The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 7, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Incidentally, considering the third of those vignettes suggested hypothetically, and without any intent that they be carried into actual action, in that little piece from two days ago in "How to Make the Impression", in combination with our quip registered last August 17, before we ever read that little piece, regarding Mrs. Roosevelt’s comments to the press on the anxiously awaited opening of a second front, reminds us, in bridged fashion, of this little quip, registered in our note of February, 2003. (You may spell it "breeches", we have our own way, consistent with The News.) In any event, by this point in time during the war, one could not have probably actualized that suggestion for the absence of coffee. Tea, however, is another matter.

As to the second vignette, that, no doubt, came from Russia, with love.

We need also make mention that "ray-shuning", properly, would be similar to "fay pruning", as in the garden, and, therefore, we suspect that what Secretary Wickard actually said was more at "ray-shunning", as in sun-block from too much sunning. He was far ahead of his time; however, we eschew sun-block as the plague, for then one does not get one's proper daily dose of sun, replete with all its necessary vitamin and nutrient stimuli and its natural ultra-violet rays, necessary in moderate dosage for good and proper health. Take anything to an extreme and you are just being gluttonous. The object is not to bake yourself in its rays as a lobster for three hours per day for days on end.

It was more dangerous, however, when there was still a hole in the ozone. Now, that has been repaired by the simple expedient of doing away with all of those fluorocarbon gases used in propulsion of aerosol from those cans, the diminution of which began in the United States in the mid-1970's, begun, if we recall correctly, by a prescient Governor in California, one who listens--even if some idiots thought he was "Governor Moonbeam".

The front page reports today on the drive of the Russian army southwest toward Rostov, now having advanced another 50 miles in a mere two days, to within 75 miles of the key Nazi supply depot, to a point on the Sal River, Balshaya Orlovka.

The photograph on the page of the President, looking intently at his new fifty-inch, 800 lb. globe, (not merely 750, as we previously reported, unless it grew), presented to him by General Marshall for Christmas, should be one with which you already have familiarity since the day after Thanksgiving.

Our maps are not nearly so heavy or cumbersome, but sacrifice the projection ability gathered from a globe--proving to the mind always, in its inherent global form, that the world is round, even if a little egg-shaped, and not flat, as we consistently try to demonstrate, as we routinely find some trying to refute.

The President laid forth a message of progressive war and post-war optimism to the new Congress, much more bi-partisan than any Congress thus far he had faced, if still with Democratic majorities in each house.

He did not predict when victory would come, but, in his inimitably calm and reassuring manner, backed as it was by a record of substance, asserted that it would come certainly. And, that in the post-war world, the malefactors who began the war, Germany, Italy, and Japan, would be disarmed so that they could not again breach the Tenth Commandment. He suggested that this new 78th Congress could become instrumental in effecting the victory and setting the stage for a positive post-war environment.

As to the first goal, of course, it was center stage in that process, even if the President was, in the final analysis, the singular person who seized the hour and obtained finally the victory laurel, if, obviously, not without plentiful assistance from other world leaders, principally Churchill, but also the Chinese leadership of Chiang Kai-Shek and the Soviet leadership of Stalin and Molotov, each of whom he duly recognized in the speech, and the millions at home and abroad in the Allied lands and among the underground in the occupied lands who fought and sacrificed, and, in some cases, gave their lives so that democracy might be revived.

The President first credited, as the "largest and most important developments" in the war during the preceding year, the Russian defense of Stalingrad and the mighty counter-offensives, both in the winter of 1942 and the one ongoing, begun even earlier and with greater effect in light of the North African diversion necessitating transference of troops by Hitler to defend Southern Europe.

His overall message was that, while 1942 had been a year of production, training, and defense, 1943 would be a year for utilization of the tools of war and training of soldiers thusly produced, to wage a primary offensive, both in the Pacific and in Europe.

And so the second act of this three-act play, in reaction to the danse macabre, more grotesque than anything ever before presented on the world stage, emanating from the warped "artistic" minds of Der Fuehrer and Herr Goebbels, together with its more salubrious epilogue, would begin in force, as it already had--just as Churchill had stated aptly in November, that the victory in the Battle of Egypt, combined with the first landings in Morocco and Tunisia of Operation Torch, had spelled, neither the end nor the beginning of the end, but rather "the end of the beginning". The second act was underway and would proceed apace, the President promised, during the year ahead.

