the roots express most elemental conceptions.
Let us take as example the root, Wal, to boil.  Boiling is brought
about by the action of fire upon water, and here we find the letters W,
water, and L, light or fire, united.  In War, to well up as a spring,
the sounds for water and motion are combined.  A similar idea is
expressed in Wat, to well out;  the abstract significance of T,
which is to evolve, come forth or appear, being here applied to a
special action.  A good method to follow in order to understand
how the pure abstract meaning of a letter may be applied in many
different ways, is to take some of the roots in which any one letter
is prominent and then compare them.  Let us take D.  It has an
abstract relation to involution or infusion;  it may be view in
two ways, either as positive or negative;  as the exertion of force
or the reception of force.  Now I think if we compare the following
roots a similarity of action will be found to underlie them all.
Id, to swell;  Ad, to eat;  Dhu, to put;  Da, to bind;  Ad, to smell;
Du, to enter;  Da, to suck.

I am not here going exhaustively to analyse the roots, as this is
not an essay upon philology, but an attempt to make clear some of
the mysteries of sound;  those who wish to study this side of the
subject more fully can study with this light the primitive languages.
A few more examples must suffice.  The root, Mar, to die, may be
variously interpreted as the end of motion, the cessation of breath,
or the withdrawal of spirit, R being expressive of what on various
planes is motion, spirit, air and breath.  In Bur, to be active,
life and movement are combined,:  in Gla, to glow, reflection and
light;  the same idea is in Gol, a lake.  We find combined in Kar,
to grind, hardness and motion:  in Thah, to generate, expansion
and heat;  in Pak, to comb, division and hardness, the suggestion
being division with some hard object;  the same idea is in Pik,
to cut.  In Pis, to pound, the letters for division and matter in
its molecular state are combined:  in Fath, to fly, lightness and
expansion:  in Yas, to gird, drawing together and number;  in Rab,
to be vehement, energy and life;  in Rip, to break, energy and
division.  In Yudh, to fight, the meaning suggested may be, coming
together to destroy.  Without further analysis the reader will be
able to detect the relation which the abstractions corresponding
to each letter bear to the defined application in the following words.
Ak, to be sharp;  Ank, to bend;  Idh, to kindle;  Ar, to move;
Al, to burn;  Ka, to sharpen;  Har, to burn;  Ku, to hew;  Sa, to
produce;  Gal, to be yellow or green;  Ghar, to be yellow or green;
Thak, to thaw;  Tar, to go through;  Thu, to swell;  Dak, to bite;
Nak, to perish;  Pa, to nourish, to feed;  Par, to spare;  Pi, to
swell, to be fat;  Pu, to purify;  Pu, to beget;  pau, little;
Put, to swell out;  Flu, to fly, to float;  Bar, to carry;  Bhu,
to be, to become;  Bla, to blow as a flower;  Ma, to think;  Mak,
to pound;  Mi, to diminish;  Mu, to shut up, to enclose;  Yas, to
seethe, to ferment;  Ys, to bind together, to mix;  Yuk, to yoke,
to join;  Ra, to love;  Rik, to furrow;  Luh, to shine;  Rud, to
redden, to be red;  Lub, to lust [?];  Lu, to cast off from;  Wag,
to be moist;  Wam, to spit out;  So, to sow, to scatter;  Sak, to
cut, to cleave;  Su, to generate;  Swa, to toss;  Swal, to boil up;
Ska, to cut;  Skap, to hew;  Sniw, to snow;  Spew, to spit out;
Swid, to sweat;  etc.  An analysis of some sacred words and the
names of Deities may now prove interesting.

It has been said that before we can properly understand the character
of any deity we would have to know the meaning and the numbers
attached to each letter in the name, for in this way the powers
and functons of the various gods were indicated.  If we take as
examples names familiar to everyone, Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra,
the three aspects of Parabrahm in manifestation, and analyse them
in the same way as the roots, they will be found to yield up their
essential meaning.  Form the union of B, life, R, breath, and Ma,
the producer, I would translate Brahma as "the creative breath of life."
Vishnu similarly analysed is the power that "pervades, expands, and
preserves;"  I infer this from the union of V, whose force is pervasion,
Sh, expansion, and N, continuation.  Rudra is "the breath that absorbs
the breath."  Aum is the most sacred name of all names;  it is held
to symbolize the action of the Great breath from its dawn to its close:
it is the beginning, A, the middle, U, and the close M.  It is also
an affirmation of the relation of our spiritual nature to the universal
Deity whose aspects are Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra.  I shall have
more to say of the occult power of this word later on.  Taken in
conjunction with two other words, it is "the threefold designation
of the Supreme Being."  Om Tat Sat has a significance referable to
a still higher aspect of Deity than that other Trinity;  the Om
here signifies that it is the All;  Tat that it is self-existent
or self-evolved;  I think the repetition of the T in Tat gives it
this meaning:  Sat would signify that in it are contained the seeds
of all manifestation.   H.P. Blavatsky translates this word as Be-ness,
which seems to be another way of expressing the same idea.  The
mystic incantation familiar to all students of the Upanishads, Om,
bhur, Om, Bhwar, Om, Svar," is an assertion of the existence of
the Divine Self in all the three worlds or Lokas.  Loka is generally
translated as a place;  the letters suggest to me that a place or
world is only a hardening or crystalization of Fire or Light.
In Bhur Loka the crystalization of the primordial element of Fire
leaves only one principle active, the life principle generally called
Prana.  Bhur Loka then is the place where life is active;  we have
B, life, and R, movement, to suggest this.  In the word Bhuvar a
new letter, V, is inserted:  this letter, as I have said, corresponds
to the Astral world, so the Bhuvar Loka is the place where both
the Astral and Life principles are active.  It is more difficult
to translate Svar Loka:  there is some significance attached here
to the letter S, which I cannot grasp.  It might mean that this
world contains the germs of Astral life;  but this does not appear
sufficiently distinctive, Svar Loka is generally known as Devachan,
and the whole incantation would mean that the Deity is present
throughout the Pranic, Astral and Devachanic worlds.  It is
interesting to note what is said in the Glossary by H.P.B., about
these three words (p. 367):  they are said to be "lit by and born
of fire,"  and to possess creative powers.  The repetition of them
with the proper accent should awaken in the occultist the powers
which correspond to the three worlds.  I think by these examples
that the student will be able to get closer to the true significance
of incantation;  those who understand the occult meaning of the
colours attached to the letters will be able to penetrate deeper
than others into these mysteries.

I may here say something about the general philosophy of incantation.
There is said to be in nature a homogenous sound or tone which
everywhere stirs up the molecules into activity.  This is the "Word"
which St. John says was in the beginning (the plane of causation);
in another sense it is the Akasa of occult science, the element
of sound, it is the Pythagorean "music of the spheres."  The
universe is built up, moulded and sustained by this element which
is everywhere present, though inaudible by most men at this stage
of evolution.  It is not sound by the physical ears, but deep in
the heart sometimes may be heard "the mystic sounds of the Akasic
heights."  The word Aum represents this homogeneous sound, it stirs
up a power which is latent in it called the Yajna.  The Glossary
says that this "is one of the forms of Akasa within which the mystic
word calls it into existence:"  it is a bridge by means of which
the soul can cross over to the world of the Immortals.  It is this
which is alluded to in the Nada-Bindu Upanishad.  "The mind becoming
insensible to the external impressions, becomes one with the sound,
as milk with water, and then becomes rapidly absorbed in chidakas
(the Akasa where consciousness pervades).  The sound..... serves
the purpose of a lure to the ocean waves of Chitta (mind), ...the
serpent Chitta through listening to the Nada is entirely absorbed
in it, and becoming unconscious of everything concentrates itself
on the sound."   We may quote further from another Upanishad.
"Having left behind the body, the organs and objects of sense, and
having seized the bow whose stick is fortitude and whose string
is asceticism, and having killed with the arrow of freedom from
egoism the first guardian, ....he crosses by means of the boat Om
to the other side of the ether within the heart, and when the ether
is revealed he enters slowly, as a miner seeking minerals enters
a mine, into the hall of Brahman.  ...Thenceforth, pure, clean,
tranquil, breathless, endless, imperishable, firm, unborn, and
independent, he stands in his own greatness, and having seen the
Self standing in his own greatness, he looks at the wheel of
the world."

Let no one think that this is all, and that the mere repetition of
words will do anything except injure those who attempt the use of
these methods without further knowledge.  It has been said (Path,
April, 1887) that Charity, Devotion, and the like virtues are
structural necessities in the nature of the man who would make this
attempt.  We cannot, unless the whole nature has been purified by
long services and sacrifice, and elevated into mood at once full
of reverence and intense will, become sensitive to the subtle powers
possessed by the spiritual soul.

What is here said about the Aum which is the name of our own God,
and the way in which it draws forth the hidden power will serve to
illustrate the method in using other words.  The Thara-Sara Upanishad
of Sukla-Yajur Veda says "Through Om is Brahm produced:  through Na
is Vishnu produced;  through Ma is Rudra produced, etc."  All these
are names of gods;  they correspond to forces in man and nature,
in their use the two are united, and the man mounts upwards to
the Immortals.

I have been forced to compress what I had to say in these articles,
I have only been able to suggest rather than put forward ideas,
for my own knowledge of these correspondences is very incomplete.
As far as I know the subject has been untouched hitherto, and this
must be my excuse for the meagre nature of the information given.
I hope later on to treat of the relation of sound and colour to
form and to show how these correspondences will enable us to
understand the language which the gods speak to us through flowers,
trees, and natural forms.  I hope also to be able to show that it
was a knowledge of the relation of sound to form which dictated
the form of the letters in many primaeval alphabets.

--5/15, 6/15, 7/15, 8/15, 9/15, 1893



At the Dawn of the Kaliyuga *



Where we sat on the hillside together that evening the winds were
low and the air was misty with light.  The huge sunbrowned slope
on which we were sitting was sprinkled over with rare spokes of grass;
it ran down into the vagueness underneath where dimly the village
could be seen veiled by its tresses of lazy smoke.  Beyond was a
bluer shade and a deeper depth, out of which, mountain beyond mountain,
the sacred heights of Himalay rose up through star-sprinkled zones
of silver and sapphire air.  How gay were our hearts!  The silent
joy of the earth quickened their beating.  What fairy fancies
alternating with the sweetest laughter came from childish lips!
In us the Golden Age whispered her last, and departed.  Up came
the white moon, her rays of dusty pearl slanting across the darkness
from the old mountain to our feet.  "A bridge!" we cried, "Primaveeta,
who long to be a sky-walker, here is a bridge for you!"

Primaveeta only smiled;  he was always silent;  he looked along
the gay leagues of pulsating light that lead out to the radiant
mystery.  We went on laughing and talking;  then Primaveeta broke
his silence.

"Vyassa," he said, "I went out in thought, I went into the light,
but it was not that light.  I felt like a fay;  I sparkled with
azure and lilac;  I went on, and my heart beat with longing for I
knew not what, and out and outward I sped till desire stayed and I
paused, and the light looked into me full of meaning.  I felt like
a spark, and the dancing of the sea of joy bore me up, up, up!"

"Primaveeta, who can understand you?"  said his little sister Vina,
"you always talk of the things no one can see;  Vyassa, sing for us."

"Yes! yes! let Vyassa sing!" they all cried;  and they shouted and
shouted until I began:--

"Shadowy petalled, like the lotus, loom the mountains with their snows:
Through the sapphire Soma rising, such a flood of glory throws
As when the first in yellow splendour Brahma from the lotus rose.

"High above the darkening mounds where fade the fairy lights of day,
All the tiny planet folk are waving us from far away;
Thrilled by Brahma's breath they sparkle with the magic of the gay.

"Brahma, all alone in gladness, dreams the joys that throng in space,
Shepherds all the whirling splendours onward to their resting place,
Where at last in wondrous silence fade in One the starry race."

"Vyassa is just like Primaveeta, he is full of dreams to-night,"
said Vina.  And indeed I was full of dreams;  my laughter had all
died away;  a vague and indescribable unrest came over me;  the
universal air around seemed thrilled by the stirring of unknown powers.
We sat silent awhile;  then Primaveeta cried out:  "Oh, look, look,
look, the Devas! the bright persons! they fill the air with
their shining."

We saw them pass by and we were saddened, for they were full of
solemn majesty;  overhead a chant came from celestial singers full
of the agony of farewell and departure, and we knew from their
song that the gods were about to leave the earth which would
nevermore or for ages witness their coming.  The earth and the air
around it seemed to tingle with anguish.  Shuddering we drew closer
together on the hillside while the brightness of the Devas passed
onward and away;  and clear cold and bright as ever, the eternal
constellations, which change or weep not, shone out, and we were
alone with our sorrow.  To awed we were to speak, but we clung closer
together and felt a comfort in each other;  and so, crouched in
silence;  within me I heard as from far away a note of deeper anguish,
like a horn blown out of the heart of the ancient Mother over a
perished hero:  in a dread moment I saw the death and the torment;
he was her soul-point, the light she wished to shine among men.
What would follow in the dark ages to come, rose up before me in
shadowy, over-crowding pictures;  like the surf of a giant ocean
they fluctuated against the heavens, crested with dim, giantesque
and warring figures.  I saw stony warriors rushing on to battle;
I heard their fierce hard laughter as they rode over the trampled foe;
I saw smoke arise from a horrible burning, and thicker and blacker
grew the vistas, with here and there a glow from some hero-heart
that kept the true light shining within.  I turned to Primaveeta
who was crouched beside me:  he saw with me vision for vision, but,
beyond the thick black ages that shut me out from hope, he saw the
resurrection of the True, and the homecoming of the gods.  All this
he told me later, but now our tears were shed together.  Then
Primaveeta rose up and said, "Vyasa, where the lights were shining,
where they fought for the True, there you and I must fight;  for,
from them spreads out the light of a new day that shall dawn behind
the darkness."  I saw that he was no longer a dreamer;  his face
was firm with a great resolve.  I could not understand him, but I
determined to follow him, to fight for the things he fought for,
to work with him, to live with him, to die with him;  and so,
thinking and trying to understand, my thought drifted back to that
sadness of the mother which I had first felt.  I saw how we share
joy or grief with her, and, seized with the inspiration of her sorrow,
I sang about her loved one:--

"Does the earth grow grey with grief
For her hero darling fled?
Though her vales let fall no leaf,
In our hearts her tears are shed.

"Still the stars laugh on above,
Not to them her grief is said;
Mourning for her hero love
In our hearts her tears are shed.

"We her children mourn for him,
Mourn the elder hero dead;
In the twilight grey and dim
In our hearts the tears are shed."

"Vyassa," they said, "you will break our hearts."  And we sat in
silence and sorrow more complete till we heard weary voices calling
up to us from the darkness below:  "Primaveeta!  Vyassa!  Chandra!
Parvati!  Vina!  Vasudeva!" calling all our names.  We went down
to our homes in the valley;  the breadth of glory had passed away
from the world, and our hearts were full of the big grief that
children hold.

--October 15, 1893

--------------
* Note--Kaliyuga.  The fourth, the black or iron age, our present
period, the duration of which is 432,000 years.  It began 3,102
years B.C. at the moment of Krishna's death, and the first cycle
of 5,000 years will end between the years 1897 and 1898.
--------------



The Meditation of Parvati



Parvata rose up from his seat under the banyan tree.  He passed
his hand unsteadily over his brow.  Throughout the day the young
ascetic had been plunged in profound meditation, and now, returning
from heaven to earth, he was dazed like one who awakens in darkness
and knows not where he is.  All day long before his inner eye burned
the light of the Lokas, until he was wearied and exhausted with
their splendours;  space glowed like a diamond with intolerable
lustre, and there was no end to the dazzling processions of figures.
He had seen the fiery dreams of the dead in Swargam.  He had been
tormented by the sweet singing of the Gandharvas, whose choral song
reflected in its ripples the rhythmic pulse of Being.  He saw how
the orbs, which held them, were set within luminous orbs still of
wider circuit, and vaster and vaster grew the vistas, and smaller
seemed the soul at gaze, until at last, a mere speck of life, he
bore the burden of innumerable worlds.  Seeking for Brahma, he
found only the great illusion as infinite as Brahma's being.

If these things were shadows, the earth and the forests he returned
to, viewed at evening, seemed still more unreal, the mere dusky
flutter of a moth's wings in space.  Filmy and evanescent, if he
had sunk down as through a transparency into the void, it would not
have been wonderful.  Parvati turned homeward, still half in trance:
as he threaded the dim alleys he noticed not the flaming eyes that
regarded him from the gloom;  the serpents rustling amid the
undergrowths;  the lizards, fire-flies, insects, the innumerable
lives of which the Indian forest was rumourous;  they also were
but shadows.  He paused half unconsciously at the village, hearing
the sound of human voices, of children at play.  He felt a throb
of pity for these tiny being who struggled and shouted, rolling
over each other in ecstasies of joy;  the great illusion had indeed
devoured them before whom the Devas once were worshipers.  Then
close beside him he heard a voice;  its low tones, its reverence
soothed him:  there was something akin to his own nature in it;
it awakened him fully.  A little crowd of five or six people were
listening silently to an old man who read from a palm-leaf manuscript.
Parvati knew his order by the orange-coloured robes he wore;  a
Bhikshu of the new faith.  What was his delusion?

The old man lifted his head for a moment as the ascetic came closer,
and then he continued as before.  He was reading the "Legend of
the Great King of Glory."  Parvati listened to it, comprehending
with the swift intuition and subtlety of a mystic the inner meaning
of the Wonderful Wheel, the elephant Treasure, the Lake and palace
of Righteousness.   He followed the speaker, understanding all
until he came to the meditation of the King:  then he heard with
vibrating heart, how "the Great King of Glory entered the golden
chamber, and set himself down on the silver couch.  And he let his
mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of Love: and
so the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth.  And
thus the whole wide world, above below, around and everywhere,
did he continue to pervade with heart of Love, far-reaching, grown
great, and beyond measure."  When the old Bhikshu had ended, Parvati
rose up, and went back again into the forest.  He had found the
secret of the True--to leave behind the vistas, and enter into the
Being.  Another legend rose up in his mind, a fairy legend of
righteousness, expanding and filling the universe, a vision beautiful
and full of old enchantment;  his heart sang within him.  He seated
himself again under the banyan tree;  he rose up in soul;  he saw
before him images, long-forgotten, of those who suffer in the
sorrowful old earth;  he saw the desolation and loneliness of old age,
the insults to the captive, the misery of the leper and outcast,
the chill horror and darkness of life in a dungeon.  He drank in
all their sorrow.  For his heart he went out to them.  Love, a
fierce and tender flame arose;  pity, a breath from the vast;
sympathy, born of unity.  This triple fire sent forth its rays;
they surrounded those dark souls;  they pervaded them;  they beat
down oppression.


While Parvati, with spiritual magic, sent forth the healing powers,
far away at that moment, in his hall, a king sat enthroned.  A
captive was bound before him;  bound, but proud, defiant, unconquerable
of soul.  There was silence in the hall until the king spake the doom,
the torture, for this ancient enemy.  The king spake:  "I had thought
to do some fierce thing to thee, and so end thy days, my enemy.
But, I remember with sorrow, the great wrongs we have done to each
other, and the hearts made sore by our hatred.  I shall do no more
wrong to thee.  Thou art free to depart.  Do what thou wilt.  I will
make restitution to thee as far as may be for thy ruined state."
Then the soul no might could conquer was conquered, and the knees
were bowed;  his pride was overcome.  "My brother!"  he said, and
could say no more.


To watch for years a little narrow slit high up in the dark cell,
so high that he could not reach up and look out;  and there to see
daily a little change from blue to dark in the sky had withered
that prisoner's soul.  The bitter tears came no more;  hardly even
sorrow;  only a dull, dead feeling.  But that day a great groan
burst from him:  he heard outside the laugh of a child who was playing
and gathering flowers under the high, grey walls:  then it all came
over him, the divine things missed, the light, the glory, and the
beauty that the earth puts forth for her children.  The narrow slit
was darkened:  half of a little bronze face appeared.

"Who are you down there in the darkness who sigh so?  Are you all
alone there?  For so many years!   Ah, poor man!  I would come down
to you if I could, but I will sit here and talk to you for a while.
Here are flowers for you," and a little arm showered them in handfuls;
the room was full of the intoxicating fragrance of summer.  Day
after day the child came, and the dull heart entered into human
love once more.


At twilight, by a deep and wide river, sat an old woman alone, dreamy,
and full of memories.  The lights of the swift passing boats, and
the lights of the stars, were just as in childhood and the old
love-time.  Old, feeble, it was time for  her to hurry away from
the place which changed not with her sorrow.

"Do you see our old neighbour there?" said Ayesha to her lover.
"They say she once was as beautiful as you would make me think I
am now.  How lonely she must be!  Let us come near and speak to her";
and the lover went gladly.  Though they spoke to each other rather
than to her, yet something of the past--which never dies when love,
the immortal, has pervaded it--rose up again as she heard their voices.
She smiled, thinking of years of burning beauty.


A teacher, accompanied by his chelas, was passing by the wayside
where a leper was sitting.  The teacher said, "Here is our brother
whom we may not touch.  But he need not be shut out from truth.
We may sit down where he can listen."  He sat down on the wayside
beside the leper, and his chelas stood around him.  He spoke words
full of love, kindliness, and pity, the eternal truths which make
the soul grow full of sweetness and youth.  A small old spot began
to glow in the heart of the leper, and the tears ran down his
withered cheeks.

All these were the deeds of Parvati, the ascetic;  and the Watcher
who was over him from all eternity made a great stride towards
that soul.

--November 15, 1893



A Talk by the Euphrates



Priest Merodach walked with me at evening along the banks of the
great river.

"You feel despondent now," he said, "but this was inevitable.  You
looked for a result equal to your inspiration.  You must learn to
be content with that alone.  Finally an inspiration will come for
every moment, and in every action a divine fire reveal itself."

"I feel hopeless now.  Why is this?  Wish and will are not less
strong than before."

"Because you looked for a result beyond yourself, and, attached
to external things, your mind drew to itself subtle essences of
earth which clouded it.  But there is more in it than that.  Nature
has a rhythm, and that part of us which is compounded of her elements
shares in it.  You were taught that nature is for ever becoming:
the first emanation in the great deep is wisdom:  wisdom changes
into desire, and an unutterable yearning to go outward darkens the
primeval beauty.  Lastly, the elements arise, blind, dark, troubled.
Nature in them imagines herself into forgetfulness.  This rhythm
repeats itself in man:  a moment of inspiration--wise and clear,
we determine;  then we are seized with a great desire which impels
us to action;  the hero, the poet, the lover, all alike listen to
the music of life, and then endeavour to express its meaning in
word or deed;  coming in contact with nature, its lethal influence
drowses them;  so baffled and forgetful, they wonder where the God is.
To these in some moment the old inspiration returns, the universe is
as magical and sweet as ever, a new impulse is given, and so they
revolve, perverting and using, each one in his own way, the
cosmic rhythm."

"Merodach, what you say seems truth, and leaving aside the cosmic
rhythm, which I do not comprehend, define again for me the three states."

"You cannot really understand the little apart from the great;  but,
applying this to your own case, you remember you had a strange
experience, a God seemed to awaken within you.  This passed away;
you halted a little while, full of strange longing, eager for the
great;  yet you looked without on the hither side of that first moment,
and in this second period, which is interchange and transition, your
longing drew to you those subtle material essences I spoke of, which,
like vapour surround, dull and bewilder the mind with strange
phantasies of form and sensation.  Every time we think with longing
of any object, these essences flow to us out of the invisible spheres
and steep us with the dew of matter:  then we forget the great, we
sleep, we are dead or despondent as you are despondent."

I sighed as I listened.  A watchfulness over momentary desires was
the first step;  I had thought of the tasks of the hero as leading
upwards to the Gods, but this sleepless intensity of will working
within itself demanded a still greater endurance.  I neared my
destination;  I paused and looked round;  a sudden temptation
assailed me;  the world was fair enough to live in.  Why should I
toil after the far-off glory?  Babylon seemed full of mystery, its
temples and palaces steeped in the jewel glow and gloom of evening.
In far-up heights of misty magnificence the plates of gold on the
temples rayed back the dying light:  in the deepening vault a starry
sparkle began:  an immense hum arose from leagues of populous streets:
the scents of many gardens by the river came over me:  I was lulled
by the splash of fountains.  Closer I heard voices and a voice I
loved:  I listened as a song came

"Tell me, youthful lover, whether
        Love is joy or woe?
Are they gay or sad together
        On that way who go?"

A voice answered back

"Radiant as a sunlit feather,
        Pure and proud they go;
With the lion look together
        Glad their faces show."

My sadness departed;  I would be among them shortly, and would walk
and whisper amid those rich gardens where beautiful idleness was
always dreaming.  Merodach looked at me.

"You will find these thoughts will hinder you much," he said.

"You mean--"  I hesitated, half-bewildered, half-amazed.  "I say
that a thought such as that which flamed about you just now, driving
your sadness away, will recur again when next you are despondent,
and so you will accustom yourself to find relief on the great quest
by returning to an old habit of the heart, renewing what should be
laid aside.  This desire of men and women for each other is the
strongest tie among the many which bind us:  it is the most difficult
of all to overcome.  The great ones of the earth have passed that
way themselves with tears."

"But surely, Merodach, you cannot condemn what I may say is so much
a part of our nature--of all nature."

"I did not condemn it, when I said it is the strongest tie that
binds us here:  it is sin only for those who seek for freedom."

"Merodach, must we then give up love?"

"There are two kinds of love men know of.  There is one which begins
with a sudden sharp delight--it dies away into infinite tones of
sorrow.  There is a love which wakes up amid dead things:  it is
a chill at first, but it takes root, it warms, it expands, it lays
hold of universal joys.  So the man loves:  so the God loves.
Those who know this divine love are wise indeed.  They love not
one or another:  they are love itself.  Think well over this:
power alone is not the attribute of the Gods;  there are no such
fearful spectres in that great companionship.  And now, farewell,
we shall meet again."

I watched his departing figure, and then I went on my own way.  I
longed for that wisdom, which they only acquire who toil, and strive,
and suffer;  but I was full of a rich life which longed for excitement
and fulfilment, and in that great Babylon sin did not declare itself
in its true nature, but was still clouded over by the mantle of
primeval beauty.

--December 15, 1893



The Cave of Lilith



Out of her cave came the ancient Lilith;  Lilith the wise;  Lilith
the enchantress.  There ran a little path outside her dwelling;
it wound away among the mountains and glittering peaks, and before
the door, one of the Wise Ones walked to and fro. Out of her cave
came Lilith, scornful of his solitude, exultant in her wisdom,
flaunting her shining and magical beauty.

"Still alone, star gazer!  Is thy wisdom of no avail?  Thou hast
yet to learn that I am more powerful knowing the ways of error than
you who know the ways of truth."

The Wise One heeded her not, but walked to and fro.  His eyes were
turned to the distant peaks, the abode of his brothers.   The
starlight fell about him;  a sweet air came down the mountain path,
fluttering his white robe;  he did not cease from his steady musing.
Like a mist rising between rocks wavered  Lilith in her cave.
Violet, with silvery gleams her raiment;  her face was dim;  over
her head rayed a shadowy diadem, the something a man imagines over
the head of his beloved---looking closer at her face he would have
seen that this was the crown he reached out to, that the eyes burnt
with his own longing, that the lips were parted to yield to the
secret wishes of his heart.

"Tell me, for I would know, why do you wait so long?  I, here in
my cave between the valley and the height blind the eyes of all
who would pass.  Those who by chance go forth to you come back to
me again, and but one in ten thousand passes on.  My delusions are
sweeter to them than truth.  I offer every soul its own shadow;
I pay them their own price.  I have grown rich, though the simple
shepards of old gave me birth.  Men have made me;  the mortals have
made me immortal.  I rose up like a vapour from their first dreams,
and every sigh since then and every laugh remains with me.  I am
made up of hopes and fears.  The subtle princes lay out their plans
of conquest in my cave, and there the hero dreams, and there the
lovers of all time write in flame their history.  I am wise, holding
all experience, to tempt, to blind, to terrify.  None shall pass by.
Why, therefore, dost thou wait?"

The Wise One looked at her and she shrank back a little, and a
little her silver and violet faded, but out of her cave her voice
still sounded:

"The stars and the starry crown are not yours alone to offer, and
every promise you make, I make also.  I offer the good and the bad
indifferently.  The lover, the poet, the mystic, and all who would
drink of the first Fountain, I delude with my mirage.  I was the
Beatrice who led Dante upward:  the gloom was in me, and the glory
was mine also, and he went not out of my cave.  The stars and the
shining of heaven were delusions of the infinite I wove about him.
I captured his soul with the shadow of space;  a nutshell would
have contained the film.  I smote on the dim heart-chords the
manifold music of being.  God is sweeter in the human than the
human in God:  therefore he rested in me."

She paused a little, and then went on.

"There is that fantastic fellow who slipped by me--could your wisdom
not keep him?  He returned to me full of anguish, and I wound my
arms round him like a fair melancholy, and now his sadness is as
sweet to him as hope was before his fall.  Listen to his song."
She paused again.  A voice came up from the depths chanting a
sad knowledge--

"What of all the will to do?
        It has vanished long ago,
For a dream shaft pierced it through
        From the unknown Archer's bow.

What of all the soul to think?
        Some one offered it a cup
Filled with a diviner drink,
        And the flame has burned it up.

What of all the hope to climb?
        Only in the self we grope
To the misty end of time;
        Truth has put an end to hope.

What of all the heart to love?
        Sadder than for will or soul,
No light lured it on above;
        Love has found itself the whole."

 "Is it not pitiful?  I pity only those who pity themselves.  Yet
he is mine more surely than ever.  This is the end of human wisdom.
How shall he now escape?  What shall draw him up?"

"His will shall awaken," said the Wise One.  "I do not sorrow over
him, for long is the darkness before the spirit is born.  He learns
in your caves not to see, not to hear, not to think, for very anguish
flying your delusions."

"Sorrow is a great bond," Lilith said.

"It is a bond to the object of sorrow.  He weeps what thou can never
give him, a life never breathed in thee.  He shall come forth, and
thou shalt not see him at the time of passing.  When desire dies,
will awakens, the swift, the invisible.    He shall go forth, and
one by one the dwellers in your caves will awaken and pass onwards;
this small old path will be trodden by generation after generation.
You, too, oh, shining Lilith, will follow, not as mistress, but
as hand-maiden."

"I shall weave spells," Lilith cried.  "They shall never pass me.
With the sweetest poison I will drug them.  They will rest drowsily
and content as of old.  Were they not giants long ago, mighty men
and heroes?  I overcame them with young enchantment.  Will they
pass by feeble and longing for bygone joys, for the sins of their
proud exultant youth, while I have grown into a myriad wisdom?"

The Wise One walked to and fro as before, and there was silence,
and I thought I saw that with steady will he pierced the tumultuous
gloom of the cave, and a heart was touched here and there in its
blindness.  And I thought I saw that Sad Singer become filled with
a new longing to be, and that the delusions of good and evil fell
from him, and that he came at last to the knees of the Wise One
to learn the supreme truth.  In the misty midnight I hear these
three voices, the Sad Singer, the Enchantress Lilith, and the Wise
One.  From the Sad Singer I learned that thought of itself leads
nowhere, but blows the perfume from every flower, and cuts the
flower from every tree, and hews down every tree from the valley,
and in the end goes to and fro in waste places gnawing itself in
a last hunger.  I learned from Lilith that we weave our own
enchantment, and bind ourselves with out own imagination; to think
of the true as beyond us, or to love the symbol of being, is to
darken the path to wisdom, and to debar us from eternal beauty.
From the Wise One I learned that the truest wisdom is to wait, to
work, and to will in secret; those who are voiceless today, tomorrow
shall be eloquent, and the earth shall hear them, and her children
salute them.  Of these three truths the hardest to learn is the
silent will.  Let us seek for the highest truth.

--February 15, 1894



A Strange Awakening



Chapter I.


That we are living in the Dark Age we all know, yet we do not realise
half its darkness.  We endure physical and moral suffering;  but,
fortunately or unfortunately, we are oblivious of the sorrow of
all sorrows--the Spiritual Tragedy.  Such a rust has come over the
pure and ancient spirit of life, that the sceptre and the diadem
and the starry sway we held are unremembered;  and if anyone speaks
of these things he is looked at strangely with blank eyes, or with
eyes that suspect madness.  I do not know whether to call him great,
or pity him, who feels such anguish;  for although it is the true
agony of the crucifixion, it is only gods who are so martyred.
With these rare souls memory is not born:  life flows on, and they
with it go on in dreams:  they are lulled by lights, flowers, stars,
colours, and sweet odours, and are sheltered awhile from heaven
and hell;  then in some moment the bubble bursts, and the god
awakens and knows himself, and he rises again with giant strength
to conquer;  or else he succumbs, and the waves of Lethe, perhaps
in mercy, blot out his brief knowledge.

I knew such an one many years ago, and I tell of him because I know
of no deeper proof of the existence of a diviner nature than that
man's story.  Arthur Harvey, as I have heard people describe him,
in his early years was gentle, shy, and given to much dreaming.
He was taken from school early, came up from the country to the city,
and was put to business.  He possessed the apathy and unresisting
nature characteristic of so many spiritual people, and which is
found notably among the natives of India;  so he took his daily
confinement at first as a matter of course, though glad enough when
it was over, and the keen sweet air blew about him in spring or
summer evenings, and the earth looked visionary, steeped in dew
and lovely colour, and his soul grew rich with strange memories
and psychic sensations.  And so day-by-day he might have gone on
with the alternation of work and dream, and the soul in its
imaginings might never have known of the labours of the mind, each
working by habit in its accustomed hour, but for an incident which
took place about two years after his going to business.

One morning his manager said:  "Harvey, take this letter;  deliver
it, and wait for an answer."  He started up eagerly, glad for the
unwonted freedom from his desk.  At the door, as he went out, the
whole blinding glory of the sunlight was dashed on him.  He looked
up.  Ah! what spaces illimitable of lustrous blue.  How far off!
How mighty!  He felt suddenly faint, small, mean, and feeble.
His limbs trembled under him:  he shrank from the notice of men
as he went on his way.  Vastness, such as this, breaking in upon
the eye that had followed the point of the pen, unnerved him:  he
felt a bitter self-contempt.  What place had he amid these huge
energies?  The city deafened him as with one shout:  the tread of
the multitude;  the mob of vehicles;  glitter and shadow;  rattle,
roar, and dust;  the black smoke curled in the air;  higher up the
snowy and brilliant clouds, which the tall winds bore along;  all
were but the intricate and wondrous workings of a single monstrous
personality;  a rival in the universe who had absorbed and wrested
from him his own divine dower.  Out of him;  out of him, the power--
the free, the fearless--whirled in play, and drove the suns and
stars in their orbits, and sped the earth through light and shadow.
Out of him;  out of him;  never to be reconquered;  never to be
regained.  The exultant laugh of the day;  the flame of summer;
the gigantic winds careering over the city;  the far-off divine
things filled him with unutterable despair.  What was he amid it all?
A spark decaying in its socket;  a little hot dust clinging together.

He found himself in a small square;  he sat down on a bench;  his
brain burning, his eyes unseeing.

"Oh! my, what's he piping over?" jeered a grotesque voice, and a
small figure disappeared, turning somersaults among the bushes.

"Poor young man!  Perhaps he is ill.  Are you not well, sir?" asked
a sympathetic nurse.

He started up, brought to himself, and muttering something
unintelligible, continued his journey through the city.  The
terrible influence departed, and a new change came over him.  The
laugh of the urchin rankled in his mind:  he hated notice:  there
must be something absurd or out of the common in his appearance
to invoke it.  He knew suddenly that there was a gulf between him
and the people he lived among.  They were vivid, actual, suited
to their places.  How he envied them!  Then the whole superficies
of his mind became filled with a desire to conceal this difference.
He recalled the various characteristics of those who worked along
with him.  One knew all topical songs, slang and phrases;  another
affected a smartness in dress;  a third discussed theatres with
semi-professional knowledge.  Harvey, however, could never have
entered the world, or lived in it, if he had first to pass through
the portals of such ideas!  He delivered his letter;  he was wearied
out, and as he returned he noticed neither sky nor sunlight, and
the hurrying multitudes were indifferent and without character.
He passed through them;  his mind dull like theirs;  a mere machine
to guide rapid footsteps.

That evening, a clerk named Whittaker, a little his senior in the
office, was struck by Harvey's curious and delicate face.

"I say, Harvey," he said, "how do you spend your evenings?"

Harvey flushed a little at the unwonted interest.

"I take long walks," he said.

"Do you read much?"

"A little."

"Do you go to the theatre?"

"No."

"Never?"

"Never."

"Whew! what a queer fellow!  No clubs, classes, music-halls--
anything of the sort, eh?"

"No," said Harvey, a little bitterly, "I know nothing, nobody;  I
am always alone."

"What an extraordinary life!  Why, you are out of the universe
completely.  I say,"  he added, "come along with me this evening.
I will initiate you a little.  You know you must learn your profession
as a human being."

