(S 1)
This huge world unintelligibly turns
In the shadow of a mused Inconscience;
It hides a key to inner meanings missed,
325 It locks in our hearts a voice we cannot hear.
(S 2)
An enigmatic labour of the spirit,
An exact machine of which none knows the use,
An art and ingenuity without sense,
This minute elaborate orchestrated life
330 For ever plays its motiveless symphonies.
(S 3)
The mind learns and knows not, turning its back to truth;
It studies surface laws by surface thought,
Life’s steps surveys and Nature’s process sees,
Not seeing for what she acts or why we live;
335 It marks her tireless care of just device,
Her patient intricacy of fine detail,
The ingenious spirit’s brave inventive plan
In her great futile mass of endless works,
Adds purposeful figures to her purposeless sum,
340 Its gabled storeys piles, its climbing roofs
On the close-carved foundations she has laid,
Imagined citadels reared in mythic air
Or mounts a stair of dream to a mystic moon:
Transient creations point and hit the sky:
345 A world-conjecture’s scheme is laboured out
On the dim floor of mind’s incertitude,
Or painfully built a fragmentary whole.
(S 4)
Impenetrable, a mystery recondite
Is the vast plan of which we are a part;
350 Its harmonies are discords to our view
Because we know not the great theme they serve.
(S 5)
Inscrutable work the cosmic agencies.
(S 6)
Only the fringe of a wide surge we see;
Our instruments have not that greater light,
355 Our will tunes not with the eternal Will,
Our heart’s sight is too blind and passionate.
(S 7)
Impotent to share in Nature’s mystic tact,
Inapt to feel the pulse and core of things,
Our reason cannot sound life’s mighty sea
360 And only counts its waves and scans its foam;
It knows not whence these motions touch and pass,
It sees not whither sweeps the hurrying flood:
Only it strives to canalise its powers
And hopes to turn its course to human ends:
365 But all its means come from the Inconscient’s store.
(S 8)
Unseen here act dim huge world-energies
And only trickles and currents are our share.
(S 9)
Our mind lives far off from the authentic Light
Catching at little fragments of the Truth
370 In a small corner of infinity,
Our lives are inlets of an ocean’s force.
(S 10)
Our conscious movements have sealed origins
But with those shadowy seats no converse hold;
No understanding binds our comrade parts;
375 Our acts emerge from a crypt our minds ignore.
(S 11)
Our deepest depths are ignorant of themselves;
Even our body is a mystery shop;
As our earth’s roots lurk screened below our earth,
So lie unseen our roots of mind and life.
(S 12)
380 Our springs are kept close hid beneath, within;
Our souls are moved by powers behind the wall.
(S 13)
In the subterranean reaches of the spirit
A puissance acts and recks not what it means;
Using unthinking monitors and scribes,
385 It is the cause of what we think and feel.
(S 14)
The troglodytes of the subconscious Mind,
Ill-trained slow stammering interpreters
Only of their small task’s routine aware
And busy with the record in our cells,
390 Concealed in the subliminal secrecies
Mid an obscure occult machinery,
Capture the mystic Morse whose measured lilt
Transmits the messages of the cosmic Force.
(S 15)
A whisper falls into life’s inner ear
395 And echoes from the dun subconscient caves,
Speech leaps, thought quivers, the heart vibrates, the will
Answers and tissue and nerve obey the call.
(S 16)
Our lives translate these subtle intimacies;
All is the commerce of a secret Power.
(S 17)
400 A thinking puppet is the mind of life:
Its choice is the work of elemental strengths
That know not their own birth and end and cause
And glimpse not the immense intent they serve.
(S 18)
In this nether life of man drab-hued and dull,
405 Yet filled with poignant small ignoble things,
The conscious Doll is pushed a hundred ways
And feels the push but not the hands that drive.
(S 19)
For none can see the masked ironic troupe
To whom our figure-selves are marionettes,
410 Our deeds unwitting movements in their grasp,
Our passionate strife an entertainment’s scene.
(S 20)
Ignorant themselves of their own fount of strength
They play their part in the enormous whole.
(S 21)
Agents of darkness imitating light,
415 Spirits obscure and moving things obscure,
Unwillingly they serve a mightier Power.
(S 22)
Ananke’s engines organising Chance,
Channels perverse of a stupendous Will,
Tools of the Unknown who use us as their tools,
420 Invested with power in Nature’s nether state,
Into the actions mortals think their own
They bring the incoherencies of Fate,
Or make a doom of Time’s slipshod caprice
And toss the lives of men from hand to hand
425 In an inconsequent and devious game.
(S 23)
Against all higher truth their stuff rebels;
Only to Titan force their will lies prone.
(S 24)
Inordinate their hold on human hearts,
In all our nature’s turns they intervene.
(S 25)
430 Insignificant architects of low-built lives
And engineers of interest and desire,
Out of crude earthiness and muddy thrills
And coarse reactions of material nerve
They build our huddled structures of self-will
435 And the ill-lighted mansions of our thought,
Or with the ego’s factories and marts
Surround the beautiful temple of the soul.
(S 26)
Artists minute of the hues of littleness,
They set the mosaic of our comedy
440 Or plan the trivial tragedy of our days,
Arrange the deed, combine the circumstance
And the fantasia of the moods costume.
(S 27)
These unwise prompters of man’s ignorant heart
And tutors of his stumbling speech and will,
445 Movers of petty wraths and lusts and hates
And changeful thoughts and shallow emotion’s starts,
These slight illusion-makers with their masks,
Painters of the decor of a dull-hued stage
And nimble scene-shifters of the human play,
450 Ever are busy with this ill-lit scene.
(S 28)
Ourselves incapable to build our fate
Only as actors speak and strut our parts
Until the piece is done and we pass off
Into a brighter Time and subtler Space.
(S 29)
455 Thus they inflict their little pigmy law
And curb the mounting slow uprise of man,
Then his too scanty walk with death they close.