{ } = word or expression can't be understood
{word} = hard to understand, might be this

("...strong and diverse heart So many men have tried to understand But only made it smaller with their art, Because you are as various as your land,

("As mountainous-deep, as flowered with blue rivers, Thirsty with deserts, buried under snows, As native as the shape of Navajo quivers, And native, too, as the sea-voyaged rose.

("Swift runner, never captured or subdued, Seven-branched elk beside the mountains -- the mountain stream, That half a hundred hunters -- that half a hundred hunters have pursued But never matched their bullets with the dream,

("Where the great huntsmen failed, I set my sorry And mortal snare for your immortal quarry.

("You are the buffalo-ghost, the broncho-ghost With dollar-silver in your saddle-horn, The cowboys riding in from Painted Post, The Indian arrow in the Indian corn,

("And you are the clipped velvet of the lawns Where -- Shropshire grows from Massachusetts sods, The grey Maine rocks--and the war-painted dawns That break above the Garden of the Gods.

("The prairie-schooner -- schooners crawling toward the ore, And the cheap car, parked by the station-door.

("Where the skyscrapers lift their foggy plumes Of stranded smoke out of a stony mouth You are that high stone, and its arrogant fumes, And you are ruined gardens in the South

("And bleak New England farms, so winter-white Even their roofs look lonely, and the deep The middle grainland, where the wind of night Is like all blind earth sighing in her sleep.

("A friend, an enemy, a sacred hag With two tied oceans in her medicine-bag.

("They tried to fit you with an English song And clip your speech into the English tale. But even from the first, the words went wrong, The catbird -- the catbird plucked -- pecked away the night-


("The homesick men begot high-cheekboned things, Whose wit was whittled with a different sound And Thames and all the rivers of the kings Ran into Mississippi and were drowned.

("They planted England with a stubborn trust, But the cleft dust was never English dust.

("Stepchild of every exile from content And all the disavouched, hard-bitten pack Shipped overseas to steal a continent With neither shirts nor honor to their back.

("Pimping grandee and rump-faced regicide, Apple-cheeked younkers from a windmill-square, Puritans stubborn as the nails of Pride, Rakes from Versailles and thieves from County Clare,

("The black-robed priests who broke their hearts in vain To make you God and France, or God and Spain.

("These were your lovers in your buckskin-youth. And each one married with a dream so proud He never knew it could -- could not be the truth And that he coupled with a girl of cloud.

("And now to see you is more difficult yet, Except as an immensity of wheel Made up of wheels, oiled with inhuman sweat And glittering with the heat of ladled steel.

("And these you are, and each is partly you, And none is false, and none is wholly true.

("So how to see you as you really are, So how to suck the pure, distillate, stored Essence of essence from the hidden star, And make it pierce like a riposting sword.

("For, as we hunt you down...")

Now I wonder that there isn't an exclamation mark. Because this is what I feel it should be read: "So how to see you as you really are!" Isn't that right? "So how to suck --" isn't it despair, and I mean, exclamation? Isn't it strange that there should be a period at the end? That's why I feel, I mean, it's just --. Go on.

("For, we hunt you down, you must escape And we pursue a shadow of our own That can be caught in a magician's cape, But has the flatness of a painted stone.

("Never the running stag, the gull at wing, The pure elixir, the American thing.

("And yet, at moments when the wind was hot With something...")

"When the mind --."

(Oh, excuse me.)

("And yet, at moments...")

In Los Angeles, of course, the wind is hot. But other parts of the country, the mind.

("And yet, at moments when the mind was hot With something fiery than -- fierier than joy or grief, When each known spot was an eternal spot And every leaf was an immortal leaf,

("I think that I have seen you, not as one, But clad in diverse semblances and powers, Always the same, as light falls from the sun, And always different, as the differing hours.

("Yet, though each altered garment that you wore The naked body, shaking the heart's core.

("All day the snow fell on that Eastern town With its soft, pelting, little, endless sigh Of infinite flakes that brought the tall sky down...")

And that again, may I remind you, this -- these two lines are very strangely built:

"I think that I have seen you not as one, But clad in diverse semblances and powers, Always the same, as light falls from the sun, And always different, as the differing hours."

There should not be a period. "Yet, through each altered garment that you wore,/The naked body..." that means, I think, that I have seen you, you see. So I think the interpunctuation is completely wrong. You cannot -- can you -- follow here? Well. You understand? It's very unsatisfactory, this --. He died, of course, in the process. And he may not have revised this. But I think one obscene { }. But I think it's completely misleading, the interpunctuation. Can you see this?

"I think that I have seen you --" now -- now the breath has to go on -- "till

the heart's core." Can you understand?


And that is the -- also -- also these six lines of course are built in a very artifi- -- artistic way, that the -- you see, these are six verses, and there is a solid form. And therefore, the -- the whole meaning is that the breath has -- must not fall down at -- after -- as the differing hours, you see. But then you must, you see, you must hold it -- onto it, and go to heart's core. You understand?


Very strange why this interpunctuation -- is -- all this time, I wonder if he put it in, himself.

({ } somebody else did?)

Well, I mean, {indifference} -- it is certainly highly misleading. Well, we'll -- you see, all these modern deviltries of telling children only to read by eye, and not to speak, you see, of course is only one element of the complete indifference today to the fact that this is speech--poetry--and not the written word. And as long as you believe that liter- -- poetry can be printed, you see, you -- all this happens. And of course, the language dies in the process, I mean. It is -- this is just -- unbelievable. No poet who would have -- been tape-recorded, you see, could afford this, I mean. It's scandalous. Because interpunctuation, you see, is simply a marking of your breath. And therefore there is no { } interpunctuation, as you are taught--all this is nonsense, I mean--by grammarians. Every man has his own breath, and his interpunctuation should be--if he's a real stylist--his own. And all these -- these -- these -- these rules are of course nothing.

I told you the story of the lawyer, didn't I, and his will? Well they -- he said, "There should be no interpunctuation. A will must be read regardless of interpunctuation, and -- must force its rhythm so on you so that there can be no quibbling," you see. A wrong comma, that must not lead to a -- to a trial, to a litigation. And everywhere, I mean, here you have the law. Then you have the language of command, of course, in the army, or wherever it is. And here you have poetry. And today, it is all leaden. All lead- -- absolutely arbitrary, you see. I cannot understand how it is possible that this is printed in this way. Imagine -- to make a period after "hours," you see! When the whole sentence has the meaning that you that is the naked body, isn't it?

Or does anybody differ?

So that even today, when we buy a book of poetry, the -- the fact that it is printed and registered with literature, you see, is already -- in itself apt to destroy the -- the power of the -- of the poetry, I mean. We -- you live -- you must know that you live today in a garbage can of civilization. That's what you do. Everything that surrounds you is already deadening life. You mustn't think that you are -- this -- this -- this country of America lives on 35 degrees of Fahrenheit, suspended animation.

And this is why the Invocation of course, strikes you as most unnatural, because this has to be spoken. And it has not to be spoken about something, but to the higher powers that enable us to speak. Now go on.

So it's quite -- it has already to -- become totally -- totally a- -- un-natural. But we'll see that it's just the other way around. This is the most natural way of speaking, and that you speak -- should speak prose, that's ridiculous.

(Isn't it possible that -- that the period loses force? I think the period has -- has lost force in writing, so that it doesn't always mean that you stop.)

Pardon me?

(I don't think the period means that you always stop. At least in current use. I think the period is a -- is -- is a weaker form of punctuation.)

In what -- what's then the strongest? After all, you have here -- the danger, you see, is -- is doubled -- duplicated, because it's not only the period, but even the verse is set off. If the two later verses, you see, were -- following directly -- but since there is this break in the print, isn't it?

(Yes, that's right.)

So it makes it even -- period, plus paragraph. That is quite hard.

(In not in all forms, though, is -- is the -- is it set up this way. I think the tampering has been with the -- let's see --.)

Who -- does anybody { }?

(There's another style of -- of writing this, so that there's not { }. Nobody has --.)

Well, I wish to -- well, it isn't. It isn't here. Has anybody another print?

(Who doesn't have this kind, 195- --?)

But where are the six verse printed in -- in one?

(I've seen one where -- where it's -- .)

It would be much reasonable.

(-- line after line without any break between.)

Yes, I have such an edition myself. You're quite right. So you see how -- how beautification can -- can ruin anything, well --.

(It's mathematized here.)



No, it's just -- not { } -- money. Wealth is always a danger of taste, you see. If they have more paper, and they have more space, make a luxury edition -- sens- -- the sense is -- drop -- drops out.

But this lack of the -- of the -- of -- of respect for the poetry today is -- is what -- {quite widely traded}? I mean, look at -- how our Bibles are printed, of course. They are with this same, disgusting bad taste, gentlemen, you see. All -- as you know all the chapters and verses are late inventions. They -- they crowd in this Bible, you see, making it quite impossible to -- to appreciate it, because it's cut up into verses in the middle of the word. I mean, we don't even resent it, because everybody goes to sleep in reading the Bible anyway. It makes no difference. You -- cannot discover that the Bible is a recent boo- -- decent book, because it's written -- printed in this ridiculous manner. You should protest -- I mean, this { } all your Bibles, you see, are -- perfectly unreadable for a -- for a reasonable person. You just carry this on, if -- because -- makes no difference. The laity is -- goes to sleep anyway, and the man only -- the preacher only takes out six -- six verses, anyway, and can say then, "Verse 1 to 7," you see. And so to him it's just picking the -- you see, pecking like a -- like a chicken, her feed.

-- You live in such an unreal world. This world of literature, if I could only smash it, all the courses you have to take in English and so on! They destroy absolutely your sense of -- of life. It's all on a -- in a -- on a -- on a bush, a sheet of paper. Now go on. Where are we? Ja.

("All day the snow fell --.")

Would you take over?

("All day the snow fell on that Eastern town With its soft, pelting, little, endless sigh, Of infinite flakes that brought the tall sky down Till I could put my hands in the white sky

("And taste cold scraps of Heaven on my tongue And walk in such a changed and luminous light As gods inhabit when the gods are young. All day it fell. And when the gathered night

("Was a blue shadow cast by a pale glow I saw you then, snow-image, bird of the snow.

("And I have seen and heard you in the dry Close-huddled furnace of the city street When the parched moon was planted in the sky And the limp air hung dead against the heat.

("I saw you rise, red as that rusty plant, Dizzied with lights, half-mad with senseless sound, Enormous metal, shaking to the chant Of a triphammer shaking iron ground -- striking iron ground.

("Enormous power, ugly to the fool, And beautiful as a well-handled tool.

("These and --.")

Now, careful. Don't give the -- waste this so completely. "Enormous power, ugly to the fool,/And beautiful" -- then you must read the "as," you see, as an "if," you see. Isn't it?

("As beautiful as a well-handled tool.")

You see -- isn't this the condition, you see, of its improvement? It's either for the fool, you see, as I read it, "ugly," or it's beautiful as a well-handled tool. So you have to bring this out a little bit.

("These, and the memory of that...")

Again, I mean, I -- I feel that the comma is misleading, you see. "Enormous power, ugly" -- there should be a halting of the breath, you see. There should be the period. I would print it: "Enormous power, ugly" -- comma, you see. Or some-

-- hy- -- hyphens. You see how interpunctuation is really wanting in delicacy. The -- the -- the comma before is too -- too strong, "And beautiful as a wellhandled tool." Ja?

("These, and the memory of that windy day On the bare hills, beyond the last barbed wire, When all the orange poppies bloomed one way As if a breath would blow them into fire,

("I keep forever, like the sea-lion's tusk The broken sailor brings away to land, But when he touches it, he smells the musk, And the whole sea lies hollow in his hand.

("So, from a hundred visions, I make one, And out of darkness build my mocking sun.

("And should that task seem fruitless in the eyes Of those a different magic sets apart --")

(I don't understand that.)

("And should that task seem fruitless in the eyes Of those a different magic sets apart To see through the ice-crystal of the wise No nation but the nations that is Art,

("Their words are just. But when the birchbark-call Is shaken with the sound that hunters make The moose comes plunging through the forest-wall Although the rifle waits beside the lake.

("Art has no nations--but the mortal sky Lingers like gold in immortality.

("This flesh was seeded from no...")

You see, this is his decisive -- very, very difficult, but very important. We have to read it -- will you go on and read again?

