STANZAS ON THE ORIGIN AND DESTINY OF MAN
By Louis Claude de Saint-Martin.

I.

The Voice of the Soul.
Supernal torch, thy light descends on me,
My life's enigma is explained by thee.
'Tis not because thy kindly warmth I hail
As fire derived from fonts that never fail;
Torch which enlightens, in thy splendors bright
I see myself derived from thy pure light;
Immortal townsman of a heavenly place,
From the eternal day my days I trace.

 

II.

My shining birthright makes all glories fade,
No light shall cast the inner light in shade;
Who seeks to shroud or dim that sacred beam,
I hold thereby would God Himself blaspheme;
Attest it, Laws, which Truth's most holy plan
Graved deep within the incorporeal man
When first engendered from that virtue's breast-
Words in Truth's temple heard, ye too attest!

 

III.

The Divine Voice.
Resplendent type of mine almighty power,
Of my pure essence the most perfect flower-
Majestic man, thy high election know!
If forth on thee my secret unction flow,
'Tis to confirm the mission of thy birth,
My justice making known through all the earth,
Bearing my light through falsehood's dark domain,
By thine own self declared my grandeur's reign.

 

IV.

The Voice of the Soul.
Ye elements, in all your actions bound,
Still blindly follow your unending round-
Not yours the functions of the Gods to share;
Man of that right divine alone is heir;
Exclusive minister of Wisdom's laws,
Beams from the sun supreme he only draws.
Their splendors darting all the dark disperse,
And God in man shines o'er the universe.

 

V.

Is man a God? What strange deceit is here!
Behold this prodigy divine appear
Vested in weakness, with disgrace his crown-
What foe has stripped him of his old renown?
Not king but captive now, to sense a thrall,
And, exiled far from his imperial hall,
The sacred accents of the heavenly shore,
The harp's harmonious strains, he hears no more.

 

VI.

The Divine Voice
O'er all that lives his once established right
Peace to its empire gave beneath my sight;
Ye slaves who now your ancient lord subdue,
Peace when he seeks must be implored of you!
Once from life's stream he drew, which heard my voice,
And, leaping down, did earth with fruits rejoice;
What waters now will make that desert bear?
Tears from his eyes alone, descending there!

 

VII.

To him alone this agony refer
Who did my justice and its stripes incur,
My law renounced, invoked to aid his reign
Foul falsehood's hosts, and against me armed in vain;
For hope on crime established soon betrayed,
The priest of idols was their victim made,
Death the one fruit such service bears this slave,
And life the costly sacrifice he gave.

 

VIII.

The Voice of the Soul.
Eternal God, did man's most hapless race
For aye Thine image and Thy work debase?
Say, are Thy sons brought down so deep in shame
That they can rise not in Thy virtue's name?
Is Thy most sacred character destroyed?
Thy highest title-that of Father-void?
And must that name of child, whose powers transmit
Life without end to them, turn void with it?

 

IX.

Oh, when Thy glory was my home of yore
I learned Thy love endured for evermore,
Unfathomed and unbound Thy mercy's sea!
Ah, Holy God, confirm Thy first decree!
With favors fresh increase Thy former grace-
Lo, they shall teach me yet my steps to trace
Beneath Thy wings, and compass that design
For which my nature first was drawn from Thine.

 

X.

The Divine Voice.
Volcanic forces, in their gulfs compressed,
By rocks and torrents are denied all rest,
But the fierce flame leaps round them and subdues-
Do thou, O timid man, like forces use!
A constant power direct to rend the chain,
To burst the bar, and thus thy freedom gain;
Inert are they, nor shall withstand thy strength,
Far from their fragments shalt thou soar at length!

 

XI.

When the swift lightning, ere the thunder's peal,
Doth all the vault of heaven by fire reveal,
It manifests a master to the air;
Such work is thine; discern thy symbol there.
Lo, I have launched thee from the starry height,
'Tis thou who dartest downward trailing light,
And flash-like striking on the earthly ground,
Dost with the shock to thy first heaven rebound.

 

XII.

Man is the secret sense of all which seems;
That other doctrines are but idle dreams,
Let nature, far from all contention own,
While his grand doom is by her day star shown.
To vaster laws adjusted, he shall reign,
Earth for his throne, and his star crown attain,
The universal world his empire wait,
A royal court restore his ancien state.

 

XIII.

The Voice of the Soul.
That voice restores me! Angels free from sin,
Agents of God, who dwells your hearts within,
My transports share! A jealous Lord is He,
But for my wisdom and felicity-
To justify mine origin sublime-
To bare the treasures of my natal clime-
That I with you may draw from springs above
The draughts of science and the draughts of love.

 

XIV.

O if such love, despite the void between,
Impel you sometimes towards this earthly scene,
Will not its virtues and its powers upraise
Us earthly dwellers towards your heavenly ways?
O friends at least, whatever chance betide,
May nought your natures from mine own divide,
May my poor hymns to mix with yours be meet,
And in your council may I find a seat!

 

XV.

Sacred and saintly truth! Thy voice I hear,
Thine is the victory, Thy word comes near;
Its beams divine transmute the sense of sight
Till scene and eye diffuse the same rich light.
O founts divine, with darkness all unmixed,
For God therein His holy place hath fixed,
Time's twisted paths beneath my feet swim by,
I lose them leaping towards eternity.