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Eolaus

Dramatis Personae:
Eolaus
The Prophet
Earth
Heaven
Cosmos
Voices of Nature
Voices of Truth
Echoes

Scene: A beautiful Island, wooded. Eolaus sitting on a fallen tree near the sea-shore.

Eolaus:
Unto this lonely Island I repair
To search for peace. After long, days and nights
Upon the waters, storm-tossed and fatigued,
My skiff touched thy fair harbor, blessed Isle.
Now on thy fragrant bosom I will rest,
And in thy spiritual ecstasy
Sweetly participate : thy loveliness
Entrances me; thy restfulness enweaves
My thoughts with peace imperishable; thou
Art silent, solitary, beautiful,
And I am lonely; yet thy solitude
Perchance will comfort me, and take away
My loneliness and pain. O Solitude!
Thou habitation of aspiring hearts;
Thou light and beacon of the pure; thou guide
Of them that cry in darkness; thou sweet friend
Of sorrow stricken wanderers; thou staff
And stay of the strong climber up the hills,
Trackless and strange, of Truth; instructor thou,
And teacher of the teachable and true,
Beloved of the lowly, wise and good,
Be my companion now, and take away
The world’s ache from my bosom! I am tired
Of the vain Highways, where the noise and din
Drowns all but sad remembrance; tired of all
The tumult and the terror and the tears
That rule discordant in the House of Life,
Shaking but not destroying, as the storms,
Confederate with the oceans, shake the shores
And rock-bo’und margins of the continents.
I seek the peace that does not change; the calm
That knows no storm; the Silence that remains.
Pleasure disturbs, and does not satisfy:
When the excitements of the senses fade,
Sorrow and pain return, and leave the heart
Remorseful, desolate. As o’er the waste
And barren moor the lonely curlew cries.
So wails the bird of anguish o’er the mind
Sated with pleasure; Woe and Want repair
To the abode of Selfishness, and take
Legions of miseries with them. I would find
Where Wisdom is, where Peace abides, where Truth,
Majestic, Changeless, and eternal, stands
Untouched by the illusions of the world:
For surely there is Knowledge, Truth, and Peace
For him who seeks, seeing that ignorance
And error and affliction are; these prove
The unseen truths obversely: darkness makes
Light sure and certain, though we see it not.
We sleep and wake, and, waking, know the dream
That troubled us in sleep; how it arose,
Phantasmal and chaotic, in the mind
Left all ungoverned; even so perchance
This life of passion and of wild desire
(Troubled, chaotic, and not understood),
May be, as ’twere, a dream; and if a dream
Of the unmastered mind, we shall awake
Out of the nightmare of our miseries,
And know the gladness of Reality.
But how shall one awake? How, if not by
Bridling his passions, curbing his desires
By masterful dominion of the will?
If passions be the troubled dreams of life,
And not its substance and reality,
Then he who shakes off passion shall awake
And know the Truth; surely this must be so!
Therefore unto this unfrequented place
Have I addressed myself, that I may gain,
By purity and strong self-mastery,
Th’ awakened vision that doth set men free
From painful slumber and the night of grief.
Here unobserved and solitary, I
Will purify my heart and train my mind
In the true ways of sweet unselfishness,
Subduing self and passion; so perchance
The changeless Truth will be revealed to me,
And I shall move, wherever Duty calls,
Serene and sorrowless.
Moreover, here
An aged Prophet dwells, so I am told,
Who will instruct me in the Silent Way
Which winds through the morasses of the mind
Unto the firm heights of accomplished Truth.
Him will I seek when I have slept awhile,
For weariness now urges me to rest.

Lies down.

Thou Zephyrus! thou sweet and cooling breath
That temperest the broiling mid-day rays
Of June’s extremest heat, blow o’er me now,
And fan me into sweet forgetfulness!
I am a-wearied, battling with the waves.
Now will I sleep: after my long, long search
Upon the waters, I am spent with toil.
Watch o’er me. Nature, I am safe with thee.

