Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:35 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 1

The library and study of Caaesius. Prevailing colour brown. Evening. First Capesius, then the Spirit Forms who are powers of soul later Benedictus.

Capesius (reading in a book):
‘By inward gazing on the Beingless,
And dreaming through the shadowy picture realm
Of thought, conformably to self-made laws: —
Thus erring human nature often seeks
To find the meaning and the goal of life:
The soul from its own depths would draw replies
To questions that concern the universe.
Yet such attempts are vain, illusory
E'en at the outset, and they lead at last
To feeble visions which destroy themselves.’

(Speaking as follows.)

Thus is portrayed in words of import grave
Through Benedictus' noble spirit-sight,
The inward life of many human souls.
Each phrase goes home destructive to my heart —
Unfolding truly mine own way and life
Until this day, with cruel vividness.
And should a god this very hour appear
Descending on me in a raging storm
And clad in wrath, yet could his threatening might
Not torture me with more appalling fears
Than do the Master's words, as strong as fate.
Long hath my life been, but its web displays
Nothing but pictures shadowy and dim
Which haunt my dreaming soul and fondly strive
To mirror truths of nature and of mind.
With this dream-fabric hath my thought essayed
To solve the riddles of the universe.
Down many a path my restless soul I turned.
Yet do I clearly see that I myself,
Was not the active master of my soul
When threads of thought along illusion's path
Spun themselves out to cosmic distances.

So that which I in my content beheld
In pictures, left me empty, led to naught.
Then came across my path Thomasius,
The youthful painter. He indeed strode on,
Upheld by truest energies of soul
To that exalted spiritual way
Which transforms human life, and makes to rise
From hidden gulfs of soul the energy
Which feeds the springs of life within ourselves.
That which awoke from out his inmost soul
Abides in every man. And since from him
I gained this revelation, I do count
As chief amongst the many sins of life
To let the spirit's treasure grow corrupt.

I know henceforth that I must search and seek
And nevermore allow myself to doubt.

In days gone by my vanity of thought
Could have enticed me to the false belief
That unto knowledge man aspires in vain;
And only failure and despair belong
To those who would lay bare the springs of life,

And were all wisdom to unite in this,
And were I powerless to reject the claim
That human destiny demands of man
That he shall lose his individual self
And sink into the gulf of nothingness,
Yet would I make the venture unafraid.

Such thoughts would be a sacrilege to-day,
Since I have learned I cannot win repose
Until the spirit treasure in my soul
Hath been unveiled to the light of day.

The fruits of work of lofty spirit-beings
Have been implanted in the human soul,
And whoso leaves the spirit seed to lie
Unheeded and decay, he brings to naught
The work divine committed unto man.

Thus do I recognize life's highest task;
Yet when I try to take one single step
Across the threshold that I dare not shun,
I feel my strength desert me, which of yore
Did pride itself on elevated thought,
And sought the goals of life in time and space.
Once did I reckon it an easy thing
To set the brain in action and to grasp
The nature of reality by thought.
But now, when I would search the fount of life
And comprehend it as in truth it is,
My thought appears as some blunt instrument;
I have no power, no matter how I strive,
To form a clear thought-image from the words of
Benedictus, though his earnest speech
Should now direct me to the spirit's path

(Resuming his reading.)

‘In silence sound the depths of thine own soul,
And ever let strong courage be thy guide.
Thy former ways of thinking cast away
What time thou dost withdraw into thyself;
For only when thine own light is put out
Will spirit-radiance show itself to thee.’

(Resuming his soliloquy.)

It seems as though I could not draw my breath
When I attempt to understand these words.
And ere I feel the thoughts that I must think,
Fear and misgiving have beset my soul.
It is borne in on me that everything
Which hitherto was my environment
Is crumbling into ruin, and therewith
I too am crumbling into nothingness:
An hundred times at least have I perused
The words which follow, and each several time
Darkness enfolds me deeper than before.

(Resuming his reading.)

‘Within thy thinking cosmic thought loth live,
Within thy feeling cosmic forces play,
Within thy will do cosmic beings work;
Abandon thou thyself to cosmic thought,
Experience thyself through cosmic force,
Create thyself anew from cosmic will.

End not at last in cosmic distances
By fantasies of dreamy thought beguiled.
Do thou begin in farthest spirit-realms
And end in the recesses of thy soul.
The plan divine then shalt thou recognize
When thou hast realized thy Self in thee.’

(Becomes entranced by a vision, then comes to himself and speaks.)

What was this?

(Three Figures, representing soul forces, float round him.)

Abundant power is thine
For lofty spirit-flight;
Its sure foundation rests
Upon the human will.

Its temper hath been tried
By sure and certain hope.
It hath grown strong as steel
By sight of future times.
Thou dost but courage lack
To pour into thy will
Thy confidence in life.
Into the vast Unknown
Dare but to venture forth!

From cosmic distances
And from the sun's glad light,
From utmost realms of stars
And magic might of worlds,
From heaven's ethereal blue
And spirit's lofty power,
Win mightiness of soul;
And send its radiant beams
Deep down within thine heart;
That knowledge glowing warm
May thus be born in thee.

The Other Philia:
They are deceiving thee
This evil sisterhood;
They seek but to ensnare
By trickery and guile.
Thy gifts so seeming fair
Which they have offered thee
Will vanish into air
When thou wouldst hold them fast
With all thy human strength.

They lead thee on to worlds
Inhabited by gods,
Where thou wilt be destroyed
If thou mak'st bold to rise
Into their cosmic realm
With thy humanity.

It was quite plain that here some beings spake —
And yet it is most sure that no one else —
Beside myself — is present in this place.

So have I but held converse with myself
And yet that too seems quite impossible
For ne'er could I imagine such discourse
As here I listened to —

Am I still he was before?

(From his gestures it is plain he feels unable to reply ‘yes.’)

Oh! I am — I am not.

The Spirit-Voice of Conscience:
Thy thoughts do now descend
To depths of human life
And what as soul loth compass thee around
And what as spirit is enchained in thee,
Expands in cosmic depth,
From whose fulness quaffing
Mankind doth live in thought
From whose fulness living
Mankind illusion weaves.

Enough ... Enough ... Where is Capesius?
You I implore ... ye forces all unknown ...
Where is Capesius? Where is ... myself?

(Once more he relapses into a reverie.)

(Enter Benedictus. Capesius does not notice him at first. Benedictus touches him on the shoulder.)

I learned that thou didst wish to speak with me,
And so I came to seek thee in thy home.

Right good it is of thee to grant my wish.
Yet it had scarce been possible that thou
Shouldst find me in worse case than now I am.
That I am not this moment on the ground
Prostrate before thy feet, after such pain
As even now hath racked my soul, I owe
To thy kind glance alone which sought mine own,
So soon as thou didst with thy gentle touch
Arouse me from the horrors of my dream.

I am aware that I have found thee now
Fighting a battle for thy very life.
Since I have known full well this long time past
That thus it was appointed us to meet.
Prepare to change the sense of many words
If thou wouldst understand my speech aright,
And do not marvel that thy present pain
Bears in my language quite another name —
I call thy state good fortune.

Then indeed
Thou dost but heap the measure of the woe
Which casts me into gloom's abysmal deeps.
Just now I felt as if my real self
Had flown afar to cosmic distances,
And unfamiliar beings through its sheaths
Were speaking here. But this I took to be
Hallucination, spirit mockery,
And mourned that thus my soul could be deceived:
This thought alone kept me from breaking down.
Take not away my right thus to believe,
The only prop I lean on; tell me not
My fevered dreaming was good fortune; else
I shall be lost indeed.

A man can lose
Nought else but that which keeps him separate
From cosmic being. When he seems to lose
That which in dreamy fantasies of thought
He misapplied to labours purposeless,
Then let him seek for what has gone from him.
For he will surely find it, and withal
The proper use to which it should be put
In human life.
Mere words of comfort now
Were nothing more than clever play on words.

Nay — teachings that by intellect alone
Are comprehended, thou dost not impart.
Bitter experience has shown me this.
Like deeds which lead one on to lofty heights
And also cast one to abysmal depth,
Thy counsels pour a stream of fiery life
And also deathly chill into men's souls.
They work at once e'en as the nod of fate
And also as the storms of life and love.
Much had I sought and thought in earlier days
Before I met thee; yet the spirit's powers,
Creative and destructive, I have learned
Only since I have followed in thy steps.
The turmoil and confusion of my soul,
Caused by thy words, was evident when thou
Didst come within my chamber. Oft I felt
Much pain whilst reading in thy book of life,
Until to-day my cup of woe was full.
And so my agony of soul o'erflowed,
Spilled by thy fateful words. Their meaning swept.
O'er all my soul unrecognized, and yet
Like some elixir they revived my heart.
In such wise wrought they in the magic worlds
That all my clarity of sense was lost.
Then ghostly phantoms made a mock of me,
And words of import dark I seemed to hear
Issue from my distraught tormented soul.
I know that all the secrets thou dost guard
For human souls may not be written down,
But that the answer to men's doubts may be
Revealed to each according to his need.
So grant me that of which I stand in need;
For verily I must indeed be told
What robbed me of my senses and my wits
And compassed me with magic's airy spells.

Another meaning hides within my words
Than that of the ideas which they convey;
They guide the natural forces of the soul
To spirit-verities their inward sense
Cannot be understood until the day
On which they waken vision in the soul
That yields itself to their compelling power.
They are not fruitage of mine own research;
But spirits have entrusted them to me,
Spirits well skilled to read the signs in which
The Karma of the world doth stand revealed.
The special virtue of these words is this,
Unto the source of knowledge they can guide.
Yet none the less it must be each man's task,
Who understands them in their truest sense,
To drink the spirit-waters from that source.
Nor are my words designed to hinder thee
From being swept away to worlds that seem
To thee fantastic. Thou hast seen a realm
Which must remain illusion just as long
As thou dost lose thyself on entering it.
But wisdom's outer portal will be found
Unsealed to thine advancing soul so soon
As thou dost near it with self-consciousness.

And how can I maintain self-consciousness?

The answer to this riddle thou shalt find
When, with awakened inner eye, thou dost
Perceive before thee many wondrous things,
Which shortly will be found to cross thy path.

Know that a test path been ordained for thee
By lords of fate and by the spirit-powers.


Although their meaning is not clear to me
I feel his words at work within myself.
He hath appointed me a goal; and I
Am ready to obey. He doth not ask
For stress of thought; it seems that he desires
I should press forward with exploring feet
To find the spirit-verities myself.

I cannot tell how he was sent to me;
And yet his actions, have compelled my trust;
He hath restored me to myself once more.
So though at present I may not divine
The nature of the spell that shook me so,
I will not shrink from facing these events
Which his prophetic vision hath foretold.

Curtain whilst Capesius remains standing
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:36 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 2

A meditation chamber. Prevailing colour violet. Serious, but not gloomy atmosphere.

Great conflicts in my soul bid me invoke
Wise counsel from my master in this hour.
Gloomy forebodings rise within my heart.
And I am powerless to withstand the thoughts,
That overwhelm me ever and again.
They pierce me to my being's inmost core;
They seek to lay upon me a command
Which to obey doth seem like sacrilege.
Deceitful powers must be obsessing me;
Oh, I implore thee — lend me aid ... that I
May exorcise them.

Never shalt thou lack
What thou dost need of me at any time.

I know how closely to my soul are knit
Johannes' life and aims. A stony road
Of fate brought us together; and God's will
Hath hallowed in high spirit-realms our bond.
All this stands out before me e'en as clear
As only truth itself can be. And yet —
Horror o'erpowers me that these lips of mine
Must utterance give to sacrilegious words —
And yet — deep in my soul I hear a voice
Which tells me plainly and repeatedly
Despite my utmost will to fight it down:
‘Thou must give up Johannes, let him go.
No longer mayst thou keep him at thy side
If thou wouldst not work evil to his soul.
Alone he must proceed along the road
On which he travels to his longed for goal.’

