March 4, 1993 e.v. key entry by Bill Heidrick, T.G. of O.T.O. January 11, 1994 e.v. proofed and conformed to the “Essay Competition Copy” edition of 1906 e.v. by Bill Heidrick T.G. of O.T.O. Descriptions of portraits retained, even though they are not in this edition. (The winner of the competition was J.F.C.Fuller's “The Star in the West”)

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                               THE WORKS OF
                             ALEISTER CROWLEY
                                VOLUME II
                          ESSAY COMPETITION COPY
                                THE WORKS
                             ALEISTER CROWLEY
                       "{variation: WITH PORTRAITS}"
                                VOLUME II
                          ["All rights reserved"]


This is a dark photo of Crowley in his 20s, left side silhouette with part of neck in light. The head is inclined downward slightly and an open MS is in hand. Background upper right shows a simple frame on the wall with white matte and two oblong documents, part of a third just visible at the right edge. Below this photo is “Aleister Crowley”, signature.}

                          CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.


 THE DEATH OF THE DRUNKARD    .     .     .     .     .     1
  A PEEP BEHIND THE SCENES    .     .     .     .     .     1
      WALES, SEPTEMBER 1892   .     .     .     .     .     1
  THE BALLOON     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     2
  SPOLIA OPIMA    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     2
  A WELCOME TO JABEZ    .     .     .     .     .     .     3
  ELVINA    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     3
      THE NEEDS OF BRETHREN   .     .     .     .     .     3
  TO MRS. O. ......N C...T    .     .     .     .     .     5
  THE LITTLE HALF-SOVEREIGN   .     .     .     .     .     5
  ODE TO SAPPHO   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     6
  IN A LESBIAN MEADOW   .     .     .     .     .     .     7
  "'TIS PITTY --" .     .     .     .     .     .     .     7
  EPILOGUE TO "GREEN ALPS"    .     .     .     .     .     8
  TWO SONNETS IN PRAISE OF A PUBLISHER    .     .     .     8
  MY WIFE DIES    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     9
  ODE TO VENUS CALLIPYGE.     .     .     .     .     .     9
  THE CANNIBALS   .     .     .     .     .     .     .    10
  THE BLOOD-LOTUS .     .     .     .     .     .     .    12
  THE NATIVITY    .     .     .     .     .     .     .    14
  TRANSLATIONS FROM BAUDELAIRE.     .     .     .     .    15
  CHALDEAN FOOLS  .     .     .     .     .     .     .    19
  CALL OF THE SYLPHS    .     .     .     .     .     .    19
  INVOCATION.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    20
  HYMN TO APOLLO  .     .     .     .     .     .     .    22
  THE HERMIT'S HYMN TO SOLITUDE     .     .     .     .    23  {vA}

ORACLES – “Continued”

  THE STORM .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    25
  ASSUMPTA CANIDIA.     .     .     .     .     .     .    26
  VENUS     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    29
  A LITANY  .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    30
  MARCH IN THE TROPICS  .     .     .     .     .     .    31
  NIGHT IN THE VALLEY   .     .     .     .     .     .    32
  METEMPSYCHOSIS  .     .     .     .     .     .     .    33
  ADVICE OF A LETTER    .     .     .     .     .     .    33
  ON WAIKIKI BEACH.     .     .     .     .     .     .    33
  THE TRIADS OF DESPAIR .     .     .     .     .     .    34
  THE DANCE OF SHIVA    .     .     .     .     .     .    36
  SONNET FOR A PICTURE  .     .     .     .     .     .    36
  THE HOUSE .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    37
  ANIMA LUNAE     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    38
  "SABBE PI DUKKHAM"    .     .     .     .     .     .    43
  DHAMMAPADA.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    44
  ST. PATRICK'S DAY, 1902     .     .     .     .     .    48
  THE EARL'S QUEST.     .     .     .     .     .     .    49
  EVE .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    52
  THE SIBYL .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    52
  LA COUREUSE     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    52
  SONNET FOR A PICTURE  .     .     .     .     .     .    52
  TO "ELIZABETH"  .     .     .     .     .     .     .    53
  RONDELS (AT MONTE CARLO)    .     .     .     .     .    53
  IN THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GHIZEH    .     .     .     .    53
  THE HILLS .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    55


  INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR  .     .     .     .     .    58
    WHITE POPPY   .     .     .     .     .     .     .    61
    MESALINE.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    62  {vB}

ALICE: AN ADULTERY – “Continued”

    CALIFORNIA    .     .     .     .     .     .     .    63
    MARGARET.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    63
  ALICE: AN ADULTERY    .     .     .     .     .     .    64
    THE FIRST DAY .     .     .     .     .     .     .    64
    THE SECOND DAY.     .     .     .     .     .     .    65
    THE THIRD DAY .     .     .     .     .     .     .    65
    THE FOURTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .     .    65
    REINCARNATION .     .     .     .     .     .     .    65
    THE FIFTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .     .    66
    THE SIXTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .     .    66
    THE SEVENTH DAY     .     .     .     .     .     .    66
    THE EIGHTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .     .    67
    THE NINTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .     .    67
    THE TENTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .     .    67
    THE ELEVENTH DAY    .     .     .     .     .     .    68
    THE TWELFTH DAY     .     .     .     .     .     .    68
    RED POPPY     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    68
    THE THIRTEENTH DAY  .     .     .     .     .     .    69
    THE FOURTEENTH DAY  .     .     .     .     .     .    70
    THE FIFTEENTH DAY   .     .     .     .     .     .    70
    THE SIXTEENTH DAY   .     .     .     .     .     .    70
    ALICE   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    71
    THE SEVENTEENTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .    71
    LOVE AND FEAR .     .     .     .     .     .     .    72
    THE EIGHTEENTH DAY  .     .     .     .     .     .    73
    THE NINETEENTH DAY  .     .     .     .     .     .    73
    THE TWENTIETH DAY   .     .     .     .     .     .    73
    THE TWENTY-FIRST DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    73
    THE TWENTY-SECOND DAY     .     .     .     .     .    74
    THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    74
    THE TWENTY-FOURTH DAY     .     .     .     .     .    74
    THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    75
    THE TWENTY-SIXTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    75
    UNDER THE PALMS     .     .     .     .     .     .    75
    THE TWENTY-SEVENTH DAY    .     .     .     .     .    76
    THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY     .     .     .     .     .    77
    THE TWENTY-NINTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    77
    THE THIRTIETH DAY   .     .     .     .     .     .    77
    A DAY WITHOUT A NUMBER    .     .     .     .     .    78
    THE THIRTY-FIRST DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    78
    THE THIRTY-SECOND DAY     .     .     .     .     .    78
    THE THIRTY-THIRD DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    78  {viA}

ALICE: AN ADULTERY – “Continued”

    THE THIRTY-FOURTH DAY     .     .     .     .     .    79
    THE THIRTY-FIFTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    79
    THE THIRTY-SIXTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    79
    LETHE   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    80
    THE THIRTY-SEVENTH DAY    .     .     .     .     .    80
    THE THIRTY-EIGHTH DAY     .     .     .     .     .    80
    THE THIRTY-NINTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    81
    THE FORTIETH DAY    .     .     .     .     .     .    81
    THE FORTY-FIRST DAY .     .     .     .     .     .    81
    THE FORTY-SECOND DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    82
    AT LAST .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    82
    THE FORTY-THIRD DAY .     .     .     .     .     .    82
    THE FORTH-FOURTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    82
    THE FORTY-FIFTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .    83
    THE FORTY-SIXTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .    83
    THE FORTY-SEVENTH DAY     .     .     .     .     .    83
    THE FORTY-EIGHTH DAY.     .     .     .     .     .    84
    THE FORTY-NINTH DAY .     .     .     .     .     .    84
     I.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    84
     II.    .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    85
     III.   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    85
    AFTER   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    85


    ACTUS PRIMUS -- JASON     .     .     .     .     .    86
    ACTUS SECUNDUS -- ARGO    .     .     .     .     .    92
    ACTUS TERTIUS -- MEDEA    .     .     .     .     .    98
    ACTUS QUARTUS -- SIRENAE  .     .     .     .     .   104
    ACTUS QUINTUS -- ARIES    .     .     .     .     .   112


    DIDICACE.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   121
    RONDEL  .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   121
    AHAB --
      PART I.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   121
       "  II.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   124
    NEW YEAR, 1903.     .     .     .     .     .     .   127
    MELUSINE.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   127
    THE DREAM     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   128


    ACT I.  .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   130
     " II.  .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   136  {viB}

THE SWORD OF SONG . . . . . . . 140

PRELIMINARY INVOCATION -- NOTHUNG   .     .     .     .   141
    ASCENSION DAY .     .     .     .     .     .     .   144
    PENTECOST     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   164
      NOTE TO INTRODUCTION    .     .     .     .     .   185
      NOTES TO ASCENSION DAY  .     .     .     .     .   190
      NOTES TO PENTECOST.     .     .     .     .     .   203



    I.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   225
   II.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   226
  III.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   226
   IV.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   226
    V.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   227
   VI.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   227
  VII.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   227
 VIII.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   228
   IX.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   228
    X.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   229
   XI.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   230
  XII.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   231
 XIII.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   231  {viiA}

HB:Bet-Resh-Aleph-Shin-Yod-Taw –

    AN ESSAY ON ONTOLOGY.     .     .     .     .     .   223


    I.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   244
   II.      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   244
  III. THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS  .     .     .     .     .   245
   IV. THE THREE CHARACTERISTICS    .     .     .     .   246
    V. KARMA.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .   249
   VI. THE TEN FETTERS OR SANYO"G"ANAS    .     .     .   249
           CONSCIOUSNESS.     .     .     .     .     .   250
 VIII. MAHASATIPA"TTH"ANA     .     .     .     .     .   252
   IX. AGNOSTICISM.     .     .     .     .     .     .   254
    X. THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH     .     .     .     .   256
   XI. THE TWILIGHT OF THE GERMANS  .     .     .     .   258
  XII. THE THREE REFUGES.     .     .     .     .     .   259
 XIII. CONCLUSION .     .     .     .     .     .     .   260


TIME . . . . . . . . . 267

EPILOGUE. . . . . . . . . 283 {viiB}

{Full page announcement in the competition edition. Not in all editions.}

                       PUBLISHERS' NOTE

WE beg to express regret for the delay in issuing Vol. II. As originally made up, it was too big, and had to be recast completely. Mr. Crowley's Works to date will thus be complete in three volumes of this edition.

 Advance copies or sets of proofs of Vol. III. will be sent to "bona-fide" competitors on their written application.  The volume should be issued in December.
 Owing to the severe and continuous illness of the artist to whom the Table of Correspondences was entrusted, we are compelled to delay its issue.
 The Essay Competition will definitely close three months from date.
                                               "Oct." 15, 1906.
 "Crowley's Works, Vol. II."
                       THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN ART<<1>>
                         1905  {columns commence}

«1. This volume consists of unpublished poems dating from 1886-1903. Concerning the title Crowley writes, “The sense is of dead leaves drifting in the dusty cave of my mind.” He does not seem to have been aware that Coleridge gave the title “Sibylline Leaves” to a similar collection.»

  TERROR, and darkness, and horrid despair!
  Agony painted upon the once fair
  Brow of the man who refused to give up
  The love of the wine-filled, the o'erflowing cup.
  "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging."
  No wine in death is his torment assuaging.
        .      .      .      .      .
        .      .      .      .      .
  Just what the parson had told me when young:
  Just what the people in chapel have sung:
  "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging."
        .      .      .      .      .
                "Desunt cetera."

«1. This, the earliest poem ever written by me, has perished save the above fragment. Its date is 1886. – A.C.

  It should be noted that this fragment is of a wildly revolutionary tendency.  It made him the Ibsen of a school where a parson and a chapel were considered with the rest of the non- Plymouth-Brethren world as so many devils let loose from hell.>>
    In the hospital bed she lay,
           Rotting away!
    Cursing by night and cursing by day,
           Rotting away! {1A}
  The lupus is over her face and head,
  Filthy and foul and horrid and dread,
  And her shrieks they would almost wake the dead;
           Rotting away!
  In her horrible grave she lay,
           Rotting away!
  Rotting by night, and rotting by day,
           Rotting away!
  In the place of her face is a gory hole,
  And the worms are gnawing the tissues foul,
  And the devil is gloating over her soul,
           Rotting away!
      I WILL not shake thy hand, old man,
        I will not shake thy hand;
      You bear a traitor's brand, old man,
        You bear a liar's brand.
      Thy talents are profound and wide,
        Apparent power to win;
      It is not everyone has lied
        A nation into sin.
      And look thou not so black, my friend,
        Nor seam that hoary brow;
      Thy deeds are seamier, my friend,
        Thy record blacker now.  {1B}
      Your age and sex forbid, old man,
        I need not tell you how,
      Or else I'd knock you down, old man,
        Like that extremist cow.<<1>>

«1. Mr. Gladstone was attacked by a cow in Hawarden Park in 1891.»

      You've gained your every seat, my friend,
        By perjuring your soul;
      You've climbed to Downing Street, my friend,
        A very greasy poll.
      You bear a traitor's brand, old man,
        You bear a liar's brand;
      I will "not" shake thy hand, old man,
        I will "not" shake thy hand.
                            ["And I didn't."
                 THE BALLOON.
  "Written (at the age of fifteen, and still unsurpassed) while in bed with
      measles at Tonbridge in Kent."
      FLOATING in the summer air,
        What is that for men to see?
      Anywhere and everywhere,
        Now a bullet, now a tree --
      Till we all begin to swear:
        What the devil can it be?
      See its disproportioned head,
        Tiny trunk and limbs lopped bare,
      Hydrocephalus the dread
        With a surgeon chopping there;
      Chopping legs and arms all red
        With the sticky lumps of hair.
      Like a man in this complaint
        Floats this creature in the sky,
      Till the gaping rustics faint
        And the smirking milkmaids cry,
      As the chord and silk and paint,
        Wood and iron drifteth by.
      Floating in the summer sky
        Like a model of the moon: --
      How supreme to be so high
        In a treacherous balloon,
      Like the Kings of Destiny,
        All the earth for their spittoon.  {2A}
      Toads are gnawing at my feet.
        Take them off me quick, I pray!
      Worms my juicy liver eat.
        Take the awful beasts away!
      Vipers make my bowels their meat.
        Fetch a cunning knife and slay!
      Kill the tadpoles in my lung,
        And the woodlice in my spine,
      And the beast that gnaws my tongue,
        And the weasel at my chine,
      And the horde of adders young
        That around mine entrails twine!
      Come, dissect me!  Rip the skin!
        Tear the bleeding flesh apart!
      See ye all my hellish grin
        While the straining vitals smart.
      Never mind!  Go in and win,
        Till you reach my gory heart!
      While my heart's soft pulse did go,
        Devils had it in their bands.
      Doctors keep it in a row,
        Now, on varnished wooden stands:
      And I really do not know
        If it is in different hands.
                SPOLIA OPIMA.
  MY home is set between two ivory towers,
  Fresh with the fragrance of a thousand flowers.
  And the twin portals of a ruby door,
  Portcullissed with the pearls of India's shore,
  Loosed with a smile and opened with a kiss,
  Bid me a joyous welcome there, I wis.
  My home is on the brink of heaven's delight,
  But for that endless day a lovelier night
  Is in my home, that sunset's arms enfold,
  Lit with the mellowness of autumn gold.
        .      .      .      .      .
  Pillowed on linen of the purest white,
  Half-hidden by her locks' luxurious night,
  Maddened by those soft eyes of melting glow,
  Enamoured of that breast of breathing snow,
  Caught in the meshes of her fine-spun hair,
  Rocked by the beating of her bosom fair, {2B}
  Held by her lips too tempting and too warm,
  Bewitched by every beauty of her form,
  The blush upon her cheek is deeper red,
  Half glad, and half repenting what she said.
  A moment's struggle, as her form I press: --
  One soft sad sigh.  Love conquers.  I possess.
             A WELCOME TO JABEZ.<<1>>

«1. Jabez Balfour, author of the “Liberator” frauds.»

  "Reprinted from the 'Eastbourne Chronicle.'"
      GREAT Liberator, come again,
        Thy country needs thee sadly;
      In Scotland Yard they all complain
        They "want" thee, oh! so badly.
      Thou canst not tell the signs and sobs
        That for thy presence yearn;
      And the great heart of England throbs
        With joy at thy return.
      For many a year prolong thy stay
        By Portland's shady harbour;
      And all expenses we will pay --
        Especially the barber.
      A change of work is rest, they say,
        So honest toil shall rest thee;
      No fears that thou must go away
        Need haunt thee and molest thee.
      We pray a level-headed set
        Of fellow men, who know thee,
      In some small measure grateful yet,
        May pay thee what is owed thee.
      The joys of single blessedness,
        And undisturbed seclusion,
      We envy for thee, we confess,
        Until thy final fusion.
            "Written at Eastbourne."
        "Tune" -- "German Evening Hymn."
      WAS thy fault to be too tender?
        Was thine error to be weak?
      Was my kiss the chief offender
        Pressed upon thy blushing cheek?  {3A}
      Was it sin to press and press thee
        Till thy burning lips at last
      Madly kissed me?  How I bless thee,
        Now, for that superb repast!
      All-consuming, all-devouring,
        All-absorbing, burnt the flame;
      Burnt unchecked till, hotly showering,
        Passion disregarded Shame!
      Was it sin -- that moonlight madness?
        Was our passion so accurst?
      Sweetness damned to mother Sadness?
        Satisfaction to bring Thirst?
      Was our love to bring division?
        Nay! ten thousand devils! nay!
      And a devil in a vision
        Hisses as I slumber, "Yea!
      "Heaven of your accurst creation
        Shall become a hell of fire;
      Death for kisses, and damnation
        For your love shall God require."

«1. This astonishing piece of satire was composed after some weeks in the house of a Plymouth Brother. Almost every phrase used therein is a quotation, not a parody.»


IN response to many suggestions from dear Brethren, I have adapted a hymn to the wants of the Church. In view of the grossly unscriptural nature of the original hymn (so-called) many changes have been rendered necessary, but I hope and trust that this has been effected without losing the grandeur of the original.«See preface to “Hymns for the Little Flock,” 1856, from which this stupefying sentence has been bodily taken.» To this effort of mine certain “false brethren unawares brought in” have objected, saying, “Touch not the accursed thing.” I pass over the blasphemy of their thus adapting verses of Scripture to their own vile ends.

 Let me, however, tell these "wolves in {3B} sheep's clothing," these "clouds without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever (Jude 12,13), that they are "dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters" (Rev. xxii. 15), and again, that they are "fearful and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and idolaters, and all liars" (Rev. xxi. 8), and that they "shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev. xxi. 8), "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark. ix. 44).
  Let me only add that they are "a herd of many swine feeding" (Matt. viii. 30).
  "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. xxiii. 33).
  And now, beloved brethren, with every prayer that this adaptation may prove of lasting blessing to You all, bringing forth "the fruits of the Spirit" (Gal. v. 22), especially "faith, hope and charity."  "But the greatest of these is charity" (1 Cor. xiii. 13).
     ONWARD, Plymouth Brethren, marching as to war,
     With the cross of jesus trampled on the floor;
     Kelly, Lowe or Jewell<<1>> lead against the foe,
     Forward into battle, see their followers go.
     Onward, Plymouth Brethren, marching as to war,
     With the cross of jesus trampled on the floor.

«1. These and other mentioned are or were great names among the contending “Brethren.”»

  At the name of Barton, Raven's host doth flee,
  On, M'Arthy's following, on to victory, {4A}
  Stoney's scoundrels shiver at Our howls of rage,
  Brothers, lift Your voices, Shriek aloud, Rampage!
  Like a mighty army moves the Church of god.
  Brothers, We are treading where the saints have trod.
  We are all divided, fifty bodies We,
  Fifty hopes and doctrines, nary charity.
  Church and chapel perish!  Open Plyms to hell!
  But Our kind of Brethren still in safety dwell.
  Raven's lot can never 'gainst the lord prevail,
  We are his brave followers, you are Satan's tail.
  Come then, outside peoples, join Our noble throng!
  Blend with Ours your voices in the triumph song!
  Glory, praise and honour unto Us alone!
  Christians' necks our footstool, Heaven itself Our throne!
 "P.S." -- BELOVED BRETHREN, -- The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  For I, like Balaam (in the old legend), was compelled to express our real feelings and not our pretended ones.  This, of course, absolutely ruins the adaptation.  In fact, I am not certain as to whether it does not rather give us away!

Alas! we are only poor, weak, failing creatures! Your broken-hearted, broken-winded, broken-kneed brother,

                  JUDAS CAIAPHAS TRUELOVE.
 [The man Truelove was at once put our of fellowship.  He will be certainly damned.


           TO MRS O...... N C...T.
  "Written during the first session of the Licensing Committee of the London
      County Council."
  I WILL not bring abuse to point my pen,
    Nor a sarcastic tongue.
  Think only what you might be, before men,
    If you were young.
  What fierce temptations might not lovers bring
    In London's wicked city?
  Perhaps you might yourself have one wee fling,
    If you were pretty.
  What might not hard starvation drive you to,
    With Death so near and sure?
  Perhaps it might drive even virtuous you,
    If you were poor.
  But is it just, or grateful to the One
    That keeps even you from wrong,
  Or even humble to shriek, "Get you gone,
    For I am strong"?
  Temptation has not touched you, Mrs. C...t!
    Forsooth, I do not lie there,
  For you are only not the thing you aren't
    Through being neither.
  And since some fall in Life's tremendous storm,
    And you are on your feet,
  Were it not better with a bosom warm
    And accents sweet
  To help to raise (and no man will upbraid you)
    Your sisters fallen far?
  'Tis vain!  God's worst omission -- Heart -- has made you
    The thing you are!  {5A}

«1. The occasion of this poem was the meeting of the author with a fair and virtuous damsel of pleasant address and conversation. She politely asked him to call at her residence on the following Sunday: but, on his doing so, she straightway demanded half-a-sovereign, and proffered a shameful equivalent. The indignant boy went off and gave vent to his feelings in the above rhymes.»

          RED is the angry sunset,
            Murk is the even grey,
          Heavy the clouds that hover
            Over our Hell to-day.
          "Say, in our dark Gomorrah,
            Lord, can an angel find
          Fifty, but fifty, righteous --
            body -- I say not Mind."
          Sadly the angel turneth --
            "Stay, ere thou fleest, stay;
          Canst thou not find me twenty?"
            "Nay" is the answer, "nay."
          "Are there not ten, bright spirit,
            Hidden, nor quickly seen,
          Somewhere in Hell's dark alleys,
            Somewhere in Walham Green?
          "Speak, for I see thy forehead
            Sadden in dark denial,
          Is there not one that standeth
            Tempter and longsome trial?
          "Is not a candle burning
            Somewhere amid the flame
          Scorching the smoke of London
            With its eternal shame?
          "Is there no gate so stubborn
            That shall not find a key,
          That with our Sovereign's image
            Graven in majesty?"  {5B}
          Why not the Devil's portrait
            Graven in Walham Green?
          Why with the bare suggestion
            Dare we insult our Queen?
          Give me the golden trumpet
            Blown at the judgment-day,
          Closing the gate of mercy
            Over the Cast Away.
          Melt me its gold to money,
            Coin me that small, small ring
          Stamped with the Hoof of Satan,
            Bearing the name of King.
          Then, in the murky midnight,
            Silently lead me down,
          Down into Hell's dark portals,
            Far in the West of Town.
          Then to the shrieks of devils
            Writhing in torments keen,
          Sing me the song that tells me
            Ever of Walham Green.
          Sing of the little half-sovereign
            Dancing in golden sheen;
          Leave me in Hell -- or, better,
            Leave me in Walham Green.
                ODE TO SAPPHO.
  O LESBIAN maiden!
    O plumed and snowlike in glory of whiteness!
    O mystical brightness
  With love-lyrics laden!
    Joy's fulness is fainting for passion and sorrow.
    To-night melts divine to the dawn of to-morrow,
  O Lesbian maiden!  {6A}
  The flame-tongue of passion
    Is lambent and strong;
  In mystical fashion
      Sucks sweetness from shade,
    As the voice of thy song
      In the halls of the dead,
        Breaking fitful and wild,
        Weird waking the slumber of Venus, the sleep of her child,
  O Lesbian maiden!
        Thy tongue reaches red
          On that pillar of might!
        Flaming gold from thy head
          Is a garland of light
          On the forehead of night,
        As we lie and behold
        All the wonders untold
          That the joys of desire
        In their secrets enfold,
          As the pillars of fire
        On the ocean of old!
        O Lesbian maiden!
        The delight of thy lips
          Is the voice of the Spring
          That the nightingales sing
        Over Winter's eclipse,
          While my fingers enring
            The white limbs of thy sleep
        And my lips suck the lips
          Of the house of my dream,
            And press daintily deep,
          Till the joys are supreme
        That thine amorous mouth
          On the home of thy love
        Would exhaust the fierce drouth
          Of the rivers thereof,
        Till thy white body quiver
          With mystic emotion
        As the star-blossoms shiver
        On silvery river
          Rushed into the ocean!
        O Lesbian maiden!  {6B}
             IN A LESBIAN MEADOW.
        UNDER the summer leaves
          In the half-light
        Love his old story weaves
          Far out of sight.
        Here we are lone, at last.
        Heaven is overcast
          Yet with no night.
        Ere her immortal wings
        Gather the thread of things
          Into her might,
        Up will the moon arise
        Through the black-azure skies:
        Birds shall sing litanies
          Still of delight.
        Let my lips wander where
          Tender moss grows,
        Where through their dusky air
          Beams a red rose.
        Where the bee honey sips
        Let my desirous lips,
          Kissing, unclose
        Delicate lips and chaste,
        Sweetness divine to taste
          While the sun glows;
        There in the dusk to dwell
        By the sweet water-well
        In the wood's deepest dell
          Where -- my love knows.
        Skies are grown redder far;
          Tempest draws nigher;
        Dark lowers a single star;
          Mars, like the fire!
        Fiercer our lips engage;
        Limbs, eyes, ears gather rage;
          Sharp grows desire.  {7A}
        Hear thy short bitter cries?
        Pity thine agonies?
          Loose, though love tire?
        Nay, neither hear nor spare;
        Frenzy shall mock at prayer;
        Torture's red torch shall flare
          Till thou expire.
        Stars stud a cloudless sky;
          Moon silvers blue;
        Breeze is content to die;
          Lightly falls dew.
        Calm after strain and stress
        Now to our weariness
          Brings love anew.
        Peace brings her balm to us,
        Lying as amorous
          Still, and as true,
        Linked by new mystery,
        Lovers confessed.  A sigh
        Sobs to the happy sky,
          "Sorrow, go to!"
               "'TIS PITTY ---"
                        -- FORD.<<1>>

«1. John Ford, author of “'Tis Pity she's a Whore,” a drama of fraternal incest, and other well-known plays.»

  BLOW on the flame!
    The charcoal's vaporous fume
  Shall hide our shame!
    Come, love, within the gloom!
  For one last night, sweet sister, be the same;
    Come, nestle with me in sweet Death's hot womb!
  Two sunny eyes!
    And this is all my ruin!
  Two gleaming thighs!
    And all to my undoing!
  Far-swelling curves in ivory rapture rise
    Warm and too white -- bethink you of the wooing!  {7B}
  A kiss of fire;
    A touch of passionate yearning
  Steals higher and higher --
    And kisses are returning!
  The strong white grasp draws me still nigher and nigher,
    Our fusing forms in one fierce furnace burning!
  Fails to us speech
    In Love's exultant leaping!
  Each merged in each
    The golden fruit is reaping!
     .      .      .      .      .      .
  Wilt slumber, dear?  One last kiss, I beseech!
     .      .      .      .      .      .
    Come to us, Death!  My love and I are sleeping!
         EPILOGUE TO "GREEN ALPS."<<1>>

«1. A volume which was never issued. MSS. and proofs have been carefully destroyed. Several of the poems in this volume are taken from that, viz. pp. 6-19.»

  FAREWELL, my book, whose words I have not given
    One tithe of those fierce fires that in me dwell!
  Now, after these long nights that I have striven,
  My spirit burns to know, but may not tell,
    Whether thy leaves, by autumn breezes driven,
  Fly far away beyond the immutable;
  Whether thy soul shall find its home in heaven,
    Or dart far-flaming through the vaults of hell --
  To him that loveth much is much forgiven.
    Farewell!  {8A}
                 A PUBLISHER,
    The ordure of this goat, who is called "Master Lenonard." -- ELIPHAZ
    He's the man for muck. -- BROWNING.
  SMALL coffin-worms that burrow in thy brain
  Writhe with delight; thy rotten body teems
  With all infesting vermin, as beseems
  The mirror of an obscene mind.  In vain
  Thy misbegotten brutehood shirks the pain
  Of its avenging leprosies: death steams
  In all thy rank foul atmosphere: the gleams
  Of phosphorescent putrefaction wane.
  Thy sordid hands reach through the filth to snatch
  The offal money of a prurient swarm.
  Thy liar's tongue licks liquid dung to hatch
  From fetid ulcers with its slimy warm
  Venom some fouler vermin, in their nest
  Thy rotten heart and thy polluting breast!
  Egg of the Slime!  Thy loose abortive lips
  Mouth hateful things: thy shifty bloodshot eyes
  Lurk craftily to snare some carrion prize,
  The dainty morsel whence the poison drips
  Unmarked: the masked infamy that slips
  Into an innocent maw: corrupter wise!
  Sly worm of hell! that close and cunning lies
  With sucking tentacles for finger-tips.
  Earth spits on thee, contagious Caliban!
  Hell spits on thee; her sin is spiritual.
  Only the awful slime and excrement
  That sin sheds off will own thee for a man.
  Only the worms in dead men's bowels that crawl
  To lick a loathlier brother are content.  {8B}
                MY WIFE DIES.
  THE sun of love shone through my love's deep eyes
    And made a rainbow of her tender tears,
  And on her cheeks I saw a blush arise
  When her lips opened to say, loverwise,
    "I love" -- and light broke through the cloud of fears
  That hid her eyes.
  The storm of passion woke in her red lips,
    When first they clung to mine and rested there;
  Lightnings of love were eager to eclipse
  That earlier sunshine, and her whole soul clips
    My soul -- I kissed out life, within her hair
  Upon her lips.
  We parted lips from lips and soul from soul
    To new strange passions in unholy lands,
  Where love's breath chars and scorches like a coal.
  So she is dead to-day -- the sweet bells toll
    A lost, lost soul, a soul in Satan's bands,
  A lost, lost soul!
          ODE TO VENUS CALLIPYGE.<<1>>

«1. A statue in Naples. Callipyge means “having beautiful buttocks.”»

