THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON THE KING

The Spendthrift

THE SPENDTHRIFT

“ARCADIA, night, a cloud, Pan, and the moon.” What words to conjure with, what five shouts to slay the five senses, and set a leaping flame of emerald and silver dancing about us as we yell them forth under the oaks and over the rocks and myrtle of the hill-side. “Bruised to the breast of Pan” — let us flee church, and chapel, and meeting-room; let us abandon this mantle of order, and leap back to the heaths, and the marshes, and the hills; back to the woods, and the glades of night! back to the old gods, and the ruddy lips of Pan!

How the torches splutter in the storm, pressing warm kisses of gold on the gnarled and knotted trunks of the beech trees! How the fumigation from musk and myrrh whirls up in an aromatic cloud from the glowing censer! — how for a time it greedily clings to the branches, and then is wafted to the stars! Look! — as we invoke them, how they gather round us, these Spirit of Love and of Life, of Passion, of Strength, and of Abandon — these sinews of the manhood of the World!

O mystery of mysteries! “For each one of the Gods is in all, and all are in each, being ineffably united to each other and to God; because each, being a super-essential unity, their {174} conjunction with each other is a union of unities.” Hence each is all; thus Nature squanders the gold and silver of our understanding, till in panic frenzy we beat our head on the storm-washed boulders and the blasted trunks, and shout forth, “Io ... Io ... Io ... Evoe! Io ... Io!” till the glades thrill as with the music of syrinx an sistrum, and our souls are rent asunder on the flaming horns of Pan.

Come, O children of the night of Death, awake, arise! See, the sun is nodding in the West, and no day-spring is at hand in this land of withered dreams; for all is dull with the sweat of gloom, and sombre with the industry of Evil! Wake! O wake! Let us hie to the summits of the lonely mountains, for soon a sun will arise in us, and then their white peaks will become golden and crimson and purple as the breasts of a mighty woman swollen with the blood and milk of a new life. There, amongst those far-off hills of amethyst, shall we find the fair mistress of our heart’s desire — that bountiful Mother who will clasp us to her breast.

Yours are the boundless forests, and the hills, and the far-off purple of the horizon. Call, and they shall answer you; ask, and they shall shower forth on you the hoarded booty of the years, and all the treasure of the ages; so that none shall be in need, and all shall possess all in the longing for all things. Come, let us shatter the vault of Circumstance and the walls of the dungeon of Convention, and back to Pan in the tangled brakes, and to the subtle beauty of the Sorceress, and to the shepherd-lads — back to the white flocks on the hill-side, back to Pan — to Pan — to Pan! Io! to Pan.

Under the mistletoe and the oak there is no snickering of the chapel-pew, no drawing-room grin of lewd desire, no {175} smacking of wanton lips over the warm flesh and the white skin of life; but a great shout of joyous laughter arises, which sways the winds from their appointed courses, and rattles down the dead branches from the leafy boughs overhead: or, all is solemn and still as a breathless night; for here life is ever manly in turmoil as in repose.

Here there is no barter, no usury, no counting of the gains and losses of life; and the great Sower leaps over the fields like a madman, casting forth the golden grain amongst the briars, and on the rocks, as well as between the black furrows of the earth; for each must take its chance, and battle to victory in manliness and strength. Here there is neither sect nor faction: live or die, prosper or decay! So the great live, and the little ones go back to the roots of life. Neither is their obedience outside the obedience which is born of Necessity; for here there is no support, no resting on others — ploughshares are beaten into swords, and spindles are fashioned into the shafts of arrows, and the winds shriek through our armour as we battle for the strength of the World.

The rain falleth upon the deserts as upon the fertile valleys; and the sun shineth upon the blue waters as upon the verdant fields; and the dew heedeth not where it sleepeth, whether on the dung-hill, or betwixt the petals of the wild rose; for all is lavish in this Temple of the World, where on the throne of inexhaustible wealth sits the King of Life, tearing the jewels from his golden throat, and casting them out to the winds to be carried to the four corners of the Earth. There is no thrift here, no storing up for the morrow; and yet there is no waste, no wantonness, for all who enter {176} this Treasure-house of Life become one with the jewels of the treasury.

Words! ... words! ... words! They have shackled and chained you, O children of the mists and the mountains; they have imprisoned you, and walled you up in the dungeon of a lightless reason. Fancy has been burnt at the stake of Fact; and the imagination cramped in the irons of tort and quibble. O vanity of vain words! O cozening, deceitful art! Nimbly do the great ones of to-day wrestle with the evil-smelling breath of their mouths, twisting and contorting it into beguilements, bastardising and corrupting the essence of things, sucking as a greedy vampire the blood from your hearts, and breathing into your nostrils the rigid symbols of law and of order, begotten on the death-bed of their understanding.

O children of Wonder and of Fancy, fly to the wild woods whilst yet there is time! Back to the mysteries of the shadowy oaks, to the revolt of imagination, to the insurrection of souls, to the moonlit festivals of love: back where the werewolf lurks, and the moonrakes prowl. Back, O back to the song of life, back to the great God Pan! And there, wrapped in your goat-skins, drink with the shepherds of Tammuz out of the skin of a suckling yet unborn, and ye shall become as the silver-gleaming waters of Istar — pure and bright! Speed, for he is the divine king of the fauns and the satyrs, the dryads and the oreads; the Lord of the Crowns; the Decider of Destiny; the God who prospers all above and beneath! And tarry not, lest as ye wander along the shore of the Ionian Sea ye hear a voice of lamentation crying, “Great Pan is dead!” {177}

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