He also stressed, that while he did not expect the new Congress to be dealing with post-war domestic want, he wanted the matter thoroughly studied and considered, to enable that ideal, the propagation of freedom from want among the citizenry, to be fully realized in the post-war setting.

The President then reviewed the statistics of production for the year and the forecasted increases in that production for 1943.

The full text of his speech is here.

We do have to wonder, in light of the detailed and exquisite description of the apparel worn by two of the five new Republican female representatives in the House, Clare Boothe Luce of Connecticut and Winifred Stanley of New York, just what the President wore in the way of a suit and tie to the affair, and what the color and style of his shoes were, how his hair looked and the color of his eyes. Equal rights and opportunity, we think, presume, necessarily, that equal attention be provided the same functions of style and whimsicality with which each of us carry ourselves.

Did the President have a fedora with a feather in its band, as he arrived at the Capitol? Were his shoes wingtips or more casual, black, brown, cordovan? What was the shape of his cravat, standard or bow? We need to know. It was not an age of either television or, usually, even color newsreel.

But, what is most interesting is that the one report at the bottom of the page details Ms. Luce's dress one way, and then in the article on the increased Capitol security for the President's visit, describes her ensemble as completely different, the latter stating that she wore a red scarf and a black dress. Did she change attire, perhaps with Ms. Stanley? If so, was the roosteresque transformation into Cock Robbin accomplished in the cloak room or in the chamber?

These are things which the public clamors to know.

The order banning pleasure driving on the eastern seaboard, which we misstated yesterday as extending nationwide, carried a penalty for violation of loss of one's entire ration card. But, if it is anything akin to the initial complaints which broke out the preceding year over rationing of gas imposed only on the eastern seaboard, the same policy should likely conclude with extension across the country. We shall see.

From Tacoma, Washington came an ostensibly confusing ruling from a court, that traffic laws were not suspended by the military declaration of a blackout drill, absent concomitant declaration of martial law--but, appearing to do an abrupt about-face, the judge then proceeded to dismiss a civil suit filed by one driver against another after an accident in which both drivers were driving absent lit headlights.

We suspect that what the court meant was that both drivers were equally culpable under the law for not having headlights lit at night, and therefore, neither liable to the other for damages pursuant to the law of contributory negligence, that defense being, no doubt, recognized in that jurisdiction, as opposed to comparative negligence--the former being an absolute defense to negligence if the complaining party behaves in derogation of the applicable standard of care or breaks a law the violation of which proximately causes the damage either to himself or to the defendant and is thus negligent per se, whereas the defense of comparative negligence requires that the trier of fact, judge or jury, weigh any comparative fault of the two drivers in assessing relative damages.

Thus, the judge did not dismiss the suit based on the defense of the blackout per se, because martial law had not been declared, but probably founded his rationale on the basis of contributory negligence acting as a complete defense given the negligence per se on the part of the plaintiff in driving without headlights in violation of state law. Both of the drivers, under this rationale, were at "fault" in the accident, even if both were doing their civil duty to the Federal government at the time. It was simply a way of strictly applying the law to achieve a result which made sense under the circumstances.

Technically, because of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, the Federal order was certainly tantamount to a declaration of martial law, the military order being authorized ultimately by the Commander-in-Chief, that is, the President, and so the judge was certainly able to use that rationale should he have so desired. But, state judges tend first to look at state law to find rationale for decisions which Federal law would not alter as to result, opting for the narrowest possible ground of decision.

Of course, had there been a conflict between the laws, the Federal law, except when Federal statutes defer expressly to the states, always trumps the state law under the Supremacy Clause, and certainly when there is an issue, as there was here, of constitutional magnitude--that is, whether the Commander-in-Chief, exercising his powers as such, could effectively suspend local civil laws in cases of true national emergency. No one with any sense could suggest that America's entry into World War II, in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was not such an emergency, every bit equivalent in its exigency to the time of the Civil War, save for there being no actual open rebellion within the country's contiguous borders. Yet, Hawaii was a territory of the United States and was physically attacked from without, with grave suspicion, borne out after the fact, of complicity from within among Japanese nationals living in and around Honolulu.

If the judge believed that the President lacked such power under such circumstances, the judge was wrong. The Supreme Court in the subsequently heavily criticized 1944 decision in Korematsu v. U.S. essentially so held, though with respect to the issue of internment of Japanese-Americans in deference to national security, not the per se issue involved in this matter.

We could be wrong about the judge's reasoning, intuited from this scant squib; it could be just another one of those instances in which the law was a ass.

But, we are probably right.