  WHERE was light when the body came
    Out of the womb of a perished prayer?
    Where was life when the sultry air,
  Hot with the lust of night and shame,
    Brooded on dust, when thy shoulders bare
  Shone on the sea with a sudden flame
  Into all Time to abundant fame?
    "Daughter of Lust by the foam of the sea!"
      "Mother of flame!  Sister of shame!"
      "Tiger that Sin nor her son cannot tame!"
    "Worship to thee!  Glory to thee!"
    "Venus Callipyge, mother of me."  {9A}
  Fruitless foam of a sterile sea,
    Wanton waves of a vain desire,
    Maddening billows flecked with fire,
  Storms that lash on the brine, and flee,
    Dead delights, insatiate ire
  Broke like a flower to the birth of thee,
  Venus Callipyge, mother of me!
  Deep wet eyes that are violet-blue!
    Haggard cheeks that may blush no more!
    Body bruised daintily, touch of gore
  Where the sharp fierce teeth have bitten through
    The olive skin that thy sons adore,
  That they die for daily, are slain anew
  By manifold hate; for their tale is few.
  Few are thy sons, but as fierce as dawn.
    Sweet are the seconds, weary the days.
    Nights?  Ah! thine image a thousand ways
  Is smitten and kissed on the fiery lawn
    Where the wash of the waves of thy native bays
  Laps weary limbs, that of thee have drawn
  Laughter and fire for their souls in pawn.
  O thy strong sons! they are dark as night,
    Cruel and barren and false as the sea.
    They have cherished Hell for the love of thee,
  Filled with thy lust and abundant might,
    Filled with the phantom desire to free
  Body and soul from the sound and sight
  Of a world and a God that doth not right.
  O thy dark daughters! their breasts are slack,
    Their lips so large and as poppies red;
    They lie in a furious barren bed;
  They lie on their faces; their eyelids lack
    Tears, and their cheeks are as roses dead;
  White are their throats, but upon the back
  Red blood is clotted in gouts of black.  {9B}
  All on their sides are the wounds of lust
    Wet, from the home of their auburn hair
    Down to the feet that we find so fair;
  Where the red sword has a secret thrust,
    Pain, and delight, and desire they share.
  Verily pain! and thy daughters trust
  Thou canst bid roses spring out of dust.
  Mingle, ye children of such a queen,
    Mingle, and meet, and sow never a seed!
    Mingle, and tingle, and kiss, and bleed
  With the blood of the life of the Lampsacene,<<1>>
    With the teeth that know never a pitiful deed
  But fret and foam over with kisses obscene --
  Mingle and weep for what years have been.

«1. Priapus.»

  Never a son nor a daughter grow
    From your waste limbs, lest the goddess weep;
    Fill up the ranks from the babes that sleep
  Far in the arms of a god of snow.
    Conquer the world, that her throne may keep
  More of its pride, and its secret woe
  Flow through all earth as the rivers flow.
  Which of the gods is like thee, our queen?
    Venus Callipyge, nameless, nude,
    Thou with the knowledge of all indued,
  Secrets of life and the dreams that mean
    Loves that are not, as are mortals', hued
  All rose and lily, but linger unseen,
  Passion-flowers purpled, garlands of green!
  Who like thyself shall command our ways?
    Who has such pleasures and pains for hire?
    Who can awake such a mortal fire
  In the veins of a man, that deathly days
    Have robbed of the masteries of desire?
  Who can give garlands of fadeless bays
  Unto the sorrow and pain we praise?  {10A}
  Yea, we must praise, though the deadly shade
    Fall on the morrow, though fires of hell
    Harrow our vitals; a miracle
  Springs at thy kisses, for thou hast made
    Anguish and sorrow desirable;
  Torment of hell as the leaves that fade
  Quickly forgotten, despised, decayed.
  They are decayed, but thou springest again,
    Mother of mystery, barren, who bearest
    Flowers of most comeliest children, who wearest
  Wounds for delight, whose desire shall stain
    Star-space with blood as the price thou sharest
  Sweet with thy lovers, whose passing pain
  Ripens to marvellous after-gain.
  Thou art the fair, the wise, the divine!
    Thou art our mother, our goddess, our life!
    Thou art our passion, our sorrow, our strife!
  Thou, on whose forehead no lights ever shine,
    Thou, our redeemer, our mistress, our wife,
  Thou, barren sister of deathlier brine,
  Venus Callipyge, mother of mine!
    "Daughter of lust by the foam of the sea!"
      "Mother of flame!  Sister of shame!"
      "Tiger that Sin nor her son cannot tame!"
    "Worship to thee!  Glory to thee!"
    "Venus Callipyge, mother of me."
                THE CANNIBALS.
  ALL night no change, no whisper.  Scarce a breath,
  But lips closed hard upon the cup of death
  To drain its sweetest poison.  Scarce a sigh
  Beats the dead hours out; scarce a melody {10B}
  Of measured pulses quickened with the blood
  Of that desire which pours its deadly flood
  Through soul and shaken body; scarce a thought,
  But sense through spirit most divinely wrought
  To perfect feeling; only through the lips
  Electric ardour kindles, flashes, slips
  Through all the circle to her lips again,
  And thence, unwavering, flies to mine, to drain
  All pleasure in one draught.  No whispered sigh;
  No change of breast; love's posture perfectly
  Once gained, we change no more.  The fever grows
  Hotter or cooler, as the night wind blows
  Fresh gusts of passion on the outer gate.
  But we, in waves of frenzy, concentrate
  Our thirsty mouths on that hot drinking cup,
  Whence we may never suck the nectar up
  Too often or too hard; fresh fire invades
  Our furious veins, and the unquiet shades
  Of night make noises in the darkened room.
  Yet, did I raise my head, throughout the gloom
  I might behold thine eyes as red as fire
  A tigress maddened with supreme desire;
  White arms that clasp me; fervent breast that glides
  An eager snake, about my breast and sides;
  Teeth keen to bite, red tongue that never tires,
  And lips ensaguine with unfed desires,
  A very beast of prey; hot hands caress,
  And violent breath that surfeits not excess.
  But raise no head!  I know thee, breast and thigh,
  Lips, hair, and eyes, and mouth: I will not die
  But thou come with me o'er the gate of death.
  So, bloody and body furious with breath
  That pants through foaming kisses, let us stay
  Gripped hard together to kiss life away,
  Mouths drowned in murder, never satiate,
  Kissing away the hard decrees of Fate,
  Kissing insatiable in mad desire,
  Kisses whose agony may never tire,
  Kissing the gates of hell, the sword of God,
  Each unto each a serpent or a rod, {11A}
  A well of wine and fire, each unto each,
  Whose lips are fain convulsively to reach
  A higher heaven, a deeper hell.  Ah! day
  So soon to dawn, delight to snatch away!
  Damned day, whose sunlight fins us as with wine
  Drunken, with lust made manifest divine
  Devils of darkness, servants unto hell --
  Yea, king and queen of Sheol, terrible
  Above all fiends and furies, hating more
  The high Jehovah, loving Baal Peor,
  Our father and our love and our god!
  Yea, though he lift his adamantine rod
  And pierce us through, how shall his anger tame
  Fire that glows fiercer for the brand of shame
  Thrust in it; so, we who are all fire,
  One dull red flare of devilish desire,
  The God of Israel shall not quench with tears,
  Nor blood of martyrs drawn from myriad spheres,
  Nor watery blood of Christ; that blood shall boil
  With all the fury of our hellish toil;
  His veins shall dry with heat; his bones shall bleach
  Cold and detested, picked of dogs, on each
  Dry separate dunghill of burnt Golgotha.
  But we will wrest from heaven a little star,
  The Star of Bethlehem, a lying light
  Fit for our candle, and by devils' might
  Fix in the vast concave of hell for us
  To lume its ghastly shadows murderous,
  That in the mirror of the lake of fire
  We may behold the image of Desire
  Stretching broad wings upon us, and may leap
  Each upon other, till our bodies weep
  Thick sweet salt tears, till, perfected of shames,
  They burn to one another as the flames
  Of our hell fuse us into one wild soul:
  Then, one immaculate divinest whole,
  Plunge, fire, within all fire, dive far to death;
  Till, like king Satan's sympathetic breath,
  Burn on us as a voice from far above
  Strange nameless elements of fire and love;
  And we, one mouth to kiss, one soul to lure,
  For ever wedded, one, divine, endure {11B}
  Far from sun, sea, and spring, from love or light,
  Imbedded in impenetrable night;
  Deeper than ocean, higher than the sky,
  Vaster than petty loves that dream and die,
  Insatiate, angry, terrible for lust,
  Who shrivel God to adamantine dust
  By our fierce gaze upon him, who would strive
  Under our wrath, to flee away, to dive
  Into the deep recesses of his heaven.
  But we, one joy, one love, one shame for leaven,
  Quit hope and life, quit fear and death and love,
  Implacable as God, desired above
  All loves of hell or heaven, supremely wed,
  Knit in one soul in one delicious bed
  More hot than hell, more wicked than all things,
  Vast in our sin, whose unredeeming wings
  Rise o'er the world, and flap for lust of death,
  Eager as any one that travaileth;
  So in our lust, the monstrous burden borne
  Heavy within the womb, we wait the morn
  Of its fulfilment.  Thus eternity
  Wheels vain wings round us, who may never die
  But cling as hard as serpent's wedlock is,
  One writhing glory, an immortal kiss.
               THE BLOOD-LOTUS.
  THE ashen sky, too sick for sleep, makes my face grey; my senses swoon.
  Here, in the glamour of the moon, will not some pitying godhead weep
  For cold grey anguish of her eyes, that look to God, and look in vain,
  For death, the anodyne of pain, for sleep, earth's trivial paradise?
  Sleep I forget.  Her silky breath no longer fans my ears; I dream
  I float on some forgotten stream that hath a savour still of death, {12A}
  A sweet warm smell of hidden flowers whose heavy petals kiss the sun,
  Fierce tropic poisons every one that fume and sweat through forest hours.
  They grow in darkness; heat beguiles their sluggish kisses; in the wood
  They breathe no murmur that is good, and Satan in their blossom smiles.
  They murder with the old perfume that maddens all men's blood; we die
  Fresh from some corpse-clothed memory, some secret redolence of gloom,
  Some darkling murmurous song of lust quite strange to man and beast and
  Silent in power, not overheard by any snake that eats the dust.
  No crimson-hooded viper knows; no silver-crested asp has guessed
  The strange soft secrets of my breast; no leprous cobra shall disclose
  The many-seated, multiform, divine, essential joys that these
  Dank odours bring, that starry seas wash white in vain; intense and warm
  The scents fulfil; they permeate all lips, all arteries, and fire
  New murmured music on the lyre that throbs the horrors they create.
  Omniscient blossom!  Is thy red slack bosom fresher for my kiss?
  Are thy loves sharper?  Hast thou bliss in all the sorrow of the dead?
  Why art thou paler when the moon grows loftier in the troublous sky?
  Why dost thou beat and heave when I press lips of fire, hell's princeliest
  To thy mad petals, green and gold like angels' wings, when as a flood
  God's essence fills them, and the blood throughout their web grows icy
      cold?  {12B}
  To thy red centre are my eyes held fast and fervent, as at night
  Some sad miasma lends a light of strange and silent blasphemies
  To lure a soul to hell, to draw some saint's charred lust, to tempt, to
  Another sacrifice to sin, another poet's heart to gnaw
  With dubious remorse.  Ho! flame of torturing flower-love! sacrament
  Of Satan, triple element of mystery and love and shame,
  Green, gold, and crimson, in my heart you strive with Jesus for its realm,
  While Sorrow's tears would overwhelm the warriors of either part.
  Jesus would lure me: from His side the gleaming torrent of the spear
  Withdraws, my soul with joy and fear waits for sweet blood to pour its
  Of warm delight -- in vain! so cold, so watery, so slack it flows,
  It leaves me moveless as a rose, albeit her flakes are manifold.
  He hath no scent to drive men mad; no mystic fragrance from his skin
  Sheds a loose hint of subtle sin such as the queen Faustina had.
  Thou drawest me.  Thy golden lips are carven Cleopatra wise.
  Large, full, and moist, within them lies the silver rampart, whence there
  That rosy flame of love, the spring of blood at my light bidding spilt;
  And thy desires, if aught thou wilt, are softer at my suffering.
  Fill up with Death Life's loving-cup!  Give me the knowledge, me the power
  For some new sin one little hour, provoking Hell to belch us up.  {13A}
  So in some damned abyss of woe thy chant should dazzle as of old,
  Thy kisses burn like molten gold, thy visions swing me to and fro.
  Strange fascinations whirl and wind about my spirit lying coils;
  Thy charm enticeth, for the spoils of victory, all an evil mind.
  Thy perfume doth confound my thought, new longings echo, and I crave
  Doubtful liaisons with the grave and loves of Parthia for sport.
  I think perhaps no longer yet, but dream and lust for stranger things
  Than ever sucked the lips of kings, or fed the tears of Mahomet.
  Quaint carven vampire bats, unseen in curious hollows of the trees,
  Or deadlier serpents coiled at ease round carcases of birds unclean;
  All wandering changeful spectre shapes that dance in slow sweet measure
  And merge themselves in the profound, nude women and distorted apes
  Grotesque and hairy, in their rage more rampant than the stallion steed;
  There is no help: their horrid need on these pale women they assuage.
  Wan breasts too pendulous, thin hands waving so aimlessly, they breathe
  Faint sickly kisses, and inweave my head in quiet burial-bands.
  The silent troops recede; within the fiery circle of their glance
  Warm writhing woman-horses dance a shameless Bacchanal of sin;
  Foam whips their reeking lips, and still the flower-witch nestles to my
  Twines her swart lissome legs and hips, half serpent and half devil, till
  My whole self seems to lie in her; her kisses draw my breath; my face
  Loses its lustre in the grace of her quick bosom; sinister
  The raving spectres reel; I see beyond my Circe's eyes no shape
  Save vague cloud-measures that escape the dance's whirling witchery.
  Their song is in my ears, that burn with their melodious wickedness;
  But in her heart my sorceress has songs more sinful, that I learn
  As she sings slowly all their shame, and makes me tingle with delight
  At new debaucheries, whose might rekindles blood and bone to flame.
  The circle gathers.  negresses howl in the naked dance, and wheel
  On poinard-blades of poisoned steel, and weep out blood in agonies;
  Strange beast and reptile writhe; the song grows high and melancholy now;
  The perfume savours every brow with lust unutterable of wrong.
  Clothed with my flower-bride I sit, a harlot in a harlot's dress,
  And laugh with careless wickedness that strews the broad road of the Pit
  With vine and myrtle and thy flower, my harlot-maiden, who for man
  Now first forsakest thy leman, thy Eve, my Lilith, in this bower
  Which we indwell, a deathless three, changeless and changing, as the pyre
  Of earthly love becomes a fire to heat us through eternity.
  I have forgotten Christ at last; he may look back, grown amorous,
  And call across the gulf to us, and signal kisses through the vast:  {14A}
  We shall disdain, clasp faster yet, and mock his newer pangs, and call
  With stars and voices musical, jeers his touched heart shall not forget.
  I would have pitied him.  This flower spits blood upon him; so must I
  Cast ashes through the misty sky to mock his faded crown of power,
  And with our laughter's nails refix his torn flesh faster to the wood,
  And with more cruel zest make good the shackles of the Crucifix.
  So be it!  In thy arms I rest, lulled into silence by the strain
  Of sweet love-whispers, while I drain damnation from thy tawny breast:
  Nor heed the haggard sun's eclipse, feeling thy perfume fill my hair,
  And all thy dark caresses wear sin's raiment on thy melting lips --
  Nay, by the witchcraft of thy charms to sleep, nor dream that God survive;
  To wake, this only to contrive -- fresh passions in thy naked arms;
  And, at that moment when thy breath mixes with mine, like wine, to call
  Each memory, one merged into all, to kiss, to sleep, to mate with death!
                THE NATIVITY.
               CHRISTMAS 1897.
  THE Virgin lies at Bethlehem.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  The root of David shoots a stem.
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  She lies alone amid the kine.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  The straw is fragrant as with wine.
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)  {14B}
  Mine host protects an honest roof.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  His spouse sniffs loud and holds aloof.
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  The Angel has not come again.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  Why did God deal her out such pain?
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  Her love-hours held the Holy Ghost.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  Where is he now she needs him most?
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  Joseph drinks deep outside the inn.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  She is half hated by her kin.
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  The agony increases fast.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  Each spasm is a holocaust.
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  There are three kings upon the road.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  She hath thrice cursed the name of God.
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  There stands her star above the sky.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  She hath thrice prayed that she may die.
    (O Holy Spirit, pity her!)
  Her bitter anguish hath sufficed.
    (Bring gold and frankincense and myrrh!)
  She is delivered of the Christ.
    (The angels come to worship her.)

«1. The original metres are in all cases closely imitated.»

                CAIN ET ABEL.
    SEED of Abel, eat, drink, sleep!
      God shall smile complaisantly.
    Seed of Cain, in the muck-heap
      Crawl and miserably die!  {15A}
    Seed of Abel, thine oblation
      Sweet to Seraphim doth smell:
    Seed of Cain, shall thy damnation
      Ever find the bounds of Hell?
    Race of Abel, see thy seed
      And thy cattle flourish more!
    Race of Cain, for hunger's need,
      Like a dog thy bowels roar.
    Seed of Abel, warm thy paunch
      At the patriarchal hall!
    Seed of Cain, on shivering haunch
      Squat in cave, despised jackal!
    Seed of Abel, love and swarm!
      So thy gold shall also grow.
    Seed of Cain, heart over-warm,
      Guard thy lust and crush it low!
    Seed of Abel, grow, well-faring
      Like the bugs in forest beats!
    Seed of Cain, at bay, despairing,
      Throw thy children on the streets!
    Seed of Abel, carrion
      Shall make fat the smoking soil.
    Seed of Cain, on thee has none
      Laid sufficient woes of toil.
    Seed of Abel, this thy shame --
      To the boar-spear yields the sword.
    Seed of Cain, to heaven flame,
      And to earth cast Heaven's Lord!
             THE LITANY OF SATAN.
  O thou, of Angels fairest and most wise,
  God by Fate's treachery shorn of liturgies!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  O Prince of Exile, Sufferer of wrong,
  Whose vengeance, conquered, rises triply strong!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!  {15B}
  Who knowest all, of under earth the king,
  Familiar healer of man's suffering!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Who to the leper, even the cursed pariah,
  Hast taught by love the taste of heavenly fire!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Thou who on Death, thine old and strong leman,
  Begottest Hope -- a charming madwoman!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Who knowest in which caves of envious lands
  God has hid precious stones with jealous hands!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Thou whose clear eye discerns the arsenals deep,
  Where the small folk of buried metals sleep!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Whose broad hand hides the giddy precipice
  From sleepers straying about some edifice!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Whose skill makes supple the old bones, at needs,
  Of the belated sot, 'mid surging steeds!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Who taught frail man, to make his suffering lighter,
  Consoling, to mix sulphur with salt nitre!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  O subtle complice, who as blatant Beast
  Brandest vile Croesus, him that pities least!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Who in girls' eyes and hearts implantest deep
  Lust for the wound, the twain that wound bids weep!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
  Staff of the exiled, the inventor's spark,
  Confessor of hanged men and plotters dark!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!  {16A}
  Adopted sire of whom black wrath and power
  Of God the Father chased from Eden Bower!
  O Satan, have pity of my long misery!
               FEMMES DAMNEES.
  Like pensive cattle couched upon the sand
    They turn their eyes to ocean's distant ring;
  Feet seek each other, hand desires hand,
    With langour sweet and bitter shuddering.
  Some, hearts love-captured with long whispering,
    Spell out the love of timorous childhood,
  Where babbles in deep dell the gentle spring,
    And dive among the young trees of the green wood.
  Other, like sisters, slowly, with grave eyes,
    Cross the rocks filled with apparitions dim,
  Where Antony beheld, like lavers, rise
    The nude empurpled breasts that tempted him.
  Some, by the dying torch-light call thy name,
    In the dumb hollow of old pagan fanes,
  To succour feverish shriekings of fierce flame,
    O Bacchus, soother of men's ancient pains.
  Others, whose throat is thirsty for breast-blood,
    To hide a whip 'neath flowing robes are fain,
  Mingling in lonely night and darksome wood
    The foam of pleasure and the tears of pain.
  O virgins, demons, monsters, O martyrs!
    Great souls contemptuous of reality!
  Seekers for the Infinite, satyrs, worshippers,
    Now mad with cries, now torn with agony!
  You whom my soul has followed to your hell,
    Poor sisters, more beloved than wept by me,
  For your fierce woes, your lusts insatiable,
    And the urns of love that fill the hearts of ye!  {16B}
  Recall, my soul, the sight we twain have looked upon
    This summer morning soft and sweet,
  Beside the path, an infamous foul carrion,
    Stones for its couch a fitting sheet.
  Its legs stretched in the air, like wanton whores
    Burning with lust, and reeking venom sweated,
  Laid open, carelessly and cynically, the doors
    Of belly rank with exhalations foetid.
  Upon this rottenness the sun shone deadly straight
    As if to cook it to a turn,
  And give back to great Nature hundredfold the debt
    That, joining it together, she did earn.
  The sky beheld this carcase most superb outspread
    As spreads a flower, itself, whose taint
  Stank so supremely strong, that on the grass your head
    You thought to lay, in sudden faint.
  The flies swarmed numberless on this putrescent belly,
    Whence issued a battalion
  Of lavrae, black, that flowed, a sluggish liquid jelly,
    Along this living carrion.
  All this was falling, rising as the eager seas,
    Or heaving with strange crepitation --
  Was't that the corpse, swollen out with a lascivious breeze,
    Was yet alive by copulation?
  And all the carcase now sounded strange symphonies
    Like wind, or running water wan,
  Or grain that winnower shakes and turns, whene'er he plies
    With motion rhythmical his fan.  {17A}
  The shapes effaced themselves; no more their images
    Were aught but dreams, a sketch too slow
  To tint the canvas, that the artist finishes
    By memory that does not go.
  Behind the rocks a bitch unquietly gazed on
    Ourselves with eye of wrathful woe,
  Watching her time to return unto the skeleton
    For tit-bits that she had let go.
  Yet you are like to it, this dung, this carrion,
    To this infection doubly dire,
  Star of my eyes that are, and still my nature's sun,
    You, O my angel!  You, my own desire!
  Yes! such will you be, queen, in graces that surpass,
    Once the last sacraments are said;
  When you depart beneath wide-spreading blooms and grass
    To rot amid the bones of many dead.
  Then, O my beauty! tell the worms, who will devour
    With kisses all of you to dust;
  That I have kept the form and the essential power
    Divine of my distorted lust.
  WHAT makes God then of all the curses deep
    That daily reach his Seraphim divine?
    Like to a tyrant gorged with meat and wine,
  Our blasphemous music lulleth him to sleep.
  Tears of the martyrs, and saints tortured,
    Must prove intoxicating symphonies,
    Since, spite of blood-price paid to gain them ease,
  The heavens therewith are not yet satiated.  {17B}
  Jesus! recall Gethsemane afresh,
    Where thy simplicity his pity sought
    Who in his heaven heard, and mocked for nought,
  Coarse hangmen pierce with nails thy living flesh.
  When on thy godhead spat the virulence
    Of scum of soldiery and kitchen-knaves;
    When thou didst feel the thorns pierce bloody graves
  Within thy brain where Manhood burnt intense;
  When thy bruised broken body's horrid weight
    Racked thy stretched arms, that sweat and blood enow
    Coursed down the marble paleness of thy brow,
  Lift up on high, a butt for all men's hate: --
  Dreamedst thou then of those triumphant hours
    When, that the eternal promise might abide,
    Thy steed a mild she-ass, thou once didst ride
  On roads o'erstrewn with branches and fresh flowers;
  When, thy heart beating high with hope and pride,
    Thou didst whip out those merchants vile with force,
    At last the master?  Did not keen remorse
  Bite thy soul ere the spear had pierced thy side?
  I, certes, I shall gladly quit this hell
    Where dream and action walk not hand-in-hand!
    May I use the brand and perish by the brand!
  Saint Peter denied Jesus.  He did well.  {18A}
              GLOIRE ET LOUANGE.
  GLORY and praise to thee, O Satan, in the height
  Of Heaven, where thou didst rule, and in the night
  Of Hell, where conquered, dost dream silently!
  Grant that one day my soul 'neath Knowledge-Tree
  Rest near thine own soul, when from thy forehead
  Like a new temple all its branches spread.
             THE FOUNT OF BLOOD.
  SOMETIMES I think my blood in waves appears,
  Springs as a fount with music in its tears;
  I hear it trickling with long murmuring sound,
  But search myself in vain to find the wound.
  Across the city, as in closed meres,
  Making the pavements isles, it disappears;
  In it all creatures' thirst relief hath found;
  All nature in its scarlet hue is drowned.
  I have often prayed these fickle wines to weep
  For one day Lethe on my threatening fear --
  Wine makes the ear more sharp, the eye more clear.
  I have sought in Love forgetfulness and sleep --
  My love's a bed of needles made to pierce,
  That drink be given to these women fierce!
                 LA BEATRICE.
  AS I one day to nature made lament
  In burnt-up lands, calcined of nutriment,
  As in my musing thought's vague random dart
  I slowly poised my dagger o'er my heart,
  I saw in full noon o'er my forehead form
  A deathly cloud far pregnant with the storm,
  That bore a flock of devils vicious
  Most like to dwarfs cruel and curious.  {18B}
  Coldly they set themselves to gaze on me,
  Like passers-by a madman that they see --
  I heard them laugh and chuckle, as I think,
  Now interchange a signal, now a wink.
  "Let us at leisure view this caricature,
  This shade of Hamlet mimicking his posture,
  The doubting look and hair flung wide to wind!
  A pity, eh? to see this merry hind,
  This beggar, actor out of work, this droll,
  Because he plays artistically his role,
  Wishing to interest in his chanted woes
  Brooks, eagles, crickets, every flower that blows,
  And even to us the rubric old who made
  To howl out publicly his wild tirade?"
  I could have (for my pride is mountains high,
  And dominates cloud tops or demon's cry) --
  I could have simply turned my sovereign head,
  Had I not seen, 'mid their obscene herd led,
  Crime, that the sun has not yet brought to book,
  Queen of my spirit with the peerless look.
  And she laughed with them at my dark distress,
  And turned them oft some dirtiest caress.
             LE VIN DU SOLITAIRE.
  THE strange look of a woman of the town,
  Who glides toward us like the rays that slake
  the wave-wrought moon within the trembling lake,
  Where she would dip her careless beauty down;
  The last crown unto which a gambler's fingers cling;
  A libertine caress from hungry Adeline;
  The sound of music, lulling, silver, clean,
  Like the far cry of human suffering:
  All these, deep bottle! are of little worth
  Beside the piercing balm thy fertile girth
  Holds in the reverent poet's lifted soul;
  To him thou givest youth, and hope, and life,
  And pride, this treasure of all beggar's strife
  That gives us triumph, Godhead, for its dole.  {19A}
               CHALDEAN FOOLS.
  CHALDEAN fools, who prayed to stars and fires,
  Believed there was a God who punished liars.
    These gods of theirs they often would invoke,
      Apparently with excellent effect:
    They trusted to escape the penal smoke
      By making Truth the trade-mark of their sect.
    How fortunate that we are Christian Folk,
      And know these notions to be incorrect!
            CALL OF THE SYLPHS.<<1>>

«1. This Fragment is a paraphrase of one of the elemental invocations given in Dr. Dee's famous record of magical working. – A.C.»

  BEHOLD, I am; a circle on whose hands
  The twelvefold Kingdom of my Godhead stands.
  Six are the mighty seats of living breath,
  The rest sharp sickles, or the horns of death,
  Which are, and are not, save in mine own power.
  Sleep they?  They rise at mine appointed hour.
  I made ye stewards in the primal day,
  And set your thrones in my celestial way.
  I gave ye power above the moving time
  That all your vessels to my crown might climb.
  From all the corners of your fortress caves
  Ye might invoke me, and your wise conclaves
  Should pour the fires of increase, life and birth,
  Continual dewfall to the thirsty earth.
  Thus are ye made of Justice and of Truth,
  The Souls of Fury, and the Lords of Ruth.
  In His great Name, your God's, I say, arise!
  Behold!  His mercies murmur in the skies.
  His Name is mighty in us to the end.
  In Him we cry: Move, answer, and descend!
  Apply yourselves to us; arise!  For why?
  We are the Wisdom of your God most high!  {19B}

«1.Versified from the Manuscript called “HB:Shin of HB:Shin in Z2.” – A.C.

