In Memoriam Michael Faraday
by Instant Noodle
BORN: 1794. DIED: 1867
STATESMEN and soldiers, authors, artists, still
The top-most leaves fall off our English oak :
Some in green summer’s prime, some in the chill
Of autumn-tide, some by late winter’s stroke.
Another leaf has dropped on that sere heap
One that hung highest ; earliest to invite
The golden kiss of morn, and last to keep
The fire of eve but still turned to the light.
No soldier’s, statesman’s, poet’s, painter’s name
Was this, through wluch is drawn Death’s last black line ;
But one of rarer, if not loftier fame
A Priest of Truth, who lived within her shrine.
A Priest of Truth : his office to expound
Earth’s mysteries to all who willed to hear
Who in the book of Science sought and found,
With love, that knew all reverence, but no fear.
A Priest, who prayed as well as ministered :
Who grasped the faith he preached, and held it fast :
Knowing the light he followed never stirred,
Howe’er might drive the clouds through which it past.
And if Truth’s priest, servant of Science too,
Whose work was wrought for love and not for gain :
Not one of those who serve but to ensue
Their private profit : lordship to attain
Over their lord, and bind him in green withes,
For grinding at the mill ‘neath rod and cord ;
Of the large grist that they may take their tithes
So some serve Science that call Science Lord.
One rule his life was fashioned to fulfil :
That he who tends Truth’s shrine, and does the best
Of Science, with a humble, faithful will,
The God of Truth and Knowledge serveth best.
And from his humbleness what heights he won !
By slow march of induction, pace on pace,
Scaling the peaks that seem to strike the sun,
Whence few can look, unblinded, in his face.
Until he reached the stand which they that win
A bird’s-eye glance o’er Nature’s realm may throw :
Whence the mind’s ken by larger sweeps takes in
What seems confusion, looked at from below.
Till out of seeming Chaos Order grows,
In ever-widening orbs of Law restrained,
And the Creation’s mighty music flows
In perfect harmony, serene, sustained ,;
And from varieties of force and power, A larger unity and larger still,
Broadens to view, till in some breathless hour.
All force is known grasped in a central Will,
Thunder and light revealed as one same strength-
Modes of the force that works at Nature’s heart-
And through the Universe’s veined length
Bids, wave on wave, mysterious pulses
That cosmic heart-beat it was his to list,
To trace those pulses in tlieir ebb and flow
Towards the fountain-head, where they subsist
In form as yet not given e’en him to know.
Yet, living face to face with these great laws,
Great truths, great myst’ries, all who saw him near
Knew him for child-like, simple, free from flaws
Of temper, full of love that casts out fear -.
Untired in charity, of cheer serene ;
Not caring world’s wealth or good word to earn ;
Childhood’s or manhood’s ear content to win ;
And still as glad to teach as meek to learn.
Such lives are precious ; not so much for all
Of wider insight won where they have striven,
As for the still small voice with which they call
Along the beamy way from earth to heaven.
Michael Faraday died on this day, 145 years ago.
(25th August 1867)