February 18, 1993 e.v. key entry by Bill Heidrick, T.G. of O.T.O. January 4, 1994 e.v. proofed and conformed to the “Essay Competition Copy” edition of 1905 e.v. by Bill Heidrick T.G. of O.T.O.

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                          LYRICAL AND DRAMATIC.

{columns resume}

              THE FIVE KISSES.<<1>>
              AFTER CONFESSION.

«1. Crowley's biographer will note the astonishing coincidences of scene and incident between this poem and the events of 1903-4.»

  DAY startles the fawn from the avenues deep that look to the east in the
      heart of the wood:
  Light touches the trees of the hill with its lips, and God is above them
      and sees they are good:
    Night flings from her forehead the purple-black hood.
  The thicket is sweet with the breath of the breeze made soft by the kisses
      of slumbering maids;
  The nymph and the satyr, the fair and the faulty alike are the guests of
      these amorous shades;
    The hour of Love flickers and falters and fades.
  O, listen, my love, to the song of the brook, its murmurs and cadences,
      trills and low chords;
  Hark to its silence, that prelude of wonder ringing at last like the
      clamour of swords
    That clash in the wrath of the warring of lords.
  Listen, oh, listen! the nightingale near us swoons a farewell to the
      blossoming brake;
  Listen, the thrush in the meadow is singing notes that move sinuous, lithe
      as a snake;
    The cushats are cooing, the world is awake. {90A}
  Only one hour since you whispered the story out of your heart to my
      tremulous ear;
  Only one hour since the light of your eyes was the victor of violent
      sorrow and fear;
    Your lips were so set to the lips of me here.
  Surely the victory ripens to perfect conquest of everything set in our
  We must be free as our hearts re, and gather strength for our limbs for
      the heat of the fray:
    The battle is ours if you say me not nay.
  Fly with me far, where the ocean is bounded white by the walls of the
      northernmost shore,
  Where on a lone rocky island a castle laughs in its pride at the billows
      that roar,
    My home where our love may have peace evermore.
  Yes, on one whisper the other is waiting patient to catch the low tone of
  Kiss me again for the amorous answer; close your dear eyelids and think it
      is night,
    The hour of the even we fix for the flight.
                 THE FLIGHT.
  LIFT up thine eyes! for night is shed around,
           As light profound,
  And visible as snow on steepled hills,
           Where silence fills
  The shaded hollows: night, a royal queen
           Most dimly seen {90B}
  Through silken curtains that bedeck the bed,
           Lift up thine head!
  For night is here, a dragon, to devour
           The slow sweet hour
  Filled with all smoke of incense, and the praise
           More loud than day's
  That swings its barren censer in the sky
           And asks to die
  Because the sea will hear no hollow moan
           Beyond its own,
  Because the sea that kissed dead Sappho<<1>> sings
           Of strange dark things --

«1. Sappho, the great lyric poet of Greece, plunged from a rock into the sea, according to later tradition.»

  Shapes of bright breasts that purple as the sun
           Grows dark and dun,
  Of pallid lips more haggard for the kiss
           Of Salmacis,<<1>>

«1. A stream into which a man plunged, and was united, as a Hermaphrodite, with its attendant nymph. The reference is connected with Sappho's loves. See her Ode to Aphrodite and Swinburn's Anactoria and Hermaphroditus.»

  Of eager eyes that startle for the fear
           Too dimly dear
  Lest there come death, like passion, and fulfil
           Their dreams of ill!
  Oh! lift thy forehead to the night's cool wind!
           The meekest hind
  That fears the noonday in her grove is bold
           To seek the gold
  So pale and perfect as the moon puts on:
           The light is gone.
  Hardly as yet one sees the crescent maid
           Move, half afraid,
  Into the swarthy forest of the air
           And breast made bare,
  Gather her limbs about her for the chase
           Through starry space,
  And, while the lilies sway their heads, to bend
           Her bow, to send {91A}
  A swift white arrow at some recreant star.
           The sea is far
  Dropped in the hollows of the swooning land.
           Oh! hold my hand!
  Lift up thy deep eyes to my face, and let
           Our lips forget
  The dumb dead hours before they met together!
           The snowbright weather
  Calls us beyond the grassy down, to be
           Beside the sea,
  The slowly-breathing ocean of the south.
           Oh, make thy mouth
  A rosy flame like that most perfect star
           Whose kisses are
  So red and ripe!  Oh, let thy limbs entwine
           Like love with mine!
  Oh, bend thy gracious body to my breast
           To sleep, to rest!
  But chiefly let thine eyes be set on me,
           As when the sea
  Lay like a mirror to reflect the shape
           Of yonder cape
  Where Sappho stood and touched the lips of death!
           Thy subtle breath
  Shall flow like incense in between our cheeks,
           Where pleasure seeks
  In vain a wiser happiness.  And so
           Our whispers low
  Shall dim the utmost beauty of thy gaze
           Through moveless days
  And long nights equable with tranced pleasure:
           So love at leisure
  Shall make his model of our clinging looks,
           And burn his books
  To write a new sweet volume deeper much,
           And frail to touch,
  Being the mirror of a gossamer
           Too soft and fair.
  This is the hour when all the world is sleeping;
           The winds are keeping
  A lulling music on the frosty sea.
           The air is free, {91B}
  As free as summer-time, to sound or cease:
           God's utmost peace
  Lies like a cloud upon the quiet land.
           O little hand!
  White hand with rose leaves shed about the tips,
           As if my lips
  Had left their bloom upon it when they kissed
           As if a mist
  Of God's delicious dawn had overspread
           Their face, and fled!
  O wonderful fresh blossom of the wood!
           O purpling blood!
  O azure veins as clear as all the skies!
           O longing eyes
  That look upon me fondly to beget
           Two faces, set
  Either like lowers upon their laughing blue,
           Where morning dew
  Sparkles with all the passion of the dawn!
           The happy lawn
  Leads, by the stillest avenues, to groves
           Made soft by loves;
  And all the nymphs have made a mossy dell
           Hard by the well
  Where even a Satyr might behold the grace
           Of such a face
  As his<<1>> who perished for his own delights,
           So well requites

«1. Narcissus, a beautiful youth, inaccessible to love. Echo, a nymph enamoured of him, died of neglect. To punish him, Nemesis caused him to behold his image in a pool; he pined of love for the reflection, and was changed into the flower which still bears his name.»

  That witching fountain his desire that looks.
           Two slow bright brooks
  Encircle it with silver, and the moon
           Strikes into tune
  The ripples as they break.  For here it was
           Their steps did pass,
  Dreamy Endymion's and Artemis',<<1>>
           Who bent to kiss

«1. The reader may consult Keats's poem of “Endymion.”»

  Across the moss-grown rocks that build the well:
           And here they tell {92A}
  Of one<<1>> beneath the hoary stone who hid
           And watched unbid

«1. A gentle sophistication of the story of Actaeon who beheld Artemis at the bath, and being changed into a stag, was torn to pieces by her hounds.»

  When one most holy came across the glade,
           Who saw a maid
  So bright that mists were dim upon his eyes,
           And yet he spies
  So sweet a vision that his gentle breath
           Sighed into death:
  And others say that her the fairies bring
           The fairy king,<<1>>

«1. From sophistication Crowley proceeds to pure invention.»

  And crown him with a flower of eglantine,
           And of the vine
  Twist him a throne made perfect with wild roses,
           And gathered posies
  From all the streams that wander through the vale,
           And crying, "Hail!
  All hail, most beautiful of all our race!"
           Cover his face
  With blossoms gathered from a fairy tree
           Like foam from sea,
  So delicate that mortal eyes behold
           Ephemeral gold
  Flash, and not see a flower, but say the moon
           Has shone too soon
  Anxious to great Endymion; and this
           Most dainty kiss
  They cover him him withal, and Dian sees
           Through all the trees
  No pink pale blossom of his tender lips.
           The little ships
  Of silver leaf and briar-bloom sail here,
           No storm to fear,
  Though butterflies be all their mariners.
           The whitethroat stirs
  The beech-leaves to awake the tiny breeze
           That soothes the seas,
  And yet gives breath to shake their fairy sails;
           Young nightingales,
  Far through the golden plumage of the night,
           With strong delight {92B}
  Purple the evening with amazing song;
           The moonbeams throng
  In shining clusters to the fairy throat,
           Whose clear trills float
  And dive and run about the crystal deep
           As sweet as sleep.
  Only, fair love of this full heart of mine,
           There lacks the wine
  Our kisses might pour out for them; they wait,
           And we are late;
  Only, my flower of all the world, the thrush
           (You hear him?  Hush!)
  Lingers, and sings not to his fullest yet:
           Our love shall get
  Such woodland welcome as none ever had
           To make it glad.
  Come, it is time, cling closer to my hand.
           We understand.
  We must go forth together, not to part.
           O perfect heart!
  O little heart that beats to mine, away
           Before the day
  Ring out the tocsin for our flight!  My ship
           Is keen to dip
  Her plunging forehead in the silvering sea.
           To-morrow we
  Shall be so far away, and then to-morrow
           Shall shake off sorrow
  And be to-morrow and not change for ever:
           No dawn shall sever
  The sleepy eyelids of the night, no eve
           Shall fall and cleave
  The blue deep eyes of day.  Your hand, my queen!
           Look down and lean
  Your whole weight on me, then leap out, as light
           As swallow's flight,
  And race across the shadows of the moon,
           And keep the tune
  With ringing hoofs across the fiery way.
           Your eyes betray
  How eager is your heart, and yet -- O dare
           To fashion fair
  A whole long life of love!  Leap high, laugh low!
           I love you -- so! -- {93A)
  One kiss -- and then to freedom!  See the bay
           So far away,
  But not too far for love!  Ring out, sharp hoof,
           And put to proof
  The skill of him that steeled thee!  Freedom!  Set
           As never yet
  Thy straining sides for freedom!  Gallant mare!
           The frosty air
  Kindles the blood within us as we race.
           O love!  Thy face
  Flames with the passion of our happy speed!
           The noble steed
  Pashes the first gold limit of the sand.
           Ah love, thy hand!
  We win, no foot pursuing spans the brow!
           Yes, kiss me now!
              THE SPRING AFTER.
  NORTH, by the ice-belt, where the cliffs appease
  Innumerable clamour of sundering seas,
  And garlands of ungatherable foam
  Wild as the horses maddening toward home,
  Where through the thunderous burden of the thaw
  Rings the sharp fury of the breaking flaw,
  Where summer's hand is heavy on the snow,
  And springtide bursts the insuperable floe,
  North, by the limit of the ocean, stands
  A castle, lord of those far footless hands
  That are the wall of that most monstrous world
  About whose pillars Behemoth is curled,
  About whose gates Leviathan is strong,
  Whose secret terror sweetens not for song.
  The hoarse loud roar of gulphs of raging brine
  That break in foam and fire on that divine
  Cliff-base, is smothered in the misty air,
  And no sound penetrates them, save a rare {93}
  Music of sombre motion, swaying slow.
  The sky above is one dark indigo
  Voiceless and deep, no light is hard within
  To shame love's lips and rouse the silky skin
  From its dull olive to a perfect white.
  For scarce an hour the golden rim of light
  Tinges the southward bergs; for scarce an hour
  The sun puts forth his seasonable flower,
  And only for a little while the wind
  Wakes at his coming, and beats cold and blind
  On the wild sea that struggles to release
  The hard grip from its throat, and lie at ease
  Lapped in the eternal summer.  But its waves
  Roam through the solitude of empty caves
  In vain; no faster wheels the moon above;
  And still reluctant fly the hours of love.
  It is so peaceful in the castle: here
  The night of winter never froze a tear
  On my love's cheek or mine; no sorrow came
  To track our vessel by its wake of flame
  Wherein the dolphin bathed his shining side;
  No smallest cloud between me and my bride
  Came like a little mist; one tender fear,
  Too sweet to speak of, closed the dying year
  With love more perfect, for its purple root
  Might blossom outward to the snowy fruit
  Whose bloom to-night lay sleeping on her breast,
  As if a touch might stir the sunny nest,
  Break the spell's power, and bid the spirit fly
  Who had come near to dwell with us.  But I
  Bend through long hours above the dear twin life,
  Look from love's guerdon to the lover-wife,
  And back again to that small face so sweet,
  And downwards to the little rosy feet,
  And see myself no longer in her eyes
  So perfectly as here, where passion lies
  Buried and re-arisen and complete.
  O happy life too sweet, too perfect sweet,
  O happy love too perfectly made one
  Not to arouse the envy of the sun {94A}
  Who sulks six months<<1>> for spite of it!  O love,

«1. In Arctic latitudes the sun hardly rises at all from September to March, and is only visible in the south.»

  Too pure and fond for those pale gods above,
  Too perfect for their iron rods to break,
  Arise, awake, and die for death's own sake!
  That one forgetfulness may take us three,
  Still three, still one, to the Lethean sea;
  That all its waters may be sweet as those
  We wandered by, sweet sisters of the rose,
  That perfect night before we fled, we two
  Who were so silent down that avenue
  Grown golden with the moonlight, who should be
  No longer two, but one; nor one, but three.
  And now it is the spiring; the ice is breaking;
  The waters roar; the winds their wings are shaking
  To sweep upon the northland; we shall sail
  Under the summer perfume of the gale
  To some old valley where the altars steam
  Before the gods, and where the maidens dream
  Their little lives away, and where the trees
  Shake laughing tresses at the rising breeze,
  And where the wells of water lie profound,
  And not unfrequent is the silver sound
  Of shepherds tuneful as the leaves are green,
  Whose reedy music echoes, clear and clean,
  From rocky palaces where gnomes delight
  To sport all springtime, where the brooding night
  With cataract is musical, and thrushes
  Throb their young love beside the stream that rushes
  Headlong to beat its foamheads into snow,
  Where the sad swallow calls, and pale songs flow
  To match the music of the nightingale.
  There, where the pulses of the summer fail,
  The fiery flakes of autumn fall, and there
  Some warm perfection of the lazy air
  Swims through the purpling veins of lovers.  Hark!
  A faint bird's note, as if a silver spark {94B}
  Struck from a diamond; listen, wife, and know
  How perfectly I love to watch you so.
  Wake, lover, wake, but stir not yet the child:
  Wake, and thy brow serene and low and mild
  Shall take my kisses, and my lips shall seek
  The pallid roses on thy perfect cheek,
  And kiss them into poppies, and thy mouth
  Shall lastly close to mine, as in the south
  We see the sun close fast upon the sea;
  So, my own heart, thy mouth must close on me.
  Art thou awake?  Those eyes of wondering love,
  Sweet as the dawn and softer than the dove,
  Seek no quick vision -- yet they move to me
  And, slowly, to the child.  How still are we!
  Yes, and a smile betokens that they wake
  Or dream a waking dream for kisses' sake;
  Yes, I will touch thee, O my low sweet brow!
  My wife, thy lips to mine -- yes, kiss me now!
           HOLY as heaven, the home
           Of winds, the land of foam,
  The palace of the waves, the house of rain,
           Deeper than ocean, dark
           As dawn before the lark
  Flings his sharp song to skyward, and is fain
           To light his lampless eyes
           At the flower-folded skies
  Where stars are hidden in the blue, to fill
           His beak with star-dropt dew,
           His little heart anew
  With love an song to swell it to his will;
           Holy as heaven, the place
           Before the golden face {95A}
  Of God is very silent at the dawn.
           The even keel is keen
           To flash the waves between,
  But no soft moving current is withdrawn:
           We float upon the blue
           Like sunlight specks in dew,
  And like the moonlight on the lake we lie:
           The northern gates are past,
           And, following fair and fast,
  The north wind drove us under such a sky,
           Faint with the sun's desire,
           And clad in fair attire
  Of many driving cloudlets; and we flew
           Like swallows to the South.
           The ocean's curving mouth
  Smiled day by day and nights of starry blue;
           Nights when the sea would shake
           Like sunlight where the wake
  Was wonderful with flakes of living things
           That leapt for joy to feel
           The cold exultant keel
  Flash, and the white ship dip her woven wings;
           Nights when the moon would hold
           Her lamp of whitest gold
  To see us on the poop together set
           With one desire, to be
           Alone upon the sea
  And touch soft hands, and hold white bosoms yet,
           And see in silent eyes
           More stars than all the skies
  Together hold within their limits gray,
           To watch the red lips move
           For slow delight of love
  Till the moon sigh and sink, and yield her sway
           Unto the eastern lord
           That draws a sanguine sword
  And starts up eager in the dawn, to see
           Bright eyes grow dim for sleep,
           And lazy bosoms keep
  Their slumber perfect and their sorcery,
           While dawny winds arise,
           And fast the white ship flies {95B}
  To those young groves of olive by the shore,
           The spring-clad shore we seek
           That slopes to yonder peak
  Snow-clad, bright-gleaming, as the silver ore
           Plucked<<1>> by pale fingers slow
           In balmy Mexico,
  A king on thunder throned, his diadem
           The ruby rocks that flash
           The sunlight like a lash
  When sunlight touches, and sweeps over them
           A crown of light!  Behold!
           The white seas touch the gold,
  And flame like flowers of fire about the prow.
           It is the hour for sleep: --
           Lulled by the moveless deep
  To sleep, sweet wife, to sleep!  Yes, kiss me now!

«1. Referring to the story of the accidental discovery of the mine of Potosi by a man who, plucking of a plant, found its roots shining with silver.»

            THE ULTIMATE VOYAGE.<<1>>

«1. The Spiritual Journey towards the Supreme Knowledge which is life and bliss.»

  THE wandering waters move about the world,
  And lap the sand, with quietest complaint
  Borne on the wings of dying breezes up,
  To where we make toward the wooded top
  Of yonder menacing hill.  The night is fallen
  Starless and moonless, black beyond belief,
  Tremendous, only just the ripple keeps
  Our souls from perishing in the inane,
  With music borrowed from the soul of God.
  We twain go thither, knowing no desire
  To lead us; but some strong necessity
  Urges, as lightning thunder, our slow steps
  Upward.  For on the pleasant meadow-land
  That slopes to sunny bays, and limpid seas
  (That breathe like maidens sleeping, for their breast
  Is silver with the sand that lies below,)
  Where our storm-strengthened dragon rests at last, {96A}
  And by whose borders we have made a home,
  More like a squirrel's bower than a house.
  For in this blue Sicilian summertime
  The trees arch tenderly for lovers' sleep,
  And all the interwoven leaves are fine
  To freshen us with dewdrops at the dawn,
  Or let the summer shower sing through to us,
  And welcome kisses of the silver rain
  That raps and rustles in the solitude.
  But in the night there came to us a cry:
  "The mountains are your portion, and the hills
  Your temple, and you are chosen."  Then I woke
  Pondering, and my lover woke and said:
  "I heard a voice of one majestical
  With waving beard, most ancient, beautiful,
  Concealed and not concealed;<<Macroprosopus.>> and awoke,
  Feeling a stronger compulsion on my soul
  To go some whither."  And the dreams were one
  (We somehow knew), and, looking such a kiss
  As lovers' eyes can interchange, our lips
  Met in the mute agreement to obey.
  So, girding on our raiment, as to pass
  Some whither of long doubtful journeying,
  We went forth blindly to the horrible
  Damp darkness of the pines above.  And there
  Strange beasts crossed path of ours, such beasts as earth
  Bears not, distorted, tortured, loathable,
  Mouthing with hateful lips some recent blood,
  or snarling at our feet.  But these attacked
  No courage of our hearts, we faltered not,
  And they fell back, snake's mouth and leopard's throat,
  Afraid.  But others fawning came behind
  With clumsy leapings as in friendliness,
  Dogs with men's faces, and we beat them off
  With scabbard, and the hideous path wound on.
  And these perplexed our goings, for no light
  Gleamed through the bare pine-ruins lava-struck, {96B}
  Nor even the hellish fire of Etna's maw.
  But lucklessly we came upon a pool
  Dank, dark, and stagnant, evil to the touch,
  Oozing towards us, but sucked suddenly,
  Silently, horribly, by slow compulsion
  Into the slipping sand, and vanishing,
  Whereon we saw a little boat appear,
  And in it such a figure as we knew
  Was Death.  But she, intolerant of delay,
  Hailed him.  The vessel floated to our feet,
  And Death was not.  She leapt within, and bent
  Her own white shoulders to the thwart, and bade
  Me steer, and keep stern watch with sword unsheathed
  For fear of something that her soul had seen
  Above.  And thus upon the oily black
  Silent swift river we sailed out to reach
  Its source, no longer feeling as compelled,
  But led by some incomprehensible
  Passion.  And here lewd fishes snapped at us,
  And watersnakes writhed silently toward
  Our craft.  But these I fought against, and smote
  head from foul body, to our further ill,
  For frightful jelly-monsters grew apace,
  And all the water grew one slimy mass
  Of crawling tentacles.  My sword was swift
  That slashed and slew them, chiefly to protect
  The toiling woman, and assure our path
  Through this foul hell.  And now the very air
  Is thick with cold wet horrors.  With my sword
  Trenchant, that tore their scaly essences --
  Like Lucian's sailor writhing in the clutch
  Of those witch-vines -- I slashed about like light,
  And noises horrible of death devoured
  The hateful suction of their clinging arms
  And wash of slipping bellies.  Presently
  Sense failed, and -- Nothing!
                           By-and-by we woke
  In a most beautiful canoe of pearl
  Lucent on lucent water, in a sun {97A}
  That was the heart of spring.  But the green land
  Seemed distant, with a sense of aery height;
  As if it were below us far, that seemed
  Around.  And as we gazed the water grew
  Ethereal, thin, most delicately hued,
  Misty, as if its substance were dissolved
  In some more subtle element.  We heard
  "O passers over water, do ye dare
  To tread the deadlier kingdoms of the air?"
  Whereat I cried: Arise!  And then the pearl
  Budded with nautilius-wings, and upward now
  Soared.  And our souls began to know the death
  That was about to take us.  All our veins
  Boiled with tumultuous and bursting blood;
  Our flesh broke bounds, and all our bones grew fierce,
  As if some poison ate us up.  And lo!
  The air is peopled with a devil-tribe
  Born of our own selves.  These, grown furious
  At dispossession by the subtle air,
  Contend with us, who know the agony
  Of half life drawn out lingering, who groan
  Eaten as if by worms, who dash ourselves
  Vainly against the ethereal essences
  That make our boat, who vainly strive to cast
  Our stricken bodies over the pale edge
  And drop and end it all.  No nerve obeys;
  But in the torn web of our brains is born
  The knowledge that release is higher yet.
  So, lightened of the devils that possessed
  In myriad hideousness our earthier lives,
  With one swift impulse, we ourselves shake off
  The clinging fiends, and shaking even the boat
  As dust beneath our feet, leap up and run
  Upward, and flash, and suddenly sigh back
  Happy, and rest with limbs entwined at last
  On pale blue air, the empyreal floor,
  As on a bank of flowers in the old days
  Before this journey.  So I think we slept.
  But now, awaking, suddenly we feel
  A sound as if within us, and without,
  So penetrating and so self-inspired {97B}
  Sounded the voice we knew as God's.  The words
  Were not a question any more, but said:
  "The last and greatest is within you now."
  Then fire too subtle and omniscient
  Devoured our substance, and we moved again
  Not down, not up, but inwards mystically
  Involving self in self, and light in light.
  And this was not a pain, but peaceable
  Like young-eyed love, reviving; it consumed
  And consecrated and made savour sweet
  To our changed senses.  And the dual self
  Of love grew less distinct and I began
  To feel her heart in mine, her lips in mine. ...
  Then mistier grew the sense of God without,
  And God was I, and nothing might exist,
  Subsist, or be at all, outside of Me,
  Myself Existence of Existences.
        .     .     .     .     .
  We had passed unknowing to the woody crown
  Of the little hill.  There was a secret Vault.
  We entered.  All without the walls appeared
  As fire, and all within as icy light;
  The altar was of gold, and on it burnt
  Some ancient perfume.  Then I saw myself
  And her together, as a priest, whose robe
  Was white and frail, and covered with a cope
  Of scarlet bound with gold: upon the head
  A golden crown, wherein a diamond shone;
  Within which diamond we beheld our self
  The higher priest, not clothed, but clothed upon
  With the white brilliance of high nakedness
  As with a garment.<<1>>  Then of our self there came
  A voice: "Ye have attained to That which Is;
  Kiss, and the vision is fulfilled."  And so
  Our bodies met, and, meeting did not touch
  But interpenetrated in the kiss
        .     .     .     .     .

«1. See the Description of the robes and crown of the Magus in the“Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.”»

  This writing is engraved on lamina
  Of silver, found by me, the trusted friend {98A}
  And loving servant of my lady and lord,
  In that abandoned Vault, of late destroyed
  By Etna's fury.  Nothing else remained
  (Save in the ante-room the sword we knew
  So often flashing at the column-head)
  Within.  I think my lord has written this.
  Now for the child, whose rearing is my care,
  And in whose life is left my single hope,
  This writing shall conclude the book of song
  His father made in worship and true love
  Of his fair lady, and these songs shall be
  His hope, and his tradition, and his pride.
  Thus have I written for the sake of truth,
  And for his sake who bears his father's sword --
  I pray God under my fond guardianship
  As worthily.  Thus far, and so -- the end.
  I LOOKED beneath her eyelids, where her eyes
  Like stars were deep, and dim like summer skies;
    I looked beneath their lashes; and behold!
    My own thought mirrored in their maiden gold.
  Shame drew to them to cloud their light with lies,
    And shrank back shamed; but Love waxed bright and bold.
  The devilish circle of the fiery ring<<1>>
  Became one moment like a little thing,
    And Truth and God were near us to withdraw
    The veil of Love's unalterable law.
  We feared no fury of the jealous King,
    But, lest in honour love should find a flaw. {98B}

«1. “i.e.” the wedding ring.»

