Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CEREMONIAL ODE; INTENDED FOR A UNIVERSITY, by LASCELLES ABERCROMBIE



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CEREMONIAL ODE; INTENDED FOR A UNIVERSITY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When from eternity were separate
Last Line: And trade with his eternity.
Subject(s): Leeds, University Of


I.

WHEN from Eternity were separate
The curdled element
And gathered forces, and the world began,—
The Spirit that was shut and darkly blent
Within this being, did the whole distress
With blind desire after spaciousness.
Into this yearning, strictly bound by Fate
And closely natured, came like an open'd grate
At last the Mind of Man,
Letting the sky in, and a faculty
To light the cell with lost Eternity.

II.

So commerce with the Infinite was regained:
For upward grew Man's ken,
Laying foundations deep in the ancient fen
Where other life helpless and prone remained.
With knowledge painfully quarried and hewn fair,
Platforms of lore, and many a hanging stair
Of strong imagination, Man has raised
His Wisdom like the watch-towers of a town;
That he, though fastened down
By Fate, be with its cruelty not amazed,
But be of outer vastness greatly aware.

III.
This, then, is yours: to build exultingly
High, and yet more high,
The knowledgeable towers above base wars
And shameful surges reaching up to lay
Dishonouring hands upon your work, and drag
Down from uprightness your desires, to lag
Among low places with a common gait.
That so Man's mind, not conquered by his clay,
May sit above his fate,
Inhabiting the purpose of the stars,
And trade with his Eternity.





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