CONTRA CONJUGIUM T.B.B.

Anathema foederis nefandi, jugeris immondi, flagitii contra Amorem, contra Naturam, contra Deum, in saecula praesit Amen! Cum comminatione pastorum improborum, Ecclesiae malae, qui tales nuptias benedicunt.

Through nave and chancel drone the choir,
Their chant rolls through the darkened aisle;

Their song soars up beyond the spire;
The priest prepares; there waits his smile

A deed most vile.

 

Harken, thou fool at altar-rails
The still small awful voice of fear

Whereat earth shakes and heaven pales —
‘I am the Lord’; His voice rings clear:

‘What dost thou here?

 

‘Thou hast despised my laws, and stilled
The voice of Nature and my voice,

Now, shall thy life with joy be filled?
At thine own time shalt thou rejoice?

At thine own choice? [26]

 

‘I gave thee life, I gave thee youth,
Four seasons fair, for love the same,

Health, strength and comeliness — forsooth,
And thou hast quenched my holy flame,

And scorned my name!

 

‘I gave thee life, life passeth by;
I gave thee youth, that youth is fled.

Thinkst thou that I will fructify
Now, at thine own good time, thy dead

And barren bed?

 

‘How worship me, yet break my laws?
Art thou a God? Didst thou devise

The infinite world? Did thy word cause
The silver Caucasus to arise?

Art thou all-wise?

 

‘Or hast thou mocked me, setting high
A molten calf, a graven block,

A fetish foul, a devil’s lie,
And worshipped that? Thou shalt not mock,

Thou barren rock!

 

‘Thou shalt not mock! Cold Chastity,
Father and child of Impotence, [27]

Whom thou hast set on high for me,
From her foul shrine shall chase thee thence:

‘Avoid, get hence!’

 

‘And I — thou shalt not scorn my word,
All Nature sets it scorn on thee;

Sweet flower and stream, swift fish and bird,
Shall chorus out ‘Thou fruitless tree!

Thou salt dry sea!’

 

‘I will not aid thee in thine age,
Nor heed thee in thy piteous strait;

Live thou in thine own empty cage,
Forged every day that thou didst wait

Too long, too late!

 

‘Shall I turn back the seasons past,
Recall sun’s shine and cloudlet’s fleece,

Revive the ghosts of aeons vast,
And bid the scythe of Chronos cease

For thy caprice?

 

‘Because thou wilt, shall I accede
And change my laws that I have made

Shall I make grapes from thorn and weed,
Fresh water from the fountains stayed,

If thou hast prayed? [28]

 

‘For thine outcry bring chaos back,
Turn over earth and heaven to hell,

And listen ‘mid the roar and wrack,
With pleasure to creation’s knell,

Thy marriage bell?

 

‘I will not turn the Red Sea back
That thou mayst pass again dry-shod:

Thou hast chosen, thou shalt live the black
Dry years out till thou cleave the sod,

And meet thy God.

 

‘What are thy good deeds? This one thing
Thou hast not done. This chiefest task

Thou wouldst not do. And shall the King
Of Kings do only what men ask?

Thou empty mask!

 

‘Repentance is too late, lost fool,
Dead flower, salt fountain, rusty sword,

This curse is on thee for thy dule,
That thou shalt know and be assured

I am the Lord.’

 

The loud-voiced choir would drown in song
The voice of God; their music woke [29]

Echoes through chancel weird and long —
In thunder and fierce fire and smoke

Jehovah spoke.

 

‘On with the farce! My perjured priests,
The wolves that raven through my flock,

Nay, wolves in sheppard’s garb, wild beasts
That fang and tear my lambs, and mock

At Judah’s stock.

 

‘On with the grim foul farce! Black hell
Gapes to receive all actors there.

Play on its brink! What soul can tell
But I, your God, may be as air,

A children’s snare?

 

‘But I am here, I will not heed,
I will not give more signs; But I

Will come with heavy hand and deed
And give men knowledge ere they die

How their priests lie.

 

‘A gospel marred, a bastard creed,
A dogma out of hell ye teach!

False sheppards, ye shall learn your meed;
Not as waves breaking on the beach

My wrath shall reach! [30]

 

‘I forget not — heed not my cry,
Play out the farce, wed fast the twain! —

Red judgement and black death draw nigh,
Your blasphemies shall all be vain,

And your souls slain.

 

‘Vipers! on him my mercy falls
Perchance, at last, in heaven; but ye

I will sepulchre in black walls
Of Hell, burn up and hide from me

‘Neath the blind sea!

 

‘Vipers! eternal fire shall quench
Your prayers and curses, hell shall hold

The vapourous vomit of your stench
Wrung from foul souls, no longer bold

But cowed and cold.

 

‘Vipers! his folly I will heal,
Your sin I will not put away;

My Christ is vain for you; appeal
In vain to his shed blood; nor pray

I will not slay.

 

‘I will most utterly destroy
Your souls from off the earth; your power [31]

Sealed by your Satan I will cloy
With subtle strength; your church shall flower

No further hour.

 

‘Because ye set your hands to this,
Blaspheming nature and my name,

Cemented the unholy kiss
Of barren age’s fruitless shame

Your hell shall flame

 

‘Seven times more hot, that ye may know
My paths shall be most surely trod,

That I who answer thus, who show
Myself in wielding sword and rod,

Am high Lord God!’

 

Silent the voice, and through the nave
And chancel droned the choir; the sun

Darkened, as Satan’s perjured slave,
The priest, in blessing, made them one.

The Deed was done. [32]

 

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Preface | Dedicace | Prefatory Sonnet to the Virgin Mary | A Fragment | The Rainbow | With a Copy of ‘Poems and Ballads’ | Ad Lydiam, Ut Secum A Martio Fugeret | Contra Conjugium T.B.B. | A Ballad of Choosing | A Jealous Lover | Ballade de la Jolie Marion | At Stockholm | Mathilde | Yet Time To Turn | All Night | Ode to Venus Callipyge | Volupté | …