(S 1)
A triple realm of ordered thought came first,
A small beginning of immense ascent:
Above were bright ethereal skies of mind,
A packed and endless soar as if sky pressed sky
170 Buttressed against the Void on bastioned light;
The highest strove to neighbour eternity,
The largest widened into the infinite.
(S 2)
But though immortal, mighty and divine,
The first realms were close and kin to human mind;
175 Their deities shape our greater thinking’s roads,
A fragment of their puissance can be ours:
These breadths were not too broad for our souls to range,
These heights were not too high for human hope.
(S 3)
A triple flight led to this triple world.
(S 4)
180 Although abrupt for common strengths to tread,
Its upward slope looks down on our earth-poise:
On a slant not too precipitously steep
One could turn back travelling deep descending lines
To commune with the mortal’s universe.
(S 5)
185 The mighty wardens of the ascending stair
Who intercede with the all-creating Word,
There waited for the pilgrim heaven-bound soul;
Holding the thousand keys of the Beyond
They proffered their knowledge to the climbing mind
190 And filled the life with Thought’s immensities.
(S 6)
The prophet hierophants of the occult Law,
The flame-bright hierarchs of the divine Truth,
Interpreters between man’s mind and God’s,
They bring the immortal fire to mortal men.
(S 7)
195 Iridescent, bodying the invisible,
The guardians of the Eternal’s bright degrees
Fronted the Sun in radiant phalanxes.
(S 8)
Afar they seemed a symbol imagery,
Illumined originals of the shadowy script
200 In which our sight transcribes the ideal Ray,
Or icons figuring a mystic Truth,
But, nearer, Gods and living Presences.
(S 9)
A march of friezes marked the lowest steps;
Fantastically ornate and richly small,
205 They had room for the whole meaning of a world,
Symbols minute of its perfection’s joy,
Strange beasts that were Nature’s forces made alive
And, wakened to the wonder of his role,
Man grown an image undefaced of God
210 And objects the fine coin of Beauty’s reign;
But wide the terrains were those levels serve.
(S 10)
In front of the ascending epiphany
World-Time’s enjoyers, favourites of World-Bliss,
The Masters of things actual, lords of the hours,
215 Playmates of youthful Nature and child God,
Creators of Matter by hid stress of Mind
Whose subtle thoughts support unconscious Life
And guide the fantasy of brute events,
Stood there, a race of young keen-visioned gods,
220 King-children born on Wisdom’s early plane,
Taught in her school world-making’s mystic play.
(S 11)
Archmasons of the eternal Thaumaturge,
Moulders and measurers of fragmented Space,
They have made their plan of the concealed and known
225 A dwelling-house for the invisible king.
(S 12)
Obeying the Eternal’s deep command
They have built in the material front of things
This wide world-kindergarten of young souls
Where the infant spirit learns through mind and sense
230 To read the letters of the cosmic script
And study the body of the cosmic self
And search for the secret meaning of the whole.
(S 13)
To all that Spirit conceives they give a mould;
Persuading Nature into visible moods
235 They lend a finite shape to infinite things.
(S 14)
Each power that leaps from the Unmanifest
Leaving the largeness of the Eternal’s peace
They seized and held by their precisian eye
And made a figurante in the cosmic dance.
(S 15)
240 Its free caprice they bound by rhythmic laws
And compelled to accept its posture and its line
In the wizardry of an ordered universe.
(S 16)
The All-containing was contained in form,
Oneness was carved into units measurable,
245 The limitless built into a cosmic sum:
Unending Space was beaten into a curve,
Indivisible Time into small minutes cut,
The infinitesimal massed to keep secure
The mystery of the Formless cast into form.
(S 17)
250 Invincibly their craft devised for use
The magic of sequent number and sign’s spell,
Design’s miraculous potency was caught
Laden with beauty and significance
And by the determining mandate of their gaze
255 Figure and quality equating joined
In an inextricable identity.
(S 18)
On each event they stamped its curves of law
And its trust and charge of burdened circumstance;
A free and divine incident no more
260 At each moment willed or adventure of the soul,
It lengthened a fate-bound mysterious chain,
A line foreseen of an immutable plan,
One step more in Necessity’s long march.
(S 19)
A term was set for every eager Power
265 Restraining its will to monopolise the world,
A groove of bronze prescribed for force and act
And shown to each moment its appointed place
Forewilled inalterably in the spiral
Huge Time-loop fugitive from eternity.
(S 20)
270 Inevitable their thoughts like links of Fate
Imposed on the leap and lightning race of mind
And on the frail fortuitous flux of life
And on the liberty of atomic things
Immutable cause and adamant consequence.
