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Our heart, and have our lips unchained; For that which seals them hath been deep
For surely once, they feel, we were 15
THE BURIED LIFE
(1852) Light flows our war of mocking words;
Fate, which foresaw
strife, And well-nigh change his own identity, That it might keep from his capricious
play His genuine self, and force him to obey Even in his own despite his being's law, Bade through the deep recesses of our
breast The unregarded river of our life Pursue with indiscernible flow its way; 40 And that we should not see The buried stream, and seem to be Eddying at large in blind uncertainty, Though driving on with it eternally.
Behold, with tears mine eyes are wet!
Alas! is even love too weak
20 Tricked in disguises, alien to the rest Of men, and alien to themselves — and yet The same heart beats in every human
But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
45 But often, in the din of strife, There rises an unspeakable desire After the knowledge of our buried life; A thirst to spend our fire and restless force In tracking out
true, original course; A longing to inquire Into the mystery of this heart which beats So wild, so deep in us, — to know Whence our lives come, and where they
go. And many a man in his own breast then delves,
55 But deep enough, alas! none ever mines. And we have been on many thousand lines, And we have shown, on each, spirit and
power; But hardly have we, for one little hour, Been on our own line, have we been our
selves, Hardly had skill to utter one of all The nameless feelings that course through
But we, my love! doth a like spell benumb Our hearts, our voices? must we too be dumb?
25 Ah! well for us, if even we, Even for a moment, can get free
But they course on forever unexpressed. And long we try in vain to speak and act Our hidden self, and what we say and do
65 Is eloquent, is well — but 'tis not true! And then we will no more be racked With inward striving, and demand Of all the thousand nothings of the hour Their stupefying power; Ah, yes, and they benumb us at our call! Yet still, from time to time, vague and
forlorn, From the soul's subterranean depth up
borne As from an infinitely distant land, Come airs, and floating echoes, and con
vey A melancholy into all our day.
Her mirth the world required;
She bathed it in smiles of glee. But her heart was tired, tired,
And now they let her be.
Only -- but this is rare
breast, And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again. 85 The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies
plain, And what we mean, we say, and what we
would, we know. A man becomes aware of his life's flow, And hears its winding murmur, and he
Upon the open shoulder of the hill.
flame! Let us rest here; and now, Empedocles, Pantheia's history!
(A harp-note below is heard.) Empedocles. Hark! what sound was that Rose from below? If it were possible,
not so far from human
I should have said that some one touched To the high mountain pastures, and to a harp.
stay, Hark! there again!
Till the rough cow-herds drive them Pausanias. 'Tis the boy Callicles,
past, The sweetest harp-player in Catana. Knee-deep in the cool ford; for 'tis the He is for ever coming on these hills,
last In summer, to all country festivals, 15 Of all the woody, high, well-watered dells With a gay revelling band; he breaks from On Etna; and the beam them
Of noon is broken there by chestnut Sometimes, and wanders far among the boughs glens.
Down its steep verdant sides; the air But heed him not, he will not mount to us; Is freshened by the leaping stream, which I spoke with him this morning. Once
throws more, therefore,
Eternal showers of spray on the mossed Instruct me of Pantheia's story, Master, 20 As I have prayed thee.
Of trees, and veins of turf, and long dark Empedocles. That? and to what end?
shoots Pausanias. It is enough that all men Of ivy-plants, and fragrant hanging bells speak of it.
Of hyacinths, and on late anemonies, But I will also say, that when the Gods That muffle its wet banks; but glade, Visit us as they do with sign and plague, And stream, and sward, and chestnut To know those spells of thine that stay
trees, their hand
End here; Etna beyond, in the broad glare Were to live free from terror.
Of the hot noon, without a shade, Empedocles. Spells? Mistrust them. Slope behind slope, up to the peak, lies Mind is the spell which governs earth and
The peak, round which the white clouds Man has a mind with which to plan his
play. safety; Know that, and help thyself. Pausanias. But thine own words? In such a glen, on such a day, "The wit and counsel of man was never
On Pelion, on the grassy ground, clear,
Chiron, the agèd Centaur, lay, Troubles confuse the little wit he has." The young Achilles standing by. Mind is a light which the Gods mock us
The Centaur taught him to explore with,
The mountains; where the glens are dry To lead those false who trust it.
And the tired Centaurs come to rest, (The harp sounds again.) And where the soaking springs abound Empedocles. Hist! once more! And the straight ashes grow
for Listen, Pausanias! — Aye, 'tis Callicles;
spears, I know those notes among a thousand.
And where the hill-goats come to feed, Hark!
And the sea-eagles build their nest.
He showed him Phthia far away,
And said: 0 boy, I taught this lore
To Peleus, in long distant years! (Sings unseen, from below.)
He told him of the Gods, the stars, The track winds down to the clear stream, The tides; — and then of mortal wars, To cross the sparkling shallows; there And of the life which heroes lead The cattle love to gather, on their way Before they reach the Elysian place