Johann Wolfgang von Goethe |
THOU art confused, my beloved, at, seeing the thousandfold
Shown in this flowery troop, over the garden dispers'd;
any a name dost thou hear assign'd; one after another
Falls on thy list'ning ear, with a barbarian sound.
None resembleth another, yet all their forms have a likeness;
Therefore, a mystical law is by the chorus proclaim'd;
Yes, a sacred enigma! Oh, dearest friend, could I only
Happily teach thee the word, which may the mystery
Closely observe how the plant, by little and little progressing,
Step by step guided on, changeth to blossom and
First from the seed it unravels itself, as soon as the silent
Fruit-bearing womb of the earth kindly allows Its
And to the charms of the light, the holy, the ever-in-motion,
Trusteth the delicate leaves, feebly beginning
Simply slumber'd the force in the seed; a germ of the future,
Peacefully lock'd in itself, 'neath the integument
Leaf and root, and bud, still void of colour, and shapeless;
Thus doth the kernel, while dry, cover that motionless
Upward then strives it to swell, in gentle moisture confiding,
And, from the night where it dwelt, straightway
ascendeth to light.
Yet still simple remaineth its figure, when first it appeareth;
And 'tis a token like this, points out the child
'mid the plants.
Soon a shoot, succeeding it, riseth on high, and reneweth,
Piling-up node upon node, ever the primitive form;
Yet not ever alike: for the following leaf, as thou seest,
Ever produceth itself, fashioned in manifold ways.
Longer, more indented, in points and in parts more divided,
all-deform'd until now, slept in the organ
So at length it attaineth the noble and destined perfection,
Which, in full many a tribe, fills thee with wondering
Many ribb'd and tooth'd, on a surface juicy and swelling,
Free and unending the shoot seemeth in fullness
Yet here Nature restraineth, with powerful hands, the formation,
And to a perfecter end, guideth with softness its
Less abundantly yielding the sap, contracting the vessels,
So that the figure ere long gentler effects doth
Soon and in silence is check'd the growth of the vigorous branches,
And the rib of the stalk fuller becometh in form.
Leafless, however, and quick the tenderer stem then up-springeth,
And a miraculous sight doth the observer enchant.
Ranged in a circle, in numbers that now are small, and now countless,
Gather the smaller-sized leaves, close by the side
of their like.
Round the axis compress'd the sheltering calyx unfoldeth,
And, as the perfectest type, brilliant-hued coronals
Thus doth Nature bloom, in glory still nobler and fuller,
Showing, in order arranged, member on member uprear'd.
Wonderment fresh dost thou feel, as soon as the stem rears the flower
Over the scaffolding frail of the alternating leaves.
But this glory is only the new creation's foreteller,
Yes, the leaf with its hues feeleth the hand all
And on a sudden contracteth itself; the tenderest figures
Twofold as yet, hasten on, destined to blend into
Lovingly now the beauteous pairs are standing together,
Gather'd in countless array, there where the altar
Hymen hovereth o'er them, and scents delicious and mighty
Stream forth their fragrance so sweet, all things
Presently, parcell'd out, unnumber'd germs are seen swelling,
Sweetly conceald in the womb, where is made perfect
Here doth Nature close the ring of her forces eternal;
Yet doth a new one, at once, cling to the one gone
So that the chain be prolonged for ever through all generations,
And that the whole may have life, e'en as enjoy'd
by each part.
Now, my beloved one, turn thy gaze on the many-hued thousands
Which, confusing no more, gladden the mind as they
Every plant unto thee proclaimeth the laws everlasting,
Every flowered speaks louder and louder to thee;
But if thou here canst decipher the mystic words of the goddess,
Everywhere will they be seen, e'en though the features
Creeping insects may linger, the eager butterfly hasten,--
Plastic and forming, may man change e'en the figure
Oh, then, bethink thee, as well, how out of the germ of acquaintance,
Kindly intercourse sprang, slowly unfolding its
Soon how friendship with might unveil'd itself in our bosoms,
And how Amor, at length, brought forth blossom
Think of the manifold ways wherein Nature hath lent to our feelings,
Silently giving them birth, either the first or
Yes, and rejoice in the present day! For love that is holy
Seeketh the noblest of fruits,--that where the
thoughts are the same,
Where the opinions agree,--that the pair may, in rapt contemplation,
Lovingly blend into one,--find the more excellent
Walt Whitman |
I MET a Seer,
Passing the hues and objects of the world,
The fields of art and learning, pleasure, sense, To glean Eidólons.
Put in thy chants, said he,
No more the puzzling hour, nor day—nor segments, parts, put in,
Put first before the rest, as light for all, and entrance-song of all, That of
Ever the dim beginning;
Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle;
Ever the summit, and the merge at last, (to surely start again,) Eidólons!
Ever the mutable!
Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering;
Ever the ateliers, the factories divine, Issuing Eidólons!
Lo! I or you!
Or woman, man, or State, known or unknown,
We seeming solid wealth, strength, beauty build, But really build Eidólons.
The ostent evanescent;
The substance of an artist’s mood, or savan’s studies long,
Or warrior’s, martyr’s, hero’s toils, To fashion his Eidólon.
Of every human life,
(The units gather’d, posted—not a thought, emotion, deed, left out;)
The whole, or large or small, summ’d, added up, In its Eidólon.
The old, old urge;
Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo! newer, higher pinnacles;
From Science and the Modern still impell’d, The old, old urge, Eidólons.
The present, now and here,
America’s busy, teeming, intricate whirl,
Of aggregate and segregate, for only thence releasing, To-day’s Eidólons.
These, with the past,
Of vanish’d lands—of all the reigns of kings across the sea,
Old conquerors, old campaigns, old sailors’ voyages, Joining Eidólons.
Densities, growth, façades,
Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees,
Far-born, far-dying, living long, to leave, Eidólons everlasting.
Exaltè, rapt, extatic,
The visible but their womb of birth,
Of orbic tendencies to shape, and shape, and shape, The mighty Earth-Eidólon.
All space, all time,
(The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns,
Swelling, collapsing, ending—serving their longer, shorter use,) Fill’d with
The noiseless myriads!
The infinite oceans where the rivers empty!
The separate, countless free identities, like eyesight; The true realities,
Not this the World,
Nor these the Universes—they the Universes,
Purport and end—ever the permanent life of life, Eidólons, Eidólons.
Beyond thy lectures, learn’d professor,
Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope, observer keen—beyond all mathematics,
Beyond the doctor’s surgery, anatomy—beyond the chemist with his chemistry, The
entities of entities, Eidólons.
Unfix’d, yet fix’d;
Ever shall be—ever have been, and are,
Sweeping the present to the infinite future, Eidólons, Eidólons,
The prophet and the bard,
Shall yet maintain themselves—in higher stages yet,
Shall mediate to the Modern, to Democracy—interpret yet to them, God, and
And thee, My Soul!
Joys, ceaseless exercises, exaltations!
Thy yearning amply fed at last, prepared to meet, Thy mates, Eidólons.
Thy Body permanent,
The Body lurking there within thy Body,
The only purport of the Form thou art—the real I myself, An image, an
Thy very songs, not in thy songs;
No special strains to sing—none for itself;
But from the whole resulting, rising at last and floating, A round, full-orb’d