Book 10: The Book of the Double Twilight

Canto 1 – The Dream Twilight of the Ideal

(S 1)
ALL STILL was darkness dread and desolate;
There was no change nor any hope of change.
(S 2)
In this black dream which was a house of Void,
A walk to Nowhere in a land of Nought,
5 Ever they drifted without aim or goal;
Gloom led to worse gloom, depth to an emptier depth,
In some positive Non-being’s purposeless Vast
Through formless wastes dumb and unknowable.
(S 3)
An ineffectual beam of suffering light EoS
10 Through the despairing darkness dogged their steps
Like the remembrance of a glory lost;
Even while it grew, it seemed unreal there,
Yet haunted Nihil’s chill stupendous realm,
Unquenchable, perpetual, lonely, null,
15 A pallid ghost of some dead eternity.
(S 4)
It was as if she must pay now her debt,
Her vain presumption to exist and think,
To some brilliant Maya that conceived her soul.
(S 5)
This most she must absolve with endless pangs, EoS
20 Her deep original sin, the will to be
And the sin last, greatest, the spiritual pride,
That, made of dust, equalled itself with heaven,
Its scorn of the worm writhing in the mud,
Condemned ephemeral, born from Nature’s dream,
25 Refusal of the transient creature’s role,
The claim to be a living fire of God,
The will to be immortal and divine.
(S 6)
In that tremendous darkness heavy and bare
She atoned for all since the first act whence sprang
30 The error of the consciousness of Time,
The rending of the Inconscient’s seal of sleep,
The primal and unpardoned revolt that broke
The peace and silence of the Nothingness
Which was before a seeming universe
35 Appeared in a vanity of imagined Space
And life arose engendering grief and pain:
A great Negation was the Real’s face EoS
Prohibiting the vain process of Time:
And when there is no world, no creature more,
40 When Time’s intrusion has been blotted out,
It shall last, unbodied, saved from thought, at peace.
(S 7)
Accursed in what had been her godhead source,
Condemned to live for ever empty of bliss,
Her immortality her chastisement,
45 Her spirit, guilty of being, wandered doomed,
Moving for ever through eternal Night.
(S 8)
But Maya is a veil of the Absolute; EoS
A Truth occult has made this mighty world:
The Eternal’s wisdom and self-knowledge act
50 In ignorant Mind and in the body’s steps.
(S 9)
The Inconscient is the Superconscient’s sleep.
(S 10)
An unintelligible Intelligence
Invents creation’s paradox profound;
Spiritual thought is crammed in Matter’s forms,
55 Unseen it throws out a dumb energy
And works a miracle by a machine.
(S 11)
All here is a mystery of contraries: EoS
Darkness a magic of self-hidden Light,
Suffering some secret rapture’s tragic mask
60 And death an instrument of perpetual life.
(S 12)
Although Death walks beside us on Life’s road, EoS
A dim bystander at the body’s start
And a last judgment on man’s futile works,
Other is the riddle of its ambiguous face:
65 Death is a stair, a door, a stumbling stride
The soul must take to cross from birth to birth,
A grey defeat pregnant with victory,
A whip to lash us towards our deathless state.
(S 13)
The inconscient world is the spirit’s self-made room,
70 Eternal Night shadow of eternal Day.
(S 14)
Night is not our beginning nor our end; EoS
She is the dark Mother in whose womb we have hid
Safe from too swift a waking to world-pain.
(S 15)
We came to her from a supernal Light,
75 By Light we live and to the Light we go.
(S 16)
Here in this seat of Darkness mute and lone,
In the heart of everlasting Nothingness
Light conquered now even by that feeble beam:
Its faint infiltration drilled the blind deaf mass;
80 Almost it changed into a glimmering sight
That housed the phantom of an aureate Sun
Whose orb pupilled the eye of Nothingness.
(S 17)
A golden fire came in and burned Night’s heart; EoS
Her dusky mindlessness began to dream;
85 The Inconscient conscious grew, Night felt and thought.
(S 18)
Assailed in the sovereign emptiness of its reign
The intolerant Darkness paled and drew apart
Till only a few black remnants stained that Ray.
(S 19)
But on a failing edge of dumb lost space
90 Still a great dragon body sullenly loomed;
Adversary of the slow struggling Dawn
Defending its ground of tortured mystery,
It trailed its coils through the dead martyred air
And curving fled down a grey slope of Time.