 Z2 was a MS. of magical formulae given to advanced members of the Zelator Adeptus Minor grade in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.>>
  O SELF Divine!  O Living Lord of Me!
  Self-shining flame, begotten of Beyond!
  Godhead immaculate!  Swift tongue of fire,
  Kindled from that immeasurable light
  The boundless, the immutable.  Come forth,
  My God, my lover, spirit of my heart,
  Heart of my soul, white virgin of the Dawn,
  My Queen of all perfection, come thou forth
  From thine abode beyond the Silences
  To me the prisoner, me the mortal man,
  Shrined in this clay: come forth, I say, to me,
  Initiate my quickened soul; draw near,
  And let the glory of thy godhead shine
  Through all the luminous aethers of the air
  Even to earth, thy footstool; unto me
  Who by these sacred invocations draw
  The holy influence within myself,
  To strengthen and to purify my will
  And holy aspiration to thy Life.
  Purge me and consecrate until my heart
  Burn through the very limit of the veil,
  And rend it at the hour of sacrifice
  That even the secret pillar in the midst
  May be made manifest to mortal eyes.
  Behold upon my right hand and my left
  The mighty pillars of amazing fire,
  And terrible cloud.  Their tops in Heaven are veiled,
  Whereon the everlasting lamps rejoice.
  Their pedestals upon the Universe
  Are set in rolling clouds, in thunder-gusts,
  In vivid flame, and tempest: but to me,
  Balanced between them, burns the holy light
  Veilless, one liquid wheel of sacred fire,
  Whirling immutably within itself
  And formulating in the splendid sun
  Of its white moony radiance, in the light
  Of its immaculate eternity,
  Thy glorious vision!  O thou Starlight face,
  And crowned diamond of my self and soul,  {20A}
  Thou Queenly Angel of my Higher Will,
  Form in my spirit a more subtle fire
  Of God, that I may comprehend the more
  The sacred purity of thy divine
  Essence!  O Queen, O Goddess of my life,
  Light unbegotten, Scintillating spark
  Of the All-Self!  O holy, holy Spouse
  Of my most godlike thought, come forth! I say,
  And manifest unto thy worshipper
  In more candescent fulgours!  Let the air
  Ring with the passion of my holy cry
  Unto the Highest.  For persistent will
  And the continual fervour of my soul
  Have led me to this hour of victory,
  This throne of splendour.  O thou Beauty's Self,
  Thou holiest Crown thus manifest to me,
  Come forth, I say, come forth!  With mightier cries
  Than Jesus uttered on the quivering cross:
  "Eli, Eli, lamma sabachthani,"
  Thee, thee, thee only I invoke!  O Soul
  Of my own spirit, let thy fervid eyes
  Give me their light: for thou dost stand, as God
  Among the Holy Ones.  Before the gods
  Thy music moves, coequal, coeterne,
  Thou, Lord of Light and Life and Love!  Come forth!
  I call thee in the holiest name of Him
  Lord of the Universe, and by His Name,
  Jesus, the Godhead passing through the gates
  Of Hell, that even there the rescuers
  Might find the darkness, and proclaim the light;
  For I invoke thee by the sacred rites
  And secret words of everlasting power:
  By the swift symbol of the Golden Dawn
  And all its promise, by the Cross of Fire,
  And by the Gleaming Symbol: by the Rose
  And Cross of Light and Life: the holy Ankh,
  The Rose of Ruby and the Cross of Gold.
  By these I say, Come forth! my holy Spouse,
  And make me one with thine abundant ray {20B}
  Of the vast ocean of the unmanifest
  Limitless Negativity of Light
  Flowing, in Jesus manifest, through space,
  In equilibrium, upon the world
  Illumined by the White Supernal Gleam
  Through the red Cross of Calvary: Come forth,
  My actual Self!  Come forth, O dazzling one,
  Wrapped in the glory of the Holy Place
  Whence I have called thee: Come thou forth to me,
  And permeate my being, till my face
  Shine with thy light reflected, till my brows
  Gleam with thy starry symbol, till my voice
  Reach the Ineffable: Come forth, I say,
  And make me one with thee: that all my ways
  May glitter with the holy influence,
  That I may be found worthy at the end
  To sacrifice before the Holy Ones:
  That in thy Glory, Strength, and Majesty,
  And by the Beauty and Harmony of Heaven
  That fills its fountains at the Well of Life,
  I may be mighty in the Universe.
  Yea, come thou forth, I mightily conjure
  Thy radiant Perfection, to compel
  All Spirits to be subject unto Me,
  That every spirit of the Firmament
  And of the Ether, and upon the Earth
  And under Earth, and of the stable land,
  Of water, of the whirling of the air,
  Of the all-rushing fire; and every Spell
  And scourge of God the Vast One may be made
  Obedient unto me, to the All-Good
  And ultimate Redemption: Hear me, thou!
          Eca, zodacare, Iad, goho,
          Torzodu odo kikale qaa!
          Zodacare od zodameranu!
          Zodorje, lape zodiredo Ol
          Noco Mada, das Iadapiel!
          Ilas! hoatahe Iaida!<<1>>

«1. This conjuration is in the “angelic” language of Dr. Dee. See the edition of Goetia published by the S.P.R.T.»

  O crowned with starlight!  Winged with emerald {21A}
  Wider than Heaven!  O profounder blue
  Of the abyss of water!  O thou flame
  Flashing through all the caverns of the night,
  Tongues leaping from the immeasurable
  Up through the glittering Steeps unmanifest
  To the ineffable!  O Golden Sun!
  Vibrating glory of my higher self!
  I heard thy voice resounding in the Abyss:
  "I am the only being in the deep
  Of Darkness: let me rise and gird myself
  To tread the path of Darkness: even so
  I may attain the light.  For from the Abyss
  I came before my birth: from those dim halls
  And silence of a primal sleep!  And He,
  The voice of Ages, answered me and said:
  Behold! for I am He that formulates
  In darkness!  Child of Earth! the Light doth shine
  In darkness, but the darkness understands
  No ray of that initiating light!"
  Now, by Initiation's dangerous path
  And groping aspiration, came I forth
  Where the White Splendour shone upon the Throne,
  Even to the Temple of the Holy Ones:
  Now, by that Light, come forth, I say, to me,
  My Lady of the Starlight and the Moon!
  Come and be absolute within my mind,
  That I may take no dim remembrance back
  to drown this glory with earth's quivering gloom.
  But, O abide within Me!  Every hour
  I need the lofty and the limpid stream
  Of that White Brilliance: Leave me not alone,
  O Holy Spirit!  Come to comfort me,
  To draw me, and to make me manifest,
  Osiris to the weeping world; that I
  Be lifted up upon the cross of Pain
  And Sacrifice, to draw all human kind
  And every germ of matter that hath life,
  Even after me, to the ineffable
  Kingdom of Light!  O holy, holy Queen!
  Let thy wide pinions overshadow me!
  I am, the Resurrection and the Life!
  The Reconciler of the Light and Dark.
  I am the Rescuer of mortal things.
  I am the Force in Matter manifest.  {21B}
  I am the Godhead manifest in flesh.
  I stand above, among the Holy Ones.
  I am all-purified through suffering,
  All-perfect in the mystic sacrifice,
  And in the knowledge of my Selfhood made
  One with the Everlasting Lords of Life.
  The Glorified through Trial is My Name.
  The Rescuer of Matter is My Name.
  I am the Heart of Jesus girt about
  With the Swift Serpent!  I, Osirified,
  Stand in this Hall of Twofold Truth and say:
  Holy art Thou, Lord of the Universe!
  Holy art Thou, whom Nature hath not formed!
  Holy art Thou, O Vast and Mighty One!
  O Lord of Darkness and O Lord of Light!
  Holy art Thou, O Light above all Gods!
  O Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy King
  Ineffable, O Consciousness Divine
  I whose white Presence, even I, a god,
  A god of gods, prostrate myself and say:
  I am the spark of Thine abundant flame.
  I am the flower, and Thou the splendid Sun
  Wherefrom my Life is drawn!  All hail to Thee,
  For Holy, Holy, Holy, is Thy Name!
  Holy art Thou, O Universal Lord!
  Holy art Thou, whom Nature hath not formed!
  Holy art Thou, the Vast and Mighty One!
  O Lord of Darkness and O Lord of Light!
  I see the Darkness fall as lightning falls!
  I watch the Ages like a torrent roll
  Past Me: and as a garment I shake off
  The clinging skirts of Time.  My place is fixed
  In the abyss beyond all Stars and Suns.
  I AM, the Resurrection and the Life!
  Holy art Thou, Lord of the Universe!
  Holy art Thou, whom Nature hath not formed!
  Holy art Thou, the Vast and Mighty One!
  O Lord of Darkness and O Lord of Light!  {22A}
               HYMN TO APOLLO.
       "Written in the Temple of Apollo."
  GOD of the golden face and fiery forehead!
  Lord of the Lion's house of strength, exalted
  In the Ram's horns!  O ruler of the vaulted
             Heavenly hollow!
  Send out thy rays majestic, and the torrid
  Light of thy song! thy countenance most splendid
  Bend to the suppliant on his face extended!
             Hear me, Apollo!
  Let thy fierce fingers sweep the lyre forgotten!
  Recall the ancient glory of thy chanted
  Music that thrilled the hearts of men, and haunted
             Life to adore thee!
  Cleanse thou our market-places misbegotten!
  Fire in my heart and music to my paean
  Lend, that my song bow, past the empyrean,
             Phoebus, before thee!
  All the old worship in this land is broken;
  Yet on my altar burns the ancient censer,
  Frankincense, saffron, galbanum, intenser!
             Ornaments glisten.
  Robes of thy colour bind me for thy token.
  My voice is fuller in thine adoration.
  Thine image holds its god-appointed station.
             Lycian, listen!
  My prayers more eloquent than olden chants
  Long since grown dumb on the soft forgetful airs --
  My lips are loud to herald thee: my prayers
             Keener to follow.
  I do aspire, as thy long sunbeam slants
  Upon my crown; I do aspire to thee
  As no man yet -- I am in ecstasy!
             Hear me, Apollo!
  My chant wakes elemental flakes of light
  Flashing along the sandal-footed<<1>> floor.
  All listening spirits answer and adore
             Thee, the amazing!  {22B}
  I follow to the eagle-baffling sight,
  Limitless oceans of abounding space;
  Purposed to bind myself, but know thy face,
             Phoebus, in gazing.

«1. Strewn with sandalwood(?)»

  O hear me! hear me! hear me! for my hands,
  Dews deathly bathe them; sinks the stricken song;
  Eyes that were feeble have become the strong,
             See thee and glisten.
  Blindness is mine; my spirit understands,
  Weighs out the offering, accepts the pain,
  Hearing the paean of the unprofane!
             Lycian, listen!
  God of the fiery face, the eyes inviolate!
  Lord of soundless thunders, lightnings lightless!
  Hear me now, for joy that I see thee sightless,
             Fervent to follow.
  Grant one boon; destroy me, let me die elate,
  Blasted with light intolerant of a mortal,
  That the undying in me pass thy portal!
             Hear me, Apollo.
  Hear me, or if about thy courts be girded
  Paler some purple softening the sunlight
  Merciful, mighty, O divide the one light
             Into a million
  Shattered gems, that I mingle in my worded
  Measures some woven filament of passion
  Caught, Phoebus, from thy star-girt crown, to fashion
             Poet's pavilion.
  Let me build for thee an abiding palace
  Rainbow-hued to affirm thy light divided,
  Yet where starry words, by thy soul guided,
             Sing as they glisten,
  Dew-drops diamonded from the abundant chalice!
  Swoons the prayer to silence; pale the altar
  Glows at thy presence as the last words falter --
             Lycian, listen!  {23A}
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhasa.
Venerable Lord and Best of Friends.
We, seeing the cycle in which Maha Brahma is perhaps more a drifting buoy than ourselves, knowing that it is called the walking in delusion, the puppet show of delusion, the writing of delusion, the fetter of delusion, are aware that the way out of the desert is found by going into the desert.  Will you, in your lonely lamaserai, accept this hymn from me, who, in the centre of civilisation, am perhaps more isolated than you in your craggy fastness among the trackless steppes of your Untrodden Land?
                                      ALEISTER CROWLEY.
    PARIS, A.B. 2446.
  MIGHTIEST self!  Supreme in Self-contentment!
  Sole Spirit gyring in its own ellipse;
  Palpable, formless, infinite presentment
  Of thine own light in thine own soul's eclipse!
  Let thy chaste lips
  Sweep through the empty aethers guarding thee
  (As in a fortress girded by the sea
  The raging winds and wings of air
  Lift the wild waves and bear
  Innavigable foam to seaward), bend thee down,
  Touch, draw me with thy kiss
  Into thine own deep bliss,
  Into thy sleep, thy life, thy imperishable crown!
  Let that young godhead in thine eyes
  Pierce mine, fulfil me of their secrecies,
  Thy peace, thy purity, thy soul impenetrably wise.
  All things which are complete are solitary;
  The circling moon, the inconscient drift of stars,
  The central systems.  Burn they, change they, vary?
  Theirs is no motion beyond the eternal bars.
  Seasons and scars {23B}
  Stain not the planets, the unfathomed home,
  The spaceless, unformed faces in the dome
  Brighter and blacker than all things,
  Borne under the eternal wings
  No whither: solitary are the winter woods
  And caves not habited,
  And that supreme grey head
  Watching the groves: single the foaming amber floods,
  And O! most lone
  The melancholy mountain shrine and throne,
  While far above all things God sits, the ultimate alone!
  I sate upon the mossy promontory
  Where the cascade cleft not his mother rock,
  But swept in whirlwind lightning foam and glory,
  Vast circling with unwearying luminous shock
  To lure and lock
  Marvellous eddies in its wild caress;
  And there the solemn echoes caught the stress,
  The strain of that impassive tide,
  Shook it and flung it high and wide,
  Till all the air took fire from that melodious roar;
  All the mute mountains heard,
  Bowed, laughed aloud, concurred,
  And passed the word along, the signal of wide war.
  All earth took up the sound,
  And, being in one tune securely bound,
  Even as a star became the soul of silence most profound.
  Thus there, the centre of that death that darkened,
  I sat and listened, if God's voice should break
  And pierce the hollow of my ear that harkened,
  Lest God should speak and find me not awake --
  For his own sake.  {24A}
  No voice, no song might pierce or penetrate
  That enviable universal state.
  The sun and moon beheld, stood still.
  Only the spirit's axis, will,
  Considered its own soul and sought a deadlier deep,
  And in its monotone mood
  Of supreme solitude
  Was neither glad nor sad because it did not sleep;
  But with calm eyes abode
  Patient, its leisure that glactic load,<<1>>
  Abode alone, nor even rejoiced to know that it was God.

«1. Via Lactea, the “Milky Way.”»

  All change, all motion, and all sound, are weakness!
  Man cannot bear the darkness which is death.
  Even that calm Christ, manifest in meekness,
  Cried on the cross and gave his ghostly breath,
  On the prick of death,
  Voice, for his passion could not bear nor dare
  The interlunar, the abundant air
  Darkened, and silence on the shuddering
  Hill, and the unbeating wing
  Of the legions of His Father, and so died.
  But I, should I be still
  Poised between fear and will?
  Should I be silent, I, and be unsatisfied?
  For solitude shall bend
  Self to all selffulness, and have one friend,
  Self, and behold one God, and be, and look beyond the End.
  O Solitude! how many have mistaken
  Thy name for Sorrow's, or for Death's or Fear's!
  Only thy children lie at night and waken --
  How shouldst thou speak and say that no man hears?
  O Soul of Tears!
  For never hath fallen as dew thy word,
  Nor is thy shape showed, nor as Wisdom's heard {24B}
  Thy crying about the city
  In the house where is no pity,
  But in the desolate halls and lonely vales of sand:
  Not in the laughter loud,
  Nor crying of the crowd,
  But in the farthest sea, the yet untravelled land.
  Where thou hast trodden, I have trod;
  Thy folk have been my folk, and thine abode
  Mine, and thy life my life, and thou, who art thy God, my God.
  Draw me with cords that are not; witch me chanted
  Spells never heard nor open to the ear,
  Woven of silence, moulded in the haunted
  Houses where dead men linger year by year.
  I have no fear
  To tread thy far irremeable way
  Beyond the paths and palaces of day,
  Beyond the night, beyond the skies,
  Beyond eternity's
  Tremendous gate; beyond the immanent miracle.<<1>>
  O secret self of things!
  I have nor feet nor wings
  Except to follow far beyond Heaven and Earth and Hell,
  Until I mix my mood
  And being in thee, as in my hermit's hood
  I grow the thing I contemplate -- that selfless solitude!

«1. The universe.»

                  THE STORM.
     "Written on the North Atlantic Ocean."
  IN the sorrow of the silence of the sunset, when the world's heart sinks
      to sleep,
  And the waking wind arises from the wedding of the aether and the deep,
  There are perfumes through the saltness of the even; there are hints of
      flowers afar;
  And the God goes down lamented by the lonely vesper star.  {25A}
  The monsters rise around us as we move in moving mist,
  Slow whales that swim as musing, and lo! or ever we wist,
  Looms northward in the grey, mysterious ice, cathedral high,
  Clad in transparent clouds of cold, as a ghost in drapery.
  The solemn dusk descending creeps around us from the East;
  Clouded as with the ungainly head of a mysterious beast.
  Long wisps of darkness (even as fingers) reach and hold
  The sobbing West toward them, clasp the barred Hesperian gold.
  Still pale a rose reflection lingers, in pure soft blue;
  Even above the tempest, where a lonely avenue
  Leads from the wan moon's image, shadowy in the air,
  Waning, half hidden from the sun -- and yet her soul is there.
  So stand I looking ever down to the rolling sea,
  Breast-heaves of a sleeping mother, spouse of Eternity:
  The dark deep ocean mother, that another<<1>> hath reviled,
  Calling her bitter and barren -- and am I not her child?

«1. It is not know to whom Crowley refers.»

  O mother sea, O beautiful, more excellent than earth,
  How is thy travail understood, except thou give me birth?
  O waves of death, O saltness, O sorrow manifold!
  I see beneath thy darkness azure; deeper still, the heart of gold.  {25B}
  Am I not true, O mother, who hast held the lives of men
  Sucked down to thy swart bosom -- O render not again!
  Keep thou our life and mix it with thine eternal sleep:
  Rest, let us rest from passion there, deep!  O how deep!
  Deep calleth unto deep, Amen! hast thou no passion, thou?
  Even now the white flames kindle on thy universal brow.
  I hear white serpents hiss and wild black dragons roll;
  And the storm of love is on thee -- ah! shall it touch thy soul?
  Nay, O my mother, in eternal calm thy virginal depths lie.
  The peace of God, that passeth understanding, that am I!
  Even I, perceiving deeply beneath the eyes of flame
  The soul that, kindling, is not kindled: I have known thy Name.
  Awake, O soaring billows!  Lighten the raging dome,
  Wrap the wide horizon in a single cloak of flaming foam,
  Leap in your fury!  Beat upon the shores unseen!  Devour your food,
  The broken cliff, the crumbled bank, the bar.  I know the mood.
  Even so I see the terror of universal strife:
  Murderous war, and murderous peace, and miserable life:
  The pang of childbirth, and the pain of youth, and the fear of age,
  Life tossed and broken into dust in the elemental rage.
  Is not God part of every the tiniest spark of man?
  Is He not moulded also in His own eternal plan?  {26A}
  Even so; as the woes of earth is the angry crested sea.
  Even so; as Her great peace abideth in the deep -- so He!
  What wreck floats by us?  What pale corpse rolls horribly above,
  Tossed on the unbewailing foam, cast out of light and life and love?
  The sea shall draw thee down, O brother, to her breast of peace,
  Her unimaginable springs, her bridal secrecies.
  Even so draw me in life, O mother, to thy breast!
  Below the storm, below the wind, to the abiding rest!
  That I may know thy purpose and understand thy ways:
  So, weeping always for the woe, also the love to praise!
  The darkness falls intensely: no light invades the gloom.
  Stillness drops dew-like from the heaven's unreverberant womb.
  Westward the ship is riding on the sable wings of night,
  I understand the darkness -- why should I seek the light?
              ASSUMPTA CANIDIA.
           "Written in Mexico City."
  WATERS that weep upon the barren shore
    Where some lone mystery of man abides;
    As if the wailing of forsaken brides,
  Rapt from the kiss of love for evermore,
  Impressed its memory on the desolate
    Sounds at its edge; on such a strand of tears
    I linger through the long forgetful years,
  My sin for mother, and my woe for mate.
    I am a soul lost utterly -- forbear!
    I am unworthy both of tear and prayer.  {26B}
  The mystic slumber of my sense forlorn
    Stirs only now and then; some deeper pang
    Reminds despair there is a sharper fang,
  Reminds my night of a tempestuous morn.
  For I am lost and lonely: in the skies
    I see no hope of any sun or star;
    On earth there blooms no rose, no nenuphar;
  No cross is set for hope of sacrifice.
    I cannot sleep, I cannot wake; and death
  Passes me by with his desired breath.
  No shadow in my mind to prove a sun;
    No sorrow to declare that joy exists;
    A cycle of dim spectres in the mists
  Moves just a little; lastly there is One,
  One central Being, one elusive shape,
    Not to aspire to, not to love; alas!
    Only a memory in the aged mass
  Of chained ones bound to me without escape!
    Oh, doom of God!  Oh, brand how worse than Cain's!
    Divided being, undivided pains!
  What is this life?  (To call it life that grows
    No inch throughout all time.)  This bitterness
    Too weak and hateful to be called distress?
  Slow memory working backward only knows
  There was some horror grown to it for kin;
    Some final leprous growth that took my brain,
    Weaving a labyrinth of dullest pain
  From the sweet scarlet threat I thought was sin.
    I cannot sin!  Alas, one sin were sweet!
    But sin is living -- and we cannot meet!
  So long ago, so miserably long!
    I was a maiden -- oh how rich and rare
    Seemed the soft sunshine woven in my hair!
  How keen the music of my body's song!
  How white the bossom of my body's light!
    How red the lips, how languorous the eyes,
    How made for pleasure, for the sleepy sighs {27A}
  Softer than sleep; amorous dew-dreams of night
    That draw out night in kisses to the day!
    So was I to my seeming as I lay.
  That soft smooth-moving ocean of the west
    Under the palm and cactus as it rolled,
    Immortal blue, fixed with immortal gold,
  Moving in rapture with my sleeping breast!
  The young delicious green, the drunken smell
    Of the fresh earth, the luxury of the glow
    Where many colours mingled into snow,
  Song-marvels in the air desirable.
    So lazily I lay, and watched my eyes
    In the deep fountain's sun-stirred harmonies.
  I loved myself!  O Thou! (I cried) divine
    Woman more lovely than the flowers of earth!
    O Self-hood softer than the babe at birth,
  Sweeter than love, more amorous than wine,
  Where is thy peer upon the face of life?
    I love myself, the daughter of the dawn.
    Come, silken night, in your deep wings withdrawn
  Let me be folded, as a tender wife
    In my own arms imagined!  Let me sleep,
    Unwaking from the admirable deep!
  My arms fell lazily about the bed.
    I lay in some delicious trance.  I fell
    Deep through sleep's chambers to the gate of Hell,
  And on that flaming portalice I read
  The legend, "Here is beauty, here delight,
    Here love made more desirable than thine,
    Fiercer than light, more dolorous than wine.
  Here the embraces of the Sons of Night!
    Come, sister, come; come, lonely queen of breath!
    Here are the lustres and the flames of death."
  Hence I was whirled, as in a wind of light,
    Out to the fragrance of a loftier air,
    A keener scent, and rising unaware
  Out of the Palace of Luxurious Night, {27B}
  I came to where the Gate of Heaven shone,
    Battled with comet and with meteor.
    Behold within that crested House of War,
  One central glory of a sapphire stone,
    Whereon there breathed a sense, a mist, a sun!
    I stood and laughed upon the Ancient One.
  For He was silent as my body's kiss,
    And sleeping as my many-coloured hair,
    And living as my eyes and lips; and where
  The vast creation round him cried "He Is!",
  No murmur reached Him; He was set alone,
    Alone and central.  Ah! my eyes were dim.
    I worshipped even; for I envied Him.
  So, moving upward to the azure throne,
    I spread my arms unto that ambient mist;
    Lifted my life and soul up to be kissed!
  A million million voices roared aloud!
    A million million sabres flashed between!
    Flamed the vast falchion!  Fiery Cherubin
  Flung me astounded to the mist and cloud.
  A stone, flung downward through eternal space,
    I dropped.  What bitter curses and despair
    Rang through wide aether!  How the trumpet blare
  Cursed back at me!  Thou canst not see His Face!
    Equal and Spouse?  Bring forth the Virgin Dower,
    Eternal Wisdom and Eternal Power!
  I woke! and in a well's untroubled pool
    I saw my face -- and I was ugly now!
    Blood-spattered ebony eyelash and white brow!
  Blood on my lips, and hair, and breast!  "Thou fool!"
  A horrid torture in my heart -- and then
    I licked my lips: the tigress tasted blood.
    My changed features -- wash them in the flood
  Of murder!  This is power over men
    And angels.  I will lift the twisted rod,
    And make my power as the power of God!  {28A}
  I made my beauty as it was before.
    I learned strange secrets; by my love and skill
    I bent creation to my wanded will.
  I tuned the stars, I bound the bitter shore
  Beyond the Pleiads: until the Universe
    Moved at my mantra<<1>>: Heaven and Hell obeyed;
    Creation at my orders stayed or swayed.
  "Take back," I cried, "the mockery of a curse!"
    "I wield Thy Power."  With my magic rod
    Again I strode before the Throne of God.

«1. The Hindu equivalent for “spell.”»

  "Forgone my Virgin Splendour!  I aspire
    No longer as a maiden to thy Love.
    We twain are set in majesty above:
  My cloud is mighty as thy mystic Fire."
  Vanished the mist, the light, the sense, the throne!
    Vanished the written horror of the curse;
    Vanished the stars, the sun, the Universe.
  I was in Heaven, lost, alone.  Alone!
    A new curse gathered as a sombre breath:
    "Power without Wisdom is the Name of Death!"
  And therefore form my devastating hand
    (for I was then unwilling to be dead)
    I loosed the lightning, and in hate and dread
  Despairing, did I break the royal wand.
  Mortal, a plaything for a thousand fears,
    I found the earth; I found a lonely place
    To gaze for ever on the ocean's face,
  Lamenting through the lamentable years;
    Without a god, deprived of life and death,
    Sensible only to that sombre breath.
  Thus wait I on the spring-forgotten shore;
    Looking with vain unweeping eyes, for aye
    Into the wedding of the sea and sky,
  (That do not wed, ay me!) for evermore
  Hopeless, forgetting even to aspire
    Unto that Wisdom; miserably dumb;
    Waiting for the Impossible to come,
  Whether in mercy or damnation dire -- {18B}
    I who have been all Beauty and all Power! --
    This is thine hour, Apollyon, thine Hour!
  I, who have twice beheld the awful throne;
    And, as it were the vision of a glass,
    Beheld the Mist be born thereon, and pass;
  I, who have stood upon the four-square stone!
  I, who have twice been One---!  Woe, woe is me!
    Lost, lost, upon the lifeless, deathless plane,
    The desert desolate, the air inane;
  Fallen, O fallen to eternity!
    I, who have looked upon the Lord of Light;
    I, I am Nothing, and dissolved in Night!
  "Written in the temple of the L.I.L.,<<1>> No. 9, Central America."

«1. A secret Order, probably established by Crowley himself.»

