February 18, 1993 e.v. key entry by Bill Heidrick, T.G. of O.T.O. January 8, 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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             DRAWING OF JEZEBEL.
  LIFT up thine head, disastrous Jezebel!
    Fire and black stars are melted in thine hair
    That curls to Hell, as in Satanic prayer;
  Thy mouth is heavy with its riper smell
  Than clustered pomegranates beside a well;
    The cruel savour of thy lust lies there,
  That blood may tinge thy kisses unaware
  To fill thy children with the hope of Hell. {180B}
  O evil beauty!  Heart of mystery
    Wherein my being toils, and in the blood
    Mixed with thy poison finds its subtle food,
  Intoxicating my divinity!
    Disdainful hands behind thee, I may take
    What joys I will -- but thou wilt not awake.

«1. Canticles viii. 6,7.»

  IN my distress I made complaint to Death:
    Thy shadow strides across the starry air;
    Thou comest as a serpent unaware,
  Striking love's heart and crushing out man's breath:
  Thy destiny is even as God saith
    To mark the impotence of human prayer,
    Choke hope, sting all but Love; and never care
  If man or flower or sparrow perisheth.
  Thee, I invoke thee, though no mercy move
    Thy heart!  No power is to thy hate assigned
      On love (sing, poets! shrill, Pandean reeds!).
      But me, look on me, how my bossom bleeds --
    Invoke new power of cruelty; be kind,
  And ask authority to quench my love!
                COENUM FATALE.
  "La cour d'appel de la volonte de l'homme -- C'est le ventre!" - "Old
  THE worst of meals is that we have to meet.
    They trick my purpose and evade my will,
    Remind my conscience that I love her still,
  And pull my spirit from its lofty seat.
  For I withdraw myself: my stealthy feet
    Seek half-ashamed the alembic which I fill
    To the epic-mark -- one sonnet to distil,
  In this poor miracle -- my love to cheat. {181A}
  Dinner clangs cheerily from my lady's gong.
  A man must eat in intervals of song!
    Swift feet run back, to hide my hate of her.
  And then -- that hate flies truant, as my thought
  Rests (surely it beseems the overwrought)
    And I am left her slave and minister.
  TO love you, Love, is all my happiness;
    To kill you with my kisses; to devour
    Your whole ripe beauty in the perfect hour
  That mingles us in one supreme caress;
  To drink the purple of your thighs; to press
    Your beating bosom like a living flower;
    To die in your embraces, in the shower
  That dews like death your swooning loveliness
  To know you love me; that your body leaps
    With the quick passion of your soul; to know
    Your fragrant kisses sting my spirit so;
  To be one soul where Satan smiles and sleeps; --
    Ah! in the very triumph-hour of Hell
    Satan himself remembers whence he fell!
  BEFORE the altar of Famine and Desire
    The Two in One, a golden woman stands
    Holding a heart in her ensanguine hands,
  The nightly victim of her whore's attire.
  Quick sobs of lust instead of prayers inspire
    Some oracle of Death.  From many lands
    Come many worshippers.  Their fading brands
  Rekindle from the sacrificial fire.
  Before the altar of Plenty, Love, and Peace,
    Stand purer priests in bloodless sacrifice,
      And quiet hymns of happiness are heard.
  Here sound no hatreds and no ecstasies;
    Here no polluted sacrament of Vice
      Unveiled!  I chose the first without a word! {181B}
                LOVE'S WISDOM.
  THERE is a sense of passion after death.
    Passion for death, desire to kiss the scythe,
    All know, whose limbs in envious glory writhe,
  And lie exhausted, mingling happy breath.
  "Could I end so -- this moment!"  Lingereth
    The lazy gaze half mournful and half blithe.
    But there's another, when the body dieth --
  Hast thou no knowledge what the carcase saith?
  I watched all night by my dead lover's bed.
    I saw the spirit; heard the motionless
    Lips part in uttering a supreme caress:
  "I care not or for life or death;" they said,
    "Only for love."  "What difference?" said I,
    "Dead or alive, I love thee utterly."

«1. The obscurity of this poem demands explanation. Its thesisis the fact that human happiness is only found in strife and aspiration. Victory and achievement inevitably lead to discontent, because only the impossible is truly desirable.»

  MORTAL distrust of mortal happiness
    Is born of madness and of impotence;
    A miserable and distorted sense,
  Defiant in its hatred of success.
  Even where love's banners flame, and flowers bless
    The happy head; all faith and hope immense
    Fly, for possession dwells supreme, intense;
  And to possess is only -- to possess.
  But, as the night draws snailwise to its end,
    And sleep invades the obstinate desire,
      And lovers sigh -- but not for kisses' sake --
      There comes this misery, as half awake
    I watch the embers of my passion-fire,
  And see love dwindled in my -- call her friend! {182A}
     "There is no light, nor wisdom, nor knowledge in the grave, wither thou
  goest." -- SOLOMON.
  A FOOLISH and a cruel thing is said
    By the Most High that mocks man's empty breast,
    As if the grave were mere eternal rest,
  Or merest resurrection of the dead.
  All petty wishes: at the fountain-head,
    A dead girl's whisper -- I have stooped and pressed
    My ear unto her heart -- her soul confessed
  That none of life her joy relinquished.
  "I died the moment when you tore away
    The bleeding veil of my virginity.
      The pain was sudden -- and the joy was long.
    Persists that triumph, keenly, utterly!
      Write, then, in thy mysterious book of song:
  'Death chisels marble where life moulded clay.'"
              AGAINST THE TIDE.
  I KILLED my wife -- not meaning to, indeed --
  Yet knew myself the sheer necessity:
  For I too died that miracle-hour -- and she,
  She also knew the immedicable need.
  She sighed, and laughed, and died.  How loves exceed
  In that strange fact!  Yet robbed (you say) are we
  Of God's own purpose of fecundity.
  Exactly!  You have read the golden rede.
  That is the pity of all things on earth:
  That all must have its consequence again.
  Life ends in death and loving ends in birth.
  All's made for pleasure: man's device is pain.
  And in that pain and barrenness men find
  Triumph on God; and glory of the mind. {182B}
                (TO M. M. M.)
     "The number nine is sacred, as the Oracles inform us, and attaineth the
  summits of philosophy." -- ZOROASTER.
  NINE times I kissed my lover in her sleep:
    The first time, to make sure that she was there;
    The second, as a sleepy sort of prayer;
  The third, because I wished that she should weep;
  The fourth, to draw her kisses and to keep;
    The fifth, for love; the sixth, in sweet despair;
    The seventh, to destroy us unaware;
  The eighth, to dive within the infernal deep.
  The last, to kill her -- and myself as well!
    Ah! joy of sweet annihilation,
    The blackness that invades the burning sun,
  My swart limbs and her limbs adorable!
    So nine times dead before the night is done,
    Even as Styx nine times embraces Hell.

«1. This poem is partially composed on Mr. Poe's scheme of verse –“vide” “The Philosophy of Composition.” – A.C.»

  DEEP melancholy -- O, the child of folly! --
    Looms on my brow, a perched ancestral bird;
  Black are its plumes, its eyes melancholy,
    It speaks no word.
  Like to a star, deep beauty's avatar<<Incarnation.>>
    Pales in the dusky skies so far above:
  Seven rays of gladness crown its passionate star,
    One heart of love. {183A}
  The fringing trees, marge of deep-throated seas,
    Move as I walk: like spectres whispering
  The spaces of them: let me leave the trees --
    It is not spring!
  Spring -- no! but dying autumn fast and flying,
    Sere leaves and frozen robins in my breast!
  There is the winter -- were I sure in dying
    To find some rest!
  There is a shallop -- how the breakers gallop,
    Grinding to dust the unresisting shore,
  A moon-mad thought to wander in the shallop!
    Act -- think no more!
  Pale as a ghost I leave the sounding coast,
    The waters white with moonrise.  I embark,
  Float on to the horizon as a ghost,
    Confront the dark.
  The cadent curve of Dian seems to swerve,
    Eluding helmcraft: let me drift away
  Where sea and sky unite their clamorous curve
    In praise of Day.
  Is it an edge?  Some spray-bechiselled ledge?
    Some sentry platform to an under sky?
  Let me drift onward to the azure edge --
    I can but die!
  The moon hath seen!  An arrow cold and keen
    Brings some cold being from the water chill,
  Rising between me and the world -- unseen,
    Most terrible.
  Dawns that unheard-of terror!  Never a word of
    The spells that chain ill spirits I remember.
  And oh! my soul!  What hands of ice unheard-of
    Disturb, dismember! {183B}
  It hath no shape; and I have no escape!
    It wraps around me, as a mist, despair.
  Fear without sense and horror without shape
    Most surely there!
  O melancholy! charming child of folly,
    Where is thy comfort told without a word?
  Where are thy plumes, beloved melancholy,
    Familiar bird? {184midA}
  O emerald star, deep beauty's avatar,
    Are thy skies dim?  What throne is thine above?
  Where is the crown of thee -- thy sevenfold star,
    My heart of love?
  Then from the clinging mist there came a singing;
    A dirge re-echoes to the poet prayer:
  "I am their child to whom thy soul is clinging,
    I am Despair!" {184midB}

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              II. THE GATE OF THE SANCTUARY. {col. resumes}
                  TO LAURA.
  MISTRESS, I pray thee, when the wind
    Exults upon the roaring sea,
  Come to my bosom, kissed and kind
    And sleep upon the lips of me!
  Dream on my breast of quiet days,
    Kindled of slow absorbing fire!
  Sleep, while I ponder on the ways
    And secret paths of my desire!
  Dream, while my restless brain probes deep
    The mysteries of its magic power,
  The secret of forgotten sleep,
    The birth of knowledge as a flower!
  Slow and divine thy gentle breath
    Woos my warm throat: my spirit flies
  Beyond the iron walls of death,
    And seeks strange portals, pale and wise.
  My lips are fervent, as in prayer,
    Thy lips are parted, as to kiss:
  My hand is clenched upon the air,
    Thy hand's soft touch, how sweet it is!
  The wind is amorous of the sea;
    The sea's large limbs to its embrace
  Curl, and thy perfume curls round me,
    An incense on my eager face. {184A}
  I see, beyond all seas and star,
    The gates of hell, the paths of death
  Open: unclasp the surly bars
    Before the voice of him that saith:
  "I will!"  Droop lower to my knees!
    Sink gently to the leopard's skin!<<1>>
  I must not stoop and take my ease,
    Or touch the body lithe and thin.

«1. An actual rug: not a symbol.»

  Bright body of the myriad smiles,
    Sweet serpent of the lower life,
  The smooth silk touch of thee defiles,
    The lures and languors of a wife.
  Slip to the floor, I must not turn:
    There is a lion in the way!<<1>>
  The star of morning rise and burn:
    I seek the dim supernal day!

«1. Tennyson: the Holy Grail The phrase is, however, much older.»

  Sleep there, nor know me gone: sleep there
    And never wake, although God's breath
  Catch thee at midmost of the prayer
    Of sleep -- that so dream turns to death!
  Pass, be no more!  The beckoning dawn
    Woos the white ocean: I must go
  Wither my soul's desire is drawn.
    Whither?  I know not.  Even so. {184B}
              THE LESBIAN HELL.
  THE unutterable void of Hell is stirred
    By gusts of sad wind moaning; the inane
  Quivers with melancholy sounds unheard,
    Unpastured woes, and unimagined pain,
    And kisses flung in vain.
  Pale women fleet around, whose infinite
    Long sorrow and desire have torn their wombs,
  Whose empty fruitlessness assails the night
    With hollow repercussion, like dim tombs
    Wherein some vampire glooms.
  Pale women sickeninng for some sister breast;
    Lone sisterhood of voiceless melancholy
  That wanders in this Hell, desiring rest
    From that desire that dwells forever free,
    Monstrous, a storm, a sea.
  In that desire their hands are strained and wrung;
    In that most infinite passion beats the blood,
  And bursting chants of amorous agony flung
    To the void Hell, are lost, not understood,
    Unheard by evil or good.
  Their sighs attract the unsubstantial shapes
    Of other women, and their kisses burn
  Cold on the lips whose purple blood escapes,
    A thin chill stream; they feel not nor discern,
    Nor love's low laugh return.
  They kiss the spiritual dead, they pass
    Like mists uprisen from the frosty moon,
  Like shadows fleeting in a seer's glass,
    Beckoning, yearning, amorous of the noon
    When earth dreams on in swoon.
  They are so sick for sorrow, that my eyes
    Are moist because their passion was so fair,
  So pure and comely that no sacrifice
    Seems to waft up a sweeter savour there,
    Where God's grave ear takes prayer. {185A}
  O desecrated lovers!  O divine
    Passionate martyrs, virgin unto death!
  O kissing daughters of the unfed brine!
    O sisters of the west wind's pitiful breath,
    There is One that pitieth!
  One far above the heavens crowned alone,
    Immitigable, intangible, a maid,
  Incomprehensible, divine, unknown,
    Who loves your love, and to high God hath said:
    "To me these songs are made!"
  So in a little from the silent Hell
    Rises a spectre, disanointed now,
  Who bears a cup of poison terrible,
    The seal of God upon his blasted brow,
    To whom His angels bow.
  Rise, Phantom disanointed, and proclaim
    Thine own destruction, and the sleepy death
  Of those material essences that flame
    A little moment for a little breath,
    The love that perisheth!
  Rise, sisters, who have ignorantly striven
    On pale pure limbs to pasture your desire,
  Who should have fixed your souls on highest Heaven,
    And satiated your longings in that fire,
    And struck that mightier lyre!
  Let the ripe kisses of your thirsty throats
    And beating blossoms of your breath, and flowers
  Of swart illimitable hair that floats
    Vague and caressing, and the amorous powers
    Of your unceasing hours,
  The rich hot fragrance of your dewy skins,
    The eyes that yearn, the breasts that bleed, the thighs
  That cling and cluster to these infinite sins,
    Forget the earthlier pleasures of the prize,
    And raise diviner sighs; {185B}
  Cling to the white and bloody feet that hang,
    And drink the purple of a God's pure side;
  With your wild hair assuage His deadliest pang,
    And on His broken bosom still abide
    His virginal white bride.
  So, in the dawn of skies unseen above,
    Your passion's fiercest flakes shall catch new gold,
  The sun of an immeasurable love
    More beautiful shall touch the chaos cold
    Of earth that is grown old.
  Then, shameful sisterhood of earth's disdain,
    Your lips shall speak your hearts, and understand;
  Your lovers shall assuage the amorous pain
    With spiritual lips more keen and bland,
    And ye shall take God's hand.
            THE NAMELESS QUEST.<<1>>

«1. This poem has no foundation in tradition.»

  THE king was silent.  In the blazoned hall
  Shadows, more mute than at a funeral
  True mourners, waited, waited in the gloom;
  Waited to hear what child was in the womb
  Of his high thoughts.  As dead men were we all;
  As dead men wait the trumpet in the tomb.
  The king was silent.  Tense the high-strung air<<1>>
  Must save itself by trembling -- if it dare.
  Then a lone shudder ran across the space;
  Each man ashamed to see his fellow's face,
  Each troubled and confused.  He did not spare
  Our fear -- he spake not yet a little space. {186A}

«1. Here and in several other passages intense energy of will, or importance of situation, is represented as producing an actual condition of strain in the air or the ether. The fact observed is at least subjectively true to many people.»

  After a while he took the word again:
  "Go thou then moonwards<<1>> on the great salt plain;
  So to a pillar.  Adamant, alone,
  It stands.  Around it see them overthrown,
  King, earl, and knight.  There lie the questing slain,
  A thousand years forgotten -- bone by bone.

«1. The moon here symbolises the path of HB:Gemel, which leads from Tiphereth, the human will, to Kether, the divine Will.»

  "No more is spoken -- the tradition goes:
  'There learns the seeker what he seeks or knows,'
  Thence -- none have passed.  The desert leagues may keep
  Some other secret -- some profounder deep
  Than this one echoed fear: the desert shows
  Its ghastly triumph -- silence.  There they sleep.
  "There, brave and pure, there, true and strong, they stay
  Bleached in the desert, till the solemn day
  Of God's revenge -- none knoweth them: they rest
  Unburied, unremembered, unconfessed.
  What names of strength, of majesty, had they?
  What suns are these gone down into the West?
  "Even I myself -- my youth within me said:
  Go, seek this folly; fear not for the dead,
  And God is with thine arm!  I reached the ridge,
  And saw the river and the ghastly bridge
  I told you of.  Even then, even there, I fled.
  Nor knight, nor king -- a miserable midge!
  "Yet from my shame I dare not turn and run.
  My oath grows urgent as my days are done.
  Almost mine hour is on me: for its sake
  I tell you this, as if my heart should break: --
  The infinite desire -- a burning sun!
  The listening fear -- the sun-devouring snake!" {186B}
  The king was silent.  None of us would stir.
  I sat, struck dumb, a living sepulchre.
  For -- hear me! in my heart this thing became
  My sacrament, my penttecostal flame.
  And with it grew a fear -- a fear of Her.
  What Her?  Shame had not found itself a name.
  Simply I knew it in myself.  I brood
  Ten years -- so seemed it -- O! the bitter food
  In my mouth nauseate!  In the silent hall
  One might have heard God's sparrow in its fall.
  But I was lost in mine own solitude --
  I should not hear Mikhael's<<1>> trumpet-call.

«1. Correct of “Michael.” A piece of pedantry pardonable in a youth of 25.»

  Yet there did grow a clamour shrill and loud:
  One cursed, one crossed himself, another vowed
  His soul against the quest; the tumult ran
  Indecorous in that presence, man to man.
  Stilled suddenly, beholding how I bowed
  My soul in thought: another cry began.
  "Gereth the dauntless!  Gereth of the Sea!
  Gereth the loyal!  Child of royalty!
  witch-mothered Gereth!  Sword above the strong,
  heart pure, head many-wiled!"  The knightly throng
  Clamour my name, and flattering words, to me --
  If they may 'scape the quest -- I do them wrong;
  They are my friends!  Yet something terrible
  Rings in the manly music that they swell.
  They are all caught in this immense desire
  Deeper than heaven, tameless as the fire.
  All catch the fear -- the fear of Her -- as well,
  And dare not -- even afraid, I must aspire. {187A}
  A spirit walking in a dream, I went
  To the high throne -- they shook the firmament
  With foolish cheers.  I knelt before the queen
  And wept in silence.  Then, as it had been
  And angel's voice and touch, her face she bent,
  Lifted and kissed me -- oh! her lips were keen!
  Her voice was softer than a virgin's eyes:
  "Go! my true knight: for thither, thither lies
  The only road for thee; thou hast a prayer
  Wafted each hour -- my spirit will be there!"
  Too late I knew what subtle Paradise
  Her dreams and prayers portend: too fresh, too fair!
  I turned more wretched than myself knew yet.
  I told my nameless pain I should forget
  Its shadow as it passed.  The king did start,
  Gripped my strong hands, and held me to his heart,
  And could not speak a moment.  Then he set
  A curb of sorrow and subdued its dart.
  "Go! and the blessing of high God attend
  Thy path, and lead thee to the doubtful end.
  No tongue that secret ever may reveal.
  Thy soul is god-like and thy frame is steel;
  Thou mayst win the quest -- the king, thy friend,
  Gives thee his sword to keep thee -- Gereth, kneel!
  "I dub thee Earl; arise!"  And then there rings
  The queen's voice: "Shall my love not match the king's?
  Here, from my finger drawn, this gem of power
  Shall guard thee in some unimagined hour.
  It hath strange virtue over mortal things.
  I freely give it for thy stirrup's dower." {187B}
  I left the presence.  Now the buffeting wind
  Gladdens my face -- I leave the court behind.
  Am I Stark mad?  My face grows grim and grave;
  I see -- O Mary Mother, speak and save!
  I stare and stare until mine eyes are blind --
  There was no jewel in the ring she gave!<<1>>

«1. The gift of a wedding ring is of course typical of the supreme surrender on the part of a married woman.»

  Oh! my pure heart!  Adulterous love began
  So subtly to identify the man
  With its own perfumed thoughts.  So steals the grape
  Into the furtive brain -- a spirit shape
  Kisses my spirit as no woman can.
  I love her -- yes; and I have no escape.
  I never spoke, I never looked!  But she
  Saw through the curtains of the soul of me,
  And loved me also!  It is very well.
  I am well started on the road to Hell.
  Loved, and no sin done!  Ay, the world shall see
  The quest is first -- a love less terrible.
  Yet, as I ride toward the edge of snow
  That cuts the blue, I think.  For even so
  Comes reason to me: "Oh, return, return!
  What folly is it for two souls to burn
  With hell's own fire!  What is this quest of woe?
  What is the end?  Consider and discern!"
  Banish the thought!  My working reason still
  Is the rebellious vassal to my will,
  Because I will it.  That is God's own mind.
  I cast all thought and prudence to the wind:
  On, to the quest!  The cursed parrot hill
  Mocks on, on, on!  The thought is left behind. {188A}
  Night came upon me thus -- a wizard hand
  Grasping with silence the reluctant land.
  Through night I clomb -- behind me grew the light
  Reflected in the portal of the night.
  I reached the crest at dawn -- pallid I stand,
  Uncomprehending of the sudden sight.
  The river and the bridge!  The river flows,
  Tears of young orphans for its limpid woes.
  The red bridge quivers -- how my spirit starts,
  Its seeming glory built of widows' hearts!
  And yet I could disdain it -- heaven knows
  I had no dear ones for their counterparts.
  Yet the thought chilled me as I touched the reins.
  Ah! the poor horse, he will not.  So remains,
  Divided in his love.  With mastered tears
  I stride toward the parapet.  My ears
  Catch his low call; and now a song complains.
  The bridge is bleeding and the river hears.
  Ah!  God!  I cannot live for pity deep
  Of that heart-quelling chant -- I could not sleep
  Ever again to think of it.  I close
  My hearing with my fingers.  Gently goes
  A quivering foot above them as they weep --
  I weep, I also, as the river flows.
  Slowly the bridge subsides, and I am flung
  Deep in the tears and terrors never sung.
  I swim with sorrow bursting at my breast.
  Yet I am cleansed, and find some little rest.
  Still from my agonised unspeaking tongue
  Breaks: I must go, go onward to the quest.
  Again the cursed cry: "What quest is this?
  Is it worth heaven in thy lover's kiss?
  A queen, a queen, to kiss and never tire!
  Thy queen, quick-breathing for your twin desire!"
  I shudder, for the mystery of bliss;
  I go, heart crying and a soul on fire! {188B}
  "Resolve all question by a moonward tread.
  Follow the moon!"  Even so the king had said.
  My thought had thanked him for the generous breath
  Wherewith he warned us: for delay were death.
  And now, too late! no moon is overhead --
  Some other meaning in the words he saith?
  Or, am I tricked in such a little snare?
  I lifted up my eyes.  What soul stood there,
  Fronting my path?  Tall, stately, delicate,
  A woman fairer than a pomegranate.
  A silver spear her hands of lotus bear,
  One shaft of moonlight quivering and straight.
  She pointed to the East with flashing eyes:
  "Thou canst not see her -- but my Queen shall rise."
  Bowed head and beating heart, with feet unsure
  I passed her, trembling, for she was too pure.
  I could have loved her.  No: she was too wise.
  Her presence was to gracious to endure.
  "She did not bid me go and chain me to her,"
  I cried, comparing.  Then, my spirit knew her
  For One beyond all song<<1>> -- my poor heart turned:
  Then, 'tis no wonder.  And my passion burned
  Mightier yet than ever.  To renew her
  Venom from those pure eyes?  And yet I yearned.

«1. The “Higher Self.”»

  Still, I stepped onward.  Credit me so far!
  The harlot had my soul: my will, the star!
  Thus I went onward, as a man goes blind,
  Into a torrent crowd of mine own king;
  Jostlers and hurried folk and mad they are,
  A million actions and a single mind. [189A}
  "What is thy purpose, sweet my lord?"  I pressed
  One stalwart.  "Ah! the quest," he cried, "the quest."
  God's heart! the antics, as they toil and shove!
  One grabs a coin, one life, another love.
  All shriek, "The prize is mine!" as men possessed.
  I was not fooled at anything thereof.
  Rather I hated them, and scorned for slaves;
  "Fools! all your treasure is at last the grave's!"
  Mine eyes had fixed them on the sphinx, the sky.
  "Is then this quest of immortality?"
  And echo answered from some unseen caves:
  Mortality!  I shrink, and wonder why.
  Strange I am nothing tainted with this fear
  Now, that had touched me first.  For I am here
  Half-way I reckon to the field of salt,
  The pillar, and the bones -- it was a fault
  I am cured of! praise to God!  What meets mine ear,
  That every nerve and bone of me cries halt?
  What is this cold that nips me at the throat?
  This shiver in my blood? this icy note
  Of awe within my agonising brain?
  Neither of shame, nor love, nor fear, nor pain,
  Nor anything?  Has love no antidote,
  Courage no buckler?  Hark! it comes again.
  Friend, hast thou heard the wailing of the damned?
  Friend, hast thou listened when a murderer shammed
  Pale smiles amid his fellows as they spoke
  Low of his crime: his fear is like to choke
  His palsied throat.  How, if Hell's gate were slammed
  This very hour upon thy womanfolk? {189B}
  Conceive, I charge thee!  Brace thy spirit up
  To drink at that imagination's cup!
  Then, shriek, and pass!  For thou shalt understand
  A little of the pressure of the hand
  That crushed me now.  Yes, yes! let fancy sup
  That grislier banquet than old Atreus<<1>> planned!

«1. Atreus, King of Mycenae, gave a banquet of pretended reconciliation to his half-brother Thyestes, at which the two sons of Thyestes were served up.»

  Mind cannot fathom, nor the brain conceive,
  Nor soul assimilate, nor heart believe
  The horror of that Thing without a Name.
  Full on me, boasting, like Death's hand it came,
  And struck me headlong.  Linger, while I weave
  The web of mine old agony and shame.
  A little shadow of that hour of mine
  Touches thy heart?  Fill up the foaming wine,
  And listen for a little!  How profound
  Strikes memory keen-fanged; memory, the hound
  That tracks me yet! a shiver takes my spine
  At one half-hint, the shadow of that sound.
  Where am I?  Seven days my spirit fell,
  Down, down the whirlpools and the gulfs of hell:
  Seven days a corpse lay desolate -- at last
  Back drew the spirit and the soul aghast
  To animate that clay -- O horrible!
  The resurrection pang is hardly past.
  Yet in awhile I stumbled to my feet
  To flee -- no nightmare could be worse to meet.
  And, spite of that, I knew some deadlier trap
  Some worm more poisonous would set -- mayhap! {190A}
  I turned -- the path?  My horror was complete --
  A flaming sword across the earthquake gap.
  I cried aloud to God in my despair.
  "The quest of quests!  I seek it, for I dare!
  Moonward! on, moonward!"  And the full moon shone,
  A glory for God's eyes to dwell upon,
  A path of silver furrowed in the air,
  A gateway where an angel might have gone.
  And forward gleamed a narrow way of earth
  Crusted with salt: I watch the fairy birth
  Of countless flashes on the crystal flakes,
  Forgetting it is only death that makes
  Its home the centre of that starry girth.
  Yet, what is life?  The manhood in me wakes.
  The absolute desire hath hold of me.
  Death were most welcome in that solemn sea;
  So bitter is my life.  But carelessness
  Of life and death and love is on me -- yes!
  Only the quest! if any quest there be!
  What is my purpose?  Could the Godhead guess?
  So the long way seemed moving as I went,
  Flashing beneath me; and the firmament
  Moving with quicker robes that swept the air.
  Still Dian drew me to her bosom bare,
  And madness more than will was my content.
  I moved, and as I moved I was aware!
  The plain is covered with a many dead.
  Glisten white bone and salt-encrusted head,
  Glazed eye imagined, of a crystal built.
  And see! dark patches, as of murder spilt.
  Ugh!  "So thy fellows of the quest are sped!
  Thou shall be with them: onward, if thou wilt!" {190B}
  So was the chilling whisper at my side,
  Or in my brain.  Then surged the maddening tide
  Of my intention.  Onward!  Let me run!
  Thy steed, O Moon!  Thy chariot, O Sun!
  Lend me fierce feet, winged sandals, wings as wide
  As thine, O East wind!  And the goal is won!
  Was ever such a cruel solitude?
  Up rears the pillar.  Quaintly shaped and hued,
  It focussed all the sky and all the plain
  To its own ugliness.  I looked again,
  And saw its magic in another mood.
  A shapeless truth took image in my brain.
  A hollow voice from every quarter cries:
  'O thou, zelator of this Paradise,
  Tell thou the secret of the pillar!  None
  Can hear thee, of the souls beneath the sun.
  Speak, or the very Godhead in thee dies.
  For we are many and thy name is One."
  The Godhead in me!  As a flash there came
  The jealous secret and the guarded name.
  The quest was mine!  And yet my thoughts confute
  My intuition; and my will was mute.
  My voice -- ah! flashes out the word of flame:
  "Eternal Beauty, One and absolute!"
  The overwhelming sweetness of a voice
  Filled me with Godhead.  "Still remains the choice!
  Thou knowest me for Beauty!  Canst thou bear
  The fuller vision, the abundant air?"
  I only wept.  The elements rejoice;
  No tear before had ever fallen there.
  I thought within myself a bitter thing,
  Standing abased.  The golden marriage ring
  The queen had given -- how her beauty stank {191A}
  Now in mine yes, where once their passion drank
  Its secret sweets of poison.  Let the spring
  Of love once dawn -- all else hath little thank!
  Yet resolute I put my love away.
  I could not live in this amazing day.
  Love is the lotus that is sickly sweet,
  That makes men drunken, and betrays their feet:
  Beauty, the sacred lotus: let me say
  The word, and make my purity complete.
  The whole is mine, and shall I keep a part?
  O Beauty, I must see thee as thou art!
  Then on my withered gaze that Beauty grew --
  Rosy quintessence of alchemic dew!
  The Self-informing Beauty!  In my heart
  the many were united: and I knew.
  Smitten by Beauty down I fell as dead --
  So strikes the sunlight on a miner's head.
  Blind, stricken, crushed!  That vast effulgence stole,
  Flooded the caverns of my secret soul,
  And gushed in waves of weeping.  I was wed
  Unto a part, and could not grasp the whole.
  Thus, I was broken on the wheel of Truth.
  Fled all the hope and purpose of my youth,
  The high desire, the secret joy, the sin
  That coiled its rainbow dragon scales within.
  Hope's being, life's delight, time's eager tooth;
  All, all are gone; the serpent sloughts his skin!
  The quest is mine!  Here ends mortality
  In contemplating the eternal Thee.
  Here, she is willing.  Stands the Absolute
  Reaching its arms toward me.  I am mute,
  I draw toward.  Oh, suddenly I see
  The treason-pledge, the royal prostitute. {191B}
  One moment, and I should have passed beyond
  Linked unto spirit by the fourfold bond.
  Not dead to earth, but living as divine,
  A priest, a king, an oracle, a shrine,
  A saviour!  Yet my misty spirit conned
  The secret murmur: "Gereth, I am thine!"
  I must have listened to the voice of hell.
  The earthly horror wove its serpent spell
  Against the Beauty of the World: I heard
  Desolate voices cry the doleful word
  "Unready!"  All the soul invisible
  Of that vast desert echoed, and concurred.
  The voices died in mystery away.
  I passed, confounded, lifeless as the clay,
  Somewhere I knew not.  Many a dismal league
  Of various terror wove me its intrigue,
  And many a demon daunted: day by day
  Death dogged despair, and misery fatigue.
  Behold!  I came with haggard mien again
  Into the hall, and mingled with the train,
  A corpse amid the dancers.  Then the king
  Saw me, and knew me -- and he knew the ring!
  He did not ask me how I sped: disdain
  Curled his old lips: he said one bitter thing.
  "You crossed the bridge -- no man's heart trod you there?"
  Then crossed his breast in uttering some prayer:
  "I pray you follow of your courtesy,
  My lord!"  I followed very bitterly.
  "Likes you the sword I gave?"  I did not dare
  Answer one word.  My soul was hating me.
  He bade me draw.  I silently obeyed.
  My eye shirked his as blade encountered blade.
  I was determined he should take my life.
  "Went your glance back -- encountering my wife?"
  "Taunt me!" I cried; "I will not be afraid!"
  My whole soul weary of the coward strife. {192A}
  He seemed to see no opening I gave,
  But hated me the more.  Serene and suave,
  He fenced with deep contempt.  I stumble, slip,
  Guard wide -- and only move his upper lip.
  "You know I will not strike, Sir pure and brave!
  Fight me your best -- or I shall find a whip!"
  That stung me, even me.  He wronged me, so:
  Therefore some shame and hate informed the blow;
  Some coward's courage pointed me the steel;
  Some strength of Hell: we lunge, and leap, and wheel;
  Hard breath and laboured hands -- the flashes grow
  Swifter and cruel -- this court hath no appeal!
  He gladdened then.  I would not slip again,
  And baulk the death of half its shame and pain.
  I, his best sword, must fall, in earnest fight.
  The old despair was coward -- he was right.
  Now, king, I pay your debt.  A purple stain
  Hides his laced throat -- I sober at the sight.
  "King, you are touched!"  "Fight on, Earl Lecherer!"
  I cursed him to his face -- the added spur
  Sticks venom in my lunge -- a sudden thrust!
  No cry, no gasp; but he is in the dust,
  Stark dead.  The queen -- I hate the name of her!
  So grew the mustard-seed, one moment's lust.
  I too was wounded: shameful runs the song.
  She nursed me through that melancholy long
  Month of despair: she won my life from death.
  Ah God! she won that most reluctant breath
  Out of corruption: love! ah! love is strong!
  What waters quench it?  King Shalomeh<<1>> saith. {192B}

«1. Hebrew form of Solomon. See Canticles viii. 6, 7.»

