The Gate of Delight


Were beauty mine, beloved, I would bring it
Like a rare blossom to Love's glowing shrine;
Were dear youth mine, beloved, I would fling it
Like a rich pearl into Love's lustrous wine:

Were greatness mine, Beloved, I would offer
Such radiant gifts of glory and of fame,
Like camphor and like curds to pour and proffer
Before Love's bright and sacrificial flame.

But I have naught save my heart's deathless passion
That craves no recompense divinely sweet,
Content to wait in proud and lowly fashion,
And kiss the shadow of Love's passing feet.


Bring no fragrant sandal-paste,
Let me gather, Love, instead
The entranced and flowering dust
You have honoured with your tread
For mine eyelids and mine head.

Bring no scented lotus-wreath
Moon-awakened, dew-caressed;
Love, thro' memory's age-long dream
Sweeter shall my wild heart rest
With your footprints on my breast.

Bring no pearls from ravished seas,
Gems from rifled hemispheres;
Grant me, Love, in priceless boon
All the sorrow of your years,
All the secret of your tears.


Let spring illume the western hills with blossoming brands of fire,
And wake with rods of budded flame the valleys of the south —
But I have plucked you, O miraculous Flower of my desire,
And crushed between my lips the burning petals of your mouth!

Let spring unbind upon the breeze tresses of rich perfume
To lure the purple honey bees to their enchanted death —
But sweeter madness drives my soul to swift and sweeter doo
For I have drunk the deep, delicious nectar of your breath!

Let spring unlock the melodies of fountain and of flood,
And teach the winged word of man to mock the wild bird's
But wilder music thrilled me when the rivers of your blood
Swept o'er the floodgates of my life to drown my waiting he


Why need you a burnished mirror of gold,
O bright and imperious face?
Mine eyes be the shadowless wells of desire
For the sun of your glory and grace!

Why need you the praises of ivory lutes,
O proud and illustrious name?
My voice be the journeying lute of delight
For the song of your valour and fame!

Why need you pavilions and pillows of silk,
Soft foot-cloths of azure, O Sweet?
My heart be your tent and your pillow of rest,
And a place of repose for your feet!

Why need you sad penance or pardon or prayer
For life's passion and folly and fears?
My soul be your living atonement, O Love,
In the flame of immutable years!


If you call me I will come
Swifter, O my Love,
Than a trembling forest deer
Or a panting dove,
Swifter than a snake that flies
To the charmer's thrall ...
If you call me I will come
Fearless what befall.
If you call me, I will come
Swifter than desire,
Swifter than the lightning's feet
Shod with plumes of fire.
Life's dark tides may roll between,
Or Death's deep chasms divide —
If you call me I will come
Fearless what betide.


Forgive me the sin of mine eyes,
O Love, if they dared for a space
Invade the dear shrine of your face
With eager, insistent delight,
Like wild birds intrepid of flight
That raid the high sanctuaried skies —
O pardon the sin of mine eyes!

Forgive me the sin of my hands
Perchance they were bold overmuch
In their tremulous longing to touch
Your beautiful flesh, to caress,
To clasp you, O Love, and to bless
With gifts as uncounted as sands —
O pardon the sin of my hands!

Forgive me the sin of my mouth,
O Love, if it wrought you a wrong,
With importunate silence or song
Assailed you, encircled, oppress'd,
And ravished your lips and your breast
To comfort its anguish of drouth —
O pardon the sin of my mouth!

Forgive me the sin of my heart,
If it trespassed against you and strove
To lure or to conquer your love
Its passionate love to appease,
To solace its hunger and ease
The wound of its sorrow or smart —
O pardon the sin of my heart!


O could I brew my Soul like Wine
To make you strong,
O could I carve you Freedom's sword
Out of my song!

Instil into your mortal flesh
Immortal breath,
Triumphantly to conquer Life
And trample Death.

What starry height of sacrifice
Were left untrod,
So could my true love fashion you
Into a God?


O Love! my foolish heart and eyes
Have lost all knowledge save of you,
And everywhere — in blowing skies
And flowering earth — I find anew
The changing glory of your face
The myriad symbols of your grace.

To my enraptured sight you are
Sovereign and sweet reality,
The splendour of the morning star,
The might and music of the sea,
The subtle fragrance of the spring,
Rich fruit of all Time's harvesting.

O Love! my foolish soul and sense
Have lost all vision save of you,
My sacred fount of sustenance
From which my spirit drinks anew
Sorrow and solace, hope and power
From life to life and hour to hour.

O poignant sword! O priceless crown,
O temple of my woe and bliss!
All pain is compassed by your frown.
All joy is centred in your kiss.
You are the substance of my breath
And you the mystic pang of Death.
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