And the priestess spoke again and said: Speak to us of Reason and Passion.
     And he answered, saying:
     Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgement wage war against your passion and your appetite. 
     Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
     But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

     Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.
     If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
     For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
     Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
     And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

     I would have your consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
     Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

     Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields, and meadows—then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
     And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky,—then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.”
     And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

From The Prophet (Knopf, 1923). This poem is in the public domain.

Then the lawyer said, But what of our Laws, master?
     And he answered;
     You delight in laying down laws,
     Yet you delight more in breaking them.
     Like children playing by the ocean who build sand-towers with constancy and then destroy them with laughter.
     But while you build your sand-towers the ocean brings more sand to the shore,
     And when you destroy them the ocean laughs with you.
     Verily the ocean laughs always with the innocent.

     But what of those to whom life is not an ocean, and man-made laws are not sand-towers,
     But to whom life is a rock, and the law a chisel with which they would carve it in their own likeness?
     What of the cripple who hates dancers?
     What of the ox who loves his yoke and deems the elk and deer and the forest stray and vagrant things?
     What of the old serpent who cannot shed his skin, and calls all others naked and shameless?
     And of him who comes early to the wedding-feast, and when over-fed and tired goes his way saying that all feasts are violation and all feasters lawbreakers?

     What shall I say of these save that they too stand in the sunlight, but with their backs to the sun?
     They see only their shadows, and their shadows are their laws.
     And what is the sun to them but a caster of shadows?
     And what is it to acknowledge the laws but to stoop down and trace their shadows upon the earth?
     But you who walk facing the sun, what images drawn on the earth can hold you?
     You who travel with the wind, what weather-vane shall direct your course?
     What man’s law shall bind you if you break your yoke but upon no man’s prison door?
     What laws shall you fear if you dance but stumble against no man’s iron chains?
     And who is he that shall bring you to judgement if you tear off your garment yet leave it in no man’s path?

     People of Orphalese, you can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?

From The Prophet (Knopf, 1923). This poem is in the public domain.