(S 21)
275 Idea gave up the plastic infinity
To which it was born and now traced out instead
Small separate steps of chain-work in a plot:
Immortal once, now tied to birth and end,
Torn from its immediacy of errorless sight,
280 Knowledge was rebuilt from cells of inference
Into a fixed body flasque and perishable;
Thus bound it grew, but could not last and broke
And to a new thinking’s body left its place.
(S 22)
A cage for the Infinite’s great-eyed seraphim Thoughts
285 Was closed with a criss-cross of world-laws for bars
And hedged into a curt horizon’s arc
The irised vision of the Ineffable.
(S 23)
A timeless Spirit was made the slave of the hours;
The Unbound was cast into a prison of birth
290 To make a world that Mind could grasp and rule.
(S 24)
On an earth which looked towards a thousand suns,
That the created might grow Nature’s lord
And Matter’s depths be illumined with a soul
They tied to date and norm and finite scope
295 The million-mysteried movement of the One.
(S 25)
Above stood ranked a subtle archangel race
With larger lids and looks that searched the unseen.
(S 26)
A light of liberating knowledge shone
Across the gulfs of silence in their eyes;
300 They lived in the mind and knew truth from within;
A sight withdrawn in the concentrated heart
Could pierce behind the screen of Time’s results
And the rigid cast and shape of visible things.
(S 27)
All that escaped conception’s narrow noose
305 Vision descried and gripped; their seeing thoughts
Filled in the blanks left by the seeking sense.
(S 28)
High architects of possibility
And engineers of the impossible,
Mathematicians of the infinitudes
310 And theoricians of unknowable truths,
They formulate enigma’s postulates
And join the unknown to the apparent worlds.
(S 29)
Acolytes they wait upon the timeless Power,
The cycle of her works investigate;
315 Passing her fence of wordless privacy
Their mind could penetrate her occult mind
And draw the diagram of her secret thoughts;
They read the codes and ciphers she had sealed,
Copies they made of all her guarded plans,
320 For every turn of her mysterious course
Assigned a reason and unchanging rule.
(S 30)
The unseen grew visible to student eyes,
Explained was the immense Inconscient’s scheme,
Audacious lines were traced upon the Void;
325 The Infinite was reduced to square and cube.
(S 31)
Arranging symbol and significance,
Tracing the curve of a transcendent Power,
They framed the cabbala of the cosmic Law,
The balancing line discovered of Life’s technique
330 And structured her magic and her mystery.
(S 32)
Imposing schemes of knowledge on the Vast
They clamped to syllogisms of finite thought
The free logic of an infinite Consciousness,
335 Critiqued the plot of the drama of the worlds,
Made figure and number a key to all that is:
The psycho-analysis of cosmic Self
Was traced, its secrets hunted down, and read
The unknown pathology of the Unique.
(S 33)
340 Assessed was the system of the probable,
The hazard of fleeing possibilities,
To account for the Actual’s unaccountable sum,
Necessity’s logarithmic tables drawn,
Cast into a scheme the triple act of the One.
(S 34)
345 Unveiled, the abrupt invisible multitude
Of forces whirling from the hands of Chance
Seemed to obey some vast imperative:
Their tangled motives worked out unity.
(S 35)
A wisdom read their mind to themselves unknown,
350 Their anarchy rammed into a formula
And from their giant randomness of Force,
Following the habit of their million paths,
Distinguishing each faintest line and stroke
Of a concealed unalterable design,
355 Out of the chaos of the Invisible’s moods
Derived the calculus of Destiny.
(S 36)
In its bright pride of universal lore
Mind’s knowledge overtopped the Omniscient’s power:
The Eternal’s winging eagle puissances
360 Surprised in their untracked empyrean
Stooped from their gyres to obey the beck of Thought:
Each mysteried God forced to revealing form,
Assigned his settled moves in Nature’s game,
Zigzagged at the gesture of a chess-player Will
365 Across the chequerboard of cosmic Fate.
(S 37)
In the wide sequence of Necessity’s steps
Predicted, every act and thought of God,
Its values weighed by the accountant Mind,
Checked in his mathematised omnipotence,
370 Lost its divine aspect of miracle
And was a figure in a cosmic sum.
(S 38)
The mighty Mother’s whims and lightning moods
Arisen from her all-wise unruled delight
In the freedom of her sweet and passionate breast,
375 Robbed of their wonder were chained to a cause and aim;
An idol of bronze replaced her mystic shape
That captures the movements of the cosmic vasts,
In the sketch precise of an ideal face
Forgotten was her eyelashes’ dream-print
380 Carrying on their curve infinity’s dreams,
Lost the alluring marvel of her eyes;
The surging wave-throbs of her vast sea-heart
They bound to a theorem of ordered beats:
Her deep designs which from herself she had veiled
385 Bowed self-revealed in their confessional.
(S 39)
For the birth and death of the worlds they fixed a date,
The diameter of infinity was drawn,
Measured the distant arc of the unseen heights
And visualised the plumbless viewless depths,
390 Till all seemed known that in all time could be.
(S 40)
All was coerced by number, name and form;
Nothing was left untold, incalculable.