  I am the king: you know it, friend!  We wed.
  That is the tale of how my wooing sped.
  And oh! the quest: half won -- incredible?
  I am so brave, and pure -- folk love me well.
  But oh! my life, my being!  That is dead,
  And my whole soul -- a whirlwind out of hell!
                 THE REAPER.
  IN middle music of Apollo's corn
    She stood, the reaper, challenging a kiss;
  The lips of her were fresher than the morn,
    The perfume of her skin was ambergris;
  The sun had kissed her body into brown;
    Ripe breasts thrown forward to the summer breeze;
  Warm tints of red lead fancy to the crown,
    Her coils of chestnut, in abundant ease,
  That bound the stately head.  What joy of youth
    Lifted her nostril to respire the wind?
  What pride of being?  What triumphal truth
    Acclaimed her queen to her imperial mind?
  I watched, a leopard, stealthy in the corn,
    As if a tigress held herself above;
  My body quivered, eager to be torn,
    Stung by the snake of some convulsive love!
  The leopard changed his spots; for in me leapt
    The mate, the tiger.  Murderous I sprang
  Across the mellow earth: my senses swept,
    One torrent flame, one soul-dissolving pang.
  How queenly bent her body to the grip!
    How lithe it slips, her bosom to my own!
  The throat leans back, to tantalise the lip: --
    The sudden shame of her is overthrown!
  O maiden of the spirit of the wheat,
    One ripening sunbeam thrills thee to the soul,
  Electric from red main to amber feet!
    The blue skies focus, as a burning bowl,
  The restless passion of the universe
    Into our mutual anger and distress, {193A}
  To be forbidden (the Creator's curse)
    To comprehend the other's loveliness.
  We cannot grasp the ecstasy of this;
    Only we strain and struggle and renew
  The utter bliss of the unending kiss,
    The mutual pang that shudders through and through,
  Repeated and repeated, as the light
    Can build a partial palace of the day,
  So, in our anguish for the infinite,
    One moment gives, the other takes away.
  (I, the mere rhymer, she, the queen of rhyme,
    As sweeps her sickle in the falling wheat,
  Her body's sleek intoxicating time,
    The music of the motion of her feet!)
  I swoon in that imperial embrace --
    Lay we asleep till evening, or dead?
  I knew not, but the wonder of her face
    Grew as the dawn and never satiated.
  She knew not in her strong imperial soul
    How hopeless was the slavery of life,
  How by the part man learns to love the whole,
    How each man's mistress calls herself a wife.
  I tired not of the tigress limbs and lips --
    Only, my soul was weary of itself,
  Being so impotent, who only sips
    The dewdrops from the flower-cup of an elf,
  Not comprehending the mysterious sea
    Of black swift waters that can drink it up,
  Not trusting life to its own ecstasy,
    Not mixing poison with the loving-cup.
  I, maker of mad rhymes, the reaper she!
    We lingered by a day upon the lawn.
  O thou, the other Reaper! come to me!
    Thy dark embraces have a germ of Dawn!
                THE TWO MINDS.
               BUT ONE FLESH."
  WELL have I said, "O God, Thou art, alone,
    In many forms and faces manifest!
  Thou, stronger than the universe, Thy throne!
    Thou, calm in strength as the sea's heart at rest!" {193B}
  But I have also answered: "Let the groan
    Of this Thy world reach up to Thee, and wrest
  Thy bloody sceptre: let the wild winds own
    Man's lordship, and obey at his behest!"
  Man has two minds: the first beholding all,
    As from a centre to the endless end:
  The second reaches from the outer wall,
    And seeks the centre.  This I comprehend.
  But in the first: "I can -- but what is worth?"
    And in the second: "I am dust and earth!"
               THE TWO WISDOMS.
  SOPHIE!  I loved her, tenderly at worst.
    Yet in my passion's highest ecstasy,
    When life lost pleasure in desire to die
  And never taste again the deadly thirst
  For those caresses; even then a curst
    Sick pang shot through me: looking afar on high,
    Beyond, I see Sophia<<1>>in the sky.
  The petty bubble of Love's pipe is burst!

«1. WEH NOTE TO TRANSCRIPTION: This is in Greek in the text:

    Sigma-omicron-phi-iota-alpha >>
  Yea! through the portals of the dusky dawn
    I see the nameless Rose of Heaven unfold!
  Yea! through rent passion and desire withdrawn
    Burns in the East the far ephemeral gold.
  O Wisdom!  Mother of my sorrow!  Rise!
  And lift my love to thine immortal eyes!
                THE TWO LOVES.
  WHAT is my soul?  The shadow of my will.
    What is my will?  The sleeper's sigh at waking.
  Osiris!  Orient godhead! let me still
    Rest in the dawn of knowledge, ever slaking
  My lips and throat where yon rose-glimmering hill,
    The Mountain of the East, its lips is taking {194A}
  To Thy life-lips: I hear Thy keen voice thrill;
    Arise and shine! the clouds of earth are breaking!
  The clouds are parted: yes!  And there above
    I bathe in either and self-shining light;
  My soul is filled with eternal love;
    I am the brother of the Day and Night.
  I AM! my spirit, and perhaps my mind!
  But O my heart!  I left thy love behind!
  WITH this our "Christian" parents marred our youth:
    "One thing is certain of our origin.
    We are born Adam's bastards into sin,
  Servants to Death and Time's devouring tooth.
  God, damning most, had this one thought of ruth
    To save some dozens -- Us: and by the skin
    Of teeth to save us from the devil's gin --
  Repentance!  Blood!  Prayer!  Sackcloth!
    This is truth."
  Our parents answer jesting Pilate so.<<1>>
    I am the meanest servant of the Christ:
  But, were I heathen, cannibal, profane,
    My cruel spirit had not sacrificed
  My children to this Moloch.  I am plain?
  "Blasphemer!  Damned!"?  Undoubtedly
    -- I know!

«1. See Bacon's Essay on Truth.»

              THE LAW OF CHANGE.
  SOME lives complain of their own happiness.
    In perfect love no sure abiding stands;
    In perfect faith are no immortal bands
  Of God and man.  This passion we possess
  Necessitous; insistent none the less
    Because we know not how its purpose brands
    Our lives.  Even on God's knees and in His hands:
      The Law of Change.  "Out, out, adulteress!"? {194B}
  These be the furies, and the harpies these?
    That discontent should sum the happiest sky?
      That of all boons man lacks the greatest -- rest!
  Nay!  But the promise of the centuries,
    The certain pledge of immortality,
      Child-cry of Man at the eternal Breast.
  WHEN I think of the hundreds of women I have loved from time to time,
  White throats and living bosoms where a kiss might creep or climb,
  Smooth eyes and trembling fingers, faint lips or murderous hair,
  All tunes of love's own music, most various and rare;
  When I look back on life, as a mariner on the deep
  Sees, tranced, the white wake foaming, fancies the nereids weep;
  As, on a mountain summit in the thunders and the snow,
  I look to the shimmering valley and weep: I loved you so!
  For a moment cease the winds of God upon the reverent head;
  I lose the life of the mountain, and my soul is with the dead;
  Yet am I not unaware of the splendour of the height,
  Yet am I lapped in the glory of the Sun of Life and Light: --
  Even so my heart looks out from the harbour of God's breast,
  Out from the shining stars where it entered into rest --
  Once more it seeks in memory for reverence, not regret,
  And it loves you still, my sisters! as God shall not forget.
  It is ill to blaspheme the silence with a wicked whispered thought --
  How still they were, those nights! when this web of things was wrought!
  How still, how terrible!  O my dolorous tender brides,
  As I lay and dreamt in the dark by your shameful beautiful sides!
  And now you are mine no more, I know; but I cannot bear
  The curse -- that another is drunk on the life that stirs your hair:
  Every hair was alive with a spark of midnight's delicate flame,
  Or a glow of the nether fire, or an old illustrious shame.
  Many, so many, were ye to make one Womanhood --
  A thing of fire and flesh, of wine and glory and blood,
  In whose rose-orient texture a golden light is spun,
  A gossamer scheme of love, as water in the sun
  Flecked by wonderful bars, most delicately crossed,
  Worked into wedded beauties, flickering, never lost --
  That is the spirit of love, incarnate in your flesh!
  Your bodies had wearied me, but your passion was ever fresh:
  You were many indeed, but your love for me was one.
  Then I perceived the stars to reflect a single sun --
  Not burning suns themselves, in furious regular race,
  But mirrors of midnight, lit to remind us of His face.
  Thus I beheld the truth: ye are stars that give me light;
  But I read you aright and learn I am walking in the night.
  Then I turned mine eyes away to the Light that is above you:
  The answering splendid Dawn arose, and I did not love you.
  I saw the breaking light, and the clouds fled far away:
  I was the resurrection of the Golden Star of Day. {195B}
  And now I live in Him; my heart may trace the years
  In drops of virginal blood and springs of virginal tears.
  I love you now again with an undivided song.
  Because I can never love you, I cannot do you wrong.
  I saw in your dying embraces the birth of a new embrace;
  In the tears of your pitiful faces, another Holier Face.
  Unknowing it, undesiring, your lips have led me higher;
  You have taught me purer songs that your souls did not desire;
  You have led me through your chambers, where the secret bolt was drawn,
  To the chambers of the Highest and the secrets of the Dawn!
  You have brought me to command you, and not to be denied; {196midA}
  You have taught me in perfection to be unsatisfied;
  You have taught me midnight vigils, when you smiled in amorous sleep;
  You have even taught a man the woman's way to weep.
  So, even as you helped me, blindly, against your will,
  So shall the angel faces watch for your own souls still.
  A little pain and pleasure, a little touch of time,
  And you shall blindly reach to the subtle and sublime;
  You shall gather up your girdles to make ready for the way,
  And by the Cross of Suffering climb seeing to the Day.
  Then we shall meet again in the Presence of the Throne,
  Not knowing; yet in Him!  O Thou! knowing as we are known. {196midB}

{full page next line}

                   III.  THE HOLY PLACE {col. resumes}
               THE NEOPHYTE.<<1>>

«1. This poem describes the Initiation of the “true” “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” in its spiritual aspect.»

  TO-NIGHT I tread the unsubstantial way
  That looms before me, as the thundering night
  Falls on the ocean: I must stop, and pray
  One little prayer, and then -- what bitter fight
  Flames at the end beyond the darkling goal?
  These are my passions that my feet must tread;
  This is my sword, the fervour of my soul;
  This is my Will, the crown upon my head.
  For see! the darkness beckons: I have gone,
  Before this terrible hour, towards the gloom,
  Braved the wild dragon, called the tiger on
  With whirling cries of pride, sought out the tomb
  Where lurking vampires battened, and my steel {196A}
  Has wrought its splendour through the gates of death.
  My courage did not falter: now I feel
  My heart beat wave-wise, and my throat catch breath
  As if I choked; some horror creeps between
  The spirit of my will and its desire,
  Some just reluctance to the Great Unseen
  That coils its nameless terrors, and its dire
  Fear round my heart; a devil cold as ice
  Breathes somewhere, for I feel his shudder take
  My veins: some deadlier asp or cocatrice
  Slimes in my senses: I am half awake,
  Half automatic, as I move along
  Wrapped in a cloud of blackness deep as hell,
  Hearing afar some half-forgotten song
  As of disruption; yet strange glories dwell
  Above my head, as if a sword of light,
  Rayed of the very dawn, would strike within {196B}
  The limitations of this deadly night
  That folds me for the sign of death and sin --
  O Light! descend!  My feet move vaguely on
  In this amazing darkness, in the gloom
  That I can touch with trembling sense.  There shone
  Once, in my misty memory, in the womb
  Of some unformulated thought, the flame
  And smoke of mighty pillars; yet my mind
  Is clouded with the horror of this same
  Path of the wise men: for my soul is blind
  Yet: and the foemen I have never feared
  I could not see (if such should cross the way),
  And therefore I am strange: my soul is seared
  With desolation of the blinding day
  I have come out from: yes, that fearful light
  Was not the Sun: my life has been the death,
  This death may be the life: my spirit sight
  Knows that at last, at least.  My doubtful breath
  Is breathing in a nobler air; I know,
  I know it in my soul, despite of this,
  The clinging darkness of the Long Ago,
  Cruel as death, and closer than a kiss,
  This horror of great darkness.  I am come
  Into this darkness to attain the light:
  To gain my voice I make myself as dumb:
  That I may see I close my outer sight:
  So, I am here.  My brows are bent in prayer;
  I kneel already in the Gates of Dawn;
  And I am come, albeit unaware,
  To the deep sanctuary: my hope is drawn
  From wells profounder than the very sea.
  Yea, I am come, where least I guessed it so,
  Into the very Presence of the Three
  That Are beyond all Gods.  And now I know
  What spiritual Light is drawing me
  Up to its stooping splendour.  In my soul
  I feel the Spring, the all-devouring Dawn,
  Rush with my Rising.  There, beyond the goal,
  The Veil is rent!
                      Yes: let the veil be drawn. {197A}
  YE rivers, and ye elemental caves,
    Above the fountains of the broken ice,
  Know ye what dragon lurks within your waves?
    Know ye the secret of the cockatrice?
      The basilisk whose shapeless brood
      Take blood and muck for food?
    The sexless passion, the foul scorpion spawn?
      The witches and the evil-chanting ones
      Who strangle stars and suns,
    Eclipse the moon, and curse against the dawn?
      Know ye the haunts of death?
      The hole that harboureth
      The sickening breath,
  Whence all disease is bred, and all corruption drawn?
  Nay, these ye know not, or your waters cold
    Would stagnate, shudder, putrefy for fear;
  Your echoes hate existence, and be rolled
    Into the silent, desolate, dead sphere.
      For in those sightless lairs
      No living spirit fares: --
    Caught in a chain, linked corpses for a lure!
      Shall human senses feel
      Or human tongue reveal?
    Nay, shall the mortal know them and endure
      Whose little period
      Is limited by God;
      Whose poor abode
  Is the mean body, prey to all distemperature?
  Yet, mortal, in the Light and Way divine,
    Gird on the armour of the Holy One:
  Seek out the secret of the inmost shrine,
    Strong in the might and spirit of the sun.
      Arise, arise, arise,
      Give passage to mine eyes, {197B
    Ye airs, ye veils; ye bucklers of the Snake!
      I knew the deepest cells,
      Where the foul spirit dwells;
    Called to the dead, the drowsed, arise! awake!
      Their dark profoundest thought
      Was less than She I sought,
      It was as nought!
  I drew my soul, I dived beneath the burning lake.
  Thrice, in the vault of Hell, my Word was born,
    Abortive, in the empty wilderness,
  False echoes, made malicious, turn to scorn
    The awful accents, the Supreme address.
      The Fourth, the final word!
      All chaos shrank and heard
    The terror that vibrated in the breath.
      Hell, Death, and Sin must hear,
      Tremble and visibly fear,
    Shake the intangible chain that hungereth.
      That Mother of Mankind
      Sprang in the thunder-wind!
      The strong words bind
  For evermore, Amen! the keys of Heal and Death.<<1>>

«1. Rev. i.18.»

  Central, supreme, most formidable, Night
    Gathered its garments, drew itself apart;
  Gaunt limbs appear athwart the coprolite
    Veil of deep agony, display the heart;
      Even as a gloomy sea,
      Wherein dead fishes be,
    Poisonous things, nameless; the eightfold Fear,
      Misshapen crab and worm,
      The intolerable sperm,
    Lewd dragons slime-bilt.  Stagnant, the foul mere
      Crawled, moved, gave tongue,
      The essential soul of dung
      That lived and stung;
  That spoke: no word that living head may hear!  {198A}
  Even as a veil imagining Beauty's eyes
    Behind, lifted, lets flash the maiden face;
  So that dead putrefying sea supplies
    A veil to the unfathomable Place.
      Behind it grew a form,
      Wrapped in its own dire storm,
    Dark fires of horror about it and within,
      A changing, dreadful Shape:
      Now a distorted ape;
    Now an impending vampire, vast and lean;
      Last, a dark woman pressed
      The world unto her breast,
      Soothed and caressed
  With evil words and kisses of the mouth of Sin.
  The Breath of men adoring.  "Worship we!
    "The mighty Wisdom, the astounding power,
  "The Horror, the immense profundity,
    "The stealthy, secret paces of thy Bower!
      "Thee we adore and praise
      "Whose breast is broad as day's;
    "Thee, thee, the mistress of the barren sea,
      "Deep, deadly, poisonous;
      "Accept the life of us,
    "Dwell in our midst; yea, show thy cruelty!
      "Suck out the life and breath
      "From breast that quickeneth!
      "Such pain is death,
  "Such terror, such delight -- all, all is unto thee!"
  I too, I also, I have known thy kiss.
    I also drank the milk that poisons man,
  Sought to assume the impenetrable bliss
    By spells profound and draughts Canidian.<<1>>
      One lifted me: and, lo!
      Thalassian,<<2>> white as snow, {198B}
    The scarlet vesture and the crimson skin!
      As Aphrodite clove
      The foam, incarnate Love,
    Maiden; as light leaps the dawn-gardens in,
      So in the Love and Light,
      Life slain, yet infinite,
      The God-Man's night,
  Leaps pure the Soul re-arisen from the embrace of Sin.

«1. Canidia, a sorceress of Rome in the time of Horace, who attacked her.» «2. From GR:Theta-alpha-lambda-alpha-sigma-sigma-alpha, the sea. But Crowley always uses the word as exalting, idealising, personifying the idea.»

  Yet, in the terror of that Beast, abides
    So sweet and deadly a device, a lure
  Deep in the blood and poison of her sides,
    Swart, lean, and leprous, that her stings endure.
      Even the soul of grace
      Abideth not her face
    Without vague longing, infinite desire,
      Stronger because suppressed,
      Unto the wide black breast,
    The lips incarnate of blood, flesh, and fire,
      So to slip down between
      Thighs vast and epicene,
      Morose and lean,
  To that unnameable morass, the ultimate mire.
  Wherefore behoves the Soul that leaps divine,
    Even beholding, darkly in a mirror,
  The face of God, to sink before His Shrine,
    Weeping: O Beauty, Majesty, and Terror,
      Wisdom and Mind and Soul,
      Crown simplex, Mighty Whole,
    Lord of the Gods!  O Thou, the King of Kings!
      To me a sinner, me,
      Lowest of all that be,
    Be merciful, O master Soul of things!
      Show me thy face of ruth,
      And in the way of truth
      Guide my weak youth,
  That stumbles while it walks, makes discord when it sings!
  So, Mighty Mother!  Pure, Eternal Spouse,
    Isis, thou Star, thou Moon, thou Mightiest,
  Lead my weak steps to thine Eternal House!
    Rest my vain head on thine Eternal Breast! {199A}
      Spread wide the wings divine
      Over this shadowy shrine,
    Where in my heart their hovering leandeth Light!
      Bend down the amazing Face
      Of sorrow and of grace,
    Share the deep vigil of thine eremite!
      So let the sighing breath
      Draw on the Hour of Death,
      Whence wakeneth
  The Spirit of the Dawn, begotten of the night.
                  THE NAME.
  SACRED, between the serpent fangs of pain,
  Ringed by the vortex of the hurricane,
  Lurks the abyss of fate: the gloomy cave,
  Sullen as night, and sleepy as a wave
  When tempest lowers and dare not strike, gapes wide,
  Vomiting pestilence; the deadly bride
  Of death, Despair, grins charnel-wise: the gate
  Of Hope clangs resonant: and starless Fate
  Glowers like a demon brooding over death.
  Monstrous and mute, the slow resurgent breath
  Spreads forth its poison: the pale child at play
  Coughs in his gutter; the hard slave of day
  Groans once and dies: the sickly spouse can feel
  Some cold touch kill the unborn child, and steal
  Up to her broken heart: the pale hours hang
  Like death upon the aged: the days clang
  Like prison portals on the folk of day.
  Yet for the children of the night they play
  Like fountains in the moonlight: for the few,
  The sorrowful, sweet faces of the dew,
  The laughter-loving daughters of the dawn,
  Whose moving feet make tremble all the lawn
  From Hesper to the break of rose and gold,
  Where Heaven's petals in the East unfold
  The awful flower of morning: for the folk
  Bound in one single patient love, a yoke {199A}
  Too light for fairy fingers to have woven,
  Too strong for mere archangels to have cloven
  With adamantine blades from the armoury
  Of the amazing forges of the sea:
  The folk that follow with undaunted mein
  The utmost beauty that their eyes have seen --
  O patient sufferers! yet your storm-scarred brows
  Burn with the star of majesty: your vows
  Have given you the wisdom and the power
  To weld eternities within one hour,
  To bind and braid the north wind's serpent hair,
  And track the East wind to his mighty lair
  Even in the caverns of the womb of dawn;
  To take the South wind and his fire withdrawn
  And clothe him with your kiss; to seize the West
  In his gold palace where the sea-winds rest,
  And hurl him ravening on the breaking foam;
  To find the Spirit in his glimmering home
  And draw his secret from unwilling lips;
  To master earthquake, and the dread eclipse;
  To dominate the red volcanic rage;
  To quench the whirlpool, conquering war to wage
  Against all gods not wholly made as ye,
  O patient, and O marvellous!  I see,
  I see before me an archangel stand,
  Whose flaming scimitar, a triple brand,
  Quivers before him, whose vast eyebrows bend,
  A million comets: for his locks extend
  A million flashing terrors: on his breast
  He bears a mightier cuirass: for his vest
  All heaven blazes: for his brows a crown
  Roars into the abyss: his mighty frown
  Quells many an universe and many an age --
  Yea, many eternities!  His nostrils rage
  With fire and fury, and his feet are shod
  With all the splendours of the avenging God.
  I see him and I tremble!  But my hand
  Still flings its gesture of supreme command
  Upwards; my voice still dares to tongue the word
  That hell and chaos and destruction heard {200A}
  And ruined, shrieking! yea, my strong voice rolls,
  That martyr-cry of many slaughtered souls,
  Utterly potent both to bless and ban --
  I, I command thee in the name of Man!
  He trembled then.  And far in thunder rolled
  Through countless ages, through the infinite gold
  Beyond existence, grew that master-sound
  Into the rent and agonized profound,
  Till even the Highest heard me: and He said,
  As one who speaks alone among men dead:
  "Behold, he rules as I the abyss of flame.
  For lo! he knoweth, and hath said, My Name!"
                THE EVOCATION.
  FROM the abyss, the horrible lone world
    Of agony, more sharp than moonbeams strike
  The shaken glacier, my cry is hurled,
  As the avenger lightning.  Swiftly whirled,
    It flings in circles closing serpent-like
  On the abominable devil-horde
  I summon to the mastery of the sword.
  In my white palace, where the flashing dawn
    Leaps from the girdling bastions, where the light
  Flames from the talisman as if a fawn
  Glode through the thickets, where the soul, withdrawn
    From every element, gleams through the night
  Into that darkness papable, where They
  Lurk from the torment of the light of day.
  Swings the swift sword in paths of vivid blue;
    Rings the sharp summons in the halls of fear;
  Flames the great lamen<<1>>; as a fiery dew
  Falls the keen chanted music; fierce and true
    Beams the bright diamond of the crowning sphere.  {200B}
  None may withstand the summons: like dead flame
  Flares darkness deeper, and demands its name.

«1. A plate bearing the Names of God appropriate to the work in hand, with other symbols of power, worn by the exorciser upon his breast.»

  Mine eyes peer deeper in the quivering gloom --
    What horrors crowd upon the aching sight!
  Behold! the phantom!  Icy as the tomb,
  His head of writhing scorpions in the womb
    Of deadlier terrors: how a charnel-light
  Gleams on his beetle frame!  What poison drips
  Of slime and blood from his disastrous lips!
  What oceans of decaying water steam
    For his vast essence!  And a voice rolls forth
  With miserable fury from that stream
  Of horror: "Thou hast called me by the beam
    Of glory, by the devastating wrath
  Of thine accursed godhead: tell me then
  My Name!  Thou hardiest of the Sons of Men!"
  "Thy name is -- stay! thou liest!  I discern
    In Thee no terror that my spells evoke.
  Begone, thou wandering corpse of night! return
  Into thy shadowy world!  My symbols burn
    Against thee, shade of terror!  Go!"  It spoke:
  "Yea!  I am human.  Know my actual truth:
  I am that ghost, the father of thy youth!"
  "Poor wandering phantom!" -- the exultant yell
    And wolfish howling of all damned souls
  Peals from the ravening jaws and gulfs of hell:
  Leaps that foul horror through the terrible
     Extinguished circle of the burning bowls.
  Then I remember, fling the gleaming rod
  Against him: "Liar, back!  For I am God!"
  Back flung the baffled corpse.  But through the air
    Looms the more startling vision in the night; {201A}
  The actual demon of my work is there!
  Where is the glittering circle?  Where, ah, where
    The radiant bowls whose flame rose fiery bright?
  I am alone in the absolute abyss;
  No aid; no helper; no defence -- but this!
  My left hand seeks the lamen.  Once again
    Fearless I front the awful shape before me,
  Fearless I speak his Name.  My trembling brain
  Vibrates that Word of Power.  I cry amain:
    "Down, Dweller of the Darkness, and adore me!
  I am thy Master, and thy God!  Behold
  The Rose of Ruby and the Cross of Gold!<<1>>

«1. “Ave Frater!” “Rosae Rubeae.” “Et Aureae Crucis.” Greeting of Rosicrucians.»

  "I am thy Saviour!"  At the kindling word
    Up springs the dawn-light in the broken bowls;
  Up leaps the glittering circle.  Then I heard
  A hoarse shrill voice, as if some carrion bird
    Shrieked, mightier than the storm that rocks and rolls
  Through desolation: "Thou hast known my Name.
  What is thy purpose, Master of the Flame?"
  I made demand: through long appalling hours
    Stayed he to tempt and try my adamant
  Purpose: at last the legionary powers
  Behind him sank affrayed; his visage lowers
    Less menacing: his head is turned aslant
  In vain: I bid him kneel and swear: the earth
  Rocked with the terror of that deadlier birth.
  He swore: he vanished: the wide sky resounds
    With echoing thunders: through the blinding night
  The stars resume their courses: at the bounds
  Of the four watch-towers cry the waking hounds:
    "The night is well"; slow steals the ambient light
  Through all the borders of the universe
  At that last lifting of my strenuous curse.  {201B}
  Slow steals the ambient light; white peace resumes
    In planet, element, and sign, her sway.
  The twisted ether shapes itself: relumes
  The benediction all the faded fumes
    With holier incense: in the fervid way
  All nature rests: with holy calm I blend
  Blessing and prayer at the appointed end.
          THE ROSE AND THE CROSS.<<1>>

«1. The symbol of the “Rose and Cross” now replaces that of the“Golden Dawn.” We may suppose from this that Crowley was about this time received into the former fraternity.»