(These last two sentences?)

No, no. "Art has no nation." But so -- this is all very -- difficulty to read, really, because "no nation but the nation that is Art,/Their words are just." And then he recalls it, "Art has no nations--but the mortal sky/Lingers like gold in immortality. This flesh," and there should begin, you see, this -- who did this? You? You see, this should go this way: "immortality" leads immediately on, in one breath, to "This flesh," you see, because the break is in "Art has no nations."

Can you see it? And here begins, however, his apology, "but the mortal sky lingers like gold in immortality. This flesh was seeded..." Ja?

("This flesh was seeded from no foreign grain But Pennsylvania and Kentucky wheat, And it has soaked in California rain And five years' tempered in New England sleet

("To strive at last, against an alien proof And by the changes of an alien moon, To build again that blue, American roof Over a half-forgotten battle tune

("And call unsurely, from a haunted ground, Armies of shadows and the shadow-sound.

("In your Long House there is an attic-place Full of dead epics and machines that rust, And there, occasionally, with casual face, You come awhile to stir the sleepy dust;

("Neither in pride nor mercy, but in vast Indifference at so many gifts unsought, The yellowed satins, smelling of the past, And all the loot the lucky pirates brought.

("I only bring a cup of silver air, Yet, in your casualness, receive it there.

("Receive the dream too haughty for the breast, Receive the words that should have walked as bold As the storm walks along the mountain-crest And are like beggars whining in the cold.

("The maimed presumption, the unskillful skill, The patchwork colors, fading from the first, And all the fire that fretted at the will With such a barren ecstasy of thirst.

("Receive them all--and should you choose to touch them With one slant ray of quick, American light, Even the dust will have no power to smutch them, Even the worst will glitter in the night.

("If not--the dry bones littered by the way May still point giants toward their golden prey.

("He closed...")

No, no. No, { }. But I -- . Do you -- do you understand what it means -- what he means by "To strive at last, against an alien proof/And by the changes of an alien moon,/To build again..."? Do- -- what does he mean with these two

lines? Does anybody know? Very important, very American. Whole tragedy of the American intelligentsia.


({ } about the break from England { }.)


(The break from England { }.)

Who is meant by these two lines?



(The tendency of the American intellectuals...)

But the fact about the --.

(...educated in Europe. I was struck by the -- fact that all the intellectuals are educa- -- I think it was 10,000 Americans got their doctorate in Europe in -- in the 19th century, at -- at the same time Wagner was proposing to come to the United States to write the American -- the great American opera based out of the ethnic materials here, and --.)

You are absolutely right, but this is much more concrete than you realize. It's very hard to read poetry, gentlemen, and to understand it. So you don't, obviously.

This has nothing to do with 10,000 {deaths}. It -- only to do with Vincent Stephen Ben‚t.

(Well, isn't he saying that he's -- he's -- attempting to write this poem without regard to the forms --.)

No. In France! He's living in France while he writes it. This is the tragedy of American in- -- poets. He's -- living in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Isn't this preface signed "Neuilly-sur-Seine"? It used to be. Again, these editions are all -- you see, all falsified, because nobody of course is publisher, and -- his decision -- do not assume that anybody reads anymore. I mean, it's just --. Can't you see it? Then

you shouldn't be here, you see. It's all -- of course, all nonsense { } the introduction, you see...

(It is signed.)

...between -- between, you see. This is killed. "Neuilly-sur-Seine." Now these are the two lines by which he sees the irony of his own fate, you see, that he -- while he's writing the -- the American epic, he's writing this against an "alien proof by the changes of an alien moon." Can't you see this? This is Neuillysur-Seine. But you can't read. He excuses himself. He says, "I'm Pennsylvania, I'm Kentucky." It's all Mr. -- the poet, you see. And has "soaked in California's rain/and five years tempered in -- sleet/To strive at last," and as though he suddenly wants to say, "I admit. I have to -- I'm writing this against the alien proof that is against the test of a French or European poetry," you see. And "by the changes of an alien moon." This is --.

(Well, it's just what I said.)

No, you spoke of 10,000 intellectuals, but you didn't say this is "I, Vincent Stephen Ben‚t, am writing the American epics on French soil."

(Well, I didn't say that.)

This is not education. But that's the act of writing this poem. It's much more special -- particular, you see. This is the particular situation of this verse, written at this moment.

(But he's not -- he's not writing it from the point of view of a Frenchman.)

He doesn't say so. But "alien" he calls it. Who says "from the point of view of a Frenchman?" I haven't said one word --.

(No, my point -- my point really was that it was the -- the fashion to go abroad.)

Ja, but this doesn't help you -- us in -- in settling --. I mean, of course, this was the problem of Henry James -- William James always, when he was in America, had to go to Europe; when he was in Europe, he had to go to America. He always took a return -- he's just barely landing there, back he went, I mean. They were all, you see, recoiling, constantly, like -- on a pool table.

But I think it's terribly important. That -- this I think is the greatest American poem in existence about American history. It's the epic of America. And it

had to be written in Neuilly-sur-Seine. And that's part of America. And that's why at this moment Mr. Herter is in Geneva negotiating about Berlin. You must understand that this is all one and the same thing. First it is in the mind, and then it -- now it's in the political body and the geography of America, you see. Now this -- this homeland has to be defended for -- geographically. First, it was only in the mind of the people.

Well, the same of course is true of the first American poet with which I want you to become acquainted. And I'll -- I get -- go over in the recess and get you this. Has anybody heard of Joel Barlow? Wie? Have you? I { } mentioned -- to you in class.

(Yeah, we were -- discussed him in { }.)

Ja, well. Perhaps you put down his dates: 1754 to 1812. And it's a -- quite useful to compare him, because his first poem is "The Vision of Columbus." He later enlarged this into The Columbiad, 20 years later. But the first was better, as it is with the poem. Usually the first is -- { } is the best. He was in Yale, and later he became expatriate in France. He was 10 years our diplomatic agent in -- and he freed the -- the -- the Americans held by the Bay of Tripolis. And that is his great merit. And he died very honorably on the expedition of Napoleon from Russia, on the retreat; perished from the exposure there, and the cold, the famous {Eresina}.

(I don't think I understand really, now, what you did mean, when you said it had to be written in -- in France. "The poem had to be written in France." Why did it have to be written in France?)

I didn't say -- it was written in France. It had been written. Not "had to be written." I didn't say "had to be." It's just -- a fact that --.

Now the important thing is, if you -- that Barlow and this Ben‚t deserve to be opposed to each other, because, as you now may realize, the greatness of the Vincent Ben‚t poem is that he begins in the West. He begins with Navajo, and -- and the { }, and he comes to New England in reverse. And therefore, there is a completely new -- new tone. The -- the tiresome attitude of all American -- literature in America, and -- and ways of thinking, is that they first begin in New England or Boston, and New York, and then they count up the 48 states until they arrive, you see, in Alaska. And I can't hear all this. I mean, it's an attempt -- you see -- you find innumerable, well-meaning, unpoetical things of enumeration. It's one of the tragedies of America, you see, that quantity has invaded poetry through this enumeration of the -- the plains, and the mountains, and the R- -- then we come to the Rockies, you see, and finally we come to Sacramento.

And I would just then say "sacrament." I mean, "sacr‚" it is just -- this is destructive of all American thinking. The enumeration, because that's quantity, that's -- you see, the supermarket, the catalog. And the catalog is destroying poetry in -- more in this country, because of its bigness and its size.

Now Ben‚t very ar- -- very artistically, you see -- we -- we read this; you go back. In the second -- in the second quatrain, you see, he already has the opposite, you see. "...buried under snows,/As native as the shape of Navajo quivers." And though he begins with the Rockies, and then with the buffaloghost, and the broncho-ghost, you see, the Indian arrows, the Indian {corn}, and then he only goes back, you see. And that's the whole -- the whole revolution, I think, for which you aren't even yet prepared. You still think of yourself as the West. And -- as coming later. Now of course, Ben‚t feels that America will not be independent as long as it counts its fate only from the east towards the west, you see. It is -- has not this -- this center of gravity in its own, final organization.

And therefore, I feel the poetry is revolutionary, so to speak. You have heard of Turner's "frontier thesis." Now this steps far over this. This is a new period. Poetry is always prophetic, and the historians -- of course it will take them 30 or 40 years, before you can become a professor with such heretic views, that you begin the story in California and say, "That's what it was all coming to. All the rest is preparation," you see.

So whereas Turner only sees the moving frontier, you see, Ben‚t already sees after this event, you see, what's America. And therefore it is -- begins in the West. You cannot understand when you start in Los Angeles, and not -- not over there.

I felt the same when I made my -- my mountain climb in -- in British Columbia, that now I finally arrived in America, and -- because this is virgin territory. And I was very -- this is my last act of immigration, so to speak, when I did some first ascents in -- in British Columbia. Then one is really chest-to-chest with the -- with the secret of this independent continent. It perhaps should never have been discovered any- -- and -- which certainly is -- is a -- is difficult and inhospitable really. { }. It is -- it is a second; it was -- is not an accident. It has been most retarded, I mean. If you think of America, it has been more retarded than Africa, less populated. I mean, there is much -- has much more life going on in Africa over the last -- down to 1800 than in this country. The numbers of people living here, you see. If you read the description of the misery of the Indians here in California, a few hundred -- a few thousand at best, living over this vast stretch of land in the most miserable and -- and unambitious conditions, you -- you feel that America in itself was a neglected, and a second thought of our creator, you see. Breaking loose from the land mass of the rest of the world,

and swimming somewhere, you see, into the unknown.

Therefore, it is a -- is a great event in the history of America that Vincent Stephen Ben‚t begins in the West and puts all the influences from Europe, you see, in the second place. And I think he will be -- this will be -- this will make itself felt as years go on. I think he will be remembered as a turning point. "Vision of Columbus" is the first American poem, you see. And Stephen Vincent Ben‚t, I take it, you see, is the first response from the other side, you see, so to speak. Walking from California, yes, and finally writing in a deep immersion, but taking with him the -- the complete vision of -- of Amer- -- America.

And you see, it's very important: the Civil War, with its bleeding wounds, after all, in the -- the South and North, of the eastern part of the states, he -- the old -- by centering in the West, in California and in the Rockies, in the -- with his first lines, he has the Archimedean point to pull us out of the tragedy, because this is, you see, what survives. North and South is -- doesn't exist here -- they don't exist here, so to speak, as a memory.

And so everything -- in order to write the -- the epic of the Civil War, you could all -- either go back to this "art, poor art," as he says, you see, have a general idea that art is supernational, or as he answers this, "No, I will not do this." We are -- I mean, he is in France, after all: the dogma of the "l'art pour l'art's sake" was created. And he fights it in a very -- in a very -- or he doesn't fight it, but he lets it stand and say, "It's not my way."

Now we -- that's why I s- -- told you, we have to read this again. It's a very, very complicated and difficult -- difficult vision. Here. You have it? Read this again, will you? "I saw it rise." Here. Read this once more, and very carefully. And now you must see this is a tremendous breakthrough. It's an event in American history. And as I said, poetry is far in advance of the prose, in all -- if it is real poetry. And therefore it will take probably 50 years before the people in the English course in literature discover this. Ja?

("I saw you rise, red as that rusty -- as that rusty plant, Dizzied with lights, half-mad with senseless sound, Enormous metal, shaking to the chant Of the traphammer -- triphammer striking iron ground.

("Enormous power, ugly to the fool, And beautiful as well -- as a well-handled -- and beautiful as a well-handled tool.

("Tho- -- these, and the memory of that windy day, On the bare hills, beyond the last barbed wire, When all the orange poppies bloomed one way As if a breath would blow them into fire,

("I kept forever like a sea- --.")

"I keep --."

(Oh. "I keep forever, like a sea lion's tusk The broken sailor brings away to land, And when he touches it, he smells the musk, And the whole sea lies hollow in his hand.

("So from a hundred visions, I make one, And out of darkness build my mocking sun.")

Again, may I say, you see: America for the -- I think for any vision that has future is itself a ship; and all its gigantic situation between the two oceans, you do not live on -- on a firm land, on a terra firma--as the old people, the old nations. Since you are moving constantly--you are always rocking the boat, so to speak--it is much more correct to call America itself a "vast, gigantic ship, sailing." And your des- -- the destiny of America, you see, in this new world is one of movement. I told you this about the slang, you see, that was a movement through time of the language, and not through space. It was not dialect in valleys and mountains, but the whole world -- the whole pop- -- people moving, you see, peo- -- every year a different word.

