Friday, November 10, 2006

Golden Chain

Vain images possess the sensual mind,
To real agents and true causes blind.
But soon as intellect's bright sun displays
O'er the benighted orb his fulgent rays,
Delusive phantoms fly before the light,
Nature and truth lie open at the sight:
Causes connect with effects supply
A golden chain, whose radiant links on high
Fix'd to the sovereign throne from thence depend
And reach e'en down to tar the nether end.

From George Berkeley's poem, "On Tar," which can be read in full here. The poem describes the reasoning of his important but little-read philosophical work, Siris. It also is the source of the subtitle of this weblog, of course. I pointed out the source of the image of the golden chain here -- too cautiously, since there's no real doubt that that passage in the Iliad is the source. The same passage in the Iliad is the source of the motto I put on the Seal of Siris: Seiren Chruseien Kremesantes, Hang a Chain of Gold.

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