I met a seer,
Passing the hues and objects of the world,
The fields of art and learning, pleasure, sense,
To glean eidolons.
Put in thy chants said he,
No more the puzzling hour nor day, nor day, nor segments, parts,
Put first before the rest as light for all and entrance-song of all,
That of eidolons.
Ever the dim beginnings,
Ever the growth, the rounding of the circle,
Ever the summit and the merge at last, (to surely start again,)
Ever the mutable,
Ever materials, changing, crumbling, re-cohering,
Ever the ateliers, the factories divine,
Lo, I or you,
Or woman, man, or state, known or unknown,
We seeming solid wealth, strength, beauty build,
But really build eidolons.
The ostent evanescent,
The substance of an artist’s mood or savant’s studies long,
Or warrior’s, martyr’s, hero’s, toils,
To fashion his eidolon.
Of every human life,
(The units gather’d posted, not a thought, emotion, deed, left
The whole or large or small summ’d, added up,
In its eidolons.
The old, old urge,
Based on the ancient pinnacles, lo, newer, higher pinnacles,
From science and the modern still impell’d,
The old, old urge, eidolons.
The present now and here,
America’s busy, teeming, intricate whirl,
Of aggregate and segregate for only thence releasing,
Densities, growth, facades,
Strata of mountains, soils, rocks, giant trees,
Far-born, far dying, living long, to leave,
Exalte, rapt, ecstatic,
The visible but their womb of birth,
Of orbic tendencies to shape and shape and shape,
The mighty earth-eidolons.
All space, all time.
(The stars, the terrible perturbations of the suns,
Swellings, collapsing, ending, serving their longer, shorter use,)
Fill’d with eidolons only.
The noiseless myriads,
The infinite oceans where the rivers empty,
The separate countless free identities, like eyesight,
The true realities, eidolons.
Not this the world,
Nor these the universes, they the universes,
Purport and end, ever the permanent life of life,
Beyond thy lectures learn’d professor,
Beyond thy telescope or spectroscope observer keen, beyond
Beyond the doctor’s surgery, anatomy, beyond the chemist
with his chemistry,
The entities of entities, eidolons.
- Robert Browning