Monday, July 05, 2010

On feeling like Cassandra (whilst thinking about Jeremiah)

"Considerabam ad dexteram, et videbam; et non erat qui cognosceret me... Non est qui requirat animan meam." - Ps. cxli
["I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me; man cared for my soul." - Psalm 142:4.]

WHEN the clouds' swoln bosoms echo back the shouts of the many and strong
That things are all as they best may be, save a few to be right ere long,
And my eyes have not the vision in them to discern what to these is so clear,
The blot seems straightway in me alone; one better he were not here.

The stout upstanders say, All's well with us; ruers have nought to rue!
And what the potent say so oft, can it fail to be somewhat true?
Breezily go they, breezily come; their dust smokes around their career,
Till I think I am one born out of due time, who has no calling here.

Their dawns bring lusty joys, it seems; their evenings all that is sweet;
Our times are blessed times, they cry: Life shapes it as is most meet,
And nothing is much the matter; there are many smiles to a tear;
Then what is the matter is I, I say. Why should such a one be here?...

Let him in whose ears the low-voiced Best is killed by the clash of the First,
Who holds that if way to the Better there be, it exacts a full look at the Worst,
Who feels that delight is a delicate growth cramped by crookedness, custom and fear,
Get him up and be gone as one shaped awry; he disturbs the order here.

Thomas Hardy, 'In Tenebris II'

I have referenced the last verse many times, but on tracking it down (for work on the book! first time in six months!) I realise that the quotation I have been using is inexact...

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