I know that if thou dost but speak the word
This lying dream will cease to haunt my soul,

Maria, noble grief leads thee astray
To see the truth, yet call it counterfeit.

What I have seen — is truth ... It cannot be!

Between my master's utterance and mine ear
Delusion steals. 0 speak to me again.

What I have spoken, thou hast heard aright:
Thy love is noble, and Johannes stands
Close-knit to thee. But love must not forget
That she is wisdom's sister. Long indeed
For his salvation hath Johannes been
With thee united. Now his soul demands,
For its own progress, freedom to pursue
Its aims unhindered. Fate doth not decree
That ye shall be no longer outward friends;
But this it doth demand with strict decree —
Johannes' freedom in the spirit-realm.

Still do I hear delusion: so let me
Alone continue speaking, for I know
That thou must understand me without fail.
For sure it is no lying shape will dare
To change the words unto thine ear addressed.
My host of doubts were easily dispersed
If earth-life's tortuous course alone it were
That knits Johannes' soul unto mine own.
But to our bond was lofty sanction given
Which knits soul unto soul eternally.
And spirit-powers did speak with blessings meet
The word that bans all doubts for evermore:
‘He hath won truth within the eternal realms
Because in worlds of sense his inmost self
Already was united with thine own.’
What can this revelation mean to me
If now its very opposite is true?

Thou hast to learn that even one to whom
There hath been much revealed, may yet be found
Lacking perfection still in divers ways.
Tangled the paths that lead to higher truths:
And only those may hope to reach the goal
Who walk in patience through their labyrinth.
Thou didst but see one part of what is real
In that great realm of everlasting light,
When with thine inner vision thou didst gaze
Upon a picture of the spirit-land.
Not yet hast thou seen full reality.

Johannes' soul is knit unto thine own
By earthly ties of such complexity,
That it may be allotted unto each
To find his way into the spirit-realm
Through forces borrowed from the other one.
But nothing hitherto hath clearly shown
That ye have conquered each and every test.
To see a picture hath been granted you
Of what the future holds for you in store
When ye can pass unscathed the full ordeal.

That ye have seen the ultimate reward
Of unremitting effort is no sign
That ye have reached the end of all your strife.
Ye have beheld a picture, which your will
Alone can turn unto reality.

Although thy words just spoken fall on me
Like bitter pain that follows hours of bliss,
There is at least one lesson I have learned,
Which is to bow my head to wisdom's light
When it doth prove itself through inward force.

Already something is becoming clear
Which up till now lay hidden in my heart.
But when in highest bliss delusion's snare
Doth wear the mask of truth to human minds,
Darkness of soul is difficult to ban.
I need still more than that which thou hast given
To plumb the depth of meaning in thy words.
Thou once didst lead myself to those soul-depths
Wherein a light was then vouchsafed to me
By which I could behold the lives I spent
In previous incarnations long ago.
Thus was it granted me to learn the way
In which my soul was linked unto my friend's.
My act of bringing, in those days of old,
Johannes' soul unto the spirit-fount
I felt and recognized to be the seed
Which grew and bore such cherished friendship's fruit,
As was found ripe for all eternity.

Thou wart accounted worthy to retrace
Thy path on earth in days long since gone by.
But thou must not forget to look and see
If thou canst be assured with certainty
That of thy past lives none concealed doth stay
When backward thou dost turn thy spirit's eye.

Maria (after a pause betokening deep reflection):
How, could I be so blinded, so misled?
The rapture which I felt on looking back
Over a period of bygone times
Deluded me to vain forgetfulness
of manifold shortcomings. Not till now
Did I foresee that I must turn my gaze
Into the darkness ere I comprehend
The road that leads back from this present life
To olden days when my friend's soul sought mine.
To thee, my master, will I make my vow
Henceforth to bridle my soul's arrogance ...!
Now for the first time do I realize
How pride of knowledge leads the soul astray;

So that, instead of its imbibing strength
From freely offered stores of spirit-wealth,
It misapplies the gift in wanton use
And only holds the mirror up to self.
I know at last from my heart's warning call,
To which thy words lend added power, how far
I am to-day e'en from the nearest goal.

No more will I be overswift to read
A meaning into words from spirit-lands.
I will esteem them power wherewith my soul
May shape its course —, not as some message sent
To free me from the need of finding out
The goal of action in my daily life.
Had I paid earlier heed unto this truth
And gone my way in due humility,
I had not failed to see that only then
When he decides to tread a path not traced
By me beforehand, can my friend unfold
To fullest bloom his richly-gifted soul.

And now that this is clear I shall not fail
In finding strength sufficient to fulfil
What love and duty may require of me.
Yet do I feel assured this very hour
More clearly than I ever was before
That some grave testing of my soul draws nigh.
For mostly, when men tear from out their hearts
That of themselves which in another lives,
Love hath been changed into its opposite.
Themselves they change the ties that coupled them,
Yet passion's impulse gives to them the power.
Whilst I must of mine own free will uproot
The workings of my soul's life, which I saw
Accomplishing themselves in my friend's acts;
And still unchanging must my love abide.

If thou wouldst steer thy course direct, thou must
Become aware of what thou most didst prize
In this thy love. For once thou knowst the force
That leads thee all unknown within thy soul,
Thou wilt find power to do what duty bids.

By saying this thou giv'st e'en now that aid
Of which my soul so sorely stands in need.
I must investigate mine inmost self
With earnest questionings: and so I ask,
What potent cause impels me in my love?
I see my own soul's life and strength at work
In my friend's nature and activities.
So that which I desire to satisfy
Is nothing but the hunger of myself,
Which I, deluded, call unselfishness.

Thus it hath been concealed from me till now
That in my friend I mirror but myself.
It was the dragon Selfishness who veiled
The truth from me in wrappings of deceit.
And selfishness can take an hundred forms: —
see it clearly now. And when one thinks
The enemy subdued, behold him rise
Out of defeat and stronger than before.
Moreover 'tis a foe with added skill
To hide the truth with cloak of counterfeit.

(Maria sinks into deep thought.)

(The three Spirit-Figures of the soul- owers appear.)

O ye my sisters, whom
I find in Being's depths,
Whene'er my soul expands
And guides itself within
The cosmic distances:

The powers of sight for me
From ether's heights release
And lead to earthly paths
That I may know myself
As I exist in Time
And may direct my course
From out old ways of life
Unto new spheres of Will.

I will myself imbue
With soul's aspiring light
From my heart's inmost depths:
I will breathe deep within
Will's might that giveth life
From out the spirit powers:
Dear sister, that thou may'st
Experience the Light
I thine old ways of life.

I will weave selfhood in
All conscious of itself
With Love's submissive will;
I will release forthwith
The budding powers of Will
From fetters of desire
And change thy yearning weak
To spirit certainty;
Dear Sister, that thou may'st
In distant paths on earth
Unravel thine own self.

The self-denying powers
Of heart will I call forth,
And will make hard and fast
Enduring soul-repose
Then shall they wed, and raise
The powerful spirit light
From out the depths of soul.
They shall impenetrate,
And force Earth's bounds to heed
The listening spirit ear;
Dear Sister, that thou may'st
Find in Time's vast expanse
The traces of thy life.

If I could only tear
My 'wildered self away
And give myself to you
That ye from cosmic space
Might thus reflect my soul;
Then could I loose myself
From out this sphere of life
And find myself again
In other states of being,

(Long pause, then the following:)

In you, my sisters, I see spirit-beings
Quickening the souls of men from cosmic founts,
Ye bring to fruitage in the self of man
The seedling forces from eternity.
Through my soul's gates oft have I found the way
Into your kingdom, and have there beheld
The primal shaping of this earthly globe
With inner vision. Now your help I crave
Since I am bidden to retrace the way
That stretches back far from my present life
To long past ages of humanity.
Release my soul from consciousness of self
In time-enclosed existence, and reveal
The duties laid on me by former lives.

A Spirit-voice, — the spiritual conscience:
Her thoughts are seeking now
For Clues in Time's vast space.
What as debt she still loth owe,
What as duty is imposed,
Arise from out her inmost depths of soul,
From whose deepness dreaming
Mankind doth guide his life,
In whose deepness straying
Mankind himself doth lose.

Curtain falls; everybody still standing on the stage
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:36 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 3

A room whose prevailing tint is rose-red; cheerful atmosphere.

Maria, when she saw my picture last,
Stood silent. Heretofore she ever gave
Hints to assist the progress of my work
From her rich store of wisdom manifold.
Little as I can trust myself to judge
Whether my art indeed accomplishes
The task our spirit-current hath imposed,
Yet is my confidence in her complete.
And ever through my spirit ring her words
Which lent me strength and brought me happiness
When I took courage and began this work.
‘In such a way as this,’ she said, ‘thou canst
Attempt this enterprise, and so reveal
Thy spirit's visions unto earthly eyes.
Thou wilt not fail to recognize how forms,
Fashioned like thoughts, shape matter to their will;
Nor yet how colour, to desire akin,
Doth fill thy vital energy with warmth.
In such wise canst thou even represent
On canvas through thy skill the higher realms.’
I feel the power that dwells within these words
And diffidently yield to that belief
That I am drawing nearer to the goal
Which Benedictus hath appointed me.
Full oft I sat discouraged at my work;
It seemed at one time so presumptuous,
And at another so impossible
To represent in colour and in form
The visions that are granted to my soul.
How can the ceaseless web of spirit-life,
Which is revealed to inner sight alone
And is so far withdrawn from outward sense,
Be manifest in matter which is drawn,
As drawn it must be, from the realm of sense?
This question have I asked myself full oft.
Yet when I banish personality,
And follow spirit-teaching faithfully,
And feel myself caught up in blessedness
Unto creative forces of the worlds,
At once belief awakens in an art
As true and mystic as our spirit-quest.

I learned to live with light, and recognize
In colour's power the action of that light,
As faithful students of true mystic lore
See in realms reft of colour and of form
The spirit's deeds and soul's reality.
Relying on this spirit-light, I won
This power, to feel in flowing sea of light,
And live within the stream of glowing tints;
And sense those spirit-forces which maintain
Their might in non-material webs of light,
And radiant colours filled with spirit-life.

(Enter Maria, unobserved by Johannes.)

And when my courage faileth me, once more
Of thee, my friend most noble, do I think.
At thy soul's fire my love of work is warmed;
Thy spirit-light awakes my faith anew.

(He sees Maria.)

Oh, thou art here ... Impatiently I craved
Thy coming, yet I marked not thine approach!

I must rejoice to find my friend so wrapt
In work as to forget his friend herself.

Nay, speak not thus, since thou dost know full well
That I cannot create one single thought
Which hath not first been hallowed by thine aid.

No work of mine owes not its life to thee.
Through thy love's fire have been purified;
Through thee my art hath learned to represent
The beauty of the truths revealed to thee,
Which warm my heart, illuminate my sense,
And clothe in radiant light the spirit-world.
The current of my work must take its rise
From thy soul's spring and flow thence into mine,
Ere I can feel the wings that lift me up
To lofty heights of spirit, far from earth.
I love the life that quickens in thy soul,
And loving it, can give it form and hue.
Love only can beget artistic power
And make an artist's work bear fruit and live.
If I, as artist, am to carry back
Pictures of spirit to the world of sense,
Then cosmic spirit must speak forth through me,
My personality be but its tool.

First must I burst the bonds of selfishness
Ere I can know that I shall not mistake
For spirit-worlds my own vain fantasies.

And if thou hadst to seek through thine own sight
And not through mine the true course of thy work,
It may well be that, coming from one soul
Thy beauty's being might be unified.

I should be spinning webs of idle thought
In speculating which I should prefer:
Whether to incarnate thy spirit-sight,
Or in myself to seek my vision's source. —
I am convinced I could not find it thus.