Sleeps.

Voices of Nature.

First Voice:
Listen, O Eolaus!

Woven of passion is the Universe;
Vain is thy puny strength to break its web.
Submit thyself to that which in thee cries;
Gratify nature; do not fly delight.

Eolaus, come!
Let me lead thee, Eolaus!
Let me guide thee, Eolaus!
Come, Eolaus! Eolaus, come!

Echo:
Eolaus, come!

Second Voice:
There is sweet intoxication
In the Pleasure-house of Earth;
Aye—renewed exhilaration,
Love and happiness and mirth.

First Voice:
Come, Eolaus! Eolaus, come!

Echo:
Eolaus, come!

Third Voice:
What is seen is sure;
What is felt is known
Pleasure is secure;
Joy is life alone.

First Voice:
Come, Eolaus! Eolaus, come!

Echo:
Eolaus, come!

Second Voice:
Come and drink the wine of life;
Pleasure’s vintage come and taste;
Leave thy fruitless search and strife;
Holy vigils wear and waste
Youth, for love and revels framed:
Nature thus is blindly blamed.

First Voice:
Come, Eolaus! Eolaus, come!

Echo:
Eolaus, come!

Third Voice:
Think no more of low and high;
Leave thy climbings, and forget
Aim and struggle, doubt and sigh;
Level is the pathway set
Of enjoyment: seek no more;
Rest thou here, thy woe is o’er

First Voice:
Eolaus come!
Let me lead thee, Eolaus!
Let me guide thee, Eolaus!
Come, Eolaus! Eolaus, come!

Echo:
Eolaus, come!

Earth:
Unnumbered ages have I rolled
Through the abysmal spaces; And eons new from eons old
Th’ Eternal Finger traces; And I must follow where it moves;
No rest! no rest!
With hopes and fears and hates and loves
Unblest! unblest!

Fourth Voice:
Listen, O Eolaus!
Sorrow doth darken all the universe;
Its creatures are involved in pain and woe;
Helpless they cry, and no one hears or aids;
Dark, dark is life, and none its meaning know.
Eolaus, hear!
None can lead thee, Eolaus!
None can guide thee, Eolaus!

Hear, Eolaus! Eolaus, hear!

Echo:
Eolaus, hear!

Fifth Voice:
There is pain and woe and sorrow
In the hospital of Earth;
Every night and morn and morrow
Bringeth drought and death and dearth.

Fourth Voice:
Hear, Eolaus! Eolaus, hear!

Echo:
Eolaus, hear!

Sixth Voice:
What is Sean’s unsure;
What is felt is blown;
Self is insecure;
Life is pain alone.

Fourth Voice:
Hear, Eolaus! Eolaus, hear!

Echo:
Eolaus, hear!

Several Voices:
We moan and sigh;
We sob and cry;
We wander, like the wind upon the stream,
Vainly for peace,
Seeking release
From the keen pain of our unending dream.

Fourth Voice:
Eolaus, hear!
None can lead thee, Eolaus!
One can guide thee, Eolaus!
Hear, Eolaus! Eolaus, hear!

Echo:
Eolaus, hear!
Voices of Truth.

First Voice:
Awake, O Eolaus!
Arise! Shake off the dreams of Night,
Open thine eyes, and sec the Light;
Passionless Wisdom waits for thee
In sorrowless serenity.
Leave thou the fleeting shapes of Time,
The rugged Way of Truth sublime
Walk thou; nor fear, nor grieve, nor lust,
Scorning the self whose end is dust.
Wake, Eolaus! Eolaus, wake!

Chorus of Voices:
Eolaus, wake!

Second Voice:
Knowledge is for him who seeks;
Wisdom crowneth him who strives;
Peace in sinless silence speaks;
All things perish, Truth survives

First Voice:
Wake, Eolaus! Eolaus, wake!

Voices:
Eolaus, wake!

Third Voice:
Follow where Virtue leads,
High and still higher;
Listen when Pureness pleads,
Quench not her fire.
Lo! he shall see
Reality,
Who cometh upward, cleansed from all desire.

