The Sea Rises Higher

For the White Horse knew England
When there was none to know;
He saw the first oar break or bend,
He saw heaven fall and the world end,
O God, how long ago.

For the end of the world was long ago,
And all we dwell to-day
As children of some second birth,
Like a strange people left on earth
After a judgment day.

For the end of the world was long ago,
When the ends of the world waxed free,
When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves,
And the sun drowned in the sea.

When Caesar's sun fell out of the sky
And whoso hearkened right
Could only hear the plunging
Of the nations in the night.


Joel Leggett said...

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

Kelly said...

And if the see and sky be foes,
We'll tame the sea and sky.

Grim said...

That's right.

Eric Blair said...

Curious that you go back before World War I for that.

Grim said...

Bear in mind that you're talking to a man who usually reaches back to Aristotle.

Eric Blair said...

Oh, I hear you. Just reading Musonius the other day. And I'm trying to digest Plotinus at the moment.

Grim said...

Are you? Plotinus is one of my favorites. What are you reading?

Eric Blair said...

Elmer O'Brien's translation "The Essential Plotinus" put out by Hackett Publishing.

Got interested in him by a discussion by Michael Grant in his "The Climax of Rome".