And the same is -- of course true about the stream of immigrants: first generation, thir- -- second generation, third generation, fourth generation means that everything here is stag- -- staggered in time. Now you only move in time as long as space is a con- -- is a projection of -- of the time element. And America is nothing but a projection of a migration of peoples, of -- of the experience of generations in movement.

And this is the -- this is here caught be- -- and so he has the -- the boldness to say, "America is -- like the sea." And so he gets out of the earth, the continent, the -- the -- the digging-in into some area, you see, with walls, and trenches, and -- and pieces of land, as we -- as the old people who entrenched themselves in -- after all, in castles, you see, for example, in walls. And he says -- like a sea, "I have the sea in the palm of my hand." The metaphor itself is incredibly bold.

Who has read Homer? You see, the -- the imagination of Homer is in his metaphors, in his parables, in his comparisons, you see.

And so you must take comparisons with a -- { } of -- of rank terribly seriously. You only think that's a little beautifying. Quite the contrary. The deepest word of a poem is simply, instead of saying, "as," or if he has to say it somewhat longer to express what he really means. And so these four -- this quatrain, you see, re- -- read this again. "I keep forever..." It's a very strange


("I keep forever, like the sea-lion's tusk The broken sailor brings away to land, But when he touches it, he smells the musk And the whole sea lies hollow in his hand.")

See, so he has the courage to say that the whole sea is in his hand--this is really something--so out of hundred visions, I make one.

(Is this the -- this his realism, or naturalism, or --.)

Oh -- be ashamed, in this context or -- to ask for stupidities.

(Or is that romanticism { }?)

I could shoot you! Breaking up our understanding at this moment with these abstractions. What -- I don't know what romanticism is. And naturalism. I have never met these ladies. What has this to do with your experience of this poem, Sir? You -- nobody in this country can -- read directly. Everybody has these little labels: 25 cents, romanticism; 50 cents, realism. Isn't this is sad? How old are you, Sir? Aren't you young? Can you not -- no -- can these words no longer reach you without these slogans, which kill all -- all your feeling and all your interest in this? Don't you see that by saying "realism," you have destroyed the -- the -- even the possibility of your understanding this poem?

What is realism? The invention of some professor for an examination! Has Mr. Ben‚t anything to do with this? Every decent breath of life cut through all these cobwebs of these notions. Do you think they exist, realism and naturalism? But that's -- every American, you think that the abstractions are more real than this line of poetry, and I assure you, the opposite is true. This line is real, and the word "realism" is not real. This has been written with blood. And the other is just a notion which you carry around. Dear me -- what is more real? The -- the fruit juice which is there on the bottle, or the -- the sign, "fruit juices" in the supermarket? There is perhaps something that is between juices, and -- and -- fruit, and -- and -- and -- and water, and so.

Every -- every real thing oversteps the mark of your generalization. No generalization is correct. It always is -- is overlapping. But -- you can't -- cannot be helped. This whole nation is abstract. And that's why it's so boring, you see. Why everybody in this country is bored. Abstractions bore, you see. You can only go on fire if you forget all your abstractions and get deep in with this. As soon as you first think, "Well, is this romanticism?" you have lost every right to say that you have ever read this poem. You lie if you say you have read it. You

can't read it, because it's always through the spectacles of these general notions. And they kill the spirit.

Sing it, Sir. Would you ever ask of a song -- it's romantic or realistic? You sing it! That's the only relation you have to poetry. There is no other relations. All the rest are crutches. Have nothing to do with the truth. But instead of saying that you eat meat, you say you take vitamins, so you can never taste the good meat. The same thing. You and you believe it, too, that's -- that there are so many calories. I assure you, if you eat caviar, you eat caviar. If you eat lobster, you eat lobster. It does you a lot of good, because lobster and caviar are real things. But vitamins and calories are absolutely nonsense. They're good for doctors, and for nurses, but not for a healthy man who wants to eat something good which God has created. Vitamins! And you are allowed to eat venison. And the same with this poetry. "Keep this forever." You say, "Is this realism, or is this romanticism?"

This makes -- well, I shall never teach again American students, I can assure you. This is my last term in my life. I'm very glad I won't repeat it. This is only damaging. We -- any illiterate American is better off than you poor students, who are filled with this -- with this chaff. This nation is absolutely destroyed--whether it's psychology or English literature--by all this nonsense. You can no longer read poetry, and that's a very serious situation.

Now do you read this once more?

("I keep forever, like the sea-lion's tusk The broken sailor brings away to land, But when he touches it, he smells the musk, And the whole sea lies hollow in his hand.

("So from a hundred visions, I make one, And out of darkness build my mocking sun.")

Ja. Because now comes this -- you see, this attempt, you see. It's a sea, and this is the sun. That is, we are outside the -- the traditional sights of the land, you see, of these borders of firmness. And he -- we are really -- out in the -- out in universe. "I build my mocking sun," you see, "hundred visions" and he has the sea and the sun. Ja. And now comes his -- his apology.

("And should that task seem fruitless in the eyes Of those a different magic sets apart To see through the ice-crystal of the wise No nation but that nation that is Art,

("Their words are just.")

Now let's analyze this. Here -- we point here. What does he say with these four lines? It's very difficult to understand. To whom does he speak? Or of whom? Of course, he says very clearly that he doesn't address these -- these people, but he says, "Their words are just." So he is in { }, you see. And he is in -- in this French prison cell of the American mind, and -- where it all comes from, this borrowed -- these borrowed heads, these -- these borrowed reasons, where you say "romantic," and "realistic," and all these schools of poetry. And here, he says, "Well, they say nation -- art for art's sake." Then you can classify, so to speak. And he says, "They are, just" -- I know -- I mean, "I don't want to -- I do not want to refute them," you see. "Only art in general. And therefore my task seems fruitless in the eyes of those a different magic sets apart." Now will you explain to me whether these thirds -- line means them or means him.

(I assume it would mean them, not him.)

Ja, it is -- this is very doubtful English, isn't it? "Those a different magic sets apart/To see." And obviously the "to see" then means they are set apart, so that they see -- wouldn't you say?

(Well, I -- I -- my interpretation of this quatrain here is: he is doing something more humanistic; whereas the -- these other individuals of whom he is speaking -- who look --.)

Now just construe first the third line. Who is he { }?

(Well, it's definitely not him. { } --.)

Who is ruling the sea? This is -- it is very difficult, you see, really to interpret it.

("Those a different magic sets apart.")

(But it's --.)

Those. Those see -- would you say? That's my interpretation, too. "And should that task seem fruitless in the eyes/Of those which" -- and for "whom a different magic sets apart/So that those" -- or "they" -- I'm only transcribing it. You agree?

(Yeah, I agree.)

No. Why don't you see it? It's -- it's better we -- we take the trouble just to understand each other. This is all I want, to force everybody to follow our inter-

pretation. So that they who -- who are set apart by a different magic, "through -- through the ice-crystal of the wise/No nation but the nation that is Art." That is, who can -- kept lo- -- loose from their national ties, and therefore see in their vision, you see, nothing but this airy art. Then I say you're right. "But --."

("But when the birchbark-call Is shaken with the sound that hunters make The moose comes plunging through the forest-wall Although the rifle waits beside the lake."

Now -- now, please. This is all very difficult. You know what he says of himself in this line?

(Of himself?)

Ja. "Their words are just." And -- but now he says that I -- he's plunging through the forest-wall, although the rifle waits beside the lake. That is, what's going to happen to Mr. Vincent Stephen Ben‚t?

He -- he'll be shot dead. "I'll be killed," he says. "Never mind. I'll be the victim of my enterprise. I am going on a dangerous path not only, but on a path that will kill me in the eyes of these -- of those," you see. And this is -- this is the -- very intricate. "Art has no nations," he says. He bows to the -- to the hunter who is going to rifle him down. That is, the professor of romantics and realism, you see, and who says, "This is an impossible undertaking," and "You can't do this," you see, because you are still connected with your nation, you see. "I am a nationalist," he says. That's what he says. You see, "I'm still rooted, and I'm not an artist to be classified with romantic and realistic art, because I'm just an American who has to sing the story of his nation."

That's -- that's why it is so dangerous if you try to classify him, because he says, "I'm breaking away from these classifications," you see. Art would have your classification. But this is not art. Art has no nations. But the mortal -- and this means the -- the boy who is to be shot dead, you see; "mortal" here meaning, you see, "I'm a very limited man," you see. He's still a human -- you see, a normal, living being. He's not an artist. He "lingers like gold in immortality." "This flesh," and there he's in mortality. { }. -- If this -- the people in the Civil War were shot dead, well, you ar- -- art critics shoot me, too. I'm very ready for the kill. You see, the rifle is already w- -- awaiting me. I -- I won't -- I don't -- I accept your verdict, that I'm not a poet. In your sense, I'm not. Fortunately isn't -- he is a real { }.

And so this whole century of art for art, and your whole century of thinking is over. The poet is the voice of his nation, and he's not there for literary

courses, to be dealt with, with Cs and Bs. If you don't need Vincent Stephen Ben‚t out your -- outside your English courses, he has never existed for you. If you don't sing him to your children, and if you don't give him to your bride, but if you think that you take a course in it and then get -- an equivalent, you see, of a C-point or an E, you don't understand where literature is in -- in the life of a nation.

This is the necessary event in the history of America. And it is not -- quite unnecessary that any professor of English would take notice of him. But it is very important that the man at the filling station should quo- -- quote it. That's the use of poetry. And that's what he says. And he says it in such a sophisticated, difficult manner that it is very hard to get, because he -- he is speaking of course to people who have given up--like most students at this university--the idea that literature is for anybody else but the professors and their students. Because in this country, of course, it's a barbaric country. The people who don't go to college don't read literature. It's quite true. There are no bookstores. There is no poetry read.

So it -- I mean, I have heard -- Stephen Spencer come to our college and say, "It is in this -- in America, the critic of literature ranks higher than the poet." And that's the end of the world. It is more as -- the poet is only there to feed these courses on literature so that the professor has something to tell to the students. And he says, that's of course hell. Everything is -- stands on its head.

This man is more important than all the courses in literature chained together, because he is an event in American history. And I have tried to show you that the historian, the genuine historian--like this poet--has an immediate position in the life of a nation, and is not a scientist.

Worked in vain. You cannot understand him. You see, here you have speech. And you have a speech department. It would be better to center the whole university, or the whole social sciences and humanities, around the speech department. You could do a very good job. Then you would see, you see, that the historian has the problem of narration to solve, to keep the -- to keep the past alive, as an influence as today. And that the -- that the prophets, you see, have to promise the future, and that the states -- the politicians have to fight for the present. And these are the three languages--the rhetorics, narration, and prophecy--that are the original languages of the human race. And all three are dying out in this country. Perhaps this is still in -- existence. This is dying out, and this is dying out. Because you have re- -- replaced it with the language for dead things, which you call "science." And science says, "2 and 2 is 4." And that's about the dead. And these three languages are about the living, you see. The -- the living that have not died yet, although physically they are absent, have to be

told. That's what Vincent Stephen Ben‚t says, you see. They ke- -- he keeps them alive. And so he apologizes. "This is my mortality," he says. And the prophet, you see, pulls the future into our lives, so that we are not bereaved of direction and future. As the politician fights for the present.

There are then three -- four laws of speech. History, you see. History sings, and that's why this is the more normal form of an historic book, you see--and Homer is--than the prose. History sings into our memory, the living -- that only -- that only apparently on the surface of things have died. Prophecy promises, and -- makes us yearn for better things, stretch out for -- into the future. "The promise of America," therefore is necessary for ma- -- making meaningful the life on this -- of this generation. If you have no promises, as the country at this moment have, it has lost its faith in the future. And that's why { } at this moment, it is flat. It has no direction. It's floundering. And it has also no past for this reason. Everything is just the car. And in the middle, there is fight. The --.

So will you take down these -- three rules? The past is sung; the future is prophesied; the present is fought for.

The present is a conflict. You cannot -- establish any present without parties. Without saying one "yes," and one "no." Because that's a duel, that's competition. It's like -- wi- -- husband and wife, both going to their utmost to emphasize their opposite view of reality. And that's the reality of the present.