  OUT of the seething cauldron of my woes,
    Where sweets and salt and bitterness I flung;
    Where charmed music gathered from my tongue,
  And where I chained strange archipelagoes
  Of fallen stars; where fiery passion flows
    A curious bitumen; where among
    The glowing medley moved the tune unsung
  Of perfect love: thence grew the Mystic Rose.
  Its myriad petals of divided light;
    Its leaves of the most radiant emerald;
  Its heart of fire like rubies.  At the sight
    I lifted up my heart to God and called:
  How shall I pluck this dream of my desire?
  And lo! there shaped itself the Cross of Fire!
  IT is the seasonable sun of spring
    That gilds the all-rejuvenescent air --
    New buds, young birds, so happy in the rare
  Fresh life of earth: myself am bound to sing,
  Feeling the resurrection crown me king.
    I am so happy as men never were.
    Of sorrow much, of suffering a share,
  Leave me unmoved, or leave me conquering.  {202A}
  O miserable! that is should be so!
    Lord Jesus, Sufferer for the sins of man,
      Thou didst invite me to Thy shame and loss.
  And I am happy!  Pity me!  Bestow
    The right to work in the eternal Plan,
      The right to hang on the eternal Cross!
               THE LORD'S DAY.
  THE foolish bells with their discordant clang
    Summon the harlot-ridden Hell to pray:
    The vicar's snout is tuned, the curates bray
  Long gabbled lessons, and their noisy twang
  Fills the foul worshippers with hate; the fang
    Of boredom crushes out the holy day,
    Where whore and jobber sit and gloom, grown grey
  For hating of each other; the hours hang.
  But where cliffs tremble, and the wind and sea
    Calmour, night thunders from the roaring West;
  I worship in the storm, and fires flee
    From my gripped lightnings and my burning crest;
  And when my voice rolls, master of the weather,
  A thousand mighty angels cry together!
       BRIGHTON, "January" 1899.
  I STOOD within Death's gate,
    And blew the horn of Hell:
  Mad laughters echoing against Fate,
    Harsh groans less terrible,
  Howled from beneath the vault; in night the avenging thunders swell.
  The guardian stood aloof,
    A monster multiform.
  His armour was of triple proof,
    His voice out-shrilled the storm.
  Behind him all the Furies whirl and all the Harpies swarm.  {202B}
  The first face spake and said:
    "Welcome, O King, art thou!
  Await thy throne a thousand dead;
    A crown awaits thy brow,
  A seven-sting scorpion; for thy rod thou hast a bauble now."
  The next face spake and said:
    "Welcome, O Priest, to me!
  Red blood shall dye thee robes of red,
    Hell's cries thy litany!
  Thy mitre sits, divided strength, to end thy church and thee!"
  The third face spake and said:
    "Welcome, O Man, to Death!
  Thy little span of life is sped,
    Sighed out thy little breath.
  The worm that never dies is thine; the fire that lingereth!"
  "Three voices has thy fame,
    Their music is but one.
  Fool-demon, slave of night and shame,
    That canst not see the sun!
  I am the Lord thy God:<<1>> make thou homage and orison!"

«1. The assumption of the form of the God of the Force whom one addresses is the Egyptian magical spell to subdue it.»

  The wild heads sank in fear:
    Then, troubled, to those eyes
  Remembrance crept of many a year,
    Barred gates of Paradise.
  Again the Voice rolled in the deep, mingled with murmuring sighs:
  "I mind me of the day
    One<<1>> came from Death to me;
  His soul was weary of the day,
    His look was melancholy;
  He bade me open in the Name that binds Eternity.

«1. Ieheshua, or “Jesus.”»

  "Yet though he passed within
    And plunged within the deep, {203A}
  The seven palaces of sin,
    And slept the lonely sleep,
  Yet came He out alone: but then I thought I heard Them weep.
  "He passed alone, above,
    Out of the Gates of Night;
  Angels of Purity and Love
    Drew to my sound and sight.
  I heard Them cry that even there He fixed the eternal Light.
  "I think beneath these groans,
    And laughters madness-born,
  Tears fell that might dissolve the stones
    That grind the accursed corn.
  Beneath the deep, beneath the deep, may dwell the star of morn!
  "Therefore, O God, I pray
    Redemption for the folk
  That dread the scourging light of day,
    That bear the midnight yoke.
  The Chaos was no less than this -- and there the light awoke."
  "O Dog of Evil, yea!
    Thou hast in wisdom said.
  The glory of the living day
    Shall shine among the dead.
  Thy faith shall have a holier task, thy Strength a goodlier stead."
  Then I withdrew the light
    Of mine own Godhead up.
  As stars that close with broken night
    Their adamantine cup.
  I sought the solar airs: my soul on its own tears might sup.
  For in the vast profound
    Still burns the rescuing sign;<<1>>
  Beyond all sight and sense and sound
    The symbol flames divine.
  For He shall make all life, all death, His solitary shrine.  {203B}

«1. The Triangle surmounted by the Cross. This was the symbol of the “Golden Dawn.”»

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                    THE HOLY OF HOLIES {col. resumes}
         THE PALACE OF THE WORLD.<<1>>

«1. Describes the spiritual aspect of the “Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram,” which we append, with its explanation. The abstruse nature of many of these poems is well reflected in this one.

(i.) Touching the forehead, say Ateh (Unto Thee).
(ii.) Touching the breast, say Malkuth (the Kingdom).
(iii.) Touching the right shoulder, say ve-Geburah (and the Power).
(iv.) Touching the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory).
(v.) Clasping the hands upon the breast, say le-Olahm, Amen (to the Ages, Amen).
(vi.) Turning to the East, make a pentagram with the proper weapon.  Say HB:Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh.
(vii.) Turning to the South, the same, but say HB:Aleph-Dalet-Nun-Yod.
(viii.) Turning to the West, the same, but say HB:Aleph-Heh-Yod-Heh.
(ix.) Turning to the North, the same, but say HB:Aleph-Gemel-Lamed-Aleph.
(x.) Extending the arms in the form of a cross, say --
(xi.) Before me Raphael,
(xii.) Behind me Gabriel,
(xiii.) On my right hand Michael,
(xiv.) On my left hand Auriel,
(xv.) for about me flames the Pentagram,
(xvi.) and in the Column stands the six-rayed Star.
(xvii.-xxi.) Repeat (i.) to (v.), the "Qabalistic Cross."
Those who regard this ritual as a mere device to invoke or banish spirits, are unworthy to possess it.  Properly understood it is the Medicine of metals and the Stone of the Wise. [Author's Note.]>>
    THE fragrant gateways of the dawn<<1>>
      Teem with the scent of flowers.
    The mother, Midnight, has withdrawn
      Her slumberous kissing hours:
    Day springs, with footsteps as a fawn,
      Into her rosy bowers.

«1. This ritual was given to Neophytes of the Order of the Golden Dawn.»

    The pale and holy maiden horn<<1>>
      In highest heaven is set. {204A}
    My forehead, bathed in her forlorn
      Light, with her lips is met;
    My lips, that murmur in the morn,
      With lustrous dew are wet.

«1. The moon, as before, signifies Aspiration to the Highest.»

    My prayer is mighty with my will;
      My purpose as a sword<<1>>
    Flames through the adamant, to fill
      The gardens of the Lord
    With music, that the air be still,
      Dumb to its mighty chord.

«1. For the “Flaming Sword” is the “Pentagram unwound.”»

    I stand above the tides of time
      And elemental strife;
    My figure stands above, sublime,
      Shadowing the Key of Life,<<1>>
    And the passion of my mighty rhyme
      Divides me as a knife.

«1. The arms being extended, and the magus being clad in a Tau-shaped robe and nemmes. The sacred Egyptian headdress, his figure would cast a shadow resembling the Ankh, of “Key of Life.”»

    For secret symbols on my brow,
      And secret thoughts within,
    Compel eternity to Now,
      Draw the Infinite within.
    Light is extended.<<1>>  I and Thou
      Are as they had not been.<<2>>

«1. Khabs am Pekht. Konx om Pax. Light in Extension. The mystic words which seal the current of light in the sphere of the aspirant.» «2. “Cf.” Omar Khayyam the Sufi.»

    So on my head the light is one,
      Unity manifest;
    A star more splendid than the sun
      Burns for my crowned crest;
    Burns, as the murmuring orison
      Of waters in the west.
    What angel from the silver gate
      Flames to my fierier face?
    What angel, as I contemplate
      The unsubstantial space?
    Move with my lips the laws of Fate
      That bind earth's carapace?  {204B}
    No angel, but the very light
      And fire in spirit of Her,
    Unmitigated, eremite,
      The unmanifested myrrh,
    Ocean, and night that is not night,
      The mother-mediator.<<1>>

«1. Binah, the reveler of the Triad of Light.»

    O sacred spirit of the Gods!<<1>>
      O triple tongue!<<2>>  Descend,
    Lapping the answering flame than nods,
      Kissing the brows that bend
    Uniting all earth's periods
      To one exalted end.

«1. Ruach Elohim (see Genesis 1.) adds up to 300 = HB:Shin = Fire.» «2. HB:Shin by shape hath a triple tongue.»

    Still on the mystic Tree of Life
      My soul is crucified;<<1>>
    Still strikes the sacrificial knife
      Where lurks some serpent-eyed
    Fear, passion, or man's deadly wife
      Desire, the suicide!

«1. These archangels are at points on the “Tree of Life” which cause them to surround as described one who is “crucified” thereon.»

    Before me dwells the Holy One
      Anointed Beauty's King;<<1>>
    Behind me, mightier than the Sun,
      To whom the cherubs sing,
    A strong archangel,<<2>> known of none,
      Comes crowned and conquering.

«1. Raphael dwells in Tiphereth, Beauty.» «2. Gabriel, dweller in Yesod, where are the Kerubim.»

    An angel stands on my right hand
      With strength of ocean's wrath;<<1>>
    Upon my left the fiery brand
      Charioted fire smites forth:<<2>>
    Four great archangels to withstand
      The furies of the path.<<3>>  {205A}

«1. Michael, lord of Hod, an Emanation of a watery nature.» «2. Auriel, archangel of Netzach, to which Fire is attributed.» «3. The path of HB:Taw, or Saturn and Earth, which leads from Malkuth to Yesod indeed, but is dark and illusory. This first step upward attracts the bitterest opposition of all the Enemies of the Human Soul.»

    Flames on my front the fiery star,
      About me and around.<<1>>
    Pillared, the sacred sun, afar,
      Six symphonies of sound;
  Flames, as the Gods themselves that are;
      Flames, in the abyss profound.<<2>>

«1. As asserted in the ritual.» «2. It flames both above and beneath the magus, who is thus in a cube of 4 pentagrams and 2 hexagrams, 32 points in all. And 32 is HB:Aleph-Heh-Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh, the sacred word that expresses the Unity of the Highest and the Human.»

    The spread arms drop like thunder!  So
      Rings out the lordlier cry,
    Vibrating through the streams that flow
      In ether to the sky,
    The moving archipelago,
      Stars in their seigneury.
    Thine be the kingdom!  Thine the power!
      The glory triply thine!<<1>>
    Thine, through Eternity's swift hour,
      Eternity, thy shrine --
    Yea, by the holy lotus-flower,
      Even mine!<<2>>

«1. As in ritual.» «2. Supreme affirmation of Unity with the Highest in the Lotus, the universal symbol of Attainment.»

           THE MOUNTAIN CHRIST.<<1>>

«1. Composed during a solitary ramble across the Col du Geant.»

  O WORLD of moonlight!  Visionary vale
    Of ocean-sleeping mountains!  Mighty chasm
  Within whose wild abyss there chants the pale,
    The dolorous phantasm
  Of wrecked white womanhood!  The wizard cold
  Grips the mute valley in his grasp of gold! {205B}
  Yonder the hatred of the dismal steep
    Sweeps up to wrathful thunders, that are curled
  In billowy menace, as the deadlier deep
    That menaces the world
  With breaking foam: so hangs the glacier, rent
  By giant sunrays, in the frost-grip pent.
  Yonder again rears up the craggy wall
    Its cleaving head to heaven: thither I
  Clomb the vast terrors, where the echoing fall
    Roars stony from the sky.
  Thither I pressed at midnight, and the dawn
  Saw my swift feet move faster than the fawn.
  Pale seas of blue soft azure lie beyond,
    Far o'er the gleaming green: the smoke is risen
  Out of the cloudy north; the incense-wand
    That binds dead souls in prison,
  That prison of the day, when sleepless dead
  Rest for awhile from agony and dread.
  Strange! how a certain fear possesses me
    Alone amid their crag-bound solitude.
  Even beyond the keen delight -- to Be --
    Steals that diviner mood
  Of wonder at the miracle -- the plan
  Of Nature crowned by the astounding Man!
  The secret of the Lord is set with him
    That wonders at His majesty:<<1>> his praise
  Wells from no trembler's misery: his hymn
    Swells the exultant day's.
  His psalm wings upward, and reflected down
  Even in Hell makes music and renown.

«1. See the Psalms of David. “Wonders” is a correcter rendering than “fears.”»

  Yea! for the echo of the anthem rolls
    Down to the lost unfathomable deep.
  Down, to the darkness of all shades and souls,
    The founts of music sweep.
  Even the devils in the utter night
  Feel it the saving, not the avenging light.  {206A}
  Yea! for the worship of my secret song
    Vibrates through every chasm of the world:
  Its sound is caught by angels, and made strong!
    By sylphs, and dewed, and pearled
  With fairy melodies, and borne, alone,
  Aloft, to the immeasurable throne.
  O mighty palace of immortal stone!
    O glamour of the fathomless gray snow!
  O clouds!  O whirlwinds of my mountain throne!
    I charge your souls to go
  Unto the souls of men, and bid them rise
  Toward redemption, and the unsullied eyes.
  I charge you go and whisper unto men
    The solemn glories of your secret mind,
  Making them pure, and wise; return ye then
    Unto your proper kind,
  Having thus offered water, blood, and tears,
  For the remission of our carrion years.<<1>>

«1. See the Prayer of the Undines, given by Eliphaz Levi and some other writers on occult subjects.»

  So deepen all the mountains: even so
    The wandering shadows close upon the day;
  The sunlight burns its fading ruby glow
    On the chaotic way.
  Night falls, and I must tread the dizzy steep
  Again, to plunge to the devouring deep.
  The blessing of the Highest shall be set
    On your white heads, O monarchs of the snow!
  The blessing of the Highest, lightening yet
    The burdens that ye know.
  So, as three golden arrows of the sun
  Strike, may the threefold sacrament be One!
  O visionary valley of my Soul!
    When shall thy beauty, even thine, be made
  As pure and mighty as these hills that roll
    In mist and sun and shade?
  O thou! the Highest! make my will as thine,
  My consciousness, the consciousness divine! {206B}
               TO ALLAN BENNETT

«1. Now a Buddhist recluse in Burma. In England he was a martyr to spasmodic asthma, which, however, could not quench, could hardly dull even, the fire of his soul.»

  O MAN of Sorrows: brother unto Grief!
    O pale with suffering, and dumb hours of pain!
    O worn with Thought! thy purpose springs again
  The Soul of Resurrection: thou art chief
  And lord of all thy mind: O patient thief
    Of God's own fire!  What mysteries find fane
    In the white shrine of thy white spirit's reign,
  Thou man of Sorrows: O, beyond belief!
  Let perfect Peace be with thee: let thy days
    Prosper in spite of thine unselfish soul;
      And as thou lovest, so let Love increase
  Upon thee and about thee: till thy ways
    Gleam with the splendour of that secret goal
      Whose long war grows the great abiding peace.
               THE ROSICRUCIAN.

«1. Supposed to have escaped from Flodden, and become an Adept: to have reappeared as the “Comte de St. Germain,” and later (so hinted Mr. S. L. Mathers) as Mr. S. L. Mathers.»

    I SEE the centuries wax and wane.
    I know their mystery of pain,
      The secrets of the living fire,
    The key of life: I live: I reign:
      For I am master of desire.
    Silent, I pass amid the folk
    Caught in its mesh, slaves to its yoke.
      Silent, unknown, I work and will
    Redemption, godhead's master-stroke,
      And breaking of the wands of ill.  {207A}
    No man hath seen beneath my brows
    Eternity's exultant house.
      No man hath noted in my brain
    The knowledge of my mystic spouse.
      I watch the centuries wax and wane.
    Poor, in the kingdom of strong gold,
    My power is swift and uncontrolled.
      Simple, amid the maze of lies;
    A child, among the cruel old,
      I plot their stealthy destinies.
    So patient, in the breathless strife;
    So silent, under scourge and knife;
      So tranquil, in the surge of things;
    I bring them from the well of Life,
      Love, from celestial water-springs!
    From the shrill fountain-head of God
    I draw out water with the rod
      Made luminous with light of power.
    I seal each aeon's period,
      And wait the moment and the hour.
    Aloof, alone, unloved, I stand
    With love an worship in my hand.
      I commune with the Gods: I wait
    Their summons, and I fire the brand.
      I speak their Word: and there is Fate.
    I know no happiness, no pain,
    No swift emotion, no disdain,
      No pity: but the boundless light
    Of the Eternal Love, unslain,
      Flows through me to redeem the night.
    Mine is a sad-slow life: but I,
    I would not gain release, and die
      A moment ere my task be done.
    To falter now were treachery --
      I should not dare to greet the sun!
    Yet, in one hour I dare not hope,
    The mighty gate of Life may ope,
      And call me upwards to unite
    (Even my soul within the scope)
      With That Unutterable Light.  {207B}
    Steady of purpose, girt with Truth,
    I pass, in my eternal youth,
      And watch the centuries wax and wane:
    Untouched by Time's corroding tooth,
      Silent, immortal, unprofane!
    My empire changes not with time.
    Men's kingdoms cadent as a rhyme
      Move me as waves that rise and fall.
    They are the parts, that crash or climb;
      I only comprehend the All.
    I sit, as God must sit; I reign.
    Redemption from the threads of pain
      I weave, until the veil be drawn.
    I burn the chaff, I glean the grain;
      In silence I await the dawn.
                 THE ATHANOR.
  LIBERTINE touches of small fingers creep
    Among my curls to-night: pale ghastly kisses
  Like mournful ghosts roused from their ruined sleep
    By clamorous cries of murder.  Strange abysses
  Loom in the vista keen eyes penetrate,
  Vague forecasts of immeasurable fate.
  O thou beloved blood, that wells and weeps!
    O thou beloved mouth, that beats and bleeds!
  O mystic bosom where some serpent sleeps,
    Sweet mockery of a thousand saintlier creeds!
  Even I, that breathe your perfume, taste your breath,
  Know, even this hour, ye are not life, but death!
  No death ye bring more godlike than desire,
    When seas roar tempest-lashed, and foam is flung {208A}
  Raging on pitiless crags, and gloomy fire
    Lurks in the master-clooud; corpses are swung
  Helpless and horrible in trough and crest --
  That death were music, and the lord of rest.
  No death ye bring as when the storm is rolled,
    An imminent giant on the sun-ripped snows,
  Where icy fingers grip the overbold
    Son of their secrets, and like springes close
  On his cloked throat and frozen body -- Nay!
  That death were twilight, and the gate of Day!
  No death ye bring as his, that grips the flag
    In desperate fingers, and with bloody sword
  Flames up the thundering breach, while bastioned crag,
    Glacis, and pent-hoouse belch their monstrous horde
  Of hideous engines shattering  -- this strife
  Clears the straight road of Glory and of Life!
  Nay: but the hateful death that stings the soul
    Into rebellion; the insensate death
  That chokes its own delight with words that roll
    Mightier-mouthed than the archangel's breath;
  The death that murders courage ere it drink
  The soul's own life-blood on the desperate brink!
  So, from the languid fingers in my curls
    And dreamy worship of a woman's eyes,
  I look beyond the miserable whirls
    Of foolish measures woven in the skies;
  Beyond the thoughtless stars: beyond God's sleep:
  Beyond the deep: beneath the deadly deep!  {208B}
  Infinite rings of luminous ether move
    At first amid the blackness that I seek:
  Infinite motion and amazing love
    Deaden the lustre of the night.  I speak
  The cry of silence, that is heard unspoken;
  That, being heard, rings evermore unbroken.
  Silence, deep silence.  Not a shudder stirs
    The vast demesne of unforgetful space,
  No comet's lunatic rush; no meteor whirs,
    No star dares breathe, no planet knows his place
  In that supreme unquiet quietude.
  I am the master of my own deep mood.
  I am the master.  Yea, no doubt I rule
    The whole mad universe by will extended<<1>> --
  Who whispers then, "O miserable fool!
    This night thy might and majesty are ended;
  Thy soul shall be required of thee"?  I heard
  This voice, and knew it for my proper word!

«1. “Cf.” Fichte.»

  Yes, mine own voice: the higher spirit speaks,
    Stemming the hands that guide, the arms that hold,
  Even the infinite brain: that spirit seeks
    A loftier dawn of more ephemeral gold --
  Ephemeral, and eternal: droop thine head,
  O God! for thou must suffer this: I said!
  Droop thy wide pinions, O thou mortal God!
    Sink thy vast forehead, and let Life consume
  The miserable life thy feet have trod
    Beneath them, that thine own life in its doom
  Fall, in its resurrection to arise;
  Stoop, that its holier hope may cleave the skies.
  Power, power, and power!  O single sacrifice
    On thine own altar: let thy savour steam
  Up, through the domes of broken Paradise;
    Up, by Euphrates'<<1>> unimagined stream;
  Up, by strange river and mysterious lawn
  To some impossible diadem of dawn!  {209A}

«1. Or Phrath, the Fourth River of the Mystic Eden, flowing from Tiphereth to Yesod.»

  So the mere orderly ruling of events
    Shall change and blossom to a finer flower
  Until it serve to worlds and elements
    For aspiration in the nobler hour --
  Not mere repression, but the hope and crown
  Of fallen hierarchies no more cast down.
  O misery of triple love and grief
    And hope!  O joy of hatred and despair
  And happiness!  The little hour is brief,
    And the lithe fingers soothe the listless hair
  Less, and the kisses swoon to tenderer sighs
  And little sobs of sleeping ecstasies.
  No! for the envy of the infinite
    Crushes the juice from out the poppy's stem,
  And brown-stained fingers wring the petals white.
    And weary lips seek lotus-life in them
  Vainly: the lotus burns above the tomb --
  Yea, but in thought's unfathomable womb!
  For spiritual life and love and light
    Climb the swayed ladder of our various fate;
  The steep rude stair that mocks the hero's might,
    Casts off the wise, and crumbles with the great.
  Yet from the highest crown no blossom fell,
  Save one, to bring salvation unto Hell.
  O angel of my spiritual desire!<<1>>
    O luminous master of the silver feet!
  O passionate rose of infinite white fire!
    O cross of sacrifice made bitter-sweet!
  O wide-wing, star-brow, veritable lord!
  O mystic bearer of the flaming sword!

«1. The “Genius” of Socrates; the “Holy Guardian Angel” of Abramelin the Mage; or the “Higher Self” of the Theosophists.»

  O brows half see, O visionary star
    Seen in the fragrant breezes of the East!
  O lover of my love, O avatar
    Of the All-One, O mystical High Priest!
  O thou before whose eyes my weak eyes fail,
  Wonderful warden of the Holy Grail!  {209B}
  O thou, mine angel, whom these eyes have seen,
    These hands have handled, and this mouth has kissed!
  O thou, the very tongue of fire, the clean
    Sweet-scented presence of a holier Christ!
  Listen, and answer, and behold!  My wings
  Droop, O thou stronger than the immortal kings!
  My flame burns dim!  O bring the broken jar
    And alabaster casket, and dispense
  The oil that flows from that supernal star,
    And holy fountains of the Influence.<<1>>
  Bring peace, and strength, and quicken in my heart
  Mastery of night-fear and the day-flung dart.

«1. From Kether, the Vast Countenance, are said to flow “13 fountains of magnificent oil” through Mezla, the Influence, upon Tiphereth, the Lesser Countenance.»

  Yea! from the limit of the fallen day,
    And barren ocean of ungathered Time,
  Bring Night, and bring Eternity, and stay
    With white wings pointing where tired feet may climb:
  Even the pathway where shed blood ran deep
  To build red roses in the land of Sleep.
  O guardian of the palled hours of night!
    O tireless watcher of the smitten noon!
  O sworded with the majesty of light,
    O girded with the glory of the moon!
  Angel of absolute splendour!  Link of mine
  Old weary spirit with the All-Divine!
  Ship that shalt carry me by many winds
    Driven on the limitless ocean!  Mighty sword,
  By which I force that barrier of the mind's
    Miscomprehension of its own true lord!
  Listen, and answer, and behold my brow
  Fiery with hope!  Bend down, and touch it now!  {210A}
  Press the twin dawn of thy desirous lips
    In the swart masses of my hair; bend close,
  And shroud all earth in masterless eclipse,
    While my heart's murmur through thy being flows,
  To carry up the prayer, as incense teems
  Skyward, to those immeasurable streams!
  Breathe the creative Sign upon my mouth
    That even the body may become the soul:
  Cry, as the chained Eagle of the South,
    "A house of death,"<<1>> and make my spirit whole!
  Touch with pure balm the five mysterious wounds!
  Come! come away! but not your mighty sounds!<<1>>

«1. See the “48 Calls or Keys” of Dr. Dee, from which this is quoted.»

  O wind of all the world!  O silent river!
    O sea of seas!  O flower of all flowers
  O fire!  O spirit!  Beam thou on for ever
    Through aeons of illimitable hours!
  Kiss thy my forehead, let thy tender breath
  Woo me to life, and my desire to death!
  I shall be ready for it by-and-by,
    That sharp initiation, when the whole
  Body is torn with sundering pangs, and I,
    The very conscious essence of the soul,
  Am rent with agony, as when the pale
  Christ heard the shriek of the dividing veil.
  That awful mystery, its heart torn out,
    Palpitates on the altar-stone of life:
  That broken self, that hears the triumph-shout
    Of its own voice beneath the falling knife,
  When, like a bad dream changing, swiftly grows
  A new soul's joy, a fuller-pettaled rose.
  Many the spirits broken for one man;
    Many the men that perish to create
  One God the more; many the weary and wan
    Old Gods that die to constitute a Fate:
  How many Fates then, think you, must control
  The stainless aspiration of the soul?  {210B}
  Not one.  I tell you, destiny is sure,
    Yet moves no finger: though it tune my tongue,
  My tongue hall tune it too: my words endure
    As destiny decays: my hands are flung
  In prayer to Heaven  nay, to mine own crown,
  To raise myself, and not to drag it down!<<1>>

«1. An allusion to the sign called “Enterer of the Threshold,” in which the Egyptian Gods often stand. It is a sign of high initiation (if you know the rest!) and implies the gathering of force from the Gods and its projection as will toward any object.»

  O holiest Lord of the divine white flame
    Of brilliance sworded in the temple sky!
  O thou who knowest my most secret name,
    Who whisperest when only thou and I
  Make up our universe: bestow thy kiss:
  Arise!  Come, let us pierce the old abyss!
  Rise!  Move!  Appear!  Let us go forth together,
    Into the solemn passionless profound,
  Into the darkness, and the thrilling weather,
    Into the silence louder than all sound,
  Into the vast implacable inane!
  Come, let us journey thither once again!
  ROLL through the caverns of matter, the world's irremovable bounds!
  Roll, ye wild billows of ether! the Sistron<<1>> is shaken and sounds!
  Wild and sonorous the clamour, vast in the region of death,
  Live with the fire of the Spirit, the essence and flame of the breath!
          Sound, O sound!  {211A}

«1. A musical instrument used for religious purposes by the Egyptians. It consisted of an oval framework (with a handle) crossed by four wires loosely fixed, which on being shaken gave forth a musical sound.»

  Gleam in the world of the dark, where the chained ones shall tremble and
  Gleam in the skies of the dusk, for the Light of the Dawn is in me!
  Light on the forehead, and life in the nostrils, and love in the breast,
  Shine, O thou Star of the Dawning, thou Sun of the Radiant Crest!
          Shine, O shine!
  Flame through the sky in the strength of the chariot-wheels of the Sun!
  Flame, ye young fingers of light, on the West of the morning that run!
  Flame, O thou Meteor Car, for my fire is exalted in thee!
  Lighten the darkness and herald the day-light, and awaken the sea!
          Flame, O flame!
  Crown Her, O crown Her with stars as with flowers for a virginal gaud!
  Crown Her, O crown Her with Light and the flame of the down-rushing Sword!
  Crown Her, O crown Her with Love for maiden and mother and wife!
  Hail unto Isis!  Hail!  For She is the Lady of Life!
          Isis crowned!
                  A LITANY.
      THE ghosts of abject days flit by;
        The bloated goblins of the past;
      Dim ghouls in soulless apathy;
        Fates imminent, and dooms aghast!
      O Mother Mout,<<1>> O Mother Night,
      Give me the Sun of Life and Light!<<2>>  {211B}

«1. Mout, the Vulture Goddess of The Womb of Years.» «2. “Mother, give me the Sun!” This, the tragedy-word of Ibsen's“Ghosts,” served as inception – by reversal – of this poem.»

      The shadows of my hopes devoured,
        The crown of my intent cast down,
      The hate that shone, the love that lowered,
        Make up God's universal frown.
      O Lord, O Hormakhou,<<1>> display
      The rosy earnest of the day!

«1. The Dawn-God.»

      The mighty pomp of desolate
        Dead kings, a pageant, moves along;
      Dead queens unite in desperate,
        Unsatisfied, unholy song.
      O Khephra,<<1>> manifest in flesh,
      Arise, create the world afresh!

«1. The Beetle-Headed God, who brings light out of darkness, for He is the Sun at Midnight.»

      The silence of my heart is one
        With memory's insatiate night;
      I hardly dare to hope the sun.
        I seek the darkness, not the light.
      O Lord Harpocrates,<<1>> be still
      The moveless centre of my will!

«1. God of Silence. Usually shown as a child.»

      My sorrows are more manifold
        Than His that bore the sins of man.
      My sins are like the starry fold,
        My hopes their desolation wan.
      O Nuit,<<1>> the starry one, arise,
      And set thy starlight in my skies!

«1. The bowed Goddess of the Stars. Shown as a naked woman, her hands and feet on the earth, the arms and legs much elongated, so that her body arches the firmament.»

      In darkness, in the void abyss,
        I grope with vain despairing arms.
      The silence as a serpent is,
        The rustle of the world alarms.
      O Horus,<<1>> Light in Darkness, bless
      My failure with thine own success!

«1. The Hawk-headed Lord of Strength, the Avenger of Osiris' death.»

      My suffering is keen as theirs
        That in Amenti taste of death; {212A}
      Not mine own pains create these prayers:
        For them I claim the living Breath.
      O Lord Osiris,<<1>> bend and bring
      All winters to thy sign of Spring!

«1. The Redeemer by His suffering.»