First Voice:
Wake, Eolaus! Eolaus, wake!

Voices:
Eolaus, wake!

Fourth Voice:
He who attaineth unto Purity
The faultless Parthenon of Truth doth see.
Awake! disperse the dreams of self and sin!
Behold the Shining Gateway! enter in!

First Voice:
Wake, Eolaus! Eolaus, wake!

Voices:
Eolaus, wake!

Fifth Voice:
Conquer thyself,
Then thou shalt know;
Climb to the high,
Leave thou the low.
Deliverance
Shall him entrance
Who strives with sins and sorrows, tears and pains
Till he attains.

First Voice:
Wake, Eolaus! Eolaus, wake!

Voices:
Eolaus, wake!

Heaven:
In the visions of the ages
I am evermore reflected;
In the precepts of the Sages
I am spoken and rejected.
I can suffer no distortion,
Sin and sorrow cannot stain me;
Fixed and faultless in proportion,
He must bend who would attain me.
Eolaus, waking.

Who will lead me, who will guide me
In my deep perplexity?

Heaven:
In the middle of the Island
Waits the sage whom you are seeking;
On the Rock which cannot crumble
Sits the Prophet who will guide you.

Eolaus wakes.

Eolaus:
’Mid the conflicting visions of the mind
I darkly grope, and nevermore can find
The steadfastness and surety that I seek;
Where clamor reigns the Silence cannot speak;
So many voices and so many ways!
So many wand’rings the nights and days!
One way I seek, one voice I long to hear,
But Truth eludes me and does not appear,
Now to this Island’s center I repair
To seek the Prophet who abideth there.

The scene changes to the center of the Island. An aged and venerable man appears, sitting upon a rock.

Eolaus:
Art thou the Prophet whom I seek?

Prophet:
I am.

Eolaus:
Be thou my guide, for thou art wise, and I
Am ignorant; speak thou, and I will hear;
Teach me, and I will be instructed; make
Me to behold the Path which leads to Truth,
And I will walk if though it be o’erstrewn
With flints and burrs; and if it needs must come
Within the round of holy discipline
That one shall walk that way with naked feet,
Or else forego the end and view of Truth,
Then barefoot I will walk it, and account
Bleedings and wounds and lacerations
As aids unto my will and fortitude,
As tasks wisely ordained, and so to be
Gladly encountered in my pilgrimage.
Mine ears are open, open thou mine eyes,
For I am blind, and cannot find my way.

Prophet:
He who would see with the all-seeing eye
Single of Truth, must first his blindness know.
He cannot see who does not wish to see,
Thinking he sees already, while his acts
Proclaim his spiritual blindness. Truth
Waits on the Lowly-hearted. He who knows
That being passion-bound, he yet is blind,
Has groped his way to Wisdom. Thou dost see.

Eolaus:
I see naught but the darkness of my mind,
And in that darkness ever-changing shapes
Of things phantasmal that perplex and haunt,
Eluding knowledge; I am ignorant,
Yet strive to know; nor will I cease to strive
Till I attain.

Prophet:
Seeing thy darkness, thou
So far dost see; knowing thine ignorance,
So far hast thou attained to knowledge : seek,
And thou shalt surely find.

Eolaus:
How shall I seek?

Prophet:
Increase thy strength and self-reliance; make
The specters of thy mind obey thy will :
See thou command thyself; nor let no mood,
No subtle passion nor so swift desire
Hurl thee to baseness; but, should’st thou be hurled,
Rise and regain thy manhood, taking gain
Of lowliness and wisdom from thy fall.
Strive ever for the mastery of thy mind,
And glean some good from every circumstance
That shall confront thee; make thy store of strength
Richer for ills encountered and o’ercome.
Submit to naught but nobleness; rejoice
Like a strong athlete straining for the prize,
When thy full strength is tried; be not the slave
Of lusts and cravings and indulgences,
Of disappointments, miseries and griefs,
Fears, doubts, and lamentations, but control
Thyself with calmness; master that in thee :
Which masters others, and which heretofore
Has mastered thee: let not thy passions rule,
But rule thy passions; subjugate thyself
Till passion is transmuted into peace,
And wisdom crown thee; so shalt thou attain
And, by attaining, know.