His manner was very kindly;  still Harvey was so shy that he would
have found some excuse, but for that chance expression, "out of
the universe."  Was not this apartness the very thing he had just
been bitterly feeling?  While he hesitated and stammered in his
awkwardness, the other said:  "There, no excuses!  You need not go
to your lodgings for tea.  Come along with me."

They went off together through the darkening streets.  One cheerful
and irreverent, brimful of remark or criticism;  the other silent,
his usual dreaminess was modified, but had not departed, and once,
gazing up through the clear, dark blue, where the stars were shining,
he had a momentary sense as if he were suspended from them by a fine
invisible thread, as a spider hung from her roof;  suspended from
on high, where the pure and ancient aether flamed around the
habituations of eternity;  and below and about him, the thoughts
of demons, the smoke, darkness, horror and anguish of the pit.



Chapter II.



I Cannot tell all the steps by which the young soul came forth from
its clouds and dreams, but must hurry over the years.  This single
incident of his boyhood I have told to mark the character and
tendency of his development;  spirituality made self-conscious
only in departing;  life, a falling from ideals which grew greater,
more beautiful and luminous as the possibility of realizing them
died away.  But this ebbtide of inner life was not regular and
incessant, but rather after the fashion of waves which retreat
surely indeed, but returning again and again, seem for moments to
regain almost more than their past altitude.  His life was a series
of such falls and such awakenings.  Every new experience which drew
his soul from its quietude brought with it a revelation of a spiritual
past, in which, as it now seemed, he had been living unconsciously.
Every new experience which enriched his mind seemed to leave his
soul more barren.  The pathetic anguish of these moments had little
of the moral element, which was dormant and uncultivated rather
than perverted.  He did not ponder over their moral aspect, for he
shared the superficial dislike to the ethical, which we often see
in purely artistic natures, who cannot endure the entrance of
restraint or pain upon their beauty.  His greatest lack was the
companionship of fine men or noble women.  He had shot up far beyond
the reach of those whom he knew, and wanting this companionship
he grew into a cynical or sensuous way of regarding them.  He began
to write:  he had acquired the faculty of vigourous expression by
means of such emotions as were tinged with a mystical voluptuousness
which was the other pole to his inner, secret and spiritual being.
The double strain upon his energies, which daily work and nightly
study with mental productiveness involved, acted injuriously upon
his health, and after a year he became so delicate that he could
carry on neither one nor other of his avocations without an interval
of complete rest.  Obtaining leave from his employers, he went
back for a period of six weeks to the village where he had been born.
Here in the early summer and sunshine his health rapidly improved;
his mind even more than his body drank deep draughts of life;  and
here, more than at any period in his life, did his imagination begin
to deal with mighty things, and probe into the secret mysteries of
life, and here passed into the long descended line by which the
human spirit passed from empire;  he began to comprehend dimly by
what decadence from starry state the soul of man is ushered into
the great visible life.  These things came to him not clearly as
ideas, but rather as shadowy and shining vision thrown across the
air of dawn of twilight as he moved about.

Not alone did this opulence of spiritual life make him happy, another
cause conspired with it to this end.  He had met a nature somewhat
akin to his own:  Olive Rayne, the woman of his life.

As the days passed over he grew eager not to lose any chance of
speech with her, and but two days before his departure he walked
to the village hoping to see her.  Down the quiet English lane in
the evening he passed with the rapid feet that bear onward unquiet
or feverish thought.  The clear fresh air communicated delight to him;
the fields grown dim, the voice of the cuckoo, the moon like a yellow
globe cut in the blue, the cattle like great red shadows driven
homeward with much unnecessary clamour by the children;  all these
flashed in upon him and became part of him:  ready made accessories
and backgrounds to his dreams, their quietness stilled and soothed
the troubled beauty of passion.  His pace lessened as he came near
the village, half wondering what would serve as excuse for visits
following one so soon upon the other.  Chance served as excuse.
He saw her grey dress, her firm upright figure coming out from among
the lilac brushes at the gate of her father's house.  She saw Harvey
coming towards her and waited for him with a pleasant smile.  Harvey,
accustomed to introspect and ideal imaginings, here encountered no
shock gazing upon the external.  Some last light of day reflected
upward from the white gate-post, irradiated her face, and touched
with gold the delicate brown hair, the nosrtils, lips, chin, and
the lilac of her throat.  Her features were clear-cut, flawless;
the expression exquisitely grave and pure;  the large grey eyes
had that steady glow which shows a firm and undisturbed will.  In
some undefinable way he found himself thinking of the vague objects
of his dreams, delicate and subtle things, dew, starlight, and
transparencies rose up by some affinity.  He rejected them--not
those--then a strong warrior with a look of pity on his face appeared
and disappeared:  all this quick as a flash before she spoke.

"I am going doctoring," she said.  "Old nurse Winder is ill, and my
father will not be back until late."  Mr. Rayne was the country doctor.

"May I go with you?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, why not?  But I have first to call at two or three places
on the way."

He went with her.  He was full of wonder at her.  How could she
come out of her own world of aspiration and mystic religion and
show such perfect familiarity, ease and interest in dealing with
these sordid village complaints, moral and physical?  Harvey was
a man who disliked things like these which did not touch his sense
of beauty.  He could not speak to these people as she did:  he could
not sympathize with them.  The pain of the old woman made him shrink
into himself almost with more disgust than pity.  While Olive was
bending over her tenderly and compassionately, he tried to imagine
what it was inspired such actions and such self-forgetfulness.
Almost it seemed for a moment to him as if some hidden will in the
universe would not let beauty rest in its own sphere, but bowed it
down among sorrows continually.  He felt a feeling of relief as
they came out agin into the night.

It was a night of miracle and wonder.  Withdrawn far aloft into
fairy altitudes, the stars danced with a gaiety which was more
tremendous and solemn than any repose.  The night was wrought out
of a profusion of delicate fires.  The grass, trees, and fields
glowed with the dusky colours of rich pottery.  Everywhere silence;
everywhere the exultant breathing of life, subtle, universal,
penetrating.  Into the charmed heart fell the enchantment we call
ancient, though the days have no fellows, nor will ever have any.
Harvey, filled up with this wonder, turned to his companion.

"See how the Magician of the Beautiful blows with his mystic breath
upon the world!  How tremulous the lights are;  what still ness!
How it banishes the memory of pain!"

"Can you forget pain so easily?  I hardly noticed the night--it is
wonderful indeed.  But the anguish it covers and enfolds everywhere
I cannot forget."

"I could not bear to think of pain at any time, still less while
these miracles are over and around us.  You seem to me almost to
seek pain like a lover.  I cannot understand you.  How can you bear
the ugly, the mean, the sordid--the anguish which you meet.  You--
so beautiful?"

"Can you not understand?" she said, almost impetuously.  "Have you
never felt pity as universal as the light that floods the world?
To me a pity seems to come dropping, dropping, dropping from that
old sky, upon the earth and its anguish.  God is not indifferent.
Love eternal encircles us.  Its wishes are for our redemption.
Its movements are like the ripples starting from the rim of a pond
that overcome the outgoing ripples and restore all to peace.

"But what is pain if there is this love?" asked Harvey.

"Ah, how can I answer you?  Yet I think it is the triumph of love
pushing back sin and rebellion.  The cry of this old nature being
overcome is pain.  And this is universal, and goes on everywhere,
through we cannot comprehend it;  and so, when we yield to this
divine love, and accept the change, we find in pain a secret
sweetness.  It is the first thrill that heralds an immense dawn."

"But why do you say it is universal?  Is not that a frightful thought?"

"If God is the same yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow, then the life
of Christ on earth was a symbol--must be a symbol--of what endures
for ever:  the Light and Darkness for ever in conflict:  a crucifixion
in eternity."

This belief, so terrible, so pathetic, so strange, coming from this
young girl affected Harvey profoundly.  He did not reject it.  The
firmness and surety of her utterance, the moral purity of her
character, appealed to him who felt his own lack of clear belief
and heroic purpose.  Like all spiritual people, he assimilated
easily the spiritual moods of those whom he came into contact with.
Coming from her, the moral, pathetic, and Christian doctrine had
that element of beauty which made it blend with his ideal paganism.
As he went homewards he pondered over her words, her life, her
thoughts.  He began to find an inexpressible beauty in her pity,
as a feeling welling up from unknown depths, out of the ancient
heart of things.  Filled with this pity he could overcome his dislike
of pain and go forth as the strong warrior of his momentary vision.
He found himself repeating again and again her words:  "We find in
pain a secret sweetness--a secret sweetness--a secret sweetness."
If he could only find it, what might he not dare, to what might he
not attain?  And revolving all these things upon his restless pillow,
there came over him one of those mystic moods I have spoken of:
wandering among dim originals, half in dream and half in trance,
there was unfolded within him this ancient legend of the soul:--


There was a great Gloom and a great Glory in nature, and the legions
of darkness and the glorious hosts were at war perpetually with one
another.  Then the Ancient of Days, who holds all this within himself,
moved the Gloom and the Glory together:  the Sons of the Bright Fire
he sent into the darkness, and the children of Darkness he brought
unto the gates of the day.  And in the new life formed out of the
union of these two, pain, self-conscious, became touched with a
spiritual beauty, and those who were of the Hosts of Beauty wore
each one a Crown of Thorns upon the brow.



Chapter III.

Harvey rose up early;  as he walked to and fro in the white dawn,
he found the answers to every question in his mind:  they rose up
with a sweet and joyful spontaneity.  Life became filled with
happiest meaning:  a light from behind the veil fell upon the things
he had before disliked, and in this new light, pain, sorrow, and
the old moralities were invested with a significance undreamt of
before.  In admitting into his own mind Olive Rayne's ideas, he
removed something of their austerity:  what he himself rejected,
seen in her, added another and peculiar interest to the saintly
ideal of her which he had formed.  She had once said, peace and
rest were inconceivable while there existed strife and suffering
in nature.  Nowhere could there be found refuge;  drawing near unto
the divine, this pain only became wider, more intense, almost
insufferable, feeling and assimilating the vastness of divine sorrow
brooding over the unreclaimed deep.  This pity, this consciousness
of pain, not her own, filling her own, filling her life, marked
her out from everyone he knew.  She seemed to him as one consecrated.
Then this lover in his mystic passion passed in the contemplation
of his well-beloved from the earthly to the invisible soul.  He
saw behind and around her a form unseen by others;  a form, spiritual,
pathetic, of unimaginable beauty, on which the eternal powers kept
watch, which they nourished with their own life, and on which they
inflicted their own pain.  This form was crowned, but with a keen-
pointed radiance from which there fell a shadowy dropping.  As he
walked to and fro in the white dawn he made for her a song, and
inscribed it.

To One Consecrated

Your paths were all unknown to us:
We were so far away from you,
We mixed in thought your spirit thus--
With whiteness, stars of gold, and dew.

The mighty mother nourished you:
Her breath blew from her mystic bowers:
Their elfin glimmer floated through
The pureness of your shadowy hours.

The mighty mother made you wise;
Gave love that clears the hidden ways:
Her glooms were glory to your eyes;
Her darkness but the Fount of Days.

She made all gentleness in you,
And beauty radiant as the morn's:
She made our joy in yours, then threw
Upon your head a crown of thorns.

Your eyes are filled with tender light,
For those whose eyes are dim with tears;
They see your brow is crowned and bright,
But not its ring of wounding spears.

We can imagine no discomfiture while the heavenly light shines
through us.  Harvey, though he thought with humility of his past
as impotent and ignoble in respect of action, felt with his rich
vivid consciousness that he was capable of entering into her subtlest
emotions.  He could not think of the future without her;  he could
not give up the hope of drawing nigh with her to those mysteries
of life which haunted them both.  His thought, companioned by her,
went ranging down many a mystic year.  He began to see strange
possibilities, flashes as of old power, divine magic to which all
the world responded, and so on till the thought trembled in vistas
ending in a haze of flame.  Meanwhile, around him was summer:
gladness and youth were in his heart, and so he went on dreaming--
forecasting for the earth and its people a future which belongs
only to the spiritual soul--dreaming of happy years even as a
child dreams.

Later on that evening, while Olive was sitting in her garden, Dr.
Rayne came out and handed her a bundle of magazines.

"There are some things in these which may interest you, Olive," he
said:  "Young Harvey writes for them, I understand.  I looked over
one or two. They are too mystical for me.  You will hardly find them
mystical enough."

She took the papers from him without much interest, and laid them
beside her on the seat.  After a time she took them up.  As she
read her brows began to knit, and her face grew cold.  These verses
were full of that mystical voluptuousness which I said characterised
Harvey's earlier productions;  all his rich imagination was employed
to centre interest upon moments of half-sensual sensations;  the
imagery was used in such a way that nature seemed to aid and abet
the emotion;  out of the heart of things, out of wild enchantment
and eternal revelry shot forth into the lives of men the fires of
passion.  Nothing could be more unlike the Christ-soul which she
worshiped as underlying the universe and on which she had reliance.

"He does not feel pity;  he does not understand love,"  she murmured.
She felt a cold anger arise;  she who had pity for most things felt
that a lie had been uttered defiling the most sacred things in the
Holy of Holies, the things upon which her life depended.  She could
never understand Harvey, although he had been included in the general
kindliness with which she treated all who came near her;  but here
he seemed revealed, almost vaunting an inspiration from the
passionate powers who carry on their ancient war against the Most High.

The lights were now beginning to fade about her in the quiet garden
when the gate opened, and someone came down the path.  It was Harvey.
In the gloom he did not notice that her usual smile was lacking,
and besides he was too rapt in his own purpose.  He hesitated for
a moment, then spoke.

"Olive," he said tremulously, "as I came down the lanes to say good-bye
to you my heart rebelled.  I could not bear the thought:  Olive, I
have learned so many things from you;  your words have meant so much
to me that I have taken them as the words of God.  Before I knew
you I shrank from pain;  I wandered in search of a false beauty.
I see now the purpose of life--to carry on the old heroic battle
for the true;  to give the consolation of beauty to suffering;
to become so pure that through us may pass that divine pity which
I never knew until you spoke, and I then saw it was the root of
all life, and there was nothing behind it--such magic your words
have.  My heart was glad this morning for you at this truth, and
I saw in it the power which would transfigure the earth.  Yet all
this hope has come to me through you;  I half hold it still through
you.  To part from you now--it seems to me would be like turning
away from the guardian of the heavenly gateway.  I know I have but
little to bring you.  I must make all my plea how much you are to
me when I ask can you love me."

She had hardly heard a word of all he said.  She was only conscious
that he was speaking of love.  What love?  Had he not written of it?
It would have emptied Heaven into the pit.  She turned and faced him,
speaking coldly and deliberately:

"You could speak of love to me, and write and think of it like this!"
She placed her hand on the unfortunate magazines.  Harvey followed
the movement of her arm.  He took the papers up, then suddenly saw
all as she turned and walked away,--what the passion of these poems
must have seemed to her.  What had he been in her presence that
could teach her otherwise?  Only a doubter and questioner.  In a
dreadful moment his past rose up before him, dreamy, weak, sensual.
His conscience smote him through and through.  He could find no
word to say.  Self-condemned, he moved blindly to the gate and went
out.  He hardly knew what he was doing.  Before him the pale dry
road wound its way into the twilight amid the hedges and cottages.
Phantasmal children came and went.  There seemed some madness in
all they were doing.  Why did he not hear their voices?  They ran
round and round;  there should have been cries or laughter or some
such thing.  Then suddenly something seemed to push him forward,
and he went on blankly and walked down the lane.  In that tragic
moment his soul seemed to have deserted him, leaving only a half-
animal consciousness.  With dull attention he wondered at the muffled
sound of his feet upon the dusty road, and the little puffs of smoke
that shot out before them.  Every now and then something would throb
fiercely for an instant and be subdued.  He went on and on.  His
path lay across some fields.  He stopped by force of habit and
turned aside from the road.  Again the same fierce throb.  In a
wild instant he struggled for recollection and self-mastery, and
then the smothered soul rushed out of the clouds that oppressed it.
Memories of hope and shame:  the morning gladness of his heart:
the brilliant and spiritual imaginations that inspired him:  their
sudden ending:  the degradation and drudgery of the life he was
to return to on the morrow:  all rose up in tumultuous conflict.
A feeling of anguish that was elemental and not of the moment
filled him.  Drifting and vacillating nature--he saw himself as
in a boat borne along by currents that carried him, now near isles
of beauty, and then whirled him away from their vanishing glory
into gloomy gulfs and cataracts that went down into blackness.
He was master neither of joy nor sorrow.  Without will:  unpractical;
with sensitiveness which made joy a delirium and gloom a very hell;
the days he went forward to stretched out iron hands to bind him
to the deadly dull and commonplace.  These vistas, intolerable and
hopeless, overcame him.  He threw himself down in his despair.
Around his head pressed the cool grasses wet with dew.  Strange
and narrow, the boundary between heaven and hell!  All around him
primeval life innocent and unconscious was at play.  All around him,
stricken with the fever of life, that Power which made both light
and darkness, inscrutable in its workings, was singing silently
the lovely carol of the flowers.



Chapter IV.



Little heaps of paper activities piled themselves up, were added to,
diminished, and added to again, all the day long before Harvey at
his desk.  He had returned to his work:  there was an unusual press
of business, and night after night he was detained long beyond the
usual hours.  The iron hand which he had foreseen was laid upon him:
it robbed him even of his right to sorrow, the time to grieve.
But within him at moments stirred memories of the past, poignant
anguish and fierce rebellion.  With him everything transformed
itself finally into ideal images and aspects, and it was not so
much the memory of an incident which stung him as the elemental
sense of pain in life itself.  He felt that he was debarred from
a heritage of spiritual life which he could not define even to himself.
The rare rays of light that slanted through the dusty air of the
office, mystic gold fallen through inconceivable distances from the
pure primeval places, wakened in him an unutterable longing:  he
felt a choking in his throat as he looked.  Often, at night, too,
lifting his tired eyes from the pages flaring beneath the bright
gas jet, he could see the blueness deepen rich with its ancient
clouds of starry dust.  What pain it was to him, immemorial quiet,
passivity and peace, though over it a million tremors fled and
chased each other throughout the shadowy night!  What pain it was
to let the eyes fall low and see about him the pale and feverish faces
looking ghostly through the hot, fetid, animal, and flickering air!

His work over, out into the night he would drag himself wearily--
out into the night anywhere;  but there no more than within could
he escape from that power which haunted him with mighty memories,
the scourge which the Infinite wields.  Nature has no refuge for
those in whom the fire of spirit has been kindled:  earth has no
glory for which it does not know a greater glory.  As Harvey passed
down the long streets, twinkling with their myriad lights fading
into blue and misty distances, there rose up before him in the
visionary air solemn rows of sphinxes in serried array, and starlit
pyramids and temples--greatness long dead, a dream that mocked the
lives around him, hoarding the sad small generations of humanity
dwindling away from beauty.  Gone was the pure and pale splendour
of the primeval skies and the lustre of the first-born of stars.
But even this memory, which linked him in imagination to the ideal
past, was not always his:  he was weighted, like all his race, with
an animal consciousness which cried out fiercely for its proper life,
which thirsted for sensation, and was full of lust and anger.  The
darkness was not only about him, but in him, and struggled there
for mastery.  It threw up forms of meanness and horrible temptations
which clouded over his soul;  their promise was forgetfulness;
they seemed to say:  "Satisfy us, and your infinite longing shall
die away:  to be of clay is very dull and comfortable;  it is the
common lot."

One night, filled with this intolerable pain, as he passed through
the streets he yielded to the temptation to kill out this torturing
consciousness:  he accosted one of the women of the streets and
walked away with her.  She was full of light prattle, and chattered
on and on.  Harvey answered her not a word;  he was set on his
stony purpose.  Child of the Stars! what had he to do with these
things?  He sought only his soul's annihilation.  Something in
this terrible silence communicated itself to his companion.  She
looked at his face in the light of a lamp;  it was white, locked,
and rigid.  Child of the Stars, no less, though long forgetful,
she shuddered at this association.  She recoiled from him crying
out "You brute--you brute!" and then fled away.  The unhappy man
turned homeward and sat in his lonely room with stupid, staring
eyes, fixed on darkness and vacancy until the pale green light of
dawn began to creep in upon him.

Into this fevered and anguished existence no light had yet come.
Drunken with wretchedness, Harvey could not or would not think;
and the implacable spirit which followed him deepened and quickened
still more the current of his being, and the GLOOM and the GLORY
of his dream moved still nearer to each other.  Mighty and mysterious
spirit, thou who crownest pain with beauty, and by whom the mighty
are bowed down from their seats, under they guidance, for such a
crowning and for such agony, were coiled together the living streams
of evil and good, so that at last the man might know himself--the
soul--not as other than Thee!

The ways by which he was brought to that moment were unremembered;
the sensations and thoughts and moods which culminated in the fire
of self-consciousness could be retraced but vaguely.  He had gone
out of the city one Sunday, and lying down in the fields under the
trees, for a time he grew forgetful of misery.  He went once more
into the world of dreams.  He, or the creature of his imagination,
some shadow of himself, lived in and roamed through antique forests
where the wonderful days were unbroken by sense of sorrow.  Childhood
shared in an all-pervading exultation;  through the pulses of youth
ran the fiery energy that quickened the world;  and this shadow
of the dreamer dwelling amid the forests grew gradually into a
consciousness of a fiery life upon which the surface forms were
but films:  he entered this kingdom of fire;  its life became his
life;  he knew the secret ways to the sun, and the sunny secrets
living in the golden world.  "It was I, myself," rushed into Harvey's
mind:  "It was I.  Ah, how long ago!"  Then for the first time,
his visions, dreams and imaginations became real to him, as memories
of a spirit traveling through time and space.  Looking backwards,
he could nowhere find in the small and commonplace surroundings of
his life anything which could have suggested or given birth to
these vivid pictures and ideas.  They began to move about swiftly
in his mind and arrange themselves in order.  He seemed to himself
to have fallen downwards through a long series of lines of ever-
lessening beauty--fallen downwards from the mansions of eternity
into this truckling and hideous life.  As Harvey walked homewards
through the streets, some power must have guided his steps, for
he saw or knew nothing of what was about him.  With the sense of
the reality of his imaginations came an energy he had never before
felt:  his soul took complete possession of him:  he knew, though
degraded, that he was a spirit.  Then, in that supreme moment,
gathered about him the memories of light and darkness, and they
became the lips through which eternal powers spake to him in a
tongue unlike the speech of men.  The spirit of light was behind
the visions of mystical beauty:  the spirit of darkness arrayed
itself in the desires of clay.  These powers began to war within
him:  he heard voices as of Titans talking.

The spirit of light spake within him and said--"Arouse now, and be
thou my voice in this dead land.  There are many things to be spoken
and sung--of dead language the music and significance, old world
philosophies;  you will be the singer of the sweetest songs;
stories wilder and stranger than any yet will I tell you--deeds
forgotten of the vaporous and dreamy prime.

The voice came yet again closer, full of sweet promise, with magical
utterance floating around him.  He became old--inconceivably old
and young together.  He was astonished in the wonders of the primal
world.  Chaos with tremendous agencies, serpentine powers, strange
men-beasts and men-birds, the crude first thought of awakening
nature was before him;  from inconceivable heights of starlike
purity he surveyed it;  he went forth from glory;  he descended
and did battle;  he warred with behemeths, with the flying serpents
and the monstrous creeping things.  With the Lords of Air he descended
and conquered;  he dwelt in a new land, a world of light, where all
things were of light, where the trees put forth leaves of living
green, where the rose would blossom into a rose of light and lily
into a white radiance, and over the vast of gleaming plains and
through the depths of luminous forests, the dreaming rivers would
roll in liquid and silver flame.  Often he joined in the mad dance
upon the highlands, whirling round and round until the dark grass
awoke fiery with rings of green under the feet.  And so, on and
on through endless transformations he passed, and he saw how the
first world of dark elements crept in upon the world of beauty,
clothing it around with grossness and veiling its fires;  and the
dark spirits entered by subtle ways into the spheres of the spirits
of light, and became as a mist over memory and a chain upon speed;
the earth groaned with the anguish.  Then this voice cried within
him--"Come forth; come out of it;  come out, oh king, to the
ancestral spheres, to the untroubled spiritual life.  Out of the
furnace, for it leaves you dust.  Come away, oh king, to old dominion
and celestial sway;  come out to the antique glory!"

Then another voice from below laughed at the madness.  Full of scorn
it spake, "You, born of clay, a ruler of stars?  Pitiful toiler with
the pen, feeble and weary body, what shall make of you a spirit?"
Harvey thrust away this hateful voice.  From his soul came the
impulse to go to other lands, to wander for ever and ever under
the star-rich skies, to be a watcher of the dawn and eve, to live
in forest places or on sun-nurtured plains, to merge himself once
more in the fiery soul hidden within.  But the mocking voice would
not be stifled, showing him how absurd and ridiculous it was "to
become a vagabond," so the voice said, and finally to die in the
workhouse.  So the eternal spirit in him, God's essence, conscious
of its past brotherhood, with the morning stars, the White Aeons,
in its prisonhouse writhed with the meanness, till at last he cried,
"I will struggle no longer;  it is only agony of spirit to aspire
here at all;  I will sit and wait till the deep darkness has vanished."

But the instruction was not yet complete;  he had learned the primal
place of spirit;  he had yet to learn its nature.  He began to think
with strange sadness over the hopes of the world, the young children.
He saw them in his vision grow up, bear the burden in silence or
ignorance;  he saw how they joined in dragging onward that huge
sphinx which men call civilization;  there was no time for loitering
amid the beautiful, for if one paused it was but to be trampled by
the feet of the many who could not stay or rest, and the wheels
of the image ground that soul into nothingness.  He felt every pain
almost in an anguish of sympathy.  Helpless to aid, to his lips
came the cry to another which immemorial usage has made intuitive
in men.  But It is high and calm above all appeal;  to It the cries
from all the sorrowing stars sound but as one great music;  lying
in the infinite fields of heaven, from the united feelings of many
universes It draws only a vast and passionless knowledge, without
distinction of pleasure or pain.  From the universal which moves
not and aids not, Harvey in his agony turned away.  He himself
could fly from the struggle;  thinking of what far place or state
to find peace, he found it true in his own being that nowhere could
the soul find rest while there was still pain or misery in the world.
He could imagine no place or state where these cries of pain would
not reach him:  he could imagine no heaven where the sad memory
would not haunt him and burn him.  He knew then that the nature
of the soul was love eternal;  he knew that if he fled away a
divine compassion would compel him to renew his brotherhood with
the stricken and suffering;  and what was best forever to do was
to fight out the fight in the darkness.  There was a long silence
in Harvey's soul;  then with almost a solemn joy he grew to realize
at last the truth of he himself--the soul.  The fight was over;
the Gloom and the Glory were linked together, and one inseparably.
Harvey was full of a sense of quietness, as if a dew fell from
unseen places on him with soothing and healing power.  He looked
around.  He was at the door of his lodgings.  The tall narrow
houses with their dull red hues rose up about him;  from their
chimneys went up still higher the dark smoke;  but behind its
nebulous wavering the stars were yet;  they broke through the smoke
with white lustre.  Harvey looked at them for a moment, and went
in strangely comforted.

The End

--March 15-June 15, 1894



The Midnight Blossom

--"Arhans are born at midnight hour..... together with the holy
flower that opes and blooms in darkness."--The Voice of the Silence



We stood together at the door of our hut:  we could see through the
gathering gloom where our sheep and goats were cropping the sweet
grass on the side of the hill:  we were full of drowsy content as
they were.  We had naught to mar our own happiness--neither memory
nor unrest for the future.  We lingered on while the vast twilight
encircled us;  we were one with its dewy stillness.  The lustre
of the early stars first broke in upon our dreaming:  we looked up
and around:  the yellow constellations began to sing their choral
hymn together.  As the night deepened they came out swiftly from
their hiding places in depths of still and unfathomable blue;
they hung in burning clusters;  they advanced in multitudes that
dazzled:  the shadowy shining of night was strewn all over with
nebulous dust of silver, with long mists of gold with jewels of
glittering green.  We felt how fit a place the earth was to live on,
with these nightly glories over us, with silence and coolness upon
its lawns and lakes after the consuming day.  Valmika, Kedar, I
and Ananda watched together;  through the rich gloom we could see
far distant forests and lights--the lights of village and city in
King Suddhodana's realm.

"Brothers," said Valmika, "How good it is to be here, and not yonder
in the city where they know not peace, even in sleep."

"Yonder and yonder," said Kedar, "I saw the inner air full of a
red glow where they were busy in toiling and strife.  It seemed to
reach up to me;  I could not breathe.  I climbed the hills at dawn
to laugh where the snows were, and the sun is as white as they
are white."

"But, brothers, if we went down among them and told them how happy
we were, and how the flowers grow on the hillside, and all about
the flocks, they would surely come up and leave all sorrow.  They
cannot know or they would come."  Ananda was a mere child though
so tall for his years.

"They would not come," said Kedar.  "All their joy is to haggle
and hoard.  When Siva blows upon them with his angry breath they
will lament, or when the Prets in fierce hunger devour them."

"It is good to be here," repeated Valmika drowsily, "to mind the
flocks and be at rest, and to hear the wise Varunna speak when he
comes among us."

I was silent.  I knew better than they that busy city which glowed
beyond the dark forests.  I had lived there until, grown sick and
weary, I had gone back to my brothers on the hillside.  I wondered
would life, indeed, go on ceaselessly until it ended in the pain
of the world.  I said within myself--Oh, mighty Brahma, on the
outermost verges of they dream are our lives;  thou old invisible,
how faintly through our hearts comes the sound of thy song, the
light of thy glory!  Full of yearning to rise and return, I strove
to hear in the heart the music Anahata had spoken of in our sacred
scrolls.  There was silence, and then I thought I heard sounds,
not glad, a myriad murmur.  As I listen it deepened, it grew into
passionate prayer and appeal and tears, as if the cry of the long-
forgotten souls of men went echoing through empty chambers.  My
eyes filled with tears, for it seemed world-wide, and to sigh from
out many ages, long agone, to be and yet to be.

"Ananda!  Ananda! where is the boy running to?" cried Valmika.
Ananda had vanished into the gloom.  We heard his glad laugh below
and then another voice speaking.  Presently up loomed the tall
figure of Varunna.  Ananda held his hand and danced beside him.
We could see by the starlight his simple robe of white.  I could
trace clearly every feature of the grave and beautiful face, the
radiant eyes;  not by the starlight I saw, but because a silvery
shining rayed a little way into the blackness around the dark hair
and face.  Valmika, as elder, first spake.

"Holy sir, be welcome.  Will you come in and rest?"

"I cannot stay now.  I must pass over the mountain ere dawn;  but
you may come a little way with me--such of you as will."

We assented gladly--Kedar and I;  Valmika remained.  Then Ananda
prayed to go.  We bade him stay, fearing for him the labour of
climbing and the chill of the snows, but Varunna said:  "Let the
child come;  he is hardy;  he will not tire if he holds my hands."

So we set out together and faced the highlands that rose and rose
above us;  we knew well the way even at night.  We waited in silence
for Varunna to speak, but for nigh two hours we mounted without
words, save for Ananda's shouts of delight and wonder at the heavens
spread above us.  But I was hungry for an answer to my thoughts,
so I spake.

"Master, Valmika was saying, ere you came, how good it was to be
here rather than in the city where they are full of strife, and
Kedar thought their lives would flow on into fiery pain and no
speech would avail.  Ananda, speaking as a child indeed, said if
one went down among them they would listen to his story of the
happy life.  But, Master, do not many speak and interpret the
sacred writings, and how few they are who lay to heart the words
of the gods!  They seem, indeed, to go on through desire into pain,
and even here upon our hills we are not free, for Kedar felt the
hot glow of their passion and I heard in my heart their sobs of
despair.  Master, it was terrible, for they seemed to come from
the wide earth over, and out of ages far away."

"There is more of the true in the child's hope than in your despair,
for it is of much avail to speak though but a few listen.  Better
is the life which aids, though in sorrow, than the life which
withdraws from pain unto solitude.  Yet it is not well to speak
without power, for only the knower of Brahma can interpret the
sacred writings truly.  It is well to be free ere we speak of freedom;
then we have power and many hearken."

"But who would leave joy for sorrow, and who being one with Brahma
may return to give council?"

"Brother," said Varunna, "here is the hope of the world.  Though
many seek only for the eternal joy, yet the cry you heard has been
heard by great ones who have turned backwards, called by these
beseeching voices.  The small old path stretching far away leads
through many wonderful beings to the place of Brahma;  there is
the first fountain, the world of beautiful silence, the light that
has been undimmed since the beginning of time--the joy where life
fades into being;  but turning backwards, the small old path winds
away into the world of men, it enters every sorrowful heart, and
the way of him who would tread therethro' is stayed by its pain
and barred by its delusion.  This is the way the great ones go;
they turn with the path from the door of Brahma the warriors and
the strong ones:  they move along its myriad ways;  they overcome
darkness with wisdom and pain with compassion.  After many conquered
worlds, after many races of men, purified and uplifted they go to
greater than Brahma.  In these, though few, is the hope of the world;
these are the heroes for whom, returning, the earth puts forth her
signal fires, and the Devas sing their hymns of welcome."

We paused where the plateau widened out;  there was scarce a ripple
in the chill air;  in quietness the snows glistened, a light
reflected from the crores of stars that swung with gay and
glittering motion above us.  We could hear the immense heart-beat
of the world in the stillness;  we had thoughts that went ranging
through the heavens, not sad, but full of solemn hope.

"Brothers!  Master!  Look, the wonderful thing! and another, and
yet another!"  We heard Ananda calling;  we looked and saw the holy
blossom--the midnight flower--oh, may the earth again put forth
such beauty--it grew up from the snows with leaves of delicate crystal,
a nimbus encircled each radiant bloom, a halo pale yet lustrous.
I bowed down before it lost in awe.  I heard Varunna say:--"The earth,
indeed puts forth her signal fires, and the Devas sing their hymn;
listen!"  We heard a music as of beautiful thought moving along the
high places of the earth, full of infinite love and hope and yearning.

"Brothers, be glad, for One is born who has chosen the greater way.
Now I must pass onwards.  Kedar, Narayan, Ananda, farewell!  Nay,
no further;  it is long way to return, and the child will tire."

He went on and passed from our sight.  But we did not return;  we
remained long, long in silence, looking at the sacred flower.


Vow, taken long ago, be strong in our hearts to-day.  Here where
the pain is fiercer, to rest is more sweet.  Here where beauty
dies away, it is more joy to be lulled in dreams.  Here the good,
the true, our hope, seem but a madness born of ancient pain.
Out of rest, dream, or despair, let us arise.  Let us go the way
the Great Ones go.

--July, 1894



The Story of a Star



The emotion that haunted me in that little cathedral town would be
most difficult to describe.  After the hurry, rattle, and fever of
the city, the rare weeks spent here were infinitely peaceful.  They
were full of a quaint sense of childhood, with sometimes a deeper
chord touched--the giant and spiritual things childhood has dreams of.
The little room I slept in had opposite its window the great grey
cathedral wall;  it was only in the evening that the sunlight crept
round it and appeared in the room strained through the faded green
blind.  It must have been this silvery quietness of colour which
in some subtle way affected me with the feeling of a continual Sabbath;
and this was strengthened by the bells chiming hour after hour:
the pathos, penitence, and hope expressed by the flying notes
coloured the intervals with faint and delicate memories.  They
haunted my dreams, and I heard with unutterable longing the astral
chimes pealing from some dim and vast cathedral of the cosmic memory,
until the peace they tolled became almost a nightmare, and I longed
for utter oblivion or forgetfulness of their reverberations.

More remarkable were the strange lapses into other worlds and times.
Almost as frequent as the changing of the bells were the changes from
state to state.  I realised what is meant by the Indian philosophy
of Maya.  Truly my days were full of Mayas, and my work-a-day city
life was no more real to me than one of those bright, brief glimpses
of things long past.  I talk of the past, and yet these moments
taught me how false our ideas of time are.  In the ever-living
yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow are words of no meaning.  I know
I fell into what we call the past and the things I counted as dead
for ever were the things I had yet to endure.  Out of the old age
of earth I stepped into its childhood, and received once more the
primal blessing of youth, ecstasy, and beauty.  But these things
are too vast and vague to speak of; the words we use to-day cannot
tell their story.  Nearer to our time is the legend that follows.

I was, I thought, one of the Magi of old Persia, inheritor of its
unforgotten lore, and using some of its powers.  I tried to pierce
through the great veil of nature, and feel the life that quickened
it within.  I tried to comprehend the birth and growth of planets,
and to do this I rose spiritually and passed beyond earth's confines
into that seeming void which is the matrix where they germinate.
On one of these journeys I was struck by the phantasm, so it seemed,
of a planet I had not observed before.  I could not then observe
closer, and coming again on another occasion it had disappeared.
After the lapse of many months I saw it once more, brilliant with
fiery beauty--its motion was slow, rotating around some invisible
centre.  I pondered over it, and seemed to know that the invisible
centre was its primordial spiritual state, from which it emerged
a little while and into which it then withdrew.  Short was its day;
its shining faded into a glimmer, and then into darkness in a few
months.  I learned its time and cycles;  I made preparations and
determined to await its coming.