If the allegations had been, incidentally, that, aside from not burning headlamps, the defendant was driving unsafely under the particular extant conditions, nowhere mentioned in the piece, then, on that hypothetically interjected notion, the entire fabric of analysis is changed: the Supremacy Clause allows the blackout to negate, for its duration, the local law requiring the burning of headlamps after sunset and so no contributory negligence may be imputed for that condition to the plaintiff; the defendant's hypothetical unsafe driving, beyond his merely not burning his headlamps, therefore could be deemed by a trier of fact negligent, without defense. Thus the issue could go to the jury, subject to the argument on the propriety of the overriding status of the Federal law being subsequently tested in the appellate courts.

If you happen to live in that part of Washington and are able to do further, more elaborate research than we have the means or will at our disposal to undertake on this little civil matter, do not thumb your nose in our general direction, should you prove our analysis inaccurate in some fashion. We are operating somewhat under blackout conditions from this vantage point.

George Crile, the Cleveland, Ohio physician who was reported to have died this date, was the first doctor to perform a successful direct blood transfusion.

Dr. Crile, incidentally, has a small lunar crater named for him, located in the Marsh of Sleep, Palus Somni, one in between the famed site of man's first steps on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969, the Sea of Tranquility, Mare Tranquillitatis, and the lesser known Sea of Crises, Mare Crisium, the site of the crash of Lunik 15, the unmanned Soviet mission coinciding in time with the Apollo 11 initial moon landing, something of which none but spare, if any, mention was made in those subsequently glory-laden days for the United States.

On the editorial page, homage is paid on the death of botanist George Washington Carver for his masterfully inspired work on which thrived the peanut industry in the South, a 200 million dollar per year vehicle of commerce by 1943. The piece points out his many agricultural innovations, including those with the sweet potato, from his post, begun in 1896, at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, under the direction of Booker T. Washington. He had passed away on January 5 at age 78, having been born in July, 1864 in Diamond, Missouri and educated in both Kansas and Iowa.

"Strike, Please", we think, becomes quite carried away with emotion in suggesting firing squads and other severe discipline for striking and wasteful Japanese citizens confined within relocation centers in Arkansas. The piece's reference to these centers as "concentration camps" misjudges their purpose, which was to segregate Japanese-Americans from the common population. Even that, of course, was an outrageous abuse of power and civil liberties and merely picked on Japanese-Americans for readily identifiable immutable physical characteristics, even if the climate right after Pearl Harbor was so full of racist hatred for the Japanese that these relocation camps may have provided safer haven, in a practical sense, than had they been left among the general population to fend for themselves. No one may say.

But, even so, there was no excuse for taking away possessions, homes, and businesses, with little or no compensation, in such an effort to relocate American citizens away from the coasts.

As we have before suggested, it is one of the darkest episodes in the twentieth century history of the United States. Yet, we recognize the great difficulty in balancing, at such a shocking time, civil liberties, which everyone ultimately sacrificed during the war to one degree or another, with national security. But, it is at such times that the Constitution must prove itself strongest and most adaptable to withstand the temptation to carve exceptions into it for the worst of times. It is for those times which it is ultimately cast, not for the best of times when its need is scarcely felt by great masses of citizens.

Moreover, German-Americans and Italian-Americans, while some were thusly confined, were a paucity by comparison to the 110,000 Japanese-Americans so segregated, as upheld as a just exercise of emergency powers under Korematsu.

The editorial appears to assume, erroneously, that the 8,500 men, women and children at each of the two centers in Arkansas, Rohwer and Jerome, were, at least as to some of them, "enemy combatants". They were not. Therein appears to lie the seed for the bad judgment of this particular editorial.

Dorothy Thompson begins a series of editorials on the structure of the post-war world to come and how it might take shape for good or ill. She suggests that Vice-President Wallace’s recommendations, consistent with the statement of the President in his speech to the Congress, that disarming the Axis nations and establishing a policing body armed with adequate mechanisms for enforcement while setting an example of not undertaking aggression so as to stimulate reactionary aggressive response, possess incongruities. She believes that the League of Nations was ultimately a failure because it did not include within its concord any allowance for a voice out of Germany to advise in its conduct, leaving a vacuum which Hitler and his Nazi youth could easily occupy. Her time spent in Germany during the first year the Reich came to power gave her insight into this issue worthy of consideration.

And of course, West and East Germany did have a voice in the post-war world, both as principal parts of NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries, respectively, and had seats at the United Nations. It was likewise so for Italy and Japan. The mistakes of Versailles would not be repeated.