I can withdraw to deep retreats of soul
And find delight in wide-flung spirit-worlds:
I can pour out my soul in worlds of sense
And follow colour-wonders with mine eye
And watch creative energies at work,
If I am left with mine own soul alone.
Whate'er may thus befall me I am not
Thereby impelled to my creative art.
But if I follow thee to cosmic heights,
And in warm rapture live again what thou
Already hast in spirit there beheld,
I feel a fire in thy spirit sight
Which burns on in me also, and whose flames
Kindle the powers that drive me to my work.

If my desire were simply to relate
That which I can find in higher worlds,
Then with my soul I well might upward soar
To spheres where spirit unto spirit speaks.
But as an artist I must find that fire
Which lights the picture and inflames the heart.
And my soul cannot to my picture give
The magic warmth that streams through human hearts,
’till it can quench its thirst with spirit-truths
Revealed from out the depths of thine own heart.

How primal force by longing is condensed,
How powers creative blaze with spirit-light,
And sensing even then their need of man,
Display themselves as gods in earliest times.

All this, my friend, thy soul in noble speech
Hath often led me on to learn unseen.
In hues ethereal of the spirit-world
I sought to densify what hid from sight;
And felt how colours longed to see themselves
Mirrored as spirit in the souls of men.
So loth my friend's soul speak as it 'twere mine
Out of my pictures to the human heart.

Bethink, Johannes, how the One Soul must —
A personality apart from all —
Evolve from out the womb of time.
Love serves to knit together separate souls
Not kill their individuality.
The moment is upon us, when we twain
Must test our souls, and find the spirit-path
That each must follow for its separate good.


What meant my friend? Her words did sound so strange.
Maria, I must follow thee forthwith.

(The three Spirit-Figures of the soul-powers appear with the Other Philia.)

Thou canst not find thyself
Portrayed in other souls.
The power of thine own self
Must root in cosmic soil,
If from the spirit-heights
Thou wouldst indeed transplant
Their beauty to earth's depths.
Be bold to be thyself,
That thou, strong souled, mayst give
Thyself to cosmic powers — a willing sacrifice.

In all thy ways on earth
Thou must not lose thyself;
Mankind doth not attain
To sun-kissed distances
If he would rob himself of personality.
So then prepare thyself,
Press on through earthly love
To utmost depths of heart
Which ripen cosmic love.

The Other Philia:
O heed the sisters not;
They lead thee far astray
To cosmic distances,
And rob thee of earth's touch.
They do not understand
That earthly love bears trace
Of cosmic love itself.
In cold their natures dwell
And warmth flies from their powers.
They fain would lure mankind
From out his own soul depths
To cold and lofty worlds.

Curtain: Johannes, Philia, Astrid, Luna, and the Other Philia still standing
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:37 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 4

The same room as in Scene 1. Capesius and Strader.

Capesius (to Strader who is entering):
A hearty welcome to the friend whose tongue
With many a disputatious argument
Stoutly withstood me! 'Tis long time since
Thou crossed this threshold. Yet in earlier days
Thou wast my constant welcome visitor.

Alas I have not had the time to spare;
My life hath undergone a curious change.
No longer do I plague my weary brain
With hopeless problems. Now I dedicate
The knowledge I have won to honest work,
Such as may serve some useful end in life.

Thou meanest, thou hast given up thy quest?

Say rather, that it hath abandoned me.

And what may be thy present labours' goal?

There are no goals in life ordained for man
Which he may see and clearly understand.
It is a mighty engine by whose wheels
We are caught up and wearied, and cast out
Into the darkness when our strength is spent.

I knew thee in the days when eagerly
And undismayed thou didst set out to solve
The riddles of existence. I have learned
How thou didst see thy treasured knowledge sink
Into the bottomless abyss, and how
Thy soul, profoundly shaken, had to drain
The bitter cup of disappointed dreams.
But never for one moment did I think
That thou couldst drive the impulse from thy heart
Which had become so fully master there.

Thou hast but to recall a certain day
On which a seeress by her truthful speech
Made clear to me the error of my ways.
I had no choice but to acknowledge then
That thought, however hard it toil and strive,
Can never reach the fountainhead of life.
For thought cannot do otherwise than err,
If it be so that highest wisdom's light
Can be revealed to that dark power of soul
Of which that woman showed herself possessed.
The rules of science cannot ever lead
To such a revelation; that is plain.

Had this been all, and had I only met
This one defeat whilst following my quest,
I do believe I could have brought myself
To start afresh by striving to unite
My methods with those other different ones.
But when I saw how some strange spirit cult —
Born of hallucinations as I deemed —
Impotence into creative strength could change,
Hope disappeared, and left me in despair.

Dost thou recall the artist, that young man
We both encountered whilst he was engrossed
Following the dubious course of spirit-ways
After such buffetings from fate I lived
For many weeks benumbed, to madness nigh
And when by nature's aid I was at last
Restored to sense, I made a firm resolve
To meddle with such seeking never more.

Long, long it was before I had regained
My body's health and 'twas a joyless time.
I made myself proficient in those things
That lead to business and to normal life.
So now I am a factory manager,
Where screws are made. This is the work I thank
For many hours in which I can forget
My bitter sufferings in a futile quest.

I must confess I scarce can recognize
My friend of former days; so different
Is now the guise in which he shows himself.
Beside those hours of which thou spak'st just now
Were there not others full of storm and stress,
In which the ancient conflicts were renewed
That urged thee forth from this benumbing life?

I am not spared those hours in mine own soul
When impotence 'gainst impotence doth strive.
And fate hath not so willed it in my case
That rosy beams of hope should force their way
Into my heart, and leave assurance there
That this my present life is not an utter loss.
Renunciation is henceforth my goal.
Yet may the force which such a task requires
Endow me later on with faculty
To follow up my quest in other ways —


If this terrestrial life repeats itself.

Thou spak'st, — if I indeed have heard aright, —
Of repetition of thy life on earth.
Then hast thou really won this fateful truth,
Found it on spirit-journeys, which to-day
Thou none the less condemnst as dubious?

This was the third thing — thou hast spoken it
That finally did strengthen my resolve
To make a fresh beginning in my life.
I sought upon my sick-bed once for all
In comprehensive survey to embrace
The field of knowledge traversed by myself.
And this I did, ere seeking other aims.
I must have asked myself an hundred times
What we can learn from nature, and infer
From what we know at present of her laws.
I could not find a loophole for escape.
The repetition of our earthly life
Cannot and must not be denied by thought
That doth not wish to tear itself away
From all research hath found for ages past.

Could I have had one such experience
Then should I have been spared much bitter pain.
I sought through many a weary wakeful night
For liberating thoughts to set me free.

And yet it was this spirit lightning-flash
Which robbed me of my last remaining powers.
The strongest impulse of my soul hath been
Ever to seek for evidence in life
Of what my thought hath forced on me as truth.
So it befell, as if by chance, that I
Wen in those days of misery should prove,
And by my own life testify the truth,
That cruel truth with all that it involves:
Which is, that all our sorrows and our joys
Are but results of what we really are.

Aye! this is often very hard to bear.

Incredible seems such experience.
What can there be to overshadow truth,
For which we search unwearying, and which
Unto our spirit firm assurance gives!

For thee it may be so, but not for me.
Thou art acquainted with my curious life.
By chance it seemed my parents' plans were crossed, —
Their purpose was to make a monk of me;
And naught so hurt them, they have often said,
In all their life as my apostasy.
I bore all this, yea and much more besides;
Just as one bears the other things in life
So long as birth and death appear the bounds
Appointed for our earthly pilgrimage.
So too my later life and all the hopes
That came to naught, to me a picture seemed
That only by itself could be explained.
Would that the day had never dawned, on which
I altered those convictions that I held,
For — bear in mind — I have not yet confessed
The total burden laid on me by fate.
No child was I of those who would have made
A monk of me, but an adopted son
Chosen by them when but a few days old.
My own real parents I have never known,
But was a stranger in my very home.

Nor less estranged have I remained from all
That happened round me in my later life.
And now my thought compels me to look back
Unto those days of long ago, and see
How from the world I stole myself away.
For thought is linked with thought to make a chain:
A man to whom it hath been thus ordained
To be a stranger in the world, before
His consciousness had ever dawned in him,
This man hath willed this fate upon himself
Ere he could will as consequence of thought.
And since I stay that which I was at first,
I know without the shadow of a doubt
That all unknowing I am in the power
Of forces that control my destiny,
And that will not reveal themselves to me.
Do I need more to give me cruel proof
How many veils enshroud mine inmost self?

Without false thirst for knowledge, judge this now;
Hath my new truth revealed the light to me?
It hath, at any rate, brought certainty
That I in mine uncertainty must stay.
Thus it portrays to me my destiny
And like in its own way, is my reply,
Half anguish and half bitter mockery.
A fearful sense of horror on me grew.
Tortured by scorn I must confront my life;
And scoffing at the mockery of fate
I yielded to the darkness. Yet there stayed
One single thought which I could realize:
Do with me what thou wilt, thou life-machine;
I am not curious how thy cog-wheels work!

[Slartibartfast] So there you have it. Deep Thought designed the Earth, we built it, and you lived on it.

[Arthur] And the Vogons destroyed it 5 minutes before the program was completed.

[Slartibartfast] 10 million years of planning and work gone. Well, that's bureaucracy for you.

[Arthur] Do you know, this explains a lot, because all my life I've had this feeling in my bones that something sinister was happening in the Universe. No one would tell me what it was.

[Slartibartfast] That's just perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the Universe has that.

[Arthur] Everyone?

[Slartibartfast] Everyone.

[Arthur] Maybe that means something! That outside the Universe we know, some alien intelligence is ...


[Slartibartfast] Maybe. Who cares? Perhaps I'm old, but the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote, the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep occupied. Look at me. I design coastlines. I got an award for Norway. Where's the sense in that? None that I can make out. I've been doing fjords all my life. For a fleeting moment, they become fashionable. I get a major award. In this replacement Earth, I've been given Africa to do. I'm doing it with fjords, because I happen to like them. I'm old-fashioned enough to think they give a lovely baroque feel to a continent. They tell me it's not equatorial enough. What does it matter? Science has achieved wonderful things, but I'd far rather be happy than right any day.

[Arthur] And are you?

[Slartibartfast] No. That's where it all falls down.

[Arthur] Pity. Sounded like rather a good lifestyle otherwise.

-- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, directed by Douglas Adams

The man whom I have recognized in thee
In such condition cannot long remain
Bereft of Knowledge, even if he would.
Already I can see the days approach
When we shall both be other than we are.

The curtain falls, leaving them standing opposite one another
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:37 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 5

A mountain glade, in which is situated Felix Balde's solitary cottage. Evening. Dame Felicia Balde, Capesius, then Felix Balde; later on Johannes and his Double; afterwards Lucifer and Ahriman. Dame Felicia is seated on a bench in front of her cottage.

Capesius (arriving, approaches her):
I know an old friend will not ask in vain
For leave to stay and rest awhile with thee
Since now, e'en more than any former time,
He needs what in thine house so oft he found.

When thou wast still far off, thy wearied step
Told me the tale which now thine eyes repeat;
That sorrow dwelleth in thy soul today.

Capesius (who has seated himself):
Even of onetime 'twas not granted me
To bring much merriment into thy home;
But special patience must I crave today
When, heavy-hearted and of peace bereft,
I force my way unto the home of peace.

We were right glad to see thee in the days
When scarce another man came near this house,
And thou art still our friend, despite events
That came between us, e'en though many now
Are glad to seek us in this lonely glade.

The tale is true then which hath reached mine ears,
That thy dear Felix, so reserved of yore,
Is nowadays a man much visited?