The Birth of a Planet


At first silence and then an inner music, and then the sounds of
song throughout the vastness of its orbit grew as many in number
as there were stars at gaze.  Avenues and vistas of sound!  They
reeled to and fro.  They poured from a universal stillness quick
with unheard things.  They rushed forth and broke into a myriad
voices gay with childhood.  From age and the eternal they rushed
forth into youth.  They filled the void with reveling and exultation.
In rebellion they then returned and entered the dreadful Fountain.
Again they came forth, and the sounds faded into whispers;  they
rejoiced once again, and again died into silence.

And now all around glowed a vast twilight;  it filled the cradle
of the planet with colourless fire.  I felt a rippling motion which
impelled me away from the centre to the circumference.  At that
centre a still flame began to lighten;  a new change took place,
and space began to curdle, a milky and nebulous substance rocked
to and fro.  At every motion the pulsation of its rhythm carried
it farther and farther away from the centre,  it grew darker, and
a great purple shadow covered it so that I could see it no longer.
I was now on the outer verge, where the twilight still continued
to encircle the planet with zones of clear transparent light.

As night after night I rose up to visit it they grew many-coloured
and brighter.  I saw the imagination of nature visibly at work.
I wandered through shadowy immaterial forests, a titanic vegetation
built up of light and colour;  I saw it growing denser, hung with
festoons and trailers of fire, and spotted with the light of myriad
flowers such as earth never knew.  Coincident with the appearance
of these things I felt within myself, as if in harmonious movement,
a sense of joyousness, an increase of self-consciousness;  I felt
full of gladness, youth, and the mystery of the new.  I felt that
greater powers were about to appear, those who had thrown outwards
this world and erected it as a place in space.

I could not tell half the wonder of this strange race.  I could
not myself comprehend more than a little of the mystery of their
being.  They recognised my presence there, and communicated with
me in such a way that I can only describe it by saying that they
seemed to enter into my soul breathing a fiery life;  yet I knew
that the highest I could reach to was but the outer verge of their
spiritual nature, and to tell you but a little I have many times
to translate it, for in the first unity with their thought I touched
on an almost universal sphere of life, I peered into the ancient
heart that beats throughout time;  and this knowledge became change
in me, first, into a vast and nebulous symbology, and so down through
many degrees of human thought into words which hold not at all the
pristine and magical beauty.

I stood before one of this race, and I thought, "What is the meaning
and end of life here?"  Within me I felt the answering ecstasy that
illuminated with vistas of dawn and rest, it seemed to say:

"Our spring and our summer are unfolding into light and form, and
our autumn and winter are a fading into the infinite soul."

I thought, "To what end is this life poured forth and withdrawn?"

He came nearer and touched me;  once more I felt the thrill of being
that changed itself into vision.

"The end is creation, and creation is joy: the One awakens out of
quiescence as we come forth, and knows itself in us;  as we return
we enter it in gladness, knowing ourselves.  After long cycles the
world you live in will become like ours;  it will be poured forth
and withdrawn;  a mystic breath, a mirror to glass your being."

He disappeared while I wondered what cyclic changes would transmute
our ball of mud into the subtle substance of thought.

In that world I dared not stay during its period of withdrawal;
having entered a little into its life, I became subject to its laws:
the Power on its return would have dissolved my being utterly.  I
felt with a wild terror its clutch upon me, and I withdrew from the
departing glory, from the greatness that was my destiny--but not yet.

From such dreams I would be aroused, perhaps by a gentle knock at
my door, and my little cousin Margaret's quaint face would peep in
with a "Cousin Robert, are you not coming down to supper?"

Of these visions in the light of after thought I would speak a
little.  All this was but symbol, requiring to be thrice sublimed
in interpretation ere its true meaning can be grasped.  I do not
know whether worlds are heralded by such glad songs, or whether
any have such a fleeting existence, for the mind that reflects
truth is deluded with strange phantasies of time and place in
which seconds are rolled out into centuries and long cycles are
reflected in an instant of time.  There is within us a little space
through which all the threads of the universe are drawn;  and,
surrounding that incomprehensible centre the mind of man sometimes
catches glimpses of things which are true only in those glimpses;
when we record them the true has vanished, and a shadowy story--
such as this--alone remains.  Yet, perhaps, the time is not altogether
wasted in considering legends like these, for they reveal, though
but in phantasy and symbol, a greatness we are heirs to, a destiny
which is ours, though it be yet far away.

--August 15, 1894



How Theosophy Affects One's View of Life

--A Paper Read Before the Dublin Lodge.



In asking you to consider with me the influence of the system of
thought called Theosophy upon one's view of all the things which
are included in the term Life, I have to preface my remarks by the
confession that I have not extracted my ideas from portly volumes,
or indeed, engaged in any great research;  and I have further to
ask you to believe that what you will hear is the most unbiased
statement, as far as possible, on the subjects which will necessarily
come under notice.

The outlook of any individual mind is not a constant quantity;  it
is to some extent determined by education, environment, and the
innate tendencies;  but it is always subject to alteration;  it is
constantly feeling the influence of subtle forces and circumstances,
and it changes with every fresh experience and every new sensation.
Still these influences seldom evince their presence by a great
reversal of the mental attitude, and we are best able to sense them
by seeing how the actions of the individual, which are very largely
the voluntary or involuntary expression of his standpoint, represent
at different times changes in that standpoint.  Indeed, one's own
experience will supply plenty of material to work upon;  for, I
daresay no one will insist that his present attitude towards the
rest of the universe is identical with that of ten or five years ago,
or even one year.  A little examination will show that the mental
processes which precede some definite action are altered in some
important manner from those of 1890.  The question which is of
importance is to find out how the change has come about, and whether
one is to allow extraneous events to mast his mental conclusions,
or one is to become, through wisdom acquired by effort, the conscious
master of his destiny.

Theosophy has for its leading tenet the absolute unity in essence
and correlation of all life, whether visible, invisible, material,
intellectual, spiritual, and this affords at once a clue to the
consideration of the present subject;  for, according to the view
which the individual thinker takes of the powers and relations of
the mind itself will be his view of the duties and responsibilities
which these powers and relations involve;  in other words, Ethics
or moral philosophy must be based upon metaphysics.  Now, I wish
to be as brief as possible in pointing out the theosophic view of
the mind, and soul, and their powers and relations;  and were it
not that it is necessary for the unity of my remarks, I would take
refuge in referring to the numerous able, intellectual, and forcible
expositions of this matter which you have heard in this room.

Theosophy, to put it as concisely as possible, accepts the universe
as "the unfolding of a Divine life, functioning in every form of
living and nonliving thing."  Man is viewed as a compound being,
a spark of this divine universal spirit being clothed with the body.
The immortal indestructible part of man consists of this spark of
universal spirit, its vehicle the human spirit, and the mind or
intellectual faculties.  It uses as a dwelling the body, with its
animal life, its passions and appetites, to which mankind is so
prone to attach tremendous importance.  The connecting link is the
mind, which, being full of agitation, strong, and obstinate, senses
all the material existence, is moved by the hopes and fears, and
the storm of existence.  The lesson, ever insisted on as having to
be learnt, is that the lower part of man, the body, and its attachments,
have to be conquered and purified;  and the only way to teach it
its true functions is by suffering;  and when this is done, we shall
have got somewhere nearer the goal, when we shall identify our
consciousness with our true self, not with the illusion.  The powers
of the mind to sense all existence, and its relations towards the
rest of our being as the connecting link, bearing the contact with
external things towards the soul, and at times being the vehicle
of the Wisdom which is one of the attributes of that which has no
attribute:  I say, then, these powers and relations of the mind,
which one finds everywhere treated of in Theosophical literature,
are the determining factors in the formation of our Ethics.  And
since, from Socrates down, we are taught that self-knowledge is
necessary for guidance of one's conduct, the knowledge of the mind
and its capacities is at once shadowed forth as of immense value.
It has at least three elementary powers--viz., the power of knowing,
the power of feeling, and the power of acting.  These powers, though
distinguishable, are not separable;  but rather when we distinguish
knowledge, feeling, and action, what we call by these names will
be found, when accurately examined, to be combinations of the three
elements, differing only in respect to the element which preponderates.
Locke would have us suppose that when I say "I know," it means that
an object is inserted into my consciousness as into a bag.  But no
bag could produce the phenomenon of knowledge.  To produce it
requires the putting forth of an active power, which we call
intelligence.  The knowledge of an object always produces in the
mind some emotion with regard to it:  this emotion is normally
pleasure.  Sometimes the difficulties which beset the acquisition
of knowledge are so great and cause such dissatisfaction and pain
that the mind is tempted to banish them, together with the object
which excites them, from its consciousness.  Knowledge and the
emotions to which it gives rise induce those actions which are the
result of the inherent activity of the mind stimulated by them.
Thus we see that the antecedents of all action include intelligence
as an active power:  and Ethics, more particularly Theosophical
Ethics, are seen to have practical value, and not merely a
speculative interest.

Having digressed thus far from my subject, the point to which I
proceed to address myself is, the working out on the individual of
the system of which I have tried to shadow forth the greater truths.
The first class I will deal with are the indifferent.  To them,
Theosophy presents the widest possible field of, and reasons for,
activity that can be desired.  It shows that no action is without
its direct permanent result, and that consequently the position of
the indifferent is absolutely untenable.  No one who has studied
Theosophical literature can ever find there a justification for
mere laissez-faire.  It points out the enormous value of what we
call trifles, and the comparatively trifling value of what the
indifferent would take most note.  Theosophy always insists on
action in some direction, preferably conscious, well-directed action,
with pure motive.

The Agnostic is, as it were, Theosophy's special care--It shows
him at once the directions in which further, fuller, and greater
knowledge of every branch of science or philosophy can be gained.
It says to him "pursue your previous method of inquiry, and remember,
taking nothing for granted, do not accept other's authority.  Seek
for knowledge:  we can only point the way we have ourselves gone.
Investigate every nook and corner of your mind, and learn how to
control it and your sense perceptions.  Then you will no longer
mistrust your results as possibly imperfect, but you will have
attained to some closer contact with Truth."  To both the Agnostic
and the indifferent, the study of Theosophy will bring a consciousness
of the responsibility towards others, which is the basis of our
universal brotherhood.  It will tend to remove the personal element
which has hitherto done so much to cloud and obscure one's
investigations;  and it will gradually lead to the elimination of
the anxiety as to results, which will bring us (by the removal of
remorse or approval) to calmness of mind, in which condition great
work can be achieved.

The appeal of theosophy to the scientific investigator is practically
identical with the last.  It will show him what so many of his
confreres are more or less tacitly recognizing, that the hopeless
and soul-deadening belief of the Materialist (that all the growth
of the race, the struggling towards a higher life, the aspirations
towards virtue shall absolutely vanish, and leave no trace), is a
crushing mental burden which leads to absolute negation;  it will
show the spiritual nature of man in perfect consistence with the
true theories, and as dependent on fundamental laws and causes.

Coming from the region of unbelief to belief, to use these words in
their narrowest sense, let us consider what way Theosophy will
affect a believer in doctrines of some system of religious thought.
To take the ordinary Protestant first;  Theosophy is apparently
likely to fail on account of its taking away the personality of the
Deity, and the habit of prayer:  for to both of these doctrines the
earnest churchman is attached.  But if it does do so, what does it
substitute?  It puts forward an atonement, not an atonement of 1,861
years ago, but a daily atonement to be carried out in each one's life,
and having as great an influence on one's fellows;  it suggests the
possibilities are within each one of us, if we but seek the true path.
Also, and this is a small point, it removes the horrible canker of
church government, which ministers so powerfully to the idea of
separateness and personality:  and lastly, it offers, in place of
mouthing prayers to a God whom one is taught to fear ten times to
the once that love is insisted on, a union with that higher self
which, if pursued, brings peace, wisdom, an infinite compassion,
and an infinite love.

What has Theosophy to offer to the Roman Catholic?  All that it
offers to the Protestant;  with this addition, that not merely one
woman is exalted, but all womankind as being of the same essence
and spirit of all nature.  It shows that there is no superiority,
but that by effort, by training, by aspiration, everyone, both man
and woman, shall be found worthy of being taken into heaven, and
joined again to the one source of life and being.  It shows the
whole doctrine of saintliness and blessedness to have a source in
Truth, though overlaid and altered.

And what of the other sheep?  What of that soul which, feeling
compelled by its intuitions to recognise the essential divinity of
man, yet find no expression in the churches which will fit into
its emotional nature?  What of him whom, for want of a better word,
I shall call a Symbolist, who is always striving to express in some
form of art or thought, that divine energy which is wisdom,
consciousness, and energy all in one?  Does not Theosoophy afford
the very best outlet for his soul force?  Are not its ideas on a
level with, if not higher than, what his most sublime moments of
feeling can bring before him?  Surely if anyone can find peace in
its bosom, the symbolist, ever struggling to express his sense of
the True, the Beautiful, which are, after all, but a second
reflection of the Higher mind, with its knowledge of the essence
of all life, can therein do his noblest work for Humanity in company
with those who, having previously done all they could for the race
through a sense of duty arising from intuitions they declined to
recognise, have found in the doctrines of Theosophy the broadest
possible field for such work, and the purest motive.

And now, changing from particular types, how do we look upon Theosophy
as a power in Ethics?  We find the elimination of the selfish instinct
insisted upon as necessary for the progress of the Ego through its
material envelope to a full and complete knowledge of its higher self;
we find the doctrine of Brotherhood put forward in its noblest aspects;
we find as a necessary corollary that responsibility is increased
and widened with an accompanying sense of power to accept and carry
on that responsibility;  with the growth of higher feeling within
us comes a sense of added strength;  we learn gradually to work
without consideration or anxiety for results;  we grow more tolerant
of our neighbor's shortcomings, and less so of our own;  we find
that by disengaging ourselves from the objects of the senses, we
become indifferent to small troubles, and more free to assist our
neighbor when they press on him;  with the knowledge of the causes
of present conditions lying in past action, and our present actions
going to be the causes of future conditions, we place ourselves in
a position to work to the full extent of our powers to set in motion
such causes as will bring about the happiest results for Humanity
as a whole;  we learn to look upon death, not as the opening of the
spiritual life, but as a release from a weight which keeps under
the spiritual life, which is always with us, now as well as before
birth and after death;  we learn to sense the methods by which the
universe works out its destiny;  we find every day growing stronger
that sense of immortality, of absolute union with the universal soul,
which at first merely manifested itself in strange feelings and
emotions;  we find the clues to the control of our physical and
mental faculties, and are not surprised to discover the ten-thousand-
fold increase in value these faculties then bear;  we put ourselves
more and more in harmony with what we feel to be the source of all
Truth;  we find ourselves gradually able to give expression to
those dumb feelings which we could not find words for, of its
grandeur and greatness;  until finally we come, after many incarnations,
after suffering, after despair sometimes, to a knowledge which
transcends all human knowledge, to a bliss which is above our
present ideas, to a peace which the world cannot give, which
surpasseth all understanding, and are then ready to give up that
bliss and peace, and to use that knowledge for the divine compassion
towards our fellows who are following.

But how are we to hope for this progress?  What are we to do to
realize these ideas?  Is it by wishing for it that this state will
come about?  Is there no everyday way of getting forward?  These
are some of the questions which will rise naturally to the lips of
any here who are not thoroughly acquainted with Theosophical ideas:
and what have we to say in reply?  Are we to confess Theosophy is
a doctrine only for the learned, the cultured, the wealthy?  Are
we to acknowledge that Christianity or Agnosticism is more practical,
easier for the men in the street to grasp?  Are we to say that
Theosophy is not a gospel for to-day?  No:  a thousand times no!
If there is one result of a study of Theosophy, it is the gaining
of Hope, a sure and certain Hope, which soon becomes Trust, and later,
knowledge.  I affirm most strongly that there is no one to whom
Theosophy in some of its myriad aspects does not appeal, and appeal
strongly enough to cause it to be the ruling passion of his existence;
but I do also affirm as strongly, that in Theosophy, as in all other
things, what are necessary are, pure motive and perseverance.  It
costs no one anything to spend an hour a day in meditation on some
aspect of life;  in thinking of our eternal nature and striving to
place ourselves en rapport with our highest ideals of purity, nobility,
Truth.  Then cannot we get the idea of universal brotherhood firmly
fixed in our consciousness as an actual reality to be attained, and
always act upon that basis.  To me, the thought of the absolute
unity of all life, affords as high an ideal for putting into
practical shape as my deficient development allows me.  Cannot we
get this ideal or some other ideal so essential a part of our
thought that it colours all our feelings, emotions and actions?
We will then be doing our part in the struggle.  We will not be of
the Laodiceans, who were neither hot nor cold.  Let us try this:
let us see whether it will have such an effect, and if we, by our
personal experience, have convinced ourselves of the reality of this,
let us progress further, and by further trial find out the greater
truths beyond.  Reincarnation and Karma are essentially doctrines
for the poor and needy;  mental and physical.  Intellectual subtleties
are not needed in Theosophy:  it is spiritual perception, and who will
dare say to the poor that they have less of this than their fellows?

The only region where the "exclusiveness" argument can have even a
momentary hold is with regard to Occultism.  There is in most people's
mind a distrust of anything secret.  But remember, believe only in
what your own test has shown you to be true:  and learn not to
condemn those who have found some irresistible impulse urging them
forward to seek further.  Besides, anyone who is not clear in his
motive in studying Occultism had better pause before he pledges
himself to anything, or undertakes that the result of which he does
not know even dimly.

And before passing from this digression, let me insist strongly
once again on the fact that true progress will come only to those
who seek to attain it.

They who would be something more
Than those who feast and laugh and die, will hear
The voice of duty, as the note of war,
Nerving their spirit to great enterprise,
And knitting every sinew for the charge.


Again, get rid of indolence, or its synonym, indifference.  The
real hereditary sin of human nature is indolence.  Conquer that,
and you will conquer the rest.  We cannot afford to rest with what
we have done;  we must keep moving on.  In this, indeed, to stand
still is to go back--worse still, to keep others back.

In conclusion I may, perhaps, be permitted to give you a few remarks
as to the influence Theosophy has had upon myself.  It has furnished
me with satisfactory reasons for living and working;  it has infused
an earnestness in that work which I prize as one of the valuable
things of my life's experience.  It has ministered to that inmost
sense of worship and aspiration which all of us possess;  it has
shown me that by expanding one's consciousness in that of the universe,
one gains more knowledge and opportunity for helping on humanity;
and it has pointed out where the materials for a scientific basis
of ethics can be found, and also what will be the outlines of the
future building;  and finally it has shown that if the objects of
our desires be changed, and many things we held dear are no longer
prized, it is owning simply to the acquirement of larger and
fuller interests.

--September 15, 1894



Comfort



We are continually called upon to give comfort, and it is a problem
to many what to say.  For there are people who can see no outlet
from their pain other than this, that they shall obtain that which
they desire.  The lover longs for the one who is absent or cold;
the poor demand wealth; the tortured cry out for relief from suffering;
and so on through all phases of human life we continually meet such
people.  We, perhaps free from such afflictions, have schooled
ourselves into a heroic mood.  These are not things to sorrow over,
we think;  therefore, we are in a dilemma.  We cannot aid them,
for their ideals often seem ignoble to us--their wish accomplished
would only bring on the renewal of old pain, and bind them closer
to the weary wheel.  Yet we cannot be cold, we who would identify
ourselves with all life, for the soul must "lend its ear to every
cry of pain, like as the lotus bares its heart to drink the morning
sun."  In the many cases where the suffering is unavoidable, and
cannot be otherwise received, what are we to do?  Some, a little
above the ignoble view that the only relief is in the satisfaction
of desire, say reverently to those in pain:  "It is God's will,"
and some accept it as such with dull resignation.  But with some
the iron has entered the soul--the words are empty.  "What have I
to do with God, or He with me?"  they demand in their hearts.
They join in the immemorial appeal and fierce revolt which at all
times the soul of man makes against any external restraint.  We
who are disciples of old wisdom may touch some chord in them which
may awaken eternal endurance.

It is not, we say, a pain imposed upon us by any eternal power;
but the path we tread is one which we ourselves very long ago determined.
To the question, "What have we to do with God?" we make answer that
we are the children of Deity--bright sparks born in the Divine flame,
the spirit in its primal ecstacy reflected in itself the multitudinous
powers that throng in space.  It was nourished by divine love, and
all that great beauty thrilled through it and quickened it.  But
from this vision which the spirit had, it passed to climb to still
greater heights--it was spiritual, it might attain divinity.  The
change from the original transcendental state of vision to that
other state of being, of all-pervading consciousness, could only
be accomplished by what is known as the descent into matter where
spirit identifies itself with every form of life, and assimilates
their essences.  This cyclic pilgrimage it undertook, foreseeing pain,
but "preferring free will to passive slavery, intellectual, self-
conscious pain, and even torture, 'while myriad time shall flow,'
to inane, imbecile, instinctual beatitude," foreseeing pain, but
knowing that out of it all would come a nobler state of life, a
divinity capable of rule, a power to assist in the general evolution
of nature.  It is true in the experience of many that going deep
within themselves, an elemental consciousness whispers comfort;
it says all will be well with us;  it is our primal will which so
orders.  And so we justify the pain and hearts that break;  and
that old appeal and fierce revolt we make dies out in the inner
light which shines from "the Goal, the Comforter, the Lord, the
Witness, the resting-place, the Asylum, the Friend."  We can then
once more go forth with the old, heroic, Titan will for mastery,
seeking not to escape, but rather to meet, endure, and assimilate
sorrow and joy alike;  for so we can permeate all life--life which
is in its essence one.  This is the true centre on which all
endurance must rest;  this is the comfort the soul may take to
itself;  and beyond and after this we may say we struggle in a
chaos indeed, but in a chaos whose very disorder is the result of law.
That law is justice that cannot err.  Out of confidence in this
justice may spring up immortal hopes;  our motives, our faith shall
save us.  We may dare more, give ourselves away more completely,
for is not the root of this law declared to be beauty, harmony,
compassion.  We may trust that our acts shall have full fruition,
and remain careless of the manner, nor seek for such results.  We
may look upon it if we will as the sweetest of the sweetest, the
tenderest of the tenderest;  and this is true, though still it is
master of the fiery pain.  Above all it is the law of our own being;
it is at one with our ancestral self.  In all this lies, I think,
such consolation as we may take and offer for pain.  Those who
comprehend, in their resignation, shall become one with themselves;
and out of this resignation shall arise will to go forth and fulfil
our lofty destiny.

--May 15, 1894



The Ascending Cycle



The teaching of the Secret Doctrine divides the period during which
human evolution proceeds upon this globe into seven periods.  During
the first three-and-a-half of these, the ethereal humanity who
appeared in the First Race gradually become material in form, and
the psychic spirituality of the inner man is transformed into
intellectuality.  During the remaining three-and-a-half periods,
there is a gradual dematerialization of form;  the inner man by
slow degrees rises from mere brain intellection to a more perfected
spiritual consciousness.  We are told that there are correspondences
between the early and later periods of evolution;  the old conditions
are repeated, but upon higher planes;  we re-achieve the old
spirituality with added wisdom and intellectual power.  Looked at
in this way we shall find that the Seventh Race corresponds to the
first;  the Sixth to the Second;  and the Fifth Race (which is ours)
corresponds with the Third.  "We are now approaching a time," says
the Secret Doctrine, "when the pendulum of evolution will direct
its swing decidedly upward, bringing humanity back on a parallel
line with the primitive Third Root Race in spirituality."  That is,
there will be existing on the earth, about the close of Fifth Race,
conditions in some way corresponding with those prevailing when
the Third Race men began their evolution.  Through this period may
be yet distant hundreds of thousands of years, still it is of
interest to forecast that future as far as may be, for the future
is concealed in the present, and is the outcome of forces working
to-day.  We may find out from this enquiry the true nature of
movements like the Theosophical Society.

One of the most interesting passages in the Secret Doctrine is that
which describes the early Third Race.  "It was not a Race, this progeny.
It was at first a wondrous Being, called the 'Initiator," and after
him a group of semi-divine and semi-human beings."  Without at all
attempting to explain the real nature of this mysterious Being or
Race, we may assume that one of the things hinted at is the
consciousness of united being possessed by these ancient Adepts.
Walking abroad over the earth as instructors of a less progressed
humanity, their wisdom and power had a common root.  They taught
truth from a heart-perception of life, ever fresh and eternal,
everywhere pervading nature and welling up in themselves.  This
heart-perception is the consciousness of unity of inner being.
The pendulum of evolution which in its upward swing will bring
humanity backwards on a parallel line with the primitive Third
Root Race, should bring back something corresponding to this
primeval hierarchy of divine sages.  We should see at the end of
the Kaliyuga a new brotherhood formed from those who have risen
out of material life and aims, who have conquered self, who have
been purified by suffering, who have acquired strength and wisdom,
and who have wakened up to the old magical perception of their
unity in true Being.  "At the end of the Kali, our present age,
Vishnu, or the "Everlasting King,' will appear as Kalki, and
establish righteousness upon earth.  The minds of those who live
at that time shall be awakened and become pellucid as crystal."
--(Secret Doctrine, II, 483)

Passing beyond the turning point of evolution, where the delusion
of separateness is complete, and moving on the that future awaiting
us in infinite distances, when the Great Breath shall cease its
outward motion and we shall merge into the One--on this uphill
journey in groups and clusters men will first draw closer together,
entering in spirit their own parent rays before being united in
the source of all light and life.  Such a brotherhood of men and
women we may expect will arise, conscious in unity, thinking from
one mind and acting from one soul.  All such great achievements
of the race are heralded long before by signs which those who study
the lives of men may know.  There is a gestation in the darkness
of the womb before the living being appears.  Ideals first exist
in thought, and from thought they are outrealized into objective
existence.   The Theosophical Society was started to form the
nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity, and its trend is
towards this ideal.  May we not justifiably suppose that we are
witnessing to-day in this movement the birth of a new race
corresponding to the divine Initiators of the Third;  a race which
shall in its inner life be truly a "Wondrous Being."  I think we
will perform our truest service to the Society by regarding it in
this way as an actual entity whose baby years and mystical childhood
we should foster.  There are many people who know that it is possible
by certain methods to participate in the soul-life of a co-worker,
and if it is possible to do this even momentarily with one comrade,
it is possible so to participate in the vaster life of great
movements.  There will come a time to all who have devoted themselves
to this idea, as H.P. Blavatsky and some others have done, when
they will enter into the inner life of this great Being, and share
the hopes, the aspirations, the heroism, and the failures which
must be brought about when so many men and women are working together.
To achieve this we should continually keep in mind this sense of
unity;  striving also to rise in meditation until we sense in the
vastness the beating of these innumerable hearts glowing with heroic
purpose:  we should try to humanize our mysticism;  "We can only
reach the Universal Mind through the minds of humanity," and we
can penetrate into their minds by continual concentration,
endeavouring to realise their thoughts and feelings, until we
carry always about with us in imagination, as [wrote] Walt Whitman,
"those delicious burdens, men and women."

--November 15, 1893



The Mystic Nights' Entertainment



We went forth gay in the twilight's cover;
The dragon Day with his ruddy crest
Blazed on the shadowy hills hung over
The still grey fields in their dewy rest.

We went forth gay, for all ancient stories
Were told again in our hearts as we trod;
Above were the mountain's dawn-white glories;
We climbed to it as the throne of God.


We pitched our tents in a sheltered nook on the mountain side.  We
were great with glee during the day, forecasting happy holidays
remote from the crowded city.  But now as we sat round the camp
fire at dusk silence fell upon us.  What were we to do in the long
evenings?  I could see Willie's jolly face on the other side of
the fire trying to smother a yawn as he refilled his pipe.  Bryan
was watching the stars dropping into their places one by one.  I
turned to Robert and directed the general attention to him as a
proper object for scorn.  He had drawn a pamphlet on some scientific
subject from his breast-pocket and was trying to read it by the
flickering light.

"Did you come up to the mountains for this," I asked, "to increase
your knowledge of the Eocene age?  Put it by, or--we will send it
up as a burnt offering to the stars."

"Well," he said, looking rather ashamed, "one must do something,
you know.  Willie has his pipe, Bryan is holding some mysterious
intercourse with the planets, and you have the fire to take care of.
What is one to do?"

This went to the root of the matter.  I pondered over it awhile,
until an idea struck me.

"There is Bryan.  Let him tell us a story.  He was flung into life
with a bundle of old legends.  He knows all mystery and enchantment
since the days of the Rishees, and has imagined more behind them.
He has tales of a thousand incarnations hidden away in secretness.
He believes that everything that happened lives still in the memory
of Nature, and that he can call up out of the cycles of the past
heroic figures and forgotten history, simply by his will, as a
magician draws the elemental hordes together."

"Have a dragon and a princess in it," said Willie, settling himself
into an attitude of listening.

"Or authentic information about Eocene man," suggested Robert.

"I could not tell a story that way," said Bryan simply.  "I could
never invent a story, though all the characters, heroes and princess,
were to come and sit beside me so that I could describe them as
they really were.  My stories come like living creatures into my mind;
and I can only tell them as they tell themselves to me.  Today,
as I lay in the sunlight with closed eyes, I saw a haze of golden
light, then twilight trees appeared and moving figures and voices
speaking;  it shaped itself into what is hardly a story, but only
an evening in some legendary existence."

We waited while Bryan tried to recall his misty figures.  We were
already in sympathy with his phantasmal world, for the valleys
below us were dim-coloured and quiet, and we heard but rarely and
far away the noises of the village;  the creatures of the mountain
moved about in secretness, seeking their own peculiar joys in
stillness amid dews and darkness.  After a little Bryan began.



The Gardens of Twilight



I saw in my vision one of the heroes of the antique world.  He
rode for many, many days, yet saw no kindly human face.  After
long wanderings and toils he came to the Gardens of Twilight, the
rich and rare gardens of the primeval world, known by rumour to
the ancient Greeks as the Hesperides.  He looked around with wonder;
the place was all a misty dazzle with light, a level light as of
evening that flowed everywhere about;  the air was rich with the
scent of many blossoms;  from each flower rose an odour that hovered
about it as a delicate vapour.  While he gazed, one of the spirits
of the garden came nigh him in the guise of a beautiful human child.

"How came you here?"

"I wandered for many years," he said, "I fought with the dragons
that lie coiled in citron scales on the highways;  I warred against
oppression;  I made justice to prevail, and now that peace is on
the land I might have rested with peace in mine own heart, but I
could not yet.  So I left behind the happy hearths and homes of
men and rode onward, a secret fire burning ceaselessly within me;
I know not in what strange home it will be still.  But what gardens
are these?"

"They are the Gardens of Twilight," answered the child.

"How beautiful then must be the Gardens of Day!  How like a faint
fine dust of amethyst and gold the mist arises from the enchanted
odorous flowers!  Surely some spirit things must dwell within the
air that breaks so perpetually into hues of pearl and shell!"

"They are the servants of Zeus," the child said.  "They live within
these wandering airs;  they go forth into the world and make mystery
in the hearts of men."

"Was it one such guided me thither?"

"I do not know;  but this I know, whether led by the wandering
spirits or guided by their own hearts, none can remain here safely
and look upon the flowers save those who understand their mystery
or those who can create an equal beauty.  For all others deadly
is the scent of the blossoms;  stricken with madness, they are
whirled away into the outer world in fever, passion and unending
hunger and torment."

"I do not care if I pass from them," said the wanderer.  "It is
not here my heart could be still and its desire cease, but in the
first Fount."

They passed on and went deeper into the Gardens of Twilight, which
were ever-changing, opalescent, ever-blushing with new and momentary
beauty, ever-vanishing before the steady gaze to reveal beneath
more silent worlds of mystic being.  Like vapour, now gorgeous and
now delicate, they wavered, or as the giant weeds are shadowing
around the diver in the Indian wave sun-drenched through all its
deeps of green.  Sometimes a path would unfold, with a million
shining flowers of blue, twinkling like stars in the Wilky Way,
beneath their feet, and would wind away delicately into the
faery distances.

"Let us rest," said the child, leaning against a tree.  She began
swaying a hand to and fro among the flowers;  as her fingers touched
the bell-like blooms of burning amethyst they became stained with
the rich colour;  she seemed to lose herself in dreams as one who
toils not for delight, living ever amid rich joys.  He wondered
if she was as unreal as the gardens, and remembering her words,
they seemed familiar as if they were but echoes of the unuttered
thoughts that welled up as he moved about.  While he watched the
flitting phantasmagoria with a sense expectant of music which never
came, phantasmagoria with a sense expectant of music which never
came, there arose before him images of peace, vanishing faster
than passion, and forms of steadfast purity came nigh, attired,
priestess-like, in white and gold;  they laid their heads against
his breast;  as he looked down, their eyes, eager and flamelike,
grew passionate and full of desire.  He stretched out his hand to
pluck blossoms and twine wreaths for their beautiful heads.

"Do not!  Do not!" cried the child.  "See how every blossom has
its guardian!"

There were serpents coiling about the roots of every flower, or
amid the leaves, waiting with undulating head and forked tongue to
strike the uncautious hand.  He shook off the drowsy influence of
the scents and o'er-burdened air;  the forms vanished.  He remembered
the child's words:  "None can remain in safety an equal beauty."
He began to ponder over the meaning of the gardens.

"While we sit here, late lingerers in the glory of twilight, I will
tell you a story which my fancy brings me," he said.  "I thought
one came here long ago and built himself a mighty world in a dream
of many hundred years."


"He had lived with kings and counselors;  he had wrought in magical
arts, and the great and wise of the earth were his fellows.  When
a time came for him to depart he turned away sadly from the towers
of men.  He passed, without knowing it, through the strange defiles
which lead to these gardens;  but the light did not break upon him
in iridescent waves foamy with flowers and sparkling with vanishing
forms;  the light was hidden in the bosom of the twilight;  it was
all-pervading but invisible;  the essence of the light bathed his soul;
the light was living;  the light was exhaustless;  by it everything
was born;  touched by it everything went forth in ecstasy, blind,
seeking for realization.

"The magician brought with him the seeds of human desire and wisdom
and aspiration.  The light broke into his moody forgetfulness and
kindled long-forgotten fires.  He awoke from his darkness and saw
before him in happiest vistas the island city of his lounging.
Around him were the men and women he knew;  acting on his secret
wishes the multitudes hailed him as king, they bowed before him
as wise, they worshiped him as all-powerful.. It was not strange
to him, and rapt in royal imaginations for countless years he held
sway over the island city.  He dreamed of it as a poet, and there
was no more beautiful city than this city of his dream.  There
were places that shot up, pinnacle upon pinnacle, amid the jewel-
light of the stars;  there were courts and porticoes full of
mysterious glory and gloom, magnificence and darkness;  there were
fountains that jetted their pearly mists into the light;  around
them with summer in their hearts lay the island inhabitants, each
one an angel for beauty.  As the dream of the magician deepened
in rapture, the city wavered and changed more continually;  its
towers pierced more daringly into the way of the stars;  for the
darkness below he summoned birds of fire from the aerial deeps;
they circled the palaces with flaming wings;  they stained the air
with richest dyes and rained forth emerald and blue and gold on
the streets and sculptured walls and the inhabitants in their
strange joys.

"His dream changed;  he went forth no more but shut himself up in
his palace with his wisest princes, and as he took counsel with them,
the phantasmal and brilliant towers without faded and fell away
as a butterfly droops its wings.  For countless years he lived in
the intoxication of thought;  around him were sages who propounded
wisest laws, and poets who sang of love, humanity and destiny.  As
his dream deepened still more in its rapture, they sang of mightier
themes;  there was continual music and light;  there was no limit
of glory or dominion which the human soul might not aspire to;
his warriors stepped from star to star in dreams of conquest, and
would have stayed the seraph princess of the wind and wave and fire,
to make more radiant the retinue of this magician of the Beautiful.

"Again his desire changed.  He sought to hold no further sway over
these wide realms beyond him;  he shut himself up in an inner chamber
in lonely meditation, and as he entered into a deeper being the
sages and poets, who were with him at his royal feasts, vanished
and were no more.  He, the wise mind, pondered within himself,
finding joy in the continual inward birth of thought following
thought, as in lonely seas wave rolls upon wave.  From all things
he had known or experienced he drew forth their essence and hidden
meaning, and he found that he had been no less a king in his old
unconsciousness than he now was, and that at all times nature had
been obeisant and whatever had happened had still been by his own
will.  Through the light, thin fretted by the fire of his aspirations,
he sometimes seemed to see the shining Law in all things and the
movement through the thought-swept fields of heaven of the universal
imagination.  He saw that this, too, had been a minister to him.
He drew nigh to himself--divinity.  The last rapture of his soul
was his radiant self-conception.  Save for this vesture the light
of illusion fell from him.  He was now in a circle of whitest fire,
that girdled and looked in upon the movements of worlds within its
breast.  He tried to expand and enter this flaming circle;  myriads
of beings on its verges watched him with pity;  I felt their thought
thrilling within me.

"He will never attain it!"

"Ah, the Beautiful Bird, his plumage is stained!"

"His glory will drag him down!"

"Only in invisible whiteness can he pass!"

"How he floats upwards, the Beautiful Bird!"

"These voices of universal compassion did not reach him, rapt in
aspiration and imperious will.   For an instant--an eternity--the
infinitudes thrilled him, those infinitudes which in that instant
he knew he could never enter but as one with all on the days of
the great return.  All that longed, all that aspired and dared,
all but the immortal were in that movement destroyed, and hurled
downwards from the highest heaven of life, the pilgrim spark began
once more as a child to live over again the round of human days."

