THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON THE KING

The White Watch-Tower

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THE WHITE WATCH-TOWER

CHAOS and ancient night have engulfed me; I am blind. I crouch on the tower of uttermost silence awaiting the coming of the armies of the dawn.

O whence do I come, where am I, O whither do I go? For I sit maddened by the terrors of a great darkness. ... What do I hear? Words of mystery float around me, a music of voices, a sweetness, as of the scent of far burning incense; yea! I see, I hear, I am caught up on the wings of song. Yet I doubt, and doubt that I doubt ... I behold!

See! the night heaves as a woman great with child, and the surface of the black waters shimmers as the quivering skin of one in the agony of travail. ... The horizon is cleft and glows like a womb of fire, the hosts of the night are scattered, I am born, and the stars melt like flakes of snow before mine eyes. ...

Lo! there she stands, born in maturity, shaken from out the loins of the darkness, as a rainbow from the purple jars of the thunder. Her hair is as a flood of dancing moon- beams, woven with golden ears of corn, and caught up by flashing serpents of malachite and emerald. On her forehead shines the crescent moon, pearl-like, and softly gleaming with the light of an inner light. Her garment is as a web of translucent {223} silver, glistening white and dew-like, now rippling with all the colours of the rainbow, now rushing into flames crimson and gold, as the petals of the red-rose, woven with poppy, and crocus, and tulips. And around her, as a cloud of irradiant mystery gleaming with darkness, and partly obscuring the softness of her form, sweeps a robe, woven of a network of misty waters, and flashing with a myriad stars of silver; and in its midst, as a great pearl of fire drawn from the depths of the seas, a full moon of silver trembles glowing with beams of opalescent light — mystic and wonderful. In her right hand she holds a sistrum, and chimes forth the music of the earth, and in her left an asp twisted to the prow of a boat of gold, wherein lie the mysteries of heaven.

Then clear and sweet as the breath of the hillside, I heard a voice, as of the winds across a silver harp, saying:

I am the Queen of the heavenly ones, of the Gods, and of the Goddesses, united in one form. I am She who was, who is, and will be; my form is one, my name is manifold; under the palm-trees, and in the deserts, in the valleys, and on the snowy mountains, mankind pays me homage, and thunders forth praises to my name. Yet I am nameless in the deep, as amongst the lightsome mountains of the sky. Some call me Mother of the Gods, some Aphrodite of the seas of pearl, some Diana of the golden nets, some Proserpina Queen of Darkness, some Hecate mistress of enchantments, some Istar of the boat of night, some Miriam of the Cavern, and others yet again Isis, veiled mother of Mystery.

I am she who cometh in unto all men, and if not here, then shalt thou behold Me amidst the darkness of Acheron, and as Queen in the palaces of Styx. I am the dark night {224} that bringeth forth the bright day; I am the bright day that swalloweth up the dark night; that bright day that hath been begotten by the ages, and conceived in the hearts of men; that dawn in which storms shall cease their roaring, and the billows of the deep shall be smoothed out like a sheet of molten glass.

Then I was carried away on the wings of rapture, and in the strength of my joy I leapt from the tower of Night; but as I fell, she caught me, and I clung to her and she became as a Daughter of this world, as a Child of God begotten in the heart of man. And her hair swept around and about me, in clouds of gold, and rolled over me, as sunbeams poured out from the cups of the noon. Her cheeks were bright with a soft vermilion of the pomegranate mingling with the whiteness of the lily. Her lips were half open, and her eyes were deep, passionate, and tremulous, as the eyes of the mother of the human race, when she first struggled in the strong arms of man; for I was growing strong in her strength, I was becoming a worthy partner of her glory.

Then she clung to me, and her breath left her lips like gusts of fire mingled with the odours of myrtle; and in mine arms she sang unto me her bridal song:

“Come, O my dear one, my darling, let us pass from the land of the plough to the glades and the groves of delight! There let us pluck down the clustered vine of our trembling, and scatter the rose-leaves of our desire, and trample the purple grapes of our passion, and mingle the foaming cups of our joy in the glittering chalice of our love. O! love, what fountains of rapture, what springs of intoxicating bliss well up from the depths of our being, till the foaming wine jets {225} forth hissing through the flames of our passion — and splashes into immensity, begetting a million suns.

“I have watched the dawn, golden and crimson; I have watched the night all starry-eyed; I have drunk up the blue depths of the waters, as the purple juice of the grape. Yet, alone in thine eyes, do I find the delights of my joy, and in thy lips the vintage of my love.

“The flowers of the fields have I gazed on, and the gay plumage of the birds, and the distant blue of the mountains; but they all fade before the blush of thy cheeks; and as the ruby goblet of the Sun is drained by the silver lips of night, so are they all swallowed up in the excess of thy beauty.

“I have breathed in the odour of roses and the fragrance of myrtle, and the sweet scent of the wild jessamine. I have drunk in the breath of the hillside, and the perfume of the woods and the seas; yet thy breath is more fragrant than they, it is sweeter still, it intoxicateth me and filleth me with joy, as a rich jar of wine found in the depths of a desert of salt — I have drunk deep and am bewildered with love.

