One night I was engaged in teasing out
The knots of Hegel’s philosophic thought,
Which tore the veil of transient, finite things,
Laying bare the infinite, the absolute,
And whose conception’s grand, imposing range
Made the world shrink into a tiny mote.
When I plunged into that tempestuous sea,
My mind became just like a storm-tossed boat.
But soon a spell lulled me to slumber and
Shut out the finite and the infinite.
My inner vision sharpened, I observed
An old man whose face was a godly sight –
The man whose spirit’s glory, like the sun,
Has made the sky of Rum and Syria bright;
Whose flame in this benighted wilderness
Shines like a path-illuminating light;
From whose words meanings grow spontaneously
Like tulips riotously breaking out.
"You sleep," said he. "Awake, awake. To ply
A boat in a mirage is folly’s height.
You’re bidding wisdom guide you on love’s path!
You’re looking for the sun by candle-light !"