  MISTRESS and maiden and mother, immutable mutable soul!
  Love, shalt thou turn to another?  Surely I give thee the whole!
  Light, shall thou flicker or darken?  Thou and thy lover are met.
  Bend from thy heaven and hearken!  Life, shalt thou fade or forget?
  Surely my songs are gone down as leaves in the dark that are blown;
  Surely the laurel and crown have faded and left me alone.
  Vainly I cry in the sunlight; moon pities my passion in vain.
  Dark to my eyes is the one light, aching in bosom and brain.
  Surely, O mother, thou knowest!  Have I not followed thy star?
  I have gone whither thou goest, bitterly followed afar, {29A}
  Buried my heart in thy sorrow, cast down my soul at thy knees.
  Thou, thou hast left me no morrow.  Days and desires, what are these?
  Nay, I have torn from my breast passion and love and despair:
  Sought in thy palaces rest, sleep that awaited me there;
  Sleep that awaits me in vain: I have done with the hope of things;
  Passion and pleasure and pain have stung me, and lost their stings.
  Only abides there a hollow, void as the heart of the earth.
  Echo may find it and follow, dead from the day of her birth.
  Life, of itself not insatiate; death, not presuming to be;
  Share me intense and emaciate, waste me, are nothing to me.
  Still in the desolate place, still in the bosom that was
  Even as a veil for thy face, thy face in a breathed-on glass,
  Hangs there a vulture, and tears with a beak of iron and fire.
  I know not his name, for he wears no feathers of my desire.
  It is thou, it is thou, lone maiden!  My heart is a bird that flies
  Far into the azure laden with love-lorn songs and cries.
  O Goddess of Nature and Love!  Thyself is the lover I see.
  But thou art in the above, and thy kiss is not for me.
  Thou art all too far for my kiss; thou art hidden past my prayer.
  Thy wing too wide, and the bliss too sweet for me to share.
  Thou art Nature and God!  I am broken in the wheelings of thy car;
  Thy love-song unheard or unspoken, and I cannot see thy star.  {29B}
  Thou art not cold, but bitter is thy burning cry to me.
  My tiny heart were fitter for a mortal than for thee.
  But I cast away the mortal, and I choose the tortured way,
  And I stand before thy portal, and my face is cold and grey.
  Thou lovest me with a love more terrible than death;
  But thou art in the above, and my wings feel no wind's breath.
  Thou art all to fierce and calm, too bitter and sweet, alas!
  Thou weavest a cruel charm on my soul that is as glass.
  I know thee not, who art naked; I lie beneath thy feet
  Who hast called till my spirit ached with a pang too deathly sweet.
  Thou has given thee to me dying, and made thy bed to me.
  I shiver, I shrink, and, sighing, lament it cannot be.
  I have no limbs as a God's to close thee in and hold:
  Too brief are my periods, and my hours are barren of gold.
  I am not thewed as Jove to kill thee in one caress!
  Not a golden shower is my love, but a child's tear of distress.
  Give me the strength of a panther, the tiger's strenuous sides,
  The lion's limbs that span there some thrice the turn of the tides,
  The mutinous fame, the terror of the royal Minotaur,
  That our loves may make a mirror of the dreadful soul of war!
  For love is an equal soul, and shares an equal breath.
  I am nought -- and thou the whole?  It were not love, but Death.  {30A}
  Give me thy life and strength, let us struggle for mastery,
  As the long shore's rugged length that battles with the sea.
  I am thine, I am thine indeed!  My form is vaster grown,
  And our limbs and lips shall bleed on the starry solar throne.
  My life is made as thine; my blessing and thy curse
  Beget, as foam on wine, a different universe.
  I foam and live and leap: thou laughest, fightest, diest!
  In agony swift as sleep thou hangest as the Christ.
  My nails are in thy flesh; my sweat is on thy brow;
  We are one, we are made afresh, we are Love and Nature now.
  I am swifter than the wind: I am wider than the sea:
  I am one with all mankind: and the earth is made as we.
  The stars are spangles bright on the canopy of our bed,
  And the sun is a veil of light for my lover's golden head.
  O Goddess, maiden, and wife!  Is the marriage bed in vain?
  Shall my heart and soul and life shrink back to themselves again?
  Be thou my one desire, my soul in day as in night!
  My mind the home of the Higher!  My heart the centre of Light!
                 A LITANY.<<1>>

«1. The Table of Correspondences will elucidate any doubtful point in this poem.»

          BLACK thine abyss of noon
          Flings forth the thunder-swoon.
          Smite us, and slay, Amoun,
            Amoun, Achiha!  {30B}
          Thoth, from the starry space
          Flash out the splendid face!
          Wisdom, immortal grace,
            Thoth, turn to usward!
          Deep, deep thy sombre Sea,
          Spouse of eternity!
          Mother, we cry to Thee:
            Hear us, Maut, Mother!
          Sound, sistron, sound afar!
          Shine, shine, O dawning Star!
          Flame, flame, O meteor Car!
            Isis, Our Lady!
          Strike, strike the louder chord!
          Draw, draw the flaming sword,
          Crowned child and conquering Lord:
            Horus, avenger.
          Dawn-star of flaming light,
          Five rays in one unite,
          Light, Life, Love, Mercy, Might,
            Star of the Magi.
          Lift, lift the Cross of Light,
          Rose, golden, green, and white,
          Rise, rise athwart the night!
            Mighty Aeshuri!
          Flame, flame, thou Blazoned Sun!
          Seal-Star of Solomon!
          Seven Mysteries in One!
            Godhead and Mankind!
          Beauty and life and love!
          Let fly thy darling dove!
          Bend to us from above,
            Lady Ahathor!  {31A}
          Where light and darkness meet,
          There shine thy flaming feet,
          There is thy splendid seat;
            Mighty Anubi!
          Swift-winged Stability,
          Lifting the earth and sky,
          Hold me up utterly,
            Keep me, O Shuwe!
          Virginal Queen of Earth,
          Late love, and last of birth,
          Loose, loose the golden girth,
            Nephthys, the crowned one!
          Hail, crowned Harpocrates,
          Show, show thy secrecies,
          Lotus-throned silences,
            Typhon's replacer!
           "Written near Manzanillo."
  WHAT ails thee, earth?  Is not the breath of Spring
  Exultant on thy breast?  What aileth thee,
  O many-mooded melancholy sea?
  Hear the swift rush of that triumphant wing!
  Listen! the world's whole heart is listening!
  In England now the leaf leaps, and the tree
  Gleams dewy, and the bird woos noisily.
  Here in the tropics now is no such thing.
  Dull heavy heat burns through the clouded sky,
  And yet no promise of the latter rains.
  Earth bears her fruit, but unrefreshed of death.
  In winter is no sorrow, in the dry
  Harsh spring no joy, while pestilence and pains
  Hover like wolves behind the summer's breath.  {31B}
             NIGHT IN THE VALLEY.
     "Written at the foot of Citlaltepetl."
  I LAY within the forest's virgin womb
    Tranced in the sweetness, nuptial, indolent,
  Of the faint breeze and tropical perfume,
    And all the music far lone waters lent
  Unto the masses of magnolia bloom,
    Tall scarlet lilies, and the golden scent
  Shed by strange clusters of more pallid flowers,
  And purple lustre strewn amid the twilight bowers.
  Far, far the pastureless, the unquiet sea
    Moaned; far the stately pyramid of cold
  Shrouding the stars, arose: sweet witchery
    That brought them in the drowsing eye, to fold
  The picture in: with winged imagery
    That Hermes gathers with that floral gold
  Whose triple flower or flame or pinioned light
  Lends life to death, and love and colour unto light.
  How flames that scarlet stronger than Apollo,
    Too swift and warm to know itself a bird!
  How the light winds and waves of moonlight follow,
    Shot from the West, cadence of Daylight's word!
  How flock the tribes of wings within the hollow,
    Even as darkness summons home the herd!
  The still slow water slackens into sleep.
  The rose-glow dies, leaves cold Citlaltepetl's<<1>> steep.

«1. Called by the Spaniards Orizaba.»

  The chattering voices of the day depart.
    Earth folds her limbs and leans her loving breast
  Even to all her children: the great heart
    Beats solemnly the requiem of rest.
  The sea keeps tune; the silent stars upstart
    Seeming to sentinel that sombre crest
  Where of old time burst out the vulture fire
  Cyclopean, that is dead, now, as a man's desire.  {32A}
  The drowsy cries of night birds, then the song
    Lovely and lovelorn in the listening vale,
  So wild and tender, swooping down in long
    Notes of despair, then lifting the low tale
  In golden notes to skyward in one throng
    Of clustered silver, so the nightingale
  Tunes the wild flute, as dryads he would gather
  To roof with music in the palace of the weather,
  With love despairing, dying as music dies;
    With lost souls' weeping, and the bitter muse
  Of such as lift their hearts in sacrifice
    On some strange cross, or shed Sicillian dews
  Over a sadder lake than Sicily's --
    Hark! they are leaping from the valley views
  Into the light and laughter and deep grief
  Of that immortal heart that sings beyond belief.
  How pitiful, how beautiful, the faces!
    The long hair shed on shoulders ivory white!
  Each note shoots down the dim arboreal spaces
    Like amber or like hyaline lit with light.
  Each spirit glimmers in the shadowy places
    Like hyacinths or emeralds: or the night
  Shows them as shadows of some antique gem
  Where moonlight fills its cup and flashes into them.
  So, in the moony twilight and the splendour
    Of music's light, the desolate nightingale
  Fills all the interlunar air with tender
    Kisses like song, or shrills upon the scale,
  Till quivering moonrays shake again, to send her
    Luminous tunes through every sleepy vale,
  While the slow dancers rhythmically reap
  The fairy amaranth, and silver wheat of sleep.  {32B}
  Now over all that scythe of sleep impending
    Mows the pale flowers of vision following;
  Dryad and bird and fount and valley blending
    Into one dreamy consciousness of spring;
  And all the night and all the world is ending,
    And all the souls that weep and hearts that sing!
  So, as the dew hides in the lotus blossom,
  Sleep draws me with her kiss into her bridal bosom.
            "Written at Vera Cruz."
  DIM goes the sun down there behind the tall
  And mighty crest of Orizaba's snow:
  Here, gathering at the nightfall, to and fro,
  Fat vultures, foul and carrion, flap, and call
  Their ghastly comrades to the domed wall
  That crowns the grey cathedral.  There they go --
  The parasites of death, decay and woe,
  Gorged with the day's indecent festival.
  I think these birds were once the souls of priests.
  They haunt by ancient habit the old home
  Wherein they held high mass in days of old.
  But now they soar above it -- for behold!
  God hath looked mercifully down on Rome,
  Promoting thus her children to be beasts.
            ADVICE OF A LETTER.<<1>>

«1. With a letter to Ceylon, sent from Mexico in duplicate for certainty by way both of England and Japan. The allusions are Hermetic or Alchemical.»

  THE Winged Bull that dwelled in the north
  hath flown into the West, and uttered forth
  His thunders in the Mountains.  He shall come
  Where blooms the sempiterne chrysanthemum.
  The winged Lion, that wrought dire amaze
  In the Dark Place, where Light was, did his ways {33A}
  Take fiery to enkindle a new flame:
  The Eagle of the High Lands yet that came
  By the red sunset to an eastern sky
  Shall plume himself and gather him and fly
  Even as a Man that rideth on a Beast
  Trained, to the Golden Dawn-sky of the East.
  Therefore his word shall seek the Ivory Isle
  By double winds and by the double Style,
  Twin doorways of the Sunset and the Dawn.
  And thou who tak'st it, shall be subtly drawn
  Into strange vigils, and shalt surely see
  The ancient form and memory of me,
  Nor me distinct, but shining with that Light
  Wherein the Sphinx and Pyramid unite.
             ON WAIKIKI BEACH.<<1>>

«1. Near Honolulu.»

  UPHEAVED from Chaos, through the dark sea hurled,
      Through the cleft heart of the amazed sea,
      Sprang, 'mid deep thunderous throats of majesty,
  Titanic, in the waking of the world;
      Sprang, one vast mass of spume and molten fire,
      Lava, tremendous waves of earth; sprang higher
        Than the sea's crest volcano-torn, to be
        Written in Cyclopean charactery,
          Hawaii.  Here she stands
          Queen of all laughter's lands
      That dance for dawn, lie tranced in leisured noon,
          Dreaming through day towards night,
          Craving the perfumed light
      Of the stars lustrous, and the gem-born moon.
          Dewy with clustered diamond,
  The long land swoons to sleep; the sea sleeps and yet wakes beyond.  {33B}
  Here, in the crescent beach and bay, the sea,
      Curven and carven in warm shapes of dream,
      Answers the love-song of the lilied stream,
  And moves to bridal music.  Stern and free,
      The lion-shapen headland guards the shore;
      The ocean, the bull-throated, evermore
        Roars; the vast wheel of heaven turns above,
        Its rim of pain, its jewelled heart of love;
          Sun-waved, the eagle wing
          Of the air of feathered spring
      Royally sweeps and on the musical merge
          Watches alone the man.
          O silvern shape and span
      Of moonlight, reaching over the grey, large
          Breast of the surf-bound strand,
  Life of the earth, God's child, Man's bride, the light of the sweet land!
  Are emeralds ever a spark of this clear green,
      Or sapphires hints of this diviner blue,
      Or rubies shadows of this rosy hue,
  Or light itself elsewhere so clear and clean?
      For all the sparkling dews of heaven fallen far
      Crystalline, fixed, forgotten (as a star
        Forgets its nebulous virginity)
        Are set in all the sky and earth and sea.
          Shining with solar fire,
          The single-eyed desire
      Of scent and sound and sight and sense perfuses
          The still and lambent light
          Of the essential night;
      And all the heart of me is fain, and muses,
          As if for ever doomed to dream
  Or pass in peace Lethean adown the grey Lethean stream.
  So deep the sense of beauty, and so keen!
      The calm abiding holiness of love
      Reigns; and so fallen from the heights above {34A}
  Immeasurable, the influence unseen
      Of music and of spiritual fire,
      That the soul sleeps, forgotten of desire,
        Only remembering its God-like birth
        Reflected in the deity of earth,
          Becometh even as God.
          The pensive period
      Of night and day beats like a waving fan
          No more, no more: the years,
          Reft of their joys and fears,
      Pass like pale faces, leave the life of man
          Untroubled of their destines,
  Leave him forgotten of life and time, immortal, calm and wise.
  Only the ceaseless surf on coral towers,
      The changless change of the unchanging ocean,
      Laps the bright night, with unsubstantial motion
  Winnowing the starlight, plumed with feathery flowers
      Of foam and phosphor glory, the strange glow
      Of the day's amber fallen to indigo,
        Lit of its own depth in some subtle wise,
        A pavement for the footsteps from the skies
          Of angels walking thus
          Not all unseen of us,
      Nor all unknown, nor unintelligible,
          When with souls lifted up
          In the Cadmean cup,<<1>>
      As incense lifted in the thurible,
          We know that God is even as we,
  Light from the sky, and life on earth, and love beneath the sea.

«1. See Euripides, “Bacchae.”»

       "Written off the Coast of Japan."
  I LIE in liquid moonlight poured from the exalted orb.
  Orion waves his jewelled sword; the tingling waves absorb {34B}
  Into their lustre as they move the light of all the sky.
  I am so faint for utter love I sigh and long to die.
  Far on the misty ocean's verge flares out the southern Cross,
  And the long billows on the marge of coral idly toss,
  This night of nights!  The stars disdain a lustre dusk or dim.
  Twin love-birds on the land complain, a wistful happy hymn.
  I turn my face toward the main: I laugh and dive and swim.
  Now fronts me foaming all the light of surf-bound waters pent;
  Now from the black breast of the night the Southern Cross is rent.
  I top the might wall of fears; the dark wave rolls below.
  A tall swift ship on wings appears, a cataract of snow
  Plunging before the white east wind; she meets the eager sea
  As forest green by thunder thinned meets fire's emblazonry.
  Then I sink back upon the breast of mighty-flinging foam,
  Ride like a ghost upon the crest, the silver-rolling comb;
  Float like a warrior to his rest, majestically home.
  But oh! my soul, what seest thou, whose eyes are open wide?
  What thoughts inspire me idling now, lone on the lonely tide?
  Here in the beauty of the place, hope laughs and says me nay;
  In nature's bosom, in God's face, I read "Decay, Decay."
  Here in the splendour of the Law that built the eternal sphere,
  Beauty and majesty and awe, I fail of any cheer.
  Here, in caprice, in will divine, I see no perfect peace; {35A}
  Here, in the Law's impassive shrine, no hope is of release.
  All things escape me, all repine, all alter, ruin, cease.
  But thou, O Lord, O Apollo,
  Must thou utterly change and pass?
  Thy light be lost in the hollow?
  Thy face as a maid's in a glass
  Go out and be lost and be broken
  As the face of the maid is withdrawn,
  And thy people with sorrow unspoken
  Wait, wait for the dawn?
  But thou, O Diana, our Lady,
  Shall it be as if never had been?
  The vales of the sea grown shady
  And silver and amber and green
  As thy light passed over and kissed them?
  Shall thy people lament thee and swoon,
  And we miss thee if thy love missed them,
  Awaiting the moon?
  But thou, who art Light, and above them,
  Who art fire and above them as fire,
  Shall thy sightless eyes not love them
  Who are all of thine own desire?
  Immaculate daughters of passion,
  Shalt thou as they pass be past?
  And thy people bewail thee, Thalassian,
  Lost, lost at the last?
  Nay, ere ye pass your people pass,
  As snow on summer hills,
  As dew upon the grass,
  As one that love fulfils,
  If he in folly wills
  Love a lass.
  Yet on this night of smiles and tears
  A maiden is the theme.
  The universe appears
  An idle summer dream
  Lost in the grey supreme
  Mist of years.  {35B}
  For she is all the self I own,
  And all I want of will.
  She speaks not, and is known.
  Her window shining chill
  Whispers "He lingers still.
  I am alone."
  But to-night the lamp must be wasted,
  And the delicate hurt must ache,
  And the sweet lips moan untasted,
  My lady lie lonely awake.
  The night is taken from love, and love's guerdon
  Is like and its burden.
  To-night if I turn to my lover
  I must ask: If she be? who am I?
  To-night if her heart I uncover
  No heart in the night I espy.
  I am grips with the question of eld, and the sphinx holds fast
  My eyes to the past.
  Who am I, when I say I languish?
  Who is she, if I call her mine?
  And the fool's and the wise man's anguish
  Are burnt in the bitter shrine.
  The god is far as the stars, and the wine and fire
  Salt with desire.
                "Desunt cetera."
            THE DANCE OF SHIVA.<<1>>

«1. The MS. of this Hymn most mysteriously (for I am very careful) disappeared two days after being written. I can remember no more of it that the above; nor will inspiration return. – A.C.»

      "Written at the House of Sri Parananda"
                "Swami, Ceylon."
      WITH feet set terribly dancing,
        With eyelids filled of flame,
      Wild lightnings from Him glancing,
        Lord Shiva went and came.
      The dancing of His feet was heard
      And was the final word.  {36A}
      He danced the measure golden
        On dead men ...
      His Saints and Rishis<<1>> olden,
        The yogins that ...
      He trampled them to dust and they
      Were sparks and no more clay.

«1. The seven Rishis are the great Sages of India. They received from the Gods the sacred Books.»

      The dust thrown up around Him
        In cycles whirled and twined,
      Dim sparks that fled and found Him
        Like mist beyond the mind.
      The universe was peopled then
      With little gods, and men.
      In that ecstatic whirling
        He saw not nor ...
      He knew not in his fervour
        Creation's sated sigh;
      The groan of the Preserver,
        Life's miserable lie.
      I broke that silence, and afraid
      I knew not what I prayed
          .     .     .     .     .
      Let peace awaken for an hour
      And manifest as power.
          .     .     .     .     .
      Cease not the dance unceasing,
        The glance nor swerve nor cease,
      Thy peace by power increasing
        In me by power to peace.
                "Desunt cetera."
  "Written in the woods above Kandy.  Inscribed to T. Davidson."
  LURED by the loud big-breasted courtesan
    That plies trained lechery of obedient eyes,
    He sits, holds bed's last slattern-sweet surprise,
  Late plucked from gutter to grace groves of Pan.  {36A}
  The third one, ruddy as they twain are wan,
    Hungrily gazes, sees her tower of lies
    Blasted that instant in some wizard wise --
  The frozen look -- the miserable man!
    What sudden barb of what detested dart
    Springs from Apollo's bowstring to his heart?
  On sense-dulled ears what Voice rings the decree?
    "For thee the women burn: the wine is cool:
    For thee the fresco and the fruit -- thou fool!
  This night thy soul shall be required of thee!"
                  THE HOUSE.
                A NIGHTMARE.<<1>>

«1. This, with slight variations, was one of the regular dreams of Allen Bennett Macgregor, just as the “flying” dream, the “naked in church” dream, the “taken in adultery” dream, the “lost tooth” dream, the “being shaved” dream, and many others of specific type recur from time to time in the life of most people. – A.C.»

           "Written at Anurahapura."
  I MUST be ready for my friend to-night.
    So, such pale flowers as winter bears bedeck
  The old oak walls: the wood-fire's cheerful light
  Flashes upon the fire-dogs silver-bright.
    Wood? why, the jetsam of yon broken wreck
    Where the white sea runs o'er the sandy neck
  That joins my island to the land when tides
    Run low.  What curious fancies through my brain
  Run, all so wild and all so pleasant!  Glides
  No phantom creeping from the under sides
    Of the grey globe: no avatar of pain
    Gathering a body from the wind and rain.  {37A}
  So the night fell, and gently grew the shades
    In firelight fancies taking idle form;
  Often a flashing May-day ring of maids,
  Or like an army through resounding glades
    Glittering, with martial music, trumpet, shawm,
    Drum -- so I build the echoes of the storm
  Into a pageant of triumphant shapes.
    So, as the night grows deeper, and no moon
  Stirs the black heaven, no star its cloud escapes,
  I sit and watch the fire: my musing drapes
    My soul in darker dreams; the storm's wild tune
    Rolls ever deeper in my shuddering swoon:
  Whereat I start, shudder, and pull together
    My mind.  Why, surely it must be the hour!
  My friend is coming through the wet wild weather
  Across the moor's inhospitable heather
    To the old stately tower -- my own dear tower.
    He will not fail me for a sudden shower!
  My friend!  How often have I longed to see
    Again his gallant figure and that face
  Radiant -- how long ago we parted! -- we
  The dearest friends that ever were!  Ah me!
    I curse even now that hateful parting-place.
    But now -- he comes!  How glad I am!  Apace
  Fly the glad minutes -- There he is at last!
    I know the firm foot on the marble floor.
  The hour-glass turns!  What miseries to cast
  For ever to the limbo of the past!
    He knocks -- my friend!  O joy for ever-more!
    He calls!  "Open the door!  Open the door!"  {37B}
  You guess how gladly to the door I rushed
    And flung it wide.  Why! no one's there!  Arouse!
  I am asleep.  What horror came and crushed
  My whole soul's life out as some shadow brushed
    My body and passed it?  All sense allows
    At last the fearful truth -- This is the house!
  This is my old house on the marsh, and here,
    Here is the terror of the distant sea
  Moaning, and here the wind that wails, the drear
  Groans like a ghost's, the desolate house of fear
    Whence I fled once from my great enemy --
    This is the house!  O speechless misery!
  Here the great silver candlesticks illume
    The aged book, the blackness blazoned o'er
  With golden characters and scarlet bloom
  Twined in the blue-tinged sigils wrought for doom,
    And dreadful names of necromancer's lore
    Written therein; so stood my room before
  When the hissed whisper came, "Beware!  Beware!
    They're coming!" and "They're coming!" when the wind
  Bore the blank echoes of their stealthy care
  To creep up silently and find me there,
    Hid in the windowless old house, stark blind
    For fear -- and then -- what horrors lurked behind
  The door firm barred! -- and thus they cried in vain:
    "Open the door!"  Then crouched I mad with fear
  Till at the dawn their footsteps died again.
  They can do nothing to me -- that is plain --
    While the door bars them!  What is it runs clear
    Truth in my mind?  Once more they may be near?  {38A}
  And then came memory.  Wide the portal stood
  And -- what had brushed me as it passed?  What froze
  My dream to this awakening -- fearful flood
  Of horror loosed, loosing a sweat of blood,
    An agony of terror on these brows?
    God!  God!  Indeed, indeed this is the house!
  The candles sputtered and went out.  I stood
    Fettered by fear, and heard the lonely wind
  Lament across the marsh.  A frenzied flood
  Of hate and loathing swept across my mood,
    And with a shudder I flung the door to.  Mind
    And body sank a huddled wreck behind.
  Nought stirred.  Draws hither the grim doom of Fate?
    A long, long, while.
                  Now -- in the central core
  Of my own room what accent of keen hate,
  Triumphant malice, mockery satiate,
    Rings in the voice above the storm's wild roar?
    It cries "Open the door!  Open the door!"
                 ANIMA LUNAE.
  "Written partly under the great rock Sigiri, in
     Ceylon, partly in Arabia, near Aden."
  ZOHRA the king by feathered fans
  Slept lightly through the mid-day heat.
  Swart giants with drawn yataghans
  Guard, standing at his head and feet,
  Zohra, the mightiest of the khans!
  Each slave Circassian like a moon
  Sits smiling, burning with young bloom
  Of dawn, and weaves an airy tune
  Like a white bird's song bright and bold
  That dips a fiery plume.
  So the song lulled, lazily rolled
  In tubes of silver, lutes of gold; {38B}
  And all that palace drowsed away
  The hours that fanned with silken fold
  The progress of the Lord of Day.
  Yet, as he slept, a grey
  Shadow of dream drew near, and stooped
  And glided through the ranks of slaves,
  Leaving no shadow where they drooped,
  No echo in the architraves
  As silent as the grave's.
  That shape vibrated to the tune
  Of thought lulled low; the stirless swoon
  Half felt its fellow gather close,
  Yet stirred not: now the intruder moves,
  Turns the tune slowlier to grave rows
  Of palm trees, losing life in loves
  Less turbid than the mildest dream
  That ever stirred the stream
  Whereon night floats, a shallop faint,
  Ivory and silver bow and beam,
  Dim-figured with the images
  Divinely quaint
  Of gold engraved, forth shadowing sorceries.
  So the king dreamed of love: and passing on
  The shape moved quicker, winnowing with faint fans
  The soundless air of thought: the noonday sun
  Seemed to the mightiest of a thousand khans
  Like to a man's
  Brief life -- a thousand such dream spans! --
  And so he dreamed of life: and failing plumes
  Wrought through ancestral looms
  In the man's brain: and so he dreamed of death.
  And slower still the grey God wrought
  Dividing consciousness from breath,
  And life and death from thought.
  So the king dreamed of Nought.
  Yet subtly-shapen was this Nothingness,
  Not mere negation, as before that dream
  Drew back the veil of sleep;
  But strange: the king turned idly, sought to press
  The bosom where love lately burnt supreme,
  And found no ivory deep.
  He turned and sought out life; and nothing lived:  {39A}
  Death, and nought died.  The king's brow fell.  Sore grieved
  He rose, not knowing: and before his will
  Swan's throat, dove's eyes, moon's breast, and woman's mouth,
  And form desirable
  Of all the clustered love drew back: grew still
  "O turn, my lover, turn thee to the South!"
  The girl's warm song of the Siesta's hour.
  Heedless of all that flower,
  Eager to feel the strong brown fingers close
  On the unshrinking rose
  And pluck it to his breast to perish there;
  With neither thought nor care
  Nor knowledge he went forth: none stay, none dare
  Proffer a pavid prayer.
  There was a pavement bright with emerald
  Glittering on malachite
  Clear to the Sun: low battlements enwalled
  With gold the ground enthralled,
  Sheer to the sight
  Of sun and city: thither in his trance
  The king's slow steps advance.
  There stood he, and with eyes unfolded far
  (Clouds shadowing a star
  Or moonlight seen through trees -- so came the lashes
  Over -- and strong sight flashes!)
  Travelled in thought to life, and in its gleam
  Saw but a doubtful dream.
  His was a city crescent-shaped whose wall
  Was brass and iron: in the thrall
  Of the superb concave
  Lay orbed a waveless wave.
  Four moons of liquid light revolved and threw
  Their silvery fountains forth, whose fruitful dew
  Turned all the plain to one enamelled vale
  Green as the serpent's glory, and -- how still!
  -- To where the distant hill
  Shaped like an Oread's<<1>> breast arose beyond,
  Across the starless pond {39B}
  Silent and sleeping -- O the waters wan
  That seem the soul of man! --
  Suddenly darkness strikes the horizon round
  With an abyss profound
  That blots the half-moon ere the sun be set.
  A mountain of pure jet
  Rears its sheer bulk to heaven; and no snows
  Tinge evening with rose.
  No blaze of noon invades those rocks of night,
  Nor moon's benignant might.
  And looking downward he beheld his folk
  Bound in no tyrant's yoke;
  Knowing no God, nor fearing any man;
  Life's enviable span
  Free from disease and vice, sorrow and age.
  Only death's joys assuage
  A gathering gladness at the thought of sleep.
  Never in all the archives, scroll on scroll,
  Reaching from aeons wrote they "Women weep,
  Men hate, the children suffer."  In the place
  Where men most walked a table of fine brass
  Was set on marble, with an iron style
  That all might carve within that golden space
  If one grief came -- and still the people pass,
  And since the city first began
  None wrote one word thereon till one -- a man
  Witty in spite of happiness -- wrote there:
  "I grieve because the tablet is so fair
  And still stands bare,
  There being none to beautify the same
  With the moon-curved Arabian character."
  Whereat the king, "Thy grief itself removes
  In its own cry its cause."  And thence there came
  Soft laughter that may hardly stir
  The flowers that shake not in the City of Loves.
  (For so men called the city's name
  Because the people were more mild than doves,
  More beautiful than Gods of wood or river;
  And so the city should endure for ever.)

«1. Mountain nymph.»

