CONCERNING THE POET, AS
TYPE OF THE HEAVENLY PERSONALITY
[Extract from Diary,
“It is strange how I forget! This evening I have re-read several passages and chapters written by my own hand, and conceived in my own mind, of The Perfect Way, and they filled me with as great wonder and admiration as though I had read them for the first time in some stranger’s work. Ought this not to set me a-thinking how little this outward and mundane memory has to do with the true and interior consciousness? For, indeed, in my true self I know well all these things, and an hundredfold more than there lie written; yet my exterior self forgetteth them right readily, and, once they are written, scarce remembereth them more! And this sets me wondering whether, perchance, we are not altogether out of the reckoning when we talk of memory as a necessary part of selfhood; for memory, in the sense in which we use the word,
signifies a thinking back into the past, and an act by which past experience in time is recalled. But how shall the true, essential self, which is without end or beginning, have memory in any such sort, since the “eternal remembrance” of the soul seeth all things at a glance, both past and to come? To that which is in its nature Divine and of God, memory is no longer recollection, but knowledge. Shall we say that God remembers? Nay, God knoweth. I thank thee, O my Divine Genius; Thou art here! I feel thee; thine aura encompasseth me; I burn under the glow of thy wonderful presence. Yes, it is thus indeed!” Here meditation passes into Illumination, and the diary thus continues. It will be seen that the writer had caught in advance the style of her illuminator.]
THIS faculty which we call Memory is but the faint reflex and image in the material brain of that function which, in all its celestial plenitude, can belong only to the heavenly man. That which is of time and of matter must needs think by means of an organ and material cells, and these can only work mechanically, and by slow processes. But that which is of eternity and spirit needeth neither organ nor process, since organism is related only to time, and its resultant is process. “Yea, thou shalt see face to face! Thou shalt know even as thou art known!” And just as widely and essentially as the heavenly memory differs from the earthly, so doth the heavenly personality differ from that of the material creature.
Thou mayest the more easily gather somewhat of the character of the heavenly personality by considering the quality of that of the highest type of mankind on earth, – the Poet.
The poet hath no self apart from his larger self. Other men pass indifferent through life and the world, because the selfhood of earth and heaven is a thing apart from them, and toucheth them not.
The wealth of beauty in earth and sky and sea lieth outside their being, and speaketh not to their heart.
Their interests are individual and limited: their home is by one hearth: four walls are the boundary of their kingdom, – so small is it!
But the personality of the poet is divine: and being divine, it hath no limits.
He is supreme and ubiquitous in consciousness: his heart beats in every element.
The pulses of all the infinite deep of heaven vibrate in his own: and responding to their strength and their plenitude, he feels more intensely than other men.
Not merely he sees and examines these rocks and trees: these variable waters, and these glittering peaks.
Not merely he hears this plaintive wind, these rolling peals.
But he is all these; and with them – nay, in them – he rejoices and weeps, he shines and aspires, he sighs and thunders.
And when he sings, it is not he – the man – whose voice is heard: it is the voice of all the manifold Nature herself.
In his verse the sunshine laughs: the mountains give forth their sonorous echoes; the swift lightnings flash.
The great continual cadence of universal life moves and becomes articulate in human language.
O joy profound! O boundless selfhood! O God-like personality!
All the gold of the sunset is thine; the pillars of chrysolite; and the purple vault of immensity!
The sea is thine with its solemn speech, its misty distance, and its radiant shallows!
The daughters of earth love thee: the water-nymphs tell thee their secrets; thou knowest the spirit of all silent things!
Sunbeams are thy laughter, and the rain-drops of heaven thy tears; in the wrath of the storm thine heart is shaken: and thy prayer goeth up with the wind unto God.
Like unto the Gods, – therefore art thou their beloved: yea, if thou wilt, they shall tell thee all things;
Because thou only understandest, among all the sons of men!
Concerning memory; why should there any more be a difficulty in respect of it? Reflect on this saying, – “Man sees as he knows.” To thee the deeps are more visible than the surfaces of things; but to men generally the surfaces only are visible. The material can perceive only the material, the astral the astral, and the spiritual the spiritual. It all resolves itself, therefore, into a question of condition and of quality. Thy hold on matter is but slight, and thine organic memory is feeble and treacherous. It is hard for thee to perceive the surfaces of things and to remember their aspect. But thy spiritual perception is the stronger for this weakness, and the profound is that which thou seest the most readily. It is hard for thee to understand and to retain the
memory of material facts; but their meaning thou knowest instantly and by intuition, which is the memory of the soul. For the soul takes no pains to remember; she knows divinely. Is it not said that the immaculate woman brings forth without a pang? The sorrow and travail of conception belong to her whose desire is unto “Adam.” (1)
(108:1) Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. ii, pp. 96-97, 100-102.
(110:1) An archaism for consciousness. In the French there is still but one word – conscience – for the two things. E.M.
(111:1) I.e. the outer sense and lower reason. E.M.