  Only our looks and trembling lips we dread,
  And the dear nimbus of a lover's head,
    The dreamy splendour and the dim-delight
    That feels the fragrance fallen from the night,
  When soul to soul is locked, and eyes are wed,
    And lips not touched kiss secretly by sight.
  These things we fear, and move as in a mist
  One from the other, and we had not kissed.
    Only the perfume of her lips and hair
    Love's angel wafted slowly to me there,
  And as I went like death away I wist
    Its savour faded, nor my soul aware.
  I turned and went away, away, away,
  Out of the night that was to me the day,
    And road to meet the sun to hide in light
    The sorrow of the day that was the night.
  So I rode slowly in the morning gray,
    And all the meadows with the frost were white.
  And lo! between the mountains there uprose
  The winter sun; and all the forest glows,
    And the frost burns like fire before my eyes,
    While the white breeze awoke with slumberous sighs
  And stirred the branches of the pine; it knows,
    It surely knows how weary are the wise!
  Even my horse my sorrow understands,
  Would turn and bear me to those western lands;
    In love would turn me back; in love would bring
    My thirsty lips to the one perfect spring --
  My iron soul upon my trembling hands
    Had its harsh will; my bitterness was king.
  So verily long time I rode afar.
  My course was lighted by some gloomy star
    That boded evil, that I would not shun,
    But rather welcome, as the storm the sun,
  Lowering and red, a hurtful avatar,
    Whose fatal forehead like itself is dun {99A}
  It was no wonder when the second day
  Showed me a city on the desert way,
    Whose brazen gates were open, where within
    I saw a statue for a sign of sin,
  And saw the people come to it and pray,
    Before its mouth set open for a gin.
  And seeing me, a clamour rose among
  Their dwarfish crowds, whose barbarous harsh tongue
    Grated, a hateful sound; they plucked me down,
    And mocked me through the highways of the town,
  And brought me where they sang to censers swung
    A grotesque hymn before her body brown.
  For Sin was like a woman, and her feet
  Shone, and her face was like the windy wheat;
    Her eyes were keen and horrible and cold,
    Her bronze loins girdled with the sacred gold;
  Her lips were large, and from afar how sweet!
    How fierce and purple for a kiss to hold!
  But somehow blood was black upon them; blood
  In stains and clots and splashes; and the mud
    Trampled around her by the souls that knelt,
    Worshipping where her false lewd body dwelt,
  Was dark and hateful; and a sleepy flood
    Trickled therefrom as magic gums that melt.
  I had no care that hour for anything:
  Not for my love, not for myself; I cling
    Desperate to despair, as some to hope,
    Unheeding Saturn in their horoscope;
  But I, despair is lord of me and king;
    But I, my thoughts tend ever to the rope. {99B}
  But I, unknightly, recreant, a coward,
  Dare not release my soul from fate untoward
    By such a craven's cunning.  Nay, my soul
    Must move unflinching to what bitter goal
  The angry gods design -- if gods be froward
    I am a man, nor fear to drain the bowl.
  Now some old devil, dead no doubt and damned,
  But living in her life, had wisely crammed
    Her fierce bronze throat with such a foul device
    As made her belly yearn for sacrifice.
  She leered like love on me, and smiled, and shammed,
    And did not pity for all her breast of spice.
  They thrust me in her hateful jaws, and I
  Even then resisted not, so fain to die
    Was my desire, so weary of the fight
    With my own love, so willing to be quite
  Sure of my strength by death; and eagerly
    Almost I crossed the barrier keen and white.
  When lo! a miracle!  Her carven hand
  Is lifted, and the little space is spanned,
    And I am plucked from out her maw, and set
    Down on the pedestal, whose polished jet
  Shone like a mirror out of hell -- I stand
    Free, where the blood of other men is wet.
  So slowly, while the mob stood back, I went
  Out of the city, with no life content,
    And certain I should meet no death at least.
    Soon, riding ever to the stubborn east,
  I came upon a shore whose ocean bent
    In one long curve, where folk were making feast. {100A}
  So with no heart to feast, I joined the mirth,
  Mingled the dances that delight the earth,
    And laughing looked in every face of guile.
    Quick was my glance and subtle was my smile;
  Ten thousand little loves were brought to birth,
    Ten thousand loves that laughed a little while.
  No; for one woman did not laugh, too wise!
  But came so close, and looked within my eyes
    So deeply that I saw not anything.
    Only her eyes grew, as a purple ring
  Shielding the sun.  They grew; they uttered lies --
    They fascinate and cleave to me and cling.
  Then in their uttermost profound I saw
  The veil of Love's unalterable law
    Lifted, and in the shadow far behind
    Dim and divine, within the shadow blind
  My own love's face most amorously draw
    Out of the deep toward my cloudy mind.
  O suddenly I felt a kiss enclose
  My whole live body, as a rich red rose
    Folding its sweetness round the honey-bee!
    I felt a perfect soul embracing me,
  And in my spirit like a river flows
    A passion like the passion of the sea.
  HE did not kiss me with his mouth; his eyes
  Kissed mine, and mine kissed back; it was not wise,
  But yet he had the strength to leave me; so
  I was so glad he loved enough to go.
  My arms could never have released his neck;
  He saved our honour from a single speck.
  And so he went away; and fate inwove
  The bitterest of treason for our love. {100B}
  For scarce two days when sickness took the King,
  And death dissolved the violence of the ring.
  I ruled alone: I left my palace gate
  To see if Love should have the laugh at Fate.
  And so I violated Death, and died;
  But in the other land my spirit cried
  For incarnation; conquering I came
  Within my soulless body as a flame.
  Endowing which with sacred power I sought
  A little while, as thought that seeks for thought.
  I found his changeless love endure as mine,
  His passion curl around me as a vine.
  So clinging fibres of desire control
  My perfect body,and my perfect soul
  Shot flakes of light toward him.  So my eyes,
  Seeking his face, wee made divinely wise.
  So, solemn, silent, 'mid a merry folk
  I bound him by my forehead's silver yoke,
  And grew immense about him and within,
  And so possessed him wholly, without sin.
  For I had crossed the barrier and knew
  There was no sin.  His lips reluctant grew
  Ardent at last as recognizing me,
  And love's wild tempest sweeps upon his sea.
  And I?  I knew not anything, but know
  We are still silent, and united so,
  And all our being spells one vast To Be,
  A passion like the passion of the sea.
          THE LEGEND OF BEN LEDI.<<1>>

«1. The “Hill of God.”»

  ON his couch Imperial Alpin<<1>>
    In majestic grandeur lay,
  Dying with the sun that faded
    O'er the plain of granite gray. {101A}

«1. The First King of all Scotland.»

  Snowy white his beard descended,
    Flecked with foeman's crimson gore,
  And he rose and grasped his broadsword,
    And he prayed to mighty Thor:
  "God of thunder, god of battle,
    God of pillage and of war,
  Hear the king of Scotland dying
    On the Leny's thundrous shore!
  "Thrice three hundred have I smitten
    With my single arm this day;
  Now of life my soul is weary,
    I am old, I pass away.
  "Grant me this, immortal monarch,
    Such a tomb as ne'er before,
  Such a tomb as never after
    Monarch thought or monarch saw."
  Then he called his sons around him,
    And he spake again and cried:
  "Seven times a clansman's bowshot
    Lay me from the Leny's side.
  "Where the plain to westward sinketh,
    Lay me in my tartan plaid,
  All uncovered to the tempest,
    In my hand my trusty blade."
  Hardly had he spake the order,
    When his spirit passed away;
  And his sons their heads uncovered
    As they bore him o'er the brae.
  Seven times did Phail McAlpine
    Bend his mighty bow of yew;
  Seven times with lightning swiftness
    West the winged arrow flew.
  Seven times a clansman's bowshot
    From the Leny's western shore,
  Laid they him where on to Achray
    Spread the plain of Ian Vohr.
  Hard by Teith's tumultuous waters
    Camped his sons throughout the night,
  Till the rosy blush of morning
    Showed a vast majestic sight {101B}
  Where of late the plain extended
    Rose a mighty mass of stone,
  Pierced the clouds, and sprang unmeasured
    In magnificence -- alone!
  There the clansmen stood and wondered,
    As the rock, supremely dire,
  Split and trembled, cracked and thundered,
    Lit with living flecks of fore.
  Spake the chief: "My trusty clansmen,
    This is not the day of doom;
  This is honour to the mighty;
    Clansmen, this is Alpin's tomb."
       "December" 1893
         A DESCENT OF THE MOENCH.<<1>>

«1. The first guideless traverse of this mountain, one of the peaks of the Bernese Oberland.»

                July 14, 1896.
  AN island of mist.  White companies
  Of clouds thronged wondrously against the hills,
  And in the east a darkening of the winds
  That held awhile their breath for very rage,
  Too wild for aught but vaporous quivering
  Of melting fleeces, while the sudden sun
  Fled to his home.  Afar the Matterhorn
  Reared a gaunt pinnacle athwart the bank,
  Where towered behind it one vast pillar of cloud
  To thrice its height.  Behold the ice-clad dome
  On which we stood, all weary of the way,
  And marked the east awaken into scorn,
  And rush upon us.  Then we set our teeth
  To force a dangerous passage, and essayed
  The steep slope not in vain.  We pushed our way
  Slowly and careworn down the icy ridge,
  Hewing with ponderous strokes the riven ice
  In little flakes and chips, and now again
  Encountered strange and fearsome sentinels, {102A}
  Gray pinnacles of lightning-riven rock
  Fashioned of fire and night.  We clomb adown
  Fantastic cliffs of gnarled stone, and saw
  The vivid lightning flare in purple robes
  Of flame along the ridge, and even heard
  Its terrible crackle, 'mid the sullen roar
  Of answering thunder.  Now the driven hail
  Beat on our faces, while we strove to fling
  Aloft the axe of forged steel, encased
  In glittering ice, and smite unceasingly
  On the unyielding slope of ice, as black
  As those most imminent ghosts of Satan's frown
  That shut us out from heaven, while the snow
  Froze on our cheeks.  Thus then we gained the field
  Where precipice and overwhelming rock,
  Avalanche, crag, leap through the dazzled air
  To pile their mass in one Lethean plain
  Of undulations of rolled billowy snow
  Rent, seamed, and scarred with wound on jagged wound,
  Blue-rushing to the vague expanse below
  Of the unknown secrecies of mountain song.
  Dragging behind us beautiful weary limbs,
  We turned snow-blinded eyes towards the pass<<1>>
  That shot a jasper wall above the mist
  Into the lightning-kindled firmament,
  Behind whose battlements a shelter<<2>>  lay,
  Rude-built of pine, whose parents in the storm
  Of some vast avalanche were swept away
  Into the valley.  Thither we hasted on,
  And there, as night stretched out a broken wing
  Torn by the thunder and the bitter strife
  Of warring flames and tempest's wrath, we came
  And flung ourselves within, and laid us down
  At last to sleep; and Sleep, a veined shape
  Of naked stateliness, came down to us,
  And tenderly stooped down, and kissed our brows. {102B}

«1. The Monchjoch.» «2. The Berglihutte.»

               IN A CORNFIELD.
      O VOICE of sightless magic
        Clear through day's crystal sky,
      Blithe, contemplative, tragic,
        As men may laugh or sigh;
      As men may love or sorrow,
      Their moods thy music borrow
        To bid them live or die.
      So sweet, so sad, so lonely,
      In silent noontide only
        Thy song-wings float and lie
      On cloud-foam scarred and riven,
      By God's red lightnings shriven,
      And quiet hours are given
        To him that lingers nigh.
      Fain would I linger near thee
        Amid the poppies red,
      Forget this world, and hear thee
        As one among the dead;
      Amid the daffadillies,
      Red tulips and white lilies,
        Where daisies' tears are shed;
      Where larkspur and cornflower
      Are blue with sunlight's hour,
        And all the earth is spread
      As in a dream before me;
      While steals divinely o'er me
      Love's scented spring to draw me
        From moods of dreamy dread.
      O winged passion! traveller
        Too near to God to see!
      O lyrical unraveller
        Of knotted life to me!
      O song!  O shining river
      Of thought and sound!  O giver
        Of goodly words of glee!
      Like to a star that singeth,
      A flower that incense bringeth,
        A love-song of the free!
      Oh! let me sing thy glories
      While spring winds whisper stories
      Of winter past, whose shore is
        Beyond a shoreless sea. {103A}
      Sing on, thou lyric lover!
        Sing on, and thrill me long
      With such delights as cover
        The days and deeds of wrong!
      Live lyre of songs immortal
      That pierce Heaven's fiery portal
        With shafts of splendour strong,
      Winged with thought's sharpest fires,
      Arrowed with soul's desires
        And sped from thunder's thong;
      Heaven's gates rock, rage, and quiver,
      Earth's walls gape wide and shiver,
      While Freedom doth deliver
        Men's spirits with thy song.
      Ah, chainless, distant, fleeting,
        To lands that know no sea,
      Where ocean's stormy greeting
        Fills no man's heart with glee;
      Where lovers die or sever,
      And death destroys for ever,
        And God bears slavery: --
      Fly thither, so thou leave us
      That no man's hand may reave us
        Of this -- that we are free.
      Free all men that may heed thee,
      On freemen's praises feed thee,
      Who chorus full, "God speed thee,
        Live lyre of Liberty!"
  WHAT words are these that shudder through my sleep,
    Changing from silver into crimson flakes,
      And molten into gold
  Like the pale opal through those gray may sweep
    A scarlet flame, like eyes of crested snakes,
      Keen, furious, and too cold.
  What words are these?  The pall of slumber lifts;
    The veil of finiteness withdraws.  The night
      Is heavier, life burns low: {103B}
  Yet to the quivering brain three goodly gifts
    The cruelty of Pluto and his might
      In the abyss bestow:
  Change, foresight, fear.  The pageant whirls and boils;
    Restricted not by space an time, my dream
      Foresees the doom of Fate;
  My spirit wrestles in the Dream-King's toils
    Always in vain, and Hope's forerunners gleam
      Alway one step too late.
  Not as when sunlight strikes the counterpane;
    Half wakening, sleep rolls back her iron wave,
      And dawn brings blithesomeness;
  Not as when opiates lull the tortured brain
    And sprinkle lotus on the drowsy grave
      Of earth's old bitterness;
  But as when consciousness half rouses up
    And hurls back all the gibbering harpy crowd;
      And sleep's draught deepeneth,
  And all the furies of hell's belly sup
    In the brain's palaces, and chant aloud
      Songs that foretaste of Death.
  Maddened, the brain breaks from beneath the goad,
    Flings off again the foe, and from its hell
      Brings for a moment peace,
  Till weariness and her infernal load
    Of phantom memory-shapes return to quell
      The shaken fortresses.
  Till nature reassert her empery,
    And the full tide of wakefulness at last
      Foam on the shore of sleep
  To beat the white cliffs of reality
    In vain, because their windy strength is past,
      And only memories weep. {104A}
  Why is the Finite real?  And that world
    So larger, so more beautiful and fleet,
      So free, so exquisite,
  The world of dreams and shadows, not impearled
    With solitary shaft of Truth?  Too sweet,
      O children of the Night,
  Are your wide realms for our philosophers,
    Who must in hard gray balance-shackles bind
      The essence of all thought:
  No sorrier sexton in a grave inters
    The nobler children of a poet's mind
      Of wine and gold well wrought.
  By the poor sense of touch they judge that this
    Or that is real or not.  Have they divined
      This simplest spirit-bond,
  The joy of some bad woman's deadly kiss;
    The thought-flash that well tunes a lover's mind
      Seas and gray gulfs beyond?
  So that which is impalpable to touch,
    They judge by touch; the viewless they decide
      By sight; their logic fails,
  Their jarring jargon jingles -- even such
    An empty brazen pot -- wise men deride
      The clouds that mimic whales.
  My world shall be my dreams.  Religion there
    And duty may disturb me not at all;
      Nor doubts, nor fear of death.
  I straddle on no haggard ghostly mare;
    Yea, through my God, I have leapt o'er a wall!
      (As poet David saith.)
  The wall that ever girds Earth's thought with brass
    Is all a silver path my feet beneath,
      And o'er its level sward {104B}
  Of sea-reflecting white flowers and fresh grass
    I walk.  Man's darkness is a leathern sheath,
      Myself the sun-bright sword!
  I have no fear, nor doubt, nor sorrow now,
    For I give Self to God -- I give my best
      Of soul and blood and brain
  To my poor Art -- there comes to me somehow
    This fact; Man's work is God made manifest;
      Life is all Peace again.
  And Dreams are beyond life.  Their wider scope,
    Limitless Empire o'er the world of thought,
      Help my desires to press
  Beyond all stars toward God and Heaven and Hope;
    And in the world-amazing chase is wrought
      Somehow -- all Happiness.
             THE TRIUMPH OF MAN.
  BEFORE the darkness, earlier than being,
  When yet thought was not, shapeless and unseeing,
  Made misbegotten of deity on death,
  There brooded on he waters the strange breath
  Of an incarnate hatred.  Darkness fell
  And chaos, from prodigious gulphs of hell.
  Life, that rejoiced to travail with a man,
  Looked where the cohorts of destruction ran,
  Saw darkness visible, and was afraid,
  Seeing.  There grew like Death a monster shade,
  Blind as the coffin, as the covering sod
  Damp, as the corpse obscene, the Christian God.
  So to the agony dirges of despair
  Man cleft the womb, and shook the icy air
  With bitter cries for light and life and love.
  But these, begotten of the world above, {105A}
  Withdrew their glory, and the iron world
  Rolled on its cruel way, and passion furled
  Its pure wings, and abased itself, and bore
  Fetters impure, and stooped, and was no more.
  But resurrection's ghastly power grew strong,
  And Lust was born, adulterous with Wrong,
  The Child of Lies; so man was blinded still,
  Garnered the harvest of abortive ill,
  For wheat reaped thistles, and for worship wrought
  A fouler idol of his meanest thought:
  A monster, vengeful, cruel, traitor, slave,
  Lord of disease and father of the grave,
  A treacherous bully, feeble as malign,
  Intolerable, inhuman, undivine,
  With spite close girded and with hatred shod,
  A snarling cur, the Christian's Christless God.
  Out! misbegotten monster! with thy brood,
  The obscene offspring of thy pigritude,
  Incestuous wedlock with the Pharisees
  That hail the Christ a son of thee!  Our knees
  Bend not before thee, and our earth-bowed brows
  Shake off their worship, and reject thy spouse,
  The harlot of the world!  For, proud and free,
  We stand beyond thy hatred, even we:
  We broken in spirit beneath bitter years,
  Branded with the burnt-offering of tears,
  Spit out upon the lie, and in thy face
  Cast back the slimy falsehood; to your place,
  Ye Gadarean swine, too foul to fling
  Into the waters that abound and spring!
  Back, to your mother filth!  With hope, and youth,
  Love, light, and power, and mastery of truth
  Armed, we reject you; the bright scourge we ply,
  Your howling spirits stumble to your sty:
  The worm that was your lie -- our heel its head
  Bruises, that bruised us once; the snake is dead.
  Who of mankind that honours man discerns
  That man of all men, whose high spirit burns, {105B}
  Crowned over life, and conqueror of death,
  The godhood that was Christ of Nazareth --
  Who of all men, that will not gird his brand
  And purge from priestcraft the uxorious land?
  Christ, who lived, died, and lived, that man might be
  Tameless and tranquil as the summer sea,
  That laughs with love of the broad skies of noon,
  And dreams of lazy kissings of the moon,
  But listens for the summons of the wind,
  Shakes its white mane, and hurls its fury blind
  Against oppression, gathers its steep side,
  Rears as a springing tiger, flings its tide
  Tremendous on the barriers, smites the sand,
  And gluts its hunger on the breaking land;
  Engulphing waters fall and overwhelm: --
  Christ, who stood dauntless at the shaken helm
  On Galilee, who quelled the wrath of God,
  And rose triumphant over faith, and trod
  With calm victorious feet the icy way
  When springtide burgeoned, and the rosy day
  Leapt from beneath the splendours of the snow: --
  Christ, ultimate master of man's hateful foe,
  And lord of his own soul and fate, strikes still
  From man's own heaven, against the lord of ill;
  Stage thunders mock the once terrific nod
  That spoke the fury of the Christian God,
  Whose slaves deny, too cowardly to abjure,
  Their desecrated Moloch.  The impure
  Godhead is powerless, even on the slave,
  Who once could scar the forehead of the brave,
  Break love's heart pitiful, and reach the strong
  Through stricken children, and a mother's wrong.
  Day after darkness, life beyond the tomb!
  Manhood reluctant from religion's womb
  Leaps, and sweet laughters flash for freedom's birth
  That thrills the old bosom of maternal earth. {106A}
  The dawn has broken; yet the impure fierce fire
  Kindles the grievous furnace of desire
  Still for the harpy brood of king and priest,
  Slave, harlot, coward, that make human feast
  Before the desecrated god, in hells
  Of darkness, where the mitred vampire dwells,
  Where still death reigns, and God and priests are fed,
  Man's blood for wine, man's flesh for meat and bread,
  The lands of murder, of the obscene things
  That snarl at freedom, broken by her wings,
  That prop the abomination, cringe and smile,
  Caressing the dead fetich, that defile
  With hideous sacraments the happy land.
  Destruction claims its own; the hero's hand
  Grips the snake's throat; yea, on its head is set
  The heel that crushes it, the serpent wet
  With that foul blood, from human vitals drained,
  From tears of broken women, and sweat stained
  From torturers' cloths; the sickly tide is poured,
  And all the earth is blasted; the green sward
  Burns where it touches, and the barren sod
  Rejects the poison of the blood of God.
  Yet, through the foam of waters that enclose
  Their sweet salt bosoms, through the summer rose,
  Through flowers of fatal fire, through fields of air
  That summer squanders, ere the bright moon bare
  Her maiden bosom, through the kissing gold
  Where lovers' lips are molten, and breasts hold
  Their sister bodies, and deep eyes are wed,
  And fire of fire enflowers the sacred head
  Of mingling passion, through the silent sleep
  Where love sobs out its life, and new loves leap
  To being, through the dawn of all new things,
  There burns an angel whose amazing wings {106B}
  Wave in the sunbright air, whose lips of flame
  Chant the almighty music of One Name
  Whose perfume fills the silent atmosphere,
  Whose passionate melodies caress the ear;
  An angel, strong and eloquent, aloud
  Cries to the earth to lift the final shroud,
  And, having burst Faith's coffin, to lay by
  The winding-sheet of Infidelity,
  And rise up naked, as a god, to hear
  This message from the reawakened sphere;
  Words with love clothed, with life immortal shod: --
  "Mankind is made a little part of God."<<1>>

«1. “i.e.” the idea of God, dissociated from the legends of priests, and assimilated to the impersonal Parabrahma of the Hindu. This dual use of the word is common throughout Crowley: the context is everywhere sufficient to decide. In the play “Jephthah,” however, conventional ideas are followed.»

  Till the response, full chorus of the earth,
  Flash through the splendid portals of rebirth,
  Completing Truth in its amazing span: --
  "Godhead is made the Spirit that is Man."
  To whose white mountains, and their arduous ways,
  Turn we our purpose, till the faith that slays
  Yield up its place to faith that gives us life,
  The faith to conquer in the higher strife;
  Our single purpose, and sublime intent,
  With their split blood to seal our sacrament,
  Who stand among the martyrs of the Light;
  Our single purpose, by incarnate might
  Begotten after travail unto death,
  To live within the light that quickeneth;
  To tread base thoughts as our high thoughts have trod,
  Deep in the dust, the carrion that was God;
  Conquer our hatreds as the dawn of love
  Conquered that fiend whose ruinous throne above
  Broke lofty spirits once, now falls with fate,
  At last through his own violence violate; {107A}
  To live in life, breathe freedom with each breath,
  As God breathed tyranny and died in death;
  Secure the sacred fastness of the soul,
  Uniting self to the absolute, the whole,
  The universal marriage of mankind,
  Free, perfect, broken from the chains that bind,
  Force infinite, love pure, desire untold,
  And mutual raptures of the age of gold,
  The child of freedom!  So the moulder, man,
  Shake his grim shoulders, and the shadows wan
  Fall to forgetfulness; so life revives
  And new sweet loves beget diviner lives,
  And Freedom stands, re-risen from the rod,
  A goodlier godhead than the broken God;
  Uniting all the universe in this
  Music more musical than breezes' kiss,
  A song more potent that the sullen sea,
  The triumph of the freedom of the free;
  One stronger song than thrilled the rapturous birth
  Of stars and planets and the mother, earth;
  As lovers, calling lovers when they die,
  Strangle death's torture in love's agony;
  As waters, shaken by the storm, that roar,
  Sea unto sea; as stars that burn before
  The blackness; as the mighty cry of swords
  Raging through battle, for its stronger chords;
  And for its low entrancing music, made
  As waters lambent in the listening glade;
  As Sappho's yearning to to the amorous sea;
  As Man's Prometheus, in captivity
  Master and freeman; as the holy tune
  All birds, all lovers, whisper to the moon.
  So, passionate and pure, the strong chant rolls,
  Queen of the mystic unity of souls;
  So from eternity its glory springs
  King of the magical brotherhood of kings;
  The absolute crown and kingdom of desire,
  Earth's virgin chaplet, molten in the fire,
  Sealed in the sea, betokened by the wind:
  "There is one God, the Spirit of Mankind!" {107B}
            THE DREAMING DEATH.<<1>>

«1. The scene of this poem is a little spinney near the wooden bridge in Love Lane, Cambridge. – A.C.»

  MY beauty in thy deep pure love
  Anchors its homage far above
  All lights of heaven.  The stars awake;
  The very stars bend down to take
  From its fresh fragrance for the sake
  Of their own cloud-compelling peace.
  On earth there lies a silver fleece
  Of new-fallen snow, secure from sun,
  In alleys, leafy every one
  This year already with the spring.
  The breeze blows freshly, thrushes sing,
  And all the woods are burgeoning
  With quick new buds; across the snow
  The scent of violets to and fro
  Wafts at the hour of dawn.  Alone
  I wait, a figure turned to stone
  (Or salt for pain).  A week ago
  Thine arms embraced me; now I know
  Far off they clasp the empty air:
  Thy lips seek home, and in despair
  Lament aloud over the frosted moor.
  Sad am I, sad, albeit sure
  There is no change of God above
  And no abatement of our love.
  For still, though thou be gone, I see
  In the glad mirror secretly
  That I am beautiful in thee.
  Thy love irradiates my eyes,
  Tints my skin gold; its melodies
  Of music run over my face;
  Smiles envy kisses in the race
  To bathe beneath my eyelids.  Light
  Clothes me and circles with the might
  Of warmer rosier suns.  Thy kiss
  Dwells on my bosom, and it is
  A glittering mount of fire, that burns
  Incense unnamed to heaven, and yearns
  In smoke toward thy home.  Desire
  Bellies the sails of molten fire
  Upon the ship of Youth with wind
  Urgently panting out behind,
  Impatient till the strand appear {108A}
  And the blue sea have ceased to rear
  Fountains of foam against the prow.
  Hail!  I can vision even now
  That golden shore.  A lake of light
  Burns to the sky; above, the night
  Hovers, her wings grown luminous.
  (I think she dearly loveth us.)
  The sand along the glittering shore
  Is all of diamond; rivers pour
  Unceasing floods of light along,
  Whose virtue is so bitter strong
  That he who bathes within them straight
  Rises an angel to the gate
  Of heaven and enters as a king.
  Birds people it on varied wing
  Of rainbow; fishes gold and fine
  Dart like bright stars through fount and brine,
  And all the sea about our wake
  Foams with the silver water-snake.
  There is a palace veiled in mist.
  A single magic amethyst
  Built it; the incense soothly sighs;
  So the light stream upon it lies.
  There thou art dwelling.  I am ware
  The music of thine eyes and hair
  Calls to the wind to chase our ship
  Faster toward; the waters slip
  Smoothly and swift beneath the keel.
  The pulses of the vessel feel
  I draw toward thee; now the sails
  Hang idly, for the golden gales
  Drop as the vessel grates the sand.
  Come, thou true love, and hold my hand!
  I tremble (for my love) to land.
  I feel thy arms around me steal;
  Thy breath upon my cheeks I feel;
  Thy lips draw out to mine: the breath
  Of ocean grows as still as death;
  The breezes swoon for very bliss.
  The sacrament of true love's kiss
  Accomplishes: I feel a pain
  Stab my heart through and sleep again,
  And I am in thine arms for ever.
        .     .     .     .     .
  There came a tutor, who had never
  Known the response of love to love;
  He wandered through the woods above
  The river, and came suddenly {108B}
  Where he lay sleeping.  Purity
  And joy beyond the speech of man
  Dwelt on his face, divinely wan.
  "How beautiful is sleep!" he saith,
  Bends over him.  There is no breath,
  No sound, no motion: it is death.
  And gazing on the happy head
  "How beautiful is Death!" he said.
             A SONNET IN SPRING.
  O CHAINLESS Love, the frost is in my brain,
    Whose swift desires and swift intelligence
    Are dull and numb to-day; because the sense
  Only responds to the sharp key of pain.
  O free fair Love, as welcome as the rain
    On thirsty fallows, come, and let us hence
    Far where the veil of Summer lies immense,
  A haze of heat on ocean's purple plain.
  O wingless Love, let us away together
    Where the sure surf rings round the beaten strand;
  Where the sky stands, a dome of flawless weather,
    And the stars join in one triumphal band,
  Because we broke the inexorable tether
    That bound our passion with an iron hand.
               DE PROFUNDIS.<<1>>

«1. Composed while walking home through the starry streets from an evil evening in St. Petersburg. Vv. 1-3 are the feelings, vv.“sqq.” the reflections thus engendered.»