      Poor folly mine: I cannot see
        Save from one corner of one star!
      So many millions over me;
        So many, and the next, how far!
      O Wisdom-crowned Ta-hu-ti,<<1>> lend
      Thy magic: let my light extend!<<2>>

«1. Thoth, the Ibis God. Equivalent to the higher Hermes.» «2. Khabs am Pekht again.»

      I cannot comprehend one truth.
        My sight is biassed, and my mind --
      One snake-skin though is of its youth;
        Grows old, and casts the slough behind.
      O Themis,<<1>> Lady of the plume,
      Shed thy twin godhead in the gloom!

«1. Goddess of Justice.»

      How ugly is this life of mine!
        How slimes it in the terrene mud!
      Clouds hide the beauty all-divine,
        The moonlight has a mist of blood.
      O Hathoor,<<1>> Lady of the West,
      Take thy sad lover to thy breast!

«1. Goddess of Beauty and Love.»

      Even the perfumes of the dawn
        Intoxicate, deceive the soul.
      Let every shadow be withdrawn!
        Let there be Light, supreme and whole!
      O Ra,<<1>> thou golden Lord of Day,
      The Sun of Righteousness display!

«1. The Hawk-headed God, the Sun in his strength.»

      The burden is so hard to bear.
        It took too adamant a cross;
      This sackcloth rends my soul to wear;
        My self-denial is as dross!
      O Shu,<<1>> that holdest up the sky,
      Hold thou thy servant, lest he die!  {212B}

«1. The Egyptian Atlas – a rebours.»

      Nature is one with my distress.
        The flowers are dull, the stars are pale.
      I am the Soul of Nothingness.
        I cannot lift the golden veil.
      O Mother Isis,<<1>> let thine eyes
      Behold my grief, and sympathise!

«1. Nature: the beginning.»

      I cannot round the perfect wheel,
        Attain not to the fuller end.
      In part I love, in part I feel,
        Know, worship, will, and comprehend.
      O mother Nephthys,<<1>> fill me up
      Thine own perfection's deadly cup!

«1. Perfection: the end.»

      My aspiration quails within me;
        "My heart is fixed," in vain I cry;
      The little loves and whispers win me: --
        "Eli, lama sabacthani!"  {213A}
      O Chomse,<<1>> moon-god, grant thy boon,
      The silver pathway of the moon!

«1. See previous explanation of moon-symbolism.»

      Beyond the Glory of the Dawn,
        Beyond the Splendour of the Sun,
      Thy secret Spirit is withdrawn,
        The plumes of the Concealed One.
      Amoun!<<1>> upon the Cross I cry,
      "I am Osiris, even I!"

«1. The Supreme and Concealed One. Osiris, justified by trial, purified through suffering, can at the moment of his crucifixion – which is also his equilibration – attain to him.»

      O Thou! the All, the many-named,
        The One in many manifest:
      Let not my spirit be ashamed,
        But win to its eternal rest!
      Thou Self from Nothing! bring Thou me
        Unto that Self which is in Thee!
              AMEN.      {213B}

{full page below}

                         THE EPILOGUE IS SILENCE
                           CARMEN SAECULARE<<1>>
                           1900  {col. resumes}

«1. Crowley, and Irishman, was passionately attached to the Celtic movement, and only abandoned it when he found that it was a mere mask for the hideous features of Roman Catholicism.

 WEH NOTE:  Contrary to this note in the text, Crowley was English.  He represented himself as Irish or Scottish in part through rejection of English manner and national characteristics.  At some point after writing "Carmen Saeculare" he (1) discovered that the overwhelming majority of anti-British Irish are Roman Catholic and (2) broke up with a Roman Catholic paramour.>>
                  THE EXILE.
  "The Sun, surmounted by a red rose, shining on a mossy bank."<<1>>

«1. This is the heraldic description of Crowley's crest.»

  OVER the western water lies a solar fire,
  Rapt lives and drunken ecstasies of sad desire;
  Poppies and lonely flag-flowers haunt the desolate
  Marsh-strand: the herons gaunt still contemplate
  What was delight, is ruin, may breed love again,
  Even as darkness breeds the day: when life is slain.
         .        .        .        .        .
  O who will hear my chant, my cry; my voice who hear,
  Even in this weary misery, this danker mere,
  Me, in mine exile, who am driven from yonder mountains
  Blue-gray, and highland airs of heaven, and moving fountains?
  Me, who shall hear me?  Am I lost, a broken vessel,
  Caught in the storm of lies and tossed, forbid to wrestle?
  Shall not the sun rise lively yet, the rose yet bloom,
  The crown yet lift me, life beget flowers on the tomb?
  I was born fighter.  Think you then my task is done,
  My work, my Father's work for men, the rising sun?  {214A}
  Who calls me coward?  Let them wait awhile!  Shall I
  Bow down a loyal head to fate: despair and die?
  I hear the sea roll strong and pure that bore me far
  From Mealfourvonie's<<1>> scalp, gray moor and lonely scaur;
  I hear the waves together mutter in counsel deep;
  I hear the thunder the winds utter in broken sleep;
  I hear the voices of four rivers crying aloud;
  Four angels trumpet, and earth shivers: the heavens shroud
  Their faces in blank terror for the sound of them:
  The mountains are disturbed and roar: the azure hem
  That laps all lands is broken, lashed in fiery foam,
  And all God's thunderbolts are crashed -- against my home.
  Written in heaven, written on earth, written in the deep,
  Written by God's own finger-birth; the stars may weep,
  The sun rejoice, that see at last His vengeance strike;
  The fury of destruction's blast; the fiery spike
  As of an arrow of adamant, comet or meteor:
  "The dog returneth to his vomit: the ancient whore<<2>> {214B}
  That sitteth upon many waters, even she
  That called together all her daughters upon the sea;
  That clad herself in crimson silk and robes of black
  And gave men blood instead of milk; and made a track
  Of lives and gold and dust and death on land and sea,
  She is fallen, is fallen!  Her breath I take to me.
  That which I gave I take, and that she thought to build,
  I, even I, will break it flat: my curse fulfilled.
  No stone of London soon shall stand upon another,
  No son of her throughout the land shall know his brother.
  I will destroy her who is rotten: from the face
  Of earth shall fail the misbegotten, root and race;
  And the fair country unto them again I give,
  Whom in long exile men contemn: for they shall live."
  Yea, they shall live!  The Celtic race!  Amen!  And I
  Give praise, and close mine eyes, cover my face, and laugh -- and die.

«1. A mountain on Loch Ness, opposite the poet's home.» «2. England.»

             "CARMEN SAECULARE."
  "I prophesy, with feet upon a grave,
     Of death cast out, and life devouring death.
         .        .        .        .        .
   Of freedom, though all manhood were one slave;
     Of truth, though all the world were liar; slave;
       Of truth, though all the world were liar; of love,
       That time nor hate can raze the witness of."
                          SWINBURNE, "Tiresias."
  NINE voices that raise high the eternal hymn!
    Nine faces that ring round the rainbow sky!
  Hear me!  The century's lamp is growing dim;
      Saturnian gloom descends and it must die.
    Fill, fill my spirit to the utter brim
      With fire and melody!  {215A}
  O nine sweet sisters!  I have heard your song
    In blue soft waters and in stern grey seas;
  I listen for your voices in the throng;
    I languish for your deadly melodies!
  Yet, when I hear the sound for which I long,
    My soul is not at ease.
  There rings an iron music in my ears;
    A Martial cadence, chorus of the Hours:
  The years of plenty, the abundant years
    Flee, as the halcyon from the dying flowers.
  The chariot of Miseries and Fears
    Marshals its sombre powers.
  Take up thy pen and write!  I must obey.
    No shrinking at that terrible command!
  Their voices mingle in the feeble lay,
    Their fire impulses the reluctant hand.
  My words must prophesy the avenging day
    And curse my native land.
  How have I love thee in thy faithlessness
    Beneath the rule of those unspeakable!<<1>>
  How would I shield thee from this sorceress
    That holds my words imprisoned in her spell!
  I would be silent.  And the words obsess
    My spirit.  It is well.

«1. The House of Hanover.»

  O England!  England, mighty England, falls!
    None shall lament her lamentable end!
  The Voice of Justice thunders at her walls.
    She would not hear.  She shall not comprehend!
  The nations keep their mocking carnivals:
    She hath not left a friend!
  The harlot that men called great Babylon,
    In crimson raiment and in sooth attire,
  The scarlet leprosy that shamed the sun,
    The gilded goat that plied the world for hire; --
  Her days of wealth and majesty are done:
    Men trample her for mire!  {215B}
  The temple of their God is broken down;
    Yea, Mammon's shrine is cleansed!  The house of her
  That cowed the world with her malignant frown,
    And drove the Celt to exile and despair,
  Is battered now -- God's fire destroys the town;
    London admits God's air.
  They scorned the god that made them; yea, they said:
    "Lords of this globe, the Saxon race, are we.
  "Europe before us lies, as men lie dead;
    "Britannia -- ho!  Britannia rules the sea!"
  This night thy kingdom shall be finished,
    Thy soul required of thee.
  Hail!  France!  because thy freedom hath rebelled
    Against the alien, and the golden yoke;<<1>>
  Because thy justice lives and reigns, unquelled,
    Unbribed;<<2>> because thy head above the smoke
  Soars, eagle!  Tribulation hath not felled
    Thy freedom's ancient oak!

«1. The Jews.

  WEH NOTE:  Crowley later came to like the Jews for a time, while he had a Jewish paramour.>>

«2. The verdict of Rennes.»

  Therefore, this message of the Gods to thee!
    What banner floats above thy bastions?
  The oriflamme, the golden fleur-de-lys?
    The eagle, or the tricolour?  Thy sons
  Choose their own flag, contented to be free,
    With freemen's orisons.
  The mist is gathering on the seer's sight --
    I cannot see the future of thy state.
  Or, am I dazzled by resounding light?
    I know this thing -- thy future shall be great!
  Come war, come revolution!  In their spite
    Thou mayst compel thy Fate.  {216A}
  O German Empire!  Let thy sons beware,
    Not crowding sordid towns for lust of gold,
  Not all forgetful of the herdsman's care,
    Not arming all men in an iron mould.
  Peaceful be thou: and watching and with prayer.
    But be not overbold.
  Fall, Austria!  In the very day and hour
    That reverend head that holds thee in its awe
  Shall sink in peace, I see thy rotten power
    Break as the crumbling ice-floe in the thaw.
  Destruction shatters thy blood-builded tower.
    Death has thee in his maw.
  Stand, Russia!  Let thy freedom grow in peace,
    Beneath the constant rule, the changing Czar.
  Thy many, thine inhospitable seas
    Shall ring thee round, a zodiac to thy star,
  And Frost, the rampart of thine iron ease,
    Laugh at the shock of war.
  Turn, Italy!  The Voice is unto Thee!
    Return, poor wounded maiden, to thy home!
  Thou hast well tried a spurious liberty:
    Thou art made captive; let thy fancy roam
  To the great Mother, deeper than the sea,
    And fairer than the foam.
  O Gateway of the admirable East!
    Hold fast thy Faith!  Let no man take thy Crown!
  The Birds of Evil, that were keen to feast,
    (Fools cried) but herald thy renewed renown.
  Mad Christians see in thee the Second Beast,
    But shall not shake thee down.  {216B}
  Therefore reign thou, saith God, august, alone,
    White-winged to East and West, and albatross,
  "Abdul the Damned, on thy infernal throne!"<<1>>
    Allah can wed the Crescent and the Cross!
  According to the wisdom thou hast shown
    Mete thou thy gain and loss!

«1. A notorious phrase, from the hysterical sonnets of a poetaster of the period.»

  O melancholy ruin, that wert Greece!
    What little comfort canst thou take from time?
  Years pass, in shameful war or sordid peace --
    What god can recreate thee, the sublime?
  Alas! let Lethe roll her sleepy seas
    Over thy ruined clime.
  O piteous fallen tyranny of Spain!
    What dogs are tearing at thy bowels yet?
  Let thine own King,<<2>> saith God, resume his reign!
    Loyal and happy seasons may forget
  The ancient scars.  Thy moon is on the wane?
    Thy sun may never set!

«1. Don Carlos.»

  And thou, foul oligarchy of the West,
    Thou, soiled with bribes and stained with treason's stain,
  Thou, heart of coin beneath a brazen breast,
    Rotten republic, prostitute of gain!
  Thou, murderer of the bravest and the best
    That fringed thy southern main!<<1>>

«1. In the Civil War, 1861-1864.

 WEH NOTE:  This is the American Civil War.>>
  The doom is spoken.  Thine own children tear
    Thy cruel heart and thy corrupted tongue;
  Thy toilers snare thee in thine own foul snare,
    And sting thee were thy gilded worms had stung.
  The politician and the millionaire
    Regain maternal dung.  {217A}
  They only shall thy liberty arise;
    Then only shall thine eagle shake his wings,
  And sunward soar through the unsullied skies,
    And careless watch the destiny of kings.
  Then only shall truth's angel in thine eyes
    Perceive eternal things.
  The oracle is suddenly grown still.
    Only, mine eyes, unweary of the sight,
  Pierce through the dawn-mist of the sacred hill
    And yearn toward the rose of love and light.
  My lips, that drank the Heliconian rill,
    Murmur with slow delight.
  I see the faces of the lyric Nine!
    The Rose of God its petals will unfold!
  I madden with the ecstasy divine!
    My soul leaps sunwards, shrieking -- and behold!
  Out of the ocean and the kindling brine
    Apollo's face of gold!
  What music, what delirium, what delight!
    What dancing madness catches at my feet!
  A tongue of fresh, impossible, keen light
    Burns on my brow -- a silver stream of heat.
  I am constrained: The Awful Word I write
    From the one Paraclete.
  The Reign of Darkness hath an end.  Behold!
    Eight stars are gathered in one fiery sign.<<1>>
  This is the birth-hour of the Age of Gold;
    The false gold pales before the Gold divine.
  The Christ is calling to the starry fold
    Of Souls -- Arise and shine!  {217B}

«1. Eight planets were together in the “fiery” sign, Sagittarius, towards the close of the year 1899.»

  The Isis of the World hath raised her veil
    One moment, that fresh glory of the stars
  May glow through winter, where the sun is pale;
    Melt snow-bound lilies; bid the prison bars,
  Wherein men bow their heads and women wail,
    Blossom to nenuphars.
  The sacred lotus of the universe
    Blossoms this century -- a million tears
  Melted the ice of Eve's accursed curse:
    A million more have watered it -- it peers,
  A resurrection fragrance, to disperse
    Men's folly and their fears.
  The contemplation of those awful eyes,
    The flaming void, the godhead of the light,
  The abyss of these unfathomable skies,
    Exhaust my being; I desire the night.
  Lo!  I have written all the destinies
    Thy spirit bade me write.
  The noise of rushing water!  And the sound
    Of tenfold thunder!  Mighty a flame of fire
  Roars downward: as a maiden from a swound
    My spirit answers to its own desire.
  My feet are firm again upon the ground --
    Yea! but my head is higher.
  My face is shining with the fire of heaven.
    I move among my fellows as a ghost.
  With thought for bread and memory for leaven
    My life is nourished, yet my life is lost.
  I live and move among the starry seven,
    Nor count the deadly cost.
  Only I see the century as a child
    Call Truth and Justice, Light and Peace, to guide;
  Wisdom and Joy, and Love the undefiled,
    Lead up true worship, its eternal bride.
  Stormy its birth; its youth, now fierce and wild!
    Its end, how glorified!  {218A}
  O Spirit of Illimitable Light!
    O Thou with style and tablet!<<1>>  Answer me
  In that dread pomp of Triumph and of Right,
    The awful day: my witnesses are Ye
  That I have said in all men's sound and sight
    The things that are to be.

«1. Thoth, the Scribe of the Gods

  ". . . the green paradise which western waves
   Embosom in their ever-wailing sweep,
   Talking of freedom to their tongueless caves,
   Or to the spirits which within them keep
   A record of the wrongs which, though they sleep,
   Die not, but dream of retribution."
                       "Adonais [cancelled passage]."
  WILD pennons of sunrise the splendid,
    And scarlet of clustering flowers
  Cry aloud that the Winter is ended,
    Claim pace for the re-risen hours.
  The Ram in the Heavens exalted<<1>>
    Calls War to uncover her wing;
  Through skies that be hollow and vaulted
    Exulting the shouts of him ring:
      The Sign of the Spring.

«1. Aries, the sign which the Sun enters at the Vernal Equinox, is“ruled” by Mars, the planet of War.»

  How hollows the heart of the heaven!
    How light swells his voice for a cry!
  The winter is shaken and riven,
    And death and the fruits of him die.
  The billow roars back to its tyrant,
    The wind; the red thunderbolts roar;
  The flame and the earthquake aspirant
    Leap forth as an herald before
      The trumpet of war.
  In crimson he robes him for raiment,
    In armour all rusted and red:
  Spear shakes and sword flashes, exclaimant
    To share in the spoil of the dead.  {218B}
  A helmet flames forth on his forehead,
    Gold sparks from the forge of the stars,
  His shield with the Gorgon made horrid
    Hath blood on its bull-battled bars --
      Thou God of me, Mars!
  He strides through the vibrating aether;
    Spurns earth from His warrior feet;
  Shakes fire from the forges beneath her;
    His glances are fervid and fleet.
  With a cry that makes tremble the thunder,
    Light-speared, with a sword that is flame,
  He bursts the vast spaces asunder.
    His angels arise and proclaim:
      The Lord is His Name!
  O Lord!  Thou didst march out of Edom!
    Thou leapedst from the Mountains of Seir!
  The breath of Thy voice was as Freedom!
    The nations did tremble with fear.
  The heathen, their fury forsook them;
    The Moabites trembled and fled.
  O Lord, when Thy countenance shook them.
    Thy voice in the House of the Dead.
      O Lord!  Thou has said!
  The lightnings were kindled and lightened,
    Thy thunder was heard on the deep;
  The stars with Thy Fear shook and whitened,
    The sun and the moon in the steep.
  The sea rose in tumult and clamour,
    The Earth also shook with Thee then,
  As Thor had uplifted his hammer,
    And smitten the mutinous men.
      O! rise Thou again!
  The voice of the Lord is uplifted;
    The wilderness also obeys;
  The flames of the fire they are rifted;
    The waves of the sea know His ways.
  The cedars of Lebanon hear Thee,
    The desert of Kadesh hath known;
  The Sons of Men know Thee and fear Thee,
    Flee far from the Light of Thy Throne.
      For Thou art alone.  {219A}
  O Lord!  Is Thy path in the Water,
    The marvellous ways of the Deep?
  Not there, O not there!  Wilt Thou slaughter
    Oblivion's sons in their sleep?
  Hath the deep disobeyed Thee or risen
    In wrath and revolt to Thy sky,
  Broken loose from the bands of her prison?
    Held counsel against the Most High?
      Yea, even as I!
  But I, O most Mighty, invoke Thee,
    Whose footsteps are in the Unknown.
  My cries were the cries that awoke Thee,
    Upstarting in arms from Thy Throne!
  I call Thee, I pray Thee, I chide Thee,
    Whose glory my foes have abhorred.
  My spirit is fixed, may abide Thee,
    Awake the Invisible Sword.
      For Thou art the Lord!
  Look down upon earth and behold us
    Few folk who have sworn to be free.
  Past days, when the traitors had sold us,
    We trample; we call upon Thee!
  Look Thou on the armed ones, the furious,
    The Saxons! they brandish the steel;
  Heaven rings with their insults injurious;
    Earth moans for their harrow and wheel.
      To Thee we appeal.
  They boast, though their triumph Hell's gift is,
    On Africa's desperate sons:
  "Our thousands have conquered their fifties;
    Our twenties have murdered their ones."
  That glory -- that shame -- let them trumpet
    To Europe's unquickening ear.
  List Thou to the boast of the strumpet!
    Lend Thou, Thou indignant, an ear!
      Then -- shall they not fear?
  O Lord, to Thy strength in the thunder,
    Thy chariot-wheels in the war,
  We, Ireland, look upward and wonder,
    The Sword of Thee smiting before.  {219B}
  In the hour of Revolt that burns nigher
    Each hour as it leaps to the sky,
  We look to Thee, Lord for Thy Fire;
    We look -- shall Thy Justice deny?
      Well, can we not die?
  But Thou, Thou shalt fall from the heaven
    As hail on the furious host.
  I see them: their legions are driven;
    Their cohorts are broken and lost.
  Thy fire hath dispersed them and shattered!
    They hesitate, waver, and flee!
  Thy tyrant is shaken and scattered,
    And Ireland is clear to the Sea!
      Green Erin is free!
  Hail!  Hail to Thee, Lord of us, Horus!<<1>>
    All hail to the warrior name!
  Thy chariots shall drive them before us,
    Thy sword sweep them forth as a flame.
  Rise!  Move! and descend!  I behold Thee,
    Heaven cloven of fieriest bars,
  Armed Light; and they follow and fold Thee,
    Thine armies of terrible stars.
      The Powers of Mars!

«1. Egyptian God of the Sun, and of War. Cf. p. 212, note 5. {incit.: “The Hawk-headed..}»

  At the brightness that leapeth before Thee,
    The heavens bow down at Thine ire;
  Thick clouds pass to death and adore Thee,
    Wild hailstones and flashings of fire.
  The mountains of Ages are shattered;
    Perpetual hills are bowed down;
  The Winds of the Heaven are scattered,
    Borne back from Thy furious frown,
      O Lord of Renown!
  In terror and tumult and battle
    Thy breath smiteth forth as a sword;
  The Saxons are driven as cattle;
    We know Thee, that Thou art the Lord!
  Forth Freedom flings skyward, a maiden
    Rejoicing, upsprung from the sea,
  And the wild lyre of Erin is laden
    At last with the songs of the free!
      Hail!  Hail unto Thee!  {220A}
  THE ship to the breezes is bended;
    The wind whistles off to the lee;
  The sun is arisen, the splendid!
    The sun on the marvellous sea!
  And the feast of your freedom is ended,
             O sons of the free!
  Your shouts have gone up to remember
    The day of your oath to the world.
  Is its flame dwindled down to an ember?
    The flag of your liberty furled?
  Your limbs are too strong to dismember --
          In sloth are they curled?
  The price of your freedom -- I claim it!
    Your aid to make other men free!
  Your strength -- I defy you to shame it!
    Your peace -- I defy it to be
  Dishonoured!  Arise and proclaim it
              From sea unto sea!
  From Ireland the voice of the dying,
    The murdered, the starved, the exiled,
  In hope to your freedom is crying
    A dolorous note and a wild:
  "Your star-bestrewn banner is flying,
           And ours -- is defiled."
  From Ind -- shall her summons awaken?
    Her voices are those of the dead!
  By famine and cholera shaken,
    By taxes and usury bled,
  In the hour of her torture forsaken,
           Stones given for bread!
  In Africa women are fighting
    Their homes and their freedom to hold
  Young children and graybeards, delighting
    To die for their country of old!
  For the ravenous lion is smiting
       A stroke for their gold.  {220B}
  They fall in the shelterless hollwo;
    They sleep in the cold and the sun;
  They fight, and the Englishmen follow --
    The odds are as twenty to one!
  Hide, hide thy bright eyes, O Apollo!
            The murder is done.<<1>>

«1. Kruger, however, fulfilled his threat to drive the English into the sea. Only Jews and Chinamen have survived the struggle; as the fox in the contest between the lion and the bear, recorded by Aesop – A. C.

 Time will show whether Crowley's cynicism is justified.>>
  The stones should arise to declare it,
    Their terror and tyrannous reign!
  The earth be unable to bear it,
    Gape wide, for her motherly pain!
  Shalt thou, O Columbia, share it,
           The shame and the stain?
  Your stripes re the stripes of dishonour;
    Your stars are cast down fro the sky; {221A}
  While earth has this burden upon her,
    Your eagle unwilling to fly!
  Loose, loose the wide wings!  For your honour!
               Let tyranny die!
  Remember, this day of your glory,
    Your fight for the freedom you own.
  Those years -- is their memory flown?
    Your chains -- is their memory hoary?
  Your triumph is famous in story,
             But yours is alone.
  In the name of your Freedom I claim it,
    Your power in the cause of the free!
  In the name of our God as I name it,
    AMEN!  I demand it of ye,
  Man's freedom!  Arise and proclaim it,
             The song of the sea!
     "July" 4, 1900.       {221B}

{full page below}

                   A STORY OF ALL TIME  {col. resumes}
  One is incisive, corrosive;
    Two retorts, nettled, curt, crepitant;
  Three makes rejoinder, expansive, explosive;
    Four overbears them all, strident and strepitant:
  Five<<1>> . . . O Danaides, O Sieve!

«1. The reference is to the five acts of the play.»

  Now, they ply axes and crowbars;
    Now, they pick pins at a tissue
  Fine as a skein of the causuist Escobar's
    Worked on the bone of a lie.  To what issue?
  Where is our gain at the Two-bars?
  "Est fuga, volvitur rota."
    On we drift: where looms the dim port?
  One, Two, Three, Four, Five, contribute their quota;
    Something is gained, if one caught but the import --
  Show it us, Hugues of Saxe-Gotha!
  1. R. BROWNING, “Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha.”

  I SHALL not tell thee that I love thee!
    Nay! by the Star in Heaven burning,
    Its ray to me at midnight turning
  To tell me that it beams above thee --
    Nay! though thou wert, as I am, yearning,
  I should not tell thee that I love thee!  {222A}
  I know what secret thought once blossomed
    Into a blush that seemed a kiss,
    Some swift suppressed extreme of bliss
  In thy most fearful sigh embosomed.
    What oracle should prate of this?
  I know the secret thought that blossomed!
  Extol the truth of love's disdain!
    Love, daring by no glance to gladden
    A heart the waits but that to madden
  In purple pleasure plucked of pain.
    Nay! let our tears, that fail to sadden,
  Extol the truth of love's disdain!
         .        .        .        .        .
  Let deeper silence shield the deeper rapture!
    Hardly our eyes reveal the inward bliss,
    Sealed by no speech and shadowed by no kiss.
  Love is no wizard to elude recapture
    In the strong prison of his silences!
  Let deeper silence shield the deeper rapture!
  Twin souls are we, to one Star bound in Heaven!
    Twin souls on earth by earthly bars divided!
    But, did thy spirit guide as mine has glided
  Straight to That Star -- no rose-leaves ask to leaven
    The manna that the Moon of Love provided!
  Twin souls are we, to one Star bound in Heaven!
  Not to thy presence in the veil and vision
    Of solemn lies that men miscall the world;
    Not to thy mind the lightnings truthward hurled
  I turn.  I laugh dead distance to derision! --
    Spirit to sprit: there our loves are curled,
  Not to thy presence in the veil and vision!  {22B}
  Beyond the gold and glamour of Life's lotus,
    The flower that falls from this our stronger sight,
    We dwell, eternal shapes of shadowy light.
  Only the love on earth that shook and smote us
    Begets new stars -- truth's flowers fallen through night
  Beyond the gold and glamour of Life's lotus!
  Eternal bliss of Love in birthless bowers!
    light, the gemmed robes of Love!  Life, lifted breath,
    Ageless existence defying death!
  Love, the sole flower beyond these lesser flowers! --
    In thee at last the live fruit quickeneth?
  Eternal bliss of love in birthless bowers!
         .        .        .        .        .
  There, secret!  Know it!  Now forget!
    Betray not Wisdom unto Folly!
    Less sweet is Joy than Melancholy! --
  Why should our eyes for this be wet?
    Enough: be silent and be holy!
  There, secret!  Know it!  Now forget!
  Now I have told thee that I love thee!
    To me our Star in Heaven burning
    Tells me thy heart as mine is yearning;
  Tells me Love's fragrance stolen above thee
    Thy soul to mine at last is turning
  Now I have told thee that I love thee!

AS, after long observation and careful study, the biologist sees that what at first seemed isolated and arbitrary acts are really part of a series of regular changes, and presently has the life-history of the being that he is examining clear from Alpha to Omega in his mind; as, during a battle, the relative importance of its various incidents is lost, the more so owing to the excitement and activity of the combatant, and to the fact that he is himself involved in the vicissitudes which he may have set himself to observe; while even for the commander, thought the smoke-pall may lift now and again to show some brilliant charge or desperate hand-to-hand struggle, he may fail to grasp its significance in his dispositions; or indeed find it to be quite unexpected and foreign to his calculations; yet a few years or months {223A} later the same battle may be lucidly, tersely, and connectedly described, so that a child is able to follow its varying fortunes with delight and comprehension: just so has my own observation of a life-history more subtle, a battle more terrible, been at last co-ordinated: I can view the long struggle from a standpoint altogether complete, calm, and philosophical; and the result of this review is the present story of Tannhauser, just as the isolated and often apparently contradictory incidents of the fight were recorded in that jungle of chaotic emotions which I printed under the title of “The Soul of Osiris,”«Now “The Temple of the Holy Ghost.”» calling it a history so that my readers might discover for themselves (if they chose to take the trouble) the real continuity in the apparent disjointedness.

 The history of any man who seriously and desperately dares to force a passage into the penetralia<<Hidden places.>> of nature; not with the calm philosophy of the scientist, but with the burning conviction that his immortal destiny is at stake; must be a strange one: to me at least strangely attractive.  The constant illusions; the many disappointments; the bitter earnestness of the man amid the grim humour, or more often sheer cacchination of his surroundings; all the bestial mockery of the baffling fiends; the still more hideous mockery in which the Powers of Good themselves seem to indulge; doubt of the reality of that which he seeks; doubt even of the seeker; the irony of the whole strife: are fascinating to me as they are, I make no doubt, to the majority of mankind.
 This is the subtler form of that mental bewilderment which the Greek Tragedians were so fond of depicting: as subtle in effect, yet grosser in its determining factors.  For we are thus changed from the times of Sohpocles and Euripides; that the fixed ideas of morality and religion which they employed as the motives of pathos or of horror are now shattered.  Ibsen, otherwise in spirit and style purely Greek, and dealing as the Greeks did with the emotions of the soul, has realised the changed and infinitely more complex conditions of life; our self-appointed spiritual guides notwithstanding, or, rather, withstanding in vain.  Consequently it is impossible any more to divine whether virtue or vice (as understood of old) {223B} will cause the irreparable catastrophe which is the one element of drama which we may still (in the work of a modern dramatist) await with any degree of confidence.
 I trust that I may be forgiven for adopting the idea that Tannhauser was one of those mysterious Germans whose reputed existence so perturbed the Middle Ages; in short, a Rosicrucian.<<See their original documents, fairly enough translated in "Real History of the Rosicrucians," by A. E. Waite.>>  Some people may be surprised that a Member of that illustrious but unhappy fraternity should take cognizance of what my friend Bhikku Ananda Maitriya calls "hog-nosed Egyptian deities," still more that he should show reverence to symbols like the B. V. M. and the holy Grail.  But the most learned and profound students of the Mysteries of the Rosy Cross assure me that it was the special excellence of these mystics that the declined to be bound down by

any particular system in their sublime search for the Eternal and the Real.