Eolaus:
Hard is the path.
Which thou hast set before me; steep and strange
Its ascent; unfamiliar and unknown
The Place whereto it leads: I see it rise
Precipitous but yet accessible,
Beyond the reach of vision: what awaits
The climber, none but he who climbs may know;
For if one ask, and, with believing ears
Attend the spiritual Mountaineer
In his depicture of the unknown heights,
What knows he more, though more believing? What
Gains he but words, and wonderings, and dreams,
Unless he also climb? I would o’ermount
Faith, and ascend to knowledge; I would not
Rest idly in the valleys of belief,
Content with speculation; I would be
The Mountaineer, and know.

Prophet:
The Mountaineer
Is he who, dauntless, climbs.

Eolaus:
But yet the way,
Where leads it? All beyond the reach of sight
Is dark, unknown, mysterious. What avails
The strenuous ascent, if some precipice
The daring climber claim, or loosened rock
Dash him to death, or cold and hunger make
Ravage upon his strength? Passion is sweet,
And ’tis enjoyed and known; and round about
The habitations at the mountain’s base,
In the familiar valleys of the mind,
Twine the sweet flowers of soft affections,
Filling the air with fragrance and delight,
And mellow fruits of love and labor hang
Ripe for the plucking; shall I these renounce,
The sure and known, for the unsure, unknown?
Are these not safe, substantial and possessed?
While that I seek,—Where is it? Is this Truth,
This idea of Reality which haunts
My mind, and drives me whither I know not,
Itself a speculation? What abides?
Alas! all that we have and know is caught
In transiency; changes that never end
Roll wave-like o’er the restless universe
.And man is tossed therein; so it befalls
That everything which comes into his grasp—
Bearing the face of an enduring joy—
After a little fever of delight is torn away again: nothing endures:
All things are dying even while they live;
And life is passing while it seems to wait.
There is no sweet possession, no rare joy,
No cherished circumstance, no prized delight
No lovely thing, of which it can be said,—
"There is no time when this will never be."
What comes to pass, passes, and conies no more;
What grows, decays; what rises, falls; what lives
And flourishes, dies and doth fade away:
Where then is surety; Where is knowledge? Where
Is rest and refuge?

Prophet:
There is rest in Truth.

Eolaus:
Is there no rest in death?

Prophet:
There is no rest in death.

Eolaus:
No rest in death nor life?

Prophet:
No rest
In death nor life; yet or in death or life,
Where Truth is, there is rest.

Eolaus:
Prophet of Good
Lead me to the Abiding; set my feet
Upon the austere Highway which doth lead
To the Eternal City; I would find
The rest and refuge of undying Truth.

Prophet:
Look thou within. Lo, in the midst of change
Abides the Changeless; at the heart of strife
The Perfect Peace reposes. At the root
Of all the restless striving of the world
Is passion, and at passion’s heart is stored
Truth; yea, the Law of laws is in thy mind,
And written on the tablet of thy heart
Are its eternal edicts: subjugate
Thy passions, and the truth will be revealed,
For whoso follows passion findeth pain,
But whoso conquers passion findeth peace.

Eolaus:
Not to be subject unto passion, but
To subject passion,—is this then the way?

Prophet:
Thou hast well said. As the sweet nut is held.
In the hard shell, and cannot be enjoyed
But by destruction of the husk, so Truth
In passion is preserved, but is not known
Till passion be destroyed and cast away.
He who preserveth passion, dreading loss
Of sweetness and enjoyment, cannot know
The bliss of Truth, nor find where wisdom is:
He is a prodigal, feeding upon
The husks of life, the empty shows of things.
And knowing not its kernel, seeing not
The changeless substance of Reality.
He only knows who conquers evil; he,
Who masters self, passes beyond the dim
Uncertain light of faith, and on him breaks
The light of Perfect Knowledge which enfolds
Emancipation, gladness, perfect peace.