  BLOOD, mist, and foam, then darkness.  On my eyes
  Sits heaviness, the poor worn body lies
    Devoid of nerve and muscle; it were death
  Save for the heart that throbs, the breast that sighs.
  The brain reels drowsily, the mind is dulled,
  Deadened and drowned by noises that are lulled
    By the harsh poison of the hateful breath.
  All sense and sound and seeing is annulled. {109A}
  Within a body dead a deadened brain
  Beats with the burden of a shameful pain,
    The sullen agony that dares to think,
  And think through sleep, and wake to think again.
  Fools! bitter fools!  Our breaths and kisses seem
  Constrained in devilry, debauch, and dream:
    Lives logged in the morass of meat and drink,
  Loves dipped in Phlegethon,<<1>> the perjured stream.

«1. The fiery river of Hades.»

  Behold we would that hours and minutes pass,
  Watch the sands falling in the eager glass;
    To wile their weariness is pleasure's bliss;
  But ah! the years! like smoke They fade, alas!
  We weep them as they slip away; we gaze
  Back on the likeness of the former days --
    The hair we fondle and the lips we kiss --
  Roses grow yellow and no purple stays.
  Ah! the old years!  Come back, ye vanished hours
  We wasted; come, grow red, ye faded flowers!
    What boots the weariness of olden time
  Now, when old age, a tempest-fury, lowers?
  Up to high God beyond the weary land
  The days drift mournfully; His hoary hand
    Gathers them.  Is it so?  My foolish rhyme
  Dreams they are links upon an endless band.
  The planets draw in endless orbits round
  The sun; itself revolves in the profound
    Deep wells of space; the comet's mystic track
  By the strong rule of a closed curve is bound. {109B}
  Why not with time?  To-morrow we may see
  The circle ended -- if to-morrow be --
    And gaze on chaos, and a week bring back
  Adam and Eve beneath the apple tree.
  Or, like the comet, the wild race may end
  Out into darkness, and our circle bend
    Round to all glory in a sudden sweep,
  And speed triumphant with the sun to friend.
  Love will not leave my home.  She knows my tears,
  My angers and caprices; still my ears
    Listen to singing voices, till I weep
  Once more, less sadly, and set hounds on fears.
  She will not leave me comfortless.  And why?
  Through the dimmed glory of my clouded eye
    She catches one sharp glint of love for her:
  She will not leave me ever till I die: --
  Nay, though I die!  Beyond the distant gloom
  Heaven springs, a fountain, out of Change's womb!
    Time would all men within the grave inter: --
  For Time himself shall no god find a tomb?
  Glory and love and work precipitate
  The end of man's desire -- so sayeth Fate.
    Man answers: Love is stronger, work more sure,
  Glory more fadeless than her shafts abate.
  Though all worlds fail, the pulse of Life be still,
  God fall, all darken, she hath not her will
  Of deeds beyond recall, that shall endure:
  For us, these three divinest glasses fill,
  Fill to the brim with lustrous dew, nor fail
  To leave the blossom and the nightingale,
    Love's earlier kiss, and manhood's glowing prime,
  These us suffice.  Shall man or Fate prevail? {110A}
  Lo, we are blind, and dubious fingers grope
  In Despair's dungeon for the key of Hope;<<1>>
    Lo, we are chained, and with a broken rhyme
  Would file our fetters and enlarge our scope.

«1. See Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, where Hope unlocks the dungeon of Giant Despair. Crowley more wisely would use the key of Work.»

  Yet ants may move the mountain; none is small
  But he who stretches out no arm at all;
    Toadstools have wrecked fair cities in a night,
  One poet's song may bid a kingdom fall.
  Add to thy fellow-men one ounce of aid --
  The block begins to shift, the start is made:
    The rest is thine; with overwhelming might
  The balance changes,and the task is paid.
  Join'st thou thy feeble hands in foolish prayer
  To him thy brain hath moulded and set there
    In thy brain's heaven?  Such a god replies
  As thy fears move.  So men pray everywhere.
  What God there be, is real.  By His might
  Begot the universe within the night;
    If he had prayed to His own mind's weak lies
  Think'st thou the heaven and earth had stood upright?
  Remember Him, but smite!  No workman hews
  His stone aright whose nervy arms refuse
    To ply the chisel, but are raised to ask
  A visionary foreman he may choose
  From the distortions of a sodden mind.
  God did first work on earth when woman-kind
    He chipped from Adam's rib -- a thankless task
  I wot His wisdom has long since repined. {110B}
  Christ touched the leper and the widow's son;
  And thou wouldst serve the work the Perfect One
    Began, by folding arms and gazing up
  To heaven, as if thy work were rightly done.
  I tell thee, He should say, if ye were met:
  "Thou hadst a talent -- ah, thou hast it yet
    Wrapped in a napkin! thou shalt drain the cup
  Of that damnation that may not forget
  "The wasted hours!"  Ah, bitter interest
  Of our youth's capital -- forgotten zest
    In all the pleasures of o'erflowing life,
  Wine tasteless, tired the brain, and cold the breast!
  Ah! but if with it is one good deed wrought,
  One kind word spoken, one immortal thought
    Born in thee, all is paid; the weary strife
  Grows victory.  "Love is all and Death is nought."
  Such an one wrote that word<<1>>  as I would meet,
  Lay my life's burden at his silver feet,
    Have him give ear if I say "Master."  Yea!
  I know no heaven, no honour, half so sweet!

«1. Browning, in “The Householder.”»

  He passed before me on the wheel of Time,
  He who knows no Time -- the intense sublime
    Master of all philosophy and play,
  Lord of all love and music and sweet rhyme.
  Follow thou him!  Work ever, if thy heart
  Be fervent with one hope, thy brain with art,
    Thy lips with song, thine arm with strength to smite:
  Achieve some act; its name shall not depart.
  Christ laid Love's corner-stone, and Caesar built
  The tower of glory; Sappho's life was split
    From fervent lips the torch of song to ignite:
  Thou mayst add yet a stone -- if but thou wilt. {111A}
  And yet the days stream by; night shakes the day
  From his pale throne of purple, to allay
    The tremors of the earth; day smiteth dark
  With the swift poignard dipped in Helios' ray.
  The days stream by; with lips and cheeks grown pale
  On their indomitable breast we sail.
    There is a favouring wind; our idle bark
  Lingers, we raise no silk to meet the gale.
  The bank slips by, we gather not its fruit,
  We plant no seed, we irrigate no root
    True men have planted; and the tare and thorn
  Spring to rank weedy vigour; poisons shoot
  Into the overspreading foliage;
  So as days darken into weary age
    The flowers are fewer; the weeds are stronger born
  And hands are grown too feeble to assuage
  Their venom; then, the unutterable sea!
  Is she green-cinctured with the earlier tree
    Of Life?  Do blossoms blow, or weeds create
  A foul rank undergrowth of misery?
  From the deep water of the bitterest brine
  Drowned children raise their arms; their lips combine
    To force a shriek; bid them go contemplate
  The cold philosophy of Zeno's<<1>>  shrine?

«1. The Stoic. To be distinguished from the Eleatic and the Epicurean of the same name. He was born at Citium in Cyprus in 340 B.C. He preached GR:alpha-pi-alpha-theta-epsilon-iota-alpha, happiness in oneself independent of all circumstance, as the highest good.»

  Nay, stretch a hand!  Although their eagle clutch
  O'erturn thy skiff, yet it is overmuch
    To grieve for that: life is not so divine --
  I count it little grief to part with such! {111B}
  We are wild serpents in a ring of fire;
  Our necks stretch out, our haggard eyes aspire
    In desperation; from the fearful line
  Our coils revulse in impotence and ire.
  An idle song it was the poet sang,
  A quavering note -- no brazen kettle's clang,
    But gentle, drooping, tearful.  Nay, achieve!
  I can remember how the finish rang
  Clear, sharp, and loud; the harp is glad to die
  And give the clarion one note silver-high.
    It was too sweet for music, and I weave
  In vain the tattered woof of memory.
  Ashes and dust!
    Cold cinders dead!
  Our swords are rust;
    Our lives are fled
  Like dew on glass.
    In vain we lust;
  Our hopes are sped,
    Alas! alas!
  From heaven we are thrust, we have no more trust.
  Gold hairs and gray!
    Red lips and white!
  Warm hearts, cold clay!
    Bright day, dim night!
  Our spirits pass
    Like the hours away.
  We have no light,
    Alas! alas!
  We have no more day, we are fain to say
  In Love's a cure
    For Fortune's hate;
  In Love's a lure
    Shall laugh at Fate;
  We have toiled Death's knell;
    All streams are pure; {112A}
  We are new-create;
    All's well, all's well!
  We have God to endure, we are very sure
    All's well!
  In such wise rang the challenge unto Death
  With clear high eloquence and happy breath;
    So did a brave sad heart grow glad again
  And mock the riddle that the dead Sphinx saith.
  When I am dead, remember me for this
  That I bade workers work, and lovers kiss;
    Laughed with the Stoic at the dream of pain,
  And preached with Jesus<<1>>  the evangel -- bliss.

«1. The allusion betrays Crowley's ignorance (at this time) of the results of modern criticism of the New Testament.»

  When I am dead, think kindly.  Frail my song?
  'Twas the poor utterance of an eager tongue;
    I stutter in my rhyme? my heart was full
  Of greater longings, more divinely wrung
  By love and pity and regret and trust,
  High hope from heaven that God will be just,
    Spurn not the child because his mind was dull,
  Still less condemn him for his father's lust.
  Yet I think priests shall answer Him in vain:
  Their gospel of disgrace, disease, and pain,
    Shall move His heart of Love to such a wrath --
  O Heart!  Turn back and look on Love again!
  Behold, I have seen visions, and dreamed dreams!
  My verses eddy in slow wandering streams,
    Veer like the wind, and know no certain path --
  Yet their worst shades re tinged with dawning beams! {112B}
  I have dreamed life a circle or a line,
  Called God, and Fate, and Chance, and Man, divine.
    I know not all I say, but through it all
  Mark the dim hint of ultimate sunshine!
  Remember me for this!  And when I go
  To sleep the last sleep in the slumberous snow,
    Let child and man and woman yet recall
  One little moment that I loved you so!
  Let some high pinnacle my tombstone be,
  My epitaph the murmur of the sea,
    The clouds of heaven be fleeces for my pall,
  My unknown grave the cradle of the free.
                 TWO SONNETS
                                 "To" C. G. LAMB.
  MY soul is aching with the sense of sound
    Whose angels trumpet in the angry air;
  Wild maenads with their fiery snakes enwound
    In the black waves of my abundant hair.
  Now hath my life a little respite found
    In the brief pauses exquisite and rare;
  In the strong chain of music I am bound,
    And all myself before myself lies bare.
  Drown me, oh, drown me in your fiery stream!
    Wing me new visions, fierce enchanting birds!
      Peace is less dear than this delirious fight!
  For all the glowing fragrance of a dream
    And all the sudden ecstasy of words
      Deluge my spirit with a lake of light {113A}
  The constant ripple of your long white hands,
    The soul-tormenting violin that speaks
    Truth, and enunciates all my soul seeks,
  That binds my love in its desirous bands,
  And clutches at my heart, until there stands
    No fibre yet unshaken, while it wreaks
    In one sharp song the agony of weeks,
  And all my soul and body understands.
  The music changes, and I know that here,
    In these new melodies, a tongue of fire
  Leaps at each waving of the silver spear;
    And all my sorrow dons delight's attire
  Because the gate of heaven is so near,
    And I have comprehended my desire.
                 A VALENTINE
               (FEB. 14, 1897.)
  WHY did you smile when the summer was dying
    If it were not that the hours
  Might bring in winter, while sad winds are sighing,
    Some of Love's flowers?
  Now is beginning of spring, and I ask not
    Roses to flame o'er the lawn --
  Who should know better that peonies bask not
    In the sun's dawn?
  Still, through the snow, it may be there is peeping
    Veiled from the kiss of the sun
  One lone white violet, daintily sleeping,
    Hard to be won.
  So with my fairy white maiden (you hear me?)
    Winter may yet pass away;
  Spring my arrive, (will it find your heart near me?)
    Summer may stay. {113B}
  Passionate roses I seek not, whose glories
    Now are too fierce for the spring,
  While the white flames of the frost flake that hoar is
    Flicker, on wing.
  Only a primrose, a violet laden
    With the pale perfume of dawn;
  Only a snowdrop, my delicate maiden;
    These have no thorn.
  Old-fashioned love, yet you feel it a fountain
    Springing for ever, most pure;
  Old-fashioned love, yet as adamant mountain
    Solid and sure.
  Yes, tender thoughts on your lips will be breaking
    By-and-by into a smile;
  Love, ere he springs up divine at his waking,
    Slumbers awhile.
  So, my kissed snowdrop, you took its white blossom
    Tenderly into your hand,
  Kissed it three times, wear it yet in your bosom --
    I understand.
                ODE TO POESY.
  UNTO what likeness shall I liken thee,
    O moon-wrought maiden of my dewy sleep?
  For thou art Queen of Thoughts, and unto me
    Sister and Bride; the worn earth's echoes leap
  Because thy holy name is Poesy.
      Whereto art thou most like?
  Thou art a Dian, crescent o'er the sea
    That beats sonorous on the craggy shore,
      Or shakes the frail earth-dyke.
    So calm and still and far, that never more
  Thy silken song shall quiver through the land;
  Only by coral isle, by lonely strand
  Where no man dwells, thy voice re-wakens wild and grand. {114A}
  Thou art an Aphrodite.  From the foam
    Of golden grape and red thou risest up
  Immaculate; thou hast an ebon comb
    Of shade and silence, and a jasper cup
  Wherein are mingled all desires.  Thine home
      Is in the forest shade.
  Thy pale feet kiss the daffodils; they roam
    By moss-grown springs, and shake the bluebell tips.
      Each flower of the deep glade
    Has whispered kisses for thy listening lips,
  While Eos blushes in the sky, to find
  A fairer, queenlier maiden, and as kind
  To man and maid, whose eyes are lit by the same mind.
  Thou hast, as Pallas hath, a polished shield,
    Whose Gorgon-head is Hatred, and a sword
  Sharper than Love's.  Thy wisdom is revealed
    To them who love, but thou hast aya abhorred
  The children of revenge; to them is sealed
      Thy book, so clear to me.
  Thy book where seven sins their sceptres wield,
    And seven sorrows track them, and one joy
      Cancels their infamy;
    Shame and regret are fused to an alloy,
  Whose drossy weight sinks down and is consumed,
  While o'er the ruddy metal is relumed
  A purer flame of piece, with knowledge now perfumed.
  Thy ways are very bitter.  Not one rose
    Twines in the crown of thorns thy spouse must wear;
  There is no Lethe for the scoffs, the blows,
    Nor find they a Cyrenian<<1>> anywhere
    Amid the mob, to lift my cross, to share
      Its burden: not one friend
  Whose love were silence, whose affection knows
    To press my hand and close my dying eyes
      There, at the endless end.
    I am alone on earth, and from the skies {114B}
  Sometimes I seem so far -- and yet, thy kiss
  Re-quickens Hope; through aether's emptiness
  Thou guidest me to touch the Hand of Him who Is.

«1. Simon the Cyrenian, who bore the cross of Christ.»

  Thou hadst a torch to lume my lips to song;
    Thou hast a cooler fountain for my thirst,
  Lest my young love should work thy fame a wrong;
    So the grape's veins in purple ardour burst,
  And opiates in bloomless gardens throng,
      And Life, a moon, wanes fast;
  But to thy garden richer buds belong
    And hardier flowers, and Love, a deathless sun,
      Flames eager to the last,
    And young desires in fleeter revels run,
  And life revives, and all the flowers rejoice,
  Bird and light butterfly have made their choice,
  Creation hymns its God with an united voice.
  There is a storm without.  The hoary trees
    Stagger; the foam is angry on the sea:
  I know the secret mountains are at ease,
    And in the deepest ice-embroidery
  Where great men's spirits linger there is peace.
      Heed not the unquiet wind!
  Dawn's finger shall be raised, its wrath shall cease,
    The sun shall rouse us whom the tempest lulled,
      And thy poor poet's mind
    For respite by its own deep anguish dulled
  Shall wake again to watch the cruel day
  Drift slowly on its chill and wasted way
  With but thy smile to inspire some sad melodious lay.
  From whose rude caverns sweep these gusty wings
    That shake the steeples as they mock at God?
  Who reared the stallion wind?  Whose foaling flings
    The billows starward?  Whose the steeds fire-shod {115}
  That sweep throughout the world?  What spearman sings
      The fearful chant of war
  That fires, and spurs, and maddens all the kings
    That rule o'er the earth, and air, and ocean?
      Whose hand excites the star
    To shatter into fiery flakes?  No man,
  No petty god, but One who governs all,
  Slips the sun's leash, perceives the sparrow's fall,
  Too high for man to fear, too near for man to call.

«1. The virulence of these sonnets is excusable when it is known that their aim was to destroy the influence in Cambridge of a man who headed in that University a movement parallel to that which at Oxford was associated with the name of Oscar Wilde. They had their effect.»

  SELF-DAMNED, the leprous moisture of thy veins
    Sickens the sunshine, and thine haggard eyes,
    Bleared with their own corrupting infamies,
  Glare through the charnel-house of earthly pains.
  Horrible as already in hell.  There reigns
    The terror of the knowledge of the lies
    That mock thee; thy death's double destinies
  Clutch at the throat that sobs, and chokes, and strains.
  Self-damned on earth, live out thy tortured days,
    That men may look upon thy face, and see
    How vile a thing of woman born may be.
  Then, we are done with thee; go, go thy ways {115B}
    To other hells, thou damned of God hereafter,
    'Mid men's contempt and hate and pitiless laughter.
  Lust, impotence, and knowledge of thy soul,
    And that foreknowledge, fill the fiery lake
    Of lava where thy lazar corpse shall break
  The burning surface to seek out a goal
  More horrible, unspeakable.  The scroll
    Opens, and "coward, liar, monster" shake
    Those other names of "goat" and "swine" and "snake"
  Wherewith Hell's worms caress thee and control.
  Nay, but alone, intolerably alone,
    Alone, as here, thy carrion soul shall swelter,
    Yearning in vain for sleep, or death, or shelter;
  No release possible, no respite known!
    Self-damned, without a friend, thy eternal place
    Sweats through the painting of thy harlot's face.
  "At the hour of the eclipse,"
    "Wednesday, Dec." 28.
              BESIDE THE RIVER.
  RAIN, rain in May.  The river sadly flows,
    A sullen silver crossed with sable bars,
    Damp, gloomy, shivering, while reluctant stars,
  Between swart masses of thick clouds that close,
    Drive with drooped plumes their winged cars
  Toward sleep, the scythe of woes.
  Woes, woes in Spring.  Ere summer deepeneth
    The pink of roses to a purpler tint;
    Ere ripening corn shafts back the sudden glint {116A}
  Of sunshine that brings healing with the breath
    Of western winds that sigh, they hint
  Of sleep, twin soul with death.
  Death, death ere dawn.  The night is over dark;
    Trees are grown terrible; the shadows wan
    Make shudder all the tense desires of man;
  No gleam of moonlight bears the golden mark
    Of sunny lips, nor shines upon
  Our sleep -- Love's birchen bark.
  Love, love to-night.  To-night is all we know,
    Is all our care; lips joined to lips we lie,
    Tender hands touching, hearts in tune to die,
  With willing kiss reluctant to let go;
    So sweet love's last enduring sigh
  For sleep, so sure, so slow.
  Sleep, sleep to-night.  Our arms are intertwined;
    Breath desires breath and hand imprisons hand;
    Breezes cool faces, rosy with the brand
  Of long sweet kisses; sun shall dawn and find
    Two lovers who have passed the land
  Of sleep -- and found Death kind.
                 MAN'S HOPE.
  HERE fades the last red glimmer of the sun;
    Ere day is night, when on the glittering bar
    The waves are foaming rubies, and afar
  Streaks of red water, gold on the horizon,
  On summer ripples rhythmically run;
    Ere dusk is weaned, there sails on silver car
    From the expectant East, the evening Star;
  And all the threads of sorrow are unspun. {116B}
  So He who ordered this shall still work thus,
    And ere life's lamp shall flicker into death,
  And Time lose all his empire over us,
    A gleam of Hope, of Knowledge, shall arise,
    A star to silver o'er Death's glooming skies,
  And gladden the last labouring torch of breath.
  O BODY pale and beautiful with sin!
    O breasts with venom swollen by the snakes
    Of passion, whose cold slaver slimes and slakes
  Thy soul-consuming fevers that within
  Thy heart the fires of hell on earth begin!
    O heart whose yearning after truth forsakes
    The law of love!  O heart whose ocean breaks
  In sterile foam against some golden skin!
  O thou whose body is one perfect prayer,
    One long regret, one agony of shame,
  Lost in the fragrance, speeding, subtle and rare,
    Up to the sky, an avenue of flame!
  My soul, thy body, in the same sin curled,
  With vivid lust annihilate the world.
              A WOODLAND IDYLL.
  FRESH breath from the woodland blows sweet
    O'er the flowery path we are roaming,
  On the dimples of light lover's feet
    In the mystical charm of the gloaming,
  On the buds that blush bright as we meet
    In the mystical charm of the gloaming! {117A}
  A tear for the stars of the night,
    And a smile for the avenue shady,
  A kiss for the eyelashes bright,
    And a blush for the cheek of my lady,
  A laugh for the moon and her spite,
    And a blush for the cheek of my lady!
  We'll tread where the daffodils shake
    And the primrose smiles up through her weeping,
  Where the daisies dip down to the lake,
    Where the wonderful thrushes are sleeping,
  By the marge of the maze of the brake
    Where the wonderful thrushes are sleeping.
  Where the brook trickles clear to the eye
    Below dew-spangled frondlets of willow
  We will wander to find by-and-by
    The sward of our delicate pillow,
  Where the mosses so lusciously lie
  For the sward of our delicate pillow.
  For a bride fairer far than the flower
    Is the couch spread by fingers of even,
  The blossom of apples for bower,
    Its roof-tree the sapphires of heaven,
  For the bride of the mystical hour,
    Its roof-tree the sapphires of heaven!
  With songsters the heavy sweet air
    Is trembling and sighing and sobbing,
  With meteors magically fair
    The sky is deliciously throbbing,
  With spledour and subtlety rare
    The sky is deliciously throbbing.
  Sweet bride to fond arms with a sigh,
    Strong arms to fond bosom, are curling;
  The winds breathe more musically by;
    The moon has a rosier pearling,
  The stars grow more dim in the sky,
    The moon has a rosier pearling. {117B}
  So, birds, are you shy to awake
    Your voices to laughter-tuned numbers?
  So, sun, do you tremble to shake
    The dews of the night from our slumbers?
  So, breeze, to reluctant to take
    The dews of the night from our slumbers?
  Light breaks, and the breezes caress
    Cool limbs and sot eyes and fair faces;
  The nightingales carol to bless
    The dawn of our maiden embraces,
  The woods wear a lovelier dress
    In the dawn of our maiden embraces!

«1. “I shall endure to the end.” This was the mystic title taken by Crowley at his first initiation.»

  EXILE from humankind!  The snow's fresh flakes
  Are warmer than men's hearts.  my mind is wrought
  Into dark shapes of solitary thought
  That loves and sympathises, but awakes
  No answering love or pity.  What a pang
  Hath this strange solitude to aggravate
  The self-abasement and the blows of Fate!
  No snake of hell hath so severe a fang!
  I am not lower than all men -- I feel
  Too keenly.  Yet my place is not above,
  Though I have this -- unalterable Love
  In every fibre.  I am crucified
  Apart on a lone burning crag of steel,
  Tortured, cast out; and yet -- I shall abide.

«1. A bridge on the “Backs” at Cambridge.»

  HERE in the evening curl white mists and wreathe in their vapour
    All the gray spires of stone, all the immobile towers; {118A}
  Here in the twilight gloom dim trees and sleepier rivers,
    Here where the bridge is thrown over the amber stream.
  Chill is the ray that steals from the moon to the stream that whispers
    Secret tales of source, songs of its fountain-head.
  Here do I stand in the dusk; like spectres mournfully moving
    Wisps of the cloud-wreaths form, dissipate into the mist,
  Wrap me in shrouds of gray, chill me and make me shiver,
    Not with the Night alone, not with the sound of her wing,
  Yet with a sense of something vague and unearthly stalking
    (Step after step as I move) me, to annul me, quell
  Hope and desire and life, bid light die under my eyelids,
    Bid the strong heart despair, quench the desire of Heaven.
  So I shudder a little; and my heart goes out to the mountain,
    Rock upon rock for a crown, snow like an ermine robe;
  Thunder and lightning free fashioned for speech and seeing,
    Pinnacles royal and steep, queen of the arduous breast!
  Ye on whose icy bosom, passionate, at the sunrise,
    Ye in whose wind-swept hollows, lulled in the moonrise clear,
  Often and oft I struggled, a child with an angry mother,
    Often and oft I slept, maid in a lover's arms.
  Back to ye, back, wild towers, from this flat and desolate fenland,
    Back to ye yet will I flee, swallow on wing to the south;
  Move in your purple cloud-banks and leap your far-swelling torrents,
    Bathe in the pools below, laugh with the winds above, {118B}
  Battle and strive and climb in the teeth of the glad wild weather,
    Flash on the slopes of ice, dance on the spires of rock,
  Run like a glad young panther over the stony high-lands,
    Shout with the joy of living, race to the rugged cairn,
  Feel the breath of your freedom burn in my veins, and Freedom!
    Freedom! echoes adown cliff and precipitous ghyll.
  Down by the cold gray lake the sun descends from his hunting,
    Shadow and silence steals over the frozen fells.
  Oh, to the there, my heart!  And the vesper bells awaken;
    Colleges call their children; Lakeland fades from the sight.
  Only the sad slow Cam like a sire with age grown heavy
    Wearily moves to the sea, to quicken to life at last.
  Blithelier I depart, to a sea of sunnier kindness;
    Hours of waiting are past; I re-quicken to love.
           ASTRAY IN HER PATHS.<<1>>

«1. This satirical title is from Proverbs vii. 25. A poet's nature is to refine to purest gold even the sordidest of dross.»