  But the king's mood was otherwise this day.
  Along time's river, fifty years away,
  There was a young man once
  Ruddier than autumn suns {40A}
  With gold hair curling like the spring sun's gold,
  And blue eyes where stars lurked for happiness,
  And lithe with all a young fawn's loveliness.
  Such are the dwellers of the fire that fold
  Fine wings in wanton ecstasy, and sleep
  Where the thin tongues of glory leap
  Up from the brazen hold
  And far majestic keep
  Of Djinn, the Lord of elemental light.
  But he beheld some sight
  Beyond that city's joy: his gentle word
  The old king gently heard.
  (This king was Zohra's father) "Lord and king
  Of love's own city, give me leave to wing
  A fervid flight to yonder hills of night.
  Not that my soul is weary of the light
  And lordship of thy presence; but in tender dream
  I saw myself on the still stream
  Where the lakes goes toward the mountain wall.
  These little lives and loves ephemeral
  Seemed in that dream still sweet; yet even now
  I turned the shallop's prow
  With gathering joy toward the lampless mountains.
  I heard the four bright fountains
  Gathering joy of music -- verily
  I cannot understand
  How this can be,
  Yet -- I would travel to that land."
  So all they kissed him -- and the boy was gone.
  But when the full moon shone
  A child cried out that he had seen that face
  Limned with incomparable grace
  Even in the shape of splendour as she passed.
  The king's thought turned at last
  To that forgotten story: and desire
  Filled all his heart with aureate fire
  Whose texture was a woman's hair; so fine
  Bloomed the fair flower of pleasure:
  Not the wild solar treasure
  Of gleaming light, but the moon's shadowy pearl,
  The love of a young girl {40B}
  Before she knows that love: so mused the king;
  "I am not weary of the soul of spring,"
  He said, "none happier in this causeless chain
  Of life that bears no fruit of pain,
  No seed of sorrow," yet his heart was stirred,
  And, wasting no weak word
  On the invulnerable air, that had
  No soul of memories sad,
  He passed through all the palace: in his bowers
  He stooped and kissed the flowers;
  And in his hall of audience stayed awhile,
  And with a glad strange smile
  Bade a farewell to all those lords of his;
  And greeted with a kiss
  The virgins clustered in his halls of bliss.
  Next, passing through the city, gave his hand
  To many a joyous band
  Flower-decked that wandered through the wanton ways
  Through summer's idle days.
  Last, passing through the city wall, he came
  Out to the living flame
  Of lambent water and the carven quay,
  Stone, like embroidery!
  All the dear beauty of art's soul sublime
  He looked on the last time,
  And trod the figured steps, and found the ledge
  At the white water's edge
  Where the king's pinnace lodged; but he put by
  That shell of ivory,
  And chose a pearl-inwoven canoe, whose prow
  Bore the moon's own bright brow
  In grace of silver sculputred; and therein
  He stepped; and all the water thin
  Laughed to receive him; now the city faded
  Little by little into many-shaded
  Clusters of colour.  So his boat was drawn
  Subtly toward the dawn
  With little labour; and the lake dropped down
  From the orb's utter crown
  O'er the horizon; and the narrowing sides
  Showed him the moving tides {41A}
  And pearling waters of a tinier stream
  Than in a maiden's dream
  She laves her silken limbs in, and is glad.
  Then did indeed the fountains change their tune,
  Sliding from gold sun-clad
  to silver filigree wherethrough the moon
  Shines -- for the subtle soul
  Of music takes on shape, and we compare
  The cedar's branching hair,
  The comet's glory, and the woman's smile,
  To strange devices otherwise not heard
  Without the lute's own word.
  So on the soul of Zohra grew
  A fashioned orb of fiery dew;
  Yet (as cool water on a leaf)
  It touched his spirit not with grief,
  Although its name was sorrow.
  "O for a name to borrow"
  (He mused) "some semblance for this subtle sense
  Of new experience!
  For on my heart, untouched, my mind not used
  To any metre mused,
  Save the one tranquil and continuous rhyme
  Of joy exceeding time,
  Here the joy changes, but abides for ever,
  Here on the shining river
  Where the dusk gathers, and tall trees begin
  To wrap the shallop in,
  Sweet shade not cast of sun or moon or star,
  But of some light afar
  Softer and sweeter than all these -- what light
  Burns past the wondrous night
  Of yonder crags? -- what riven chasm hides
  In those mysterious sides?
  Somewhere this stream must leap
  Down vales divinely steep
  Into some vain unprofitable deep!"
  So mused the king.  Mark you, the full moon shone!
  Nay, but a little past the full, she rose
  An hour past sunset: as some laughter gone,
  After the bride's night, lost in subtler snows {41B}
  Rosy with wifehood.  Now the shallop glides
  On gloomier shadier tides,
  While the long hair of willows bent and kissed
  The stream, and drew its mist
  Up through their silent atmosphere.
  Some sorrow drawing near
  That slow, dark river would for sympathy
  Have found its home and never wandered out
  Into the sunlight any more.  A sigh
  Stirred the pale waters where the moonlight stood
  Upon the sleepy flood
  In certain bough-wrought shapes of mystic meaning,
  As if the moon were weaning
  The king her babe from milk of life and love
  To milk new-dropped above
  From her sweet breast in vaporous light
  Into the willowy night
  That lay upon the river.  So the king
  Heard a strange chant -- the woods began to sing;
  The river took the tune; the willows kept
  Time; and the black skies wept
  Those tears, those blossoms, those pearl drops of milk
  That the moon shed: and looking up he saw
  As if the willows were but robes of silk,
  The moon's face stoop and draw
  Close to his forehead; at the tears she shed
  He knew that he was dead!
  Thus he feared not, nor wondered, as the stream
  Grew darker, as a dream
  Fades to the utter deep
  Of dreamless sleep.
  The stream grew darker, and the willows cover
  (As lover from a lover
  Even for love's sake all the wealth of love)
  The whole light of the skies: there came to him
  Sense of some being dim
  Bent over him, one colour and one form
  With the dark leaves; but warm
  And capable of some diviner air.
  Her limbs were bare, her face supremely fair, {42A}
  Her soul one shapely splendour,
  Her voice indeed as tender
  As very silence: so he would not speak,
  But let his being fade: that all the past
  Grew shadowy and weak,
  And lost its life at last,
  Being mere dream to this that was indeed
  Life: and some utter need
  Of this one's love grew up in him: he knew
  The spirit of that dew
  In his own soul; and this indeed was love.
  The faint girl bent above
  With fixed eyes close upon him; oh! her face
  Burned in the rapturous grace
  Feeding on his; and subtly, without touch,
  Grew as a flower that opens at the dawn
  Their kiss: for touch of lips is death to love.
  Even as the gentle plant one finger presses,
  However soft the tress is
  Of even the air's profane caresses,
  It closes, all its joy of light withdrawn;
  The sun feels sadness in his skies above,
  Because one flower is folded.  Thus they floated
  Most deathlessly devoted
  Beyond the trees, and where the hills divide
  To take the nighted tide
  Into a darker, deeper, greener breast,
  Maybe to find -- what rest?
  Now to those girdling mountains moon-exalted
  Came through the hills deep-vaulted
  That pearly shallop: there the rocks were rent,
  And the pale element
  Flowed idly in their gorges: there the night
  Admits no beam of light;
  Nor can the poet's eye
  One ray espy.
  Therefore I saw not how the voyage ended,
  Only wherethrough those cliffs were rended
  I saw them pass: and ever closer bent
  The lady and the lover; ever slower
  Moved the light craft, and lower
  Murmured the waters and the wind complained;
  And ever the moon waned;
  Not wheeling round the world,
  But subtly curved an curled {42B}
  In shapes not seen of men, abiding ever
  Above the lonely river
  Aloft: no more I saw than this,
  The shadowy bending to the first sweet kiss
  That surely could not end, though earth should end.
  Therefore my shut eyes blend
  With sleep's own secret eyes and eyelashes,
  Long and deep ecstasies,
  Knowing as now I know -- at last -- how this
  Foreshadows my own bliss
  Of falling into death when life is tired.
  For all things desired
  Not one as death is so desirable,
  Seeing all sorrows pass, all joys endure,
  All lessons last.  Not heaven and not hell
  (My spirit is grown sure)
  Await the lover
  But death's veil draws, life's mother to discover,
  Nature; no longer mother, but a bride!
  Ay! there is none beside.
  O brothers mightier than my mightiest word
  In the least sob that stirred
  Your lyres, bring me, me also to the end!
  Be near to me, befriend
  Me in the moonlit, moonless deeps of death,
  And with exalted breath
  Breathe some few flames into the embers dull
  Of these poor rhymes and leave them beautiful.
             "SABBE PI DUKKHAM."
           ("Everything is Sorrow.")
   "Written in Lamma Sayadaw Kyoung, Akyab."
  LAUGHTER in the faces of the people
  Running round the theatre of music
  When the cunning actors play the Bacchae,
  Greets the gay attire and gait of Pentheus,
  Pentheus by his blasphemy deluded,
  Pentheus caught already in the meshes
  Of the fate that means to catch and crush him, {43A}
  Pentheus going forth with dance and revel,
  Soon by Bassarids (wild joys of Nature)
  To be hunted.  Ai! the body mangled
  By the fatal fury of the Maenads
  Let by Agave his maddened mother
  (Nature's self).  But this the people guess not,
  Only see the youth in woman's raiment,
  Feigned tresses drooping from his forehead,
  Awkward with unwonted dress, rude waving
  Aye the light spear tipped with mystic pine-cone;
  Hear his boast who lifts the slender thyrsus:
  "I could bear the mass of swart Cithaeron,
  And themselves the Maenads on my shoulders."
  So the self-willed's folly lights the laugher
  Rippling round the theatre.  But horror
  Seizes on the heart of the judicious.
  They see only madness and destruction
  In the mockery's self innate, implicit.
  Horror, deeper grief, most dreadful musings
  Theirs who penetrate the poet's purpose!
  So in all the passing joys of nature,
  Joys of birth, and joys of life, in pleasures
  Beautiful or innocent or stately,
  May the wise discern the fact of being --
  Change and death, the tragedy deep-lurking
  Hidden in the laughter of the people,
  So that laughter's self grows gross and hateful.
  Then the noble Truth of Sorrow quickens
  Every heart, and, seeking out its causes,
  Still the one task of the wise, their wisdom
  Finds desire, and, seeking out its medicine,
  Finds cessation of desire, and, seeking
  How so fierce a feat may be accomplished,
  Finds at first in Truth a right foundation,
  Builds the walls of Rightful Life upon it,
  Four-square, Word and Act and Aspiration
  Folded mystically across each other,
  Crowns that palace of enduring marble
  With sky-piercing pinnacles of Will-power
  Rightly carven, rightly pointed; strengthens
  [Mind sole centred on the single object]
  All against the lightning, earthquake, thunder,
  Meteor, cyclone with strong Meditation.
  There, the scared spot from wind well-guarded,
  May the lamp, the golden lamp, be lighted {43B}
  To illume the whole with final Rapture
  And destroy the House of pain for ever,
  Leave its laughter and its tears, and shatter
  all the cause of its mockery, master
  All the workings of its will, and vanish
  Into peace and light and bliss, whose nature
  Baffles so the little tongues of mortals
  That we name it not, but from its threshold,
  From the golden word upon its gateway,
  Style "Cessation"; that whose self we guess not.
  Thus the wise most mystically interpret
  Into wisdom the worst folly spoken
  By the mortal of a god deluded.
  So, the last wise word rejected, Pentheus
  Cries, "ag oos tachista, tou chronou de
  soi pthonoo"<<1>> -- "Why waste we time in talking?
  Let us now away unto the mountains!"
  So the wise, enlightened by compassion,
  Seeks that bliss for all the world of sorrow,
  Swears the bitter oath of Vajrapani:
  "Ere the cycle rush to utter darkness
  Work I so that every living being
  Pass beyond this constant chain of causes.
  If I fail, may all my being shatter
  Into millions of far-whirling pieces!"
  Swears that oath, and works, and studies silence,
  Takes his refuge in the triple jewel,
  Strangles all desires in their beginning,
  Leaves no egg of thought to hatch its serpent
  Thrice detested for unnatural breeding --
  Basilisk, to slay the maddened gazer.
  Thus the wise man, for no glory-guerdon,
  Hope of life or joy in earth or heaven,
  Works, rejecting all the flowers of promise
  Dew-lit that surround his path; but keepeth
  Steady all his will to one endeavour,
  Till the light, the might, the joy, the sorrow,
  Life and death and love and hate are broken:
  Work effaces work, avails the worker.
  Strength, speed, ardour, courage and endurance
  (Needed never more) depart for ever.
  All dissolves, an unsubstantial phantom,
  Ghost of morning seen before the sunrise,
  Ghost of daylight seen beyond the sunset.  {44A}
  All hath past beyond the soul's delusion.
  All hath changed to the ever changeless.
  Name and form in nameless and in formless
  Vanish, vanish and are lost for ever.

«1. WEH NOTE: In the text, this is in Greek: alpha-gamma omega-sigma tau-alpha-chi-iota-sigma-tau-alpha, tau-omicron-upsilon chi-rho-omicron-nu-omicron-upsilon delta-epsilon sigma-omicron-iota phi-theta-omicron-nu-omega»


«1. An attempt to translate this noblest of the Buddhist books into the original metres. The task soon tired. – A.C.»

  ALL that we are from mind results, on mind is founded, built of mind.
  Who acts or speaks with evil thought, him doth pain follow sure and
  So the ox plants his foot and so the car-wheel follows hard behind.

«1. Blind, “i.e.,” operated by law, not by caprice of a deity.»

  All that we are from mind results, on mind is founded, built of mind.
  Who acts or speaks with righteous thought, him happiness doth surely find.
  So failing not, the shadow falls for ever in its place assigned.
  "Me he abused and me he beat, he robbed me, he defeated me."
  In whom such thought find harbourage hatred will never cease to be.
  "Me he abused and me he beat, he robbed me, he defeated me."
  In whom such thoughts no harbourage may find, will hatred cease to be.
  "The state of hate doth not abate by hate in any clime or time,
  But hate will cease if love increase,"<<1>> so soothly runs the ancient
      rhyme.  {44B}

«1. Crowley has imitated the punning of the Pali by the repeated rhymes, which further gives the flavour of the Old English proverbial saw.»

  The truth that "here we all must die" those others do not comprehend;
  But some perceiving it, for them all discords fund an utter end.
  Sodden<<1>> with passion, unrestrained his senses (such an one we see),
  Immoderate in the food of sense, idle and void of energy:
  Him surely Mara<<2>> overcomes, as wind throws down the feeble tree.

«1. Sodden – the habitual – who “lives” unrestrained, etc.» «2. The Indian power of evil.»

  Careless of passion, well restrained his senses, such an one we find
  Moderate in pleasure, faithful, great in mighty energy of mind:
  Him Mara shakes not; are the hills thrown down by fury of the wind?
  He, void of temperance, and truth, from guilt, impurity, and sin
  Not free, the poor and golden robe he hath no worth to clothe therein.

«1. Alternative reading! –

 Who is not free from dirty taint, and temperate and truthful ain't,
 He should not wear the garment quaint that marks the Arahat or Saint. -- A.C.>>
  Regarding temperance and truth, from guilt, impurity, and sin
  Freed, he the poor and golden robe indeed hath worth to clothe therein.
  They who see falsehood in the Truth, imagine Truth to lurk in lies,
  Never arrive to know the Truth, but follow eager vanities.
  To whom in Truth the Truth is known, Falsehood in Falsehood doth appear,
  To them the Path of Truth is shown; right aspirations are their sphere!
  An ill-thatched house is open to the mercy of the rain and wind.
  So passion hath the power to break into an unreflecting mind.
  A well-thatched house is proof against the fury of the rain and wind.
  So passion hath no power to break into a rightly-ordered mind.
  Here and hereafter doth he mourn, him suffering doth doubly irk,
  Who doeth evil, seeing now at last how evil was his work.
  The virtuous many rejoices here, hereafter doth he take delight,
  Both ways rejoices, both delights, as seeing that his work was right.
  Here and hereafter suffers he: the pains of shame his bosom fill
  Who thinks "I did the wrong," laments his going on the Path of Ill.
  Here and hereafter hath he joy: in both the joy of rectitude
  Who thinks "I did the right" and goes rejoicing on the Path of Good.
  A-many verses though he can recite of Law, the idle man who doth it not
  Is like an herd who numbereth cows of others, Priesthood him allows nor
      part nor lot.
  Who little of the Law can cite, yet knows and walks therein aright, and
      shuns the snare
  Of passion, folly, hate entwined: Right Effort liberates his mind, he doth
      not care
  For this course done or that to run: surely in Priesthood such an one hath
      earned a share.  {45B}
  Amata's<<1>> path is Earnestness, Dispersion Death's disciples tread:
  The earnest never die, the vain are even as already dead.

«1. Sanskrit, Amrita, the “Elixir of Life” and food of the gods.»

  Who understand, have travelled far on concentration's path, delight
  In concentration, have their joy, knowing the Noble Ones aright.
  In meditation firmly fixed, by constant strenuous effort high,
  They to Nibbana<<1>> come at last, the incomparable security.

«1. Sanskrit, Nirvana. See Childers' Pali Dictionary for etymological discussion. The signification is too difficult a question to settle offhand in a note.»

  Whose mind is strenuous and reflects; whose deeds are circumspect and
  His thoughts aye fixed on Law, the fame of that concentred shall endure.
  By Earnestness, by centred thought, by self-restraint, by suffering long,
  Let the wise man an island build against the fatal current strong.
  Fools follow after vanity, those men of evil wisdom's sect;
  But the wise man doth earnestness, a precious talisman, protect.
  Follow not vanity, nor seek the transient pleasures of the sense:
  The earnest one who meditates derives the highest rapture thence.
  When the wise man by Earnestness hath Vanity to chaos hurled
  He mounts to wisdom's palace, looks serene upon the sorrowing world.
  Mighty is wisdom: as a man climbs high upon the hills ice-crowned,
  Surveys, aloof, the toiling folk far distant on the dusty ground.
  Among the sleepers vigilant, among the thoughtless eager-eyed
  The wise speeds on; the racer so passes the hack with vigorous stride.
  By earnestness did Maghava<<1>> attain of Gods to be the Lord.
  Praise is one-pointed thought's reward; Dispersion is a thing abhorred.

«1. Indra, the Indian Zeus.»

  The Bhikkhu who in Earnestness delights, who fears dispersions dire,
  His fetters all, both great and small, burning he moves about the fire.
  The Bhikkhu who in Earnestness delights, Dispersion sees with fear,
  He goes not to Destruction; he unto Nibbana draweth near.
                  THE ARROW.
  Just as the fletcher shapes his shaft straightly, so shapes his thought
      the saint,
  For that is trembling, weak, impatient of direction or restraint.
  Mara's dominion to escape if thought impetuously tries
  Like to a fish from water snatched thrown on the ground it trembling lies.
  Where'er it listeth runneth thought, the tameless trembling consciousness.
  Well is it to restrain: -- a mind so stilled and tamed brings happiness.
  Hard to perceive, all-wandering, subtle and eager do they press,
  Thoughts; let the wise man guard his thoughts; well guarded thoughts bring
      happiness.  {46B}
  Moving alone, far-travelling, bodiless, hidden i'th' heart, who trains
  His thought and binds it by his will shall be released from Mara's chains.
  Who stills not thought, nor knows true laws; in whom distraction is not
  Troubling his peace of mind; he shall to perfect knowledge never come.
  His thoughts concentred, unperplexed his mind renouncing good and ill.
  Alike, for him there is no fear if only he be watchful still.
  Knowing this body to be frail, making this thought a fortalice, do thou
  Mara with wisdom's shaft assail!  Watch him when conquered.  Never cease
      thou from the fight.
  Alas! ere long a useless log, this body on the earth will lie.
  Contemned of all, and void of sense and understanding's unity.
  What foe may wreak on fie, or hate work on the hated from the hater,
  Surely an ill directed mind on us will do a mischief greater.
  Father and mother, kith and kin, of these can none do service kind
  So great to us, as to ourselves the good direction of the mind.
  O who shall overcome this earth, the world of God's and Yama's<<1>> power!
  Who find the well taught Path as skill of herbist finds the proper flower?

«1. Hades plus Minos; he both rules and judges the dead, according to Hindu mythology.»

  The seeker shall subdue this earth, the world of God's and Yama's power;
  The seeker find that Path as skill of herbist finds the proper flower.
  Like unto foam this body whoso sees, its mirage-nature comprehends aright,
  Breaking dread Mara's flower-pointed shaft he goes, Death's monarch shall
      not meet his sight.
  Like one who strayeth gathering flowers, is he who Pleasure lusteth on;
  As the flood whelms the sleeping village, so Death snaps him -- he is
  Like one who strayeth gathering flowers is he whose thoughts to Pleasure
  While yet unsatisfied with lusts, there conquereth him the Iron King.
  As the bee gathers nectar, hurts not the flower's colour, its sweet smell
  In no wise injureth, so let the Sage within his hamlet dwell.
  To others' failures, others' sins done or good deeds undone let swerve
  Never the thought; thine own misdeeds, omissions, -- these alone observe.
  Like to a lovely flower of hue bright, that hath yet no odour sweet
  So are his words who speaketh well, fruitless, by action incomplete.
  Like to a lovely flower of hue delightful and of odour sweet
  So are his words who speaketh well, fruitful, by action made complete.
  As from a heap of flowers can men make many garlands, so, once born,
  A man a-many noble deeds by doing may his life adorn.  {47B}
  Travels the scent of flowers against the wind?  Not Sandal, Taggara, nor
      Jasmine scent!
  But the odour of the good doth so, the good pervadeth unto every element.
  When Sandal, Lotus, Taggara and Vassiki their odour rare
  Shed forth, their fragrant excellence is verily beyond compare.
  Yet little is this fragrance found of Taggara and Sandal wood:
  Mounts to the Gods, the highest, the scent of those whose deeds are right
      and good.
  Perfect in virtue, living lives of Earnestness, Right Knowledge hath
  Brought into liberty their minds, that Mara findeth not their path.
  As on a heap of rubbish thrown by the wayside the Lotus flower
  Will bloom sweet scented, delicate and excellent to think upon;
  So 'mid the slothful worthless ones, the Walkers in Delusion's power,
  In glory of Wisdom, light of Buddh forth hath the True Disciple shone.
               "Desunt cetera."<<1>>

«1. The reader will kindly note such important changes of metre as occur in the two last verses of “The Twins” and elsewhere. The careless might suppose that these do not scan; they do, following directly or by analogy a similar change in the Pali.»

           ST. PATRICK'S DAY, 1902.
              "Written at Delhi."
  O GOOD St. Patrick, turn again
  Thy mild eyes to the Western main!
  Shalt thou be silent? thou forget?
  Are there no snakes in Ireland yet?
      "Death to the Saxon!  Slay nor spare!"
      "O God of Justice, hear us swear!"  {48A}
  The iron Saxon's bloody hand
  Metes out his murder on the land.
  The light of Erin is forlorn.
  The country fades: the people mourn.
  Of land bereft, of right beguiled,
  Starved, tortured, murdered, or exiled;
  Of freedom robbed, of faith cajoled,
  In secret councils bought and sold!
  Their weapons are the cell, the law,
  The gallows, and the scourge, to awe
  Brave Irish hearts: their hates deny
  The right to live -- the right to die.
  Our weapons -- be they fire and cord,
  The shell, the rifle, and the sword!
  Without a helper or a friend
  All means be righteous to the End!
  Look not for help to wordy strife!
  This battle is for death or life.
  Melt mountains with a word -- and then
  The colder hearts of Englishmen!
  Look not to Europe in your need!
  Columbia's but a broken reed!
  Your own good hearts, your own strong hand
  Win back at last the Irish land.
  Won by the strength of cold despair
  Our chance is near us -- slay nor spare!
  Open to fate the Saxons lie: --
  Up!  Ireland! ere the good hour fly!
  Stand all our fortunes on one cast!
  Arise! the hour is come at last.
  One torch may fire the ungodly shrine --
  O God! and may that torch be mine!
  But, even when victory is assured,
  Forget not all ye have endured!
  Of native mercy dam the dyke,
  And leave the snake no fang to strike!
  They slew our women: let us then
  At least annihilate their men!
  Lest the ill race from faithless graves
  Arise again to make us slaves.  {48B}
  Arise, O God, and stand, and smite
  For Ireland's wrong, for Ireland's right!
  Our Lady, stay the pitying tear!
  There is no room for pity here!
  What pity knew the Saxon e'er?
  Arise, O God, and slay nor spare,
  Until full vengeance rightly wrought
  Bring all their house of wrong to nought!
  Scorn, the catastrophe of crime,
  these be their monuments through time!
  And Ireland, green once more and fresh,
  Draw life from their dissolving flesh!
  By Saxon carcases renewed,
  Spring up, O shamrock virgin-hued!
  And in the glory of thy leaf
  Let all forget the ancient grief!
  Now is the hour!  The drink is poured!
  Wake! fatal and avenging sword!
  Brave men of Erin, hand in hand,
  Arise and free the lovely land!
      "Death to the Saxon!  Slay nor spare!"
      "O God of Justice, hear us swear!"  {48A}
              THE EARL'S QUEST.
  "Written at Camp Despair, 20,000 ft., Chogo
            Ri Lungma, Baltistan."
  SO now the Earl was well a-weary of
  The grievous folly of this wandering.
  Had he been able to have counted Love
  Or Power, or Knowledge as the sole strong thing
  Fit to suffice his quest, his eyes had gleamed
  With the success already grasped.  The sting
  Of all he suffered, was that he esteemed
  His quest partook of all and yet of none.
  So as he rode the woodlands out there beamed {49A}
  The dull large spectre of a grim flat sun,
  Red and obscure upon the leaden haze
  That lapped and wrapped and rode the horizon.
  The Earl rode steadily on.  A crest caught rays
  Of that abominable sunset, sharp
  With needles of young pines, their tips ablaze.
  Their feet dead black; the wind's dark fingers warp
  To its own time their strings, a sombre mode
  Found by a ghost on a forgotten harp
  Or (Still more terrible!) the lost dread ode
  That used to all the dead knights to their chief
  To the lone waters from the shadowy road.
  So deemed the weary Earl of the wind's grief,
  And seemed to see about him form by form
  Like mighty wrecks, wave-shattered on a reef,
  Moulded and mastered by the shapeless storm
  A thousand figures of himself the mist
  Enlarged, distorted: yet without a qualm
  (So sad was he) he mounted the last twist
  Of the path's hate, and faced the wind, and saw
  The lead gleam to a surly amethyst
  As the sun dipped, and Night put forth a paw
  Like a black panther's, and efface the East.
  Then, with a sudden inward catch of awe
  As if behind him sprang some silent beast,
  So shuddered he, and spurred his horse, and found
  A black path towards the water; he released
  The bridle; so the way went steep, ill bound
  On an accursed task, so dark it loomed
  Amid its yews and cypresses, each mound {49B}
  About each root, a grave, where Hell entombed
  A vampire till the night broke sepulchre
  And all its phantoms desperate and doomed
  Began to gather flesh, to breathe, to stir.
  Such was the path, yet hard should find the work
  Glamour, to weave her web of gossamer
  Over such eyesight as the Earl's for murk.
  He had watched for larvae by the midnight roads,
  The stake-transpierced corpse, the caves where lurk
  The demon spiders, and the shapeless toads
  Fed by their lovers duly on the draught
  That bloats and blisters, blackens and corrodes.
  These had he seed of old; so now he laughed,
  Not without bitterness deep-lying, that erst
  He had esteemed such foolish devil's craft
  Part of his quest, his qest when fair and first
  He flung the last, the strongest horsemen back
  With such a buffet that no skill amerced
  Its debt but headlong in his charger's track
  He must be hurled, rib-shatteredby the shock;
  And the loud populace exclaimed "Alack!",
  Their favourite foiled.  But oh! the royal stock
  Of holy kings from Christ to Charlemagne
  Hailed him, anointed him, fair lock by lock,
  With oil that drew incalculable gain
  From those six olives in the midst whereof
  Christ prayed the last time, ere the fatal Wain<<1>>

«1. Charles' Wain – Ursa Maor. There is a silly legend to this effect.»

  Stood in the sky reversed, and utmost Love
  Entered the sadness of Gethsemane.
  So did the king; so did the priest above {50A}
  Place his old hands upon the Earl's, decree
  The splendid and the solemn accolade
  That he should go forth to the world and be
  Knight-errant; so did then the fairest maid
  Of all that noble company keep hid
  The love that melted her; she took the blade
  Blessed by a mage, who slew the harmless kid
  With solemn rite and water poured athwart
  In stars and sigils, -- fire leapt out amid,
  And blazed upon the blade; and stark cold swart
  Demons came hurtling to enforce the spell,
  Until the exorcism duly wrought
  Fixed in the living steel so terrible
  A force nor man nor devil might assail,
  Nay -- might approach the wary warrior well,
  So long as he was clothed in silver mail
  Of purity, and iron-helmeted
  With ignorance of fear: so through the hail
  Of flowers, of cries, of looks, of white and red,
  Fear, hatred, envy, love -- nay, self-conceit
  Of girls that preened itself and masqued instead
  Of love -- he rode with head deep bowed -- too sweet,
  Too solemn at that moment to respond,
  Or even to lift his evening eyes to greet
  The one he knew was nearest -- too, too fond!
  He dared not -- not for his sake but for hers.
  So he bent down, and passed away beyond
  In space, in time.  [The myriad ministers
  Of God, seeing her soul, prayed God to send
  One spirit yet to turn him -- subtly stirs
  The eternal gory of god's mouth; "The end
  Is not, nor the beginning."  Such the speech
  Our language fashions down -- to comprehend.]  {50B}
  The wood broke suddenly upon the beach,
  Curved, flat; the water oozing on the sand
  Stretched waveless out beyond where eye might reach,
  A grey and shapeless place, a hopeless land!
  Yet in that vast, that weary sad expanse
  The Earl saw three strange objects on the strand
  His keen eye noted at the firstborn glance,
  And recognised as pointers for his soul;
  So that his soul was fervid in the dance,
  Knowing itself one step more near the goal,
  Should he but make the perfect choice of these.
  Farthest, loose tethered, at a stake's control,
  A shallop rocked before the sullen breeze.
  Midway, a hermit's hut stood solitary,
  A dim light set therein.  Near and at ease
  A jolly well-lit inn -- no phantom airy!
  Solid and warm, short snatches of light song
  Issuing cheery now and then.  "Be wary!"
  Quoth the wise Earl, "I wander very long
  Far from my quest, assuredly to fall
  Sideways each step towards the House of Wrong,
  "Were but one choice demented.  Choice is small
  Here though.  (A flash of insight in his mind)
  Which of these three gets answer to its call?
  "Yon shallop? -- leave to Galahad!  Resigned
  Yon hermit to be welcome Lancelot!
  For me -- the inn -- what fate am I to find?
  "Who cares?  Shall I seek ever -- do ye wot? --
  But in the outre, the obscure, the occult?
  My Master is of might to lift me what {51A}
  "Hangs, veil of glamour, on my 'Quisque vult,'
  The morion's motto: to exhaust the cross,
  Bidding it glow with roses  -- the result
  "What way he will: may be adventure's loss
  is gain to common sense; whereby I guess
  Wise men have hidden Mount Biagenos<<1>>

«1. The mystic mountain of the Rosicrucians.»

