More pious now, you know the dark years' meaning,
Autumn and cool in solitary rooms;
And in holier blue radiant footfalls ring.
The soul that sings of autumn and the year's decline is not sinking in decay. Its piety is kindled by the flame of the spirit of earliness, and therefore is fiery:
O the soul that softly sang the song of the withered reeds; flaming piety.
says the poem "Dream and Shroud of Night" (151). This shroud of night is not a mere darkening of the mind, no more than madness is dementedness. The night that shrouds the stranger's singing brother remains the "ghostly night" of that death by which the departed died into the "golden tremor" of earliness. Gazing after him, the listening friend looks out into the coolness of childhood's greater stillness. But such gazing remains a parting from that cast of man, long since born, which has forgot the stiller childhood as the beginning that is still in store, and hat never carried the unborn to full term. The poem "Anif" (128), named after a moated castle near Salzburg, says:
Great is the guilt of the born. Woe, you golden tremor
When the soul dreams cooler blossoms.
But that "woe" of pain embraces not only the parting from the old kinship. This parting is in a hidden and fated way set apart, set to take the departure called for by apartness. The wandering in the night of apartness is "infinite torment." This does not mean unending agony. The infinite is devoid of all finite restriction and stuntedness. The "infinite torment" is consummate, perfect pain, pain that comes to the fullness of its nature. The simple oneness of pain's converse character comes into pure play only during the journey through the ghostly night, a journey that always takes its parting from the unghostly night. The spirit's gentleness.