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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Four Mystery Plays
GA 14
The Portal of Initiation (Written 1910)

Scene 6

Scene the same as the Fourth.

(The Spirit of the Elements stands in the same place.)

Thou calledst me. What wouldst thou hear of me?

Two men did I present unto the earth
Whose spirit-powers were fructified through thee.
They found their soul's awakening in thy words
When barren thought had paralysed them both.
Thy gifts to them make thee my debtor too.
Their spirit doth not of itself suffice
To render full repayment unto me
For all the service which I did for them.

For many years one of these men did come
To our small cottage, that he might obtain
The strength that lent unto his words their fire.
Later he brought the other with him too;
And so they two consumed the fruits, whose worth
Was then unknown to me: but little good
Did I receive from them as recompense.
Their kind of knowledge to our son they gave,
With good intent indeed, but yet the child
Found nought therein but death unto his soul.
He grew to manhood steeped in all the light,
His father Felix, through the spirit-speech,
Taught him from fountains and from rocks and hills:
To this was joined all that had lived and grown
In my own soul from my first childhood's years;
And yet our son's clear spirit-sense was killed
By the deep gloom of sombre sciences.
Instead of some blithe happy child, there grew
A man of desert soul and empty heart.
And now forsooth thou dost demand of me
That I should pay what they do owe to thee!

It must be so, for thou at first didst serve
The earthly part in them; and so through me
The spirit bids thee now complete the work.

'Tis not my wont to shrink from any debt;
But tell me first what detriment will grow
In mine own self from this love-service done?

What thou at first didst do for them on earth,
Robbed of his strength of soul thine only son;
And what thou givest to their spirits now
Is lost henceforth to thee from thine own self;
Which lessening of the powers of life in thee
Will show as ugliness in thine own flesh.

They robbed my child of all his strength of soul,
And in return I needs must wander forth
A monster in the sight of men, that fruits
May ripen for them, which work little good!

Yet thy work aids the welfare of mankind
And leads as well to thine own happiness.
Thy mother's beauty and thy child's own life
Will blossom for thee in a loftier way,
When one day in the souls and hearts of men,
New spirit-powers shall seed and fructify.

What must I do?

Mankind thou hast inspired
Full often with thy words. Inspire then now
The spirits of the rocks: in this same hour
Thou must bring forth from out thy treasured store
Of fairy pictures some one tale to give
Those beings who do serve me in my work.

So be it then:—A being once did live
Who flew from East to West, as runs the sun.
He flew o'er lands and seas, and from this height
He looked upon the doings of mankind.
He saw how men did one another love,
And, how in hatred they did persecute.
Yet naught could stay this being in his flight,
For love and hatred none the less bring forth
Full many thousand times the same results.
Yet o'er one house—there must the being stay;
For therein dwelt a tired and weary man,
Who pondered on the love of humankind,
And pondered also over human hate.
His contemplations had already graved
Deep furrows on his brow; his hair was white.
And, grieving o'er this man, the being lost
His sun-guide's leadership, and stayed with him
Within his room e'en when the sun went down.
And when the sun arose again, once more
The being joined the spirit of the sun;
And once again he saw mankind pass through
The cycle of the earth in love and hate.
But when he came, still following the sun,
A second time above that selfsame house,
His gaze did fall upon a dying man.

(Germanus, invisible behind the rock, speaks. As he speaks, he gradually drags his unwieldy size on to the stage; his feet like clogs are almost earth-bound.)

A man once lived, who went from East to West:
Whose eager thirst for knowledge lured him on
O'er land and sea; with learned pedantry
He looked upon the doings of mankind.
He saw how men did one another love,
And, how in hatred they did persecute;
And every day anon he fondly hoped
His wisdom's goal was now at length in sight.
But, though the world is ruled by love and hate,
Yet could he not combine them into law.
A thousand single cases wrote he down,
Yet still he lacked the comprehending eye.
This dull, dry seeker after truth once met
Upon his path a being formed of light;
Who found existence fraught with heaviness
Since it must live in constant combat with
A darksome being formed of shadows black.
‘Who art thou then?’ the dry truth-seeker asked.
‘Love,’ said the one; the other answered, ‘Hate.’
But these two beings' words fell on deaf ears;
The man heard not, but wandered blindly on
In his dry search for truth from East to West.

And who art thou, who thus against my wish
Dost parody my words in his own way
Until they sound a very mockery?

Only a dwarf-like image of me lives
In man, and therein many things are thought,
That are but mockery of their own selves,
When I do show them in the actual size,
In which they do appear within my brain.

And therefore dost thou also mock at me?

I must right often ply this trade of mine;
Yet mostly men do hear me not, so now
I seized for once this opportunity
To speak as well where men can hear my words.

Johannes (out of his meditation):
This was the man, who of himself did say
That spirit-light grew of its own accord
Within his brain; and Dame Felicia came,
Just like her husband, as she is in life.