Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
From The Fool’s Adventure

Lascelles Abercrombie (1881–1938)
          .. But if thou wilt,
What thou art I will show to thee.
                    My thought
Moved in its brooding, and its movement stirred
A ripple in the quiet of the waters        5
Whereunder my thought’s Sabbath is moored deep,—
The region of the happening of my Will.
And when my act, this ripple’s viewless travel,
In its upheaval reached the upper calm
Laid on the mere, whose waters are my will,        10
Whose surface is Appearance and broad Place,
Its breaking whirls became a journeying wave,
That at the last became a gathered sea,
A pile of all the waters in one tide.
But it is grown to its height; and now, before        15
The smooth heapt power tumbles down in surf,
Its head is whiten’d with an age of spray,
Weakness beginning. Lo, that spray is Man,
Crest of the wave, and token of its downfall.
Not stately like the early wave, nor clear,        20
Nor with an inner lodging for the light,
But troublous, misty, throwing off the light
In glitter, all apieces, loose, uneasy.
Truly my act is near its end when thou,
Man, the loose spray, ride on its stooping neck,        25
From one firm bulk of waters, one onward gang,
Broken away to be a brawl of drops,
Freedom and hither-thither motions light,
Each drop one to itself, a discrete self.
  Thou freedom, thou high self-acquaintance, thou SIN,        30
Man, dost thou know me? But now know thyself …
Note 1. Lascelles Abercrombie. From The Fool’s Adventure in ‘Interludes and Poems’. 1908. Line 25. The substantive gang in the sense of going seems to be excessively obsolete. [back]

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