'Tis so; good Felix used to shut us off
From everyone —; but now the people throng
To question him, and he must answer them.
His duty bids him lead this novel life.
In former days he cared not to impart,
Save to his inner self, the secret lore
Concerning spirit-deeds and nature's powers
By rock and forest unto him revealed.
Nor did men seem to value it before.
How great a change hath now come o'er the times!
To many men lending a willing ear
To what they counted folly in the past,
Greedy for wisdom, Felix can reveal.

And when my dear good husband has to talk

(Felix Balde comes out of the house.)

Hour upon hour on end, as oft he doth,
I long for those old days of which I spake.
How oft would Felix earnestly declare
That in the quiet heart enshrined, the soul
Must learn to treasure up the spirit-gifts
From worlds divine in mercy sent to her.
He held it treachery to that high speech
Of spirit, to reveal it to an ear
That was but open to the world of sense.

Felicia cannot reconcile herself
To this much altered fashion of our life.
As she regrets the loneliness of old,
So she deplores the many days that pass
In which we have but few hours for ourselves.

What made thee strangers welcome to a house
That shut them out so sternly heretofore?

The spirit-voice which speaks within my heart
Bade me of yore be silent; I obeyed.
Now that it bids me speak I show myself
Equally faithful unto its command.
Our human nature undergoes a change
As earth's existence gradually evolves.
Now are we very near an epoch's close;
And spirit-knowledge therefore must in part
Be now revealed unto every man
Who chooseth to receive it to himself.
I know how little what I have to tell
Is in agreement with man's current thought;
The spirit-life, they say, must be made known,
In strict and logical thought sequences,
And men deny all logic to my words.
True science on a firm foundation based,
Cannot, they say, regard me otherwise
Than as a visionary soul who seeks
A solitary road to wisdom's seat,
And knows no more of science than of art.
Yet not a few declare it worth their while
The tangle of my language to explore,
Because therein from time to time is found
Something of worth, to reason not opposed.

I am a man into whose heart must flow,
Untouched by art, each vision he may see.
Nought know I of a knowledge lacking words.
When I retreat within mine inmost heart
And also when I list to nature's voice,
Then such a knowledge wakes to life in me
As hath no need to seek for any words;
Speech is to it as intimately linked
As is his body's sheath to man on earth;
And knowledge such as this, which in this wise
Reveals itself to us from spirit-worlds,
Can be of service even unto those
Who understand it not. And so it is
That every man is free to come to me
Who will attend to what I have to say.
Many are led by curiosity
And other trivial reasons to my door.
I know that this is so, but also know
That though the souls of just such men as these
Are not this moment living for the light,
Yet in them have been planted seeds of good
Which will not fail to ripen in due time.

Let me, I pray thee, freely speak my mind.
I have admired thee now these many years;
Yet up till now I have not grasped the sense
Which underlies thy strange mysterious words.

It surely will unfold itself to thee;
For with a lofty spirit dost thou strive —
And noble heart, and so the time must come
When thou thyself shalt hear the voice of truth.
Thou dost not mark how full of rich content
Man, as the image of the cosmos, is:
His head doth mirror heaven's very self:
The spirits of the spheres work through his limbs
And in his breast earth-beings hold their sway.
To all of these opposed, in all their might
Appear the demons, natives of the Moon,
Whose lot it is to cross those beings' aims.
The human form as it before us stands,
The soul through which we live and feel and strive,
The spirit that illuminates our path:
All these, full many gods have worked to mould
Throughout the ages of eternity;
And this their purpose was: to join in one,
Forces proceeding out of all the worlds
Which should, in combination, make mankind.

Thy words come near to causing me alarm,
For they regard mankind as nothing else
Than products of divine activities.

And so a man who sets himself to learn
True spirit science must be meek indeed.
Whoso, in vanity, self knowledge seeks,
For him the gates of wisdom open not.

Once more, no doubt, will Dame Felicia
Come to mine aid, as she so oft hath done,
And make a picture for my seeking soul,
Which, being warmed thereat, may rightly grasp
The real true meaning in thy words contained.

Dear Felix oft hath told me in the past
The very words which now he spake to thee.
They freed a vision in mine heart, which I
Did promise, then and there, I must relate
Some day to thee.

Oh do so, dearest dame;
I sorely crave refreshment, such as thou,
Out of thy picture-storehouse canst provide.

So be it then. There once did live a boy,
The only child of needy forest-folk,
Who grew up in the woodland solitudes;
Few souls he knew beside his parents twain.

His build was slender, and his skin wellnigh
Transparent; marvels of the spirit hid
Deep in his eye; long could one gaze therein.
And though few human beings ever came
Into the circle of his daily life,
The lad was well befriended none the less.
When golden sunshine bathed the neighbouring hills,
With thoughtful eyes he drew the spirit-gold
Into his soul, until his heart became
Kin to the morning glory of the sun.
But when the morning sunshine could not break
Through dense dark banks of cloud, and heaviness
Lay on the hills around, his eye grew sad,
And sorrow took possession of his heart.
Thus his attention only centred on
The spirit-fabric of his narrow world,
A world that seemed as much a part of him
As did his limbs and body. Woodlands all
And trees and flowers he felt to be his friends;
From crown and calyx and from tops of trees,
The spirit beings spake full oft to him,
And all their whisperings were lucid speech.

Marvels and wonders of the hidden worlds
Disclosed themselves unto the boy when he
Held converse in his soul with many things
By men deemed lifeless. Evening often fell,
And still the boy would be away from home,
And cause his loving parents much concern.
At such times he was at a place nearby
In which a spring rose gushing from the rocks,
To fall in misty spray upon the stones.
When silver moonbeams would reflect themselves,
A miracle of colour and of light,
Full in the rush of hasting waterdrops,
The boy could spend beside the rock-born spring
Hour after hour, till spirit-shapes appeared
Before the vision of the youthful seer
Where moonbeams shivered on the falling drops.
They grew to be three forms in woman's shape,
Who spoke to him about those things in which
His yearning soul made known its interest.
And when upon a gentle summer night
The lad was once more sitting by the spring,
A myriad particles one woman took
From out the coloured web of waterdrops
And to the second woman handed them.
She fashioned from the watery particles
A gleaming chalice with a silver sheen
And handed it in turn unto the third.
She filled the vessel with the silver rays
Of moonlight and then gave it to the boy,
Who had beheld all this with inner sight.
During the night which followed this event
He dreamed a dream in which he saw himself
Robbed of this chalice by some dragon wild.
After this night had passed, the boy beheld
But three times more the marvel of the stream.
Then the three women stayed away from him
Although he sat and mused beside the spring
That gushed beneath the moonlight from the rock.
And when three times three hundred sixty weeks
Had passed, the boy had long become a man,
And left home, parents, and his woodland nook
To live in some strange city. There one eve
He sat and thought, tired with the day's hard toil,
Musing on what life held in store for him,
When suddenly he felt himself caught up
And set again beside that rock-bound spring;
The women three, he there beheld once more,
And this time clearly he could hear them speak.
These were the words the first one spake to him:
‘Think of me always whensoe'er thou art
O'ercome by loneliness, for I am she
Who lures the inner vision of mankind
To starry realms and heavenly distances.
And whosoever wills to feel my sway
To him I give a draught of life and hope
Out of the magic goblet which I hold.’
The second also spake these words to him:
‘Forget me not at times when thou art nigh
To losing courage on life's battlefield.
I lead men's yearning hearts to depths of soul
And also up to lofty spirit-heights.
And whosoever seeks his powers from me,
For him I forge unwavering faith in life
Shaped by the magic hammer which I wield.’
The third one gave her message in these words
‘Lift up thy spirit's eye to gaze on me
When by life's riddles thou art overwhelmed.
'Tis I who spin the threads of thought that lead
Through labyrinths of life and depths of soul.
And whosoever puts his trust in me
For him I weave the rays of living love
Upon this magic loom at which I sit.’
Thus it befell the man, and in the night
That followed on his visions he did dream,
How that a dragon wild in circles crept
Round him, but was not able to draw near.
He was protected from that dragon's claws
By those same beings whom he saw of old
Seated beside the spring among the rocks,
Who had gone with him, when he left his home,
To guard him in his strange environment.

Accept my thanks, dear dame, before I go,
For this rich treasure thou hast given me.

(Stands up to depart; Felix and Dame Felicia go into the house.)

I feel the health that such a picture brings
Into my soul, and how to all my thoughts
It can restore the forces they had lost.
Simple the tale unfolded by the dame,
And yet it rouseth powers of thought in me
That carry me away to worlds unknown....
Therefore will I in this fair solitude
Myself to dreams abandon, which so oft
Have sought to usher thoughts into my soul,
Thoughts which have proved themselves of higher worth
Than many a fruit of weeks of close research.

(He disappears behind some thick bushes. Enter Johannes, sunk in deep thought.)

Johannes to himself:
Was this some dream, or was it truth indeed?
I cannot bear the words my friend just spake
In calm serenity and yet so firm
About our separation which must come.

Would I might think it was but worldly sense,
That sets itself against the spirit's trend,
And, like a mirage, stands between us twain. —
I cannot, and I will not let the words
Of warning which Maria spake to me
Thus quench the sounding voice of mine own soul
Which says ‘I love her,’ says it night and day.
Out of the fountain of my love alone
Springs that activity for which I crave.
What value hath my impulse to create
Or yet my outlook on high spirit-aims
If they would rob me of that very light
Which can alone irradiate myself?
In this illumination must I live,
And if it is to be withdrawn from me
Then shall my choice be death for evermore.

I feel my forces fail me at this hour
As soon as I would set myself to think
That I must wander o'er a path whereon
Her light doth shed no more its radiant beam.

A mist begins to form before mine eyes
Which shrouds the marvels o'er, which used to make
These woods, these cliffs a glory to mine eyes
A fearful dream mounts from abysmal depths
Which shakes me through and through with fear and dread —

O get thee gone from me; — I yearn to be
Alone to dream my dreams;
In them at least I still can fight and strive
To win back that which now seems lost to me.

He will not go; — then will I fly from him.

(He feels as if he were rooted to the ground.)

What are the bonds that hold me prisoner
And chain me, as with fetters, to this place?

(The Double of Johannes Thomasius appears.)

Ah! — whosoe'er thou art; if human blood
Doth course within thy veins, or if thou art
Some spirit only — leave me and depart.
Who is it? — Here some demon brings to me,
My own self's likeness, — he will not depart; —
It is the picture of my very self
And seems to be more powerful than that self. —

Double (as if to Maria):
Maria, I do love thee; — beating heart
And fevered blood are mine when at thy side.
And when thine eye meets mine, my pulse doth thrill
With passion's tremor: when thy dearest hand
Doth nestle in mine own, my body swoons
With rapture and delight.

Thou phantom ghost,
Of mist and fog compact, how dost thou dare
To utter blasphemy and so malign
The purest feelings of my heart. How great
A load of guilt must I have laid on me,
That I must be compelled to look upon
Such lust — befouled distortion of that love
That is to me so holy.

Double (as if to Maria):
I have lent
Full oft unto thy words a listening ear.
I seemed to draw them up into my soul
As 'twere some message from the spirit-world.
But more than any scene thy words disclosed
I loved to have thy body close to mine.
And when thou spakst of soul-paths I was filled
With rapture that went leaping through my veins.

(The voice of conscience speaks.)

This is the unconfessed
But not yet dispossessed
Apparently repressed
Still by the blood possessed —
The secret fire
Of passionate desire.

Double (with a slightly different voice):
I have no power to go away from thee;
Oft wilt thou find me standing by thy side;
I leave thee not till thou hast found the power
Which makes of me the very counterpart
Of that pure being which thou shalt become.
As yet thou hast not reached that high estate,
Which still deluded by thy personal self
Thou thinkest falsely that thou hast attained.

(Enter Lucifer and Ahriman.)