"The spirit of the place o'ermastered you," said the child.  "Here
may come and dream;  and their dream of joy ended, out of each
dreaming sphere comes forth again in pain the infant spirit of man."

"But beyond this illusive light and these ever-changing vistas--
what lies?  I am weary of their vanishing glories.  I would not
wish to mount up through dreams to behold the true and fall away
powerlessly, but would rather return to earth, though in pain,
still eager to take up and renew the cyclic labours."

"I belong to the gardens," said the child;  "I do not know what
lies beyond.  But there are many paths leading far away."

Before them where they stood branched out paths of rich flowers.
Here a region of pinks lured on to vistas of delicate glory;
there ideal violet hues led to a more solemn beauty;  here the
eyes were dazzled by avenues of rich, radiant, and sunny green;
another in beautiful golden colours seemed to invite to the land
of the sun, and yet another winded away through soft and shadowy
blues to remote spiritual distances.  There was one, a path of
white flowers ending in light no eye could pierce.

"I will choose this--the path of white flower," he said, waving
farewell to the child.  I watched the antique hero in my vision as
he passed into the light;  he seemed to shine, to grow larger;  as
he vanished from my eyes he was transfigured, entering as a god the
region of gods."


"Did you really dream all that?" said Willie.  "How jolly it must be!
It is like stepping from sphere to sphere.  Before the night of one
day you are in the morning of another.  I suppose you have some
theory about it all--as wonderful as your gardens?"

"Yes!" said our sceptic, "I had an uneasy consciousness it was not
all pure story.  I felt an allegory hiding its leanness somewhere
beneath the glow and colour."

"What I want to know is how these things enter the imagination at all!"

"With what a dreadfully scientific spirit you dissect a fantasy!
Perhaps you might understand if you recall what sometimes happens
before sleep.  At first you see pictures of things, landscapes,
people you know;  after a time people and places unknown before
begin to mingle with them in an ever-widening circle of visions;
the light on which these things are pictured is universal, though
everyone has around himself his own special sphere of light;
this is the mirror of himself--his memory; but as we go deeper
into ourselves in introspection we see beyond our special sphere
into the great of universal light, the memorial tablet of nature;
there lie hidden the secrets of the past;  and so, as Felix said
a little while ago, we can call up and renew the life of legend
and tradition.  This is the Astral Light of the mystics.  Its
deeper and more living aspect seems to inflame the principle of
desire in us.  All the sweet, seductive, bewitching temptations
of sense are inspired by it.  After death the soul passing into
this living light goes on thinking, thinking, goes on aspiring,
aspiring, creating unconsciously around itself its own circumstance
in which all sweetest desires are self-fulfilled.  When this dream-
power is exhausted the soul returns again to earth.  With some
this return is due to the thirst for existence;  with some to a
perception of the real needs of soul."

"Do you really believe all that?"

"Oh, yes!  But that is only a general statement."

"I wonder at your capacity for believing in these invisible spheres.
As for me I cannot go beyond the world I live in.  When I think of
these things some dreadful necessity seems heaped upon me to continue
here--or, as you might put it, an angel with a flaming sword keeps
everywhere the avenues to the Tree of Life."

"Oh!" said Willie, "it seems to me a most reasonable theory.  After
all, what else could the soul do after death but think itself out?
It has no body to move about in.  I am going to dream over it now.
Good-night!"

He turned into the tent and Robert followed him.  "Well, I cannot
rest yet," said Bryan, "I am going up for a little to the top of
the hill.  Come, Felix, these drowsy fellows are going to hide
themselves from the face of night."  We went up, and leaning on a
boulder of rock looked out together.  Away upon the dream-built
margin of space a thousand tremors fled and chased each other all
along the shadowy night.  The human traditions, memories of pain,
struggle, hope and desire floated away and melted in the quietude
until at last only the elemental consciousness remained at gaze.
I felt chilled by the vacancies.  I wondered what this void was
to Bryan.  I wished to see with his eyes.  His arm was around my
shoulder.  How I loved him--my nearest--my brother!  The fierce
and tender flame, comrade to his spirit, glowed in my heart.  I
felt a commingling of nature, something moved before my eyes.
"Look, Bryan!" I whispered, "this is faery!"  A slight upright
figure, a child, stood a little apart shedding a delicate radiance
upon the dusky air.  Curiously innocent, primeval, she moved,
withdrawn in a world only half-perceived of gorgeous blossoms and
mystic shadows.  Through her hair of feathery brown drifting about
her the gleam of dust of gold and of rich colour seemed to come
from her dress.  She raised her finger-tips from the flowers and
dashed the bright dew aside.  I felt something vaguely familiar
about the gesture.  Then Bryan said, "It is one of the Children
of Twilight."  It was a revelation of his mind.  I had entered
into the forms of his imagination.

"This is wonderful Bryan!  If I can thus share in the thought of one,
there can be no limit to the extension of this faculty.  It seems
at the moment as if I could hope to finally enter the mind of
humanity and gaze upon soul, not substance."

"It would be a great but terrible power.  As often as not we imagine
ourselves into demons.  Space is thronged with these dragon-like
forms, chimaeras of the fearful mind.  Every thought is an entity.
Some time or other I think we will have to slay this brood we have
brought forth."

But as we turned backwards I had no dread or thought of this future
contest.  I felt only gay hopes, saw only ever-widening vistas.
The dreams of the Golden Age, of far-off happy times grew full of
meaning.  I people all the future with their splendour.  The air
was thronged with bright supernatural beings, they moved in air,
in light;  and they and we and all together were sustained and
thrilled by the breath of the Unknown God.

As we drew nigh to the tent, the light of the fire still flickering
revealed Robert's face within.  He was sleeping.  the warmth of the
sun had not yet charmed away the signs of study and anxious thought.

"Do you know the old tradition that in the deepest sleep of the
body the soul goes into itself.  I believe he now knows the truth
he feared to face.  A little while ago he was here;  he was in doubt;
now he is gone unto all ancient things.  He was in prison;  now
the Bird of Paradise has wings.  We cannot call him by any name,
for we do not know what he is.  We might indeed cry aloud to his
glory, as of old the Indian sage cried to a sleeper, 'Thou great one,
clad in raiment;  Soma:  King!"  But who thinking what he is would
call back the titan to this strange and pitiful dream of life?
Let us breath softly to do him reverence.  It is now the Hour of
the King,

"Who would think this quite breather
        From the world had taken flight?
Yet within the form we see there
        Wakes the Golden King to-night.

"Out upon the face of faces
        He looked forth before his sleep;
Now he knows the starry races
        Haunters of the ancient deep;

"On the Bird of Diamond Glory
        Floats in mystic floods of song;
As he lists, Time's triple story
        Seems but as a day is long.

"When he wakes--the dreamy-hearted--
        He will know not whence he came,
And the light from which he parted
        Be the seraph's sword of flame;

"And behind its host supernal
        Guarding the lost Paradise,
And the Tree of Life eternal
        From the weeping human eyes."

"You are an enchanter, Bryan.  As you speak I half imagine the
darkness sparkles with images, with heroes and ancient kings who
pass, and jeweled seraphs who move in flame.  I feel mad.  The
distance rushes at me.  The night and stars are living, and--speak
unknown things!  You have made me so restless I will never sleep."

I lay down.  The burden of the wonder and mystery of existence was
upon me.  Through the opening of the tent the warm night air flowed in;
the stars seemed to come near--nearer--full of kindly intent--with
familiar whispering;  until at last I sank back into the great deep
of sleep with a mysterious radiance of dream showering all about me.



Night The Second



The skies were dim and vast and deep
        Above the vales of rest;
They seemed to rock the stars asleep
        Beyond the mountain's crest.

Oh, vale and stars and rocks and trees,
        He gives to you his rest,
But holds afar from you the peace
        Whose home is in His breast!

The massy night, brilliant with golden lights enfolded us.  All
things were at rest.  After a long day's ramble among the hills,
we sat down again before our fire.  I felt, perhaps we all felt,
a mystic unquiet rebelling against the slumbrous mood of nature
rolled round her hills and valleys.

"You must explain to us, Bryan, why it is we can never attain a
real quiet, even here where all things seem at peace."

"We are aliens here, and do not know ourselves.  We are always
dreaming of some other life.  These dreams, if we could only rightly
interpret them, would be the doors through which we might pass into
a real knowledge of ourselves."

"I don't think I would get much wisdom out of my dreams," said Willie.
"I had a dream last night;  a lot of little goblin fellows dancing a
jig on the plains of twilight.  Perhaps you could tell us a real dream?"

"I remember one dream of a kind I mean, which I will tell you.  It
left a deep impression upon me.  I will call it a dream of



The Northern Lights



I awoke from sleep with a cry.  I was hurled up from the great
deep and rejected of the darkness.  But out of the clouds and
dreams I built up a symbol of the going forth of the spirit--a
symbol, not a memory--for if I could remember, I could return
again at will and be free of the unknown land.  But in slumber I
was free.  I sped forth like an arrow.  I followed a secret hope,
breasting the currents of life flowing all about me.  I tracked
these streams winding in secretness far away.  I said, "I am going
to myself.  I will bathe in the Fountain of Life;"  and so on and
on I sped northwards, with dark waters flowing beneath me and stars
companioning my flight.  Then a radiance illumined the heavens,
the icy peaks and caves, and I saw the Northern Lights.  Out of
the diamond breast of the air I looked forth.  Below the dim world
shone all with pale and wintry green;  the icy crests flickered
with a light reflect from the shadowy auras streaming over the
horizon.  Then these auras broke out in fire, and the plains of
ice were illumined.  The light flashed through the goblin caves,
and lit up their frosty hearts and the fantastic minarets drooping
above them.  Light above in solemn array went forth and conquered
the night.  Light below with a myriad flashing spears pursued the
gloom.  Its dazzling lances shivered in the heart of the ice:
they sped along the ghostly hollows;  the hues of the orient seemed
to laugh through winter;  the peaks blossomed with starry and
crystalline flowers, lilac and white and blue;  they faded away,
pearl, opal and pink in shimmering evanescence;  then gleams of
rose and amethyst traveled slowly from spar to spar, lightened
and departed;  there was silence before my eyes;  the world once
more was all a pale and wintry green.  I thought of them no more,
but of the mighty and unseen tides going by me with billowy motion.
"Oh, Fountain I seek, thy waters are all about me, but where shall
I find a path to Thee?"  Something answered my cry,  "Look in thy
heart!" and, obeying the voice, the seer in me looked forth no
more through the eyes of the shadowy form, but sank deep within
itself.   I knew then the nature of these mystic streams;  they
were life, joy, love, ardour, light. From these came the breath
of life which the heart drew in with every beat, and from thence
it was flashed up in illumination through the cloudy hollows of
the brain.  They poured forth unceasingly;  they were life in
everyone;  they were joy in everyone;  they stirred an incommunicable
love which was fulfilled only in yielding to and adoration of the
vast.  But the Fountain I could not draw nigh unto;  I was borne
backwards from its unimaginable centre, then an arm seized me, and
I was stayed.  I could see no one, but I grew quiet, full of deep
quiet, out of which memory breathes only shadowiest symbols, images
of power and Holy Sages, their grand faces turned to the world,
as if in the benediction of universal love, pity, sympathy, and peace,
ordained by Buddha;  the faces of the Fathers, ancient with eternal
youth, looking forth as in the imagination of the mystic Blake,
the Morning Stars looked forth and sang together.  A sound as of
an "OM" unceasing welled up and made an auriole of peace around them.
I would have joined in the song, but could not attain to them.
I knew if I had a deeper love I could have entered with them into
unending labours amid peace;  but I could only stand and gaze;
in my heart a longing that was worship, in my thought a wonder
that was praise. "Who are these?" I murmured?  The Voice answered,
"They are the servants of the Nameless One.  They do his bidding
among men.  They awaken the old heroic fire of sacrifice in forgetful
hearts."  Then the forms of elder life appeared in my vision.  I
saw the old earth, a fairy shadow ere it yet had hardened, peopled
with ethereal races unknowing of themselves or their destinies and
lulled with inward dreams;  above and far away I saw how many
glittering hosts, their struggle ended, moved onward to the Sabbath
of Eternity.  Out of these hosts, one dropped as a star from their
heart, and overshadowed the olden earth with its love.  Where ever
it rested I saw each man awakening from his dreams turned away with
the thought of sacrifice in his heart, a fire that might be forgotten,
but could never die.  This was the continual secret whisper of the
Fathers in the inmost being of humanity.  "Why do they not listen?"
I marveled.  Then I heard another cry from the lower pole, the pit;
a voice of old despair and protest, the appeal of passion seeking
its own fulfilment.  Alternate with the dawn of Light was the breath
of the expanding Dark where powers of evil were gathered together.
"It is the strife between light and darkness which are the world's
eternal ways,"  said the Voice, "but the light shall overcome and
the fire in the heart be rekindled;  men shall regain their old
angelic being, and though the dark powers may war upon them, the
angels with their love shall slay them.  Be thou ready for the battle,
and see thou use only love in the fight.  Then I was hurried backward
with swift speed, and awoke.  All I knew was but a symbol, but I
had the peace of the mystic Fathers in my heart, and the jeweled
glory of the Northern Lights all dazzling about my eyes.

"Well, after a dream like that," said Willie, "the only thing one
can do is to try and dream another like it."

--Oct. 15, 1894-Jan. 15, 1895



On the Spur of the Moment



I am minded to put down some intuitions about brotherhood and trust
in persons.  A witty friend writes, "Now that I have made up my mind,
I intend looking at the evidence."  A position like that is not so
absurd as at first it seems.  It is folly only to those who regard
reason alone and deny the value of a deep-seated intuition.  The
intuitive trust which so many members of the T.S. have in William
Q. Judge, to my mind shows that he is a real teacher.  In their
deepest being they know him as such, and what is knowledge there
becomes the intuition of waking hours.  When a clamour of many
voices arises making accusations, pointing to time, place and
circumstance;  to things which we cannot personally investigate,
it is only the spirit within us can speak and decide.  Others with
more knowledge may give answering circumstances of time, place
and act;  but, with or without these, I back up my intuition with
the reason--where the light breaks through, there the soul is pure.
Says a brother truly:

"The list of his works is endless, monumental;  it shows us an
untiring soul, an immense and indomitable will, a total ignoring
of himself for the benefit of his fellow-members.  This is not the
conduct of the charlatan, not of the self-seeker.  It is that of
one of those brave and long-tried souls who have fought their way
down through the vistas of time so that they might have strength
to battle now for those who may be weaker."

Others may have been more eloquent and learned, but who has been
so wise?  Others may have written more beautifully, but who with
such intimations of the Secret Spirit breathing within?  Others
have explained intellectually tattvas, principles and what not,
but who like him has touched the heart of a hidden nobility?  Has
he not done it over and over again, as here?

"Do what you find to do.  Desire ardently to do it, and even when
you shall not have succeeded in carrying out anything but some
small duties, some words of warning, your strong desire will strike
like Vulcan upon some other hearts in the world, and suddenly you
will find that done which you had longed to be the doer of.  Then
rejoice that another has been so fortunate as to make such a
meritorious Karma."

Or he speaks as a hero:

"To fail would be nothing, but to stop working for Humanity and
Brotherhood would be awful."

Or as one who loves and justifies it to the end:

"We are not Karma, we are not the law, and it is a species of that
hypocrisy so deeply condemned by it for us to condemn any man.
That the law lets a man live is proof that he is not yet judged
by that higher power."

To know of these laws is to be them to some extent.  "What a man
thinks, that he is, that is the old secret."  The temple of Spirit
is inviolate.  It is not grasped by speech or by action.  "Whom
the Spirit chooses, by him it is gained.  The Self chooses his body
as its own."  When the personal tumult is silence, then arises the
meditation of the Wise within.  Whoever speaks out of that life
has earned the right to be there.  No cunning can stimulate its
accents.  No hypocrisy can voice its wisdom.  Whose mind gives out
light--it is the haunt of the Gods.  Does this seem to slight a
guarantee for sincerity, for trust reposed?  I know of none weightier.
Look back in memory;  of the martyrdom of opposing passions, out of
the last anguish came forth the light.  It was no cheap accomplishment.
If some one meets us and speaks knowing of that law, we say inwardly,
"I know you have suffered, brother!"  But here is one with a larger
wisdom than ours.  Here is one whose words today have the same clear
ring.  "The world knows him not."   His own disciples hardly know
him:  he has fallen like Lucifer.  But I would take such teaching
as he gives from Lucifer himself, and say, "His old divinity remains
with him still."

"After all you may be mistaken," someone says.  "The feet of no
one are set infallibly on the path."  It may be so.  Let us take
that alternative.  Can we reject him or any other as comrades while
they offer?  Never.  Were we not taught to show to those on whom
came the reaction from fierce effort, not cold faces, but the face
of friendship, waiting for the wave of sure return?  If this was
a right attitude for us in our lesser groups, it is then right
for the whole body to adopt.  The Theosophical Society as a whole
should not have less than the generous spirit of its units.  It
must exercise the same brotherly spirit alike to those of good
or evil fame.  Alike on the just and the unjust shines the Light
of It, the Father-Spirit.  Deep down in our hearts have we not
all longed, longed, for that divine love which rejects none?  You
who think he has erred, it is yours to give it now.  There is an
occult law that all things return to their source, their cycles
accomplished.  The forces we expend in love and anger come back
again to us thrilled with the thought which accepted or rejected
them.  I tell you, if worse things were true of him than what are
said, if we did our duty simply, giving back in gratitude and
fearlessness the help we had received from him, his own past would
overcome the darkness of the moment, would strengthen and bear him
on to the light.

"But," some push it further;  "it is not of ourselves, but of this
Society and its good name, we think.  How can it accomplish its
high mission in the world if we seem to ignore in our ranks the
presence of the insincere person or fraud?"

I wish, my brothers, we could get rid of these old fears.  Show,
form, appearance and seeming, what force have they?  A faulty face
matters nothing.  The deep inner attitude alone has power.  The
world's opinion implicates none of us with the Law.  Our action
many precipitate Karma, may inconvenience us for an hour;  but the
end of life is not comfort but celestial being;  it is not in the
good voice of the world today we can have any hope:  its evil voice
may seem to break us for a little;  but love, faith and gratitude
shall write our history in flame on the shadowy aura of the world,
and the Watchers shall record it.  We can lose nothing;  the
Society can lose nothing.  Our only right is in the action, and
half the sweetness of life consists in loving much.

While I wrote, I thought I felt for a moment the true spirit of
this pioneer body we belong to.  Like a diver too long under seas,
emerging I inhaled the purer air and saw the yellow sunlight.  To
think of it! what freedom! what freshness! to sail away from old
report and fear and custom, the daring of the adventurer in our
hearts, having a reliance only upon the laws of life to justify
and sustain us.

--February 1895



The Legends of Ancient Eire



A Reverend and learned professor in Trinity College, Dublin, a
cynic and a humorist, is reported once to have wondered "why the
old Irish, having a good religion of their own, did not stick to it?"
Living in the "Celtic twilight," and striving to pierce backward
into the dawn, reading romance, tradition and history, I have
endeavoured to solve something of the mystery of the vast "Celtic
phantasmagoria," I can but echoe the professor.  In these legends,
prodical of enchantment, where Gods, heroes and bright supernatural
beings mingle, are at league or war together, I have found not misty
but clear traces of that old wisdom-religion once universal.  There
are indeed no ancient Irish Scriptures I am aware of, but they were
not needed.  To those who read in the Book of Life, philosophy and
scripture are but as blinds over the spiritual vision.  But we today--
lost children of the stars--but painfully and indirectly catch
glimpses of the bright spheres once our habitations, where we freely
came and went.  So I will try to tell over again some of these old
stories in the light of philosophy spoken later.  What was this
old wisdom-religion?  It was the belief that life is one;  that
nature is not dead but living;  the surface but a veil tremulous
with light--lifting that veil hero and sage of old time went outwards
into the vast and looked on the original.  All that they beheld
they once were, and it was again their heritage, for in essence
they were one with it--children of Deity.  The One gave birth to
the many, imagining within itself the heaven of heavens, and the
heavens, and spheres more shadowy and dim, growing distant from
the light.  Through these the Rays ran outward, falling down through
many a starry dynasty to dwell in clay.  Yet--once God or Angel--
that past remains, and the Ray, returning on itself, may reassume
its old vesture, remains, entering as a God into the Ancestral Self.
Every real scripture and every ancient myth, to be understood truly,
must be understood in this light.  God, the angelic hierarchies,
the powers divine and infernal, are but names for the mightier Adam
in whose image man was made and who is the forgotten Self in humanity.
Mystic symbolism is the same the world over, and applying it to
the old Celtic romances, phantasy and faeryland are transformed
into history and we are reading about the ancient Irish Adepts.

Ireland was known long ago as the Sacred Island.  The Gods lived
there:  for the Tuatha De Dannans who settled in Eire after conquering
the gigantic races of Firbolgs and Fomorians (Atlanteans) were called
Gods, differing in this respect from the Gods of ancient Greece and
India, that they were men who had made themselves Gods by magical
or Druidical power.  They were preeminently magi become immortal
by strength of will and knowledge.  Superhuman in power and beauty,
they raised themselves above nature;  they played with the elements;
they moved with ease in the air.  We read of one Angus Oge, the
master magician of all, sailing invisibly "on the wings of the cool
east wind";  the palace of that Angus remains to this day at New
Grange, wrought over with symbols of the Astral Fire and the great
Serpentine Power.  The De Dannans lived in the heart of mountains
(crypts for initiation), and today the peasant sometimes sees the
enchanted glow from the green hills he believes they still inhabit.
Perhaps he believes not foolishly, for, once truly occult, a place
is preserved from pollution until the cycle returns, bringing back
with it the ancient Gods again.

The cycles of the Gods is followed in Irish tradition by the cycle
of the heroes.  The Gods still mingled with them and presumably
taught them, for many of these heroes are Druids.  Fin, the hero
of a hundred legends, Cuchullin, Dairmud, Oisin and others are
wielders of magical powers.  One of the most beautiful of these
stories tells of Oisin in Tir-na-noge.  Oisin with his companions
journeys along by the water's edge.  He is singled out by Niam,
daughter of Mannanan, king of Tir-na-noge, the land of the Gods.
She comes on a white horse across the seas, and mounting with her
Oisin travels across the ocean;  after warring with a giant Fomor
he passes into Tir-na-noge, where for a hundred years he lives
with Niam and has all that heart could wish for.  But desire for
Eire arises within him and returning, he falls off the magic steed,
and becomes an old man weary with years.  It is purely occult.
Oisin, Niam, her white steed, Tir-na-noge, the waters they pass over,
are but names which define a little our forgotten being.  Within
Oisin, the magician, kindles the Ray, the hidden Beauty.  Let us
call it by what name we will, so that we spare the terms of academic
mysticism or psychology.  It is the Golden Bird of the Upanishads;
the Light that lighteth every man;  it is that which the old
Hermetists knew as the Fair or the Beautiful--for Niam means beauty;
it is the Presence, and when it is upon a man every other tie breaks;
he goes alone with It, he is a dying regret, an ever-increasing joy.
And so with Oisin, whose weeping companions behold him no more.
He mounts the white horse with Niam.  It is the same as the white
horse of the Apocalypse, whereon one sits called Faithful and True.
It is the power on which the Spirit rides.  Who is there, thinking,
has felt freed for a moment from his prison-house, and looking
forth has been blinded by the foam of great seas, or has felt his
imagination grow kingly in contemplation--he has known its impelling
power;  the white horse is impatient of restraint.

As they pass over the waters "they saw many wonderful things on
their journey--islands and cities, lime-white mansions, bright
greenans and lofty palaces."  It is the mirror of heaven and earth,
the astral light, in whose glass a myriad illusions arise and fleet
before the mystic adventures.  Haunt of a false beauty--or rather
a veil hung dazzling before the true beauty, only the odour or
incense of her breath is blown through these alluring forms.  The
transition from this to a subtler sphere is indicated.  A hornless
deer, chased by a white hound with red ears, and a maiden tossing
a golden lure, vanishes for ever before a phantom lover.  The poet
whose imagination has renewed for us the legend has caught the true
significance of these hurrying forms:

"The immortal desire of immortals we saw in their eyes and sighed."

"Do not heed these forms!" cried Niam.  Compare with this from
another source:  "Flee from the Hall of Learning, it is dangerous
in its perfidious beauty. .... Beware, lest dazzled by illusive
radiance thy Soul should linger and be caught in its deceptive light.
.... It shines from the jewel of the Great Ensnarer."  There are
centres in man corresponding to these appearances.  They give vision
and entrance into a red and dreadful world, where unappeasable
desire smites the soul--a dangerous clairvoyence.  But in the
sphere beyond their power has to be conquered, and here Oisin wars
with the giant Fomor.  De Dannan and Romorian passed from Eire
wrestle still in the invisible world, say the legends.  We, too--
would-be mystics--are met on the threshold of diviner spheres by
terrible forms embodying the sins of a living past when we misused
our spiritual powers in old Atlantean days.  These forms must be
conquered and so Oisin battles with Fomor and releases the power--
a princess in the story.  This fight with the demon must be fought
by everyone who would enter the land of the Gods, whether in
conscious occult adventure or half-consciously after death, when
the strange alchemist Nature separates the subtile from the gross
in the soul in this region which Oisin passes through.  Tir-na-noge,
the land of Niam, is that region the soul lives in when its grosser
energies and desires have been subdued, dominated and brought under
the control of light;  where the Ray of Beauty kindles and illuminates
every form which the imagination conceives, and where every form
tends to its archetype.  It is a real region which has been approached
and described by the poets and sages who, at all times, have
endeavoured to express something of the higher realities.  It is
not distant, but exists in earth as the soul within the body, and
may be perceived through and along with the surface forms.  In a
sense it corresponds with the Tibetan Devachan, and in this region
Oisin lives for a hundred years, until desire to see Eire once more
arises and he parts from Niam.  Nor the details of his return, the
drowsy land in which he slumbers;  how he fell off the white horse
and became an old man with the weariness of his hundreds of years
upon him--I must refer the reader to the legends.  He will read
not alone of Oisin, but of many an old hero, who, hailed by the
faery (divine) voice, went away to live in the heart of green hills
(to be initiated) or to these strange worlds.

Dear children of Eire, not alone to the past but to today belong
such destinies.  For if we will we can enter the enchanted land.
The Golden Age is all about us, and heroic forms and imperishable
love.  In that mystic light rolled round our hills and valleys hang
deed and memories which yet live and inspire.  The Gods have not
deserted us.  Hearing our call they will return.  A new cycle is
dawning and the sweetness of the morning twilight is in the air.
We can breathe it if we will but awaken from our slumber.



II.



In the recently published Story of Early Gaelic Literature, attention
is directed to the curious eastern and pantheistic character of some
archaic verse.  Critics are for ever trying to show how some one
particular antique race was the first begetter of religion and mystic
symbolism.  Perplexed by the identity between the myths and traditions
of different countries, they look now here, now there, for the original.
But it was not in any land but out of the Christ-Soul of the universe
that true wisdom at all times was begotten.  Some ignorant peasant,
some Jacob Boehme, is pure and aspires, and lo! the God stirs within
him and he knows the things that were taught in elder days and by
unknown people.  Our own land, long ago, had its Initiates in whom
the eye of the seer was open.  This eye, concealed in the hollow
of the brain, is the straight gate and the narrow way through which
alone the mortal may pass and behold the immortal.  It is now
closed in most men.  Materialism, sensuality and dogmatic belief
have so taken the crown and sceptre from their souls that they enter
the golden world no more knowingly--they are outcast of Eden.  But
the Tuatha De Dannans were more than seers or visionaries.  They
were magicians--God and man in one.  Not alone their thought went
out into the vast, but the Power went along with it.  This mystic
Power is called the Serpentine Fire.  It is spiritual, electric,
creative.  It develops spirally in the ascetic, mounting from centre
to centre, from the navel to the heart;*  [* "He that believeth
on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters.  This
spake he of the Spirit."--John, vii, 38]  from thence it rises to
the head.  He is then no more a man but a God;  his vision embraces
infinitude.

The action of this Power was symbolized in many ways, notably by
the passage of the sun through the zodiacal signs * (centres in
the psychic body)  [* "The twelve signs of the Zodiac are hidden
in his body."---Secret Doctrine, II, 619]  A stone serpent was
found a little while ago in Ireland marked with twelve divisions.
The archaic verses alluded to have the same meaning:

"I am the point of the lance of battle. [The spinal cord, the
        Sushumna nadi of Indian Psychology.]
I am the God who creates in the head of man the fire of the thought.
Who is it throws light into the meeting on the mountain?  [The
        meeting of the mortal and the immortal on Mount Meru, the
        pineal gland.]
Who announces the ages of the moon?  [The activity of the inner
        astral man.]
Who teaches the place where courses the sun?"  [Spirit.]


The Serpentine Power is the couch of the sun, the casket of spirit.
Hence the Druids or Magi who had mastered this power were called
Serpents.  Though St. Patrick is said to have driven the serpents
out of Ireland, traces still remain of the serpent wisdom.  Lest
the interpretation given should seem arbitrary I will trace further
explicit references to the third eye.  Diarmuid, the hero and
darling of so many story-tellers, whose flight with Grania forms
one of the most mystic episodes in Celtic romance, is described
as having a spot in the centre of his forehead which fascinated
whoever gazed.  He is called the "Son of the Monarch of Light."
He is the Initiate, the twice-born.  This divine parentage has
the sense in which the words were spoken.  "Marvel not that I said
unto thee, ye must be born again."  In the same sense a Druid is
described as "full of his God."  From the mystic Father descends
the Ray, the Child of Light.  It is born in man as mind, not
reasoning:  earthly not sensual, but as the heaven-aspiring,
thinking mind.  In itself it is of the nature of fire.  The man
who knows it becomes filled with light, aye, he moves about in
light within himself.

The following description of a giant, taken from the story of
Diarmuid, refers to still another aspect of our occult nature.

"He has, but one eye only in the fair middle of his black forehead.
.... He is, moreover, so skilled in magic that fire could not burn
him, water could not drown him, and weapons would not wound him.
...... He is fated not to die until there be struck upon him three
blows of the iron club he has.  He sleeps in the top of that Quicken
tree by night, and he remains at its foot by day to watch it. ....
The berries of the tree have the virtues of the trees of faeryland."

The Quicken tree is the network of nerves in the magnetic astral body.
Readers of the Upanishads will remember the description of the arteries,
thin as a hair split a thousand times, which proceed from the heart,
and in which the Ego rests during deep sleep.  It has just the same
significance in the legend.  The meaning will be still better
understood by a comparison of the youthful Finn in his encounter
with a similar one-eye Titan.  There is a most interesting version
of this in Curtin's Irish Myths and Folk-Tales.  Too long to quote
in its entirety, the story runs as follows.  Finn meets a giant
who carries a salmon in his hand.  This Titan has "but one eye as
large as the sun in the heavens."  He gives the fish to Finn to
cook.  The moment the giant closed his eye he began to breathe
heavily.  "Every time he drew breath he dragged Finn, the spit,
the salmon, and all the goats to his mouth, and every time drove
a breath out of himself he threw them back to the places they were
in before."  While Finn is cooking the salmon he burns it, and in
trying to hide the blister he burns his thumb.  To ease the pain
he put his thumb between his teeth, and chewed it through to the
bone and marrow.  He then received the knowledge of all things.
He was drawn up the next minute to the giant's eye, and plunged
the hot spit (a bar of red-hot iron, says another account) into
the eye of the giant.  He passes the infuriate giant at the door
of the cave something after the fashion of Ulysses, by bringing
the flocks out and himself escaping under the fleece of the largest
goat or ram.

The meaning of this story, with all its quaint imagery, is not
difficult.  It is an allegory describing the loss of the third eye.
The cave is the body.  The fish is a phallic symbol, and the cooking
of it refers to the fall of the early ethereal races into generation
and eventually into gross sensuality.  The synthetic action of the
highest spiritual faculty, in which all the powers of man are present,
is shown by the manner in which everything in the cave is dragged
up to the giant's head.  When Finn destroys the eye by plunging
into it a bar of red-hot iron, it simply means that the currents
started in the generative organs rose up through the spinal cord
to the brain, and, acting upon the pineal gland, atrophied or
petrified it.  The principle of desire is literally the spirit of
the metal iron, and a clairvoyent could see these red fires mounting
up by the way of the spinal canal to the brain and there smothering
any higher feelings.  The escape of Finn under the fleece of the
ram means that, having destroyed the spiritual eye, he could only
use the organ of psychic clairvoyance, which is symbolized here,
as in the mysticism of other countries, by the ram.

This symbolism, so grotesque and unmeaning today, was once perfectly
lucid and was justified in its application.  A clairvoyant could
see in the aura of man around every centre the glow, colour and
form which gave rise to the antique symbol.  One of the Gods is
described as "surrounded by a rainbow and fiery dews."  Cuchullin,
whose hair, dark (blue?) close to the skin, red beyond, and ending
in brilliant gold, makes Professor Rhys elaborate him into a solar
myth, is an adept who has assimilated the substance of the three
worlds, the physical, the psychic and the heavenworld;  therefore
his hair (aura) shows the three colours.  He has the sevenfold
vision also, indicated by the seven pupils in his eyes.  Volumes
of unutterably dreary research, full of a false learning, have
been written about these legends.  Some try to show that much of
the imagery arose from observation of the heavenly bodies and the
procession of the seasons.  But who of the old bards would have
described nature other than as she is?  The morning notes of Celtic
song breathe the freshness of spring and are full of joy in nature.
They could communicate this much better than most of their critics
could do.  It is only the world within which could not be rendered
otherwise than by myth and symbol.  We do not need scholarship so
much as a little imagination to interpret them.  We shall understand
the divine initiators of our race by believing in our own divinity.
As we nourish the mystic fire, we shall find many things of the
early world, which now seem grotesque and unlovely to our eyes,
growing full of shadowy and magnificent suggestion.  Things that
were distant and strange, things abhorrent, the blazing dragons,
winged serpents and oceans of fire which affrighted us, are seen
as the portals through which the imagination enters a more beautiful,
radiant world.  The powers we dared not raise our eyes to--heroes,
dread deities and awful kings--grow as brothers and gay children
around the spirit in its resurrection and ascension.  For there
is no pathway in the universe which does not pass through man,
and no life which is not brother to our life.

--March-April, 1895



Review:  "Lyrics" by R.H. Fitzpatrick [London: W. Stewart and Co.]



While one race sinks into night another renews its dawn.  The Celtic
Twilight is the morning-time and the singing of birds is prophetic
of the new day.  We have had to welcome of late years one sweet
singer after another, and now comes a volume of lyrics which has
that transcendental note which is peculiar to our younger writers.
It is full of the mystery and commingling of the human and the
divine soul:

"Hail, thou living spirit!
        Whose deep organ blown
By lips that more inherit
        Than all music known;
Art is but the echo of thy mysterious tone."

These lyrics, I imagine, have been wrought in solitary wanderings,
in which the forms and shows of things and human hopes and fears
have been brooded upon until the intensity of contemplation has
allied them with that soul of Nature in which the poet finds the
fulfilment of all dreams and ideals.  And in this refining back
to an Over-Soul there is no suggestion of the student of academic
philosophy, no over-wrought intellectualism.  Such references
arise naturally out of his thought and illuminate it.  One can
imagine how such lyrics were engendered:

"I stood and twirled a feathered stalk,
Or drank the clover's honey sap,
        Happiest without talk.

"The summer tidal waves of night
Slowly in silence rippled in:
They steeped the feet of blazing light,
        And hushed day's harsher din."

This aloofness from conflict, it if has hindered him from fully
accepting and justifying life, the highest wisdom of the poet, has
still its compensations.  He has felt the manifold meaning of the
voices through whose unconsciousness Nature speaks, the songs of
birds, the aerial romance and intermingling of light and shadow,
and has vision of the true proportion of things in that conflict
he has turned his back on:

        "All things sip,
And sip at life;  but Time for ever drains
        The ever-filing cup in rivalship,
        And wipes the generations from his lip,
While Art looks down from his serene domains."

--June 15, 1895



--"YES, AND HOPE."