          COPENHAGEN, "January," '97.
  I FEEL thee shudder, clinging to my arm,
  Before the battlements of the salt sea,
  Black billows tipped with phosphorescent light,
  Towering from where we stand to yonder shore
  That is no earthly shore, but guards the coast
  Of that which is from that which is to be;
  Wherefore it kindles no evasive fire
  Nor blazes through the night, but lies forgotten
  Gray in the twilight; never a star is out {119A}
  To light the broad horizon; only here
  Behind us cluster lamps, and busy sounds
  Of men proclaim a city; but to us
  They are not here; for we, because we love,
  Are not of earth, but, as the immortals, stand
  With eyes immutable; our souls are fed
  On a strange new nepenthe from the cup
  Of the vast firmament.  Nor do we dream,
  Nor think we aught of the transient world,
  But are absorbed in our own deity:
  And our clear eyes reflect -- (who dares to gaze
  Shall see an die!) -- the changeless empyrean
  Eternity, the concentrated void
  Of space, for being the centre of all things,
  Time is to us the Now, and Space the Here;
  From us all Matter radiates, is a part
  Of our own thoughts and souls; because we love.
  Thou shudderest, clinging to me; though the night
  Jewels her empire with the frosty crown
  Of thousand-twinkling stars, whose hoary crests
  Burn where light touches them, with diamond points
  Of infinite far fire, save where the sea
  Is ebony with sleep, and though the wind
  Pierces the marrow, since it is the word
  Of the Almighty, and cuts through the air
  That may not stay its fury, with a cold
  Nipping and chill, it is not in the wind;
  Nor though the thunder broke, or flashed the fire
  From all the circle of eternity,
  Were that the reason; for thou shudderest
  To hear the Voice of Love; it is no voice
  That men may hear, but an intensest rich
  Silence, that silence when man waits to hear
  Some faint vibration in the smitten air,
  And, if he hear not, die; but we who love
  Are beyond death, and therefore may commune
  In that still tongue; it is the only speech
  And song of stars and sun; nor is it marred
  By one dissentient tremor of the air
  That girds the earth, but in lone aether spreads {119B}
  Its song.  But now I turn to thee, whose eyes
  Blaze on me with such look as flesh and blood
  May never see and live; for so it burns
  Into the innest being of the spirit
  And stains its vital essence with a brand
  Of fire that shall not change; and shuddering I
  Gaze back, spirit to spirit, with the like
  Insatiable desire, that never quenched,
  Nor lessened by sublime satiety,
  But rather crescent, hotter with the flame
  Of its own burning, that consumes it not,
  Because it is the pure white flame of God.
  I shudder, holding thee to me; thy gaze
  Is still on me; a thousand years have passed,
  And yet a thousand thousand; years they are
  As men count years, and yet we stand and gaze
  With touching hands and lips immutable
  As mortals stand a moment; ...
  The universe is One: One Soul, One Spirit,
  One Flame, One infinite God, One infinite Love.
              SONNET TO CLYTIE.
  CLYTE, beyond all praise, thou goodliest
    Of queens, thou royal woman, crowned with tears,
    That could not move the dull stars from their spheres
  To kiss thee.  For the sun would fainter rest
  In the gold chambers of the glowing west
    Than answer thy love, thine, whose soul endears
    All souls but his, whose slow desire fears
  The fierce embraces of thine olive breast.
  O Queen, sun-lover, we are wed with thee
    In changeless love, in passion for a fire
    Whose lips bind all men in their bitter spell;
  A love whose first caress, hard won, would be
    The final dissolution of desire,
      A flame to shrivel us with fire of hell. {120A}
             A VALENTINE, '98.<<1>>

«1. Nothing more; be it well remembered! – A.C.»

  NOW on the land the woods are green;
    A wild bird's note
  Shrills till the air trembles between
    His beak and throat.
  And up through blue and gold and black
    The shivering sound
  Rushes; no echo murmurs back
    From sky or ground.
  In the loud agony of song
    The moon is still;
  The wind drops down the shore along;
    Night hath her will.
  The bird becomes a dancing flame
    In leaf and bower.
  The forest trembles; loves reclaim
    Their own still hour.
  The dawn is here, and on the sands
    Where sun first flames,
  I gather lilies from all lands
    Of sad sweet names.
  The Lesbian lily is of white
    Stained through with blood,
  Swayed with the stream, a wayward light
    Upon the flood.
  The Spartan lily is of blue,
    With green leaves fresh;
  Apollo glints his crimson through
    The azure mesh.
  The English lily is of white,
    All white and clean;
  There plays a tender flame of light
    Her flowers between.
  The English lily is a bloom
    To cold and sweet;
  One might say -- in the twilight gloom
    A maiden's feet. {120B}
  Silent and slim and delicate
    The flower shall spring,
  Till there be born immaculate
    A fair new thing.
  Tall is the mother-lily, still
    By faint winds swayed;
  Tender and pure, without a will --
    An English maid.
  No tree of poison, at whose feet
    All men lie dead;
  No well of death, whose waters sweet
    Are tinged with red.
  No hideous impassioned queen
    For whom love dies;
  No warm imperious Messaline
    That slew with sighs.
  Fiercer desires may cast away
    All things most good;
  A people may forget to-day
    Their motherhood.
  She will remain, unshaken yet
    By storm and sun;
  She will remain, when years forget
    That fierier one.
  A race of clean strong men shall spring
    From her pure life.
  Men shall be happy; bards shall sing
    The English wife.
  And thou, forget thou that my mouth
    Has ever clung
  To flame of hell; that of the south
    The songs I sung.
  Forget that I have trampled flowers,
    And worn the crown
  Of thorns of roses in the hours
    So long dropped drown.
  Forget, O white-faced maid, that I
    Have dallied long
  In classic bowers and mystery
    Of classic song. {121A}
  Eros and Aphrodite now
    I can forget,
  Placing upon thy maiden brow
    Love's coronet.
  Wake from the innocent dear sleep
    Of childhood's life:
  An English maiden must not weep
    To be a wife.
  So shall out love bridge space, and bring
    The tender breath
  Of sun and moon and stars that sing
    To gladden Death.
  I see your cheek grow pale and cold,
    Then flush above.
  Kiss me; I know that I behold
    The birth of Love.
  ULYSSES 'scaped the sorceries of that queen
    That turned to swine his goodly company,
  And came with sails broad-burgeoning and clean
    Over the ripples of his native sea.
  Yet for the shores his eyes had lately seen,
    He kept a half-regretful memory;
  And thought, when all the flower-strewn ways were green,
    "Better love Circe than Penelope!"
  Yes.  A good woman's love will forge a chain
    To break the spirit of the bravest Greek;
  While with an harlot one may leap again
  Free as the waters of the western main,
    And turn with no heart-pang the vessel's beak
    Out to the oceans that all seamen seek. {121B}
  EXALTED over earth, from hell arisen,
  There sits a woman, ruddy with the flame
  Of men's blood spilt, and her uncleanly shame,
  And the thrice-venomous vomit of her prison.
  She sits as one long dead: infernal calm,
  Chill hatred, wrap her in their poisonous cold.
  She careth not, but doth disdainly hold
  Three scourges for man's soul, that know no balm
  They know not any cure.  The first is Life,
  A well of poison.  Sowing dust and dung
  Over men's hearts, the second scourge, above
  All shameful deeds, is Lying, from whose tongue
  Drops Envy, wed with Hatred, to sow Strife.
  These twain are bitter; but the last is Love.
              THE RAPE OF DEATH.

ARGUMENT. – Sir Godfrey, a knight of Normandy, leapeth into a light vessel of Jarl Hungard, while they sit at feast, and, slaying the crew, seeketh the high seas with the Lady Thurla. He slayeth the swiftest pursuers, and escapeth in a great tempest; which on the second day abating, he maketh the inside of a bar, and must await the breeze. Jarl Hungard coming with his men and two dragons, is wrecked, but a knave shooting, slayeth the Lady Thurla. Sir Godfrey forthwith sinketh the other dragon, and saileth forth into the ocean, and is not heard of ever after.«The argument is not founded on tradition.»

  PALE vapours like phantoms on the sea,
    The tide swells slumberous beneath our keel,
  The pulses of our canvas fail; and we {122A}
  No faint sweet summons from the south wind feel:
    The crimson waters of the west are pale,
  And bloodless arrows like a stream of steel
  Flash from the moon, that rises where the gale
    Only a day past raged; the clouds are lost
  In pleasant rains that ripple on the sail.
  The sudden fascination of the frost
    Touches the heavy canvas; now there form
  Reluctant crystals, and the vessel, tossed
  The wild night through in the devouring storm,
    Glistens with dew made sharp and bright with cold.
  For no north wind may drive us to the warm
  Long-looked-for lands where day, with plumes of gold,
    Flaps like a lazy eagle in the air;
  Where night, a bird of prey divinely bold,
  Wings through the sky, intangible but fair,
    And pale with subtle passion; and no wind
  Turns our prow southward, till the canvas bear
  No more up into it, but still behind
    Follow like flame, and lead our love along
  Into the valleys of the ocean, blind,
  But seeing all the world awake with song
    Of many lyres and lutes and reeds of straw,
  And all the rivers musical that throng
  In bright assemblage of unchanging law,
    Like many flute-players; and seeing this,
  (That all the mountains looked upon and saw)
  The sweetness of the savour of a kiss,
    And all its perfume wafter to the sky.
  Nay, but no wind will drive our fortalice {122B}
  (So strong against the sun) to where they ply
    Those pallid wings, or turn our vessel's beak
  With utmost fury to the North, to dye
  Our prows with seaweed, such as wise men seek
    For cleansing of their altars with slow blood
  Wrenched from the long dark leaves, with fingers weak
  With age and toil; to stem the restless flood
    That boils between the islands; to attain
  The ultimate ice, where some calm hero stood
  And looked one last time for a sail in vain,
    And looking upward not in vain, lay down
  And died, to pass where cold and any pain
  Are not.  So still the night is, like the crown
    Most white of the high God that glittereth!
  The stars surround the moon, and Nereids drown
  Their rippled tresses in her golden breath.
    Let us keep watch, my true love, caught at last
  Between my hands, and not remember death.
  Only bethink us of the daylight past,
    The long chase oversea, the storm, the speed
  Whereby we ran before the leaping blast,
  And left the swift pursuers at our need
    With one wrecked dragon and one shattered; yea!
  And on their swiftest many warriors bleed,
  Having beheld, above the gray seaway
    Between them and the sun, my sword arise,
  Like the first dagger flashing for the day,
  My sword, that darts among them serpentwise --
    And all their warriors fell back a space,
  And all the air rang out with sudden cries, {123A}
  Seeing the death and fury of my face,
    And feeling the long sword sweep out and kill,
  Till there was won the slippery path, the place.
  Whence I might sever the white cords, and fill
    The ship with tangled wreckage of the sail.
  All this I did, and bore the blade of ill
  Back, dripping blood, to thee most firm and pale
    Who held our rudder, all alone, and stood
  Fierce and triumphant in the rising gale,
  Bent to my sword, and kissed the stinging blood,
    While the good ship leapt free upon the deep,
  And felt the feet of the resistless flood
  Run, and the fervour of the billows sweep
    Under our keel -- and we were clean away,
  Laughing to seethe foamheads sough and sleep,
  As we kept pace with ocean all the day
    And one long night of toil; until the sun
  Lit on these cliffs his morning beams that play
  With our sails rent and rifted white, and run
    Like summer lightning all about the deck,
  And laugh upon the work my sword had done
  When the feast turned to death for us; we reck
    Nothing to-night of all that past despair:
  Only to-night I watch your curving neck,
  And play with all the kisses of your hair,
    And feel your weight, as if you were to be
  Always and always -- O my queen, how rare {123B}
  Your lips' perfume; like lilies on the sea
    Your white breasts glimmer; let us wait awhile.
  There is no breeze to drive us down to lee
  On the cold rocks of yonder icy isle,
    And your sire's passion must forget the chase
  As I forget, the moment that you smile,
  And sea and sky are brighter for your face --
    I hear the sound of many oars; perhance
  Your father's, but within this iron place
  The heavy dragons will not dare advance
    Where our light vessel barely skimmed the rock:
  Their anger may grow cool, the while they dance
  Like fools before the bard we crossed, and mock
    Pursuit.  Behold! one dragon strikes the reef,
  Breaks in the midst before the dreadful shock,
  Shattered and stricken by the rousing sheaf
    Of wild intolerable foam that breaks
  Full on their stem: she sinks.  One fierce foul thief
  Springs desperate upon her poop; she shakes;
    He strings a sudden arrow.  Ocean sweeps
  Over his cursed craft.  The arrow takes
  The straight swift road -- Ah God! -- to her who sleeps,
    To her bright bosom as at peace she lies.
  She is dead quickly, and the ocean keeps
  The secret of my sorrow from her eyes.
    I will not weep; I cannot weep; I turn
  And watch the sail fill with the wind that sighs {124A}
  A little for pure pity -- I discern
    The cowards shake with fear; the vessel springs
  Light to the breezes, as the golden erne
  That seeks a prey on its impetuous wings;
    The reef is past; I crash upon the foe,
  And all the fury of my weapon rings
  On armour temperless; the waters flow
    Through the dark rent within the side; I leap
  Back to my dead love; back, desiring so
  That they had killed me, for I cannot weep.
    They killed her, and a mist of blood consumes
  My sight; they killed my lover in her sleep.
  The breeze has freshened, and the water fumes,
    The vessel races on beneath the sky;
  Beneath her bows the eager billow spumes.
  I wonder whither, and I wonder why.
    No ray of light this sea of blood illumes.
  I wonder whether God will let me die.
  SING, happy nightingale, sing;
    Past is the season of weeping;
  Birds in the wood are on wing,
    Lambs in the meadow are leaping.
  Can there be any delight still in the buttercups sleeping?
  Dawn, paler daffodil, dawn;
    Smile, for the winter is over;
  Sunlight makes golden the lawn,
    Spring comes and kisses the clover;
  All the wild woodlands await poet and songster and lover. {124B}
  Linger, dew, linger and gem
    All the fresh flowers in the garland;
  Blossom, leaf, bud and green stem
    Flash with your light to some far land,
  Where men shall wonder if you be not a newly-born starland.
  Ah! the sweet scents of the woods!
    Ah! the sweet sounds of the heaven!
  Sights of impetuous floods,
    Foam like the daisy at even,
  Folding o'er passionate gold petals that sunrise had riven!
  See, like my life is the stream
    Now its desire is grown quiet;
  Life was a passionate dream
    Once, where light fancy ran riot,
  Now, ere youth fades, flows in peace past woody bank and green eyot.
  Highest, white heather and rock,
    Mountain and pine, with young laughter,
  Breezes that murmur and mock
    Duller delights to come after,
  Wild as a swallow that dives whither the sea wind would waft her.
  Lower, an ocean of flowers,
    Trees that are warmer and leafier,
  Starrier, sunnier hours
    Spurning the stain of all grief here,
  Bringing a quiet delight to us, beyond our belief, here.
  Lastly, the uttermost sea,
    Starred with flakes of spray sunlit,
  Blue as its caverns that be
    Crystal, resplendent, yet unlit;
  So like a mother receives the kiss of the dainty-lip runlet.
  Here the green moss is my seat,
    Beech is a canopy o`er me,
  Calm and content the retreat;
    Man, my worst foe, cannot bore me;
  Life is a closed book behind -- Shelley an open before me. {125A}
  Shelley's own birds are above
    Close to me (why should they fear me?)
  May I believe it -- that love
    Brings his bright spirit so near me
  That, should I whisper one word -- Shelley's swift spirit would hear me.
  Heaven is not very far;
    Soul unto soul may be calling
  When a swift meteor star
    Through the quick vista is falling.
  Loose but your soul -- shall its wings find the white way so appalling?
  Heaven, as I understand,
    Nearer than some folk would make it;
  God -- should you stretch our a hand,
    Who can be quicker to take it?
  Then you have pacted an oath -- judge you if He will forsake it!
  I have had hope in the spring --
    Trust that the God who has given
  Flowers, and the thrushes that sing
    Dawnwards all night, and at even
  Year after year, will be true now we are speaking of heaven.
  Breezes caress me and creep
    Over the world to admire it;
  Sweet air shall sigh me to sleep,
    Softly my lips shall respire it,
  Lying half-closed with a kiss ready for who shall desire it.
           A VISION UPON USHBA.<<1>>

«1. A mountain in the Caucasus. Crowley never visited this district.»

  HERE in the wild Caucasian night,
    The sleepless years
  Seem to pass by in garments white,
    Made white with tears,
  A pageant of intolerable light
    Across the sombre spheres,
  And, mingling with the tumult of the morn,
  Methought a single rose of blood was born. {125B}
  Far on the iron peaks a voice
    Crystal and cold,
  Sharper than sounds the aurochs'<<1>> choice
    O'er wood and wold,
  A summons as of angels that rejoice,
    A paean glad and bold,
  A mighty shout of infinite acclaim
  Shrieks through the sky some dread forgotten Name.

«1. The extinct Wild Bull of Europe. {WEH Note: No longer quite extinct; breed back from mixed stock after the time of this poem. The same is true of some breeds of wild horses.}»

  Trembles the demon on his perch
    Of crags ice-bound;
  Tremble near forest and far church
    At that quick sound;
  The silver arrows that bedeck the birch
    Shiver along the ground:
  Priest, fiend, and harpy answer to the call,
  And hasten to their ghastly festival.
  There in the vale below my feet
    I see the crew
  Gather, blaspheming God, and greet
    Their shame anew.
  A feast is spread of some unholy meat;
    Oftimes there murmurs through
  Their horrid ranks a cry of pain, as God
  Bids them keep memory of His iron rod.
  The vale is black with priests.  They fight,
    Wild beasts, for food,
  The orphan's gold, the widow's right,
    The virgin's snood.
  All in their maws are crammed within the night
    That hides their chosen wood,
  Where through the blackness sounds the sickening noise
  Of cannibals that gloat on monstrous joys.
  The valley steams with slaughter.  Here
    Shall the pure snow
  The bloody reek of murder rear
    To crush the foe?
  In Titan fury shall the rocks spring clear,
    And smite the fiends below?
  Shall poisonous wind and avalanche combine
  To wreck swift justice, human and divine? {126A}
  Priests thrive on poison.  Carrion
    Their eager teeth
  Tear, till the sacramental sun
  Its sword unsheath,
  And bid their horrid carnival be done,
    And smite beneath
  In their cold gasping valleys, and bid light
  Break the battalions of the angry night.
  That sword that smote from Heaven was so keen,
    Its silver blade
  No angel's sight, no fairy's eye hath seen,
    No tender maid
  With subtle insight may behold its sheen
    With light inlaid;
  But God, who forged it, breathed upon its point,
  And His pure unction did the hilt anoint.
  Within the poet's hand he laid the sword:
    With reverent ear
  The poet listened to His word
    Cleansed through of fear.
  The brightness of the glory of the Lord
    Grew adamant, a spear!
  And when he took the flachion in his hand
  Lo! kings and princes bowed to his command.
  Then shall the flag of England flaunt
    In peaceful might,
  The sceptred isle of dying Gaunt<<1>>
    Shall rule by right.
  The sons of England shall bid Hell avaunt
    And priest and harlot smite.
  Then all the forces of the earth shall be
  Untamable, a shield of Liberty.

«1. See “Richard II.,” ii. I.»

  Freedom shall burgeon like a rose,
    While in the sky
  A new white sun with ardour glows
    On liberty.
  Men shall sing merrily at work as those
    Who fear no more to die --
  Ay! and who fear no more at last to live
  Since man can love and worship and forgive. {126B}
  Then on these heights of Caucasus
    A fire shall dwell,
  Pure as the dawn, and odorous
    Of bud and bell;
  A flower of fire, a flame from heaven to us
    All triumph to foretell,
  A glory of unspeakable delight,
  A flower like lightning, adamant and white.
  There needs no more or sun or sea
    Or any light;
  On golden wheels Eternity
    Revolves in Night.
  The island peoples are too proud and free
    And full of might
  To care for time or space, but glorious wend
  A royal path of flowers to the end.
  I pray thee, God, to weapon me
    With this keen fire,
  That I may set this people free
    As my desire;
  That the white lilies of our liberty
    Grow on Life's crags still higher,
  Till on the loftiest peaks their blossom flower,
  The rampart of a people and their power.
         ELEGY, "August" 27"th," 1898.<<1>>

«1. When Dr. John Hopkinson and three of his children perished on the Petite Dent de Veisivi.»

  SO have the days departed, as the leaves
    Smitten by wrath of Autumn blast;
  So the year, fallen from delight, still grieves
    Over the happy past.
  The year of barren summer, when the wind
    Blew from the south unlooked-for snow,
  The year when Collon,<<1>> desolate and blind,
    Gloomed on the vale below,

«1. A mountain at the head of the Val d'Herens.»

  When logs of pinewood lit the little room,
    And friendship ventured in to sit
  Beside their blaze, to listen in the gloom
    To wisdom and to wit; {127A}
  When we discussed our hopes, and told the stories
    Of happy climbing days gone by;
  The stubborn battle with the cliffs, the glories
    Of the blue Alpine sky.
  The keen delight of paths untrodden yet,
    And new steep ice and rocky ways
  Too dangerous and splendid to forget.
    Those dear strong happy days!
  And now what happier fate to your brave souls
    Than so to strive and fighting fall?
  Think you that He who sees you, and controls,
    Did not devise it all?
  The mountains that you loved have taken you,
    And we who love you will not weep.
  Shall we begrudge?  Your last look saw sky blue;
    You will be glad to sleep.
  Your pure names (thrice renowned, yours fresh with youth
    And full of promise) shall be kept
  Still in our hearts for monuments of truth,
    As if you had not slept.
  HORACE, in the fruitful Sabine country,
  Where the wheat and vine are most abundant,
  Where the olive ripens in the sunshine,
  Where the streams are voiced with Dian's whispers,
  Lived in quiet, with a woman's passion
  To inspire his lute and bring contentment
  In the gray still days of early winter.
  I, remote from cities, like the poet, {127B}
  Tune my lesser lyre with other fingers,
  Yet am not a whit the less beloved.
  Unto me the stars are never silent,
  Nor do sea and storm deny their music,
  Nor do flower and breeze refuse their kisses:
  So my soul is flooded with their magic;
  So my love completes the joy of living.
  I am like the earth, to whom there gather
  Rays of gold to bid the gray horizon
  Melt, recede, and brighten into azure.
  Let me sing, O holy one, Apollo!
  Sing as Horace sang, and flood the ocean
  With a living ecstasy of music
  Till the whole creation echo, echo,
  Echo till the tune dissolve the heavens? {128A}
  Still the song lingers; lamely from the lute string
  Steals a breath of melody; the forest
  Treasures in its glades the sighs I utter.
  Yet may I be happy, storing honey
  Lover's lips hold, gathering the sunlight
  Eyes and hair have kept for me, delighting
  In the bells far-off, in yonder thrushes,
  In the tawny songster of the forest,
  In the stream's song, all the words of passion,
  Echoes of the deeper words unspoken
  In thy breast and mine, O heart of silence!
  Will they pierce one day to other nations
  Clear and strong and triumphing?
                                   It may be.
  Then we shall not envy you, my Horace! {128