The past is sung, because the fight is over. But the meaning of the fight has to be sung into our memories. Like the 4th of July celebration or the Gettysburg Address; that's song, because you better -- memorize it.

And prophecy, of course, is -- is prayer. You can also put here "prayer," anything that you can expect from the future. Supplication. Praise.

And then there is a fourth language, of knowledge. Knowledge is about dead things. We are allowed to know dead things so that at the given moment, you can use this -- these dead things and bring them back into the crux of life. You study -- geology after a hundred years; we drill oil wells, you see. And so the oil -- the geologists for a while seem to deal only with dead things, useless things; and then finally we discover how we can lead the oil back into the mainstream of life, our own life, you see. And all science, you see, prepares dead things for being u- -- and for re-entering the -- li- -- stream of life again.

Once you see the position of science, you -- you see its full meaning, and yet its very great limitations. Science is going out into the dead universe, preparing dead things to be resurrected, to be -- to join you and me. We eat -- now on a

deeper level, you see, of -- of these -- topsoil was the first nourishing -- man. And now we go down 6,000 feet and get the oil. Which only means that we have enlarged the reservoir of dead matter which serves us and which is rejoined -- its -- you see, joins the life-stream of -- of humanity. So -- what must happen if, you see, notions like realism and romanticism that are good for dead notions of classifications of dead books, if this enters the -- your bloodstream and poisons your relation to song, and to prophecy, and to politics, you see, you can never apply these notions to your relation to a real poem. Because this poem has an immediate -- effect on you. It's part of you. You only live by knowing poetry.

A child that hasn't been sung to, you see, is a barbarian not only, but it's a heartless juvenile delinquent. And -- what -- why do we have juvenile delinquency? Because these children are confined to doggerels instead of to the Psalms. They have never been allowed to sing themselves into life for the -- during the first 15 years of their existence. They are not allowed to -- hits -- is the only thing that hits them. Slogans are the only things that they hear. Nothing is sacred. How could they reverberate the -- the word of God? The life of the race? The -- the -- the memories of mankind? You don't sing them into them. You deprive them. Our children are starved for the spiritual love, because is love is song; and song is love. There is no -- you cannot love without song. In a brothel, you don't sing. Or except a juke box makes a loud noise to make sure -- that this -- these harlots and these people who go there have some semblance of music, and song. But it's an artificial song. The nightclub song -- music is -- is -- is -- is deviltry, diabolical. It's -- it has to be music, because one cannot make love without song. But it's second-rate music. It's artificial. It's -- the same like lipstick, instead of your natural color.

And in this country, the harlot rules. Hollywood rules. And you think that lipstick is normal, and the normal colors are abnormal. So you say that the hit is the normal food of a child, and the puns, and the quiz, and the doggerels, instead of the highest songs of the human race. And so they don't learn to sing the Psalms, and they don't learn to sing hymns. But they do sing all this poisonous gas. And so it is with everything.

And so you think that a -- that a -- that a narrative, the short story that is read by recipe, in a writer's school, you see, fulfills all the requirement of real poetry and real art, which is an existential undertaking, where a man has to spend his whole life before he dares to say something. Here -- he is not here today, but I have a young friend who -- who wants to become a writer. I can only hope that he will not follow this dream at the age of 19, because you cannot become a writer. It's a curse that you -- to be a writer. It's -- it's an obligation, perhaps, a compulsion. But it is not agreeable to be a real writer, because you have to break -- to become the mouthpiece of -- of -- of a nation. And you have to

prostrate yourself, you see, like the angels fall before the -- the face of God, it's a bless and a curse to be -- to have to write, my dear children. I know what I'm talking about. And anybody in this country who says, "I'm going to be a writer," has no idea what he's saying. He thinks that he can learn how to write short stories and make money. He may, but this has nothing to do with -- with literature, or poetry, or service to the nation, or to the peoples of this earth. That's making money out of their skin. This is -- there is no profession of writers. Cannot be. Either people are -- like musicians, they are born. But you cannot say, "I -- I want to be a writer."

Every day this is in jeopardy. Rossini stopped composing operas--he certainly was a genius--at the age of 48, and said, "I -- this is over now." May -- he became a cook.

That's the re- -- normal relation to your own genius, you see. You never know how long it -- lasts. And why shouldn't a man stop writing -- after he has read -- written this? It -- he died, feeling that this was the end. A -- a poet -- a real poet, or a real singer is the singer of one song. Like -- Julia Ward Ho- -- Howe. When she had written the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," that was it.

Now, would you kindly -- this is -- has been the aim of my whole seminar, { } -- and I'm quite serious now, you see. The -- the -- this -- to tell a story is usually the imperfect of -- of grammar. That is, simply building on this one form, we all have -- we all can say, "I did love," "I went." This is a miracle that our language tries to embrace the past. And then we can say, "This shall be." And that's all prophetic, and all promising language, or programmatic language, and all prayer.

And I also can say, "2 and 2: 4." There is not a verb in it, you see. Science is verbless language; it's an attempt to eliminate time. And dead things have no time element. The stone is supposedly there the same way, you see, after -- when I come back tomorrow. And so you can say, "All scientific language eliminates the process and thinks that it can deal with matter, or atoms and electrons forever." It -- neglects the time element. Scientific language neglects the time element. Epic language stresses that it has gone before us. Prophetic language stresses that it must come to us. And political language stresses that it is in conflict, that it is in jeopardy, that it is in danger, that it is not yet decided which way the cat will jump--that is, conflicting language.

Now our grammar, you see, was formed out of the -- out of the material of verbs. That we can say "I go," "I went," "I shall go -- come" to you is no miracle. And you think, if you analyze language as these positive semanticists do, these -- these scoundrels, they -- see, you see, say, "The sky is blue," and then they

analyze such a -- such a sentence. That's not a sentence of original language: "The sky is blue," you see. The original outcry of the -- of the creator of language, of the poet, is, you see: "As blue as the sky, this was -- this battle day was," you see, or "The -- the future is going to be" or "You, my sweetheart, look." The -- the -- that is, the "is" is not a normal statement of language. It is always -- means that when you say something is, that you step outside the living process of time, and try to put it into a museum. Where -- anybody says, "This is," you see, is already a Greek mind who has catalogued away life.

Why do we speak, gentlemen? It's very important -- pardon me for bothering you with this. But it's -- I have to save my soul. Otherwise I would fail you. The -- to speak means to be able to testify and verify an event before it has happened, while it is happening, and after it has happened. All language is built on a grammar--you see, all articulate language--which enables us to call the same event as it looks before, while it's happening, and after. That is, the original language is not the language that you can say, "The sky is blue." But people speak so that they be able to say "was," "is," "shall be." They -- all the three forms are like a -- like a fork, like a trident, you see. We speak in order to march through time, so that this point here can be looked upon before it has happened, and after it has happened, and while it is happening. This is the history of the speech -- speech department. This is speech.

So all your analysis, all these logical semanticists--Mr. Wittgenstein and Mr. Reichenbach -- and I don't know -- what is dominating here, this school of philosophy--it's just so absolutely silly, because they take any one sentence and try to analyze. But to speak means, you see, to be so much alive that you know that you will survive -- you pass through the horizon of the event. You l- -- you -- the event is prophesied. It happens. You look back on it.

And therefore all our linguistic mysteries in -- in any language consists of this power to say, "I loved," "I shall love," or "Love," as command, you see. God says, "Love the Lord," as you say. You try to love, and of course you get very bleeding fists and lips in the process, and then you look back and said, "I have loved." Or "I have not loved," you see, "I have not been loved," which is more important to most people.

And this is life. This is history. This is experience. And this is why we speak. We do not speak to make single statements. For this, we wouldn't need speech. You see, we -- sign language would be enough. For -- for the -- for the sign on the -- on the road, you see, for all these technicalities, between mother and child, for example, which is -- sucking her breast, no language necessary. Mother and child would never have invented language. Language has -- is necessary because man dies. And he has -- and man is not yet born. And we are

temporary beings. So you and I, in order to conjure up the times before and after us, you see, were gifted with language. And that's why we are not beasts. The animal is confined to its own day and place. And you and I are constantly immersed into the tension from the end of time, and the beginning of time. And that's why we speak -- so that we can get orientation, what has gone on before, and what's going to come. This is to speak. That's why I said, to teach means to groom successors, Sir, you see. Because to speak in such a language which will still be, you see, translatable into -- into words, when -- a hundred years from now. "Successors" means, "I'm no longer there."

When I teach you here, I identify yourse- -- myself with you. And I hope a hundred years from now, somebody will say these things to somebody, you see. And that's why teaching is neces- -- teaching is the -- is one form of eloquence, because it means that I take you into my confidence, and I -- un- -- -bosom myself, and I say what I think, so that you may later, you see, inherit this, and be able to tell your grandchildren. So I'm teaching you for the sake of the year 2000. And on the other hand, gentlemen, you listen to me for the sake of the year 900 or 1100, because you hope through me to get in touch with this past, as far as it is still living. What I'm telling you is St. Augustine and the New Testament. They -- they said this. And I am trying to tell you this, so that you may see that it is still true.

All teaching is -- a model case of all these three styles of speech, you see, in -- in a teacher and in a student. There is -- are, after all, alive -- in you some expectation that at some time what I say will be of some use to you, you see. So the future is present in this room. And in -- on the other hand, what I mention is not of my invention, you see. It has come to me from thousands of years back. And in this very moment then, narrative and conflict, your resistance and my eagerness, for example--or your eagerness and my resistance; it works both ways--are in conflict. That's the present. Any -- any hour is cla- -- where there are -- there are two minds clashing, two times clashing. But on the other hand, if I do not select that of the past which has a future, which promises you a better life, you will not listen to me.

Therefore, in a -- in a -- this is the -- that is the -- the -- the claim of every good classroom meeting, that the original situation of speech is present, that I'm invoking--now I come to the -- my point today--invoking a spirit that will triumph over the past, over the present, and over the future. "Invocation" means this. And that's the meaning of Vincent Stephen Ben‚t's Invocation. To invoke means to believe in the three times in one. You cannot only invoke a god, because he survives death, and he is not split in past, present, and future.

If you invoke the Fifth Amendment, what do you do? Would you kindly

explain to me: what do you do when you invoke the Fifth Amendment? What does it say, the Fifth Amendment?

(Don't have to answer { } incriminate yourself.)

Ja, now please, now analyze this. This is a very strange -- invocation. It's an invocation, but what does it invoke? Have you ever thought that "invocation" and "invoke" means -- is the same word? So the Muse and -- and -- and the Fifth Amendment must be -- have something to do with each other, which is very strange to you.

What do we mean by invoking the Fifth Amendment? What shall it do for the -- at this moment? If you think in terms of time, if you would only give up your -- your damned logic, by which you think that speech has to do with dead things. What is a man is allowed to hope for, when he invokes the Fifth Amendment?


Ja, but use -- don't -- use this { } -- of course, true protection. To get by. He's allowed to hope that he can get through this dangerous moment unscathed. That is, he can live it down. He can still be the same man tomorrow, this -- because he has invoked the Fifth Amendment, there is an--as you say, protection--an umbrella over his head for the rainy day. This is the rainy day, his day in court; the day -- court cannot do anything, and he is tomorrow the same he was yesterday. That's invocation: to make all times one. Or more than one time, one. And the invocation means that there is molded, you see, a pathway from yesterday into tomorrow, and today he cannot get stuck; he cannot be shot dead; he cannot be killed in this. It's an arcade of time that any invocation molds.

(If -- if that's all it meant, then they would change it and throw it out. But if it meant only something that you could use for the very moment --.)

But you can use it at any moment.

(Yes. But I say, if that's all it meant, { }.)

I haven't said that it was all it meant. But that's the one thing you never think of. So that's why I had to stress this first.

(It's what everyone thinks of whenever they invoke it. That it will -- it will take them over that moment of danger. I would -- I would --.)

What's your objection?

(I would suggest that more fundamental than this, it invokes your immediate protection, but that it -- it draws on the -- the mistakes of the past that required that the Fifth Amendment be written into the Constitution for the protection of -- of future rights. So that when you invoke the Fifth Amendment, there is --.)

