In 1891, Herman Melville published his final book, a collection of poems entitled Timoleon . want to focus on one of these poems, which initially seems quite mysterious. But it can be understood, if we appreciate the prevailing views of the time heresy and sectarian religion. I also want to touch on a theme I be in more detail in coming posts, namely the wide-ranging influence of Theosophy in these years. The Melville work in question is entitled Fragments Of A Lost Gnostic Poem Of The Twelfth Century , and that title itself is truly odd. Here is the (brief) full text: Found a family, a state, The pledged is still the same: Matter in end never abate His ancient brutal claim. … Indolence is heaven’s ally here, And energy the child of hell: The Man pouring from his pitcher clear But brims the poisoned well. Whatever we think of the poem as literature, there is one stumbling block, namely: did Gnostics actually exist in the twelfth century, or anywhere near that period? Did Melville think that did? If so, was he wildly ignorant of the actual […]

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