{{full page below} JEZEBEL; AND OTHER TRAGIC POEMS. BY COUNT VLADIMIR SVAREFF.<<1>> Edited, with an Introduction and Epilogue, by ALEISTER CROWLEY. 1899. <<1. Under this name the poet lay perdu in the heart of London, prosecuting, under circumstances of romantic and savage interest, his first occult studies.>> {col. start below} DEDICACE. LONDRES, "Juin" 1898. PEINTRE, que ton amour inspire Des chansons toujours plus sublimes, Malgre qu'aujourd'hui ma mauvaise lyre Chante l'abime. Nos espoirs, nos desirs nous rendent Des amis chers aux dieux; Demain, ma voix, plus haute et plus profonde, Chante les cieux. A GERALD.<<1>> <<1. Gerald Kelly, the eminent painter.>> PERDITA. LIKE leaves that fall before the sullen wind At summer's parting kiss and autumn's call, Lost thoughts fly half-forgotten from my mind, Like leaves that fall. They shall not come again; the wintry pall Of consciousness clouds o'er them; they shall find No rest, no hope, no tear, no funeral. Into the night, despairing, bleeding, blind, They pass, nor know their former place at all, Lost to my soul, to God, to all mankind, Like leaves that fall. {129A} JEZEBEL. PART I. A LION'S mane, a leopard's skin Across my dusty shoulders thrown; A swart fierce face, with eyes where sin Lurks like a serpent by a stone. A man driven forth by lust to seek Rest from himself on Carmel's peak. A prophet<<1>> with wild hair behind, Streaming in fiery clusters! Yea, Tangled with vehemence of the wind, And knotted with the tears that slay; And all my face parched up and dried, And all my body crucified. <<1. Not Elijah, as the sequel shows. Foolish contemporary reviews, however, made this silly blunder.>> Ofttimes the Spirit of the Lord Descends and floods me with his breath; My words are fashioned as a sword, My voice is like the voice of death. The thunder of the Spirit's wings Brings terror to the hearts of kings. Anon, and I am driven out In desert places by desire; My mouth is salt and dry; I doubt If hell hath such another fire; If God's damnation can devise A lust to match these agonies. {129B} The desert wind my body burns, The voice of flesh consumes my soul; My body towards the city turns, My spirit seeks its fierier goal; In wells of heaven to quench my thirst, And take God's hand among the first. I conquered self; I grew at last A prophet chosen of the Lord; I blew the trumpet's iron blast That called on Zimri Omri's sword; My voice inflamed the fiery steel That was to smite upon Jezreel. And now, I haste from yonder sands, With fervour filled, to say God's doom To Ahab of the bloody hands, The spoiler of his father's tomb, The slayer of the vineyard king. God's judgment, and his fate, I bring. The city gleams afar,; I see Samarina's white walls on high; The mountains echo back to me The vengeful murmur of the sky; All heaven and earth on me attend To prophesy the tyrant's end. The gates are close because of night Whose heavy breath infects the air; The dog-star gleams, a devilish light: I thought I saw behind me glare The eyes of fiends. I thought I heard An evil laugh, a mocking word. The gates swing open at the Name, Without a warder roused from sleep; I pass, with face of burning flame, That is not quenched, although I weep. (For even my tears are tears of fire, For loathing, madness, and desire.) Ah God! the traps for fervent feet! The morrow beaconed, and I came By where the golden groves of wheat In summer glories fiercely flame; To those white courts, by princes trod, Where Ahab sat, and mocked at God. {130A} Where Ahab sat: -- but lo! I saw No king, no tyrant to be curst; But she, who filled me with blind awe, She, for whose blood my thin veins thirst; The blossom of a painted mouth And bare breasts tinctured with the south. For lo! the harlot Jezebel! Her hands dropped perfume, and her tongue (A flame from the dark heart of hell, The ivory-barred mouth, that stung With unimaginable pangs) Shot out at me, and Hell fixed gangs. Her purple robes, her royal crown, The jewelled girdle of her waist, Her feet with murder splashed, and brown With the sharp lips that fawn and taste, The crimson snakes that minister To those unwearying lust of her. And all her woman's scent did drift A steam of poison through the air; The haze of sunshine seems to lift And toil in tangles of black hair, The hair that waves, and winds, and bites, And glistens with unholy lights. For lo! she saw me, and beheld My trembling lips curled back to curse, Laughed with strong scorn, whose music knelled The empire of God's universe. And on my haggard face upturned She spat! Ah God! how my cheek burned! Then, as a man betrayed, and doomed Already, I arose and went, And wrestled with myself, consumed With passion for that sacrament Of shame. From the day unto this My cheek desires that hideous kiss. {130B} Her hate, her scorn, her cruel blows, Fill my whole life, consume my breath; Her red-fanged hatred in me glows, I lust for her, and hell, and death. I see that ghastly look, and yearn Toward the brands of her that burn. Sleep shuns me; dreams divide the night, (My parched throat thirsty for her veins) That she and I with deep delight Suck from death's womb infernal pains, Whose fire consumes, destroys, devours Through night's insatiable hours. And altogether filled with love, And altogether filled with sin, The little sparks and noises move About the softness of her skin. Her pleasures and her passions purr For the delight I have of her. Aching with all the pangs of night My shuddering body swoons; my eyes Absorb her eyelids' lazy light, And read her bosom to devise Fresh blossoms of the heart of hell And secret joys of Jezebel. Her lips are fastened to my breast To suck out blood in feverish tides; The token of her I possessed, Still on my withered cheek abides. Thus slowly the desire grows To kill and have her yet -- who knows? PART II. I know. When Ramoth-Gilead's field Grew bloody with hot ranks of dead, I smote amain with sword and shield; My brows with mingled blood were red; And on my cheek the kiss of hell, The hatred of my Jezebel. {131A} I waited many days. At last The rushing of a chariot grew Frightful through all the city vast: Men were afraid. But I -- I knew Jehu was here, whose sword should dip Deep in my love's adulterous lip. The spirit filled me. "And behold! I saw her dead stare to the skies. I came to her; she was not cold, But burning with old infamies. On her incestuous mouth I fell, And lost my soul for Jezebel." I followed him afoot, afire; Beneath her window he drew rein; She looked forth, clad in glad attire, Haggard and hateful, once again; And taunted him. His bastard blood Quailed, but his violent soul withstood. He blenched, and then with eyes of flame, "Who is on my side? Who?" he said. Three eunuchs, passionless, grown tame, Grinned from behind her laughing head. "Throw down that woman!" And my breath Caught as they flung her out to death. I think I died that moment. He, Foaming for vengeance and blood-lust, Laughed his coarse laugh of hideous glee. Her sweet bad body in the dust He trampled. Royal from the womb A martyred murderess lacks a tomb! A tigress woman, clad with sin, And shod with infamy, who pressed The bloody winepress of my skin, And plucked the purple of my breast -- Her lovers in their hearts shall keep Her memory passionate and deep. They cast her forth on Naboth's field Still living, in her harlot's dress; Her belly stript, her thighs concealed, For shame's sake and for love's no less. Night falls; the gaping crowds abide No longer by her stiffening side. {131B} I crept like sleep toward the place That held for me her evil head; I bent like sin above her face That dying she might kiss me dead. I whispered "Jezebel!" She turned, And her deep eyes with hatred burned. "Ah! prophet, come to mock at me And gloat on mine exceeding pain?" "Nay, but to give my soul to thee, And have thee spit at me again!" She smiled -- I know she smiled -- she sighed, Bit my lips through, and drank, and died! Her murders and her blasphemies, Her whoredoms, God has paid at last; Upon my bosom close she lies; Her carnal spirit holds me fast. My blood, my infamy, my pain, Seal my subjection and her reign. My veins poured out her marriage cup, For holy water her cruel tongue; For blessing of white hands raised up, These perfumed infamies unsung; For God's breath, her sharp tainted breath; For marriage bed, the bed of death. The hounds that scavenge, fierce and lean, Snarl in the moonlight; in the sky The vulture hangs, a ghost unclean; The lewd hyaena's sleepless eye Darts through the distance; these admit My lordship over her -- and it. The host is lifted up. Behold The vintage spilt, the broken bread! I feast upon the cruel cold Pale body that was ripe and red. Only, her head, her palms, her feet, I kissed all night, and did not eat. So, and not otherwise, the word Of God was utterly fulfilled. So, and not otherwise. I heard Her spirit cry, by death not stilled: "My sin is perfect in thy blood, And thou and I have conquered God." {132A} Now let me die, at last desired, At last beloved of thee my queen; Now let me die, with blood attired, Thy servant naked and obscene; To thy white skull, thy palms, thy feet, Clinging, dead, infamous, complete. Now let me die, to mix my soul With thy red soul, to join our hands, To weld us in one perfect whole, To link us with desirous bands. Now let me die, to mate in hell With thee, O harlot Jezebel. CONCERNING CERTAIN SINS. SOME sins assume a garb so fine and white That the blue veil of Heaven seems to shade Their purity. They are winged so wide and bright That even angels' pinions seem to fade, And the archangel's wing recedes in night: -- Ay! even God seems perturbed and afraid Because it wears so holy a garb of light Of perfumed fire immaculately made. These sins are deadly. God is merciless For Love that joins Man's passion with His power, And makes to bloom on earth a fairer flower Than heaven bears. Our token of success Is that displeasure toward our sin unnamed Of a fierce demon jealous and ashamed. A SAINT'S DAMNATION. YOU buy my spirit with those peerless eyes That burn my soul; you loose the torrent stream Of my desire; you make my lips your prize, And on them burns the whole life's hope: you deem You buy a heart; but I am well aware How my damnation dwells in that supreme {132B} Passion to feed upon your shoulders hare, And pass the dewy twilight of our sin In the intolerable flames of hair That clothe my body from your head; you win The devil's bargain; I am yours to kill, Yours, for one kiss; my spirit for your skin! O bitter love, consuming all my will! O love destroying, that hast drained my life Of all those fountains of dear blood that fill My heart! O woman, would I call you wife? Would I content you with one touch divine To flood your spirit with the clinging strife Of perfect passionate joy, the joy of wine, The drunkenness of extreme pleasure, filled From sin's amazing cup? Oh, mine, mine, mine, Mine, if your kisses maddened me or killed, Mine, at the price of my damnation deep, Mine, if you will, as once your glances willed! Take me, or break me, slay or sooth to sleep, If only yours one hour, one perfect hour, Remembrance and despair and hope to steep In the infernal potion of that flower, My poisonous passion for your blood! Behold! How utterly I yield, how gladly dower Our sin with my own spirit's quenched gold, Clothe Love with my own soul's immortal power, Give thee my body as a fire to hold -- O love, no words, no songs -- your breast my bower! {133A} LOT. "And while he lingered ... they brought him forth, and set him without the city." - GEN. xix. 16. TURN back from safety: in my love abide, Whose lips are warm as when, a virgin bride, I clung to thee ashamed and very glad, Whose breasts are lordlier for the pain they had, Whose arms cleave closer than thy spouse's own, Thy spouse -- O lover, kiss me, and atone! All my veins bleed for love, my ripe breasts beat And lay their bleeding blossoms at thy feet! Spurn me no more! O bid these strangers go; Turn to my lips till their cup overflow; Hurt me with kisses, kill me with desire, Consume me and destroy me with the fire Of bleeding passion straining at the heart, Touched to the core by sweetnesses that smart; Bitten by fiery snakes, whose poisonous breath Swoons in the midnight, and dissolves to death! Ah! let me perish so, and not endure Thy falsehood who have known thy love was sure, Built up by sighs a palace of long years -- Lo! it was faery, and the spell of tears Dissolves it utterly. O bid them go, These white-faced boys, where calmer rivers flow And birds less passionate invoke the spring Or seek their loves with weaker, wearier wing. Turn back from safety! Let God's rivers pour Brimstone and fire, and all his fountains roar Lava and hail of hell upon my head, So be he leave us altogether dead, Burnt in that shameful whirlwind of his ire, Consumed in one tall pyramid of fire {133B} Whose bowers of flame shall tell the sky of God How we despised his feet with thunder shod, And conquered, clasping, all the host of death. Turn to me, touch me, mix thy very breath With mine to mingle floods of fiery dew With flames of purple, like the sea shot through With golden glances of a fiercer star. Turn to me, bend above me, you may char These olive shoulders with an old-time kiss, And fix thy mouth upon me for such bliss Of sudden rage rekindled. Turn again, And make delight the minister of pain, And pain the father of a new delight. And light a lamp of torture for the night Too grievous to be borne without a cry To rend the very bowels of the sky And make the archangel gasp -- a sudden pang, Most like a traveller stricken by the fang Of the black adder whose squat head springs up, A flash of death, beneath a cactus cup. Ah turn! my bosom for thy love is cold; My arms are empty, and my lips can hold No converse with thee far away like this. O for that communing pregnant with a kiss That is reborn when lips are set together To link our souls in one desirous tether, And wield our very bodies into one. Ah fiend Jehovah, what then have we done To earn thy curse -- is love like ours too strong To dwell before thee, and do thy throne no wrong? Art thou grown jealous of the fiery band? Lo! thou hast spoken, and thy strong command Bade earth and air divide, and on the sea Thy spirit moved -- and thou must envy me! Gird all thy godhead to destroy a man Whose little moment is a single span, Whose small desire is nothing -- and thy power Must root from out his bosom the fair flower {134A} Of passion! Listen to thine own voice yet; "A rich man many flocks and herds did get And took the poor man's lamb." Thou art the man! Our love must lie beneath thy bitter ban! Thou petty, envious God! My king, be sure His brute force shall not to the end endure; Some stronger soul than thine shall wrest his crown And thrust him from his own high heaven down To some obscure forgetful hell. For me Forsake thy hopes in him! We worship, we, Rather the dear delights we know and hold; The first cool kiss, within the water cold That draws its music from some bubbling well, Looks long, looks deadly, looks desirable, The touch that fires, the next kiss, and the whole Body embracing, symbol of the soul, And all the perfect passion of an hour. Turn to me, pluck that amaranthine flower, And leave the doubtful blossoms of the sky! You dare not kiss me! dare not draw you nigh Lest I should lure you to remain! nor speak Lest you should catch the blood within your cheek Mantling. You dared enough -- so long ago! -- When to my bossom body clean as snow You pressed your bosom till desire was pain, And - then - that midnight - you did dare remain Though all my limbs were bloody with your mouth That tore their flesh to satiate its drouth, That was not thereby satisfied! And now A pallid coward, with sly, skulking brow, You must leave Sodom for your spouse's sake Coward and coward and coward! who would take The best flower of my life and leave me so, Still loving you -- Ah! weak -- and turn to go {134B} For fear of such a God! O blind! O fool! To heed these strangers, and to be the tool Of their smooth lies and monstrous miracles! O break this bondage and cast off their spells! Fire righteous! Thou a righteous man! A jest! A righteous man -- you always loved me best, And even when lured by lips of wanton girls Would turn away and sigh and touch my curls And slip half-conscious to the old embrace: -- And now you will not let me see your face Or hear your voice or touch you. Ah! the hour! He moves. Come back, come back, my life's one flower! Come back. One kiss before your leave me. So! Stop -- turn -- one little kiss before you go; It is my right - you must. Oh no! Oh no! {135A} EPILOGUE. To die amid the blossoms of the frost On far fair heights; to sleep the quiet sleep Of dead men underneath the snowy steep Of many mountains; ever to have lost These cares and these distrusts; to lie alone, Watched by the distant eagle's drowsy wing, Stars and grey summits, and the winds that sing Slow dirges in eternal monotone. Such is my soul's desire, being weary of This vain eternity of sleepless dreams That is my life; withal there still may be In other worlds, the hope of other love That this that floods my veins with poisonous streams, And wastes with wan desire the soul of me. {135B} AN APPEAL TO THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC. 1899. {columns resume} THOU fair Republic oversea afar, Where long blue ripples lap the fertile land, Whose manifest dominion, like a star, Fixed by the iron hands and swords of war,<<1>> Now must for aye, a constellation, stand -- Thou new strong nation! as the eagle aspires To match the sun's own fires, Children of our land, hear the children of your sires. <<1. This poem was written shortly after the Spanish war.>> We stretch out hands to-day when the white wings Of Peace are spread beneath you and your foe. O race of men that slay the slaves of kings! We, whom the foam-crowned ocean still enrings, We, whose strong freedom never brooked a blow, Hail you now victors, hail you of the sword Proved in the west the lord, Hail you, and bid you sound quick friendship and accord. The eagle of your emblem would not stoop To the proud vaults of that outrageous wing That Bismark reared, and strengthened, and bade swoop Fierce upon France, whose pallid pinions droop To own an Emperor where she mocked a king: {136A} Their challenge you hurled back across the foam: Vienna and tall Rome Trembled for their ally: you stirred our hearts at home. The fire of love no waters shall devour; The faith of friendship stands the shocks of time; Seal with our voice the triumph of this hour, Your glory to our glory and our power, Alliance of one tongue, one faith, one clime! Seal and clasp hands; and let the sea proclaim Friendship of righteous fame, And lordship of two worlds that time can never tame. Stoop not and tender not an hour's regret For those wild words in trivial anger passed: Forget your fools, as we their words forget, And join our worlds in one amazing net Of empire and dominion, till aghast The lying Russian cloke his traitor head More close, since Spain has bled To wake in us the love that lay a century dead. Let all the world keep silence at our peace; Let France retreat and Russia step aside From their encroachments, bid their envy cease Stricken by Fear, who see our strength increase By comradeship that quickens to abide, A bond of justice, light, and liberty, To make the wide earth free As the wild waves that slake the passion of the sea. {136B} Let all the world keep silence and behold The wrath of two great nations that are friends Against who bartered Poland, and who sold Italy, weighed out Hungary for gold, And shattered Greece to serve no noble ends. The traitors and the peoples and the kings That love not righteous things; They shall behold our wrath, and find our anger stings. White slaves shall look up and behold a light Grow in the islands of the sacred sea, And on the land whose forehead kisses night And has the dawn upon its wings, whose might Is mightier for the lips of Liberty Pressed on its new-born cheeks, when Church and State Drove forth to baffle Fate Our sires and yours, whose fame is grown this year so great. That morning of deliverance is at hand; The world requickens, and all folk rejoice, Seeing our kingdom look toward your land, And both catch hands, indissolubly grand In the proud friendship of a better choice. Your winds that wrought wild wreckage of our shore Shall sink and be no more, Or waft your barks, with wheat gold-laden swiftly o'er. Our foamcaps, that your rocks disdainful flung Back to the waves that left our beaten coast, Shall be like echoes of sweet songs unsung, And all the ocean noises find a tongue To voice the clamour of a righteous boast -- That friendship and dominion shall be wrought Out of the womb of thought, And all the bygone days be held for things of nought. {137/a} What matter though our fathers did you wrong? Though brave sons brake our bitter yoke? Though we Strove to compel you to a cruel thong? What, though the stronger did defeat the strong? Both, wild and patient as the steep strong sea? What matter that some strive to waken hate, Traitors to either state, Hang them in chains! Our way to Freedom cannot wait! The petty partisans of party war, The hireling quillmen, and the jingo crowd, The well-paid patriots, scenting from afar Silence, their doom -- shall they eclipse the star Now crescent in the sky, whose music loud Rejoices humble hearts and true men all, And sounds the funeral Dirge of slave, tyrant, priest, that snarl, and snarling fall? These we forget -- remembering only this: Ye are blood-brothers, and our tongues are one; Our hopes and conquests in one splendid kiss Unite and struggle not for empire. Is Our land and yours too little for the sun To gladden, to illume, to bid increase, Bound by two mighty seas In one fraternal clasp of admirable peace? Ye are our brothers; ye have spurned the power That bound the islands of your eastern shore; Ye have restored to freedom that fair flower, Cuba, in her most agonising hour, And east and west have thundered with red war. We freed us from the slavery of Spain, And laid upon the main Our hand three centuries back -- and ye have struck again. {137B} Priestcraft and tyranny in this defeat Shake, and the walls of hell with fear resound; The sun laughs gladlier on the heavier wheat, Because the fates must weave a winding-sheet At last for Fear. Deliverers are found Who will deliver. Mountain, stream, and brake, Lone wood, and sleepy lake, Are peopled with bright shapes that sing for freedom's sake. Rocks, and pale fountains, and tall trees that quiver, And all the clouds that deck the sunset sky Move like the music of a mighty river Where ripples break,and rapids gleam and shiver, And calm rebuilds her empire by-and-by. For joy of this alliance all the earth Forgets her day of dearth, In her new birth forgets, and maddens into mirth. The stars swing censers of pale gold to God, Whose incense is the love-song of the free; Angels with mercy and with beauty shod Move in the mazes of an Eden, trod Not by the seemly spirits of the sea, But by brave men built wholly of desire And freedom's mystic fire, To clothe its habitants with glorious attire. Clasp hands, O fair republic of the west, And leave the kingdoms to their sudden fate. With new-born love and ardour unrepressed, Let Lethe steep in its unquiet rest The old years whose red hands have made us great. O fair republic, strong and swift, unbind The shackles of thy mind: More than our kin ye are; henceforth not less than kind. {138A} Bind on the splendid sandals, and unloose The burning horses, and fling wide the reins! From cold Archangel unto Syracuse Europe shall see and tremble and ask truce, And new blood pour through Asia's wasted veins. Our Empire from Guiana to Hong Kong, In your new love made strong, Shall last while earth is glad because of sun and song. And O! ye desert places of the sea, Ye plains and mountains rugged with the wind, And all ye hollow caverns whence there flee Foam-heads and blusterous waves, give ear to me, And O thou thunder, follow hard behind! O womb of night, reverberate these chords, Ye clouds, ye stormy lords, With clamour and shrill voice as of ten thousand swords. Swords that clang sharp on heaven's anvil, white With heat of God's own forehead that beholds The building broken that is made of might, Nor builded firm on justice' iron height, Nor is not cast in mercy's sliver mould: -- Swords sharp to slay, when vengeance must its fill Drink of the bloody rill Wherein men lave their mouths, arise and smite and kill. Listen all lands, and wonder! For the night Rolls back her beaten iron, and the day Breaks, and the passionate heralds of the light, Armoured with love for panoply of might, Rush on the portals of the falling way. The lamps of heaven are dim while swords strike fire From rocks whose crests burn higher: -- At their assault hell's dogs gasp, totter, and expire {138B} All the gold gates re open of the East; The rugged columns of the hills uphold A dome of changeless turquoise, and they feast, The sun's lips, on the woods that have increased Since dawn with store of unimagined gold. The steam of many exhalations fair Sweetens the midday air; Echo and tree and bud chant and give birth and bear. The broad Pacific brightens into blue, And coral isles are white with beating flame Of living water on their strand, live through With million flames candescent as the dew, Red flowers too queenly for a mortal name! The sea is pregnant with green stars; the land, The sky, like lovers stand With kiss half-consciously exchanged, hand fast in hand. O lovers fair and free, the wings of peace Bear this voice onward; linger as your will By moon-wrought glades, and softly murmuring seas, Lands white with summer, and the quiet leas! Linger, and let no word of music thrill Your hearts; young love is all the harp ye need: Your kiss in very deed Is keen to echo song well tuned from Milton's reed. O lovers, and ye happy groves that hear Their whispers, and ye vales that know their feet, And all ye mountains that incline your ear To the still murmur of the love-lorn sphere, And all ye caves their murmurs who repeat; Your music throbs in unison with mine; The world is flushed with wine Bubbling from Freedom's well, warm, luminous, divine. {139A} Burn, changeful purple of the vine's cool stream! Burn, like the sunset of a stormy sky When white winds gather, and white horses gleam Upon the ocean, and the meadows steam With haze of thunder, when the crimson eye Dips, and deep darkness falls and lies, and breaks In lightning's awful flakes, When thunder unto thunder calls and the storm awakes. With maddening hoofs, ye coursers of the sun, Spurn the reverberant air and paw the day, Make east and west indissolubly one, And night fall beaten, for its day is spun, And bid light gird its sword to thigh, display The shield of heaven's blue, and call the deep To watch the warrior sleep Of two fast friends that wake only if brave men weep. Wake, western land so fair, and this shall be! Speak and accomplish, let no ardour slip, A sullen hound, ad be brought shamefully Back, and resurge the tremor of the sea, And spoil a perfect kiss from free land's lip. Of fair free sister country, for our sake, Who at thy side would break All bars, all bonds, and bid the very dead awake. Are not our veins made purple with our blood, And our dominions touch they not afield? Pours not the sea its long exultant flood On either's coast? The rose has one same bud, And the vine's heart one purple pledge doth yield. Are we not weary of the fanged pen? Are we not friends, and men? Let us look frankly face to face -- and quarrel then! {139B} For by the groves of green and quiet ways, And on the windy reaches of the river, In moonlit night and blue unbroken days, And where the cold ice breaks in pallid bays, And where dim dawns in frosty forest shiver; Where India burns and far Australia glows; Where cactus blooms, where rose, Let our hearts' beat be heard, to lighten many woes. Sister and daughter of our loyal isle, Our hands reach out to you, our lips are fain To wreathe with yours in one delicious smile Of budding love, to grow a kiss awhile, And laugh like bride and groom, and kiss again! Let our alliance like a marriage stand, Supreme from strand to strand, The likeness of our love, the clasp of hand in hand. And men who come behind us yet unborn, Nor dimly guessed at down the brook of time, Shall celebrate the brave undying morn When the free nations put aside their scorn For friendship, rock no sundering surge may climb, {140A} When their strong hands gripped hard across the sea, Flushed with fresh victory, Lands royal, leal, and great, vast beautiful, and free. Our children's children shall unsheathe the sword Against the envy of some tyrant power: The leader of your people and our lord Shall join to wrest fro slavery abhorred Some other race, a fair storm-ruined flower! O fair republic, lover and sweet friend, Your loyal hand extend, Let freedom, peace and faith grow stronger to the end! O child of freedom, thou art very fair! Thou hast white roses on thy eager breast, The scent of all the South is in thy hair, Thy lips are fragrant with the blossoms rare Blown under sea waves when the white wings rest! Come to our warrior breast, where victory Sits passionate and free -- Ring out the wild salute! Our sister over sea! {140B} {full page below} THE FATAL FORCE.<<1>> <<1. This play deals with the effect of shattering all the solid bases of a young man's mind. Here we find him strong enough to win through. In the "Mother's Tragedy" is a similar case with a weaker nature. It is well to note that in the former play the mother is evil; in the latter good. Hence also in part the tragedy. For a good mother is an affliction against which none by the strongest may strive. It is fortunately rare.>> 1899. "She In the habilments of the goddess Isis That day appeared." -- "Anthony and Cleopatra," iii, 6, 16 "Stoop not down, for a precipice lieth beneath the earth, reached by a descending ladder which hath Seven Steps, and therein is established the throne of an evil and fatal force." -- ZOROASTER. {col. start below} "PEOPLE." RATOUM, "Queen of Egypt." THE LEPER, "her divorced husband." KHOMSU, "their son" (dead). S'AFI, "son of" KHOMSU "and" RATOUM. THE KING OF SYRIA. AMENHATEP, "High Priest." Chorus of Priests. Soldiers of Egypt. Syrian Troops. S'AFI. WHY is thy back made stiff, unrighteous priest, Thy knee reluctant? Thine old eyes, grown blind, Stare into silence, and behold no god Longer. Thy forehead knows no reverence Nor sign of worship. Or sits mutiny Blasphemous on thy brows? For in thine eyes I see full knowledge, and some glittering fire Lurks in the rheumy corners; yea, some fire Malignant, terrible -- nay, pitiable, Thou poor fool stricken with senility, How spurred to passion? Yet behold thy god, {141A} Horus, lest anger take benignancy From his left hand and smite thee with his strength. Thou hearest? Nay, thou pitiful old man, For I have loved thee. yet my godhead must Get Worship. Anger not the god, but stoop, My faithful priest, and worship at my feet. AMENHATEP. I am most miserable. But truth must leap In this tremendous moment from my lips, Its long-shut barrier. For I pity thee With my old heart's whole pity. Thou art young, And beautiful, and proud, and dear to me, Whom I have served thy life through. Now that love Demands a deadlier service -- to speak truth. Thou art not Horus, but a man as I. CHORUS. Thou art not Horus, but a man. Thy life Is not of the immortals, but, as ours, Stands at the summons of the hooded death. {141B} S'AFI. Speak! I have this much of a god in me -- I am not shaken at your cries; my lips Are silent at your blasphemy; my ears Are strong to hear if there be truth at all In your mixed murmurs: I command you, speak! AMENHATEP. The burden of the madness of the Queen Lies on the land: the Syrian is near; And she, believing that her godhead guards Her people, sleeps. The altars are thrown down; The people murmur. She hath done thee wrong, But be thou mighty to avenge! S'AFI. To-day I, Horus, shall become Osiris. Yea, Strange secret dreams of some mysterious fate Godlike have come upon me, and the throne Totters for your disloyalty. AMENHATEP. Beware! How died thy father? S'AFI. That amazing god Incarnate in him chose a nobler form, And in my mother's body sought his home, Whose double incarnation is divine Beyond the old stories. Yes, I am a god. AMENHATEP. Beware the fatal magic of her heart! For she is great and evil, and her voice Howls blasphemy against yet living gods. Thou knowest not the story of thy birth, The truth. {142A} S'AFI. Then speak the truth, if so a priest May tune his tongue to anything but lies. AMENHATEP. Sixteen strange seasons mingle gold and grey Since in this very temple she, the Queen, Spake, and threw open to our reverent gaze A royal womb made pregnant with that seed Of which thou art the harvest. She spake thus: "Princes, and people of the Egyptian land, And broken priests of broken deities Discrowned this hour, look up, behold your god! For I am pregnant with my own son's child, The fruit of my desire's desire. Most pure, The single spirit of my godhead yearned From death to reap dominion, and from birth To pluck the blossom of its fruitful love, And be the sun to ripen and the rain To water it. My soul became the bride To its own body, and my body leapt With passion from mine own imperial loins Begotten, and made strong from my own soul To answer it. I hail thee, son of mine, Thou royal offspring of a kingly sire, Less kingly for the single flower of love! I hail thee, son, the secret spouse of me, King of my body and this realm to-day! For lo! the child leapt up within my womb, Hailing me mother, and my spirit leapt, Hailing him brother! Son and spouse and king, Exulting father of the royal soul That lies here, loving me, assume thy crown And sit beside me, equal to thy queen. For look ye to the burning south, and see The sun grown amorous, and behold his fire Leap to my godhead. For without a man I single, I the mother, have conceived Of my own loins, and made me no less god Than all your gods! Ye people and ye priests, Behold the burden of my life, and fear, {142B} And know me Isis. Worship me, and praise The goodliest ruler of the world, the queen Of all the white immeasurable seas, And that vast river of our sowing-time, And of your Sun. Behold me made a god Of my own godhead, and adore the sun Of my queen's face, and worship ye the fount And fertile river of my life. Bow down, Ye people and ye priests, and worship me, And him co-equal. I am very god!" So spake the Queen; but I arose and said: "Queen and our lord, we worship! Let the smoke Of this divinest incense be a smell Sweet to thy nostrils! For three times I cast Its faint dust in the tripod, and three times The smoke of adoration has gone up To greet our gods; for the old gods are dead." Then there came forth a leper in the hall, In the most holy temple. So amazed All shrank. And he made prophecy and said: "The child that shall be born of thee is called Fear.