  "And all its height from fools who looked no less
  For snows to lurk beneath the roots of yew,
  Or in the caverns grim with gloominess
  "Hid deep i' the forests they would wander through,
  Instead of travelling the straightforward road.
  I call them fools -- well, I have been one too.
  "Now then at least for the secure abode
  And way of luck -- knight-errantry once doffed,
  The ox set kicking at his self-set goad,
  "Here's for the hostel and the light aloft!
  Roderic, my lad! there's pelf to pay the score
  For ale and cakes and venison and a soft
  "Bed we have missed this three months -- now no more
  Of folly!  Avaunt, old Merlin's nonsense lore!
  Ho there!  Travellers!  Mine host!  Open the door!"
                "Desunt cetera."
In the second part -- joyous inn fireside -- the Earl refuses power, knowledge, and love (offered him by a guest) by the symbolic drink of ale and the cherry cheeks of the maid.
In part three she, coming secretly to him, warns him he must destroy the three vices, faith, hope, and charity.  This he does easily, save the love of the figure of the Crucified; but at last conquering this, he attains.  [These were never written.]  {51B}
        "Written in the Mosque of Omar."
  HERS was the first sufficient sacrifice
    That won us freedom, hers the generous gift
    That turned herself upon the curse adrift
  Sailless and rudderless, to pay the price
  Of permanence with pain, of love with vice,
    Like a tall ship swan-lovely, swallow-swift,
    That makes upon the breakers.  So the rift
  Sprang and the flame roared.  Farewell, Paradise!
  How shall a man that is a man reward
  Her priceless sacrifice, rebuke the Lord?
    Why, there's Convention's corral; ring her round!
  Here's shame's barbed wire; push out the unclean thing!
  Here's freedom's falconry; quick, clip her wing!
    There, labour's danger -- thrust her underground!
                  THE SIBYL.
  CROUCHED o'er the tripod the pale priestess moans
    Ambiguous destiny, divided fate.
    Sibylline oracles of woe create
  Roars as of beasts, majestic monotones
  Of wind, strong cries of elemental thrones,
    All sounds of mystery of the Pythian state!
    O woman without change or joy or date
  I await thy oracle as the Delphian stone's!
                "Desunt cetera."
                 LA COUREUSE.
    "Written in the Quartier Latin, Paris."
  A FADED skirt, a silken petticoat,
    A little jacket, a small shapely shoe,
    A toque.  A symphony in gray and blue,
  The child ripples, the conquering masternote {52A}
  Sublety.  Faint, stray showers of twilight float
    In shadows round the well-poised head; dark, true,
    Joyous the eyes laugh -- and are weeping too,
  For all the victory of her royal throat.
  She showed her purse with tantalising grace:
    Some sous, a franc, a key, some stuff, soft grey.
  The mocking laughter trills upon her tongue:
  "There's all my fortune."  "And your pretty face!
    What do you do?"  Wearily, "I am gay."
  "What do you hope for?"  Simply, "To die young."
           SONNET FOR A PICTURE.<<1>>

«1. A parody on his own appreciations of Rodin's sculpture.»

“GR:pi-omicron-iota-kappa-iota-lambda-omicron-theta-rho-omicron-nu', alpha-theta-alpha-nu-alpha-tau' 'Alpha-phi-rho-omicron-delta-iota-tau-alpha.”

              "---We have seen
   Gold tarnished, and the gray above---"
                               -- SWINBURNE.
  AS some lone mountebank of the stage may tweak
    The noses of his fellows, so Gavin<<1>>
    Tweaks with her brush-work the absurd obscene
  Academicians.  How her pictures speak!
  Chiaroscuro Rembrandtesque, form Greek!
    What values!  What a composition clean!
    Breadth shaming broadness!  Manner epicine!
  Texture superb!  Magnificent technique!

«1. An art student in Paris at this time.»

  Raphael, Velasquez, Michael Angelo,
    Stare, gape, and splutter when they see thy colour,
    Reds killing roses, greens blaspheming grass.
  O thou art simply perfect, don't you know?
    Than thee all masters of old time are duller,
    O artiste of the Quartier Montparnasse!  {52B}
               TO "ELIZABETH."
           "Written in the Akasa."<<1>>

«1. Space or Ether. The Hindus say that all actions, especially important (“i.e.” spiritual) ones, are written therein. It is an Automatic Recording Angel.»

  THE story of a fool.  From love and death
  Emancipate, he stand above.  The goal
  Is in the shrines of misty air: there roll
  The voices and the songs of One who saith:
  "There is no peace for him who lingereth."
  Love is a cinder now that was a coal:
  Either were vain.  The great magician's soul
  Is far too weak to risk Elizabeth.
  All this is past and under me.  Above,
  Around, the magian tree of knowledge waves
  its rosy flowers and golden fruit.  I know
  Indeed that he is caught therein who craves;
  But I, desiring not, accept the glow
  And blossom of that Knowledge that is Love.
     "Written in the Casino, Monte Carlo."
  THERE is no hell but earth: O coil of fate
    Binding us surely in the Halls of Birth,
  The unsubstantial, the dissolving state!
    There is no hell but earth.
  Vain are the falsehoods that subserve to mirth.
    Dust is to dust, create or uncreate.
  The wheel is bounded by the world's great girth.
  By prayer and penance unregenerate,
    Redeemed by no man's sacrifice or worth,
  We swing: no mortal knows his ultimate.
    There is no hell but earth.
  In all the skies the planets and the stars
    Receive us, where our fate in order plies.
  Somewhere we live between the savage bars
                  In all the skies.  {53A}
    Let God's highest heaven receive the man who dies --
  All hath an end: he falls: the stains and scars
    Are his throughout unwatched eternities.
  The roses and the scented nenuphars
    Give hope -- oh! monolith! oh house of lies!
  We change and change and fade, strange avatars
                  In all the skies.
  One way sets free.  That way is not to tread
    Through fire or earth or spirit, air or sea.
  That secret is not gathered of the dead.
                  On way sets free.
  "Not to desire" shall lead to "not to be."
    There is no hope within, none overhead,
  None by the chance of fate's august decree.
  It is a path where tears are ever shed.
    There is no joy -- is that a path for me?
  Yea! though I track the ways of utmost dread,
                  One way sets free.

«1. If this poem be repeatedly read through, it falls into a subtly rhymed and metrical form.»

I SAW in a trance or a vision the web of the ages unfurled, flung wide with a scream of derision, a mockery mute of the world. As it spread over sky I mapped it fair on a sheet of blue air with a hurricane pen. I copy it here for men. First on the ghostly adytum of pale mist that was the abyss of time and space (the stars all blotted out, poor faded nenuphars on the storm-sea of the infinite:) I wist a shapeless figure arise and cover all, its cloak an ancient pall, vaster and older than the skies of night, and blacker than all broken years – aye! but it grew and held me in its grasp so that {53B} I felt its flesh, not clean sweet flesh of man but leprous white, and crawling with innumerable tears like worms, and pains like a sword-severed asp, twitching, and loathlier than all mesh of hates and lusts, defiling; nor any voice it had, nor any motion, it was infinite in its own world of horror, irredeemably bad as everywhere sunlit, being this world, forget not! being this world, this universe, the sum of all existence; so that opposing fierce resistance to the all-law, stood loves and joys, delicate girls, and beautiful strong boys, and bearded men like gods, and golden things, and bright desires with wings, all beauties, and all truths of life poets have ever prized. So showed the microscope, this aged strife between all forms; but seen afar, seen well drawn in a focus, synthesised, the whole was sorrow and despair; agony biting through the fair; meanness, contemptibility, enthroned; all proposeless, all unatoned; all putrid of an hope, all vacant of a soul. I called upon its master, as who should call on God. Instead, arose a shining form, sweet as a whisper of soft air kissing the brows of a great storm; his face with light was molten, musical with waves of his delight moving across: his countenance utterly fair! then was my philosophic vision shamed: conjecture at a loss; and my whole mind revolted; then I blamed the vision as a lie; yet bid that vision speak how he was named, being so wonderfully desirable. Whereat he smiled upon me merrily, answering that whoso named him well, being a poet, called him Love; or else being a lover of wisdom, called him Force; or being a cynic, called him Lust; or being a pietist, called him God. The last – thou seest! – (he said), a lie of Hell's, and all a partial course of the great circle of whirling dust (stirred by the iron rod of thought) that men call wisdom. So I looked deep in his beauty, and beheld its truth. The life of that fair youth was a a whiz of violent little whirls, helical coils of emptiness, grey curls of misty and impalpable stuff, torn, crooked, all ways {54A} and none at once, but ever pressed in idiot circles; and one thing he lacked, now I looked from afar again, was rest. Thence I withdrew my sight, the eyeballs cracked with stain of my endeavour, and my will struck up with subtler skill than any man's that in fair Crete tracked through the labyrinth of Minos, and awoke the cry to call his master; grew a monster whirlwind of revolving smoke and then, mere nothing. But in me arose a peace profounder than Himalayan snows cooped in their crystalline ravines. I saw the ultimation of the one wise law. I stood in the King's Chamber, by the tomb of slain Osiris, in the Pyramid and looked down the Great Gallery, deep, deep into the hollow of earth; grand gloom burned royally therein; I was well hid in the shadow; here I realised myself to be in that sepulchral sleep wherein were mirrored all these things of mystery. So the long passage steeply sliding ever up to my feet where I stood in the emptiness; at last a sure abiding only in absolute ceasing of all sense, and all perceived or understood or knowable; thus, purple and intense, I beheld the past that leads to peace, from royal heights of mastery to sleep, from self-control imperial to an end, therefore I shaped the seven tiers of the ascending corridor into seven strokes of wisdom, seven harvests fair to reap from seven bitter sowings.«Compare the Noble Eightfold Path, as described in “Science and Buddhism.” “infra.”» Here ascend the armies of life's universal war chasing the pious pilgrim. First, his sight grew adamant, sun-bright, so that he saw aright. Second, his heart was noble, that he would live ever unto good. Third, in his speech stood tokens of this will, so pitiful and pure he spake, nor ever from him brake woe-winged words, nor slaver of the snake. Fourth, in each noble act of life he taught crystalline vigour of thought, so in each deed he was aright; well-wrought all the man's work; and fifth, this hero strife grew one with his whole life, so harmonised to the one after-end his every {54B} conscious and unconscious strain, his peace and pleasure and pain, his reflex life, his deepest-seated deed of mere brute muscle and nerve! Thence, by great Will new-freed, the ardent life leaps, sixth, to Effort's tower, invoking the occult, the secret power, found in the void when all but Will is lost; so, seventh, he bends it from its bodily station into the great abyss of Meditation, whence the firm level is at last his own and Rapture's royal throne is more than throne, sarcophagus! an end! an end! Resounds the echo in the stone, incalculable myriads of tons poised in gigantic balance overhead, about, beneath. O blend your voices, angels of the awful earth! dogs! demons leaping into hideous birth from the imprisoned deserts of the Nile! And thou, O habitant most dread, disastrous crocodile, hear thou the Law, and live, and win to peace!

                  THE HILLS.
  WHENCE the black lands shudder and darken,
    Whence the sea birds have empire to range,
  Whence the moon and the meteor hearken
    The perpetual rhythm of change,
  On earth and in heaven deluded
    With time, that the soul of us kills,
  I have passed.  I have brooded, fled far to the wooded
    And desolate hills.
  Not there is the changing of voices
    That lament or regret or are sad,
  But the sun in his strength rejoices,
    The moon in her beauty is glad.
  As timeless and deathless time passes,
    And death is a hermit that dwells
  By the imminent masses of ice, where the grasses
    Abandon the fells.  {55A}
  There silence, arrayed as a spectre,
    Is visible, tangible, near,
  To the cup of the man pours nectar,
    To the heart of the coward is fear:
  Though the desolate waste be enchaunted
    By a spell that bewilders and chills,
  To me it is granted to worship the haunted
    Delight of the hills.
  To me all the blossoms are seedless,
    Yet big with all manner of fruit:
  And a voice in the waste is needless
    Since my soul in its splendour is mute.
  Though the height of the hill be deserted,
    The soul of a man has its mate;
  With the wide sky skirted his heart is reverted
    To commune with Fate.
  Far flings out the spur to the sunset;
    Its help to the hope of the sun
  That all be unfolded if one set,
    That none be apart from the One;
  And the sweep of the wings of the weather,
    Marked bright with the silvery ghylls
  For flickering feather, brings all things together
    To nest in the hills.
  Like a great bird poised in the aether,
    The mountain keeps watch over earth,
  On the child that lies sleeping beneath her
    Wild-eyed from a terrible birth.
  But by noise of the world unshaken,
    By dance of the world not bedinned,
  The hill bides forsaken, yet only to waken
    Her lover, the wind.
  Like a lion asleep in his fastness,
    Or a warrior leant on his spear,
  The hill stands up in the vastness,
    And the stars grow strangely near;
  For the secret of life and its gladness
    Are hidden in strength that distils
  A potion of madness from berries of sadness
    Grown wild in the hills.  {55B}
  Though the earth be disparted and rended,
    Thus only the great peaks change
  That their image is moulded and blended
    Into all that a fancy may range;
  And the silence my song could refigure
    To the note of a bird did I will,
  Of glory or rigour, of passion or vigour --
    The change were to ill!
  For silence is better than singing
    Though a Shelley wove songs in the sky,
  And hovering is is sweeter than winging;
    To live is less good than to die.
  The secret of secrets is hidden
    Not in the lives nor in loves, but in wills
  That are free and unchildden, that wander unbidden
    To home in the hills.
  A strength that is more than the summer
    Is firm in that silence and rest,
  Though stiller the rocks be and dumber
    That the soul of its slumber oppressed.
  For stronger control is than urging,
    And mightier the heart of the sea
  Than her waves deep-merging and striving and surging
    That deem they are free.
  In spirit I stand on the mountain,
    My soul into God's withdrawn
  And look to the East like a fountain
    That shoots up the spray of the dawn.
  And the life of the mountain swims through me
    (So the song of a thrush in me thrills)
  And the dawn speaks to me, of old for it knew me
    The soul of the hills.
  I stand on the mountain in wonder
    As the splendour springs up in the East,
  As the cloud banks are rended asunder,
    And the wings of the Night are released.
  As in travail a maiden demented,
    Afraid of the deed she hath done,
  By no man lamented, springs up the sweet-scented
    Pale flower of the sun.  {56A}
  So change not the heights and the hollows;
    The hollows are one with the heights
  In that pallid grave dawn of Apollo's
    Confusion of shadows and lights.
  Unreal save to sense that can sense her
    That maiden of sunrise refills
  The air's grey censer with perfumes intenser
    The higher the hills.
  So, vague as a ghost swift faded,
    Steals dawn, and so sunset may see
  How her long long locks deep-braided
    Fall down to her breast and her knee.
  So night and so sunrise discover
    No light and no darkness to heed.
  Night is above her, and brings her no lover;
    And day, but no deed.
  Such a sense is up and within me,
    A tongue as of mystical fire!
  Love, beauty, and holiness win me
    To the end of the great desire,
  Where I cease from the thirst and the labour,
    As the land that no ploughman tills
  Lest the robber his neighbour unloosen the sabre
    From holds in the hills.
  From love of my life and its burden
    Set free in the silence remote,
  Grows a sorrow divine for my guerdon,
    A peace in my struggling note.
  Compassion for earth far extended
    Beneath me, the swords and the rods,
  My spirit hath bended, bowed me and blended
    My self into God's.
  But God -- what divinity rises
    To me in the mountainous place?
  What sun beyond suns, and surprises
    Mine eyes at the dawn of His face?
  No God in this silence existing,
    No heaven and no earth of Him skills,
  Save the blizzards unresting, whirling and twisting
    Adrift on the hills.  {56B}
  So witless and aimless and formless
    I count the Creator to be;
  Not strong as who rides on the stormless
    And tames the untamable sea.
  But motion and action distorted
    Are marks of the paths He hath trod.
  Hated or courted, aided or thwarted: --
    Lo, He is your God!
  But mine in the silence abideth;
    Her strength is the strength of rest;
  Not on thunders or clouds She rideth
    But draweth me down to Her breast:
  No maker of men, but dissolving
    Their life from its burden of ills,
  Ever resolving the circle revolving
    To peace of the hills.
  And dark is Her breast and unlighted;
    But a warm sweet scent is expressed,
  And a rose as of sunset excited
    In the strength of Her sunless breast.
  Her love is like pain, but enchanted:
    Her kiss is an opiate breath
  Amorously panted: her fervours last granted
    Are sorrow, and death.  {57A}
  Nor death as ye name in derision
    The change to a cycle of pain,
  To a cycle of joy as a vision
    Ye chase, and may capture in vain.
  Endeth you peace, and your change is
    Like the change in a measure that shrills
  And slackens and ranges; your passion estranges
    The love of the hills!
  Nay! death is a portal of passing
    To miseries other but sure.
  Yet the snow on the hills amassing
    The wind of an hour may endure;
  But as day after day grows the summer
    The crystals melt one after one.
  The hill -- shall they numb her?  Their frost overcome her?
    Demand of the sun!
  That uttermost death of my lady
    Revealed in the heart of the range
  Is as light in the groves long shady
    As peace in the halls of change.
  The web of the world is rended;
    Stayed are the causal mills;
  Time is ended; space unextended.
    And end of the hills!

{full page follows}

                            ALICE: AN ADULTERY
                          1903  {columns resume}

«1. This and the “Critical Essay” (now omitted) were the result of collaboration. Some omissions, &c. in the text of the First Edition were intended to aid the illusion of this introduction.»

                          YOKOHAMA, "April," 1901.

IT has often been pointed out how strange are the prophecies made from time to time by writers of what purports to be merely fiction.

 Of all the remarkable tales with which Mr. R. Kipling has delighted the world, none is more striking than that of McIntosh Jellaludin<<A dissipated but gifted European who became unified with the Indian native, and wrote a book about him.>> and his mysterious manuscript.  And now, only a few years after reading that incredible tale, I myself, at Yokohama, come across a series of circumstances wonderfully analogous.  But I will truthfully set down this history just as it all happened.
 I went one memorable Wednesday night to No. 29.<<Disinclination to marry is congenital in the elect: the Pauline alternative is discountenanced by my doctor. -- ED.>>  For my advent in this most reputable quarter of the city, which is, after all, Yama,<<The Bluff, or European quarter.>> and equally handy for the consul, the chaplain, and the doctor, readers of Rossetti will expect no excuse; for their sakes I may frankly admit that I was actuated by other motives than interest and solicitude for my companion, a youth still blindly groping for Romance, beneath the skirts of tawdry and painted Vice.  Perhaps I may have hoped to save him from what men call the graver and angels the lesser consequences of his folly.  This for the others.
 As to the character of the mansion at {58A} which we arrived, after a journey no less dubious than winding, I will say that, despite its outward seeming, it was, in reality, a most respectable place; the main occupation of its inhabitants seemed to be the sale of as much "champagne" as possible; in which inspiring preface my friend was soon deeply immersed. ...
 Golden-haired, a profound linguist, swearing in five Western and three Oriental languages, and comparable rather to the accomplished courtesans of old-time Athens than to the Imperial Peripatetics of the "Daily Telegraph" and Mr. Raven-Hill,<<A talented artist, who published a book of amusing sketches of the loose women who promenaded the "Empire" Music Hall.>> her looks of fire turned my friend's silky and insipid moustache into a veritable Burning Bush.  But puppy endearments are of little interest to one who has just done his duty by No. 9<<Called "Nectarine." a famous brothel.>> in distant Yoshiwara; so turned to the conversation of our dirty old Irish hostess, who, being drunk, grew more so, and exceedingly entertaining.
 Of the central forces which sway mankind, her knowledge was more comprehensive than conventional.  For thirty years she had earned her bread in the capacity of a Japanese Mrs. Warren;<<A bawd.  From Shaw's play.  "Mrs. Warren's Profession.">> but having played with fire in many lands, the knowledge she had of her own subject, based on indefatigable personal research, was as accurate in detail as it was cosmopolitan in character.  Yet she had not lost her ideals; she was a devout Catholic, and her opinion of the human understanding, despite her virginal innocence of Greek, was identical with that of Mr. Locke.<<The philosopher.>>
 On occasions I am as sensitive to inexplicable {58B} interruption as Mr. Shandy,<<See "Tristam Shandy," by Laurence Sterne, Chap. I.>> and from behind the hideous yellow partition came sounds as of the constant babbling of a human voice.  Repeated glances in this direction drew from my entertainer the information that it was "only her husband," indicating the yellow-haired girl with the stem of her short clay pipe.  She added that he was dying.
 Curiosity, Compassion's Siamese twin, prompted a desire to see the sufferer.
 The old lady rose, not without difficulty, lifted the curtain, and let it fall behind me as I entered the gloom which lay beyond.  On a bed, in that half-fathomed twilight, big with the scent of joss-sticks smouldering in a saucer before a little bronze Buddha-rupa,<<Image of Buddha.>> lay a man, still young, the traces of rare beauty in his face, though worn with suffering and horrid with a week's growth of beard.
 He was murmuring over to himself some words which I could not catch, but my entrance, though he did not notice me, seemed to rouse him a little.
 I distinctly heard --
  "These are the spells by which to re-assume
   And empire o'er the disentangled doom"
 He paused, sighing, then continued --
  "To suffer woes which hope thinks infinite;
   To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
     To defy power which seems omnipotent;
   To love, and bear; to hope till hope creates
   From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
     Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent:
   This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
   Good, great, and joyous, beautiful, and free:
   This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory."<<1>>

«1. Shelley, “Prometheus Unbound,” iv.»

 The last phrase pealed trumpet-wise: he sank back into thought.  "Yes," he said slowly, "neither to change, nor falter, nor repent."  I moved forward, and he saw me.
 "Who are you?" he asked.
 "I am travelling in the East," I said.  "I love Man also; I have come to see you.  Who are you?"  {59A}
 He laughed pleasantly.  "I am the child of many prayers."
 There was a pause.
 I stood still, thinking.
 Here was surely the very strangest outcast of Society.  What uncouth bypaths of human experience, across what mapless tracks beyond the social pale, must have led hither -- hither to death in this Anglo-Saxon-blasted corner of Japan, here, at the very outpost of the East.  He spoke my thought.
 "Here I lie," he said, "east of all things.  All my life I have been travelling eastward, and now there is now no further east to go."
 "There is America," I said.  I had to say something.
 "Where the disappearance of man has followed that of manners: the exit of God has not wished to lag behind that of grammar.  I have no use of American men, and only one use for American women."
 "Of a truth," I said, "the continent is accursed -- a very limbo."
 "It is the counterfoil of evolution," said the man wearily.  There was silence.
 "What can I do for you?"  I asked.  "Are you indeed ill?"
 "Four days more," he answered, thrilling with excitement, "and all my dreams will come true -- until I wake.  But you can serve me, if indeed -- Did you hear me spouting poetry?"
 I nodded, and lit my pipe.  He watched me narrowly while the match illuminated my face.
 "What poetry?"
 I told him Shelley.
 "Do you read Ibsen?" he queried, keening visibly.  After a moment's pause: "He is the Sophocles of manners," I said, rewarded royally for months of weary waiting.  My strange companion sat up transfigured.  "The Hour," he murmured, "and the Man! ... What of Tennyson?"
 "Which Tennyson?" I asked.
 The answer seemed to please him.
 "In Memoriam?" he replied.
 "He is a neurasthenic counter-jumper."
 "And of the Idylls?"
 "Sir Thomas<<Sir T. Malory: author of the true "Morte d' Arthur.">> did no wrong; can impotence excuse his posthumous emasculation?"<<See A. C. Swinburne, "Under the Microscope.">> {59B}
 He sank back contented.  "I have prayed to my god for many days," he said, "and by one of the least of my life's miracles you are here; worthy to receive my trust.  For when I knew that I was to die, I destroyed all the papers which held the story of my life -- all save one.  That I saved; the only noble passage, perhaps -- among the many notable.  Men will say that it is stained; you, I think, should be wiser.  It is the story of how the Israelites crossed the Red Sea.  They were not drowned, you know (he seemed to lapse into a day-dream), and they came out on the Land of Promise side.  But they had to descend therein."
 "They all died in the wilderness," I said, feeling as if I understood this mystical talk, which, indeed, I did not.  But I felt inspired.
 "Ay me, they died -- as I am dying now."
 He turned to the wall and sought a bundle of old writing on a shelf.  "Take this," he said.  "Edit it as if it were your own: let the world know how wonderful it was."  I took the manuscript from the frail, white hand.
 He seemed to forget me altogether.
 "Namo tassa Bhagavato arahato sammasambuddhasa,"<<"Glory to the Blessed One, the Perfected One, the Enlightened One."  It is the common Buddhist salute to their Master.>> he murmured, turning to his little black Buddha-rupa.
 There was a calm like unto -- might I say, an afterwards?
  "There is an end of joy and sorrow,
   Peace all day long, all night, all morrow,"

he began drowsily.

 A shrill voice rose in a great curse.  The hoarse anger of drunken harlotry snarled back.  "Not a drop more," shouted my friend, adding many things.  It was time for my return.
 "I will let them know," I whispered.  "Good-bye."
  "'There is not one thing with another;
   But Evil saith to Good: "My brother -"'"<<These quotations are from Swinburne's "Ilicet.">>
 He went on unheeding.
 I left him to his peace.
 My re-appearance restored harmony.  The {60A} fulvous and fulgurous lady grew comparatively tranquil; the pair withdrew.  The old woman lay sprawled along the divan sunk in a drunken torpor.
 I unrolled the manuscript and read.
 Brutal truth-telling humour, at times perhaps too Rabelaisian; lyrics, some of enchanting beauty, others painfully imitative; sonnets of exceedingly unequal power, a perfectly heartless introduction (some fools would call it pathetic),<<The MS. has been lost. -- ED.>> and, as a synthesis of the whole, an impression of profound sadness and, perhaps, still deeper joy, were my reward.  Together with a feeling that the writer must have been a philosopher of the widest and deepest learning and penetration, and a regret that he showed no more of it in his poetry.  First and last, I stood amazed, stupefied: so stand I still.
 Dramatic propriety forbade me seeing him again; he was alone when he started.
 Let us not too bitterly lament!  He would hate him who would "upon the rack of this tough world stretch him out longer."
 To the best of my poor ability I have executed his wishes, omitting, however, his name and all references sufficiently precise to give pain to any person still living.<<The "essential" facts are, of course, imaginary.>  His handwriting was abominably difficult, some words quite indecipherable.  I have spent long and laborious hours in conjecture, and have, I hope, restored his meaning in almost every case.  But in the sonnets of the 12th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, 29th, 35th, 41st, 43rd and 48th days, also in "At Last," "Love and Fear," and "Lethe," one or more whole lines have been almost impossible to read.  The literary student will be able readily to detect my patchwork emendations.  These I have dared to make because his whole pattern (may I use the word?) is so elaborate and perfect that I fear to annoy the reader by leaving any blanks, feeling that my own poverty of diction will be less noticeable than any actual hiatus in the sense or rhythm.  I attempt neither eulogy nor criticism here.  Indeed, it seems to me entirely uncalled for.  His words were: "Let the world know how wonderful it was," that is, his love and hers; not "how wonderful it is," that is, his poem.
 The poem is simple, understandable, direct, not verbose.  More I demand not, {60B} seeing it is written (almost literally so) in blood; for I am sure that he was dying of that love for Alice, whose marvellous beauty it was his mission (who may doubt it?) to reveal.  For the burning torch of truth may smoke, but it is our one sure light in passion and distress.  "The jewelled silence of the stars" is, indeed, the light of a serener art; but love is human, and I give nothing for the tawdry gems of style when the breast they would adorn is that of a breathing, living beauty of man's love, the heart of all the world.  Nor let us taint one sympathy with even a shadow of regret.  Let us leave him where
  "Sight nor sound shall war against him more,
   For whom all winds are quiet as the sun,
         All waters as the shore."<<1>>

«1. Swinburne, “Ave atque Vale.”»