The Christian Science Monitor reviews the ludicrous state of Tokyo radio propaganda, running the gamut of disseminated claims: from American mistreatment of Filipino soldiers in the Philippines and forcing them to do all the frontline fighting there in early 1942; to the exploitation of any even slight racial tension within the United States, to make it suggestive of pervasive rioting and racial unrest; to the contention that conditions in the detention centers for interned Japanese-Americans were deplorable. The piece says that the apogee of this ride on the rocket into the Rising Sun was reached in the wake of the two minor Japanese submarine torpedo attacks in Vancouver, Washington and in Oregon early in 1942, Tokyo radio then proclaiming unabashedly that these relatively insignificant incendiaries, projected into the sand, had held the country within a pincer lock between the Japanese navy in the Pacific and the Nazi U-boats in the Atlantic, disrupting in the process a Churchill-FDR conference, and causing the American people to clamor for the U.S. Navy's return to port.

Of course, there was some glimmer of truth in these various charges, even if the supposed pincer lock and disruption of the conference was poppycock. There was in fact serious debate in Congress in early 1942 regarding whether to draw in substantial portions of the Navy closer to each shore to insure against attack, especially on the East Coast where U-boats regularly plied the waters in predation with a good deal of success, and often within sight of shore, especially during the first half of 1942. Many of the former isolationists, such as Robert Reynolds, favored such a turtle defense.

Samuel Grafton warns against a kid glove treatment of the French position in North Africa, advocating quick and finally decisive elimination of all fascist elements and former collaborators. In the process, he cites the confusion abounding in Algeria anent the leadership thus far exerted by Henri Giraud of the Fighting French forces, especially questioning why he had effected the arrest of several de Gaullists in the aftermath of the Christmas Eve slaying of Admiral Darlan.

As we have said, we have many questions, ourselves, over the situation, and we shall therefore keep a close eye on this General Giraud.

Raymond Clapper discusses the vagaries of the Tariff Act and its upcoming renewal scheduled for the summer, wondering whether the Republican would find enough votes among farm bloc Democrats in the new Congress to raise an isolationist hydra and defeat its renewal, thus signaling to the international community a return to isolationism. He counsels that it not be done, that it would vastly weaken the war effort and set the stage for a post-war environment, not dissimilar to the 1920's, leading on, inevitably, to a third world war.

We shall keep an eye on these Republicans and obscurantist, isolationist, self-interested Democratic forces.

The fourth installment of They Were Expendable by William L. White continues the narrative by Lieutenant Kelly from the underground hospital in the tunnel on the Rock. He describes the second-hand story from Ohio re the daring young men in their scant remaining fighters, those few not bombed, or available for piecing together from the remnants, in the opening hours of the Japanese offensive on the Philippines, trying to bore in on the Japanese nests and ward off the landing troops and Zeros covering them.

Then, after Ohio finished telling his story to the lieutenant, Texas, the next day, gave his perspective on the air war over the Philippines, not going so well for want of any but the most primitive airplanes, and only a few of those having been allotted to the air defenses via the purse strings controlled by the isolationists back home.

A President cannot go out and buy airplanes himself and ship them himself to the theater of war. Congress controls the allocations. The President may only plead his case and promulgate legislation and policy.

Is it any wonder, yesterday's carping editorials to the contrary notwithstanding, that FDR had, after Pearl Harbor, as the initial shock of the attack wore off by February, begun to seize the bull by the horns and, while giving the Congress the opportunity to act as necessary--failing its realization legislatively, for the adherents to the political process fearing repercussions among their constituents, consequent of their own failure articulately to explain to those who did not read the newspapers clearly the reasons for the need of the various controls on prices and output and rationing of civilian consumer acquisition of certain commodities--, stepping into the breach when Congress pulled up short?

Today, in contrast to some of yesterday's editorials, "History Book" begins the editorial column, giving praise to the White Book issued by the State Department on the attack at Pearl Harbor, finding the greatest lesson to be derived from it on why surprise beset the commanders December 7 was not that there was lack of immediate military preparedness, but rather the pertinacious presence for twenty years before it of isolationist myopia, emasculating the country of the full benefit of its potential defenses in its far flung Pacific satellites.