“I have listened to the lark in the sky, to the curlew, and to the nightingale in the thicket, and to all the warblers of the woods, to the murmur of the waters and to the singing of the winds; yet what are they to the rapture of thy voice? which echoes in the valley of my breast, and trills through the depths of my being.

“I have tasted the juice of the peach, and the sweetness of honey and milk; but the wine of thy lips is strong as the aromatic vintage of Egypt, and sweet as the juice of the date-palms in the scented plains of Euphrates: Ay! let me drink {226} till I reel bewildered with kisses and pleasure ... O my love! ... my love! ... O my love!”

Then I caught up her song and cried: “Yea! O Queen of the Night, O arrow of brightness drawn from the quiver of the moon! O Thou who hast ensnared me in the meshes of thine hair, and caught me up on the kisses of thy mouth; O thou who hast laid aside thy divinity to take refuge in mine arms, listen!

“I have drunk deep of the flagons of passion with the white-veiled virgins of Vesta, and the crimson-girdled daughters of Circe, and the drowsy-eyed maidens of Ind. I have woven love with the lithe girls of Hellas, and the subtle-limbed women of Egypt whose fingers are created to caress; all the virgins of Assyria, and the veiled beauties of Arabia, have been mine; yet amongst them all have I not found one to compare to a lash on the lid of thine eye. O Thou art as the wine of ecstasy, a thousand times more delicious than all these. Ah! but what is this languor which cleaves to me? My strength has left me; my soul has mingled with thine; I am not, and yet I am. Is it Thy weakness that I feel?”

“Nay, O lover, for it is only at the price of the illusion of my strength that thou hast given me the pleasure of unity which I have tasted in thine arms. Beauty has conquered me and drunk up the strength of my might; I am alone, and all things are mine in the mystery of my loneliness.

Evoe! life burns in the brasier of love as a ruby flame in a sapphire bowl. I am dead, yet I live for ever!”

Arise, O sleeper, for the night of loneliness hath rolled up the hangings of her couch, and my heart is burning like a sun of molten brass; awake before the Beast riseth and enter the {227} sanctuary of Eden and defile the children of dawn. Thou Child-Man, cast off the cloak of dreams who before thy sleep wast enraptured with the strength of love. Fair and fresh didst thou come from the woods when the world was young, with breast like the snowy hills in the sunlight, and thine hair as a wind-ravished forest of oak, and thine eyes deep and still as the lakes of the mountains. No veil covered thee, and thou didst revel naked in the laughter of the Dawn, and under the kisses of mid-day didst thou leap with the sun, and the caressing hands of night laid thee to rest in the cradle of the moon. Thoughts did not tempt thee, Reason played not the prude with thee, nor imagination the wanton. Radiant child that thou art, thou didst grow in the light that shone from thine eyes, no shadow of darkness fell across thy path: thy love was strong and pure — bright as the stars of night, and deep as the echoing depths of hills of amber, and emerald, and vermilion.

Awake! tear from thy limbs the hempen ropes of darkness, arise! — fire the beacon of the awakenment of the nations, and night shall heave as an harlot great with child, and purity shall be born of corruption, and the light shall quiver through the darkness, an effulgence of opals like the beams of many colours irradiated from the L. V. X.

Through the night of reckoning hast thou passed,and thy path hath been wound around the land of darkness under the clouds of sleep. Thou hast cleft the horizon as a babe the womb of its mother, and scattered the gloom of night, and shouted in thy joy: “Let there be light!” Now that thou has seized the throne, thou shalt pass the portals of the tomb and enter the Temple beyond. {228}

There thou shalt stand upon the great watch-tower of Day, where all is awakenment, and gaze forth on the kingdom of the vine and the land of the houses of coolness. Thou shalt conquer the Empire of the Sceptre, and usurp the Kingdom of the Crown, for thou art as a little child, and none shall harm thee, no evil form shall spring up against thee. For Yesterday is in thy right hand, and To-morrow in thy left, and To-day is as the breath of thy lips. ........

I am the Unveiled One standing between the two horizons, as the sun between the arms of Day and Night. My light shineth upon all men, and none can do me harm, neither can the sway of my rule be broken. I am the Unveiled one and the Unveiler and the Re-veiler; the world lieth below me and before me, and in the brilliance of mine eyes crouch the images of things that be. Space I unroll as a scroll, and Time chimeth from mine hand as the voice of a silver bell. I ring out the birth and the death of nations, and when I rise worlds pass away as feathers of smoke before the hurricane. .....

Yet, O divine Youth who has created thyself! What art thou? Thou art the birthless and the deathless one, without beginning and without end! Thou paintest the heavens bright with rays of pure emerald light, for thou art Lord of the beams of Light. Thou illuminest the two lands with rays of turquoise and beryl, and sapphire, and amethyst; for Lord of Love, Lord of Life, Lord of Immensity, Lord of Everlastingness is thy name. Thou hast become as a tower of Effulgence, whose foundations are set in the hearts of me, yea! as a mountain of chrysoleth slumbering in the Crown of Glory! whose summit is God!

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[Book II "The Scaffolding" will appear in No. 2.]

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Index | Preface | The Black Watch-Tower | The Miser | The Spendthrift | The Bankrupt | The Prude | The Child | The Wanton | The Slave | The Warrior | The King | The White Watch-Tower

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