Friday, August 31, 2007

Lines to Remember 1 (Impermanence)

“What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind,
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.”
(from "Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood")

When we look at today’s progress we are awestruck by the quantum leaps most technical fields have taken and the astounding cultural heights achieved by human endeavor. We may remark, like the Renaissance man did, when he basked in the glory of early inventions and in the flowering of the arts during his time “…how great man is, how beautiful in aspect and how noble in purpose”.

Yet, this is but a collective comfort which benefits selective individuals or groups of individuals, a hedonistic and self centered view. At an essential level there doesn’t seem to be much to cheer about since decline seems to be the nature of all things. The moment we are born starts the trek towards our demise; from womb to tomb as they say. The impermanence of things looms ever so large and we often despair in its shadows.

I find solace in the classic lines taken from William Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality From Early Recollections of Childhood”. While it accepts the inevitable inconstancy of life it reminds us that the human mind does prevail over all.

For whatever it is worth I have taken the liberty to reprint these classic lines which stirred me in my youth and console me now. I know that this is but a puny effort, a pail of water in the vast ocean of its renown, but by chance, it can remind those who may have forgotten and make aware those who have not read it before.

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