I know an old friend will not ask in vain
For leave to stay and rest awhile with thee
Since now, e'en more than any former time,
He needs what in thine house so oft he found.
When thou wast still far off, thy wearied step
Told me the tale which now thine eyes repeat;
That sorrow dwelleth in thy soul to-day.
has seated himself):
Even of onetime 'twas not granted me
To bring much merriment into thy home;
But special patience must I crave to-day
When, heavy-hearted and of peace bereft,
I force my way unto the home of peace.
We were right glad to see thee in the days
When scarce another man came near this house,
And thou art still our friend, despite events
That came between us, e'en though many now
Are glad to seek us in this lonely glade.
The tale is true then which hath reached mine ears,
That thy dear Felix, so reserved of yore,
Is nowadays a man much visited?
'Tis so; good Felix used to shut us off
From everyone —; but now the people throng
To question him, and he must answer them.
His duty bids him lead this novel life.
In former days he cared not to impart,
Save to his inner self, the secret lore
Concerning spirit-deeds and nature's powers
By rock and forest unto him revealed.
Nor did men seem to value it before.
How great a change hath now come o'er the times!
To many men lending a willing ear
To what they counted folly in the past,
Greedy for wisdom, Felix can reveal.
And when my dear good husband has to talk
(Felix Balde comes out of the house.)
Hour upon hour on end, as oft he doth,
I long for those old days of which I spake.
How oft would Felix earnestly declare
That in the quiet heart enshrined, the soul
Must learn to treasure up the spirit-gifts
From worlds divine in mercy sent to her.
He held it treachery to that high speech
Of spirit, to reveal it to an ear
That was but open to the world of sense.
Felicia cannot reconcile herself
To this much altered fashion of our life.
As she regrets the loneliness of old,
So she deplores the many days that pass
In which we have but few hours for ourselves.
What made thee strangers welcome to a house
That shut them out so sternly heretofore?
The spirit-voice which speaks within my heart
Bade me of yore be silent; I obeyed.
Now that it bids me speak I show myself
Equally faithful unto its command.
Our human nature undergoes a change
As earth's existence gradually evolves.
Now are we very near an epoch's close;
And spirit-knowledge therefore must in part
Be now revealed unto every man
Who chooseth to receive it to himself.
I know how little what I have to tell
Is in agreement with man's current thought;
The spirit-life, they say, must be made known,
In strict and logical thought sequences,
And men deny all logic to my words.
True science on a firm foundation based,
Cannot, they say, regard me otherwise
Than as a visionary soul who seeks
A solitary road to wisdom's seat,
And knows no more of science than of art.
Yet not a few declare it worth their while
The tangle of my language to explore,
Because therein from time to time is found
Something of worth, to reason not opposed.
I am a man into whose heart must flow,
Untouched by art, each vision he may see.
Nought know I of a knowledge lacking words.
When I retreat within mine inmost heart
And also when I list to nature's voice,
Then such a knowledge wakes to life in me
As hath no need to seek for any words;
Speech is to it as intimately linked
As is his body's sheath to man on earth;
And knowledge such as this, which in this wise
Reveals itself to us from spirit-worlds,
Can be of service even unto those
Who understand it not. And so it is
That every man is free to come to me
Who will attend to what I have to say.
Many are led by curiosity
And other trivial reasons to my door.
I know that this is so, but also know
That though the souls of just such men as these
Are not this moment living for the light,
Yet in them have been planted seeds of good
Which will not fail to ripen in due time.
Let me, I pray thee, freely speak my mind.
I have admired thee now these many years;
Yet up till now I have not grasped the sense
Which underlies thy strange mysterious words.
It surely will unfold itself to thee;
For with a lofty spirit dost thou strive —
And noble heart, and so the time must come
When thou thyself shalt hear the voice of truth.
Thou dost not mark how full of rich content
Man, as the image of the cosmos, is:
His head doth mirror heaven's very self:
The spirits of the spheres work through his limbs
And in his breast earth-beings hold their sway.
To all of these opposed, in all their might
Appear the demons, natives of the Moon,
Whose lot it is to cross those beings' aims.
The human form as it before us stands,
The soul through which we live and feel and strive,
The spirit that illuminates our path:
All these, full many gods have worked to mould
Throughout the ages of eternity;