Oh, but I'm perfectly willing. Why -- why -- why is there any conflict in my statement and yours? You see, you say, "Here is -- here is a man's life. Here comes the Fifth Amendment and he walks under this protection into this future." You say yourself "future rights," my dear man. You have the time element in your thinking. You only -- you -- all this -- you -- you all think in terms of things. You see, you -- you -- you -- every American thinks in terms of space. You do not even feel that "future rights" means exactly what I have tried to tell you. That tomorrow you are still in the possession of the same rights as you were yesterday. That's what I say.

(That's what I say.)

But you resent that I said it.

This is not one day, I mean, -- this is -- your lifetime. You are protected by this Fifth Amendment, you see, to lead your life, you see, under its protection, because you cannot be nailed down for something in the past, you see. You are not -- you are not your own accuser. Is it -- is this -- aren't we identical twins?


So invocation, which is not seen by you--and that's why I had to say it--puts a higher authority above the conflicting parties of the Senate Committee on Un-American Activities and you. And there is suddenly a sky--what the Bible calls the "heaven," you see, the heavenly powers--higher powers than the living. Wherever you have the power to build an archway through past, present, and future, this has in -- all nations and all peoples call "divine." You don't have to call it, you see. One god, but it is -- has divinity, I mean. It is one god. God is the power to unite the times. Or who denies it -- divides it. And we only can unite the times in the name of God. Nobody can speak if he does not believe that what he says today can be under- -- could be understood yesterday, and can be understood tomorrow, despite the fact that you are dead.

[tape interruption]]'s a restoration of art to the life of the community, you see, around which this invocation is written. That's why it is a serious invocation.

It is -- I have, as a boy, as a student in -- of your age, I have written a paper on the invocation in classical literature, Homer and Virgil, and so. And this was my thesis for being allowed to enter the seminar there, in the classics in Berlin University. And so I know a little bit of invocation in antiquity. And -- see, today, I mean on the surface of things, you think it's indulgent, you think in- -- invocation is a luxury; it's just a fashion--or not even--it has gone out of fashion. Certainly you think it is old-fashioned. Now it -- it -- therefore I think it is terribly important that I think you should invoke the Fifth Amendment, and know that invocation is the -- the way of -- of gaining a public. God is the power that makes you speak. You cannot speak and think that the truth -- there is truth in what you say, if you don't believe in God. There are no atheists. The atheist says, "Believe me that there is no God." And in this, he invokes your and my belief in the power to speak the truth. And therefore, atheism is contradic- -- self-contradictory, because to speak means to believe in God, be -- to say something that has validity before and after my physical existence. Formerly this was called "the Holy Spirit." Everybody who speaks makes this claim. You couldn't pass an examination if you didn't believe in God. It has nothing to do with your going to church. To speak means to believe. That is, to have the power to take part in a process that is -- has gone on before your birth and will go on after your death. That's called "the belief in God."

A perfectly godless person is -- is he who takes everything down into his grave, who says, "Really, after me, the --" you see, who abuses every law, every truth, you see, by the big lie, because he says, "I don't care what goes after me." There are very few such people. They are the really godless people, but they usually go to church, you see, and pay the tithe. Because they want -- they want to play safe. But the so-called atheists, of course, are always the religious people of their time, who find fault with the expression of faith -- of the time, and want to say it a little better.

To be- -- speak means to believe. This you must understand, because to speak means to unfold into these three times. And while I'm saying this, I -- I cannot give up this hope that you will leave this seminar with the understanding that history is not a part of science, but is as original as any scientific statement. But if I say, "I was once young," I say something as independent from science, you see, as ob- -- obviously science is independent from history when it says that the water is H2O, you see. These are two sentences that are completely heading in different directions of -- of reality, that water and H2O makes water at this moment not a vital and living force, but a dead thing, which I can use and store away. But the Colorado River is already more alive than just the wa- -- H2O, you

see; and the Grand Canyon is, you see; and the lake is; and the ocean is. So that is the deadest form -- is to say, you see, that H2O. And that's science. The scientific style.

And that's when you say the poem is realistic, or it's romantic. Then you are trying to make this -- this poem a -- a part of the library of dead things. But if you say, "I sang this morning" from enthusiasm about the good morning, you see, you have evoked. You see, that's how we proceed. And here in the middle is our vocation. All this is lost on you. I know you hate even to be pinned down to words. But I cannot -- help -- tell you that these words have a very honorable family, you see. Your vocation is what you are trying to -- have to fight for in your whole life. And the spirits of the past have to be evoked, and the future has to be provoked, and the powers that regulate this process have to be invoked.

And many things, I mean. And the -- the people whom you help, need for your help -- they are con- -- there is the convocation, which of course means "to convene," originally, you see. But convocation are the people who will listen to the same invocation, you see. Mis- -- the convocation, the public is convened by this invocation. Vincent Ben‚t tries to find his true public, you see, among the Americans themselves, instead of the professors of lit- -- American literature, by his Invocation. You can put it down as a rule: where you invoke, you see, you also convene, you also convoke. Because those same people who believe in the same gods as you, will congregate under this invocation. To invoke means to draw into the people, you see, to -- to throw that net, which will catch the fish. Because who feels the same invocation, you see, will come.

(Going the same way, would you say that the language of science "unvokes," or makes speechless?)

Ja. It speaks of things, you see. It doesn't -- it doesn't invoke any- -- anybody, you see. It speaks of, and about. It -- it says there is a dead world, you see, which has not to -- should not be conjured up, but should be toned down. That's why every scientific language says, "This is the style of language -- of science." "This is nothing but." And every -- all other three -- {character} of the historian, and of the prayer -- priest, and of -- prophet and of the politician says, "Imagine! This is really water! This is really a man! This is really a child!" That is, this is all talked down, and this is all talked up, you see. And the word "vox," voice, is of course always intonation. And all science whispers. That is why all science ends in mathematics, because the figure, the number, you see, is speechless. If you express yourself in numbers, you have lost your speech, you see. To tone down is the essence of science, and to tone up, to tune in--as you say these days, you see--to intone--you can also call this "intonation." And science, as you see now from the atom bomb, is a detonation. That's a good joke, you see. But it

means in every sense "de-tone," you see, to tone down.

Anything that can be spoken of as a formula, you see--like the -- logical positivists think everything should be so { }--is dead. It's dismissed into the realm of the dead. It is not important for history; it is not important for the future; and it is not important for making love or hate at this moment. It is useful, or useless. That is, it comes under the category of use or non-use. Now you and me, we are perfectly useless and we are perfectly -- we are not useful. We are outside the realm of use -- we are the ends, you see.

I just read in { }, a novel--who gave it to me? You did--a wonderful thing. The -- you see, America is -- as you know, the man in the foun- -- of the foundation says, "We are abundant in means, but absolutely no ends." You see. Absolutely no ends. We have 8,000 foundations in which every administrator, you see, gets three times as much as any of the men they try to -- they try to help. And -- and that's the meaning of these foundations. Because the means are abundant, but they don't know for what purpose. But man is his own purpose, you see. What's the use of a newborn child? None whatsoever, you see. Don't try to define man in any terms of use.

Well, I have told you my story of the -- of the education officers of the CCC. That they defined a citizen as a man who's profitably employed. And I got up -- and we had a violent argument. That's 20 years ago. And I said -- they said, "Well then, how do you define a citizen?"

And I said, "Well, that's very simple. A citizen is a man who, when the city is destroyed, can refound it," you see. But has a higher power of not just being individual, but who carries in his loins the community. It can create it out of his -- his loins again, a founding father. That's a citizen.

And these are the two worlds in which you live. And more -- every day I see American, good boys and girls sink into this morass of being told that they have to be profitably employed, that they have to be useful, and that -- that they have to be instrumental in -- and all such nonsense! You cannot be instrumental. You cannot be useful. You cannot be profitable. Nothing. We are perfectly useless. As useless as God Himself and His angels. God is useless. And He is not profitably employed. This is only for dead things. All this employment business treats a man as -- in the service of -- somebody else. He signs away his living time. Mr. Riesman calls it, "He's -- he's alien-directed," you see, or "outside-directed."


Wie? What?


Oh, "other-directed," yes. It just means that it is nothing in his life. You see, it means nothing in his life, and it is a dead -- dead -- dead power in his life. He cannot invoke any spirit -- any divine in his -- in these eight hours in the factory. It's somebody else's life, which he is leading. And you -- you are all acquiescing in this.

Now I tell you, I mean, every one of us is an earthen- -- -worm, and -- as far as our mortality is concerned, certainly we have to strip down, and -- and serve. That's the meaning of "service," that we do give part of our existence, and -- and -- and lower ourselves to becoming means to ends -- to other men's ends. But that's not me. That's a voluntary humiliation. That's humility. The -- the ordinary -- level of man is that he can be loved, and can be desired, and can be yearned for, and can be expected. And the highest degree of man is that he can found communities for other people. A family, and a city, and a country, and a -- and a university, and -- and in this he -- even shoots higher than just being his own life, you see, because he finds forms in which people are hanging together.

So this is not only a figure of speech, this -- my Cross of Reality, but there are these three levels, you see, for things, for men, and for gods. And Mr. Stephen Vincent Ben‚t is not simply writing an ancient invocation in imitation of some classical doctrine, but he's restoring the arts to their divinity, by making himself serviceable to his brother-man instead of writing to literary critics; because he invokes, you see, the god of America, as against the Muse of art.

(This term, the "ice-crystal" --.)

Will you kindly keep in mind these three levels -- every speech is divided -- every sentence, you see, has three levels. The things of which you speak, the person to whom you speak, and the power in whose name you do speak. If you say, as a chemist- -- professor, you stand on your -- in your chair. And you -- say to the class, "Water is H2O," you invoke the god of science, truth. And you are -- invoke him so that the children may believe you. So above your head, here is the -- god of science. Then you speak to your students, so that they may know this, as your successors. That's teaching, so that you may create this avenue of time in which somebody will know after you have been dead. That's why I'm talking to you at this moment. But -- and then there is a third level in which "of water" it is said that there is H2O. So this one-and-the-same sentence contains three levels of -- of language. And as long as people do not see this, they do not know what they do when they are speaking. And at this moment, I think most people do not

-- have no idea that they always invoke when they say the simplest truth. Because the say, "Believe me that I do not lie." That's prayer. That's a impli- -- a supplication. All language is prayer. All language is -- is address, introduction, embrace, I mean, declaration of love or -- or war. I mean, we speak to each other, don't we? And then we speak of something. And the something of which we speak doesn't listen in. It doesn't have to understand, you see. And you only see today in your analysis of -- of language always this fact that you speak of. And you have to admit that you also have to speak to, and that the other person only listens to you, because he expects you to be obliged to speak the truth, to be compelled to say what he otherwise would have to say, that you speak as much for him as you speak for you.

I have read a -- a very great story of a -- of a dialogue. And you know the platonic dialogues are bandied around as the normal dialogues in this country. Of course, they are highly stilted and artificial, and I think, excepting two or three dialogues as the Symposion, there are no dialogues at all. The poor interlocutor is just always to be made to say "yes," and "no," as you know. And it's -- but there is an American dialogue which is -- written under compulsion, and is not a leisurely talk of two gentlemen having nothing better to do. It's the -- dialogue with -- published in a 50-cents booklet, "The Columbian Orator," in 1837. And you would think that this can be much less important than the Platonic dialogue. But I -- just sent it to a man who's working -- writing a book on dialogue--Harold Stahmer, you know--and telling him that this was a much more beautiful dialogue than any Platonic dialogue on which he is writing his dissertation. Why? Very simple. You can then study these -- these -- this story of the power of speech. It's a dialogue between a slave and his master, in the days of the beginning of Abolition. And it's -- it is handed over to us by the greatest American Negro, Frederick Douglass. I don't know if you have heard of him. Frederick Douglass. I recommend his -- his autobiography very much.

And he reports that he was -- that he was quite overcome when he read this "Columbian Orator" dialogue. And -- what is its -- why is it so great? When they begin, the slave is made to say, "I submit to my fate." That is, they are in agreement at the beginning of the dialogue. "I submit to my fate." Incredible word, too, I mean.

Then the master is so touched by the harmony, or the win- -- submissiveness of the slave that he says, "So, make your point."

And so -- then only, after they have, you see, first found their unity, they find their dissent, and finally the -- dialogue ends very beautifully that the master emancipates the slave.

