On the Platonic 'Ideal' as it was Understood by Aristotle.

A poem by John Milton

Ye sister Pow'rs who o'er the sacred groves
Preside, and, Thou, fair mother of them all
Mnemosyne,1 and thou, who in thy grot
Immense reclined at leisure, hast in charge
The Archives and the ord'nances of Jove,
And dost record the festivals of heav'n,
Eternity! Inform us who is He,
That great Original by Nature chos'n
To be the Archetype of Human-kind,
Unchangeable, Immortal, with the poles
Themselves coaeval, One, yet ev'rywhere,
An image of the god, who gave him Being?
Twin-brother of the Goddess born from Jove,2
He dwells not in his Father's mind, but, though
Of common nature with ourselves, exists
Apart, and occupies a local home.
Whether, companion of the stars, he spend
Eternal ages, roaming at his will
From sphere to sphere the tenfold heav'ns, or dwell
On the moon's side that nearest neighbours Earth,
Or torpid on the banks of Lethe3 sit
Among the multitude of souls ordair'd
To flesh and blood, or whether (as may chance)
That vast and giant model of our kind
In some far-distant region of this globe
Sequester'd stalk, with lifted head on high
O'ertow'ring Atlas, on whose shoulders rest
The stars, terrific even to the Gods.
Never the Theban Seer,4 whose blindness proved
His best illumination, Him beheld
In secret vision; never him the son
Of Pleione,5 amid the noiseless night
Descending, to the prophet-choir reveal'd;
Him never knew th'Assyrian priest,6 who yet
The ancestry of Ninus7 chronicles,
And Belus, and Osiris far-renown'd;
Nor even Thrice-great Hermes,7 although skill'd
So deep in myst'ry, to the worshippers
Of Isis show'd a prodigy like Him.
And thou,8 who hast immortalized the shades
Of Academus, if the school received
This monster of the Fancy first from Thee,
Either recall at once the banish'd bards
To thy Republic, or, thyself evinc'd
A wilder Fabulist, go also forth.

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