<<1>> He shall save a people from their sin; For the old gods indeed go down to death, But the new gods arise from rottenness." Then said the goddess: "I indeed am pure In my impurity; immaculate In misconception; maiden in my whoredom; Chaste in my incest, being made a god Through my own strength." The leper with smooth words Turned, and went laughingly towards the west, And took of his own leprosy and threw Its foul flakes in the censer. So he passed, Laughing, and on the altar the flame fell, Till a great darkness was upon the room, And only the Queen's eyes blazed out. So all {143A} Silently went, and left her naked there, Crowned, sceptred, and exultant, till a chant Rolled from her moving lips; and great fear fell Upon us, and the flame lept, and we fled, Worshipping. but the mood passed, and we see A lecherous woman whose magician power Is broken, and the balance of her mind Made one with the fool's bauble, and her wand, That was of steel and fire, like a reed, snapped! <<1. S'afi is the Egyptian for fear.>> S'AFI. So lived my father. Tell me of his death. AMENHATEP. At thy first breath the gods were patient still, Till the abomination filled its cup, And hatred took her heart. She slew thy sire, And made his body the banquet of her sin In the infernal temple. "So," she said, "I reap the incarnation of the god." So, gloomy and hideous, she would prowl about Seeking fresh human feasts, and bloody rites Stained the white altar of the world. And yet Her power is gone, and we behold her go, Haggard and weary, through the palace courts And through the temple, lusting for strange loves And horrible things, and thirsting for new steam Of thickening blood upon her altar steps. Her body wearies of desire, and fails To satisfy the fury of her spirit; The blood-feasts sicken her and yield no strength; She is made one with hell, and violent force Slips and is weakness, and extreme desire Spends supple. {143B} S'AFI. I have heard you as a god Immutable. CHORUS. Thou art as proud and calm As statued Memnon. Thou art more than god And less than man. Thine eyelids tremble not. S'AFI. I shall avenge it as a god. The land Shall be made free. AMENHATEP. And the old gods have sway, Re-born from incorruption. S'AFI. The old gods! I must muse deeply. Keep your ancient ways A little. I must play the part through so. CHORUS. In the ways of the North and the South Whence the dark and the dayspring are drawn, We pass with the song of the mouth Of the notable Lord of the Dawn. Unto Ra, the desire of the East, let the clamour of singing proclaim The fire of his name! In the ways of the East and the West Whence the night and the day are discrowned, We pass with the beat of his breast, And the breath of his crying is bound. Unto Toum, the low Lord of the West, let the noise of our chant be the breath Proclaiming him Death! {144A} In the ways of the depth and the height, Where the multitude stars are at ease, There is music and terrible light, And the violent song of the seas. Unto Mou, the most powerful Lord of the South, let our worship declare Him Lord of the Air! In the mutable fields that are sown Of a seed that is whiter than noon, Whose harvest is beaten and blown By the magical rays of the moon, In the caverns and wharves of the wind, in the desolate seas of the air, Revolveth our prayer! In the sands and the desert of death, In the horrible flowerless lands, In the fields that the rain and the breath Of the sun make as gold as the sands With ripening wheat, in the earth, in the infinite realm of its seed, The hearts of us bleed! In the wonderful flowers of the foam, Blue billows and breakers grown grey, When the storm sweeps triumphantly home From the bed of the violate day, In the furious waves of the sea, wild world of tempestuous night, Our song is as light! In the tumult of manifold fire, Multitudinous mutable feet That dance to an infinite lyre On the heart of the world as they beat, In the flowers of the bride of the flame, in the warrior Lord of the Fire, There burns our desire! AMENHATEP. Cry now, bewail the broken house, bewail The ruin of the land; cry out on Fate! {144B} CHORUS. Slow wheels of unbegotten hate And changeless circles of desire, Formless creations uncreate, Swift fountains of ungathered fire, The misty counterpoise of time, Dim winds of ocean and sublime Pyramids of forgotten foam Whirling, vague cones of shapeless sleep And infinite dreams, and stars that roam, And comets moving through the deep Unfathomable skies, Darker for moonlight, and the glow-worm eyes Of dusky women that were stars, And paler curves of the immutable bars That line the universe with light, Great eagle-flights of mystic moons That dip, while the dull midnight swoons About the skirts of Night: These bowed and shaped themselves and said: "It shall be thus!" And the intolerable luminous Death that is god bent down his head And answered: "Thus immutably, Above all days and deeds, shall be!" And the great Light that is above all gods Lifted his calm brow, spake, and all the seas, And all the air, and all the periods Of seasons and of stars gave ear, and these Vaults of heaven heard The great white Light that shaped its secrecies Into one holy terrible word, Higher than all words spoken; for He said: "Death is made change, and only change is dead." For the most holy spirit of a man Burns through the limit of the wheels that ran Through all the unrelenting skies When Icarus died, And leaps, the flight of wise omnipotent eyes, When Daedalus espied An holy habitation for the shrine Solitary, 'mid the night of broken brine {145A} That foamed like starlight round the desolate shore.<<1>> So to the mine of that crystalline ore Golden, the electric spark of man is drawn Deep in the bosom of the world, to soar New-fledged, an eagle to the dazzling dawn With lidless eyes undazzled, to arise, Son of the morning, to the Southern skies; And fling its wild chant higher at the fall Of even, and of bright Hyperion; To mix its fire with dew, to call The spirit of the limitless air, made one In the amazing essence of all light. Limitless, emanation of the might Of the great Light above all gods, the fire Of our supreme desire, So out of grievous labyrinths of the mind The soul's desire may find Some passionate thread, the clear note of a bird, To make the dark ways of the gods as light, And bring forth music from slow chants unheard, And visions from the fathomless night. So is the spirit of the loftier man Made holy and most strong against his fate; So is the desolate visage of the wan Lord of Amenti<<2>> covered, and the gate Of Ra made perfect. So the waters flow Over the earth, throughout the sea, Till all its deserts glow, And all its salt springs vanish, and night flee The pinions of the day wide-spread, and pure Fresh fountains of sweet water that endure Assume the crown of the wide world, and lend A star of many summits to his head That rules his fate and compasses his end. And seeks the holy mountain of the dead To draw dead fire, and breathe, and give it life! <<1. See Vergil, "Aen." vi. II. 14-19.>> <<2. The West: the Egyptian Land of the Dead.>> But thou, be strong for strife, And, as a god, cry out, and let there be The mark of many footsteps on the sea {145B} Of angels hastening to fulfil Thy supreme, single will! Alone, intense, unmoved, not made for change, Let thy one godhead rise To move like morning, and like day to range, A furnace for the skies, That all men cry: "The uncreated God! Formless, ineffable, just, whose period Is as his name, Eternity!" So bear The sceptre of the air! So mayest thou avenge, all-seeing, blind, The wrath of this consuming fire, that licks The rafters and the portals of the house, The gateways of the kingdom, where behind Lurk ruinous fates and consequence; where fix Their fangs the scorpions; where hide their brows The shamed protectors of the Egyptian land. Go forth avenging; men shall understand And worship, seeing justice as a spouse Lean on thine iron hand. For Murder walks by night, and hides her face, But righteous Wrath in the light, and knows his place; For hate of a mother is ill, and the lightning flashes But foil a harlot's will, burn the earth to ashes, Cleanse the incestuous sty of a whore's desire, Scatter the dung to the sky, and burn her with fire! So the avenging master shall cleanse his fate of shame, Set his seal of disaster, a royal seal to his name. ["Exeunt." S'AFI. I am not Horus, but I shall be King. "Enter" THE LEPER. THE LEPER. I am a leper, but I am the king. {146A} S'AFI. Monstrous illegible horror, let thy mouth Frame from its charnel-house some pregnant word Intelligible. THE LEPER. I am the king; thy mother's limbs Clung fast to mine when I begot thy father. S'AFI. He died in battle; thou art not the king. THE LEPER. I did not fall in battle; but my queen Saw on my breast the livid mark of sin That was the leprosy of her own soul, And drove me forth to compass by disgrace With infamies ineffable. S'AFI. I shall avenge. The old gods come again. THE LEPER. Nay! I have lived through all these barren years, Discrowned, diseased, abominable, cast out, And meditating on the event of life, And that initiated Hope that we, Royal, inherit, of the final life, Nor newer incarnation, and possessed Of strange powers, who have moved about this court Loathed, and unrecognised, and shunned, have thought That the old bondage was as terrible As thine incestuous mother's iron hand, Rending the entrails of her growing realm To seek her bloody fate, whose violence Even now makes the abyss of wrath divine Boil in the deep. Thou mayest be that great Osiris, bidding man's high soul be free, Justified in its own higher self, made pure And perfect in its own eyes, being a god. {146B} Destroy this priestcraft! We are priests indeed, Highest among the secret ones; and we -- See where our heritage is made; I, king, A leper, and thyself, the hideous fruit Of what strange poisons? But in mine own self I am the king and chief of all the priests; And thou, in thine own eyes, art a young god, Strong, beautiful, and lithe, a leaping fawn Upon the mountains. S'AFI. Yea, I am a god. I am fire against the fountain of my birth, The storm upon the earth that nurtured me!<<1>> Leave me: we twain have no more words to speak. <<1. Fire and Water, Air and Earth, are the "antagonisms" of the"elements.">> THE LEPER. Neither in heaven nor in hell. I go, The dead king, worshipping the living man. ["Exit." S'AFI. I have been a god so long, my thoughts run halt From many contemplations. Like the flow Of a slow river deep and beautiful, My even life moved onward to full scope, The ocean of profounder deity, And -- suddenly -- the cataract! My soul, Centered eternally upon itself, Comprehends hardly all this violence Of wayward men intemperate. I am calm, And contemplate, without a muscle moved Or nerve set shrieking, all these ruinous deeds And dissolution of the royal house. I see this grey unnatural mother of mine Now, as she is, disrobed of deity, And like some reeling procuress grown wolf By infamous bewitchment, haunt the stairs, {147A} And pluck the young men by the robe, and take The maidens for her sacrifice, and burn With great unquenchable dead lustrous eyes Toward impossible things grown possible In Egypt. I will cleanse the land of this. Let me remember I am yet a god! "Re-enter" THE LEPER. THE LEPER. Thou must be brought before her presently Borne in a coffin. See thou fill it not, But take the lion's mask and play his part Before the throne. Be ready, and be strong. S'AFI. I shall do so. Come, let us go together In hateful love and sacrilegious hate, Disease and godhead. I am still the god. ["Exeunt." "Enter" RATOUM. RATOUM. I stood upon the desert, and my eyes Beheld the splendid and supernal dawn Flame underneath the single star that burns Within the gateway of the golden East To rule my fate; but I have conquered Fate Thus far, that I am perfect in myself, The absolute unity and triple power Engrafted. For the foolish people see An old grey woman, wicked, not divine, Who<<1>> shall this hour assume the royal self And the old godhead, and the lithe strong limbs And supple loins and splendid bosom bare Full of bright milk, the breast of all the world. This lesser mastery I have made mine-own By strange devices, by unheard-of-ways Of wisdom, by strong sins, and magical Rituals made righteous of their own excess Of horror; but I have not made myself {147B} So absolute as I shall do to-day In this new infamy. For I must pass Desolate into the dusk of things again, Having risen so far to fall to the abyss, Deeper for exaltation; I must go Wailing and naked into the inane Cavernous shrineless place of misery, Forgetful, hateful, impotent, except The last initiation seize my soul, And fling me into Isis' very self, The immortal, mortal. Let me know this night Whether my place is found among the stars That wander in the deep, or made secure As the high throne of her that dwells in heaven, Fruitful for life and death, Wisdom her name! This hour the foolish ones shall see their souls Shrink at my manifest deity. This night My spirit on my spirit shall beget Myself for my own child. Behold! they come, Fantastically moving through the dance, The many mourners, and the fatal bier Looms in the dimness of the anteroom. It is enough. My hour is at hand! <<1. This antithetical use of the relative is uncommon.>> CHORUS "enter and circumambulate". Even as the traitor's breath Goeth forth, he perisheth By the secret sibilant word that is spoken unto death. Even as the profane hand Reacheth to the sacred sand, Fire consumes him that his name be forgotten in the land. even as the wicked eye Seeks he mysteries to spy, So the blindness of the gods takes his spirit: he shall die. Even as the evil priest, Poisoned by the sacred feast, Changes by its seven powers to the misbegotten beast: {148A} Even as the powers of ill, Broken by the wanded will, Shriek about the holy place, vain and vague and terrible: Even as the lords of hell, Chained in fires before the spell, Strain upon the sightless steel, break not fetters nor compel: So be distant, O profane! Children of the hurricane! Lest the sword of fire destroy, lest the ways of death be pain! So depart, and so be wise, Lest your perishable eyes Look upon the formless fire, see the maiden sacrifice! So depart, and secret flame Burn upon the stone of shame, That the holy ones may hear music of the sleepless Name! Now the sacred and obscene Kiss, the pure and the unclean Mingle in the incense steaming up before the goddess queen. Holy, holy, holy spouse Of the sun-engirdled house, With the secret symbol burning on thy multiscient brows! Hear, O hear the mystic song Of the serpent-moving throng, Isis mother, Isis maiden, Isis beautiful and strong! Even as the traitor's breath Goeth forth, he perisheth By the secret sibilant word that is spoken unto death. RATOUM. The hour is given unto death. Bring in Dead Horus, for the night is shed above. ["Coffin brought in." {148B} CHORUS. The noise of the wind of the winter; the sound Of the wings of the charioted night; The song of the sons of the seas profound; The thunder of death; the might Of the eloquent silence of black light! RATOUM. The noise of many planets fallen far! CHORUS. Death listens for the voice of life; night waits The dawn of wisdom: winter seeks the spring! RATOUM. The music of all stars arisen; the breath Of God upon the valley of the dead! CHORUS. The silence of the awaiting soul asleep! RATOUM. The murmur of the fountain of my life! CHORUS. The whole dead universe awaits the Word. RATOUM. Now is the hour of life; my voice leaps up In the dim halls of death, and kindling flame Roars like the tempest through forgetfulness. This is my son, whose father is my son, From my own womb complete and absolute, And in this strong perfection of myself Stands the triumphant power of my desire, Manifest over self, and man, and god! For in the sacred coffin lies his corpse Who shall arise at the enormous word Of my creating deity; his life Shall quicken in him, and the dead man rise, {149A} Osiris; and all power be manifest In our supreme reunion; let the priest Cast incense on the fire, upon the ground Let water of the fertilising Nile Be spilt, because these dark maternal breasts That gave their milk to that divinest child Are not yet full of the transcending stream That knows its fountain in my deity. The incense fumes before me: I am come, Isis, within this body that ye know, Transmuting! Look upon me, ye blind eyes! Behold, dull souls and ignorant desires! See if I be not altogether god! ["She assumes the appearance of her mature beauty, standing before them with the wand upraised." Wonder and worship! Sing to me the song Of the extreme spring! Rejoice in my great strength And infinite youth and new fertility, And lave your foreheads in this holy milk That springs, the fountain of humanity, Luminous in the temple! Raise the hymn. CHORUS. Through fields of foam ungarnered sweeps The fury of the wind of dawn; Through fiery desolation creeps The water of the wind withdrawn. With fire and water consecrate The foam and fire are recreate. With air uniting fire and water, The springtide's unbegotten daughter Blossoms in oceans of blue air, Flowers of new spring to bear. The sorrowful twin fishes glide Silent and sacred into sleep; The joyful Ram exalts his pride, Seeing the forehead of the deep Glow from his palace, as the sun Leaps to the spring, whose coursers run Flaming before their golden master, As death and winter and disaster Fall from the Archer's bitter kiss Fast to their mute abyss. {149B} The pale sweet blooms of lotus burn; The scent of spring is in the soul; Men's spirits to the loftiest turn; Light is extended and made whole. The waters of the whispering Nile Lisp of their loves a little while, Then break, like songsters, into sighing, Because the lazy days are dying; And swift and tawny streams must rise World's world to fertilise. The lotus is afire for love, Its yearnings are immortal still; But in its bosom, fed thereof, Lust, like a child, will have his will. Immortal fervour, strangely blent With mystic sensual sacrament, Fills up its cup; its petals tremble With faint desires that dissemble The fierce intention to be wed One with the spring sun's head. The fountains of the river yearn Toward the sacred temple-walls, They foam upon the sands that burn With spring's delirious festivals. They flash upon the gleaming ways, They cry, they chant aloud the praise Of Isis, and our temple kisses Their flowery water-wildernesses, Whose foamheads nestle to the stones With slumberous antiphones. All birds and beasts and fish are fain To mingle passion with the hope All creatures hold, that cycled pain May make its stream the wider scope Of many lives and changing law, Till to the sacred fountains draw Essences of dim being, mated With lofty substance uncreated, Concluding the full period That makes all being God. S'AFI "(disguised in the mask of a lion)". I lift the censer. Hail, immortal queen, From the vast hall of death! Dead Horus cries {150A} Towards the dawn. Bid me awake, O mother! O mother! from the darkness of the tomb, That live Osiris may cry back to thee, O spouse! O sister! from the halls of life, The profound lake, the immeasurable depth, The sea of the three Loves! O mother, mother! Isis, the voice that even Amenti hears, Speak, that I rise from chaos, from the world Of shapeless and illusionary forms, Of dead men's husks, and unsubstantial things. O mother, mother, mother! I arise! RATOUM. Horus, dread godhead, child of me, arise! Arise Osiris, to the sacred rites And marriage-bed of fuller deity. Now, at the serpent-motion of this wand, Rise from the dead! Arise, dead Horus, rise To be Osiris. Isis speaks! Arise! ["The coffin is opened." THE LEAPER "is raised out of it swathed in bandages." Our of the sleep of ages wake and live! ["The wrappings fall off." THE LEPER. I am the resurrection and the death! [RATOUM "falls back shrieking. The priests raise a chant to stifle the sound." S'AFI "(tearing off his mask)". I am the hideous poison of thy veins And foulest fruit of thy incestuous womb. RATOUM. I am thy mother! I have nurtured thee With woman's tenderness and godhead's strength. S'AFI. I am the avenger of my own false birth. {150B} RATOUM. I have loved thee ever; I have made thee god. S'AFI. I hate myself, and therefore I hate thee. RATOUM. I am still goddess, still desire thy love. That leper lies: thou art indeed a god. S'AFI. I am a god to execute my will. ["Threatens her with his dagger." RATOUM. Mercy! Thou canst not strike a woman down! S'AFI. So! The thin casing of the godhead rots, Mere mummy-cloth: the rotten corpse within, Dust and corruption! I am still the god, And gods slay women: therefore I slay thee. RATOUM. Then thou shalt seem me once again a god! ["By a tremendous effort she towers before him. Silently they gaze at one another for a while, he vainly endeavouring to force himself to strike. At last she collapses into the throne; he springs forward and drives his knife into her." THE LEPER. It is finished! The sacrament is made! The god Has flamed within the altar-cake: 'tis done! ["Silence: presently" THE LEPER "breaks into a horrible, silent, smooth laughter. Again silence." {151A} S'AFI. I am done with godhead: let me be a man. CHORUS. Hail, S'afi, king of Egypt and the Nile! Hail, S'afi, Lord of the two lands,<<1>> all hail! <<1. Upper and Lower Egypt.>> S'AFI. King of himself and lord of life and death, No lesser throne! I have borne me as a god, Avenging on my nearest blood the sin That brought me shameful to the shameless light. I have not faltered nor turned back at all, Nor moved my purpose for a moment's thought. Nor will I now. The god is gone from me, And as a man I feel the living shame of my existence, and the biting brand Of murder set upon me, and the sting Of my discrowned forehead. I shall die Having this proof of my own nobleness To soothe the rancour of my stricken soul In the abodes of night, that I have dared, With the first knowledge to make good my spirit Against its fate, to steel my flinching heart Against all men, dominions, shapes, and powers, Seen and unseen, to justice and to truth, Sought out by desolate ways of hateful deeds, And so set free myself from my own fate, Whom I will smite to end the coil of things Here, to begin -- what life? For Life I know Stands like a living sentinel behind The rugged barrier of death, the gates Where the rude valley narrows, and man hears The steep and terrible cataract of time Break, and lose shape and substance in the foam And spray of an eternity of air! My death, and not my life, may crown me king! {151B} So let me not be buried in that state Due to the hateful rank that I abjure By this proud act, but let my monument Say to succeeding peoples and dim tribes Unthought of: "This was born a living man Bound, and he cut the chain of circumstance, And spat on Fate." And all the priests shall say And all the people: "Verily and Amen." ["Stabs himself." CHORUS. Spirit of the Gods! O single, Sacred, secret, let the length East and west, the depth and height, North and south, with music tingle, Ring with battled clarion choirs of the far-resounding light! Let the might of Osirian sacrifice Dwell upon the self-slain king! Spirit of the Gods! Unite Streams of sacramental light In the soul, thrice purified, Consecrated thrice, Till Osiris justified In the supreme sacrifice Take his kingdom. Hear the cry That the wailing vultures make, Circling in the blackening sky Over the abysmal lake. Spirit, for our spirit's sake Give the token of thy fire Trident in the lambent air, Till our spirits unaware Worship and aspire! Hear, beyond all periods, Timeless, formless, multiform, Thou, supreme above the storm, Spirit of the Holy Ones, Spirit of the Gods! "Enter" MESSENGER. MESSENGER. The battle rages: even now the shock Of hostile spears makes the loud earth resound, The wide sky tremble. {152A} AMENHATEP. Here lies Horus dead, There Isis slain. We have no leader left. MESSENGER. The fight is doubtful. We may conquer still. AMENHATEP. By this shed blood and desecrated shrine And horrible hour of madness, may it be That all the evil fortune of the land, Created of these dead iniquities, Burn its foul flame out. Are ye not appeased, Even ye, O powers of Evil, at this shame And sacrilege? And ye, Great Powers of Good, Hath not enough of misery been wrought, Enough of expiation? We have sinned, But our iniquity he purged away, Who as avenger hath denied his life, To be made one with ye. O by his blood And strong desire of holiness, and might And justice, let him mediate between And mitigate your anger, that the name Of Egypt may not perish utterly. Make, make and end! THE LEPER. All things must work themselves To their own end. Created sin grown strong Must claim its guerdon. Ye abase yourselves Well for repentance; but ye shall not ward With tears and prayers the ruin ye have made, Nor banish the enormous deities Of judgment so invoked by any prayers, Or perfumes or libations. What must be Will be. Material succour ye demand In vain. But ye may purify yourselves. AMENHATEP. Knows then thy prophecy of our final doom? {152B} THE LEPER. Inquire not of your fate! Myself do know, Mayhap. Ye shall know. I await the event. AMENHATEP. We shall be patient, and we shall be strong. THE LEPER. The noise of rushing feet! The corridor Rings with their scurrying fear. This is the end. ["Enter a flying soldier, crying aloud, and seeks a hiding-place." Speak not, thou trembling slave: we understand! ["The soldier slips on the marble floor, and lies groaning." AMENHATEP. See that due silence greets catastrophe! No word from now without command of mine. ["Silence. Then grows a noise of men fighting, &c.; above this after a while rises a shrill laughter, terrifying to hear. Then cries of victory and the triumphant laugh of a great conqueror. His heavy step, and that of his staff, &c., is next heard coming masterfully down the corridor. The soldier gives a shriek." THE LEPER. The Syrian must not see a cur like this Cower at death. For Egypt's honour, then! {153A} Give me that spear. ["Aside."] That royalty's own hand Should send this thing to his long misery! ["Taking a spear, he runs through the soldier." "The" KING OF SYRIA, "attended, enters." KING OF SYRIA. Your armies beaten back before my face, Your weapons broken, I am come to take The crown from her pale brows that sitteth there. THE LEPER. The Queen is dead: I am the King of Egypt. To-day I saved the house from its own shame By strange ways: I will strike one blow to save The land from its invaders. In the name Of all our gods, I here invoke on thee The spirit of my leprosy. Have at you! ["Springs at the" KING OF SYRIA, "only to be transfixed on his drawn sword; but he succeeds in clasping the king, who staggers. His soldiers, with a shout, rush forward, drag down" THE LEPER "and attack the priests. All are slain. Silence: then a shield drops, clanging on the ground." KING OF SYRIA "(assuming crown and sitting on throne)". Salute the conqueror of the Egyptian land! ["The soldiers salute and cheer." I am a leper: get ye hence! ["Exeunt soldiers." Unclean! ["Silence." This was the hour that my ambitious hopes Centered upon; and now I grasp the hour -- So fares mortality. ["Silence." Unclean! unclean! {153B} {full page below} CURTAIN. {153} THE MOTHERS'S TRAGEDY.<<1>> 1899. {col. start below} <<1. The justification of this play, both in subject and construction, is to be found in the Introduction to the "Ion" of Euripides. [Verral, Camb. Univ. Press, 1890.] The chief of its many morals is that sin must reap its harvest in spite of repentance, prayer, and the other dodges by which men seek to elude Fate.