Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NACHIKETAS AND DEATH, by JAMES STEPHENS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NACHIKETAS AND DEATH, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Young nachiketas went to death
Last Line: For thou art that!
Variant Title(s): Thy Soul
Subject(s): Death; Dead, The

Young Nachiketas went to Death!
He bargained with the Monarch grim
For Knowledge, as the Katha saith,
And Death revealed the Soul to him!
And who learns with the fearless lad
Hath All that Nachiketas had.

Death said: --

From That the sun and moon arise;
They set in That again:
From That are seas, and stars, and skies,
And trees, and beasts, and men:
And That of Soul is This of Sense;
Between Them is no difference.

All that is Here, the same is There;
All that is There, is Here:
There is no difference Anywhere;
The One doth All appear!
From death to death he goes, who sees
Differences, or Degrees.

That which is told of, That Thou Art,
There is no other Sprite;
No heaven, nor earth, nor middle part,
There is no day, or night;
There is no beauty, truth, or wit,
But That alone! And Thou Art It!

He dreameth -- I am moon, and sun;
I am the earth, and sea;
I am the strife, the lost, the won;
I am Variety --
He dreameth This, and That, and Thou,
In past, and future time, and now!

He is the Dreamer, and the Dream!
He is the Frightened, and the Fear!
He is the Hope! the Gloom! the Gleam!
He is the Season, and the Year!
-- He is not This, nor That, nor Yon:
He is Thyself! And Thou Art, One!

He will not be obtained by speech;
Not by the mind, the ear, the eye:
He cometh, in His time, to each
Who Him affirm, courageously:
Thou Art! He is! And that is all
That may be told, or can befall!

Fast not, nor pray! But only know,
He Is -- I am -- And all is done!
The Deed of Time is finished! Lo,
Thy Self to Thine own Self art won!
Thou shalt not seek, nor have, reply,
For Thou Art That, in blink of eye.

Thou knew it all! 'Twas hid within
Thy Memory! Call but to mind
This, that Thou Art, and Death nor Sin
Shall conquer Thee again! Nor bind
Thine action! Nor make Thee to seem
A Dreamer, living in a Dream!

Put glory on,
Of which all Soul and Sense is wrought!
Thou shalt be naught Thou dreamed upon
Of good or evil Thing! Nor aught
That thought doth bicker at!
Thou shalt be Naught!
And Thou shalt be
Thy Self, and Thine own Mystery!
Knowledge! Bliss! Eternity!
For Thou Art That!

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