in a book):
‘By inward gazing on the Beingless,
And dreaming through the shadowy picture realm
Of thought, conformably to self-made laws: —
Thus erring human nature often seeks
To find the meaning and the goal of life:
The soul from its own depths would draw replies
To questions that concern the universe.
Yet such attempts are vain, illusory
E'en at the outset, and they lead at last
To feeble visions which destroy themselves.’
(Speaking as follows.)
Thus is portrayed in words of import grave
Through Benedictus' noble spirit-sight,
The inward life of many human souls.
Each phrase goes home destructive to my heart —
Unfolding truly mine own way and life
Until this day, with cruel vividness.
And should a god this very hour appear
Descending on me in a raging storm
And clad in wrath, yet could his threatening might
Not torture me with more appalling fears
Than do the Master's words, as strong as fate.
Long hath my life been, but its web displays
Nothing but pictures shadowy and dim
Which haunt my dreaming soul and fondly strive
To mirror truths of nature and of mind.
With this dream-fabric hath my thought essayed
To solve the riddles of the universe.
Down many a path my restless soul I turned.
Yet do I clearly see that I myself,
Was not the active master of my soul
When threads of thought along illusion's path
Spun themselves out to cosmic distances.
So that which I in my content beheld
In pictures, left me empty, led to naught.
Then came across my path Thomasius,
The youthful painter. He indeed strode on,
Upheld by truest energies of soul
To that exalted spiritual way
Which transforms human life, and makes to rise
From hidden gulfs of soul the energy
Which feeds the springs of life within ourselves.
That which awoke from out his inmost soul
Abides in every man. And since from him
I gained this revelation, I do count
As chief amongst the many sins of life
To let the spirit's treasure grow corrupt.
I know henceforth that I must search and seek
And nevermore allow myself to doubt.
In days gone by my vanity of thought
Could have enticed me to the false belief
That unto knowledge man aspires in vain;