  NOTE. -- The sudden and tragic death of the Editor has necessitated the completion of his task by another hand.  The introduction was, however, in practically its present form.
               WHAT LAY BEFORE.
                 WHITE POPPY.
      AMID the drowsy dream,
      Lit by some fitful beam
          Of other light
      Than the mere sun, supreme
      On all the glint and gleam
          Shooting through night,
      Above the water-way
      Where my poor corpse must stay,
      I bend and float away
          From human sight.
      Unto the floral face,
      Carven in ancient grace
          Of Gods or Greeks,
      The whole sky's way gives place:
      Open the walls of space,
          And silence speaks.  {61A}
      See! I am floating far
      Beyond space and sun and star,
      As drifts a nenuphar
          Down lilied creeks.
      Beyond the heavens I see
      The pale embroidery
          Of some wan child
      Waster by earth and sea,
      Whose kisses were too free,
          Too swift and wild;
      A Maenad's floating tress
      Lost in the wilderness
      Of death's or my caress,
          Discrowned, defiled.
      Clad in pale green and rose,
      Her thin face flickers, glows,
          Tempestuous flame.
      Horrid and harsh she goes,
      Speaks, trembles, wakes and knows
          How frail is shame!
      Grows vast and cloudy and is
      The whole mouth's sobbing kiss,
      And crushes me with bliss
          Beyond a name.
      Then fall I from excess
      Of bitter ecstasies,
          Pale ghosts of blood,
      To worlds where palaces
      Shine through dim memories
          Of flower and flood,
      Shine in pale opal and pearl,
      Void of bright boy or girl,
      Desolate halls that furl
          Their shapes subdued.
      And wide they sunder, wide
      They fall into the tide
          Of fallen things.
      Me, me, O meek-browed bride,
      Horrible faces hide
          And devilish wings.  {61B}
      Me the grim harpeis hold
      In kisses slaver-cold,
      Mute serpent-shapes of gold
          With serpent stings.
      The dreadful bridal won,
      The demon banquet done,
          My flesh let loose: --
      Rises a strange red sun,
      A sight to slay or stun;
          Sepulchral dews
      Fall from the rayless globe,
      Whose sightless fingers probe
      My golden-folded robe,
          My soul's misuse.
      And in that thankless shape
      Vines grow without a grape,
          Thorns roseless spring.
      Nay!  There is no escape: --
      The yawning portals gape,
          The orbed ring
      As by a whirlpool drawn
      Into that devil-dawn: --
      I sink and shriek and fawn
          Upon the thing.
      Ha! in the desperate pang
      And subtle stroke and fang
          Of hateful kisses
      Whence devilish laughter sprang,
      Close on me with a clang
          The brazen abysses
      The leopard-coloured paw
      Strikes, and the cruel jaw
      Hides me in the glutless maw --
          Crown of ten blisses!
      For all the vision world
      Is closed on me and curled
          Into the deep
      Of my slow soul, and hurled
      Through lampless lands, and furled,
          Sharp folds and steep:
      Till all unite in one,
      Seven planets in the sun,
      And I am deeplier done
          Into full sleep.  {62A}
  BENEATH the living cross I lie
  And swoon towards eternity:
  Prodigious sinewy shapes, and lean
  And curving limbs of Messaline.
    The deep arched eyes, the floating mane, --
  One pierces, one wraps-in my brain.
  A crown of thorn, a spear of clean
  Cold fire of dying Messaline.
    Swart tangles of devouring hair,
  The scorpion labyrinth and snare,
  Leprous entanglements of sense,
  The Imminence of the Immense.
  And in the deep hard breath I draw
  Kissed from her strangling mouth and maw,
  I feel the floating deaths that dwell
  About that citadel of hell;
  A soft lewd flavour, an obscene
  Mysterious self of Messaline.
    Or, in the kisses that swoop low
  To catch my breath and kill me so,
  I feel the ghostliness of this
  Unreal shuttle-game -- the kiss!
  Her moving body sobs above,
  And calls its lechery true love.
  Out from the flame of heart she plucks
  One flower of fiery light, and sucks
  Its essence up within her lips,
  And flings it into mine, and dips
  And bends her body, writhes and swims
  To link the velvet of our limbs,
  My drouthy passion worn and keen,
  And lusty life of Messaline.
    The heart's blood in her boiling over
  She sucked from many a dying lover:
  The purple of her racing veins
  Leapt from some soul's despairing pains;
  She drinks up life as from a cup;
  She drains our health and builds it up
  Into her body; takes our breath,
  And we -- we dream not it is death!
  Arm unto arm and eye to eye,
  Breast to great breast and thigh to thigh,
  We look, and strain, and laugh, and die.
  I see the head hovering above
  To swoop for cruelty or love; {62B}
  I feel the swollen veins below
  The knotted throat; the ebb and flow
  Of blood, not milk, in breasts of fire;
  Of deaths, not fluctuants, of desire;
  Of molten lava that abides
  Deep in the vast volcanic sides;
  Deep scars where kisses once bit in
  Below young mountains that be twin,
  Stigmata cruciform of sin,
  The diary of Messaline.
    The moving mountains crater-crowned;
  The valleys deep and silver-bound;
  The girdle treacherously wound;
  One violet-crest mounded mole,
  Some blood-stain filtered from the soul;
  The light and shadow shed between
  My soul and God from Messaline.
    And even as a dark and hidden
  Furnace roars out in woods forbidden,
  A sullen tide of molten steel
  Runs from deep furrows in the wheel;
  So from afar one central heat
  Sends the loud pulse to fever beat;
  So from one crown and heart of fire
  Spring the vast phantoms of desire,
  Impossible and epicene,
  Familiar souls of Messaline.
    And as, when thunder broods afar
  Imperial destinies of war,
  Men see the haze and heat, and feel
  The sun's rays like a shaft of steel,
  Seeing no sun; even so the night
  Clouds that deep miracle from sight:
  Until this destiny be done
  Hangs the corona on the sun;
  And I absorbed in those unclean
  Ghost-haunted veins of Messaline.
  FORGED by God's fingers in His furnace, Fate,
    My destiny drew near the glowing shore
    Where California hides her golden ore,
  Her rubies and her beryls; gross and great, {63A}
  Her varied fruits and flowers alike create
    Glories most unimaginable, more
    Than Heaven's own meadows match; yet this is sore,
    A stain; not one of these is delicate.
  Save only the clear green within the sea --
    Because that rolls all landless from Japan.
    I did not know until I missed it here
  How beautiful that beauty is to me,
    That life that bears Death's sigil<<1>> traced too clear,
    Blue lines within the beauty that is man.

«1. Signature, usually applied to the supposed signatures of divine beings.»

      THE moon spans Heaven's architrave;
        Stars in the deep are set;
      Written in gold on the day's grave,
        "To love, and to forget;"
      And sea-winds whisper o'er the wave
        The name of Margaret.
      A heart of gold, a flower of white,
        A blushing flame of snow,
      She moves like latticed moons of light --
        And O! her voice is low,
      Shell-murmurs borne to Amphitrite,
        Exulting as they go.
      Her stature waves, as if a flower
        Forgot the evening breeze,
      But heard the charioted hour
        Sweep from the farther seas,
      And kept sweet time within her bower,
        And hushed mild melodies.
      So grave and delicate and tall --
        Shall laughter never sweep
      Like a moss-guarded waterfall
        Across her ivory sleep?
      A tender laugh most musical?
        A sigh serenely deep?  {63B}
      She laughs in wordless swift desire
        A soft Thalassian tune;
      Her eyelids glimmer with the fire
        That animates the moon;
      Her chaste lips flame, as flames aspire
        Of poppies in mid-June.
      She lifts the eyelids amethyst,
        And looks from half-shut eyes,
      Gleaming with miracles of mist,
        Gray shadows on blue skies;
      And on her whole face sunrise-kissed,
        Child-wonderment most wise.
      The whitest arms in all the earth
        Blush from the lilac bed.
      Like a young star even at its birth
        Shines out the golden head.
      Sad violets are the maiden girth,
        Pale flames night-canopied.
      O gentlest lady!  Lift those eyes,
        And curl those lips to kiss!
      Melt my young boyhood in thy sighs,
        A subtler Salmacis!
      Hide, in that peace, these ecstasies;
        In that fair fountain, this!
      She fades as starlight on the stream,
        As dewfall in the dell;
      All life and love, one ravishing gleam
        Stolen from sleep's crucible;
      That kiss, that vision is a dream: --
        And I -- most miserable!
      Still Echo wails upon the steep,
        "To love -- and to forget!"
      Still sombre whispers from the deep
        Sob through Night's golden net,
      And waft upon the wings of sleep
        The name of Margaret.
  1. -

             ALICE: AN ADULTERY.
    "Commit not with man's sworn spouse."
                                   "King Lear."
  AGAINST the fiat of that God discrowned,
      Unseated by Man's justice, and replaced,
      By Law most bountiful and maiden-faced
      And mother-minded: passing the low bound {64A}
  Of man's poor law we leapt at last and found
      Passion; and passing the dim halls disgraced
      Found higher love and larger and more chaste,
      A calm sphinx waiting in secluded ground.
  Hear the sad rhyme of how love turned to lust,
      And lust invigorated love, and love
      Shone brighter for the stain it rose above,
  Gathering roses from the quickening dust;
      And faith despoiled and desecrated trust
      Wore pearlier plumes of a diviner dove.
                THE FIRST DAY.
  "Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?"
                                     "As You Like It."
  THE waving surf shone from the Peaceful Sea.<<1>>
      Young palms embowered the house where Beauty sate
      Still but exultant, silent but elate
      In its own happiness and majesty
  Of a mild soul unstirred by rivalry
      Of any life beyond its own sweet state.
      I looked around me, wondered whether Fate
      Had found at last a woman's love for me.

«1. “I.e.” the Pacific.»

  I had no hope: she was so grave and calm,
      So shining with the dew-light of her soul,
      So beautiful beyond a woman's share.
  Yet -- here!  Soft airs, and perfume through the palm,
      And moonlight in the groves of spice, control
      The life that would not love and yet be fair.  {64B}
               THE SECOND DAY.
    "Keep you in the rear of your affection
     Out of the shot and danger of desire."
  I WAS so hopeless that I turned away
      And gave my love to foul oblivion,
      Shuttered my bosom's window from the sun,
      Kindled a corpse-light and proclaimed "The day!";
  Lurked in Aeaean<<1>> fens to elude the ray
      Whose beauty might disturb me: I did shun
      The onyx eyes that saw me not as one
      Possible even for a moment's play.

«1. Circe, who dwelt on the island of Aeaea, transformed men into swine.»

  Thus I was tangled in some house of hell,
      Giving mine own soul's beauty up to lust,
      Hoping to build some fort impregnable
  Against my love: instead the deep disgust
      Of my own beasthood crushed it into dust,
      And left my manhood twisted in her spell.
                THE THIRD DAY.
  "My love is most immaculate white and red."
                           "Love's Labour's Lost."
  SHE was more graceful than the royal palm;
      Tall, with imperial looks, and excellence
      Most simply swathed in spotless elegance,
      And holy and tuneful like some stately psalm.
  Her breath was like a grove of myrrh and balm,
      And all the sight grew dim before the sense
      Of blind attraction toward; an influence
      Not incompatible with her own calm.  {65A}
  All the red roses of the world were blended
      To give the lively colour of her face;
      All the white lilies of the sea shone splendid
  Where the blue veins afforded them a space;
      Like to the shapely fragrance of dawn's shrine
      She gleamed through mist, enchanting, Erycine.<<1>>

«1. At Eryx, in Sicily, was a famous temple of Venus.»

                 FOURTH DAY.
  "Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy."
                                     "Much Ado about Nothing."
  I TOOK another way to shield my love.
      I turned my thoughts to the abyss of sky,
      Pierced the frail veil, and sought Eternity;
      Where the Gods reign most passionless above
  All foolish loves of men, and weary of
      The slow procession of Earth's mystery;
      Where worlds, not men, are born and live and die,
      And aeons flit unnoticed as a dove.
  Thither I fled, busied myself with these;
      When -- lo!  I saw her shadow following!
      In every cosmic season-tide of spring
  She rose, being the spring: in utter peace
      She was with me and in me: thus I saw
      Ours was not love, but destiny, and law.
  IN Life what hope is always unto men?
      Stories of Arthur that shall come again
      To cleanse the Earth of her eternal stain,
      Elias, Charlemagne, Christ.  What matter then?  {65B}
  What matter who, or how, or even when?
      If we but look beyond the primal pain,
      And trust the Future to write all things plain,
      Graven on brass with predestined pen.
  This is the doom.  Upon the blind blue sky
      A little cloud, no larger than an hand!
      Whether I live and love, or love and die,
  I care not: either way I understand.
      To me -- to live is Christ; to die is gain:
      For I, I also, I shall come again.
                THE FIFTH DAY.
  "Thine eyes, sweet lady, have infected mine."
                                  "Richard III."
  ALL thought of work is almost cast aside.
      I followed like a dog the way she went,
      Speaking but seldom, very well content
      To day-dream, oft imagining a bride,
  A wife, a lover, even a sister, tied
      By some soft bond of twinning: thus I blent
      A real joy with a brighter element
      Of fancy free to wander far and wide.
  For as I followed by the shore and bended
      Over her footsteps in the wood, my will
      Rose to high strength assertive and transcended
  The petty forms of the seducer's skill.
      Chaste love strode forth, a warrior's stern and splendid
       Determined footsteps on the Arcadian Hill.
                THE SIXTH DAY.
                        "Are there not charms
  By which the property of youth and maidhood
  May be abused?"
  I DREW a hideous talisman of lust
      In many colours where strong sigils shone;
      Crook'd mystic language of oblivion,
      Fitted to crack and scorch the terrene crust {66A}
  And bring the sulphur streaming from the thrust
      Of Satan's winepress, was ill written on
      The accursed margin, and the orison
      Scrawled backwards, as a bad magician must.
  By these vile trick, abominable spells,
      I drew foul horrors from a many hells --
      Though I had fathomed Fate; though I had seen
  Chastity charm-proof arm the sea-gray eyes
      And sweet clean body of my spirit's queen,
      Where nothing dwells that God did not devise.
               THE SEVENTH DAY.
  "This word 'love,' which greybeards call divine,
   Be resident in men like one another
   And not in me: I am myself alone."
                              3 "Henry VI."
  THEREFORE I burnt the wicked pantacle,
      And cast my love behind me once again.
      I mused upon the mystery of pain,
      Where the Gods taught me by another spell
  Not chosen from the armoury of Hell,
      But given the Mercury to cleanse the stain
      Of the old planet: thus I wrote me plain
      Secrets divine -- tremendous, terrible!
  Thus I forgot my soul and dwelt alone
      In the strong fortress of the active mind
      Whose steady flame burned eager in the night;
  Yet was some shadow on the starry throne,
      Some imperfection playing hoodman-blind
      So that I saw not perfectly aright.  {66B}
                THE EIGHT DAY.
                    "A certain aim he took
     At a fair Vestal throned by the West."
                 "Midsummer NIght's Dream."
  HERE in the extreme west of all the earth
      This Vestal sate; and I from Cupid's bow
      Loosed a fair shaft of verses shapen so
      As to fling love through the chaste girdle's girth,
  And show my love how meek was my love's birth,
      How innocent its being: thus arow
      Stood the mild lines, immaculate, to show
      My harmless passion and her own great worth.
  She could not be offended: and moreover --
      When at the nightfall I sought Heaven's light,
      All my work grew unspotted, done aright!
  The high Gods came above my head to hover,
      Because I worked with a diviner might,
      The perfect sage being the perfect lover.
                THE NINTH DAY.
    "How canst thou tell she will deny thy suit
     Before thou make a trial of her love?"
                                 1 "Henry VI."
  I WAS most weary of my work: the mind
      Shuddered at all the wonders it had written,
      And the whole body by the spirit smitten
      Groaned: so I went and left my love behind,
  Danced the gross "hula,"<<1>> hardly disinclined,
      By a new lust emphatically bitten;
      And so in flames at harlot glances litten
      I sought that solace I shall never find.  {67A}

«1. The indecent dance of the South Sea Islands.»

  Fool! not to tell her.  Triple fool to fly
      The sunny glance, the moonlight meditation,
      For even the light of heaven.  How much worse
  The dark antithesis, the coarser curse
      Of Eden!  Pass, O shadows of creation,
      Into the daybreak of Eternity!
                THE TENTH DAY.
    O God!  I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."
  THE mere result of all this was a dream.
      The day passed damned, void of my love's dear light,
      And stole acursed to the endless night,
      Forgotten (as I trust) by God: no beam
  Of memory lighting it down Time's dark stream.
      I dreamt: my shrine was broken and my might
      Defiled, and all my Gods abased, in sight
      Of all blind Heaven exenterate<<1>> and extreme.<<2>>

«1. Disembowelled.» «2. Used here to mean “at the last gasp.”»

  The foulest traitor of all woman kind
      I ever knew, became my friend:<<1>> unclean
      Sexual abominations floated through,
  More foul because a golden cord did wind
      Unspotted through that revel epicene,
      The pure faith of one woman that was true.  {67B}

«1. This circumstance was later fulfilled: I having judged her actions on insufficient evidence. – AUTHOR.»

              THE ELEVENTH DAY.
    "What win I if I gain the thing I seek?"
                             "Rape of Lucrece."
  THERE is much sorcery in the word eleven.
      I took my lover's image pale and clear,
      Fixed in my mind; I saw her standing near,
      Wooed her, conjured her by the power of heaven,
  Of my own mind, the Genii of the Seven,
      To come and live with me and be my dear,
      To love me in the spirit without fear; --
      Leaving the body's love to follow at even.
  Seemeth it not absurd? to use the thought,
      The utterly divine impersonal
      Mind of a man, the pure, the spiritual,
  To such a propose rather less than nought,
      A woman's love -- considering that all
      Wise men assure us that it may be bought!
               THE TWELFTH DAY.
  "I grant thou wert not married to my Muse
   And therefore mayst without attaint o'erlook
   The dedicated words which writers use
   Of their fair subjects."
                              "The Sonnets."
  I LEARNT at last some sort of confidence,
      Called me the fool I was, knowing my skill
      Proven of old, all women's native will
      To do all things soever that lack sense,
  Especially if evil: thoughts immense
      Like this I thought: plumes of my amorous quill
      I tickled her withal: then grave and still
      Waited secure: the silence grew intense.  {68A}
  She read -- and saw me but a beardless boy,
      Too young to fear, too gentle not to pity,
      Not overbold; quite powerless to destroy
  Her life's long peace, the ten-year-walled city.<<1>>
      Why be too cruel, check such baby joy?
      She said "I think the poem very pretty."

«1. She had been married ten years.»

                 RED POPPY.<<1>>

«1. The poem in question.»

        I HAVE no heart to sing.
        What offering may I bring,
            Alice, to thee?
        My great love's lifted wing
        Weakens, unwearying,
            And droops with me,
        Seeing the sun-kindled hair
        Close in the face more fair,
        The sweet soul shining there
            For God to see.
        Surely some angle shed
        Flowers for the maiden head,
            Ephemeral flowers!
        I yearn, not comforted.
        My heart has vainly bled
            Through age-long hours.
        To thee my spirit turns;
        My bright soul aches and burns,
        As a dry valley yearns
            For spring and showers.
        Splendid, remote, a fane
        Alone and unprofane,
            I know thy breast.
        These bitter tears of pain
        Flood me, and fall again
            Not into rest.
        Me, whose sole purpose is
        To gain one gainless kiss,
        And make a bird's my bliss,
            Shrined in that nest.  {68B}
        O fearful firstling dove!
        My dawn and spring of love,
            Love's light and lure!
        Look (as I bend above)
        Through bright lids filled thereof
            Perfect and pure,
        Thy bloom of maidenhood.
        I could not: if I could,
        I would not: being good,
            Also endure!
        Cruel, to tear or mar
        The chaliced nenuphar;
            Cruel to press
        The rosebud; cruel to scar
        Or stain the flower-star
            With mad caress.
        But crueller to destroy
        The leaping life and joy
        Born in a careless boy
            From lone distress.
        More cruel than art thou
        The calm and chaste of brow,
            If thou dost this,
        Forget the feeble vow
        Ill sworn: all laws allow
            Pity, that is
        Kin unto love, and mild.
        List to the sad and wild
        Crying of the lonely child
            Who asks a kiss.
        One kiss, like snow, to slip,
        Cool fragrance from thy lip
            To melt on mine;
        One kiss, a white-sail ship
        To laugh and leap and dip
            Her brows divine;
        One kiss, a starbeam faint
        With love of a sweet saint,
        Stolen like a sacrament
            In the night's shrine!
        One kiss, like moonlight cold
        Lighting with floral gold
            The lake's low tune;
        One kiss, one flower to fold, {69A}
        On its own calyx rolled
            At night, in June!
        One kiss, like dewfall, drawn
        A veil o'er leaf and lawn --
        Mix night, and noon, and dawn,
            Dew, flower, and moon!
        One kiss, intense, supreme!
        The sense of Nature's dream
            And scent of Heaven
        Shown in the glint and gleam
        Of the pure dawn's first beam,
            With earth for leaven;
        Moulded of fire and gold,
        Water and wine to fold
        Me in its life, and hold! --
            In all but seven!
        I would not kiss thee, I!
        Lest my lip's charactery
            Ruin thy flower.
        Curve thou one maidenly
        Kiss, stooping from thy sky
            Of peace and power!
        Thine only be the embrace! --
        I move not from my place,
        Feel the exultant face
            Mine for an hour!
              THE THIRTEENTH DAY.
  "If it be a sin to make a true election, she is damned."
  IN the dim porchway where the sea's deep boom
      Under our very feet made ceaseless song,
      We sate, remote, the lone lanai<<1>> along
      Sequestered from the young moon in the gloom {69B}
  Of early even: then the tender bloom
      Shone on her cheek and deepened as the strong
      Arms gathered round her, more than shame or wrong,
      And the soft question murmured "Love you -- whom?"

«1. The South Sea word for balcony, or rather verandah.»

  The deepening rose; the heart's pulse quickening;
      The fear; the increasing ecstasy of this --
      A little cloud lifted a sombre wing
  Shadowing our secret breath from Artemis --
      Breasts met and arms enclosed, and all the spring
      Grew into summer with the first long kiss.
             THE FOURTEENTH DAY.
       "Some there be that shadows kiss;
        Such have but a shadow's bliss;
        There be fools alive, I wis."
                          "Merchant of Venice."
  ALL day we chose each moment possible
      When to the other's face each face might cling,
      Each kiss burn forth, a double fiery sting
      Exalting us in joy foreseen to swell
  A mighty exultation; it befell,
      However, that I saw the shadowy thing
      Lurk behind love, and flap a scornful wing,
      Seeing our honour stood a citadel.
  I saw the foolishness of love and saith:
      "I am exalted over shame and death,
      But will not take my fill of death and shame."
  For each kiss leaps, a more insistent breath,
      And adds fresh fuel to the amorous flame,
      Not quells it -- Is not honour but a name?  {70A}
              THE FIFTEENTH DAY.
        "Were kisses all the joys in bed,
         One woman would another wed."
                "Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music."
  ANOTHER day rose of unceasing fire:
      Kisses made monstrous for their sterile storm
      Maddening with sea-sounds, as of lute or shawm
      Fluting and clashing in extreme desire;
  The silly "Thus far and no farther," nigher
      Each hour to break (poor arbitrary form!)
      As each kiss bade our bodies wed and warm
      Give love one chance before its wave retire.
  Not so: this trial was the tiniest
      Man ever knew, confronted afterward
      With giant fears and passions; -- long to fight
  And last to yield a Maenad-swelling breast
      Unto a furious Dionysian horde
      Drunk not with wine, but with avenging night.
              THE SIXTEENTH DAY.
  "My chastity's the jewel of our house
   Bequeathed down from many ancestors,
   Which were the greatest obloquy i' th' world
   For me to lose."
                                  "All's Well."
  THERE was no secret cave of the wood's womb
      Where we might kiss all day without a start
      Of fear that meant to stay and must depart,
      Nor any corner where the sea's perfume {70B}
  Might shelter love in some wave-carven tomb.
      But Maytime shone in us; with words of art
      I drew her down reluctant to my heart,
      When night was silence and my bed the gloom.
  So without sin we took strange sacrament,
      Whose wine was kisses, and whose bread the flower
      Of fast and fervent cleaving breast to breast.
  As lily bend to lily we were bent,
      Not as mere man to woman: all the dower
      Of martyred Virgins crowned our dangerous quest.
    THE roses of the world are sad,
        The water-lilies pale,
    Because my lover takes her lad
        beneath the moonlight veil.
    No flower may bloom this happy hour --
    Unless my Alice be the flower.
    The stars are hidden in dark and mist,
        The moon and sun are dead,
    Because my love has caught and kissed
        My body in her bed.
    No light may shine this happy night --
    Unless my Alice be the light.
    So silent are the thrush, the lark!
        The nightingale's at rest,
    Because my love loves the dark,
        And has me in her breast.
    No song this happy night be heard! --
    Unless my Alice be the bird.
    The sea that roared around the house
        Is fallen from alarms,
    Because my lover calls me spouse,
        And takes me to her arms.
    This night no sound of breakers be! --
    Unless my Alice be the sea.  {71A}
    Of man and maid in all the world
        Is stilled the swift caress,
    Because my lover has me curled
        In her own loveliness.
    No kiss be such a night as this! --
    Unless by Alice be the kiss.
    No blade of grass awaiting takes
        The dew fresh-fallen above,
    Because my lover swoons, and slakes
        Her body's thirst of love.
    This night no dewfall from the blue! --
    Unless my Alice be the dew.
    This night -- O never dawn shall crest
        The world of wakening,
    Because my lover has my breast
        On hers for dawn and spring.
    This night shall never be withdrawn --
    Unless my Alice be the dawn.
                        "Now I want
      Spirits to enforce, art to enchant."
  LAST night -- but the boy shrieked in's sleep -- then, there
      I had ended all!  Having ingressed the track
      That leads from green or white-crowned hours to black,
      The pleasant portals of the scorpion snare,
  First gleaming toils of an enchantress' hair
      That afterward shall change their fervours slack
      To strong gripe of a devil-fish: go back?
      The hand is put forth to the plough -- beware!
  I took my shrine down:<<1>> at the night we lay
      Four hours debating between fear and sin:
      Whether our love went deeper than the skin, {71B}
  Or lower than the lips: love won the day.
      We nestled like young turtles that be twin
      Close till the morn-star chased the moon away.

«1. Meaning that spiritual work was abandoned for the moment, and that he wished to use the room for a profane purpose.»

                LOVE AND FEAR.
      THE rose of the springtime that bended
          Its delicate head to the breeze
      Is crimson and stately and splendid
          Now summer is here and at ease;
  Love risen as the sun hath transcended its passion and peace.
      In a garden of dark foliage that clusters
          Round your face as a rosebud withdrawn,
      New splendour springs carmine and lustres
          Your cheeks with the coming of dawn,
  Love's light as an army that musters its plumes -- and is gone.
      For fear as a fountain, that trembles
          With wind, is arisen, and hides
      The light of your love, and dissembles
          The roar of the passionate tides;
  Though a flickering flame it resembles, love is, and abides.
      I see through the moonlight that covers
          (As a mist on the mountain) your head
      The flame of your heart as a lover's
          Shine out in your face and be shed,
  A ruby that flashes and hovers and droops and is dead.
      As a saint in a vision half hidden
          I see the sweet face in a mist,
      A nimbus of glory unbidden
          That shades you or shows as you list.
  But I, as a bridegroom, unchidden, may kiss -- and am kissed.  {72A}
      In the light and the manifest splendour
          That shows you in darkness a bride,
      Pale blossom of moonlight and slender,
          A lily that sways in the tide,
  A star that falls earthward to bend her sweet breast to my side: --
      No depth of the darkness may shield you
          From eyes that with love are aflame,
      No darkness, but light, as you yield you
          To love that is stronger than shame,
  No music but kisses, that pealed you their paean, proclaim:
      That the light of heaven is shaded,
          The sound of the sea is made still,
      The climax shall come unupbraided
          Obedient alone to our will,
  And the flowers that were fallen and faded drink dew to their fill:
      Dew filling your eyes and their lashes
          With tender mirage of a tear;
      Dew fallen on the mouth as it flashes,
          The kiss that is master of fear;
  Dew covering the body that dashes and clings to me here.
      O fairest, O rose among roses!
          O flower of the innermost fire!
      O tune of my soul that encloses
          All life, the tempestuous lyre!
  O dawn of my dawn that reposes and darts in desire!
      And death and its portals are rifted,
          Life listens our kisses that weep;
      Love hears, and his measure is shifted,
          Grows solemn and deadly and deep;
  Love's ship droops its sails and is drifted in silence to sleep.
      And soft as a seal on our slumber
          Dreams drift of Aurorean dew;
      Dreams shapen of flames that encumber
          The shrine of the morn in the blue;
  Flames shapen of lips that outnumber our kisses anew.  {72B}
             THE EIGHTEENTH DAY.
  "Touches so soft still conquer chastity."
                         "Passionate Pilgrim."
  SHE grew most fearful, starting at slight noise;
      As knowing that the sting of shame was hers
      Worse than a guilty love administers,
      Since our pure shame unworthily destroys
  The love of all she had, her girls and boys,
      Her home, their lives: and yet my whisper stirs
      Into live flame her passion, and deters
      Her fear from spurning all the day's due joys.
  She had not dared to speak one word, to tell
      How deep and pure a fountain sunward leapt
      In her life's garden: but to-night she lay
  In my intense embraces: so the spell
      Moved her: "I love you," said she.  So we kept,
      Remurmuring that one phrase until the day.
             THE NINETEENTH DAY.
  "The boy is foolish, and I fear not him."
                                "Richard III."
  SHE dared not come into my room to-night.
      So?  I was acquiescent, sharp despair
      And nervous purpose mixing in me there
      The while I waited: then I glided light
  (Clad in the swart robe of an eremite)<<1>>
      Across the passage.  Now, all unaware
      My kisses underneath the veil of vair
      Woke her: she turned and sighed and held me tight.

