The Gidding, Parts III and IV

There are three conditions which often look alike Yet differ completely, flourish in the same hedgerow: Attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment

From self and from things and from persons; and, growing between them, indifference

Which resembles the others as death resembles life, Being between two lives – unflowering, between The live and the dead nettle. This is the use of memory:

For liberation – not less of love but expanding Of love beyond desire, and so liberation From the future as well as the past. Thus, love of a country Begins as an attachment to our own field of action And comes to find that action of little importance Though never indifferent.

History may be servitude, History may be freedom. See, now they vanish, The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them, To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern. Sin is Behovely, but All shall be well, and All manner of thing shall be well.

If I think, again, of this place, And of people, not wholly commendable, Of not immediate kin or kindness, But of some peculiar genius, All touched by a common genius, United in the strife which divided them;

If I think of a king at nightfall, Of three men, and more, on the scaffold And a few who died forgotten In other places, here and abroad, And of one who died blind and quiet, Why should we celebrate These dead men more than the dying?

It is not to ring the bell backward Nor is it an incantation To summon the spectre of a Rose. We cannot revive old factions We cannot restore old policies Or follow an antique drum. These men, and those who opposed them And those whom they opposed Accept the constitution of silence And are folded in a single party. Whatever we inherit from the fortunate We have taken from the defeated What they had to leave us – a symbol: A symbol perfected in death.

And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well By the purification of the motive In the ground of our beseeching.

IV

The dove descending breaks the air With flame of incandescent terror Of which the tongues declare The one dischage from sin and error. The only hope, or else despair Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre- To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love. Love is the unfamiliar Name Behind the hands that wove The intolerable shirt of flame Which human power cannot remove. We only live, only suspire Consumed by either fire or fire.

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