Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL, by GEORGE EDWARD WOODBERRY

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BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I rode in the dark of the spirit
Last Line: That shall beam at the word to be told.
Subject(s): Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (1844-1900)

I RODE in the dark of the spirit
A marvellous, marvellous way;
The faiths that the races inherit
Behind in the sunset lay;
Dome, mosque, and temple huddled
Bade farewell to the day;
But I rode into the leagues of the dark,
There was no light but my hoof-beats' spark
That sprang from that marvellous way.

Behind were the coffined gods in their shroud
Of jungle, desert, and mound,
The mighty man-bones and the mummies proud
Stark in their caves underground;
And the planet that sepulchres god and man
Bore me in the cone of its dark profound
To the ultimate clash in stellar space,
The way of the dead, god-making race
Whirled with its dead gods round.

And my heart as the night grew colder
Drew near to the heart of my steed;
I had pillowed my head on his shoulder
Long years in the sand and the reed;
Long ago he was foaled of the Muses,
And sired of the heroes' deed;
And he came unto me by the fountain
Of the old Hellenic mountain,
And of heaven is his breed.

So my heart grew near to the heart of my horse
Who was wiser, far wiser than I;
Yet wherever I leaned in my spirit's course,
He swayed, and questioned not why;
And this was because he was born above,
A child of the beautiful sky;
And now we were come to the kingdoms black,
And nevermore should we journey back
To the land where the dead men lie.

Now whether or not in that grewsome air
My soul was seized by the dread cafard,
Terror of deserts, I cannot swear;
But I rode straight into an orbed star,
Where only reigned the spirit of good,
And only the holy and virtuous are;
And my horse's eyes sent forth sun-rays,
And in my own was a noontide gaze
That mastered that splendid star.

The madness of deserts, if so it be,
Burned in my brain, and I saw
The multitudinous progeny
Of the talon and the claw;
And Mammon in all their palaces
Gaped with a golden maw;
And we rode far off from the glittering roofs,
And the horse, as he passed, with his heavenly hoofs
Broke the tables of their law.

And we came to a city adjacent thereby,
For the twain to one empire belong;
Black over it hung a terrible cry
From eternal years of wrong;
And the land, it was full of gallows and prisons
And the horrible deeds of the strong;
And we fled; but the flash of my horse's feet
Broke open the jails in every street,
And lightnings burned there long.

We were past the good and the evil
In the spirit's uttermost dark;
He is neither god nor devil
For whom my heart-beats hark;
And I leaned my cheek to my horse's neck
And I sang to his ear in the dark, --
"There is neither good nor evil,
There is neither god nor devil,
And our way lies on through the dark.

"Once I saw by a throne
A burning angel who cried, --
'I will suffer all woes that man's spirit has known,'
And he plunged in the turbid tide;
And wherever he sank with that heart of love,
He rose up purified;
Glowed brighter his limbs and his beautiful face,
And he went not back to the heavenly place,
And he drew all men to his side.

"I have never heard it or learnt it,
It is in me, like my soul,
And the sights of this world have burnt it
In me to a living coal, --
The soul of man is a masterless thing
And bides not another's control;
And gypsy-broods of bandit-loins
Shall teach what the lawless life enjoins
Upon the lawless soul.

"When we dare neither to loose nor to bind,
Howsoever to us things appear;
When whatsoever in others we find,
We shall feel neither shame nor fear;
When we learn that to love the lowliest
We must first salute him our peer;
When the basest is most our brother,
And we neither look down on nor up to another, --
The end of our ride shall be near."

A wind arose from the dreadful past,
And the sand smoked on the knoll;
I saw, blown by the bolts of the blast,
The shreds of the Judgment Scroll;
I heard the death-spasms of Justice old
Under the seas and the mountains rolled;
Then the horse who had borne me through all disaster,
Turned blazing eyes upon me his master,
For the thoughts I sing are his soul.

And I sang in his ear, -- "'Tis the old world dying
Whose death-cries through heaven are rolled;
Through the souls of men a flame is flying
That shall a new firmament mould;
And the uncreated light in man's spirit
Shall sun, moon and stars unfold;"
Then the horse snuffed the dark with his nostrils bright,
And he strode, and he stretched, and he neighed to the
That shall beam at the word to be told.

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