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Creeps ever on from fancies to the fact,
And in this striving, this converting air
Into a solid he may grasp and use,
progress, man's distinctive mark alone,
Not God's, and not the beasts’: God is, they are,
Man partly is and wholly hopes to be.
could no more attend his soul Were all it struggles after found at first And guesses changed to knowledge absolute, Than motion wait his body, were all else Than it the solid earth on every side, Where now through space he moves from rest to rest. Man, therefore, thus conditioned, must expect He could not, what he knows now, know at first; What he considers that he knows to-day, Come but tomorrow, he will find misknown; Getting increase of knowledge, since he learns Because he lives, which is to be a man, Set to instruct himself by his past self: First, like the brute, obliged by facts to learn, Next, as man may, obliged by his own mind, Bent, habit, nature, knowledge turned to law. God's gift was that man should conceive of truth And yearn to gain it, catching at mistake, As midway help till he reach fact indeed. The statuary ere he mould a shape
Boasts a like gift, the shape's idea, and next
The aspiration to produce the same;
So, taking clay, he calls his shape thereout,
Cries everNow I have the thing I see':
Yet all the while goes changing what was wrought,
From falsehood like the truth, to truth itself.
How were it had he cried 'I see no face,
No breast, no feet i' the ineffectual clay ?'
Rather commend him that he clapped his hands,
And laughed. It is my shape and lives again !
Enjoyed the falsehood, touched it on to truth,
Until yourselves applaud the flesh indeed
In what is still flesh-imitating clay.
Right in you, right in him, such way be man's !
God only makes the live shape at a jet.
Will ye renounce this pact of creatureship?
The pattern on the Mount subsists no more,
Seemed awhile, then returned to nothingness ;
But copies, Moses strove to make thereby,
Serve still and are replaced as time requires :
By these, make newest vessels, reach the type !
If ye demur, this judgment on your head,
Never to reach the ultimate, angels' law,
Indulging every instinct of the soul
There where law, life, joy, impulse are one thing !
“Such is the burthen of the latest time.
I have survived to hear it with my ears,
Answer it with my lips: does this suffice ?
For if there be a further woe than such,
Wherein my brothers struggling need a hand,
So long as any pulse is left in mine, : May I be absent even longer yet,
Plucking the blind ones back from the abyss,
Though I should tarry a new hundred years !"
But he was dead : 'twas about noon, the day
Somewhat declining: we five buried him
That eve, and then, dividing, went five ways,
And I, disguised, returned to Ephesus.
By this, the cave's mouth must be filled with sand.
Valens is lost, I know not of his trace;
The Bactrian was but a wild, childish man,
And could not write nor speak, but only loved :
So, lest the memory of this go quite,
Seeing that I to-morrow fight the beasts,
I tell the same to Phoebas, whom believe!
For many look again to find that face,
Beloved John's to whom I ministered,
Somewhere in life about the world ; they err:
Either mistaking what was darkly spoke
At ending of his book, as he relates,
Or misconceiving somewhat of this speech
Scattered from mouth to mouth, as I suppose.
Believe ye will not see him any more
About the world with his divine regard !
For all was as I say, and now the man
Lies as he lay once, breast to breast with God.
[Cerinthus read and mused; one added this:
“If Christ, as thou affirmest, be of men
Mere man, the first and best but nothing more,
Account Him, for reward of what He was,
Now and for ever, wretchedest of all.
For see; Himself conceived of life as love,
Conceived of love as what must enter in,
Fill up, make one with His each soul He loved :
Thus much for man's joy, all men’s joy for Him.
Well, He is gone, thou sayest, to fit reward.
But by this time are many souls set free,
And very many still retained alive :
Nay, should His coming be delayed awhile,
Say, ten years longer (twelve years, some compute)
See if, for every finger of thy hands,
There be not found, that day the world shall end,
Hundreds of souls, each holding by Christ's word
That He will grow incorporate with all,
With me as Pamphylax, with him as John,
Groom for each bride! Can a mere man do this?
Yet Christ saith, this He lived and died to do.
Call Christ, then, the illimitable God,
Or lost !"
But 'twas Cerinthus that is lost.]