They bring none to his or to her terminus or to be content and full,
Whom they take they take into space to behold the birth of stars,
to learn one of the meanings. To launch off with absolute faith,
to sweep through the ceaseless rings and never be quiet again.
--Whitman

Here is inspiration--the voice of the soul.  And we, who professed
to bring such wisdom, what have we to say?  Have we uttered with
equal confidence such hopes, or with such daring and amplitude of
illustration?  Let us confess we have not.  There are one or two
exceptions which will occur to everyone.  Now, as we adventure afresh,
let us see what it is has brought despondency and failure in our work
upon us in the past.  I think it is because we have been saying
things we have never realized;  we have been repeating without
imagination the words of those few leaders.  We have lowered their
heroic tone because we thought we were speaking to a fallen people
who could not respond to our highest.  But it was not the way, it
was not the way.  It is not with the dust we have brotherhood, but
with the ancient spirit it clouds over.  To this spirit we must
speak heart to heart as we know how.  I would not willingly recognize
aught in anyone but the divine.  Often indeed the form or surface
far removed from beauty makes us falter, and we speak to that form
and so the soul is not stirred;  it will not respond.  But an equal
temper arouses it.  To whoever hails in it the lover, the hero,
the magician, it will answer, but not to him who accosts it as Mr.
So-and-So.  Every word which really inspires is spoken as if the
Golden Age had never passed.  The great teachers ignore the personal
identity and speak to the eternal pilgrim.  Do we not treasure
most their words which remind us of our divine origin?  So we must
in our turn speak.  How often do we not long to break through the
veils which divide us from some one, but custom, convention, or a
fear of being misunderstood prevent us, and so the moment departs
whose heat might have burned through every barrier.  Out with it--
out with it, the hidden heart, the love that is voiceless, the
secret tender germ of an infinite forgiveness.  That speaks to
the heart.  That pierces through many a vesture of the Soul.
Our companion struggles in some labyrinth of passion.  We help him,
we think with ethics, with the moralities.  Ah, very well they are;
well to know and to keep, but wherefore?  For their own sake?  No,
but that the King may arise in his beauty.  We write that in letters,
in books, but to the face of the fallen who brings back remembrance?
Who calls him by his secret name?  Let a man but feel for that is
his battle, for that his cyclic labor, and a warrior who is invincible
fights for him and he draws upon divine powers.  Let us but get that
way of looking at things which we call imaginative, and how everything
alters.  For our attitude to man and to nature, expressed or not,
has something of the effect of ritual, of evocation.  As our
aspiration so is our inspiration.  We believe in life universal,
in a brotherhood which links the elements to man, and makes the
glow-worm feel far off something of the rapture of the seraph hosts.
Then we go out into the living world, and what influences pour
through us!  We are "at league with the stones of the field."  The
winds of the world blow radiantly upon us as in the early time.
We feel wrapt about with love, with an infinite tenderness that
caresses us.  Alone in our rooms as we ponder, what sudden abysses
of light open within us!  The Gods are so much nearer than we dreamed.
We rise up intoxicated with the thought, and reel out seeking an
equal companionship under the great night and the stars.

Let us get near to realities.  We read too much.  We think of that
which is "the goal, the Comforter, the Lord, the Witness, the resting-
place, the asylum and the Friend."  Is it by any of these dear and
familiar names?  Alas, our souls are becoming mere bundles of theories.
We follow the trail of the Monad, but often it is only in the pages
of The Secret Doctrine.  And we talk much of Atma, Buddhi, and Manas.
Could we not speak of them in our own tongue and the language of
today will be as sacred as any of the past.  No wonder that the
Manasa do not incarnate.  We cannot say we do pay reverence to
these awful powers.  We repulse the living truth by our doubts and
reasonings.  We would compel the Gods to fall in with our philosophy
rather than trust in the heavenly guidance.  We make diagrams of them.
Ah, to think of it, those dread deities, the divine Fires, to be
so enslaved!  We have not comprehended the meaning of the voice
which cried, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord,"  or this, "Lift up
your heads O y gates.  Be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and
the King of Glory shall come in."  Nothing that we read is useful
unless it calls up living things in the soul.  To read a mystic
book truly is to invoke the powers.  If they do not rise up plumed
and radiant, the apparitions of spiritual things, then is our labor
barren.  We only encumber the mind with useless symbols.  They
knew better ways long ago.  "Master of the Green-waving Planisphere,
..... Lord of the Azure Expanse, .... it is thus we invoke,"  cried
the magicians of old.

And us, let us invoke them with joy, let us call upon them with love,
the Light we hail, or the Divine Darkness we worship with silent
breath, hymning it in our hearts with quietude and more enraptured
awe.  That silence cries aloud to the Gods.  Then they will approach
us.  Then we may learn that speech of many colors, for they will
not speak in our mortal tongue;  they will not answer to the names
of men.  Their names are rainbow glories.  Yet these are mysteries
and they cannot be reasoned out or argued over.  We cannot speak
truly of them from report, or description, or from what another
has written.  A relation to the thing in itself alone is our warrant,
and this means we must set aside our intellectual self-sufficiency
and await guidance.  It will surely come to those who wait in trust,
a glow, a heat in the heart announcing the awakening of the Fire.
And, as it blows with its mystic breath into the brain, there is
a hurtling of visions, a brilliance of lights, a sound as of great
waters vibrant and musical in their flowing, and murmurs from a
single yet multitudinous being.  In such a mood, when the far
becomes near, the strange familiar, and the infinite possible, he
wrote from whose words we get the inspiration:

"To launch off with absolute faith, to sweep through the ceaseless
rings and never be quiet again."

Such a faith and such an unrest be ours:  faith which is mistrust
of the visible;  unrest which is full of a hidden surety and radiance.
We, when we fall into pleasant places, rest and dream our strength
away.  Before every enterprise and adventure of the soul we calculate
in fear our power to do.  But remember, "Oh, disciple, in thy work
for thy brother thou has many allies;  in the winds, in the air,
in all the voices of the silent shore."  These are the far-wandered
powers of our own nature and they turn again home at our need.
We came out of the Great Mother-Life for the purposes of soul.
Are her darlings forgotten where they darkly wander and strive?
Never.  Are not the lives of all her heroes proof?  Though they
seem to stand alone the eternal Mother keeps watch on them, and
voices far away and unknown to them before arise in passionate
defence, and hearts beat warm to help them.  Aye, if we could look
within we would see vast nature stirred on their behalf, and
institutions shaken, until the truth they fight for triumphs, and
they pass, and a wake of glory ever widening behind them trails
down the ocean of the years.

Thus the warrior within us works, or, if we choose to phrase it so,
it is the action of the spiritual will.  Shall we not, then, trust
in it and face the unknown defiant and fearless of its dangers.
Though we seem to go alone to the high, the lonely, the pure, we
need not despair.  Let no one bring to this task the mood of the
martyr or of one who thinks he sacrifices something.  Yet let all
who will come.  Let them enter the path, "Yes, and hope," facing
all things in life and death with a mood at once gay and reverent,
as beseems those who are immortal--who are children today, but
whose hands tomorrow may grasp the sceptre, sitting down with the
Gods as equal and companions.

--August 1895



Content



Who are exiles? as for me
        Where beneath the diamond dome
Lies the light on hill or tree
        There my palace is and home.

We are outcasts from Deity;  therefore we defame the place of our
exile.  But who is there may set apart his destiny from the earth
which bore him?  I am one of those who would bring back the old
reverence for the Mother, the magic, the love.  I think, metaphysician,
you have gone astray.  You would seek within yourself for the fountain
of life.  Yes, there is the true, the only light.  But do not dream
it will lead you further away from the earth, but rather deeper into
its heart.  By it you are nourished with those living waters you
would drink.  You are yet in the womb and unborn, and the Mother
breathes for thee the diviner airs.  Dart out thy furthest ray of
thought to the original, and yet thou has not found a new path of
thine own.  Thy ray is still enclosed in the parent ray, and only
on the sidereal streams are you borne to the freedom of the deep,
to the sacred stars whose distance maddens, and to the lonely Light
of Lights.

Let us, therefore, accept the conditions and address ourselves with
wonder, with awe, with love, as we well may, to that being in whom
we move.  I abate no jot of those vaster hopes, yet I would pursue
that ardent aspiration, content as to here and today.  I do not
believe in a nature red with tooth and claw.  If indeed she appears
so terrible to any it is because they themselves have armed her.
Again, behind the anger of the Gods there is a love.  Are the rocks
barren?  Lay thy brow against them and learn what memories they keep.
Is the brown earth unbeautiful?  Yet lie on the breast of the Mother
and thou shalt be aureoled with the dews of faery.  The earth is
the entrance to the Halls of Twilight.  What emanations are those
that make radiant the dark woods of pine!  Round every leaf and
tree and over all the mountains wave the fiery tresses of that
hidden sun which is the soul of the earth and parent of they soul.
But we think of these things no longer.  Like the prodigal we have
wandered far from our home, but no more return.  We idly pass or
wait as strangers in the halls our spirit built.

Sad or fain no more to live?
        I have pressed the lips of pain:
With the kisses lovers give
        Ransomed ancient powers again.

I would raise this shrinking soul to a more universal acceptance.
What! does it aspire to the All, and yet deny by its revolt and
inner protest the justice of Law.  From sorrow we shall take no
less and no more than from our joys.  For if the one reveals to
the soul the mode by which the power overflows and fills it here,
the other indicates to it the unalterable will which checks excess
and leads it on to true proportion and its own ancestral ideal.
Yet men seem for ever to fly from their destiny of inevitable beauty;
because of delay the power invites and lures no longer but goes out
into the highways with a hand of iron.  We look back cheerfully
enough upon those old trials out of which we have passed;  but we
have gleaned only an aftermath of wisdom and missed the full harvest
if the will has not risen royally at the moment in unison with the
will of the Immortal, even though it comes rolled round with terror
and suffering and strikes at the heart of clay.

Through all these things, in doubt, despair, poverty, sick feeble
or baffled, we have yet to learn reliance.  "I will not leave thee
or forsake thee,"  are the words of the most ancient spirit to the
spark wandering in the immensity of its own being.  This high
courage brings with it a vision.  It sees the true intent in all
circumstance out of which its own emerges to meet it.  Before it
the blackness melts into forms of beauty, and back of all illusions
is seen the old enchanter tenderly smiling, the dark, hidden Father
enveloping his children.

All things have their compensations.  For what is absent here there
is always, if we seek, a nobler presence about us.

Captive, see what stars give light
        In the hidden heart of clay:
At their radiance dark and bright
        Fades the dreamy King of Day.

We complain of conditions, but this very imperfection it is which
urges us to arise and seek for the Isles of the Immortals.  What
we lack recalls the fulness.  The soul has seen a brighter day
than this and a sun which never sets.  Hence the retrospect:  "Thou
has been in Eden the garden of God;  every precious stone was thy
covering, the sardius, topaz and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx,
the jasper, the sapphire, emerald .... Thou was upon the holy
mountain of God;  thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the
stones of fire."  We would point out these radiant avenues of return;
but sometimes we feel in our hearts that we sound but cockney
choices, as guides amid the ancient temples, the cyclopean crypts
sanctified by the mysteries.  To be intelligible we replace the
opalescent shining by the terms of the anatomist, and we speak of
the pineal gland and the pituitary body in the same breath with
the Most High.  Yet when the soul has the vision divine it knows
not it has a body.  Let it remember, and the breath of glory kindles
it no more;  it is once again a captive.  After all, it does not
make the mysteries clearer to speak in physical terms and do violence
to our intuitions.  If we ever use these centres, as fires we shall
see them, or they shall well up within us as fountains of potent
sound.  We may satisfy people's minds with a sense correspondence,
and their souls may yet hold aloof.  We shall only inspire by the
magic of a superior beauty.  Yet this too has its dangers.  "Thou
has corrupted thy wisdom by reason of they brightness," continues
the seer.  If we follow too much the elusive beauty of form we
will miss the spirit.  The last secrets are for those who translate
vision into being.  Does the glory fade away before thee?  Say
truly in they heart, "I care not.  I will wear the robes I am
endowed with today."  Thou are already become beautiful, being
beyond desire and free.

Night and day no more eclipse
        Friendly eyes that on us shine,
Speech from old familiar lips,
        Playmates of a youth divine.

To childhood once again.  We must regain the lost state.  But it
is to the giant and spiritual childhood of the young immortals we
must return, when into their clear and translucent souls first fell
the rays of the father-beings.  The men of old were intimates of
wind and wave and playmates of many a brightness long since forgotten.
The rapture of the fire was their rest;  their outgoing was still
consciously through universal being.  By darkened images we may
figure something vaguely akin, as when in rare moments under the
stars the big dreamy heart of childhood is pervaded with quiet and
brimmed full with love.  Dear children of the world so tired today--
so weary seeking after the light.  Would you recover strength and
immortal vigor?  Not one star alone, your star, shall shed its happy
light upon you, but the All you must adore.  Something intimate,
secret, unspeakable, akin to thee will emerge silently, insensibly,
and ally itself with thee as thou gatherest thyself from the four
quarters of the earth.  We shall go back to the world of the dawn,
but to a brighter light than that which opened up this wondrous
story of the cycles.  The forms of elder years will reappear in
our vision, the father-beings once again.  So we shall grow at
home amid these grandeurs, and with that All-Presence about us
may cry in our hearts, "At last is our meeting, Immortal.  Oh,
starry one, now is our rest!"

Brothers weary, come away;
        We will quench the heart's desire
Past the gateways of the day
        In the rapture of the fire.

--October 15, 1895



The Enchantment of Cuchullain
--By AE and Aretas (G.W. Russell and James M. Pryse)



While our vision, backward cast,
Ranged the everliving past,
Through a haze of misty things--
Luminous with quiverings
Musical as starry chimes--
Rose a hero of old times,
In whose breast the magic powers
Slumbering from primeval hours,
Woke at the enchantment wild
Of Aed Abrait's lovely child;
Still for all her Druid learning
With the wild-bird heart, whose yearning
Blinded at his strength and beauty,
Clung to love and laughed at duty.
Warrior chief, and mystic maid,
Through your stumbling footsteps strayed,
This at least in part atones--
Jewels were your stumbling-stones!



I. The Birds of Angus



The birds were a winging rapture in the twilight.  White wings,
grey wings, brown wings, fluttered around and over the pine trees
that crowned the grassy dun.  The highest wings flashed with a
golden light.  At the sound of voices they vanished.

"How then shall we go to the plains of Murthemney?  We ought not
to be known.  Shall we go invisibly, or in other forms?  We must
also fly as swiftly as the birds go."

"Fly! yes, yes, we shall--fly as the birds.  But we shall choose
fairer forms than these.  I know where the Birds of Angus flock.
Come, Liban, come!"


The crypt beneath the dun was flooded with light, silvery and golden,
a light which came not from the sun nor from the moon;  a light not
born from any parent luminary, and which knew nothing opaque.  More
free than the birds of the air were the shadowy forms of the two
daughters of Aed Abrait, as they gazed out from that rock-built
dun upon a place their mortal feet had never trod.  Yet timidly
Liban looked at her more adventurous sister.  Fand floated to the
centre of the cavern, erect and radiant.  Her eyes followed the
wavy tremulous motion of the light as it rolled by.  They seemed
to pierce through earth and rock, and search out the secret hollows
of the star, to know the vastness, and to dominate and compel the
motion of the light.  Her sister watched her half curiously and
half in admiration and wonder.  As the floating form grew more
intense the arms swayed about and the lips murmured.  A sheen as
of many jewels played beneath the pearly mist which enrobed her;
over her head rose the crest of the Dragon;  she seemed to become
one with the shining, to draw it backwards into herself.  Then
from far away came a wondrous melody, a sound as of the ancient
chiming of the stars.  The sidereal rivers flowed by with more
dazzling light, and the Birds of Angus were about them.

"Look, Liban, look!" cried the Enchantress.  "These of old were
the chariots of the children of men.  On these the baby offspring
of the Gods raced through the nights of diamond and sapphire.  We
are not less than they though a hundred ages set us apart.  We
will go forth royally as they did.  Let us choose forms from among
these.  If the Hound should see us he will know we have power."

With arms around each other they watched the starry flocks hurtling
about them.  The birds wheeled around, fled away, and again returned.
There were winged serpents;  might which would put to flight the
degenerate eagle;  plumage before which the birds of paradise would
show dull as clay.  These wings dipt in the dawn flashed ceaselessly.
Ah, what plumage of white fire rayed out with pinions of opalescent
glory!  What feathered sprays of burning amethyst!  What crests of
scarlet and gold, of citron and wavy green!  They floated by in
countless multitudes;  they swayed in starry clusters dripping with
light, singing a melody caught from the spheres of the Gods, the
song which of old called forth the earth from its slumber.  The
sound was entrancing.  Oh, fiery birds who float in the purple
rivers of the Twilight, ye who rest in the great caverns of the world,
whoever listens to your song shall grow faint with longing, for he
shall hear the great, deep call in his heart and his spirit shall
yearn to go afar;  whatever eyes see you shall grow suddenly blinded
with tears for a glory that has passed away from the world, for an
empire we no longer range.

"They bring back the air of the ancient days.  Ah! now I have the
heart of the child once again.  Time has not known me.  Let us away
with them.  We will sweep over Eri and lead the starry flocks as
the queen birds."

"If we only dared.  But think, Fand, we shall have every wizard
eye spying upon us, and every body who can use his freedom will
follow and thwart us.  Not these forms, but others let us take.
Ah, look at those who come in grey and white and brown!  Send home
the radiant ones.  We will adventure with these."

"Be it so.  Back to your fountains, O purple rivers!  King-Bird,
Queen-Bird, to your home in the hollows lead your flock!"  So she
spoke, but her words were shining and her waving arms compelled
the feathered monarchs with radiations of outstretched flame.  To
the others:  "Rest here awhile, sweet singers.  We shall not detain
you captive for long."  So she spoke, but her hands that caressed
laid to sleep the restless pulsations of the wings and lulled the
ecstatic song.


Night, which to the eye of the magian shows more clearly all that
the bright day conceals, overspread with a wizard twilight the vast
hollow of the heavens.  Numberless airy rivulets, each with its
own peculiar shining, ran hither and thither like the iridescent
currents streaming over a bubble.  Out of still duskier, more
darkly glowing and phantasmal depths stared the great eyes of space,
rimmed about with rainbow-dyes.  As night moved on to dawn two
birds shot forth from the dun, linked together by a cord of golden
fire.  They fled southwards and eastwards.  As they went they sang
a song which tingled the pulses of the air.  In the dark fields
the aureoles around the flowers grew momentarily brighter.  Over
the mountain homes of the Tuatha de Danaans rose up shadowy forms
who watched, listened, and pondered awhile.  The strayed wanderers
amid the woods heard the enraptured notes and forgot their sorrows
and life itself in a hurricane of divine remembrance.  Where the
late feast was breaking up the melody suddenly floated in and
enwreathed the pillared halls, and revellers became silent where
they stood, the mighty warriors in their hands bowed low their faces.
Still on and on swept the strange birds flying southwards and eastwards.


Still in many a peasant cot
Lives the story unforgot,
While the faded parchments old
Still their rhyming tale unfold.
There is yet another book
Where thine eager eyes may look.
There within its shining pages
Lives the long romance of ages,
Liban, Fand, their glowing dreams,
Angus's birds, the magic streams
Flooding all the twilight crypt,
Runes and spells in starry script;
Secrets never whispered here
In the light are chanted clear.
Read in the tales of Eri
If the written word be weary.


Never is there day so gleaming
        But the dusk o'ertakes it;
Never night so dark and dreaming
        But the dawn awakes it:
And the soul has nights and days
In its own eternal ways.



II. Cuchullain's Dream



The air was cool with the coming of winter;  but with the outer
cold came the inner warmth of the sun, full of subtile vitality
and strength.  And the Ultonians had assembled to light the yearly
fire in honor of the Sun-God, at the seven-days' feast of Samhain.
There the warriors of Ulster rested by the sacred fire, gazing
with closed eyes upon the changing colors of the sun-breath,
catching glimpses of visions, or anon performing feats of magic
when they felt the power stirring within their breasts.  They sang
the songs of old times, of the lands of the West, where their
forefathers live ere the earth-fires slew those lands, and the
sea-waves buried them, leaving only the Eri, the isle where dwelt
men so holy that the earth-fires dared not to assail it, and the
ocean stood at bay.  Lightly the warriors juggled with their great
weapons of glittering bronze;  and each told of his deeds in battle
and in the chase;  but woe to him who boasted or spoke falsely,
magnifying his prowess, for then would his sword angrily turn of
itself in its scabbard, convicting him of untruth.

Cuchullain, youngest but mightiest of all the warriors, sat moodily
apart, his beardless chin resting in the palms of his hands, his
eyes staring fixedly at the mirror-like surface of the lake upon
whose sloping bank he rested.  Laeg, his charioteer, lying at full
length upon the greensward near by, watched him intently, a gloomy
shadow darkening his unusually cheerful face.

"It's a woman's trick, that," he muttered to himself, "staring into
the water when trying to see the country of the Sidhe, and unworthy
of a warrior.  And to think of him doing it, who used to have the
clearest sight, and had more power for wonder-working than anyone
else in the lands of the West!  Besides, he isn't seeing anything
now, for all the help of the water.  When last I went to the dun
some women of the Sidhe told me they had looked up Cuchullain and
found he was getting too dim-eyed to see anything clearly now, even
in his sleep.  Its true enough, but to hear it said even by women!"

And the discontented charioteer glanced back contemptuously at a
group of women a short distance away, who were following with their
eyes a flock of wild birds circling over the plain.

"I suppose they want those birds," he continued, conversing familiarly
with himself.  "Its the way of women to want everything they see,
especially if its something hard to catch, like those wild birds."

But Laeg's cynicism was not so deep as to keep his glance from
lingering upon the bevy of graceful maidens and stately matrons.
Their soft laughter reached his ear through the still evening air;
and watching their animated gestures he idly speculated upon the
plane he felt sure they were arranging.

"Yes;  they want the birds.  They wish to fasten the wings to their
shoulders, to make themselves look like the women of the Sidhe.
They know Cuchullain is the only man who can get the birds for them,
but even Emer, his wife, is afraid to ask him.  Of course they will
coax that patient Ethne to do it.  If she succeeds, she'll get no
thanks;  and if she fails, she'll have all the blame, and go off
by herself to cry over the harsh words spoken by Cuchullain in his
bad temper.  That's the way of Ethne, poor girl."

He was right in his conjecture, for presently Ethne left the group
and hesitatingly approached the giant warrior, who was still gazing
vacantly at the glassy surface of the water.  She touched him timidly
on the shoulder.  Slowly he raised his head, and still half dazed
by his long staring, listened while she made her request.  He rose
to his feet sleepily, throwing out his brawny arms and expanding
his chest as he cast a keen glance at the birds slowly circling
near the ground.

"Those birds are not fit to eat," he said, turning to her with a
good-natured smile.

"But we want the wings to put on our shoulders.  It would be so
good of you to get them for us," said Ethne in persuasive tones.

"If it's flying you wish to try," he said, with a laugh, "you'll
need better wings than those.  However, you shall have them if I
can get within throwing distance of them."

He glanced around for Laeg.  That far-seeing individual was already
yoking the horses to the chariot.  A moment later, Cuchullain and
the charioteer were dashing across the plain behind the galloping
steeds.  As they neared the birds, Cuchullain sent missiles at
them from his sling with such incredible rapidity and certainty
of aim that not one of the flock escaped.  Each of the women was
given two of the birds;  but when Ethne, who had modestly held
back when the others hurried forward to meet the returning chariot,
came to receive her share, not one remained.

"As usual," said Laeg stolidly, "if anyone fails to get her portion
of anything, its sure to be Ethne."

"Too sure," said Cuchullain, a look of compassion softening his
stern features.  He strode over to Ethne, and placing his hand
gently on her head said:  "Don't take your disappointment to heart,
little woman;  when any more birds come to the plains of Murthemney,
I promise to get for you the most beautiful of them all."

"There's a fine brace of them now, flying towards us," exclaimed
Laeg, pointing across the lake.  "And I think I hear them singing.
Queer birds, those;  for I see a cord as of red gold between them."

Nearer and nearer swept the strange beings of the air, and as their
weird melody reached the many Ultonians at the Samhain fire, the
stalwart warriors, slender maidens, the youthful and the time-worn,
all felt the spell and became as statues, silent, motionless,
entranced.  Alone the three at the chariot felt not the binding
influences of the spell.  Cuchullain quietly fitted a smooth pebble
into his sling.  Ethne looked appealingly at Laeg, in whose sagacity
she greatly trusted.  A faint twinkle of the eye was the only sign
that betrayed the thought of the charioteer as he tried to return
her glance with a look of quiet unconcern.  She hastened after
Cuchullain, who had taken his stand behind a great rock on the
lake shore which concealed him from the approaching birds.

"Do not try to take them,"  she entreated;  "there is some strange
power about them which your eyes do not see;  I feel it, and my
heart is filled with dread."

The young warrior made no reply, but whirling his sling above his
head sent the missile with terrific force at the two swan-like
voyagers of the air.  It went far astray, and splashed harmlessly
into the lake, throwing up a fountain of spray.  Cuchullain's face
grew dark.  Never before in war or the chase had he missed so easy
a mark.  Angrily he caught a javelin from his belt and hurled it
at the birds, which had swerved from their course and were now
flying swiftly away.  It was a mighty cast, even for the strong
arm of the mightiest warrior of Eri;  and the javelin, glittering
in the sun, was well on the downward curve of its long flight, its
force spent, when its point touched the wing of the nearest bird.
A sphere of golden flame seemed to glitter about them as they turned
downward and disappeared beneath the deep waters of the lake.

Cuchullain threw himself upon the ground, leaning his broad shoulders
against the rock.

"Leave me," he said in sullen tones to Ethne;  "my senses are dull
with sleep from long watching at the Samhain fire.  For the first
time since I slew the hound of Culain my right arm has failed me.
My eyes are clouded, and strange music murmurs in my heart."

His eyes closed, his heavy breathing was broken by sighs, and
anguish distorted his features.  Ethne watched him awhile, and
then stole quietly back to where the warriors were and said to them:

"Cuchullain lies slumbering by yonder rock, and he moans in his
sleep as if the people of the Sidhe were reproaching his soul for
some misdeed.  I fear those birds that had the power behind them.
Should we not waken him?"

But while they held council, and some were about to go and awaken him.
Fergus mac Roy, foster-father of Cuchullain, arose, and all drew back
in awe, for they saw the light of the Sun-God shining from his eyes,
and his voice had the Druid ring as he said in stern tones of command:

"Touch him not, for he sees a vision;  the people of the Sidhe are
with him;  and from the far distant past, even from the days of the
sunken lands of the West, I see the hand of Fate reach out and
grasp the warrior of Eri, to place him on a throne where he shall
rule the souls of men."


To Cuchullain it did not seem that he slept;  for though his eyelids
fell, his sight still rested on the calm surface of the lake, the
shining sand on the shore, and the great brown rock against which
he reclined.  But whence came the two maidens who were walking
toward him along the glistening sand?  He gazed at them in speechless
wonder;  surely only in dreamland could so fair a vision be seen.
In dreamland, yes;  for a dim memory awoke in his breast that he
had seen them before in the world of slumber.  One wore a mantle
of soft green, and her flaxen hair, strangely white but with a
glint of gold, fell about her shoulders so thickly it seemed like
a silken hood out of which looked a white face with gleaming violet
eyes.  The other maiden had dark brown eyes, very large, very luminous;
her cheeks were rosy, with just a hint of bronzing by the sunshine,
a dimple in her chin added to the effect of her pouting red lips;
her dark brown hair was unbound and falling loosely over her deep
crimson mantle, which reached from her waist in five heavy folds.
The recumbent warrior felt a weird spell upon him.  Powerless to
move or speak, he saw the two maidens advance and stand beside him,
the sunlight gleaming upon their bare arms and bosoms.  They smiled
upon him and uplifted their arms, and then from their fingers there
rained down upon him blinding lightnings, filaments of flame that
stung like whipcords, a hail of rainbow sparks that benumbed him,
darting flames that pierced him like javelins;  and as he gazed
upward through that storm of fire, writhing in his agony, he saw
still their white arms waving to and from, weaving a network of
lightnings about him, their faces smiling upon him, serene and kindly;
and in the eyes of her with the crimson mantle he read a tenderness
all too human.  Eyes that shone with tenderness;  white arms that
wove a rainbow-mesh of torturing fires about him;  his anguish
ever increasing, until he saw the arms stop waving, held for an
instant aloft, and then swept downward with a torrent of flame
and a mighty crash of sound like the spears of ten thousand warriors
meeting in battle, and then--he was alone, staring with wide-open
eyes at the blue, cloud-mirroring surface of the lakes and the
white sand gleaming on the shore.


"Trouble me not with questions," said Cuchullain to the warriors
gathered about him.  "My limbs are benumbed and refuse to obey me.
Bear me to my sick-bed at Tete Brece."

"Shall we not take you to Dun Imrish, or to Dun Delca, where you
may be with Emer?" said they.

"No," he replied, a shudder convulsing his strong frame;  "bear me
to Tete Brece.

And when they had done so, he dwelt there for a year, and on his
face was always the look of a slumberer who is dreaming;  not once
did he smile, nor did he speak one word during that year.


When the soul has many lives
        Fettered by Forgetfulness,
Hands that burst its long-worn gyves
        Cruel seem and pitiless.
Yet they come all tenderly,
        Loved companions of the past;
And the sword that sets us free
        Turns our pain to peace at last.



III.



What shadows turn his eyes away
        Who fain would scale the heavenly heights;
There shines the beauty of a day,
        And there the ancient Light of Lights.

And while he broods on visions dim
        And grows forgetful of his fate,
The chariot of the Sun for him
        And all the tribal stars await.


The Slumber of Cuchullain, and the Message of Angus

Within the door at Tete Brece, under the shadow of the thatch, the
couch of Cuchullain was placed, so that if he willed he could gaze
over the rich green fields to the distant rim of blue hills.  Yet
rarely opened he his eyes or gazed with outward understanding during
that weary year.  Often the watchers round his bed, looking on the
white rigid face, wondered if he were indeed living.  But they
dared not awaken him, for the seers had found that his slumber was
filled with mystic life, and that it was not lawful to call him forth.
Was the gloom of the great warrior because he was but the shadow
of his former self, or was that pale form indeed empty?  So pondered
Fergus, Conail, Lugard and Ethne, faithful companions.  But he in
himself was wrapped in a mist of visions appearing fast and vanishing
faster.  The fiery hands that smote him had done their work well,
and his darkness had become bright with remembrance.  The majesty
of elder years swept by him with reproachful glance, and the hero
cowered before the greatness of his own past.  Born out of the womb
of the earth long ago in the fulness of power--what shadow had dimmed
his beauty?  He tracked and retraced countless steps.  Once more he
held sceptred sway over races long since in oblivion.  He passed
beyond the common way until the powers of the vast knew and obeyed
him.  As he looked back there was one always with him.  Lu, the
Sun-God, who in the bright days of childhood had appeared to him
as his little feet ran from home in search for adventures.  Remote
and dim, nigh and radiant, he was always there.  In solemn initiations
in crypts beneath the giant hills he rose up, gemmed and starred
with living fires, and grew one with the God, and away, away with
him he passed into the lands of the immortals, or waged wars more
than human, when from the buried lands of the past first came the
heroes eastward to Eri and found the terrible Fomorian enchanters
dwelling in the sacred isle.  In dream Cuchullain saw the earth-
scorning warriors rise up and wage their battle in the bright aether,
and the great Sun-Chieftain, shining like gold, lead his glittering
hosts.  In mountainous multitudes the giantesque phantoms reeled to
and from, their mighty forms wreathed in streams of flame, while
the stars paled and shuddered as they fought.

There was yet another face, another form, often beside him;
whispering, luring, calling him away to he knew not what wild
freedom.  It was the phantom form of the child of Aed Abrait, with
dark flowing tresses, mystic eyes, her face breathing the sweetness
of the sun, with all the old nobility of earth, but elate and apart,
as one who had been in the crystal spheres of the unseen and bathed
in its immortalizing rivers and drunk the starry dews.

Come, Cu.  Come, O hero," she whispered.  "There are fiery fountains
of life which will renew thee.  We will go where the Sidhe dwell,
where the golden life-breath flows up from the mountains in a
dazzling radiance to the ever-shining regions of azure and pearl
under the stars.  Glad is everything that lives in that place.
Come, Cu, come away."  And she passed from beside him with face
half turned, calling, beckoning, till in his madness he forgot the
bright Sun-God and the warriors of Eri awaiting his guidance.


It was again the feast of Samhain.  About twilight in the evening
a shadow darkened the door.  A man in blue mantle stood outside;
he did not enter but looked around him a little while and then sat
down, laughing softly to himself.  Fergus, Conail and Lugard rose
simultaneously, glad of the pretence of warning off the intruder
as a relief from their monotonous watch.

"Do you not know," said Conail sternly, "that one lies ill here
who must not be disturbed?"

The stranger arose.

"I will tell you a tale," he said.  "As I was strolling through
the trees I saw a radiance shining around the dun, and I saw one
floating in that light like a mighty pillar of fire, or bronze
ruddy and golden:  a child of the Sun he seemed;  the living fires
curled about him and rayed from his head.  He looked to the north
and to the west, to the south and to the east, and over all Eri he
shot his fiery breaths rainbow-colored, and the dark grew light
before him where he gazed.  Indeed if he who lies here were well
he would be mightiest among your warriors.  But I think that now
he clasps hands with the heroes of the Sidhe as well, and with
Druid power protects the Ultonians.  I feel happy to be beside him."

"It is Lu Lamfada guarding the hero.  Now his destiny will draw
nigh to him again," thought Cu's companions, and they welcomed
the stranger.

"I see why he lies here so still," he continued, his voice strange
like one who is inspired while he speaks.  "The Sidhe looked out
from their mountains.  They saw a hero asleep.  They saw a God
forgetful.  They stirred him to shame by the hands of women.  They
showed him the past.  They said to Fand and Libau, 'Awake him.
Bring him to us.  Let him come on the night of Samhain.'  They
showed the chosen one from afar, in a vision while hid in their
mountains.  The Tuatha de Danaans, the immortals, wish for Cuchullain
to aid them.  The daughters of Aed Abrait are their messengers.
If Fand and Liban were here they would restore the hero."

"Who are you?" asked Laeg, who had joined them.

"I am Angus, son of Aed Abrait."  While he spoke his form quivered
like a smoke, twinkling in misty indistinctness in the blue twilight,
and then vanished before their eyes.

"I wonder now," muttered Laeg to himself, "if he was sent by the
Sidhe, or by Liban and Fand only.  When one has to deal with women
everything is uncertain.  Fand trusts more in her beauty to arouse
him than in her message.  I have seen her shadow twenty times cooing
about him.  It is all an excuse for love-making with her.  It is
just like a woman.  Anything, however, would be better for him than
to lie in bed."  He went off to join the others.  Cuchullain was
sitting up and was telling the story of what happened last Samhain.

"What should I do?" he asked.

"Go to the wise King," said Laeg, and so they all advised, for ever
since the day when he was crowned, and the Druids had touched him
with fire, a light of wisdom shone about Concobar the King.

"I think you should go to the rock where the women of the Sidhe
appeared to you," said Concobar when appealed to.

So Laeg made ready the chariot and drove to the tarn.  Night came
ere they reached it, but the moon showed full and brilliant.  Laeg
waited a little way apart, while Cuchullain sat himself in the
black shadow of the rock.  As the warrior gazed into the dark,
star-speckled surface of the waters, a brightness and a mist
gathered over them, and there, standing with her robe of green
down--dropping to her feet and trailing on the wave, her pale
flaxen hair blown around her head, was Liban.  She smiled strangely
as before, looking through him with her subtle eyes.

"I am one of the Sidhe," she said, and her voice sounded like a
murmur of the water.  "You also, O warrior, though forgetful, are
one of us.  We did not indeed come to injure you, but to awaken
remembrance.  For now the wild clouds of demons gathered from the
neighboring isles and we wish your aid.  Your strength will come
back to you exultant as of old.  Come with me, warrior.  You will
have great companions.  Labraid, who wields the rapid fires as you
the sword, and Fand, who has laid aside her Druid wisdom longing
for you."

"Whither must I go with you, strange woman?" asked Cuchullain.

"To Mag-Mell."

"I will send Laeg with you," said Cuchullain.  I do not care to go
to an unknown place while I have my duties here."  He then went to
Laeg, asking him to go with Liban.

"He is longing to go," thought Laeg, "but he mistrusts his power
to get away.  He has forgotten all he knew and did not wish to
appear nothing before a woman.  However, it can do no harm if I
go and see what they do."


Oh, marvel not if in our tale
        The gleaming figures come and go,
More mystic splendors shine and pale
        Than in an age outworn we know.

Their ignorance to us were wise:
        Their sins our virtue would outshine:
A glory passed before their eyes:
        We hardly dream of the divine.

In world may come romance,
        With all the lures of love and glamour;
And woesome tragedy will chance
        To him whom fairy forms enamour.

There slain illusions live anew
        To stay the soul with coy caresses;
But he who only loves the True
        Slays them again, and onward presses.

For golden chains are yet but chains,
        Enchanted dreams are yet but dreaming;
And ere the soul its freedom gains
        It bursts all bonds, destroys all seeming.



IV. The Maidens of the Sidhe



"Yes, I'll go with the maid in the green mantle," muttered Laeg to
himself;  "but I'll don the crimson mantle of five folds which it
is my right to wear in the land of the Sidhe, even though my earthly
occupation is only the driving of a war-chariot."

He began chanting softly;  a golden gleam as of sunshine swept
circling about him;  then as the chant ceased a look of wild
exultation came to his face, and he threw up his arms, so that
for an instant he had the aspect he wore when guiding the great
war-chariot of Cuchullain into the thick of battle.  His swaying
form fell softly upon the greensward, and above it floated a
luminous figure clad in a crimson mantle, but whose face and bare
arms were of the color of burnished bronze.  So impassive and
commanding was his face that even Liban faltered a little as she
stole to his side.  Cuchullain watched the two figures as they
floated slowly over the dark expanse of the lake, till they suddenly
disappeared, seemingly into its quiet surface.  Then with his face
buried in his hands he sat motionless, absorbed in deep thought,
while he waited until the return of Laeg.