>> SCENE. -- "The room is furnished with comfort as well as luxury. A crucifix is in the window to the East, and the room is flooded with a ray of sunlight." CORA VAVASOUR "(late of the Halls)". ULRIC, "illegitimate son of" CORA, "ignorant of his parentage." MADELINE, "girl in love with" ULRIC. THE SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY, "as Chorus, sits in the back, crouched, brooding over the scene. It is veiled and throned." SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY. HERE, in the home of a friend, Here, in the mists of a lie, The pageant moves on to the desolate end Under a sultry sky. Noon is upon us, and Night, Spreading her wings unto flight, Visits the lands that lie far in the West, Where the bright East is at peace on her breast: Opposite quarters unite. Soon is the nightfall of Destiny here; Nature's must pass as her hour is gone by. Only another than she is too near, Gloom in the sky. One who can never pass over shall sever Links that were forged of Love's hand; Love that was strong die away as a song, Melt as a cable of sand. But I am watching, with unwearied eye, The wayfare of the tragedy. {154B} I see the brightness of the home; I see The grisly phantom of despair to be. I see the miserable past redeemed, (Intolerable as its purpose seemed,) Redeemed by love: I see the jealous days Pass into sunshine, and youth-beamng rays, Quicken the soul's elixir. Let me show How these air-castles tumble into woe. ["Raises sceptre as if to start action of play." CORA. Why did your eyelids quiver as I spoke? A smile, a tear? that trembling, in their deep Violet passion, of the beautiful Eyes that they half discover? Speak to me. I have long thought a secret was your spouse, Shared your deep fancies and your lightest word, Partook your maiden bed, and gave you dreams Somewhat too troublous to be virginal. MADELINE. My dear kind Cora, do they lie to you, These fancies of my idle hours? Believe, I seem to tremble at my inward thought; My heart is full of wonder. When I go Nightward beneath the moon, and take my thoughts Past here pale beauty through some glowing skies {154B} Not unfamiliar, through exulting gates -- "Lift up your heads," I hear the angels cry; "Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors. A child-heart seeks the Lover of the Child!" O meek and holy Jesus, hath Thy heart Yearned unto me, Thy maiden? For I knew A bliss so pregnant with the unforeseen As brought me to the very feet of Christ, Weeping. How clouded that mysterious Passion! I fell a-weeping in my bed, Forgetting, or not knowing. For a fire Too perfect for my sinful soul to touch Gathered me closely in itself, to hide It utter glory from me. Now I feel Swift troubled tremblings in myself: I seek Again those visionary skies. Alas! That angel chorus swells another note I cannot understand. CORA. I am so moved, I cannot find it in my heart to say The words I purposed. Let my folly pass As an old worldly woman's talk. MADELINE. O no! Your bear the sainted fragrance of your love Higher than even my dreams. In earthly life Your are not earthly. I have often thought The Virgin has some special care for you, And given of her beauty and her peace A special dower. Your thoughts are ever pure; Your soul in sweet communion with God! Why, you are crying? CORA. You say this to me? O could you look within a magic glass, Holding my hand, such sights would come to you Beyond your knowledge -- ay, beyond belief! I am no saintly virgin wrapped in prayer, {155A} Nor is my life one river of clear water Drawn from the wells of God. You foolish child! My love for you you cannot understand, Nor the low motive -- you have shown it me -- Of this beginning of our talk. MADELINE. Say on! CORA ("meaningly)". Much less you understand the love I bear To Ulric! MADELINE "gives a little cry." Heart of Christ! it cannot be! CORA. No, child; I tricked you. Is your secret out? MADELINE. I am dismayed at my discovery. ("Slowly.") I never guessed my own poor silliness Until that moment when you frightened me. CORA. And now you know how dear he is to you! Come, child, I love you both. Your happiness Is my life's purpose. I have seen the truth Of this in you; it comes to every one. I know that he is half in love with you. Look once again as you did look just now, And he would die for you. O foolish girl! [MADELINE "weeps quietly for a little," CORA "caressing her." MADELINE. Please let me go: you are too kind to me! {155B} CORA. Rest, sunny head! A little while to sleep, And then -- perhaps the Mother in a dream May comfort you. A woman's love is this To have one heart, an undivided love; But Hers -- division in the universe Makes multiple each part. Sweet Madeline, Believe me, She will come to maiden dreams, Bestow Her peace, and so direct the life That is not unto God unconsecrate For being dedicated unto love! ["Exit" MADELINE. CORA "remains thinking". I was no bolder twenty years ago! Time, Time, thou maker and destroyer both, Only in resurrection hast no part! ["Broods." SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY "(with light enjoyment)". How light and how agreeable, Paved pathway to the gate of hell! See how all virtues, graces, shine, Till woman half appears divine! But I am waiting, watching still The treason of the powers of ill. Soft, moveless, as a tigress glides, Strange laughing devilry abides Its hour to poison. How they gloat, The fiends, upon her lips and throat! They touch her heart, they speer<<1>> her eyes, They linger on the lovely prize! O dead she thought them! It is written: "Eve's heel is by the serpent bitten, His head she bruises." No indeed! Not woman, but the woman's seed! Hark! in the cloak of "Love of Truth" They whisper "Memory of Youth"; And, mindful of the deadliest sin, Hint: "Sinful woman, look within!" {156A} <<1. To search, with the idea of looking more deeply. The grotesque word is used to suggest the quaint inspection of the malicious goblins.>> CORA. Ah me! if she could look within a glass<<1>> With spells and pantacles<<2>> well fortified! I have a glass whose bitter destiny No wizard may conjure. Arise ye there, Old hours of horror, clear by one and one, In the confused and tossing ocean, Where memory picks spar and spar from out The dreadful whirlpool hardly yet appeased, To join together in imagination The ship -- the wreck! And yet I stand at last Secure in my unselfish love to them, Repaid in mine own currency. I trust God that made smooth the road beneath the hearse Of my forgetful age. All must be well. <<1. The crystal sphere is habitually used by clairvoyants and others for the purposes of divination. Such a globe should be ceremonially consecrated and vitalised.>> <<2. From GR:pi-alpha-nu, all, a diminutive. The word thus means "a universe in little." It is usually a square or circle of vellum or other material, designed and painted appropriately to its purpose; a spirit is then evoked and commanded to dwell therein, that it may do the required office.>> SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY "(with sombre joy)". Mortals never learn from stories How catastrophe becomes; How above the victor's glories In the trumpets and the drums, And the cry of millions "Master!" Looms the shadow of disaster. Every hour a man hath said "That at least is scotched and dead." Some one circumstance: "At last That, and its effects, are past." Some one terror -- subtle foe! -- "I have laid that spectre low!" They know not, learn not, cannot calculate How subtly Fate {156B} Weaves its fine mesh, perceiving how to wait; Or how accumulate The trifles that shall make it master yet Of the strong soul that bade itself forget. CORA. Let me not shrink! Truth always purifies. I will go through those two impossible Actual years. The city was itself; Hard thinking if hard drinking -- sober-sides! One night I stepped up tremulous on the stage, Sang something, found my senses afterward Only to that intolerable sound Of terrible applause. They shook the sky With calling me to answer. And I lay -- A storm of weeping swept across my frame -- Till the polite, the hateful manager Led me to face a nation's lunatic Roar of delight. I soon got over that, And over -- yes, the other thing. Three months -- They used to quote me on the Stock Exchange! I will say this to me, I will not shrink: Look up you coward, Cora Vavasour! Which fathered me the bastard? Every rag,<<1>> Prurient licksores of society, Gave it a different father. Am I sure Myself? The shameful Mammon was his name, Glittering gold! I loved my opulence, Cursed my "misfortune." Childbirth sobered me. I loved the child, the only human love I ever tasted, and I sacrificed The popularity, the infamy, Of my old life; I sought another world. I "got religion" -- how I hate the phrase! -- So jest the matron newspapers. The end. {157A} Since then I live, as I am living still, Wrapped in the all-absorbing love of him My child, my child! And now my selfishness Is shamed, and I have made the sacrifice To give this pure heart to that maidenly, And let mine old age grow upon my hair, Finding my happiness in seeing him The all-devoted, and in God's good pleasure Have little children playing at my knees, That I may listen, in their innocent prayers, For Jesus' voice. And I will never break The secret of his being to my boy Lest he despise me. This one reticence I think my long-drawn agony may earn. For I will do without a mother's name If only I may keep a son's love still! ["Exit." <<1. Society papers.>> SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY "(with sarcastic verve)". She will not break an oath so wisely sworn, Unlock her secret to disdain. Wisdom is hers -- what angel need to warn? Since angles only seek to gain That wisdom of the unprofane. All future happiness I surely see. I am the Soul of Tragedy! "Enter" ULRIC "(musing, with love-light in his eyes)." {"At his entrance," SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY "changes to a shape of incarnate Horror, and continues:" Naked as dawn, the purpose of the hour Grows on my vision, and my cynic laughter Chills in my veins: the old avenging power Shows me the thing that is to be hereafter. I gloated on the coming of the curse -- I did create an hearse, Black plumes and solemn mourners; and I saw The triumph of some natural law Fit for a poet's verse. I saw some common fate to lure, to tempt; (No mortal of the ages is exempt) {157B} Some notable disaster to the house Wherein such piety and love abide; I saw some hateful spouse Carry away the bride. That feeble prescience of events to come, That stultified imagining, hath lied; And I can see, though all the signs be dumb And auguries unfruitful -- I can see, Now, some intolerable tragedy Fit for a god to picture, not a man! I see the breaking of the rosary, And Fate's cold fingers snap the span Of three most innocent and pleasant lives. So terrible a happening dives Swift from God's hand to the abyss of hell, And in its torment thrives, Gathering curses from the darkest cave, Calling corruption from the grave to form one shape of aspect multiple Divided in its single spell; One spectre smooth and suave, More horrible than any fear or active doom, Beckoning with its lewd malignant finger, Beckoning, beckoning, to no pious tomb Where pitiable memory might linger. A creeping, living horror hems me in, A masterpiece of sin! Even my soul, inured to contemplate The dreadful, the perverse design of Fate, In many stories never meant to win Applause of mortals or of gods, but made To choke man's spirit in its shade, And make him, in his pride and happiness, In virtue's mantle and love's seemly dress, Immeasurably afraid. The hour is on them -- let its weight express All blood, all life, from the disastrous grape! In God, in mercy, there is no escape, No anchor for distress. The hour strikes mournfully upon the bell Of the most awful precipice That merges hell in hell. There is deep silence in that dread abyss; There is deep silence in the sphered sun; There is deep silence where the planets run, {158A} Majestic fires! Before the throne of God Deep silence waits the lifting of the rod, The moving nod. Silence, reflected thence, still and intense, into the firmament; Such silence as befits the event. "Re-enter" CORA. CORA. This is the hour, O child whom I have loved With love more tender than a mother's love, Bring thy friend; this moment have I sought, Awaiting always the propitious time, To speak some purpose grown more definite Than is our wont. We spend the honey days In gentle intercourse: high souls have stood Watching us drink from their crystalline stream Meandering through language: mighty kings Have listened as we read of their dead pomp; Fair women blushed as their imagined shapes Flitted before us in the tender page. We too have followed every curve and line In fairy fancies on our canvas drawn Of stately people, and the changing rhyme Of virgins dancing before Artemis; In all the pleasures that delight the mind, Invigorate the soul, lend favour to The body of the youth -- for I am old -- ULRIC. My Cora! old! But urgently a word Came of some purpose. I am half afraid To hear it -- and yourself! Reluctance sits Dogged against the will to speak. Dear friend, Let us sit close and whisper. CORA. Listen, then! Your are grown man: young men seek happiness. Is there one joy your soul hath never felt? One pure sweet passion? {158B} ULRIC "(surprised)". Sweet! you speak of love! You must have guessed I meant to question you, And smoothed the passage to my modesty. CORA "(with bitter sorrow at her heart)". You make me very glad. Yes, yes, indeed, Love is my meaning. Does it shame me much To talk so openly of love to you? But I am old enough to be -- to be -- ULRIC "(breaking right out)". My wife! O Cora, I have loved you so! My heart is like a fountain of the sea. I burn, I tremble; in my veins there swims A torrid ecstasy of madness. Ah! Ah God! I kiss you, kiss you! O you faint! Sweetheart, my passion overwhelms your soul. Your virginal sweet spirit cannot reach My fury. You are silent. Yet you love! I read it in the terror of your eyes, The crimson of your burning face. I know, I know you love me! Cora, Cora, tell me! O she will die! I would not -- I was rough -- My overmastering desire to you -- My queen, my wife, this maddens me. CORA "(recovering)". You fool! You beast! I hate you for your stupid self! I am defiled! Go! touch me not! Speak not! I am accursed of the Lord my God. ["Shrieks." {159A} ULRIC "(still passionate, yet full of tender concern)". Darling! my darling! How have I done this? CORA. Fool! It is madness! Yes, and punishment. O God, that all my love should come to this! You, you are mad! I speak of love, and you, You -- you are acting! I was taken in! Let's laugh about it! ["Tries to laugh, sinks back." It was not well done. [ULRIC "is silent, and, puzzled, waits for her to go on." Surely you know that it was Madeline! ULRIC. What! I should wed that pretty Puritan? The downcast eyes and delicate white throat, The lily, when I saw the rose before me? Your full delicious beauty was as God! You are a bunch of admirable grapes Fit to intoxicate my being! Yes! I would not give that sunny fruit of yours For twenty such frail flowers as Madeline. I am a man -- you mate me with a girl! CORA. Stop! not a word! My blasphemy to hear, Yours to speak out -- when you are told the truth! ULRIC. What truth? This word hath first an ugly sound. The truth! God curse it to His blackest hell If but it stand between us and our love! {159B} CORA. O Ulric, Ulric! bear with me awhile! Speak no more words -- each syllable strikes here, ["Hand to heart." A cloud of winged scorpions, that rage In mine own deepest self; for there I know Tame harpies that had ceased to torture me; And this more ghastly brood renews their sting, Adding a triple poison! O my soul Is torn with pangs more horrible than hell, Scorching the very marrow of my bones, Corrupting me -- corrupting me, I say, -- O God! is any safety at Thy feet? Be silent, O be silent for awhile, And I will shrivel up thy wretched ears, Give thee to curse the hour that saw thee first, To curse thy parents and thine own young head. May God forbid that thou should rail on Him! Leave me a little to my torment yet, That I may quell the host of devil forms That eat my soul up, many torturing, And one -- ah! one accursed beyond all -- Soothing! O heart of Jesus, bleed with mine! ["Kneels towards East." See, see! I seek Thee on maternal knees! Conceive Her pangs that bore Thee, when her shame Devoured Her, with no memory of love -- As mine, as mine! O bitter memories! ["A pause." ULRIC. Tell me, dear friend! anxiety and love Are like to kill me. Tell me in three words. CORA "(slowly and deliberately)". I am a dancer and a prostitute! {160A} ULRIC "smiles contemptuously". Why trick me with so pitiful a lie? Where you the vilest woman on the earth, Mere scum of filth shed off the city's dregs -- Were you the meanest and most treacherous -- Were you the sordid soul that most contrasts With your true, noble, and unselfish self -- Were you the synthesis of all I hate, In mind and body leprous and deformed -- Did every word and gesture fill my soul With hatred and its parody, disgust -- It touches not my question! This one fact O'ermasters all eccentric circumstance: I love you -- you, and not your attributes! CORA. Great noble soul! I hate myself the more That I must wound you further with the truth. A double prong this poisoned poinard Snaps in our hearts. I kept the secret long. Your breath, that burns upon me, wraps me round With whirling passion, pierces through my veins With its unhallowed fire, constrains, compels, Drags out the corpse of twenty years ago From the untrusty coffin of my mind, To poison, to corrupt, to strike you there Blind with its horror. ULRIC. Leave these bitter words! They torture me with terrible suspense, And you with fear. I see by these dread looks, Tedious prologues, that there is a truth You are afraid to speak. {160B} CORA "(aside)". What subterfuge? What shield against the lightning of his love? "(Hastily.)" I have a husband living. ULRIC. Think you, then, I have lived so long and looked into you eyes To listen to so hastily disgorged A prentice falsehood not grown journeyman? Then, had you fifty husbands, am I one, Reared in the faith of high philosophy, Schooled from my childhood in the brotherhood Of poets, to descend to this absurd Quibble of tedious morality? Shame not your truth with that ignoble thought! And also -- tell me, once for all, the truth! ["Bitterly." Say that you love him -- it is on your tongue CORA. Learn the momentous horror of thy birth! ["A pause." ULRIC. I would not urge my suit against that plea, But -- I have known you, and your own pure soul Should cast no doubt against me -- you have said "Rather we love such as the child of love; And pity -- he is not unpitiful In this vile system; and respect him too -- He stands alone, the evidence of Strength!" You move your purpose with no bastardy! Only you claim to speak the generous thought: For you I wait, for you, to offer love! {161A} CORA. All is too true -- my own philosophy Mars my world's wisdom. "(Suddenly.)" Can you tell me why I loved you as a child, and why I dare Now take your head between my hands and kiss Your forehead with these shameful lips of mine, These harlot lips, and kiss you unashamed? ULRIC. Strange are these words, and this emotion strange! CORA. Strange is the truth, and deadly as an asp. ULRIC. Wear me no more with this anxiety. CORA. How can I speak? For this will ruin us. ULRIC. Unspoken, I demand thy heart of thee. CORA. My heart is broken. This will murder thine. ULRIC. Kill, but not torture! Let me know the truth. CORA. This shaft is aimed even against thy life. {161B} ULRIC. What is my life without the love of thee? CORA. I hate each word as I do hate the devil. ULRIC. I, each evasion. I am bound a slave To this wild passion. I will eat me up. CORA. You cannot guess the horror that you speak. I tell you, if I know your golden heart, This detestation of yourself shall cry The cry of OEdipus -- "I have profaned ---" ULRIC. What sphinx more cruel? What new OEdipus? You riddle, Cora, and it breaks my heart. ["He sinks exhausted." "(Rallying.)" By God, I swear to you no lie shall keep Its Dead Sea bar against our marrying. CORA. The truth! The truth! The truth! I am indeed That whore I told you. That makes nothing here. I am the mother of thy bastard birth! ULRIC "(the conventional criticism is nearest the surface.)". Stop! stop! I did not hear you. O my God! What agony is this? What have I done To earn this infamy? Or rather, Thou, What have I not done? Have Thou pity yet; Sustain me in this vile extremity! ["He prays silently." {162A} CORA "(watching him)". How wonderful! He will abide the shock. Death and mute horror fight within his face Against a will made masterful to Fate. ULRIC "(raises his eyes and lifts his arm in act to strike)". Then I detest you! Mother! Treacherous! Vile as the worm that battens on the dead! CORA. Ulric! He's mad! Sweet heaven! what is this? [CORA "is now hysterical." URIC "does not notice. She shrieks at each new insult." ULRIC. Say rather, what are you? I loved you once Childlike; then came the power of reasoning, And I beheld you, the unselfish one, Befriending me, the angel of my life. See what it rested on, my happiness! Your sacrifice is utter selfishness; Me, the sole pledge of your debaucheries You keep -- your love, the mere maternity You share with swine and cattle! All your care Is duty: let the harlot cleanse herself -- Tardy repentance! -- In the name of God! Worse, you have lied, and built me up a house Of trust in you as being truth and love, Who are in truth all lies, all treachery! You made me love you as an honest man! You watched this passion, this intolerable Desire, this flame of hell; you fed it full, Sunned it and watered -- O my brain will snap! -- Only to blast it. Take your story back; {162B} Be what you will except that infamous! For as my mother -- I should spit on you! [CORA "is at his feet grovelling. She half rises to listen." Ignoble is your foul maternity, The cattle-kinship. But the other crime Is viler than the first one. "Look!" you say: "His passion threatens to defile my bed!" And put a hideous abiding curse On both our lives to save your modesty From my incestuous embrace! O God! My love is nobler -- to defy the past, Deny! -- your love is merely natural; Mine, against Nature, is the love Divine! What crime is this? Thy pale Son's martyrdom Cleansed earth from no such vile hypocrisy As this my mother's. And I call thee, God, To witness; and I call mankind to hear; This is my faith: I live and die by it. I, nobler, cast away the infamy, Break with my hands these rotten barricades, ["He picks up his mother's Bible, tears it, and casts it into the fire," And swear before the Spirit of the World, In sight of God, this day: I love you still With carnal love and spiritual love! And I will have you, by the living God, To be my mistress. If I fail in this, Or falter in this counsel of despair, May God's own curses dog me into hell, And mine own life perpetuate itself Through all the ages of eternity. Amen! Amen! Come, Cora, to my heart! ["He stoops to embrace her. Horror and madness catch him, and he runs about the room wildly, crying for" CORA, "whom he cannot see." MADELINE "enters." MADELINE. O Cora! Cora! Ulric! Help! Help! Help! {163A} ULRIC "(regains his self-control)". Hush! All is well! I cannot tell you now. Some news -- a letter -- it has frightened her. MADELINE. But you were crying as a madman would. ULRIC. Believe me, I am nervous and distraught. You know me, how excitable I am. A moment, and you see me calm again. Come, Cora, do not frighten Madeline! ["He raises her to lead her from the room." CORA. Where would you lead me? I am blind with tears. ULRIC. I have no tears. Mine eyes are hard and cold As my intention. Help me, Madeline. CORA. God will avenge me bitterly on you If you stretch hand to aid this infamy. ULRIC. You shall not wreck her life. Be silent now! Believe me, it is nothing, Madeline! She often falls into a fit like this. Excess is danger, equally in prayer (Her vice is prayer) as in debauchery. ["He is again going mad. He drags" CORA "from the room." {163B} MADELINE. [MADELINE "is uncertain what to do during this scene: so fidgets about and does nothing." It is not illness that hath made them mad. I cannot guess what storm has lashed itself Thus in one hour from peace and happiness To such a fury that the very room Seems to my fancy to be tossed about, Rocking and whirling on some dizzy sea. There is a horrible feeling in the air. ["She shudders" SPIRIT OF TRAGEDY. ["During this speech sighs, cries, voices from without indicate the action." The keystone of this arch of misery Is set by the unfaltering hands Of Fate. How desperate the anarchy Wrought in one hour! The fickle sands Run through the glass, and all the light is gone. Abysses without name the mighty power Spans with spread fingers; on the horizon Blood stains the setting sun, The shattered sun; it shall not rise again! No resurrection to the trampled flower, No hope to angels watching as in vain Love -- lies -- slain! Madness and Terror and the deadly mood of Fortitude, A misbegotten brood Of all things shameful -- O the desolate eyes Of the cold Christ enthroned! The weeping heaven Answers for angels: the oppressive skies See them dislink from bodily form and shape, Unloved and unforgiven, Unwept, unpenitent, unshriven! Their hell of horror knows no gate of any escape. This tragedy is terrible to me. Even I, its spirit, shudder as I see; I, passionless, the moulder of men's hope, The slayer of the, cast no horoscope {164A} Divining what befell. And I am moved: Both love, and both are worthy to be loved, Ah Fate! if thou hadst cast the dies Whence no appeal, in any other wise! I am the soul of the grim face of things: Mine are the Sphinx's wings; Mine own live lives with this event! Yet even I, its very self, lament The execrable tyranny, The rayless misery Of this wild whirlpool sea of circumstance. Mine old eyes look askance: It is my punishment to dwell In mine own self-created hell. [CORA "rushes in." MADELINE. What curse of God hath smitten you? I see Exceeding horror in abiding shape Blasting the countenance of peace and love With some distortion. O your mouth's awry! CORA "(in a hoarse, horrible voice)". You cannot tell! I cannot tell myself. Some vital mist of blood is shrouding sight From all but my corruption's self. Come here And look within mine eyes, if you can see Remembrance that there was a God! I say I see the whole bright universe a tomb, With creeping spectres moving in the mist, Some suffocating poison that was air. O Phaedra!<<1>> lend me of thy wickedness, Lest I go mad to contemplate myself! I choke -- I grope -- I fall! What name is this That strikes my spirit as a broken bell Struck by some devilish hammer? In my brain Reverberates some word impossible. O I am broken on the wheel of death; My bones are ground in some infernal mill; My blood is as the venom of a snake, Striking each vessel with unwonted pangs, Killing all good within me. I am -- ah! {164B} <<1. Wife of Theseus, in love with his son Hippolytus, by whom she was repulsed.>> MADELINE. Dear friend, dear friend, seek comfort in my arms! Look to Our Lady of the Seven Stars! CORA. Can you not see? I am cut off from God! Loathsome bull-men in their corruption linked Whisper lewd fancies in my ear. Great fish, Monstrous and flat, with vile malignant eyes, And crawling beetles of gigantic strength, Crushed, mangled, moving,<<1>> are about me. Go! Go! do not touch the carcase of myself That is abased, defiled, abominable. <<1. The descriptions of demons are from a little-known Rabbinical MS. on the "Qliphoth," or shells (larvae) of the dead. They are known also as the "cut off from God.">> MADELINE. O Heart of Jesus! Thou art bleeding still! This was Thy true disciple. Leave her not, Sweet Jesus, in this madness. Who is this? "Enter" ULRIC; "He carries a razor.". ULRIC.<<1>> <<1. "Cf." the speech of the Dweller of the Threshold in Lytton's"Zanoni.">> I have a lovely bride at last, by dear! A phantom with intolerable eyes Came close and whispered: I am Wisdom's self, Thy spouse from everlasting. Mortal king Of my immortal self, I claim thy love! So, we are wedded close. Justice demands The punishment of this accursed one, Originator of the cruel crimes My mother-mistress carried to their close. It was your vile affection, Madeline, And your perverted hankering for me {165A} That caused this thing abominable. Come! I will not hurt you in the killing you! ["He catches" MADELINE "gently by the hair, bending back her head." CORA "sits thunderstruck, unable to move or speak."] MADELINE. Help, Cora, help! he means to murder me! Jesus, my Saviour, save them from this deed! Help! [ULRIC "cuts her throat." ULRIC. So perish the Queen's enemies! Well, little lover, have I done it well? Cora, my sweetheart, we are happy now To think our troubles should be ended so In perfect love and -- I am feeling ill --- [CORA "recovers her mental balance." CORA. A blood-grey vapour and a scorpion steam To poison the unrighteous life of God! [ULRIC "looks on in a completely dazed manner, uncomprehending." CORA "(takes razor and puts it in his hand)". Kill yourself. ULRIC "(smiling, as if with some divine and ineffable joy, draws the razor across his throat, cutting in deeply. He falls bleeding.)" My dear! CORA. That is my duty to my motherhood. Let me now think of all this happening. {"She sinks slowly into a chair trembling. She puts her hand to her throat as if choking. She bites her lip and sits easily back, looking straight before her with uncomprehending eyes." {1565B} {full page below} CURTAIN. THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST.<<1>> 1901. <<1. At the publisher's suggestion, this volume was split up into"The Soul of Osiris" and "The Mother's Tragedy." The original design of the poet is now restored.>> I. THE COURT OF THE PROFANE. {col. start below} PROLOGUE. OBSESSION. TO CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. "Car ce que ta bouche cruelle Eparpilie en l'air, Monstre assassin, c'est ma cervelle, Mon sang et ma chair!" THY brazen forehead, and its lustre gloom, Great angel of Night's legion chosen chief, Beam on me like the hideous-fronted tomb, Whereon are graven strange words of misbelief; Thy brazen forehead, and its lustre gloom! Sinister eyes, you burn into my breast, Creating an infernal cavern of woe, Where strange sleek leopards lash them in unrest, And furtive serpents crawling to and fro -- Sinister eyes, you burn into my breast! All hell, all destinies of death are written Like litanies blaspheming in those eyes; And where the lightning of high God hath smitten Lie the charred brands of monstrous infamies, Wherein all destinies of death are written. {166A} Thou cam'st to obsess me first that Easter Eve, When, from the contemplation of His pain, I turned to look into my own heart's heave, And saw the bloody nails made fast again. Thou cam'st to obsess me first that Easter Eve! The lustre of old jet was over thee, And through thy body coursed the scented blood; Thy flesh was full of amorous ecstasy: Polished, and gloomier than some black full flood, The lustre of old jet was over thee! In thy great brazen blackness I am bathed; Through all thy veins, like curses, my blood runs; In all thy flesh my naked bones are swathed, My womb is pregnant with mad moons and suns. In thy great brazen blackness I am bathed! Imminent over me thy hatred hangs; Thy slow blood trickles on my swollen sides, Thy curdling purple where those poison-fangs Struck, slays desire; and only death abides. Imminent over me thy hatred hangs! {166B} Thy jet smooth body clung to mine awhile, Descending like the thunder-pregnant night. Ominous, black, thy secret cruel smile Lured me. We lay like death; until the light Thy jet smooth body clung to mine awhile! Thou was a lion as an angel then, In copper-glowing lands that gnaws the prey He has regotten from the tribes of men. We lay like passion all that deadly day -- Thou wast a lion as an angel then! Great angel of the brazen brows, great lover, Great hater of my body as my soul, To whom I gave my life and love thrice over, Fill me one last caress -- the poison-bowl! Great angel of the brazen brows, great lover! FAME. O IF these words were swords, and I had might From some old prophet in whose tawny hair The very breath of the Jehovah were To smite the Syrian, and to smite, and smite, And splash the sun's face with the blood, for spite Of his downgoing, till I had made fair All glories of my master, I could bear To sink myself in the abundant night. O if these words were lightnings, and their flame Deluged the world, and drowned the seed of shame In these ill waters where alone Truth's ark May float, where only lovers may embark, I were contented to abandon fame And live with love for ever in the dark. {167A} THE MOTHER AT THE SABBATH.<<1>> <<1. The Sabbath of the Witches. The reader should consult Payne Knight, "Two Essays on the Worship of Priapus"; Eliphaz Levi, "Historie de la Magie" and "Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie"; P. Christian, "Histoire de la Magie"; and Goethe, "Faust." Also J. Glanvil, "Saducismus Triumphatus.">> COME, child of wonder! it is Sabbath Night, The speckled twilight and the sombre singing! Listen and come: the owl's disastrous flight Points out the road! Hail, O propitious sight! See! the black gibbet and the murderer swinging! Come, child of wonder and the innocent eyes! Come where the toad his stealthy way is taking. Flaps the bat's wing upon thy cheek? How wise, How wicked are those faces! And the skies Are muffled, and the firmament is quaking. Spectres of cats misshapen nestle close, And rub their phantom sides against our dresses. Come, child of wonder! in these souls morose Keen joys may shudder -- how the daylight goes! -- Night shall betray thee to the cold caresses! Yes; it is night the hour of subtlety And strange looks meaning more than Hell can utter: -- Come, child of wonder! watch the woman's eye Who lurks towards us through the stagnant sky. Hark to the words her serpents hiss or mutter! {167B} Close we are come; before us is the Cross To trample and defile: the bones shall shudder Of many a self-slain darling. From the moss Swamp-adders greet us. How the dancers toss The frantic limb, the unreluctant udder! See, how their frenzy peoples all the ground! Strange demon-shapes take up the unholy measure, Strange beast and worm and crab: the uncouth sound Of the unheard-of-kisses: the profound Gasps of the maniac, the devouring pleasure! A curse of God is on them! -- ha! the curse, The curse that locks them in obscene embraces! See how love mocks the melancholy hearse Dressed as an altar: is she nun or nurse, The priestess chosen of the half-formed faces? An abbess, child of the unsullied eyes! Why? To blaspheme! Sweet child, the dance grows madder. O I am faint with pleasure! Ah! be wise; One measure more, and then -- the sacrifice? What victim? Guess -- a woman or an adder? Nay, fear not, baby! In your mother's hand You must be safe? You trust the womb that bare you! Who comes towards us? Why, our God, the Grand! Our Baphomet!