Il Mystico

Hence sensual gross desires,
Right offspring of your grimy mother Earth!
My Spirit hath a birth
Alien from yours as heaven from Nadir-fires:
You rank and reeking things,
Scoop you from teeming filth some sickly hovel,
And there for ever grovel
'Mid fever'd fumes and slime and caked clot:
But foul and cumber not
The shaken plumage of my Spirit's wings.
But come, thou balm to aching soul,
Of pointed wing and silver stole,
With heavenly cithern from high choir,
Tresses dipp'd in rainbow fire,
An olive-branch whence richly reek
Earthless dews on ancles sleek;
Be discover'd to my sight
From a haze of sapphire light,
Let incense hang across the room
And sober lustres take the gloom;
Come when night clings to what is hers
Closer because faint morning stirs;
When chill woods wake and think of morn,
But sleep again ere day be born;
When sick men turn, and lights are low,
And death falls gently as the snow;
When wholesome spirits rustle about,
And the tide of ill is out;
When waking hearts can pardon much
And hard men feel a softening touch;
When strangely loom all shapes that be,
And watches change upon the sea;
Silence holds breath upon her throne,
And the waked stars are all alone.
Come because then most thinly lies
The veil that covers mysteries;
And soul is subtle and flesh weak
And pride is nerveless and hearts meek.

*****

Touch me and purify, and shew
Some of the secrets I would know.

*****

Grant that close-folded peace that clad
The seraph brows of Galahad,
Who knew the inner spirit that fills
Questioning winds around the hills;
Who made conjecture nearest far
To what the chords of angels are;
And to the mystery of those Things

*****

Shewn to Ezekiel's open'd sight┬░
On Chebar's banks, and why they went
Unswerving through the firmament;
Whose ken through amber of dark eyes
Went forth to compass mysteries;
Who knowing all the sins and sores
That nest within close-barred doors,
And that grief masters joy on earth,
Yet found unstinted place for mirth;
Who could forgive without grudge after
Gross mind discharging fouled laughter;
To whom the common earth and air
Were limn'd about with radiance rare
Most like those hues that in the prism
Melt as from a heavenly chrism;
Who could keep silence, tho' the smart
Yawn'd like long furrow in the heart;

*****

Or, like a lark to glide aloof┬░
Under the cloud-festooned roof,
That with a turning of the wings
Light and darkness from him flings;
To drift in air, the circled earth
Spreading still its sunned girth;
To hear the sheep-bells dimly die
Till the lifted clouds were nigh;
In breezy belts of upper air
Melting into aether rare;
And when the silent height were won,┬░
And all in lone air stood the sun,
To sing scarce heard, and singing fill
The airy empire at his will;
To hear his strain descend less loud
On to ledges of grey cloud;
And fainter, finer, trickle far
To where the listening uplands are;
To pause — then from his gurgling bill
Let the warbled sweetness rill,
And down the welkin, gushing free,
Hark the molten melody;
In fits of music till sunset
Starting the silver rivulet;
Sweetly then and of free act
To quench the fine-drawn cataract;
And in the dews beside his nest
To cool his plumy throbbing breast.
Or, if a sudden silver shower
Has drench'd the molten sunset hour,
And with weeping cloud is spread
All the welkin overhead,
Save where the unvexed west
Lies divinely still, at rest,
Where liquid heaven sapphire-pale
Does into amber splendours fail,
And fretted clouds with burnish'd rim,
Phoebus' loosen'd tresses, swim;
While the sun streams forth amain
On the tumblings of the rain,
When his mellow smile he sees
Caught on the dark-ytressed trees,
When the rainbow arching high
Looks from the zenith round the sky,
Lit with exquisite tints seven
Caught from angels' wings in heaven,
Double, and higher than his wont,
The wrought rim of heaven's font, —
Then may I upwards gaze and see
The deepening intensity
Of the air-blended diadem,
All a sevenfold-single gem,
Each hue so rarely wrought that where
It melts, new lights arise as fair,
Sapphire, jacinth, chrysolite,┬░
The rim with ruby fringes dight,
Ending in sweet uncertainty
'Twixt real hue and phantasy.
Then while the rain-born arc glows higher
Westward on his sinking sire;
While the upgazing country seems
Touch'd from heaven in sweet dreams;
While a subtle spirit and rare
Breathes in the mysterious air;
While sheeny tears and sunlit mirth
Mix o'er the not unmoved earth, —
Then would I fling me up to sip
Sweetness from the hour, and dip
Deeply in the arched lustres,
And look abroad on sunny clusters
Of wringing tree-tops, chalky lanes,
Wheatfields tumbled with the rains,
Streaks of shadow, thistled leas,
Whence spring the jewell'd harmonies
That meet in mid-air; and be so
Melted in the dizzy bow
That I may drink that ecstacy
Which to pure souls alone may be . . . .
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