And we passed on.
Then we came where we saw a man tracing his shadow on the sand. Great waves came and erased it. But he went on tracing it again and again.
“He is the mystic,” said my soul, “Let us leave him.”
And we walked on, till in a quiet cover we saw a man scooping up the foam and putting it into an alabaster bowl.
“He is the idealist,” said my soul, “Surely he must not see our nudity.”
And on we walked. Suddenly we heard a voice crying, “This is the sea. This is the deep sea. This is the vast and mighty sea.” And when we reached the voice it was a man whose back was turned to the sea, and at his ear he held a shell, listening to its murmur.
And my soul said, “Let us pass on. He is the realist, who turns his back on the whole he cannot grasp, and busies himself with a fragment.”
So we passed on. And in a weedy place among the rocks was a man with his head buried in the sand. And I said to my soul, “We can bath here, for he cannot see us.”
“Nay,” said my soul, “For he is the most deadly of them all. He is the puritan.”
Then a great sadness came over the face of my soul, and into her voice.
“Let us go hence,” she said, “For there is no lonely, hidden place where we can bathe. I would not have this wind lift my golden hair, or bare my white bosom in this air, or let the light disclose my sacred nakedness.”
Then we left that sea to seek the Greater Sea.
I cried to men, “I would be crucified!”
And they said, “Why should your blood be upon our heads?”
And I answered, “How else shall you be exalted except by crucifying madmen?”
And they heeded and I was crucified. And the crucifixion appeased me.
And when I was hanged between earth and heaven they lifted up their heads to see me. And they were exalted, for their heads had never before been lifted.
But as they stood looking up at me one called out, “For what art thou seeking to atone?”
And another cried, “In what cause dost thou sacrifice thyself?”
And a third said, “Thinkest thou with this price to buy world glory?”
Then said a fourth, “Behold, how he smiles! Can such pain be forgiven?”
And I answered them all, and said:
“Remember only that I smiled. I do not atone—nor sacrifice—nor wish for glory; and I have nothing to forgive. I thirsted—and I besought you to give me my blood to drink. For what is there can quench a madman’s thirst but his own blood? I was dumb—and I asked wounds of you for mouths. I was imprisoned in your days and nights—and I sought a door into larger days and nights.
And now I go—as others already crucified have gone. And think not we are weary of crucifixion. For we must be crucified by larger and yet larger men, between greater earths and greater heavens.”