 Under these circumstances I have not scrupled to subvert anything that appeared to me to need subverting in the interests, always identical, of beauty and of truth.  Anachronism may be found piled upon anachronism, and symbolism mixed with symbolism.
 In one direction I have restrained myself.  Nowhere does Tannhauser refer to the Vedas and Shastras<<Hindu sacred books.>> or to the Dhamma<<The law.>> of that blameless hypochondriac, Gotama Buddha.  I take all the blame for so important an omission, not without a shrewd suspicion that the commination will take the form of "For this relief much thanks!"
 The particular object that I have in view in speaking both in Hebrew and Egypto-Christian symbolism is that by this means I may familiarise my readers with the one thing of any importance that life, travel, and study have taught me, to wit: the Origin of Religions.
 I take it that there have always, or nearly always, been on the earth those whom Councillor von Eckartshausen,<<Author of the "Cloud upon the Sanctuary," a profound mystical treatise.>> the Svami Vivekananda<<A well-known Indian mystic, author of "Raja Yoga.">> and their like, call {224A} "great spiritual giants" (can there be any etymological link between "yogi"<<"Yogi" is "one who seeks union," "i.e." with the Supreme.>> and "ogre"?) and that such persons, themselves perceiving Truth, have tried to "diminish the message to the dog"<<Browning, "Mr. Sludge the Medium.">> for the benefit of less exalted minds, and hidden that Truth (which, unveiled, would but blind men with its glory) in a mass of symbols often perverted or grotesque, yet to the proper man transparent; a "bait of falsehood to catch the carp of truth."  Now, regarded in this light, all religions, qua religions, are equally contemptible.  The Hindu Gnanis<<Philosophers.>> say "That which can be thought is not true."  As machineries for the exercise of spiritual and intellectual powers innate or developed, certain sets of symbols may be more or less convenient to a special trend of mind, reason, or imagination; no more: I deny to any one religion the possession of any essential truth which is not also formulated (though in a different language) in every other.  To this rule Buddhism appears a solitary exception.  Whether it is truly so I have hardly yet decided: the answer depends upon certain recondite mathematical considerations, to discuss which would be foreign to the scope of my present purpose, but which I hope to advance in a subsequent volume.<<Berashith, "q.v. infra," vol. ii.>>
 If you do not accept my conclusion that all religions are the expression of truth under different aspects, facets of the same intolerable gem, you are forced back on the conclusions of those unpleasing persons the Phallicists.  But should you travel to the East, and tell a Lingam-worshipping Sivite that his is a phallic worship he will not be please with you.  Compare on this point Arnold, "India Revisited," 1886, p. 112.
 So much for the symbolology of this, I fear, much-mangled drama.  Drama indeed is an altogether misleading term; monodrama is perhaps better.  It is really as series of introspective studies; not necessarily a series in time, but in psychology, and that rather the morbid psychology of the Adept than the gross mentality of the ordinary man.
 It may help some of my readers if I say that my Tannhauser is nearly identical in {224B} scheme with the "Pilgrim's Progress."  Literary and spiritual experts will however readily detect minor differences in the treatment.  It will be sufficient if I state that "the Unknown," whether minstrel, pilgrim, or Egyptian sage, represents Tannhauser in his true Self, -- the "Only Being in an Abyss of Light!"  The Tannhauser who talks is the "Only Being in an Abyss of Darkness," the natural man ignorant of his identity with the Supreme Being.  The various other characters are all little parts of Tannhauser's own consciousness and not real persons at all: whether good or bad, all alike hinder and help (and there is not one whose function is not thus double) the realsation of his true unity with all life.  This circumstance serves to explain, though perhaps not to excuse, the lack of dramatic action in the story.  Love being throughout the symbol of his method, as Beauty of its object, it is through Love, refined into Pity, that he at last attains the Supreme Knowledge, or at least sufficient of it to put the last straw on the back of his corporeal camel, and bring the story to a fitting end.
 To pass to more mundane affairs.  I may mention for the benefit of those who may not be read in certain classes of literature, and so think me original when I am hardly even paraphrasing, that Tannhauser's songs in Act IV. are partly adapted from the so-called "Oracles of Zoroaster," partly from the mysterious utterances of the great angel Ave,<<In "Dr. Dee.">> perhaps equally spurious.  Of course Bertram's song is merely a rather free adaptation of the two principal fragments of Sappho, which so many people have failed to translate that one can feel no shame in making yet another attempt.  There may be one or two conscious plagiarisms besides, for which I do not apologise.  For any unconscious ones which may have crept in owing to my prolonged absence from civilised parts, and the consequent lack of opportunity for reference and comparison, I emphatically do.
 One word to the reviewers.  It must not be taken as ungracious if I so speak.  From nearly all I have received the utmost justice, kindness, and consideration: two or three only seem to take delight in deliberately perverting the sense of my remarks: and to them, for their own sake, I now address {225A} these words of elementary instruction.  You are perfectly welcome to do with my work in its entirety what Laertes did with his allegiance and his vows: but do not pick out and gloat over a few isolated passages from the Venusberg scenes and call me a sensualist, nor from the Fourth Act and groan "Mysticism!"; do not quote "Two is by shape the Coptic Aspirate" as a sample of my utmost in lyrics; do not take the song of Wolfram as my best work in either sentiment or melody.  As a "quid pro quo" I give you all full permission to conclude your review of this book by quoting from Act III.  "Forget this nightmare!"
 I must express my great sense of gratitude to Oscar Eckenstein,<<The famous mountaineer.>> Gerald Kelly, and Allan MacGregor, who have severally helped me in the work of revision, which has extended over more than a year of time and nearly twenty thousand miles of space.  Some few of the very best lines were partially or wholly suggested by themselves, and I have not scrupled to incorporate these: if the book be but a Book, the actual authorship seems to me immaterial.
 I have written this preface in a lighter vein, but I hope that no one will be led to suppose that my purpose is anything but deadly serious.  This poem has been written in the blood of slain faith and hope; each foolish utterance of Tannhauser stings me with shame and memory of old agony; each Ignis Fatuus that he so readily pursues, reminds me of my own delusions.  But, these follies and delusions being the common property of mankind, I have thought them of sufficient interest, dramatic and philosophical, to form the basis of a poem.  Let no man dare to reproach me with posing as the hero of my tale.  I fall back on the last utterance of Tannhauser himself: "I say, then 'I': and yet it is not 'I' Distinct, but 'I' incorporate in All."  Above all, pray understand that I do not pose as a teacher.  I am but an asker of questions, such as may be found confronting those who have indeed freed their minds from the conventional commonplaces of the platitudinous, but have not year dared to uproot the mass of their convictions, and to examine the whole  question of religion from its most fundamental source in the consciousness of mankind.  Such persons may find the reasoning {225B} of Tannhauser useful, if only to brace them to a more courageous attempt to understand the "Great Arcanum," and to attain at last, no matter at what cost, to "true Wisdom and perfect Happiness."  So may all happen!
     KANDY, CEYLON, "Sept." 1901
              PERSONS CONCERNED.
              "THE WORLD OF GODS."
              "THE WORLD OF MEN."
  BERTRAM, : "At the Court of the Landgrave."
             "THE WORLD OF DEMONS."
                    ACT I.
 "Therefore we are carefully to proceed in Magic, lest that Syrens and other monsters deceive us, which likewise do desire the society of the human soul."
                                      "Arbatel of Magic.  Aphorism" 35.
  "A lonely and desolate plain."  TANNHAUSER "riding towards a great mountain."
  SIX days.  Creation took no longer!  Yet
    I wander eastward, and no light is found.
  The stars their motion shirk, or else forget.
    The sun -- the moon?  Imprisoned underground
    Where gnomes disport, and devils do abound.  {226A}
  Six days.  I journey to the black unknown,
    Always in hope the Infinite may rise
  Some unexpected instant, as 'twere grown
    A magic palace to enchanted eyes;
    A wizard guerdon for a minstrel wise.
  Perhaps I am a fool to think that here,
    Merely by rending Nature's hollow veil,
  I may attain the Solitary Sphere,
    Achieve the Path; or, haply, if I fail,
    Gain the Elixir, or behold the Grail.<<1>>

«1. A vessel containing the blood of Jesus. See Malory, “Morte d'Arthur.”»

  I seek the mystery of Life and Time,
    The Key of all that is not and that is,
  And that which -- climb, imagination! climb! --
    Transcends them both -- the Mystical abyss
    Where Mind and Being marry, and are Bliss.<<1>>

«1. Sat-Chit-Ananda, the qualities of Atman, the Soul.»

  So have I journeyed -- like a fool!  Ah, well!
    Let pass self-scorn, as love of self is past!
  But -- am I further forward?  Who can tell?
    God is the Complex as the Protoplast:
    He is the First (not "was"), and is the Last
  (Not "will be").  Then why travel?  To what end?
    What is the symbol I am set to find?
  What is that burning heart of blood to spend
    Caught in a sunset with the night behind,
    The Grail of God?  I would that I were blind!
  I would that I were desolate and dumb,
    Naked and poor!  That He might manifest
  A crimson glory subtly caught and come,
    An opal crucible of Alkahest!<<1>>
    And yet -- what gain of vital gold expressed?  {226B}

«1. See Eirenaeus Philalethes, his treatise.»

  This were my guerdon: to fade utterly
    Into the rose-heart of that sanguine vase,
  And lose my purpose in its silent sea,
    And lose my life, and find my life, and pass
    Up to the sea that is as molten glass.
  I mind me of that old Egyptian,
    Met where Aurora streamed her rainbow hair,
  Who called me from the quest.  An holy man!
    A crown of light scintillant in the air
    Shone over him: he bade me not despair.
  "The Blood of Osiris!" was his word:
    (Meaning the Christ?)  "The life, the tears, the tomb!
  "The Love of Isis is its name!"  (I heard
    This for the love of Mary.)  In her womb
    Brews the Elixir, and the roses bloom.
  For the Three Maries (so he said) were One:
    Three aspects of the mystic spouse of God,
  Isis!  This pagan!  "Look towards the Sun"<<1>>
    (Quoth he), "and seek a winepress to be trod;
    "With Beauty girdled, garlanded, and shod.

«1. “i.e.,” Tiphereth, the Sphere of Beauty.»

  "Thus," riddled he, "thy heart shall know its Peace!"
    Let be!  I ride upon the sand instead,
  Look to the Cross, whereon I take mine ease!
    Let be!  Just so the Roman soldier said.
    Esaias?<<1>>  He is dead -- as I am dead!

«1. See Mark xv. 35, 36 for the obscure allusions.»

  What was his symbol and his riddle's key?
    Go, seek the stars and count them and explore!
  Go, sift the sands beyond a starless sea!
    So, find an answer where the dismal shore
    Of time beats back eternity!  No more!  {227A}
  Let me ride on more hastily than this,
    That so my body may be tired of me,
  And fling me to the old forgetful kiss,
    Sleep's, when my mind goes, riderless and free,
    Into some corner of eternity.
  Alas! that mind returns from its abode
    With newer problems, fiercer thoughts!  But stay!
  Suppose it came not?  It must be with God! --
    Then this dull house of gold and iron and clay
    Is happy also -- 'tis an easy way!
  So easy, I am fearful of mishap.
    Some fatal argument the God must find
  That linked us first.  The dice are in His lap --
    Let Him decide in His imperial mind!
    My choice; to see entirely -- and be blind!
  Yet I bethink me of that holy man,
    (Pagan albeit) my stirrup's wisdom-share:
  "Learn this from Thothmes the Egyptian.
    "Use only in thine uttermost despair!"
    He whispered me a Word.<<1>>  "Beware!  Beware!

«1. It is a tradition of magic that all words have a double effect; an upright, and an averse. See the shadow of a devil's head cast by the fingers raised in blessing as figured in Eliphaz Levi's”Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie“ and elsewhere. Upon this tradition the whole play hangs.»

  "Two voices are there in the sullen sea;
    "Two functions hath the inevitable fire;
  "Earthquake hath earth, and yet fertility:
    "See to thy purpose, and thy set desire!
    "Else, dire the fate -- the ultimation dire!"
  Vague threats and foolish words!  Quite meaningless
    The empty sounds he muttered in mine ear.
  Why should their silly mystery impress
    My thoughtful forehead with the lines of fear?
    (This riding saps my courage as my cheer.)  {227B}
  Still, I must see his symbol of the Sun,
    The Winepress, and the Beauty!  Puerile
  And pagan to that old mysterious one,
    The awful Light and the anointed Vial,
    The Dawning of the Blood, even as a smile: --
  Even as a smile on Beauty's burning cheek --
    Ha!  In a circle?  As this journey is?
  How vain is man's imagining and weak!
    Begod<<1>> my lady, and my lady's kiss?
    Back swing we to the pitiful abyss,

«1. To invest with divine attributes.»

  Liken God's being to the life of man.
    So reason staggers.  Angels, answer me!
  Ye who have watched the far unfolding plan --
    How is time shorter than eternity?
    Prove it and weigh!  By mind it cannot be.
  All our divisions spring in our own brain.
    See!  As upsprings on the horizon there
  A clefted hill contemptuous of the plain.
    (Why, which is higher?)  I am in despair.
    Let me essay the Pharaoh and his prayer!
        [TANNHAUSER "Speaks the Word of Double Power."
  Oh God, Thy blinding beauty, and the light
  Shed from Thy shoulders, and the golden night
  Of mingling fire and stars and roses swart
  In the long flame of hair that leaps athwart,
  Live in each tingling gossamer!  Dread eyes!
  Each flings its arrow of sharp sacrifice,
  Eating me up with poison!  I am hurled
  Far through the vaporous confines of the world
  With agony of sundering sense, beholding
  Thy mighty flower, blood-coloured death, unfolding!
  Lithe limbs and supple shoulders and lips curled,
  Curled out to draw me to their monstrous world!  {228A}
  Warm breasts that glow with light ephemeral
  And move with passionate music to enthral,
  To charm, to enchant, to seal the entrancing breath.
  I fall!  Stop!  Spare me! -- Say me!
        [TANNHAUSER "enters into an ecstasy."
                             This is death.
   ["The evil and averse" HATHOOR, "or" VENUS, "who hath arisen in the place
     of the Great Goddess, lifteth up her voice and chanteth:" --
    Isis am I, and from my life are fed
      All showers and suns, all moons that wax and wane,
    All stars and streams, the living and the dead,
      The mystery of pleasure and of pain.
    I am the mother!  I the speaking sea!
    I am the earth and its fertility!
  Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, return to me --
    To me!
    Hathoor am I, and to my beauty drawn
      All glories of the Universe bow down,
    The blossom and the mountain and the dawn,
      Fruit's blush, and woman, our creation's crown.
    I am the priest, the sacrifice, the shrine,
    I am the love and life of the divine!
  Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, are surely mine --
    Are mine!
    Venus am I, the love and light of earth,
      The wealth of kisses, the delight of tears,
    The barren pleasure never come to birth,
      The endless, infinite desire of years.
    I am the shrine at which thy long desire
    Devoured thee with intolerable fire.
  I was song, music, passion, death, upon thy lyre --
    Thy lyre!  {228B}
    I am the Grail and I the Glory now:
      I am the flame and fuel of thy breast;
    I am the star of God upon thy brow;
      I am thy queen, enraptured and possessed.
    Hide thee, sweet river; welcome to the sea,
    Ocean of love that shall encompass thee!
  Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, return to me --
    To me!
        [TANNHAUSER "perceives that he is in the palace of a Great Queen."
    Rise, rise, my knight!  My king!  My love, arise!
    See the grave avenues of Paradise,
    The dewy larches bending at my breath,
    Portentous cedars prophesying death!
    See the long vistas and the dancing sea,
    The measured motion of fecundity!
    Bright winds set swaying the soft-sounding flowers
    (Here flowers have music) in my woven bowers,
    Where sweet birds blossom, and in chorus quire
    The rapt beginnings of immense desire.
    Here is the light and rapture of the will:
    We touch the stars -- and they are tiny still!
    O mighty thews!  O godlike face and hair!
    Rise up and take me; ay, and keep me there,
    One tingle at thy touch from head to feet;
    Lips that cling close, and never seem to meet,
    Melting as sunlight melts in wine!  Arise!
    Shame!  Hast thy learning left thee over-wise?
    Thy lips sing fondly -- to another tune.
    Nay! 'twas my breathing beauty made thee swoon,
    Dread forked fire across the cloven sky;
    Stripped off thy body of mortality --
    Nay, but on steeper slopes my love shall strive!
    Our bodies perish and our hearts revive {229A}
    Vainly, unless the shaking sense beware
    The crested snakes shot trembling through our hair,
    Their wisdom!  But our souls leap, flash, unite,
    One crowned column of avenging light,
    Fixed and yet floating, infinite, immense,
    Caught in the meshes of the cruel sense,
    Two kissing breaths of agony and pleasure,
    Mixed, crowned, divided, beyond age or measure,
    Time, thought, or being!  Now thine eyes awake,
    Droop at my kisses; the long lashes slake
    Their sleek and silky thirst in tears of light!
    Thine eyes!  They burn me, even me!  They smite
    Me who am scatheless, and a flame of fire.
    See, in our sorrow and intense desire
    All worlds are caught and sealed!  The starts are taken
    In love's weak web, and gathered up, and shaken!
    Our word is mighty on the magic moon!
    The sun resurges to our triple tune!
    (See, it is done!)  O chosen of the Christ!
    My knight, and king, and love, wast thy priced,
    A portion in the all-pervading bliss,
    Thou, whom I value at my ageless kiss?
    Chosen of Me!  Thou heart of hearts, thou mine,
    Man!  Stamping into dust the Soul Divine
    By might of that mere Manhood!  Sense and thought
    Reel for the glory of thee kissed and caught
    In the eternal circle of my arms!
    Woven in vain are the mysterious charms
    Endymion taught Diana!  For one gaze;
    One word of my unutterable praise;
    And I was utterly and ever lost,
    Lost in the whirlwind of thy love, and tossed
    A wreck on its irremeable sea!
    Live!  Life!  This kiss!  Draw in thy breath!  To me!
    To me!            [TANNHAUSER "is lost."  {229B}
                   ACT II.
  "But a moment's thought is passion's passing bell." -- KEATS, "Lamia."
                "In Venusberg."
    SWEET, sweet are May and June, dear,
      The loves of lambent spring,
    Our lamp the drooping moon, dear,
      Our roof, the stars that sing;
    The bed, of moss and roses;
      The night, as long as death!
      Still, breath!
    Life wakens and reposes,
      Love ever quickeneth!
    Sweet, sweet, when Lion and Maiden,<<1>>
      The motley months of gold,
    Swoop down with sunlight laden,
      And eyes are bright and bold.
    Life-swelling breasts uncover
      Their warm involving deep --
      Love, sleep! --
    And love lies with lover
      On air's substantial steep.

«1. Leo and Virgo, in which the Sun is during July and August.»

    Ah! sweeter was September --
      The amber rain of leaves,
    The harvest to remember,
      The load of sunny sheaves.
    In gardens deeply scented,
      In orchards heavily hung,
      Love flung
    Away the days demented
      With lips that curled and clung.
    Ah! sweeter still October,
      When russet leaves go grey,
    And sombre loves and sober
      Make twilight of the day.  {230A}
    Dark dreams and shadows tenser
      Throb through the vital scroll,
      Man's soul.
    Lift, shake the subtle censer
      That hides the cruel coal!
    Still sweeter when the Bowman<<1>>
      His silky shaft of frost
    Lets loose on earth, that no man
      May linger nor be lost.
    The barren woods, deserted,
      Lose echo of our sighs --
      Love -- dies? --
    Love lives -- in granite skirted,
      And under oaken skies.

«1. Sagittarius, Capricornus, in which is the Sun during November and December.»

    But best is grim December,
      The Goatish God<<1>> his power;
    The Satyr blows the ember,
      And pain is passion's flower;
    When blood drips over kisses,
      And madness sobs through wine: --
      Ah, mine! --
    The snake starts up and hisses
      And strikes and -- I am thine!

«1. Sagittarius, Capricornus, in which is the Sun during November and December.»

  Those are thy true joys?  Cruelty for love?
  And death in kissing.  How I have despised,
  Riding through meadows of the rushing Rhine,
  To watch the gentle foresters of spring
  Crush dainty violets in their dalliance,
  Laughing in chorus with the birds; and then
  (Coming in harvest time upon my tracks)
  See these same lovers in the golden sheaves
  Under the sun.  The same, the fuller fruit,
  Say you?  But somehow, nearer to the end.
  Lost the old sense of mystery, and lost
  That curious reverence in sacrilege
  With Wonder -- the child's faculty!  Less joy,
  Less laughter, yes! that symptom I approve;
  Yet is that subtle fading-out of smiles {230B}
  Rather the coming of a dull despair,
  And not at all that keen despair, that sharp
  Maddening pain that should torment a man
  With deadliest delight, the self-same hour
  That he unveils the Isis of desire.
  These little lovers strip their maidens bare,
  And find them -- naked!  Poor and pitiful!
  Look at out love instead!  I raised Thy veil,
  Nay, tore Thy vesture from Thee, and behold!
  Then only did I see what mystery,
  What ninefold forest, shade impassable,
  Surrounds Thy heart, as with a core of light
  Shut in the mystery of a dead world.
  Thou formless sense of gloom and terror!  Thou
  Upas,<<1>> new tree of life -- by sinister
  Cherubim with averted faces kept!
  Nay!  This one secret I suspect, and gloat
  Over the solemn purport of the dream
  With subtle shuddering of joy, -- and that
  Keener delight, a sense of deadly fear!
  This secret: Thou art darkness in Thyself,
  And evil wrapped in light, and ugliness
  Vested in beauty!  Therefore is my love
  No petty passion like these country-folk's:
  No fertile glory (as the Love of God):
  But vast and barren as the winter sea,
  Holding I know not what enormous soul
  In its salt bitter bosom, underneath
  The iron waters and the serpent foam;
  Below, where sight and sound are set no more,
  But only the intolerable weight
  Of its own gloomy selfhood.  This am I:
  This passion, lion-mouthed and adder-eyed.
  A mass compressed, a glowing central core,
  Like molten metal in the crucible!
  Death's secret is some sweetness ultimate,
  Sweeter than poison.  Ah!  My very words,
  Chance phrases, ravel out the tale for me --
  Sweetness and death -- poison and love.  Consider
  How this same striving to the Infinite,
  Which I intend by "love," is likest to {231A}
  That journey's wonder to the womb of death;
  Because no soul of man has ever crossed
  Again that River -- the old fable's wrong;
  AEneas came never to the ghostly side!
  Was not the boat weighed with his body still?
  Felt he the keen emotions of the dead?
  Could he, the mortal and the warrior,
  Converse with Them, and understand?  Believe!
  No soul has crossed in utter sympathy
  And yet returned; because of this decree:
  No man can look upon the face of God!
  Yet Moses looked upon His hinder parts,<<2>>
  And I -- yes, goddess! in this passionate
  Life in our secret mountain, well I know
  Thy beauty, and Thy love (although they be
  Infinite, far beyond the mortal mind,
  Body, or soul to touch, to comprehend.
  And dwell in), that the utter intimate
  Knowledge of Thee, if once I ravelled out
  Thy secret, laid Thee naked to the bone --
  Nay, to the marrow! were to come, aware,
  Face to face full with deity itself.
  And this I strive at!  Therefore is my love
  Wholly in tune with that concealed desire
  Bred in each mortal, though he never know
  (Few do know), to transcend the bound of things,
  And find in Death the purpose of this life.

«1. A legendary tree in Java, which had the property of poisoning any one who rested in its shade.» «2. See Exodus xxxiii. 18 to end.»

  Yes, there you tear one veil away from me!
  Yet, am not I the willing one?  Indeed
  I feel the wonder of that same desire
  From mine own side of the Imapassible.
  See then how equal God and man are made!
  For I have clothed me in the veil of flesh,
  And strive toward thy finite consciousness
  As thou art reaching to my infinite,
  Nurturing my Godhead at the breast of Sin
  With milk of fleshy stings -- even to pain: --
  I see, I see the Christian mystery!
  That was the purpose of High God Himself {231B}
  Clothed in the Christ!  Ah!  Triumphed He at last?
  Nay, not in death!  The slave -- He rose again!
  Alas!  Alas!
                  Alas indeed, my knight!
  We love not!  Being both enamoured of
  Just the one thing that is impossible.
  But in this carnal strife the Intimate
  Achieves for one snatched swiftness.  Kiss me, love!
  Ah, but the waking!  As I sink to sleep
  Pillowed in nuptial arms -- so fresh and cool --
  (Yet in their veins I know the fire that runs
  Racing and maddening from the crown of flame,
  The monolithic core of mystical
  Red fury that is called a woman's heart)
  Sinking, I say, from the supreme embrace,
  The Good-night kisses; sinking into sleep --
  What dreams betoken the dread solitude?
  What dreams?  Ah, dreamest not of me, my knight?
  Of vast caresses that include all worlds?
  Of transmutation into molten steel
  Fusing with my intolerable gold
  In the red crucible of alchemy,
  That is -- of clay?
                 I dream of no such thing.
  But of Thy likeness have I often seen
  The vast presentment -- formless, palpable,
  Breathing.  Not breathing as we use the word,
  When life and spirit mingle in one breath,
  Slay passion in one kiss -- breathing, I say,
  Differently from Thee!  {232A}
                Explain, explain!
  As if were kindled into gold and fire
  The East!
           The East!
                     As if a flowerless moss
  Suddenly broke in passionate primroses!<<1>>

«1. Taken as symbols of bright and open joys: violets as soft and sombre.»

  Violets, violets!
                 Or as if a man
  Lay in the fairest garden of the world,
  In the beginning: and grew suddenly
  A living soul at that caressing wind!
  A living soul!
                   So is Thy shade to me
  When sleep takes shape.
                           She is mine enemy.
  Hate her, O hate her, she will slay thy soul!
  And is my soul not slain within me now?
  Yet, I do hate her -- in these waking hours.
  But in my sleep she grows upon the sense,
  A solitary lotus that pales forth
  In the wide seas of space and separateness.
  That radiance! -- Amber-scented voice of light,
  Calling my name, ever, ever calling -- {232B}
  Answer that call -- and thou art lost indeed!
  Wake thou thy spirit in his hateful sleep,
  Keeping the vision, rise, and spit on her!
  Spit on Thy likeness?  I who love Thee so?
  Yes, yes: obey me!  She will leave thee then.
  She hath assumed mine image!
                                What is that?
  Mere thunder on the mountain top.  Do this,
  And I will come in sleep, in sleep renew
  The carnal joys of day.
                          Hast Thou forgot?
  It is the fleshly I would flee!
  But I strive fleshwards.  Let our sleep renew
  The endless struggle -- and perhaps, for thee,
  For thee! -- the veil may lift another fold.
  Why dost Thou hate this vision?
                             She would take
  Thee from these arms!
                         But she is beautiful
  With Thine own beauty: yet as if the God
  Cancelled its mortal comeliness, and came
  More intimate than matter, closing in {233A}
  Keen on my spirit; as if all I sought
  In Thine own symbol, Beauty, were concealed
  Under her brows -- how wider than the air!
  How deeper than the sea!  How radiant
  Beyond the fire!
                  O shun her devilish lures!
  That Beauty is the sole detested fear
  That can annul our conquests, and arouse
  Our rapt dream-kisses.
                          That is my intent.
  It is the spiritual life of things
  I seek -- Thou knowest!
                        Oh, I did not mean!
  Remember my dilemma!  Hear me speak
  The story of her.  She is a wicked witch
  That seeketh to delude thy sleepy sense
  In vicious purpose and malignant hope
  To ape my Godhead.
                        Thunder rolls again.
  I am uneasy.
                 Heed it not at all!
  May not my servants of the elements
  Play children's gambols on the mountain crest
  About our fortress?  Leave this idle talk!
  Come, in this sweet abandonment of self --
  Come, with this kiss I seal thy loyal oath
  To spit upon her!
                     Ah, you murder me!
  Come, love, and kiss my shoulders!  Sleepy lies
  The tinted bosom whence its fire flies, {233B}
  The breathing life of thee, and swoons, and sighs,
  And dies!
  None but the dead can know the worth of love!
  Come, love, thy bosom to my heart recalls
  Strange festivals and subtle funerals.
  Soft passion rises in the amber walls,
  And falls!
  None but the dead can breathe the life of love!
  Come, love, thy lips, curved hollow as the moon's!
  Bring me thy kisses, for the seawind tunes,
  The song that soars, and reads the starry runes,
  And swoons!
  None but the dead can tune the lyre of love!
  Come, love, thy body serpentine and bright!
  What love is this, the heart of sombre light,
  Impossible, and therefore infinite?
  Sheer height!
  None but the dead can twine the limbs of love!
  Come, love!  My body in thy passion weeps
  Tears keen as dewfall's, salter than the deep's.
  My bosom!  How its fortress wakes, and leaps,
  And sleeps!
  None but the dead can sleep the sleep of love!
  Come, love, caress me with endearing eyes!
  Light the long rapture that nor fades nor flies!
  Love laughs and lingers, frenzies, stabs, and sighs,
  And dies!
  None but the dead can know the worth of love!
                               [TANNHAUSER "sleeps."
  Sleep on, poor fool, and in thy sleep deceived
  Defy the very beauty that thou seekest!  {234A}
  Now is the solemn portal of the dusk
  Lifted; and in the gleaming sliver-gray,
  The eastern sky, steps out the single One,
  Hathoor and Aphrodite -- whom I mock!
  I may not follow in the dimness -- I
  Chained unto matter by my evil will,
  Delight of death and carnal life.  But see!
  He stirs, as one beholding in a dream
  Some deadly serpent or foul basilisk
  Sunning its scales, called kingly, in the mire.
  Strike, O my lover!  I will drag thee down
  Into mine own unending pain and hate
  To be one devil more upon the earth. --
  Come! ye my serpents, wrap his bosom round
  With your entangling leprosy!  And me,
  Let me assume the beloved limber shape,
  The crested head, the jewelled eyes of death,
  And sinuous sinewy glitter of serpenthood,
  That I may look once more into his face,
  And, kissing, kill him!  Thus to hold him fast,
  Drawing his human spirit into mine
  For strength, for life, for poison!  Ah, my God!
  These pangs, these torments!  See! the sleeper wakes!
  I am triumphant!  For he reaches out
  The sleepy arms, and turns the drowsy head
  To catch the dew dissolving of my lip.
  Wake, lover, wake!  Thy Venus waits for thee!
  Draw back, look, hunger! -- and thy mouth is mine!
  "Once I will shew Me waking.  Destiny
  "Adds one illusion to thee.  Yet, Oh child!
  "Yet will I not forsake thee; for thy soul,
  "Its splendid self, hath known Mr.  Fare thee well."
  What are these strange and silly words?  Awake!
  Wake and devour me with the dawn of love,
  The dragon to eclipse this moon of mine!  {234B}
  I sleep not.  Those were Her mysterious words
  As faded the great vision.  And I knew
  In some forgotten corner of my brain
  Some desperate truth.
                     Forget this foolishness!
                     ["There cometh a shadow."
  I am afraid, even I!  What moves me thus?
  I saw the mighty vision as before
  Forming in front of the awakening east,
  All permeated with the rose of dawn,
  And pale with delicate green light and shade,
  Marvellous!  So, you say, she is a witch
  Seeking to rob or trick you of your power?
  I say so?  No!  I dare not!  Oh forbear!
           TANNHAUSER "(starts up)".
  There, there She comes in waking!  Hail to Thee!
  I am afraid, I also, I myself!
  Help! lover, Venus, mistress of my life!
  I cannot bear the glory of the gaze.
  No man shall look upon the face of God!
  Where art thou?  Save me from the scorpion!<<1>>
  I am -- alone!