The recumbent form of Liban rose from the crouch where it had lain
entranced.  Before her stood the phantom figure of Laeg.  All in
the house save herself were asleep, but with the conscious sleep
of the Sidhe, and their shades spoke welcome to Laeg, each saying
to him in liquid tones such as come never from lips of clay:

"Welcome to you, Laeg;  welcome because of her who brings you, of
him who sent you, and of yourself."

He saw about him only women of the Sidhe, and knew that he was in
one of the schools established by the wise men of Eri for maidens
who would devote their lives to holiness and Druid learning;
maidens who should know no earthly love but fix their eyes ever
on the light of the Sun-god.  But not seeing Fand among them, he
turned with an impatient gesture to Liban.  She read his gesture
aright, and said:

"My sister dwells apart;  she has more knowledge, and presides over
all of us."

Leaving the room, she walked down a corridor, noiselessly save for
the rustle of her long robe of green, which she drew closely about
her, for the night was chill.  An unaccustomed awe rested upon her,
and to Laeg she whispered:

"The evil enchanters have power tonight, so that your life would
be in danger if you had not the protection of a maiden of the Sun."

But a smile wreathed for an instant the bronze-hue face of the
shadowy charioteer, as he murmured in tones of kindness near to pity,
softening his rude words:

"Till now nor Cuchullain nor I have ever felt the need of a woman's
protection, and I would much rather he were here now than I."

Drawing aside a heavy curtain, Liban entered her sister's room.
They saw Fand seated at a little table.  A scroll lay on it open
before her, but her eyes were not fixed on it.  With hands clasped
under her chin she gazed into the vacancies with eyes of far-away
reflection and longing.  There was something pathetic in the
intensity and wistfulness of the lonely figures.  She turned and
rose to meet them, a smile of rare tenderness lighting up her face
as she saw Liban.  The dim glow of a single lamp but half revealed
the youthful figure, the pale, beautiful face, out of which the
sun-colours had faded.  Her hair of raven hue was gathered in massy
coils over her head and fastened there by a spiral torque of gleaming
gold.  Her mantle, entirely black, which fell to her feet, made her
features seem more strangely young, more startlingly in contrast
with the monastic severity of the room.  It was draped round with
some dark unfigured hangings.  A couch with a coverlet of furs,
single chair of carved oak, the little table, and a bronze censer
from which a faint aromatic odor escaping filled the air and stole
on the sense, completed the furniture of the room, which might
rather have been the cell of some aged Druid than the chamber of
one of the young maidens of Eri, who were not overgiven to ascetic
habits.  She welcomed Laeg with the same terms of triple welcome
as did the mystic children of the sun who had first gathered round him.
Her brilliant eyes seemed to read deep the soul of the charioteer.

Then Liban came softly up to her, saying:

"Oh, Fand, my soul is sad this night.  The dark powers are gathering
their strength to assail us, and we shall need to be pure and strong.
Yet you have said that you feel no longer the Presence with you;
that Mannanan, the Self of the Sun, shines not in your heart!"

Fan placed her hand upon her sister's flaxen head, saying with a
voice mingled joy and pathos:

"Peace, child;  you, of us all, have least to fear, for though I,
alas! am forsaken, yet He who is your Father and Yourself is even
now here with you."

Liban fell on her knees, with her hands clasped and her eyes uplifted
in a rapture of adoration, for above her floated one whom she well
knew.  Yet unheeding her and stern of glance, with his right arm
outstretched, from which leaped long tongues of flame, swordlike,
into space, Labraid towered above gazing upon foes unseen by them.
Slowly the arm fell and the stern look departed from the face.
Ancient with the youth of the Gods, it was such a face and form
the toilers in the shadowy world, mindful of their starry dynasties,
sought to carve in images of upright and immovable calm amid the
sphinxes of the Nile or the sculptured Gods of Chaldaea.  So upright
and immovable in such sculptured repose appeared Labraid, his body
like a bright ruby flame, sunlit from its golden heart.  Beneath
his brows his eyes looked full of secrecy.  The air pulsing and
heaving about him drove Laeg backward from the centre of the room.
He appeared but a child before this potent spirit.  Liban broke
out into a wild chant of welcome:

"Oh see now how burning,
        How radiant in might,
From battle returning
        The Dragon of Light!
Where wert thou, unsleeping
        Exile from the throne,
In watch o'er the weeping,
        The sad and the lone.
The sun-fires of Eri
        Burned low on the steep;
The watchers were weary
        Or sunken in sleep;
And dread were the legions
        Of demons who rose
From the uttermost regions
        Of ice and of snows;
And on the red wind borne,
        Unspeakable things
From wizard's dark mind borne
        On shadowy wings.
The darkness was lighted
        With whirlwinds of flame;
The demons affrighted
        Fled back whence they came.
For thou wert unto them
        The vision that slays:
Thy fires quivered through them
        In arrowy rays.
Oh, light amethystine,
        Thy shadow inspire,
And fill with the pristine
        Vigor of fire.
Though thought like a fountain
        Pours dream upon dream,
Unscaled is the mountain
        Where thou still dost gleam,
And shinest afar like
        The dawning of day,
Immortal and starlike
        In rainbow array."

But he, the shining one, answered, and his voice had that melody
which only those know whom the Sun-breath has wafted into worlds divine:

"Vaunt not, poor mortal one, nor claim knowledge when the Gods know
not.  He who is greatest among all the sons of evil now waits for
the hour to strike when he may assail us and have with him all the
hosts of the foes of light.  What may be the issue of the combat
cannot be foreseen by us.  Yet mortals, unwise, ever claim to know
when even the Gods confess ignorance;  for pride blinds all mortals,
and arrogance is born of their feebleness."

Unabashed she cried out:

"Then rejoice, for we have awakened Cu, the warrior-magician of
old times, and his messenger is her."

Then he answered gently, pityingly:

"We need the help of each strong soul, and you have done well to
arouse that slumbering giant.  If through his added strength we
conquer, then will he be the saviour of Eri;  beloved by the Gods,
he will cease to be a wild warrior on earth, and become a leader
of mortals, aiding them on the way to the immortals.  Wisely have
you awakened him, and yet--"

He smiled, and such was the pity in his smiling glance that Liban
bowed her head in humiliation.  When she raised it he was gone,
and Laeg also had vanished.  She arose, and with a half-sob threw
herself into the arms of her sister.  So they stood, silent, with
tearless eyes;  for they were too divine for tears, although,
alas! too human.


Slowly the chariot rolled on its homeward way, for Laeg, seeing
the weakness and weariness of Cuchullain, held the great steeds
in check;  their arched necks and snorting breath resenting the
restraint, while the impatient stamping of their hoofs struck fire
from the pebbly road.

"Well," said Cuchullain moodily, "tell me what happened after you
went away with that woman of the Sidhe."

Briefly and without comment of his own Laeg stated what he had seen.
Then long Cuchullain pondered;  neither spoke, and the silence was
broken only by the stamping of the steeds and the rumble of the
chariot wheels.  Dark clouds drifted athwart the moon, and the
darkness gave more freedom of speech, for Cuchullain said in measured,
expressionless tones:

"And what do you think of all this?"

"What do I think?" burst forth Laeg with sudden fire;  "I think
you had better be leaving those women of the Sidhe alone, and they
you.  That Fand would lose her soul for love, and the spell they've
cast over you is evil, or it wouldn't make a warrior like you as
helpless as a toddling babe."

In letting loose his pent-up wrath Laeg had unconsciously loosened
as well the reined-in steeds, who sprang forward impetuously, and
the jolting of the car was all that Cuchullain could bear in his
enfeebled state.  Recovering himself, the charioteer drew them in
check again, inwardly upbraiding himself for carelessness.

Sorrowful and broken was the voice of the warrior as he said:

"On the morrow, Laeg, you shall bear a message to Emer.  Tell her
the Sidhe have thrown a spell of helplessness upon me while deceiving
me with false visions of my aiding them in their war with the evil
enchanters.  Ask Emer to come to me, for her presence may help to
rouse me from this spell that benumbs my body and clouds my mind."

Then Laeg sought to console him, saying:

"No, no;  the Sidhe wrong no one.  Their message to you was true;
but their messengers were women, and you were a warrior.  That is
why the mischance came, for it is ever the way with a woman to
become foolish over a warrior, and then there is always a muddle.
And when Emer comes--," he checked his indiscreet utterance by
pretending to have a difficulty in restraining the horses, and
then added confusedly:  "Besides, I'd rather be in your plight
than in Fand's."


"Has Emer come?" asked Cuchullain, drawing himself up on his couch
and resting on his elbow.

"Yes," said Laeg dejectedly;  "I have brought her.  She has been
talking to me most of the journey.  Now she'll be after talking
to you, but you needn't mind;  it isn't her ususal way, and she
isn't as unreasonable as might be expected.  She puts most of the
blame of your illness on me, though perhaps that is because it was
me she was talking to.  Insists that as I can go to the Plain of
Fire where the Sidhe live I ought to be able to find a way of curing
you.  She has expressed that idea to me many times, with a fluency
and wealth of illustration that would make a bard envious.  Here
she comes now.  I'll just slip out and see if the horses are being
properly cared for."

He had not overstated the case, for the sweet face of Emer was
clouded with wrath as she approached the sick-bed of her husband.
Bitterly she reproached him for what she claimed was only a feigned
illness, and expressed her conviction that no theory would account
for his conduct save that, faithless to her his wife, he had fallen
in love.  But Cuchullain made no answer, for not only was he
invincible in battle, but also wise in the matter of holding his
tongue when a woman warred against him with words.

"You are looking stronger," said Laeg, when next he saw him alone.

"Yes," he returned, "the speech of Emer has roused me a little
from my torpor.  I have been thinking that possibly we were wrong
in disregarding the message brought by the women of the Sidhe.
They surely have power to break this spell, and doubtless would
have done so had you not fled from them so inconsiderately."

"I was thinking the same when Emer was coming here with me," observed
Laeg.  "Her speech roused me a little too."

Cuchullain was silent awhile and then said reflectively:

"Do you think we could find Liban again?"

"There would be no difficulty about that," Laeg replied drily.

"Then," said Cuchullain with sudden energy, "let us go once more
to the rock of the visions."


Our souls give battle when the host
        Of lurid lives that lurk in Air,
And Ocean's regions nethermost,
        Come forth from every loathsome lair:
For then are cloudland battles fought
        With spears of lightning, swords of flame,
No quarter given, none besought,
        Till to the darkness whence they came
The Sons of Night are hurled again.
        Yet while the reddened skies resound
The wizard souls of evil men
        Within the demon ranks are found,
While pure and strong the heroes go
        To join the strife, and reck no odds,
For they who face the wizard foe
        Clasp hands heroic with the gods.


What is the love of shadowy lips
        That know not what they seek or press,
From whom the lure for ever slips
        And fails their phantom tenderness?

The mystery and light of eyes
        That near to mine grow dim and cold;
They move afar in ancient skies
        Mid flame and mystic darkness rolled.

Oh, hero, as thy heart o'erflows
        In tender yielding unto me,
A vast desire awakes and grows
        Unto forgetfulness of thee.



V. The Mantle of Mannanan



Again Liban stood before them, and her eyes were full of reproach.

"You doubt the truth of my message," she said.  "Come, then, to the
Plain of Fire, and you shall see the one who sent me."

"I doubt you not," said Cuchullain quietly;  "but it is not fitting
that I should go when the message is brought by a woman, for such
is the warning I have had in vision from Lu Lamfada.  Laeg shall
go with you, and if he brings back the same message, then I shall
do the bidding of the Sidhe, and wage war against the evil enchanters,
even as when a lad I vanquished the brook of wizards at Dun-mic-Nectan."


"Where did Liban take you this time, Laeg?  Have you brought back
a message from the Sidhe?"

"I have seen the Chief," said Laeg, whose doubts had vanished and
whose whole manner had changed.  "Cuchullain, you must go.  You
remember how we went together to Brusna by the Boyne, and what
wonders they showed us in the sacred crypt.  Yet this is a place
more marvelous--thrice.  Well indeed did Liban call it the Plain
of Fire, for a breath of fire is in the air for leagues and leagues
around.  On the lake where the Sidhe dwell the fishers row by and
see nothing, or, mayhap, a flicker of phantasmal trees around the dun.
These trees are rooted in a buried star beneath the earth;  when its
heart pulsates they shine like gold, aye, and are fruited with ruby
lights.  Indeed this Labraid is one of the Gods.  I saw him come
through the flaming rivers of the underworld.  He was filled with
the radiance.  I am not given to dread the Sidhe, but there was
that in him which compelled awe:  for oh, he came from the homes
that were anciently ours--ours who are fallen, and whose garments
once bright are stained by the lees of time.  He greeted me kindly.
He knew me by my crimson mantle with five folds.  He asked for you;
indeed they all wish to have you there."

"Did he say aught further?"

"No, he spoke but little;  but as I returned by Mag Luada I had a
vision.  I saw you standing under the sacred Tree of Victory.
There were two mighty ones, one on each side of you, but they seemed
no greater than you."

"Was Fand there?" asked Cuchullain.

"Yes," said Laeg reluctantly;  "I saw her and spoke to her, although
I did not wish to.  I feared for myself.  Ethne and Emer are beautiful
women, but this woman is not like them.  She is half divine.  The
holiest Druids might lose his reason over her."

"Let us go thither," said Cuchullain.


The night was clear, breathless, pure as diamond.  The giant lights
far above floated quietly in the streams of space.  Below slept
the lake mirroring the shadowy blue of the mountains.  The great
mounds, the homes of the Sidhe, were empty;  but over them floated
a watchful company, grave, majestic, silent, waiting.  In stately
procession their rich, gleaming figures moved to and fro in groups
of twos and threes, emblazoning the dusky air with warm colors.
A little apart, beyond the headland at the island's edge, two more
commanding than the rest communed together.  The wavering water
reflected head-long their shining figures in its dark depths;
above them the ancient blue of the night rose as a crown.  These
two were Labraid and the warrior of Murthemney restored to all his
Druid power.  Terrible indeed in its beauty, its power, its calm,
was this fiery phantasmal form beside the king of the Sidhe.

"We came to Eri many, many ages ago," said Labraid;  "from a land
the people of today hold no memory of.  Mighty for good and for
evil were the dwellers in that land, but its hour struck and the
waters of the ocean entomb it.  In this island, which the mighty
Gods of Fire kept apart and sacred, we made our home.  But after
long years a day came when the wise ones must needs depart from
this also.  They went eastward.  A few only remained to keep alive
the tradition of what was, the hope of what will be again.  For in
this island, it is foretold, in future ages will arise a light
which will renew the children of time.  But now the world's great
darkness has come.  See what exhalations arise!  What demons would
make Eri their home!"

Away at the eastern verge a thick darkness was gathering;  a pitchy
blackness out of which a blood--red aerial river rolled and shot
its tides through the arteries of the night.  It came nigher.  It
was dense with living creatures, larvae, horrible shapes with waving
tendrils, white withered things restless and famished, hoglike faces,
monstrosities.  As it rolled along there was a shadowy dropping
over hamlet and village and field.

"Can they not be stayed?  Can they not be stayed?" rang the cry of Fand.

The stern look on Cuchullain's face deepened.

"Is it these pitiful spectres we must wage war against?  Labraid,
it is enough.  I will go--alone.  Nay, my brother, one is enough
for victory."

Already he was oblivious of the Sidhe, the voices of Fand and Laeg
calling him.  A light like a wonder-mist broke dazzling about him.
Through a mist of fire, an excess of light, they saw a transcendent
form of intensest gold treading the air.  Over the head of the god
a lightning thread like a serpent undulated and darted.  It shed
a thousand dazzling rays;  it chanted in a myriad tones as it went
forward.  Wider grew the radiant sphere and more triumphant the
chant as he sped onward and encountered the overflow of hell.  Afar
off the watchers saw and heard the tumult, cries of a horrible
conflict, agonies of writhing and burning demons scorched and
annihilated, reeling away before the onset of light.  On and still
on he sped, now darkened and again blazing like the sun.

"Look!  look!" cried Laeg, breathless with exultation as the dazzling
phantom towered and waved its arms on the horizon.

"They lied who said he was powerless," said Fand, no less exultant.

"Cu, my darling," murmured the charioteer;  "I know now why I loved
you, what burned within you."

"Shall we not go and welcome him when he returns?" said Liban.

"I should not advise it," Laeg answered.  "Is it to meet that fury
of fire when he sinks back blind and oblivious?  He would slay his
dearest friend.  I am going away from here as fast as I can."

Through the dark forests at dawn the smoke began to curl up from
dun and hamlet, and, all unconscious of the war waged over their
destinies, children awoke to laugh and men and women went forth
to breathe the sweet air of morning.


Cuchullain started from a dream of more ancient battles, of wars
in heaven.  Through the darkness of the room he saw the shadowy
forms of the two daughters of Aed Abrait;  not as before, the
mystic maidens armed with Druid power, but women, melting, tender,
caressing.  Violet eyes shining with gratitude;  darker eyes burning
with love, looked into his.  Misty tresses fell over him.

"I know not how the battle went," he sighed.  "I remember the fire
awoke.  .... Lu was with me. .... I fell back in a blinding mist
of flame and forgot everything."

"Doubt it not.  Victory went with thee, warrior," said Liban.  "We
saw thee:  it was wonderful.  How the seven splendors flashed and
the fiery stars roved around you and scattered the demons!"

"Oh, do not let your powers sink in sleep again," broke forth Fand.
"What are the triumphs of earthly battles to victories like these?
What is rule over a thousand warriors to kingship over the skyey
hosts?  Of what power are spear and arrow beside the radiant sling
of Lu?  Do the war-songs of the Ultonians inspire thee ever like
the terrible chant of fire?  After freedom can you dwell in these
gloomy duns?  What are the princeliest of them beside the fiery
halls of Tir-na-noge and the flame-built cities of the Gods?  As
for me, I would dwell where the great ones of ancient days have
gone, and worship at the shrine of the silent and unutterable Awe."

"I would go indeed," said Cuchullain;  "but still--but still--:
it is hard to leave the green plains of Murthemney, and the Ultonians
who have fought by my side, and Laeg, and--"

"Laeg can come with us.  Nor need Conchobar, or Fergus or Conail
be forgotten.  Far better can you aid them with Druid power than
with the right arm a blow may make powerless in battle.  Go with
Laeg to Iban-Cind-Trachta.  Beside the yew-tree there is a dun.
There you can live hidden from all.  It is a place kept sacred by
the might of the Sidhe.  I will join you there."

A month passed.  In a chamber of the Dun the Yew-tree, Fand,
Cuchullain and Laeg were at night.  The two latter sat by an oaken
table and tried by divination to peer into the future.  Fand,
withdrawn in the dark shadow of a recess, lay on a couch and looked on.
Many thoughts went passing through her mind.  Now the old passion of
love would rise in her heart to be quenched by a weary feeling of
futility, and then a half-contempt would curl her lips as she saw
the eagerness of her associates.  Other memories surged up.  "Oh,
Mannanan, Father-Self, if thou hadst not left me and my heart had
not turned away!  It was not a dream when I met thee and we entered
the Ocean of Fire together.  Our beauty encompassed the world.
Radiant as Lu thy brother of the Sun we were.  Far away as the dawn
seems the time.  How beautiful, too, was that other whose image in
the hero enslaves my heart.  Oh, that he would but know himself,
and learn that on this path the greatest is the only risk worth
taking!  And now he holds back the charioteer also and does him
wrong."  Just then something caused her to look up.  She cried out,
"Laeg, Laeg, do you see anything?"

"What is it?" said Laeg.  Then he also looked and started.  "Gods!" he
murmured.  "Emer!  I would rather face a tempest of Formorian enchanters."

"Do you not see?"  repeated Fand scornfully.  "It is Emer the
daughter of Forgall.  Has she also become one of the Sidhe that
she journeys thus?"

"She comes in dream," said Laeg.

"Why do you intrude upon our seclusion here?  You know my anger is
no slight thing," broke out Cuchullain, in ready wrath hiding his
confusion.  The shadow of Emer turned, throwing back the long, fair
hair from her face the better to see him.  There was no dread on it,
but only outraged womanly dignity.  She spake and her voice seemed to
flow from a passionate heart far away brooding in sorrowful loneliness.

"Why do I come?  Has thou not degraded me before all the maidens
of Eri by forsaking me for a woman of the Sidhe without a cause?
You ask why I come when every one of the Ultonians looks at me in
questioning doubt and wonder!  But I see you have found a more
beautiful partner."

"We came hither, Laeg and I, to learn the lore of the Sidhe.  Why
should you not leave me here for a time, Emer?  This maiden is of
wondrous magical power:  she is a princess in her own land, and is
as pure and chaste to this hour as you."

"I see indeed she is more beautiful than I am.  That is why you
are drawn away.  Her face has not grown familiar.  Everything that
is new or strange you follow.  The passing cheeks are ruddier than
the pale face which has shared your troubles.  What you know is
weariness, and you leave it to learn what you do not know.  The
Ultonians falter while you are absent from duty in battle and
council, and I, whom you brought with sweet words when half a
child from my home, am left alone.  Oh, Cuchullain, beloved, I
was once dear to thee, and if today or tomorrow were our first
meeting I should be so again."

A torrent of self-reproach and returning love overwhelmed him.
"I swear to you," he said brokenly, through fast-flowing tears,
"you are immortally dear to me, Emer."

"Then you leave me," burst forth Fand, rising to her full height,
her dark, bright eyes filled with a sudden fire, an image of mystic
indignation and shame.

"If indeed," said Emer softly, "joy and love and beauty are more
among the Sidhe than where we dwell in Eri, then it were better
for thee to remain."

"No, he shall not now," said Fand passionately.  "It is I whom he
shall leave.  I long foresaw this moment, but ran against fate like
a child.  Go, warrior, Cu;  tear this love out of thy heart as I
out of mine.  Go, Laeg, I will not forget thee.  Thou alone hast
thought about these things truly.  But now--I cannot speak."  She
flung herself upon the couch in the dark shadow and hid her face
away from them.

The pale phantom wavered and faded away, going to one who awoke
from sleep with a happiness she could not understand.  Cuchullain
and Laeg passed out silently into the night.  At the door of the
dun a voice they knew not spake:

"So, warrior, you return.  It is well.  Not yet for thee is the
brotherhood of the Sidhe, and thy destiny and Fand's lie far apart.
Thine is not so great but it will be greater, in ages yet to come,
in other lands, among other peoples, when the battle fury in thee
shall have turned to wisdom and anger to compassion.  Nations that
lie hidden in the womb of time shall hail thee as friend, deliverer
and saviour.  Go and forget what has passed.  This also thou shalt
forget.  It will not linger in thy mind;  but in thy heart shall
remain the memory and it will urge thee to nobler deeds.  Farewell,
warrior, saviour that is to be!"

As the two went along the moon lit shore mighty forms followed,
and there was a waving of awful hands over them to blot out memory.


In the room where Fand lay with mad beating heart tearing itself
in remorse, there was one watching with divine pity.  Mannanan,
the Golden Glory, the Self of the Sun.  "Weep not, O shadow;  thy
days of passion and pain are over." breathed the Pity in her breast.
"Rise up, O Ray, from thy sepulchre of forgetfulness.  Spirit come
forth to they ancient and immemorial home."  She rose up and stood
erect.  As the Mantle of Mannanan enfolded her, no human words
could tell the love, the exultation, the pathos, the wild passion
of surrender, the music of divine and human life interblending.
Faintly we echo--like this spake the Shadow and like this the Glory.


The Shadow

Who art thou, O Glory,
        In flame from the deep,
Where stars chant their story,
        Why trouble my sleep?

I hardly had rested,
        My dreams wither now:
Why comest thou crested
        And gemmed on they brow?


The Glory

Up, Shadow, and follow
        The way I will show;
The blue gleaming hollow
        To-night we will know,

And rise mid the vast to
        The fountain of days;
From whence we had pass to
        The parting of ways.


The Shadow

I know thee, O Glory:
        Thine eyes and thy brow
With white fire all hoary
        Come back to me now.

Together we wandered
        In ages agone;
Our thoughts as we pondered
        Were stars at the dawn.

The glory has dwindled,
        My azure and gold:
Yet you keep enkindled
        The Sun-fire of old.

My footsteps are tied to
        The heath and the stone;
My thoughts earth-allied-to--
        Ah! leave me alone.

Go back, thou of gladness,
        Nor wound me with pain,
Nor spite me with madness,
        Nor come nigh again.


The Glory

Why tremble and weep now,
        Whom stars once obeyed?
Come forth to the deep now
        And be not afraid.

The Dark One is calling,
        I know, for his dreams
Around me are falling
        In musical streams.

A diamond is burning
        In depths of the Lone
Thy spirit returning
        May claim for its throne.

In flame-fringed islands
        Its sorrows shall cease,
Absorbed in the silence
        And quenched in the peace.

Come lay thy poor head on
        My breast where it glows
With love ruby-red on
        Thy heart for its woes.

My power I surrender:
        To thee it is due:
Come forth, for the splendor
        Is waiting for you.


--The End


--November 15, 1895-March 15, 1896



Shadow and Substance



Many are the voices that entreat and warn those who would live the
life of the Magi.  It is well they should speak.  They are voices
of the wise.  But after having listened and pondered, oh, that
someone would arise and shout into our souls how much more fatal
it is to refrain.  For we miss to hear the fairy tale of time,
the aeonian chant radiant with light and color which the spirit
prolongs.  The warnings are not for those who stay at home, but
for those who adventure abroad.  They constitute an invitation to
enter the mysteries.  We study and think these things were well
in the happy prime and will be again the years to come.  But not
yesterday only or tomorrow--today, today burns in the heart the
fire which made mighty the heroes of old.  And in what future will
be born the powers which are not quick in the present?  It will
never be a matter of greater ease to enter the path, though we may
well have the stimulus of greater despair.  For this and that there
are times and seasons, but for the highest it is always the hour.
The eternal beauty does not pale because its shadow trails over
slime and corruption.  It is always present beneath the faded mould
whereon our lives are spent.  Still the old mysterious glimmer
from mountain and cave allures, and the golden gleams divide and
descend on us from the haunts of the Gods.

The dark age is our darkness and not the darkness of life.  It is
not well for us who in the beginning came forth with the wonder-light
about us, that it should have turned in us to darkness, the song of
life be dumb.  We close our eyes from the many-coloured mirage of
day, and are alone soundless and sightless in the unillumined cell
of the brain.  But there are thoughts that shine, impulses born of
fire.  Still there are moments when the prison world reels away a
distant shadow, and the inner chamber of clay fills full with fiery
visions.  We choose from the traditions of the past some symbol of
our greatness, and seem again the Titans or Morning Stars of the prime.
In this self-conception lies the secret of life, the way of escape
and return.  We have imagined ourselves into forgetfulness, into
darkness, into feebleness.  From this strange and pitiful dream of
life, oh, that we may awaken and know ourselves once again.

But the student too often turns to books, to the words sent back
to him, forgetful that the best of scriptures do no more than stand
as symbols.  We hear too much of study, as if the wisdom of life
and ethics could be learned like ritual, and of their application
to this and that ephemeral pursuit.  But from the Golden One, the
child of the divine, comes a voice to its shadow.  It is stranger
to our world, aloof from our ambitions, with a destiny not here to
be fulfilled.  It says:  "You are of dust while I am robed in
opalescent airs.  You dwell in houses of clay, I in a temple not
made by hands.  I will not go with thee, but thou must come with me."
And not alone is the form of the divine aloof but the spirit behind
the form.  It is called the Goal truly, but it has no ending.  It
is the Comforter, but it waves away our joys and hopes like the
angel with the flaming sword.  Though it is the Resting-place, it
stirs to all heroic strife, to outgoing, to conquest.  It is the
Friend indeed, but it will not yield to our desires.  Is it this
strange, unfathomable self we think to know, and awaken to, by
what is written, or by study of it as so many planes of consciousness.
But in vain we store the upper chambers of the mind with such quaint
furniture of thought.  No archangel makes his abode therein.  They
abide only in the shining.  How different from academic psychology
of the past, with its dry enumeration of faculties, reason,
cognition and so forth, is the burning thing we know.   We revolted
from that, but we must take care lest we teach in another way a
catalogue of things equally unliving to us.  The plain truth is,
that after having learned what is taught about the hierarchies and
various spheres, many of us are still in this world exactly where
we were before.   If we speak our laboriously-acquired information we
are listened to in amazement.  It sounds so learned, so intellectual,
there must need be applause.  But by-and-by someone comes with quiet
voice, who without pretence speaks of the "soul" and uses familiar
words, and the listeners drink deep, and pay the applause of silence
and long remembrance and sustained after-endeavor.  Our failure
lies in this, we would use the powers of soul and we have not yet
become the soul.  None but the wise one himself could bend the bow
of Ulysses.  We cannot communicate more of the true than we ourselves
know.  It is better to have a little knowledge and know that little
than to have only hearsay of myriads of Gods.  So I say, lay down
your books for a while and try the magic of thought.  "What a man
thinks, that he is;  that is the old secret."  I utter, I know,
but a partial voice of the soul with many needs.  But I say, forget
for a while that you are student, forget your name and time.  Think
of yourself within as the titan, the Demi-god, the flaming hero
with the form of beauty, the heart of love.  And of those divine
spheres forget the nomenclature;  think rather of them as the
places of a great childhood you now return to, these homes no
longer ours.  In some moment of more complete imagination the
thought-born may go forth and look on the olden Beauty.  So it
was in the mysteries long ago and may well be today.  The poor
dead shadow was laid to sleep in forgotten darkness, as the fiery
power, mounting from heart to head, went forth in radiance.  Not
then did it rest, nor ought we.  The dim worlds dropped behind it,
the lights of earth disappeared as it neared the heights of the
Immortals.  There was One seated on a throne, One dark and bright
with ethereal glory.  I arose in greeting.  The radiant figure
laid its head against the breast which grew suddenly golden, and
father and son vanished in that which has no place nor name.

--January 15, 1896



On W. Q. Judge's Passing



It is with no feeling of sadness that I think of this withdrawal.
He would not have wished for that.  But with a faltering hand I try
to express one of many incommunicable thoughts about the hero who
has departed.  Long before I met him, before even written words of
his had been read, his name like an incantation stirred and summoned
forth some secret spiritual impulse in my heart.  It was no surface
tie which bound us to him.  No one ever tried less than he to gain
from men that adherence which comes from impressive manner.  I hardly
thought what he was while he spoke;  but on departing I found my
heart, wiser than my brain, had given itself away to him;  an inner
exaltation lasting for months witnessed his power.  It was in that
memorable convention in London two years ago that I first glimpsed
his real greatness.   As he sat there quietly, one among many, not
speaking a word, I was overcome by a sense of spiritual dilation,
of unconquerable will about him, and that one figure with the grey
head became all the room to me.  Shall I not say the truth I think?
Here was a hero out of the remote, antique, giant ages come among us,
wearing but on the surface the vesture of our little day.  We, too,
came out of that past, but in forgetfulness;  he with memory and
power soon regained.  To him and to one other we owe an unspeakable
gratitude for faith and hope and knowledge born again.  We may say
now, using words of his early years:  "Even in hell I lift up my
eyes to those who are beyond me and do not deny them."  Ah, hero,
we know you would have stayed with us if it were possible;  but
fires have been kindled that shall not soon fade, fires that shall
be bright when you again return.  I feel no sadness, knowing there
are no farewells in the True:  to whosoever has touched on that
real being there is comradeship with all the great and wise of time.
That he will again return we need not doubt.  His ideals were those
which are attained only by the Saviours and Deliverers of nations.
When or where he may appear I know not, but I foresee the coming
when our need invokes him.  Light of the future aeons, I hail, I
hail to thee!

--April 15, 1896



Self-Reliance



Perhaps it is now while we are in a state of transition, when old
leaders have gone out of sight and the new ones have not yet taken
their place in the van, that we ought to consider what we are in
ourselves.  Some questions we ought to ask ourselves about this
movement:  where its foundations were laid? what the links are?
where is the fountain of force? what are the doors?  You answer
the first and you say "America," or you say "India."  But if that
old doctrine of emanations be true it was not on earth but in the
heavenworld where our minds immortal are linked together.  There
it was born and well born, and grew downwards into earth, and all
our hopes and efforts and achievements here but vaguely reflect
what was true and perfect in intent above, a compact of many hearts
to save the generations wandering to their doom.  Wiser, stronger,
mightier than we were those who shielded us in the first years;
who went about among us renewing memory, whispering in our hearts
the message of the meaning of life, recalling the immemorial endeavor
of the spirit for freedom, knowledge, mastery.  But it is our
movement and not the movement of the Masters only.  It is our own
work we are carrying on;  our own primal will we are trying to give
effect to.  Well may the kingly sages depart from bodies which were
torment and pain to them.  They took them on for our sakes, and we
may wave them a grateful farewell below and think of the spheres
invisible as so much richer by their presence, more to be longed for,
more to be attained.  I think indeed they are nearer heart and mind
there than here.  What is real in us can lose no brotherhood with
such as they through death.  Still flash the lights from soul to
soul in ceaseless radiance, in endless begetting of energy, thought
and will, in endless return of joy and love and hope.  I would
rather hear one word of theirs in my heart than a thousand in my ears.
I would rather think of my guide and captain as embodied in the flame
than in the clay.  Although we may gaze on the grave, kindly face
living no more, there can be no cessation of the magic influence,
the breath of fire, which flowed aforetime from the soul to us.
We feel in our profoundest hearts that he whom they call dead is
living, is alive for evermore.

He has earned his rest, a deep rest, if indeed such as he cease
from labor.  As for us, we may go our ways assured that the links
are unbroken.  What did you think the links were?  That you knew
some one who knew the Masters?  Such a presence and such a Companion
would indeed be an aid, a link.  But I think where ever there is
belief in our transcendent being, in justice, our spiritual unity
and destiny, wherever there is brotherhood, there are unseen ties,
links, shining cords, influx from and unbroken communication with
the divine.  So much we have in our own natures, not enough to
perfect us in the mysteries, but always enough to light our path,
to show us our next step, to give us strength for duty.  We should
not always look outside for aid, remembering that some time we must
be able to stand alone.  Let us not deny our own deeper being, our
obscured glory.  That we accepted these truths, even as intuitions
which we were unable intellectually to justify, is proof that there
is that within us which has been initiate in the past, which lives
in and knows well what in the shadowy world is but a hope.  There
is part of ourselves whose progress we do not comprehend.  There
are deeds done in unremembered dream, and a deeper meditation in
the further unrecorded silences of slumber.  Downward from sphere
to sphere the Immortal works its way into the flesh, and the soul
has adventures in dream whose resultant wisdom is not lost because
memory is lacking here.  Yet enough has been said to give us the hint,
the clue to trace backwards the streams of force to their fount.
We wake in some dawn and there is morning also in our hearts, a love,
a fiery vigor, a magnetic sweetness in the blood.  Could we track
to its source this invigorating power, we might perhaps find that
as we fell asleep some olden memory had awakened in the soul, or
the Master had called it forth, or it was transformed by the wizard
power of Self and went forth to seek the Holy Place.  Whether we
have here a guide, or whether we have not, one thing is certain,
that behind and within the "Father worketh hitherto."  A warrior
fights for us.  Our thoughts tip the arrows of his quiver.  He wings
them with flame and impels them with the Holy Breath.  They will
not fail if we think clear.  What matters it if in the mist we do
not see where they strike.  Still they are of avail.  After a time
the mists will arise and show a clear field;  the shining powers
will salute us as victors.

I have no doubt about our future;  no doubt but that we will have
a guide and an unbroken succession of guides.  But I think their
task would be easier, our way be less clouded with dejection and
doubt, if we placed our trust in no hierarchy of beings, however
august, but in the Law of which they are ministers.  Their power,
though mighty, ebbs and flows with contracting and expanding nature.
They, like us, are but children in the dense infinitudes.  Something
like this, I think, the Wise Ones would wish each one of us to speak:
"O Brotherhood of Light, though I long to be with you, though it
sustains me to think you are behind me, though your aid made sure
my path, still, if the Law does not permit you to act for me today,
I trust in the One whose love a fiery breath never ceases;  I fall
back on it with exultation:  I rely upon it joyfully."  Was it not
to point to that greater life that the elder brothers sent forth
their messengers, to tell us that it is on this we ought to rely,
to point us to grander thrones than they are seated on?  It is
well to be prepared to face any chance with equal mind;  to meet
the darkness with gay and defiant thought as to salute the Light
with reverence and love and joy.  But I have it in my heart that
we are not deserted.  As the cycles went their upward way the
heroic figures of the dawn reappear.  Some have passed before us;
others in the same spirit and power will follow:  for the new day
a rearisen sun and morning stars to herald it.  When it comes let
it find us, not drowsy after our night in time, but awake, prepared
and ready to go forth from the house of sleep, to stretch hands
to the light, to live and labor in joy, having the Gods for our
guides and friends.

