BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


Some Experiences of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross


Anima poetæ from the unpublished note-books of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Excerpt:

The ribbed flame — its snatches of impatience, As The that half seem, and only seem that half, to baffle Ply"" its upward rush; the eternal unity of individ- upwABD ualities whose essence is in their distinguishableness, even as thought and fancies in the mind; the points of so many cherubic swords snatched back, but never discouraged, still foutftaining upwards;

—flames self-snatched up heavenward, if earth supply the fuel, heaven the dry light air — themselves still making the current that will fan and spread them — yet all their force in vain, if of itself — and light dry air, heaped fuel, fanning breeze as idle, if no inward spark lurks there, or lurks unkindled.' Such a spark, O man! is thy Free Will — the star whose beams are Virtue.

94

CHAPTER IV.

1S05.

"Alone, alone, all, all alone,

Alone on a wide, wide eea!
And never a taint took pity on
My soul in agony."

a i.e.

This evening there was the most perfect and The Sense the brightest halo circling the roundest and brightest moon I ever beheld. So bright was the halo, so compact, so entire a circle, that it gave the whole of its area, the moon itself included, the appearance of a solid opaque body, an enormous planet. It was as if this planet had a circular trough of some lightreflecting fluid for its rim (that is, the halo), and its centre (that is, the moon) a small circular basin of some fluid that still more copiously reflected, or that even emitted light; and as if the interspatial area were somewhat equally substantial, but sullen. Thence I have found occasion to meditate on the nature of the sense of magnitude and its absolute dependence on the idea of substance; the consequent difference between magnitude and spaciousness, the dependence of the idea on double-touch, and thence to evolve all our feelings and ideas of magnitude, magnitudinal sublimity, etc., from a scale of our own bodies. For why, if form constituted the sense, that is, if it were pure vision, as a perceptive sense abstracted from feeling in

the organ of vision, — why do I seek for mountains, when in the flattest countries the clouds present so many and so much more romantic and spacious forms, and the coal-fire so many, so much more varied and lovely forms? And whence arises the pleasure from musing on the latter? Do I not, more or less consciously, fancy myself a Lilliputian, to whom these would be mountains, and so, by this factitious scale, make them mountains, my pleasure being consequently playful, a voluntary poem in hieroglyphics or picture-writing — "jp/iantowis of sublimity," which I continue to know to be phantoms? And form itself, is not its main agency exerted in individualizing the thing, making it this and that, and thereby facilitating the shadowy measurement of it by the scale of my own body?

Yon long, not unvaried, ridge of hills, that runs out of sight each way, it is spacious, and the pleasure derivable from it is from its running, its motion, its assimilation to action; and here the scale is taken from my life and soul, and not from my body. Space is the Hebrew name for God, and it is the most perfect image of soul, pure soul, being to us nothing but unresisted action. Whenever action is resisted, limitation begins — and limitation is the first constituent of body — the more omnipresent it is in a given space, the more that space is body or matter — and thus all body necessarily presupposes soul, inasmuch as all resistance presupposes action. Magnitude, therefore, is the intimate blending, the most perfect union, through its whole sphere, in every minutest part of it, of action and resistance to action. It is spaciousness in which space is filled up — that is, as we well say, transmitted by incorporate accession, not destroyed. In all limited things, that is, in all forms, it is at least fantastically stopped, and, thus, from the positive grasp to the mountain, from the mountain to the cloud, from the cloud to the blue depth of sky, which, as on the top of Etna, in a serene atmosphere, seems to go behind the sun, all is graduation, that preludes division, indeed, but not distinction; and he who endeavors to overturn a distinction by showing that there is no chasm, by the old sophism of the cumulus or the horse's tail, is still diseased with the formication? the (what is the nosological name of it? the hairs or dancing infinites of black specks seeming always to be before the eye), — the araneosis of corpuscular materialism. — S. T. C.


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