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A Spirit Passed Before Me Analysis

Author: poem of Lord Byron Type: poem Views: 24

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From Job

A spirit passed before me: I beheld

The face of immortality unveiled—

Deep sleep came down on every eye save mine—

And there it stood,—all formless—but divine:

Along my bones the creeping flesh did quake;

And as my damp hair stiffened, thus it spake:

"Is man more just than God? Is man more pure

Than He who deems even Seraphs insecure?

Creatures of clay—vain dwellers in the dust!

The moth survives you, and are ye more just?

Things of a day! you wither ere the night,

Heedless and blind to Wisdom's wasted light!"


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This poem is based on a verse from the book of Job 4:15-17.
"A spirit glided past my face,
and the hair on my body stood on end.
It stopped, but I could not tell what it was.
A form stood before my eyes,
and I heard a hushed voice:
‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?'
If God places no trust in his servants,
if he charges his angels with error,
how much more those who live in houses of clay,
whose foundations are in the dust,
who are crushed more readily than a moth!
Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces;
unnoticed, they perish forever.
Are not the cords of their tent pulled up,
so that they die without wisdom?’
It is a testimony of one of Job's counselors. Eliphaz, describing an encounter he had with a ghost. The poem follows the theme of these verses in Job very closely. To those like Job, who claim their innocence, and demand an explanation from God for the evils of the world, the answer is, "Can a man be more righteous than God?" Mankind, in their weakness and mortality, "blind to Wisdom's wasted light", are unfit to fathom the mysteries of life.

| Posted on 2014-01-29 | by a guest

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