Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

Introductory to India


By Anonymous

I AM the dweller with the one high God,

And God himself dwells here, unseen, with me!

He is embodied in the meanest clod,

And he exists in every stone and tree.

Man thinks he slays me, saying, God is naught:

For chance first framed and still creation sways:

I am the chance he worships in his thought,

And I am all to which he homage pays.

“As milk to curd, as water is to ice,”

So do I change my ever-changing form;

I am fair virtue, I am hideous vice,

I am the sunshine and the raging storm.

All things to me, how far soe’er they seem,

Are near, for I am earth, air, water, fire;

The life of man is but a “fitful dream,”

And all created things to me aspire.

Many may doubt,—’t is I who gave them thought

With which they vainly think from me to flee,—

Dispel illusions! seek me as you ought!

Say “I am Brahma”—in thyself find me.

Wouldst thou this riddle read? I am the Soul,

Whence both the known and unknown have their start,

And I am God, for God is but the whole,

Of which all souls form each an equal part.