The Lake of Beauty - Mucknell Abbey
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The Lake of Beauty

A poem by Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), the socialist utopian, poet and “LGBT” activist, from his Whitman-esque Towards Democracy (1883).


Let your mind be quiet, realising the beauty of the world,
and the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store.
All that you have within you, all that your heart desires,
all that your Nature so specially fits you for –
that or the counterpart of it waits embedded in the great Whole, for you.
It will surely come to you. Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time will it come.

All your crying and fever and reaching out of
hands will make no difference.
Therefore do not begin that game at all.
Do not recklessly spill the waters of your mind
in this direction and in that,
lest you become like a spring lost and dissipated in the desert.

But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them still, so still;
And let them become clear, so clear – so limpid, so mirror-like;
at last the mountains and the sky shall glass themselves in peaceful beauty,
and the antelope shall descend to drink and to gaze at her reflected image,
and the lion to quench his thirst,
and Love herself shall come and bend over and catch her own likeness in you.