He that goes back does, since he goes, advance,
Though he doth not advance who goeth back,
And he that seeks, though he on nothing chance,
May still by words be said to find a lack.
This paradox of having, that is nought
In the world's meaning of the things it screens,
Is yet true of the substance of pure thought
And there means something by the nought it means.
For thinking nought does on nought being confer,
As giving not is acting not to give,
And, to the same unbribed true thought, to err
Is to find truth, though by its negative.
So why call this world false, if false to be
Be to be aught, and being aught Being to be?
Happy the maimed, the halt, the mad, the blind—
All who, stamped separate by curtailing birth,
Owe no duty's allegiance to mankind
Nor stand a valuing in their scheme of worth!
But I, whom Fate, not Nature, did curtail,
By no exterior voidness being exempt,
Must bear accusing glances where I fail,
Fixed in the general orbit of contempt.
Fate, less than Nature in being kind to lacking,
Giving the ill, shows not as outer cause,
Making our mock-free will the mirror's backing
Which Fate's own acts as if in itself shows;
And men, like children, seeing the image there,
Take place for cause and make our will Fate bear.