<<1>> Come, baby, to the band: Our God may kiss you -- yes, he will not spare you! {168A} <<1. Supposed to be the abbreviation of the Templar's Order spelt backwards: Tem. o. h. p. ab. = Templi Omnium hominum pacis pater (Heb. Ab, father). Some assert the word to be really a synthesis of a great body of secret doctrine, discoverable by any one who knows the Qabalistic meaning of each letter.>> Fall down, my baby; worship him with me. There, go; I give you to his monster kisses! Take her, my God, my God, my infamy, My love, my master! take the fruit of me! -- Shrieks every soul and every demon hisses! Out! out! the ghastly torches of the feast! Let darkness hide us and the night discover The shameless mysteries of God grown beast, The nameless blasphemy, the slimed East -- Sin incarnated with a leprous lover! "Hoc est enim"<<1>> -- the victim! ah! my womb, My womb has borne the victim! Now I queen it To-night upon the damned -- thy love makes room, My goat-head godhead, for my hecatomb! I am thy mistress, and thy slaves have seen it! <<1. "Hoc est enim corpus meum," the words used in the Mass at the elevation of the Host.>> Even as thy cold devouring kisses roll Over my corpse; I hear its death-cry thrill me! Thine! -- O my god! I render thee the whole, My broken body and my accursed soul! Come, come, come, come! Ah! conquer me and kill me! THE BRIDEGROOM. No passion stirs the cool white throat of her; No living glory fills the deep dead eyes; No sleep that breaks her Southern indolence; Not all the breezes out of heaven, that stir The sleepy wells and woodlands, bid her rise; Nor all a godhead's amorous violence. She is at peace; we will go hence. {168B} Warm wealth of draperies, the broidered room, And delicate tissues of pale silk that shine About her bed: all kiss the dead girl's face With shadowy reluctances that gloom Over and under, and the cold divine Presence of Death bedews the quiet place. She was so gracious; she was grace. Once, in the long insidious hours that steal Through summer's pleasant kingdom, she would weave Such songs, such murmurs of the dusky breeze That passed, like silken tapestries that feel The silkier cheeks of maidens as they cleave Tender to patient lovers, for the ease Of lips fulfilled of harmonies. Such songs were hers. What song is hers to-night When she is smitten in her bridal bed, Because I would not trust the God that gave Her smooth virginity to godlier might, My glory? There she lies divine and dead Because I would not trust the sullen wave Of time; and chose this way -- her grave. I had not thought the poison left her so -- Smiling, enticing, exquisite. I meant Rather that beauty to destroy, to leave No subtle languors on that breast of snow, No curves by God's caressing finger bent, To bid me think of her: I would deceive My memory -- now I can but grieve. Perhaps our happiness, despite of all, Would have grown comelier and never tired; Perhaps the pitiful pale face had been {169A} Alway my true wife's; let me not recall Her first shy glance! This woman I desired, And sealed my own for ever by this keen Death that crowns her Death's queen. Death's and not mine: I was a fool to kiss Her dead lips -- ay, her living lips for that! I cannot bid her rise and live again. I would not. Nay, I know not; for is this My triumph or my ruin, satiate Of death, insatiate alway of pain? What have I done? In vain, in vain! I will not look at her; I dare not stay. I will go down and mingle with the throng, Find some debasing dulling sacrifice, Some shameless harlot with thin lips grown grey In desperate desire, and so with song And wine fling hellward. Yes, she does not rise -- O if she opened once her eyes! THE ALTAR OF ARTEMIS. WHERE, in the coppice, oak and pine With mystic yew and elm are found, Sweeping the skies, that grow divine With the dark wind's despairing sound, The wind that roars from the profound, And smites the mountain-tops, and calls Mute spirits to black festivals, And feasts in valleys iron-bound, Desolate crags, and barren ground; -- There in the strong storm-shaken grove Swings the pale censer-fire for love. The foursquare altar, rightly hewn, And overlaid with beaten gold, Stands in the gloom; the stealthy tune Of singing maidens overbold Desires mad mysteries untold, {169B} With strange eyes kindling, as the fleet Implacable untiring feet Weave mystic figures manifold That draw down angels to behold The moving music, and the fire Of their intolerable desire. For, maddening to fiercer thought, The fiery limbs requicken, wheel In formless furies, subtly wrought Of swifter melodies than steel That flashes in the fight: the peal Of amorous laughters choking sense, And madness kissing violence, Rings like dead horsemen; bodies reel Drunken with motion; spirits feel The strange constraint of gods that dip From Heaven to mingle lip and lip. The gods descent to dance; the noise Of hungry kissings, as a swoon, Faints for excess of its own joys, And mystic beams assail the moon, With flames of their infernal noon; While the smooth incense, without breath, Spreads like some scented flower of death, Over the grove; the lover's boon Of sleep shall steal upon them soon, And lovers' lips, from lips withdrawn, Seek dimmer bosoms till the dawn. Yet on the central altar lies The sacrament of kneaded bread With blood made one, the sacrifice To those, the living, who are dead -- Strange gods and goddesses, that shed Monstrous desires of secret things Upon their worshippers, from wings One lucent web of light, from head One labyrinthine passion-fed Palace of love, from breathing rife With secrets of forbidden life. But not the sunlight, nor the stars, Nor any light but theirs alone, Nor iron masteries of Mars, Nor Saturn's misconceiving zone, Nor any planet's may be shone, {170A} Within the circle of the grove, Where burn the sanctities of love: Nor may the foot of man be known, Nor evil eyes of mothers thrown On maidens that desire the kiss Only of maiden Artemis. But horned and huntress from the skies, She bends her lips upon the breeze, And pure and perfect in her eyes, Burn magical virginity's Sweet intermittent sorceries. When the slow wind from her sweet word In all their conched ears is heard. And like the slumber of the seas, There murmur through the holy trees The kisses of the goddess keen, And sighs and laughters caught between. For, swooning at the fervid lips Of Artemis, the maiden kisses Sob, and the languid body slips Down to enamelled wildernesses. Fallen and loose the shaken tresses; Fallen the sandal and girdling gold, Fallen the music manifold Of moving limbs and strange caresses, And deadly passion that possesses The magic ecstasy of these Mad maidens, tender as blue seas. Night spreads her yearning pinions; The baffled day sinks blind to sleep; The evening breeze outswoons the sun's Dead kisses to the swooning deep. Upsoars the moon; the flashing steep Of heaven is fragrant for her feet; The perfume of the grove is sweet As slumbering women furtive creep To bosoms where small kisses weep, And find in fervent dreams the kiss Most memoried of Artemis. Impenetrable pleasure dies Beneath the madness of new dreams; The slow sweet breath is turned to sighs More musical than many streams Under the moving silver beams, {170} Fretted with stars, thrice woven across. White limbs in amorous slumber toss Like sleeping foam, whose silver gleams On motionless dark seas; it seems As if some gentle spirit stirred Their lazy brows with some swift word. So, in the secret of the shrine, Night keeps them nestled; so the gloom Laps them in waves as smooth as wine, As glowing as the fiery womb Of some young tigress, dark as doom, And swift as sunrise. Love's content Builds its own mystic monument, And carves above its vaulted tomb The Phoenix on her fiery plume, To their own souls to testify Their kisses' immortality. THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE. O CRIMSON cheeks of love's fierce fever! O amber skin, electric to the kiss! O eyes of sin! O bosom of my bliss! Sorrow, the web, is spun of Love the weaver. Twelve moons have circled in their seasons; The earth has swept, exultant, round the sun; Our love has slept, and, sleeping, made us one. The thirteenth moon, be sure, the time of treasons! Another spirit waves its pinions. Love vanishes: we hate each other's sight. In sullen seas sinks our sun-flaming light, Darkness is master of the dream-dominions. Lo! in thy womb a child! How rotten Seems love to me who love it as my soul! The love of thee hath broken its control, The misconceived become the misbegotten. {171A} In thee the love of me is broken. Fear, hatred, pain, discomfort mock thy days; Thou canst disdain; these solitary bays Twine with decaying myrtles for a token. Dislike, disgust (you say repulsers) Link me to thee despite -- because of -- this Skeleton key to charnel-house. My kiss Is the dog's kiss to Lazarus his ulcers! Mock me, ye clinging lovers, at your peril! God turns to dust the blossom of your youth. The fruit of lust is poisonous with -- truth! Its immortality is -- to be sterile! This lie of Love hath no abiding: "Two loves are ended; one, the infant band, Rises more splendid." Spin the rope of sand! Two loves are one; but O to their dividing! Fertility -- distaste's adoption! Her body's growth -- desire's mortality! I look and loathe. Behold how lovers die, And immortality puts on corruption! ASMODEL.<<1>> <<1. One of the "Intelligences" of the Planet Venus.>> CALL down the star whose tender eyes Were on thy bosom at thy birth! Call, one long passionate note that sighs! Call, till its beauty bend to earth, Meet thee and lift thee and devise Strange loves within the gleaming girth, And kisses underneath the star Where on her brows its seven rays are. Call her, the maiden of thy sleep, And fashion into human shape The whirling fountains fiery and deep, The incense-columns that bedrape {171B} Her glimmering limbs, when shadows creep Among blue tresses that escape The golden torque that binds her hair, Whose swarthy splendours drench the air. She comes! she comes! The spirit glances In quick delight to hold her kiss; The fuming air shimmers and dances; The moonlight's trembling ecstasies Swoon; and her soul, as my soul, trances, Knowing no longer aught that is; Only united, moving, mixed, A music infinitely fixed. Music that throbs, and soars, and burns, And breaks the possible, to dwell One moving monotone, nor turns, Making hell heaven, and heaven hell, The steady impossible song that yearns And brooks no mortal in its swell -- This monotone immortal lips Make in our infinite eclipse! Formless, above all shape and shade; Lampless, beyond all light and flame; Timeless, above all age and grade; Moveless, beyond the mighty name; A mystic mortal and a maid, Filled with all things to fill the same, To overflow the shores of God, Mingling our proper period. The agony is passed: behold How shape and light are born again; How emerald and starry gold Burn in the midnight; how the pain Of our incredible marriage-fold And bed of birthless travail wane; And how our molten limbs divide, And self and self again abide. The agony of extreme joy, And horror of the infinite blind Passions that sear us and destroy, Rebuilding for the deathless mind {172} A deathless body, whose alloy Is gold and fire, whose passions find The tears of their caress a dew, Fiery, to make creation new. This agony and bloody sweat, This scarring torture of desire, Refine us, madden us, and set The feast of unbegotten fire Before our mouths, that mingle yet In this; the mighty-moulded lyre Of many stars still strikes above Chords of the mastery of love. This subtle fire, this secret flame, Flashes between us as she goes Beyond the night, beyond the Name, Back to her unsubstantial snows; Cold, glittering, intense, the same Now, yesterday, for aye! she glows No woman of my mystic bed; A star, far off, forgotten, dead. Only to me looks out for ever From her cold eyes a fire like death; Only to me her breasts can never Lose the red brand that quickeneth; Only to me her eyelids sever And lips respire her equal breath; Still in the unknown star I see The very god that is of me. The day's pale countenance is lifted, The rude sun's forehead he uncovers; No soft delicious clouds have drifted, No wing of midnight's bird that hovers; Yet still the hard blind blue is rifted, And still my star and I as lovers Year to each other through the sky With eyes half closed in ecstasy. Night, Night, O mother Night, descend! O daughter of the sleeping sea! O dusk, O sister-spirit, lend Thy wings, thy shadows, unto me! {172B} O mother, mother, mother, bend And shroud the world in mystery That secrets of our bed forbidden Cover their faces, and be hidden! O steadfast, O mysterious bride! O woman, O divine and dead! O wings immeasurably wide! O star, O sister of my bed! O living lover, at my side Clinging, the spring, the fountain-head Of musical slow waters, white With thousand-folded rays of light! Come! Once again I call, I call, I call, O perfect soul, to thee, With chants, and murmurs mystical, And whispers wiser than the sea: O lover, come to me! The pall Of night is woven: fair and free, Draw to my kisses; let thy breath Mingle for love the wine of death! MADONNA OF THE GOLDEN EYES. NIGHT brings madness; moonlight dips her throat to madden us; Love's swift purpose darts, the flash of a striking adder. Love that kills and kisses dwells above to sadden us; Dawn brings reason back and the violet eyes grows sadder. O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! Swooned the deep sunlight above the summer stream; Droned the sleepy dragon-fly by the water spring; Stood we in the noontide in a misty dream, Fearful of our voices, of some sudden thing. O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! {173A} Dared we whisper? Dared we lift our eyes to see there In their desperate depth some mutual flame of treason? Dared we move apart? So glad were we to be there, Nothing in the world might change the constant season. O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! Did a breath of wind disturb the lazy day? Did a soul of fear flit phantom-wise across? Suddenly we clasped and clave as spirit unto clay; Suddenly love swooped to us as swoops the albatross. O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! Did thy husband's venom breathe on the trembling scale? Did that voice corrupting cry across the midnight air? What decided? Gabriel may spin the foolish tale. What decided? We were lovers -- who should care? O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! How we clave together! How we strained caresses! How the swooning limbs sank fainting on the sward! For the fiery dart raged fiercer; in excesses Long restrained, it cried, "Behold! I am the Lord!" O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! Yes, we sat with modest eyes and murmuring lips Downcast at the table, while the husband drank his wine. So thy sly, slow hand stretched furtively; there slips Deadly in his throat the poison draught divine! O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! {173B} Then we left his carcase with the stealthy tread Reverent, in presence of the silent place; Then you burned, afire, caught up the ghastly head, Looked like Hell right into it, and sat upon the face! O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! "Come with me," you whispered, "come, and let the moon Lend her light to madden us through the hours of pleasure; Let the dayspring pass and brighten into noon! Yet no limit find our love, nor passion find a measure!" O Madonna of the Golden Eyes! Dawn brought reason back, and the violet eyes are sadder: -- O they were golden once, and I call them golden still! Dawn has brought remorse, the sting of a foul swamp-adder -- I hate you! beast of Hell! I have snapped Love's manacle! O Murderess of the Golden Eyes! O and you fix them on me! your lips curse now -- 'tis fitter! Snarl on! eat out your heart with the poison that is its blood. Speak! and her lips move now with blasphemies cruel and bitter. Slow the words creep forth as a sleepy and deadly flood. They glitter, those Satanic eyes! "Beast! I gave you my soul and my body to all your lust! Beast! I am damned in Hell for the kisses we sucked from death! Now remorse is yours, and love is fallen in dust -- I shall seek Him again for its sacramental breath! Yes, fear the gold that glitters from these eyes!" {174A} She took a dagger, and I could not stir. She pierced my silent fascinated breast. She held me with the deadly look of her. I cried to Mary in the House of Rest; "O Madonna of the Virgin eyes!" * * * I pierced him to the very soul: I took His whole life's love to me before he died; Mad kisses mingled that enduring look Of death-caught passion: in his death he cried, "O Madonna of the Golden Eyes!" LOVE AT PEACE. THE valleys, that are splendid With sun ere day is ended And love-lutes take to tune, See joyless and unfriended The perfect bowstring bended, Whose bow is called the moon. They see the waters slacken And all the sky's blue blacken, While in the yellow bracken Love lies in death or swoon. The stars arise and brighten; The summer lightnings lighten, Faint and as midnight mute. Afar the snowfields tighten The iron bands that frighten No fairy's tender foot. Across the stiller river Stray flowers of ice may shiver, Before the day deliver The murmur of its lute. The sleep of bird and flower Proclaims that Heaven has power To guard its gentlest child. The lover knows the hour, And goes with dew for dower To wed in woodland wild. The silvern grasses shake, And through the startled brake Glides the awakened snake, Untamable and mild. {174B} The song of stars; the wail Of women wild and pale, Forlorn and not forsaken; The tremulous nightingale; The waters wan that fail By frost-love overtaken, Make sacred all the valley; And softly, musically, The breezes lull and rally; The pine stirs and is shaken. Beneath whose sombre shade I hold a lazy maid In chaste arms and too tender. Lo! she is fair! God said; And saw through the deep glade How sweet she was and slender. But I -- could I behold her Curved shapeliness of shoulder? I, whose strong arms enfold her Immaculate surrender. Pure as the dawns that quicken On snow-topped mountains stricken By first gray light that grows, By beams that gather, thicken, A web of fairy ticken<<1>> To make a fairy rose: Pure as the seas that lave With phosphorescent wave The sombre architrave Of Castle No-man-knows. <<1. A closely woven fabric.>> Pure as the dreams, undreamt (That men have in contempt, That wise men yearn to see), Of angel forms exempt From mockeries that tempt Who fly about the lea; Proclaiming things unheard. Unknown to brightest bird, Things, whose unspoken word Is utmost secrecy. {175A} So pure, so pale we lie, Like angels eye to eye, Like lovers lip to lip. So, the elect knight, I Keep vigil to the sky, While the dumb moments slip. So she, my bride, my queen, So virginal, so keen, Swoons, while the moon-rays lean To fan their silver ship. No sleep, but precious kisses In those pale wildernesses, Mark the dead hours of night, No sleep so sweet as this is, Whose pulse of purple blisses Beats calm and cool and light. No life so fair with roses, No day so swift to close is; No cushion so reposes Fair love so sweet and slight. MORS JANUA AMORIS. "None but the dead can know the worth of Love." -- KELLY. IN the night my passion fancies That an incense vapour whirls, That a cloud of perfume trances With its dreamy vapour-curls All my soul, with whom their dances The one girl of mortal girls. The one girl whose wanton glances Soften into living pearls Comes, a fatal, fleeting vision, Turns my kisses to derision, Smiles upon my breast, and sighs, Flits, and laughs, and fades, and dies. By the potent starry speeches; By the spells of mystic kings; By the magic passion teaches; By the strange and sacred things {175B} By whose power the master reaches To the stubborn fiery springs; By the mystery of the beaches Where the siren Sibyl sings; I will hold her, live and bleeding; Clasp her to me, pale and pleading; Hold her in a human shape; Hold her safe without escape! So I put my spells about her As she flew into my dreams; So I drew her to the outer Land of unforgetful streams; So I laid her (who should doubt her?) Where enamelled verdure gleams, Drew her spirit from without her! In her eyelids stellar beams Glow renascent, now I hold her Breast to breast, and shining shoulder Laid to shoulder, in the bliss Of the uncreated kiss. Lips to lips beget for daughters Little kisses of the breeze; Limbs entwined with limbs, the waters Of incredible blue seas; Eyes that understand, the slaughters Of a thousand ecstasies Re-embodied, as they wrought us Garlands of strange sorceries; New desires and mystic passion Infinite, of starry fashion; The mysterious desire Of the subtle formless fire. Vainly may the Tyanaean<<1>> Throw his misconceiving eye To bewitch our empyrean Splendours of the under sky! If the loud infernal paean Be our marriage-melody, We are careless, we Achaean Moulders of our destiny. {176A} Hell, it may be, for his playing, Renders Orpheus the decaying Love -- in Hell, if Hell there be, I would seek Eurydice! <<1. Apollonius of Tyana, the sage whose glance dissolved the illusion which Lamia had cast about herself. See Keats's poem.>> If she be the demon sister Of my brain's mysterious womb; If she brand my soul and blister Me with kisses of the tomb; If she drag me where the bistre Vaults of Hell gape wide in gloom; Little matter! I have kissed her! Little matter! as a loom She has woven love around me, As with burning silver bound me, Held me to her scented skin For an age of deadly sin! So I fasten to me tighter Fetters on her limbs that fret; So my kisses kindle brighter, Fiercer, flames of Hell, and set Single, silent, as a mitre Blasphemous, a crown of jet On our foreheads, paler, whiter Than the snowiest violet. So I forge the chains of fire Round our single-souled desire. Heaven and Hell we reck not of, Being infinite in love. Come, my demon-spouse, to fashion The fantastic marriage-bed! Let the starry billows splash on Both our bodies, let them shed Dewfall, as the streams Thalassian On Selene's fallen head! Let us mingle magic passion, Interpenetrating, dead, Deathless, O my dead sweet maiden! Lifeless, in the secret Aidenn!<<1>> Let our bodies meet and mix On the spirit's crucifix! {176B} <<1. This word is taken direct from Poe's "Raven" in the sense in which it is used by him.>> THE MAY QUEEN.<<1>> (OLD STYLE) <<1. See Frazer, "The Golden Bough," for proof of the universality of the ritual described. The parallelism is accidental, Crowley having read no sociology at this time.>> IT is summer and sun on the sea, The twilight is drawn to the world: We linger and laugh on the lea, The light of my spirit with me, Sharp limbs in close agony curled. The noise of the music of sleep, The breath of the wings of the night, The song of the magical deep, The sighs of the spirits that weep, Make murmur to tune our delight. Slow feet are our measures that move; Swift songs are more soft than the breeze; Our mouths are made mute for our love; Our eyes are made soft as the dove; We mingle and move as the seas. The light of the passionate dawn That kissed us, and would not awaken, Grew golden and bold on the lawn; The rays of the sun are withdrawn At last, and the blossoms are shaken. Oh, fragrant the breeze is that stirs The grasses around us that lean! Oh, sweet is the whisper that purrs From those wonderful lips that are hers, From the passionate lips of a queen. A queen is my lover, I say, With a crown of the lilies of light -- For a maiden they crowned her in May, For the Queen of the Daughters of Day That are flowers of the forest of Night. They crowned her with lilies and blue, They crowned her with yellow and roses; They gave her a sceptre of rue, And a girdle of laurel and yew, And a basket of pansies in posies. {177A} They led her with songs by the stream; They brought her with tears to the river; They danced as the maze of a dream; They kissed her to roses and cream, And they cried, "Let the queen live for ever!" They took her, with all of the flowers They had girded her with for God's daughter; They cast her from amorous bowers To the river, the horrible powers Of the Beast that lurks down by the Water! My was was more swift than a bow That flings out its barb to the night: My sword struck the infinite blow That smote him, and blackened the flow Of the amorous river of light. I plunged in the stream, and I drew My queen from the clasp of the water; I crowned her with roses and blue, With yellow and lilies anew; I called her my love and God's daughter! I gave her a sceptre of may; I gave her a girdle of green; I drew her to music and day; I led her the beautiful way To the land where the Winds lie between. So still lingers sun upon sea; Still twilight draws down to the world; The light of my spirit is she; The soul of her love is in me; Lithe kisses with music are curled. Like light on the meadows we dwell; Like twilight clings heart unto heart; Like midnight the depth of the spell Our love weaves, and stronger than hell The guards of our palace of art. We are one as the dew that is drawn By the sun from the sea: we are curled In curves of delight an of dawn, On the lone, the immaculate lawn, Beyond the wild way of the world. {177B} SIDONIA THE SORCERESS.<<1>> <<1. For her history see Wilhelm Meinhold.>> SIDONIA the Sorceress! I revel in her amber skin, Dream in her eyes and die in her caress. She is for me the avatar of sin, Sidonia the Sorceress. The one unpardonable wickedness, Strange serpent-blasphemies, are curled within The heart of her Hell gives me to possess. Her hair is fastened with a dagger thin; A dead man's heart is woven with each tress. I murdered Christ before my lips could win Sidonia the Sorceress. THE GROWTH OF GOD. (AS DEVELOPED ON A MOONLESS NIGHT IN THE TROPICS.)<<1>> <<1. When Crowley was benighted on the way from Iguala to Mexico City, whither he was riding unattended.>> EVEN as beasts, where the sepulchral ocean Sobs, and their fins and feet keep Runic pace, Treading in water mysteries of motion, Witch-dances: where the ghastly carapace Of the blind sky hangs on the monstrous verge: Even as serpents, wallowing in the slime; So my thoughts raise misshapen heads, and urge Horrible visions of decaying Time. For in the fiery dusk arise distorted Grey shapes in moonless phosphorus glow of death; The keen light of the eyes thrust back and thwarted, The quick scent stabbed by the miasma breath. {178A} The day is over, when the lizard darted, A flash of green, the emerald outclassed; Night is collapsed upon the vale: departed All but the Close, suggestive of the Vast. The heavy tropic scent-inspiring gloom Clothes the wide air, the circumambient aether. The earth grins open, as it were a tomb, And struggling earthquakes gnash their teeth beneath her. The night is monstrous: in the flickering fire Strange faces gibber as the brands burn low; Old shapes of hate, young phantoms of desire More hateful yet, shatter and change and grow. There is a sense of terror in the air, And dreadful stories catch my breath and bind me, Soft noises as of breathing: unaware What devils or what ghosts may lurk behind me! Even my horse is troubled: vain it is Invoking memory for sweet sound of youth; The song, the day, the cup, the shot, the kiss! This night begets illusion -- ay! the truth. I know the deep emotion of that birth, When chaos rolled in terror and in thunder; The abortion of the infancy of earth; The monsters moving in a world of wonder; The Shapeless, racked with agony, that grew Into these phantom forms that change and shatter; The falling of the first toad-spotted dew; The first lewd heaving ecstasy of matter. I see all Nature claw and tear and bite, All hateful love and hideous: and the brood Misshapen, misbegotten out of spite; Lust after death; love in decreptitude. {178B} Thus, till the monster-birth of serpent-man Linked in corruption with the serpent-woman, Slavering in lust and pain -- creation's ban. The horrible beginning of the human. The savage monkey leaping on his mate; The upright posture for sure murder taken; The gibberings modified to spit out hate: Struggle to manhood -- surely God-forsaken. The bestial cause of Morals -- fear and hate. At last the anguish-vomit of despair, The growth of reason -- and its pangs abate No whit: the knife replaces the arm bare. Fear grows, and torment; and distracted pain Must from sheer agony some respite find; When some half-maddened miserable brain Projects a God in his detesting mind. A God who made him -- to the core all evil, In his own image -- and a God of Terror; A vast foul nightmare, and impending devil; Compact of darkness, infamy, and error. Some bestial woman, beaten by her mates, In utter fear broke down the bar of reason; Shrieked, crawled to die; delirium abates By some good chance her terror in its season. Her ravings picture the cessation of Such life as she had known: her mind conceives A God of Mercy, Happiness, and Love; Reverses life and fact: and so believes. So man grew up; and so religion grew. Now in the aeons shall not truth dissever The man and maker, smite the old lie through, Cast God to black oblivion for ever? Picture no longer in fallacious thought A doer for each deed! the real lurks Nowhere thus hidden: there is truly nought Substantial in these unsubstantial works. {179A} But work thou ever! Thou who art or art not, Work that the fever of thy life abate; Work! though for weary ages thou depart not, At last abideth the sequestered state. Sure is the search! O seeker, as the bird, Homing through distant skies toward its rest, Shall surely find -- and thou shalt speak the word At last that shall dissolve thee into rest. TO RICHARD WAGNER. O MASTER of the ring of love, O lord Of all desires, and king of all the stars, O strong magician, who with locks and bars Dost seal that kingdom silent and abhorred That stretches out and binds with iron cord The hopes and lives of men, and makes and mars! O thou thrice noble for the deadly scars That answered vainly thy victorious sword! Wagner! creator of a world of light As beautiful as God's, bend down to me. And whisper me the secrets of thy heart, That I may follow and dispel the night, And fight life through, a comrade unto thee, Under Love's banner with the sword of Art! THE TWO EMOTIONS. HOW barren is the Valley of Delight! Swift the gaunt hounds that nose the warm close trail Of all my love's content; in vain I veil My secret of remorse; from their keen sight And scent my poor deception takes to flight. I borrow perfume from young loves waxed pale; I borrow music from the nightingale. In vain: she knows me, and I hate he quite. {179B} Not altogether: in my patchwork brain Some rag of passion tears its woof asunder. Strange, that its own insatiable pain Should find an opiate in her eyes of wonder! Yes, though I hate her well enough to kill, I know that then my soul would love her still. THE SONNET. I. THE solemn hour, and the magnetic swoon Of midnight in a poet's lonely hall! Grave spirits answer (angels if he call) The invocation of his lofty tune. Thus in his measure nature craves the boon To be reflected; and his rhymes appal Or charm mankind as tides that flow or fall, Waxes or wanes the tempestival moon. Her course is measured in the sonnet's tether. Waxes the eightfold ecstasy; exceeds The minor sestet, where some passion bleeds Or truth discovers: or eclipse may end, Proof against thought; but if man comprehend The stars is all their stations sing together. II. What power or fascination can there lie In this fair garden of the straight-kept rows, The sonnet? Surely some archangel knows Why, having written in mere ecstasy One sonnet-thought, the metre cannot die But urges, but compels me to compose More and still more,<<1>> and still my spirit goes Striving up glittering steeps of symphony. {180A} There is an angel who is guardian. Surely her wings are rosy, and her feet Black as the wind of frost; but oh! her face! Whoso may know it is no more a man, But walks with God, and sees the Lady sweet Whose body was the vehicle of grace. <<1. This is a singular psychological fact.>> WEDLOCK. A SONNET. I SAW the Russian peasants<<1>> build a ring Of glowing embers of the bubbling pine. In the green heart o' the salamander line They scatter roses. Now the youngsters spring Within, who with hard-shut eyes hope to bring From out the fiery circle one divine Blossom of rose, as from a poisonous mine Gold comes to gird the palace of a king. Envious I sprang -- and found the last rose gone. So in the fiery ring of wedlock, blind, Mad, one may leap, no rose perhaps to find (Or, if no rose, good fortune finds no thorn), But -- mark the difference -- palpable and plain: Rose or no rose, one leaps not out again. <<1. In my mind's eye, Horatio. The story is a pretty fiction.>> 


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