Translations. - The Philosophers. (From Schiller.)

A poem by George MacDonald

The principle whence everything
To life and shape ascended--
The pulley whereon Zeus the ring
Of Earth, which else in sherds would spring,
Has carefully suspended--
To genius I yield him a claim
Who fathoms for me what its name,
Save I withdraw its curtain:
It is--ten is not thirteen.

That snow makes cold, that fire burns,
That man on two feet goeth,
That in the heavens the sun sojourns--
This much the man who logic spurns
Through his own senses knoweth;
But metaphysics who has got,
Knows he that burneth, freezeth not;
Knows 'tis the moist that wetteth,
And 'tis the rough that fretteth.

Great Homer sings his epic high;
The hero fronts his dangers;
The brave his duty still doth ply--
And did it while, I won't deny,
Philosophers were strangers:
But grant by heart and brain achiev'd
What Locke and Des Cartes ne'er conceiv'd--
By them yet, as behovéd,
It possible was provéd.

Strength for the Right is counted still;
Bold laughs the strong hyena;
Who rule not, servants' parts must fill;
It goes quite tolerably ill
Upon this world's arena;
But how it would be, if the plan
Of the universe now first began,
In many a moral system
All men may read who list 'em.

"Man needs with man must linked be
To reach the goal of growing;
In the whole only worketh he;
Many drops go to make the sea;
Much water sets mills going.
Then with the wild wolves do not stand,
But knit the state's enduring band:"
From doctor's chair thus, tranquil,
Herr Pufendorf and swan-quill.

But since to all, what doctors say
Flies not as soon as spoken,
Nature will use her mother-way,
See that her chain fly not in tway,
The circle be not broken:
Meantime, until the world's great round
Philosophy in one hath bound,
She keeps it on the move, sir,
By hunger and by love, sir.

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