O man, o'ercome thyself.
O man, deliver me.
Thou hast defeated me
In thy soul's highest realm..,
But I am bound to thee
In thine own being's depth.
Me shalt thou ever find
Across thy path in life
If thou wouldst strive to shield
All of thyself from me.
O man, o'ercome thyself,
O man, deliver me.

O man, be bold and dare.
O man, experience me.
Thou hast availed to win
To spirit seership here,
But I must spoil for thee
The longing of thy heart.
Still must thou suffer oft
Deep agony of soul,
If thou wilt not remain
In all humility
Within my bounds.
O man, be bold and dare.
O man, experience me.

(Lucifer and Ahriman vanish; the Double also. Johannes walks, deep in thought, into the dark recesses, of the forest. Capesius appears again. He has, from his post behind the bushes, watched the scene between Johannes and the Double as if it were a vision.)

What have I seen and heard! It lay on me
Just like some nightmare. Came Thomasius
Walking like one who is absorbed in thought;
Then he stood still; it seemed as if he talked
With someone, and yet no one else was there.
I felt o'ercome as by some deadly fear;
And saw no more of what went on around.
As if I were asleep, and unaware,
I must have sunk into yon picture-world
Which I can now so clearly call to mind.
It can indeed have been but little time
I sat and dreamed, unconscious of myself;
And yet, how rich was yonder world of dreams,
What strange impressions doth it make on me.
Persons were there who lived in bygone days;
I plainly saw them move and heard them speak.
I dreamed about a spirit-brotherhood
Which strove with steadfast purpose to attain
Unto the heights which crown humanity.
Among them I could clearly see myself
And all that happened was familiar too.
A dream. — ... yet most unnerving was that dream.
I know that in this life I certainly
Can ne'er have learned to know the like of it.
And each impression that it leaves behind
Reacts like very life upon my soul.
Those pictures draw me with resistless power. —
O if I could but dream that dream again.

Curtain, whilst Capesius remains standing
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:38 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 6

A woodland meadow. In the background, high cliffs on which stands a castle. Summer evening. Country folk; Simon, the Jew; Thomas, the Master miner; the Monk. Countryfolk walking across the meadow, and stopping to talk.

First Countryman:
See yon vile Jew; he surely will not dare
To take the same road that we take ourselves;
For things might very well come to his ears
On hearing which they'd burn for many a day.

Second Countryman:
We must make clear to his effrontery,
Aye, very clear indeed, that we no more
Will tolerate his race in our good land
Across whose bounds he hath contrived to slink.

First Countrywoman:
He is protected by the noble knights.
Who live in yonder castle; none of us
May enter; but the Jew is welcome there.
For he doth do whate'er the knights desire.

Third Countryman:
'Tis very hard to know who serves the Lord
And who the devil. Thankful should we be
To our good lords who give us food and work.
What should we be if it were not for them?

Second Countrywoman:
The Jew shall have my praise his remedies
Have cured the evil sickness that I had. —
Besides, he was so good and kind to me;
And many more can tell the selfsame tale.

Third Countrywoman:
Yet did a monk let slip the truth to me, —
The Jew employs the devil's remedies
Beware his drugs; transformed within the blood
They grant an entrance to all kinds of sin.

Fourth Countryman:
The men who wait upon the knights oppose
Our ancient customs, saying that the Jew
Hath stores of knowledge both to heal and bless
Which will in days to come be rightly prized.

Fifth Countryman:
New times and better are in store; I see
Their coming in my spirit, when my soul
Pictures to me what eyes cannot behold.
The knights intend to bring all this about.

Fourth Countrywoman:
We owe the Church obedience, for she guards
Our souls from devil-visions, and from death,
And from hell-fire. The monks bid us beware
The knights, and their vile sorcerer, the Jew.

Fifth Countrywoman:
Only a short time longer need we bear
In patience the oppression of the knights.
Soon will their citadel in ruins lie.
Thus hath it been foretold me in a dream.

Sixth Countrywoman:
I fear such tales betoken mortal sin —
That noble knights do plot to bring us harm —
Nought do I see but good come from their hands;
I needs must count them Christians, as ourselves.

Sixth Countryman:
What men shall think of them in days to come
'Twere best to leave to be adjudged by those
Who shall live after us. Mere tools are we,
Used by the knights in their satanic arts
To war against true Christianity.
If they be driven out we shall be freed
From their pernicious sway, and live our lives
As we shall choose, in this our native land.
Now let us go to vespers, there to find
That which our souls require, and that which is
In harmony with our ancestral ways.
These novel teachings suit us not at all.

(Exeunt the countryfolk.)

Where'er I go, I find awaiting me
The ancient hatred and the bitter taunts.
And yet I suffer not a whit the less
Each time I find myself exposed to them.
There seems to be no reasonable cause
Why people should behave towards me thus.
And yet one thought pursues me evermore
Which Makes the truth apparent to my soul, —
That nothing can befall us without cause.
So too a reason there must be for this,
That suffering is the lot of all my tribe.
So with the lords of yonder citadel,
I find their lot is near akin to mine.
They have but chosen of their own free will
That which by nature is imposed on me.
They set themselves apart from all mankind,
And strive in isolation to acquire
The powers through which they may attain their goal.
Thus can I feel the debt I owe to fate
And find her blessing in my loneliness.
Forced to rely on mine own soul alone
I took the realms of science for my field,
And recognized from what I learned therein
That ripe for new attainments was our time.
The laws of nature, hitherto unknown,
Must now reveal themselves unto mankind
And make him master of the world of sense
Whence he will be allowed to liberate
Powers he can put to use for his own ends.
So have I tried, as far as in me lay,
To make fresh progress in the healing art.
This toil endeared me to the brotherhood;
Its members made me free of their estates
To seek to find the forces that reside
In plants and 'neath the surface of the ground,
That they may yield for us new benefits.
My actions therefore march with their designs,
And I confess that I have plucked with joy
Much goodly fruit whilst going on my way.

(Exit into the wood.)

Here will I sit and rest a little while.
My soul hath need of rest to find itself
After the shocks which I have had to bear.

(The Monk comes up to him.)

I greet thee heartily, most valiant son.
Thou hast come here in search of solitude.
Thy work well done, thou wouldst have peace and quiet
In which to turn thy thoughts to spirit-worlds.
To see my well-loved pupil thus employed
Rejoiceth me. But why so sad-thine eyes?
'Twould seem anxiety weighs down thy soul.

Pain oft is neighbour unto highest bliss;
That this is so mine own life proves to-day.

Hast thou then met with bliss and pain at once?

I told thee, reverend father, that I loved
The overseer's daughter, and confessed
That she was also greatly drawn to me.
She is to marry me and share my life.

She will be true to thee, come weal, come woe;
She is a faithful daughter of the Church.

Such an one only would I take to wife;
Since, honoured master, I have learned from thee
The meaning of obedience to God's will.

And art thou also certain of thy soul,
That it will walk still further in the way
Of righteousness, which I have pointed out?

So sure as in this body beats a heart
So sure will I, thy son, be true for aye
To those exalted teachings which of old
From thine own lips I was allowed to learn.

And now that thou hast told me of thy bliss
Let me hear also from thee of thy woe.

Oft have I told thee what my life hath been.
Scarce had I left my childhood's days behind
Than I began to travel and to roam.
I never worked for long in any place.
Ever I cherished in my heart the wish
To meet my father, whom I loved, although
I had not heard a good report of him.
He left my dear good mother all alone
Because he wished to start his life anew
Unhampered by a wife and children twain.
The impulse for adventure dwelt in him.
I was a child still, when he went from us;
My sister was a tiny new-born babe;
My mother died of grief in no long time.
My sister was adopted by good folk
Who later moved away from my old home,
And of her fate I never more heard tell.
Some relatives assisted me to learn
A miner's work, in which I grew expert,
So that I found employment where I wished.
The hope that some day I should once more find
My father, never vanished from my heart.
And now at last my hope is realized
But also is for ever torn from me.
Matters of business led me yesterday
To seek for speech with my superior.
Thou knowest how lightly I esteem the knight
Who issueth directions for my work,
Since I have learned he is thine enemy.
From that time forward I made up my mind
Not to remain in service under him.
For reasons which remain unknown to me
The knight alluded in our interview
To matters which allowed him to declare
Himself to be — the father whom I sought.

What followed ... I would gladly leave untold.
It would not have been hard to overlook
My mother's sufferings at his hands, and mine,
When he and I once more stood face to face,
And when he spoke, grief-burdened, of old days.
But in his form, stood facing me, thy foe.
And one thing then was manifest to me: —
How deep a gulf must ever separate
Myself from him, whom I so fain would love,
And whom I sought so long and ardently.
Now have I lost him for the second time, —
Such is the lot that hath befallen me.

I would not e'er estrange thee from those ties
Imposed on thee by blood-relationship.
But what I can bestow upon thy soul
Shall ever be to thee a gift of love.

Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:38 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 7

A chamber in the castle whose exterior was shown in the preceding scene. Decorated throughout with symbols of a Mystic Brotherhood. (For costumes, see note on page 145.) Columns, arches, and vaulted roof with the mystic symbols shown in the Author's ‘Occult Symbols.’ First the Knights assemble; then the Monk and one of the Knights later appears the spirit of Benedictus who has passed away about fifty years earlier. Then Lucifer and Ahriman. The Grand Master seated at a long table with four of the Brethren, indicated in the course of the scene.

Grand Master:
Ye who are joined with me in comradeship
To seek the goal appointed unto man,
And bring that knowledge from the spirit-realm
Into the scope of earth's activities,
As is appointed to our brotherhood,
Must also truly help me in this hour
When heavy trials impend. Then, know ye all
That since our venerated master fell,
A victim by the Powers of Darkness claimed,
Who draw their strength from Evil, helping on
The plan of Wisdom by their natural means,
That is by means of Opposition's strength,
Since Wisdom turneth Evil into Good
Since that sad loss we strive on earth in vain,
For many a castle of our brotherhood
Hath by our enemies been overwhelmed,
And many Brethren dear to us have fallen
In fight, and followed our great Master home
Into the realm of everlasting light.
For us too doth the hour approach apace
When these stout walls that shelter us shall fall.
Our foes already spy the country round
To find a pretext under which they may
Rob us of our possessions, ne'er acquired
For our own use, but as a means to draw
Around us individuals, in whose souls
We could implant the germs of things to come.
These germs shall ripen when those men themselves
Find their way back from out the spirit-land
To live anew in future days on earth.

First Master of Ceremonies:
That this our brotherhood should be o'erthrown
By some obscure design of destiny,
Is something nowise inconceivable.
But that the fall of our community
Should doom so many brothers' single lives,
Would seem to contravene the cosmic law.
I do not wish my words to make complaint,
Since willingly our brothers suffer death.
But still my soul desires to comprehend
The sacrifice demanded from these men
Who have allied themselves unto a whole,
Because the powers of destiny decree
The overthrow and ruin of that whole.

Grand Master:
The separate life of individual men
Is linked most wisely to the world's design.
Amongst our brothers there will surely be
Some who have given proof of competence
To serve our brotherhood with their soul's power
And yet whose nature still shows many a stain.
The errors and misdeeds of such a heart
Must find their expiation in the pain
Suffered by it in service for the whole.
And he who, blameless both in act and deed,
Must none the less walk in the thorny way
Traced by the Karma of the brotherhood,
Will find his pain requited by the power
To mount aloft unto the higher life.

First Master of Ceremonies:
So then the brotherhood may tolerate
Within its ranks souls not yet purified
Who vow themselves to its exalted aims?