<1. Lilith, among other shapes, can assume that of a scorpion.»

                  Light, Truth, arise, arise!
  I see -- I see!  All blinded by the Light --
  Thou art the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Love!
  Thou, whom I sought through ages of deep sleep {235A}
  Forgotten when I died.  There is no death:
  Change alternating; and forgetfulness
  Of one state in the other -- easy truth
  I could not understand!  Oh hear me, hear!
  Spare me the last illusion! -- She is gone!
  Save me, my knight!  To thy sufficing arms
  I cling in this distress of womanhood!
  Kiss me the last time.
                     Whom have I but thee,
  Thee in the ages?  Barren were my bliss
  And shorn my Godhead of eternal joy,
  Barred from thy kiss.
                       Call not thyself again
  Goddess.  I saw thee in the Presence there.
  The scales are fallen, and mine eyes see clear.
  They you would leave me!  Serpent if I were,
  My coils should press in dolorous delight
  Thy straining bosom, and my kiss were death!
  Death!  Dost thou live, Tannhauser?  Sayest thou still:
  "None but the dead can know the worth of love!"?
  Still.  I am not in any sense estranged.
  I yearn for thee in the first hour of spring,
  As in the dying days of autumn.  I
  Would clasp thee, as a child its mother's throat,
  Drinking celestial wine from that dear mouth,
  Or with goodwill see poison in thy smile,
  And die, still kissing thee, and kissed again!
  This, though I saw thee crawl upon the earth,
  Howl at Her presence Whom thou wouldest ape,
  Thy tale reversed.  I read that thunder now!  {235B}
  This, though I know thee.  Aphrodite, no!
  Nor Anael,<<1>> nor Eva!  Rather thou
  Lilith, the woman-serpent, she who sucks
  The breath of little children in their sleep,
  Strangles young maidens, and presides upon
  Sterile debauchery and unnatural loves.

«1. The semi-divine woman, between Aphrodite the divine, and Eve the human.»

  Lilith!  Ah, lover!  Thou hast known my name!
  So; yet I love thee!  Rended is the veil!
  Calling thee Ugliness, I guessed aright,
  Who saw, and see, all Beauty in thee still.
  Only, a beauty risen out of Hell;
  Death and delusion -- ay, corruption's self,
  Wickedness sliming into impotence,
  Pleasure in putrefaction.  But, in sleep,
  I will put off that evil as a clout
  Cast by a beggar.
                     And the sore is left.
  Oh, but this body, very consciousness!
  I banish both.  I cross the crimson wall --
  My spirit shall reach up to and attain
  That other.
                 So Persephone must hold
  Thy life divided in Her dark domain.<<1>>

«1. Persephone was compelled to spend six months of the year in Hades.»

  Already I have tasted once of this
  In its own lesser way.  Ten years ago
  I loved a maiden called Elizabeth.
  A child she was, so delicate and frail,
  Far, white, and lonely as the coldest star
  Set beyond gaze of any eye but God's; {236A}
  And, to forget her, found due somnolence
  In such a warm brown bosom as thine own
  Is fire and amber.  Then I came away: --
  I heard of knights no better horsed than I,
  No better sworded, with no gift of song,
  Who, caught by one ineffable desire,
  Rode on by old mysterious watersheds,
  Traversed strange seas, or battled with strange folk,
  Held vigil in wild forests, all to seek
  The vision of the Holy Grail.  And I
  Rode forth on that same foolish wandering,
  And found a-many ventures on the way;
  At last an old Egyptian; who bestowed
  The magic word, which, when I had pronounced,
  Called up thine evil corpse-light in the sky.
  He riddled me -- ah, God!  I see it now!
  The bloody winepress?  The ascending sun?
  Thy dawning beauty and thine evil bed!
  The double meaning!  I had evil thoughts
  When I pronounced it -- else had She Herself,
  Hathoor or Mary, risen.  Misery!
  Incessant mystery of the search for Truth!
  Search out my mystery a little while!
  There is a flush of passion in thine eyes,
  An hunger in them; fascinate me now,
  My serpent-woman, drawing out my breath
  Into thy life, and mingling that in mine!
  See the rich blood that mantles to my touch,
  Invites the tooth to bite the shimmering skin,
  Till I could watch the ripe red venom flow
  Slow on the hills of amber, staining them
  Its own warm purple.  Look, the tender stream!
  Let its old sleepy fragrance lull thee now,
  Yet madden thee in brain and sense and soul,
  Mixing success with infinite despair.
  So; take our secret back to sleep with us: --
  And in that sleep I know that thou wilt choose {236B}
  The fact, and leave the dream, and so disdain
  These far-off splendours, catch the nearer joy,
  Take squalid kisses, banish crested love
  Intangible.  Delights it thee, my friend,
  To reach the summits unattained before,
  And stumble on their snows?  Thine old desire
  Was just to touch the mere impalpable,
  To formulate the formless.  Otherwise
  Christ did as well -- thine own words turn again!
  Ah, if pure love could grow material!
  There are pure women!
              There you make me laugh!
  Remember -- I have known such.  But besides
  You ask hot snow and leaden feather-flights!
  And you -- you keep me worrying, fair queen,
  In logic and its meshes, when to-day
  I rather would be caught in other nets,
  The burning gold and glory of your hair,
  Lightning and sunshine, storm and radiance,
  Your flaming pell!<<1>>

«1. From Latin “pellis,” skin.»

                   Come, sing to me again!
  That we may watch each other as you sing;
  Feel how it overmasters and o'erwhelms
  The growing pang of hunger for a kiss!
  Brood evil, then, in your amazing eyes,
  That I may see the serpent grow in you;
  As I were just the bird upon the bough --
  So let the twittering grow faint and still,
  And let me fall, fall into the abyss,
  Your arms -- a culminating ecstasy,
  Darkness and death and rapture.  Sing to you?  {237A}
  What song?  My tunes are played upon too oft
  My first great cry of love inaudible
  Sapped me of music.
                      Sing me that again!
  Who is this maiden robed for a bride,
    White shoulders and bright brows adorable,
  The flaming locks that clothe her, and abide,
    As God were bathing if the fire of Hell?
      They change, they grow, they shake
      As sunlight on the lake:
    They hiss, they glisten on her bosom bare.
      O maiden, maiden queen!
      The lightning flows between
    Thy mountain breasts, too magically fair.
      Draw me, O draw me to a dreaming death!
      Send out thine opiate breath,
  And lull me to the everlasting sleep,
    That, closing from the kisses of disdain
    To ecstasy of pain,
  I may sob out my life into their dangerous deep.
  Who cometh from the mountain as a tower
    Stalwart and set against the fiery foes?
  Who, breathing as a jasmine-laden bower?
    Who, crowned and lissome as a living rose?
      Sharp thorns in thee are set;
      In me, in me beget
  The dolorous despair of this desire.
      Thy body sways and swings
      Above the tide of things,
  Laps me as ocean, wraps me round as fire!
      Ye elemental sorceries of song,
      Surge, strenuous and strong,
  Seeking dead dreams, the secret of the shrine;
      So that she drain my life and being up
      As from a golden cup,
  To mingle in her blood, death's kiss incarnadine.  {237B}
  Who cometh from the ocean as a flower?
    Who blossometh above the barren sea?
  Thy lotus set beneath thee for a bower,
    Thine eyes awakened, lightened, fallen on me?
      O Goddess, queen, and wife!
      O Lady of my life!
  Who set thy stature as a wood to wave?
      Whose love begat thy limbs?
      Whose wave-washed body swims
  That nurtured thee, and found herself a grave?
      But thou, O thou, hast risen from the deep!
      All mortals mourn and weep
  To see thee, seeing that all love must die
      Beside thy beauty, see thee and despair!
      Deadly as thou art fair,
  I cry for all mankind -- they are slain, even as I!
        [TANNHAUSER "pauses, bends eagerly towards" VENUS.  "She smiling
          luxuriously, he continues."
  Who cometh wanton, with long arms outspread?
    Who cometh with lascivious lips aflame?
  Whose eyes invite me to the naked bed
    Stark open to the sun, dear pride of shame?
      Whose face draws close and near,
      Filling the soul with fear,
  Till nameless shudders course in every limb?
      Whose breath is quick and fierce?
      Whose teeth are keen to pierce
  The arms that clasp her?  Whose the eyes that swim
      For dear and delicate delight?  And whose
      The lips that halt and choose
  The very centre of my mouth, and meet
      In one supreme and conquering kiss, and cleave
      Unto the wound they leave,
  Bringing all heart's blood to one house, too sore and sweet?
  Who rageth as a lioness bereaved,
    If, for a moment's breathing space, I move {238A}
  Back from the purple where her bosom heaved,
    Back from the chosen body that I love?
      Whose lips cling faster still
      In desperate sweet will?
  Whose body melts as fire caught in wine
      Into the clasping soul?
      Whose breathing breasts control
  Her heart's quick pulsing, and the sob of mine?
      O Venus, lady Venus, thou it is
      Whose fierce immortal kiss
  Abides upon me, about me, and within:
      Thou, lady of the secret of the Sea,
      Made one for love with me,
  Love and desire and dream, a sense of mortal sin!
  Who cometh as a visionary shape
    Within my soul and spirit to abide,
  Mysterious labyrinth without escape,
    Magical lover, and enchanted bride?
      O Mother of my will!
      Set thy live body still
  Unto my heart, that even Eternity
      Roll by our barren bed --
      That even the quick and dead,
  Being mortal, mix in our eternal sea!
      Distil we love from all the universe!
      Defy the early curse!
  Bid thorns and thistles mingle in delight!
      And from the athanor of death and pain
      Bring golden showers of rain
  To crown our bed withal, the empire of the Night!
  O Wife!  Incarnate Beauty self-create!
    O Life!  O Death!  Love unimaginable!
  Despair grows hope, as hope grows desperate;
    And Heaven bridges the great gulf of Hell.
      Thy life is met with mine,
      Transmuted, grown divine,
  Even in this, the evil of the world!
      What agony is this,
      The first undying kiss {238B}
  From jewelled eyes and lips in passion curled?
      O sister and O serpent and O mate,
      Strike the red fang of hate
  Steady and strong, persistent to the heart!
      So shall this song be made more terrible
      With the soul-mastering spell,
  Choke, stagger, know the Evil, Beauty's counterpart!
  Whose long-drawn curse runs venom in my veins?
    What dragon spouse consumes me with her breath?
  What passionate hatred, what infernal pains,
    Mixed with thy being in the womb of Death?
      Blistering fire runs,
      Scorching, terrific suns,
  Through body and soul in this abominable
      Marriage of demon power
      Subtle and strong and sour,
  A draught of ichor of the veins of Hell!
      Curses leap leprous, epicene, unclean,
      The soul of the Obscene
  Incarnate in the spirit: and above
      Hangs Sin, vast vampire, the corrupt, that swings
      Her unredeeming wings
  Over the world, and flaps for lust of Death -- and Love!
  This man was drained of music!  Five new songs
  Chase the three ancient to oblivion!  Oh!
  Love is grown fury!
                      Kill me!
                               In the kiss.
                              [TANNHAUSER "sleeps."  {239A}
                   ACT III.
  For Love is lord of truth and loyalty,
  Lifting himself out of the lowly dust
  On golden plumes up to the purest sky,
  Above the reach of loathly sinful lust,
  Whose base affect through cowardly distrust
  Of his weak wings dare not to heaven fly,
  But like a moldwarp in the earth doth lie.
  His dunghill thoughts, which do themselves enure
  To dirty dross, no higher dare aspire,
  Nor can his feeble earthly eyes endure
  The flaming light of that celestial fire
  Which kindleth love in generous desire,
  And makes him mount above the native might
  Of heavy earth, up to the heaven's height.
               SPENSER, "Hymn in Honour of Love."
     "In Venusberg: changing afterward to
             a woodland crossway."
  GONE to his goddess! the poor worm's asleep.
  And yet -- I cannot follow him.  Not even
  Into the dreamland that these mortals use.
  There, I am barred.  The flaming sword of Light
  Is set against me, and new pangs consume
  This nest of scorpions where my heart once was.
  Yet to my fearful task of hate I set
  No faltering bosom.  I will have this man,
  His life, his strength; and live a little more.
  Life -- shall I ever reach the splendid sword
  Of womanhood, and gird it, gain my will,
  A human soul, and from that altitude
  Renew the terrible war against the Gods?
  I have called Chronos the devouring God
  My father  -- shall his desolating reign
  Never return?  Ay me! this heart of hate,
  Loathing the man, takes comfort in the beast,
  And gloats on the new garbage for an hour.
  So, Sin, embrace me!  Watch; he moves again,
  Transfigured by the dream: slow rapture steals
  Over his face.  Mere godhead could not bring {239B}
  That human light and living!  I shall win.
  He must have banished Her -- and dreams of me.
            TANNHAUSER "(in sleep)".
             His far-off baby-love!
  I triumph, then!  The Goddess hath withdrawn.
  His mind works back to childhood, babydom;
  Will grow to manhood and remember me.
   TANNHAUSER "(awaking, leaps to his feet)".
  Freedom!  Elizabeth!  All hail to Her!
  Radiant Goddess!  Liberty and love!
  What sayest thou?  Curse Her!
                              My Elizabeth!
  What?  Art thou mad?  Come close to me again.
  Forget this nightmare.  Rather, tell me it,
  And I will soothe thee.  Have I not a balm,
  A sovereign comfort in my old caress?
  I must begone.  She waits.
                    Who waits?  Come here!
  Let us talk fondly, set together still,
  Not with these shouts and wavings of the arms,
  Struts and unseemly gestures.  Tannhauser!
  She waits for me, my sweet Elizabeth!
  Venus or Lilith, I have loved thee well!
  Now, to my freedom!
                        Your Elizabeth!  {240A}
  Ay, to those pure and alabaster brows,
  The tender fingers, and the maiden smile
  Burn the whore's bed!  Unpaint the cruel lips!
  Cover the shameless belly, and forget
  The cunning attitudes and aptitudes!
  Unlearn the mowings, the lascivious grins!
  I perceive purity.
                       Nay, I have loved thee!
  Fresh pleasure hourly filled the crystal cup.
  Shalt thou find wine so comely and so keen,
  So fresh with life to fill each aching vein
  With new electric fervour?  Will she be
  My equal?  She is mortal and a child.
  Her arms are frail and white.  Her lily cheeks
  Could never take thy kiss.  Thy love would shock,
  Repel.  I scorn to say her love were less
  Than mine: I tell thee that she could not love
  Thee even at all as thou wouldst understand.
  So certain art thou?  Let me go to her,
  Try, and come back!
                     No doubt of that success!
  A child is easy to degrade!
                              Vile thing!
  I will try otherwise -- to raise myself:
  But if I fail, I will not drag her down;
  I will return.
                  To lose thee for one hour
  Is my swift death -- so desolate am I!
  I have not got one lover in the world,
  Save only Tannhauser.  And he will go.  {240B}
  One lover!  Who makes up the equal soul
  Of all the wickedness beneath the sun?
  Lilith!  Seek out thy children to devour!
  Leave me.  I go to my Elizabeth.
  O no!  It kills me!  That is naked truth.
  I am the soul and symbol of desire,
  Yet individual to thy love.  Stay!  Stay!
  One last caress, and then I let thee go,
  And -- die.  I fear, and I detest, this death.
  I am not mortal, doomed to it!  I slip
  Into mere slime; no resurrection waits
  Me, made the vilest of the stars that fell.
  I must not die.  I dare not.  But for thee,
  Thy love, one last extreme delirium! --
  Take thou this dagger!  At the miracle
  Of a moment when our lips are fastened close
  Once more, in the unutterable kiss,
  Drive its sharp spirit to my heart!
                                   Not I!
  I know the spell.<<1>>  I am warned.  I will begone.

«1. Which would have given her power to use his body as an habitation, according to legend.»

  I swear I will not let thee!  Thinkest thou
  So long I have held thee not to have the power
  To hold thee still by charm, or love, or force?
  Fool, for I hate thee!  I will have thy life!
  Where is the cavern in the mountain side,
  The accursed gateway of this house of Hell?
  Thou canst not find it!  Fool!
                            And yet I will.  {241A}
  Meanwhile my chant shall tremble in the air,
  And rack thy limbs with poison, wither up
  The fine full blood, breed serpents in thy heart,
  And worms to eat thee.  Living thou shalt be
  A sensible corpse, a walking sepulchre.
  Come, come, Apollyon!  Come, my Aggereth!<<1>>
  Belial, cheat his ears and bind his eyes!
  Come, all ye tribes of serpents and foul fish!
  Beetle and worm, I have a feast for you!

«1. A female demon. She rides in a chariot drawn by an ox and an ass. See Deut. xxii. 10.»

  The palace staggers.  I can hardly see --
  Only these writhing horrors.  I am blind!
  Ha!  My true knight!  I ask thee once again,
  Once more invoke the epithets of love,
  Suspend my powers -- constrain thee on my knees
  For thine old kisses.  See, I am all thine!
  All thine the splendid body, and the shape
  Of mighty breasts, and supple limbs, and wide
  Lips, and slow almond eyes!  Adorable,
  Seductive, sombre, moving amorously,
  Droop the long eyelids, purple with young blood,
  The lazy lashes and the flowing mane,
  The flame of fire from head to feet of me!
  The subtle fervours, drunken heats and ways,
  And perfumes maddening from the soul of spring!
  The little nipples, and the dangerous pit
  Set smiling in the alabaster; thine,
  The glowing arms are thine, the desperate
  Fresh kisses, and the gold that lurks upon
  The sunny skin, the marble of these brows,
  The roses, and the poppies, and the scent
  Subtle and sinful -- thine, all thine, are these,
  What with my heart that only beats for thee,
  The many-throned and many-minded soul
  Centred to do thee worship.  Hither, hither!  {241B}
  This shakes my spirit as a winnower
  Whose fan is the eternal breath of God;
  Yet on my forehead I perceive a Star
  That shames thy beauties and thy manifold
  Mind with Its tiny triple flame.  I go!
  Try not the impossible.  Thou knowest my power.
  I shall renew the charm.
                          I see a Power
  Above thy mockery of witchcraft.  Work
  Thy devilish lusts on me unfortunate!
  There is no gateway to this fortalice?
  Thy fiends surround me?  Hein! their pangs begin!
  I have one word, one cry, one exorcism:
  Ave Maria!
                 Mercy!  Mercy, God!
        ["Thunder rolls in the lightning-riven sky.  All the illusion
          vanishes, and" TANNHAUSER "finds himself in a cross-way of the
          forest, where is a Crucifix.  He is kneeling at the foot, amazed,
          as one awakening from a dream, or from a vision of mysterious
  I am escaped as a little bird
  Out of the fowler's net.  I thank Thee, God!
  For in the pit of horror, and the clay
  Of death I cried, and Thou has holpen me,
  Set me upon a rock, established me,
  And filled my mouth, and tuned mine ancient lyre
  With a new song -- praise, praise to God above,<<1>>
  And to Our Lady of the Smitten Heart, {242A}
  That David never knew: my pettiness
  Exceeding through Her mercy and Her might
  The King and Priest of Israel; for I know
  Her love, and She hath shewn to me Her face,
  And given me a magic star to stand
  Over the house that hides Elizabeth.
          ["A shepherd-boy is discovered upon a rock hard by."

«1. Psalm xl.»

  Ta-lirra-lirra!  Hillo ho!  The morning!
                      ["He plays upon his flute."
  These were the melodies that I despised!
  Oh God!  Be merciful to sinful me,
  And keep me in the Way of Truth.  But Thou!
  Forgive, forgive!  Lead, lead me to Thy Light!
            SHEPHERD-BOY "(sings)".
            Light in the sky
              Dawns to the East!
              Song-bird and beast
            Wake and reply.
            Let me not die,
              Now, at the least!
            Lord of the Light!
              Queen of the dawn!
            Soul of the Night
              Hid and withdrawn!
            Voice of the thunder!
              Light of the levin!
            I worship and wonder,
              O maker of Heaven!
            The night falls asunder;
              The darkness is riven!
            Light, O eternal!
            Life, O diurnal!
              Love, O withdrawn!
            Heart of my May, spring
              Far to Thy dawn!
            God of the dayspring!
              Sun on the lawn!  {242B}
            Hail to Thy splendour,
              Holy, I cry!
            Mary shall bend her
              Face from the sky,
            Subtle and tender --
              Then I can die!
  The simple love of life and gladness there!
  Merely to be, and worship at the heart.
  How complex, the machinery of me!
  Better?  I doubt it.  Hark! he tunes again.
            SHEPHERD-BOY "(sings)".
  O Gretchen, when the morn is gray,
  Forsake thy flocks and steal away.
  To that low bank where, shepherds say,
      The flowers eternal are.
  Thine eyes should gleam to see me there,
      As fixed upon a star.
  And yet thy lips should take a tune,
      And match me unaware --
  So steals the sun beside the moon
      And hides her lustre rare.
  The bloom upon the peach is fine;
  The blossom on thy cheek is mine!
      O kiss me -- if you dare!
  I called thee by the name of love
  That mothers fear and gods approve,
      And maidens blush to say --
  O Gretchen, meet me in the dell
  We know and love, who love so well,
      While morn is cold and gray!
  So, match thy blushes to the dawn;
      Thy bosom to the rising moon,
  Until our loves to earth have drawn
      Some new bewitching tune.
  Come, Gretchen, in the dusk of day,
  Where nymphs and dryads creep away
  Beneath the oaks, to laugh and play
      And sink in lover's swoon.
  We'll sing them sister songs, and show
  What secrets mortal loves know.
  The simple life of love and joy therein!
  Merely to love -- to take such pride in it {243A}
  Gods must behold!  The childish easiness,
  Impossible to me, who am become
  Perhaps the subtlest mind of men.  Alas!
  Maybe in this I still am self-deceived,
  Merely the fool swelled up with bitter words,
  Imagination, and the toadstool growth,
  Thought, wounded; as a scorpion to sting
  Its own bruised life out.  This is Tannhauser!
  How long ago since he took pleasure in
  Such love --                  ["A horn winds."
              such music as yon horn below --
                               ["A chant is heard."
  Such worship as the simple chant that steals
  Calm and majestic in the solitude
  Up from the valley.  Pilgrims, by my fay!
                             ["Enter" PILGRIMS.
               PILGRIMS ("sing)".
          Hail to Thee, Lady bright,
          Queen of the stars of night!
              Ave Maria!
          Spouse of the Breath divine,
          Hail to Thee, shrouded shrine,
          Whence our Redeemer came!
          Hail to Thy holy name!
              Ave Maria!
  Those words that saved me!
                     Pray, your blessing, sirs!
  I worship Mary in my simple way,
  And see Her name in all the starry host,
  And Jesus crucified on every tree
  For me!  God speed you to the House of God!
             THE ELDEST PILGRIM.
  The Blessing of the Virgin on your head!
  What make you, sir, so downcast?  Come with us
  Who taste all happiness in uneasiness,
  Hunger and thirst, in His sweet Name -- {243B}
                                     Ah no!
  I have been shown another way than yours!
  I am too old in this world's weariness,
  Too hungry in its hunger unto God,
  Too foolish-wise, too passionate-cynical,
  To seek your royal road to Deity!
               ANOTHER PILGRIM.
  Leave him!  Belike 'tis some philosopher
  With words too big to understand himself.
  With heart too seared to understand himself!
  With mind too wise to understand himself!
  With soul too small to understand himself!
               ELDEST PILGRIM.
  Cling to the Cross, sir, there is hope in that!
  You know not, friend, the man to whom you speak.
  I have loved long in miracles enough,
  Myself the crowning miracle of all,
  That I am merely here.  God speed you sirs!
  I ask your blessing, not to stay therewith
  My soul's own need (though that is dire enough)
  But -- he that blesseth shall himself be blessed!
  My blessing were small help to you, my friends.
  For you own reason, give it to us, then!
  The Blessing of the Lord!  May Mary's self
  Be with you and defend you evermore,
  Most from the fearful destiny of him
  Men used to call the minstrel Tannhauser!
               ELDEST PILGRIM.
  A sombre blessing!  May God's mercy fall
  On you and yours!  {244A}
                On mine, ah mine!  Amen,
  Amen to that!
           ELDEST PILGRIM "(smiles)."
           On her you love, my friend!
  We will pass onward, by your honour's leave!
               PILGRIMS "(sing)."
          Hail, hail, O Queen, to Thee,
          Spouse of Eternity!
              Ave Maria!
          Mother in Maidenhood!
          Saintly Beatitude!
          Queen of the Angel Host!
          Bride of the Holy Ghost!
              Ave Maria!
                                ["Exeunt Pilgrims."
  The love of Isis!  No mere love to Her
  That is inborn in every soul of us!
  It is Her love to Christ that we must taste,
  Uniting us with Her eternal sigh.
  There is a problem infinite again.
  I have not gained one jot since first I saw
  The stately bosom of the Vennusberg,
  Save that mine eyes have seen a little truth,
  My body found a little weariness.
  I am very feeble!  Hither comes the hunt!
                  ["A horn winds quite close by."
  The noble, doomed, swift beauty!  Closer yet
  Pant the long hounds!  What heart he has!  One, two!
  See the brach<<1>> dying by his bloody flank!
  So could not Tannhauser awhile ago.
  My help lay outside and above myself.
  What skills him he is brave?  He ends the same.
  Poor stag!  Here sweep the foremost hunters up.
  My very kinsmen!  There rides Wolfram too!  {244B}
  The proper minstrel!  The ideal lover!
  The pure, unsullied soul.  Even so, forsooth!
  They tell no secrets in the scullery.
  And there is Heinrich, wastrel of the Court,
  Yet hides a heart beneath the foolish face.
  And lo!  The Landgrave!  Flushed, undignified!
  The chase was long -- if he could see himself!
  Wind, wind the mort!  What call will answer me
  When I step forward?  Am I dead, I wonder,
  Or merely on my hare-brain quest?  Three years
  Since I was seen in Germany!
         ["He descends the hill and enters the company."
                                Hail, friends!
  Good cousin Landgrave, merry be the meet!

«1. Feminine of hound.»

  Hands off me, fellow!  Who are you?
                                My lord,
  Your cousin.  Is my face so changed with care,
  My body shrunken with my suffering
  (That was not ever of the body) so?
  I know you, my old friend!  Our chiefest bird!
  Sweetest of singers!
                     No, the naughty one!
  Tannhauser!  Yes!  And we have thought you dead.
  Friends, will you swear to him?
                         Yes, yes, 'tis he!  {245A}
  I know the blithe look in the sober eyes!
  Changed verily.  It was most urgent, cousin,
  I were assured of your identity.
  Three weeks the couriers scour the land for you,
  Urgent demands: -- how came you here at last?
  Your horse?  Your arms?  Three years since Germany
  Saw the brave eyes and kindly face of you!
  Where have you been?  Upon the sacred quest
  Still riding?
                 Ay, my lord, upon the quest.
  You travelled in far lands?
                            Far, very far!
  You fought with Turks?
                     I fought within myself.
  Why is such suffering written in dark lines,
  And painted in the greyness of your hair?
  I had an evil dream.
                      You saw the Grail?
  I saw -- strange things.  {245B}
                      For very feebleness
  Your limbs shake under you.  How hither, friend?
  Your horse and arms?  Your squire?
                          My squire is dead.
                      ["With sudden passion."
  I am no weakling that I need a knave
  Hanging upon me -- 'tis an incubus.
  And then your horse?
                       I know not; possibly
  Kept as an hostage.  I was prisoner once.
  Prisoner?  By here?
                       A-many castles, sir,
  Held by old ogres -- and not all of them
  Stand in the mid-day, front the sober sun,
  Answer the slug-horn.<<1>>

«1. I prefer to follow Browning in his “absurd blunder” than to imitate the alleged correctness of our critics. – A.C.»

