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Poem by Arthur Hugh Clough
WHEN on the primal peaceful blank profound, Which in its still unknowing silence holds All knowledge, ever by withholding holds— When on that void (like footfalls in far rooms), In faint pulsations from the whitening East Articulate voices first were felt to stir, And the great child, in dreaming grown to man, Losing his dream to piece it up began; Then Plato in me said, ‘’Tis but the figured ceiling overhead, With cunning diagrams bestarred, that shine In all the three dimensions, are endowed With motion too by skill mechanical, That thou in height, and depth, and breadth, and power. Schooled unto pure Mathesis, might proceed To higher entities, whereof in us Copies are seen, existent they themselves In the sole kingdom of the Mind and God. Mind not the stars, mind thou thy Mind and God.’ By that supremer Word O’ermastered, deafly heard Were hauntings dim of old astrologies; Chaldean mumblings vast, with gossip light From modern ologistic fancyings mixed, Of suns and stars, by hypothetic men Of other frame than ours inhabited, Of lunar seas and lunar craters huge. And was there atmosphere, or was there not? And without oxygen could life subsist? And was the world originally mist?— Talk they as talk they list, I, in that ampler voice, Unheeding, did rejoice.
Arthur Hugh Clough
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