Grand Master:
He who to lofty works is dedicate
Doth mark alone the goodness in men's souls;
He lets the evil work its ransom out
As cosmic justice in its course decides.
My brothers, I have bid you meet me here
In order to remind you with grave words
That we have duties in our days of grief.
We must be ready to lay down our lives
For those high purposes to which we swore
Lifelong allegiance, Truly ye are
My brothers, if undauntedly your souls
Repeat the motto of our brotherhood:
‘Separate existence must be sacrificed
By those who would set eyes on spirit goals,
Piercing the outer veil of world of sense,
And dare to let the spirit's will pour down
And flood their individual purposes.’

First Preceptor:
Exalted Master, shouldst thou design to test
The heart of each man in our brotherhood,
It would repeat that motto loud and clear! —
Yet do we beg thee to explain to us
Why, not content with robbing us of life
And our possessions, now our enemies
Would rob us also of those humble souls
Whom we have tended with unselfish love.
For every day affords new evidence
That not alone compulsion makes our folk
Submit themselves unto our conquerors;
But that indeed they too have learned to hate
The spirit-path which we had shown to them.

Grand Master:
That which we have implanted in men's souls
May die indeed to-day; but these same men,
Who once have breathed our spirit-radiance,
Will come again to earth, and then bestow
Upon the world the fruitage of our work.
Thus speaks unto my spirit oftentimes
Our mighty leader from the realm of death,
When in my quiet hours, I do sink down
Into my soul's deep places, and arouse
Strength to abide awhile in spirit-lands.
Then may I feel the master's presence near
And hear his words, as in the life of sense
I often heard them. Never doth he speak
About our work as drawing to a close;
But only of fulfilment of our aims
In later days that are to come on earth.

(Exeunt the Grand Master and two of the Brotherhood.)

First Preceptor:
He speaks of spirit-worlds in just such words
As men may speak of villages or towns.
The way in which our loftiest brothers speak
Of other states of life oppresseth me.
And yet I am devoted fervently
Unto the progress of our earthly aims.

Second Master of Ceremonies:
I place reliance in our master's words.
The man who cannot hear with perfect faith
The tale of spirit and of spirit-worlds,
Is nowise lacking in capacity
To grasp a revelation of this kind.
The things he lacks are of a different mould.
Though he admit it not, he well may feel
That he is conscious of unworthiness
To be a member of the higher worlds.
A soul must be defiled by secret stains
And eager to deny that they are there,
That will not bow before the spirit-lore.


Second Preceptor:
What errand bringeth thee to this our house
Which is for thee the home of enemies?

I must include amongst my friends all those
Who bear the form of men this is our rule.
But hostile thou mayst well esteem the claim
Which I, by duty bound, must here present.
Those who are over me have sent me here,
And their desire is that the property
Belonging to the Church, as by old deeds
Is well attested, should be given back
To them without dispute. Your tract of ground
Upon which ye have sunk your mine, belongs
In law and equity unto the Church.
The manner in which ye possessed yourselves
Of this estate confers no legal rights.

Second Preceptor:
Whether in law we have a right to call
It ours or no, would constitute a case
For legal disputation long drawn out.
But certain 'tis that it belongs to us
If we refer it to a higher law.
You tract of ground was lying lost and waste
When it was purchased by our brotherhood
Not e'en an inkling had ye of the fact
That far below rich treasure lay concealed.
This have we won for human industry:
Its treasures travel far and wide to-day
To distant lands, to further human weal,
And many honest souls are now at work
In shaft and tunnel underneath the ground
Which in your hands lay waste and desolate.

Then it doth not seem fair and right to thee
To urge upon thy brotherhood the need
Of peaceably accepting our demand
That so we may regain our property?

Second Preceptor:
Since we are not aware of any guilt,
But are convinced our cause is wholly just,
We can but wait in quiet confidence
To see if ye are really bent on strife,
When as before, yourselves are in the wrong.

Then will ye have to thank your headstrong will
If we are driven to a sterner course.

Second Preceptor:
The honour of our brotherhood demands
That only when defeated, sword in hand,
Do we allow ourselves to be despoiled.

So be it! Now my mission is fulfilled,
Between us there is no more need of words.
Will it be possible for me to have
An audience with thy lord, who here commands?

Second Preceptor:
The Master doubtless will concede thee this;
Yet wait, I pray thee, for a little while.
He cannot at this moment come to thee.


O, that mine office forceth me to tread
The halls of this detested brotherhood!
Turn where they may, my eyes must contemplate
Sinful devices and satanic spells. —
Almost a horror seizeth hold on me; —
A crackling and a rumbling fill the air; —
I feel the powers of ill are gathered round.

(Noises heard.)

But as my conscience is entirely clear
I will defy the enemy.

(Noises heard.)

Oh, this
Is terrible.

(The spirit of Benedictus appears.)

Defend me, Saints of Heaven!

Collect thyself, my son. I often came
To meet thee, when the fervour of thy prayers
Transported thee unto the spirit-world.
Take therefore courage in this present hour
And learn a truth which thou must realize
If spirit clearness is to hold its sway
And drive away the darkness from thy soul.

When in my trials I prayed to Heaven for light,
And when my supplication winged its way
To realms celestial, and won repose,
Thou, venerated master, didst appear.
Thou, who wast aye our Order's ornament,
The while thou wert amongst us here on earth,
And out of higher realms didst speak to me,
Enlightening my mind and strengthening me.
My soul beheld thee with its inner eye,
My spirit ear was open to thy words.
In this hour also then, will I receive
The revelation with humility
Which thou shalt cause to flow into my soul.

Thou art within that brotherhood's abode
Whom thou dost charge with wicked heresies.
They seem to hate what we are taught to love
And hold in honour what we count as sin.
Our brethren feel themselves in duty bound
To haste the spirit-brethren's overthrow,
And think their action sanctioned by the words
I spake myself whilst I was still on earth.
Yet do they not imagine that these words
Can only hold the living truth so long
As they are livingly evolved by those
Who have been my successors in my work. —
So let those thoughts which I once held on earth
Rise up afresh and live within thy soul
In harmony with needs of newer times;
And thus behold this Order, which doth seek
Its goal in mystic realms, as I should judge
And look on it, if it had been my lot
To dwell on earth and work with thee to-day.
This brotherhood is vowed to lofty aims;
Those human beings who have joined its ranks
Have premonitions of the days to come
Their leaders see with a prophetic eye
The fruits that shall grow ripe in future times.
Science and daily life shall undergo
A change of form and seek ideals new;
And what this brotherhood doth now achieve,
Whom thou hast lent a hand to persecute,
Are deeds which serve to bring this change about.
Alone by peaceful union of the aims
Sought by our brethren and these heretics
Can good be made to blossom on this earth.

This warning, of which I am worthy found,
How can I act upon it? It departs
Amazingly from all that I have held,
Up to this moment, to be right and good.

(Ahriman and, Lucifer appear.)

But other beings now are drawing nigh!
Why do they come and stand beside thee now?

This further message comes from other realms.
It cannot seem an easy thing for thee
Thy predecessor's bidding to obey,
Reflect — he dwells in everlasting bliss.
And actions by decree and duty there
Desirable, may well upon the earth
Lead to confusion at the present time.
Lift up thine eyes to where he dwells on high
If thou wouldst seek for comfort from the bliss
Which, when the latter days of earth draw near,
By cosmic spirits is to be bestowed.
But if at present thou wouldst act aright,
Be guided only, in the choice of paths,
By that which reason and the senses teach.
Thou hast been able clearly to discern
The sinful ways of yonder brotherhood
Which they would fain keep secret from the world;
Thus hast thou learned that laws for future life
Can well be framed by souls now steeped in sin!
How canst thou wish, now that thou knowest these things,
To live in friendship with the brotherhood?
For error is a poor and sterile soil
Where good fruit cannot come to ripening.

Thy pious mind hath shown the road to thee.
It is most true that times and objects change;
But none the less 'tis not for heretics
To trace the paths on which mankind must tread.
The error of this spirit-brotherhood
Is dangerous, because it speaks the truth,
And yet expresses it in such a way
As makes the truth more deadly than a lie.
A man who openly avowed he lied
Would have to be bereft of common sense
'Ere he could bring himself to such belief
That men would gladly follow where he led.
The spirit-knights indeed are shrewd of mind;
They do not fail to speak about the Christ
Because this name can open every door
That gives admission to the souls of men.
But ever can men easiest be led
Into the service of the Antichrist
When in the name of Christ he is proclaimed.

Conflicting voices from the world of souls
Assail mine ears, as often heretofore,
And always with an aim to counteract
The pious promptings of a mind devout.
How shall I find the paths that lead to good
If by the Powers of Evil they be praised?
Almost it seems to me as if indeed —
But no, such words shall not be thought by me —,
The wisdom of my master shall reveal
The meaning of his words, so dark to me.

I can direct thee to the proper path,
If thou wilt let the words which once I spake
On earth possess thee in thine inmost soul.
And if thou art resolved to find the life
That lives within those words upon those planes
On which thou now canst see me face to face,
The proper path shall be made plain to thee.

Curtain, while the Monk, the Spirit of Benedictus,
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:39 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 8

The same. The First Preceptor; Joseph Keane then the Grand Master with Simon; later the First and the Second Master of Ceremonies. Joseph Keane is there first; the Preceptor approaches him.

First Preceptor:
Thou didst send word thou wouldst have speech with me.
What is the news that thou art come to bring?

Most weighty matters both to thee and me.
Thou knowest the master miner Thomas here,
Who renders service to thee?

First Preceptor:
Well I know
The worthy man; we prize him for his skill,
And his subordinates hold him in love.

And dost thou know my child, Cecilia, too?

First Preceptor (moved):
It hath so chanced that I have seen the maid
When I have met thee with thy family.

It happened that soon after Thomas came
He paid us frequent visits in our home.
They grew more frequent; it was evident
That to Cecilia his whole heart went out.
We did not marvel that this should be so.
But, knowing the girl's nature, it was long
Ere we could think that she returned his love.
Her life was well nigh one continuous prayer,
And almost all society she shunned.
Yet ever doth it now appear more clear
That to this stranger she hath giv'n her heart.
And as things are, we feel ourselves compelled
Not to oppose the wishes of our child;
Thomas she loves, and she would marry him.

First Preceptor (with faltering movements):
Why runs this marriage counter to thy will?

My lord, there is no need for me to tell
Of my devotion to the brotherhood.
My heart would have to bear a heavy load
If my child's love, in its entirety,
Were cast upon the side of those who say
That you and I alike are heretics.
The monk who now o'er yonder abbey rules
Close by our home, and who doth ever seek
To thwart the mission of the brotherhood,
Hath won dominion o'er our daughter's soul.
As long as she is still beneath my roof
So long shall I too not abandon hope
That she may yet again retrace the path
Which leads from spirit-darkness unto light.
But I shall have to give her up for lost
When she shall have become the wife of one
Who, like herself, looks for salvation's light
According to the precepts of that monk.
His Reverence hath had complete success
In foisting such opinions as he holds
On Thomas, who receives them in full faith.
A thrill of terror would run over me
To hear the curses pour from Thomas' lips
Whene'er our speech should touch the brotherhood.

First Preceptor:
Our enemies are many if one more
Is added it cannot affect us much.
Thy words have not yet made it clear to me
What my concern is with this tale of love.

My lord, thou seest this packet in mine hand.
Its contents warrant me to come to thee.
My wife and I alone have read the lines;
None else in these parts knows a word of them.
Now must they be made known to thee as well —
The maid who passeth for our flesh and blood
Is not the offspring of my wife and me.
We undertook the training of the child
When her own mother died. What I have still
To say will make it seem unnecessary,
To tell at length how all this came to pass.
For long we knew not who her father was;
The girl to-day knows not her parentage;
Father and mother she beholds in us.
And such a state of things might have gone on
Since we do love her as our very own.
But some years later than her mother's death
The papers that I hold were brought to us;
They make it plain who our child's father is
I cannot tell if he is known to thee.

(The Preceptor loses control over himself.)