Eolaus:
I know that sorrow follows passion; know
That grief and emptiness and heartaches wait
Upon all earthly joys; so am I sad;
Yet Truth must be, and, being, can be found;
And though I am in sorrow, this I know—
I shall be glad when I have found the Truth.

Prophet:
There is no gladness like the joy of Truth.
The pure in heart swim in a sea of bliss
That evermore nor sorrow knows, nor pain;
For who can see the Cosmos and be sad?
To know is to be happy; they rejoice
Who have attained Perfection; these are they
Who live, and know, and realize the Truth.

Eolaus:
I strive for that Perfection; shall I reach
The Heights of Blessed Vision?

Prophet:
Comfort ye,
The Heights of Blessed Vision ye shall reach.

Eolaus:
Yet how, and when, and where? I am confused.
The Way is near, and yet I see it not!

Prophet:
He must be friendly with the worm and toad
Who would be the companion of the wise,
And know the Cosmic Splendor; he must stoop
Who seeks to stand; must fall who fain would rise;
Must know the low, ascending to the high:
He who would know the Great, must not disdain
To diligently wait upon the small:
He wisdom finds who finds humility.

Eolaus:
Speak on, O Prophet! I attend thy words,

Prophet:
The beasts can neither bend nor stand erect
Being beasts,—abandon bestial tendencies;
But man can bend, and man can stand erect,
Being man,—embrace pure thoughts and stainless deeds;
Here is deliverance. Man’s redemption lies
In man himself, yet is not born of self,
But takes its rise in Truth: man can achieve
He findeth Truth who findeth self-control.

Eolaus:
When I have found the meaning of thy
words, I know I shall be wise as thou art wise;
But now I hear thee, and yet hear thee not.

Prophet:
Thou wilt perceive the substance of my words,
And understand their meaning, when they stir
That meaning in thyself, and in thy mind
Stand clear and well-reflected; thou canst know
Only by subjugation of thyself,
And practice of the highest: all that’s real
Is inward; outward things are fleeting shows,
Vain and illusory, holding nor rest
Nor refuge for the wise : obey the Right,
And wrong shall ne’er again assail thy peace,
Nor error hurt thee more: attune thy heart
To Purity, and thou shalt reach the Place
Where sorrow is not, and all evil ends.
The Holy Ones know not the name of sin;
Goodness and Truth make glad the good and true:
The Perfect Ones behold the Perfect Law;
Struggle and strife are ended in the Truth.
All things are holy to the holy mind,
All uses are legitimate and pure,
All occupations blest arid sanctified,
And every day a Sabbath.

Eolaus:
I perceive
Some glimmering of a Light transcending light,
Some outline of a mighty Principle
More beautiful than beauty; see some dim
Appearing of the vision of a Life
Vaster than life : the Cosmos is sublime!
My eyes will open, I shall see the Truth,
And, seeing, shall be glad for evermore!

Prophet:
Be mindful, or the thought that soars will sink :
Be lowly, patient, well-instructed; hold
Thyself in check, by many single steps
All journeys reach completion: as the tree
That rears its stately head toward the sky—
Bestowing shade and shelter—issued from
A tiny seed, and, waiting patiently
Upon the law of growth, it came to be
The thing majestic that it now appears,—
So wisdom from a single act of good
Well-planted, watched, and watered, comes at last
To its sublime proportions.

Eolaus:
I will tend
The plant of wisdom with all diligence,
And watch its growth toward perfection.
Show me the unobserved and lowly Way;
Let praise, reward, and popularity
Be no more sweet to me, and no more sought;
Let self be blotted out, I seek the Truth.

