When the night of the twelfth aeon fell,
And silence, the high tide of night, swallowed the hills,
The three earth−born gods, the Master Titans of life,
Appeared upon the mountains.
Rivers ran about their feet;
The mist floated across their breasts,
And their heads rose in majesty above the world.
Then they spoke, and like distant thunder
Their voices rolled over the plains.
The wind blows eastward;
I would turn my face to the south,
For the wind crowds my nostrils with the odours of dead things.
It is the scent of burnt flesh, sweet and bountiful.
I would breathe it.
It is the odour of mortality parching upon its own faint flame.
Heavily does it hang upon the air,
And like foul breath of the pit
It offends my senses.
I would turn my face to the scentless north.
It is the inflamed fragrance of brooding life
This I would breathe now and forever.
Gods live upon sacrifice,
Their thirst quenched by blood,
Their hearts appeased with young souls,
Their sinews strengthened by the deathless sighs
Of those who dwell with death;
Their thrones are built upon the ashes of generations.
Weary is my spirit of all there is.
I would not move a hand to create a world
Nor to erase one.
I would not live could I but die,
For the weight of aeons is upon me,
And the ceaseless moan of the seas exhausts my sleep.
Could I but lose the primal aim
And vanish like a wasted sun;
Could I but strip my divinity of its purpose
And breathe my immortality into space,
And be no more;
Could I but be consumed and pass from time’s memory
Into the emptiness of nowhere!
Listen my brothers, my ancient brothers.
A youth in yonder vale
Is singing his heart to the night.
His lyre is gold and ebony.
His voice is silver and gold.
I would not be so vain as to be no more.
I could not but choose the hardest way;
To follow the seasons and support the majesty of the years;
To sow the seed and to watch it thrust through the soil;
To call the flower from its hiding place
And give it strength to nestle its own life,
And then to pluck it when the storm laughs in the forest;
To raise man from secret darkness,
Yet keep his roots clinging to the earth;
To give him thirst for life, and make death his cupbearer;
To endow him with love that waxeth with pain,
And exalts with desire, and increases with longing,
And fadeth away with the first embrace;
To girdle his nights with dreams of higher days,
And infuse his days with visions of blissful nights,
And yet to confine his days and his nights
To their immutable resemblance;
To make his fancy like the eagle of the mountain,
And his thought as the tempests of the seas,
And yet to give him hands slow in decision,
And feet heavy with deliberation;
To give him gladness that he may sing before us,
And sorrow that he may call unto us,
And then to lay him low,
When the earth in her hunger cries for food;
To raise his soul high above the firmament
That he may foretaste our tomorrow,
And to keep his body grovelling in the mire
That he may not forget his yesterday.
Thus shall we rule man unto the end of time,
Governing the breath that began with his mother’s crying,
And ends with the lamentation of his children.
My heart thirsts, yet I would not drink the faint blood of a feeble
For the cup is tainted, and the vintage therein is bitter to my mouth.
Like thee I have kneaded the clay and fashioned it to breathing forms
That crept out of my dripping fingers unto the marshes and the hills.
Like thee I have kindled the dark depths of beginning life
And watched it crawl from caves to rocky heights.
Like thee I have summoned spring and laid the beauty thereof
For a lure that seizes youth and binds it to generate and multiply.
Like thee I have led man from shrine to shrine,
And turned his mute fear of things unseen
To tremulous faith in us, the unvisited and the unknown.
Like thee I have ridden the wild tempest over his head
That he might bow before us,
And shaken the earth beneath him until he cried unto us;
And like thee, led the savage ocean against his nestled isle,
Till he hath died calling upon us.
All this have I done, and more.
And all that I have done is empty and vain.
Vain is the waking and empty is the sleep,
And thrice empty and vain is the dream.
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