But now I know — am sure ...
... that thou art he.
There is no need for me to tell thee more.
But since it is thy child who is concerned
I beg thee to extend to me thine aid.
United our endeavours may succeed
To save her from the darkness that impends.

First Preceptor:
Dear Keane. Thou hast been ever true to me,
And I would fain still further count on thee.
Neither within nor yet without these walls
Must any in this country ever know
The truth of my relation to this girl.

My word thereon. I mean no harm to thee;
I only beg that thou wilt lent thine aid.

First Preceptor:
Thou dost perceive that at the present time
I cannot talk with thee at greater length
I pray thee come to-morrow.

I will come.


First Preceptor:
How cruelly my fate fulfils itself.
I left my wife and child in misery,
Since they seemed hindrances upon the path
Along which vanity did beckon me.
It led me on to join this brotherhood.
In words of solemn import I then vowed
My service to the cause of human love
Albeit I was laden with the guilt
Arising from the opposite of love.
The brotherhood's clear vision, as applied
To acts of men, is manifest in me.
It welcomed me a brother in its ranks
And forthwith laid on me its rules severe.
To self-examination was I led
And knowledge of myself, which otherwise
In other walks of life I had not found.
And then when, under Fate's decree, my son
Came and dwelt near me, I was fain to think
That mighty Powers were merciful to me
In showing how to expiate my sin.
I knew long since that this Keane's foster-child
Was none else than the daughter whom I left.

The brotherhood is near its overthrow,
Each brother resolute to meet his death,
Convinced that those high purposes will live
For which he makes his life the sacrifice.
But I, alas, have felt for many days
I was not worthy of this glorious end.
My purpose ever ripened to make known
My case unto the master, and to crave
Permission to forsake the brotherhood.
I had in mind thenceforward to devote
My days unto my children, and so far
As in this earth-life yet is possible,
To offer penance. But I clearly see,
That 'twas not filial longing brought my son
To this same spot to seek his father out,
Although his good heart made him thus believe.
But he was led by forces in the blood
Which drew him to his sister. Other ties,
Blood-born, were loosened by a father's guilt,
Or else yon monk had never had the power
To rob me so entirely of my son.
Indeed the robbery is so complete,
That with the brother will the sister too
From my paternal longings be estranged.
And so nought else remains for me but this,
To take immediate measures to ensure
That they shall know the truth about themselves,
And then with resignation to await
The penance laid upon me by those powers
Who keep the reckoning of our misdeeds.


Grand Master:
Henceforward, Simon, in the castle walls
Thou must abide, for since that lying tale
Was published that thou art a sorcerer,
Peril awaits thine every step outside.

My heart is sore indeed to find that men
Assail in ignorance a proffered aid
Whose only object is to do them good.

Grand Master:
Those who, by grace of lofty spirit-powers,
Can turn their gaze upon the souls of men,
Will see the enemies therein arrayed
Which fight against the nature of the soul.
The battle which our mortal foes prepare
Is but the emblem of that greater strife
Waged in the heart incessantly by powers
Which are at enmity amongst themselves.

My lord, in very truth these words of thine
Arouse an echo in my deepest soul.
Indeed my nature is not prone to dreams;
Yet when I walk alone through wood and field
A picture often riseth in my soul
Which with my will I can no more control
Than any object which mine eye beholds.
A human form appears in front of me
Which fain would grasp my hand in fellowship.
Such suffering on his features is expressed
As never yet I saw in any face.
The greatness and the beauty of this man
Seize firmly hold of all my powers of soul;
I fain would sink to earth and humbly bow
Before this messenger from other worlds.
Next moment like a raging flame, there comes
The wildest anger searing through my heart;
Nor can I gain the mastery o'er the power
That fans the opposition of my soul,
And I am forced to thrust aside the hand
Which is so lovingly held out to me.
So soon as to my senses I return
The radiant form hath vanished from my sight.
And thereupon, when I recall in thought
That which my spirit hath so often seen,
Before my soul this thought presents itself
Which moves me to the bottom of my heart.
I feel myself attracted by thy lore,
In which a Spirit-being is revealed
Descending from the Kingdom of the Sun,
To take a human form upon Himself,
In order to disclose Himself to men.
I cannot keep the glowing beauty out
That pours upon me from thy noble lore,
And yet my soul will not assent thereto.
The primal form of our humanity
In thy great Spirit-being I admit;
But still my individual self rebels
When I would turn to him in faith and love.
So must I ever wage an inward war
The archetype of every outer strife.
In sore distress, I seek in vain a clue
To solve the riddle of my life and fate:
How comes it that I understand so well
And yet that I in no wise can believe
The things thy noble teachings do reveal?
I follow thine example faithfully,
Yet find myself opposed at every point
To this example's goal and origin.
And when I must thus recognize myself,
A flood of doubt o'erwhelms my falt'ring faith
That in this life I may yet find myself.
Nay, worse than this, the dread doth haunt me oft
That this bewilderment of doubt may run
Through all the lives that I shall live on earth.

Grand Master:
The picture, which thou sawest, my good friend,
Before my spirit stood out strong and clear
Whilst thou didst paint it in those vivid words;
And as thou didst speak further, then it grew
In breadth before mine eyes until I saw
How cosmic aims are linked to human fate.


First Master of Ceremonies:
Dear brother, I must openly confess
That our Grand Master's clemency exceeds
My comprehension, when I needs must see
What bitter wrong our foes inflict on us.
Although they will not study what we teach
They scruple not to paint us in men's eyes
As heretics and messengers from hell.

Second Master of Ceremonies:
His clemency from our own teaching flows.
Can we proclaim life's highest aim to be
To understand the soul of every man,
And then misunderstand our foes ourselves?
There are amongst them many men indeed
Who follow in the footsteps of the Christ.
Yet even from the souls of such as these
The essence of our teachings must be veiled,
Though they should hear them with the outer ear.
Remember, brother, how reluctantly,
And with what inner conflict, thou hast led
To grant admission to the spirit-voice.
We know, from what the master path revealed,
That future men will see in Spirit-light
The lofty Being of the Sun, who trod this
Earth once only in a human frame.
This revelation we with joy believe
And gladly follow where our leaders tread.
Yet but a short time since these weighty words
Were said by him whom we acclaim as Head:
‘Your souls must ripen slowly, if indeed
With eyes prophetic ye would see to-day
That which the men of later days shall see;
And ye must not imagine,’ said our chief,
‘That after passing one initial test
Ye can have sight of things that are to be.
When ye shall have attained to certainty
That all mankind must needs be born again,
Ye then will have to meet the second test
Which sets your personal illusions free
To dim the radiance of the Spirit-light.’
This solemn warning, too, the master gave:
‘Ofttimes reflect, in meditation's hour,
How psychic monsters, of illusion born,
Beset the path of those who seek the light.
Who falls their victim may see even there
Human existence where the Spirit seeks
To be revealed to Spirit-light alone.
If ye would worthily prepare yourselves
To recognize, by help of inner sight,
The Light of Wisdom streaming from the Christ,
Over yourselves ye must keep watch and ward
Lest personal illusion blind you then
When your souls think that it is furthest off.’

With this injunction clearly held in view
We soon shall rid us of the vain belief
That in these times we can transmit these truths,
Whose beauty we confess within our souls,
In easy manner to posterity.
Rather must we take comfort from the fact,
That we to-day can meet so many souls
In whom the seed, although they know it not,
Already path been sown for future lives.
This seed can only manifest itself
In man, by opposition to those Powers
With which it later will ally itself.
In all this hatred which pursues us now
I do but see the seed of future love.

First Master of Ceremonies:
Certain it is that highest truth's intent
Can only in such manner be disclosed;
Yet hard it seems in this our present age
To shape our lives to follow out its aim.

Second Master of Ceremonies:
Here too I follow out our master's words:
‘It is not granted unto all mankind
To live Earth's future stages in advance.
But individuals there must ever be
Who can foresee what later days will bring,
And who devote their feeling to those Powers
Which loose all being from its present ties
To guard it safe for all Eternity.’

The curtain falls, while the two Masters of Ceremonies are still in the hall
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:39 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 9

The woodland meadow, as in Scene 6. Joseph Keane, Dame Keane, their daughter Bertha; afterwards, Countryfolk, later the Monk; finally Keane's foster-daughter Cecilia and Thomas.

Dear mother, I so long to hear the tale
Cecilia often spake of years ago.
Thou dost know all those fairy-tales to tell
Which father brings back with him from the knights
When he comes home, and which with greatest joy
So many friends are always glad to hear.

The soul can find real treasure in those tales.
The gifts which on the spirit they confer
Decay not with the body in the grave,
But bear their fruits in later lives on earth.
Darkly, as through a glass, we glimpse their truth;
And from such darkened sight, our souls can win
Knowledge to serve our needs in daily life.

If only folk could realize the store
Of precious gifts our knights have to bestow
Cecilia and Thomas have, alas,
Deaf ears at present for such things as these;
Since they draw wisdom from another source.

To-day I fain would listen to that tale
Which tells about the Evil and the Good.

Dame Keane:
Right gladly will I tell it thee; attend.
Once on a time there lived a man who spent
Much time in puzzling over cosmic truths.
That which tormented his poor brain the most
Was, how to learn of Evil's origin;
And to that question he could not reply.
The world was made by God, so he would say,
And God can only have in him the Good.
How then doth Evil spring from out the Good?
Time and again he puzzled over this,
But could not find the answer that he sought.
Now it befell that on a certain day
This seeker on his travels passed a tree
That was engaged in converse with an axe.
Unto the tree the axe did speak these words:
‘That which thou canst not do I can achieve,
I can fell thee; but thou canst not fell me.’
Unto the vain axe thus the tree replied:
‘'Twas but a year ago a man did cleave
The very wood of which thine haft is made
Out of my body with another axe.’
And when the man had listened to these words
A thought was straightway born within his soul
Which he could not set clearly down in words,
But which completely answered his demand:
How Evil could originate from Good.

Think on this story, daughter, and thou'lt see,
How contemplating nature's mysteries
May form fresh knowledge in a human head.
I know how many things I can make clear
Unto myself by spinning out in thought
The tales by which the knights enlighten us.

I know I am a simple little thing,
Without ability to understand
The learned words which clever people use
In setting forth the science they profess.
I have no taste for matters of that kind.
Whenever Thomas tells us of his work
I nearly fall asleep. But I could spend
Unnumbered hours in listening to the tales
Which father brings back home on his return
From visiting the castle, and wherewith
He often weaves a story of his own
As he recounts them to us hour on hour.


First Countryman:
My uncle yesterday came home again.
He dwelt a long time in Bohemia,
And earned an honest living in the mines.
Full many a bit of news he hath to tell
Picked up by him upon his journeyings;
Excitement and unrest are everywhere;
Attacks are made upon the Spirit-Knights.
Our local brotherhood cannot escape;
Already preparations have been made
And ere long will this castle be besieged.

Second Countryman:
I hope 'twill not be long 'ere they attack.
Many amongst us will most certainly
Gladly enlist among the fighting-men;
I mean to be among the first myself.

First Countrywoman:
Thou wilt but hurry headlong to thy doom!
How can a man be such a witless fool!
Hast thou forgot how strongly fortified
The castle is? The battle will be grim.

Second Countrywoman:
It is no business of the countryfolk
To mix with things they do not understand.
Yet there are many hereabouts to-day
Who do naught else but go from place to place
And fan the embers of revolt and strife.
Things have already come to such a pass
That sick folk have to cry in vain for aid.
The good man who in former days was wont
To help so many in sore need, can now
No more pass out beyond the castle gates,
So cruelly have folk belaboured him.

Third Countrywoman:
Of course! For many people were enraged
On hearing from what source the sickness came
That broke out, all at once, among our cows.
The Jew brought this upon them by his spells.
He only seems to make sick people well
In order, by the use of hellish arts,
Better to serve the ends of evil powers.