                     You are pleased to riddle.
  Ever the poet!
             TANNHAUSER "(aside)."
                  Let me try the truth
  For certitude of incredulity!
  "(Aloud, laughing)" I was in Venusberg!
      ALL "(except" HEINRICH, "who laughs)."
                            Save us, Maria!
          ["They look about them fearfully and cross themselves."  {246A}
  Even in jest, such words! -- Most dangerous
  Even to think of! -- but to speak!
              HEINRICH "(aside)".
                                These fools!
         ["He remains, thoughtfully regarding" TANNHAUSER.
  God avert omens!  Soft you, Tannhauser,
  You heard the heralds?
                      Never a word of them!
  You must remember my Elizabeth,
  My daughter  -- I designed to marry her
  To a most noble youth --
                        Von Aschenheim?
  The same.  I would have wed her, but ('tis strange!)
  The lady had a purpose of her own,
  And swore by all the Virgins in the Book
  She would wed nobody but -- Tannhauser.
  So, like the foolish, doting sire I am,
  I gave her thirty days to find you.  This
  Must dumb you with astonishment.
                                  Well, no!
  The details, unfamiliar!  But the theme
  I knew.  And therefore leaps my bosom up:
  I rob your verderer of his nag, and ho!
  Low the long gallop to Elizabeth!
  Lucky and brave.  How we all envy you!  {246B}
  Envy?  This day when he comes back to us!
  Why, we are lucky too!  We though you dead!
  Begrudge you, no!  But -- wish our luck were yours?
  Yes!  Come, Tannhauser, there's my hand on it!
  Luck, love, and loyalty -- the triple toast!
  Tannhauser!  Luck, and love, and loyalty!
  I thank you, loving kinsmen and my friends.
  But see, I am impatient to be gone!
  "(To the verderer.)"  Your horse -- that favour I shall not forget,
  Nor linger to repay.  Good morrow then!
  Good sport all day!
                  God speed thee, Tanhauser!
                           ["Exit" TANNHAUSER.
  Am I still dreaming?  It was surely he.
  But such an one, compact of suffering,
  Of joy, of love, of pity, of despair;
  Half senseless, half too subtle for my sense.
  He has passed through some unimagined test,
  Or undergone some sorrow.  Leave it so!
  I saw high grief upon him, and new love!
  You are the poet!  To your instinct then!
  Here's to the insight given us by god!
  Wolfram is right; a truce to jest to-day.
  The dogs are loose.  Ride forward, gentlemen!
          ["Amid the winding of horns and cries of the huntsmen the company
            moves off."
  They hate his very name!  Dear Tannhauser!
                                        ["Exit."  {247A}
                   ACT IV.
  "So, force is sorrow, and each sorrow, force:
     What then? since Swiftness gives the charioteer
   The palm, his hope be in the vivid horse
     Whose neck God clothed with thunder, not the steer
   Sluggish and safe!  Yoke Hatred, Crime, Remorse,
     Despair: but ever mid the whirling fear,
   Let, through the tumult, break the poet's face
     Radiant, assured his wild slaves win the race!"
                                 "Two Poets of Croisic,"
                   SCENE I.
    "A room in the palace of the" LANDGRAVE.
  I AM ashamed to look upon thy face!
  O Love!  Pure mystery of life!
                                  Not so.
  Learn how this came.  May father would have made
  A match of lands an titles.  I declined,
  Minded to keep my high virginity.
  He laughed, was cruel.  So I said at last:
  "Tannhauser only!"  Was this modesty?
  Listen.  You loved me when I was a child;
  And, in my childish way, I looked to you,
  Loved sitting at your knee and toying with
  The great cross-hilt, or watching how the steel
  Outshone the jewelled scabbard when you drew
  (You would not let me touch) the delicate blade
  Half out: and also fingering your harp,
  Picking child's tunes out, while you curled my hair
  Between two fingers, dreamily enough!
  Then, too, you went away out of my life!
  You see the symbol you have been to me?
  The swift high mind, the heart of gold and fire, {247B}
  The living purpose and the mystic life
  Of lonely seeking for the Grail of God!
  I -- call you husband?  When I said you name,
  It was to set the task impossible,
  Had they but known it -- just as one should say:
  "Bring down St. Michael: let me marry him!"
  They knew the angels were too pure; but you,
  They guessed not how exalted were your hopes;
  How utterly unselfish, pure, and true,
  Your great heart beat!
        TANNHAUSER "(with bitterness)".
                 I hardly knew, myself!
  ("Aside.)"  Here is the virgin insight of the truth!
  Or -- cannot purity be brought to know
  Aught but itself?  Some poets tell us that!
  "(Aloud.)"  I am unworthy even to speak to you.
  The proof!  The proof!  Dear God, how true it is
  That such high worthiness sees nothing there
  In his own heart (save what is very Christ)
  But wickedness!
             TANNHAUSER "(aside)".
                    This is my punishment!
  This faith, this hope, this love -- to me -- to me!
  Yet, once my word went forth into the world,
  Suddenly came the fear that you were still
  Accessible to men -- might hear, might come!
  The kind, grave face of you -- that light out-shone
  The mystical ideal.  Therefore too
  I minded me of our old baby-love, {248A}
  And -- marriages are made in heaven, you know!
  Besides -- Our Lady showed me in a dream
  How you would come.
                   And now?  So sure are you
  The loving word you spoke an hour ago
  Came from the heart -- who called me by mistake?
  So sure?  You want me to confess again
  The deep pure love, the love indicible.
           TANNHAUSER "(to himself)".
  Words, thoughts, that fail her?  How should acts exceed?
  "(Aloud.)"  Better sit thus and read each other's thoughts --
  I in the blue eyes, in the hazel you!
  Then, bending, I may touch my lips upon
  Sweet thoughtful brows.
                   Your kisses move my soul.
  Strange thoughts and unimagined destinies
  Take ship, and harbour in the heart of me.
  Words mean too much, and never mean enough.
  Look, only look!
                      I am so happy -- so!
                  SCENE II.
  "The Court assembled in the Great Hall."  LANDGRAVE "enthroned," ELIZABETH
       "by his side.  Facing them are the competing minstrels.  Around, 
       courtiers and fair ladies."
  Welcome all minstrels!  Let us celebrate
  In the old fashion, dear to Germany,
  My child's betrothal to this noble youth, {248B}
  Great lord, true knight, and honest gentleman,
  So long who journeyed on the holy quest
  Forgotten of these younger days, and now
  Come back among us to receive reward
  For those long sufferings; in days of peace,
  In fruitful love, and marriage happiness.
  So, to the poet's tourney.
                        Sire, Lord Heinrich
  Craves your high pardon.
                      Ha!  He is not here!
  Our sturdy lover will not be consoled
  For losing, as he phrases it, his friend.
  Well, we forgive him the more readily
  Because of the occasion.  One alone
  Of all themes possible may grace this hour: --
  Love!  Let the lots of precedence be drawn.
  Tannhauser, you will string us once again
  Your harp forgotten?
                      That will I, my lord.
  On the Lord Wolfram falls it first to sing.
               WOLFRAM "(sings)".
  Tender the smile, and faint the lover's sigh,
  When first love dawns in the blue maiden sky,
  Where happy peace is linked with purity.
  As sad spring's sun starts on his daily race,
  Reddens the east, as if in sad disgrace;
  So love first blushes on true maiden's face.
  Soft, soft, the gaze of married folk, I think,
  Limpid and calm as pools where cattle drink;
  And, when they kiss, most discontentments shrink!  {249A}
  Even as the stars together sing (we hear)
  So sings the married life, a tuneful sphere.
  Husband is he, and she is very dear.
  How truly beautiful it is to see
  Old age in perfect unanimity,
  Affections smooth, and buzzing like a bee.
  The sun sets, in conjunction with the moon.
  Death comes at last, a pleasure and a boon,
  And they arrive in heaven very soon.
          ["Immense, spontaneous, uncontrollable applause sweeps like a
            whirlwind through the court."
  AN UNKNOWN MINSTREL "(breaking in unheralded)."
  Tender the phrase, and faint the melody,
  When poets praise a maiden's purity;
  Platitude linked to imbecility.
                            {"Murmurs of surprise."
  As 'mongst spring's sprigs sprouts sunshine's constant face;
  Or as a mill grinds on, with steady pace;
  So sprouts, so grinds, the unblushing commonplace.
  Soft, soft the brain --
           ["The murmurs break into an indignant uproar."
           Sir Minstrel, you are insolent!
  We do not know you, yet have born with you,
  Rudely uprising ere your turn was come: --
  And you abuse our patience to insult
  The noble minstrel whose impassioned song
  Touched every heart.  Sing in your turn you may.
  Love is the theme, not imbecility!  {249B}
  That is the subject next his heart, no doubt!
  Lord Bertram!
                    I shall sing in other key.
  He is the equal of the gods, my queen,
    He crowned and chosen out of men,
      Who sits beside thee, sees
      Love's laughing ecstasies
    Flame in thy face, and alter then
  To the low light of passion dimly seen
  In shaded woods and dells, Love's wide demesne.
  But me!  I burn with love!  My lips are wan!
    Thy face is turned -- I flame!  I melt!  I fall!
      My heart is chilled and dark;
      My soul's ethereal spark
    Is dulled for sorrow; my despairs recall
  At last Thy name, O gracious Paphian,
  Lady of Mercy to the love of man!
  Come, come, immortal, of the many thrones!
    Sparrows and doves in chariot diamonded
      Drawn through the midmost air!
      O lady of despair,
    Who bound the golden helmet of Thine head?
  Whose voice rings out the pitiful low tones:
  "Who, who hath wronged thee?  And my power atones.
  "She who now doth flee, shall soon pursue thee;
  "She who spurns thy gifts, with gifts shall woo thee;
  "She who loves not, she shall cleave unto thee,
              "Thou the unwilling!"  {250A}
  Peer of Gods is he, equal soul to theirs,
    Who lingers in thy passionate embrace:
      Whose languor-laden kiss
      Cleaves where thy bosom is
    A throne of beauty for thy throat and face!
  In these dark joys and exquisite despairs,
  O love, let Death lay finger unawares!
  Passion and music -- but no Principle!
  How different is Tannhauser!
  "(To the unknown minstrel!)"  You, sir, next!
  Song of pure love and noble womanhood.
  OUr court loves not these wastrel troubadours,
  Loose locks, flushed faces, soul's unseemliness.
        THE UNKNOWN MINSTREL "(sings)."
  Amid earth's motley, Gaia's cap and bells,
      This too material, too unreal life,
  Sing, sing the crown of tender miracles,
      The pure true wife!
  Sing not of love, the unutterable one,
      The love divine that Mary has to men.
  Seek not the winepress and the rising sun
      Beyond thy ken!
             TANNHAUSER "(aside)".
  Who is this man that reads my inmost thoughts?
  I sing of love, most delicate and pure,
      Surely the crown of life!  How slow and sweet
  Its music!  Shall the ecstasy endure,
      Sunshine on wheat?
  Where leads this gentle love?  I see you sigh!
      The scythe is laid unto the golden grain:
  A note of utter unreality
      Usurps the strain.  {250B}
  I sing not of that other flame of hell
      Wrapping with torture the delighted brow --
  But thou! who knowest, and hast known, so well,
      Sing thou!
          [TANNHAUSER, "entranced, imagines himself to be still in
             TANNHAUSER "(aside)".
  I have been dreaming that I left this place,
  Escaped with life, wooed my Elizabeth;
  My dreams are always strange in Venusberg.
                            ["Taking his harp."
  Sing thee again, dear lady, of our joy?
  Listen, then, listen!  For some sombre finger,
  Other than mine, impulses on the string.
  This tune I knew not!  See, the strings are moved
  Subtly as by witchcraft -- or by God!
  In the Beginning God began,
  And saw the Night of Time begin;
  Chaos, a speck; and space, a span;
  Ruinous cycles fallen in,
  And Darkness on the Deep of Time.
  Murmurous voices call and climb;
  Faces, half-formed, arise; and He
  Looked from the shadow of His throne,
  The curtain of Eternity;
  He looked -- and saw Himself alone,
  And on the sombre sea, the primal one,
  Faint faces, that might not abide;
  Flicker, and are fordone.
  So were they caught within the spacious tide.
  The sleepy waters that encased the world.
  Monsters rose up, and turned themselves, and curled
  Into the deep again.
  The darkness brooded, and the bitter pain
  Of chaos twisted the vast limbs of time
  In horrid rackings: then the spasm came:
  The Serpent rose, the servant of the slime,
  In one dark miracle of flame
  Unluminous and void: the silent claim
  Of that which was, to be: the cry to climb, {251A}
  The bitter birth of Nature: uttermost Night
  Dwelt, inaccessible to sound and sight;
  Shielded from Voice, impervious to Light.
  Lo! on the barren bosom, on the brine,
  The spirit of the Mighty One arose,
  A flickering light, a formless triple flame,
  The self-begotten, the impassive shrine,
  The seat of Heaven's archipelagoes;
  Yet lighted not the glory whence it came,
  Nor shone upon the surface of the sea.
  Time, and the Great One, and the Nameless Name,
  Held in their grip the child, Eternity.
  Silence and Darkness in their womb withheld
  That spiritual fire, and brooded still:
  Nature and Time, their soleness undispelled,
  Ever awaiting the eternal Will,
  And Law was unbegotten: uttermost Night
  Dwelt, inaccessible to sound and sight;
  Shielded from Voice, impervious to Light.
  Then grew within the barren womb of this
  The Breath of the Eternal and the Vast,
  Softer than dawn, and closer than a kiss --
  And lo! the chaos and the darkness passed!
  At the creative sigh the Light became.
  Chaos rolled back in the abundant flame.
  The vast and mystic Soul,
  The Firmament, a living coal,
  Flamed 'twixt the glory and the sea below.
  The whirling force began.  The atom whirled
  In vortices of flashing matter: wild as snow
  On mountain tops by the wind-spirits hurled,
  Blinding and blind, the sparks of spirit curled
  Each to its proper soul; the wide wheels flow,
  Orderly streams, and lose the rushing speed,
  Meet, mingle, marry.  Fire and air express
  Their dews and winds of molten loveliness,
  Fine flakes of arrowy light, the dawn's first deed,
  Metallic showers and smoke self-glittering
  For many an aeon.  Wild the pennons spring
  Of streaming flame!  Then, surging from the tide, {251B}
  Grew he desirable, the golden one,
  Separate from the sun.
  Now fire and air no more exult, exceed,
  Are balanced in the sphere.  The waters wide
  Glow on the bosom of fixed earth; and Need,
  The Lady of Beginning, also was.
  Thus was the firmament a vital glass,
  The waters as the vessel of the soul;
  Thus earth, the mystic basis of the whole,
  Was smitten through with fire, as chrysopras,
  Blending, uniting, and dividing it,
  Volcanic, airy, and celestial.
  I rose within the elemental ball,
  And lo! the Ancient One of Days did sit!
  His head and hair were white as wool, His eyes
  A flaming fire: and from the splendid mouth
  Flashed the Eternal Sword!<<1>>
  Lo!  Lying at his feet as dead, I saw
  The leaping-forth of Law:
  Division of the North wind and the South,
  The lightning of the armies of the Lord;
  East rolled asunder from the rended West;
  Height clove the depth: the Voice begotten said:
  "Divided be thy ways and limited!"
  Answered the reflux and the indrawn breath:
  "Let there be Life, and Death!"

«1. See Daniel vii. 9.»

  "The Earth, she shall be governed by her parts:<<1>>
  Division be upon her!  Let her glory
  From crown to valley, source and spring to mouth,
  North unto South,
  Smooth gulf and sea to rugged promontory,
  Always be vexed and drunken, that the hearts
  Ruling her course round alway in the sky;
  And as an handmaid let her serve and die!
  One season, let it still confound another;
  No man behold his brother;
  No creature in it or upon, the same! {252A}
  Her members, let them differ; be no soul
  Equal!  Let thought, let reasonable things,
  Bow to thy wings,
  Thy manifest control,
  Vexation! weeding out of one another.
  Their dwelling-places, let them lose their name!
  The work of man, and all his pomp and power,
  Deface them: shatter the aspiring tower!
  Let all his houses be as caves and holes,
  Unto the Beast I give them.  And their souls --
  Lift up the shadowy hand! --
  Confound with darkness them that understand!
  For why?
  Me, the Most High,
  It doth repent Me, having made mankind!
  Let her be known a little while, and then
  A little while a stranger.  Dumb and blind,
  Deaf to the Light and Breath of Me be men!
  She is become an harlot's bed, the home
  And dwelling of the fallen one!  Arise!
  Ye heavens, ye lower serving skies!
  Beneath My dome
  Serve ye the lofty ones.  The Governors,
  Them shall ye govern.  Cast the fallen down!
  Bring forth with them that are Fertility's!
  Destroy the rotten!  Let no shores
  Remain in any number!  Add and Crown,
  Diminish and discrown, until the stars
  Be numbered!  Rise, ye adamantine bars!
  Let pass you Masters!  Move ye and appear!
  Execute judgment an eternal ill,
  The law of justice, and the law of fear.
  It is my Will!"

«1. This passage is a paraphrase of the 19th “call” in Dr. Dee's book, referred to above.»

  So shed the primal curse
  Its dreadful stature, its appalling shape.
  In giant horror the clouds rolling drape
  Earth, like a plumed pall upon an hearse,
  Till God looms up, half devil and half ape,
  Heaven exulting in the hateful rape;
  And still the strong curse rolls
  Over accursed and immortal souls,
  Covering the corners of the universe
  Without escape.  {252B}
  This is the evil destiny of man:
  The desperate plan
  Made by the Ancient One, to keep His power.
  Limits He set, made space unsearchable
  Yet bounded, made time endless to transcend
  Man's thought to comprehend:
  Builded the Tower
  Of life, and girded it with walls of hell,
  The name of Death.  This limit in all things
  Baffles the spirit wings,
  Chains the swift soul; for even Death is bound.
  In its apparent amplitude I saw,
  I, who have slept through death, have surely found
  The old accursed law,
  And death has changed to life.  This task alone
  Shoots to the starry throne:
  That if man lack not purpose, but succeed,
  Reaching in very deed
  Impersonal existence; -- Lo!
  Man is made one with God, an equal soul.
  For he shall know
  The harmony, the oneness of the Whole.
  This was my purpose.  Vain,
  Ah vain!  The Star of the Unconquered Will
  Centred its vehemence and light, to stain
  In one successful strain
  The stainless sphere of the unchangeable,
  With its own passionate, desperate breath
  Ever confronting the dark gate of Death.
  I passed that gate!  O pitiful!  The same
  Mystery holds me, and the flame
  Of Life stands up, unbroken citadel,
  Beyond my sight, vague, far, intangible.
  Broken are will, andwitchery, and prayer.
  Remains the life of earth, which is but hell,
  Destiny's web, and my immense despair.
  Your words are terrible!  We knew them true
  Even while you sang.  But see! the light of day!  {253A}
  Beauty in all things and -- for you -- true love!
  All the blind horror of the song recedes.
  There is a sequel; is there not, my friend?
  Of love, your theme, we have not heard a note.
  That is a question.  I am not so sure
  My song was not entirely to that end.
  Yes, poet, true one that you are indeed!
  You show us the dilemma of the soul,
  The Gordian knot Love only hews asunder.
  Or -- shall I say? -- soothes only, bandages,
  Not heals the sore of Destiny?
                                 No, certes,
  But substitutes for one reality
  Another -- a lovely pleasant one.
  Existence is illusion after all;
  Man, a bad joke; and God, mere epigram!
  If we must come to that.  And likewise love.
  You have dipped somewhat in philosophy
  Of a too cynical and wordy sort.
  To logic there is one reality,
  Words.  But the commonsense of humankind
  By logic baffles logic, chains with Deed
  The lion Thought.  It is a circle, friends!
  All life and death and mystery ravel out
  Into one argument -- the rounded one.
  Count me your children their arithmetic!
  Zero, the circle, grows to one, the line:
  Both limitless in their own way.  Proceed.  {253B}
  Two is by shape the Coptic aspirate,<<1>>
  Life breathed, and death indrawn.  And so
  Rounds you at last the ten, completion's self,
  The circle and the line.  Why stick at nought?

«1. WEH NOTE: Here the footnote shows the fish-hook shape of the Coptic letter in question: rather like an ampersand ”&“ without the descending arm that crosses the lower rising curve to add”tc“ to the “E” of that monogram-symbol; a bit like Arabic”Ayin“, but with the top a small circle.»

  Only a donkey fastened to a post
  Moves in a circle.
                       This is noble talk!
  Leave the wide circle -- word and argument!
  Move to the line -- the steady will of man,
  That shall attract the Two, the Breath of Life,
  The Holy spirit: land you in the Three,
  Where form is perfect -- in the triangle.
  My friend, the Three is infinitely small,
  Mere surface.  And I seek the Depth divine!
  The solid!  But the triangle aspires
  To that same unity that you despise,
  And lo! the Pyramid!  The Sages say:
  Unite that to the Sphinx, and all is done,
  Completion of the Magnum Opus.
  Each new dimension lands me farther yet
  In the morass of limit.
                        Be it so!
  But follow me through all the labyrinth,
  And ten rewards us.  And your Zero's found
  To have an actual value and effect
  On unity -- your Will.  {254A}
                      What's then to seek?
  The fourth dimension, for the early step.
  It seems this talk is merely mystical.
  This is no College of the Holy Ghost
  For Rosencreutz his mystifying crew!<<1>>

«1. The secret headquarters of the Rosicrucians was named by them Collegium Spiritus Sancti.»

                 A COURTIER.
  A Poet's tourney, and the theme is Love!
  There is a sequel to our poet's song,
  And he will sing it.
                        No!  I know it not!
  The winepress and the sun!
       TANNHAUSER "(again in Venusberg)".
                     My spouse and Queen!
  Bright Goddess of the amber limbs, the lips
  Redder than poppies in the golden corn
  That is your mane!  Listen, the after-song!
                         ["Taking his harp."
  What are these words?
                      Let silence now abide:
  Disturb not the impassioned utterance!
       TANNHAUSER.              ["Sings."
  Can you believe the deadly will's decree,
  The bitter earnestness of this desire,
  The deep intention, the solemnity,
  Profound as night and penetrant as fire, {254B}
  The awful grasping at the Infinite,
  Even as I grapple at the breasts of thee,
  The seeking and the striving to the light
  Deep in thine eyes, where Hell flames steadily?
  I am not clinging thus
  Despairing to the body of thy sin
  For mere delight -- Ah, deadly is to us
  The pleasure wrapping us, and holding in
  All love, all hate -- the miserable way!
  Dawns no devouring day
  Still on the infinite slow tune of limbs
  Moving in rapture; sleepy echo swims
  In the dissolving brain,
  Love conquering lassitude at last to win
  Pain out of peace, and pleasure from a pang;
  Then, scorpion-stung of its own terrible tang,
  Burnt of its own fire, soiled of its own stain,
  Falls conquered as a bird
  Bolt-stricken through the brain,
  To the resounding plain:
  The double word,
  The seesaw of all misery -- begin
  The alluring mysteries of lust and sin;
  Ends their delight! -- and are they clear to sight?
  Or mixed with death, compact of night?
  Begin -- the bitter tears of impotence,
  The sad permuted sense
  Of this despair -- what would you? and renew
  The long soft warfare -- the enchanted arms.
  The silken body's charms,
  The lips that murmur and the breasts that sting;
  The eyes that sink so deep
  Beyond the steeps and avenues of sleep,
  and of their wonder bring
  No ultimation from the halls of night,
  The slippery staircase, and the Fatal Throne,
  The Evil House, the Fugitive of Light,
  The great Unluminous, the Formless One!
  Stoop not!  Beneath, a precipice is set,
  The Seven Steps.  Stoop not, forget
  Never the Splendid Image, and the realm
  Where lightnings overwhelm
  The evil, and the barren, and the vile,
  In God's undying smile!  {255A}
  Stoop not, O stoop not, to yon splendid world,
  Yon darkly-splendid, airless, void, inane,
  Blind confines in stupendous horror curled,
  The sleepless place of Terror and distress,
  Luring damned souls with lying loveliness,
  The Habitation and the House of Pain.
  For that is their abode, the Wretched Ones,
  Of all unhappiness the sons!
  And when, invoking often, thou shalt see
  That formless Fire; when all the earth is shaken,
  The stars abide not, and the moon is gone,
  All Time crushed back into Eternity,
  The Universe by earthquake overtaken;
  Light is not, and the thunders roll,
  The World is done:
  When in the darkness Chaos rolls again
  In the excited brain:
  Then, O then call not to thy view that visible
  Image of Nature; fatal is her name!
  It fitteth not thy body to behold
  That living light of Hell,
  The unluminous, dead flame,
  Until that body from the crucible
  Hath passed, pure gold!
  For, from the confines of material space,
  The twilight-moving place,
  The gates of matter, and the dark threshold,
  Before the faces of the Things that dwell
  In the Abodes of Night,
  Spring into sight
  Demons dog-faced, that show no mortal sign
  Of Truth, but desecrate the Light Divine,
  Seducing from the sacred mysteries.
  But, after all these Folk of Fear are driven
  Before the avenging levin
  That rives the opening skies,
  Behold that Formless and that Holy Flame
  That hath no name;
  The Fire that darts and flashes, writhes and creeps
  Snake-wise in royal robe,
  Wound round that vanished glory of the globe,
  Unto that sky beyond the starry deeps, {255B}
  Beyond the Toils of Time -- then formulate
  In thine own mind, luminous, concentrate,
  The Lion of the Light, a child that stands
  On the vast shoulders of the Steed of God:
  Or winged, or shooting flying shafts, or shod
  With the flame-sandals.  Then, lift up thine hands!
  Centre thee in thine heart one scarlet thought
  Limpid with brilliance of the Light above!
  Draw into nought
  All life, death, hatred, love:
  All self concentred in the sole desire --
  Hear thou the voice of Fire!
  This hope was Zoroaster's -- this is mine!
  Not one but many splendours hath the Shrine:
  Not one but many paths approach the gate
  That guards the Adytum, fortifying Fate!
  Mine was, by weariness of blood and brain,
  Mere bitter fruit of pain
  Sought in the darkness of an harlot's bed,
  To make me as one dead:
  To loose the girders of the soul, and gain
  Breathing and life for the Intelligible;
  Find death, yet find it living.  Deep as Hell
  I plunged the soul; by all blind Heaven unbound
  The spirit, freed, pierced through the maze profound,
  And knew Itself, an eagle for a dove.
  So in on man the height and deep of love
  Joined, in two states alternate (even so
  Are life and death) -- shall one unite the two,
  My long impulsive strife?
  Did I find life?
  The real life -- to know
  The ways of God.  Alas!  I never knew.
  Then came our Lady of the Sevenfold Light,
  Showed me a distant plan, distinct and clear,
  As twilight to the dayspring and the night,
  Dividing and uniting even here:
  The middle path -- life interfused with death --
  Pure love; the secret of Elizabeth!
  This is my secret -- in the man's delight
  To lose that stubborn ecstasy for God!
  To this clear knowledge hath my path been trod {256A}
  In deepest hell -- in the profoundest sky!
  This knowledge, the true immortality,
  I came unto through pain and tears,
  Tigerish hopes, and serpent loves, and dragon fears,
  Most bitter kisses, salted springs and dry;
  In those deep caverns and slow-moving years,
  When dwelt I, in the Mount of Venus, even I!
              ["The spell is broken, and uproar ensues."
  The fiend!  The atheist!  Devil that you are!
  Kill him, ay, kill him!
                           Crucify him, say!
            [TANNHAUSER "extends his arms as on a cross".
  Blaspheme not!  Dare not to insult the sign
  Of our Redemption!  Gentlemen and peers,
  What say you? shall he live to boast himself,
  The abandoned, perjured, the apostate soul,
  Daring to come to our pure court to brag
  Of his incredible vileness?  To link up
  The saintly purity of this my child
  With his seducer's heart of hell!  My voice!
  Death!  Your cry echoes me?
                           Death!  Death!
                                Leap out,
  Sword of my fathers!  You have heard my harp!
  Its music stings your vile hypocrisy
  Into mere hatred.  Truth is terrible!
  You, cousin, taken in adultery!
  You, Wolfram, lover of the kitchen maids!
  You, Jerome -- yes, I know your secret deeds!  {256B}
  You, ladies!  Are your faces painted thus
  Not to hide wrinkles of debauchery?
  To catch new lovers?
                     Stop the lying mouth!
  Friends, you sword-service!
                     Will they answer you?
  My arm is weary as your souls are not
  Of beastliness: I have drawn my father's sword,
  Hard as your virtue is the easy sort,
  Heavy to handle as your loves are light,
  Smooth as your lies, and sharper than your hates!
  I know you!  Cowards to the very bone!
                         ["Driving them out."
  Who fights me, of this sworded company?
  Cannot my words have sting in them enough,
  Now, to make one of you turn suddenly
  And stab me from behind?  Out, out with you!
  Fling-to the doors!  A murrain on the curs!
  So, I am master!
                      Well and merrily done!
  But look you to the lady; she has swooned.
  Who are you, sir, stood smiling, nonchalant,
  At all the turmoil, ridiculing it?
  You knew the secret symbol of my life,
  You forced me to that miserable song.
  My name, sir, at your service, is Geschift<<1>>

«1. WEH NOTE: in the text, this is in German black letter type.»

  Sent?  And the purpose of your coming here?
  You must wield power to keep them silent so,
  When the first word had culminated else
  In twice the tempest echoed to the last!  {257A}
  It was most necessary for yourself
  To formulate your thought in word.  Enough --
  The thought transmuted in the very act.
  You know?  You know!  The new illusion gone!
  Bitter, O bitter will it be to say!
  Due grace and courage will be found for you.
  Farewell, Tannhauser!
                     Shall we meet again?
  There is one glamour you must wreathe in gloom
  Before you come to the dark hill of dreams.
  My soul is sick of riddling.  Fare you well!
               ["Exit" THE UNKNOWN MINSTREL.
  Wake, wake, poor child, poor child, Elizabeth!
  What says my dear one?  I have been with God.
             TANNHAUSER "(aside)".
  How shall I speak?  A violent good-bye,
  As one distraught, ashamed?  I had unbared
  My bosom to these folk but the sole pride,
  My father's gift -- to be a gentleman --
  Forbade the dying, welcome otherwise,
  At any despicable hands as theirs.
  They, they might boast -- "we hundred swords or so"
  "Set on the mighty Tannhauser, and slew him.
  We, scarce an hundred!  Yes, believe it, sirs  {257B}
  We are not so feeble!" -- But death anyhow
  Cuts and not loosens the entangled life.
  Be mine the harder and the better way,
  The single chance: not hope; appeal no more;
  Hardly the arrowy wisdom of despair;
  Hardly the cowardice or courage yet
  To drift, nor cursing nor invoking God.
  I heard, I pure, I virginal, your song;
  The shameful story of your intercourse
  With -- fiend or woman?  And your burning will,
  Even in that horror, to the Highest; at last
  Your choice of me -- the middle course of them,
  Pure human love?  And, if your song be true,
  As I, who heard the voice, the earnestness,
  Saw the deep eyes, and truth aflame in them,
  Know -- then the choice be Mary's and not mine!
  I love you better, were that possible;
  Will make you a true wife, and lead your hand,
  Or be led by you, in the pleasant path.
  For me, I enter not -- Blessed be God! --
  In those dark problems that disturb your soul.
  Mine is the simple nature.  Look at me!
  O Lady pure, miracle of true love,
  I have a bitter word and harsh to say.
  This is my curse -- no sooner do I speak,
  Or formulate my mind in iron words,
  Than my mind grows, o'erleaps the limit set,
  And I perceive the truth that lies beyond --
  One further step into a new-fallen night.
  Hear then -- I hate to hurt your perfect soul;
  I hate myself because I love you still
  In that strange intermediate consciousness,
  The reason and the mind!  This middle way
  Ancients called safe<<1>> -- that dams it instantly!
  Without some danger nothing great is done!
  Let me be God!  Or, failing of that task, {258A}
  Were it but by an unit, let me fall!
  And, falling, be it from so great a height
  That I may reach some uttermost Abyss,
  Inhabit it and reign, most evil one
  Of all the Horrors there -- and in that path
  Seem, even deluded, to approach once more
  Infinity.  For all the limitless
  Hath no distinction -- evil is no more,
  And good no more.

