Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Crazy prophecy in Melville's CLAREL

From Melville's religious epic Clarel: A poem and pilgrimage in the Holy Land part 4 (Bethlehem), canto 21 (Ungar and Rolfe):
Whatever happen in the end,
Be sure 'twill yield to one and all
New confirmation of the fall
Of Adam. Sequel may ensue,
Indeed, whose germs one now may view:
Myriads playing pygmy parts —
Debased into equality:
In glut of all material arts
A civic barbarism may be:
Man disennobled—brutalized
By popular science—Atheized
Into a smatterer ——

                                “Oh, oh!”
“Yet knowing all self need to know
In self's base little fallacy;
Dead level of rank commonplace:
An Anglo-Saxon China, see,
May on your vast plains shame the race
In the Dark Ages of Democracy."

 -- Clarel Part 4 Canto 21