Fable Is Love’s World, Poem By Schiller
“Tis not merely
The human being’s pride that peoples space
With life and mystical predominance,
Since likewise for the stricken heart of Love
This visible nature, and this common world
Is all too narrow; yea, a deeper import
Lurks in the legend told my infant years
That lies upon that truth, we live to learn,
For fable is Love’s world, his home, his birthplace;
Delightedly he dwells ’mong fays and talismans,
And spirits, and delightedly believes
Divinities, being himself divine.
The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
The fair humanities of Old Religion,
The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty,
That had their haunts in dale or piney mountain,
Or forests by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
Or chasms or wat’ry depths;—all these have vanished.
They live no longer in the faith of Reason,
But still the heart doth need a language; still
Doth the old instinct bring back the old names.”
~ Friederich Schiller: The Piccolomini, Act. ii.”
Pride can be a good thing, but often isn’t. This poem is talking about one of the adverse effects of human pride: it hides the truth from us.
While we love to be individuals, to be unique, we love even more to be part of the group, to be accepted. We don’t like to admit that, but it is true for nearly all of us nonetheless. And fitting in with the group, with our neighbors, our family and friends, means accepting what they believe.
This Common World
The world of matter is what this poet is calling “the common world”. It is common in the sense that it is ordinary. It is also common in the sense that it is a shared experience. But as a shared experience, it must be shared similarly to avoid confusion.
Suppose you are sitting in a movie theater with one hundred other people. You are all watching a movie. You think you are seeing trees and flowers, houses and people, cars and trucks, etc. Actually, however, there is noting on the screen but abstract blobs of color constantly moving and changing. Yet if everyone agrees that at a particular moment what is on the screen is a red and black truck, nobody is the wiser. But if everyone is forming their own idea of what is on the screen, those images will differ greatly. And when people start talking to each other and realize that they are seeing different things, they will begin to figure out the truth. And the “real” world of matter functions much like that movie theater.
The powers that control the realm of matter, both physical and spiritual beings, don’t want us to see beyond the illusions anymore than a stage magician does. So they train us beginning when we are infants to listen to what others see and say and form beliefs. This creates a common view and allows everything to keep moving along smoothly in this realm of illusion. But a common illusion isn’t reality. A shared fantasy is still a fantasy.
Fable is Love’s World
I believe that what this poet is trying to tell us is that it is through love that we break through the veil and see beyond the illusion. This, obviously, is not the simple love of another person, or what should be called “like” such as when someone says, “I love pizza!”. In a way, he is correct. But it is not so much awakening of real love within us as it is the love of God for us. It is because of that love that God has millions of angels helping to awaken us to reality and to bring our spiritual faculties to consciousness. Not that the angels can actually awaken us. They merely give us hints and point us in the right direction so we can awaken ourselves. That may be done directly, by whispering to us telepathically. But it is often done indirectly by steering us toward a valid spiritual teacher or spiritual school. We have to let go of that human pride and seek awakening.
When this poet says that love opens us to fays and talisman, he does not mean that we are getting caught up in fantasies. On the contrary, we are awakening to the truth. Some of the things we were forced to believe as we grew are that fairies, giants, angels, etc. are fantasies. Or at the very least, that some of those may exist, but they don’t contact or communicate with mere humans, so don’t expect them to talk to us mortals. We should rely instead on certain holy books written by inspired people as if it is impossible for us to become inspired.
But many fables and myths are real, some literally, most allegorically. Perhaps fairies are not literally real, but as symbols of spiritual lifeforms, they are very real. And blood-sucking vampires may be fictional, but they are based on real vampires that suck the life energy out of unsuspecting people. And when we take control of our human pride and develop some humility, we can see the truth in such things.
In Dale or Piney Mountain
Here the poet is telling us that when our human pride and our artificial urban world have us completely enthralled, we need to head out into the open fields, the woods, or the mountain tops. In short, we need to get out into the natural environment to energize and gain some perspective. Forget your human pride and talk to a squirrel, hug a tree, observe the behavior of a deer. While the things of nature are still a part of the illusion of matter, they have not moved as far away from truth and reality as we have. Therefore, getting out into nature can help us awaken.