I have been reading about the close (too close for some) relationship that exists between religion and anthropomorphism and in the process I stumbled across a few lines from a poem quoted in a article – lines that I felt contained quite a profound message. Having read a part, I wanted to read the entire poem. It took a little bit of online searching to find it, but now that I see the entire poem, I think it is more than just a little worthwhile. The author is Thomas Hodgkin.
EMORI NOLO: MORTUUM ME ESSE NIHIL ÆSTUMO.*
One wrote of old, “The struggle of this dying Is all I dread:
I shall not heed when men above me, sighing, Say, ‘He is dead.’”
Not in such words, oh Father of our Spirits, Speak we again:
A fear, a hope each child of us inherits, Making them vain.
Awful the hour, and shall be through the ages, That closeth Life;
With the worn Soul the weary Body wages Self-torturing strife.
Till far, so far from loving eyes around them, One journeyeth lone,
And that close wedlock that for years hath bound them Ends with a groan.
The pale still Form, so late so dear a treasure, Its fate we know;
The Dust, the Worm, its depth of ruin measure Where it lies low.
But the vast doubt wherewith our souls are shaken Outlasts the tomb!
“Where, in what regions shall the Wanderer waken, Gazing on whom?”
Father! I live or die, in this confiding, That thou art King;
That each still Star above me owns thy guiding,— Each wild bird’s wing.
That Nature feels Thee, great unseen Accorder Of all her wheels,
That tokens manifest of thy mightier order Her strife reveals.
And that without Thee not a wave is heaving Nor flake descends,
That all the giant Powers of her conceiving Are thy Son’s friends.
Yet, I beseech Thee, send not these to light me Through the dark vale;
They are so strong, so passionlessly mighty, And I so frail.
No! let me gaze, not on some sea far reaching Nor star-sprent sky,
But on a Face in which mine own, beseeching, May read reply.
For more than Poets’ song or Painters’ seeing Of fiery Hell,
Thrills me this dread of waking into Being Where no souls dwell.
Such was my cry: hath not the mighty Maker Who gave me Christ,
Hath he not granted me a sweet Awaker For the last tryst?
Given a Son who left the peace unbroken That reigns above,
That he might whisper God’s great name unspoken, The name of Love!
Have I not known him? Yes, and still am knowing, And more shall know;
Have not his sweet eyes guided all my going, Wept with my woe;
Gleamed a bright dawn-hope when the clouds of sadness Made my soul dim,
And looked their warning when an alien gladness Lured me from Him?
Lord, when I tread this valley of our dying, Sharp cliffs between,
Where over all, one ghastly Shadow lying Fills the ravine,
E’en then, thy kingly sceptre being o’er me, I will not fear,
Thy crook, my Shepherd, dimly seen before me, My way shall clear.
And when the grave must yield her prey down-stricken, When sleep is o’er,
When the strange stirs of life begin to quicken This form once more,
Oh Son of Man, if Thee and not another I have here known,
If I may see Thee then, our First-born Brother, Upon thy throne,
How stern soe’er, how terrible in brightness That dawn shall break,
I shall be satisfied with thy dear likeness When I awake.