--May 15, 1896



The Mountains



While we live within four walls we half insensibly lose something
of our naturalness and comport ourselves as creatures of the
civilization we belong to.  But we never really feel at home there,
though childhood may have wreathed round with tender memories old
rooms and the quaint garden-places of happy unthinking hours.
There is a house, a temple not built with hands;  perhaps we thought
it a mere cabin when we first formed it, and laid aside humbly many
of our royal possessions as we entered, for the heavens and the
heaven of heavens could not contain all of our glory.  But now it
seems vast enough, and we feel more at home there, and we find
places which seem nearer of access to our first life.  Such are
the mountains.  As I lie here on the monstrous mould of the hillside
covered with such delicate fringes of tiny green leaves, I understand
something of his longing who said:  "I lift up mine eyes to the hills,
from whence cometh my aid."  Oh, but the air is sweet, is sweet.
Earth-breath, what is it you whisper?  As I listen, listen, I know
it is no whisper but a chant from profoundest deeps, a voice hailing
its great companions in the aether spaces, but whose innumerable
tones in their infinite modulations speak clear to us also in our
littleness.  Our lips are stilled with awe;  we dare not repeat
what here we think.  These mountains are sacred in our Celtic
traditions.  Haunt of the mysteries, here the Tuatha de Danaans
once had their home.  We sigh, thinking of the vanished glory, but
look with hope for the fulfilment of the prophecy which the seer
of another line left on record, that once more the Druid fires
should blaze on these mountains.  As the purple amplitude of night
enfold them, already the dark mounds seem to throw up their sheeny
illuminations;  great shadowy forms, the shepherds of our race,
to throng and gather;  the many-coloured winds to roll their aerial
tides hither and thither.  Eri, hearth and home of so many mystic
races, Isle of Destiny, there shall yet return to thee the spiritual
magic that thrilled thee long ago.  As we descend and go back to
a life, not the life we would will, not the life we will have, we
think with sorrow of the pain, the passion, the partings, through
which our race will once more return to nature, spirit and freedom.

We turned back mad from the mystic mountains
        All foamed with red and with faery gold;
Up from the heart of the twilight's fountains
        The fires enchanted were starward rolled.

We turned back mad--we thought of the morrow,
        The iron clang of the far-away town:
We could not weep in our bitter sorrow
        But joy as an arctic sun went down.

--May 15, 1896



Works and Days



When we were boys with what anxiety we watched for the rare smile
on the master's face ere we preferred a request for some favor, a
holiday or early release.  There was wisdom in that.  As we grow
up we act more or less consciously upon intuitions as to time and
place.  My companion, I shall not invite you to a merrymaking when
a bitter moment befalls you and the flame of life sinks into ashes
in your heart;  nor yet, however true and trusted, will I confide
to you what inward revelations of the mysteries I may have while
I sense in you a momentary outwardness.  The gifts of the heart
are too sacred to be laid before a closed door.  Your mood, I know,
will pass, and tomorrow we shall have this bond between us.  I wait,
for it can be said but once:  I cannot commune magically twice on
the same theme with you.  I do not propose we should be opportunists,
nor lay down a formula;  but to be skillful in action we must work
with and comprehend the ebb and flow of power.  Mystery and gloom,
dark blue and starshine, doubt and feebleness alternate with the
clear and shining, opal skies and sunglow, heroic ardor and the
exultation of power.  Ever varying, prismatic and fleeting, the
days go by and the secret of change eludes us here.  I bend the
bow of thought at a mark and it is already gone.  I lay the shaft
aside and while unprepared the quarry again fleets by.  We have
to seek elsewhere for the source of that power which momentarily
overflows into our world and transforms it with its enchantment.

On the motions of an inner sphere, we are told, all things here depend;
on spheres of the less evanescent which, in their turn, are enclosed
in spheres of the real, whose solemn chariot movements again are
guided by the inflexible will of Fire.  In all of these we have part.
This dim consciousness which burns in my brain is not all of myself.
Behind me it widens out and upward into God.  I feel in some other
world it shines with purer light:  in some sphere more divine than
this it has a larger day and a deeper rest.  That day of the inner
self illuminates many of our mortal days;  its night leaves many
of them dark.  And so the One Ray expanding lives in many vestures.
It is last of all the King-Self who wakes at the dawn of ages,
whose day is the day of Brahma, whose rest is his rest.  Here is
the clue to cyclic change, to the individual feebleness and power,
the gloom of one epoch and the glory of another.  The Bright Fortnight,
the Northern Sun, Light and Flame name the days of other spheres,
and wandering on from day to day man may at last reach the end of
his journey.  You would pass from rapidly revolving day and night
to where the mystical sunlight streams.  The way lies through
yourself and the portals open as the inner day expands.  Who is
there who has not felt in some way or other the rhythmic recurrence
of light within?  We were weary of life, baffled, ready to forswear
endeavor, when half insensibly a change comes over us;  we doubt
no more but do joyfully our work;  we renew the sweet magical
affinities with nature:  out of a heart more laden with love we
think and act;  our meditations prolong themselves into the shining
wonderful life of soul;  we tremble on the verge of the vast halls
of the gods where their mighty speech may be heard, their message
of radiant will be seen.  They speak a universal language not for
themselves only but for all.  What is poetry but a mingling of
some tone of theirs with the sounds that below we utter?  What is
love but a breath of their very being?  Their every mood has colors
beyond the rainbow;  every thought rings in far-heard melody.  So
the gods speak to each other across the expanses of ethereal light,
breaking the divine silences with words which are deeds.  So, too,
they speak to the soul.  Mystics of all time have tried to express
it, likening it to peals of faery bells, the singing of enchanted
birds, the clanging of silver cymbals, the organ voices of wind
and water bent together--but in vain, in vain.  Perhaps in this
there is a danger, for the true is realized in being and not in
perception.  The gods are ourselves beyond the changes of time
which harass and vex us here.  They do not demand adoration but an
equal will to bind us consciously in unity with themselves.  The
heresy of separateness cuts us asunder in these enraptured moments;
but when thrilled by the deepest breath, when the silent, unseen,
uncomprehended takes possession of thee, think "Thou art That,"
and something of thee will abide for ever in It.  All thought not
based on this is a weaving of new bonds, of illusions more difficult
to break;  it begets only more passionate longing and pain.

Still we must learn to know the hidden ways, to use the luminous
rivers for the commerce of thought.  Our Druid forefathers began
their magical operations on the sixth day of the new moon, taking
the Bright Fortnight at its flood-time.  In these hours of expansion
what we think has more force, more freedom, more electric and
penetrating power.  We find too, if we have co-workers, that we
draw from a common fountain, the same impulse visits us and them.
What one possess all become possessed of;  and something of the
same unity and harmony arises between us here as exists for all
time between us in the worlds above.  While the currents circulate
we are to see to it that they part from us no less pure than they came.
To this dawn of an inner day may in some measure be traced the sudden
inspirations of movements, such as we lately feel, not all due to
the abrupt descent into our midst of a new messenger, for the elder
Brothers work with law and foresee when nature, time, and the
awakening souls of men will aid them.  Much may now be done.  On
whosoever accepts, acknowledges and does the will of the Light in
these awakenings the die and image of divinity is more firmly set,
his thought grows more consciously into the being of the presiding
god.  Yet not while seeking for ourselves can we lay hold of final
truths, for then what we perceive we retain but in thought and memory.
The Highest is a motion, a breath.  We become it only in the imparting.
It is in all, for all and goes out to all.  It will not be restrained
in a narrow basin, but through the free-giver it freely flows.
There are throngs innumerable who await this gift.  Can we let this
most ancient light which again returns to us be felt by them only
as a vague emotion, a little peace of uncertain duration, a passing
sweetness of the heart?  Can we not do something to allay the sorrow
of the world?  My brothers, the time of opportunity has come.  One
day in the long-marshaled line of endless days has dawned for our
race, and the buried treasure-houses in the bosom of the deep have
been opened to endow it with more light, to fill it with more power.
The divine ascetics stand with torches lit before the temple of wisdom.
Those who are nigh them have caught the fire and offer to us in turn
to light the torch, the blazing torch of soul.  Let us accept the
gift and pass it on, pointing out the prime givers.  We shall see
in time the eager races of men starting on their pilgrimage of
return and facing the light.  So in the mystical past the call of
light was seen on the sacred hills;  the rays were spread and gathered;
and returning with them the initiate-children were buried in the
Father-Flame.

--June 15, 1896



The Childhood of Apollo



It was long ago, so long that only the spirit of earth remembers
truly.  The old shepherd Tithonius sat before the door of his hut
waiting for his grandson to return.  He watched with drowsy eyes
the eve gather, and the woods and mountains grow dark over the isles--
the isles of ancient Greece.  It was Greece before its day of beauty,
and day was never lovelier.  The cloudy blossoms of smoke curling
upward from the valley sparkled a while high up in the sunlit air,
a vague memorial of the world of men below.  From that too the
colour vanished, and those other lights began to shine which to
some are the only lights of day.  The skies dropped close upon the
mountains and the silver seas, like a vast face brooding with
intentness;  there was enchantment, mystery, and a living motion
in its depths, the presence of all-pervading Zeus enfolding his
starry children with the dark radiance of aether.

"Ah!" murmured the old man, looking upward, "once it was living;
once it spoke to me.  It speaks not now, but it speaks to others
I know--to the child who looks and longs and trembles in the dewy
night.  Why does he linger now?  He is beyond his hour.  Ah, there
now are his footsteps!"

A boy came up the valley driving the grey flocks which tumbled
before him in the darkness.  He lifted his young face for the
shepherd to kiss.  It was alight with ecstasy.  Tithonius looked
at him with wonder.  A light golden and silvery rayed all about
the him so that his delicate ethereal beauty seemed set in a star
which followed his dancing footsteps.

"How bright your eyes!" the old man said, faltering with sudden awe.
"Why do your white limbs shine with moonfire light?"

"Oh, father," said the boy Apollo, "I am glad, for everything is
living tonight.  The evening is all a voice and many voices.  While
the flocks were browsing night gathered about me:  I saw within it
and it was living everywhere; and all together, the wind with dim-
blown tresses, odour, incense and secret-falling dew, mingled in
one warm breath.  They whispered to me and called me 'Child of the
Stars,' 'Dew Heart,' and 'Soul of Fire.'  Oh, father, as I came up
the valley the voices followed me with song;  everything murmured
love;  even the daffodils, nodding in the olive gloom, grew golden
at my feet, and a flower within my heart knew of the still sweet
secret of the flowers.  Listen, listen!"

There were voices in the night, voices as of star-rays descending.

"Now the roof-tree of the midnight spreading
Buds in citron, green, and blue:
From afar its mystic odors shedding,
        Child, on you."

Then other sweet speakers from beneath the earth, and from the
distant waters and air followed in benediction, and a last voice
like a murmur from universal Nature:

"Now the buried stars beneath the mountains
And the vales their life renew,
Jetting rainbow blooms from tiny fountains,
        Child, for you.

"As within our quiet waters passing
Sun and moon and stars we view,
So the loveliness of life is glassing,
        Child, in you.

"In the diamond air the sun-star glowing
Up its feathered radiance threw;
All the jewel glory there was flowing,
        Child, for you.

"And the fire divine in all things burning
Yearns for home and rest anew,
From its wanderings far again returning,
        Child, to you."

"Oh, voices, voices," cried the child, "what you say I know not,
but I ray back love for love.  Father, what is it they tell me?
They embosom me in light and I am far away even though I hold
your hand."

"The gods are about us.  Heaven mingles with the earth," said
Tithonius trembling.  "Let us go to Diotima.  She has grown wise
brooding for many a year where the great caves lead to the underworld.
She sees the bright ones as they pass by where she sits with shut
eyes, her drowsy lips murmuring as nature's self."

That night the island seemed no more earth set in sea, but a music
encircled by the silence.  The trees long rooted in antique slumber
were throbbing with rich life;  through glimmering bark and drooping
leaf a light fell on the old man and boy as they passed, and vague
figures nodded at them.  These were the hamadryad souls of the wood.
They were bathed in tender colours and shimmering lights draping
them from root to leaf.  A murmur came from the heart of every one,
a low enchantment breathing joy and peace.  It grew and swelled
until at last it seemed as if through a myriad pipes that Pan the
earth spirit was fluting his magical creative song.

They found the cave of Diotima covered by vines and tangled strailers
at the end of the island where the dark-green woodland rose up from
the waters.  Tithonius paused, for he dreaded this mystic prophetess;
but a voice from within called them:  "Come in, child of light;
come in, old shepherd, I know why you seek me!"  They entered,
Tithonius trembling with more fear than before.  A fire was blazing
in a recess of the cavern and by it sat a majestic figure robed
in purple.  She was bent forward, her hand supporting her face,
her burning eyes turned on the intruders.

"Come hither, child," she said, taking the boy by the hands and
gazing into his face.  "So this frail form is to be the home of
the god.  The gods choose wisely.  They take no warrior wild, no
mighty hero to be their messenger to men, but crown this gentle
head.  Tell me--you dream--have you ever seen a light from the sun
falling upon you in your slumber?  No, but look now;  look upward."
As she spoke she waved her hands over him, and the cavern with its
dusky roof seemed to melt away, and beyond the heavens the heaven
of heavens lay dark in pure tranquillity, a quiet which was the
very hush of being.  In an instant it vanished and over the zenith
broke a wonderful light.  "See now," cried Diotima, "the Ancient
Beauty!  Look how its petals expand and what comes forth from its
heart!"  A vast and glowing breath, mutable and opalescent, spread
itself between heaven and earth, and out of it slowly descended a
radiant form like a god's.  It drew nigh radiating lights, pure,
beautiful, and starlike.  It stood for a moment by the child and
placed its hand on his head, and then it was gone.  The old shepherd
fell upon his face in awe, while the boy stood breathless and entranced.

"Go now," said the Sybil, "I can teach thee naught.  Nature herself
will adore you and sing through you her loveliest song.  But, ah,
the light you hail in joy you shall impart in tears.  So from age
to age the eternal Beauty bows itself down amid sorrows that the
children of men may not forget it, that their anguish may be
transformed smitten through by its fire."

--November 15, 1896



The Awakening of the Fires



When twilight flutters the mountains over
The faery lights from the earth unfold,
And over the hills enchanted hover
The giant heroes and gods of old:
The bird of aether its flaming pinions
Waves over earth the whole night long:
The stars drop down in their blue dominions
To hymn together their choral song:
The child of earth in his heart grows burning
Mad for the night and the deep unknown;
His alien flame in a dream returning
Seats itself on the ancient throne.
When twilight over the mountains fluttered
And night with its starry millions came,
I too had dreams;  the thoughts I have uttered.
Come from my heart that was touched by the flame

I thought over the attempts made time after time to gain our freedom;
how failure had followed failure until at last it seemed that we must
write over hero and chieftain of our cause the memorial spoken of
the warriors of old, "They went forth to the battle but they always
fell;" and it seemed to me that these efforts resulted in failure
because the ideals put forward were not in the plan of nature for us;
that it was not in our destiny that we should attempt a civilization
like that of other lands.  Though the cry of nationality rings for
ever in our ears, the word here has embodied to most no other hope
than this, that we should when free be able to enter with more
energy upon pursuits already adopted by the people of other countries.
Our leaders have erected no nobler standard than theirs, and we who,
as a race, are the forlorn hope of idealism in Europe, sink day by
day into apathy and forget what a past was ours and what a destiny
awaits us if we will but rise responsive to it.  Though so old in
tradition this Ireland of today is a child among the nations of
the world;  and what a child, and with what a strain of genius in
it!  There is all the superstition, the timidity and lack of judgment,
the unthought recklessness of childhood, but combined with what
generosity and devotion, and what an unfathomable love for its heroes.
Who can forget that memorable day when its last great chief was
laid to rest?  He was not the prophet of our spiritual future;
he was not the hero of our highest ideals;  but he was the only
hero we knew.  The very air was penetrated with the sobbing and
passion of unutterable regret.  Ah, Eri, in other lands there is
strength and mind and the massive culmination of ordered power,
but in thee alone is there such love as the big heart of childhood
can feel.  It is this which maketh all thy exiles turn with longing
thoughts to thee.

Before trying her to indicate a direction for the future, guessed
from brooding on the far past and by touching on the secret springs
in the heart of the present, it may make that future seem easier
of access if I point out what we have escaped and also show that
we have already a freedom which, though but half recognized, is
yet our most precious heritage.  We are not yet involved in a social
knot which only red revolution can sever:  our humanity, the ancient
gift of nature to us, is still fresh in our veins:  our force is
not merely the reverberation of a past, an inevitable momentum
started in the long ago, but is free for newer life to do what we
will with in the coming time.

I know there are some who regret this, who associate national
greatness with the whirr and buzz of many wheels, the smoke of
factories and with large dividends;  and others, again, who wish
that our simple minds were illuminated by the culture and wisdom
of our neighbours.  But I raise the standard of idealism, to try
everything by it, every custom, every thought before we make it
our own, and every sentiment before it finds a place in our hearts.
Are these conditions, social and mental, which some would have us
strive for really so admirable as we are assured they are?  Are
they worth having at all?  What of the heroic best of man;  how
does that show?  His spirituality, beauty and tenderness, are
these fostered in the civilizations of today?  I say if questions
like these bearing upon that inner life wherein is the real greatness
of nations cannot be answered satisfactorily, that it is our duty
to maintain our struggle, to remain aloof, lest by accepting a
delusive prosperity we shut ourselves from our primitive sources
of power.  For this spirit of the modern, with which we are so
little in touch, is one which tends to lead man further and further
from nature.  She is no more to him the Great Mother so reverently
named long ago, but merely an adjunct to his life, the distant
supplier of his needs.  What to the average dweller in cities are
stars and skies and mountains?  They pay no dividends to him, no
wages.  Why should he care about them indeed.  And no longer
concerning himself about nature what wonder is it that nature
ebbs out of him.  She has her revenge, for from whatever standpoint
of idealism considered the average man shows but of pigmy stature.
For him there is no before or after.  In his material life he has
forgotten or never heard of the heroic traditions of his race,
their aspirations to godlike state.  One wonders what will happen
to him when death ushers him out from the great visible life to
the loneliness amid the stars.  To what hearth or home shall he
flee who never raised the veil of nature while living, nor saw it
waver tremulous with the hidden glory before his eyes?  The Holy
Breath from the past communes no more with him, and if he is
oblivious of these things, though a thousand workman call him
master, within he is bankrupt, his effects sequestered, a poor
shadow, an outcast from the Kingdom of Light.

We see too, that as age after age passes and teems only with the
commonplace, that those who are the poets and teachers falter and
lose faith:  they utter no more of man the divine things the poets
said of old.  Perhaps the sheer respectability of the people they
address deters them from making statements which in some respects
might be considered libelous.  But from whatever cause, from lack
of heart or lack of faith, they have no real inspiration.  The
literature of Europe has had but little influence on the Celt in
this isle.  Its philosophies and revolutionary ideas have stayed
their waves at his coast:  they had no message of interpretation
for him, no potent electric thought to light up the mystery of his
nature.  For the mystery of the Celt is the mystery of Amergin the
Druid.  All nature speaks through him.  He is her darling, the
confidant of her secrets.  Her mountains have been more to him
than a feeling.  She has revealed them to him as the home of her
brighter children, her heroes become immortal.  For him her streams
ripple with magical life and the light of day was once filled with
more aerial rainbow wonder.  Though thousands of years have passed
since this mysterious Druid land was at its noonday, and long
centuries have rolled by since the weeping seers saw the lights
vanish from mountain and valley, still this alliance of the soul
of man and the soul of nature more or less manifestly characterizes
the people of this isle.  The thought produced in and for complex
civilizations is not pregnant enough with the vast for them, is
not enough thrilled through by that impalpable breathing from
another nature.  We have had but little native literature here
worth the name until of late years, and that not yet popularized,
but during all these centuries the Celt has kept in his heart some
affinity with the mighty beings ruling in the unseen, once so
evident to the heroic races who preceded him.  His legends and
faery tales have connected his soul with the inner lives of air
and water and earth, and they in turn have kept his heart sweet
with hidden influence.  It would make one feel sad to think that
all that beautiful folklore is fading slowly from the memory that
held it so long, were it not for the belief that the watchful
powers who fostered its continuance relax their care because the
night with beautiful dreams and deeds done only in fancy is passing:
the day is coming with the beautiful real, with heroes and heroic deeds.


It may not be well to prophecy, but it is always permissible to
speak of our hopes.  If day but copies day may we not hope for
Ireland, after its long cycle of night, such another glory as
lightened it of old, which tradition paints in such mystic colours?
What was the mysterious glamour of the Druid age?  What meant the
fires on the mountains, the rainbow glow of air, the magic life in
water and earth, but that the Radiance of Deity was shining through
our shadowy world, that it mingled with and was perceived along
with the forms we know.  There it threw up its fountains of life-
giving fire, the faery fountains of story, and the children of
earth breathing that rich life felt the flush of an immortal vigour
within them;  and so nourished sprang into being the Danaan races,
men who made themselves gods by will and that magical breath.
Rulers of earth and air and fire, their memory looms titanic in
the cloud stories of our dawn, and as we think of that splendid
strength of the past something leaps up in the heart to confirm
it true for all the wonder of it.

This idea of man's expansion into divinity, which is in the highest
teaching of every race, is one which shone like a star at the dawn
of our Celtic history also.  Hero after hero is called away by a
voice ringing out of the land of eternal youth, which is but a
name for the soul of earth, the enchantress and mother of all.
There as guardians of the race they shed their influence on the isle;
from them sprang all that was best and noblest in our past, and
let no one think but that it was noble.  Leaving aside that mystic
sense of union with another world and looking only at the tales of
battle, when we read of heroes whose knightly vows forbade the use
of stratagem in war, and all but the equal strife with equals in
opportunity;  when we hear of the reverence for truth among the
Fianna, "We the Fianna of Erin never lied, falsehood was never
attributed to us"--a reverence for truth carried so far that they
could not believe their foemen even could speak falsely--I say
that in these days when our public life is filled with slander
and unworthy imputation, we might do worse than turn back to that
ideal Paganism of the past, and learn some lessons of noble trust,
and this truth that greatness of soul alone insures final victory
to us who live and move and have our being in the life of God.

In hoping for such another day I do not of course mean the renewal
of the ancient order, but rather look for the return of the same
light which was manifest in the past.  For so the eternal Beauty
brings itself to the memory of man from time to time brooding over
nations, as in the early Aryan heart, suffusing life and thought
with the sun-sense of pervading Deity, or as in Greece where its
myriad rays, each an intuition of loveliness, descended and dwelt
not only in poet, sage and sculptor, but in the general being of
the people.  What has been called the Celtic renaissance in
literature is one of the least of the signs.  Of far more
significance is the number of strange, dreamy children one meets,
whose hearts are in the elsewhere, and young people who love to
brood on the past, I speak of which is all the world to them.
The present has no voice to interpret their dreams and visions,
the enraptured solitude by mountain or shore, or what they feel
when they lie close pressed to the bosom of the earth, mad with
the longing for old joys, the fiery communion of spirit with spirit,
which was once the privilege of man.  These some voice, not
proclaiming an arid political propaganda, may recall into the
actual:  some ideal of heroic life may bring them to the service
of their kind, and none can serve the world better than those who
from mighty dreams turn exultant to their realisation:  who bring
to labour the love, the courage, the unfailing hope, which they
only possess who have gone into the hidden nature and found it
sweet at heart.

So this Isle, once called the Sacred Isle and also the Isle of
Destiny, may find a destiny worthy of fulfilment:  not to be a
petty peasant republic, nor a miniature duplicate in life and aims
of great material empires, but that its children out of their faith,
which has never failed may realise this imemorial truth of man's
inmost divinity, and in expressing it may ray the light over every
land.  Now, although a great literature and great thought may be
part of our future, it ought not to be the essential part of our
ideal.  As in our past the bards gave way before the heroes, so
in any national ideal worthy the name, all must give way in its
hopes, wealth, literature, art, everything before manhood itself.
If our humanity fails us or become degraded, of what value are
the rest?  What use would it be to you or to me if our ships
sailed on every sea and our wealth rivaled the antique Ind, if
we ourselves were unchanged, had no more kingly consciousness of
life, nor that overtopping grandeur of soul indifferent whether
it dwells in a palace or a cottage?

If this be not clear to the intuition, there is the experience of
the world and the example of many nations.  Let us take the highest,
and consider what have a thousand years of empire brought to England.
Wealth without parallel, but at what expense!  The lover of his
kind must feel as if a knife were entering his heart when he looks
at those black centres of boasted prosperity, at factory, smoke
and mine, the arid life and spiritual death.  Do you call those
miserable myriads a humanity?  We look at those people in despair
and pity.  Where is the ancient image of divinity in man's face:
where in man's heart the prompting of the divine?  There is nothing
but a ceaseless energy without;  a night terrible as hell within.
Is this the only way for us as a people?  Is nature to be lost;
beauty to be swallowed up?  The crown and sceptre were taken from
us in the past, our path has been strewn with sorrows, but the
spirit shall not be taken until it becomes as clay, and man forgets
that he was born in the divine, and hears no more the call of the
great deep in his heart as he bows himself to the dust in his bitter
labours.  It maddens to think it should be for ever thus, with us
and with them, and that man the immortal, man the divine, should
sink deeper and deeper into night and ignorance, and know no more
of himself than glimmers upon him in the wearied intervals of
long routine.

Here we have this hope that nature appeals with her old glamour
to many, and there is still the ancient love for the hero.  In a
land where so many well nigh hopeless causes have found faithful
adherents, where there has been so much devotion and sacrifice,
where poverty has made itself poorer still for the sake of leader
and cause, may we not hope that when an appeal is made to the
people to follow still higher ideals, that they will set aside
the lower for the higher, that they will not relegate idealism
to the poets only, but that it will dwell in the public as the
private heart and make impossible any nations' undertaking
inconsistent with the dignity and beauty of life?  To me it seems
that here the task of teacher and writer is above all to present
images and ideals of divine manhood to the people whose real gods
have always been their heroes.  These titan figures, Cuculain,
Finn, Oscar, Oisin, Caolte, all a mixed gentleness and fire, have
commanded for generations that spontaneous love which is the only
true worship paid by men.  It is because of this profound and long-
enduring love for the heroes, which must be considered as forecasting
the future, that I declare the true ideal and destiny of the Celt
in this island to be the begetting of humanity whose desires and
visions shall rise above earth illimitable into godlike nature,
who shall renew for the world the hope, the beauty, the magic,
the wonder which will draw the buried stars which are the souls of
men to their native firmament of spiritual light and elemental power.

For the hero with us there is ample scope and need.  There are the
spectres of ignoble hopes, the lethal influences of a huge material
civilisation wafted to us from over seas, which must be laid.  Oh,
that a protest might be made ere it becomes more difficult, ere
this wild, beautiful land of ours be viewed only as a lure to draw
money from the cockney tourist, and the immemorial traditions around
our sacred hills be of value only to advertise the last hotel.  Yet
to avert the perils arising from external causes is but a slight
task compared with the overcoming of obstacles already existent within.
There is one which must be removed at whatever cost, though the hero
may well become the martyr in the attempt.  It is a difficulty which
has its strength from one of the very virtues of the people, their
reverence for religion.  This in itself is altogether well.  But
it is not well when the nature of that religion enables its priests
to sway men from their natural choice of hero and cause by the threat
of spiritual terrors.  I say that where this takes place to any
great extent, as it has with us, it is not a land a freeman can
think of with pride.  It is not a place where the lover of freedom
can rest, but he must spend sleepless nights, must brood, must scheme,
must wait to strike a blow.  To the thought of freedom it must be
said to our shame none of the nobler meaning attaches here.  Freedom
to speak what hopes and ideals we may have;  to act openly for what
cause we will;  to allow that freedom to others--that liberty is
denied.  There are but too many places where to differ openly from
the priest in politics is to provoke a brawl, where to speak as
here with the fearlessness of print would be to endanger life.
With what scorn one hears the aspiration from public freedom from
lips that are closed with the dread by their own hearthside!  Let
freedom arise where first it is possible in the hearts of men, in
their thoughts, in speech between one and another, and then the
gods may not deem us unworthy of the further sway of our national
life.  I would that some of the defiant spirit of the old warrior
brood were here, not indeed to provoke strife between man and man,
or race and race, but rather that we might be fearless in the
spirit of one who said "I do not war against flesh and blood, but
against principalities and powers"--and against influences which
fetter progress, against an iron materialism where the beauty of
life perishes, let us revolt, let us war for ever.

But with all this I, like others who have narrowly watched the signs
of awakening life, do not doubt but that these things will pass as
greater potencies throng in and impel to action.  Already the rush
of the earth-breath begins to fill with elation our island race and
uplift them with the sense of power;  and through the power sometimes
flashes the glory, the spiritual radiance which will be ours hereafter,
if old prophecy can be trusted and our hearts prompt us true.  Here
and there some rapt dreamer more inward than the rest sees that
Tir-na-noge was no fable, but is still around him with all its mystic
beauty for ever.  The green hills grow alive with the star-children
fleeting, flashing on their twilight errands from gods to men.
When the heart opens to receive them and the ties which bind us to
unseen nature are felt our day will begin and the fires awaken,
our isle will be the Sacred Island once again and our great ones
the light-givers to humanity, not voicing new things, but only of
the old, old truths one more affirmation;  for what is all wisdom,
wherever uttered, whether in time past or today, but the One Life,
the One Breath, chanting its innumerable tones of thought and joy
and love in the heart of man, one voice throughout myriad years
whose message eterne is this--you are by your nature immortal,
and you may be, if you will it, divine.

--Jan. 15, Feb. 15, 1897



Our Secret Ties



Our deepest life is when we are alone.  We think most truly, love
best, when isolated from the outer world in that mystic abyss we
call soul.  Nothing external can equal the fulness of these moments.
We may sit in the blue twilight with a friend, or bend together by
the hearth, half whispering, or in a silence populous with loving
thoughts mutually understood;  then we may feel happy and at peace,
but it is only because we are lulled by a semblance to deeper
intimacies.  When we think of a friend, and the loved one draws nigh,
we sometimes feel half-pained, for we touched something in our
solitude which the living presence shut out;  we seem more apart,
and would fain cry out--"Only in my deep heart I love you, sweetest
heart;  call me not forth from this;  I am no more a spirit if I
leave my throne."  But these moods, though lit up by intuitions
of the true, are too partial, they belong too much to the twilight
of the heart, they have too dreamy a temper to serve us well in life.
We should wish rather for our thoughts a directness such as belongs
to the messengers of the gods, swift, beautiful, flashing presences
bent on purposes well understood.

What we need is that this interior tenderness shall be elevated
into seership, that what in most is only yearning or blind love
shall see clearly its way and hope and aim.  To this end we have
to observe more intently the nature of the interior life.  We find,
indeed, that it is not a solitude at all, but dense with multitudinous
being:  instead of being alone we are in the thronged highways of
existence.  For our guidance when entering here many words of warning
have been uttered, laws have been outlined, and beings full of wonder,
terror, and beauty described.  Yet there is a spirit in us deeper
than our intellectual being which I think of as the Hero in man,
who feels the nobility of its place in the midst of all this, and
who would fain equal the greatness of perception with deeds as great.
The weariness and sense of futility which often falls upon the mystic
after much thought is due, I think, to this, that here he has duties
demanding a more sustained endurance just as the inner life is so
much vaster and more intense than the life he has left behind.

Now, the duties which can be taken up by the soul are exactly those
which it feels most inadequate to perform when acting as an embodied
being.  What shall be done to quiet the heart-cry of the world:
how answer the dumb appeal for help we so often divine below eyes
that laugh?  It is sadder than sorrow to think that pity with no
hands to heal, that love without a voice to speak, should helplessly
heap their pain upon pain while earth shall endure.  But there is
a truth about sorrow which I think may make it seem not so hopeless.
There are fewer barriers than we think:  there is, in fact, an inner
alliance between the soul who would fain give and the soul who is
in need.  Nature has well provided that not one golden ray of all
our thoughts is sped ineffective through the dark;  not one drop
of the magical elixirs love distills is wasted.  Let us consider
how this may be.  There is a habit we nearly all have indulged in:
we often weave little stories in our minds expending love and pity
upon the imaginary beings we have created.  But I have been led to
think that many of these are not imaginary, that somewhere in the
world beings are thinking, loving, suffering just in that way, and
we merely reform and live over again in our life the story of
another life.  Sometimes these faraway intimates assume so vivid
a shape, they come so near with their appeal for sympathy that the
pictures are unforgettable, and the more I ponder over them the
more it seems to me that they often convey the actual need of some
soul whose cry for comfort has gone out into the vast, perhaps to
meet with an answer, perhaps to hear only silence.  I will supply
an instance.  I see a child, a curious, delicate little thing,
seated on the doorstep of a house.  It is an alley in some great
city;  there is a gloom of evening and vapour over the sky;  I see
the child is bending over the path;  he is picking cinders and
arranging them, and, growing closer, as I ponder, I become aware
that he is laying down in gritty lines the walls of a house, the
mansion of his dream.  Here spread along the pavement are large
rooms, these for his friends, and a tiny room in the centre, that
is his own.  So his thought plays.  Just then I catch a glimpse
of the corduroy trousers of a passing workman, and a heavy boot
crushes through the cinders.  I feel the pain in the child's heart
as he shrinks back, his little love-lit house of dreams all rudely
shattered.  Ah, poor child, building the City Beautiful out of a
few cinders, yet nigher, truer in intent than many a stately, gold-
rich palace reared by princes, thou wert not forgotten by that
mighty spirit who lives through the falling of empires, whose home
has been in many a ruined heart.  Surely it was to bring comfort
to hearts like thine that that most noble of all meditations was
ordained by the Buddha.  "He lets his mind pervade one quarter of
the world with thoughts of Love, and so the second, and so the
third, and so the fourth.  And thus the whole wide world, above,
below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with
heart of Love far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure."

The love, though the very fairy breath of life, should by itself
and so imparted have a sustaining power some may question, not those
who have felt the sunlight fall from distant fiends who think of them;
but, to make clearer how it seems to me to act, I say that love,
Eros, is a being.  It is more than a power of the soul, though it
is that also;  it has a universal life of its own,  and just as the
dark heaving waters do not know what jewel lights they reflect with
blinding radiance, so the soul, partially absorbing and feeling the
ray of Eros within it, does not know that often a part of its nature
nearer to the sun of love shines with a brilliant light to other
eyes than its own.  Many people move unconscious of their won charm,
unknowing of the beauty and power they seem to others to impart.
It is some past attainment of the soul, a jewel won in some old
battle which it may have forgotten, but none the less this gleams
on its tiara and the star-flame inspires others to hope and victory.

If is true here than many exert a spiritual influence they are
unconscious of, it is still truer of the spheres within.  Once the
soul has attained to any possession like love, or persistent will,
or faith, or a power of thought, it comes into psychic contact with
others who are struggling for these very powers.  The attainment
of any of these means that the soul is able to absorb and radiate
some of the diviner elements of being.  The soul may or may not be
aware of the position it is placed in and its new duties, but yet
that Living Light, having found a way into the being of any one
person, does not rest there, but sends its rays and extends its
influence on and on to illumine the darkness of another nature.
So it comes that there are ties which bind us to people other than
those whom we meet in our everyday life.  I think they are more
real ties, more important to understand, for if we let our lamp go
out some far away who had reached out in the dark and felt a steady
will, a persistent hope, a compassionate love, may reach out once
again in an hour of need, and finding no support may give way and
fold the hands in despair.  Often indeed we allow gloom to overcome
us and so hinder the bright rays in their passage;  but would we
do it so often if we thought that perhaps a sadness which besets us,
we do not know why, was caused by some heart drawing nigh to ours
for comfort, that our lethargy might make it feel still more its
helplessness, while our courage, our faith, might cause "our light
to shine in some other heart which as yet has no light of its own."

--March 15, 1897



Priest or Hero?



"I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
        self-contained
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
No one kneels to another, nor to one of his kind that lived thousands
of years ago." ---Walt Whitman


I have prefixed some ideas about spiritual freedom addressed to
the people of Ireland with these lines from the poet of another
land, because national sentiment seems out of date here, the old
heroism slumbers, alien thought and an exotic religion have
supplanted our true ideals and our natural spirituality.  I hope
that the scornful words of one who breathed a freer air might
sting to shame those who have not lost altogether the sentiment
of human dignity, who have still some intuitions as to how far
and how wisely a man may abase himself before another, whether
that other claim divine authority or not.  For this is the true
problem which confronts us as a nation, and all else is insignificant
beside.  We have found out who are the real rulers here, who dictate
politics and public action with no less authority than they speak
upon religion and morals,  It was only the other day that a priest,
one of our rulers, declared that he would not permit a political
meeting to be held in his diocese and this fiat was received with
a submission which showed how accurately the politician gauged
the strength opposed to him.  And this has not been the only
occasion when this power has been exerted:  we all know how many
national movements have been interfered with or thwarted;  we know
the shameful revelations connected with the elections a few years
back;  we know how a great leader fell;  and those who are idealists,
God's warriors battling for freedom of thought, whose hope for the
world is that the intuitions of the true and good divinely implanted
in each man's breast shall supersede tradition and old authority,
cannot but feel that their opinions, so much more dangerous to
that authority than any political ideal, must, if advocated, bring
them at last to clash with the priestly power.  It is not a war
with religion we would fain enter upon;  but when those who claim
that heaven and hell shut and open at their bidding for the spirit
of man, use the influence which belief in that claim confers, as
it has been here, to fetter free-will in action, it is time that
the manhood of the nation awoke to sternly question that authority,
to assert its immemorial right to freedom.