Nowhere is that more visibly demonstrated historically than in the debacle of the Philippines, following the attack on Pearl Harbor. But also, with regard to the defense of Guam and Wake Island, as well as Hawaii, the isolationist Congress had simply abrogated its responsibility, despite all foretelling events of the 1930's, both as to Nazi Germany's designs and aggression exhibited by 1935 in Europe, Italy's war on Ethiopia in 1936, and those similar portents extending from Imperialist Japan's warring in China, beginning in 1931 with the invasion and occupation of Manchuria, and proceeding full tilt in July, 1937.

Again, however, we stress, that the yolk of the egg containing the explanation for immediate lack of preparedness at Pearl Harbor may be found in the notion that there was a 4,000-mile stretch of vast ocean between Japan and Hawaii, which, because of the enormous size of any substantial armada necessary to cross it, requiring necessarily a substantial enough fighting force to defend it against coincident encounter at sea during passage, adequate reconnaissance planes, destroyers to protect the huge carrier task force requisite to carry bombers and fighters in enough numbers to prosecute a large, concerted hit-and-run attack, oilers to provide the fuel for the conglomeration, and the need for strict obedience to radio silence during its mission to avoid detection by listening stations in Manila, in Australia, and in Hawaii, such a vast and unwieldy operation appeared inherently without probability, if not possibility. That any such formidable contingent could wind its way for two weeks across the sea, so orchestrated in the fog of space and time, long enough to reach its destination intact and undetected, appeared so suicidal that not even the Japanese would risk it for the likelihood of failure and immediate consequence that the Japanese navy would be knocked into a cocked hat, the war lost no sooner than begun.

That, in sum, is why it was believed, while strategically a good target for the Japanese for its likelihood of crippling the U.S. Fleet for six months or more to enable the Japanese to gain their footholds in the Pacific, that, realistically, they simply would not attempt to take out Pearl Harbor. That, plus the primitive nature of radar and the lack of training of those designated on Oahu to man the newly acquired equipment being operated only for exercise during limited hours each day. Add that it was Sunday morning and you have it pretty much fully laid forth, at least in little, as to why the attack caught the defenders at Pearl Harbor by surprise, a surprise which was genuine, even if in perfect hindsight, at times seemingly so foolish in immediate, successive misjudgments as to warrant a conclusion of criminal negligence.

But, that is often true of any such calamitous, precipitate, and unforeseeable circumstance. That form of hindsight is always perfect.

Lieutenant Kelly then describes how Army nurse Peggy told him of the tank kids on other cots in the makeshift ward who had been sent out on a mission without proper reconnaissance, to take a small enclave of Japanese soldiers holed up in a village among rice paddies, one called Batangas.

This latter section of the chapter might be grimly captioned, "Every Which Way But Loose".

The only one of four tanks surviving anti-tank fire after a surprise encounter with a nest of well-equipped Japanese in what was supposed to have been an easy operation for the tank crews and supporting infantry, was stuck in reverse, and, after being hit by anti-tank fire, also wound up in the rice paddies with the other three tanks.

Perhaps, the anti-tank weapon of the Japanese was some early version of what became in late 1942 America’s Bazooka, quickly emulated by the Germans with their Panzerschreck--meaning literally "pants fright", as in Max Schreck--a larger bore version of the Bazooka, developed supposedly from examination of the American anti-tank weapon captured in North Africa in early 1943.

Or, was it? Was it the reverse? Did the Germans get there first, with the Americans subsequently capturing the Japanese version which the Germans had developed, the Americans then using it to engineer the Bazooka? The Nazis would not have wished the Americans to know this fact after the war because things were bad enough, without the Americans blaming the Nazi for the Pacific war, a blame which was, at the end of the day, justly placed, even if not, obviously, excusing the Japanese. We remind that news reports were that Abwehr agents aplenty were in Tokyo during the summer of 1941, directing the shots. For, if the Japanese wanted French Indo-china, they needed the cooperation of Vichy and occupied France, in other words, the cooperation of the Nazi string pullers.

Or, was it so simple, given what happened at Toulon when the Nazis moved in to take the Fleet inside "unoccupied" France? Were the naval commanders at the time in French Indochina of the same stock as the naval commanders at Toulon? Obviously not. For they stood down when ordered by Vichy to do so, and allowed the Japanese to occupy the country.

The tank crew member related further to Lieutenant Kelly that the infantry "ran like rabbits", being possessed of only rifles, no machine-guns.