«1. Crowley was accustomed to wear a black robe of a magical pattern as a “robe de chambre.”»

  Her child slept gently on the farther side.
      But we took danger by the throat, despised
      All but the one sole splendour that we prized; {73A}
  And she, whose robe was far too slight to hide
      The babe-smooth breasts, was far to frail to cover
      Her heart's true fire and music from her lover.
              THE TWENTIETH DAY.
  "'Val.'  How long hath she been deformed?
   'Speed.'  Ever since you loved her."
                        "Two Gentlemen of Vernona."
  AGAIN the unveiled goddess of delight
      Watched us at midnight: there my lover lay
      Child-breasted, maiden as the rose of day
      Dawning on snowy mountains: through deep night
  Her body gleamed self-luminously white
      With the sweet soul that sundered the quick clay,
      And all her being was a sense of May; --
      Scent conquering colour, soul out-running sight.
  Not with the Lysian,<<1>> nor Iacchian dew
      Of frenzy covered, but with warmer flakes
      Of Aphrodite shed upon our life,
  We clung still closer, till the soul ran through
      Body to body, twined like sunny snakes,
      Sinlessly knowing we were man and wife.

«1. Cornelius Agrippa distinguishes three frenzies; of Apollo, Dionysys, and Aphrodite; song, wine, and love.»

    "'Mal.'  Dispute it like a man.
     'Macd.'                        I shall do so.
           But I must also feel it as a man.
  I HAD a fearful dream (on going away)
      Of scorpion women curled in my caress,
      And twenty days they closed on my distress
      Not giving me relief, but gold and gray, {73B}
  Cold and intense; the one-and-twentieth day
      They drew my life out, one exceeding stress,
      Volcanic anguish! -- Here's the strange excess:
      I called, ere waking, on the name "Eheieh!"
  Solve me the riddle of the dream who can!
      That night I sought a new toy for a lure,
      And she would not: but knew how hard to endure
  Is love like ours, the love of purity.
      So she: "Dispute it like a man!" and I"
      "But I must also feel it as a man!"
 Note.  Eheieh is the Hebrew for "I am that I am."  Its numerical value is 21.  I was not aware at the time that this was the 21st day. -- AUTHOR.<<That is, the imaginary author.>>
  "I'll have her: but I will not keep her long."
                                  "Richard III."
  IT was impossible that she should come
      Over the leagues of summer-coloured sea
      Alone with love and laughter and tears and me
      To the toy land<<1>> of the chrysanthemum,
  Where all the flowers lack scent, the birds are dumb,
      The fruits are tasteless: where the jewelled lea
      And the many-leaved greenery
      Is dwarf: French gem-work on a baby's thumb.

«1. Japan.»

  The Yankee God<<1>> frowned also on the plan.
      We had enough, no more.  But I insist,
      Still thinking I was master of my heart:
  Saying, "Another month to be a man,
      Another month to kiss her and be kissed,
      And then -- all time to Magic and to Art!"  {74A}

«1. The dollar.»

                 "He has strangled
               His language in his tears."
                                     "K. Hen. VIII."
  MY comedy has changed its blithe aspect
      To bitterest face of tragedy; she said:
      "Alas!  O soul of mine!  I am surely dead,
      Seeing my life is by a serpent wrecked
  Of sore disease: but spare me, and reflect
      That in few months I die: but were I wed --
      O lover!  O desire discomfited!
      I die at once: consider, and elect."
  How could I otherwise than spare my wife?
      With tender lips and fingers one strong kiss
      Swooned slave-wise even before the gate of bliss,
  No more: for I rose up and cursed my life,
      Hating the God that made us to dissever
      So soon so sweet a love, and that for ever.
 "Ut. Canc." sublatum iri dixisse.  Vae Capricorno!<<This intentionally obscure note means that she said she had cancer.  Now Capricorn, the opposite to Cancer in the Zodiac, is called "the symbol of gross passion.">> (Author's Note.)
 "She having the truth of honour in her, hath made him that gracious denial which he is most glad to receive."
                         "Measure of Measure."
  OF course I might have know it was a lie.
      Nathless, I wept all morning and despaired.
      Nothing for any life of earth I cared,
      Neither for heaven: I railed against the sky, {74B}
  Hating the earth, the sea, the witchery
      Of all the universe: my breast I bared
      And cursed God, hoping lightning; and I dared
      Not ask my love "In very truth -- you die!"
      I could not bear it longer; then she spake:
      "I lied indeed, love, for mine honour's sake,"
      And I reproached her for her love's distrust,
  Saying "I would not so in any wise
      Have lowered love unto the level of lust
      But now--" I hid my thought in tears and sighs.
  "I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill."
                                    "Richard II."
  ALICE was desperately ill at morn.
      Hour by sweet hour I watched her sorrowing,
      While the strong fever fought unconquering
      With native coolness of her life, o'er-worn
  Or poisoned; thus I fought the long forlorn
      Battle all day, until the evening
      Brought back sweet health on sleep and noiseless wing:
      Strong love of the long battle was reborn.
  The child slept elsewhere that she might sleep well.
      Therefore, not fearing anything, I came;
      Lit my love's candle at her body's flame,
  And fought not with the fevers now that swell
      Our burning lips and bosoms, until shame
      Nearly surrendered the sweet citadel.  {75A}
  "I think the devil will not have me damned.
  ... he would never else cross me thus."
                     "Merry Wives of Windsor."
  THIS time she set her will against my will;
      Swore that she would not come: in my despair
      I half believed her an enchantress fair
      Cruel as hell and dowered with subtle skill
  To strain my life out with her love, and kill
      My soul with misery: suddenly a rare
      Swift smile set shimmering all the ambient air,
      And then I knew she was my true love still.
  She would not come?  Why, were Hell's portals fast
      Shut, as to Orpheus on Eurydice,
      Their brass would break before love's gold and steel,
  The sharpness inlaid with sweet tracery
      Of talismans of virtue: she is leal
      To come and live and be my love at last.
               UNDER THE PALMS.
  THE woodland hollows know us, bird-enchanted,
      Likewise the spaces of the ghostly sea,
  The lake's abundant lilies, the pale slanted
      Moonlight on flowers, the wind's low minstrelsy;
  For all the tropic greenery is haunted
          By you and me. .......
  The tall palms bend and catch love's tender ditty
      To learn a sweeter song to lure their mate.
  The soft wind sighs in amorous self-pity,
      Having no love wherein to laugh elate,
  And turns to the cold harbour and the city,
          Wailing its fate. .......  {75B}
  Two faces and two bosoms, breathing slowly
      In tune and time with the sea's hymn below,
  Breathing in peace of love, mighty and holy,
      Fearing to fuse, and longing -- be it so!
  And the world's pulse stops, as God bends him lowly
          To hear and know. .......
  For not the heights of heaven shall exalt her
      Whose heart is full of love's dumb deity,
  Nor harp-strings lift me, nor the sound of psalter,
      Whose love is merged and molten into thee,
  Nor incense sweeter be by shrine or altar
          For you and me. .......
  But like dove's eyes where glamour lies a-dwelling,
      Like sweet well-water rising in the well,
  Strong steep black currents thrust up, flooding, welling,
      Into the moonlight, swift, adorable, --
  So kisses cluster, so our bosoms swelling
          Abide and dwell. .......
  Yet the twin faces, like Madonnas, meeting,
      Fear and draw back and gaze a little space;
  Fear, lest they lose the moonlight frail and fleeting,
      Lose their own beauty in their own embrace,
  But feel how gladdening hearts and bosoms beating
          Kindle the face. .......
  But not for long shall lilies strive with roses,
      Nor fear be fearful, nor delight repose,
  Nor love retire; the woodland cleaves and close
      Round heads an aureole hides, a rainbow shows.
  A swifter shape of fire cleaves us, encloses
          Rosebud and rose. .......  {76A}
  Mouth unto mouth!  O fairest!  Mutely lying,
      Fire lambent laid on water, -- O! the pain!
  Kiss me, O heart, as if we both were dying!
      Kiss, as we could not ever kiss again!
  Kiss me, between the music of our sighing,
          Lightning and rain!
  Not only as the kiss of tender lovers --
      Let mingle also the sun's kiss to sea,
  Also the wind's kiss to the bird that hovers,
      The flower's kiss to the earth's deep greenery.
  All elemental love closes and covers
          Both you and me.
  All shapes of silence and of sound and seeing,
      All lives of Nature molten into this,
  The moonlight waking and the shadows fleeing,
      Strange sorcery of unimagined bliss,
  All breath breathing in ours; mingled all being
          Into the kiss.
    "The ship is in her trim; the merry wind
     Blows fair from land."
                             "Comedy of Errors."
  QUITE careless whether golden gales of wind
      Fling our boat forward, or the storm and spark
      Of lightning lamp or shroud us in the dark,
      Careless if ever land again we find,
  Careless of all things (this love being blind),
      We put to sea.  O gladly stand and mark
      The diamond headland fall behind our barque,
      Wrapped in shrine-shadow of love's central mind!
  We are alone to-day on the strange sea,
      Divider of the dawn's divinity
      From sunset's splendour: our eternal noon {76B}
  Of love recks little of eternity --
      And though the moon is dying, ourselves may swoon,
      One deathless shape of the large-breasted moon.
"But I perceive in you so excellent a touch of modesty that you will not extort from me what I am willing to keep in."
  A CURIOUS conflict this of love and fear,
      Honour and lust, and truth and trust beguiled;
      One in the semblance of a rose-bright child: --
      The other in a shape more gross and clear,
  A fiercer woman-figure crowned severe
      With garlands woven of scourges, but whose wild
      Breast beat with splendour of sin, whose looks were mild,
      Hiding the cruel smile behind a tear.
  So she: "I now you never would;" yet did
      Such acts that no end otherwise might be.
      So I: "I will not ever pluck the flower;"
  Yet strayed enchanted on the lawns forbid,
      And bathed enamoured in the secret sea,
      Both knowing our words were spoken -- for an hour.
   "Persever in that clear way thou goest,
    And the gods strengthen thee."
  LINKED in the tiny shelf upon the ship,
      My blind eyes burned into her mild ones: limbs
      Twined to each other while fine dew bedims
      Their quivering skins: lip fastened unto lip: {77A}
  Whole soul and body frenzied meet and clip;
      And the breath staggers, and the life-blood swims!
      Terrible gods chant black demoniac hymns
      As the frail cords of honour strain and slip.
  For in the midst of that tremendous tide
      The mighty vigour of a god was mine!
      Drunk with desire, her lamentations died.
  The dove gave place a moment to the swine!
      Rapturous draughts of madness!  Out she sighed
      Uttermost life's love, and became a bride.
              THE THIRTIETH DAY.
  "For god's sake, lords, convey my tristful Queen,
   For tears do stop the floodgates of her eyes."
                               "King Henry IV."
  BITTER reproaches passed between us twain,
      Hers real, mine with sneering logic sewn
      Proving my trespass hardly half her own,
      Its cause; I proved her how she made me fain
  And left me mad, and led through joy and pain
      To that unthinkable thing: I might atone
      No whit in this way: then that stubborn stone
      My heart grew tears: we were good friends again.
  Therefore at night I added nothing new:
      Only a little while I lay with her
      And with mere kisses sucked her soul away,
  And made my banquet of immortal dew,
      Demanding nothing but to minister
      To her desire until the dawn grew grey.  {77B}
   "O never shall the sun that morrow see."
  WE lost a day!<<1>>  Nor kisses, nor regret,
      Nor fear, nor pain, nor anything at all!
      The day was lost, evanished past recall,
      That saw no sunrise, never saw sun set --
  For East and West invisibly were met
      In gateways neither glad nor musical
      Nor melancholy nor funereal.
      Nought is there to remember nor forget.

«1. On the westward voyage across the Pacific a day is “lost” on the 180th degree.»

  Yet in my westward journey many hours
     I stole, and now must pay them back again.
      I plucked not one flower, but an hundred flowers;
  I bore an hundred passions in my brain --
      King solomon had three hundred paramours.
      I quite agree that everything is vain.
  "You whoreson villain! will you let it fall?"
                          "Taming of the Shrew."
  THE inexpiable fate whose shuddering wing
      Fear fled from, changed the native deed of sin
      Into a spasmic kiss too salt and keen,
      Windless, that ended with a sterile sting
  The earlier hour whose heart was full of spring;
      And the large love grew piteously lean;
      Dreadful, like death; withdrawn and epicene
      At the mad crisis of the eventful thing.
  O that such tender fondness like a flower's
      Should take such nameless infamy!  That we
      Should pluck such bitter bloom, rooted in fear, {78A}
  Salt with the scurf of some diseased sea,
      Foul with the curse of God: that we are here,
      Hating the night's inexorable hours.
    "Me of my lawful pleasure she restrained
     And prayed me oft forbearance."
  HOW sweet the soft looks shot, endearing shame
      With their warm fragrance of love's modest eyes!
      The secret knowledge of our secrecies
      Shone from their distance with a subtle flame,
  And gave to pudency a rosier name
      When the long lashes drooped, and saintlier sighs
      Took softer meanings, till my arteries
      Throbbed with the glad desire that went and came.
  "I charge you in the very name of love."
     Quoth she: "We have all day to steal below
      And snatch short kisses out of danger's throat.
  Why beg you night: is not the day enough?"
     But I: "The night is panting and aglow
      to feel our hair distraught and limbs afloat."
  "Clubs, clubs!  These lovers will not keep the peace."
                          "Titus Andronicus."
  NATHLESS she locked her cabin-door to me.
      All lovers guess the piteous night I passed --
      Shuddering phantoms, hideous and aghast,
      Loomed, lust of hate! toward me: how did she?  {78B}
  She never told: but I might surely see
      In the drawn face and haggard eyes what vast
      Voices of misery had held her fast,
      And made her curse her own lock's cruelty.
  So by her beauty and my love we swore,
      And by the light within mine eyes, by her
      Sweet shame: that never so we sunder again.
  But she: "You swear 'by thy bright face' in vain;
      'By thy sweet self' you grow a perjurer;
      Who have shamed my face and made me but an whore."
  "'Ben.'  Stop there, stop there.
   'Mer.'  Thou desirest me to stop in my tale against the hair."
                               "Romeo and Juliet."
  SWEET are the swift hard struggles ere the kiss,
      When the frail body blushes into tears,
      And short breaths cancel the long sighs, and fears
      Constrain delight, until their import is
  Made foolish when the struggle's synthesis
      Leads to hot armistice, as dewy spheres
      Glow, and increase the fury that reveres
      No God, no heaven but its own hell's bliss.
  So after desperate shifts of modesty
      We could no more; loosened and lax we lay
      Breathing and holding: then in amorous play
  She laughed and left her body's love to me,
      And kissed one kiss holding the heart of May,
      And kissed again, and kissed our lives away.  {79A}
  "I cannot kiss, that is the humour of it, but adieu."
                          "King Henry V."
  THE third time bitterly came reason back.
      Is it a fault in love when mornings find
      The soul grown sober and rethroned the mind?
      Or is it mere necessity to track
  The candid chequer cross-wise to the black,
      And love, not mutable, yet well inclined
      To take his pleasure in becoming blind
      After such sight mere day is wont to lack?
  So we were angry with ourselves and said
      We would not kiss -- two days, and we would part.
      And she prayed heaven that she might be dead,
  And I cursed heaven and my foolish head.
      I strove to turn towards old shapes of Art;
      She, to some phantom faded from her heart.
              "'Twas not their infirmity,
               It was married chastity."
                             "Phoenix and Turtle."
  YET ere the stars paled slowly in the east
      I could not sleep: and she -- how else?  What rest
      May a man know until his quiet breast
      Beats to her tune?  I garbed me as a priest
  And moved towards my Host -- on God I feast!
      We lay in naked chastity, caressed
      Child-like or dreaming, till the dawn repressed
      Our sighs: that nuptial yet hath never ceased.  {79B}
  That was the best: far sundered by the tide
      Dolorous, endless as Oceanus,<<1>>
      A serpent-river girdling the large earth,
  Still in that pure embrace we bring to birth
      A thousand pleasant children born of us,
      Sacred and sinless, if unsanctified.

«1. The imaginary river of the Ancients, which formed the circumference of the world-disk.»

  WE have forgotten all the days of fear,
      The nights of torment when the kiss expired,
      Lost upon lips with love not overtired,
      But fearing many things -- the after year,
  The end, the man -- O no, not him! the tear,
      The children's sorrow, and our own shame fired
      Not less in doing all that love desired:
  We have forgotten, surely -- being here!
  We have forgotten every shape of sorrow,
      Knowing no end to one night's ecstasy
      In the night's kiss from morning that we borrow,
  From the hard usurer, Eternity --
      Seeing we have it in our power to die
      Before the new kiss kindle for the morrow.
  "By long and vehement suit I was seduced
   To make room for him in my husband's bed."
                           "King John."
  MORTALS are not for nectar all the time:
      Ambrosia feeds not men; nepenthe's sip
      Is only for a moment: then we dip
      Back to the earth and leave the bed sublime, {80A}
  And tune our kisses to a terrene rhymne.
      So, once again before we left the ship
      With right good will our bodies cling and slip,
      And the life's flame sinks as the kisses climb.
  There never has been such a supreme kiss
      Since heaven and earth began to be as this!
      Doubt nothing of it! yet our spirits knew
  Its savour was as roses fallen to dust:
      Our proper food was of Selenian dew,
      And love without a battle conquered lust.
  "The carcass of a beauty spent and done."
                          "Lover's Complaint."
  ONE day from landing.  Kamakura sees
      Pass to the might shrine and shape of bronze<<1>>
      Me, pilgrim, murmuring pious orisons,
      Taking my refuge in that House of Peace,
  And after, sees my love, and doth not please.
      She was too young to know that shrine the Son's,
      Or see the Virgin's House in Kwan-se-on's;<<2>>
      And when I told her, flushed, and bade me cease.

«1. The Dai-Butsu, a vast statue of Buddha.» «2. The Goddess. Her function is variously identified with that of Isis, Bhavani, or the Kundalini.»

  I ceased indeed!  All hope of mental flower
      She shattered in five minutes: following lust,
      All intellectual communing did pass,
  And all respect of mind: but love's high tower,
      Stricken of lightning, stood: not fallen in dust,
      Beautiful fragments as of a Greek vase.  {80B}
   "Had I not eyes but ears, my ears would love
    That inward beauty and invisible."
                          "Venus and Adonis."
  NOTE from this day no possible event.
      All secrets told, and all desires fulfilled
      Primitive passion of our soul have killed.
      We dwell within a calmer element
  Perfectly pure and perfectly content.
      The subtler splendour of our love has stilled
      Those sombre glories that it never meant.
  Fire only is our substance; there we dwell,
      The Salamandrine with the Salamander.
      No fuel to crack, no water to make tunes,
  No air to blow us hither and thither; well!
      At our own will through cosmic space we wander
      Alive, the sun's beam mixing with the moon's.
              THE FORTIETH DAY.
  "Away, you rascally Althea's dream, away!"
                          "2 King Henry IV."
  MERE terror struck into our souls, one shaft
      Sudden and swift; our punishment was here.
      The shapeless form of an avenging fear
      Shuddered within her; from the deep rich draught
  Of lively labour that her nights had quaffed
      Rises a serpent: prescience of next year,
      The springtide; may the Minotaur<<1>> appear,
      Prodigious offspring of the fatal graft?  {81A}

«1. The offspring of Europa and of Jupiter under the form of a bull.»

  The worst has happened.  Time must now discover
      What love had hidden from the wittol's<<1>> eyes
      (What hate may tell him if he read my song,
  If he be subtle: not if he be wise).
      In our despair came laughter to my lover:
      "All's well as yet.  I calculated wrong."

«1. Cuckold.»

             THE FORTY-FIRST DAY.
                 "I am sick."
                       "Antony and Cleopatra."
  HOW things are changed since Alice was so ill!
      I, being in high fever, lay in bed,
      While my love smoothed the pillows for my head:
      Her calm looks christened me with dew to still
  All chance of fever to the soul, and fill
      My heart with pure love like a snowfall shed
      Meekly, a blossom where frail white and red
      Were never frenzied at some mad god's will.
  She sat and gazed upon me all day long.
      Sometimes she held my hands; then she would weep,
      And then stoop tenderly and kiss my lips,
  Or lull me with some chaste and gentle song
      Of angel love.  Night's plume its dew fall drips
      As she still sits and watches me to sleep.  {81B}
    "'Pol.'  No longer stay.
     'Leon.'  One seven-night longer.
     'Pol.'  Very sooth, to-morrow."
                                "Winter's Tale."
  I COULD not let her leave me the day after.
      Also we "must" wait till the month decide
      Whether the mother stood behind the bride.
      In any other case what love and laughter
  Such tidings of an angel's birth would waft her;
      Now, what a fear!  And so she would abide
      Another vessel and another tide,
      Until we held the key of the hereafter.
  But this sad spectre could not change our calm.
      The day went by more peaceful than a dream
      Dreamt by a maiden in pure winds of balm;
  Love's sweet still music like a far-off psalm
      Thrilled our quiet pulses: with the intent supreme:
      "This one week more a century shall seem."
                   AT LAST.
  O TEARLESS sorrow of long years, depart!
      O joy of minutes that be ages long,
      Come!  Let the choral pulse and strength of song
  Quicken, and the fire of lute and lyre dart,
  An arrow red with blood and bright with art,
      And cover all the fiery bloom of wrong
      With blossoms blacker where the blood runs strong
  As our lips pale, their life fled to the heart.
  Surely we are as dead, we loving so,
      So bitterly, so keenly: let no breath
      Persuade us we are living and must die!  {82A}
  Better believe eternal kisses flow
      Under the strong rude current miscalled death,
      The lotus-river where our bodies lie!
             THE FORTY-THIRD DAY.
                      "O theft most base
  That we have stolen what we do fear to keep."
                          "Troilus and Cressida."
  IMPOSSIBLE that we shall ever part!
      The heart shrinks back from thinking it, the mind
      Hates it, and prays as love is to be blind.
      Yet we know well that no magician's art
  Can keep our two selves near their single heart.
      Self-mocked I urger her "Come and leave behind
      All fear and friends and children: we shall find
      Love risen sole without a counterpart."
  Even while I begged her, I well knew she must.
      We could not, loving to see her children laugh,
      Let cowards twit them with their mother's lust.
  Even our own purity confirmed the trust.
      How long, O lord, how long?  Too long by half
      Till men read, wondering, wedlock's epitaph.
                         "lips, O you
  The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
  A dateless bargain to engrossing death."
                              "Romeo and Juliet."
  SLEEP, O deep splendour of disastrous years,
      Gone like a star fallen at the fall of night!
      Wake, O mute mouth and majesty of light,
      Made of no sound that even silence hears, {82B}
  But born of strings intangible, of spheres
      Shaken of love, a mightier music's might
      Frailer to sound than dewfall is to sight!
      Wake, O sweet soul incorporate of tears!
  Or else dream on and let no tears begem
      Love's crown of thorns, ensanguine diadem,
      But let pale kisses blossom, starry shrine
  Of lips most deathlike, that endure divine
      Past sleep's, or parting's, or death's spoil of them
      In the pomegranate walks of Proserpine!<<1>>

«1. Proserpine, ravished by Hades, was sought by her mother Demeter. But as she had eaten (a pomegranate) in Hell, Hades retained a claim upon her for half the year. See Forty-eighth Day.»

             THE FORTY-FIFTH DAY.
       "Peace, fool!  I have not done."
                      "Troilus and Cressida."
  THOU knowest, O love, how tired our bodies grow
      Forgotten in quick converse, love to love;
      How the flame flickers of the ghost above,
      The spirit's kiss; the sleepless to-and-fro
  Movement of love's desire too strong to know
      Or care for that it takes its substance of --
      As if life's burden were not drear enough
      Or death's deliverance not so far and slow.
  Our bodies almost perish, with one thought
      Crowned and completed, consecrate and shrined:
  A perfect temple of fine amber wrought,
  Whose shrine's the body and whose lamp the mind.
      The heart is priest and sacrifice in one;
      And, where it sinned or sorrowed, shall atone.  {83A}
             THE FORTY-SIXTH DAY.
  "Because I love you, I will let you know:
   ....... my wife .......
   ... like a fountain with a hundred spouts
   Did run pure blood."
                         "Julius Caesar."
  WAS it a sense of uttermost relief
      We gladdened with, and bade our fears forget?
      Was there no subtle fragrance of regret?
      For me, at least, a pang of perfect grief?
  Had it been otherwise, I would be chief
      And drive her to abandon all things yet
      In mere despair, that by-and-by shall get
      Young comfort in a babe beyond belief.
  God would not curse and bless us to such measure;
      We were not sad enough nor glad enough!
      A little time of misery and pleasure;
  Pain strangling half the ecstasy thereof --
      Such all our gain, who gained the utmost treasure,
      Gift of the wizard wand and cup of love.
  "Thou ever young, fresh, lov'd, and delicate wooer."
                        "Timon of Athens."
  THE little money that we had to spend
      Was gone long since: the little more I stole
      Followed: I pledged than all things but my soul
      (On which the usurers refused to lend)
  To raise our utmost, till a ship should send
      Much plenty from the Sunset: to control
      And stop her yet a little while, the whole
      I meant to waste before the week should end.  {83B}
  Thus we went Northward to the capital,
      Desolate huts and ways funereal,
      An hateful town; earthquake and heat and rain
  Made the place wretched, did not love enchain
      There even as here: what mattered aught at all
      While love was hovering and our lips were fain?
                    "Let us return
    And strain what other means is left to us
    In our dear peril."
                            "Timon of Athens."
  OUR love takes on a tinge of melancholy,
      The six months glory of life past on earth
      About to yield to Hades' bridal birth,
      The world's sad sympathy with Persephone.
  Yet I myself, while tuning to her key
      My sighs of sorrow, mused in secret mirth:
      "I am convinced at last of money's worth,
      For lack of which she cannot cross the sea."
  I told her, like a fool, a day too soon.
      She went and told her story to the priest;
      She wept, and borrowed money of the beast.
  She told me she would go: June fell from June.
      I, left in limbo; she, to front the elate
      Cockoldy lawyer in the Lone Star State.
             THE FORTY-NINTH DAY.
                     "Let me twine
             Mine arms about that body.
  I STOLE her money, even then to prove
      She had no wings to fly with: but I knew
      What to her hateful duty there was due,
      And how the hateful system stank thereof: {84A}
  I let her go, both weeping, both enough
      Heart-broken: no farewell went ever through --
      Words came not: only ever: "I love you!"
      With broken kisses and stained cheeks of love.
  So all day long and half the night we wandered
      Down deep lanes and in gardens, like lost souls.
      Strong kisses that had surfeited a score
  Of earthly bridals in an hour we squandered;
      And tears like fire, and looks like burning coals,
      Without a word passed on for evermore.
              THE FIFTIETH DAY.
  "Suffolk." "If I depart from thee I cannot live."
  "Margaret."           "let me hear from thee,
               For whereso'er thou art in this world's globe
               I have an Iris that shall find thee out."
                        "2 King Henry VI."
  AT noon she sailed for home, a weeping bride
      Widowed before the honeymoon was done.
      Always before the rising of the sun
      I swore to come in spirit to her side
  And lie like love; and she at eventide
      Swore to seek me and gather one by one
      The threads of labyrinthine love new spun,
      Cretan<<1>> for monstrous shadows serpent-eyed.

«1. The reference is still to the Minotaur, who dwelt in a labyrinth in Crete.»

  So the last kiss passed like a poison-pain,
      Knowing we might not ever kiss again.
      Mad tears fell fast: "Next year!" in cruel distress {84B}
  We sobbed, and stretched our arms out, and despaired,
      And -- parted.  Out the brute-side of truth flared;
      "Thank God I've finished with that foolishness!"
  AH! there be two sides to all shapes of truth!
      I might indeed go back to bitter toil,
      Prune the mind's vine, and gather in the spoil
      Rough-conquered from books, men, fields, without ruth
  Pillaging Nature, pawning strength and youth
      For some strange guerdon (or its counter-foil)
      Gainless or not-to-be-gained, priestly or royal,
      Profane, canaille -- I know not, in good sooth!
  I might do this: or else I might repose
      Wrapped in the urned leaves of my love's blown rose,
      Seek her in spirit, and commune, and wait
  Her freedom and the rapture to enclose
      In my own house her beauty intimate.
      I am a fool, tossing a coin with fate.
  Is love indeed eternal?  Otherwise
      Is evolution an eternal plan?
      Must I move upward in the stream of Man,
      God-ward: my life as Christ to sacrifice, {85A}
  As Buddha to repress: to grow so wise,
      Space, time shall lie within my finger-span?
      I know not which I wish: either I can;
      Not both, unless all meditation lies.
  I am not sure: if love as great as ours
      May not be God to part of us at least,
      Leaving the rest to find its heights and powers
  In other spheres; that, night's enamoured priest;
      This, on the lake the dewy lotus-flowers
      That lift their jewelled hearts toward the East.
  NOW, when the sun falls in the dismal sky
      And no light leaps beneath the plunging prow,
      I know the fulness of my sorrow now: --
      That all my talk and laughter was a lie;
  That as each hour widens the gulfs that sigh
      Between us; the truth scores upon my brow
      Sigils of silence, burns in me the vow
      "I love you, and shall love you till it die."
  Whether next year, as fondly we made oath,
      Shall see us meet at least, whether as wife
      I shall at last gather the whole vow's breath --
  Not heaven nor hell shall break our solemn troth.
      I love you, and shall love you all my life,
      I love you, and shall love you after death.  {85B}

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