All rights reserved. Contact F. Q Search About News. Nevertheless, in Burton clearly embraced the idea of evolution. Now you have tales enough to hide Your origins and salve your pride. From line on, there begins a long meditation by the Brahminic stone on how much better off the earth would be if it were once and for all rid of man who has deprived the animals of their habitats. Suppose the globe once more Had some convulsion as of yore Enough to exterminate the pest Of nature and to spare the rest What a glad scene my mental eye 28 Through the dark future doth espy!
It is not easy—especially for Victorian imperialists—to imagine a world lacking the presence of the human species. Burton shows a pessimistic and realist side of his personality in considering the possibility of a world without humanity and regarding such a state of affairs as desirable. In the best and most sustained sequence of poetic language in the poem, Burton states his idea that there is nothing particularly factual about facts: Facts are chamelions, whose tint Varies with every accident: Each, prism-like, hath three obvious sides, And facets ten or more besides.
Events are like the sunny light On mirrors falling clear and bright Through windows of a varied hue, Now yellow seen, now red, now blue. Perhaps an even more extreme philosophical point is present here: there is no such thing as facts!
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Facts are merely a conglomeration of atoms or particles that give the illusion of conveying truth: they have come together gratuitously for an instant before changing into something else. Humans, however, insist on ossifying these wandering particles, accrediting meaning to them, and even believing in their universal applicability. Yet, mark me, no one dubitates Himself, or owns he errs. This is surely very interesting. In what sense could people with completely different answers to the same question both be right?
Presumably, only in a relativistic way. See India, once so happy, now In scale of nations sunk so low That lovely land to which were given The choicest blessings under heaven, Till ravening Saxon, like simoom, 32 With fire and sword brought death and doom. Stone Talk also speaks at length about the ills of capitalism, the deviousness and cupidity of English politics and politicians; the immorality of slavery and the foolishness of fashion. As stated at the beginning, we must be careful in accrediting to Burton the ideas and statements of fictional characters.
Finally, there is just a hint that mystical Sufism might provide spiritual insights that lie beyond the contrasting moralities and practical beliefs of conflicting men and societies. Secondly, Burton is writing under the pseudonym of a Muslim wise man, Haji Abdu Al Yazdi: and it is well known and generally accepted by scholars that Burton possessed a profound sympathy for Islam and its beliefs.
Consequently, this should be a sober-minded Burton providing the reader with insights into what he liked and admired most about this foreign faith. Given the juxtaposition then of Muslim beliefs with high poetic intent we might reasonably expect to find more of the true Burton in The Kasidah than in Stone Talk. After an atmospheric opening and many couplets in the pantheistic style of Omar Khayyam, Burton begins to touch on his own relativism and belief that the diverse societies of men in the world make God in their own image and out of their own self-love.
Burton goes on to develop his point under the guise of the learned Haji that all morality is relative and changes both from society to society and even within the same society itself.
Burton makes it clear that conscience itself, the quality that so many religious thinkers of the time believed separated us from the animals, was something that developed only after evolution and language had separated man, in his own estimation, from the natural kingdom. The moral sense, your Zahid-phrase, is but the gift of latest years; Conscience was born when man had shed his fur, his tail, his pointed ears.
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This Soul to ree a riddle made; who wants the vain duality? Is not myself enough for me? Words words that gender things! The soul is a newcomer on the scene; Sufficeth not the breath of Life to work the matter-born machine?
THE RUBAIYAT OF Omar Khayyam & The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi (, HC) - $ | PicClick
Life is a ladder infinite-stepped, that hides its rungs from human eyes; Planted its foot in chaos gloom, its head soars high above the skies. Reason and Instinct! Without our choice, our will, our voice: Faith is an accident as well. According to Burton in the guise of Haji Abdu to live a genuine life a man must be honest, face these difficult truths, and search to advance his own self-worth and knowledge. With ignorance wage eternal war, to know thyself forever strain Thine ignorance of thine ignorance is thy fiercest foe, thy deadliest bane; That blunts thy sense, and dulls thy taste; that deafs thine ears, and blinds thine eyes; Creates the thing that never was, the Thing that ever is defies.
What about the possibility that life itself is no more than an illusion, the Maya spoken of by the Indian Hindu sages? In this case, while we should play the game according to the rules of the illusion, good, bad, heaven, hell, even life itself, are all just intrinsically unreal things and, as with the Buddhists and Sufis, the real aim is to recognize its insubstantial nature and move beyond it into the ineffable light of final enlightenment and truth. Summary In summary, it may be said that through the study of these two texts, we have been able to, arguably, obtain some deeper insights into the psyche of Richard Francis Burton.
This psyche was profoundly skeptical of conventional ideas on morality, difference, religion, sexuality and power. Bibliography Brodie, F. The Devil Drives. New York: W.
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