Advance patrols to detect the hidden nests of the Japanese were not undertaken, as the maneuver had worked during training exercises, conducted against their own fellow soldiers. Nevertheless, the tanks and infantry had simply tracked themselves into a trap laid by the far more experienced Japanese troops, already inured, for four years in some cases in China, to an understanding of the guerilla tactics of jungle survival, reliant for insistence of recollection on engraved percipient images of suddenly evaporated knight-errants, their own former comrades passed into Nirvana. The green troops of America and the Philippines had simply not yet the muster to make effective use of the scant weaponry they were provided.

One can, of course, be glib and suggest that it's a poor workman who blames his tools, but the workman, usually, does not perform his work amid bombs, mines, grenades, and gunfire, where the consequence of an inferior tool is, necessarily, death or maiming, even if, sometimes, that may be the case even in the ordinary shop, free of gunfire.

And Norway, it was reported, did not have enough wood, and so had to send its youth to obtain Finnish wood.

Someone looked around, we understand, in Oslo one day and said, "This bird has flown. But, maybe he'll bounce back one day."

Whether any native of the Greek island Lesbos went along on the venture to chop the Finnish wood, we don't know. But, from above, the larger of the two harbors within Lesbos resembles Pearl, save, that is, in the latter case, for the presence of Ford Island.

And, ever since the jedge signed the paper for that fellow to rescue Ellie Mae from her crazy ol’ Granny who used skoonk blood, in place of the hoomin blood used by civilized persons, to draw an X above her eyebrow, whenever she fixed to clamp it and conjure a vision--a kind of faux supra-orbital thing, we gather--there just ain't no tellin' what is goin' on there in Dogpatch.

We agree with Ab; you have to use hoomin blood. But you do not just draw it above your eyebrow; you have to engrave it, by falling on your head and cracking it like a walnut. Then, the vision-thing just opens wide.

Anyway, there goes Ellie down the road in the Thing with her new guardian, heading out, no doubt, to the ranch where they used to make some o' them early westerns, there in New Yawk, the ones without the talk, just the Walk, down around Hollywood and Vine. They were kind of Gabby though. We never keered for 'em too much.

We think one was entitled "Chequers: The Life of a Little Cocker".

As we said the other day, the "Hillbilly Hilarities" left a little something to be desired, especially that stuff about the X's on the forehead.

Some of the comics were getting downright macabre, in fact, as demonstrated in the "Out Our Way". We don't know about yours, but not out ours. War does strange things to a people though.

Returning to the front page momentarily, six black and three white swans disappeared from an inland lake at Inglewood, California. That would suggest nine swans swimming which either had swum away or were, though cheering cherubs, taken by the yeggs and placed amid the steaming ingles in the nook's Norway doorway while the Pilgrimming goats looked on with stony-faced indifference to the yegging. More on this story as more comes to our desk on it.

"The years that when my Youth began
Had set the lily and rose
By all my ways where'er they ran,
Have ended mortal foes;
My rose of love for ever gone,
My lily of truth and trust—
They made her lily and rose in one,
And changed her into dust.
O rosetree planted in my grief,
And growing, on her tomb,
Her dust is greening in your leaf,
Her blood is in your bloom.
O slender lily waving there,
And laughing back the light,
In vain you tell me 'Earth is fair'
When all is dark as night."

My son, the world is dark with griefs and graves,
So dark that men cry out against the Heavens.
Who knows but that the darkness is in man?
The doors of Night may be the gates of Light;
For wert thou born or blind or deaf, and then
Suddenly heal’d, how would’st thou glory in all
The splendours and the voices of the world!
And we, the poor earth’s dying race, and yet
No phantoms, watching from a phantom shore
Await the last and largest sense to make
The phantom walls of this illusion fade,
And show us that the world is wholly fair.

"But vain the tears for darken'd years
As laughter over wine,
And vain the laughter as the tears,
O brother, mine or thine,

"For all that laugh, and all that weep
And all that breathe are one
Slight ripple on the boundless deep
That moves, and all is gone."


...And more, my son! for more than once when I
Sat all alone, revolving in myself
The word that is the symbol of myself,
The mortal limit of the Self was loosed,
And past into the Nameless, as a cloud
Melts into Heaven. I touch'd my limbs, the limbs
Were strange not mine—and yet no shade of doubt,
But utter clearness, and thro' loss of Self
The gain of such large life as match'd with ours
Were Sun to spark—unshadowable in words,
Themselves but shadows of a shadow-world.

"And idle gleams will come and go,
But still the clouds remain;"

The clouds themselves are children of the Sun.

"And Night and Shadow rule below
When only Day should reign."

And Day and Night are children of the Sun,
And idle gleams to thee are light to me.

--from "The Ancient Sage", by Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1885

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