(S 1)
400 “Hard is the world-redeemer’s heavy task;
The world itself becomes his adversary,
Those he would save are his antagonists:
This world is in love with its own ignorance,
Its darkness turns away from the saviour light,
405 It gives the cross in payment for the crown.
(S 2)
His work is a trickle of splendour in a long night;
He sees the long march of Time, the little won;
A few are saved, the rest strive on and fail:
A Sun has passed, on earth Night’s shadow falls.
(S 3)
410 Yes, there are happy ways near to God’s sun;
But few are they who tread the sunlit path;
Only the pure in soul can walk in light.
(S 4)
An exit is shown, a road of hard escape
From the sorrow and the darkness and the chain;
415 But how shall a few escaped release the world?
(S 5)
The human mass lingers beneath the yoke.
(S 6)
Escape, however high, redeems not life,
Life that is left behind on a fallen earth.
(S 7)
Escape cannot uplift the abandoned race
420 Or bring to it victory and the reign of God.
(S 8)
A greater power must come, a larger light.
(S 9)
Although Light grows on earth and Night recedes,
Yet till the evil is slain in its own home
And Light invades the world’s inconscient base
425 And perished has the adversary Force,
He still must labour on, his work half done.
(S 10)
One yet may come armoured, invincible;
His will immobile meets the mobile hour;
The world’s blows cannot bend that victor head;
430 Calm and sure are his steps in the growing Night;
The goal recedes, he hurries not his pace,
He turns not to high voices in the night;
He asks no aid from the inferior gods;
His eyes are fixed on his immutable aim.
(S 11)
435 Man turns aside or chooses easier paths;
He keeps to the one high and difficult road
That sole can climb to the Eternal’s peaks;
The ineffable planes already have felt his tread;
He has made heaven and earth his instruments,
440 But the limits fall from him of earth and heaven;
Their law he transcends but uses as his means.
(S 12)
He has seized life’s hands, he has mastered his own heart.
(S 13)
The feints of Nature mislead not his sight,
Inflexible his look towards Truth’s far end;
445 Fate’s deaf resistance cannot break his will.
(S 14)
In the dreadful passages, the fatal paths,
Invulnerable his soul, his heart unslain,
He lives through the opposition of earth’s Powers
And Nature’s ambushes and the world’s attacks.
(S 15)
450 His spirit’s stature transcending pain and bliss,
He fronts evil and good with calm and equal eyes.
(S 16)
He too must grapple with the riddling Sphinx
And plunge into her long obscurity.
(S 17)
He has broken into the Inconscient’s depths
455 That veil themselves even from their own regard:
He has seen God’s slumber shape these magic worlds.
(S 18)
He has watched the dumb God fashioning Matter’s frame,
Dreaming the dreams of its unknowing sleep,
And watched the unconscious Force that built the stars.
(S 19)
460 He has learned the Inconscient’s workings and its law,
Its incoherent thoughts and rigid acts,
Its hazard wastes of impulse and idea,
The chaos of its mechanic frequencies,
Its random calls, its whispers falsely true,
465 Misleaders of the hooded listening soul.
(S 20)
All things come to its ear but nothing abides;
All rose from the silence, all goes back to its hush.
(S 21)
Its somnolence founded the universe,
Its obscure waking makes the world seem vain.
(S 22)
470 Arisen from Nothingness and towards Nothingness turned,
Its dark and potent nescience was earth’s start;
It is the waste stuff from which all was made;
Into its deeps creation can collapse.
(S 23)
Its opposition clogs the march of the soul,
475 It is the mother of our ignorance.
(S 24)
He must call light into its dark abysms,
Else never can Truth conquer Matter’s sleep
And all earth look into the eyes of God.
(S 25)
All things obscure his knowledge must relume,
480 All things perverse his power must unknot:
He must pass to the other shore of falsehood’s sea,
He must enter the world’s dark to bring there light.
(S 26)
The heart of evil must be bared to his eyes,
He must learn its cosmic dark necessity,
485 Its right and its dire roots in Nature’s soil.
(S 27)
He must know the thought that moves the demon act
And justifies the Titan’s erring pride
And the falsehood lurking in earth’s crooked dreams:
He must enter the eternity of Night
490 And know God’s darkness as he knows his Sun.
(S 28)
For this he must go down into the pit,
For this he must invade the dolorous Vasts.
(S 29)
Imperishable and wise and infinite,
He still must travel Hell the world to save.
(S 30)
495 Into the eternal Light he shall emerge
On borders of the meeting of all worlds;
There on the verge of Nature’s summit steps
The secret Law of each thing is fulfilled,
All contraries heal their long dissidence.
(S 31)
500 There meet and clasp the eternal opposites,
There pain becomes a violent fiery joy;
Evil turns back to its original good,
And sorrow lies upon the breasts of Bliss:
She has learned to weep glad tears of happiness;
505 Her gaze is charged with a wistful ecstasy.
(S 32)
Then shall be ended here the Law of Pain.
(S 33)
Earth shall be made a home of Heaven’s light,
A seer heaven-born shall lodge in human breasts;
The superconscient beam shall touch men’s eyes
510 And the truth-conscious world come down to earth
Invading Matter with the Spirit’s ray,
Awaking its silence to immortal thoughts,
Awaking the dumb heart to the living Word.
(S 34)
This mortal life shall house Eternity’s bliss,
515 The body’s self taste immortality.
(S 35)
Then shall the world-redeemer’s task be done.