Now the greatness of the dialogue is, I feel, in this simple fact that we cannot speak to each other before we have not found our common god. You have to invoke one spirit before you can even begin to speak. And that's completely lacking in the Platonic dialogue. There are two individuals. And that's why I do not think they are real dialogue. But this is an incredible story. It's like a husband and wife, talking in the night, over their sorrow, where also the wife will say, "Well, if you want me to do it, I will do it, and invite this beast. But I won't invite her if you -- if I can have my way." And then she'll begin talking. But since the husband has first been told that she is willing to invite him, if he insists, she can cure him from this insistence, you see, by giving her reasons later. And that's what any good woman will do. She will not say first, "I'll never do that." But she will say, "I'll do it, but let me tell you," you see. That's human speech, because it means that without having first in -- having been in agreement, there can be no agreement in the end.

And this is completely over- -- people think they can talk themselves into agreement. That's impossible. You have already to prefer the peace between you and the other man, you see, first. Then you can go to all the arrays of your ammunition and your guns, you see, in the process. And then the other can surrender and come around to your point of view.

But -- it's very -- you see, all logic in our -- this country is taught in this idiotic way, as though reason was vested in you and in me. To speak means to be of one spirit. You couldn't listen to me here if you hadn't the good faith that it was worthwhile to take this seminar. You see, that's the first degree. And therefore, we always have already invoked a higher spirit when we enter a room and sit down to talk to each other. That's called "peace," and that's called "understanding," and that's called "good will," and that's -- called "joy." I mean, all the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit are involved in this. You couldn't come here, and bear with all my -- my disagree- -- our disagreements, if there has -- hasn't first already been the invocation, you see, of a command, "Listen," "Wait," "See," you see. It may in the end turn out to be, you see -- to have been worthwhile.

So all speech is a -- is a movement inside one spirit. And all speech is a movement in constellating--as in the square dance, the partners--constantly taking turns. The real talk is not argument. The real speech is between two friends, or between a teacher and a student, that one comes to the viewpoint of the other, and the other comes to the viewpoint of the one. You see, they change their roles. It is never that you convince the other person. But if there is any real speech, at the end, you see, both see each other and this very often -- so that then the wife begins to defend her husband's position, and the husband begins to defend his wife's position. You will find this very often in your married life. That at the end, it's just the -- in reverse, because both love each other, are in one spir-

it, you see, and suddenly see that the other have an -- has an important point to make, and to defend. And since they both see this, you see, at the end, it is very strange; there are still two points of view, but now they are represented by the opposite number. And don't be ashamed of this. This is how it is.

Of course, this happens in politics all the time, you know. You remember Disraeli putting the bigger franchise in than Gladstone in 1867. Have you heard of this in English history? So there was -- Gladstone asked for an enlargement of the franchise { }. And there are such things in American history by the way, too, I mean, of course. At this moment, the Republicans of course are doing more for the farmers and burning more crops than -- than 20 years ago, the -- the New Deal ever did, you see. They have seen the light, and now they have seen a tremendous light.

This changing of the roles is the true essence of speech. That's why there's drama. That's why it's worthwhile to play on the stage something in which people change their places, you see, at the end. All your logic and -- however, is based on the old Greek, pagan idea that man is impenetrable: that one man is here, and the other is there, and now they club each other down with argument. Gentlemen, that isn't worth mentioning, I mean. Such a -- has absolutely -- you see, that's in court, still, a remnant of paganism. And even there, it is -- it is quite nonsense. I mean, the famous Darrow in the {Loeb} case, he never did this, you see. Said the man is guilty. Of course, he's guilty, you see. But what do we do with such a man? You see, that's a Greek -- that's a Christian defense. Because speech means interlacing of souls. It means -- it means opening up. And that's why all speech is disarmament. That's why Moral Re-Armament is such a silly heresy today in the -- in the world of religion. You know -- have heard of Moral Re-Armament movement, because all real life is the disarmament of the spirit, you see, and not the armament.

If I -- we must disarm to understand each other. It's a condition of understanding each other. You can only understand each other--and if you are not on speaking terms, you have to fight. To speak means to disarm. And we disarm in the name of the truth, or in the name of charity, or in the name of the future, or the name of our children, you see. When Romeo and Juliet's parents get reconciled, you see, they invoke the spirit of their children.

If you only could see "disarmament" as the essence of speech, I think it would help you greatly. And you would also see how little peace there is in this world of ours, in so-called "peacetime," because every shyster -- and every merchant there tries to arm. "Advertising" means to arm, not to disarm. And so you wouldn't become pacifists. You would see that war is going on all over the place, you see. Peace is where we disarm. And you disarm when you speak. And

when you shout and have neon lights, you lie. All the streets in Los Angeles to me are -- are all harlots, you see, because they are all makeup -- have all makeup. The -- it seems that not one of these stores ever tells the truth. It's all exaggerated.

Can you understand why I get excited over this? This would be my minimum { }. I always feel the world goes -- goes to pieces, because nobody wants to -- to know that history is a way of keeping the dead alive, you see. It's evocation.

({ } remarked on this sentence that he follows through a little bit later. Isn't he trying to call us back again to the past, that the Civil War -- so that we can recognize our debt, so to speak, over a half-forgotten { }.)

Sure, sure. Well, you can even say that he has exactly the same picture as I had with Invocation. He says, "Let's build a roof over this Civil War." And I think this means that it is -- will not be bracketed, and omitted from our memory, you see, but we can march through these -- blood-stained battlefields, South and North, an invocation of the Muse. That's his poem. He says exactly what I have tried to say: like invoking the Fifth Amendment, a poet invokes, you see, this amendment of his history. So that the ghosts of the past can march through this, as in Macbeth, I mean, without hurting you. You are -- have the power now to accept them as their -- and that's -- look at the last page of the poem. What is the last verse? { }.

"Say neither, in their way, 'It is a deadly magic and accursed,' Nor 'It is blest,' but only 'It is here.'"

Which -- by which he has said, you see, that he has evoked the past; now it's here, present. And you -- you live with this, without -- under the protection of this poem, you see, without being shot at, without being wounded, without being -- you see, feeling that you are hurt. It is this -- that the -- if the past doesn't hurt, then the power of the poet has succeeded.

So I insist that the word "invocation" has to be taken very seriously by you. At this moment, if you read a literary -- history of literature, Sir, you will find that invocations are brushed aside as an old-fashioned cobweb; I mean, just a habit, or a routine, you see, and cannot be taken seriously. Mr. Pope or Mr. Dryden uses these artifices, you see, invocation. And so we don't believe in Muses, and therefore, it should be -- be dropped, you see.

Now I do. I'm so enthusiastic about Ben‚t because he has rediscovered the original power of the invocation. And he says, "Without this invocation, you readers of mine will think that I am a partisan, that you have to --." And so he

says, "It is just here. You have walked with me, you see, under this invocation of the Muse, unscathed, unharmed, unwounded. Nobody has to feel that his heart is pierced, and that he is, so to speak, attacked. The past is reconciled."

And you see, all speech is -- is -- when it belongs to the past, healing the wounds of the past. The historian tri- -- we talked -- said this about Thucydides, you see. It's always the same story. This problem of the history is to make both parties read one and the same story. Then it is over. Then it can be -- made a part of our memory. Before, the memory, as you know all from psychology, has traumas. We don't wish to remember certain -- certain humiliations, certain acts of shame, certain acts of -- of impossible behavior of our own, usually. And so we repress half of the past. Our memory is always incomplete. The poet makes it complete, and therefore allows it to be part of reality, to be the -- the -- the frontier between past and present is broken through, you see. And the present--that is still conflict--gets tremendous resources, because here is a unified past, which has not this conflict. And you can see that even Republicans and Democrats belong to the same nation.

I once had a dinner at the Somerset Club in Boston. That's the snootiest club -- club they have. And I -- of course, I was only a very modest guest. But there were high judges, and it was in the days of the New Deal, in 1935, it must have been, or '36. And I have never heard human beings speak of the president of their country -- the head of their country in such disrespectable terms. "Him, Roosevelt was only a paralytic," you see. Imagine, a man with the polio, you see. He was of course a paralytic who had syphilis. And since he had syphilis, of course, he was out of his mind. And since he was out of his mind, he was ruining the country. And that a syphilitic should run the United States, that was just too bad. And -- and every bite of the venison we were eating, and of the good food, you see, was -- was spiced with such and other poetical excursions.

And -- and then I finally said to them, "Now, gentlemen, I understand that the president went to Harvard, like you." And -- I taught at Harvard, I mean. And they were furious. Absolutely furious. That {set them flat}, you see; had nothing to say {anymore}. Because they had, of course, as alumni of Harvard, to admit that it did something to you, you see. "Once a Harvard man, always a Harvard man."

Which means, you see, that the past does reconcile. Well, gentlemen, of course, very soon they went on: "Traitor," you see, "to his class," and so on.

But perhaps you understand why I'm in love with Vincent Stephen Ben‚t, because he, at the growing point of -- of the word, of the living speech, has discovered that beyond art for art, there is still a future for poetry again, you see.

And because he has shared the superstition, so to speak, of the 19th century, he was tempted, you see, to think that art was a -- something quite by itself, and had not this normal relation between humanity, you see, of either past, or future, or present, or you see, this decision. And he -- he is a convert. And -- and he is not treated as this, in this country. The people haven't even noticed that there is this distinction between the poem -- the poet who is really against the -- serving his nation and the people of this earth, you see, and the poet who writes for his own satisfaction, or from getting a reputation, you see, of being called "a poet."

You see, any man who performs a service in his community must perform it even at the risk that he is denied the {title}. That is, you have to risk your -- your label as a poet in order to write the good poem. You understand? And you have to risk your label as a scientist in order to -- to be the poet.

When Mr. -- when -- Mr. Planck said that there was quanta theory--that there was not graduate -- graduation, you see, or gradation in nature, that nature did make jumps, you see--he risked all his reputation. They might have called him a fantas- -- a phan- -- phantasm you see, fantastic quack. This you have to do with any new creation. When you want to renew the function of any important branch of human -- the human spirit, you have to be willing to be denied the title which was given today for this performance under other conditions. That's -- that's the -- the -- the danger spot, so to speak. That's real greatness. When you perform the act, although the people say, you see, that you aren't doing it, because they are accustomed to have -- done, you see, in routine ways that in your mind are now poisonous at this moment, and -- and dangerous.

And I think therefore the -- the modern artist is in the -- exactly this way. The painter is. The musician is. You see it from the crisis of the arts, that they -- the -- any real person has at one moment in his life -- ri- -- the risk to be called "a quack" or "a fool," not because he -- I mean, this is one thing you can fall down and just be a quack and a fool. But I assure you, there comes in every function of life the moment where the doing the thing itself is more important than being called it, honorably, you see.

I always tell the story of John Quincy Adams, who had been president of the United States of America, and then stepped down and became a simple member of Congress. And from 1931 to 1948, he was in the Congress. And -- and one time -- what?

(You said 1931.)

Oh, I'm sorry. 18- --. And in -- I think it was in 1839, the House was in such a partisan mood that they couldn't elect the speaker. And the -- the clerk who

was instructed by one party, by the Democrats as against the Whigs, declined to call the -- the members from New Jersey. Their election was contested. And the number -- the partisans were so evenly matched that if he had seated them, by simply calling the roll, they would have elected a different speaker. And that was a partisan issue.

And so the clerk for three days always read the roll. When he came to New Jersey, one party shouted it down, and said, "Call the name," and he declined; and on it went again. And the whole -- House was in a uproar, and being the sovereign power of the United States, it seemed that the United States had no government. And after three days, they had exhausted their -- their ammunition. And John Quincy Adams, you must know, was hated by the whole South, as the Abolition man, and as a man who already presented the petitions from the North against slavery, and had been already threatened by -- from -- with being unseated, and being excluded from the House, so he was far from popular. And -- just the same, when storm raged for three days, people grew tired. And everyone turned to John Quincy Adams and acknowledged that he was the only authority who could replace this -- this corrupted clerk and bring the House to order.