Prophet:
Now listen, and attend:—the pigeons pick
Holes in the buildings, and the storm o’erturns
That they had weakened: little failings eat
Holes in the citadel of Character
Which, weakened thus, cannot withstand the storms
Of circumstance, but weakly falls before
Tempestuous temptations. As the bee
Buildeth the honeycomb, the bird its nest,
The builder his strong house, e’en bit by bit,
Straw unto straw, and stone laid upon stone,
Until the finished thing and perfect whole
Crowns effort with success,—so the wise man.
By adding thought to thought and deed to deed
In ways of good, buildeth his character.
Little by little he accomplishes
His noble ends; in quiet patience works
Diligently, while others sleep, or slake
Their hot desires in riot; nowise moved
From his main purpose by perplexities,
Falls, errors, failures, difficulties, pains,
Daily he builds into his heart and mind
Pure thoughts, high aspirations, selfless deeds,
Until at last the edifice of Truth
Is finished, and behold! there rises and appears
The Temple of Perfection.

Eolaus:
I have found
The little Gate mean and moss-grown which leads
Into a dark, despised, neglected Way
Which, further, leads to glorious esplanades
And heights of Splendor; foolish men avoid
The lowly, and thereby the lofty lose;
Despise the small, and the majestical
Miss, and see not. Prophet of Good and Truth,
Wisely and well hast thou instructed me;
Thou hast revealed to me the Path of Peace;
My eyes are opened, and at last I see
Thy lowly Way, and I will enter in.

Prophet:
The Perfect Way awaits thy strenuous tread;
Behold where rise, precipitous, yet grand,
The Hills of Virtue; higher, and beyond,
The Peaks of Blessedness; and yet again,
Upon the lofty Summits of the Truth,
Where clouds and darkness are not, and where rests
Eternal Splendor; there, abiding Joy
Awaits thy coming. Onward, and disperse
The dark delusions of thy self! Evil
Is Good denied, is darkness and no more.
Let self be nothing, and the Truth be all;
Thus conquer pain: acquire serenity;
Wisdom accompanies tranquility;
The self-subdued the fadeless Glory know:
Be watchful, fearless, faithful, patient, pure:
By earnest meditation sound’the depths
Profound of life, and scale the heights sublime
Of Love and Wisdom. He who does not find
The Way of Meditation cannot reach
Emancipation and enlightenment.
But thou wilt find the Way of Holy Thought;
With mind made calm and steadfast, thou wilt see
The Permanent amid the mutable,
The Truth eternal in the things that change:
Thou wilt behold the Perfect Law: Cosmos
From Chaos rises when the conquered self
Lies underneath man’s heel: Love be thy strength;
Look on the passion-tortured multitudes,
And have compassion on them; know their pain
By thy long sorrow ended. Thou wilt come
To perfect peace, and so wilt bless the world,
Leading unto the High and Holy Way
The feet of them that seek.—And now I go
To my Abode; go thou unto thy work.

Eolaus:
Prophet of Peace, I go: and unto Thee,
Spirit of Truth, I come. To all the world,
And all that lives, for evermore be peace.

Cosmos:
I am; Perfection is, and Peace;
Evil is gone, beholding me;
And they from sin and sorrow cease
Who look upon my Symmetry.
When fault and failure find my Form,
Lo, fault and failure are no more!
I am the sunshine and the storm,
The whisper, and the ocean’s roar!
The creeping action that deceives,
The lie, the theft, the murderer’s ire,
All these my Crucible receive,
They burn in my Celestial Fire.
All superstitions, errors, wiles,
The crawling craft, the cruel lust,
All that debases and defiles
I grind, and scatter in the dust.
The Nations rise, the Empires fall,
And I eternally rehearse,
To scene and strain majestical,
The Drama of the Universe.
The Eons pass, the systems pale,
Unchanged their changes behold;
They listen, and I tell my Tale;
I all their fleeting forms enfold.
Who knoweth me, becometh me;
Who hath my Vision finds release
From Darkness and Captivity.
I am; Perfection is, and Peace.

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James Allen

James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.

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