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Prometheus, Or the Poet’s Forethought

A Greek Myth Teaches the Law of Self-Sacrifice
 
 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
 
 
Prometheus Bound
 
 
 
An Editorial Note:
 
Noble actions suppose a degree of self-sacrifice. Challenging the routine of established ignorance can be a painful experience, until the good karma is ripe enough to return to its origin.
 
In her book “The Secret Doctrine”, Helena P. Blavatsky includes a number of references and commentaries to the Greek myth of Prometheus, whose symbolism teaches the courage and determination that are necessary to help mankind.
 
H.P.B. writes on Prometheus:
 
“The subject of Aeschylus’ drama (the trilogy is lost) is known to all cultured readers. The demi-god robs the gods (the Elohim) of their secret - the mystery of the creative fire. For this sacrilegious attempt he is struck down by KRONOS [Time] and delivered unto Zeus, the FATHER and creator of a mankind which he would wish to have blind intellectually (…..). Hence Prometheus, ‘the fire and light-giver’, is chained on Mount Caucasus and condemned to suffer torture.” [1]
 
The very life of H.P. Blavatsky illustrates the myth.  In another paragraph, H. P. B. adds:
 
“Our Saviours, the Agnishwatta and other divine ‘Sons of the Flame of Wisdom’ (personified by the Greeks in Prometheus) may well, in the injustice of the human heart, be left unrecognized and unthanked. They may, in our ignorance of the truth, be indirectly cursed (….)”. [2]
 
History shows that self-sacrifice is a precondition for anyone who wants to have the privilege of helping others, and Henry Longfellow demonstrates in his poem that there are many who follow the example given in the Greek myth.
 
“Prometheus, Or the Poet’s Forethought” is reproduced from “The Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow”, The Wordsworth Poetry Library, U.K., 1994, 886 pp., pp. 298-299.
 
(Carlos Cardoso Aveline)
 
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Prometheus, Or the Poet’s Forethought
 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
 
Of Prometheus, how undaunted
   On Olympus’ shining bastions
His audacious foot he planted,
Myths are told and songs are chanted,
   Full of promptings and suggestions.
 
Beautiful is the tradition
   Of that flight through heavenly portals,
The old classic superstition
Of the theft and the transmission
   Of the fire of the Immortals!
 
First the deed of noble daring,
   Born of heavenward aspiration,
Then the fire with mortals sharing,
Then the vulture, - the despairing
   Cry of pain on crags Caucasian.
 
All is but a symbol painted
   Of the Poet, Prophet, Seer;
Only those are crowned and sainted
Who with grief have been acquainted,
   Making nations nobler, freer.
 
In their feverish exultations,
   In their triumph and their yearning,
In their passionate pulsations,
In their words among the nations,
   The Promethean fire is burning.
 
Shall it, then, be unavailing,
   All this toil for human culture?
Through the cloud-rack, dark and trailing,
Must they see above them sailing
   O’er life’s barren crags the vulture?
 
Such a fate as this was Dante’s,
   By defeat and exile maddened;
Thus were Milton and Cervantes,
Nature’s priests and Corybantes,
   By affliction touched and saddened.
 
But the glories so transcendent
   That around their memories cluster,
And, on all their steps attendant,
Make their darkened lives resplendent
   With such gleams of inward lustre!
 
All the melodies mysterious,
   Through the dreary darkness chanted;
Thoughts in attitudes imperious,
Voices soft, and deep, and serious,
   Words that whispered, songs that haunted!
 
All the soul in rapt suspension,
   All the quivering, palpitating
Chords of life in utmost tension,
With the fervor of invention,
   With the rapture of creating!
 
Ah, Prometheus! heaven-scaling!
   In such hours of exultation
Even the faintest heart, unquailing,
Might behold the vulture sailing
   Round the cloudy crags Caucasian!
 
Though to all there is not given
   Strength for such sublime endeavor,
Thus to scale the walls of heaven,
And to leaven with fiery leaven
   All the hearts of men for ever;
 
Yet all bards, whose hearts unblighted
   Honor and believe the presage,
Hold aloft their torches lighted,
Gleaming through the realms benighted,
   As they onward bear the message!
 
NOTES:
 
[1] “The Secret Doctrine”, Theosophy Co., Vol. II, p. 415.
 
[2] “The Secret Doctrine”, Vol. II, pp. 411-412.
 
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In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
 
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E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).
 
 
Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.

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Prometheus, Or the Poet’s Forethought




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