And so they turned to him -- and the Democrats from the South -- from South Carolina, marched up to him, and seated him in the -- in the speaker's chair--pro- -- I mean, provisionally--and he called the House to order and ruled it with an iron hand for 24 hours, until the speaker was elected. And everybody agreed, this was the highest moment of his life, in which he was the acknowledged leader of his country, without having the name of it. That is, he performed this one act, you see, by which the House could organize itself, and for which there was no provision in any -- in any order, law, prescription, you see. And if you have such a man, a country can be saved, because he does the act without the title, you see. Doing is more, you see, than being called -- with a name. And -- and the greatness of John Quincy Adams' life to me is -- is -- expressed that you have to be a very goo- -- live a very good life indeed, you see, in order to ri- -- rai- -- rise to this height, to do justice.

And the same, I told you, about Myron C. Teelor -- Taylor, who just died, you see, that he had once performed a function for which was there no name in this country. And thereby, he is the great pacifier of American industry. And when he died, the people don't even know it. You remember?

And so this is greatness, you see, to do -- to evoke, to invoke the spirit of peace, you see, when you -- only can do it without the title, because the title has been abused by people who have fallen down on the job. Here, as in this case, the clerk. And in the -- Myron Taylor's case, the president of the United States even had to prevail, and the oth- -- industry, you see. You had to do it just on

your own good will -- tour of good will. This of course, is the greatest thing in life.

And this I feel Ben- -- Ben‚t is doing. He says, "I'm risking my reputation." And therefore he -- very -- of course, turns away the wrath of the critics by saying--how does he say it? It's a very beautiful--"Their words are just," you see. So he steps outside this whole magic circle of literature, you see, and said -- this is what he really says. "Their words are just. But when the --" you see, you see, "killed. But I have to say it."

And his tone -- I mean, he's deprecating of course his -- you see, his impotency, his -- that's his modesty, you see. "But," he says -- now it's a very beautiful -- you see, the other side of speech. The invocation, and the evocation of the poet or the historian: to what should they be? How does he get his -- his certainty that it doesn't depend on him alone? If you read these last -- these last verses. He says who de- -- who heals this incongruity?

(Is he { }?)

Ja. "My maimed presumption, my unskillful skill/My patchwork colors, fading from the first,/And all my fire that fretted at the will/With such a barren ecstasy of thirst," you see, "Receive you all" -- "them all," and now -- who is invoked now? Who is provoked? Who is -- in whom does he put his hope?

(The reader.)

Yes, in the reader. And there you have real dialogue, you see. The reader has to -- to complete the task, you see. "You and -- and -- and -- me," the -- the poet says, "together can only form the success of this. I cannot write, if you do not respond." And so the response of the reader is not just reading, you see, as in art for art's sake, where you have a -- observ- -- contemplation, you see, and lookers-on, but you have, you see, "Should you choose to touch them," you see, "With one slant ray of..." So the light comes from the reader. This is what he says. { }.

And then he -- the last line is: perhaps another giant must come after me. This is what it means, you see, the last two lines: if not -- if I find no readers--"the dry bones littered by the way/May still point -- giants toward their golden prey." It's still the greatest theme of history, you see, he says. Do you see? But -- it's hard. It's all very concealed. Very tactful. And so in this life -- let's now read the -- the end.

Let's go, here. Three hundred thirty-three in this -- most editions. John

Brown's Body. We have to read this {more or less} -- could even begin before, because all this is already epilogue. John Brown's Body. You have it? Ja. Would you read this?

(I -- I guess it's page 333 on most of them.)

(Yes, 333.)

("John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave. Spread over it the bloodstained flag of his song, For the sun to bleach, the winds and the birds to tear, The snow to cover over with a pure fleece And the New England cloud to work upon With grey absolution of its snow -- of its slow, most lilacsmelling rain, Until there is nothing there That ever knew a master or a slave Or, brooding on the symbol of a wrong, They threw down the irons in a field of peace. John Brown is dead, he will not come again, A stray ghost-walker with a ghostly gun. Let the strong metal rust In the enclosing dust And the consuming coal That is the furious soul And still like iron groans, Anointed with the earth, Grow colder with -- grow -- grow colder than the stones While the white roots of grass and little weeds Suck the last hollow wildfire from the singing bones.

("Bury the South together with this man, Bury the bygone South. Bury the minstrel with the honey-mouth, Bury the broadsword virtues of the clan, Bury the unmachined, the planters' pride, The courtesy and the bitter arrogance, The pistol-hearted horsemen who could ride Like jolly centaurs under the hot stars. Bury the whip, bury the branding-bars, Bury the unjust thing That some tamed into mercy, being wise, But could not starve the tiger from its eyes Or make it feed the beasts of mercy feed. Bury the fiddle-music and the dance, The sick magnolias of the false romance And all the chivalry that went to seed Before its ripening.

("And with these things, bury the purple dream Of the America we have not been,

The tropic empire, seeking the warm sea, The last foray of aristocracy Based not on dollars or initiative Or any blood for what that blood was worth But on a certain code, a manner of birth, A certain manner of knowing how to live, The pastorial rebellion of the earth Against...")


("...the pastoral rebellion of the earth Against machines, against the Age of Steam, The Hamiltonian extremes against the Franklin mean, The genius of the land Against the metal hand, The great, slave-driven bark, Full-oared upon the dark, With gilded figurehead, With fetters for the crew And spices for the few, The passion that is dead, The pomp we never knew, Bury this, too.

("Bury this destiny unmanifest, This system broken underneath the test, Beside John Brown and though he knows his enemy is there He is too full of sleep at last to care.

("He was a stone, this man who lies so still, A stone flung from a sling against a wall, A sacrificial instrument of kill, A cold prayer hardened to the -- to a musket-ball: And yet, he knew the uses of a hill, And he must have his justice, after all.")

Would you go on?

("He was a lover of certain pastoral things, He had the shepherd's gift. When he walked at peace, when he drank from the watersprings, His eyes would lift To see God, -- robed in a glory, but sometimes, too, Merely the sky, Untroubled by wrath or angels, vacant and blue, Vacant and high.

("He knew not only doom but the shape of the land, Reaping and sowing. He could take a lump of any earth in his hand

And feel the growing.

("He was a farmer, he didn't think much of towns, The wheels, the vastness. He liked the wild fields, the yellows, the lonely browns, The black ewe's fastness.

("Out of his body...")

You may -- stop one moment. As you know, the old distinction between the Christian era and all other civilizations has always been the idea of incarnation. That is, what the future has { }, the future then comes true and takes shape. It's all lost -- the word has no meaning for you, and you don't think that -- that the spirit gains body, and the whole process of creation is that the word comes first, "Let there be light, and then there is light." Here is prayer, and then it hardens to a musket-ball. It is the shortest formula I've ever heard of -- of -- for incarnation. Here, I put you -- you see, prayer, or the future; and the musket-ball of course, is of the conflicting moment, you see. And he is now -- John Brown, he is now looking back, and the historian--the epic, because that's what an epic is, history. "A cold prayer hardened to a musket-ball." I -- I thought this was exceedingly beautiful, and exceedingly precise. And you can't find it in -- in any -- in any other poetry, this -- this recognition of our orthodoxy.

And I still think that you will discover, if you just base yourself on this, that the tradition of the Christian era, that we are there to incarnate, is the only -- way of -- of coming to agreement with our fellow man. And with -- all problems of education. Our poor educational misery, you see, comes from this very fact, that -- that your educators do not know what "incarnation" means. They don't know what it is. They have no idea that this exists. And here it's very simply said as the his- -- "the fate of America, here is this --.

I just read Victor Hugo's intervention with the -- Virginia, not to -- not to execute John Brown. And the spirit, you see, is extra-space. It's super-mundane. The word flies. It has no fron- -- natural frontiers. And therefore, incarnation always resets the boundaries of the world. That's why you are frightened now by the Russian Revolution. How could it? There are no Communists in this country. But the word knows no frontiers. Whether you have a Communist enlisted in a party or not, you see, the words called "Communism," or "industrial -- I mean -- sharing," or whatever you call it, they are over our heads, you see. And they press. And people in their nationalism today think that frontiers are real.

For the process of incarnation is always that a cold prayer is of -- a universal. There enters -- with any word that provokes the future, there enters something that is -- defies all walls of houses, all private-property fences, you

see--anything that is earth-made--prayer is always in Heaven. Then it comes to earth in a conflict. That's -- that's what he means by the musket-ball, you see. And now he -- Ben‚t leaves it to us, as a -- as a procession forever, as Thucydides said, you see, -- the -- the process is then at an end, when you can see what it did.

And -- so "A cold prayer hardened to a musket-ball" is great Christian theology. And I feel that this is the way today theology alone can be probably told -- taught effectively. Not in theological terms, but it's exactly the story. And it is always simply -- and that's why we all have to be--pardon me for saying this to you, who don't believe it--of one faith in the -- in the next 50 years. The process of incarnation is the only process by which people can understand how we have to live. Whether in education or politics. And if -- if then the prayer will always -- if it is resistant--turn into a musket-ball, you see, there will always be terrible wounds and terrible war. And the poet will always have to come and try to make peace in the end. This is our eternal destiny. There is not -- no getting out of this. Either the prayer is understood and shared, or it is -- will lead to this. Or it isn't prayer. It isn't -- when man is serious, his spirit always will beget conflict.

And since you are all evading this, and want security, gentlemen, I have to tell you that you want to stop the process of creation. And you will not be able to. Any country that -- that cries for security will perish. You will -- you will just all perish. You will be counted out of history. It's -- you are just like weeds. We root ourselves not on this earth by building houses, or digging -- digging down, but by taking upon ourselves this process of future, present, past. Pray- -- promise and prayer, you see; conflict and song. You have to be- -- try to become a song in the -- in the mouth of the people who -- have lov- -- whom you have loved, who have loved you, but you cannot begin this way. Today everybody wants to be liked. That's not a way of entering life, you see. This is not the way. You can only invoke the gods and ask what your vocation is. A song you become, after you have struggled, and after you have been hated. And since people do not take it upon himself to be hated, they cannot be {loved} { }. They can only be liked. And that's not important.

So, the -- pardon me for dwelling on this. That's why you -- perhaps you understand why I am -- think that this is a very great event in America. That here the right faith has been restored. If you take it seriously. "A cold prayer hardened to a musket-ball:/And yet he knew the uses" -- we go on, please?

("Out of his body grows re- -- revolving steel, Out of his body grows the spinning wheel Made up of wheels, the new, mechanic birth, No longer bound by toil To the unsparing soil

Or the old furrow-line, The great, metallic beast Expanding West and East, His heart a spinning coil, His juices burning oil, His body serpentine. Out of John Brown's strong sinews the tall skyscrapers grow, Out of his heart the chanting buildings rise, Rivet and girder, motor and dynamo, Pillar of smoke by day and fire by night, The steel...")

Now where -- what's -- is this quotation? "Pillar of smoke by day and fire by night"?

({ } going in the wilderness.)


(What it means?)

Well, it's a quotation.

(From the Bible.)

Yes, quite. I only wanted to find out if somebody still knows. Ja?

("The steel-faced cities reaching at the skies, The whole enormous and rotating cage Hung with hard jewels of electric light, Smoky with sorrow, black with splendor, dyed Whiter than damask for a crystal bride With metal suns, the engine-handed Age, The genie we have raised to rule the earth, Obsequious to our will But servant-master still, The tireless serf already half a god--..."

One moment, one moment. You know what this is? And it is very biblical. You know what from the "steel-faced cities" to the "half a god," what this really reminds -- should -- tries to remind us of? Where is the -- the final, electric, and crystal ci- -- and jewel city described? Where -- well, it's the golden Jerusalem, you see, of the Revelation, in the last two chapters on Revelation. "And I saw the city of Jerusalem," you see. And it's all building, jewelry, and -- very similar, I mean. I only want to tell you that this is the kind of vision, which -- as -- as much as this is from the Old Testament, "Pillar of smoke by day, and fire by night," you

see, so this -- this -- from now the "steel-faced cities reaching at the sky," this whole -- this is "hung with hard jewels of electric lights," that is, you see, is the attempt to replace the vision of Revelation by the vision of our -- of our per- -- perfect cities. Ja?

("Touch the familiar sod Once, then gaze at the air And see the portent there, With eyes for once washed clear Of worship and of fear:...")

Ja, here you have: worship, the future; fear, the present conflict, you see; and "We -- I have made you wal- -- march through this with wise -- I have washed your eyes clear," you see. That's what he really said, the poet, you see.

("There is its hunger, there is its living thirst, There is the beating of the tremendous heart You cannot read for omens.

Stand apart...")

