Be blind, for thou hast seen too much

Tiresias, Alfred Tennyson

One naked peak – the sister of the sun
Would climb from out the dark, and linger there
To silver all the valley with her shafts –
There once, but long ago, five-fold thy term
Of years, I lay; the winds were dead for heat ;
The noonday crag made the hand burn ; and sick
For shadow – not one bush was near – I rose
Following a torrent till its myriad falls
Found silence in the hollows underneath.

There in a secret olive-glade I saw
Pallas Athene climbing from the bath
In anger; yet one glittering foot disturb’d
The lucid well; one snowy knee was prest
Against the margin flowers; a dreadful light
Came from her golden hair, her golden helm
And all her golden ai mour on the grass,
And from her virgin breast, and virgin eyes
Remaining fixt on mine, till mine grew dark
For ever, and I heard a voice that said
“Henceforth be blind, for thou hast seen too much,
And speak the truth that no man may believe.”

Son, in the hidden world of sight, that lives
Behind this darkness, I behold her still,
Beyond all work of those who carve the stone,
Beyond all dreams of Godlike womanhood,
Ineffable beauty, out of whom, at a glance,
As it were, perforce, upon me flash’d
The power of prophesying…

Tiresias the Theban soothsayer, had been wandering in all lands, searching, craving for a glimpse of the divine, until that fateful day when his eyes rested upon the forbidden scene of Pallas Athene bathing. The goddess destroyed his sight but gave him the gift to read the future. His prophesying, though, none would believe.

To glimpse what should remain obscure and hidden can lead to untold consequences. A glimpse, a little knowledge, is a dangerous possession.

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Alfred Tennyson