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Crome Yellow Aldous Huxley

Chapter XIII

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"'In ancient days, while yet the world was young, Ere Abram fed his flocks or Homer sung; When blacksmith Tubal tamed creative fire, And Jabal dwelt in tents and Jubal struck the lyre; Flesh grown corrupt brought forth a monstrous birth And obscene giants trod the shrinking earth, Till God, impatient of their sinful brood, Gave rein to wrath and drown'd them in the Flood. Teeming again, repeopled Tellus bore The lubber Hero and the Man of War; Huge towers of Brawn, topp'd with an empty Skull, Witlessly bold, heroically dull. Long ages pass'd and Man grown more refin'd, Slighter in muscle but of vaster Mind, Smiled at his grandsire's broadsword, bow and bill, And learn'd to wield the Pencil and the Quill. The glowing canvas and the written page Immortaliz'd his name from age to age, His name emblazon'd on Fame's temple wall; For Art grew great as Humankind grew small. Thus man's long progress step by step we trace; The Giant dies, the hero takes his place; The Giant vile, the dull heroic Block: At one we shudder and at one we mock. Man last appears. In him the Soul's pure flame Burns brightlier in a not inord'nate frame. Of old when Heroes fought and Giants swarmed, Men were huge mounds of matter scarce inform'd; Wearied by leavening so vast a mass, The spirit slept and all the mind was crass. The smaller carcase of these later days Is soon inform'd; the Soul unwearied plays And like a Pharos darts abroad her mental rays. But can we think that Providence will stay Man's footsteps here upon the upward way? Mankind in understanding and in grace Advanc'd so far beyond the Giants' race? Hence impious thought! Still led by GOD'S own Hand, Mankind proceeds towards the Promised Land. A time will come (prophetic, I descry Remoter dawns along the gloomy sky), When happy mortals of a Golden Age Will backward turn the dark historic page, And in our vaunted race of Men behold A form as gross, a Mind as dead and cold, As we in Giants see, in warriors of old. A time will come, wherein the soul shall be From all superfluous matter wholly free; When the light body, agile as a fawn's, Shall sport with grace along the velvet lawns. Nature's most delicate and final birth, Mankind perfected shall possess the earth. But ah, not yet! For still the Giants' race, Huge, though diminish'd, tramps the Earth's fair face; Gross and repulsive, yet perversely proud, Men of their imperfections boast aloud. Vain of their bulk, of all they still retain Of giant ugliness absurdly vain; At all that's small they point their stupid scorn And, monsters, think themselves divinely born. Sad is the Fate of those, ah, sad indeed, The rare precursors of the nobler breed! Who come man's golden glory to foretell, But pointing Heav'nwards live themselves in Hell.'

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"As soon as he came into the estate, Sir Hercules set about remodelling his household. For though by no means ashamed of his deformity--indeed, if we may judge from the poem quoted above, he regarded himself as being in many ways superior to the ordinary race of man--he found the presence of full-grown men and women embarrassing. Realising, too, that he must abandon all ambitions in the great world, he determined to retire absolutely from it and to create, as it were, at Crome a private world of his own, in which all should be proportionable to himself. Accordingly, he discharged all the old servants of the house and replaced them gradually, as he was able to find suitable successors, by others of dwarfish stature. In the course of a few years he had assembled about himself a numerous household, no member of which was above four feet high and the smallest among them scarcely two feet and six inches. His father's dogs, such as setters, mastiffs, greyhounds, and a pack of beagles, he sold or gave away as too large and too boisterous for his house, replacing them by pugs and King Charles spaniels and whatever other breeds of dog were the smallest. His father's stable was also sold. For his own use, whether riding or driving, he had six black Shetland ponies, with four very choice piebald animals of New Forest breed.

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Crome Yellow
Aldous Huxley

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