What does this mean? I cannot quite follow. "There is the beating of the tremendous heart/You cannot read for omens." What does this {thing}? Does it mean "for omens" because there are so many omens? Or you cannot read it and ask it to give you omen? I mean, the f-o-r, the "for" --.

(I think he says, "No omens.")

They must not try to read an omen. Is that the -- no knowledge of the future { }. That's what it means, ja. Ja?

("Stand apart From the loud crowd and look upon the flame Alone and steadfast, without praise or blame. This is the monster and the sleeping queen And both have roots struck deep in your mind...")

"In your own mind."

(" your own mind. This is reality that you have seen, This is reality that made you blind.

("So, when the crowd gives tongue And prophets, old or young, Bawl out their strange despair Or fall in worship there,

Let them applaud the image or condemn But keep your distance and your soul from them. And, if the heart within your breast must burst Like a cracked crucible and pour its steel White-hot before the white heat of the wheel, Strive to recast once more That attar of the ore...")

What's attar?



(The pure -- the pure part of the ore.)

Ja. You mustn't read anything you don't understand. Ja?

("In the strong mold of pain Till it is whole again, And while the prophets shudder or adore Before the flame, hoping it will give ear, If you at last must have a word to say, Say neither, in their way, 'It is a deadly magic and accursed,' Nor 'It is blest,' but only 'It is here.'"

So -- ja, if you want --. This is a real philosophy of history. That's what historians do. I mean, that's what he has done. And he's aware of it. You see, that he -- he makes -- what we call the past, you see, is beyond conflict; it has been healed. That's what he tries to say. As long as this war is still making parties, it has not been lived down. It is not { }. And history means this power to make us keep the -- you see, the -- the event, but no longer engaging us in -- in fighting the Civil War.

And he has laid down in a very -- in a very -- extremely -- decisive way the conditions. He has said to the South: "Slavery is over." And he says then -- and that's -- I think is the great mastery: "Obsequious to our will/But servant-master still,/The tireless serf already half a god." That is, the slave on -- whom you despise, is al- -- also half of God. If you read this very carefully, you understand that he cures the South from its -- from its {superior} -- from its arrogance by saying, "These people whom you treat as slaves, you see, are in fact, you see, half gods, because even your machine, you see, is more dominating you than you dominate it." It's a very subtle way, you see, of deciding the issue between slavery and South. Not saying, "Emancipation; free him, this -- the slave," but seeing that all serfdom, you see, is divine. And that if you ha- -- could have seen in the

slave the divinity, you see, that you -- that you really make yourself after all dependent on his faithfulness and his { }.

It's a very complicated religion here. He -- he declines to take sides simply, you see, between the working man and the aristocrat, you see. But he says, "The genie we have raised to rule the earth,/Obsequious to our will/But servantmaster still." Don't be betrayed, see. The -- the servant will always master the -- the master. "The tireless serf already half a god."

So I -- you see, this comes full cycle, you see. The -- the servant of the South -- the slave of the South is now replaced with the -- you see, the -- the great monster of the machine, you see. But don't think, he says, that you are now therefore able, so to speak, to forget his service, or to -- to walk on his services. You are dependent on them in the sense that you must -- you must associate, and -- and--how would you say? --democracize them.

Has anybody any idea if this book is read in the South?

(That's what I was just thinking.)


(I was just thinking that.)

(It's not read in the North.)

Well, can you say that? I think it is suffering simply from the anemia of reading today. You see, this can only work by being -- by being learned by heart. And all poetry must be learned by heart.

And I -- I -- I once established a camp for -- Camp William James for leadership training for CCC. Did I tell you my story?


Of the "Ballad of the White Horse"? And the people did learn it by heart, and they still recognize each other by quoting this line. And there is no other way of -- for -- as a test of poetry {than it be learned}, that it -- people know that it has to be -- reverberate in their own self. So what can you do in a world in which nobody learns anything by heart?

(The brother of Benjamin Spock, the author of this book on baby care, is a teacher, was a former colleague of mine, and teaches American history. And he

uses this book as the center of his course. And it's -- it's always the -- the high point. The -- I -- I don't think he requires that it be memorized, but the -- they spend a great deal of time on it.)

Well, I only can say that anybody who would take it upon himself to memorize the Invocation, will have a panacea of all the heresies of to- -- of our day, because he will get into his system all the -- all the eloquence of a real -- of a real, living soul, as against all your temptations of looking down on reality by -- by your little brain and -- and staying outside of it. I think that -- this is -- .

I assure you, any good historian has ever tried to do this. I think it is nothing, you see -- but today the functions -- there is one thing, you see, that today the arts and the sciences have grown so apart, that the reconciliation or the renewal will only come when the scientist becomes poetical, and the poet becomes scientific. That is, he admits real historical source research. I mean, that's not { }, you see. This is solid work which he has done. And you demand this today. Take the historical novel, where you also prefer a novel that is really saturated with -- with good historical knowledge, you see, to a -- to a poor novel. And why is this so? Because they -- we have so specialized art and science to such an extent, you see--they have gone to such extremes--that I think today the reconciliation is that the -- this man is an historian and he calls him still, you see -- calls himself a poet. And -- but in his lines, he has made this transition, you see, that -- by saying, you see, that--how did he?--with the nations, you see, the --. This is really -- "I'm going to be a historian." He doesn't -- cannot say it, because the secret of course of a new deed that's done for the first time is always, you see -- Jesus said, "I'm the son of man," and only when He went to the Cross did -- He allow to -- Pontius Pilate to say, "You are the son of God," you see. He was not allowed to say it during His own lifetime.

Now anybody -- you may know somebody -- something of Mr. Kierkegaard, of the incognito that is required from any man who { }. The best, you must not blackguard yourself. Who you are, your -- your -- the others must say -- must find out. And anybody who has a vocation in life, is not allowed to label himself. The -- only the quack does this, I mean. And you can distinguish the quack, you see, who -- who claims that he is somebody extraordinary -- that's never true, you see. To be extraordinary, part of it is that you do not claim to be extraordinary. And that's a con- -- contradiction, of course, in terms. Very difficult. But he does it.

And I therefore feel that poor Vincent Stephen Ben‚t will only come -- into his own if the historians of today do repentance and say, "We are not scientists," you see, "But are very glad to walk in the footsteps of -- of this man," you see, who has set an example of true history writing. And this is hard -- hard -- a

hard lesson for you. But this is what we are living in, that all the functions, socalled, are no longer to be found under their labels. You write -- read a book -- you buy a book, you say -- and you think you get what it is called. But all these things have to- -- have today been -- been ruined, overdone. And all free, creative life is today incognito, and must even prefer a different title, you see, in order to be -- to allow the public to find out what it really is. Because that's part of the reader. That's part of the reader's contribution: that he must wake up to the greatness of the thing, and by his own. He cannot be told by the publisher that this is the greatest book of -- of all times, you see. And he won't believe it, anyway. Because the advertising has reached now such proportions that Dante is always -- not Dante, because he wrote The Divine Comedy, but because he comes out with Scribner's. I mean, the publisher takes it upon himself to distribute the crowns and garlands of life, of course, not one word of truth in this. And since we have this system, you see, of self-blackguardizing, and -- and -- and -- and the situation is such that you must learn to discern the spirits.

This is the latest issue, I -- I want to -- to talk about perhaps next time. I think it's enough for today. But I do feel that history today is not simply what is labeled in a catalog of the college, "History." Poetry is not what is labeled "Poetry" in the catalog, you see, of the bookseller. If you do not know this, you will not find out the genuine fruits today that are produced, you see, the good -- green flowers -- the -- green grass, and the real flowers, the real fruits of life.

The -- the genuine today has to hide, because as soon as it calls itself with one of these names, it's commercialized, it's cursed, you see. Prophets cannot call themselves prophets. If they call themselves prophets, they come out as Bill Graham. Twenty-four hours' prophets. That's not prophecy. Prophecy means to -- to direct this nation back into the path of mankind for the next thousand years. It doesn't mean -- to -- to -- to cure pickpockets, and such things. It's a complete mis- -- misnomer. This has nothing to do with religion, what this man Bill Graham does. It's not a priv- -- religion is not a private affair. It's the -- it's the tieup of man with the -- with his -- with his destiny, you see, from being created to reaching his destiny in -- in 5,000 years' march.

So the prophet today must not call himself a prophet. The historian must not call himself a historian. And the poet must not call himself the poet. And on it goes. And you are in a terrible confusion for this reason, that you think you go and buy this label, you see. But go -- go to the -- buy bread, and you get bread. You get some substitute for bread. It's nothing of bread in the bread. And on -- with all the vegetables, and all -- with all -- all the things you buy. You nowhere get the real thing today. Is this -- in food, in -- in mental things, you see, and -- and you are so accustomed to take these -- these pseudo-things for the real thing, of course, that -- that you live in a -- in a second-hand world.

So -- first of all, sing. And write your own songs; that's the very {least}. It is worth it.

So, will somebody take it upon himself? Would you do me the favor and bring Joel Barlow's poems or works. He has written other poems, too. And I think, to show you the -- the -- the distance America has traveled, I think it's -- it's interesting just to look into it.

You {bring it} here. You have it? Joel Barlow. And if there are several cop- -- take one -- perhaps you go with him, and you -- there may be several editions, you see. There is one Collected Works, and then there is probably an edition just of the poem, "The Vision of Columbus," and then there is the -- his later rewording of it, The -- The -- The Columbiad. And then he has a -- The King's Man, and then he has the famous -- famous poem, Hasty Puddings. And could we -- could somebody -- would you prepare something, you two together, about the life of Vincent Stephen Ben‚t, and what else he has written? And perhaps you can get his books to us, please.

And our -- our topic then is the function of the poet, next time. Or the function of the word, I mean, or function of { } see it's -- as you see, it's -- it's just in between. The -- Ben‚t today I think is ruined by being treated as a poet. And that's why he can be forgotten. There's still danger; you have to do something about it. I mean, you say your friend has taken it upon himself to save him, you see, in American history. Is it? The brother --?

(No, it's American history. I -- I don't know how widespread this is.)

No, but I mean, there he is -- he's just -- do the same thing, he and I, trying to put -- put him in -- at -- in -- in his real place. But I -- Ja?

(I was going to say, the treatment is such, they spend enough time on the book so that -- that these boys never forget it. They're -- they're -- they're quite taken up by the spirit of the book.)

You see, the -- the exciting question of course is: anybody who does renew such a path of mankind, like narrating the past and evoking it, renews the office, the function of the historian. Of course, Ben‚t is not simply an historian in the eyes of the American Historical Association. But at the same time, he's more of an historian, of course, you see. He covers a wider ground, you see. He plays on deeper chords of the human soul, and much more comprehensive. In this sense, then, the office of the historian is renewed. It isn't the same office after Ben‚t has sung his song.

So that in every moment, of course, take a surgeon and take any doctor, I mean--any great surgeon renews his -- his function, I mean. Since we operate now heart and brain, surgeon is not surgeon. Formerly it was a barber, who would only cure limbs, you see, arms and legs. Today they go into the thorax, and they go into the skull. This man is not the same. The -- the office of the surgeon simply doesn't mean any longer what it meant a hundred years ago. You must not forget this, you see. It's simply something quite different -- capacity and faculty today, because you have just to have a quite a different imagination, you see. You are not dealing with -- with the -- with the same -- with the same part of the human body.

So any greatness stakes out a new claim, and revamps the relations of the various fields of human endeavor. You are in this great danger to have this fixation to believe, for example, that this division: social sciences, humanities, and science--is based on any real separation. Whereas every creative effort, of course--like psychoanalysis, for example--moves these spheres, you see, into new order. Is it scientific? Is it humanity? Is it social, I mean? That's open to doubt. And -- and this is, I think, the great merit of any great feat of -- of human expression, that it forces us to admit that these -- these boundary stones and these fenceposts between the departments are all preliminary, that any creative action laughs at them, ridicules them, overthrows them. They are only for children. And today, the -- the grownups believe in them. That's so terrible.

What? Anything? Would you -- would like -- we have only one more meeting, I'm sorry to say. You will, of course, rejoice. And now do I get my papers? Will you kindly furnish them tomorrow, into Mrs. -- Miss {Braun's} sanctuary? Wie? Or they are already here? Who has theirs to give me? Well. Will you kindly put them -- I have there a box in the -- in the history department.