UNDER the leaf of many a Fable lies
The Truth for those who look for it; of this
If thou wouldst look behind and find the Fruit,
(To which the Wiser hand hath found his way)
Have thy desire—No Tale of ME and THEE,
Though I and THOU be its interpreters.

* The Story is of Generals, though enacted by Particulars.

What signifies THE SHÁH? and what THE SAGE?
And what SALÁMÁN not of Woman born?
Who was ABSÁL who drew him to Desire?
And what the KINGDOM that awaited him
When he had drawn his Garment from her hand?
What means THAT SEA? And what that FIERY PILE?
And what that Heavenly ZUHRAH who at last
Clear'd ABSÁL from the Mirror of his Soul?
Listen to me, and you shall understand
The Word that Lover wrote along the sand.

See p. 53.

THE Incomparable Creator, when this World
He did create, created first of all

* “These Ten Intelligences are only another Form of the Gnostic Daemones. The Gnostics held that Matter and Spirit could have no Intercourse—they were, as it were, incommensurate. How then, granting this premise, was Creation possible? Their answer was a kind of gradual Elimination. God, the ‘Actus Purus,’ created an Aeon; this Aeon created a Second; and so on, until the Tenth Aeon was sufficiently Material (as the Ten were in a continu­ally descending Series) to affect Matter, and so cause the Creation by giving to Matter the Spiritual Form.

Similarly we have in Súffíism these Ten Intelligences in a corresponding Series, and for the same End.

There are Ten Intelligences, and Nine Heavenly Spheres, of which the Ninth is the Uppermost Heaven, appropri­ated to the First Intelligence; the Eighth, that of the Zo­diac, to the Second; the Seventh, Saturn, to the Third; the Sixth, Jupiter, to the Fourth; the Fifth, Mars, to the Fifth; the Fourth, the Sun, to the Sixth; the Third, Ve­nus, to the Seventh; the Second, Mercury, to the Eighth; the First, the Moon, to the Ninth; and THE EARTH is the peculiar Sphere of the Tenth, or lowest Intelligence, called THE ACTIVE.”—E. B. C.—v. Appendix.

—First of a Chain
Of Ten Intelligences, of which the Last
Sole Agent is in this our Universe,
Distributor of Evil and of Good,
Of Joy and Sorrow. Himself apart from MATTER,
In Essence and in Energy—He yet
Hath fashion'd all that is—Material Form,
And Spiritual, all from HIM—by HIM
Directed all, and in his Bounty drown'd.
Therefore is He that Firmán-issuing SHÁH
To whom the World was subject. But because
What He distributes to the Universe
Another and a Higher Power supplies,
Therefore all those who comprehend aright,
That Higher in THE SAGE will recognise.

HIS the PRIME SPIRIT that, spontaneously
Projected by the TENTH INTELLIGENCE,
Was from no womb of MATTER reproduced
A special Essence called THE SOUL OF MAN;
A Child of Heaven, in raiment unbeshamed
Of Sensual taint, and so SALÁMÁN named.

And who ABSÁL?—The Sense-adoring Body,
Slave to the Blood and Sense—through whom
Although the Body's very Life it be,
Doth yet imbibe the knowledge and delight
Of things of SENSE; and these in such a bond
United as GOD only can divide,
As Lovers in this Tale are signified.

And what the Flood on which they sail'd, with those
Fantastic creatures peopled; and that Isle
In which their Paradise awhile they made,
And thought, for ever?—That false Paradise
Amid the fluctuating Waters found
Of Sensual passion, in whose bosom lies
A world of Being from the light of God
Deep as in unsubsiding Deluge drown'd.

And why was it that ABSÁL in that Isle
So soon deceived in her Delight, and He
Fell short of his Desire?—that was to show
How soon the Senses of their Passion tire,
And in a surfeit of themselves expire.

And what the turning of SALÁMÁN'S Heart
Back to THE SHÁH, and to the throne of Might
And Glory yearning?—What but the return
Of the lost SOUL to his true Parentage,
And back from Carnal error looking up
Repentant to his Intellectual Right.

And when the Man between his living Shame
Distracted, and the Love that would not die,
Fled once again—what meant that second Flight
Into the Desert, and that Pile of Fire
On which he fain his Passion with Himself
Would immolate?—That was the Discipline
To which the living Man himself devotes,
Till all the Sensual dross be scorcht away,
And, to its pure integrity return'd,
His Soul alone survives. But forasmuch
As from a darling Passion so divorced
The wound will open and will bleed anew,
Therefore THE SAGE would ever and anon
Raise up and set before SALÁMÁN'S eyes
That Fantom of the past; but evermore
Revealing one Diviner, till his Soul
She fill'd, and blotted out the Mortal Love.
For what is ZUHRAH?—What but that Divine
Original, of which the Soul of Man
Darkly possesst, by that fierce Discipline
At last he disengages from the Dust,
And flinging off the baser rags of Sense,
And all in Intellectual Light arrayed,
As Conqueror and King he mounts the Throne,
And wears the Crown of Human Glory
Throne over Throne surmounting, he shall reign

This is the meaning of this Mystery,
Which to know wholly ponder in thy Heart,
Till all its ancient Secret be enlarged.
Enough—The written Summary I close,
And set my Seal—