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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

Four Mystery Plays
GA 14
The Soul's Probation (Written 1911)

Scene 12

The same. Johannes and Lucifer.

Take warning by Capesius' fate and learn
What fruits are ripened when a soul attempts
To penetrate too soon the spirit-world.
He knows the words writ in his book of life
And knows his tasks for many lives to come.
But suffering not ordained by destiny
Is wrought by knowledge which path not the power
To change itself to deeds in earthly life.
The choice that to successful issue leads
Depends upon the ripeness of the will.
At every step that he would take in life
Henceforth Capesius must ask himself:
Can all my obligations thus be met
Which are the outgrowth of my former lives?
So o'er his path a dazzling light is shed,
Causing his eyes to suffer from the glare
And giving him no help upon his way.
It kills the forces which, whilst still unknown,
Are trusty guides for every human soul,
Yet does not aid the power of conscious thought.
Thus it can only hurt the body's strength
Before the soul bath learned to master it.

I do perceive the error of my life.
The forces of the soul that worked unconsciously
Deep in the body, I did steal from thence
And proudly carried to the spirit heights.
Yet it was not a human being whole
That thus was carried upward to the light.
Nought was it but the shadow of a soul,
Which could but rhapsodize of spirit-realms
And feel a oneness with creative powers;
It wished to live all blissful in the light,
And deeds of light in colour to behold;
It fancied that as artist it could paint
Spirit-existence in a world of sense.
This form that took its semblance from mine own
Bath shown to me myself with cruel truth.
I dreamed of soul-love, pure and free from stain,
Whilst passion yet was coursing through my veins.
But now I have beheld the past earth life
From which my present life derives its source
This shows me whither I must truly strive.
The spirit-pathways which of late I trod
Cannot be followed far by such a soul
As just before its present life on earth
Lived in the body of the miner, Thomas.
The fashion of his life must be for me
The rule by which to seek my present goal.
I've striven for attainment here and now
Of things that only later can bear fruit.

My light must serve to guide thy further steps
As it bath done to guide them hitherto,
The spirit-path which thou hast sought to tread
Can wed the spirit to the lofty heights,
But to thy soul it bringeth nought but gloom.

What hath a man attained who gives himself
A soul-less puppet to the spirit-world?
E'en at the end of all his earthly days
He is but that same being which he was,
When in earth's primal days his human form
From out the cosmic womb did first emerge.
If to those impulses I yield myself
Which, springing from unfathomed depths of soul,
Clamour imperiously for life and form,
Then.in me works the universal all.
I know not then what drives me on to act;
But surely it must be the cosmic will
Which leads me on to its appointed goal.
This will must know the wherefore of man's life
Though human knowledge cannot make it plain.
That which in perfect manhood it creates
Is vital wealth wherewith to form the soul.
To it will I surrender, and no more
By idle spirit-striving kill it out.

Myself I work in this same cosmic. will
When it flows mightily through human souls;
They are but limbs of higher entities
Until they can experience my power.
'Tis only I who make them men indeed
Whose human self stands firm within the world.

I long have thought I knew the whole of thee;
Yet dwelt within me but thy phantom shade
Portrayed there by my visionary dreams.
Now must I feel thee, live thee by my will;
Then can I overcome thee later on
If so 'tis written in my destiny.
Let spirit-knowledge, that I gained too soon,
Repose henceforth within mine inmost soul
Till impulses in life shall call it forth.
With confidence I yield me to that will
That hath more wisdom than the human soul.

(Exit Johannes with Lucifer.)