(S 41)
Yet was their wisdom circled with a nought:
Truths they could find and hold but not the one Truth:
395 The Highest was to them unknowable.
(S 42)
By knowing too much they missed the whole to be known:
The fathomless heart of the world was left unguessed
And the Transcendent kept its secrecy.
(S 43)
In a sublimer and more daring soar
400 To the wide summit of the triple stairs
Bare steps climbed up like flaming rocks of gold
Burning their way to a pure absolute sky.
(S 44)
August and few the sovereign Kings of Thought
Have made of Space their wide all-seeing gaze
405 Surveying the enormous work of Time:
A breadth of all-containing Consciousness
Supported Being in a still embrace.
(S 45)
Intercessors with a luminous Unseen,
They capt in the long passage to the world
410 The imperatives of the creator Self
Obeyed by unknowing earth, by conscious heaven;
Their thoughts are partners in its vast control.
(S 46)
A great all-ruling Consciousness is there
And Mind unwitting serves a higher Power;
415 It is a channel, not the source of all.
(S 47)
The cosmos is no accident in Time;
There is a meaning in each play of Chance,
There is a freedom in each face of Fate.
(S 48)
A Wisdom knows and guides the mysteried world;
420 A Truth-gaze shapes its beings and events;
A Word self-born upon creation’s heights,
Voice of the Eternal in the temporal spheres,
Prophet of the seeings of the Absolute,
Sows the Idea’s significance in Form
425 And from that seed the growths of Time arise.
(S 49)
On peaks beyond our ken the All-Wisdom sits:
A single and infallible look comes down,
A silent touch from the supernal’s air
Awakes to ignorant knowledge in its acts
430 The secret power in the inconscient depths,
Compelling the blinded Godhead to emerge,
Determining Necessity’s nude dance
As she passes through the circuit of the hours
And vanishes from the chase of finite eyes
435 Down circling vistas of aeonic Time.
(S 50)
The unseizable forces of the cosmic whirl
Bear in their bacchant limbs the fixity
Of an original foresight that is Fate.
(S 51)
Even Nature’s ignorance is Truth’s instrument;
440 Our struggling ego cannot change her course:
Yet is it a conscious power that moves in us,
A seed-idea is parent of our acts
And destiny the unrecognised child of Will.
(S 52)
Infallibly by Truth’s directing gaze
445 All creatures here their secret self disclose,
Forced to become what in themselves they hide.
(S 53)
For He who Is grows manifest in the years
And the slow Godhead shut within the cell
Climbs from the plasm to immortality.
(S 54)
Mystic, ineffable is the spirit’s truth,
Unspoken, caught only by the spirit’s eye.
(S 55)
When naked of ego and mind it hears the Voice;
It looks through light to ever greater light
455 And sees Eternity ensphering Life.
(S 56)
This greater Truth is foreign to our thoughts;
Where a free Wisdom works, they seek for a rule;
Or we only see a tripping game of Chance
Or a labour in chains forced by bound Nature’s law,
460 An absolutism of dumb unthinking Power.
(S 57)
Audacious in their sense of God-born strength
These dared to grasp with their thought Truth’s absolute;
By an abstract purity of godless sight,
By a percept nude, intolerant of forms,
465 They brought to Mind what Mind could never reach
And hoped to conquer Truth’s supernal base.
(S 58)
A stripped imperative of conceptual phrase
Architectonic and inevitable
Translated the unthinkable into thought:
470 A silver-winged fire of naked subtle sense,
An ear of mind withdrawn from the outward’s rhymes
Discovered the seed-sounds of the eternal Word,
The rhythm and music heard that built the worlds,
And seized in things the bodiless Will to be.
(S 59)
475 The Illimitable they measured with number’s rods
And traced the last formula of limited things,
In transparent systems bodied termless truths,
The Timeless made accountable to Time
And valued the incommensurable Supreme.
(S 60)
480 To park and hedge the ungrasped infinitudes
They erected absolute walls of thought and speech
And made a vacuum to hold the One.
(S 61)
In their sight they drove towards an empty peak,
A mighty space of cold and sunlit air.
(S 62)
485 To unify their task, excluding life
Which cannot bear the nakedness of the Vast,
They made a cipher of a multitude,
In negation found the meaning of the All
And in nothingness the absolute positive.
(S 63)
490 A single law simplessed the cosmic theme,
Compressing Nature into a formula;
Their titan labour made all knowledge one,
A mental algebra of the Spirit’s ways,
An abstract of the living Divinity.
(S 64)
495 Here the mind’s wisdom stopped; it felt complete;
For nothing more was left to think or know:
In a spiritual zero it sat throned
And took its vast silence for the Ineffable.