There live of old in Eri a heroic race whom the bards sang as
fearless.  There was then no craven dread of the hereafter, for
the land of the immortals glimmered about them in dream and vision,
and already before the decaying of the form the spirit of the hero
had crossed the threshold and clasped hands with the gods.  No demon
nature affrighted them:  from them wielding the flaming sword of
will the demons fled away as before Cuculain vanished in terror
shadowy embattled hosts.  What, I wonder, would these antique
heroes say coming back to a land which preserves indeed their
memory but emulates their spirit no more?  We know what the bards
thought when heroic Ireland became only a tradition;  when to
darkened eyes the elf-lights ceased to gleam, luring no more to
the rich radiant world within, the Druidic mysteries, and the
secret of the ages.  In the bardic tales their comrade Ossian
voices to Patrick their scorn of the new.  Ah, from the light and
joy of the faery region, from that great companionship with a race
half divine, come back to find that but one divine man had walked
the earth, and as for the rest it was at prayer and fasting they
ought to be!  And why?  Because, as Patrick explained to Ossian,
if they did not they would go to hell.  And this is the very thing
the Patricks ever since have been persuading the Irish people to
believe, adding an alien grief unto their many sorrows, foisting
upon them a vulgar interpretation of the noble idea of divine justice
to cow them to submission with the threat of flame.  Ossian, chafing
and fuming under the priestly restriction, declared his preference
for hell with the Finians to paradise with Patrick.  His simple
heroic mind found it impossible to believe that the pure, gentle
but indomitable spirits of his comrades could be anywhere quenched
or quelled, but they must at last arise exultant even from torment.
When Ossian rejects the bribe of paradise to share the darker world
and the fate of his companions, there spake the true spirit of man;
spark of illimitable deity;  shrouded in form, yet radiating
ceaselessly heroic thoughts, aspirations, deathless love;  not to
be daunted, rising again and again from sorrow with indestructible
hope;  emerging ever from defeat, its glooms smitten through and
through with the light of visions vast and splendid as the heavens.
Old bard, old bard, from Tir-na-noge where thou, perchance wrapt
by that beauty which called thee from earth, singest immortal songs,
would that one lightning of they spirit could pierce the hearts
now thronged with dread, might issue from lips which dare not speak.

I do not question but that the heroic age had its imperfections,
or that it was not well that its too warlike ardour was tempered
by the beautiful, pathetic and ennobling teaching of Christ.  The
seed of new doctrines bore indeed many lovely but exotic blossoms
in the saintly times, and also many a noxious weed.  For religion
must always be an exotic which makes a far-off land sacred rather
than the earth underfoot:  where the Great Spirit whose home is
the vast seems no more a moving glamour in the heavens, a dropping
tenderness at twilight, a visionary light on the hills, a voice in
man's heart;  when the way of life is sought in scrolls or is heard
from another's lips.  The noxious weed, the unendurable bitter which
mingled with the sweet and true in this exotic religion was the
terrible power it put into the hands of men somewhat more learned
in their ignorance of God than those whom they taught:  the power
to inflict a deadly wrong upon the soul, to coerce the will by
terror from the course conscience had marked out as true and good.
That power has been used unsparingly and at times with unspeakable
cruelty whenever those who had it thought their influence was being
assailed, for power is sweet and its use is not lightly laid aside.

As we read our island history there seems a ruddy emblazonry on
every page, a hue shed from behind the visible, the soul dropping
its red tears of fire over hopes for ever dissolving, noble ambitions
for ever foiled.  Always on the eve of success starts up some fatal
figure weaponed with the keys of the hereafter, brandishing more
especially the key of the place of torment, warning most particularly
those who regard that that key shall not get rusty from want of
turning if they disobey.  It has been so from the beginning, from
the time of the cursing of Tara, where the growing unity of the
nations was split into fractions, down to the present time.  I
often doubt if the barbarities in eastern lands which we shudder
at are in reality half so cruel, if they mean so much anguish as
this threat of after-torture does to those who believe in the power
of another to inflict it.  It wounds the spirit to the heart:  its
consciousness of its own immortality becomes entwined with the
terror of as long enduring pain.  It is a lie which the all-
compassionate Father-Spirit never breathed into the ears of his
children, a lie which has been told here century after century with
such insistence that half the nation has the manhood cowed out of it.
The offence of the dead chief whose followers were recently assailed
weighed light as a feather in the balance when compared with the
sin of these men and their shameful misuse of religious authority
in Meath a little while ago.  The scenes which took place there,
testified and sworn to by witness in the after trials, were only
a copy of what generally took place.  They will take place again
if the necessity arises.  That is a bitter fact.

A dim consciousness that their servitude is not to God's law but
to man's ambition is creeping over the people here.  That is a very
hopeful sign.  When a man first feels he is a slave he begins to
grow grey inside, to get moody and irritable.  The sore spot becomes
more sensitive the more he broods.  At last to touch it becomes
dangerous.  For, from such pent-up musing and wrath have sprung
rebellions, revolutions, the overthrow of dynasties and the fall
of religions, aye, thrice as mighty as this.  That Thought of freedom
lets loose the flood-gates of an illimitable fire into the soul;
it emerges from its narrow prison-cell of thought and fear as the
sky-reaching genie from the little copper vessel in the tale of
Arabian enchantment;  it lays hand on the powers of storm and
commotion like a god.  It would be politic not to press the
despotism more;  but it would be a pity perhaps if some further
act did not take place, just to see a nation flinging aside the
shackles of superstition;  disdainful of threats, determined to
seek its own good, resolutely to put aside all external tradition
and rule;  adhering to its own judgment, though priests falsely
say the hosts of the everlasting are arrayed in battle against it,
though they threaten the spirit with obscure torment for ever and
ever:  still to persist, still to defy, still to obey the orders
of another captain, that Unknown Deity within whose trumpet-call
sounds louder than all the cries of men.  There is great comfort,
my fellows, in flinging fear aside;  an exultation and delight
spring up welling from inexhaustible deeps, and a tranquil sweetness
also ensues which shows that the powers ever watchful of human
progress approve and applaud the act.

In all this I do not aim at individuals.  It is not with them I
would war but with tyranny.  They who enslave are as much or more
to be pitied than those whom they enslave.  They too are wronged
by being placed and accepted in a position of false authority.
They too enshrine a ray of the divine spirit, which to liberate
and express is the purpose of life.  Whatever movement ignores the
needs of a single unity, or breeds hate against it rather than
compassion, is so far imperfect.  But if we give these men, as we
must, the credit of sincerity, still opposition is none the less
a duty.  The spirit of man must work out its own destiny, learning
truth out of error and pain.  It cannot be moral by proxy.  A
virtuous course into which it is whipt by fear will avail it nothing,
and in that dread hour when it comes before the Mighty who sent it
forth, neither will the plea avail it that its conscience was in
another's keeping.


The choice here lies between Priest and Hero as ideal, and I say
that whatever is not heroic is not Irish, has not been nourished
at the true fountain wherefrom our race and isle derive their mystic
fame.  There is a life behind the veil, another Eri which the bards
knew, singing it as the Land of Immortal Youth.  It is not hidden
from us, though we have hidden ourselves from it, so that it has
become only a fading memory in our hearts and a faery fable upon
our lips.  Yet there are still places in this isle, remote from
the crowded cities where men and women eat and drink and wear out
their lives and are lost in the lust for gold, where the shy peasant
sees the enchanted lights in mountain and woody dell, and hears
the faery bells pealing away, away, into that wondrous underland
whither, as legends relate, the Danann gods withdrew.  These things
are not to be heard for the asking;  but some, more reverent than
the rest, more intuitive, who understand that the pure eyes of a
peasant may see the things kings and princes, aye, and priests,
have desired to see and have not seen;  that for him may have been
somewhat lifted the veil which hides from men the starry spheres
where the Eternal Beauty abides in the shining--these have heard
and have been filled with the hope that, if ever the mystic truths
of life could be spoken here, there would be enough of the old
Celtic fire remaining to bring back the magic into the isle.  That
direct relation, that vision, comes fully with spiritual freedom,
when men no longer peer through another's eyes into the mysteries,
when they will not endure that the light shall be darkened by
transmission, but spirit speaks with spirit, drawing light from
the boundless Light alone.

Leaving aside the question of interference with national movements,
another charge, one of the weightiest which can be brought against
the priestly influence in this island, is that it has hampered the
expression of native genius in literature and thought.  Now the
country is alive with genius, flashing out everywhere, in the
conversation even of the lowest;  but we cannot point to imaginative
work of any importance produced in Ireland which has owed its
inspiration to the priestly teaching.  The genius of the Gael could
not find itself in their doctrines;  though above all things mystical
it could not pierce its way into the departments of super-nature
where their theology pigeon-holes the souls of the damned and the
blessed.  It knew of the Eri behind the veil which I spoke of, the
Tir-na-noge which as a lamp lights up our grassy plains, our haunted
hills and valleys.  The faery tales have ever lain nearer to the
hearts of the people, and whatever there is of worth in song or
story has woven into it the imagery handed down from the dim druidic
ages.  This is more especially true today, when our literature is
beginning to manifest preeminent qualities of imagination, not the
grey pieties of the cloister, but natural magic, beauty, and heroism.
Our poets sing Ossian wandering the land of the immortals;  or we
read in vivid romance of the giant chivalry of the Ultonians, their
untamable manhood, the exploits of Cuculain and the children of Rury,
more admirable as types, more noble and inspiring than the hierarchy
of little saints who came later on and cursed their memories.

The genius of the Gael is awakening after a night of troubled dreams.
I returns instinctively to the beliefs of its former day and finds
again the old inspiration.  It seeks the gods on the mountains,
still enfolded by their mantle of multitudinous traditions, or
sees them flash by in the sunlit diamond airs.  How strange, but
how natural is all this!  It seems as if Ossian's was a premature
return.  Today he might find comrades come back from Tir-na-noge
for the uplifting of their race.  Perhaps to many a young spirit
starting up among us Caolte might speak as to Mongan, saying:  "I
was with thee, with Finn."  Hence, it may be, the delight with
which we hear Standish O'Grady declaring that the bardic divinities
will remain:  "Nor, after centuries of obscuration, is their power
to quicken, purify, and exalt, yet dead.  Still they live and reign,
and shall reign."  After long centuries--the voice of a spirit ever
youthful, yet older than all the gods, who with its breath of sunrise-
coloured flame jewels with richest lights the visions of earth's
dreamy-hearted children.  Once more out of the Heart of the Mystery
is heard the call of "Come away," and after that no other voice
has power to lure:  there remain only the long heroic labours which
end in companionship with the gods.

These voices do not stand for themselves alone.  They are heralds
before a host.  No man has ever spoken with potent utterance who
did not feel the secret urging of dumb, longing multitudes, whose
aspirations and wishes converge on and pour themselves into fearless
heart.  The thunder of the waves is deeper because the tide is rising.
Those who are behind do not come only with song and tale, but with
stern hearts bent on great issues, among which, not least, is the
intellectual liberation of Ireland.  That is an aim at which some
of our rulers may well grow uneasy.  Soon shall young men, fiery-
hearted, children of Eri, a new race, roll our their thoughts on
the hillsides, before your very doors, O priests, calling your
flocks from your dark chapels and twilight sanctuaries to a temple
not built with hands, sunlit, starlit, sweet with the odour and
incense of earth, from your altars call them to the altars of the
hills, soon to be lit up as of old, soon to be the blazing torches
of God over the land.  These heroes I see emerging.  Have they not
come forth in every land and race when there was need?  Here, too,
they will arise.  Ah, may darlings, you will have to fight and suffer:
you must endure loneliness, the coldness of friends, the alienation
of love;  warmed only by the bright interior hope of a future you
must toil for but may never see, letting the deed be its own reward;
laying in dark places the foundations of that high and holy Eri
of prophecy, the isle of enchantment, burning with druidic splendours,
bright with immortal presences, with the face of the everlasting
Beauty looking in upon all its ways, divine with terrestrial mingling
till God and the world are one.

There waits brooding in this isle a great destiny, and to accomplish
it we must have freedom of thought.  That is the greatest of our
needs, for thought is the lightning-conductor between the heaven-
world and earth.  We want fearless advocates who will not be turned
aside from their course by laughter or by threats.  Why is it that
the spirit of daring, imaginative enquiry is so dead here?  An
incubus of spiritual fear seems to beset men women so that they
think, if they turn from the beaten track seeking the true, they
shall meet, not the divine with outstretched hands, but a demon;
that the reward for their search will not be joy or power but
enduring pain.  How the old bard swept away such fears!  "If thy
God were good," said Ossian, "he would call Finn into his dun."
Yes, the heroic heart is dear to the heroic heart.  I would back
the intuition of an honest soul for truth against piled-up centuries
of theology.  But this high spirit is stifled everywhere by a dull
infallibility which is yet unsuccessful, on its own part, in awakening
inspiration; and, in the absence of original though, we pick over
the bones of dead movements, we discuss the personalities of the
past, but no one asks the secrets of life or of death.  There are
despotic hands in politics, in religion, in education, strangling
any attempt at freedom.  Of the one institution which might naturally
be supposed to be the home of great ideas we can only say, reversing
the famous eulogy on Oxford, it has never given itself to any
national hero or cause, but always to the Philistine.

With the young men who throng the literary societies the intellectual
future of Ireland rests.  In them are our future leaders.  Out of
these as from a fountain will spring--what?  Will we have another
generation of Irishmen at the same level as today, with everything
in a state of childhood, boyish patriotism, boyish ideals, boyish
humour?  Or will they assimilate the aged thought of the world and
apply it to the needs of their own land?  I remember reading somewhere
a description by Turgenieff of his contemporaries as a young man;
how they sat in garrets, drinking execrably bad coffee or tea.  But
what thoughts!  They talked of God, of humanity, of Holy Russia;
and out of such groups of young men, out of their discussions,
emanated that vast unrest which has troubled Europe and will trouble
it still more.  Here no questions are asked and no answers are
received.  There is a pitiful, blind struggle for a nationality
whose ideas are not definitely conceived.  What is the ideal of
Ireland as a nation?  It drifts from mind to mind, a phantom thought
lacking a spirit, but a spirit which will surely incarnate.  Perhaps
some of our old heroes may return.  Already it seems as if one had
been here;  a sombre Titan earlier awakened than the rest who passed
before us, and sounded the rallying note of our race before he
staggered to his tragic close.  Others of brighter thought will
follow to awaken the fires which Brigid in her vision saw gleaming
beyond dark centuries of night, and confessed between hope and
tears to Patrick.  Meanwhile we must fight for intellectual freedom;
we must strive to formulate to ourselves what it is we really wish
for here, until at last the ideal becomes no more phantasmal but
living;  until our voices in aspiration are heard in every land,
and the nations become aware of a new presence amid their councils,
a last and most beautiful figure, as one after the cross of pain,
after the shadowy terrors, with thorn-marks on the brow from a
crown flung aside, but now radiant, ennobled after suffering, Eri,
the love of so many dreamers, priestess of the mysteries, with the
chant of beauty on her lips and the heart of nature beating in
her heart.

--April 15-May 15, 1897



The Age of the Spirit



I am a part of all that I have met:
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untraveled world .....
....... Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
--Ulysses

We are no longer children as we were in the beginning.  The spirit
which, prompted by some divine intent, flung itself long ago into
a vague, nebulous, drifting nature, though it has endured through
many periods of youth, maturity, and age, has yet had its own
transformations.  Its gay, wonderful childhood gave way, as cycle
after cycle coiled itself into slumber, to more definite purposes,
and now it is old and burdened with experiences.  It is not an age
that quenches its fire, but it will not renew again the activities
which gave it wisdom.  And so it comes that men pause with a feeling
which they translate into weariness of life before the accustomed
joys and purposes of their race.  They wonder at the spell which
induced their fathers to plot and execute deeds which seem to them
to have no more meaning than a whirl of dust.  But their fathers
had this weariness also and concealed it from each other in fear,
for it meant the laying aside of the sceptre, the toppling over
empires, the chilling of the household warmth, and all for a voice
whose inner significance revealed itself but to one or two
among myriads.

The spirit has hardly emerged from the childhood with which nature
clothes it afresh at every new birth, when the disparity between
the garment and the wearer becomes manifest:  the little tissue
of joys and dreams woven about it found inadequate for shelter:
it trembles exposed to the winds blowing out of the unknown.  We
linger at twilight with some companion, still glad, contented, and
in tune with the nature which fills the orchards with blossom and
sprays the hedges with dewy blooms.  The laughing lips give utterance
to wishes--ours until that moment.  Then the spirit, without warning,
suddenly falls into immeasurable age:  a sphynx-like regard is upon
us:  our lips answer, but far from the region of elemental being we
inhabit, they syllable in shadowy sound, out of old usage, the
response, speaking of a love and a hope which we know have vanished
from us for evermore.  So hour by hour the scourge of the infinite
drives us out of every nook and corner of life we find pleasant.
And this always takes place when all is fashioned to our liking:
then into our dream strides the wielder of the lightning:  we get
glimpse of the great beyond thronged with mighty, exultant, radiant
beings:  our own deeds become infinitesimal to us:  the colours
of our imagination, once so shining, grow pale as the living lights
of God glow upon them.  We find a little honey in the heart which
we make sweeter for some one, and then another lover, whose forms
are legion, sighs to us out of its multitudinous being:  we know
that the old love is gone.  There is a sweetness in song or in the
cunning reimaging of the beauty we see;  but the Magician of the
Beautiful whispers to us of his art, how we were with him when he
laid the foundations of the world, and the song is unfinished,
the fingers grow listless.  As we receive these intimations of
age our very sins become negative:  we are still pleased if a voice
praises us, but we grow lethargic in enterprises where the spur
to activity is fame or the acclamation of men.  At some point in
the past we struggled mightily for the sweet incense which men
offer to a towering personality:  but the infinite is for ever
within man:  we sighed for other worlds and found that to be saluted
as victor by men did not mean acceptance by the gods.

But the placing of an invisible finger upon our lips when we would
speak, the heart-throb of warning where we would love, that we
grow contemptuous of the prizes of life, does not mean that the
spirit has ceased from its labours, that the high-built beauty of
the spheres is to topple mistily into chaos, as a mighty temple
in the desert sinks into the sand, watched only by a few barbarians
too feeble to renew its ancient pomp and the ritual of its once
shining congregations.  Before we, who were the bright children
of the dawn, may return as the twilight race into the silence,
our purpose must be achieved, we have to assume mastery over that
nature which now overwhelms us, driving into the Fire-fold the
flocks of stars and wandering fires.  Does it seem very vast and
far away?  Do you sigh at the long, long time?  Or does it appear
hopeless to you who perhaps return with trembling feet evening
after evening from a little labour?  But it is back of all these
things that the renewal takes place, when love and grief are dead;
when they loosen their hold on the spirit and its sinks back into
itself, looking out on the pitiful plight of those who, like it,
are the weary inheritors of so great destinies:  then a tenderness
which is the most profound quality of its being springs up like
the outraying of the dawn, and if in that mood it would plan or
execute it knows no weariness, for it is nourished from the First
Fountain.  As for these feeble children of the once glorious spirits
of the dawn, only a vast hope can arouse them from so vast a despair,
for the fire will not invigorate them for the repetition of petty
deeds but only for the eternal enterprise, the purpose of the
immemorial battle waged through all the ages, the wars in heaven,
the conflict between Titan and Divinity, which were part of the
never-ending struggle of the human spirit to assert its supremacy
over nature.  Brotherhood, the declaration of ideals and philosophies,
are but calls to the hosts, who lie crushed by this mountain nature
piled above them, to arise again, to unite, to storm the heavens
and sit on the seats of the mighty.

As the titan in man ponders on this old, old purpose wherefor all
its experience was garnered, the lightnings will once more begin
to play through him and animate his will.  So like the archangel
ruined let us arise from despair and weariness with inflexible
resolution, pealing once more the old heroic shout to our fallen
comrades, until those great powers who enfold us feel the stirring
and the renewal, and the murmur runs along the spheres, "The buried
Titan moves once again to tear the throne from Him."

--June 1897



A Thought Along the Road

They torture me also.--Krishna



The night was wet:  and, as I was moving down the streets, my mind
was also journeying on a way of its own, and the things which were
bodily present before me were no less with me in my unseen traveling.
Every now and then a transfer would take place, and some of the
moving shadows in the street would begin walking about in the clear
interior light.  The children of the city, crouched in the doorways,
or racing through the hurrying multitude and flashing lights, began
their elfin play again in my heart;  and that was because I had
heard these tiny outcasts shouting with glee.  I wondered if the
glitter and shadow of such sordid things were thronged with
magnificence and mystery for those who were unaware of a greater
light and deeper shade which made up the romance and fascination
of my own life.  In imagination I narrowed myself to their ignorance,
littleness, and youth, and seemed for a moment to flit amid great
uncomprehended beings and a dim wonderful city of palaces.

Then another transfer took place and I was pondering anew, for a
face I had seen flickering through the warm wet mist haunted me;
it entered into the realm of the interpreter, and I was made aware
by the pale cheeks, and by the close-shut lips of pain, and by
some inward knowledge, that there the Tree of Life was beginning
to grow, and I wondered why it is that it always springs up through
a heart in ashes:  I wondered also if that which springs up, which
in itself is an immortal joy, has knowledge that its shoots are
piercing through such anguish;  or again, if it was the piercing
of the shoots which caused the pain, and if every throb of the
beautiful flame darting upward to blossom meant the perishing of
some more earthly growth which had kept the heart in shadow.

Seeing to how so many thoughts spring up from such a simple thing,
I questioned whether that which started the impulse had any share
in the outcome, and if these musing of mine in any way affected
their subject.  I then began thinking about those secret ties on
which I have speculated before, and in the darkness my heart grew
suddenly warm and glowing, for I had chanced upon one of those
shining imaginations which are the wealth of those who travel upon
the hidden ways.  In describing that which comes to us all at once,
there is a difficulty in choosing between what is first and what
is last to say:  but, interpreting as best I can, I seemed to
behold the onward movement of a Light, one among many Lights, all
living, throbbing, now dim with perturbations, and now again clear,
and all subtly woven together, outwardly in some more shadowy shining,
and inwardly in a greater fire, which, though it was invisible,
I knew to be the Lamp of the World.  This Light which I beheld I
felt to be a human soul, and these perturbations which dimmed it
were its struggles and passionate longings for something, and that
was for a more brilliant shining of the light within itself:  it
was in love with its own beauty, enraptured by its own lucidity;
and I saw that as these things were more beloved they grew paler,
for this light is the love which the Mighty Mother has in her heart
for her children, and she means that it shall go through each one
unto all, and whoever restrains it in himself is himself shut out;
not that the great heart has ceased in its love for that soul, but
that the soul has shut itself off from influx, for ever imagination
of man is the opening or the closing of a door to the divine world:
now he is solitary, cut off, and, seemingly to himself, on the
desert and distant verge of things:  and then his thought throws
open the swift portals;  he hears the chant of the seraphs in his
heart, and he is made luminous by the lighting of a sudden aureole.
This soul which I watched seemed to have learned at last the secret
love:  for, in the anguish begotten by its loss, it followed the
departing glory in penitence to the inmost shrine where it ceased
altogether;  and because it seemed utterly lost and hopeless of
attainment and capriciously denied to the seeker, a profound pit
arose in the soul for those who, like it were seeking, but still
in hope, for they had not come to the vain end of their endeavors.
I understood that such pity is the last of the precious essences
which make up the elixir of immortality, and when it is poured
into the cup it is ready for drinking.  And so it was with this
soul which drew brilliant with the passage of eternal light through
its new purity of self-oblivion, and joyful in the comprehension
of the mystery of the secret love, which, though it has been declared
many times by the greatest of teachers among men, is yet never known
truly unless the Mighty Mother has herself breathed it in the heart.

And now that the soul had divined this secret, the shadowy shining
which was woven in bonds of union between it and its fellow-lights
grew clearer;  and a multitude of these strands were, so it seemed,
strengthened and placed in its keeping:  along these it was to send
the message of the wisdom and the love which were the secret sweetness
of its own being.  Then a spiritual tragedy began, infinitely more
pathetic than the old desolation, because it was brought about by
the very nobility of the spirit.  This soul, shedding its love like
rays of glory, seemed itself the centre of a ring of wounding spears:
it sent forth love and the arrowy response came hate-impelled:  it
whispered peace and was answered by the clash of rebellion:  and
to all this for defence it could only bare more openly its heart
that a profounder love from the Mother Nature might pass through
upon the rest.  I knew this was what a teacher, who wrote long ago,
meant when he said:  "Put on the whole armour of god,"  which is
love and endurance, for the truly divine children of the Flame are
not armed otherwise:  and of those protests, sent up in ignorance
or rebellion against the whisper of the wisdom, I saw that some
melted in the fierce and tender heat of the heart, and there came
in their stead a golden response which made closer the ties, and
drew these souls upward to an understanding and to share in the
overshadowing nature:  and this is part of the plan of the Great
Alchemist, whereby the red ruby of the heart is transmuted into
the tenderer light of the opal;  for the beholding of love made
bare acts like the flame of the furnace, and the dissolving passions,
through an anguish of remorse, the lightnings of pain, and through
an adoring pity, are changed into the image they contemplate and
melt in the ecstasy of self-forgetful love, the spirit which lit
the thorn-crowned brows, which perceived only in its last agony
the retribution due to its tormentors, and cried out, "Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Now although the love of the few may alleviate the hurt due to the
ignorance of the mass, it is not in the power of anyone to withstand
for ever this warfare;  for by the perpetual wounding of the inner
nature it is so wearied that the spirit must withdraw from a
tabernacle grown too frail to support the increase of light within
and the jarring of the demoniac nature without:  and at length
comes the call which means, for a while, release, and a deep rest
in regions beyond the paradise of lesser souls.  So, withdrawn
into the Divine Darkness, vanished the Light of my dream.  And
now it seemed as if this wonderful weft of souls intertwining as
one being must come to naught;  and all those who through the gloom
had nourished a longing for the light would stretch out hands in
vain for guidance:  but that I did not understand the love of the
Mother, and that although few, there is no decaying of her heroic
brood;  for, as the seer of old caught at the mantle of him who
went up in the fiery chariot, so another took up the burden and
gathered the shining strands together:  and to this sequence of
spiritual guides there is no ending.

Here I may say that the love of the Mother, which, acting through
the burnished will of the hero, is wrought to highest uses, is in
reality everywhere, and pervades with profoundest tenderness the
homeliest circumstance of daily life;  and there is not lacking,
even among the humblest, an understanding of the spiritual tragedy
which follows upon every effort of the divine nature bowing itself
down in pity to our shadowy sphere;  an understanding in which the
nature of the love is gauged through the extent of the sacrifice
and pain which is overcome.  I recall the instance of an old Irish
peasant, who, as he lay in hospital wakeful from a grinding pain
in his leg, forgot himself in making drawings, rude yet reverently
done, of incidents in the life of the Galilean teacher.  One of
these which he showed me was a crucifixion, where, amidst much
grotesque symbolism, were some tracings which indicated a purely
beautiful intuition;  the heart of this crucified figure, no less
than the brow, was wreathed about with thorns and radiant with light:
"For that," said he, was where he really suffered."  When I think
of this old man, bringing forgetfulness of his own bodily pain
through contemplation of the spiritual suffering of his own, nobly
undergone, had given him understanding, and he had laid his heart
in love against the Heart of Many Sorrows, seeing it wounded by
unnumbered spears yet burning with undying love.

Though much may be learned by observance of the superficial life
and actions of a spiritual teacher, it is only in the deeper life
of meditation and imagination that it can be truly realized;  for
the soul is a midnight blossom which opens its leaves in dream,
and its perfect bloom is unfolded only where another sun shines
in another heaven:  there it feels what celestial dews descend on it,
and what influences draw it up to its divine archetype:  here in
the shadow of earth root intercoils with root and the finer
distinctions of the blossom are not perceived.  If we knew also
who they really are, who sometimes in silence, and sometimes with
the eyes of the world at gaze, take upon them the mantle of teacher,
an unutterable awe would prevail;  for underneath a bodily presence
not in any sense beautiful may burn the glory of some ancient
divinity, some hero who laid aside his sceptre in the enchanted
land to rescue old-time comrades fallen into oblivion:  or again,
if we had the insight of the simple old peasant into the nature
of this enduring love, out of the exquisite and poignant emotions
kindled would arise the flame of a passionate love which would
endure long aeons of anguish that it might shield, though but for
a little, the kingly hearts who may not shield themselves.

But I too, who write, have launched the rebellious spear, or in
lethargy have ofttimes gone down the great drift numbering myself
among those who not being with must needs be against:  therefor I
make no appeal;  they only may call who stand upon the lofty
mountains;  but I reveal the thought which arose like a star in
my soul with such bright and pathetic meaning, leaving it to you
who read to approve and apply it.

--July 15, 1897



The Fountains of Youth



I heard that a strange woman, dwelling on the western coast, who
had the repute of healing by faery power, said a little before she
died, "There's a cure for all things in the well at Ballykeele":
and I know not why at first, but her words lingered with me and
repeated themselves again and again, and by degrees to keep
fellowship with the thought they enshrined came more antique
memories, all I had heard or dreamed of the Fountains of Youth;
for I could not doubt, having heard these fountains spoken of by
people like herself, that her idea had a druid ancestry.  Perhaps
she had bent over the pool until its darkness grew wan and bright
and troubled with the movements of a world within and the
agitations of a tempestuous joy;  or she had heard, as many still
hear, the wild call to "Come away," from entreating lips and flame-
encircled faces, or was touched by the star-tipped fingers, and
her heart from the faery world came never back again to dwell as
before at ease in this isle of grey mists and misty sunlight.
These things are not fable only, for Ireland is still a land of
the gods, and in out of the way places we often happen on wonderlands
of romance and mystic beauty.  I have spoken to people who have
half parted from their love for the world in a longing for the
pagan paradise of Tir-na-nog, and many who are outwardly obeisant
to another religion are altogether pagan in their hearts, and Meave
the Queen of the Western Host is more to them than Mary Queen of
Heaven.  I was told of this Meave that lately she was seen in
vision by a peasant, who made a poem on her, calling her "The
Beauty of all Beauty":  and the man who told me this of his friend
had himself seen the jetted fountains of fire-mist winding up in
spiral whirls to the sky, and he too had heard of the Fountains
of Youth.

The natural longing in every heart that its youth shall not perish
makes one ponder and sigh over this magical past when youth, ecstasy,
and beauty welled from a bountiful nature at the sung appeal of her
druid children holding hand in hand around the sacred cairn.  Our
hearts remember:

A wind blows by us fleeting
        Along the reedy strand:
And sudden our hearts are beating
        Again in the druid-land.

All silver-pale, enchanted,
        The air-world lies on the hills,
And the fields of light are planted
        With the dawn-frail daffodils.

The yellow leaves are blowing
        The hour when the wind-god weaves,
And hides the stars and their glowing
        In a mist of daffodil leaves.

We stand in glimmering whiteness,
        Each face like the day-star fair,
And rayed about in its brightness
        With a dawn of daffodil air.

And through each white robe gleaming,
        And under each snow-white breast,
Is a golden dream-light streaming
        Like eve through an opal west.

One hand to the heart, another
        We raise to the dawn on high;
For the sun in the heart is brother
        To the sun-heart of the sky.

A light comes rising and falling,
        As ringed in the druid choir
We sing to the sun-god, calling
        By his name of yellow fire.

The touch of the dew-wet grasses,
        The breath of the dawn-cool wind,
With the dawn of the god-light passes
        And the world is left behind.

We drink of a fountain giving
        The joy of the gods, and then--
The Land of the Ever-living
        Has passed from us again.

Passed far beyond all saying,
        For memory only weaves
On a silver dawn outraying
        A cloud of daffodil leaves.

And not indirectly through remembrance only, but when touched
from within by the living beauty, the soul, the ancient druid in
man, renews its league with the elements;  and sometimes as the
twilight vanishes and night lays on the earth her tender brow, the
woods, the mountains, the clouds that tinted like seraphim float
in the vast, and the murmur of water, wind and trees, melt from
the gaze and depart from the outward ear and become internal
reveries and contemplations of the spirit, and are no more separate
but are part of us.  Yet these vanishings from us and movements in
worlds not realized, leave us only more thirsty to drink of a
deeper nature where all things are dissolved in ecstasy, and heaven
and earth are lost in God.  So we turn seeking for the traces of
that earlier wisdom which guided man into the Land of Immortal Youth,
and assuaged his thirst at a more brimming flood of the Feast of Age,
the banquet which Manannan the Danann king instituted in the haunt
of the Fire-god, and whoever partook knew thereafter neither
weariness, decay, not death.

These mysteries, all that they led to, all that they promised for
the spirit of man, are opening today for us in clear light, their
fabulous distance lessens, and we hail these kingly ideals with
as intense a trust and with more joy, perhaps, than they did who
were born in those purple hours, because we are emerging from
centuries indescribably meagre and squalid in their thought, and
every new revelation has for us the sweetness of sunlight to one
after the tears and sorrow of a prison-house.  The well at Ballykeele
is, perhaps, a humble starting-point for the contemplation of such
mighty mysteries;  but here where the enchanted world lies so close
it is never safe to say what narrow path may not lead through a
visionary door into Moy Argatnel, the silver Cloudland of Manannan,
where

"Feet of white bronze
Glitter through beautiful ages."

The Danann king with a quaint particularity tells Bran in the poem
from which these lines are quoted, that

"There is a wood of beautiful fruit
Under the prow of thy little skiff."

What to Bran was a space of pale light was to the eye of the god
a land of pure glory, Ildathach the Many-coloured Land, rolling
with rivers of golden light and dropping with dews of silver flame.
In another poem the Brugh by the Boyne, outwardly a little hillock,
is thus described:

"Look, and you will see it is the palace of a god."

Perhaps the mystic warriors of the Red Branch saw supernatural
pillars blazoned like the sunset, and entered through great doors
and walked in lofty halls with sunset-tinted beings speaking a
more beautiful wisdom than earth's.  And they there may have seen
those famous gods who had withdrawn generations before from visible
Eire:  Manannan the dark blue king, Lu Lamfada with the sunrise on
his brow and his sling, a wreath of rainbow flame, coiled around him,
the Goddess Dana in ruby brilliance, Nuada silver-handed, the Dagda
with floating locks of light shaking from him radiance and song,
Angus Oge, around whose head the ever-winging birds made music,
and others in whose company these antique heroes must have felt
the deep joy of old companionship renewed, for were not the Danann
hosts men of more primeval cycles become divine and movers in a
divine world.  In the Brugh too was a fountain, to what uses
applied the mystical imagination working on other legends may
make clearer.

The Well of Connla, the parent fountain of many streams visible and
invisible, was the most sacred well known in ancient Ireland.  It
lay itself below deep waters at the source of the Shannon, and
these waters which hid it were also mystical, for they lay between
earth and the Land of the Gods.  Here, when stricken suddenly by
an internal fire, the sacred hazels of wisdom and inspiration
unfolded at once their leaves and blossoms and their scarlet fruit,
which falling upon the waters dyed them of a royal purple;  the
nuts were then devoured by Fintann the Salmon of Knowledge, and
the wisest of the druids partook also.  This was perhaps the greatest
of the mysteries known to the ancient Gael, and in the bright
phantasmagoria conjured up there is a wild beauty which belongs to
all their tales.  The suddenly arising dreams of a remote divinity,
the scarlet nuts tossing on the purple flood, the bright immortals
glancing hither and thither, are pictures left of some mystery we
may not now uncover, thought tomorrow may reveal it, for the dawn-
lights are glittering everywhere in Ireland.  Perhaps the strange
woman who spoke of the well at Ballykeele, and the others like her,
may know more about these fountains than the legend-seekers who so
learnedly annoted their tales.  They may have drunken in dreams of
the waters at Connla's well, for many go to the Tir-na-nog in sleep,
and some are said to have remained there, and only a vacant form
is left behind without the light in the eyes which marks the presence
of a soul.  I make no pretence of knowledge concerning the things
which underlie their simple speech, but to me there seems to be
for ever escaping from legend and folk-tale, from word and custom,
some breath of a world of beauty I sigh for but am not nigh to as
these are.  I think if that strange woman could have found a voice
for what was in her heart she would have completed her vague oracle
somewhat as I have done:

There's a cure for all things in the well at Ballykeele,
Where the scarlet cressets o'erhang from the rowan trees;
There's a joy-breath blowing from the Land of Youth I feel,
        And earth with its heart at ease.

Many and many a sun-bright maiden saw the enchanted land
With star-faces glimmer up from the druid wave:
Many and many a pain of love was soothed by a faery hand
        Or lost in the love it gave.

When the quiet with a ring of pearl shall wed the earth
And the scarlet berries burn dark by the stars in the pool,
Oh, its lost and deep I'll be in the joy-breath and the mirth,
        My heart in the star-heart cool.

--September 15, 1897





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