Third Countryman:
This empty prattle about heresy
Little availed. Truth is, our countryfolk
Had what they needed. Nought else came of it
Save that with dark mysterious sayings they beguiled
The idle hour; till, with cunning skill
A clever judge of human frailty
Devised this silly tale about the Jew,
How he had laid a spell upon our stock —
And then indeed the storm. began to rise.

Fourth Countryman:
I think that every one of you might know
What wars do mean, with all their misery.
Have not our fathers told us all that they
Must needs endure, when all the countryside
Was overrun by bands of soldiery?

Fourth Countrywoman:
I always said that it would come to pass:
Their lordships' rule must shortly fade away.
Already hath a dream revealed to me
How we can be of service to the troops
When they arrive to carry out the siege,
And take good care of all their creature needs.

Fifth Countryman:
If dreams to-day are still to be believed,
That is a matter we need not discuss.
The knights have tried to make us cleverer
Than were our fathers. Now they have to learn
How much our cleverness hath been increased.
Our fathers let them in; in our turn we
Shall drive them out. I know the secret tracks
That yield an entrance to the fortalice.
I used to work within it until rage,
Drove me away; now will I show the knights
How we can make their science serve our ends.

Fifth Countrywoman:
He surely hath no good thought in his heart;
I trembled as I listened to his words.

Sixth Countryman:
In spirit-vision I have lately seen
A traitor leading hostile soldiery
By secret ways into the castle's keep.

Sixth Countrywoman:
Such visions are destructive, I should say.
No one who thinks as Christians ought to think
But is aware that honesty alone,
Not treason, can from evil set us free.

Sixth Countryman:
I let folk talk, and help as best I can.
How often do we hear a thing called wrong
By those who lack the courage in themselves
To do that very thing. Let's go our ways;
I see the father coming down the road;
We will not interrupt his train of thought.
I found no difficulty up till now
In understanding everything he taught;
But in the sermon which he preached to-day
He said much that one could not understand.

(The Countryfolk go away towards the forest.)

It must be that a soul is led astray
In striving to pursue her natural course.
The weakness of my heart alone allowed
Such visions to appear before mine eyes
As those which I beheld within those walls.
That they must show themselves to me in strife
Is proof enough how little yet in me
The psychic forces work in harmony.
Therefore will I address myself anew
To kindle in myself those potent words
Which bring me light from out the Spirit-heights.
That man alone prefers another road,
Whom personal illusions have made blind.
The soul can only triumph over lies
By proving herself worthy of the grace
Which Spirit-light, outpoured from founts of love,
In words of wisdom doth reveal to her.
I know that I shall find the greatest strength
Which can throw light on what the Fathers taught,
When from the gloom of self's imaginings
With lowly heart submissive I can flee.


Dear brother, when in fervent ecstasy
Of silent prayer my soul did bow herself
Unto the Fountain of the World, and yearn
Whole-heartedly to be made one therewith,
A light before my spirit would appear —
With gentle warmth and radiancy aglow;
This then transformed itself into a man
Who looked into my face with tender eyes,
And spoke to me. These were the vision's words:
‘Human delusion left thee once forlorn,
And now thou art upborne by human love
Wait therefore until longing finds a way
To bring the seeker safely to thy side.’
Thus spake this human figure oft to me
Nor could I fathom what the words might mean;
And yet a dim foreboding made me glad,
That some time they should be fulfilled for me.
And then, beloved brother, thou didst come,
And when I first set eyes upon thy face,
I felt my senses leave me; for thou vast
That human figure's very counterpart.

Dream and foreboding told thee but the truth,
Indeed 'twas longing guided me to thee.

And when thou didst request me as thy wife
I thought the Spirit had ordained it so.

That in good truth the Spirit's purpose was
To re-unite us, clearly may be seen,
Although we read it not aright at first.
As wife and helpmeet, sent me from above,
So didst thou seem to me, when first we met.
And then my long-lost sister did I find.

And henceforth nothing shall divide us twain.

Yet many obstacles between us rise.
Thy foster-parents by close ties are bound
Unto the brotherhood which I must spurn.

They are incarnate love and kindness both;
And loyal friendship will they give to thee.

My creed will separate me from their love.

Through me you will find out the way to them.

Keane is a kindly man, but he is stubborn;
He never will see aught but darkness there
Where I perceive the very fount of light.
In riper years it was first granted me
To turn my steps toward this light of truth,
Since all I learned of it in childhood's days
Upon my spirit made but little mark;
Whilst later on, my every thought was bent
On scientific knowledge as a means
To gain a livelihood. When I came here
At last I found the teacher and the guide
Who had the power to liberate my soul.
The teaching his path let me listen to
Doth bear the very stamp of truth itself.
Such is his speech that heart and head alike
Must yield themselves as captives to his words,
So full at once of gentleness and good.
I took the greatest trouble heretofore
To understand the other spirit type
And found it could but unto error lead.
Since it clings only to those spirit-powers
Which may be faithful guides in earthly ways
But cannot lift one up to higher worlds.
How shall I therefore ever find the way
Into the hearts of people who believe
That from this error all salvation springs?

I hear thy words, dear brother, and they seem
The product of no peaceful frame of mind.
Yet 'tis a peaceful scene of former days
Which they have reawakened in my soul.
'Twas one Good Friday, many years ago,
I saw the scene of which I speak to thee.
It happened that upon that day the man
Who wore my brother's features, said to me:
‘From source divine hath sprung the human soul
It can in death dive down to nature's depths;
In time it will set spirit free from death.’
Not until afterwards was I aware
That these words are the motto of our knights.

Alas! my sister, that thy lips should speak
Those evil words, which our opponents take
As revelation of the highest truth.

I have at heart no sympathy at all
With outward acts committed by the knights
I truly serve the creed that nourished thee.
But never could I make myself believe
That men who guide the footsteps of the soul
By such instruction toward so high a goal
Walk not themselves the path that Christ hath trod.
The Spirit's pupil am I, staunch and true,
And I confess that it is my belief
That on that day, my brother's spirit strove
To speak of aims that lead the soul to peace.

The powers of destiny have not ordained
Peace for the soul, it seems, for thee and me;
They take our father from us that same hour
That sees him once again restored to us.

My faculties are clouded o'er with pain
When of our father thus I hear thee speak.
Thy heart would draw thee to his side in love,
And yet thou tremblest at the very thought
Of union with him whilst he is alive.
Thou followest our leader in good faith,
Yet canst not hear the messages of love
Which his commands so tenderly convey.
A dark enigma faceth me; I see
The goodness of thy heart, and thy strong faith,
And yet must shudder at the deep abyss
That yawns so terribly between them.
And did not hope live on to comfort me,
And tell me love is never overcome,
I should lack courage to endure this pain.

Dear sister, thou hast yet to learn the power
Of thought, once it hath gripped a human soul.
This is no case of son opposing sire;
But one thought from another turns away.
Thought is the sovereign whom my soul obeys
Did I refuse her homage I should be
In very truth my spirit's murderer.

Curtain; Thomas and Cecilia still standing in the meadow

(This closes the vision into the fourteenth century. The following is the sequel of the events described in the first five scenes.)
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Four Mystery Plays, by Rudolf Steiner

Postby admin » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:40 am

The Soul's Probation

Scene 10

The same landscape as in Scene 5.

Capesius (waking from the vision which had brought his previous incarnation before his soul):
This unfamiliar landscape, and this seat,
A cottage and a wood in front of me!
Are they familiar? Urgently they claim
Familiarity; yet they do lie
Upon my nature, like some heavy weight.
They seem like real things. But no; all this
Is but a picture of soul substance spun.
I know how pictures such as these are made
Out of the thirst and longing of the soul.
As if awaking from my craving's dream
From out the spirit-ocean I have come
And memory; dread and shuddering shape, appears
To bring to mind these longings of my soul.
How burnt my thirst to know the world's design!
This longing vain, of self-denial born,
Consumed my nature to its very roots.
Sought I existence with impetuous will,
Then all the world's design did flee from me.
A moment, of eternity methinks,
Poured out such storms of suffering on my soul
As only can be felt in life's full course.
Between me and this craving fear there stood
That which had brought this fear to life in me.
I felt myself embrace the universe,
And all my personality was lost —
But no, it was not I who felt like this,
It was another being sprung from me.
I saw mankind and all its works evolve
From cosmic thoughts which rushing fast through Space,
Pressed on in eagerness to be revealed.
They drew the picture of a living world
In all its detail spread before my gaze.
From my soul-substance did they draw the power
With which to fashion Being out of Thought.
And as this world condensed before mine eyes,
My personal sense of feeling passed from me,
And words resounded from this picture-world,
Thinking themselves; and thrust themselves on me.
From out life's needs they brought to being things,
And gifted them with power from deeds of good.
Thus they resounded through the breadth of Space:
‘O man know thou thyself within thy world.’
Then saw I one who stood in front of me
And, showing me his soul, displayed mine own.
‘And then the cosmic words went on to say:
So long as in the circle of thy life
Thou canst not feel this being close entwined,
Thou art a dream, and dost but dream thy life.’
I could not think in figures clear and plain;
I did but see bewildering forces press
From nothingness to life, and back to nothingness —
But if my spirit seeks yet further back
And recollects what I beheld before,
A living picture stands before my soul,
Which is not blurred, as was all else that I
In later moments could experience,
But which more plainly sets before my soul
Men's lives and actions with each detail clear.

I gaze upon this picture, and can tell
What men these are, and what it is they do;
I recognize each soul I look upon,
Although their bodies' shapes are not the same.
I look upon all this as though myself
Were then a person living in this world;
But none the less with cold unfeeling eye
I scan a picture that seems life itself.
It seems as if its working on my soul
Withheld itself until that later time
Which to my spirit earlier was displayed.
Within a spirit-brotherhood I could
Myself and others clearly recognize;
And just as man doth often feel a scene
Of bygone days arise from memory's fount,
Thomas I see, a miner and my son,
And forthwith I must call to mind that soul,
Who, as Thomasius, is known to me.
The lady whom I know as seeress now
Stands there before mine eyes as mine own child.
Maria, who befriends Thomasius,
Reveals herself to me in monkish garb,
And doth condemn the spirit-brotherhood.
And Strader wears the visage of the Jew.
In Joseph Keane and in his wife I see
The souls of Felix and Felicia.
The others' lives lie open to my view
Without concealment; so too, doth mine own.
But while I am engrossed in reading it,
The picture fades and disappears from view.
And I can feel that those soul-elements
Of which that living picture was composed
Themselves are pouring into mine own soul.

I feel myself endowed with strength of soul
In my whole being, and I seem set free
From all the fetters of the world of sense:
My being doth embrace the universe.
Thus do I feel that instant so prolonged
Which I was able to live through, before
That living picture rose before mine eyes.
And now still further backward can I look.
Itself condensing out of cosmic thought
This forest doth appear before my gaze,
This house where Felix and Felicia
So often brought me comfort in distress.
Now — in the world I find myself once more
From which a moment since I felt myself
Removed by vast expanse of time and space.
And that which latterly I still could see:
The picture which disclosed to me myself
Is wafted like some misty fantasy
O'er all that now I feel by means of sense.
It is a nightmare, that oppresseth me;
It gropes in deep recesses of my soul;
It opens cosmic doors to breadths of Space. —
What storm is this that shakes my being's depths?
What enters forcibly from cosmic space?

A Voice (representing spirit-conscience):
Feel now what thou hast seen,
Live o'er what thou hast done
Refreshed from Being's source;
Thine own life hast thou dreamed.
Work out this deed in thee
With noble spirit-light
Regard thy daily task
With force of spirit-sight.
If this thou canst not do,
To empty Nothingness
Thou art for ever doomed.

Curtain, before capesius has left the stage
Site Admin
Posts: 30807
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am


Return to Ancien Regime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests