Algernon Charles Swinburne

(5 April 1837 - 10 April 1909 / London)

The Higher Pantheism In A Nutshell - Poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne

One, who is not, we see; but one, whom we see not, is;
Surely this is not that; but that is assuredly this.

What, and wherefore, and whence? for under is over and under;
If thunder could be without lightning, lightning could be without thunder.

Doubt is faith in the main; but faith, on the whole, is doubt;
We cannot believe by proof; but could we believe without?

Why, and whither, and how? for barley and rye are not clover;
Neither are straight lines curves; yet over is under and over.

Two and two may be four; but four and four are not eight;
Fate and God may be twain; but God is the same as fate.

Ask a man what he thinks, and get from a man what he feels;
God, once caught in the fact, shows you a fair pair of heels.

Body and spirit are twins; God only knows which is which;
The soul squats down in the flesh, like a tinker drunk in a ditch.

More is the whole than a part; but half is more than the whole;
Clearly, the soul is the body; but is not the body the soul?

One and two are not one; but one and nothing is two;
Truth can hardly be false, if falsehood cannot be true.

Once the mastodon was; pterodactyls were common as cocks;
Then the mammoth was God; now is He a prize ox.

Parallels all things are; yet many of these are askew;
You are certainly I; but certainly I am not you.

Springs the rock from the plain, shoots the stream from the rock;
Cocks exist for the hen; but hens exist for the cock.

God, whom we see not, is; and God, who is not, we see;
Fiddle, we know, is diddle, and diddle, we take it, is dee.


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Read poems about / on: faith, believe, fate, god, truth, spring



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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