THE DIRGE FOR THE DEAD IN LIFE
[Lucifer, Vol. III, No. 16, December, 1888, pp. 301-303]
The fragments that we publish below form one of the most remarkable instances of so-called automatic writing when the medium, without any previous knowledge of the subject, is impelled to set down upon the paper that which is not in the brain. The medium here is a young lady who knows nothing about this dirge, but we know that it is a portion of the chant which was sung over the entranced body of the neophyte who was about to become an initiate. The original was found in Egypt among the wrappings of a mummy by the grandfather of a gentleman, a Mason, from whom we got it. Although Egyptologists may have seen the fragment, we are certain that the young lady who wrote down the verses had never heard of it before and was much puzzled by the verses, if not by the signature of “Sepher” given to her. Spiritualists may say it-is something from the “spirits,” but we hold the view that it is a reminiscence from past incarnations of the one who wrote. These recollections are not so rare as is supposed, and while frequently they are not recognised as such, they nevertheless account for many strange things heard at séances with mediums and psycho
* [Satires, I, iv, 81-85, the Latin text being as follows:
“. . . . absentem qui rodit amicum,
qui non defendet alio culpante, solutos
qui captat risus hominum famamque dicacis,
fingere qui non visa potest, commissa facere
qui nequit: hic niger est, hunc tu, Romane, caveto.”
graphic writers, as we were told it was only in the days of Ptolemy that this dirge began to be chanted over the really dead or the mummy.—Ed.*
Bind up thy head and numb thy limbs, for hence cometh wondrous tidings for him who hath the ear open in the sepulchre.
Drink in of the honied words, and mix them with precision to mingle the bitter with the sweet.
Turn thine heart from all outer knowledge and hold thyself open for the knowledge of the spheres.
Now take quickly the pegs from the tents and let them fall in, for the mighty simoom is nigh at hand.
Art thou ready, pale mortal? Is thy head bandaged and thy blood inert, and hast thou parted with thy blood?
Art thou laid down eastward, and is thy inner ear listening for the music of the voice of the spheres?
Listen, pale mortal.
The voice is commencing to emit sound, and the turn of the tide is swiftly ebbing away.
Pale mortal, lying so like an image of Phineus,† wherefore art thou disquieted? The glitter of chariots will not reach those dazed eyes.
The sound of the battle-axe will not penetrate thy skull.
Now listen to the voice; thou art gone from hence, pale mortal, and the earth knows thee no more.
Thy bandaged head lies on the death stretcher and thy bloodless body is full of sweet-smelling myrrh.
* [As appears from H.P.B.’s explanation in the article “The Dirge for the Dead,” which immediately follows the present one, the last two lines of this Editorial Note are faulty, due to a printer’s error. The second footnote of the next article explains what was the real meaning intended to be conveyed.––Compiler.]
† Phineus, the King of Thrace, who became blind for attempting to see into futurity without being duly initiated, and who was killed by Hercules. An allusion to the closed eyes of the entranced seer, or the mummy.—Ed.
Thou art a shade, blessed soul!
Thou art a shadowy vapour, pale face!
Thou art a bird of paradise, free soul!
Listen! dost thou hear the freedom of the wind? Thou art no longer on thine earth.
Those groans, pale face, they proceed from the land thou hast quitted.
That burning heat, poor wanderer, that is the desert thou hast passed through.
Now quickly proceed. No more time, poor dove, mayst thou linger, the burning ring is thy resting step.
See thou the circle, it burns with the seared light of a captive fire god!
Quickly step, pale face, and place thyself in the ring of fire.
Now in the ring, does not the past stand out like a sheeted fury?
Dost thou behold the list of evil committed?
Listen! those echoes are the battle shouts, and those shrieking, harsh voices are thine own saved against thee.
Writhe now, poor soul; alas! thou must suffer.
See now the time has passed, and thou art lifted from thy ring of suffering.
Whence comes this change? Thy shadow has gained intensity, and thy form person.
Now take this key, terror stricken dove, and unlock that vast chest.
Why tremble? Those bodies are but the victims which thou hast sacrificed to thy evil lusts.
Those ghastly white, staring skulls thou hast slain with thine own hand.
Oh! those terrible bruised hearts are only those upon whom thou hast trodden.
Blench not, those maimed bodies are thy handiwork.
Oh! pale face, take brave hold. Thou hast gloried over these deeds—why shudder now? Life taken is life left.
Slain souls wait in Paradise. (In the field of Aarzoo in the original.)
Long lost hearts burn in the oil of the lamp of the king.
Hopeless maimed ones rest in the water queen’s bosom.
Remember not to forget, but forget to remember.
There now, poor tired one, one more ordeal, one more flame-searching trial.
Jump quickly into the water, mark you its cool, delicate waving; why dost thou shrink? Art thou not hot and weary? It will refresh thee.
Now the time is past. Thou must jump. Days are passing, moments fleeting; jump thou, believe, jump.
There, come up now, and rest in this green grass.
Was it very terrible? Did the water burn thy very life?
Ah! so burned thou the life of others.
Pass, pass, pass !
Thou art free, see thou how beautiful are thy limbs.
Feel now how perfect is thy health.
Come away to the fire king, thy sufferings are passed.
Thou hast been tormented for a thousand and one years.
Hasten thou, no longer sorrowful wanderer, but bird of Paradise.
Fight no more, thou hast won Elysia.
Weep! Ah! thou canst not, thou hast no fount of tears.
Still thee now, still thee!
See, I bring thee onwards.
Seest thou not that thou art glorified!
See far, far agone, behind time, thy poor body.
See the bandaged head and the bloodless body, see the stuffed carcass. Oh, laugh, laugh, laugh.
That was once thy dwelling-place.
Now come quickly, for we pass to the absorption; wait not, tarry not, linger not.
Oh! beautiful, moon-faced angel!
Oh! brilliant and happy soul!
Hark thou to the tinkle of those silver bells, they are the fire king’s thoughts.
Listen to the convulsions of the atoms; the demons tremble.
Listen to the beautiful songs; they are the Gunlas.
Oh, happy soul, soon must we part, for I must return to the ferry, for I must ferry souls across.
I cannot enter where thou canst enter, beautiful Bird of Paradise; tell the Fire King when thou see’st him in his beauty that I languish to join him.
Now, good-bye, Brilliant-Bird, soar above, thou art free as air.
Thou art as a snowflake carried on the rosy pinions of the morn.
Thou art as the lovely wind that cooleth the hot earth.
Fare thee well, free dove, fare thee well; enter that golden glory and pass for ever into the Fire King.
Gunla, Gunla, Gunla. . . . .