«1. “In medio tutissimus ibis.” – OVID.»

                     But God is absolute Good!
  No!  He is Not!  That negative alone
  Shadows His shadow to our mortal mind.
  That is too deep; I cannot fathom you.
  Define, give utterance to this "Good."  You see
  God slips you, He the Undefinable!
  Not good!  Not wise!  Not anything at all
  That heart can grasp, or reason frame, or soul
  Shadow the sense of!
                         He is far too great!
  I see!
         Not great!  The consciousness of man
  Their many generations mounded so
  To fix in definite ideas, and clothe
  Their Maker in the rags.  If skies are vast,
  So gems are tiny: who shall choose between?
  Who reads the riddle of the Universe?
  All words!  Thus, from his rock-wrought peeking-point
  Our speers the hermit: "See, the sun is dead!"
  It shines elsewhere.  You from your tiny perch,
  The corner of the corner of the earth, {258B}
  Itself a speck in solar life; the sun,
  For all I know, a speck among the stars,
  Themselves one corporate molecule of space! --
  You from your perch judge, label, limit Him!
  Not that your corner is not equally
  The centre and the whole.  Fool's talk it is!
  Consider the futility of mind!
  Realise utterly how mean, how dull,
  How fruitless is Philosophy!
  My brain is baffled.  But I see your point.
  Talking of God, even imagining,
  Insane!  But for aspiring -- that I will!
  That is true marriage, in my estimate.
  Aspire together to one Deity?
  Yes!  But to love thee otherwise than that?
  This one thing clearly do I understand:
  We shall not marry.  It is well, my lord.
  Miserable, miserable me!  I bring
  Hate and disruption and unhappiness
  Unto all purity I chance to touch.
  I have no hope but I am fallen now;
  So journey, in this purpose of despair,
  To Lilith and the Venusberg.
                                 Oh no!
  Grant me one boon -- the one that I shall ask
  Ever in this world!  Promise me!
  One promise gave I once to woman -- that
  Drove me to this illusion of your love,
  And broke your heart.
                      Oh no, I shall not die.
  Have I not Mary and the angels yet?  {259A}
  You are so pure, so pitiful -- your word
  Cannot bring evil.  Yes, I promise you!
  Go then the bitter pilgrimage to Rome,
  Gain absolution for this piteous past
  From him that own the twin all-opening keys
  That bar your infinite on either side.
  Then! look with freshness, hope, and fortitude
  Still to the summit -- the ideal God.
  I have no hope nor trust in man at all;
  But I will go.  Fare well, Elizabeth!
          ["Going, returns and kneels before her."
  Dare you once kiss these gray and withered brows?
  As 'twere some flower that fell amid my hair.
  The lotus of eternal hope and life.
  Dare I?  I kiss you once upon the brow,
  Praying that God will make the purpose clear,
  And on the eyes -- that He may lend them light.
            [TANNHAUSER "rises, and silently departs."
  Oh God!  Oh God!  That I have loved him so!
  Be merciful!  Be merciful! to him,
  The great high soul, bound in the lofty sin;
  To me, the little soul, the little sin!
                    ACT V.
            "One birth of my bosom;
              One beam of mine eye;
             One topmost blossom
              That scales the sky.
  Man, equal and one with me, man that is made of me, man that is I."
  "A desolate and melancholy wood.  Nightfall."
  WELL, I am lost!  The whistle brings no hound,
  The horn no hunter!  North and South are mixed {259B}
  In this low twilight and the hanging boughs.
  I have slept worse than this.  Poor Tannhauser!
  I met him walking, as in dream, across
  The courtyard, while behind him skulked that crew
  That lurked, and itched to kill him, him unarmed,
  Nor daring!  But he reached his hand to me!
  "Good luck, old friend!" and, smiling, he was gone.
  Gone to the Pope -- great soul to mountebank!
  It was her wish, they whisper.  Well-a-day!
  He's gone, and not a friend have I again.
  This bank is soft with delicate white moss,
  No pillow better in broad Germany.
  Were Madeline but here!  What rustle stirs
  These leaves?  A strong man sobbing!  The earth quakes
  Responsive.  Hillo-ho!  Who comes by there?
          [TANNHAUSER "enters.  He appears old and worn; but from his whole
            body radiates a dazzling light, and his face is that of the
            Christ crucified."
  Save us, Saints, save us!  I have looked on God!
  Heinrich! my friend, my old true-hearted friend!
  Fear not!  I am not ghost, but living man!
  Ah me, ah me, the sorrow of the world!
  Thou, Tannhauser! what miracle is this?
  Your body glows -- with what unearthly light?
  I did not know.  Ah! sorrow of this earth!
  What tears are falling from the Pleiades!
  What sobs tear out Orion's jewelled heart!
  Ah me!  As these, as these!  {260A}
                      Speak, speak to me!
  Else, I am feared.  Why run these tears to earth?
  Why shakes your bosom?  Why does glory flame
  A crown, a cincture?  What befell you there?
  I came to Rome across the Winter snows
  Barefoot, and through the lovely watered land
  Rich in the sunshine -- even unto Rome.
  There knelt I with the other sinful folk
  At the great chair of Peter.  Sobbed they out
  From full repentant hearts their menial sins,
  And got them peace.  But I told brutally
  (Cynical phrase, contempt of self and him)
  My sojourn in the Venusberg; then he
  Rose in his wrath, and shook the barren staff
  Over my head, and cried -- I heard his voice
  Most like the dweller of the hurricane
  Calm, small, and still, directing desolation;
  Death to the world athwart its path. -- So he
  Cried out upon me, "Till this barren staff
  Take life, and bud, and blossom, and bear fruit,
  And shed sweet scent -- so long God casteth thee
  Out from His glory!"  Stricken, smitten, slain --
  When -- one unknown, a pilgrim with the rest,
  Darting long rugged fingers and deep eyes,
  Reached to the sceptre with his word and will --
  Buds, roses, blossoms!  Lilies of the Light!
  Bloom, bloom, the fragrance shed upon the air!
  Out flames the miracle of life and love!
  Out, out the lights!  Flame, flame, the rushing storm!
  Darkness and death, and glory in my soul!
  Swept, swept away are pope and cardinal,
  Palace and city!  There I lay beneath
  The golden roof of the eternal stars,
  Borne up on some irremeable sea {260B}
  That glowed with most internal brilliance;
  Borne up, borne up by hands invisible
  Into a firmament of secret light
  Manifest, open, permeating me!
  Then, then, I cried upon the mystic Word!
  (That once begot in me the Venusberg)
  And lo! that light was darkness -- in the face
  Of That which gleamed above.  And verily
  My life was borne on the dark stream of death
  Down whirling aeons, linked abysses, columns
  Built of essential time.  And lo! the light
  Shed from Her shoulders whom I dimly saw;
  Crowned with twelve stars and horned as the moon;
  Clothed with a sun to which the sun of earth
  Were tinsel; and the moon was at her feet<<Revelations xii. I.>> --
  A moon whose brilliance breaks the sword of song
  Into a million fragments; so transcends
  Music, that starlight-sandalled majesty!
  Then -- shall I contemplate the face of Her?
  O Nature!  Self-begotten!  Spouse of God,
  The Glory of thy Countenance unveiled!
  Thy face, O mother!  Splendour of the Gods!
  Behold! amid the glory of her hair
  And light shed over from the crown thereof,
  Wonderful eyes less passionate than Peace
  That wept!  That wept!  O mystery of Love!
  Clasping my hands upon the scarlet rose
  That flamed upon my bosom, the keen thorns
  Pierced me and slew!  My spirit was withdrawn
  Into Her godhead, and my soul made One
  With the Great Sorrow of the Universe,
  The Love of Isis!  Then I fell away
  Into some old mysterious abyss
  Rolling between the heights of starry space;
  Flaming above, beyond the Tomb of Time,
  Blending the darkness into the profound
  Chasms of matter -- so I fell away
  Through many strange eternities of Space, {261A}
  Limitless fields of Time.  I knew in me
  That I must fall into the ground and die;
  Dwell in the deep a-many years, at last
  To rise again -- Osiris, slain and risen!
  Light of the Cross, I see Thee in the sky,
  My future!  I must perish from the earth,
  Abide in desolate halls, until the hour
  When a new Christ must needs be crucified. --
  So weep I ever with Our Lady's tears,
  Weep for the pain, the travail, the old curse;
  Weep, weep, and die.  So dawns at last the Grail,
  The Glory of the Crucified!  Dear friend,
  Be happy, for my heart goes out to you,
  And most to that poor pale Elizabeth --
  Were it not only that the selflessness
  That fills me now, forbids the personal,
  Casts out the individual, and weeps on
  For the united sorrow of all things.
  For if I die, it is not Tannhauser,
  Rather a spark of supreme white light
  That dwelt and flickered in him in old time;
  That Light, I say, that hides its flame awhile
  To shine more fully -- to redeem the world!
  I say, then, "I"; and yet it is not "I"
  Distinct, but "I" incorporate in All.
  I am the Resurrection and the Life!
  The Work is finished, and the Night rolled back!
  I am the Rising Sun of Life and Light,
  The Glory of the Shining of the Dawn!
  I am Osiris!  I the Lord of Life
  Triumphant over death --
  O Sorrow, Sorrow, Sorrow of the World!
  This was my friend.  Deep night descends, perfused
  With unsubstantial glory from beyond.
  The stars are buried in the mist of light.
  Beyond the hill the world is, and laments
  Existence -- the wide firmament of woe!  {261B}
  And he -- his heart was great enough for all,
  The fall of sparrows as the crash of stars.
  The tears of lonely forests, and the pain
  Of the least atom -- all were in his heart.
  What that indeed the truth? that he should come
  At last a Christ upon the waiting world,
  Redeem it to more purpose than the last!
  So fills his sorrow, and Her sympathy,
  My common soul, that I am fain to fall
  Upon my face, and cry aloud to God:
  "O Thou, sole Wise, Sole Pure, Sole Merciful,
  Who hast this shown Thy mystery to man:
  Grant that his coming may be very soon!"
  See, the sobs shake me like a little child. {262A}
  The moon is crescent, waxing in the West.
  Take the last kiss, dear.
                      What is the strange song?
          ["The great Goddess ariseth, weeping for the slain Osiris"
            TANNHAUSER, "the perfected through suffering."
  Isis am I, and from my life are fed
    All stars and suns, all moons that wax and wane,
  Create and uncreate, living and dead,
    The Mystery of Pain.
  I am the Mother, I the silent Sea,
    The Earth, its travail, its fertility.
  Life, death, love, hatred, light, darkness, return to me --
    To Me!  {262B}

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                         EPILOGUE  {col. resume}
           A DEATH IN THESSALY.<<1>>

«1. The northern portion of Greece. It was renowned for wizard rites.»

   GR:Mu-omicron-nu-omicron-sigma Theta-epsilon-omega-nu gamma-alpha-rho
   theta-alpha-nu-alpha-tau-omicron-sigma omicron-upsilon
   delta-omega-rho-omega-nu epsilon-rho-alpha.
                       - AESCH., "Fr. Niobe."
  FAREWELL!  O Light of day, O torch Althaean!
    The strange fruits lure me of Persephone;
  I raise the last, the memorable paean,
    Storm-throated, mouthed as the cave-rolling sea;
  I lift the cup: deep draughts of blue Lethean!
                  My wine to me.
  O lamentable season of Apollo,
    When swoops his glory to the golden wave!
  As all his children, so their lord shall follow!
    The flower he slew, the maiden he would save,
  As Itylus,<<1>> light woven, tuned!  Oh swallow,
                  Bewail their grave!

«1. See Swinburne, Poems and Ballads, 1st Series.»

  The gracious breast of Artemis may light me
    To men -- yet loved I ever Artemis?
  Surely the vine-song and the dance delight me,
    The sea-blue bowers where Aphrodite is.
  Terrible gods and destinies excite me,
                  The strange sad kiss.
  Thus may no moon tell Earth my story after,
    No virgin sing my fame as virginal.  {263A}
  Yet some night-leaves the southern stream may waft her,
    Some amorous nymph across the wood may call
  A loud mad chant; love, tears, harsh sombre laughter.
                  No more at all.
  Oh, mother, Oh, Demeter, in my burthen
    Let me assume thy sorrow singular;
  A branching temple and an altar earthen,
    A fire of herbs, a clayen water-jar;
  An olive grove to bind the sacred girth in
                  Lone woods afar.
  Let life burn gently thence, as when the ember
    In one faint incense-puff to shrineward dies.
  No care, no pain, no craving to remember,
    One leap toward the knees and destinies,
  Where shine her lips like flames, Her breasts like amber,
                  Like moons Her eyes.
  For my heart turns -- ah still! -- in Sorrow's traces,
    Where sad chill footprints pash the sodden leaves;
  Where ranged around me are the cold, gray faces;
    Fallen on the stubble are the rotten sheaves;
  The vicious ghosts abound; and Chronos' paces
                  No soul deceives.  {263B}
  Yet my heart looks to Madness as its mother,
    Remembering Who once caught me by the well;
  And the strange loves of that misshapen Other,
    The feast of blood, the cold enchanted dell,
  Where fire was filtered up through earth to smother
                  Sick scents of hell.
  And that wild night when vine-leaves wooed and clustered
    Round my wild limbs, and like a woman I went
  Over the mountains -- how the Northwind blustered! --
    And slew with them the beast, and was content.
  The madness: -- Oh! the dreadful light that lustred
                  The main event.
  Ay! the wild whirlings in the woodland reaches;
    The ghastly smile upon the Stone God's<<1>> lip;
  The rigid tremors, anguish that beseeches
    From eye to eye fresh fervours of the whip;
  The mounded moss below the swaying beeches --
                  Kiss me and clip!

«1. Priapus, like Jehovah, is the phallic god of generation. It i to be remarked that Crowley never uses Jehovah in this sense, but in the later spiritualised sense of the Qabalists.

 WEH NOTE: Remember the date of this publication and editorial note.  The observation is not true after 1909 e.v.>>
  Why! the old madness grows! -- how feebly lying
    Smooth by this bay where waves are tender flowers.
  Winds, soft as the old kisses were, are sighing.
    Clouds drift across the sun for silken bowers.
  The moon is up -- an hastening nymph!  I, dying,
                  Await the Hours.  {264A}
  And thou, Persephone, I know thy story.
    That I must taste the terror of thy wrong:
  How Hades ride across the promontory,
    Snatch my pale body in mid over-song;
  Drag me from sight of my Apollo's glory
                  With horses strong.
  Nay! as Apollo half the day is shrouded,
    As Artemis twice seven nights is dark;
  Surely he shines in other lands unclouded,
    Surely her shaft shall find another mark.
  So dawns the day on Acheron ghost-crowded,
                  And on my bark.
  I know not how yon world may prove, nor whither
    Hermes conduct me to what farther end.
  Yet if these bays abide, this heart not wither,
    It cannot be I shall not find a friend.
  Some pale immortal lover draw me thither!
                  To kiss me bend!
  Moreover, as Apollo re-arisen
    Flames, with a roaring of the morning sea,
  Up from the stricken gray, the iron-barred prison,
    Flashes his face again upon the lea,
  And diamond dews the woodland ones bedizen;
                  So -- so for me!
  Some forty years this earth knew song and passion
    Pour from my lips, saw gladness in mine eyes!
  Some forty shall I sing some other fashion,
    Dance in strange measures, change the key of sighs.
  Then rise in Thessaly again, Thalassian!
                  Only, more wise.  {264B -- remainder of vol is full page}

{Special half-page bound into this edition:}

      The Table of Correspondences has been belayed owing to the
      extreme complexity of the subject, and mechanical difficulty in
      diagrammatizing.  It will be issued with Vol. II., but should be
      bound up in its proper place at the end of this volume.
"Crowley's Works, vol. I."

{N.B.: The Table didn't make it in Vol. II either – WEH}

                             QABALISTIC DOGMA

[This short explanatory article has been specially contributed by an Adept,

  revered alike for his intellectual gifts and his spiritual attainments by
  the few to whom he permits himself to be known.  Thanks to him would be
  impossible, but the Editor wishes to express his gratitude to the student
  who kindly obtained for him the introduction.  No liberties have been
  taken with the MS., even to the retention of the capitals, but the
  spelling of some Eastern names has been assimilated to the universal
  alphabet -- "e.g." Qabalah for Kabbala -- with the permission of the

THE Evolution of Things is thus described by the Qabalists.

 First is Nothing, or the Absence of Things, HB:Aleph-Yod-Nunfinal, which does not and cannot mean Negatively Existing (if such an Idea can be said to mean anything), as S. Liddell Macgregor Mathers, who misread the Text and stultified the Commentary by the Light of his own Ignorance of Hebrew and Philosophy, pretends in his Translation of v. Rosenroth.
 Second is Without Limit HB:Aleph-Yod-Nunfinal Mem-Vau-Pehfinal,<<WEH NOTE: Sic, should be Samekh-Vau-Pehfinal.>> "i.e.," Infinite Space.
 This is the primal Dualism of Infinity; the infinitely small and the infinitely great.  The Clash of these produces a finite positive Idea which happens (see HB:Bet-Resh-Aleph-Shin-Yod-Taw, "infra," vol. ii., for a more careful study, though I must not be understood to indorse every Word in our Poet-Philosopher's Thesis) to be Light, HB:Aleph-Vau-Resh.  This word HB:Aleph-Vau-Resh is most important.  It symbolises the Universe immediately after Chaos, the Confusion or Clash of the infinite Opposites.  HB:Aleph is the Egg of Matter; HB:Vau is Taurus, the Bull, or Energy-Motion; and HB:Resh is the Sun, or organised and moving System of Orbs.  The three Letters of HB:Aleph-Vau-Resh thus repeat the three Ideas.  The Nature of HB:Aleph-Vau-Resh is thus analysed, under the figure of the ten Numbers and the 22 Letters which together compose what the Rosicrucians have diagrammatised under the name of Minutum Mundum.  (See Table of Correspondences.)  It will be noticed that every Number and Letter has its "Correspondence" in Ideas of every Sort; so that any given Object can be analysed in Terms of the 32.  If I see a blue Star, I should regard it as a Manifestation of Chesed, Water, the Moon, Salt the Alchemical Principle, Sagittarius or What not, in respect of its Blueness -- one would have to decide which from other Data -- and refer it to the XVIIth Key of the Taro in Respect of its Starriness.
 The Use of these Attributions is lengthy and various: I cannot dwell upon it: but I will give one Example.
 If I wish to visit the Sphere of Geburah, I use the Colours and Forces appropriate: I go there: if the Objects which then appear to my spiritual Vision are harmonious therewith, it is one Test of their Truth.
 So also, to construct a Talisman, or to invoke a Spirit.
 The methods of discovering Dogma from sacred Words are also numerous and important: I may mention: --
 ("a") The Doctrine of Sympathies: drawn from the total Numeration of a Word, {265} when identical with, or a Multiple or Submultiple of, or a Metathesis of, that of another Word.
 ("b") The Method of finding the Least Number of a Word, by adding (and re-adding) the Digits of its total Number, and taking the corresponding Key of the Taro as a Key to the Meaning of the Word.
 ("c") The Method of Analogies drawn from the Shape of the Letters.
 ("d") The Method of Deductions drawn from the Meanings and Correspondences of the Letters.
 ("e") The Method of Acrostics drawn from the Letters.  This Mode is only valid for Adepts of the highest Grades, and then under quite exceptional and rare Conditions.
 ("f") The Method of Transpositions and Transmutations of the Letters, which suggest Analogies, even when they fail to explain in direct Fashion.
 All these and their Varieties and Combinations, with some other more abstruse or less important Methods, may be used to unlock the Secret of a Word.
 Of course with Powers so wide it is easy for the Partisan to find his favourite Meaning in any Word.  Even the formal Proof 0 = 1 = 2 = 3 = 4 = 5 = . . . . . . . . = n is possible.
 But the Adept who worked out this Theorem, with the very Intent to discredit the Qabalistic Mode of Research, was suddenly dumbfounded by the Fact that he had actually stumbled upon the Qabalistic Proof of Pantheism or Monism.
 What really happens is that the Adept sits down and performs many useless Tricks with the Figures, without Result.
 Suddenly the Lux dawns, and the Problem is solved.
 The Rationalist explains this by Inspiration, the superstitious Man by Mathematics.
 I give an Example of the Way in which one works.  Let us take IAO, one of the "Barbarous Names of Evocation," of which those who have wished to conceal their own glory by adopting the Authority of Zarathustra have said that in the holy Ceremonies it has an ineffable Power.
 But what Kind of Power?  By the Qabalah we can find out the Force of the Name IAO.
 We can spell it in Hebrew Yod-Aleph-Vau or Yod-Aleph-Ayin.  The Qabalah will even tell us which is the true Way.  Let us however suppose that it is spelt HB:Yod-Aleph-Vau.  This adds up to 17.
 But first of all it strikes us that I, A, and O are the three Letters associated with the three Letters HB:Heh in the great Name of Six Letters, HB:Aleph-Heh-Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh, which combines HB:Aleph-Heh-Yod-Heh with HB:Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh, Macroprospus and Microprosopus.  Now these feminine Letters HB:Heh conceal the "Three Mothers" of the Alphabet, HB:Aleph, HB:Mem, and HB:Shin.  Replace these, and we get HB:Aleph-Shin-Yod-Mem-Vau-Aleph, which adds up to 358, the Number alike of HB:Nun-Chet-Shin, the Serpent of Genesis, and the Messiah.  We thus look for redeeming Power in IAO, and for the Masculine Aspect of that Power.
 Now we will see how that Power works.  We have a curious Dictionary, which was made by a very learned Man, in which the Numbers from 1 to 10,000 fill the left hand Column, in Order, and opposite them are written all the sacred or important Words which add up to each Number.
 We take this Book, and look at 17.  We find that 17 is the number of Squares in the Swastika, which is the Whirling Disk or Thunderbolt.  Also there {266} is HB:Chet-Vau-Gemel, a Circle or Orbit; HB:Zain-Vau-Dalet, to seethe or boil; and some other Words, which we will neglect in this Example, though we should not dare to do so if we were really trying to find out a Thing we none of us knew.  To help our Deduction about Redemption, too, we find HB:Chet-Dalet-Heh, to brighten or make glad.
 We also work in another Way.  I is the Straight Line or Central Pillar of the Temple of Life; also it stands for Unity, and for the Generative Force.  A is the Pentagram, which means the Will of Man working Redemption.  O is the Circle from which everything came, also Nothingness, and the Female, who absorbs the Male.  The Progress of the Name shows then the Way from Life to Nirvana by means of the Will: and is a Hieroglyph of the Great Work.
 Look at all our Meanings!  Every one shows that the Name, if it has any Power at all, and that we must try, has the power to redeem us from the Love of Life which is the Cause of Life, by its masculine Whirlings, and to gladden us and to bring us to the Bosom of the Great Mother, Death.
 Before what is known as the Equinox of the gods, a little while ago, there was an initiated Formula which expressed these Ideas to the Wise.  As these Formulas are done with, it is of no Consequence if I reveal them.  Truth is not eternal, any more than God; and it would be but a poor God that could not and did not alter his Ways at his Pleasure.
 This formula was used to open the Vault of the Mystic Mountain of Abiegnus, within which lay (so the Ceremony of Initiation supposed) the Body of our Father Christian Rosen Creutz, to be discovered by the Brethren with the Postulant as said in the Book called Fama Fraternitatis.
 There are three Officers, and they repeat the Analysis of the Word as follows: --
 Chief.  Let us analyse the Key Word -- I.
 2nd.  N.
 3rd.  R.
 All.  I.
 Chief.  Yod. HB:Yod
 2nd.  Nun. HB:Nun
 3rd.  Resh. HB:Resh
 All.  Yod. HB:Yod
 Chief.  Virgo (Virgo) Isis, Mighty Mother.
 2nd.  Scorpio (Scorpio) Apophis, Destroyer.
 3rd.  Sol (Sun) Osiris, slain and risen.
 All.  Isis, Apophis, Osiris, IAO.
 All spread Arms as if on a Cross, and say: --
                        The Sign of Osiris slain!
 Chief bows his Head to the Left, raises his Right Arm, and lowers his Left, keeping the Elbow at right Angles, thus forming the Letter L (also the Swastika).
                    The Sign of the Mourning of Isis.
 2nd.  With erect Head, raises his Arms to form a V (but really to form the triple Tongue of Flame, the Spirit), and says: --
                     The Sign of Apophis and Typhon.


 3rd.  Bows his Head and crosses his Arms on his Breast (to form the


                        The Sign of Osiris risen.
 All give the Sign of the Cross, and say: --

Then the Sign of Osiris risen, and say: –

                       Lux, the Light of the Cross.
 This Formula, on which one may meditate for Years without exhausting its wonderful Harmonies, gives an excellent Idea of the Way in which Qabalistic Analysis is conducted.
 First, the Letters have been written in Hebrew Characters.
 Then the Attributions of them to the Zodiac and to the Planets are substituted, and the Names of Egyptian Gods belonging to these are invoked.
 The Christian Idea of I.N.R.I. is confirmed by these, while their Initials form the sacred Word of the Gnostics.  That is, IAO.  From the Character of the Deities and their Functions are deduced their Signs, and these are found to signal (as it were) the Word Lux (HB:Aleph-Vau-Resh), which itself is contained in the Cross.
 A careful Study of these Ideas, and of the Table of Correspondences, which one of our English Brethren is making, will enable him to discover a very great Deal of Matter for Thought in these Poems which an untutored Person would pass by.
 To return to the general Dogma of the Qabalists.
 The Figure of Minutum Mundum will show how they suppose one Quality to proceed from the last, first in the pure God-World Atziluth, then in the Angel-World Briah, and so on down to the Demon-Worlds, which are however not thus organised.  They are rather Material that was shed off in the Course of Evolution, like the Sloughs of a Serpent, from which comes their Names of Shells, or Husks.
 Apart from silly Questions as to whether the Order of Emanations is confirmed by Palaeontology, a Question it is quite incompetent to discuss, there is no Doubt the Sephiroth are types of Evolution as opposed to Catastrophe and Creation.
 The great Charge against this Philosophy is founded on its alleged Affinities with Scholastic Realism.  But the Charge is not very true.  No Doubt but they did suppose vast Storehouses of "Things of one Kind" from which, pure or mingled, all other things did proceed.
 Since HB:Gemel, a Camel, refers to the Moon, they did say that a Camel and the Moon were sympathetic, and came, that Part of them, from a common Principle: and that a Camel being yellow brown, it partook of the Earth Nature, to which that Colour is given.
 Thence they said that by taking all the Natures involved, and by blending them in the just Proportions, one might have a Camel.
 But this is no more than is said by the Upholders of the Atomic Theory.
 They have their Storehouses of Carbon, Oxygen, and such (not in one Place, but no more is Geburah in one Place), and what is Organic Chemistry but the Production of useful Compounds whose Nature is deduced absolutely from theoretical Considerations long before it is ever produced in the Laboratory? {268}
 The difference, you will say, is that the Qabalists maintain a Mind of each Kind behind each Class of Things of one Kind; but so did Berkeley, and his Argument in that Respect is, as the great Huxley showed, irrefragable.  For by the Universe I mean the Sensible; any other is Not to be Known; and the Sensible is dependent upon Mind.  Nay, though the Sensible is said to be an Argument of an Universe Insensible, the latter becomes sensible to Mind as soon as the Argument is accepted, and disappears with its Rejection.
 Nor is the Qabalah dependent upon its Realism, and its Application to the Works magical -- but I am defending a Philosophy which I was asked to describe, and this is not lawful.
 A great Deal may be learned from the Translation of the Zohar by S. Liddell Macgregor Mathers, and his Introduction thereto, though for those who have Latin and some acquaintance with Hebrew it is better to study the Kabbala Denudata of Knorr von Rosenroth, in Despite of the heavy Price; for the Translator has distorted the Text and its Comment to suit his belief in the supreme Personal God, and in that degraded Form of the Doctrine of Feminism which is so popular with the Emasculate.
 The Sephiroth are grouped in various Ways.  There is a Superior Triad or Trinity; a Hexad; and Malkuth: the Crown, the Father, and the Mother; the Son or King; and the Bride.
 Also, a Division into seven Palaces, seven Planes, three Pillars or Columns: and the like.
 The Flashing Sword follows the Course of the numbers and the Serpent Nechushtan or of Wisdom crawls up the Paths which join them upon the Tree of Life, namely the Letters.
 It is important to explain the position of Daath or Knowledge upon the Tree.  It is called the Child of Chokmah and Binah, but it hath no Place.  But it is really the Apex of a Pyramid of which the three first Numbers form the Base.
 Now the Tree, or Minutum Mundum, is a Figure in a Plane of a solid Universe.  Daath, being above the Plane, is therefore a Figure of a force in four Dimensions, and thus it is the Object of the Magnum Opus.  The three Paths which connect it with the First Trinity are the three lost Letters or Fathers of the Hebrew Alphabet.
 In Daath is said to be the Head of the great Serpent Nechesh or Leviathan, called Evil to conceal its Holiness.  (HB:Nun-Chet-Shin = 358 = HB:Mem-Shin-Yod-Chet, the Messiah or Redeemer, and HB:Lamed-Vau-Yod-Taw-Nunfinal = 496 = HB:Mem-Lamed-Koph-Vau-Taw, the Bride.)  It is identical with the Kundalini of the Hindu Philosophy, the Kwan-se-on of the Mongolian Peoples, and means the magical Force in Man, which is the sexual force applied to the Brain, Heart, and other Organs, and redeemeth him.
 The gradual Disclosure of these magical Secrets to the Poet may be traced in these Volumes, which it has been my Privilege to be asked to explain.  It has been impossible to do more than place in the Hands of any intelligent Person the Keys which will permit him to unlock the many Beautiful Chambers of holiness in these Palaces and Gardens of Beauty and Pleasure.
              Printed by BALLANTYNE HANSON, & CO.
                    Edinburgh & London


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